Point Blank is a game for the Nintendo DS. The game is based on the arcade game where you can play forty mini games relating to shooting. Although there are a few 3D levels, the game is primarily viewed in 2D.
There are five different modes in the game, with four different difficulty levels and with forty mini games to complete. The game is played using the stylus, which is very effective when selecting items which you want to use your weapons on. It's a much better way of playing games such as this than on other consoles, and I found actually playing the game very easy and comfortable.
The different games are all based on similar themes, ie, using the stylus to select items. The games vary only slightly, for example, there are levels for shooting birds and levels for shearing sheep. But the concept behind the game really doesn't change very much.
You can choose to play the game in either challenge (brain massage) mode, where you work through the different challenges and levels, or alternatively, the free play mode where you can pick which level to play and keep try to beat your own score. The different options are useful, although the brain massage mode was the one that is probably the best start into the game.
I often find games with lots of sub games initially seem really appealing, because it looks like a game that will last some time. However, very often the games can become very repetitive because they aren't that deep, and this game certainly does suffer from that problem. The challenges aren't that hard, and there often seems little point in replaying levels once the initial target is hit. Beating a previous high score is always pleasing, but in my view, it's not enough to give the game lasting appeal.
The brain massage mode does help lengthen the game out to some degree, as it provides a framework to the various challenges. More importantly, it also unlocks certain extra levels in the game once targets are met, so it gives some point and structure to the game.
In terms of the graphics, I found them to be reasonably varied, certainly showing some creativity given the limitations of the console. The sound effects and music in the game might be irritating to some, but I found them relatively fun to listen to, and they added some atmosphere to the game.
The game can also be played by two players, and this function is well thought through and fun. You need only one cartridge between you, which makes the multi player mode much more accessible.
Note that this game is rated 12+, so wouldn't be suitable for younger children. Parents should note that there is a lot of shooting in the game, and so would have to make their own mind up of course whether the game was suitable for their own children.
The game is currently available for fifteen pounds on Amazon, or just over ten pounds currently on Amazon if you wanted a second-hand copy of the game. You might be able to find it even cheaper on eBay.
Overall, I enjoyed the game, but it does have a very limited life span, unless you really are one of those players who loves to beat their own score in a game. If you are, there are lots of opportunities and levels to do that with in this game, but for me, it was fun for a while but then I found it just didn't have enough depth to be playable after that.
Point Blank for the Nintendo DS is centred around the original arcade game without a light gun, which begs the question "How can you have a first person shooting game without a light gun?"
For those of you who have played Brothers in Arms on the Nintendo DS this is solved by having a sight on screen that can be moved around via the D pad. Why this has not been incorporated in to Point Blank on the DS I'll never know. You can't "shoot" a target by tapping at it! It's just ludicrous.
****The mini games****
Point Blank is based around a series of mini-games. There is no story line and no real objectives other than to score as many points as you can.
I feel it was this simplicity that made the original such a great hit in the arcade and like the arcade, the DS version contains many of the original mini-games, including the Ninjas, Ducks, Criminals, Bees.
If you've ever played a Point Blank game before, you'll instantly recognise these mini-games.
Each mini-game is explained before it starts, detailing what targets to hit, or not to hit as the case may be, how much time or bullets you have, and how many targets you need to hit to reach your quota for that mini-game. There is nothing complicated it should just be simple and fun game play.
The graphics are nostalgic and remain unchanged from the arcade version, which is the only decent thing about this game. Thankfully, the creators have not tried to be too clever and changed it in to a 3D format, it just would not have worked.
Everything is clear, and the games cartoon style graphics really do suit the DS.
The sound effects are weak, repetitive and do the game no justice whatsoever. I find the best thing to do with this game is to mute the sound by turning it off.
****Difficulty and playability****
Point Blank is no longer the challenging game that it was designed to be. I can remember spending hours (and a lot of my parents' money) in the arcade perfecting how to hold, aim and shoot a light gun. There was always a great sense of achievement when you actually hit what you were aiming for.
I also used to play the game with my father who was totally against computer games and had no interest other than the shooting games (like House of the Dead, Point Blank, Time Crisis and the clay pigeon shooting game where the player had to deal with a shot gun sized light gun). It was his passion for target shooting which led him to the virtual shooting games in the arcade leading to many hours of father-son bonding time.
As already mentioned, in the absence of a light gun targets are now hit by touching them with the stylus on the bottom screen. Where's the difficulty in that? Where's the satisfaction in hitting targets? Correct. There is none.
As things speed up and get a bit more frantic the difficulty does increase but not the same extent as the arcade version. I find that I tend to hit the screen harder, probably through my heavy handedness, and am in danger of destroying the touch screen.
The game has many modes, including:
1) Arcade. This can be set to different difficulty levels (Practice, Beginner, Advanced and Insane) so it's accessible to all players.
2) Game Museum. This is just a place where 4 replicas of classic arcade machine games are stored. These can be accessed via the Free play option, so it's pointless function.
3) Free play. This is used primarily to beat high scores, or to play a specific game.
4) Brain Massage. This Mode is just bizarre. You choose a group of 4 games, and after completion, you are given a score and rank for the day depending on how you did. The titles on offer are ''different'' to say the least, some examples are Pro Hide-n-Seeker and Wrestling Beautician. I find this mode gets boring very quickly, and there's no real incentive to receive all the titles, because it feels like the tiles are generated randomly.
5) Versus mode. This supports single card play and can be quite good fun with a friend.
In my opinion Point Blank should have remained in the arcade, or only released on consoles that can support a light gun such as the Xbox, Wii, PS etc. It was not designed for, nor is it suited to handheld games consoles such as the Nintendo DS.
The arcade version was a challenge, whereas this is not. Whilst it does not suit seasoned gamers it is good for younger players. My 5 year old nephew loves it and it is assisting him with his hand eye co-ordination.
Whilst this game does provide some entertainment, I think it will be short lived for seasoned gamers as the simplicity of this game will become a bore very quickly.
The graphics are the replica of the arcade machine which is the best feature of this game. It has not been 'modernised' or changed to be 3D or anything like that. It remains unspoiled and as it should be.
I would not recommend this game unless you can get it for a heavily discounted price in a bargain bucket somewhere.
I have lost count of how many hours I have spent playing Point Blank 1, 2 and 3 on my playstation. I love all three of them, to the point that I still have a playstation setup with an old 50hz tv and 2 GCon45 light guns so I (and my girlfriend) can get a quick fix of the shooting madness.
When I saw that there was a version of Point Blank on the DS I very quickly decided that I would have to get it.
As soon as I saw the game playing, I knew it would be almost exactly as I had thought. It has virtually identical presentation to the Playstation games. It is still presented in a kind of Fair ground style shooting targets, ducks, bottles soft toys (and Ninjas) the games are very similar to those on the previous games. I did thin it might be a little too easy to play using the stylus but infact the smaller screens and hence targets work really quite well and test both your accuracy and speed with the stylus to the limit.
This is the kind of game I can dip in and out of easily which I like, if I want to just spend a few minutes playing some of my favourite games I can.
Although this a great game, with the same strong presentation as the Playstation versions, and good fun in it's own right, I'm afriad it just can't compete with playing on a tv with a light gun, I know it was never going to be able to but I had hoped it would still serve up some of the same satisfaction levels as the playstation versions did when you did really well in a round, but in this way it is lacking a little. Don't get me wrong I still play this game, it's good because I can sit and play it in the lounge rather than being relegated to the bedroom to play with the guns, but I for one am keeping my fingers crossed that some day soon there will be a Point Blank for the Wii!!!
According to Amazon UK, this game isnt due out in Britain until 08 December 2006 so, if youre reading this before then, Ill be able to give you a little sneak preview into the game, thanks to the magic of imported US games.
Ive played Point Blank in its arcade format and on the excellent Playstation port, and I was interested in how well it would make the transition to the Nintendo DS. In fact, my first thought before playing was how easy the game would be, using a stylus to press the screen, instead of the light-gun used in its earlier incarnations. That in mind, lets start with the gameplay and controls portions of the review.
For those of you not familiar with Point Blank, it was originally an arcade light-gun game. It is made up of short levels (most last around 25 seconds) where you have to shoot targets to either make up a quota of hits, defend someone from attack, or solve a basic puzzle (e.g. Shooting the matching shape, etc).
One of the main differences between this game and other light-gun games is that most of the targets are not meant to be people, which eliminates some of the perhaps nastier elements of shooting games. Even those targets that look like people (there a few shoot the criminals levels) are clearly meant to be pictures on target boards, like those in a shooting range.
Point Blank for the Nintendo DS has five modes of play, although theyre not really all that different from each other. More of that after the descriptions:
This is the main body of the game, and the part that most closely follows the arcade original (hence the name!). Here, you select your difficulty level practice, beginner, advanced or insanity and you are presented with eight levels (or four in the case of practice mode), with a bonus round in the middle and another at the end. There are forty different levels available in all, so theres a good chance youll get a reasonably different selection each time you play.
In the mode, you choose a level (any one of those available in arcade mode), then the difficulty for that level, and are scored accordingly at the end.
Included simply due to the popularity of another DS title, this mode promises to massage and train your brain. First, you select one of several games, with names such as Good Luck or Marksman. You are then presented with a selection of levels (again, taken from those available in arcade mode) based on that theme. Once you have played through them all, you are scored on accuracy, response time, etc, and awarded a funny title. My favourite so far has been Improvisational Doctor. Every time you gain a title it is added to a list, the idea being that you can keep playing and get them all. (See Extras, below)
Four of the levels (and yes, you guessed it, they are available in the above three modes, too!) are based on old Namco arcade machines, giving you the chance to shoot clay pigeons, crocodiles, crabs or alien gangsters.
The game supports local wireless play with a single cartridge, making it ideal to play against a friend. You can compete to see who can fill their target quota first, or play more precision-based games where one player is red and the other blue and you have to only shoot your own coloured targets.
As you can tell from the descriptions, the arcade, freeplay, brain massage and museum modes are really just different ways of presenting the same content. Once youre playing the actual level, the menu screen you used to get to it doesnt really matter. Freeplay at least lets you practice on a specific level and brain massage has the silly titles you can win, but none of the modes really add to the depth of the game as a whole.
Another odd feature is the fact the arcade mode gives you unlimited continues. Therefore, if you lose the three lives you start with youre simply given the choice of stopping or keeping on going with your game and a fresh set of lives. This is especially strange in the brain massage mode, where you can lose your three lives and the game just keeps going regardless. This all makes Point Blank a game about high scores, as the only price of poor performance is a lower score at the end.
This game is entirely controlled by the stylus, with the rest of the controls non-functional. So, how does the Nintendo DSs stylus compare to standing back and shooting a screen? Surprisingly well, actually. The accuracy is really strict, meaning you have to jab the stylus spot on to hit the smaller targets. This alleviated my initial fear that it would take some of the difficulty out of the game.
It also adds for me at any rate another layer of difficulty as my hand holding the stylus kept getting in the way of my view of the screen!
STORY & CHARACTERS
There is a story of sorts its written in the instruction manual only, and pertains to the brain massage mode. Theres something about a search for a tome of wisdom, a secret laboratory, and a talking parrot, but its all completely superfluous to the game itself.
Similarly, the characters of Doctor Dan (round head and moustache, like Mario), Doctor Don (long head and moustache, like Luigi hey, somebody call Phoenix Wright, we need an attorney in here!), Doctor Brainstein and Cheeky the Parrot (the only character in the game without a doctorate!) are really little more than decoration for the menu screens and some of the levels.
GRAPHICS & DISPLAY
On some of the levels, the graphics can be a little hard to make out, especially when you need to make shot based on judgement rather than accuracy. This isnt too bad though and shouldnt impair your enjoyment too much.
Taken straight from the arcade original, the sound effects are clear and appropriate bottles smash, bees buzz and little men say ouch! when you shoot them. The music is frenetic and adds to the excitement of the game.
All of the levels in the game are available to you at the start. The only unlockable content is in the Brain Massage mode, where you can unlock another three selections of levels if you gain ten, twenty-five or fifty distinct titles. As the titles are given according to how you play, you might need to play deliberately badly to gain enough.
As with a lot of games, this one really comes into its own when playing against another person in multiplayer mode. Other than that, there is a lot of fun there if youre after a quick fix of gaming, and it will keep you coming back for another play later on, but its really not set up for long sessions of single-player use. That said, if youve got a short commute on the train, youre waiting for a bus, or you just want to cleanse the mental palate between marathon gaming sessions on other games, you could do far worse than picking up this fast and fun title.
Point Blank, the popular shooting series has returned to bring its irreverent humour and style to the Nintendo DS, Featuring games from all three versions in the series, Point Blank is the ultimate collection of mini shooting games.Test your hand eye coordination you tap the touch screen furiously to accomplish your goals! Using the stylus as tour shooting stick, you will be tested in four different difficulty levels in over 40 different stages including Namco's popular coin-op arcade series digitized for on the go gaming.