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On my quest to play more rail shooters/light gun games, I came across Target: Terror. It looked so cheesy that I was immediately interested and quickly learned it’s a little pricey now. Developed and published by Raw Thrills, Target: Terror was released as an arcade game in 2004 and it was ported to the Wii in 2008. Raw Thrills was founded by Eugene Jarvis, the same guy who brought us Robotron, Defender, and Narc. Like Narc, Target: Terror is an over-the-top violent game. The objective is to blow away mass amounts of terrorists who are attacking multiple locations around the United States.
The plot is simple as far as I can tell. Terrorists attack an airport, the Golden Gate Bridge, and Nuclear Plant and it’s your job to stop them. Target: Terror is a light gun game so all you have to do is aim and shoot. The game plays out in stages or scenes with a news reporter covering each one. Target: Terror is presented in a digitized style making the whole experience feel cheesy and ridiculous.
Target: Terror is a difficult game. There are multiple difficulty modes and even on the easiest, getting through each scene without consuming one credit can be challenging. Terrorists appear on the screen and you want to shoot them before they shoot you. You shoot off-screen or shake the Wii Remote to reload. You’re given a specific amount of credits or continues but once they’re depleted, it’s game over and you have to restart. Whenever you take damage or shoot innocent people you lose health and once all of your health is lost, you will have to consume a credit to continue playing. You have the option to lower the violence but I left it at “High” and you can enable Justice Mode which allows the player to dual wield guns or Wii remotes. During my Justice Mode run, my friend offered to help me out which is good because my coordination sucks which I learned while playing Dino Strike in Dual Wield mode.
The camera or character moves automatically so you have no control of when and where you move. As you progress through the stages, you’ll be attacked by numerous terrorists. You’re always equipped with a pistol with infinite ammo but can destroy objects in the environments that reveal pickups like weapons and health. You can blow foes away with a shotgun, machine gun, set them on fire with a flamethrower, freeze them with the freeze gun, electrocute them with the shocker, and obliterate them with a grenade launcher and RPG. Every now and then you’ll see a satellite fly across the screen and if you shoot it, you’ll acquire the smart bomb. Activating this thing will kill all of the enemies on the screen making it quite useful.
Like many arcade games, you not only want to beat the game but also try for a high score. Killing enemies rewards you with points and you can earn medals for meeting certain requirements. There is a minigame mode but the minigames need to be unlocked by playing through the main game and destroying various parts of the environments. After destroying enough shit, you’ll be immediately transported to a minigame and they are ridiculous but reward you with bonus points. There’s one where you have to shoot turkeys strapped with bombs being hurled at you and another where you have to destroy golf carts with explosive golf balls.
Target: Terror is a quarter muncher which is evident from the moment you start playing. You’re always going to be outnumbered and you’ll need to have quick reaction times and good aim. Furthermore, you’ll want to acquire as many weapon pickups as possible because they can be a big help. Enemies will come from everywhere, they’ll pop up from behind objects, shoot you from a distance, rappel down ropes, and in one stage some of them arrive in vehicles. They’ll shoot at you, fire rockets, lob explosives, and throw knives. Enemies will appear from the bottom of the screen and perform melee attacks, attack you with melee weapons and chainsaws, one type is a suicide bomber, and you’ll even engage what I think are ninjas. You have to be careful to not shoot innocent people that seem to show up everywhere. They’ll just pop up somewhere, run and crawl around, and put their hands up. Cops and soldiers will actually help you by shooting at enemies. Most foes go down easily and there’s only one what I would consider a boss type and it’s a helicopter.
Target: Terror takes you to a decent variety of areas within each location and scene. You’ll engage enemies in a baggage claim, on a plane, in a bathroom, and you’ll even get to engage foes while riding in a vehicle. You’ll navigate around big open spaces and down narrow corridors. You have to unlock most scenes for each location and the final scene is unlocked by beating all the rest. Explosive barrels are littered around the environments and blowing these up will kill any enemies near them. If you want to master the game, you will need to memorize the scenes and know where enemies and friendlies are going to be and what enemies to target first.
Target: Terror looks cheesy on purpose. Personally, I like the digitized actors and environments. I think it gives the game a unique personality but I won’t pretend the game looks amazing. I do like most of the visual effects but fire looks terrible. When you get attacked the screen will crack, you can shoot and break glass, muzzle flashes look cool, sparks fly through the air as a result of bullet impacts on surfaces, explosions look okay, and the shooting feels satisfying thanks to the gore effects. The puffs of blood that appear when you shoot enemies looks cool, explosions will result in body parts flying through the air, and blood will splatter around the environments. The motion capture work is pretty good for this style of presentation and enemies will react differently depending on which part of their body you shoot. The soundtrack is full of some rocking and funky tunes that match the game’s cheesy style. The sound effect of your pistol firing sounds like it was ripped from Doom but most of the weapons fire sounds okay. Enemy weapons fire is loud and enemies will grunt and scream as they die. When there was a ton of enemies on screen and I was trying to shoot them all, it sounded like a war zone in my living room. On the technical side, the frame rate does dip here and there and the game likes to pause frequently, usually only for a second or two, and it can throw off your aiming which is annoying. Also, enemies will periodically disappear and then re-appear.
Despite the game’s issues, I had a good time with Target: Terror. It’s violent, over-the-top, and absurd. The replay value comes from chasing high scores, multiple difficulty modes, and unlockable minigames. I’ve never played the actual arcade game so I don’t know how it compares to the Wii port but this port is certainly a little rough. But I find that the issues actually compliment the cheesy action nicely. I won’t lie and say this is a great or even good game, really. It’s just so absurd that I can’t help but enjoy it for what it is. The terrorist group consists of a crazy cast of characters, the minigames are wacky, and the weapons are fun to use.
I would only recommend Target: Terror to those who really enjoy the genre or if you can find it for really cheap which may not be easy. I found a copy complete in box on eBay for forty bucks but I’ve seen copies hovering around eighty. Honestly, Target: Terror for the Wii isn’t very good. There are better rail shooters out there but if you want some cheesy gung-ho light gun action, definitely check out Target: Terror.