Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Gunman Clive

Review: Gunman Clive (3DS)

2:00 PM on 01.08.2013 // Jonathan Holmes

In the year 18XX

Imagine for a moment that you have the power to make videogames. OK, I guess you don't have to imagine. With tools like Unity, Game Maker, and Flash on the market readily available to anyone who puts their mind towards snagging them, anybody could (and should) make videogames. 

So instead, imagine you have the power to make good videogames. You've worked on critically acclaimed titles (like Bionic Commando: Rearmed) and other successful high-profile releases and you know that your ideas helped make those games a success. You know that you have the skill and the know how to make the kind of games people will love, but that there is no guarantee that you'll be able to succeed out on your own.  

Like it or not, you're running solo now. You're without a big publisher's money to spend, but you're also without a big publisher calling the shots. Your next game will be made on your time, money, and creative instincts. While it will be no one's fault but your own if it fails, the glory will belong to you, and only you, if it succeeds. 

So what do you do? If your name is Jonathan Blow, you make Braid. If you're Brian Provinciano, you spend most of your adult life on creating Retro City Rampage. As for Bertil Hörberg, he took his time making Gunman Clive. I'm really glad that he did.

Gunman Clive (3DS eShop)
Developer: Hörberg Productions
Publisher: Hörberg Productions
Released: January 3, 2013
MSRP: $1.99

Like I alluded to in the coy and inviting intro above, Bertil Hörberg worked on Bionic Commando: Rearmed and Bionic Commando (dreadlocks). I'd always heard that the team behind those games were truly, madly, deeply in love with NES-era Capcom games. Gunman Clive is proof that their love was legit.

Gunman Clive's sepia-toned art direction, the old west setting, and the cowboy lead may have you thinking more Mad Dog McCree or Sunset Riders than Dr. Wily, but that's just scratching the surface. By the second world, you'll be faced with floating buzzsaws, Guts Man-style floating platforms, Air Man-style egg dropping birds, and many more Mega Man tropes. These old friends never seem forced or overused, which helps them to feel like aspects of genuinely great level design and not just shameless plagiarism. Gunman Clive has Mega Man DNA, but it knows how to lead a life of its own.

While you don't obtain new weapons from bosses, there are a variety of different short-term gun enhancements (laser, spread shot, homing bullet, etc) to grab and lose along the way. You start by choosing one of two initially playable characters, the titular Clive and Ms. Johnson (who runs slower than Clive, but has a Princess Peach-style floaty jump). You're rewarded for beating the game with a third unlockable character -- probably my favorite unlockable secret character since Tofu in Resident Evil 2.

Regardless of who you choose, you'll find that every character is easy to learn and effortless to control. Where games like Super Meat Boy or even the Mario series may require months, or even years, to truly master "steering" playable characters with master levels of proficiency, Gunman Clive's crew only takes a few minutes to learn. The game makes up for that simplicity with environments that constantly offer up fresh takes on classic problems.

Also unlike Mario and Meat Boy, Clive and company have life meters, so you won't be dying instantly very often. That's important, because learning the behaviors and patterns of the multiple types of enemies and environmental hazards will take some doing. Like in most great classic Capcom games, there is a real sense of intimacy and mastery involved in the process of getting to know (and learning to defeat) the multiple entries in Gunman Clive's beastiary.

It's in this "getting to know you" process where the old west theme does its best service to the player. Setting up the expectation that you'll be taking on simple, one-note old west villains in a simple, one-note old west setting makes the sudden appearance of anti-gravity fields and giant robots all the more intriguing. 

The game has three major flaws: it's very short (took me about an hour on the first run), it's got at least one game-breaking bug (it froze on me during the second boss, but a quick restart allowed me to pick up that fight again no problem, and this time with no freeze) and the music is a mixed bag. Some of the tracks are great, particularly those that are clearly re-appropriations of classic Capcom compositions. The more ambient, subdued tracks are also well written, but they sometimes feel like a poor fit for the game.

Gunman Clive can be pretty tough. In your average oppressive 2D action game, a motivating, beat-driven soundtrack can really help you push through the process of replaying a level for the tenth time. When Gunman Clive's soundtrack goes for old west authenticity instead of platformer euphoria, it can make the more challenging parts of the game feel less like a battle and more like a grind. 

That said, the game is still a steal at $2. Fans of 2D action platformers need to check it out. If Hörberg Productions is ever graced with the opportunity to develop a mainline Mega Man game, I'm confident that fans of the series would be happy with the results. 



Gunman Clive - Reviewed by Jonathan Holmes
Charming - Not perfect, but it's easy to ignore the rough spots when faced with so many engaging design decisions and entertaining moments. A memorable game that's hard not to like and recommend to others.

See more reviews or the Destructoid score guide.

Jonathan Holmes, Bad Joke Uncle
 Follow Blog + disclosure Tips
"Where do dreams end and reality begin? Videogames, I suppose."- Gainax, FLCL Vol. 1 "The beach, the trees, even the clouds in the sky... everything is build from little tiny pieces of stuff. Ju... more   |   staff directory

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

destructoid's previous coverage:
Gunman Clive

View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:

Please contact Crave Online, thanks!

Recap: Metal Gear Solid 1

Thankful it's Over: Bioshock Infinite

Is Toei using Kamen Rider Ghost to address suicide in Japan?

Let's talk about Xenoblade Chronicles

Cblogs of 11/27/15 - Life is Strange, and Sad

Top 5 Reasons Star Wars Battlefront KICKS ASS!

Attack of the Friday Monsters: A Little Slice of Childhood

Top 5 Reasons Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 IS AWESOME!

Cblogs of 11/26/15 + Combat Heropon-isms

Video games go mainstream

 Add your impressions

Status updates from C-bloggers

SeymourDuncan17 avatarSeymourDuncan17
I wish the Squid Girl outfit was still a dress for boys. I want to live through my Inkling boy and be a cute girly-man, dammit. [img][/img]
Zer0t0nin avatarZer0t0nin
Goshdarnit...just stood in front of the camera to record an intro for the advent calender thingy and actually got stage fright >.>
KnickKnackMyWack avatarKnickKnackMyWack
Well, it seemed like for two seconds people were finally going to give Star Fox a fair shake, but nope! GameXplain's YouTube audience seem pretty insistent that it's just a Star Fox 64 clone down to the graphics. Sometimes I just don't understand peopl
Dr Mel avatarDr Mel
I don't think it will happen, but if the NX is turns out to be a VR device, I will be the saddest boy in the milky way.
Mike Martin avatarMike Martin
There's something so fucking delicious about a toasted Hawaiian roll, smoked ham, Swiss, some spinach and a dollop of mustard. #FatKidPosts
Still in work clothes.
Gamemaniac3434 avatarGamemaniac3434
Welp, wrote up a blog for that there bloggers wanted. Its me bitching about Bioshock Infinite! Again! Yay!!!!!!
Sr Churros avatarSr Churros
Just finished watching The Phantom Menace. Yeah, Jar Jar is as bad as people say. Baby Vader is so cute and also kicks some serious ass. One of the best lightsaber battles of the series, if not the best one. It was pretty neat!
Roxas1359 avatarRoxas1359
Can't decide where I should upload my latest project. Either on my YouTube Channel or on Game Anyone. On the one hand YouTube gets more exposure, but Game Anyone is where some of my more popular walkthroughs are. The game is 3D Land if anyone is wondering
Fuzunga avatarFuzunga
Thanksgiving dinner for days!
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
Anyone know if the Bethesda games on sale on Amazon for a certain amount of time, or through Monday?
TysonOfTime avatarTysonOfTime
In light of the fact that Xenoblade Chronicles X is fast approaching, I suggest we start planning out a Destructoid Squad! NNID is TysonOfTime. From what I've heard, it doesn't appear Squads are region locked (except for Japan), so everyone's welcome!
Jed Whitaker avatarJed Whitaker
Typing of the Dead > all other typing games.
Lawman avatarLawman
Listening to this on a Tall Oaks level of RE: Revelations 2's Raid Mode is entrancing, for some reason.
EdgyDude avatarEdgyDude
Need a reason to support Indivisible? Shantae is in it!. Back it or spread the word, every bit of help counts.
KeithTheGeek avatarKeithTheGeek
Sometimes I miss how hilariously janky Brawl was, and I still have a lot of fun playing it. Not sure if I could ever take it seriously as a competitive game, but I want to enter at least one Brawl tournament in the future. You know, if I can find one.
KnickKnackMyWack avatarKnickKnackMyWack
I love how on a slow news day I can always turn to Qposts for something else to read and think about. Keep up the mojo fellas!
Rad Party God avatarRad Party God
I finally caved in to those sweet deals, got Shantae and The Pirate's Curse, Downwell and Super House of Dead Ninjas :)
CoilWhine avatarCoilWhine
I hope that Prototype runs better on my dad's old laptop than it does on my AMD gaming rig. Some badly coded games run like ass on AMD cards.
LinkSlayer64 avatarLinkSlayer64
Please spare me from issues in the process of publishing my blog! Especially since I modified CSS to unnecessarily pseudo-crop an image, and make it so some images float next to text, and make it look decent on mobile. I'm a frickin' nerd, love it.
more quickposts



Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -