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Hit the Old West
For another light-hearted look at the Old West, somewhat akin to Lucky Luke's humorous adventures, then Billy the Kid Returns is well worth digging out. It's all relatively simple stuff but adopts an endearingly old-school approach to its gameplay by offering a multi-format style, with a mix of platforming, side scrolling action and top down adventure. Players are thrust into the well worn boots of the notorious outlaw and proceed through various pivotal moments in his career, including his notorious death at the hands of Pat Garrett. The game starts out by requiring you to escape from jail, which requires a bit of cunning as well as some platforming skills, before moving on to a desert scene where you have to avoid being recaptured as well as watching out for runaway cattle. The game proceeds in the fashion, adding in new challenges like rustlers, other outlaws and of course the long arm of the law, and you can grab a gun as well as other bonus items in order to level things out a bit. The game is pretty simplistic, lacking much in the way of depth or complexity, but it somehow manages to transcend its nature to become something a little more than the sum of its parts. It scores points for its setting which, although it doesn't feel particularly authentic, is certainly atmospheric enough in a retro way. The mix of gameplay styles does work in its favour too, and while they might not be radically different, the ten levels offer a decent amount of variety to keep you playing to the end. Throw in some easy to pick up controls and reasonable sound effects and you have all the makings of a rip-roaring Western adventure.