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Video Game / Target Terror

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Target: Terror is a 2004 video game, a Light Gun Game developed by Raw Thrills, the independent arcade game devhouse founded by the legendary Eugene Jarvis. The game is a throwback to early FMV shooters during the early 2000s such as Maximum Force or Area 51, you are fighting terrorists and defending locations. Instead of three areas as in Maximum Force, this game has nine levels, split into three locations; the Denver Airport, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the Los Alamos research facility. A tenth level is unlocked after completing the first nine; the goal there is to prevent a hijacked airliner from crashing into the White House. Because of the terrorists' ridiculous accuracy, Target Terror has gained infamy for being one of the hardest light gun games ever made.

It also has infamy for another reason: the cheesy acting of the NPCs, which are actually full motion video superimpositions of the game's designers dressed up in street clothes/army fatigues/police uniforms and pretending to be terrorists/hostages/friendlies. For that reason, the game has a bit of a reputation as So Bad, It's Good, with IGN's video reviewer saying, "I don't know whether to give this game a 1 or a 10!"

This game provides examples of:

  • Bland-Name Product: Within the first scenes, there's already "Raw News" and "Raw Airlines", with variations of the Raw Thrills logo.
  • Boom, Headshot!: The arcade versions have settings that regulate the amount of blood and gore in the game so it can be displayed in family-friendly locations. The highest gore level adds headshots that will gib the enemies' skulls into bloody chunks, with a massive point bonus and combat medal for doing so. See Lighter and Softer below for the lowest gore setting.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Terrorists always wear sunglasses; civilians and police officers don't. The ninjas also don't, but their masks should give them away.
  • Dark Action Girl: Female terrorists are frequently encountered.
  • Denser and Wackier: Some of the minigames in the Gold update. One has terrorists throwing explosive turkeys toward the player that must be shot down quickly. If it explodes in the player's face, the terrorist pops out and laughs at the player. The player can then shoot at them in revenge, causing them to fall back, pop back up and shake his fist in anger before leaving. (The player can do this even before the turkey leaves the terrorist's hands if they're quick enough.)
  • Die, Chair, Die!: In addition to the Exploding Barrels and breakable windows, many other scenery pieces can be shot.
  • Dumb Blonde: One of the civilian hostages is a blonde woman in a white tank and blue jeans, who literally pops-up in the middle of a firefight and takes almost forever to take cover.
  • Eagleland: Considering this came out in 2004, three years after 9/11, it meant to portray American patriotism in dealing with terrorists, foreign or domestic.
  • Equal-Opportunity Evil: There are plenty of women among the legions of terrorists.
  • Exploding Barrels: Annoyingly, both the terrorists and the innocent bystanders will hide or go near these.
  • Freeze Ray: One of the powerups that can be acquired.
  • Gorn: The game is bloodier and more violent than the average light gun game due to reactive enemies and blood spatter that occurs with successful hits.
  • Groin Attack: And how! The Gold edition also gives out a "nutcracker" medal for groin shot streaks.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: And the innocent bystanders, and the terrorists...
  • Guns Akimbo: "Justice Mode" allows you to blast off with two guns at once. Don't count on being very accurate with them though. The akimbo feature was later used as "Guns of Fury" in Johnny Nero Action Hero, the other 2004 light gun shooter that was a spiritual successor to the 1998 light gun game CarnEvil.
  • Hostage Spirit-Link: One of the reasons the game is so hard is that there's a LOT of hostages just standing there. Shooting them causes the player to lose one unit of life.
  • Kill It with Fire: The flamethrower, which allows you to put your enemies to the torch.
  • Kill Sat Smart Bomb: A useful powerup that's acquired by shooting a satellite that occasionally sprints across the screen. Using it clears a screen of terrorists and/or takes half the lifebar off of the helicopters that appear twice in the game.
  • Large Ham: Everybody overacts in a way that would make William Shatner proud. Special mention goes to the news reporter that introduces each level.
  • Lighter and Softer: The lowest gore setting removes all blood and replaces it with paintball splatter effects.
  • Medium Blending: Full Motion Video sprites for the terrorists, friendlies and hostages, 3D graphics for the background objects.
  • More Dakka: The machine gun powerup shoots at such a rate of fire that you can get combo bonus points for hitting the same terrorist multiple times, hit them multiple times in the head and the head pops off with a 'decapitation' declaration from the game.
  • Ninja: Appear twice in the game, two of them in the final part of the sixth stage and one right before the final terrorist in the hijacking mission. They rank as probably the toughest single enemies in the game apart from the helicopters.
  • Nintendo Hard: Unless you can shoot the terrorists as soon as they come out before they begin firing (good luck with that!), you're probably going to take a hit.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Portraits of George W. Bush and Osama bin Laden are seen in the title screen, but neither make an appearance in game, or are even mentioned. At the end of the game you're congratulated by the President (who looks nothing like Bush).
  • One Riot, One Ranger: Averted. You're not the only homeland security agent in the battlezone - some of the bystanders are army reserve guys with rifles. They even occasionally hit enemies! You are, however, the only one who has a chance at stopping the terrorists.
  • Point of No Continues: At the last section on the hijacking mission, the game will say "there are no continues beyond this point" and give you a chance to insert some more quarters for full health. If you lose all your lives or fail to stop the final terrorist, you will get the Bad Ending and have to do the entire hijacking mission all over again.
  • Police Are Useless: Policemen are present as "hostage" allies in the game. They occasionally hit the terrorist while not suffering damage from enemies themselves. Shooting them yourself will result in a violation which reduces your life.
  • Rewarding Vandalism: Breaking stuff earns medals.
  • Shock and Awe: The appropriately-named "Shocker" powerup.
  • Shooting Gallery: 5707 Terror Terrace, one of the bonus games where you earn extra points for shooting the terrorist targets and get points deducted for shooting innocent targets. Hit three innocents and the bonus game ends.
  • Shout-Out: One minigame is directly lifted from Missile Command.
  • Spiritual Successor: To Maximum Force.
  • Stock Scream: The Howard Dean Scream appears frequently.
  • Stylistic Suck: The game obviously isn't taking itself seriously with its choice of video footage "actors" in gameplay, and the wacky bonus minigames. In fact it's these sort of games taken up to eleven.
  • Two Decades Behind: The days of putting FMV people in light gun games was long over by 2004, making the core gameplay outdated upon release. Then again that was the point of the game, it's a love letter to those games that came before.
  • Updated Re-release: The Gold edition, which adds combat medals and secret areas.