Blazing Barrels was developed by ICOM’s new UK (Liverpool) office, and was a sideways scrolling arcade game similar to Namco’s Rolling Thunder coin-op but set in the Wild West.
ICOM (UK) Ltd. were originally contracted to produce versions for the Atari ST, Commodore Amiga and Mac but the Mac version was dropped almost immediately.
The game scrolled from left to right, and the player controlled a cowboy who walked on the top level but who could jump over the railings and enter the lower half of the screen when necessary. They basically became involved in various shoot-outs with bad guys as the game scrolled along.
The game was briefly mentioned in issue #6 of TelecomSoft News, which was handed out to people attending the PCW Show at Olympia in London, September 1988. The story attributed to the game was:
High Noon. ‘An the folks of Providence are-a-tremblin’ as Pumphouse Pete, Beer Barrel Burt, the notorious Rigby twins an’ Bammo’s Mexican banditos come a-shootin’ and a-hollerin’ down the main street.
Only one man stands in their way. One man who’s prepared to free his town from riot ‘n’ justice. One man who’s shortly gonna wind up with a waistcoat fulla lead.
Yep, it’s you again…
Blazing Barrels never really progressed much beyond a demo level on the Atari ST. It was playable, but it wasn’t an outstanding game design by any stretch of the imagination!
What’s in a name?
The game title came after asking the Games Development Department in TelecomSoft for suggestions. Graeme Boxall thought of the classic Mel Brooks cowboy movie Blazing Saddles, and suggested Blazing Barrels.
The first advert didn’t include any screenshots. The second advert did, but had dropped the Macintosh version. Unfortunately, both adverts were extremely premature. Even if the game had been finished for the Atari ST and Commodore Amiga, it was unlikely to have seen a release until at least 6 months after the adverts were published!
The TelecomSoft marketing department was going through a phase of using classic black & white photographs to promote Firebird titles in 1988, and they published two early adverts for Blazing Barrels to coincide with the 1988 PC Show at Olympia.
After using Humphrey Bogart to advertise Graftgold's Soldier of Fortune, this time they used Ronald Regan from his Hollywood days (dressed as a cowboy) saying It sure as hell gets my vote! At least this time there was a tenuous link between the photo in the advert and the game!