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Shooting Gallery

Genre: Light Gun Developer: Sega Publisher: Sega Players: 1-2 Released: 1987

Light Gun Games are a great past time for me. Thankfully, Sega released a large selection of games that took advantage of its Light Phaser peripheral. While most of them fell pretty short of being able to be called decent, Shooting Gallery came in and held up and at least remains fun in small doses and works pretty well too as a “pass the controller” game for a video gaming party.

The game has eight rounds broken into four themes: birds, balloons, balls and pipes, and space ships. Each theme covers two rounds and then the game loops back to the beginning with a much harder twist. Each round gives you a target requirement that must be hit to pass before it starts and if you miss the required amount even once, it’s a “game over.”

As I stated earlier, the game is fun in small doses and each round offers just enough new tricks to keep you guessing.  In rounds three and four you have to fire at balloons, and if you miss them but are close they fly and weave all over the place until they float off screen. In rounds seven and eight, you have to fire at spaceships which can only be hit when their shields go down, usually only for a split second at a time. These twists are what gives the game some needed flair.

The graphics are bright and cartoony just like they should be for a target shooting game aimed at kids. The sound effects work for such a simple game but aren’t memorable, but the biggest issue I have with the game is with how limited Shooting Gallery is and with its options. As soon as the game is fired up, you pull the trigger on the phaser to start the game. Shooting Gallery is obviously aimed at kids, but the difficulty seems a bit steep for that age group. Some difficulty options would be welcomed, as most games are only going to last five or so minutes. I would not have felt like I got my money’s worth if I bought this as a kid with limited allowance money.

Despite Sega’s lacking effort on this game, what’s here is fun for a while. It’s a good game to have as cheap filler for a collection but it lacks any real substance after that. It would’ve fared far better for me if the programmers gave you a few tries at each round instead of only letting you fail one round. Also, I honestly think this would’ve felt like a better value if Sega had combined this game along with a handful of its other simplistic light gun games into one cartridge and charged a couple of bucks more for the whole package. As it stands, Shooting Gallery is a fun but forgettable cartridge to own.

SCORE: 6 out of 10

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