Target: Terror Review

You'll have more fun laughing at this light-gun shooter than playing it.

Upon boot-up, Target: Terror appears to be a well-aged relic from the early '90s. Don't let the visual clues fool you, though. Despite an endless brigade of terrorists donning skintight leather pants and digitized graphics a notch below those of Lethal Enforcers, Target: Terror is actually from this century. The arcade version was released in 2004, and the home port is a brand-new, nearly full-priced Wii game. Though Target: Terror starts out firmly in so-bad-it's-good territory, some debilitating control issues combined with extremely straightforward level design make the task of exterminating terrorists more excruciating than it should be.

There are even Rubik's Cubes!
There are even Rubik's Cubes!

Harkening back to the days of simple light-gun shooters, Target: Terror does not allow any freedom in how you traverse levels. Don't expect the cover mechanics from Time Crisis to make an appearance or even the branching paths from House of the Dead III. Each level is a simple A-to-B affair, with the same enemy placement and scenery every time. Target: Terror doesn't even borrow the free-look feature from another Wii shooter, Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles. In that game, you could use the analog stick to nudge your view slightly, making it possible to take down targets and enemies hiding just offscreen. Target: Terror offers the same experience every time you play through, making it less likely you'll want to replay the levels.

The visuals are both the biggest strength and the most glaring weakness in Target: Terror. It's not often you see a game slap popular convention so blatantly in the face and offer a straight-up B-movie-caliber experience. The actors portraying the terrorists will cause even the most jaded gamer to crack a goofy grin. One recurring terrorist obviously doesn’t have his heart in his cause, since he just sits lazily in an office chair, spraying bullets to and fro while barely acknowledging your presence. Another terrorist, wearing a gray hoodie that makes him look like football coach Bill Belichick's evil clone, reaches wildly for whatever body part you happen to shoot, not realizing multiple shots to the stomach would make such actions impossible. With a healthy assortment of terrorists leaping out at you and innocents wandering into view, Target: Terror is funny and enjoyable at first.

The biggest problem is that, despite the archaic graphics, Target: Terror slows down at seemingly random times. In a genre that requires extreme precision, these hiccups make what should be a simple, goofy game extremely frustrating. Though you can learn to work around the dropped frames whenever a barrel explodes (which will be often), other instances are not so easily predicted. For example, whenever a terrorist armed with a melee weapon rises up directly in front of you, the game will stutter just long enough to make a quick disposal more a matter of chance than skill.

Compounding the problems of an unpredictable frame rate is uneven collision detection around the borders of the screen. Though the control is usually smooth enough to make dispatching the bad guys quite painless when they are in the middle of your view, anytime they drop from ceilings or pop in from your periphery, you have as good a chance of hitting them with your eyes closed as you do carefully aiming at them. These control quirks not only make you an all-too-easy target for the terrorists, but they lead to the accidental death of far too many innocents as well.

The news reporter who will be setting the stage for your imminent slaughter.
The news reporter who will be setting the stage for your imminent slaughter.

The one bit of diversity tossed in actually makes the experience even more painful. Once you have completed certain tasks, such as destroying 50 panes of glass or 25 exploding barrels, you'll get to take a quick break from the terrorist hunting to compete in a random minigame. One baffling game stars a trio of terrorists who are standing in a field ripped from the code of Duck Hunt tossing turkeys strapped with dynamite at you. Another is a poor clone of Missile Command, where you let loose an unlimited stream of missiles to shoot down a rain of rockets over some presumably peaceful town. These minigames serve as little more than a distraction. Once unlocked, they are accessible at any time from the main menu, but they are so devoid of skill and fun, you won't find yourself going back to them very often.

Target: Terror could have filled a niche as an amusing light-gun shooter, but there are just too many flaws to overlook. Though it might be worth playing merely to laugh at the extreme overacting, the imprecise controls and bland level design ensure you won't be able to stick with this game for long. There are better--and cheaper--light-gun games on the Wii to spend your time on.

Did you enjoy this review?

  • The Good
    Over-the-top acting is worth a laugh
    The Bad
    Stuttering frame rate
    Repetitive level design
    Bland minigames
    Iffy collision detection
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    Target: Terror More Info

  • First Released
    • Wii
    Blast hordes of evildoers and make the world a safer place.
    Average Rating86 Rating(s)
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    Developed by:
    Leviathan Games
    Published by:
    Action, Light-Gun, Shooter
    Content is generally suitable for ages 17 and up. May contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.
    Blood and Gore, Crude Humor, Violence