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Freddy Pharkas: Frontier Pharmacist

aka: Freddy Pharkas, Apotheker im Wilden Westen, Freddy Pharkas, le Cow-Boy Pharmacien, Freddy Pharkas: Cowboy Apotheker, Freddy Pharkas: Cowboy Farmacéutico
Moby ID: 1785
DOS Specs
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Description official descriptions

Freddy Pharkas was one of the fastest guns in the American West of the 1880's. However, in one particular gunfight with an outlaw named Kenny, he was outgunned and had his ear shot off. This traumatic experience caused Freddy to give up his pistols and enroll in the school of pharmacology. Blocking out the memories of his past, Freddy arrives in the town of Coarsegold with the dream to own and run his own pharmacy. Working with the town's doctor, Freddy is able to fill prescriptions, mix concoctions and diagnose simple symptoms. Business among the townsfolk is brisk however, the good times are not to last as suddenly townsfolk are run out of town and businesses are being foreclosed and boarded up. Freddy must deal with the town's problems, and discover the larger plot, or risk having a fancy shop in an empty town and losing all his customers.

Freddy Pharkas: Frontier Pharmacist is a humorous point-and-click adventure game bearing many similarities to other Sierra titles in the same genre, in particular Leisure Suit Larry series. Players use the command bar at the top of the screen to choose a verb command that is combined with locations and objects visible to the player. Freddy can walk to new locations, look at particular objects, attempt to use objects, talk to people and enter his inventory to access items that have been picked up. Like other Sierra games, successful actions add to the player's score, judging the player on 1000 points.


  • הטוב הרע והרוקח (The Good, the bad and the pharmacist) - Hebrew spelling
  • 多情藥師酷牛仔 - Chinese spelling (traditional)

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Credits (DOS version)

80 People (71 developers, 9 thanks) · View all



Average score: 78% (based on 13 ratings)


Average score: 4.0 out of 5 (based on 68 ratings with 7 reviews)

A classic, hilarious sierra adventure

The Good
This is a type of game that will make you laugh out loud. The humor in Freddy Pharkas starts with "The Ballad of Freddy Pharkas" and continues to the very end. Personally I think this is the best Sierra adventure game I have ever played. Who else but Al Lowe could make a story about a one eared frontier Pharmacist into such a fun and enjoyable game.

The Bad
Some of the puzzles are a little...let's say obscure. I had the hint book, and I think this one puzzle (making a silver ear) was pretty much impossible with out it, although it did make some logical sense. Some puzzles are illogical, but they are doable because the humorous writing gives you clues if you listen very hard.

The Bottom Line
This game is by the creator of Leisure Suit Larry, Al Lowe. The game has the same type of humor although most of it isn't adult oriented. The story is good, but the jokes are even better. Western movies, pharmacists, even adventure games themselves ("Summoning up super human strenghth you take the 6 tons of baking soda and stuff them into your pocket.") are made fun of.

I only played the CD-ROM version of the game in both Windows and DOS. I advise playing the game in DOS. I had a lot of trouble geting it to work under Win3.1, and I couldn't get it to work in 98. The sound and music is also much better for the DOS version. The voice acting is quite good. The graphics are good for a Sierra Adventure game. It uses hand painted background which I think still look nice after all these years.

All in all this game is really a funny and fun adventure game. Even if you don't like the genre, it's always fun to watch over someones shoulder just to hear the next pun, one liner, etc. I wished they had made a sequal.

DOS · by Andrew Grasmeder (221) · 2000

A classic, humorous Wild West adventure that has a few flaws

The Good
Freddy Pharkas, Frontier Pharmacist was released by Sierra in 1993, a time when their adventure games were beginning to get fucking awesome, both in terms of quality and enjoyment. Introduced the same year is this rather amusing game set in the Wild West. It was created by Al Lowe and Josh Mandel; and if you thought the game is up to the same standard as the Leisure Suit Larry games, then you are right.

The first thing that I enjoyed was “The Ballet of Freddy Pharkas”, the prologue that explains Pharkas' unfortunate defeat by Kenny the Kid and his relocation to Coarsegold (yes, the same place where Sierra had their headquarters at the time). The ballet itself slightly differs between the CD-ROM and disk versions of the game, with the latter sung by Lowe himself and the former being the karaoke version. Each version of the ballet comes complete with a bouncing ball that appears over each word.

Freddy Pharkas is spread across four acts, and the first two involve filling out prescriptions for characters that you have to meet at a later point, as well as overcoming the dangers in Act II. “The Modern Book of Health and Hygiene” that comes with the game helps you achieve this. It is also a form of copy protection. It is right up there with the likes of King's Quest VI and EcoQuest 2, since it kicks in the middle of the game. I like how it is designed to reflect what books and manuals looked like in the 1800's.

The hand-painted backgrounds are very good, and the character portraits are quite colorful. Nearly everything gives the game a western feel, including the icon interface. There are some nice touches to the dialog boxes. A word can appear in a different color other than black; and not only does this make it stand out against the orange background, but it also adds some emphasis. Pictures have also been included in the upper left and right corners, and these change depending on the setting.

The music is very good, especially if you have a General MIDI device such as the Roland SC-88. The music blends in with what you are doing, and it reflects the tunes that were popular in the 1800's. As for the sound effects, they are on par with any humorous, cartoonish adventure game such as any LSL game from number five onwards, as well as various comedy adventures from LucasArts. That “Score” sound whenever your score is increased is a nice touch.

Before he became a Sierra employee, Mandel was involved in theater, and there are a lot of film references to “Billy the Kid” and “Pee-Wee's Playhouse”. Having said that, it was fun to see if I could spot any references as I played through the game. Freddy Pharkas also pays homage to the LSL series. Credits appear and disappear again as you play through Act I (LSL3), you can select what music plays at a certain location (LSL1 and LSL5), and Sheriff Shift pronounces Pharkas's name incorrectly (LSL5). Even Larry makes an appearance, but wearing a cowboy hat.

The game is laced with humor. For example, at the start of the game, you receive five-hundred points just for opening up the pharmacy. Then, there is the freedom of clicking different icons on characters or objects (mainly the hand and talk icons), or using certain inventory items on them, to generate a witty response. My favorite is clicking the Hand and Talk icons on yourself. Since the CD version of the game features full speech, the humor is emphasized by both the characters and the narrator. Even the puzzles in the game are quite funny, with the problem of the farting horses a classic.

There is a stand-alone demo that allows players to get a feel of the actual game. I think that you have to blow up a mine where a bandit is hiding. The demo, too, is packed with humor, with the high point being that you don't get any points for the entire demo, just for completing it; and even then, you don't get the full 50 points, but one off.

The Bad
It seems the CD version of Freddy Pharkas has slightly less humor. In the disk version, you can go into your inventory and click one item on another, and that will give you a funny response. In the CD version, however, the result is a red X with a “Huh?”. I would have liked to hear the narrator instead of a sound effect.

Another problem is something that the other reviewers already mentioned. In Act II, each puzzle has a time limit, meaning that the game ends after about five minutes if you don't deal with it beforehand. You hardly have any time to work things out.

The game is supposed to be for all audiences, but I'm not even sure whether Act IV should have contained adult content. There are at least two violent scenes, including one where Pharkas is seen lying in the middle of Main Street covered in blood. Like LSL3 before it – a game that contains several sex scenes - there is no “This game contains adult subject matter” sticker on the box to warn parents that it is not suitable for their children.

The Bottom Line
Freddy Pharkas was released around the time when Sierra adventure games were getting better and better, and it was one of the last adventures to use hand-painted backgrounds, before Sierra made use of Disney-style graphics and FMV. The game is better than the LSL series when it comes to humor. Just doing anything in the game provides a witty response and some of the events that take place are just hilarious. The game has interesting things to do and places to explore. If you like games that are set in the Wild West, those that have a decent amount of humor and exploration, then this game is for you.

DOS · by Katakis | カタキス (43086) · 2016

Novel adventure with flawed implementation

The Good
Freddy Pharkas, a classic Sierra adventure designed by Al Lowe and Josh Mandel, provides a pleasant departure from the usual settings of other adventure games. Freddy, a pharmacist and former gunslinger, must discover who is behind the rash of incidents driving the townspeople from western town of Coarsegold. The characters and locations in this game, while limited, are well fleshed out and entertaining. The VGA graphics are generally good and the sound is excellent. The story itself is entertaining and well written.

The Bad
The major downfall of Freddy Pharkas is the result of a number of timed puzzles within the game. About one third of the game consists of puzzles, that when not solved in an unspecified time limit, results in Freddy’s death. While this may add a sense of urgency to solving these puzzles, it also forces the player to reload many times in an effort to beat the clock. In some cases there is barely enough time to solve the puzzle when one knows what to do let alone when the player doesn’t. This leads to the player being forced to rush through the game and not experience the entertaining characters, locations, and situations that make this game shine.

The Bottom Line
Overall, Freddy Pharkas is an example of a potentially great game that did not live up to its potential. It weaves a tight, albeit short story in a novel setting with a number of entertaining situations. Unfortunately, the way the game was designed does not allow for the player to experience the small details that make the game shine. As a result, it is reduced to a mediocre adventure.

DOS · by pogalogen (9) · 2007

[ View all 7 player reviews ]


Subject By Date
Playing really old games Shelly Dowdle Sep 5, 2014


CD version

This game was first released on 3.5 disks but Sierra later offered a version on CD which featured voice acting and an improved soundtrack. Some of the bugs and continuity errors were also removed.

Demo version

There was a demo version of Freddy Pharkas on a Sierra sampler CD. When you wanted to access a new area or use a special item, a little window would pop up and contain a FMV with Al Lowe that explained that if you want to use this, get the full version. If you continued trying to use the item, you would get hauled off to jail by a sheriff.

Continuity errors

  • During Act II the player comes into the possession of the church key that disappears from the inventory at the end of Act III. At the beginning of Act IV the key can be taken again awarding the player with another extra point. This way the player can complete the game with 1001 points. This bug was removed in the CD version of the game.


  • In the Saloon, switch the music by talking to the piano player and ask "Zircon Jim's Theme". It's the Leisure Suit Larry theme.
  • In Chester Field's store there is an ad signed by K. Graham of Daventry, announcing that he is not responsible to any debts incurred by Valanice, Alexander and Rosella. This a clear reference to King's Quest series. Further investigation of the poster reveals that it ends with "c/o P. Patti" - refering to the Passionate Patti - Larry Laffer's true love from one of the installment of Leisure Suit Larry series.
  • In Chester Field's store there is a wanted poster of Al Lowe.
  • In Act IV in the saloon the player can meet "Zircon" Jim Laffer - Larry's great-great-granduncle which is another reference to Leisure Suit Larry series.
  • In Chester Field's store there is an ad written by Dr. Olympia Myklos - reference to the Dr. Olympia Myklos - one of the suspects in Laura Bow 2: The Dagger of Amon Ra
  • In Freddy Pharkas' pharmacy one of the items on the shelf is "Vester's Guaranteed Pumice Acne Treatment" - Claus Vester is the translator of the German version. The reference was added by developer Josh Mandel.


By using the Keypad keys with activated NumLock, you can play goofy noises found in the game. A lot of them are from puzzles in the game.


  • Computer Gaming World
    • November 1996 (15th anniversary issue) –#13 Funniest Computer Game

Information also contributed by Arson Winter, Itay Shahar and Julien LC


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  • MobyGames ID: 1785
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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by ROFLBLAH.

Windows added by Cavalary. Macintosh added by Terok Nor.

Additional contributors: RKL, Jeanne, Kohler 86, Xoleras, Iggi, Crawly, 6⅞ of Nine, Paulus18950, Patrick Bregger, mailmanppa.

Game added June 26, 2000. Last modified January 23, 2024.