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Shooting Arcade (Atari 2600)

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Shooting Arcade was made in 1989 by Axlon for the Atari 2600. Sadly it was never released and thus only prototypes are known to exist. As for the high difficulty of the game in this review real game play is mixed up with footage obtained by emulation starting from the third mini game.

The game is a shooting gallery consisting of 6 mini games. In the first mini game the player shoots colored squares. If an empty space is shot, a new square is created as a punishment. Next the player has to shoot various objects. Ammunition can be replenished by shooting the squares in the bottom of the screen. In the third mini game the player has to shoot birds while the color of the background is changing. The next mini game is again about bird shooting. This time just one bird at a time will appear and change its trajectory upon missing a shot. In the fifth mini game a devil has to be shot. In the sixth mini game the pole of a unicycle has to be shot. The pole will shrink upon getting hit until the clown reaches the wheel.

The shrinking bar on the bottom of the screen is the time limit. On the top three numbers are displayed. These are from left to right the number of bullets, the current difficulty setting and the required number of targets to hit. If the player fails an unlimited number of continues are available, which let the player retry the current level.

The difficulty of the game can be set on the title screen using the select button. On difficulty setting 0 just the first level can be played. On difficulty setting 1 just the first two levels can be played and so on. All mini games are used at difficulty setting 5. After beating the sixth mini game at setting 5 the difficulty will continue to ramp up, but no new mini games are provided.

Personally I dislike this game. The presentation and the music are very nice. In general I like the concept of the game. The problem is that the game relies heavily on precision and accuracy but both of these can't be found on 8 bit Atari systems. On these platforms the aim is very off and the bullet spread is considerably rendering the game extremely difficult to beat on actual hardware.