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The recent blog, Peace in the Era of Call of Duty  really made me think about war games that dig deeper than simply a kill streak reward. The first game that came to mind was Spec-Ops: The Line and although I haven’t played it, I began to wonder if it did the war genre as...

Gun Review

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06/06/04
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ZAP! BANG! POW! You're dead.

When I was growing up, my friends and I shot each other endlessly with all kinds of cap guns (this was before we were allowed to get BB guns). Most of them looked liked revolvers (cowboy or cop), some looked like automatics or machine guns, and my best friend had a pair of matched flintlocks that could actually shoot a ball of cork about 20 feet.

Sometime after that, some safety-nazis somewhere decided that all toy guns should have big orange thingies welded onto the end of the barrels. This was apparently so that no one would mistake them for real guns. Later they went a step further and mandated that toy guns should be painted entirely orange, or pink, or another non-gun color and be given strange, oversized shapes. I think that the only ones you can still purchase are giant, purple, bulbous waterguns (I must admit, however, that these new waterguns fire an impressive amount of water.)

My point? The new-age, kinder, gentler, mothers-against-everything have taken all the fun out of violent, warmongering toys. These modern toy guns suck, with one notable exception: the video game light gun. I've been pumping quarters into gun games ever since they appeared, and I was unrivaled at Nintendo Duck Hunt. Unlike a cap gun, you can now shoot objects and watch them react, and unlike a real gun, you won't get arrested in the process.

So it is my great pleasure to present to you the Konami Justifier and the Naki Lunar Gun, both for the Sony PlayStation.

Konami Justifier

Naki Lunar Gun

The guns look almost exactly the same on the surface: large and in a kind of 'Flash Gordon' style. The Justifier is the 'official' PSX gun, and the Naki gun was obviously modeled after it. The biggest physical difference is that the Justifier is radioactive-green.

I tested both guns with Project: Horned Owl and Crypt Killer (ahhh... if only they made Virtua Cop 2 for the PSX). Both guns performed admirably.

The response time and accuracy of the guns were absolutely equal. Both are ergonomically the same. My largest complaint applies equally to both guns: I don't like the connector cable. The cable comes out of the gun in an awkward place (the lower front portion of the grip), and is too short. The length is fine for small and medium-sized screens, but if you've got a nice big TV, you'll find yourself tethered too close to the monitor and pulling the gun out of the socket accidentally.

So is it a Mexican Standoff? No way. This is the point where the Naki Lunar Gun out-draws that vicious desperado. The Naki gun has features that the Justifier just doesn't have: auto-fire, auto-reload, and 'easy'. Some people would call this 'cheating', but just because you have options doesn't mean that you have to use them.

These options, however, have a few problems. The auto-fire has only one rate of fire, which is not compatible with all games. The auto-reload feature always reloads after six shots, but some games (like Horned Owl) give you a gun that holds more than six rounds. Finally, 'easy' mode is just a three round burst. Still, they work well on some games, and they're better than no options at all. After all, you've got to leave some room for improvement.

Don't worry though, I've saved the best part for last. The Lunar Gun also came with a laser sight (sold separately). Fantastic device, this. You can point it at people, get the cat to chase the red dot, shoot it through interestingly shaped bits of glass to create your own laser show (don't forget the Pink Floyd), and use it to aim at your favorite game. The red dot is easily visible on the screen and actually makes aiming a snap!

The laser is powered by metal contacts on the bottom of the barrel, so you don't need to buy any batteries, but this also means you can't use it without your PSX and gun. Nontheless, it's Very Cool. So while the options aren't perfect, the Lunar Gun is definitely a cut above the Justifier.

Well, that's it from the Game Revolution gun range. Praise the lord and pass the ammunition.


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