Thursday, 8 January 2015

call of juarez

i mentioned a while back i had started playing call of juarez, a game from 2006. i was 14 when it was released (so much has happened since then!) but strangely it doesn't feel that all old. the graphics aren't great and the control system is a little clunky, but unlike a lot of games the story got me hooked and i played it straight through in a couple of weeks.

so it's basically a western about this guy, billy candle, who returns home after failing to find the treasure of juarez. he gets into some trouble in town and when he runs to a nearby ranch to hide he's framed for the murder of the family who live there. one of the victims happens to be the brother of reverend ray mccall, a slightly insane gunslinging preacher who will stop at nothing to do the right thing by god. the player alternates between billy on the run and reverend ray tracking him down.

what really makes call of juarez work is the variety in the gameplay. this isn't just a basic shoot-em-up - there are fist fights, chases on horseback, mountains to climb and tombs to explore. whenever the game verges on being repetitive, it changes things up. there are differences between the two characters as well. billy's sections are usually based around stealth and exploration while the reverend ray sections are mostly about killing lots of people.

billy's levels were my favourite, particularly the one where you have to find a way up a mountain using your whip to swing over crevices. there's also a cool tomb raider-esque section at the end, complete with attacking spiders.

i know red dead redemption is the definitive western game, and rightly so, but in a lot of ways i preferred this one. i do like a good story though, and this one really worked.

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