Hands-on / Target: Terror

You might be asking why, with the plethora of interviews, hands on experiences and interesting panels that we’re going to be presenting to you this week from the New York City Comic Convention, would I choose Konami’s Target: Terror to be the first game to tell you about. Well, there are two reasons. The first is that the game comes out this week so telling you about it soon is a good idea to keep the story timely. The second though is because Target:Terror, at least from my hands on time with it, is the first game I have ever played that is literally so bad it becomes good.

The game is a direct, and I’m mean direct since there is almost nothing added to it, port of the arcade shooter of the same name. You know how this works, shoot the screen, kill the bad guys, progress, shoot some more, die a whole lot and pump in more quarters. Subtract the quarters and add some Wii remotes and Wii Zappers (not included) and you’ve got yourself Target: Terror (the name itself is ludicrous). So what is the big deal with something that, in all honesty, should be the very epitome of what is wrong with the Wii? There is only one way to find out and that’s reading more.

Maybe I ramped it up a bit too much. The game really isn’t a big deal like, say, BioShock was. It’s still just a shooter but, unlike any other game I’ve ever played, this one is pure and unadulterated camp. It’s just so absolutely ridiculous that you can’t help but laugh and have fun while you’re playing it. The first thing you’ll probably notice is that the enemies are all real people who are put into a digital background. This style of game had it’s heyday long ago in 90’s arcades and even back then it was cheesy so you can imagine how much more cheesy it has become now that it’s also out of date. I was actually laughing out loud almost every time a bad guy popped up while Jason and I were playing through the game co-op style. The best instance being a suicide bomber who pops up in the front of the screen, opens his stereotypical trench coat in an over the top motion and shakes his dynamite laden chest at you before blowing up in your face.

Then there are the odd weapons you can pick up. Of course there’s the machine gun and the shotgun but there’s also a freeze ray and a flame thrower and an electric zapper. Each weapon triggers some sublimely stupid animation when it hits a person – freezing a guy grabbing his nuts was my favorite – and it’s all so bad it easily becomes good again. This is all without even mentioning the random mini-games, all of which are unlockable, that pop up when you complete certain tasks like shooting 25 windows or something. The one we played involved ninjas popping out of the grass and hurling turkeys strapped with bombs at you. If they hit you the ninjas grab their belly and chortle at you. I mean, come on, who thought of this stuff?

So moving away from the fact that thanks to the game not being updated it’s now one of the most unintentionally funny games ever created, the controls are exactly what you expect. The Wii remotes sensitivity is adjusted via the plus and minus buttons on the fly during the game and you just point and shoot with targets on the screen telling you where you’re aiming. After each level you’re ranked and given awards for your killing skills though there’s no online component so your score can’t be shown off. Unlike some other arcade shooters that have been ported to the Wii, reloading is done by either shooting off the screen or simply shaking the controller. Each chapter in the game, which you can play in any order, is introduced by a short clip from a news reporter telling you about the terrorists or criminals or whatever who have taken over the different locations which include the airport, the bridge and the nuclear plant.

There has also been an extra mode added in called Justice Mode where one player can dual wield two guns. We didn’t get to play this on the floor so I’m not sure how it differs from just playing two players and picking up the other gun other than only having one life bar but it defintley sounds promising. After all, if there is one thing we learned from Hot Fuzz, it’s that nothing is cooler than shooting two guns whilst flying through the air. Also of note for the Wii is the serious level of blood in this game. If you blow someone up with a barrel or other explosive limbs go flying and you can literally shoot someone in the head repeatedly as blood sprays out. The best part about this is once again the humor in it since the same actor animation is triggered over and over.

The real question then is if the humor and camp of the game justify the $39.99 (ouch) price tag. Obviously I can’t tell you since I’ve only played two levels of the game so I don’t know if the campiness wears off when you play all the way through it but I can tell you it’s been a long while since I’ve actually laughed this hard at a game. Camp is such an incredibly tough thing to produce since it is by definition not intentional, and because of just that, experiencing Target: Terror on the Wii is probably something everyone should do.