Target: Terror is the "ultimate arcade light-gun shooter." At least that’s what it says on the back. It would definitely be the ultimate experience if you were into games with shoddy controls, graphics from two generations previous (you think we are joking?) and hammed-up acting. Scarily, there’s a large group of gamers that enjoy this sort of thing.
Ported from the arcade original, the Wii version pits the player against an endless army of terrorists, all of whom have to be gunned down before they get up to more mischief. Some of them wear hoodies, others have helicopter gunships (well-financed bad guys this month) and yet more are voluptuous leather-clad vixens who like nothing more than wielding automatic weapons.
Moving on rails from one position to the next, the action takes place over 9 levels in the staple terrorist hang-outs: an airport, the Golden Gate bridge and a nuclear power plant. An unlockable 747 hijack level completes the final roster of 10 levels. Whilst generic, there’s lots of places for evil terrorists to jump out from/drop down from/pop up from. Each scenario is briefly introduced by a tongue-in-cheek reporter who is very excited about going “live to see the action. RIGHT NOW”. Each arena is beautifully rendered in PS1-quality 3D old-school-o-vision™ and contains a variety of exciting objects, such as barrels and crates that can be shot to reveal weapon power-ups. Some of these are really useful, like the shotgun, the machine gun and the comedy electric-shock gun. Others, like the grenade launcher, can be detrimental to health, especially if some coke/prayer-fuelled nutter, wrapped in dynamite, suddenly appears in the foreground whilst you are trying to take out someone in the distance. Ouch. The flame-thrower is plain useless. Even the extra-life packs are a giant trap most of the time. Because they divert your attention away from the job of filling the nearest addidas tracky- and balaclava-clad killer with lead, a life will often be lost in the process of gaining one.
The good news is that death-rays from orbiting satellites can be called in to clear out a particularly badly infested area. Just hit a satellite icon to add this to the arsenal. Amazingly, these auto-aim with pin-point accuracy to eradicate the enemy, even indoors or in underground tunnels. Brilliant.
The terrorists are animated using digitised 2D sprites which are scaled to fit whichever bit of scenery they are next to. Think Mortal Kombat to get an idea of what’s going on here. For the younger readers who we probably lost there completely, imagine the characters being made up from lots of little pixelated photos and you’ll get the general gist of things. Essentially, each enemy type will look and move exactly the same each time you see them.
Whilst being hilariously dated, since this is a light-gun game, graphical finesse isn’t the highest priority. Unfortunately, being able to point the controller at targets and pick them off in an accurate and repeatable fashion is the priority, and Target: Terror messes this up a treat. At first it seemed that sprite-edge detection doesn’t work properly, but on further investigation, there’s just a nasty case of aim-lag. The on-screen targeting reticule/cursor trails behind actual movements of the remote like an adoring puppy. If you hang around long enough, it will eventually catch up and this can be improved by increasing a 'sensitivity' setting. This goes from 1-5, but even 5 isn’t nearly good enough. Reloading the weapons is another area of disappointment – it should be a quick case of aiming off-screen and pulling the trigger, but due to the lag, the only way to ensure another clip is to exaggerate the movement e.g. aim up into the air, thus giving the target time to catch up. Certainly, after playing Ghost Squad and noting how well the aiming works in that, the controls in Target: Terror are horribly broken.
This problem can be worked around by learning enemy placement and pre-empting things, and so, after a few hours, it becomes a little bit fun to play. Anyone punishing themselves enough to get to this stage of enlightenment will also need to check out the 'Justice' mode – wield two guns at once for even more aiming confusion. Obviously practice helps, as does being ambidextrous, but it’s worth a shot.
Due to the hopeless aiming control and the way some enemies reduce your health immediately, there’s no hope of completing it on one credit. Luckily you are given 30 from the off, and each time you fail to complete the levels, you’ll be given another 10. 60 or 70 will be needed to see the end of the final level. At the end of each checkpoint and level, you will laughably be graded on headhots, accuracy and damage, giving an overall score.
In an extremely lacklustre attempt to spice things up a bit, shooting enough of certain types of items such as windows, barrels or spotlights will suddenly throw the player into one of 10 universally dreadful mini-games. For example, Ninja terrorists throwing explosive turkeys at you for 20 seconds. Not very funny and not very good. Once unlocked, these are available from the main menu, but are features you will almost certainly never use.
Target: Terror could have been a reasonable light-gun shooter - presuming you can appreciate the awesomely old-ashioned appearances in a "so bad, it's good" type way - but the lack of control affects the accuracy too much for anyone to purchase this purely for the play experience. Only pick this up if you're the sort of person who buys supermarket own-brand bog roll and enjoys the rough sawdust texture.
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