In a climate
dominated by long, involved RPGs, boring (and often
incomprehensible to the adult mind) N64-style kiddie games,
military-style first person shooters, and creepy (and often
bloody) survival horror releases, Point Blank is something truly
different and unique. In fact, you can say that it's one of
those games, all too rare of late, of the sort that everyone
(and their grandmother) can play. More, let's take that one
better, and say that it's FUN. It's also one of those rather
rare (one of a whopping two, unless you count its sequel) light
gun based games for the Playstation, who seems to have missed
out almost entirely on the potential of the subgenre (note the
strangely-hyped gunlessness of the PS2).
game brings back fond memories of playing Duck Hunt on the NES;
in fact, Point Blank even includes a clay pigeon skeet shoot
level like the one in the now-classic Nintendo shooter.
Gratefully, I can reassure the veteran gamer that unlike the
earlier game, there is no dog present to laugh at you derisively
when you miss a target (I can't be the only player out there
harboring a secret desire for an option to shoot that dog down).
Point Blank also offers a Duck Hunt-like stage where you have to
gun down as many ducks as possible before they float (and fly)
How can you
not like a game where they not only don't penalize you, but in
fact, encourage you to shoot the main characters? You
actually get extra points for shooting Dr. Don and Dr. Dan in
certain of Point Blank's many games and levels. There are over
70 different timed scenarios designed to test your speed and
accuracy with both stationary and (generally rather fast) moving
targets. Even an ace at a game like Time Crisis may find
themselves receiving a low score for accuracy (or worse, with
good accuracy, but losing several "lives", by hitting
a few of the various bombs, innocent bystanders, and targets not
of your designated color) in some or all of the game's generally
soundtrack in the game is cheesy, but great for an arcade port.
Much to my surprise, I even caught myself humming along a few
times (though that may be due as much to the level of
concentration each level requires as to its inherent catchiness,
particularly given the often ridiculously short amount of time
and/or bullets given to achieve said level's minimum point
goal). Each stage has its own (generally unique) music
appropriate to the particular setting of the stage in question.
enough, I found it both easier and more fun passing the light
gun controller back and forth while playing with friends in the
one player mode, as opposed to the game's set two player mode.
Everyone present commented how the single screen setup of the
two player mode made it far too difficult to figure out who
shoot what. Many times, I finished a level thinking I did well,
only to discover the person playing against me had shot the same
targets that I was aiming for out from under me.
also a Party Play (Round Robin) Mode, which lets up to 8 people
play by passing the gun back and forth and comparing scores at
the end of the round. The loser faces some rather odd penalties
such as being told to smell the winner's feet! There are two
ways to play in this mode: Score Battle (as mentioned above) and
Tournament Battle, where losers are taken out by elimination.
one of the parts which seemed to hold the most promise turned
out to be the game's biggest misstep: I am referring to the
would-be RPG style "Quest Mode". In the Quest Mode Dr.
Don and Dr. Dan travel to the creatively named "Point Blank
Island" in search of "the legendary Gunball",
fighting various monsters along the way. The fights are similar
to the levels in the arcade mode. Movement around the map is
determined by shooting the screen in your desired direction.
Much like any traditional RPG, you will need to buy new items to
help you along in your journey, but things are so silly here
that you actually need to buy new clothes at some point or
people won't talk to you