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Dueling is a gameplay mechanic in Call of Juarez, Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood and Call of Juarez: Gunslinger. During some levels, the player character is challenged by another gunslinger to a duel. This serves as a form of boss battle in the series.


The formal concept of a duel developed out of the medieval and older pre-Christian practices such as the Viking Age holmgang. Judicial duels were deprecated by the Lateran Council of 1215. However, in 1459 (MS Thott 290 2) Hans Talhoffer reported that in spite of Church disapproval, there were nevertheless seven capital crimes that were still commonly accepted as resolvable by means of a judicial duel. Most societies did not condemn duelling, and the victor of a duel was regarded not as a murderer but as a hero; in fact, his social status often increased. During the early Renaissance, duelling established the status of a respectable gentlemen, and was an accepted manner to resolve disputes. Duelling in such societies was seen as an alternative to less regulated conflict.

The first published code duello, or "code of dueling", appeared in Renaissance Italy The first formalised national code was France's, during the Renaissance. In 1777, Ireland developed a code duello, which was the most influential in American duelling culture. In the days of the American Old West, there are several accounts of two men deciding to settle their differences by a duel, most oftenly held in the middle of a street. In reality, these duels were rarely documented. Duels became a staple of Old West cinema throughout the 20th century.

Call of Juarez[]

Dueling relies mainly on reflexes. During the duel, the player waits for the countdown to reach zero before drawing, unable to use their gun earlier. They must reach for their gun by moving the mouse/right stick down, and then raising the gun to aim. With the crosshair, they must then kill the duel opponent to win. During the duel, the player can lean left and right to avoid enemy fire. In the Xbox 360 version, in addition to Singeplayer and Multiplayer there is a mode called Duel Challenges, which offers ten duels with brief background descriptions of opponents, most of which are fought in one form or another in the story mode.


  • City Scum (Only in Duel Challenges on Xbox 360, it is a fistfight in the campaign)
  • Clyde Forrester
  • Ned "The Plague"
  • Unidentified Outlaw
  • Chet (Only in Duel Challenges on Xbox 360, it is a fistfight in the campaign)
  • McClyde Brothers
  • Ty Stewart
  • Los Banditos (Only in the Duel Challenges on Xbox 360)
  • Tom Manson (Only in Duel Challenges on Xbox 360, it is a boss fight in the campaign)
  • Juan "Juarez" Mendoza
  • Horse Thief (Extra Mission on Xbox 360 version)
  • "Bloody" Jack (Extra Mission on Xbox 360 version)
  • Grizzwald (Extra Mission on Xbox 360 version)

Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood[]

Chapter IV.jpg

Enemies will step to the left or right to throw off the player's focus, which blurs the screen and causes them to miss their shot. To prevent this, players must match the enemy's movement in the opposite direction. Later opponents move more frequently and alternate between directions. In addition, the player must use the mouse/right stick to keep their hand close to their gun; but if the player gets too close to drawing, Thomas/Ray will wave their finger 'No' potentially making them helpless when the opponent draws. Once the bell sounds, the player must then reach for your their weapon with the mouse/stick, aim, and shoot. If the player isn't fast enough, the duelist will take them out with a single shot.


Call of Juarez: Gunslinger[]

Duel with John Wesley Hardin.jpg

The dueling mechanism is completely overhauled compared to previous generations.

Focus and Speed[]

There are two key parameters, namely "Focus" and "Speed".

"Focus" is by far the most important factor. It determines the quality of "bullet time" for the actual shootout. The higher the focus percentage, the higher the time-slowing factor will be, effectively granting Silas more time to draw, aim, and dodge. If Focus is too low, there will be no chance to notice the enemy drawing his gun, leading to a certain, sudden death.

To attain focus, the player must use their mouse/right stick to keep the crosshair trained on their opponent. Enemies will move, in an attempt to throw off Focus. The crosshair must stay relatively steady to fill the Focus meter. The size of the crosshair will shrink as it simultaneously zooms in on the opponent. If the crosshair is off target, Focus will decrease and camera will slightly zoom out.

"Speed" determines the time to complete the draw, i.e. the time from clicking the mouse to the appearance of the crosshair. To increase Speed, hand position must be constantly adjusted. Speed will increase at an optimal rate when Silas' hand is right above the gun, and the increase will be slower if his hand is slightly off-center. If hand drifts too far away, Speed may even decrease.

Fairness and Honor[]

Oddly, there will be no bell as in previous generations. The only reference will be the opponent's move. To put it simple, Silas must draw AFTER his opponent in order to be considered "honorable". It is possible to draw first once the heartbeat starts, however it is considered "dishonorable" and will forfeit any and all XP bonus (for story mode) and points (for duel mode) for the kill.


By pressing "A" and "D" or using left analog stick it is possible to lean left and right. Leaning allows the player to dodge enemy bullets during the duel, and helps shift target faster when there is more than one opponent (only applicable in Dalton Brothers case). To prevent the player from always achieving "bloodless victory", the opponent will sooner or later fire a bullet that cannot be dodged.

The duel with John Wesley Hardin in Story Mode is a special one, where dodging is instructed and must be used to stay alive.

Mexican Standoff[]

Introduced near the end of the storyline, Mexican Standoff is an unique variant of a duel, in which two opponents are standing simuteneously, and the player must lock on the one who is staring at Silas to gain focus. If the said opponent turns his attention away the player must rapidly switch to the other by pressing "Q" or "E".


Score ("bounty" or XP) will begin to diminish as Silas draws his gun, indicated by a stopwatch. The score is dependent on the total time to defeat an enemy. The shorter it takes, the more "bounty" will be perserved. A headshot grants additional points in Duel Mode, but makes no difference in Story Mode.