by William Thompson
reviewed on PC
The Wild West
The Old West has been the subject of many a movie, including some of my all time favorites. But as far as gaming goes, the Wild West has been somewhat ignored, with game developers instead favoring the setting of World War II and various other conflicts. But, the Wild West has a lot to offer, especially in a shooting game. Indeed, the Wild West theatre is the perfect opportunity to get some gunslingers together to duke it out.
And to be perfectly honest, I'm quite surprised that the Old West setting has had so little exposure in the gaming scene, especially in the FPS/TPS genre. Let's be totally honest, who didn't want to be a cowboy at some stage in their childhood. PC gaming would surely be the perfect outlet to let you shoot some bandits and save the town using only your trusty six-shooter. I remember when I was much younger playing a Lucas Arts game Outlaws, where you did just that, and it was heaps of fun.
Lead and Gold: Gangs of the Wild West (henceforth referred to as simply Lead and Gold) attempts to fill the huge void in Wild West scene. It is a multiplayer third person shooter that decides there is no better place to test your shooting skills than in numerous locations around the West. Forget about shooting Nazis in war-torn Europe Ė Lead and Gold lets you don your cowboy hat, your boots (complete with spurs) and get some full-on shoot-out action Ė OK Corral style. The multiplayer games consist of five-on-five teams in a variety of settings and game modes.
Being in a Wild West setting, it is understandable that there aren't the same number of classes as you'll find in a game of Team Fortress 2. Lead and Gold gives gamers the chance to play a grand total of four classes. It doesn't sound much, but they each have their own abilities and weapons, which enables some variation. The Blaster is the heavy hitter of the quartet. He owns a double barreled shotgun and can use sticks of dynamite similar to grenades. He certainly packs quite a punch, especially at close range. The long range class is the Trapper. The Trapper uses a sniper and can, as the name implies, set traps. The bear traps stun opponents and let you get a round or two off whilst being out of danger. The Deputy class has the use of a repeater carbine - good mid-range weapon. The Deputy has the ability of being able to mark targets (similar to the commando in Battlefield Heroes). This ability lets other team members aware of the marked enemy.
The final class is the Gunslinger. And this is probably the class that most represents the setting and makes you want to stand at the end of a dusty street at high noon facing off against a man who has done you wrong. The Gunslinger wields two pistols and has a rapid fire rate. The other three classes do have the use of a revolver as their secondary weapon though, so you can still fire off a few rounds as if you were Jesse James.
One notable class omission is that of a healer class. Healing is done is a slightly different way in Lead and Gold. Team members only need to stand close to an injured teammate to gradually heal them over time. Personally, I like the injury system in the game. If your character gets severely injured, you will fall to the floor. You can still fire your pistol but won't die until the enemy gives you a final fatal blow. This gives your allies a chance to heal you. This system certainly encourages team play.
Locations and game styles
There are six locations represented in Lead and Gold. All have a Disney Frontier land feel to them, but each has their own personality. There is Sinner's Gulch, a small town complete with town Saloon and a hangman's noose. The town has some tight areas scattered throughout the wide streetscape. Prospector's Peak comes complete with mine-shafts and is a more open area than that of Sinner's Gulch. Trees and boulders definitely become your friends in an area that leaves you open for much of the map. And then there is Devil's Pit Ė the underground mines that force some tight, narrow space gameplay.
Itís the Wild West, and youíve got guns
Trouble finding servers to join and gamers to play against.