It's hard to deny that modern light gun games have hit a rut. Either you're taking aim at zombies in House of the Dead: Overkill, shooting zombies in Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles or shooting zombie-like aliens in Dead Space: Extraction. Boring! In the 1980s game companies weren't afraid to experiment with their light gun games. I guarantee that there isn't a single zombie in Gangster Town, one of Sega's most compelling shooters.
Gangster Town is exactly what it sounds like, a game that has you shooting 1920s mobsters with your virtual gun. The setting is certainly rich for possibilities, featuring shoot-outs on the city streets, in a saloon, through a night club and on the harbor. Plus, the whole thing kicks off with the most exciting 8-bit car chase in light gun game history.
Like most games in this genre, there isn't much substance to Gangster Town. You shoot bad guys when they appear on screen and that's about it. There really isn't a story here, just a series of shoot-outs sewn together with bonus stages. The whole thing is over in only a few minutes, but the setting is interesting enough to warrant repeat plays.
It's hard to imagine going back to Duck Hunt after spending only a few minutes with Gangster Town. The graphics are impressive for the hardware and there's enough diversity to keep things moving along. The car chase at the beginning is an inspired idea and a great way to kick off one of the best shooters on the Sega Master System. I wish the developers could have fleshed out the story, but that's a common complaint with this style of game.
Gangster Town may not break any new ground; however it does offer an intriguing world with a lot of stereotypical baddies to shoot. The fast paced action makes this one of the most intense light gun games ever produced on an 8-bit console. Still, it's hard to get past the lack of depth and relatively easy difficulty. Gangster Town is a fun place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there.