Point Blank

Quota Complete

Doctors Don and Dan seem awfully familiar, but I can't for the life of me place them anywhere in my memory.

I owned a GunCon for the PlayStation and definitely used it for playing some of the Die Hard game, but that can't have been all I got that peripheral for. Did I get it for Time Crisis? Doesn't ring any bells. Did I get it for Point Blank? Again, I'm just not sure I ever owned that.

As you might have worked out by now, Point Blank is a light gun game that made its way from the arcades to the PlayStation and onto the Nintendo DS, and the very astute readers out there will note that I owned a GunCon. Past tense. We're not going to be shooting any television screens this time around - if I've even played this before in the first place.

'You don't need to be serious to be a success' appears to be the mantra for this games development, so let's shoot all kinds of things against the clock for no real reason at all.


Point Blank is a very simple game - point and shoot. Shoot the things it wants you to shoot so that you get points towards your high score, and don't shoot the things that it doesn't want you to shoot so that you don't lose any lives and end up having to use a continue, or stand aside for the next player to have their attempt.

It's not to be played with a controller, though, and it is especially not to be emulated with an analogue controller imitating a digital controller imitating a light gun. It just won't feel good. Playable, to a degree, but not what was intended.

Even with a generous tweak of the options to increase hitboxes, that wasn't just a miss on the 7th square, but a hit on the 16th. Yeah. When precision is key, the way I'm doing things isn't going to cut it...

Fun Times

You can see the entertainment value in Point Blank without ever managing to play it properly, however. The situations it presents to you are somewhat absurd, and the option to play against someone sat beside you is an obvious choice for what it essentially a party game.

Rounds are completed in seconds, high scores are in the thousands and come complete with flashing explosions and so on, and there just doesn't seem to be any bullshit going on - I was screwed with that numbers challenge above, but only noticed during the editing. In the game, I rarely, if ever, saw shots that blatantly hit get counted as a miss or worse. Then again, I wouldn't have noticed much while struggling with an analogue stick to aim.

Further Fun Times

I made absolutely sure to try the Nintendo DS version, knowing that the stylus input would feel astronomically better than a controller - though still not feel like a light gun - and was met with challenges that demanded even more precision than I ever expected.

It was the same format, with a setup screen detailing your task before the challenge commenced, and fifteen seconds later you found out if you lost or not.

The great thing about it is that your score isn't tracked anywhere. If you have to shoot at least 10 targets, you better count ten confirmed hits in your head in order to be sure you've done it, because the screen isn't going to tell you what you've done beyond getting something right or wrong.

Each port comes with multiple modes of varying difficulty to play through, and if we're going by our very first attempts at something, then I'm a not-too-shabby 6/10.

Final Word

In the arcades or in your pocket, Point Blank is a great little pick-up-and-play title to test any kind of gamer, and it's appealing to most kinds of gamers too because it isn't a shooter where you're blasting away animated humans in a serious context. The only humans here are stereotypical depictions on wooden boards like you might see on a shooting range, and they only appear in a select few levels, and there are many levels to play through.

I didn't see them all but have watched many of them on YouTube, and even there, Point Blank will trip people up and failures are everywhere. It's not a tricky game, but it is demanding, and one mistake can throw off your entire run. After all, you're asked to recover from your mistake and get back on top of things within seconds, or you've run out of time anyway.

If you can track down a light gun, play Point Blank with one. The Nintendo DS version is alright for an alternative, but it's just not the same, damn it.

Fun Facts

The PlayStation port has an RPG mode. You can figure out how that works with a light gun, can't you?

Point Blank, developed by Namco, first released in 1994.
Version played: PlayStation, 1998, via emulation.
Nintendo DS, 2006, via emulation.
Version watched: Arcade, 1994 (RedSevenNine)