Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Blast from the past -- Bounty Hunter

Picked up a copy of Bounty Hunter: Shootout at the Saloon today for $5.

This is another in the series of groundbreaking picture combat books designed by Alfred Leonardi in the 1980s. Other examples include the Ace of Aces series and Lost Worlds series. These were "first person shooters" long before the video game era.

I used to have a copy of Bounty Hunter, but lost it somewhere along the line. While I liked the game, I wasn't such a big fan that I wanted to spend a lot of time tracking down a replacement copy -- but when a copy in excellent condition showed up at a local store for just $5 I went ahead and grabbed it.

The game is probably the most elaborate of the picture books, with a very detailed shot location procedure, but is also perhaps one of the more limited ones. Unlike Lost Worlds and Ace of Aces, where the players are only concerned with their relative positions, in Bounty Hunter the characters move around in the context of a fixed battlefield (the Saloon) and there are necessarily a limited number of locations in play (fifteen). Also unlike Lost Worlds with its dozens of character books and Ace of Aces with dozens of different aircraft in four different World War I book sets, Bounty Hunter has just the two characters. Apparently a second set was designed (there are references in the first set to possible expansions) but the artwork was lost and Leonardi didn't think redoing all the work was worth it.

Still, there are some interesting ideas in the game, as I recall, and I'm glad to add it back to my collection.

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