One of the earliest NES games released, Hogan's Alley is also possibly the most well-known Zapper game after the classic Duck Hunt. But does it hold up as well as its lightgun game partner?

The premise of Hogan's Alley is fairly simple. You are (seemingly) some sort of police officer or soldier doing shooting practice, with cardboard cutouts of villains and innocent civilians repeatedly appearing. All you have to do is shoot the correct targets, again and again, until you mess up too many times or you're too slow. As you move on you will be give less time to react, so you're bound to fail sooner or later.

Just like Duck Hunt, though, there are a few different game modes on offer. Game A is the most basic and presents you with a simple shooting gallery. Three cutouts will slowly come out at a time, and will then all spin around to reveal their front at the same time. Quickly shoot the right targets before the time runs out, without shooting any civilians.

In Game B you're in an actual outdoor training ground, with fake buildings and all. In this mode targets will only appear one at a time, though you typically have less time to react; some targets will appear with their image already revealed before they stop moving, so you have to be ready to fire at all times. After shooting a few targets the screen will scroll over into another area, so the actual level layout and spots where targets appear will keep changing.

The last mode, Game C - also known as Trick Shot - is completely different from the other two, and comparatively simpler. In this mode you'll again only see one screen, with three openings on the left side - each is marked with a point value, the highest being at the bottom. Tin cans will start to fly in from the right and you simply have to shoot them in the air to bounce them over towards the openings on the left to receive points, the number of which depends on which one they fly into. If you drop too many off the bottom of the screen it's over, though!

There's not a great deal to say about the game itself. Just like Duck Hunt all three modes are rather simplistic, as is to be expected from one of the first lightgun games on NES. Hogan's Alley has a slight edge over Duck Hunt in terms of presentation, though, as it actually has a scrolling stage in Game B. In terms of audio, however, it's pretty much the same, with mostly sound effects and very short jingles between rounds or after starting/losing. The Wii Remote pointer implementation follows the setup of Duck Hunt, too.

Conclusion

Unless you see yourself trying to beat your highscores a whole lot, Hogan's Alley really doesn't have a whole lot going for it. All three of the modes offer little variation, as while you might think the scrolling in Game B seems interesting the level starts to repeat far quicker than you might imagine. Unlike Duck Hunt, in which you could theoretically keep going forever if you're a good enough shot, it becomes essentially impossible to survive in Hogan's Alley after a certain point as you would need inhuman reflexes to visually identify the targets and react quickly enough.

Hogan's Alley was certainly an interesting lightgun game, and hasn't aged particular poorly, but it's simply far too shallow these days.