Lead and Gold: Gangs of the Wild West

8.0 Overall Score

Written by on June 10, 2010 in

Howdy partner!  Welcome back to the wild wild west.  Here disputes between rival gangs are settled with hot lead and pure gold.  Lead and Gold: Gangs of the Wild West is a new game developed by Swedish developers Fatshark is an online third person shooter game set in the old west.  They have captured many of the wonderful stereotypical environments and characters of the classic western movies while staying true to the team-based third person shooter online multiplayer genre. While I am a fan of the classic spaghetti western, I am a relative novice in the team based multiplayer system.   I came to this game a little wary since my skills as a gunslinger would hardly warrant a wanted poster.

One way that the game typifies the team multiplayer genre is in its game modes.  The game modes include:  Conquest, Gold Fever (co-op), Greed, Powder Keg, Robbery, and Shootout.  Conquest consists of 5 control points (‘A’ through ‘E’) that each team must capture in a particular order to capture the zone.  One team must capture the points starting with point ‘A’ then continuing in order through point ‘E’ while the other must capture the points in reverse order.  The second mode is Gold Fever (co-op) which is a one to two player survival mode against waves of AI opponents as you try to grab as much gold as possible and return it to your safe point.  The third mode is Greed which most will recognize as a version of capture the flag.  A sack of gold will spawn at random locations on the map and each team will try to find that gold and return it to their safe zone.  Once a team has captured the sack of gold a new one will spawn.  The fourth mode is Powder Keg. This mode has two rounds where team switch off playing offense and defense.  The team on offense must bring blow up opposing objectives using powder kegs.  The fifth mode is Robbery which is a combination of the Greed and Powder Keg modes.  As in Powder Keg, the teams play two rounds switching off as offense or defense.  Here the offense is trying to use powder kegs to open areas that house sacks of gold.  They then, as in the Greed mode, must take these sacks of gold to their safe point.   The last mode has no true objective, unless you count murderous mayhem.  Shootout is a western way to describe a good old fashioned team deathmatch.  Each of these modes is set in one of six maps, each map only supporting a few different modes.

The maps in this game put the teams in a variety of iconic sets straight out of a western movie.  You can choose from the frontier town of Sinner’s Gulch, the mining town of Prospector’s Peak, a wagon train camp in Bad Blood Valley, Harvest Hill (only available for Gold Fever), Deadwater Ranch, and Fort Turnbull.  All of these maps are also wide open outdoor areas with some interior areas.   For close in restrictive battles you can go to Devil’s Pit.  It is a vertical mine.   All of the maps just scream spaghetti western names.  These maps provide the backdrop for your team’s adventure.

You have a choice of four professions in this western adventure.  Each profession is a spaghetti western icon with its own strengths and weaknesses and each has a ‘special talent’ they can use to help their gang get the job done.  You can choose your profession at the beginning of the game and before each respawn.   The characters available include the Blaster, the Deputy, the Gunslinger, and the Trapper.  In an interesting twist each profession also comes with a unique piece of headgear.  The Blaster, donning a miner’s helmet, is the typical big ugly ‘muscle’ that backs up the villain in almost any western.  He is a major threat at close-range combat with his double-barreled shotgun.  His ‘special talent’ is his ability to throw sticks of dynamite at the enemy.  The next character is the Deputy, reminiscent of Sheriff Bart (ala Blazing Saddles) in a derby hat. He is a threat at medium to long range with his repeater carbine rifle.    His ‘special talent’ is targeting enemies with a skull mark that allows your team to hit that enemy for extra damage.  The third character is the iconic long-haired cowboy hat wearing Gunslinger of the wild wild west.  Ironically if you get your hat shot off you are sporting one nasty bald spot up top, a very funny touch.  He has a short to medium range with his speed loading large caliber revolver.   His ‘special talent’ allows him to set up a spray of bullets fast and furious but with decreased accuracy.  The last profession is also the only female character in the game she is the Trapper.  She is a Calamity Jane look-alike complete with a coon skin cap that is a sniper with her powerful hunting rifle.  Her ‘special talent is setting traps.  I know, you kind of saw that one coming.  She can set two traps at a time to immobilize the enemy then pick them off long-range with her rifle.  Each of these professions can be chosen to fit the game mode or map that you are in.   The ability to switch professions at each respawn is a real life saver for those who realize their initial choice does not fit the game setup they are in.  While these professions and talents will not be anything new to those who are veterans of this game genre, the reward system set up for cooperation and teamwork makes this game very intriguing.

This game has set up a real time reward system in the form of professional synergies that boosts gang-mates’ skills by merely being in proximity with others in your gang.  All of the professions radiate a healing or regeneration aura.  This allows gang members to help heal their buddies by standing near them or revive a downed team mate by touching them, making each player part healing class.  In addition to healing, each profession radiates a particular boost for all their gang members that remain in the same vicinity.  The Blaster radiates an armor boost, the Deputy a damage boost, the gunslinger an accuracy boost, and the trapper a critical hit boost.  All these stat boosts stack to make your gang a force to be reckoned with and encourage you to have as many members on your team as possible.  The objectives for some of the game modes also encourage teamwork.  For example, if you need to pick up a powder keg or bag of gold you can’t and move at a much reduced speed.  This requires you to have team mates that will cover you while you complete your objective.  Stackable stat boosts and game objectives make cooperation a key ingredient to successful game play.

For those of you with concerns for your game playing prowess, the game also provides a practice mode.  Here you can learn the ropes of gameplay and they walk you through the process of using a powder keg and bringing sacks of gold back to your safe point.  After the initial tutorial you are presented with multiple enemies to test your skills at shooting and other ‘special talents’.

I have to say that I began this game concerned that I would be a horrible embarrassment in the game, given my lack of experience in the genre.  But I have to admit that I found it extremely easy to join a game through the lobby, the objectives were very straightforward, and the professions were fairly simple to learn.  I found myself joining quite a few games and enjoying myself quite a bit.  The interface was easy to understand and the graphics reminded me of some good old fashioned westerns I enjoyed as a child.   I really do love the environments and characters the developer has presented.  You have to fight using fairly realistic gun mechanics.  If you spring out ready to shoot down an enemy be sure your gun is loaded otherwise you are a sitting duck while you reload.  You also need to make sure your enemy is truly dead.  One shot rarely kills an enemy, at least in my experience.  They can linger and continue to shoot while down and a gang-mate standing by them heals them up.

One nice feature for respawning is the gang’s flag.  A gang member can carry this flag and provide fallen gang members the choice to respawn with near the flag’s carrier or at the safe point.  This feature provides a nice way to catch up to the team quickly and continue the mission.

There are a decent amount of maps, although I am sure more maps will be gratefully received.  The professions provide a variety of gang members whose talents balance each other out very well. I personally love the rewards for cooperation.  They put a new spin on gameplay that encourages teamwork, something I love in a game.

As far as wish list items, I have only two at this time.   I would love to see split screen multiplayer and more maps.  I realize that most games of this genre avoid the split screen multiplayer option but hear me out.  The co-op game mode of Gold Fever seems like a logical mode to allow for the split screen.  That way you if a buddy comes by you both can play together without requiring two systems to be set up. It would be nice to have to split screen for other modes also but this game mode seems well suited for the survival mode against AI opponents.  As always everybody wants more maps but I am mostly concerned about more maps for the game modes offered on only one or two maps.   At this time the survival mode Gold Fever is only available on one map.  Robbery and Powder Keg are only available on two maps each.  I understand this price point may restrict endless maps but even a map pack at a reasonable price may be worth some thought.

Overall, I have to say that this game is very fun to play and easy to get started.  With practice all of the talents, stat boosts, game modes, and emphasis on team work this game combine to create opportunities for increasingly complex strategy play.  I would recommend this game to anyone who loves a good shooter or a classic western.  For spaghetti western fans, you will enjoy the iconic characters and wild west backdrops that are brought to life in the game.  For shooter fans this game provides a well thought out new world to play the same old game with some new twists and turns to keep the gameplay interesting.

A copy of the game Lead and Gold: Gangs of the Wild West was provided to The Married Gamers for the purpose of examination and review.

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Author: Melisa Snyder View all posts by

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