Gunman Clive is a platformer that is more tactical than action based, but it still has some traces of the frenetic gameplay of its NES ancestors. In execution, it is quite simple, but it’s almost deceivingly simple while also keeping the challenge that is associated with games in this vein, albeit toned down slightly.
Aesthetically, the game is quite subdued and atmospheric, which is a perfect fit for a slower platformer like this one. There is a distinct colour scheme separating the enemies and background so that your reactions can be quick to sudden threats, which is a great tool to distinguish between what can kill you and what cannot. Frames of animation fkickering in the distance gives the game a lovely hand drawn style that is not too distracting and obtuse, yet also not bland enough to be boring; it is the perfect combination of a 3D and 2D art style.
The score, conversely, does fall into this pitfall of being too boring to even barely remember after a few months. It has a western motif for most of the game, with two tracks that you will hear most of the time. They get ingrained into your mind immediately, not due to them being memorable, but for hearing them for most of the time.
The basic gameplay is quite simple. You can move, jump, and shoot at the direction Clive faces. By using these moves in conjunction, you have to tackle platforming and enemy challenges while keeping an eye on your health bar. It is standard fare for a platformer, but the tight controls help to let you know that death is your fault, all of the time.
The game introduces new elements throughout, even three quarters through the game. That helps to break up the now standard platforming control scheme, and with barely any level verticality, it’s the only way to not induce repetition. However, some of these new mechanics are always discarded after one level, so they feel a bit tacked on.
Boss battles are the last major part of Gunman Clive, and they show cracks in the game’s surface. They are, at first, quite fun to face off against, with every boss until the final one telegraphing their attacks. However, the final boss does not telegraph their attacks at all, instead opting to randomly use their attacks to throw you off. If the attacks could be slightly told from each other, I’d know I had won through skill. Due to the lack of that, however, it sort of ruins that particular boss.
As a little adventure to go through while travelling, Gunman Clive is not a bad choice. It’s perfect to pick up and play, easy to tell a enemy apart from the background, and it controls well. However, the monotonous music and disappointing final boss battle leaves it as just a good game, not a great one.