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Point Blank 2
"It's more of the same from Namco, but there's nothing wrong with that" Image Loading...
Developer: Namco
Distributor: Sony
Game Type: Shooter
Review Date: Sept 99
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Setting the Scene:
      The ultimate G-Con45 game is back, as Dr Don and Dr Dan return in an all-new sharp-shooting frenzy from Namco. Point Blank 2 is the follow-up to the Japanese arcade smash Gun Bullet.

Created exclusively for PlayStation, the sequel features even more crazy galleries with literally thousands of targets flying off in all directions.

Shooting galleries galore, a new adventure RPG for the daring doctors, plus the madcap Party mode, specifically designed for team playing.
      Point Blank 2 involves aiming a cross-hair guide over a series of fast moving and pop-up targets. Simply pump that trigger, then check them scores! This new version give you more stages and a new original mode. No special technique is required to play, and because it is easy to pick up and play for a few minutes, it is perfect to enjoy with a crowd of friends.
Sound and Vision:
      The game opens up with a superb rendered intro showing the gun-totting adventurer Dan and his inseparable buddy Don messing around with a couple of the games new themes. Within a few seconds the colorful, bright and fluid animation will all be over, then it's back to basics.

While the whole concept of Point Blank 2 puts the emphasis strictly on pure, addictive gameplay, I'm sure your immediate reaction will be of shock and amazement that during these days of 3D dominance, graphics such as these can be paraded on a 32-bit console. But I plead with you to stick with it and gain your just rewards in gameplay heaven. Rather than slow down the fast and furious pace of the game Namco have retained so much of the original visual style using flat 2D sprites and colorful cartoon animation.

Image Loading...For example black and white cardboard cut-outs of Ninja soldiers move back and forth on tracks. The amazing thing being that the stick holding them up can be clearly seen, so it is not as if anyone is trying to con you by covering up any flaws. I personally prefer this style for certain types of games, of which Point Blank 2 is the perfect example.

Needless to say, all of the wacky sounds in Point Blank 2 are a perfect translation of its arcade counterpart. What's amazing is the fact that although each event is over in a matter of seconds time has been taken to provide individual background tunes that accurately match the gallery theme.

The sound effects are equally impressive. Every shot ringing true with each empty bullet casing being distinctly heard fall to the floor, much in the same vein as Time Crisis. One particular event combines aural and visual effects as the player must shoot the picture of the animal whose noise is heard. Bottles smash, bombs explode, tin cans rattle and innocent bystanders scream out in agony when hit by a stray bullet. Even the options screen is target activated with buttons appearing to be shot rather than simply pressed.
      If you are one of those gamers who invested in their proprietary G-Con45™ light gun peripheral with Time Crisis then prepare to take cover as bullets are about to start flying once more.

For those who missed out on the original this is an arcade gallery shooter, consisting of dozens of little events and contests. From these points are earned to continue playing, or simply pound your opponent firmly into the ground.

Image Loading...The main crux of the game is contained in POINT BLANK CASTLE. Here we find play is divided into three categories. Arcade, Versus and Endurance.

ARCADE is a single, or two player shoot-out over a range of targets split into four difficulty settings ranging from Practice to the all new Insane mode. Anyone who has visited a fairground shooting gallery or played out a session on an arcade gun game should be fairly familiar with the main objective within Point Blank. Simply shoot as many targets in the allowed time as quickly and accurately as possible. Should the target number be reached then points are awarded and you continue with the game. Failure to complete the task or shooting the wrong target results in a life being lost. Once a stage is completed your accuracy and speed of firing is displayed. The trick is to make it through all of the courses, finishing each successfully.

Image Loading...The idea for ENDURANCE has obviously been gained from Tekken's survival mode. The player must see how many levels can be won before their paltry three lives are used up.

VERSUS mode allows the stages to be played against a friend, in any order.

PARTY MODE, with Score battle, Tournament and Team Play modes enables up to 8 players to play against each other in a series of 'knockout' or 'winner stays on' battles. Dependant on the style of game chosen two players may fire at their own split screen targets together or separately. It's possibly worth mentioning that two GunCon light guns can be plugged into the Playstation by connecting the second yellow composite cable into the first one, and plug it into controller port 2. This mode is definitely the best way to experience Point Blank and the option to handicap certain players should keep everyone involved until the final shot.

Image Loading...THEME PARK MODE is a sort of RPG. It takes over from Point Blank Island which featured in the first game. The player takes on the role of the young boy who must search the park for the King's daughter clearing all the stages to complete the level. As in the first game, the puzzles in this mode are similar to those in the multiplayer and single-player modes, but with a bit more diversity in their delivery.

If there is one thing that Point Blank has over all of it's rivals then that must be variety. There are over 70 different wild and crazy shooting scenarios that are thrown at you in random order. These include tasks such as:
* shoot out over 20 Japanese neon signs
* defuse a time bomb when the countdown reaches to 0.5 seconds
* shear a sheep using your gun
* destroy a house or tractor with rapid fire
* blast 42 Ninjas in 25 seconds
* shoot the cork off a champagne bottle
* hit a tossed coin with only one bullet
* shoot the numbers 1-5 in correct order five times within 14 seconds
* hold back the aliens from reaching earth for 20 seconds
* destroy 10 stacked champagne glasses in 8 seconds from the top layer downwards.

Image Loading...Obviously this is best played using the ultra-responsive GunCon but surprisingly the game works equally as well using a standard joypad. This is probably due to the fact that you can adjust the speed that your cross-hair moves over the screen to suit each individual.

Once again talk of motion captured, high resolution, 3D graphics is firmly shown the door in place of good old fashioned gameplay.
Game Options:
      This is a single disk game for 1-2 competitive (1-8 players Alternating). It is compatible with the G Con 45, standard (digital) joypad and the dual shock (analog) joypad. Games can be saved via memory card (1 block per save).

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Staff Opinions  
Martin: "It's more of the same from Namco, but there's nothing wrong with that. Apart from having a greater degree of depth, Point Blank 2 is also considerably more difficult than the original game.

Most of the screens have been designed with multiple players in mind. As a two player game Point Blank is excellent and I can think of no better entertainment than a couple of buddies spending the evening firing blanks at the TV screen. All good, harmless fun."
Graphics: 15/20
Playability: 44/50
Sound: 7/10
Lastability: 17/20
Overall: 83%
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