No wonder Rainbow Six headed for Vegas. Fighting terrorists is boring.
The casual gaming market is a lot like an ass-shaped cheesecake. Everyone wants a piece. Since its launch, the Wii has been bombarded with endless arcade ports, vintage re-releases, slight revisions of older titles, and a slew of quick chop-jobs. At their best, these games transport us to an Edenic bygone gaming era when sprites kicked polygons in the nuts, and pixels were as big as a house.
[image1]At their worst, we watch in horror as a game developer resurrects the tortured soul of a deceased title that should have stayed dead. Without question, Target: Terror should have remained six feet under.
Target: Terror is a port of an arcade light gun game from 2004, and the Wii update does nothing to justify saving this game from well-deserved oblivion. In this tragedy, you’re tasked with shooting terrorists in one of three locations: an airport, a nuclear facility, and of all places, the Golden Gate Bridge. You will know a terrorist when you see one because they all look like professional wrestlers, dominatrixes, or Neo from The Matrix. Alternatively, you can take the reverse tactic and shoot anyone who doesn’t look like a librarian or a boy scout. In either case, spotting a terrorist is about as difficult as spotting the black guy sitting in the audience at a prog-rock concert.
Yes, Target: Terror is deliberately corny, and its live-action enemies glory in their own cheeseballitude. It can be mildly amusing to see a head-shaven steroid junky pop up in front of you, flex his muscles, and wait patiently for you to pop a cap in one of his swollen pectorals. But very quickly, you recognize that there are only a few different enemies and even fewer ways for them to attack you. They can spray a barrage of bullets your way, lob an explosive at you, or attack you at very close range. Nothing else. Sure, most light gun games adhere to a similar division of enemy labor, but other games usually at least try to disguise how similar all of the enemies are.
As you progress through each of the three areas, you’ll also notice that the difficulty doesn’t change much. Later levels do include slightly more enemies on screen at once, but their ability to attack and defend doesn’t change at all. This doesn’t mean the game’s easy by any measure; quite the opposite. It starts out challenging and remains so throughout the entire game.
[image2]Expect to die often. Target: Terror isn’t impossibly difficult, but it is often unfairly so. Many enemies hit you the instant they appear on screen, giving you no opportunity to retaliate in time. Explosive-lobbing terrorists throw grenades that bounce more unpredictably than a tiny rubber bouncy ball, and rocket-firing baddies launch RPGs at you with more twists and turns than the plot of Final Fantasy XII. It’s a game that assumes you will take many hits and die frequently. There’s no dodging, avoiding, or blocking bullets, and you simply can’t fire quickly enough to prevent some enemies from always hitting you first.
Because there’s not much strategy or versatility in the gameplay, Target: Terror feels like the shooter equivalent of bubble wrap. But instead of the satisfying plastic pop of the bubble, you hear a distorted groan or scream. It’s a game that doesn’t demand any skill or thought, and as your
hours minutes spent with the title wear on, you stop paying attention to what you’re doing and just absently point and shoot while daydreaming about more important (and possibly more fun) things like pulling your clean socks out of the washing machine or scrubbing the grout in the bathroom shower.
There are a few moments of levity that could make this a game worth popping in for a good laugh or two. But the lack of variety kills any fun you might have had. In addition to the main stages, you can also unlock a handful of bonus levels that include activities like hitting mines at a driving range where your goal is to blow up as many golf carts as possible in a limited amount of time. These meager extras might get a small chuckle or smile out of you, but I can’t guarantee it.
Target: Terror includes two-player options, but as it is, this game is barely enough of a game for just one player. If you put two people into a single tollbooth, the job doesn’t get any more exciting. Same situation here. Frankly, you’d have much more fun with a friend if you just sat on opposite sides of the couch, pointed the Wii remotes at one another, and said “Bang! Bang!”
[image3]Graphically, the game sets the bar for how bad a new game can look, even when compared to some of the other visually lackluster Wii releases. The use of live-action actors was a novelty back in the arcade glory days of NARC, Pit Fighter, and Mortal Kombat in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. Seeing this technique now –almost twenty years later—makes it almost funny, but mostly it just looks cheap.
The environments are as dull as rocks (and by “rocks”, I mean depthless objects that only vaguely resemble real rocks). Each stage is introduced by a five-second clip of a newscaster informing us that terrorists are attacking, which is followed by an equally long load screen. That it takes so long to load up levels that look so technologically undemanding is inexplicable, and you’ll find yourself wishing (as I did) that you could take some practice shots at that obnoxious newswoman while you wait.
Every other rail shooter that’s been released for the Wii is better than this one. Target: Terror is unnecessarily difficult and every bit as hollow as it is ugly. It falls short of being deliciously campy, but if you are feeling the urge to take on droves of WWE rejects and think that concepts like “strategy”, “fun”, or “complexity” are overrated, go ahead and give it a shot. Just keep in mind that 40 bucks could also get you lots and lots of bubble wrap.