Exciting as they might be in the movies, put a weapon in most people’s hands and it’s fairly likely that they’ll have no idea what to do with it. How to hold it, how to aim properly, even how to fire – the whole thing is a mystery to the majority of us, only those who have actually fired out in the field able to hold back the shakes. B.C. Bow Contest’s weaponry, though not especially glamorous, is equally difficult to master, play here seeing you take control of a cave man as he attempts to fire a series of arrows towards a collection of targets – some moving, some not.
This isn’t a solo affair, however. In each of the games, you play off against a competitor -whether controlled by computer, or a real life rival -every target you hit with your arrows adding points to your tally. Topping the two-tiered scoreboard is of course the aim, but managing to fire your arrows towards the bullseye is not as easy as it first might appear.
The trick here is to learn how to play with angles. Taking a side on view, your friendly Flintstone is controlled by clicking the left mouse button, moving the cursor up and down behind him determining the direction of fire and letting go sending your arrow skywards. With just a short dashed line predicting its take-off, learning how to accurately determine just where your shot will end up is the difference between success and failure, and a notion that only comes with repeated play.
Not that that’s a problem. With six different ‘cups’ to play in from the get go (each one consisting of three or more different rounds in which to knock up points, depending on the difficulty setting), B.C. Bow Contest is full of variety without being overly complicated, the content of the levels changing rather than the aim or controls.
While the majority of the cups focus on hitting a traditional target set-up (the closer you get to the centre, the more points you pick up), play really lets loose with the ‘balloon cup’, points on offer for taking out the scores of balloons that float overhead. Moving targets also begin to feature later on, the mighty moving target boards that feature in the ‘rock cup’ especially hard to find, even more so when combined with yet more balloons in the ‘fire cup’.
Points even begin to be deducted as you move forward, the final ‘tar cup’ swiping 10 points from your total every time one of your arrows ends up sinking into the sticky stuff.
It’s a line-up that certainly requires skill aplenty, but serves up an abundance of fun in return, the more points you earn, the more specialised arrows you’re able to unlock along the way. These arrows really can swing a match in your favour, too, early additions such as the ‘splitter arrow’, that unsurprisingly divides into three separate arrows mid-flight, offering the opportunity to take scores of balloons in one fell swoop.
Coupled with some superb cartoon style animation, it’s really hard to find fault with what’s on offer here, the only downside being that utilising some of the more inventive arrows costs money. As it is, though B.C. Bow Contest is unlikely to dominate your playtime for all too long, its six cups do spill over when it comes to pure enjoyment, the simple concept of getting your angles right hitting the spot, almost bang on.