Dogfight! is similar to Submarine: one player takes on the role of a vehicle operator trying to pilot their way through a winding path on the screen. The second player tries to shoot the PlayerSpot representing the vehicle. The big difference between this game and Submarine is, of course, Odyssey’s light-gun rifle add-on -- oh, and this time it’s a plane instead of a convoy of ships.
Similar to Shootout! one player pilots the plane through the winding path while the other player tries to shoot the plane using the light-gun. The players keep track of the number of hits and then switch places. The player who scores the most hits, wins.
The “plane” must follow the specific path shown by the green dotted line, starting in the top left and exiting on the bottom right. The light-gun can only hit the plane while it’s in the circular area containing the targeting reticule. This isn’t a “rule” it’s just an impossibility. Like our friend the flying lizard in Prehistoric Safari, the screen doesn’t let through enough light through the green dotted line for the light-gun to detect.
Unlike Shootout! the controller of the target does not have to slow down and say anything while passing through the vulnerable areas. This encourages the pilot to be "creative" when passing through the targeted zones - more on that later. If a plane is actually “hit” the plane’s spot disappears and the shooting player has to reset the spot by using the pump action on the light-gun rifle. Again, one of the coolest things about the Shooting Gallery. is the pump-action, shotgun-look/feel of the controller, but I digress...
It is interesting -- to me, at least -- that the designers of Shooting Gallery take one gameplay mechanic, in this case, the mechanic of “shooting the target blip” and create three different games from it. Regardless of the similarities, there’s a progression in gameplay and needed skill level. In Prehistoric Safari, the target sits still until you take a shot at it. In Shootout! the target sits still for as long as it takes the player to say "You'll never get me Sheriff!". In Dogfight! the target doesn't sit still at all and can be moved quite quickly through the areas in which it can be shot. Trying to time your shot to hit something whose speed is changing all the time isn’t easy, but if you’ve worked your way up from the previous two games, then it’s certainly not impossible.
Okay, now about how pilots get "creative". My son and I played Dogfight! the other night. My son, playing the part of the “plane”, quickly figured out he could take his time during the "I won't get shot here" parts and then zip through the areas of vulnerability as quickly as possible when he got to them. It made hitting a target quite a challenge when compared to Prehistoric Safari, and was significantly more difficult than Shootout! We had some fun playing this, maybe not as much as during Shootout! but we still had about 15-20 minute’s worth of “Curse you, Red Baron!” With the right attitude, any opportunity to yell “Curse you!” can be fun.
(Yelling is not an official part of this game, by the way, but we had so much fun yelling in Shootout! that we added it. At some point, we considered vocalizing the cries of the doomed pilot as his burning wreckage falls out of the sky, but we decided against it as we both agreed it was in bad taste. We decided he’d have a parachute.)
I don't think we would've missed too much of Ultraman for this one, at least not all at once. Dogfight! is fun, but it takes practice. Too much in one sitting can just be frustrating. I think it might be more realistic to say that we might've missed a little bit of Ultraman a couple of times over a period of two or three days were we to have to choose. I’ll give Dogfight! the point, anyway, because I did want to play this games a few times to see if I could get any better at it.
Ultraman: 4, Odyssey: 9
Next entry we finish off Shooting Gallery with Shooting Gallery!