For their next game, Konami would dive headfirst into the laserdisc craze- brought on by the massive success of Dragon’s Lair. Every arcade company worth their salt brought forth the own animated game. some to mixed results. That brings us to the Badlands!
Badlands is a first-person shooter action-adventure video game based in a wild west fantasy world. The game’s arcade cabinet consists of one large “shoot” button. Gameplay consists almost entirely of animated cutscenes (drawing similarities between other Laserdisc titles such as Dragon’s Lair), requiring quick reflexes from the player to shoot and react to environmental hazards and enemies.
The game uses a life system, granting the player three lives upon starting. If the player loses all lives during gameplay, Buck transforms into an angel and the player receives a “game over” screen.
Throughout the game, Buck seeks several bountied outlaws:
- Gas, for $2,500
- Doug, for $2,500
- Smith, for $3,000
- Paco, for $3,000
- Bull, for $4,000
- Lloyd, for $5,000
- Liston, for $5,000
- Hawk, for $6,000
- Mary, for $7,000
- Landolf, for $10,000
The cabinet seems rushed. and it was. Most laser games were- due to the fact that the companies had to get their games to the arcades- to recoup the money it took to animate the game.
One thing that always bothered me about Badlands- is the button. You see, you had to push a big red button to shoot the targets onscreen. That doesn’t scream western shooter. had They just put a gun on the game- as long as the trigger had a switch that could replace the button- It would made Badlands a much better and playable game. Like the 1974 Nintendo Wild Gunman before it.
Strap on your six guns partner- we’ve got bounties to collect!
Now here’s the unedited laserdisc footage- to show you the full fever dream.
We can’t talk about Badlands without its inspiration- The Nintendo Wild Gunman game in 1974. This was an electro- mechanical arcade game utilizing a 8mm film reel- the results were amazing- I played this ALOT as a kid. It always had a Hollywood stuntman feel to it. I think Badlands had the chance to be this game. Just putting the gun on the cabinet would have pushed it in that direction.
Not all is lost for Badlands! if you look at the 1992 Konami game Sunset Riders- it clearly has it’s DNA in the laser game!
Of course there were no home ports of Badlands. You can emulate it via the Daphne emulator. To learn more about Daphne, click the link here.
Did you ever play Badlands? Did you ever get all the bad guys and finish the game? Let me know in the comments!
Keep Playin’ Like It’s 1981!
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