Law of the West (Apple II)

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Written by  :  Guy Chapman (2001)
Written on  :  May 17, 2008
Platform  :  Apple II
Rating  :  3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars

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Not Quite 'Deadwood', But Not Quite Bad.

The Good

"Law of the West" was one of those titles that stuck out in the Apple IIc's library. Playing the town's Sheriff, if was up to you to decide how the town was protected, or if you ran your mouth off too much, you would pay for it.

Some characters, such as the Doctor, were beneficial to the game. There were other townspeople, and even a few desperadoes to contend with.

What was fun about the title was that how you spoke to people affected other events in the game. You didn't always have to kill the potential villains, and not having the Doctor around by getting him drunk (or killing him) may cost the player another chance to continue. Some of the gunslingers may call you out in the street, and some may hide and try to take a potshot at you. You may even be able to seduce the local womenfolk.

Control was easy enough, using either a keyboard or joystick (I found the joystick the easier of the two options), and the gameplay was straight and to the point.

The graphics were appropriate, with a detailed view of the Sheriff's backside, and animations for the townspeople. Each character had their own theme music, and there is a nice set of comments to either compliment/frighten/anger each encounter. The dialogue is funny at times, and certain choices can affect the whole outcome of the conversation.

Of course, for a fast and easy game, you could shoot them as they walked out the door before they even had a chance to speak. Definitely a "guilty before proven innocent" attitude for people who don't want to take chances that the smart mouthed kid fires off another round of insults.

The Bad

The game, in all of its verbal choices, does have a limit, and eventually, you'll run the gambit of all conversation choices.

Moving the Sheriff's shooting arm is also slow as molasses. Sure it takes a while for the gunfight to begin, but watching your shooting arm creak over to your potential assailant can be a race against time.

Backgrounds are pretty static outside of the Sheriff's arm movement, and the townspeople animations. The background does change buildings, though, so there is some diversity.

And of course, the sound effects are not exactly the most exciting. Gunshots sound more like hamster coughs.

The Bottom Line

I remember playing this game as a kid, and thought it was amusing that I could either be a morally upright lawman, or a rude thug who would just as soon shoot a person as look at them. It helped to extend the longevity of this title.

It's a simple game, and you can only take it so far before it becomes truly repetitive, but the dialogue is amusing in an old Western sort of way, and it's fun to see all the conversation choices.

There's (surprisingly) not a lot of Western titles in the gaming world, but this one, for all its simplicity, is a fun afternoon adventure, or a quick way to blow off some steam.

Worth a look if you enjoy those classic IIc titles, and who knows if this title would ever see the light of day again?