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The Top 7… Weirdest westerns

4. God Hand

The western: A cocky hero has to free the west (or what looks an awful lot like the west) from the grip of a ruthless gang of outlaws...

 

The weird:... who are actually a cabal of demons that not-so-secretly rule the world. And also the hero is a king-fu master who dances in place and has a magic arm that lets him do things like this:

Admittedly, this one's kind of a stretch – it's never entirely clear exactly when and where God Hand takes place, and if anything it seems a little more post-apocalyptic than western. But given that it's the story of a lone hero cleaning up dusty, nineteenth century-looking towns plagued with thugs who bully the townsfolk with impunity, and given that it all but wears its spaghetti-western influences on its sleeve, it doesn't really matter if there aren't many six-shooters or ten-gallon hats to be seen. Besides, God Hand brings the weird like few other games on this list.


Above: WHAT

Created by the same warped minds who would eventually go on to make Bayonetta, God Hand starts out as a more or less straightforward beat 'em-up against gangs of toughs, but quickly spirals into bizarre territory as demons, gay-stereotype bodybuilders, succubi with eerie theme music and a Mexican bandito/buddhist monk named Elvis
 roll in and get summarily booted in the junk as the game's laugh track roars.


Above: BOOM! Hahahahahaha!

 

3. Silverload

The western: A lone gunslinger travels to a small town to investigate the kidnapping of a young boy…

The weird: … who, as it turns out, was abducted by a strange cult of werewolves led by an evil preacher who hangs out with vultures – and that isn’t even the weird part. If anything, Silverload’s supernatural malarkey is about as conventional and predictable as it gets. What makes the game weird is that it’s absolutely, objectively terrible, and it’s terrible in a very strange, unsettling and entertaining way.


Above: ‘Sirrrr, please to relaaax while the game finishes loading the next screen, HMMMMM?’ 

A bad PSOne port of a PC point-and-click adventure, Silverload looks awful, plays worse and usually just boils down to clicking around randomly at anything that looks interactive until something happens. And if it doesn’t happen quickly enough, some goddamn asshole werewolves will decide you’ve been standing in one place for too long and show you what they do to squatters ‘round these parts.


Above: OK, that’s eerie…


Above: OH NOES
 

Oh, but if you play your cards right, you might get to participate in one of the game’s few action sequences, in which you’ll blow away stiff-moving “digitized” “actors” with your rickety-looking six-shooter.

The real charm of Silverload, however, comes not from its awful gameplay, but from its awful performances. Using a visual style that’s halfway between FMV and badly animated illustrations, the “conversation” portions of Silverload (which make up a pretty substantial chunk of the game) are easily the eeriest thing on offer, with a bizarre mix of broad accents, terrible acting and unnatural mouth movements that never, ever match up with what’s being said.


Above: Surprisingly, he isn’t saying “GWARGH” right here
 

It’s at once insanely disturbing and utterly hilarious. You won’t get a sense of just how awesomely creepy it all is from me telling you, though; you’ve really got to see it for yourself:

Done suffering through that? We promise the last two won’t be nearly so painful.

Topics

Top 7

40 comments

  • TheElephantManchurianCandidate - May 17, 2010 9:45 p.m.

    Can't wait to hear this on Talkradar hopefully with some audio from these crazy games
  • Whizkid103 - May 17, 2010 9:47 p.m.

    Even though I hate Westerns, this was a really good article. I never realized how weird western videogames are.
  • Destruco33 - May 17, 2010 9:55 p.m.

    I am proud to say that i still have my Oddworld: Strangers Wrath
  • RonnyLive19881 - May 17, 2010 9:57 p.m.

    Strangers Wrath made buying an Xbox justifiable for me Lol. I originally got one for Conkers Live and Reloded but that game sucked(I still had the N64 version and it was the better version imo) so I was stuck with a console I thought I would never use until I got Stranger's Lol. It was so amazing and had some of the best graphics of the time!
  • Wriggly - May 17, 2010 9:58 p.m.

    @Destruco33 I can say the same, too bad it doesn't work on my 360, because I never got around to finishing that awesome game. I think God Hand was weirder than Stranger's Wrath and Rising Zan put together.
  • lovinmyps3 - May 17, 2010 10:06 p.m.

    I played a demo of Darkwatch. It was... interesting. It had some cool parts.
  • Pruman - May 17, 2010 10:06 p.m.

    Always with the Okami references...I bought the game, what more do you want from me?
  • MitsuharuSan - May 17, 2010 10:07 p.m.

    Do more than just have bought the game - it's worth it.
  • garnsr - May 17, 2010 10:21 p.m.

    Isn't Stranger's Wrath one of the Xbox games that are unplayable on 360? That makes it even less likely anyone will try it out. I can't even play mine anymore, since my Xbox conked out. I liked the Tin Star part best, it never really got around to the game, it was just a tirade about the oddity of the premise. Good stuff.
  • LordsOfTechno - May 17, 2010 10:26 p.m.

    This top 7 was just one big excuse to listen to "Johnny No More" again... well that's my excuse for singing along to the theme anyway. Rising Zannnnn~ Samurai Gun Man! Rising Zannnnn~ Johnny No More! :D
  • FlyinHawaiian13 - May 17, 2010 10:31 p.m.

    I wanted to play Strangers Wrath so bad when it came out but i didn't have a xbox.
  • Zombie711 - May 17, 2010 10:36 p.m.

    I thought red steel 2 was kinda weird. Ninjas in modern Utah who don't have acces to any guns from after the 30s
  • Lionsheadbeer - May 17, 2010 11:24 p.m.

    Where's Mad Dog Macree?
  • Hurricrane - May 17, 2010 11:40 p.m.

    man, I LOVED Stranger's Wrath. Too bad we will never see anoything more of it... poor Oddworld Residents :(
  • JoeMasturbaby - May 17, 2010 11:55 p.m.

    i bought darkwatch after an entire year of looking for it, and when i got it in the mail it froze at the first level every time. :( ive yet to actually play it.
  • CH3BURASHKA - May 17, 2010 11:56 p.m.

    The guys have reiterated time and time again on the podcast that they have considered all possibilities, as opposed to 'forgetting' entries, but I KNOW that they didn't think of Freddi Fish 4: The Case of the Hogfish Hustlers of Briny Gulch. That was a good Western game.
  • zer0hvk - May 18, 2010 12:29 a.m.

    I've yet to play many of these games, maybe I'll play some of them someday, great article Mr. Reparaz! Can't wait to hear all of you comment on these games on TalkRadar 102!
  • ventanger - May 18, 2010 1:45 a.m.

    Corny as hell I'll admit, but that Rising Zan theme was pretty kickass.
  • WickedSid - May 18, 2010 2:16 a.m.

    Punching chicken-like dudes in the head... for money... my dream job. Giant strawberries in an apocalyptic western that has dudes with glowing arms the spank Girls(?) whilst fighting them... pretty weird... Clint Eastllama who is secretly the last of his species and in turn is revered as a saviour by Native American allegories... That is where I draw the Line Monsieur Reparaz, Clint Llamawood definitely sounds better than Eastllama. Or does it...? Dunn, dunn, duuunnn!!!!
  • Dehumanization - May 18, 2010 2:20 a.m.

    Where is the game DUST? I love the drunk and the chinese guy that gave you money when you had none. "You have no money...here...5 dollar...a loan..now go..gogogog...hopeless case.."

Showing 1-20 of 40 comments

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