There are two ways in which to obtain the wanted posters. You can purchase the wanted poster outright from the general store for the low, low price of like $20,000 apiece. I believe one of them even goes as high as $50k. You get that? You have to pay the town fifty grand in order to hunt down and kill the men that have been terrorizing them! At those prices you'll be able to afford to buy one wanted poster for the entire game, two tops. Let me put this into perspective - killing the boss of the first level "Bandit Bill" will yield a cash reward of $10k if you manage to bring him down, half the purchase price of his wanted poster. No wonder the Wingates want to overrun this town so badly. This town has got to be rolling in the cash!
The second, and realistically your only real viable option for getting the wanted posters, is to find them at certain spots hidden in the level. Finding the posters this way isn't a easy task though - they are invisible until you shoot them. The fun doesn't stop there though! Since this game is a vertical scrolling shooter the screen is always moving you up (forward). You have very limited time on each section of screen. So if you are out of place when the wanted poster appears you're screwed until the next pass through the level.
Did I mention you have to do all of this while bullets keep whizzing past your head in every conceivable direction? Thankfully Gunsmoke is grounded in reality. You can find a rideable horse on each level. Your movement speed is increase while riding, and it will take two hits instead of one to bring you down. That's right. The Wingates gotta plug Mr. Ed in the head before they take you down! This makes finding and surviving long enough to get the wanted poster a tad easier. A tad.
The wanted poster ranks high on my list of all time annoying nuances found in a video game. Its what keeps me from considering Gunsmoke a bona fide classic shooter on the NES. It is both challenging and addicting. It's kind of sad now that I think about it. A very good game that people generally only remember for its one bad quality. If only they had just removed the wanted poster concept, and just let you fight the bosses in a normal manner...Battletoads
I maintain to this day that the Battletoads could very well have been the next big video game franchise following in the footsteps of Super Mario Brothers and Castlevania. This game had it all - marketable heroes (TMNT were huge at the time), stylized graphics that at the time looked next-gen, and a great mix of action and humor. It was hyped to all hell, and deservedly so. Battletoads provided everything you could ask for in a video game. So why then didn't Battletoads take off and become this fantastically selling series that to this day continues to have new games produced under its title? That question can be answered in two simple words.Turbo Tunnel.
In the third level of the game you are on the left side of the screen driving on speeder bike towards the right side of the screen. Keeping you from reaching the intended destination are a series of obstacles you have to avoid by jumping or dodging. The obstacles flash on the right side of the screen very briefly, and then they go flying across the screen at you. The whole level takes place at an insanely fast speed. You'll basically need to play the level enough times to memorize where all the object are, and then pray your finger speed and reaction time is enough to pull you through to the end. There are tough levels, and then there is this piece of gaming hell. There are few levels in the entire existence of video games that I feel challenge the difficulty of Turbo Tunnel.
Even to this day, with twenty plus years of gaming experience, I still can't get through this level without ripping some of the hairs out of my head. Now if this level is that frustrating to a seasoned gamer, can you imagine the impact it would have on an eight year old. The psychological ramifications are staggering! I can seriously see Turbo Tunnel leading some kid to eventually be found at the top of some bell tower weeping, taking shots are the people walking down below, and in between sobs screaming "Damn you Battletoads!"
Mind you the rest of the game isn't a cakewalk. Battletoads is tough, with or without Turbo Tunnel. I'm talking the respectable kind of tough here. The kind of tough game that leaves you satisfied and with a true feeling of accomplishment when you finally beat it. Instead, people reached level 3. Vrrooomm...SMASH! "Ha Ha Ha." Vrrooomm...SMASH! "Tee-Hee. I did it again." Vrrooomm...SMASH! "Hmmm." Vrrooomm...Smash! "Doh!" Vrrooomm...SMASH! "Mother F..."
Unfortunately the franchise never reached its true potential. Oh sure, there were sequels made and several crossovers done with other established titles, but those all felt fake to me. Like the company refused to give up on a potential cash cow. Shame too because I firmly believe that had the level of difficulty on Turbo Tunnel, and honestly the entire game in general, been toned down more players would have stuck with the franchise. Instead most of us reached level 3, gave it a few go arounds before saying "forget this!", and walked away from the series without ever looking back.
That about wraps up the latest go around here at Retro Junk. I'd like to thank everyone for your continued support!