Have you ever played as Cactus McCoy, the protagonist from the original platform shooter of the same name? Well, there are more cactus-based adventures to be had, only this time there's a girl in the mix, and she goes by the name of Ella Windstorm. Your initial encounter with her is after stealing a piece of treasure she was after, but after getting into a pickle that ends up with her saving your life, you sort of owe her, don't you? The answer is yes, and sooner than you think: she is kidnapped and must be rescued from the evil forces at work that are trying to find the secret vault of hidden treasures.
Clearly you shouldn't be focusing too much on the plot here since it isn't exactly stellar storytelling. What you should be focusing on is that this is stunning platform action through and through, with some shooting and fighting mechanics to spice things up a bit. Veterans of the McCoy way will notice that the controls are essentially identical to the original Cactus McCoy: directional arrows to move, A to Jump, Down + A to drop down a platform, and S to shoot or wield whichever weapon you may have on you at any particular time. There's also a few extras such as pressing the down key when standing over an item/weapon to activate it/pick it up, and using the directional arrows with the S key to fire your weapons in certain directions.
One of the fantastic things about Cactus McCoy 2 (as well as the original Cactus McCoy) is the variety of weapons available to you. At the start you will encounter lots of melee weapons such as metal pipes, shovels, sticks, and even boxing gloves. You'll soon discover that there are weapons of many different types including shooting weapons (such as pistols), throwing weapons (such as eggs and darts), whipping weapons, and much more. This variety certainly adds to this sequel's appeal, and because of the increased size of the arsenal available to you, this is more true of this sequel and the original.
Upgrades are also part of the Cactus McCoy way, and now there are even more things to upgrade in this sequel. Using money you collect from fallen enemies, you can purchase upgrades to your punching, swinging, shooting, throwing, whipping, thrusting, launching, health, and defense. As you can see, this is quite the list of attributes to upgrade and is a reflection on the depth of the mechanics involved in bringing you the action of Cactus McCoy. Developer Flipline Studios have obviously put a bit of work into improving the experience for players, and they have certainly achieved what they intended to in Cactus McCoy 2.
Continuing with the improvements that should always feature in any sequel, Flipline Studios have basically improved on what made the original fantastic instead of changing things up altogether. Obvious changes include the larger arsenal of weapons of course, as well as the range of enemies you'll be encountering as you progress through the game.
The result of this increased content quantity is that the game has more longevity than ever before. The original Cactus McCoy could easily eat up hours upon hours of your time, and the weapons, enemies, special items, and achievements to discover in Cactus McCoy 2 are no less impressive than in the original. You're talking several hours of gameplay time in total if you want to complete the game to the coveted 100% figure.
Some of the more welcome improvements come in the form of being able to purchase and equip your desired weapon at the outset of the level instead of having to rely on a foe to drop it mid-level. Checkpoints are also present throughout now, and these also replenish your health to give you a bit of a break from the intensive brawling involved in the game. In all, Cactus McCoy is everything a sequel should be. Its style oozes western from beginning to end and encompasses everything that made the original great whilst piling in a heap of new content, new mechanics, and improvements across the board. It's never going to beat console or PC-based games like Call of Juarez of course, but it still It looks great and plays like a dream, so what's not to like?
Bebop Rating: 8.6/10