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Video Game / Point Blank (1994)

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What do you get when you cross a Light Gun Game with a Minigame Game? Point Blank is an arcade shooter by Namco (creators of the equally popular Light Gun Game Time Crisis). Basically it's a collection of mini-games where you're given a task and a set amount of time, then set loose until the time runs out. Meet the requirements and you stay in the game and move on. Fail, and you lose a life (or more if you shot something you weren't supposed to). The game continues onward until you either reach the last challenge or you run out of lives.

And... really, that's about it. The game is more or less a test of the player's shooting abilities: accuracy, speed, rapid-fire, quick thinking, memorization... oh, and all these challenges are accompanied by bizarre, cartoony and colorful visuals.

There are four entries in the series that were released for both arcade and the original PlayStation (the console versions having exclusive materials such as a RPG mode or extra challenges). There's also a DS version that, of course, catered to the touch screen; this isn't so much a new version as it is a Compilation Re Release of all the levels from the first 3 games. A reboot of the series, called Point Blank X, was released in 2016, combining new levels with HD remasters of the levels from the original trilogy.

The series is also notable for its two mascot characters, Dr. Don and Dr. Dan (who look suspiciously like two certain characters from Sesame Street).

If you're looking for something else that's also called "Point Blank", see the disambiguation page here.

Shoot at least 20 examples. (Don't shoot red links! -1 life penalty)

  • Arcade-Perfect Port: The port of the first game, along with several extra modes, allows you to boot up a replica of the original arcade mode (only distinguishable by the PlayStation's slight load times). The third game is retooled into the main menu but mostly identical. The second however was modified noticeably, with enhanced sound and graphics and some minigames altered, absent, or replaced with new ones.
  • Balloon-Bursting Bird: One of the shooting mini-games involved protecting Dr. Dan or Dr. Don from vultures, since they were floating on balloons over shark-infested waters.
  • Bonus Stage:
    • Halfway through the game, you are presented with an opportunity to get extra points and/or a 1-Up by shooting one of several treasure chests, the contents of each chest not being known until you shoot one of the chests. In Point Blank X, the bonus stage can be in the first part.
    • Then comes the final stage, where you try to shoot as many targets as you can to light the Fireworks of Victory. You can't lose a life here, but you'll want to shoot targets for a last-chance scoring opportunity.
  • Boom, Headshot!: Averted in the cardboard human target stages. Shooting the center of the chest yields 100 points, while shooting the head only gets you 60. Which is how it works on the firing range, since most civilian (or police) shooters are taught "aim for the center of mass".
  • Bottomless Magazines: You never need to reload your gun at any point, and most stages offer infinite bullets.
  • Button Mashing: The "shoot the [object] x times" stages.
  • The Cameo: The Quest Mode from the PlayStation port of the first game has a cameo by Valkyrie as a recurring character.
  • Camera Abuse: Any "Protect Dr. Dan and Dr. Don from _____" stage will usually have your respective mascot be sent flying into the camera should you fail to protect them from whatever is trying to kill them.
  • Color-Coded Multiplayer: In colored target stages, player 1 shoots red and player 2 shoots blue. Shooting the other player's color will take off a life.
  • Die, Chair, Die!: You can sometimes shoot certain objects such as glass windows just for fun.
    • Doing so is a tactic used by score attackers since it keeps the accuracy up and scores a few points as well.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: There's all manners of hazards that try to kill Dr. Dan and Dr. Don, who you have to protect in some stages. Tanks, barrels, piranhas, sharks, missiles, the list goes on! While they're not targeting you necessarily, the fact that letting your protectee get killed takes away a life means they're more or less trying to kill you indirectly.
  • Exploding Barrels: In one stage in 2, you must shoot barrels, which explode upon being shot.
  • Final Boss: In Point Blank 2, the final stage of Insane mode is a recreation of Cosmo Gang, a mechanical arcade game also by Namco. Unlike the fireworks stages that cap off every mode above Training, this is not optional, and failing the stage will cost a life.
  • Fireworks of Victory: Part of a final bonus round for completing all sixteen stages: shoot as many of the launchers as you can in 5 seconds for additional explosions (and bonus points).
  • The Flatwoods Monster: Flatwoods Monsters are recurring enemies in the series:
    • In the first game, Dr. Don and Dr. Dan track down Roswell in his house at the center of a Circle of Standing Stones to get his piece of the Gunball. Because he's about to be abducted by Flatwoods Monsters driving around in UFOs, he makes a deal to give the duo the piece if they take down all the aliens. Gameplay consists of blasting the UFOs to bits, after which the Flatwoods Monsters fall out.
    • The ride Cosmic Drive in Point Blank 2 simulates an alien invasion. The alien opponents are Flatwoods Monsters and they want to enslave humanity. As with the first game, gameplay consists of blasting the UFOs they drive in to bits. Because this stage is in space, the Flatwoods Monsters float away rather than fall down when their vessels get destroyed.
  • Flawless Victory:
    • If you complete a stage without missing a shot, you will get 1,000 extra points. However, this is NOT the same as getting 100% accuracy or better; while it is possible to get >100% accuracy by shooting two objects with one bullet, if you miss a shot the 1,000-point bonus will not apply even if you end the stage at 100% accuracy or more.
    • The Galaga minigame gives you the "PERFECT!" message and jingle if you successfully shoot all 40 aliens, just like in the original Galaga.
  • Gaiden Game: Tenkomori Shooting, which is Point Blank as a Vertical Scrolling Shooter.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: Point Blank X has a very noticable degree of lag between when you point the gun somewhere and when the game actually registers the gun as being pointed at that location, resulting in some needless Fake Difficulty. This becomes a huge problem when it comes to stages that demand precise shooting or shooting at moving targets, particularly stages that have penalty targets. You can aim right at the correct target but end up shooting the bomb to the right of it because you didn't wait half a second before pulling the trigger.
  • Gameplay Roulette: The premise of the series.
  • Harder Than Hard: Point Blank has the occasional "VERY HARD" stage. Point Blank 2 calls them "Insane" instead. There's also a mode consisting entirely of stages of that difficulty.
  • Hold the Line: "Protect Dr. Dan and/or Dr. Don from the [enemy type]." Point Blank 2, in addition to that, has a stage in which you must keep a can in the air and a UFO invasion stage. The Final Boss of 2, available only on Insane difficulty, requires you to survive a light gun version of Cosmo Gang for 60 seconds.
  • Homage: Clear all 16 stages in Point Blank 2's Insane mode and you'll play a light gun version of Cosmo Gang, a joystick gun redemption game. In the PlayStation port, this is moved to the final stage of Adventure Mode.
  • Hostage Spirit-Link: Shooting a civilian, target of your opponent's color, a bomb, or some other target classified under "Don't Shoot!" will take off a life. The only other thing that does this is losing a minigame, so this punishment is pretty harsh, even by typical Light Gun Game standards. That is, you can get a Game Over without failing any stages by shooting threenote  bad targets in one minigame, whereas you would have to fail three whole minigames otherwise.
  • It's a Wonderful Failure:
    • Fail the "Defend Earth from UFOs" stage and the whole planet turns red.
    • Fail the "Shoot the car x times to destroy it" stage in Point Blank 2 and the falling car will hit you and explode, killing you.
    • Fail the "Shoot the incoming train" stage in Point Blank X and the incoming train will crash onto you.
    • Failing to shoot the alien's weakpoint targets at a stage in Point Blank X and the alien will shoot laser beams onto you.
    • Fail a "Protect Dr. Dan and/or Dr. Don from the y" stage and the mascot you didn't save will be sent flying into the camera.
  • Luck-Based Mission: In the bonus stage, you have a chance at a 10,000-point bonus, an extra life (essentially 10,000 points as well, since remaining lives are worth 10,000 points each at the end of the game), or both at the same time. In 1 and 3, it's easy to tell which chest has which combination of items, but in Point Blank 2 and X there's no telling which chest to shoot for, so 20,000 points are left entirely to chance; in a game where a good game ranges between 140,000 and 180,000 points, 20k is a pretty significant amount.
  • Mythology Gag: Some of the sound effects and the interface elements of Point Blank X come from the former games in the series.
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder: In the new Point Blank X, missing a shot on the cardboard target shooting mission will automatically end the stage and lose a life.
    • Also applied in stages where there is only one bullet to shoot. Miss a shot, lose a life.
  • Role-Playing Game: The story mode for the first game on the Playstation is an RPG with a surprising amount of content. Combat is represented by the existing minigames.
  • Scoring Points: While the game does have an ending, going for a high score (or trying to out score you opponent) is what you are always aiming for. It's an arcade game after all. Even the ending itself, a fireworks display, is about scoring points; you shoot the fireworks to make them launch.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: When you select a Very Hard/Insane stage, you're treated to a red splash screen with "VERY HARD" or "Insane" shown in large flaming letters, to remind you that you're probably going to lose one life (or more).
  • One Bullet Left: Several stages give you one bullet to hit a target that is often moving, small, or both.
  • Promoted to Playable: The Party modes of all three PlayStation ports allow you to select either of the two doctors or one of the games' numerous targets or obstacles to represent your player.
    • The Story Mode of the first port also has you playing as Dr Don and Dr Dan in an RPG.
  • Series Mascot: Dr. Dan and Dr. Don.
  • Shooting Gallery
  • Shout-Out: As is required by a Namco game.
    • There are stages based on Galaga and Galaxian.
    • The second game features a hidden stage based on Cosmo Gang.
    • The third game has a stage where you shooting various masks, among them Dig-Dug, Mappy, Valkyrie, Yoshimitsu, and Heihachi.
    • Also in the third game is a stage where you shoot Mokujins - even the music's from Tekken.
  • Shows Damage: In stages where you have to repeatedly shoot a target until it blows up, parts of the target will explode or fall off. Depending on the stage, this will also decrease the area on which you can hit the target.
  • Threatening Shark: One stage has Dr. Dan and/or Dr. Don on a capsized boat in the middle of the sea, and you have to shoot away sharks before they jump onto and attack them.
  • You Have Failed Me: In the Adventure Mode of the second game's PlayStation port, should you lose, the king will be infuriated at failing to find his daughter and have you kicked off the premises by his guards.

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