This past week I played the only Super Nintendo game that I wanted bad enough, but it was too expensive to get the cartridge for. This was Natsume’s very underrated 16-bit classic Wild Guns.
I played the game via the Virtual Console. I did take advantage of the automatic single save state the old Wii console creates when exiting back to the Wii menu. It may sound like a cheat, but it’s really no different than leaving an SNES system on and I wouldn’t want to do that to my original SNES.
Wild Guns has unlimited continues, but only three lives to get through a stage. The Ammunition Depot and Gold Mine (stages 3 and 4) probably took me the longest to get through. Which one was the shortest? You’re likely thinking it was stage 1, Carson City. Actually the least amount of tries to complete was the last stage (number 6, Final Fight). I think it took only three tries where as something like stage 5, Armored Train, was probably about 15-20 continues.
If you’re not familiar with Wild Guns just think of TAD Corporations’ Cabal (1988) and SNK’s Nam-1975 (1990) of the arcades. Wild Guns (1995) builds on these previous titles with some interesting game mechanics. There’s a jump and double jump available when not shooting. A jumping roll happens while shooting to quickly dodge out of the way. A few times you’ll need to use a melee attack on very close enemies by pressing the shoot button. If you keep tapping the same button a lasso will come out and if it hits an enemy they’ll be stunned for a short period of time. A separate button is a screen clearing bomb. Several extra weapons like a machine gun, shotgun, etc. can be acquired via item pickups. The very powerful Vulcan gun is available once a bar is filled and lasts until it’s empty. How do you get it? You have to shoot bullets heading your way.
What does all of this add up to? I’ll tell you. It adds up to a really fun game that’s tough, but fair. It’s also not frustrating at all. This is a hallmark, in my mind, of what a great game is.