This post sees the return of a somewhat neglected perhiphreal. Sega must have eventually realized their Light Phaser gun was starving for software (since the SMS only had two light gun carts in its first year, Safari Hunt and Marksman Shooting/Trap Shooting) so the latter part of 1987 saw them publish three shooting carts, one of which we’ll look at here and the other two down the line. And the game we’re looking at is what it says on the tin, a shooting gallery and not much else.
There’s really not too much to describe about this cart. You go through 24 stages set against five different backdrops and you use the Light Phaser to blast the targets that fly across the screen. Each screen has a requirement of hits you need to score in order to move on to the next level, otherwise the game ends. The first two rounds have you shooting ducks that fly around the screen (and even explode when hit!), while the next two screens pit you against balloons and zepplins soaring in the sky. Then you’re in some underground sewer system blasting orange balls that work their way through a maze of pipes (which can obviously block your shots). After that you’re in space shooting spaceships that float along the screen and can only be hit when their shields are down. Following that you play through the first three settings again, this time at a higher difficulty, before you reach the fifth round where you’re shooting televisions that that hop along a brick wall while saying either YES or NO on the screens. After that it’s the same stuff over and over, just harder and harder.
And that’s pretty much the game in a nutshell, just shooting the targets over and over until you get tired of it. The game is enjoyable for a short while and some of the screens do provide some nice challenges, though the pipe levels can be a little frustrating. At the same time the gameplay never changes and gets repetitive and boring after a while, especially after you’ve seen all five backdrops, and there’s no other options available. The sprites are okay with decent animation while the static backgrounds look nice, and interestingly enough when you miss a shot you actually chip the backdrop, revealing the structure behind it. The music is slightly on the annoying side and the sound effects are just there.
So Shooting Gallery isn’t the most exciting Light Phaser game on the Sega, and once you’ve seen everything it can even seem a little bland at times, especially compared to the better shooters on the SMS or even the NES. It’s still good for a few quick light gun fixes here and there, but odds are you won’t be sticking around for too long.