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.
- 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.
- 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. 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.
Throughout each stage, you will encounter various people who are on your side and would like to assist you in your efforts by selling you useful items such as weapons or horses. You will know these people by the exclamation point flashing above their head. Simply walk up to them to initiate a conversation with them (the action around you will freeze until you are done, so you will be safe from harm.) In this game, points aren't for showing off a high-score, they are actually dollars that you collect and spend at shops. There are two distinct types of shops; one that strictly sells weapons (shown left) and one that sells everything else (shown right). You can buy any item that you have enough points for, provided you don't already possess one. In the early stages, you will only encounter one of each until you reach the point where you encounter the boss (provided you have the wanted sign), but in the later stages it's possible to encounter a second weapon salesman.
- Price 6000, 20 shots per Bullet, 120 shots maximum.
The Shotgun fires bullets in a wide spread that fans out. Shooting to the left or right will fire one bullet straight ahead. Useful for taking out multiple enemies at one time. If you are killed while using the Shotgun, you will lose it.
- Machine Gun
- Price 10,000, 40 shots per Bullet, 400 shots maximum.
The Machine Gun is like a rapid-fire version of your normal pistols. It makes it much easier to hit your targets since it sends a steady stream of bullets. You will lose the Machine Gun if you are killed using it.
- Price 20,000, 10 shots per Bullet, 100 shots maximum.
The Magnum is like a slower but more powerful version of your normal pistols. The bullets don't fly as fast, but they are bigger and fly farther, and they do more damage when they hit. You lose the Magnum if you get killed while using it.
- Smart Bomb
- Price 8000, 1 use.
The Smart Bomb isn't a weapon that you make active use of. Rather, when you set your weapon selection to Smart Bomb, you continue to fire your regular pistols. However, if you get hit, rather than dying, you will set off an explosion that kills every normal enemy on the screen. You will lose the bomb, but you will remain alive.
- Bullets × 4
- Price 1500
You can purchase four bullets for 1500 points, which will provide you with 80 Shotgun shots, 160 Machine Gun shots, and 40 Magnum shots, provided you have purchased weapons.
- Price 20,000
Unlike in the arcade version of the game, where you could count on finding a Horse in at least one barrel every stage, if not more, there are few free rides in the NES version. Instead, you can trade points for the privilege of riding on top of these bullet-absorbing mounts.
- Wanted poster
- Price varies.
In order to encounter the boss of each stage, you must first obtain the wanted poster. One wanted poster is hidden in every stage, so if you know the location, you don't have to actually purchase one. However, if you are stumped and can't locate it, you can always buy the poster from a shop, provided you have accumulated enough points to buy it.