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Gameplay

Sound
  Graphics

Value
Publisher: Pangea Software    Genre: Arcade
Min OS X: 10.2    CPU: G3 @ 500 MHz    RAM: 128 MB    Graphics: 8 MB VRAM


Billy Frontier
August 7, 2003 | Galen Wiley
Pages:123Gallery

Graphics
As usual, Billy Frontier packs the artistic, cartoon inspired graphical stylings of other Pangea-created games that we have all come to know and love. Everything, even the environments and characters seem to have leaped out from a comic book. The game does a great job of capturing the whole "mid-western" feel without overdoing it like in other titles, and overall looks just the way it should. Both environments, Town and Swamp, capture the feeling wonderfully.

A big concern for Mac users, specifically ones with older machines, is if the game will run well on their computers. Luckily, Billy Frontier sports a complete graphical customization, with options for game resolution, color depth, and 32-bit Z-Buffering. On my iMac G3 600MHz with a Rage 128 Pro, 16MB VRAM, running Mac OS X 10.2, the game both ran and looked exceptionally at compromise of quality over speed-800x600 resolution, 32-bit color depth, Z-Buffering disabled. The mouse was a tad on the sluggish side, which only slightly interfered with the gameplay, but otherwise, performance was solid. Pangea recommends that players use Mac OS X to run the game, but promise that even those with 8MB VRAM video cards will be able to enjoy the game (although at lowest of low settings, which really don't look all too bad).

To truly see the game's graphical quality at hand, you should check out a screenshot, or better yet, play it for yourself. Overall, I was quite satisfied, especially considering Billy Frontier is only Shareware. It may not break any technical barriers, but Billy Frontier's graphics are acceptable, and most importantly accessible to a wide range of users. No gripes here.

Audio
Music and sound has always been a big part of any Pangea game, and Billy Frontier is no different. As with graphics, sound is done beautifully, truly capturing the game's "mid-western" playing style. Tracks range from the game's mellow opening to the more dramatically emphasized duel to the death score, and even the pseudo-chase song during the Stampede mini game. The game's music is memorable, but hardly repetitive or downright annoying, a path one of Pangea's earlier games unfortunately took. The audio quality itself is excellently encoded, full of rich sound, provided you have good enough speakers to appreciate it with.

Sound effects are also a key part in the game, and luckily, Pangea has also here as well. While scarce in numbers, the game's sound effects compliment its graphics flawlessly, producing a very well creating environment. Effects vary from gunshots, bullet wounds, and crates breaking, to the incessant mooing of cows and the all so identifiable "power-up collected!" chime, which in turn, also help Billy Frontier become a better arcade game.

Sound worked flawlessly during my evaluation with no hiccups and stutters whatsoever. Overall, an excellent attempt at recreating a mid-western setting. Impressive, memorable tracks coupled with suitable effects make for one great audio experience.

Value
Surprisingly, Billy Frontier offers a lot of value, despite its lack of story and rather short list of levels. Because of the game's high score system, you'll find yourself constantly at the game, in hopes of beating your, or a friend's impressive last game. I myself must have played through the Town Shootout level at least ten times, but I never got tired of it, simply because I found myself getting better and better as time went on (as any good arcade game should feel). Even if all the levels are "available" to you from the start, unlocking them is no walk in the park (some of those duels can be pretty hard!), and the game may take weeks, even months to complete. Even with locked levels, though, you'll still find yourself having a blast, even after playing the same game a countless amount of times.

For fifteen dollars, the game certainly lives up for its price. If you're low on the funds, but still want a great shareware game to play in your spare time, look no further than Billy Frontier.

With built-in scoreboards, and "fun even after you've finished it" gameplay, Billy Frontier ranks high in value, something that's certainly not easy to accomplish when it comes to shareware, or even commercial titles.

Conclusion
Readers, I can safely say that Billy Frontier is everything you've come to expect from Pangea, and more. It offers non-stop, easy to play gameplay at an incredible value. Top this with tasteful, accessible graphics, and suitable music and sound and you're left with a great product. The game is pretty much flawless, and is sure to offer any self-respecting Mac user a great time.

So what are you waiting for? Go out and download the demo and see for yourself. I guarantee you it will be time well spent.

(A note to parents: While Pangea is generally known as a family-friendly developer, Billy Frontier contains graphical violence that may not be suitable for younger players.)

Pros:
Simple yet addictive gameplay.
Different mini-games add variation.
Colorful graphics and sound help set the mood.
Customizable graphics for lower end machines.
Great value.

Cons:
Nothing worth noting.



Billy Frontier
Publisher: Pangea Software
Download Billy Frontier Demo


Pages:123Gallery




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