This low budget cowboy themed shooter failed to make much of an impact on release and time hasn’t exactly been kind to it since. Poor graphics, lacklustre enemy AI and an overall lack of polish combine to make for a drab experience that for most folks is better left in the bargain bin.
The game should install without any issues on a modern PC. When asked if you want to install DirectX, choose no, since the version on the games CD is out of date.
As far as we can determine there were no patches released for the game, so you can go right ahead and play as soon as installation is finished.
Tweaking visual quality
There are only a few visual quality options that you can tweak in game. Start the game and choose “Options” and then “Video”. You will now see two sub-menus. Resolution allows you to configure the games resolution, as you might expect. The game only supports 4:3 (non-widescreen) video modes, so choose whichever mode suits your monitor best.
On the “Advanced” menu there are a mere three options to tweak, as well as a gamma settings slider. Turn all the advanced options on and tweak the gamma setting (which affects monitor brightness) to taste. Not too high or you’ll lose detail in the brightest parts of the image.
More adventurous players can browse to the games installation directory and try editing the file “autoexec.cfg”. If you need a tutorial on editing configuration files, see this page. We did try editing this file to force a widescreen screen mode, but this just caused the game to crash.
Troubleshooting and known issues
Graphical glitches on characters faces – On our test machines there were graphical glitches where the chins of certain non player characters will be stretched. We’re not talking oddly proportioned here either, more stretched several meters out in front of the characters.
Problems saving games – Like many older games, Western Outlaw places its save game files and various configuration files in the same directory that it is installed to. This can cause problems on more modern versions of Windows as programs are not normally permitted to write to the program files directory. To avoid this problem, either install the game to an alternate location (e.g c:\Games\WesternOutlaw) or manually edit the permissions on the “WesternOutlaw” folder. A tutorial on how to edit folder permissions can be found here.
Can you submit a fix?
While this might not be the greatest game ever released, it is still part of the rich history of PC gaming and it’s a shame about the graphical glitches. As this is a largely overlooked title there was little information on troubleshooting it to be found on the internet. If anyone out there knows how to fix the graphical glitches we encountered, please let us know in the comments.