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The Top 7… Weirdest westerns

6. Darkwatch

The western: The life of murderous outlaw Jericho Cross is forever changed when he robs what appears to be just another train headed through the badlands…

The weird: … only to accidentally awaken a vampiric overlord who’s being transported by a secret vampire-hunting society known as the Darkwatch. After being bitten by the bad guy, Cross is inducted into the Darkwatch, where – in addition to his new vampiric superpowers – he gets access to a shit-ton of ornate, cross-adorned weaponry that wouldn’t look out of place in a Hot Topic.


Above: Also he gets enormous-breasted partners in leather catsuits 

All this cool stuff comes with a price, however; to atone for his sins, he’ll have to battle his way through the vampire lord’s army, which mainly involves blowing the skulls off of crazy-ass skeletons whose main attack strategy is to run up and get shot.


Above: Sometimes that strategy involves explosives
 

The gothy trappings overlay a pretty awesome, Halo-inspired shooter that occasionally shifts its action to the back of a fiery vampire horse or the controls of a train-mounted Gatling turret. Add a few ham-fisted moral choices, and it’s almost enough to make you forget the strangely tacked-on sex scene, or the fact that Darkwatch’s Rose McGowan-voiced “bad girl,” Tala, appeared in the Oct. 2004 issue of Playboy, nearly a year ahead of the game’s release.


Above: A thing that happened

But we kid Darkwatch and its clumsy attempts to shoehorn in a little sexuality. It’s a game about a vampire cowboy fighting zombies in the Old West, and if that’s not weird enough for you, well… at least it’s a better representation of the steampunk genre than Damnation.


Above: Seriously, f**k Damnation


5. Freddy Pharkas, Frontier Pharmacist

The western: A retired gunfighter has to save his adopted home of Coarsegold from destruction…

The weird: … right after he fills some prescriptions, rescues his pacifistic East Indian sidekick from an anthill, cures the town’s horses of a lethal fart-epidemic and leads a plague of snails off a cliff in an obvious nod to Lemmings.

Created by Al Lowe, the man behind the legendary Leisure Suit Larry series, Freddy's pretty much the opposite of a formula western hero. He's got the chin for it, sure, and as his epic intro ballad suggests, he's a nearly unmatched gunfighter with a long history of fearless confrontations.

However, as that same ballad also reveals, getting his ear shot off by a rival knocked the bravado right out of him. Disfigured and disheartened, he became a skinny, sissified pillar of the community who's  solves more problems with his chemistry set than he ever does with bullets.


Above: Hurr hurr, 'gaseous'

In spite of the emphasis on concocting medicines and solving puzzles over gunfighting (something that only really comes into play late in the game), Frontier Pharmacist still has an edge – although it's an early-'90s Al Lowe "edge," so for every stab at a relatively high-minded joke...

... you can expect about a dozen more fart gags thrown in to even things out.

Not that we're complaining, though; since most of us here at GamesRadar were somewhere around 14 years old when Frontier Pharmacist came out, we were in its exact target demographic, and as a result we all thought it was brilliant. An old-prospector narrator who continually breaks the fourth wall, even when he's part of the story? Unheard of! A rowdy dancehall where the main attraction is a chorus line of tarted-up sheep? Subversive! Cameos by a distant ancestor of Leisure Suit Larry? Hilarious!

Obviously our standards were a little lower back then, but this is still a pretty memorably oddball game, even by Sierra's goofy point-and-click standards.

Topics

Top 7

40 comments

  • INFINITYGAUNTLET - July 28, 2010 7:22 p.m.

    Always felt that Darkwatch was underappreciated, myself. And everything Oddworld is just a pure classic in my book. Excellent list/read!
  • bonerachieved - May 20, 2010 6:25 p.m.

    I loved Stranger's Wrath. Such a good game. I'm about to go back and replay Oddworld: Munch's Odyssey.
  • shyfonzie - May 20, 2010 2:57 a.m.

    God hand guy gets too much enjoyment from his special moves.
  • TheBoz - May 19, 2010 9:17 p.m.

    Freddy Pharkas I have very fond memories of it, was one of the earliest PC games I ever bought. When I saw article I was looking out for that game big time. I think I got bored after a couple of weeks and just had it gathering dust ever since. True classic. Downloaded it recently off Abandonia for free.
  • LizarDAZZLE - May 19, 2010 5:47 a.m.

    oi.... Again wit deh ohkemees... Kids these days just can't seem to stehp talkin' ehbouht der wolves end pehntbrushers can dey, Jenkins? Ironically my, reCAPTCHA was Mr Monicker. pretty ironic.
  • Cyberninja - May 18, 2010 10:07 p.m.

    rising zan reminds me of redsteel 2
  • RebornKusabi - May 18, 2010 9:38 p.m.

    Considering I actually bought both Okami and Valkyrie Chronicles when they released, is it any surprise that I also got [OddWorld: Strangers Wrath] too when it came out? It helps that I liked the Oddworld series beforehand and that I tend to like games that actually TRY something new relative to the genre they base their games around. reCAPTCHA: tuscany highlights (lolwut?/)
  • sleepy92ismypsn - May 18, 2010 5:25 p.m.

    I dont think i've played a wastern but as soon as i get a ride im going to pick up Red Dead Redemption. I've been wanting to try some of the oddworld games. Mainly abe's oddysey, but i remember watching a video about strangers wrath with commentary from one of the devs.
  • FreekinIdiot - May 18, 2010 1:19 p.m.

    Is that a jaundiced Michael J Fox in Silverload?
  • MaynardJ - May 18, 2010 11:34 a.m.

    I would buy Stranger's Wrath if only it were playable on the 360. It should be on XBLA as an XBox Original, like that other oddball gem Psychonauts.
  • Skidd777 - May 18, 2010 11:27 a.m.

    Hell yeah, Stranger's Wrath is one of my favourite games of all time.
  • philipshaw - May 18, 2010 11:21 a.m.

    I played the darkwatch demo and it was strange but not as weird as God Hand which I own and have played through. Silverload looks awful. Also the person in the bar looked a bit like Mikel Reparaz
  • FrozenImplosion - May 18, 2010 10:18 a.m.

    Yay! Right when I saw the title I thought Stranger's Wrath. That was like my favorite game on the xbox!!
  • Llanthas - May 18, 2010 7:55 a.m.

    "weirdos who speak in monosyllabic gibberish have taken over his hometown and started massacring the inhabitants for what we assume are reasons." Best line of the week. LOL well done, sir... I'm going to use it in future conversations.
  • Lolspamm0r - May 18, 2010 6:15 a.m.

    I loved Stranger's Wrath, i kind of miss it now that my Xbox is broken...
  • gmilf71 - May 18, 2010 4:35 a.m.

    Dude I effin' love Darkwatch. Definitely one of my favorite western (the other being Red Dead Revolver) maybe even one of my favorite FPS.
  • lucklesswonder - May 18, 2010 3:37 a.m.

    Darkwatch was pretty good, but Stranger's Wrath was amazing. Found a copy on the cheap at Best Buy, and it still holds up.
  • allthegoodnameswheretaken - May 18, 2010 2:55 a.m.

    Successful RAPE!
  • Grif - May 18, 2010 2:36 a.m.

    If Darkwatch came out today I would probably give it a play through,

Showing 1-20 of 40 comments

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