Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Recommended Gaming: MAME GP32

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Targ was one of those games of the early 80's that was hard to find, and
whose difficulty was rumoured in hushed tones in dark corners of arcades. I
personally never found a machine, so it stuck in the back of my mind in the
intervening years, until I discovered Mame around 1998. Sure enough, Targ
was almost impossibly difficult. This is classic twitch gaming, with just
enough strategy in the mix to keep up that 'just one more game' feeling.
Especially so when it's not costing you your hard earned pocket money! The
only game I can think of that is as hard to beat is Sinistar, a far more
commonly seen machine back in the day but also approached with trepidation,
bordering on raw fear.

First manufactured by Exidy in 1980, Targ employs very simple gameplay. The
playfield is a 10x10 grid of lanes ('crystal city'), your craft ('wummel')
travels the grid trying to shoot the enemies ('ramships' and 'spectar
smugglers') and avoid being rammed. Simple, right? But the curveball thrown
at you is what makes it unique when compared with similar games: your wummel
carries momentum. Turning 180 degrees takes time, slowing down, turning,
then speeding up. There's a trick to turning quicker: turn into a border or
square first, then complete the u-turn. And always remember you can
decelerate in a straight line, an ability the bad guys don't have, so
ambushing can be accomplished with a little foresight and good peripheral
vision. Even using these techniques this is a game that takes a lot of
patience and replays to just get through the first level. On the GP32 Targ
can be found in your 'Classics' folder and played with no frameskip, being
such an old game.

Reviewed by: Alyinsanfran


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