The Wild West is about to get a whole lot wilder. Gunman Clive 2 brings us back to the far-off future year of 18XX (whatever that means), controlling our titular gunslinger through 25 dynamic side-scrolling levels. Hörberg Productions takes all of the weird-but-awesome action from the first game and dials it up to eleven with bigger stages that will be easy to love, but difficult to traverse. This installment also ditches the former “lots of brown” design scheme in favor brighter colors, juicier blood splats, and, of course, more ducks.
We were introduced to the New West back in 2013 with the original Gunman Clive. While the land is certainly just as lawless as it was in the 19th Century, there’s more to this future than just tumbleweeds and showdowns at sundown. In the first game, Clive must rescue Ms. Johnson from a band of technologically advanced bandits, armed to the teeth with smart phones and tablets and M134 rotating-barrel miniguns. Now the bandits are back, and it’s up to Clive to jump, dodge, and shoot his way across the globe in pursuit of their leader.
One of Clive’s biggest strengths is its dynamic gameplay. As the levels get progressively harder, you’ll be able to pick up a variety of specialized firearms, from spread shots to lasers. No matter the weapon, however, a cowboy is only as good as his noble steed. Clive 2 throws in several unique vehicular stages, mounting our protagonist on everything from a horse to a panda to a pterodactyl. Finally, as you rush to the end of each level, guns out and saddles blazin’, you’ll encounter a host of boss-level baddies that’ll spice up the mechanics. Battle a giant samurai on the roof of a dojo. Take on a hulking industrialist amidst anti-gravity fields. Shoot a T-Rex in the goddamn face. Gunman Clive 2 has dozens of tricks up its sleeve to keep you quick on your booted feet.
While the series once capitalized on the “save the girl” trope found in countless video games, deuteragonist Ms. Johnson is anything but a damsel. After tackling the levels as Clive, lace up your corset, load your pistol, and experience the gameplay in a lady’s shoes. Ms. Johnson’s skirt may slow her down, but it can also catch the wind and give her a few more precious seconds floating between platforms. The third playable option, Chieftain Bob, ups the difficulty factor again by removing your ranged weapons, forcing you to get by on spear prowess alone. Even with multiple playable characters, Gunman Clive 2 is a relatively short ride, but it’s definitely a memorable one.