Although Gun.Smoke takes place in an the pioneering era of the American gold rush, it is a traditional vertical scrolling shooter at its core. As such, the game progresses in a very linear fashion, scrolling through each stage one at a time until you reach the boss at the end of the round. The walkthrough presented here is not intended to give you a complete play-by-play of every aspect of the stage, but more to give you an idea of what to expect and how to know how far along you've gotten.
- Keep the enemies in front of you
- Remember that you can't shoot behind you, only ahead of you. While it's tempting to run up and intercept an enemy before they have a chance to shoot at you, try not to advance too far up the screen and allow another enemy to get behind you and start shooting at your back. You are defenseless from that position, and will have to double back in order to deal with anyone who is behind you. Also, note that enemies like to spawn at the left and right sides of the screen, about 1/3 of the way up from the bottom. Even if the screen is clear of enemies, don't neglect to stay down and watch the bottom portion for spawning enemies. Enemies are especially likely to appear from bridges that are about to scroll off the bottom.
- Prioritize enemies over barrels
- While barrels do provide you with bonus points that can help you reach the next extra life faster, or power-ups that give you a much needed advantage, they won't help you very much if shooting one open results in getting you shot by the enemy. Make sure the area around you is clear before you focus on the contents of a barrel. However, if you happen to find a horse icon, grab it as quickly as possible to ensure your continued survival.
- Quickly alternate fire buttons
- While the three fire buttons and their combinations give you a lot of options, holding the buttons down won't result in a rapid rate of fire. Instead, use two fingers to rapidly alternate between the left and center fire buttons, or the center and right fire buttons. This will allow you to shoot bullets in a spread pattern to one side or the other.
- Don't ignore enemies in boss battles
- You may be relieved when you finally reach the boss, but don't let your guard down for one second. Regular enemies will continue to appear throughout the battle, and in fact most of your boss difficulties will be due to just the regular enemies. At times, you may have to take your focus off the boss in order to clear the screen out of normal enemies. This is a good strategy to employ, but don't forget to watch out for continued attacks by the boss himself.
- Crushing a horse
- While Billy cannot ever take damage from being crushed by the screen's scrolling, it can cause a horse to take damage. This is notably common when shooting a last-minute barrel, and then the horse gets pushed into the breaking barrel animation.
- Fast-exploding dynamite
- Perhaps some kind of glitch, but sometimes dynamite will explode much faster than usual after it touches the ground. This seems more likely to happen when there are multiple Bombers and several sticks of dynamite around. Additionally, exploding dynamite will immediately detonate other dynamite sticks around them. So be cautious of running over packs of dynamite, even if it should still be safe to do so.
- Posthumous enemy shots
- Some enemies can still release shots shortly after they take their final hit. This is especially obvious with the Native American chiefs who throw spears, and any enemy who jumps off a high ledge directly onto your bullets. So be wary of unexpected bullets from enemies you've just killed.
- Bullet fade-out death
- Enemy bullets will only travel a certain distance, before they disappear with a very brief poofing animation. This poofing animation, however, can still kill you. It effectively acts like the bullet just paused in mid-flight.