Thursday, June 30, 2011

Gonna Be A Top Shot Hero

Remington Top Shot isn't really much of a game. It is more of a shooting range simulation. The cover advertises it as “interactive target shooting” which is accurate, but I have to wonder why the word “interactive” was required. Surely there aren't CD's out there being sold “non-interactive target shooting.” What would that even be? Twelve audio tracks of guns being fired and shell casings hitting concrete floors? The back of the case bills it as “a game for gun enthusiasts,” which tells me that 1998 was a sad time to be a gun enthusiast that could not afford to shoot a real gun or go to a real shooting range.

The game was developed by a company called Logicware, whom I have never heard of and I guess only ever released some Mac ports of PC shooters. It was published under Activision's then budget games label, Head Games. Out of respect of this publisher that has contributed greatly to the world's supply of poverty games, I am currently listening to Foreigner, which is an honor I usually reserve for watching friends play Halo, but that's a long story for another day.


Anyway, Top Shot is a simple target shooting simulation that gives you a bunch of different guns to choose from, a few different shooting range types, and of course scores to keep you interested in getting better. There are various types of rifles, shotguns, handguns, and even a machine gun. It was a pretty good selection of real life guns for 1998, though it probably pails in comparison to the modern military FPS. Being the handgun fan that I am, I picked a beat up six-shooter in a second-hand store. I didn't know how to shoot it, but I knew for sure that one gun felt good in my hands. So I started shooting. Ain't never gonna stop.

The logical place to take the pistol was to a the indoor range where you shoot at targets at modest range, but for me it was urgent that I get to the distance range where you shoot at animal-shaped targets at long distances. Top Shot is probably the only game that both my father and I played. He liked it because he liked guns in real life, and I liked it because I could shoot things and upset my father by beating his high scores. One of the games is called “One Shot, One Kill,” where you get one shot at a cut out of an animal on the distance range, and your scores is completely dependent on how well you place your shot. It would bother my dad to no end that I would take a Walther PPK to this challenge and shoot a bear in the head at 300 yards and beat his score. Apparently, in the real life world of hunting, it is considered improper to debrain a bear with a handgun, but that's just how I roll. Hey, he wanted to know what scores were, and he wanted me to show him.

That was definitely my favorite part of the game, and none of the other distance range games were any fun, but the indoor range and the simulation range are okay. After assholishly killing some virtual animal cut outs, I was feeling down and dirty, feeling kinda mean. The indoor range has a typical target range where you get more points for putting more bullets close to the bullseye, and you get more the further the target is from you. This mode is good for getting used to the automatic waiver the player has in their aim. It's not quite as bad Goldeneye's famous “Bond aim,” and it's not like you have double vision, but it is there, though it can be reduced by entering iron sights.


The most game-like section of the game is the simulation range. This is your basic shooting gallery game where targets of varying threat levels pop up and you shoot some for points, but others you leave alone because shooting them will reduce your score. This is a concept that you see in a lot of light gun games, and it has been used as the basis for minigames in other more complete games, like Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. It feels like the first time I encountered a mode like this was in Dick Tracy for the Genesis, where you would press A, B, or C to shoot at targets in the between level minigame. Wait, why the fuck haven't I written about Dick Tracy? I've spent my time on this site so foolishly, but now that I've remembered you, together we'll make history. I'll climb any mountain, sail across the story sea, if that's what it takes me, baby, to show you how much Dick Tracy means to me.

You don't have to read my mind to know what I have in mind. This game isn't all that fun, but it's a decent time waster like you might see in flash games from ten years ago. If you are interested, check it and see.

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