Over the years, some fascinating games based in the Wild West have come about, featuring heroes riding tall in the saddle and wearing cowboy hats to signify that they mean business. While some have fared better than others (like Paradox’s fascinating but limited Lead and Gold for PlayStation 3), developers have no doubt tried their darndest to capture the essence of the likes of Sergio Leone and other influences to create the best “Wild West” experience.
With that, we’ve picked our five favorite Western games, ones featuring rootin’ tootin’ cowboys and unlikely heroes as they take justice into their own hands. I’m sure some of you won’t be 100 percent pleased with the picks (sorry, no sign of Mad Dog McCree here), but we guarantee that each of these games offer plenty of gun play and innovation, and even some poker on the side, if that’s what you’re into. Mount up.
5. Gunsmoke (Capcom/arcade, NES)
Before players were able to control a cowboy in a traditional role, Capcom introduced this upward-scrolling shooter, one that features a cowboy taking the law into his own hands as banditos and other bad guys try to fill him full of lead. Featuring a three-way bullet shooting system and occasional power-ups (including, of all things, a near-invincible horse), Gunsmoke introduced plenty of shoot-em-up fun for the NES generation. Now if there’s just some way Capcom could bring this back in HD format.