Western Games
Copyright/Publisher: Magic Bytes, Music By: Markus Schneider,
Release Year: 1987, Genre: Multi Events, Number Of Players: 1 or 2

Howdy Pardners! Gettin' tired of all them athletic sports simulations? Then try Ariolasoft's new multi-event simulation of old wild Western pas-times.

Having selected a one or two player game, the first event to be attempted is arm wrestling, where the player sits opposite his adversary, hand-in-hand. Arm strength is built up by pulling back on the joystick in time to a rhythmically pulsing 'muscle meter'. The winner is the person who forces the other's hand down onto the table, in a best-of-five contest.

The next event is beer-shooting, where both contestants stande side by side and, on the signal, draw their pistols to fire at beer glasses. The faster shot scores a point, and the glasses are changed to a smaller variety. If one player manages to hit five targets in succession, he wins. Should the other interrupt his run, they both start from scratch.

The third 'event' is dancing -. a pastime requiring the player to follow a highly complex pattern of joystick movements in time to a quickening pianio player's tempo. Failing to keep up obliges the player to buy the pianist a drink, effectivedly losing him the event.

Quid-spitting is the next pastime to be endured. The participants face each other with a spit-toon in front of them. Both men bite off lumps of cheqing tobacco, masticate them, by waggling the joystick, and attempt to spit them into the opposition's pot by altering the angle of projection.

The next task is milking a cow, where the player extracts a pint of milk as quickly as possible. The process of milking requires a sequence of eight joystick commands to be followed in rhythm to the udder movements. The slower milker loses.

Finally, the player sits down to eat, with the aim of finishing a bowl of stew before his opponent. Every step of the process is controlled, including handling the spoon, eating and swallowing.

I can't halp feeling that too much time was spent making this game 'cutesy', and not enough on refining the gameplay. Some of the events, such as cow-milking, are ludicrously pedantic and require an exact rhythm to be maintained for several minutes - which just isn't fun.

The feeling is not one of controlling your character, but simply follwoing a predefined game pattern. In other areas, the game is simply average, with adequate sound and a few frames of animation in each scene.

I think the reason you don't see many games based around this kind of action is because anything like this entertaining - and programmers Magic Bytes haven't managed either.

Julian Rignall
After seeing the colourful and nicely detailed graphics, I thought that it was time for another multi-event treat. Unfortunelately my enthusiasm was short lived. Although Western Games boasts some unusual and original ideas, the over-complex control methods used make the game a chore to play, rather than fun.

A challenging game is one thing, but when you're spending the whole time trying to move the joystick and press the fire button in a sequence that bears no resemblance to the on-screen action, it gets a little tiresome and frustrating.

If you're prepated to practice, I should think Western Games could provide fun - but I wouldn't put it top of my shopping list.

I guess that programmers are starting to run out of ideas for sport simulations, since the competitive aspect of Wester Games is tenuous to say the least. The events are wonderfully presented, with some brilliant graphics and animation, but unfortunelately the gameplay is lacking due to the rather odd control systems.

The complex series of commands needed to initiate the simplext of operations tends to be offputting, and often lacks positive results. This shouldn't really present a hurdle for most games players, but if you're easily inclined to frustration, steer clear.


Generally adequate, but marred by the apparent lack of a quit option.
Superb cartoon quality graphics, with plenty of subliminal animation to enhance the overall effect.
Some decent spot effect and suitable Western music.
Overly complex control methods must first be familiarised before any progress is made.
The six events should present a decent, albeit frustrating, challenge.
An unusual and sometimes over-complicated multi-event game with limited appeal.