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Target Reviews
Author: Richard Otter
Date: 2005

Duncan Bowsman

From the beginning, the game tries to help players along as much as possible, perhaps even too much. It's clear the author had some trouble setting up the game's primary NPC with a depth that both motivates and withstands continued player interrogation. The writing throughout remains functional, with a few sour spots.

The obvious star of the game here is the variability in the game's writing. While goals remain the same (in short, shoot somebody and make your best exit), the details of the event change with each play. This is interesting in the way that it resists the creation of a static, command-by-command walkthrough, ensuring the significance of the player's role as an interpreter in the story's action. Gameplay is otherwise straightforward. It has its puzzles, all solved fairly easily.

The less obvious star-- and, I think, the potentially more interesting one-- is the game's protagonist. Beneath the content of his actions on the job, the text frames the killer as a soft-spoken intellectual who maintains a family and loves gardening. This introduction gives some depth to this variably named 40-something professional killer, and the varying amounts of attention given to objects in the world also complement this character's mindset in a nice way. Remembrances of training, just snippets of quotes, bubble up to the surface of the killer's mind in the same way a song might get stuck in a person's head. The variable and replayable nature of the adventure suggests that the protagonist has worked for several gangland bosses, that assassinations are, to him, a routine as straightforward as a game. Here the contradictions of playable space and linear narrative in the form of an IF ultimately serve the development of this likewise complex and contradictory character.

Admittedly, not everyone will be quite as pulled in by this one as I was, for its compact size and play time you really can't go wrong giving this target a shot.

Reviewed by Robert Street

This is another short entry to the Summer competition. In "Target" you are a professional killer, and the aim of the game is to eliminate your target. In my first go I managed this in a couple of turns, but the game is not quite that short, as I subsequently lost. There are a few puzzles, but they are not difficult, and the last puzzle can be completely ignored. In fact I didn't really recognise that it could be solved when I first saw it. 

One of the most interesting features of this game is that a lot of it is randomised. The description and location of your target changes each game, so you have to check everyone carefully. This is a good technical achievement and even offers more replay value than usual, as each time you play the game, the solution will be different. I didn't discover any bugs whilst playing the game, which is always a plus point. However, it could have been better if the game was just a little longer. With the short gameplay time, I was left thinking was that it? 

Still, "Target" was fun while it lasted. 

SCORE - 6/10 

Reviewed by David Whyld

Clearly I'm getting worse at predicting things. When I played “Target” – an entry in the ADRIFT Spring Comp 2005 (it was the first game I played) – I remember thinking "hmmm… this is going to come last". It actually came first. While there's nothing terrible about the game, there's nothing particularly great about it either. Or so I thought anyway. But as it came first, I'm clearly in a minority. 

”Target” is a game about a hit man hired to assassinate someone. It starts with you, the hit man, on the rooftop of a building. You've got a rifle and a description of your target. All you have to do is find him… and kill him. 

That's essentially the game in a nutshell. One nice feature is that the identity of the hit man you play, as well as the identity of your victim, change each time you play the game. I discovered this after dying several times and finding myself with a different target each time. Heck, one time the hit man was even yours truly! But while identities may change each time, it's still pretty much the same game. The layout of the rooftop remains the same and as you start with a description of your victim, it's a simple task to wander about the rooftop, match up the description and shoot the guy in question. There are no added complications depending upon which victim you are assigned to kill: it's just a case of find 'em and shoot 'em. 

I played “Target” through three times before figuring out the basics behind identifying my victim and dealing with him, and disposing of the undercover cop and the sniper as well, and it seemed like a remarkably short game. Strangely enough, when I opened it in the Generator, I was surprised to see a whopping 1084 tasks (!), which was about 20 times as many as I expected to see. On the surface, “Target” seems like a simple game indeed; but a closer look reveals that there's actually been a considerable amount of work expended on it. Just a pity I didn't like it more. 

Logic doesn't play a large part in this game. My hit man character wanders around the rooftop of the building with his rifle in hand, yet the tramp (actually an undercover cop) makes no effort to arrest me until I've actually gone and shot someone. (For that matter, why is there even a tramp on top of the building?) The tramp makes several inane comments as I stand there, toting my rifle, about the rooftop, a neon sign and the like, yet doesn't bother asking me about said rifle. He provides information about every subject under the sun – almost literally – but I found his constant comments, every two or three moves, to be so distracting that before long I was itching to kill him just to get a bit of peace and quiet. 

Yet despite all its failings, “Target” won the ADRIFT Summer Comp 2005 and proved surprisingly popular with lots of people. I just wish I could see its appeal myself. 

2 out of 10 

Reviewed by Timothy Bard

I thought 'Target' was a fun short game.  I am surprised at how many tasks were made for the game because the game does seem that complicated.
I would have to agree with David concerning the logic of the game.  I doubt an undercover cop would wait for you to kill a person before arresting you when you are carrying a rifle...  However, I don't think the game was to have a convincing story; the game was just supposed to be entertaining, which I think it was.  As I said, a short fun game to be played when you have just a few minutes to spare.

Reviewed by Basilisk

I think it's a nice little game, but it seems like it was an overambitious project to start with. Since the area and method of killing are always the same, the trouble the author went through to mix up descriptions and names seems really superfluous. I think that it would have been better executed in some busy place like a ballroom, where you have to identify and track your target without drawing suspicion, then lure them away to a non-busy place to do the deed.

I still played it a few times until I was able to get 100s consistently.

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