Hogan's Alley is like Wild Gunmen without the effort. While I have my issues with Nintendo's other light gun games, these problems pale in comparison to Hogan's Alley. Based on the well-known police school, this first-generation Nintendo Entertainment System game attempts to simulate a shooting range. The end result gives us all of the boring trappings of gun simulator without the fun of actually shooting a gun.
This is a simple-minded exercise that is built around the idea that shooting bad guys is fun. It's true, shooting bad guys is indeed fun, but instead of animating characters or creating real backgrounds, Hogan's Alley just tosses 8-bit recreations of cardboard cut-outs. There are bad guys and hostages; none of them animate and once you've shot them they disappear. That's it. That is the whole game. It's hard to believe that this half-assed project came out the same year as Wild Gunman.
Hogan's Alley is split up into three separate mini-games. The first has you blasting away dangerous criminals in a police line-up. The second mini-game is more of the same, only this time around you're outside and perps hide in windows and in the alleyways. The third mini-game has the player shooting at cans to direct them into one of three goals for points.
The standard light gun rules apply to Hogan's Alley. Here all of the bad guys are scummy middle-aged men in trench coats and expensive hats. You'll also need to pay close attention to the innocent men and women that pop up from time to time. The good news is that there are only a few figures to memorize and they never animate.
As an arcade game, I can begin to understand why this shallow shooter might have had legs. It's not that the three modes aren't entertaining, they are. The problem is that they aren't exciting enough to keep you going after a single play. This might not be a problem in an arcade setting, but it's no good as a Nintendo Entertainment System cartridge.
Despite my misgivings about this particularly shallow light gun game, I wouldn't be opposed to Nintendo reviving the Hogan's Alley name. Get rid of the cardboard cut-outs, include a dozen more modes and suddenly you have a shooting gallery worth playing. As it is, Hogan's Alley simply doesn't have enough content to keep players going for long. Of all the middling light gun games on the NES, this is the laziest.