Point Blank (video game series)
|Platform(s)||Arcade, PlayStation, PlayStation 2, Nintendo DS, iOS, Android|
|Mode(s)||Single player, co-Op multiplayer|
Point Blank, known as Gun Bullet (ガンバレット Gan Baretto), or Gunvari (ガンバリ Ganbari) in Japan, is a series of first-person shooter games developed by Namco for the arcade, PlayStation and Nintendo DS; the trilogy was first released in arcade in 1994 and was later ported onto the PlayStation. Point Blank DS was released in 2006 for the Nintendo DS featuring 40 challenges from the original series - and the original Point Blank was the seventh lightgun game released by Namco, after Shoot Away, both Golly! Ghost! and Steel Gunner (1990–91) and Lucky & Wild (1992), the last one requiring the first player to drive as well as operate the lightgun.
Players use two attached light guns (in the case of the DS, a pen or in the case of the iOS version, touching the screen) to hit targets onscreen; missions require speed, quick judgment or pinpoint accuracy. The game consists of non-violent, all-ages, shooting contests like shooting targets (and avoiding bombs and civilians much like in both Steel Gunners), shooting cardboard targets, shooting targets of the players' colors, protecting the iconic Dr. Don and Dr. Dan, and other miscellaneous challenges, similar to games like Police Trainer, and Area 51: Site 4 - and players choose the desired difficulty level (Practice, Beginner, Advanced, and Very Hard in the first game, or Training, Beginner, Advanced, and Insane in the second game) which will determine how many stages must be finished to complete the game, as well as their overall difficulty. Players are shown four missions in each grouping, and may attempt them in any order; they usually have only three lives for the entire game, but this may depend on the cabinet settings. Most stages have unlimited bullets, but some have a limited amount of ammo. Players can lose lives by failing to complete a quota in the time limit, shooting bombs, letting Dr. Don (and/or Dr. Dan) die in any mission where they must protect them, incorrectly answering questions by shooting the wrong answers, shooting cardboard civilians or geisha girls, shooting their opponent's targets, having less points after completing a stage, failing to complete a quota (and any one-life penalty that loses multiple lives), letting meteors destroy the Earth, running out of bullets in some stages, shooting incorrect differences, letting aliens steal slots, and many other ways (not shown here).
There are six different types of stages in the game: Accuracy, where both players must shoot the designated areas with the highest points, Intelligence, where they must count to sixteen (by shooting the numbers), Memory, where they must match two cards by shooting two matching cards, Simulation, where they are required to shoot the cardboard robbers but not civilians (in the Japanese theme of this type, they must shoot cardboard ninjas, but not geishas), Visual Acuity, where they are required to shoot the target which matches what is displayed, and Speed, where they are required to shoot targets of their designated colors (depending players play from left or right); in the arcade version, both light guns must also be calibrated before the crosshairs on the screen shall move.
- Point Blank/Gun Bullet (ガンバレット Gan Baretto) (1994) (Arcade, PlayStation) – The original.
- Point Blank 2/Gunbarl (ガンバァール Ganbāru) (1999) (Arcade, PlayStation) – Released half a decade after its precursor.
- Ghoul Panic/Oh! Bakyūn (オーバキューン Ōbakyūn) (1999) (Arcade, PlayStation) – A spin-off title that features a haunted house theme (similar to the original Golly! Ghost!) and 3D graphics (as those seen in the Namco System 21, 22 and 11 arcade system boards).
- Point Blank 3/Gunbalina (ガンバリーナ Ganbarīna) (2000) (Arcade, PlayStation) – Its Japanese name is a pun on Thumbelina.
- Gunvari Collection + Time Crisis (2002) (PlayStation 2) – This title is a Japan-only compilation of the first three Point Blank games and the first Time Crisis (1995), which was the seventh title from Namco to use a light gun.
- Point Blank DS/Unō no Tatsujin: Gun Bullet Trainer (右脳の達人: ガンバレットトレーナー Unō no Tatsujin Ganbaretto Torēnā) (2006) (Nintendo DS) – A port of the original title which uses the console's stylus and touch screen instead of the arcade's light guns.
- Point Blank Adventures (2015) (iOS, Android) – A new free-to-play title in the series, built from the ground up exclusively for mobile; it features over 200 stages and Facebook integration. Like its immediate precursor, the touch screen is used instead of a light gun.
- Point Blank X (2016) (Arcade) – The fourth major arcade release in the series after Point Blank 3, a reboot of the series. Announced on the IAAPA Expo in Las Vegas, USA, it is an arcade-exclusive version that was released worldwide in late 2016. This iteration features a redesigned cabinet that uses a flat-screen monitor, a departure from the older arcade releases; it features current graphics and new stages, including HD-remastered stages from Point Blank 1-3, a GunCon controller similar to the one used in Time Crisis 4 with old colors, and the capability to dispense tickets.
Point Blank was originally developed as an arcade game in 1994, but a console version was made for the PlayStation in 1997; this version included an "arrange" mode which added an alternate version of Arcade mode, as well as adding many new gameplay modes alongside an RPG mode. The game was re-created in 1999 as Point Blank 2, adding more mini-stages and replacing "Very Hard" difficulty with "Insane" - and the game was once again re-worked in 2001 as Point Blank 3, being only released for the arcades in Japan and for the PlayStation worldwide, and featured a cameo from Rick Taylor from Splatterhouse.
At the 2006 Game Developers Conference, in San Jose, CA, a Nintendo DS port of the game was announced; the console's stylus and touch screen is used in place of the light gun. The finished game was released in North America on June 13, 2006, two days after the North American release of the Nintendo DS Lite.
According to Electronic Gaming Monthly, Point Blank was a "cult favorite" in U.S. arcades. Official U.S. PlayStation Magazine referred to characters Dr. Dan and Dr. Don as "an underrated dynamic duo" in September 2004.
Next Generation reviewed the PlayStation version of the game, rating it three stars out of five, and stated that "Overall, Point Blank is in no way perfect for a single player, but people looking for a two-player gun game will not be disappointed."
- "TGS 1997 Spring". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 95. Ziff Davis. June 1997. p. 59.
- OPM staff (September 2004). "Overrated/Underrated" (SWF transcript Archived 2008-12-19 at the Wayback Machine). Official U.S. PlayStation Magazine
- "Finals". Next Generation. No. 40. Imagine Media. April 1998. p. 98.