It absolutely was 2005, I was a youthful type who adored video games but was even more obsessed with Westerns. I adored the genre and saw just about everything I really could get my hands on. From classics including 'The Good the Bad and also the Ugly', 'A Few Dollars More' and 'Once Upon A Time In the West' to modern greats like 'Unforgiven' and 'Tombstone', I was entrenched in spurs, holsters and saloon shootouts. I used to record films off the television and see them when I got home from school on the VCR in my bedroom, enamoured with the manner giants of the genre like Clint Eastwood and Charles Bronson held themselves in such unforgiving times. So when the Neversoft/Activision Revisionist Western themed 'Firearm' reach shop shelves I was one of the very first to pick it up. !
A year before I 'd played Rockstars 'Red Dead Revolver' a game that had it's values and I loved because of my passion for all things western but a game I was not particularity enamoured with, there was something about it that did not quite sit with me and I am not going to pretend to remember what that reason was, at the time I was not dissecting such feelings and was already reaching the eject button to play Star Wars Battlefront. So a year after when I popped 2005's 'Firearm' into the tray and began along the epic exploits of Colton "Cole" White, expressed wonderfully by Thomas Jane (perfect cast), I was solicited. This was it. This was my jam.
'Firearm' was everything I needed a western game to be, an open world full of colourful characters, side assignments and and a primary quest that had me eyeballs to screen from beginning to end. I adored it. It was perfect. Mind you, I am not saying it was technically a perfect game, it'd it's faults, the world being a little overly modest springing to mind the most, but for me, a tremendous lover of the genre, it was everything I wanted. I really could start off my day playing cards in the Doge City saloon, then stealing a horse and riding on the other side of the country side, shooting buffalo, gunning down bandits, concealing from Indians and then onto an epic confrontation with one of the matches many wonderful managers. It turned out to be a fantastic experience that myself and a certain friend of mine loved hugely. The memories of our favourite movies still lingering in the backs of our heads as we hunted down special bounties for a number of the world most ill-famed miscreants.
The best thing about the game was certainly the narrative. It was really grasping and I know it worked so good because my recollection has since joined the gameplay and the cut scenes into one of the same, creating a really fluid story of cash, firearms, trains and girls.
The storyline starts off in 1880 when Colt and his dad Ned are hunting game alongside a river in a lovely countryside location. Things turn sour yet when Ned is killed in an assault on a riverboat that the two are going on not long after. It turned out to be a depressing moment and one that I recall vividly to this day, just as clear as any moment from the genres rich cinematic history. It becomes a really sprawling story with an adult Colt seeking vengeance on the guys that destroyed his life. Occasions find Cole get himself in all sorts of difficult situations, from botched arrests during his time as a sheriff, a jail term, a train robbery as well as a specially interesting series of the game teaming up with the Apaches to be able to take down a huge antagonist.
The storyline is fascinating and is accentuated by some really amazing and unforgettable characters, my favourite being Hoodoo Brown who supplied my favourite second of the match and probably one the most memorable gaming moments of my youth. After a huge shootout in Brown's stronghold, Cole saves his buddy, shoots Hoodoo which in turn results in the corrupt mayor shouting "I am Hoodoo Brown!" before expiring and falling of the balcony to the earth beneath. It was really amazing things, becoming something that permeated the remainder of my time playing the game and has remained in my thoughts ever since. The game culminates with an amazing sequence in the arch villains desert gold mine, rolling up with a frustratingly hard final boss fight, one that was fairly straightforward in it's machinists but really tricky to pull off without being burst by dynamite.
This game has been somewhat forgotten by time but 'Firearm' was certainly wonderful, a really memorable experience for me as a lad and one that I look back upon fondly. There are of course better games in the grand scheme of things, games with prettier graphics, longer narratives, more guns, more side missions etc but not many of them realized what 'Firearm' did for me, which was an immersive, colourful and blood drenched enterprise into one of my favourite moments in history. You will not find many today talking about Gamespy's 'Xbox 360 Action Game of the Year' but it is one that will forever live in my recollection. Cole, Doge City, I miss you really.
Posted on May 16, 2015 at 05:52 PM