Friday, March 5, 2021

Matter of Import 46: Indian Battle [Taito 1980]


Indian Battle is an old-west themed fixed screen shooter released by Taito in 1980. The player controls a cowboy with a rifle at the bottom of the screen, firing at waves of native american warriors who advance towards him, hiding behind rocks and cactus, moving from cover to cover while firing arrows and throwing tomahawks.

Occasionally a bird will fly by overhead, dropping an egg that hatches into a snake or scorpion if it hits the ground without being shot. There's also a native american that pops up out of the ground to anchor the player in place for a few moments.

As the player cannot fire horizontally – only up – the snake, scorpion, and grabbing native american cannot be shot, only avoided – along with the natives that reach the bottom of the screen, though those will quickly return to cover.

Each round lasts until you've shot 21 enemies, as noted by a counter on the left side of the screen. After you've passed, if you've done well enough there's a bonus stage where your cowboy attempts to lasso animals.

The basic mechanics here are the same – left, right, fire to throw your lasso – but your rope moves slow and takes a long time to cross the screen and return if you miss. This makes careful and patient aim a must if you want to capture them all before the time runs out.

The sprites aren't bad, but it's another monochrome game whose color is provided by an overlay. There is music – a version of "ten little indians" which is its own issues – but the game presents with all the sensitivity you'd expect from a Japanese team covering native american issues in 1980.

I give Indian Battle a C ranking – the gameplay isn't boring, but beyond the enemy moving from cover to cover it's nothing special.

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