System...:
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West Bank
ZX Spectrum
Gremlin Graphics
Alvaro Mateos
1985
Jay
inspiration [n].
1 a supposed force or influence on poets, artists, musicians, etc., stimulating creativity, ideas, etc.

Taking the term 'inspired by..' to new heights, West Bank borrows so heavily from Sega's coin-op hit Bank Panic, it may as well be considered an unofficial home conversion. In fact, almost the only thing missing is the blue Sega logo.

As the title suggests, West Bank is set in a bank in the mean old Wild West. Viewed from a first-person perspective, the player's role is that of a gunslinging cowboy whose job it is to secure the bank from various bandits and robbers that appear at it's doors with alarming regularity. Apparently designed by an architect with a door fixation, the circular building has twelve entrances, each leading to a serving counter and it is the player's responsibility to patrol these entrances shooting any gun-wielding miscreants that may appear.

Three doorways are visible at any one time, each of which is assigned a seperate 'shoot' key and the player can rotate left or right in order to scroll the view through the other doors. To complete a level, the player must survive long enough to allow money to be deposited at each of the twelve counters. Doors open randomly and regularly, each time revealing one of many possible characters. These characters fall into three groups: innocent customers visiting to deposit cash; bandits out to rob the institution; and a strange, vertically-challenged fellow wearing ten bowler hats - shooting his hats off reveals either a bag of cash or a bomb. Glaringly obvious tip: Don't shoot the bomb! Shooting genuine customers costs a life and so they should be left to make a deposit. This doesn't mean however that they can be ignored - keep an eye out for cheeky bandits that push them aside. The bandits come in different varieties - those waving guns as they appear, and those with guns in holsters. The first kind can be shot as soon they appear - failure to do so quickly results in the loss of a life. The second kind can only be shot if and when they draw a gun. Shooting an unarmed villain also results in - yup, you guessed it - the loss of a life. Between each level, a sub-game places the player in front of three villains. After a five second countdown, each draws their gun and must be shot quickly. Failure to do so results in...well, you know the rest.




In a difficult market, door-to-door salesmen are resorting to increasingly aggressive selling techniques ...




DIE YOU BASTARD!! DIE!! ..... oh, sorry .... you just wanted to order a new cheque book? ...




Frank found his Chinese burns to be ineffective against the kids at no. 17


So similar to Bank Panic is West Bank, it's a suprise Gremlin Graphics didn't go the whole hog and obtain a conversion license. If you're a fan of the Sega coin-op (as I am), you'll absolutely adore West Bank. The reflex-intensive, 'twitch' action of the original has been faithfully recreated, as have the impressively large character graphics. The sub-game is a welcome addition and breaks up the action nicely. Sonically disappointing - what, no tune? - but excelling in every other department, West Bank is undoubtedly one of the highlights of the Spectrum's extensive library.



Graphics: 85%

Sound: 4%

Gameplay: 91%

Overall: 89%
Large, bright and attractive. The characters and scenery are all well-drawn but could perhaps do with a few more frames of animation. No music, a poor shooting sound and little else. If ever a game tested the reflexes, it's West Bank. The difficulty curve is well-graded and the sub-game is a great bonus. Although it's repetitive nature makes it unsuitable for extended play, West Bank's superb 'twitch' action will ensure you return to it again and again. To all intents and purposes, a near-exact conversion of the arcade game Bank Panic and a highly playable game in it's own right.
R E C O M M E N D E D   A L T E R N A T I V E S

O T H E R   F O R M A T S
Bank Panic (Arcade) • West Bank (Commodore 64)


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