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NES Review – Gunsmoke: The Pinnacle of Run And Gun

NES Review - Gunsmoke

Gunsmoke the Nes exclusive is a vertical scrolling run-and-gun video game that once was deemed as the best video game because of its breathtaking and practically perfect presentation of Wild West. In this blog, we are doing a NES Review- Gunsmoke to understand why this video game garnered unfathomable attention. Let’s read about this review.

Introduction of NES Review – Gunsmoke

Gunsmoke, widely known as Gun.Smoke is a fascinating depiction of the Wild West. The game is designed by Yoshiki Okamoto, a video game designer who has created numerous titles that received acclaim globally.

The video game was released on October 23, 1985, on numerous platforms including NES, PlayStation 2, Windows, Arcade, and Xbox. The video game also supports multiplayer mode. Where players can link up on the same device to have a mesmerizing experience.

Gameplay and Plot: Gunsmoke NES

Gunsmoke is a pretty straightforward and engaging video game, that features run and gun elements in their natural state. The unique thing about Gunsmoke is its vertical-scrolling gameplay. The game scrolls vertically as you move upwards, and the enemies also appear from the top.

The players assume the role of Billie Bob, a bounty hunter who is on a mission to pursue and eradicate notorious criminals unbalancing the Wild West. His journey is perilous, as, in each stage, Billie faces off against thugs, bandits, and powerful bosses of the Wild West. Billy’s ultimate goal is to bring peace to the town of Hicksville by stopping the ruthless Wingates gang. The gang spreads antagonism with the motivations of hunger for power, greed, and dictatorship.

The combat mechanisms of Gunsmoke are impressive for a game that came approximately 4 decades ago. Players can shoot both straight and diagonally. However, to enhance the natural shooting, the game also boasts power-ups and collectible items. In the match, you can equip a Horse, which provides temporary invincibility, Boots, which enhance your movement speed, Bullets, which increase your shooting speed and Yashichi, which grants you an extra life.

The video game starts quite easily, with slow and weak enemies. However, it becomes progressively harder as you advance with the campaign.

If the player dies by getting shot, getting stuck between an obstacle, or being caught over by the screen, the game restarts.

In the arcade version of the game, there are 10 stages with distinctive bosses carrying different weapons. With the increasing difficulty, the reward also increases tremendously in each stage. However, the names of some levels were renamed in other versions of the Gunsmoke including NES.


Despite having pixelated graphics that hardly provide clear images, the video game encompasses praiseworthy color saturation. The characters have a meticulous design, the buildings have precise presentation and the visuals enhance the overall experience.

While the graphics aspect of the game isn’t worth mentioning, the game was once among the best, and some of the credit goes to its breathtaking graphics.

Pros and Cons

It would be an exaggeration to say that Gunsmoke was an impeccable video, the game had a fair share of odds to it. Let’s explore the Pros and Cons that define the game’s status and if it deserves all the accolades.


  • Unique Setting: The theme of Wild West was frankly very popular at the time, but the game still managed to outshine and appear in the spotlight because of its unique setting.
  • Nostalgia: Gunsmoke evokes a nostalgic wave in retro gaming enthusiasts who have access to old-school consoles.
  • Fast-Paced Experience: NES Gunsmoke allowed players to immerse in fast-paced gameplay that required a strategic approach to it. Even slowing down for a split second resulted in the death penalty.
  • Unpredictability: For a newcomer, the game was quite fascinating, as the enemy encounters were very unpredictable, allowing for a captivating experience.


  • Increasing Difficulty: The video game featured roguelike elements, if you die the stage resets. Gunsmokes’ fast-paced action contributed to its difficulty.
  • Repetitive Gameplay: The straightforward gameplay style of Gunsmoke was not as engrossing as it seems. Because of that, people often found the game to be repetitive.
  • Lack of Content: The content of the video game is scarce, there are only 10 accessible levels to play.

Conclusion: NES Review- Gunsmoke

As we previously mentioned, Gunsmoke was a classic run-and-gun video game that thrived on NES and arcade for several years. The game became extremely popular all across the world within a few years after porting on NES, Arcade, and more old-school consoles. Despite being approximately 40 years old, the game still has an encouraging user base that tunes in mostly every day for an engrossing experience.

The presentation is all that matters, and this video game has proved it, it might not have vibrant graphics, but its depiction of the Wild West is beautiful beyond words.

Whether you own an NES console or an Arcade in 2024, Gunsmoke is worth playing and it deserves more recognition. Games today have lost all the credibility, everything either has an absurd premise or is a replica of something widely popular. However, Gunsmoke is authentic with its gameplay, which should be ordinary for a game that introduced the run-and-gun concept.

Share your views on this NES Review- Gunsmoke and if it deserves the praise it is getting in the comments. For updates on the latest games, sign up on our Facebook and Instagram.

FAQs related to the Gunsmoke Video Game NES Version

Gunsmoke enthusiasts often question a few things, here’s a list of those questions that can help you have a better understanding of the video game and can potentially solve your thought-provoking doubts.

How many levels are in Gunsmoke?

Gunsmoke features about 6 levels in total in its original NES and arcade versions. Additionally, there are up to 10 levels in some versions.

Who are the bosses in the Gunsmoke arcade?

In the arcade and NES versions of the game, we witness Master, Wolf Chief, Los Pubro, and Fat Man spreading terror and creating havoc.

What platforms is Gunsmoke available on?

The video game is officially and legally available on Arcade, FDS, NES, Amstrad CPC, MSX, PlayStation 2, PlayStation, ZX Spectrum, Xbox, Saturn, and Windows. However, there are also alternative ways on some devices where the game isn’t available.

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