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.38 Ambush Alley was made in 1987 by Bruce Cohn productions for the Worlds of Wonder ActionMax. I have covered the system in episode 13. Video on VHS is stored in a s-video like fashion but with much more compression using a color under technique. As such the video quality is not very high.
The game takes place at two police training facilities. The player is a cadet training there. The trainer feels much like a drill sergeant. The first facility consists of moving targets with drawings of persons on them. Some of the persons are enemies, others are civilians. The civilians stand in poses that make them look hostile or they hold items which can be mistaken for weapons. Similarly the enemies sometimes hide their weapons behind objects. The challenge is to decide fast whether or not to shoot. Some enemies will shoot the player, if they aren't shot within a certain time frame. Shooting civilians will result in a score penalty.
Sometimes the game shows the targets being shot, which makes sense no matter what the player does, as the cadets operate in pairs. However it is often hard to realize those shots when actually playing, as the targets just gain a realistic small hole and the game itself is quite action packed.
The second part of the game is rather similar, but utilizes full sized dolls instead of targets. Those dolls are mostly static. Again enemies are mixed with civilians.
Personally I like the game. Amongst the ActionMax games it feels the most mature, as it is the most realistic one. However in this game the re-usage of already shown footage is the most prominent amongst all ActionMax games. Furthermore the police trainer is quite brave to walk around inside the facilities without a bullet proof vest, as I would have shot him on many occasions by accident.
The cover is held in the same style as the other ActionMax games showing someone playing the system. The screen shows the second training facility whereas the screenshots on the back of the packaging show solely the first facility.