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Skeet Shoot (Apollo) Again!?!

DoctorSpuds

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A little while back I decided to get ambitious and start putting some of my reviews of Gamefaqs, because I thought they were good enough for the greater internet community, it seems though that my second iteration of my Skeet Shoot review (the first was three paragraphs of me laughing) was rejected as trolling as I was perhaps a bit hard on the game. I rewrote the review to be more professional and lo and behold they snapped it right up. This is my professional take on Skeet Shoot... The game's still a piece of shit though.
 
 
It may seem odd to give an Atari 2600 game an intro, but Skeet Shoot is one of the few that absolutely needs one. It is confusing to many how a game of such ‘dubious’ quality made its way on to the 2600 in the first place, I have heard it remarked that Skeet Shoot feels like a school project or a tech demo, and while I don’t know about the former, the latter option is basically true. This is a very simplified version of what happened but the friend of the founder of Games by Apollo, Ed Salvo, pitched Skeet Shoot more so as a proof of concept than as an actual release, but the founder, Pat Roper, bought it for $5,000 and put it on store shelves. It is unlikely that the programmer actually intended for anybody to play this game, which would account for its lack of overall polish in all three key sections of the game: graphics, sound, and gameplay, but this is what we have, so let’s just dive right into it.
 
Skeet Shoot is an extremely simple game consisting of only nine elements. The landscape and sky are simple green and blue rectangles, while the skeet launcher is a blue square, which will cause some issue later on down the line. The scores reside in the top portion of the screen, I can’t complain about them since they are only numbers. Eyebrows are liable to be raised when the ‘Skeet Shooter’ comes on screen, he consists of three colors, which at the time was rather impressive, his body is blue but bears absolutely no resemblance to a human body, it looks more like a sign you would see on the sidewalk outside a restaurant. His head is a squashed green-brown oval, which has what is assumed to be the barrel of the gun sticking straight up out of it giving the impression of a Mohawk. He more so resembles a space ship from a game like Galaxian or GORF, than a human. The final three graphical elements are the bullet that the spaceship-man shoots which is the same color as his head while on the green part of the screen and then changes to purple when on the blue sky, the skeet which is a medium sized black diamond, the graphic for the skeet breaking up when hit, which is actually quite good, but you won’t be seeing very often most likely.
 
There is very little to talk about in the sound department. Skeet Shoot has a total of four sounds, which even by the standards of the time is lacking. Each of the four sounds are fairly well tailored to what they’re meant to represent, the sound of you shooting the gun is suitably crunchy and the sound of the skeet being hit is as well. The sound that plays when the skeet is launched is what I would imagine hurling a small object would sound like in 8-Bit, and of course there is a little ding you score a point. That’s all; let’s move on to the gameplay.
 
This game is very flawed, almost to the point of unplayablilty, and it can be traced back to that blue square in the graphics section, as well as several other factors. The premise of the game is very simple, shoot the disc. In the default game variation both the direction of the skeet and the location of the shooter are selected at random from left, right, and center, this leads to some frustration when coupled with the initial speed of the skeet, which can be changed by messing with the difficulty switches. The game is very nearly unplayable, most players do not have the reaction times necessary to know which angle to shoot, based on the shooters location and the direction the skeet is moving, since by the time you wrestle the controller into the proper position the skeet is already off the screen. I played Skeet Shoot under the best possible conditions, on an emulator with a keyboard, and out of 20 shots only managed to hit the skeet five times, and that was mostly due to lucky placement, on original hardware I could only manage two hits out of 20. This game is a perfect storm of difficulty, there is only one point in the skeet’s flight path where it can intersect with your bullet, but the skeet moves too quickly and your bullet moves too slowly to intersect, couple that with not knowing where you’re going to be positioned and you are going to have a rough time of it. Skeet Shoot has 17 different variations, I would recommend consulting the manual, but mostly it just changes the shooter's position from random to a permanent spot.
 
I would recommend against buying or playing this game it is a dismal experience to say the very least. I can only wish that when the shooting mode is set on random that the blue square in the center would give some sort of indication of the direction it’s shooting, so the player can have a semblance of a chance at playing and possibly enjoying the game. But as it stands, Skeet Shoot is a collector’s piece through and through, and I would not recommend anybody buy this game.

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