"I have two guns, one for each of ya" - Doc Holiday (Tombstone)
I’m no spring chicken. Looking through just about any photo album back in my day, you’d come across the ubiquitous picture of some small fry decked out in fringe, adorning a ten gallon hat and two shiny six shooters poised upon a calico pony. In fact, it was such a common phenomenon that there were men traveling door to door, pony and camera in hand peddling this keepsake. Could you imagine that happening these days? Some chump in a cowboy hat shows up at your front door with faux firearms and a pony, camera in hand asking to take pictures of your snookums? Parents would react a bit differently I’d expect. I can only imagine what the incident reports would read….
The point of this is that Americans, especially those of us who have grown up in the South Western US were brought up with glorious tales of the Wild West, complete with cowboys and shoot outs, villains and damsels in distress, train heists and gold rushes. It was music to a kid’s ears and candy to their imaginations. We payed homage to Wayne and Eastwood, Listened to the sounds of Joplin and Foster, and marveled over the curves of Colt and Winchester. I won’t even mention the games we played in fear of the SJW police reading this;)
12 is better than 6 is rife with all of these aspects, drawing on the wonder of our youth and emblazoning in a medium never before seen outside of a Napoleon Dynamite film, Blue Ink on paper.
It combines a certain anger and angst that I haven’t encountered since my brief time with Hotline Miami. Its fast, brutal, gory (at least as gory as one can achieve with red ink) and unforgiving. The sound track is rocking and the dialog is vulgar. In short, if you have a high tolerance for pain and can resist the urge to rage quit, this might just be a title for you.
Taking a role of Juan (or as he’s mostly referred to as, “The Mexican”), as you escape prison and make a bold break out of town and towards the free embrace of Texas. Along the way you encounter fellow rapscallions who are hell bent on holding you accountable for the murder of several Marshals that you apparently had nothing to do with (this time anyway). So, what better way than to clear your name by going on a murderous rampage to demonstrate your innocence? Seems legit to me.
This title is a top down shooter with a more or less “one hit one kill” ethos. The keyboard controls your movement while the mouse makes the gun go boom. To amp things up a notch, you actually have to right click the mouse each time you take a shot, akin to cocking the gun before firing each round. Reloading the gun requires you to press R for each round chambered while a floating diagram of the cylinder illustrates how many chambers have already been filled. Genius! The action is quick. Standing still and taking aim really isn’t an option as you seem to be facing legions of sharp shooters who can hit their target at 50 paces regardless of sleep impairment or alcoholic consumption. In short, get ready for a challenge.
The art is what drew me initially to 12bt6. It is all hand illustrated bluish ink, with added shadows to provide depth and separation from the environment. Its nothing short of gorgeous, simple as it may be. To accent the monochromatic palette, jets of red spray across the landscape as each round claims the life of its recipient. Its obvious the graphics were a labor of love for the developers. All of those hours doodling in math class really paid off! To top off the graphical prowess, the sound track feels like something straight out of a Robert Rodriguez film. Its a catchy rock western hybrid tune, that although isn’t specifically scripted to the scene as many modern titles are, still fits the aesthetic of the grim west depicted via the story.
So, to take a moment to surmise (cliche as it may be):
Graphics are outstanding! The gunplay and reload mechanics are very clever. The music is very well done considering the team consisted of 3 developers. Also, the nostalgia of a western conveyed in this style makes this title one of a kind.
The default difficulty is CRAZY hard! If I were holding a game pad I probably would’ve chucked it at the screen several times over. If you get aggravated easily, please considering lowering the difficulty before starting a campaign. Also, the animation was a little rigid, paired with a control scheme that felt a little too sensitive. It made aiming a b#tch the majority of the time. Last but not least it was annoying to progress through the level only to be cut down at the tail end by an enemy who either blended in too closely to the background or from some random guy who walked in from the edge of the canvas and turned my head into cherry pie before I could even take aim. On the bright side, at least the level reloads quickly…
No saving during a stage! Your game is “SAVED” as to which mission you are currently on in regards to the campaign, however if you’re playing an especially difficult level and finally make it past a hurdle that has been grinding you down for the last 20 minutes, getting capped in the final stretch forces you to do the whole thing all over again. Yes, Nintendo-Hard is alive and well…
12 is better than 6 is has given me a hell of a time. Never before have I been split on a review. On one side, the art style, the music, and the ultra violence gives me a case of the warm and fuzzies while the immense difficulty brings the rage-quit demons boiling to the surface (which is horrible for the complexion). Having the ability to tone down the difficulty is a plus, but the control mechanics still feel unpolished. The dialogue isn’t bad, but feels like more of a speed bump than a method of enriching the experience.
12 is Better than 6 is definitely worth your attention, though if there are other titles cluttering up the top of your “to-play” list, I wouldn’t necessarily suggest you make room. This ink splatter extravaganza earns a 7 out of 10.