Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Budget Day - Kane (Commodore 64)

Boys love playing at being cowboys.  I'm no exception.  The (fairly) recent Red Dead Redemption allowed me to live out those Wild West fantasies in full, riding a horse around glorious barren landscapes in glorious sunsets, playing poker with the boys and taking down the bad guys.  Great stuff.

Of course, there have been cowboy games for almost as long as there have been games.  Possibly the earliest example was the arcade game Boot Hill, where you faced off against an opponent in a one-to-one shootout.  I loved playing against my dad on that game... we would later replicate it at home with Atari's Outlaw.

Anyone fancy a stir fry tonight?
Another of my favourite early Wild West games was Mastertronic's budget effort, Kane.  Written by John Darnell, who would later be responsible for classics such as Star Paws and Escape from Singe's Castle, it was owned (in one form or another) by probably everyone I knew.  We all thought it was a classic, although that might just have been because it was one of the first games we owned!

It was easy to be impressed by Kane, though.  For a start, the main sprite was basically Agent 4125 from Impossible Mission, in a cowboy hat.  And as the good agent was one of the best characters in computer games at the time, that was no bad thing.  The first level saw you shooting ducks with a bow and arrow, and they let out a rather pained sampled squawk when hit.  For a budget game, this first level alone made you sit up and take notice.

Other levels had just as much to impress.  The second and fourth levels feaured a very nicely animated horse... hey, it didn't take much to catch your eye in those days!  That said, those horse-jumping levels were a bit repetitive, and if you fell off in the wrong place you'd be stuck and your game would be over.

Peek-a-boo, I see you!  BLAM!
The third level saw Marshall McGraw, for he was the character you played, holed up in the town of Kane, with bad guys aplenty hiding out and hoping to take you down.  They'd appear in doorways, windows, up on rooftops or from behind barns.  If you weren't Quick Draw McGraw, they'd shoot you dead (or at least, dead enough to remove one of your lives).

Kane certainly had more than enough about it to keep us teens entertained for a good while.  Although it wouldn't have been great value at full price, it was a great little budget game, and it kept us occupied for many an evening whilst waiting for something else to roll into town.

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