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Westward III: Gold Rush is another installment in Sandlot's series of city building simulators. Following closely the gameplay conventions of its predecessor, with only minor differences, this entry is more of an expansion pack than a full new game. The graphics are 3D, and the mouse wheel can be used to zoom in and out of the scenery.

At the start, the player has to choose one of three heroes, each unlocking a feature: a black female gunslinger called Polly Hatchet, that gives the ranch construction plans for free when selected; a retired general named Amos Cutter, that gives the gun shop plans; and Shawnee Longfeather, a half native woman that unlocks the tannery building. The objective is to build and maintain a wild west frontier city, during the gold rush years, avoiding famine and external threats. New inhabitants appear spontaneously when housing is available. They consume a small amount of food and water every few seconds, but can be employed as workers in the buildings to generate more resources.

As before, the player controls the characters directly with the mouse, by clicking and dragging a line from them to an interactive object, or setting a way point for them to move. Alternatively, the player can just left click on the character, and right click on the object or destination. Most characters can build and repair, with the exception of hired gunslingers. The hero character can't work on any building, but can build, hunt animals and fight enemies.

There are four basic resources, and their quantities are listed on the interface at the bottom of the screen: gold, wood, food and water. Panning gold mines can be built over river deposits, and gold nuggets can be found scattered on the land and collected by any characters. Wood huts have a limited harvesting radius, and have to be built near forests. Large and small Logs can also be found around, and characters can extract wood directly from the big ones, or collect the smaller ones from the ground. Farms can be built to provide food, with optional crop and livestock upgrades, and bushes can be plucked for berries, while wandering animals can be killed for meat. Wells give access to underground water.

Some characters have quests, that can be anything from fetching something, to giving or accumulating a certain amount of resources, or constructing a specific building. The pending quests are listed at the top-left corner. After successfully completing them, they give a prize, usually the plans for new buildings, or become new citizens. Blueprints can also be bought with gold at the store, accessible as button at the top.


Westward III: Gold Rush Windows Building a well
Westward III: Gold Rush Windows Constructing a panning gold mine.
Westward III: Gold Rush Windows Collecting wood.
Westward III: Gold Rush Windows Boom!

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GameZebo Windows Dec 30, 2008 4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars 80


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Sandlot released a few additional free maps for the game, available here.
Contributed to by Zeppin (8422) and Macs Black (80151)