The cactus is back-tus! Cactus McCoy, spikey green distributor of western vengeance is back, and this time he has competition. He's met up with technicolor bird lady Ella Windstorm who spins him a tale of the Volados: a fallen civilization laid waste to by a mysterious cult known as the Reptaras. It seems that there's a secret vault that contains the lost treasure of the Volados, including the magical Serpent Blade. With Ella kidnapped, it's up to McCoy to find the vault before either the Volados or his old friends the Enemigos do, recover the Serpent Blade, save the love interest, and make out like a cactus-y bandit with all the loot he can carry. A worthy sequel to the original Cactus McCoy released in March, Flipline Studios' Cactus McCoy 2: The Ruins of Calavera will steal as many hours of action-platforming as the first one did, pardner.
Controls are nearly the same as the original: The [arrow] keys move you left and right. [A] makes you jump onto platforms and ladders and [S] makes you attack, either with your fists or any of the dozens of weapons you'll come across. [Down] + [A] drops you down a platform. To pick up a weapon, you crouch over it with the [down] key, and can aim it around by holding the [up] key along with [left] and [right] for a diagonal shot. Likewise, you can pick up boxes and other large objects with [down] and either place them by hitting [down] again, or chucking it with the [A] key. There are various types of weapons: punching ones, throwing ones, swinging ones, whipping ones, thrusting ones, and shooting ones. A new element is the barrel rockets, which take you on a speedy rock blasting ride and are controlled (barely) by either the [right and left] or [up and down] arrow keys depending on which way it faces. Defeating Enemigos gives you coins to collect, and with them, you can purchase upgrades between each level.
Cactus McCoy 2 is the best kind of sequel: one that expands and refines the original without sacrificing what made it great. In this case the expansion comes mainly in gameplay mechanics. There are a host of new weapons to find, each with it's own particular style of use, there are a ton of new baddies to fight, all highly punchable, and the new levels to explore are large, detailed and fit in perfectly with the series' demented presentation of the old west. Nice new touches include the arsenal, which allows you to purchase and equip whatever weapon you prefer at the start of the level, rather than waiting for an enemy to drop it, and the health-refilling checkpoints now sprinkled throughout. Best of all, the hidden treasures and achievements that were the highlight of the original are back and more varied than ever. To give you a taste, they include such things as "Take out Alpaca Jack with his own Revolver", "Kill 20 enemigos with a moving mine cart" and "Eat 10 piranhas with your chainsaw alligator". Classic. Whether you were addicted to the first, or this is your introduction to the series, Cactus McCoy 2 will prove an ol' west showdown that's bursting with the new.