#13: Marksman Shooting & Trap Shooting (1986 Sega)

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We finally get to wrap up 1986 with this combo cart which was originally bundled with the stand-alone Light Phaser package and features a pair of familiar-looking shooting games for said light gun. I’m guessing Sega wasn’t satisfied with just having Safari Hunt competing against Nintendo’s Duck Hunt in the light gunĀ arena and decided to make two more titles to take on the NES Zapper library, even putting them together on one cartridge. But there’s an old axiom that two separate games being combined into one cart often means neither one is able to stand on its own (Super Mario Bros/Duck Hunt doesn’t count) and that’s certainly the case here.

This is all you'll find in Marksman Shooting.

This is all you’ll find in Marksman Shooting.

First we have Marksman Shooting which mimics the gameplay of Nintendo’s Hogan’s Alley, only without the personality and extra modes found in the NES cart. This game has you taking on a police trainer where marked cardboard cutouts slide into the playing field and you must blast them within an alloted time frame. Sadly you won’t find any crazy-designed characters here, the targets are just the standard black human-shaped blobs found in regular shooting ranges. As you might imagine you have to hit a certain amount of panels to reach the next level, and you score points based on how close to the red marks you hit. Your accuracy determines whether or not you advance, and if you don’t reach a certain percentage the game ends. However the next level is exactly the same thing with only slightly higher difficulty, and the level after that and so on. The scenery consists of the same backgorund and same targets and never changes no matter how far you go, and the brief music tunes before and after each round are recycled from Safari Hunt. The light gun is pretty accurate but the only real difficulty lies in how far you’re sitting from the television set, and there’s nothing to spice the gameplay up, not even any “innocent targets” or obstaces or even a change of venue. As a result you’ll grow bored of this game within minutes and probably never play it again.

Didn't we already see this on a competitor's console?

Didn’t we already see this on a competitor’s console?

Now let’s take a look at Trap Shooting, and as you might expect it’s a very blatant rip-off of Duck Hunt’s “Clay Shooting” mode. Clay pigeons are shot into the playing field by twos and you must blast them as they sail toward the horizon, with only three shots to nail them. Naturally you must hit a certain amount to pass the level and continue on as pointed out by the familiar-looking indicator on the screen, otherwins you’re done. Every few levels you get a change of scenery, from the standard field to a seashore to a canyon to a mountain lake, and while the backgrounds are very nicely done they’re pretty much just window dressing and nothing else. There’s no music, and the only sounds are the so-so breaking effects for a hit and a voice clip saying “Go!” at the start of each level. Just like the other game, the distance between the light gun and TV screen determines how difficult it gets.

So the bottom line is neither game is any good by itself, and together they make an okay but still mostly bland package for your light gun needs. Even if you somehow procure the rarely-seen triple-combo cart that also includes Safari Hunt, you’ll probably be playing that title more than these two vanilla titles anyway.

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