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Wii Review - 'Target: Terror'

by Erik "NekoIncardine" Ottosen on July 1, 2008 @ 1:54 a.m. PDT

Based on 2006's arcade game Target: Terror Gold, players will be able to capture the old-school flavor of fast-paced light gun shooters from gaming’s glory days of the arcades by putting you in the role of an elite counter-terrorist agent charged with protecting the U.S. from an ever-increasing wave of terrorist threats.

Genre: Shooter
Publisher: Konami
Developer: Leviathan Games
Release Date: April 22, 2008

Graphics that would look dated in 1994, sounds that were stolen from 1994 or thereabouts, and game controls that would seem dated in 1974 (during the age of the Magnavox Odyssey, one of the oldest game consoles ever to exist, and the first to have a light gun controller): These components combined into the 2004 arcade shooter known as Target: Terror. Now, in 2008, we get a port of this arcade "classic," and it manages to find almost every possible way to be worse than the original. I wouldn't have thought that possible without breaking some basic laws of game design and/or physics, but Leviathan did it.

The basic premise of Target: Terror is as generic as it gets. Terrorists have taken over one of three locations, and you go in and kill them. It's only the most popular video game premise out there these days. It seems that the terrorists have no motivation other than to take over generic terrorist targets. There are no hostage negotiations or the like here; you just go in and kill them all — the terrorists, not the hostages. If real-world politics were this simple, the entire human race would probably be dead right now, and you wouldn't be reading this review.

The mechanics of Target: Terror are quite simplistic. Enemies pop up, you shoot them before they shoot, stab or otherwise harm you. Power-ups crop up, and you shoot them to pick them up. Civilians pop up, and you shoot them to make a stupid mistake and lose a life because all too many of them look exactly like the terrorists and hold cell phones in a vaguely threatening fashion that will cause you to shoot them on reflex. Windows pop up, and you shoot them to break them in a really lame-looking animation that is still more entertaining than shooting just about anything else in this title. Oh, and you shoot away from the screen to reload because it is apparently impossible to devise a more usable mechanic, such as utilizing the entirely unused but nonetheless requested Nunchuk for reloading.

Admittedly, the basics of Target: Terror could still have produced a fun result, at least in theory. Unfortunately, the controls don't work. Leviathan could not make shots register correctly when given possibly the best technology ever devised for such games. Want to shoot off the screen? Better just flat-out cover the infrared sensors on the Wiimote, or else you're going to be literally turning around to make it register an off-screen shot. Want to shoot a target? Better hope that the on-screen crosshairs agree with you, or you'll shoot what looks like a perfect headshot, and the game will register a miss. Although it somehow managed to be OK for Sega's efforts in the genre, the Wii sensor bar can't seem to "agree" with the screen for this title, which becomes a complete and utter failure due to the excessively precise targeting that Leviathan insisted upon, which causes the above issues.

In case things weren't bad enough from a playability standpoint, the game also manages to combine the most idiot-ball-carrying terrorists ever devised. It obviously takes an entirely random length of time to hit someone with an Uzi, and one must make multiple fancy poses before slicing someone. Attacking from behind is ludicrous, as is the concept of taking any semblance of cover. Tactical maneuvering is replaced by stepping right out into the open, with both the enemy and player standing around and shooting each other pointlessly until one gets lucky. The level designs seem to have been built to ignore reality in favor of offering designs that could have been tactically interesting if you were allowed to control your movements at all.

Oh, and those level designs? Remember how I said the graphics would've looked dated in 1994? That's because the stages are pre-rendered and walked through like the interactive movies genre of earlier eras, with the most fake appearance possible. This might have actually been okay, were it not for the fact that the enemies and victims were recordings of real people, in the style of Mortal Kombat, except that instead of looking badass, the actors all manage to look quite simply stunned. Everyone dresses in random sets of street clothing, leaving only comically oversized weaponry (using pistols is beyond these bozos) to help you tell apart the terrorists from the hostages. The resulting mismatch results in full 480p graphics that don't look that bad in stills but is an unbelievable mess during gameplay, since the graphics don't even bother to use the same frame rate. Worse yet, many specific animations (such as those for lighting enemies on fire with the RPG you acquired) similarly do not match the frame rates of the actor's motions, making things not look right even when you're only considering the enemies. The result is pretty much ridiculous.

The sound fares no better, with generic and often mismatched music and voice clips that sometimes sounded like they were copied from the original Doom. The results, amazingly, aren't painful on the ears, but still come across as a failure.

I did not even know that it was possible to fail this badly at video game design while still passing the minimum requirements to see release on the Wii, and for Konami to publish it. Apparently, those minimum requirements need to be turned up a little because Target: Terror is an achievement in low quality on the Wii system. Any player who acquires this game should seek psychological help, as the title has managed to avoid having any redeeming qualities whatsoever. As if to provide a finishing bit of mockery, it is currently sold for $40 when it isn't even worth the quarter it costs to try it in the original arcade form. In a single word: avoid. Konami's newest shame is here, and it is Target: Terror.

Score: 3.0/10

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