What do you get when you combine Mega Man, Contra, and the old west? Two game cartridges smashed together and sent back in time to be crushed into the earth of 19th century America. But if you take that question way less literally, you’d probably get something like Gunman Clive!
Gunman Clive HD Collection is a collection of the two independent video games created by Hörberg Productions, Gunman Clive & Gunman Clive 2. These games are basically what would happen if you took the classic gameplay of Mega Man and put it in the old west (I know I said that already, but there is no better way to describe it.) You play as Clive, a… man with a gun… and that’s all we really know about him. Right at the beginning of the game it becomes clear that his mission is to rescue Ms. Johnson from a bunch of bandits. Gunman Clive 2 has Clive traveling the world to find the leader of the bandits, also. The story of this game is not important in the slightest, so I don’t really care that it’s absolutely nothing more than a cliche “save the person who happens to be in danger” story. The real important part is just about everything that isn’t the story!
The gameplay is very simple. Clive can run, jump, shoot, and climb up ladders. You shoot enemies to kill them. It’s nothing that hasn’t been done by quite a lot of 8-bit era video games, but why fix what isn’t broken? Clive also can pick up special powerups that make the gun act differently until Clive gets hit. One of them shoots bullets in three directions, one of them shoots slower but more powerful bullets, one of them shoots slow homing bullets that look like tomatoes, one of them is a laser beam that shoots a fast beam through everything (Wait, THEY HAD LASER GUNS IN THE 1800s? WHERE WAS THIS IN HISTORY CLASS?!)
Oh, but Clive isn’t the only player on the roster, there are three others. You can also play as Ms. Johnson (which turns the story into a role reversal of Clive’s story), who moves a bit slower and can’t run while shooting, but she can also hover in the air for a short amount of time like Princess Peach in almost every game she’s ever been playable in (though strangely not Super Princess Peach. You give the princess her own game and don’t let her use her most famous ability? Oh right, this isn’t a Super Princess Peach review. Sorry.) Next up there’s Chieftain Bob, who uses a slow-moving spear to attack enemies up close. This character tends to be the game’s hard mode. The final playable character is not one of the game’s heroes, but one of the most deadly enemies in the entire game. THE DUCK. It’s a duck. Why wouldn’t it be a duck? The duck moves as fast as Clive, can jump in mid-air multiple times, is always at ducking height, and cannot attack in any way, meaning this mode also skips all boss fights. It is a really bizarre and random way to play, and I’m not entirely sure why it exists. When I first unlocked the mode my thoughts were basically “Wait, what? WHAT?! WHY?! Eh, who cares, it’s hilarious and fun.”
The art of this game is one of the greatest parts. The art style has this cool cell-shaded sketchbook kind of feel to it that especially looks amazing in the HD remake. The color scheme is mostly sepia-tone, while certain objects are different colors to make them stand out, like how the bandits are blue to see them better and tell them apart from Clive and how Ms. Johnson is pink… because potatoes, I don’t really know why. The soundtrack is mostly really nice and calming western-style music, and that combined with the color scheme and art style makes this a really relaxing game.
Honestly if you’ve played any 2D-platformer with the abilities to run, jump, duck, and shoot, then you’ll not find a whole lot new from Gunman Clive. But the gameplay that’s been done before combined with everything else makes this a really fun and well made game that I’d say deserves my rating of 8 out of 10.