Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Specvent Calendar Day 10 - West Bank

West Bank (Dinamic via Gremlin Graphics, 1985)

West Bank is one of only two direct arcade conversions in this year's calendar, being a pretty faithful port of Bank Panic, and I think it's the only one not to originate from the UK, with Gremlin merely providing a sales route and translation for the Spanish original. It's also not from 1983...

In truth, if you know the arcade original, there's little to say about West Bank, it's just an excellent conversion of what was already a simple game, with the Spectrum's trademark compensation of detailed monochrome colours against the C64's less well-defined but vastly more colourful offering. But for those who don't... you're a bank clerk in the Old West (the actual location's unspecified but I'm presuming Aberystwyth...) charged with taking deposits from customers and protecting them from bandits. The first level's nice and gentle, with the only bandit a slow draw, but Level 2 has a quick-draw artist who you also can't shoot until he draws first, Level 3 introduces a bandit who shoots as soon as he appears, and then there's the guy who can't decide which side of the law on which to reside, and is as likely to deposit money as shoot you... adding to the fun is a Dwarf With Many Hats, which you can shoot off to reveal either cash (shoot to claim) or a bomb (shoot to die.) With a fire key for each window and L/R to switch between the 12 windows, keyboard controls are fine, which is unfortunate when you're as bad at the game as I am and are looking for something to blame... if you do finally get deposits in all 12 slots (matron...) you switch to a bonus screen with three bandits, all of whom you have to outdraw, still without being the first to pull your weapon out. Ultra-quick responses net an extra life, my responses ensure I start the next level with one fewer life than I finished the last.

No great back story to this one, it's another game I didn't really pick up on until Uni, since when I've been playing it off and on ever since. Simple and addictive, Crash gave it 84%, with YS and SU similarly enthused. Great game, go play it.

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