Originally released in the mid 80s by Firebird Software, The Wild Bunch was a Wild West text adventure for the ZX Spectrum and CPC Armstrad. In the game, you travel to different towns while hunting down members of the Wild Bunch gang. You can also visit saloons, play poker, and buy items at the general store in between shootouts.

Programmer Jon Wells loved the game so much that he started developing a Commodore 64 port for it some time around 1987, though he eventually abandoned itafter completing 80 percent of the necessary work due to his inexperience with Assembly to manage The Wild Bunch's gunfight bitmap sequence and music.

Wells returned to the project 20 years later upon finding out that someone had unearthed the conversion on a set of disks, and plans to celebrate the game's 25th anniversary by releasing the port, Wanted: The Wild Bunch, next month through Psytronik Software (Knight 'n' Grail).

The C64 edition will have an "enhanced gunfight scene featuring samples sounds", more than 40 in-game songs and jingles, new graphics, and more -- you can see a screenshot comparison between the ZX Spectrum and Wells' versions after the break.

Psytronik will release Wanted: The Wild Bunch with at least four editions:

  1. a cheap (£1.99) digital download that you can play on a C64 emulator
  2. a Budget C64 Disk Edition (£8.99) on a C64 disk with a glossy label, instruction card, and disk sleeve.
  3. a Premium C64 Disk Edition (£12.99) on a C64 disk with a glossy label and disk sleeve, an audio music CD with Western themes from C64 games (including tracks from the port), and a clear plastic case containing full-color cover artwork.
  4. a C64 tape (£4.99) with a full-color reversible tape inlay (the front artwork is presented in the style of more modern Firebird releases, while the back is presented in the earlier "classic" Firebird style)

Screenshot comparison (ZX Spectrum at the top; C64 at the bottom):

You can read Wells' development diary for the project on his site. Preorders for the tape and disk editions are available through the Binary Zone Interactive Retro Store.