Kane (1986)

Kane (1986), published by Mastertronic for Amstrad CPC 464

In this rather simple, but at times frustratingly hard to master,  wild west themed arcade game the goal is simple: go through 4 distinct levels in order to go them through infinitely to get as big of a score you can. The leaflet in the cassette cover gives some indication of a story, but not really, none of it matters, as the whole thing is about technical mastery of what the game throws at you.

If you were wondering, what the story is, it goes something like: You are a sheriff who is trying to make peace with the local Indians.  Funnily enough, only the first level and the cassette box cover have anything remotely to do with the Indians. On the Amstrad at least. I have no idea if the other version had this expanded. Or if it really even matters.

The first level has you shooting birds with a bow and arrow. You have to shoot them, as you get extra lives from every three of them. In the "story" it is stated, that you are trading birds for peace tokens with the local Indians, so let's go with that. After you figure out how the bird shooting actually functions, it's a pretty simple task to pull in a full extra life stack.

After running out o arrows, you'll get to one of the two riding levels, which are the ones requiring the actual mastery of pixel-precise jumping. As you gallop towards the town of Kane (title drop), you have to jump over several obstacles, like rocks and bushes and whatnot. If not timed correctly, your horse will throw you off, so hopefully, you were good at shooting those ducks. No story explanation is given, nor really needed. 

No rest for the wicked at the town either. As soon as you step in, a horde of bandits starts firing at you, so with a gun in hand, you need to defend yourself and the town. This always was the level I liked the most, but again, this isn't a too tasking of a mission, after you figure out how it works. In order not to get shot, you just need to run left and right and adjust the aiming by moving the target up and down. As soon as you are on the level with a bandit, just shoot. There are no elaborate story beats here either, only a snippet stating, that in order to reload, you have to go to the right corner of the town. Go figure. 

The final level is the other riding bit. This time around, you need to catch a runaway train, again jumping over obstacles. The jumps here require even more precision, as the obstacles are closer to each other, so extreme precision is needed. I've always hated this level and got stuck in it as a kid. Now, I just used savestates of the emulator to push it through, albeit I did have more than enough lives for a proper run. If you were expecting a grand story explanation here, you'd be disappointed. 

Graphically speaking, there's nothing really spectacular about it. The scrolling on the riding levels is smooth enough and the animation for the horse surprisingly good, but I wouldn't really call it the best example of the prowess of Amstrads graphical abilities.

What comes to music, there's a rather bland rendition of the Cavalry Charge from William Tell Overture and some bibs and blobs here and there, but again, nothing that will set the Amstrad, nor your ears, in a fire.

Very much like I remembered it, Kane is a collection of arcade levels you can give a quick spin if you don't have anything better to play. It did provide ample entertainment in the 80s, being how easy it is to play and understand even for smaller kids, but it isn't really a game that offers something that grabs your attention in this modern day and age of gaming.