Helldorado
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The main game view, the sight line turns pink when Kate's on the prowl

 It never ceases to amaze how the simple ideas evolve in gaming. Lost Vikings back in the mid 90s was a pioneer of strategy games, so much so, it was one of the first of its kind to sell well on the consoles, in what was previously thought an untouchable demographic for the genre. The same can be said of earlier strategy relative Cannon Fodder – making its name on the familiar Amiga before branching out into 16 bit console versions. Helldorado, the true sequel to the Desperados franchise, takes a lot of its core from these two legendary titles.

 Set in Santa Fe in 1883, the game pits you in charge of a number of heroes (six in total), each of which, have special abilities. John Cooper is your John Wayne of the party - an old-school hard-as-nails spurs-wearing badass of the West. He packs a Colt (gun) and throwing knives, as well as a musical watch to lure opponents. Kate O’Hara, the buxom eye candy, can tie enemies up and seduce male foes before slyly administering a fatal blow. Hawkeye is the Native American soldier armed with a tomahawk and bow and arrow. The key to the game (like the Lost Vikings) is using every character to their strengths to gradually progress and also like our intergalactic friends, if one dies, you all fail.

 Strategy is the name of the game here and whilst you can emulate your Hollywood heroes by storming in with all guns blazing, some careful planning and neat moves can save you a lot of bullets and subsequently a whole lot of loading. Indicators give you an anacronym of modern-day infra-red views over this historic setting. This enables you to plan your raids with the enemy’s sightline and you can even nose in on conversations if you get close enough – a neat touch. Sound as such can be a valuable tool with Cooper’s musical watch having an adjustable pitch setting, so you can choose who hears what.