Tag Archives: light-gun shooter

Wii Essentials: Ghost Squad

One of the things I find kind of interesting about how gaming culture in general has developed over time is how people feel about “arcade games”.

Back in the 8- and 16-bit eras of computers and consoles that I grew up with, the seemingly unattainable dream was to have “the arcade experience at home” — or, well, more accurately, an authentic arcade experience at home. This was kind of strange when you think about it, because a lot of home computer and console games already offered experiences of greater complexity, depth and duration than your average quarter-muncher, but still the dream persisted.

Once we got to a stage where our home gaming hardware was more than up to the job of providing an “arcade-perfect” experience, however, many people had become so accustomed to those longer, deeper experiences that the dream of “arcade games” kind of fell by the wayside for a significant proportion of the gaming audience. And consequently, I suspect a fair few people missed out on highly enjoyable cheese like Sega’s Ghost Squad.

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VR and the Third Coming of Lightgun Shooters

Light-gun shooters are, as you’ll know if you read the Gal*Gun Double Peace coverage from last year, a venerable genre, dating back to the very earliest electronic games.

They are, however, also a genre that has fallen by the wayside over the years, thanks partly to changing trends in gaming but also due to significant changes in display technology — most notably the change from the flickering, interlaced images of CRT TVs and monitors to the stable, constant displays of today’s flat panels; a change which meant old-school light-guns no longer worked.

Light-gun games have remained popular in arcades, however, since they tend to be large, “showcase” machines that are immediately impressive to visitors, and the advent of motion controllers with the Wii (and, to a lesser degree, the PlayStation Move) brought about a half-hearted renaissance for the genre at home, albeit pointing a remote-like device at the screen wasn’t quite the same as fervently gripping a plastic weapon in your hands.

With the advent of affordable virtual reality solutions, however, the light-gun shooter is well and truly back, and more fun than ever.

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Gal*Gun: Sights and Sounds

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Gal*Gun Double Peace is memorable for a whole lot of different reasons: its contribution to the revival of rail shooters, its silly but touching plot and its striking audio-visual aesthetic.

Unlike many other anime-inspired games, the art and music of Gal*Gun are not the work of particularly well-known or established names — but there’s some decent pedigree there if you take the time to look into things a bit more deeply.

So let’s do just that, shall we?

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Gal*Gun: Narrative, Themes and Characterisation

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Gal*Gun Double Peace is about much more than just shooting pretty girls until they fall over in quasi-orgasmic states: it’s actually got a pretty decent narrative, too.

Technically, it’s got several narrative threads, and in true dating sim/visual novel tradition, it’s only by playing them all that you’ll get a full understanding of everything that is going on and the context of each of the characters.

As you might expect from the general tone of the game as a whole, Gal*Gun’s narrative errs on the lighter side of things, but that certainly doesn’t preclude it from exploring a variety of interesting themes along the way.

Let’s dive in and take a look.

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Gal*Gun: Dating on Rails

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Although Gal*Gun Double Peace has the trappings of an arcade-style light-gun shooter, there’s a lot more going on in the game than simply pointing and shooting.

We no longer live in an age where a release like Namco’s original PlayStation port of Time Crisis is acceptable to modern consumers, at least at full retail price; players need more than just a basic game that takes 20 minutes to play through from start to finish and doesn’t vary significantly each time you play.

Fortunately, Gal*Gun Double Peace has plenty to offer those who are willing to put some time in, and it’s a fine example of Inti Creates’ talent for creating games that are simple to pick up but tricky to master completely.

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Gal*Gun: Introduction and History

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With the advent of HDTVs and their different method of producing an image compared to old-school CRTs, one genre of game has largely fallen by the wayside: the light-gun shooter.

With that said, however, there are a number of developers out there keeping the soul — if not the exact execution — of this classic arcade genre alive, and with most gamers tending to demand more than a simple 20-minute arcade-style game for their money these days, they often have a ton of hidden depth behind the traditional “point and shoot” gameplay.

Gal*Gun: Double Peace is one of the most potent examples of a developer taking what is, at heart, a very simple, straightforward style of game and adding a ton of depth, replayability and longevity to it. We’ve certainly come a long way since Operation Wolf, that’s for sure.

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