Windows - 2000
Description of Gunman Chronicles
Few people would disagree with the premise that the crown jewel of Sierra Studios' PC game line-up is 1998's Half Life, which received kudos and racked up numerous "Game of the Year" recognitions from just about every gaming publication. One prominent periodical even decreed Half Life as the "best PC game ever." This much-acclaimed and highly innovative heavyweight of the first person genre has spawned several different expansions and other retail incarnations, including Opposing Force, Team Fortress Classic, and Counter Strike, not to mention innumerable custom made maps and MODs (modifications to gameplay, mainly for multiplayer purposes), created by resourceful players with the game's level editor. Many of these MOD's are available for free download on the internet. They range in quality from superior, semi-professional efforts to abysmally unimaginative and poorly executed disasters.
It is from this on-line community of Half Life MOD aficionados that the beginnings of Gunman Chronicles sprang forth. In its initial stages, Gunman Chronicles was nothing more than an excellently crafted MOD being developed by Rewolf Software, a group of on-line gamers/developers from around the globe. The quality of their Gunman project soon caught the attention of the folks at Valve Software and Sierra Studios though, and, before anyone could say "Gordon Freeman," Gunman Chronicles was on tap as a full-length stand-alone game powered by the Half Life engine. In fact, Gunman Chronicles holds the distinction of being the first independent non- Half Life game to incorporate this engine. That last statement brings up another important point. Gunman Chronicles is NOT a Half Life sequel. There is no Black Mesa research facility, no planet Xen, no Nihilanth (although there are other typical "boss" monsters to defeat), no man in the blue suit, and, of course, Gordon Freeman is nowhere to be found either. That being said, we now know what Gunman Chronicles isn't. So let me take a moment to describe what exactly the premise of Gunman Chronicles is.
In Gunman Chronicles, you assume the role of Major Archer, an officer in the elite galactic peacekeeping force known (not surprisingly) as the "gunmen." While on a mission to investigate the disappearance of a team of scientists on a remote planet research outpost, the gunmen ships are attacked by huge worm-like creatures never before encountered. One of these hideous creatures devours the ship of your unit's commanding officer, or "the General" as he is referred to. You barely make it out alive with your own ship's hull intact. The General is presumed killed in action.
Fast forward five years time. There is an alarming increase in the number of reported encounters with heretofore unheard of life forms. These "xenomes," as they are called, seem vaguely familiar. In fact, you soon discover that they are genetic mutations of the creatures that almost cost you your life five years ago. The gunmen are dispatched to investigate the situation and, upon arriving at your destination, you discover that the General and his crew survived the experience and have been living in isolation all these five years. The General turns out to be a man who holds a grudge (and then some), however. He and his men have unlocked the secret of the xenomes' DNA and have been exacting their revenge by creating these monsters in a laboratory and unleashing them on the galaxy to wreak havoc. The General has developed an unparalleled contempt for the gunmen as a whole, but specifically for those who tucked tail and abandoned him, leaving him for dead. It goes without saying that he is none too pleased to see you arrive on the scene.
It is up to you to learn the full extent of the General's plot and, in the process, defeat him and his faction of rogue bandits. In order to do this, you will have to explore four unique planets and overcome numerous obstacles such as treacherous terrain, robot sentries, enemy soldiers, and of course, more alien xenomes than you can shake a stick at. Each of these four environments is divided into over 70 individual levels. There is a fairly good amount of variety in the level design.
This is particularly evident when you must revisit an area for some reason or other. In many games, you just trudge back through the same map in reverse if you are required to re-enter an area, much to the detriment of variety (and often your interest as well). In Gunman Chronicles, however, this offense is dealt with rather effectively. Instead of merely retracing your steps, you will often find that an explosion or some other catastrophe has rocked the facility. Although the rooms are recognizable from your previous trip, navigating through them is an entirely different matter when they are scattered with debris, ceiling support girders have collapsed, gaping holes have been torn into the floors and walls, or even in some instances, the entire level is flooded. There is also a mandatory tutorial-style training session onboard the gunman HQ space station at the outset of the game. It is presented in a way that will be helpful to novice players while simultaneously maintaining the guise of moving the story along a bit to prevent boredom from setting in for veterans.
The graphics, audio, and enemy AI in Gunman Chronicles are all exactly what you would expect considering the engine on which this baby is built... excellent. Rewolf has taken the proven Half Life engine and squeezed as much extra as they can out of it. The result is that many of the elements that made Half Life a success are present, but there are also some interesting new features, such as a drivable tank and a system of weapons modification that is critical to the success of your mission. You have the option of freely adjusting the settings on various weapons to alter the type of ammunition used, the trajectory of projectiles, and even whether ordnance detonates on impact, on a timer, or when tripped by a sensor. You can also acquire enhancements such as a useful sniper scope. In addition to the single player game, multiplayer support for up to 32 players is provided via LAN or internet.
One thing I found odd about Gunman Chronicles was the concept of the characters themselves. The gunmen are futuristic soldiers with advanced, hi-tech weaponry, yet they wear nineteenth century cavalry-style uniforms. In addition, some of the bandits are decked out in a sort of WWII flying ace get-up. While these anachronisms might be unappealing to some, it provides a sort of Mad Max quirkiness which isn't entirely disagreeable.
Even though there are 70+ levels, I have already seen some comments from players that the single player game was "way too short" and that Gunman Chronicles is not a good value in terms of cost versus hours of gameplay. On the "easy" difficulty setting, I was only taken out by enemy fire and forced to reload my last saved game (and I always save often!) on a handful of occasions. Most of the time if I died, it was due to my own error, such as carelessly stepping off of a cliff, lobbing a grenade set to detonate on impact or, on occasion, being caught totally off guard by an opponent with superior fire power and not reacting quickly enough. It took me a solid weekend (about 15-20 hours total) of playing to complete the game at the easiest difficulty setting.
I then started again on the hardest setting and jumped around from level to level in order to evaluate what the AI is truly capable of. Needless to say, it takes considerably more effort, skill, and time to make it through the entire game at higher difficulty levels. For some, it can be frustrating getting killed repeatedly but, in the long run, the net result is a much more significant sense of accomplishment when you finally do make it safely to the end of the level and triumphantly scream "in your face!" as you rightfully claim some much-needed medical supplies or body armor, allowing you to live to fight another day.
So to those skeptics in the crowd I say this... if you are playing on anything other than the hardest setting and you find the game to be too short... congratulations! You have gained enough experience and skill to master the easier levels and you are henceforth ready to tackle games set to "nightmare" or "berserk."
In terms of value, I'm sure we all would have liked it if this game had been released as a free downloadable MOD, but you can't have everything. However, those in the U.S. might be interested to know about the rebate Sierra are currently offering - $10 off the $29.99 price tag as long as it's purchased by Feb 2001, and an additional $15 if you purchase another one of the titles in the deal (including award-winning Homeworld Cataclysm, Zeus and the Half-life games).
Perhaps the greatest testament that I can give to this game is that, after playing it myself, I went out and bought another copy to give to someone else as a Christmas gift. Is Gunman Chronicles a perfect game? No, but how many products on the market can purport to make such a claim? While it doesn't necessarily capture the imagination to the extent that Half Life did, it does pack a pretty good punch. Considering the many positive features it has going for it, coupled with a reasonable price tag, Gunman Chronicles has the potential to make someone's Christmas merry indeed.
Review By GamesDomain
Comments and reviews
Gios_03 2020-08-07 0 point
I remember playing this game as a 5 yo kid! I've been searching for this game for a long time, ty!
Answer to Dazz 2020-06-12 -1 point
Hi, I had the same exact problem (running this game on Wine) but changing to windowed mode fixed it.
Gunman Chronicles FIX 2019-12-08 2 points
1) Go to moddb DOT com/engines/xash3d-engine to Download Xash3D_build4344_with_extras
2) Create a folder called Gunman Chronicles on Desktop or wherever u prefer
3) Open Xash3D_build4344_with_extras
4) Open Xash3D_build4344
5) Extract to Gunman Chronicles 'folder'
6) open Xash3D_extras
7) Extract 'tool' and 'valve' folder to Gunman Chronicles 'folder'
8) Download RIP Version
9) Open Gunman-Chronicles_Win_EN
A) Save gunman.reg into Gunman Chronicles 'folder'
B) Double click gunman.reg Yes to install
10) Open Gunman-Chronicles_Win_EN
A) Open Gunman then Open rewolf 'folder'
B) Extract ALL folder / files into:
Gunman Chronicles -- valve 'folder'
YES to OVERWRITE
Go back to Gunman Chronicles 'folder'
Double click hl.exe to PLAY
A) When u in Tutorial "Firing Range" after u finish GRENADE there be a Rocket Launcher coming up from the Floor, PICK it Up QUICKLY Bcos if u leave it too long it fall througt so it impossible to pick it up and u stuck in Tutorial
B) IF there a new Xash3D Engine Update version and u Extract
LAST [not the frst Extract as in 1) ] and Overwrite all u will get a Knife BUG as when u first time time pickup the Knife the Knife DISAPPEAR [UNLESS it Fixed on Xash3D Engine Update version] so again u stuck in Tutorial
Work fine on Win10 x64 v1803 / 2560x1440 /64GB RAM
Dazz 2019-08-25 4 points
Any tips for the following issue:
I can launch the game and enter the menu, however when I start the game the screen disappears! I hear it in the background but can't pull the active game up.
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