“ Publisher: Namco / Genre: Shooter „
Point Blank was developed as an arcade machine shoot-em-up in the early 1990's and was one of the first light gun games to be ported across to the Playstation 1 console. I'll get the negative out of the way first. The old light guns will not work on LCD or Plasma televisions. The technology inside the gun means that a CRT (Cathode Ray Tube) TV is necessary, so don't go buying any of these games without first investing in an old television. To be fair, the price of the television probably isn't much of an issue as they can be snapped up for less than a £20 note, it's the space needed! Personally I have a small set-up in a corner of my spare room which I can wire up in about 5 minutes, but take into account that a good space is necessary for the shooting games. Now the good bits. This is a family friendly shooting game (and there aren't many of those!) which focuses more on silly characters, bizarre challenges and skill/accuracy rather than the death and destruction you'll see in most other light-gun games. We are guided around by Dr Don and Dr Dan, completing the challenges they set for us and saving them from general peril. One player arcade mode is an hour well spent with a truly varied selection of games. Maybe we'll have a single bullet and have to shoot a falling apple or a tossed coin, other times we'll have unlimited ammo and have to shoot a falling car to pieces before it lands and squashes us! The majority of challenges involve skill, with a lot of 'shoot numbered targets' and 'shoot the red targets, miss the blue ones' games. It's a really refreshing change to find an engrossing, fun shooter which is basically target practice with little or no story. If one player is a good way to kill an hour, the two player game might well cost you a whole day! Almost the same as the single player but with the added pressure of a competitor aiming for the same targets you are - it adds a lot of excitement. The graphics are cartoony, light and fun - nothing heavy or depressing here at all. Vivid colours make this easy on the eyes and a real treat to play. The game spawned two sequels. Can you guess what they were called? Point Blank 2 and Point Blank 3. Both as good as the first and each adding just enough to warrant separate purchases I would say. PB2 is easy to come by, but Point Blank 3 is quite a rarity as it came out a couple of years after the PS2 console was released. Even so, all three games and a gun can be had for around £30, and personally I think they are well worth the investment - if you already have the console and TV. If not, and you have the room, the old full size arcade cabinets can be had for sensible money and are supercool! My wife says no though.
Point Blank 2 is the sequel to the highly successful and very fun Point Blank, both games consist of a whole host of mini games intended to be used with the Namco lightgun that could be bought with either this or one of the many Time-Crisis games (which are equally a good shooting experience) but either can be played without. Now if you imagine a crazy shooting range along with your two little intrepid explorer heroes Dr Don and Dr Dan getting you to watch their back, you have some quite fast paced fun on your hands. There are all sorts of games, shooting birds before they can carry your little guys away, or shooting sharks before they can jump on board your sailboat and carry them off for dinner amongst some quite tense 1 shot games i.e. a William Tell apple on the head situation or stacked up targets which you have to shoot down the line through and hit them all with the single shot. The game ramped up on the higher difficulties can actually be quite a challenge and it's a shame this sort of game has dissapeared more or less from the public eye, a game of this calibre (pun intended!) would feel right at home on the Wii as a family fun 4 player game. You could in fact play it 2 player with 2 guns or 2 controllers or any combination of that on this version which is a lot of fun to compete against your friends or sabotage their efforts. Basicly you pick your stage, Beginner, Advanced, Expert or Very Hard/Insane. Depending on which you pick you get more levels to choose from off a big pyramid grid until you get to the top. It'll zoom in on a part of the pyramid and then you can choose to play 1 of 4 games and work your way up, you can choose to play them in any order that you like and can afford to skip or lose a few of the ones you dislike as long as your lives hold out at the time. After you make it to the top you have a massive great big fireworks show in which you are rewarded for your herculean effort to keep this little egg shaped guys alive. It could be a hard one to get hold of these days but i would definitely check it out if your looking for some playstation nostalgia or just a damn solid namco classic lightgun game because they dont come as thick, as fast and as clever as this turns out to be very often. Infuriating and a hell of a lot of fun, protecting characters that look suspiciously like Burt and Ernie from Sesame Street has never been so rewarding. Shoot the guys on the opening title screen, as they parachute in! The little monkey sound they make is priceless, although i guess i could just be increasingly easily amused!