The Point Blank series has always been a bit of an anomaly. It doesn't quite fit into the puzzle crowd, due to the necessary light-gun peripheral, and it's not quite a straight light-gun game, due to its minigame structure and quirky style. Point Blank 3 follows in the footsteps of its predecessors by providing equal parts twitch light-gun action and fast-paced logic puzzles--and by appearing on the PlayStation, of course.
Point Blank 3 offers virtually no deviation from the structure of the original. While the lack of innovation may be a disappointment, the excellent formula already in place is more than adequate, with good single-player and outstanding multiplayer modes available. In the arcade mode, up to two players shoot their way through 16 of Point Blank's patented minigames. There is an endurance mode where you go through as many minigames as you can without missing. There is also a party mode, which lets you have up to four players in a ladder-style tournament or up to eight players in a team-based tournament.
The heart of Point Blank is its minigames. Each minigame has its own set of rules and its own objectives. In some scenarios, you have to keep cannonballs, ghosts, pirates, or projectiles thrown by angry opera fans away from Dr. Dan and Dr. Don, your egg-headed guides through the world of Point Blank. Some will test your accuracy and charge you with shooting a single target with a single bullet. Others will have you identify matching items or shoot the highest playing card shown. Each game provides its own unique challenge, and with 83 different levels, suffice it to say that the variety and quantity of minigames in Point Blank 3 always keep things interesting and make it a highly addictive game.
Point Blank 3 may not impress graphically, as everything is made up of simple 2D sprites--light duty, even for the PlayStation. However, what it lacks in muscle, it makes up for in style. The cartoony visual style is fitting for the weird scenarios Dr. Dan and Dr. Don find themselves in. The game shows off the lighter side of Namco, and those familiar with the company's catalog of characters will likely notice cameos by Heihachi Mishima, Mokujin, Mappy, Pooka from Dig-Dug, and others, all rendered in Point Blank's funky cartoon style. The music in Point Blank 3 is also simple--it's occasionally forgettable, and occasionally hummable, but it always retains that unique tongue-in-cheek Point Blank style.
For fans of the series, Point Blank 3 is a no-brainer, as it provides more of the same minigames fans have come to expect. The game's quick pace and great multiplayer modes make it an excellent party game. If there's a chink in Point Blank 3's armor, it's that you need Namco's GunCon or a similar third-party light-gun controller to play. Considering the hefty investments that other peripheral-based games like Dance Dance Revolution or Samba De Amigo require, the cost of a light gun is nominal, especially for an enjoyable game like Point Blank 3.