Gunman Clive HD Collection

6.5 Overall Score
Gameplay: 7/10
Content: 4/10
Visuals: 9/10

Beautiful visuals | Interesting level design | Polished

Lacking in substance | Recycles old gaming mechanics | Very Short

Game Info

GAME NAME: Gunman Clive HD Collection

DEVELOPER(S): Capcom

PUBLISHER(S): Capcom

PLATFORM(S): 3DS

GENRE(S): Action, Role-Playing

RELEASE DATE(S): September 3, 2015

The Gunman Clive HD Collection is available now! But does Gunman Clive hit the mark, or is he already six-feet under?

A few years ago, the original Gunman Clive for the Ninendo 3DS was all that got me through a particularly stressful session working on my senior project in college. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have a special place in my heart for this title, simple as it may be. Needless to say, Gunman Clive HD Collection was something that piqued my interest when it was released to the Eshop last week.

First and foremost, I should tell you that the HD Collection contains both Gunman Clive and Gunman Clive 2, remastered in glorious HD. Gameplay-wise, the games are identical to their earlier releases. Both games are platformer/shooter hybrids, very similar in structure to early Megaman titles. In fact, the game(s) play very much like classic NES titles, lacking many of the flourishes found in modern titles. There are no coins to collect and no secret areas to explore. In fact, there aren’t even any lives. When you die (and you most likely will at some point) you simply restart the level. Ordinarily, this would be frustrating. However, the levels in Gunman Clive are usually only about a minute or so long, so the restarting system actually works quite well.

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While the games may lack an abundance of features, the graphical style both titles are presented in is very interesting. The game, while a 2D platformer, contains 3D models. These models all have the appearance of looking hand sketched, which is clearly one of Gunman Clive’s signature effects. Visually, the game is very interesting, and while the first game’s backdrops can get rather monotonous after a while, Gunman Clive 2’s diverse assortment of levels really gives this stylistic choice a chance to thrive.

The original Gunman Clive isn’t a very long game, lasting anywhere from an hour or two to complete. Gunman Clive 2, however, is a somewhat longer experience. The sequel improves upon the original in a great many ways, introducing a much more dynamic environment, with levels that feature locations from all around the world. Unlike the first game, which is primarily set in the old American west, the sequel sends Clive and his posse to exotic locales. Players will be riding pandas through bamboo forests, fighting samurai on Japanese rooftops and even flying planes across the sea. The entire experience reminds me of Donkey Kong Country Returns, in that the level design was not an afterthought, but rather is incorporated into the game-play in a very real and impactful way.

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Even with all of these improvements, it’s hard not to get that sense that, when playing this game, you’re doing something that you’ve done before. There are a great many previously existing video game tropes that are found in this game, from rolling on boulders over spike pits to allowing the one female character to float while holding the jump button, a la Princes Peach circa Super Mario Bros 2. The sequel does a much better job of incorporating new ideas, but in both games there will be plenty of times where experienced gamers will realize Gunman Clive is borrowing some old tricks. That isn’t to say that there isn’t plenty of fun, original content to be found in both titles. It’s just a shame that sometimes, especially in the first Gunman Clive, those moments are fewer and farther between than they should be.

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Honestly, there isn’t a lot to bring players back to Gunman Clive once they’ve completed it. There is a secret character that is unlocked upon completion, who will add a unique challenge to the game. But other than that, there really isn’t a reason to continue playing, assuming you don’t just really love old school platformers. There is a niche within the game for speed-runners, as your times are recorded upon completing each course, but short of challenging your old times you’d be hard-pressed to find another reason to come back to the wild west.

Gunman Clive HD Collection is by no means a bad game, but rather a very simple one. It’s a fun diversion, but I can’t recommend it to those who are looking for something that will provide them with hours of entertainment. Unless you are the ultimate platforming purist, you’ll probably find yourself logging a few hours into the title before tucking it away into a folder within the confines of your WiiU’s home menu. Which is a shame, because the game (especially the sequel) really does have a lot of heart. What it lacks is substance, at least to someone who’s become spoiled by titles like New Super Mario Bros and Donkey Kong Country Returns. Still, if you’re looking to pass a few hours with a game that doesn’t demand your solitary attention, this might be the title for you. I encourage you all to give the game a chance, because while it may not be a perfect game, it was obviously made by developers who cared about their game, something that most titles seem to be lacking in today’s age.

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Summary

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Author: Lukas Termini View all posts by
An amateur game designer and lover of all things Nintendo, Lukas studied digital arts and 3d animation at the University of Tampa before graduating in 2013. If he isn't playing a video game, you can bet he's probably thinking about it.