|Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood|
|Series||Call of Juarez|
|Engine||Chrome Engine 4|
|Platform(s)||Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360|
|Media||Blu-ray Disc, DVD|
Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood is a Western themed first-person shooter video game set in the years of 1864-1866. Developed by Techland and published by Ubisoft, it is a prequel to Call of Juarez that debuted in 2006 on PC and 2007 on the Xbox 360. The game was released on PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 on June 30, 2009. The game has earned notoriety for appearing in the youtube viral video, Ladder Goat.
The story begins with Ray and Thomas pointing their guns at each other. William laments on how things degenerated between them to the point of them becoming mortal enemies. Flash to several years ago, Ray and Thomas are fighting in the American Civil War. After they defeat the enemy, they are ordered to retreat to Jonesboro. They refuse, deserting their posts to save their home from Union troops. When they arrive, they find their mother dead. Ray promises to rebuild their house, and knowing their superior Colonel Barnsby will not let them off, they flee, taking their young brother, William, with them.
One year later, after an altercation with the sheriff of Fort Smith, Arkansas, which leads to his death, The McCalls decide to head to Mexico to find the Lost Treasure of Cortez, with the intent of using it to rebuild their home. Later, while in a Mexican saloon, a woman named Marisa catches Ray's attention. After coming to her aid when she is harassed by some of the saloon’s patrons, the McCalls are invited to dinner at her home, which they accept. There, it is revealed that she is the mistress of Juan "Juarez" Mendoza, the most notorious criminal in Mexico. She flirts with Ray and leads him on when he says he would kill Juarez for her. After the meal, Juarez lets them in on his plan to find the treasure, promising them a share of it if they help him. He first asks the McCalls to take out a man named Devlin, who is also going after the treasure.
Elsewhere, an Apache tribe is discussing making war on "the white people". Their leader, Running River, orders his son, Seeing Farther, to obtain over 300 rifles for the tribe. Meanwhile, the McCalls return to Juarez after killing Devlin. Juarez orders the brothers to meet up with the Apaches to exchange the rifles for a medallion they possess, which he states is the key to finding the treasure. Before the McCalls set off, Thomas confronts Marisa and she reveals her love for him, which he reciprocates.
At the meeting place, they find that Juarez’s gun runner has been jailed after being captured by the Pinkertons. The McCalls proceed to break him out of jail and deliver him to Juarez. There, the gun runner reveals himself to be Colonel Barnsby, having worn bandages covering his whole head. In what was supposed to be a meeting with Juarez at an abandoned mine, Barnsby and his men ambush the brothers and tie them up. William manages to free himself, Ray, and Thomas. They escape the mine and manage to catch up with Juarez and Marisa in Comanche Territory. The Apaches eventually confront Juarez, revealing that William told Seeing Farther about the rifles being useless. The McCalls and Marisa are taken back to the village, and Seeing Farther agrees to help them find the medallion. They then infiltrate Navajo territory and recover the medallion.
Upon their return, Seeing Farther formulates a plan to get Marisa and William out of the camp by asking Ray and Thomas to distract the Apache tribe while he teaches William how to use the medallion. When Ray confronts Thomas about this, he reveals his relationship with Marisa, sparking a fight between the two, effectively distracting the tribe and tearing the brothers apart. The plan backfires, however, when Barnsby's army locates the brothers and destroys the Indian village leaving only the chief and Seeing Farther alive. Seeing Farther, William and Marisa are taken hostage and will only be returned upon trade of the medallion. Ray and Thomas decide to rescue them, but Ray says that once they're finished, he never wants to see Thomas again. The brothers defeat Barnsby's men but by the time they reach Seeing Farther, he is already mortally wounded. Dying, he states that William and Marisa are still alive, captured by Juarez.
Juarez interrogates William about using the Medallion. He refuses to speak, which only aggravates Juarez further. Juarez orders his men to kill him and Marisa pleads for his life. At the same time, Ray and Thomas infiltrate Juarez's camp separately. Thomas finds Marisa and she convinces him to escape with her, revealing she also knows how to use the Medallion. Meanwhile, Ray rescues William and kills Juarez, realizing that Thomas has left with Marisa.
Ray tracks Thomas and Marisa to the treasure vault. The brothers face each other as they did at the start of the story. William moves between them and declares he won't allow Ray to shoot Thomas. Ray shoots William, realizing later he was only reaching for his Bible. William collapses and dies, his Bible landing at Barnsby's feet who remarks that it seems the treasure really is cursed. A trap is triggered, causing the chamber to fill with sand, forcing the McCalls to move to higher ground, fending off Barnsby's men as they proceed. Eventually, the McCalls confront Barnsby and kill him. The McCalls, together with Marisa, decide to abandon the treasure. William's sacrifice compels Ray to become a priest, and he carries William's Bible. Later, Thomas weds Marisa.
According to its creators Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood was aimed to make the player's experience as the "best West ever created". The game derives from spaghetti-western genre: gunslingers, outlaws, duels, prison breaks, bank robberies, stagecoach chases and conflicts with Native Americans, similar to another western game, Gun. It features two characters, brothers Ray and Thomas. The game plot is set in the American Civil War period and presents the adventures of two brothers across different parts of North America.
Before most missions, the player can choose between one of the two brothers, but sometimes only one is available. Though the game's Story Mode is fairly short, each brother has a different effect on the missions: often the player will run into split paths for either brother to take, or certain key points where one brother needs to do particular things while the other does something else. For example, Thomas can lasso on top buildings for a vantage point to cover Ray while he attacks/dynamites certain areas. One brother's story mode will be quite different from the other's. At first the game just moves from mission to mission but once the game opens, between certain missions there will be an open Free World where the player can take side-missions as a bounty hunter or hired gun, respectively for either attack or defence, and other kinds of side-missions. In each mission and each Free World there will be a trader who will sell the player certain weapons available at different qualities.
In each Free World area there is a small town, a trader and out in the wilderness the player can find ruined buildings, farms, camps and bandits that can be occupying these. Bandits will also hide at certain road points to ambush people, attacking people on the roads and robbing caravans. It is up to the player whether or not to save the people getting attacked. Throughout the Free Worlds and in the mission areas there will be "Secret Content" most commonly found in chests that will unlock artwork or memories that can be viewed from the menu. Chests may also contain money, dynamite or ammo.
At the end of most missions the player will have a "Showdown" with the leader of the group the player is fighting. In Bounty Hunter missions the player needs to first defeat the leader in a gunfight before he will challenge the player to a final Showdown. During the Showdown the playercharacter will circle the opponent with his hand hovering over his gun waiting for the "bell" to ring before he draws. The player needs to try and keep his characters hand as close to the gun as possible by moving the analog/mouse in towards the gun, if moved too close too fast the character will suddenly close his hand then wave his index finger towards the screen as if he was saying "No, no.", this will also reset the distance between his hand and the gun. The player also need to keep the opponent lined up with the shot by moving in the opposite direction as he moves. The center of the shot will be just off the center of the screen on the right hand side. As soon as the bell rings, the player has a very short period of time to pull the analog/mouse in towards the gun, then take the shot when the cross hair lines up with his body/head. If the first shot is missed or drawn late the opponent will shoot the player character. As the player progresses in the game Showdowns get harder, opponents will circle more to throw the player's shot and draw faster.
- Ray McCall: The older of the brothers, prefers a close combat style and tasks which require the use of brute force. Of the two, he is also more deadly with dual guns and dynamite. Ray is also more resistant to damage thanks to the cuirass he wears and his strength allows him to kick open doors and carry a portable Gatling gun. Ray's bullet time freezes time to allows the player to pick up to 12 targets to shoot, when the bullet time ends Ray quickly unleashes all 12 shots at perfect accuracy.
- Thomas McCall: A sharpshooter who chooses a long-range combat style which requires such weapons as rifles, knives and a hunting bow. He is also the stealthier of the brothers, which allows him to sneak and silently eliminate his opponents, using throwing knives, or the hunting bow at long range. Another feature is his ability to use lasso which enables to access otherwise unreachable places. Thomas' bullet time slows down time and allows the player to shoot up to 6 enemies at perfect accuracy for one hit kills. He fires the shots from the hip by holding down the trigger and rapidly pulling back the hammer, the player must simulate this movement by holding down the fire button and moving the analog/mouse forward and back to simulate the hammer movement. Though there are less possible shots than Ray's bullet time, Thomas can shoot up to 6 enemies in an 180 degree radius around him at different levels of height.
- William McCall: The younger unplayable brother, who at the time is a priest. He follows his brothers everywhere because he believes it is his duty to turn them "towards the light". He often follows them into firefights and must be protected and he is always trying to convince them to stay out of trouble. He ultimately ends up becoming what Juarez said he would, a "sinner", when he is forced to shoot one of Juarez's men in self defense. William later tries to recompense his faith by saving his two brothers from killing each other by standing in front of Ray's gun saying he will "draw on three". Ray, is forced to shoot his own brother in self defense, but then realizes he was only reaching for his Bible. William's self sacrifice to stop Ray from shooting Thomas inspires Ray to become a priest. In Call of Juarez, Reverend Ray McCall carries William's Bible with him. Billy Candle is also named by his stepfather and mother after William, presumably in memory of the youngest McCall brother.
- Juarez: His real name is Juan Mendoza. A powerful Mexican bandit leader, nicknamed Juarez after the town he was born in, is one of the main antagonists but is at first an ally. The McCall brothers meet Juarez when they save Marisa from a group of bandits that take her for a common whore. The McCall brothers' reason for being in Mexico is to find the lost treasure of Cortez; Juarez is also looking for it and he employs the McCall brothers to help him find it for a cut. At the time Marisa is his mistress; this is what generates most of the conflict between him and Ray because Ray secretly loves her. Juarez is also the biological father of William "Billy Candle", the protagonist of Call of Juarez.
- Marisa : Juarez's mistress and love interest of both McCall brothers. She is often a source of contention between Ray and Thomas. Even causing a fist fight between them to determine who is the strongest and most deserving of her affection. Billy Candle's mother. She marries Thomas in the closing artwork.
- Jeremy Barnsby One of the main antagonists and Ray and Thomas' colonel during the Civil War. Barnsby made a promise that he would hunt down and kill every deserter from his unit in the Civil War, holding those men responsible for the loss of Atlanta and the death of his family. After the war, Barnsby assembled a small army of former Confederate soldiers who refused to accept the defeat. Hounded by the US military, they have fled west where they live as brigands. When he hears the McCalls are seeking the Lost Gold of Juarez, he not only seeks to kill them for deserting him, but to seize the treasure for himself so that he can resurrect the Confederate cause.
- Seeing Farther : Son of the Apache chief Running River. He is sent by his father to the bandit Juarez, from whom he wants to get hundreds of rifles in exchange for the Apaches' treasure: A medallion that leads to the Lost Gold of Juarez. The rifles are wanted by the Apaches to use in skirmishes against the U.S. government. He is the McCall's ally throughout most of the game, he helps them get the medallion and tells William how to use it.
Guns in the game are recreated from their historical 19th century counterparts. The player can choose between different types of pistols, rifles, shotguns and heavy weapons (Gatling gun). During gameplay, cannons are also available. Apart from conventional firearms, characters can use other weapons such as throwing knives or bows.
Each brother is more efficient with certain weapons. Ray is best with fast firing pistols at close range and shotguns and is the only one who can Dual Wield Pistols (Other than Dual Wielding during Bullet Time) and the only one who can carry Dynamite and a Gatling Gun. Thomas is best with long ranged weapons such as rifles and precision aiming with the pistol, though he can't carry dynamite to blow down doors he carries a lasso that can get him to unreachable areas Ray can't get to. He also can't Dual Wield and doesn't have a Cuirass for bullet proofing like his brother but his accuracy and power with rifles is much greater than Ray and since he is smaller and lighter he is much stealthier than Ray. He also can carry throwing knives and a hunting bow for stealth killing.
Each of the weapon classes can be found around the worlds and dropped by enemies, but the highest quality ones are bought from stores. You start out with rusty old weak weapons, but as you progress newer weapons become unlocked and newer higher quality ones are unlocked. The weapon tiers go from: Rusty → Normal → Prime → Superb. The higher the tier, the higher the damage/accuracy/reload speed will be. Also, "Prime" weapons are silver colored and "Superb" weapons are gold colored.
The game's multiplayer modes are mostly team-based, with a variety of objectives and character classes available. One team plays "Lawmen", with another playing as "Outlaws" - in some game styles, players swap teams after each match to play on the other side of the encounter. The game uses a bounty system for scoring, with players who have killed a large number of enemies being worth more to their opponents. Some multiplayer maps are directly inspired by famous scenes from Western movies, including one set at the OK Corral.
The game previously had no dedicated server support or anti-cheat software, but recently on December 2, Ubisoft released the dedicated server support files for Bound in Blood (only for PC version) in response to the large amount of complains and requests received by Ubisoft and Techland from the Game's community. The anti-cheat requests are yet to be fulfilled.
Ubisoft has released a patch for the game on September, 2009; the patch included several tweaks and changes for the multiplayer, bug fixes, and an auto-patcher. Although the patch fixes some of the multiplayer's technical issues, some of the master server problems the game's been known for since its release are still unfixed.
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A multiplayer map pack has been released, adding four new multiplayer maps: Little Bighorn, Fort Smith, Elmira Prison Camp and Vulture Mines. Although there are no problems with downloading the DLC for the PS3, all of the Xbox 360 gamers who bought the DLC through Xbox Live are still unable to download the content they have paid for, with an error (with the error's code) being received after starting the download process on XBL. Ubisoft and Techland claim that it's Microsoft's fault that those gamers are not able to download the DLC of Bound in Blood, while an official public response from Microsoft is yet to be received (as of January 11, 2010). There is no official DLC for the PC version.
Reviews for the game were generally positive; the game has a rating of 77% on Metacritic and 79% on Game Rankings. IGN's Jeff Haynes praised the sound and presentation of the game but criticised the gameplay for the lack of variety in tasks. GameSpot's review criticised the short length of the single player campaign and lacking AI, but praised its "authentic western feel", graphics, and fast paced gameplay.
- "Ubisoft Wrangles the Wild West with Anticipated Prequel Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood". Ubisoft. 2009-06-30. http://www.gamershell.com/companies/ubisoft/621718.html. Retrieved 2009-06-30.
- Park, Andrew (2009-04-30). "Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood Hands-On - Early Levels, Shootouts, Dynamite, and Cannons". Gamespot.com. http://www.gamespot.com/xbox360/action/callofjuarezboundinblood/news.html?sid=6208966&mode=previews. Retrieved 2009-05-19.
- Ocampo, Jason (2009-03-31). "Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood First Look". IGN.com. http://xbox360.ign.com/articles/968/968427p1.html. Retrieved 2009-05-17.
- Ubisoft. "Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood". Ubisoft. http://callofjuarez.uk.ubi.com/#/main/news. Retrieved 2009-05-20.
- Staff (2009-04-20). "Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood Q&A - Characters, Story, and Shootouts". Gamespot.com. http://www.gamespot.com/pc/action/callofjuarezboundinblood/news.html?sid=6208231&om_act=convert&om_clk=picks&tag=picks;title;3. Retrieved 2009-05-19.
- 1.Haynes, Jeff (2009-04-29). "Bound in Blood and Bullets Carve a bloody path through the Civil War and the Wild West". IGN.com. http://xbox360.ign.com/articles/978/978122p1.html. Retrieved 2009-05-19. Cite error: Invalid
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- Ubisoft. "Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood". Ubisoft. http://callofjuarez.uk.ubi.com/#/main/news. Retrieved 2009-05-20.
- Anderson, Luke (2009-03-30). "Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood First Impressions". Gamespot.com. http://www.gamespot.com/pc/action/callofjuarezboundinblood/news.html?sid=6207034&om_act=convert&om_clk=newsfeatures&tag=newsfeatures;title;3. Retrieved 2009-05-20.
- callofjuarez.pl. "Weapons description". callofjuarez.pl. http://www.callofjuarez.pl/?id=bron. Retrieved 2009-05-20.
- Rob Fahey (2009-05-19). "Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood Hands-On". Eurogamer.net. http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/call-of-juarez-bound-in-blood-hands-on.
- xboxoz360 (2009-01-14). "Ubisoft Announces Development of Call Of Juarez: Bound In Blood". XCGN.com. http://oxcgn.com/2009/01/14/ubisoft-announces-development-of-call-of-juarez-bound-in-blood/. Retrieved 2009-05-20.
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- IGN: Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood Review
- GameSpot: Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood Review
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