By Tiger Chainsaw
“Save The Whore”
Before there was Red Dead Redemption, there was another glorious Western filled with cowboys, Indians, and rebels. Developed by Neversoft and published by Activision, “Gun” was released in 2005 for the PlayStation 2, Xbox, and GameCube. The semi-open world action-adventure game would offer tons of content but would the game be received well by me?
Right from the beginning, you realize this game would never be released today by the opening cinematic. Savages aka Indians run into a sandstorm and attack a group of Spanish men who are on horseback carrying crosses. The Indians kill them all with blood being splattered on a cross. LOL, I can just imagine the backlash now against depicting Native Americans.
Turns out that cross was pretty important because the entire game revolves around recovering it. Fast-Forward 300 years and you are now Colton White a veteran cowboy and hunter who teams up with his “Pa” to hunt wildlife for the local steamboat. Your dad is named Ned and he is a bit of a mystery. One day on the steamboat you guys are attacked by a mob of outlaws who are searching for something. Ned gives you a coin and tells you to go to Dodge City and find a woman named Jenny before telling you he isn’t your father. The boat gets blown up, and you wake up three days later.
After tracking down Jenny and presumably banging her, Colton heads to Empire City to find a priest who was on the steamboat who killed Ned and his whore. Turns out that the crazy priest is working for a man named Magruder who looks like a one-eyed Colonel Sanders. He’s quite insane so you won’t want to cross him. He is after the golden cross that we saw at the beginning of the game. Colton does a few missions in both Dodge City and Empire City and starts to learn his history. Turns out that he is part-Indian as his parents were slaughtered by Magrudger with Ned as his company. Ned felt so bad that he secretly adopted Colton and raised him as his own while leaving Magruder behind. Magruder has one part of the cross and the other part was on the steamboat in a safe that is now at the bottom of the river.
Colton joins a group of rebels before being captured by Magruder’s men. He escapes with the help of some Indians and sets out to find the other half of the cross before Magruder. He succeeds, but the cross is stolen from him which leads to a final confrontation with Magruder. The cross is a map to a giant cavern of gold, and Colton and Magruder face each other in the golden cavern before Colton collapses the entire place with dynamite killing Magruder in the process and leaving the cross behind.
Gun gives the player plenty of options for how they want to play the game. You’ll be able to select from various side missions as you build your stats up in this Western Action RPG. The game will introduce you to the world with a nice hidden tutorial on riding horses, shooting, healing, etc. There’s tons of fun to be had in Gun with the side missions ranging from hunting legendary wild animals to bounty missions, poker at the bar, and clearing out bandits from the town. All of them add stats to your overall character. You’ll increase things like health, ammo, horse riding, and hand-to-hand combat. I didn’t notice much of a difference, but I’ll take the developers at their word that the stats actually did something.
Blowing holes in your enemies are fun but what is better is the ability to choose how you do it. You can choose from rifles, pistols, shotguns, hand-to-hand weapons like a hatchet or knife, and my favorite weapon, the bow. The bow is ordinary at first, good for silently picking off cowboys but the real fun begins when you upgrade it to become a bow that shoots sticks of dynamite. There’s nothing like watching an arrow strike through the abdomen of a man running away and watching his body explode a few seconds later. My favorite is shooting dynamite at the wild horses and them running around for a few seconds before BOOM! I know, go ahead and call PETA on me.
The open world of Gun isn’t mammoth, but it’s decent for a PS2 era game. You won’t get lost much, but there’s plenty to see and do as you explore the wild west between the two main cities in the game. There are plenty of secrets to find and gold to mine. Riding a horse is a must to make trips quicker and correct me if I’m wrong, but I think there is even a fast travel option to teleport to the main mission starter.
Main missions aren’t too challenging, but they are entertaining and fun. Breaking out of the town jail was exciting, and so was pushing back a wave of MacGruder’s men when they attacked our camp. The shootouts were not very realistic, and you could get away with just running in a circle and blasting your revolver at your foes which brings the game down a few notches. You do have access to something similar to what you’d find in Red Dead Redemption which is the slow time event with your pistol. Colton is fueled on his quest for revenge on whiskey and whores as whiskey restores your health bar. It always gave me a chuckle watching Colton swig a bottle of it to restore his health. I mention “whores” because the cowboys are always yelling about them and when they can get a “poke” in. It’s all good and fun and there was even a mission titled “Save the Whore”.
I never died during the game during my adult playthrough besides the final fight against Magruder. He is one tough S.O.B. and you need to figure out how to beat him since he is covered in armor. The key is getting the steam spouts to explode when he walks by them with dynamite. After you knock his health down he’ll climb up to a ledge where he’ll rain dynamite on you. You need to use the quick draw function to slow time down and show the dynamite near the roof of the cavern to beat him. It can be tricky and it took me a few attempts to beat him.
Magruder overall was one of the nastiest fellows in video games. He showed no remorse for killing anyone at any time and I was surprised by how ruthless he was at some point. One of the other deaths that surprised me was when Jenny (Colton’s whore) got her throat slit. I was shocked and thought she’d be part of the game in its entirety but she died only about 25 percent into the game.
I asked for Gun for Christmas one year, and my dad ended up getting it for me. I’m not sure if I had a demo for it or if I saw commercials for it, but I was interested in it because I didn’t have any games like it. When I popped in the game for the first time my dad came into the room and was surprised by what was on screen. He said he didn’t want to buy me the game based on the cover and thought it was some type of urban gang game. He was pleasantly surprised to see that Gun was a western in the Wild West filled with rowdy cowboys. As long as I was killing Indians and soiling the sand with their blood instead of joining an inner-city gang, he was happy, haha!
For some reason, I vividly remember playing this game on New Year’s Eve with my friend Andy. He came over and we were playing it as I was too young to party for New Year’s but it was a fun time. I loved shooting the dynamite arrows at people and horses and watching them explode on the spot. I know, psychotic but fun! I beat the game when I was in middle school so I knew that it wouldn’t be difficult for me this time around.
Gun is a fun Western experience and perhaps the best Western on the PS2. I don’t recall playing others but Gun gets the atmosphere and weapons down right. The combat is very primitive with running around in circles and shooting but that doesn’t mean that it’s not fun. Video games are about fun, and if I have it, I can look past other minor faults. Gun is on the shorter side but it does have tons of side missions to fill your time if you want to try your hand at those.
Gun scores an 8.2 out of 10.
Do you remember when Gun first came out? Did you beat the game? Did you play many side missions? What did you think of Magruder? How does it influencer Red Dead Redemption? Let me know your memories and thoughts, I’d love to read the comments.
If you’d like to own a copy of Gun you can purchase a used copy of it for the PS2 for $10 on eBay.