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Gunsmoke game flyer.png
Arcade game flyer
Designer(s)Yoshiki Okamoto
Ayako Mori
Junko Tamiya
Platform(s)Arcade, FDS, NES, Amstrad CPC, MSX, PlayStation 2, PlayStation, ZX Spectrum, Xbox, Sega Saturn, IBM PC
  • Arcade
    • JP: October 23, 1985[2]
    • NA: October 1985[1]
    • WW: Late 1985
    • JP: January 27, 1988
    • NA: February 1988
    • EU: December 23, 1988
Genre(s)Run-and-gun shooter
Mode(s)Up to two players, simultaneously

Gun.Smoke[5] is a 1985 vertical scrolling run-and-gun shooter arcade game by Capcom.[6] This Western-themed game was designed by Yoshiki Okamoto. Gun.Smoke centers on a character named Billy Bob in the NES version, a bounty hunter who is after vicious criminals of the Wild West.

It was a commercial success in arcades, becoming Japan's sixth highest-grossing table arcade game during the first half of 1986.[7] Red Dead Revolver, the first installment of the Red Dead series, is a spiritual sequel to Gun.Smoke.[8]


Gun.Smoke is similar to 1942 and Commando, also developed by Capcom, but with some differences. This game is a vertical scrolling run & gun shooter in which the screen scrolls upward automatically and players only have three ways to shoot, using three buttons for left, right, and center shooting. The player can also change the way the gunman shoots through button combinations. The player dies by getting shot or struck by enemies, or by getting caught between an obstacle and the bottom of the screen. The player can collect special items, including a horse for protection up to three hits (or get killed by an obstacle), boots for speed of movement, bullets for faster shots and rifles for longer shot range. These items are found by shooting barrels and rifles, boots, and bullets can stock up to five. Some items that add score points include stars, bottles, bags, dragonflies, and cows, but two other items to watch out for are the yashichi, which is a 1up and the cattle skull, which reduces Billy's power.

Note: Two versions of Gun.Smoke were released under license in America by Romstar. One has a fixed sequence of bosses; in the other, the third and sixth levels are swapped, so that Roy is followed by Wolf Chief, and Pig Joe is followed by Ninja. The other version also removes the boss rundown.


Gun.Smoke was ported to many systems:

NES version[edit]

The game was later ported to the Nintendo Entertainment System and Family Computer Disk System in 1988. The objective is to free the town of Hicksville from the band of criminals known as the Wingates. But in order to capture their most dangerous henchmen, in each stage the player must retrieve a Wanted sign of said henchman, otherwise it is impossible to clear the stage. The NES version also has different music. In this game, the main character is a bounty hunter named Billy Bob.

Differences from the arcade version[edit]

Even though the NES version stayed true to the gameplay of the arcade version, there were major changes done:

  • Only six of the ten bosses were in this version (Master, Ninja, Cutter, Wolf Chief, Los Pubro, and Fat Man).
  • Billy was given extra weapons: a shotgun, a machine gun (which is just the normal shot with turbo function), a smart bomb, and a magnum.
  • Bullets are used as ammo for the extra weapons.
  • A storyline is built around the game: In 1849, the Wingates attack the town of Hicksville, kill the Sheriff, and cause trouble every day until Billy, the main character, comes to town (with a sunset behind him).
  • The Wingates in the game are a gang instead of a family of 2 sons and a father.
  • The player can purchase weapons and items from people using their score.
  • Four of the bosses had their names changed. Master's name was changed to Bandit Bill, Wolf Chief was changed to Devil Hawk, Fat Man was changed to Fat Man Joe (a knockoff of Pig Joe), and Los Pubro was changed to Wingate.
  • Los Pubro was made the final boss in the NES version as Wingate, a Mexican sadistic and bloodthirsty bandit with some features of a guerrillero of the Mexican Revolution, with a slash over one of his eyes, a cape and a machine gun. The player must also battle Wingate twice, the first one being Wingate's double and the second, the true Wingate.
  • The other bosses had their appearances changed too. Bandit Bill (Master) now wore a red shirt and blue jeans in his wanted poster. Cutter wears a baggy blue sleeveless shirt and red pants. Ninja wears a purple ninja outfit with no mask and sports a ponytail, and he shoots shurikens that split into four "darts". Devil Hawk (Wolf Chief) is now shirtless and uses fireballs as his weapon. Fat Man Joe wears an armored plated shirt and uses a bomb gun.
  • There is another type of yashichi that will give the player temporary invincibility.

Disk system version[edit]

Although virtually identical to the NES version, the FDS version featured several differences:

  • This game, like virtually all other FDS games, feature load times.
  • The font is similar to what is used in most Capcom games on the Famicom/NES. However, on the NES version, the font is changed to the military-font, also seen in the arcade version.
  • "In America" is changed to "In 1849".
  • Bandit Bill's mugshot on the wanted poster is slightly different in both versions of the game. In the FDS version, his shirt has an open collar, with part of his body showing. In the NES version, his shirt has a scarf around it. On top of that, the mugshots for the wanted posters originally had an anime look, whereas in the NES version, they had a realistic look.
  • In this version, the shopping music features less instruments. Also, many of the tunes featured in the NES version are nowhere to be found in this version, and instead recycle the same music for certain scenes in the game. This is due to the limited memory space in FDS disk cards.
  • There is no game demonstration like there is in the NES version.
  • After beating the game the first two times, the player is rewarded with a Japanese message that tells the player to try the game again. After the third time, the player will be rewarded with a simple message that says "THE END". The Japanese message was thrown out in the NES version, instead of being translated into English.


The soundtrack for the arcade version was composed by Ayako Mori. On August 25, 1986, Alfa Records released a limited edition soundtrack, featuring all of the music from the arcade version, as well as two unused tracks. Its catalog number was Capcom Game Music – 28XA-94.


Upon release, it was one of the most popular arcade games in Japan.[4] Game Machine listed Gun.Smoke on their January 1, 1986 issue as being the second most-successful table arcade unit of the month in Japan.[9] The same month, it was also one of the top five arcade games on the US Play Meter charts.[10] It went on to be Japan's sixth highest-grossing table arcade game during the first half of 1986.[7]

The arcade game received positive reviews. In a January 1986 issue of Play Meter magazine, Frank Seninsky listed Gun.Smoke as the top recommended arcade conversion kit, calling it "a number-one kit with great graphics."[11] Computer and Video Games magazine gave the arcade game a positive review in March 1986. They called it an "excellent" fast-paced shooter, considering it to be better than light gun shooters such as Hogan's Alley and Shoot Out.[4]


  1. ^ a b Akagi, Masumi (13 October 2006). アーケードTVゲームリスト国内•海外編(1971-2005) [Arcade TV Game List: Domestic • Overseas Edition (1971-2005)] (in Japanese). Japan: Amusement News Agency. p. 112. ISBN 978-4990251215.
  2. ^ "Gun.Smoke (Registration Number PA0000291861)". United States Copyright Office. Retrieved 8 June 2021.
  3. ^ Akagi, Masumi (13 October 2006). アーケードTVゲームリスト国内•海外編(1971-2005) [Arcade TV Game List: Domestic • Overseas Edition (1971-2005)] (in Japanese). Japan: Amusement News Agency. p. 23. ISBN 978-4990251215.
  4. ^ a b c "Arcade Action: Gunsmoke". Computer and Video Games. No. 54 (April 1986). United Kingdom: EMAP. 16 March 1986. pp. 86–7.
  5. ^ ガンスモーク, Gan Sumōku
  6. ^ "Gunsmoke". The International Arcade Museum. Retrieved 5 Oct 2013.
  7. ^ a b "Game Machine's Best Hit Games 25: '86 上半期" [Game Machine's Best Hit Games 25: First Half '86] (PDF). Game Machine (in Japanese). No. 288. Amusement Press, Inc. 15 July 1986. p. 28.
  8. ^ Parish, Jeremy (October 26, 2016). "Red Dead Redemption's Curious 8-Bit Origin Story". USgamer.
  9. ^ "Game Machine's Best Hit Games 25 - テーブル型TVゲーム機 (Table Videos)". Game Machine (in Japanese). No. 275. Amusement Press, Inc. 1 January 1986. p. 35.
  10. ^ "National Play Meter". Play Meter. 12 (1): 20–1. January 15, 1986.
  11. ^ Seninsky, Frank (January 15, 1986). "Frank's Cranks: Systems/Trivias/Conversions (Part II)". Play Meter. Vol. 12 no. 1. pp. 28–30.

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