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Gangster Town (Sega Master System)

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Gangster Town was made in 1987 by Sega for the Sega Master System. The Games's story takes place in the United States of America during the nineteen-twenties. The player is a FBI agent and fights gangsters. In six so called scenes the player fights hordes of gangsters at various locations. Furthermore there is a training stage and two bonus stages. Most of the scenes are concluded in a boss fight.

The player uses a semi automatic gun with infinite capacity and infinite ammunition. Gangsters will start shooting if they directly face the player for too long. If gangsters are shot, an angel will slowly rise towards heaven. Those angels can be shot once again for bonus points. Angels of rats can not be shot. Furthermore gangsters can be temporarily distracted by shooting their hats off which also yield points. Therefore a high number of points per gangster is achieved by shooting the hat off, shooting the flying hat, shooting the gangster and then shooting the angel. Theoretically even more points are possible, as lost heads are respawned. But as for the high pace of the game and the high number of enemies it would be very difficult to kill every enemy that way.

Health is fully regained by shooting special medals or achieving at least two of three score goals per scene. The latter will also increase the total amount of hearts by one. Failing to meet enough goals will just replenish one single heart. The number of hearts is tracked throughout the game as so called levels. Apart from gangsters there are rats which can be shot, and the reoccurring character Lulu. A heart is lost as punishment if she is shot. Gangsters will take her hostage if they walk by her. Freeing her will yield in bonus points.

The first scene is car chase themed. The cars can be destroyed as well by shooting a tire three times. At some point an air plane appears which drops bombs. The second scene takes place on the streets of the town. The next scene is located inside a saloon. Shooting all the bottles will yield in a special bonus. The forth scene is really similar to the second one. The fifth scene is located inside a night club. The final scene takes place at a harbor.

The player has one continue which allows to progress at the very place the player died, but only with with 5 hearts. To access the continue the player must shoot the FBI officer's flying hat. The game has a very noticeable ending cut scene with lots of animation.

Personally I like every bit of this game. The graphics are well made and colorful. The music matches the mood of the game. Although the same setting was used often for light gun games before, Gangster Town stands far apart from the competition with its unique ideas, lovely presentation and its technological advance. The difficulty is spot on. The well documented scoring system gives the game great replay value. And as if all this wasn't enough: The game features a two player mode!

The cover is very basic and a bit dull. Fortunately the Brazilian re-release had a more exiting cover variant.