I have a confession to make. As much as it embarrasses me to say this: I’ve never played a Gunman Clive game. The weird part is, I don’t know why I haven’t. I love playing on my 3DS, I love indie games, and Gunman Clive 1 and 2 got rave reviews, but for some reason I never pulled the trigger (pun intended) on it. When it was announced that Gunman Clive HD Collection was coming to the Wii U, I saw this as my chance to see what all the hub-hub was about. So how is Gunman Clive on the big screen?
Having never played a Gunman Clive game, I was delighted to see that the gameplay had a distinct “retro” feel to it. Tricky platforming and fast gunplay give a “Mega Man” style feel to the game, but with a Western vibe. Weapon power ups are handed out, and although there aren’t any one hit kills for the player, your life bar will deplete quickly after a few hits. Your character only has one life, but since you have unlimited continues, this isn’t an issue. Also, there are no check points within the levels, but most of the levels aren’t long enough to make this an issue either.
The game also does some fun things to mix up the gameplay. While primarily a 2D side-scroller, there are some 3D segments that help break things up, along with some really clever boss battles. While the 2 games themselves aren’t terribly long, there are additional characters to play as which help add to the replay level of the game, especially because everything is crafted very well and never gets stale.
With this being the “HD Collection” of Gunman Clive 1 and 2, graphically speaking the game looks fantastic. Outputting at 1080P and 60FPS, the graphics and animations are fluid and crisp. The game has a “sketchbook” visual style, and it works very well for this game. Enemies are well detailed, bosses are big and vibrant, and each segment of the game has just fantastic art style and presentation.
While both games look great, I did feel that Gunman Clive 2 looked better than Gunman Clive 1, simply because of the varied color palette. Gunman Clive 1 is limited in colors used in the game, which is fine and it still is great to play, but after playing Gunman Clive 2 and experiencing the rich color scheme used in the game, it does tend to outshine the first title.
The audio department is rock solid as well. The musical score helps give the game a Western feel, and has fantastic clarity in both games. I didn’t expect anything phenomenal in terms of the game’s music, but was pleasantly surprised when I heard the tracks. Sound effects are sufficient as well, but do pale in comparison to the music.
My only complaints about Gunman Clive HD Collection are small. I did experience one instance of a musical glitch, where the game seemed to overlay a song on top of another after dying. Also, besides the graphical and audio enhancements, the HD Collection doesn’t add any new content to the games. While someone like me, who has never played these on the 3DS, won’t mind this, veterans of the Gunman Clive series may have hoped for additional content.
At the end of the day, Gunman Clive HD Collection is a fantastic addition to the Wii U eShop. Getting 2 stellar 3DS games now in glorious HD is fantastic, and the fact that it’s only $4 is just icing on the cake. Whether you have played the originals on the 3DS or not, Gunman Clive HD Collection is worth experiencing again on your big screen.