Title: Kauboigan III: Aratana teki! (カウボーイガン III: 新たな敵)
Developer: Chuo Team
Publisher: Pilcom Corporation
System: Ultra PlayCom
Release Date:
JP: May 17, 1995

Fresh off the success of Kauboigan 2, Chuo Team began work on a follow-up for the Ultra Musjido. Utilizing the new Ultra XF chip, Kauboigan III: Aratana teki! featured cutting-edge pre-rendered graphics, an isometric viewpoint, elaborate animations, and a few elements that used rudimentary 3D graphics (the mine cart escape, the secret Saucer bosses, the final boss). Chuo licensed a graphics compression technology from Fenix Co. to fit the game on a cartridge, the same one used on Sea of Stars and Polaris Blow in 1995 and 1996.

Kauboigan III allowed players to select three playable characters from a roster of nine. Ken, Viki, and Zeke returned from Kauboigan 2, with the addition of six other characters: Chuo (a Chinese immigrant laborer), Mimi (a crusading reporter from back east), Butt (a black-hatted villain), El Conejo (a masked superhero), E (an amnesiac girl), and Ken (the hero of Samurai no Densetsu, reimagined as a veteran of the Boshin War). Each character had a different prologue chapter, character class and skills, leading to a large variety of replay value.

The story had a mysterious plague of undead rising to bedevil the Neeshy Territory, leading the chosen heroes to race against time to uncover the identity and motives of their leader, the mysterious Peruraida. Depending on player choices and characters chosen, there were 25 possible endings along with a “bad ending” for certain game overs and a “joke ending” that was only possible to achieve when using a New Game +.

The game saw strong if not exceptional sales on release in Japan. Despite being previewed in Musjido Might magazine as Cowboy Guns 2, Kauboigan III was never localized and released outside of Japan. There were several reasons given for this oversight–in a 2000 interview, former Chuo Team members claimed that the use of graphics compression presented insurmountable technical challenges for translation, while a letter published in Musjido Might in 1996 claimed that all localization efforts were being devoted to the new Musjido 32 console. In any case, it was not available in English until a fan translation group managed to reverse-engineer the compression code and insert an English script in 2002, an effort that Chuo Team gave its unofficial blessing.

  • Like what you see? Purchase a print or ebook version!