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Wild Gunman was the twelfth game that Nintendo released for the Famicom, and the very first game compatible with the NES Light Gun known as the Zapper. As such, it was the pack-in game that came with the Zapper in Japan. It is based on a much older mechanical style arcade game that Nintendo sold for use in amusement centers. In addition to two difficultly levels involving a shootout with a computer generated cowboy, it also contained a mode where the player was involved in a shootout at a saloon. It was released worldwide. It was also released in arcades as Vs. Wild Gunman, as part of Nintendo's Vs. arcade system, and contained two light guns so that two players could compete.
This game is meant to be played using an NES Zapper, although a normal controller is still needed to navigate the title screen.
- : Pauses the game.
- : Switch between Games A, B, and C.
- NES Zapper: Selecting menu options and shooting outlaws.
- , , : Unused.
Game A - One Outlaw
The first game is a sheer test of reflexes. A gunman will walk to the middle of the screen, challenging you to a gun duel. The moment he yells "Fire!", you must pull the trigger on the Zapper. It doesn't matter where you aim, as long as you fire at the screen, you will hit. Firing too early results in a foul, and firing too late causes you to lose the duel. Either of these scenarios will take a life away. Upon a successful hit, a set amount of points based on the outlaw's bounty is added to your score. You also gain some bonus points depending on how quickly your reaction was. The game continues indefinitely until you run out of lives, and your objective is to get as many points as possible.
The elements on the HUD are as follows:
- TIME.YOU: The time it takes for you to shoot the gunman. The timer starts ticking up the instant the gunman yells "Fire!". In Game B, it displays the time you took to hit each outlaw.
- GUNMAN: The outlaw's reaction time. Shoot before your time matches his to win, otherwise you'll lose a life. The tenth digit of your time is subtracted from this value, then multiplied by 10000 to be rewarded as bonus points after each successful duel. In Game B, it displays the individual reaction time of either gunmen.
- REWARD: The base score you receive for defeating the outlaw. This score varies seemingly at random, but it does gradually increase from the start up to a certain point. In Game B, the separate bounties for each gunman is displayed under their side of the screen.
- SCORE: Your score so far. This is the main measurement of your success, and your goal is to get as many points as you can to increase this value. Only the highest score on each game is saved and displayed on the title screen.
- W.: Records the number of foes you have bested.
- Handgun: Represents the number of lives left, which reduces with each Foul and loss. You get three chances to fail before your mistake results in a game over.
Game B - Two Outlaws
The second game involves facing two gunmen at once, one on each side of the screen. They will usually open fire at the same time, so you must shoot both of them to win. However, very rarely, only one of the gunmen will shoot; hitting the other results in a Foul. Note that if you get a Foul or failure against just one of the gunmen, you won't get the bounty for successfully shooting the other either. Precise aim is not needed, since you just need to hit the half of the screen with the gunman you're targeting to register a shot. There is a but of strategy involved in this game of skill. When faced with two gunmen, the targeting the outlaw with the lower timer is safer, but hitting the gunman with the longer reaction time first gives you more bonus points, so it's a matter of risk and reward. Remember that there's always a chance one of the gunmen won't fire, so you still need quick reflexes to succeed.
Game C - Gang
The Gang mode pits you in a salon shootout. The salon has five openings where the gunmen can appear from, and you must shoot at each of them as they appear. Taking too long to shoot can be fatal, so you need both reflexes and aim to get high scores. Enemies appear in waves, giving you short breaks to rest between them. Each gunman you hit awards a random amount of points. You only have 15 bullets for each wave, so make every shot count.
The HUD elements of Game C is slightly different:
- BULLET: The ammunition you have left in your gun. You get 15 bullets which is replenished by the end of each wave.
- SCORE: Your point counter. Kill more gunmen to raise this value. The No. 1 high score will be displayed on the title screen.
- W.: The amount of waves you've cleared.
- Handgun: The amount of lives you have left. You get three chances before getting killed results in a game over.