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Your computer never had you laughing like this.

Zany. Warped. Outrageous. It’s Take Your Best Shot -- the stress-relieving arcade experience from the people who brought you Monty Python’s Complete Waste of Time!
Now, 7th Level brings you the genius of award-winning animator Bill Plympton to your PC with arcade games that will have you doubled over with laughter!

Best Shot – The Stress Reliever: Finally, you can let someone have it without hearing from his lawyer. Choose from a menu of abuse to get back at bosses, bureaucrats and busybodies: all the bullies who bother you on a bi-hourly basis. Laugh yourself silly as you punch, smash and blast your way through these riotous episodes.

Line Shot: Step up to a whole new ball game – Plympton style. Test your batting skills against the machine, or grab a friend and go nine innings. We might send you a fast ball or throw you a curve. If you can keep your eye on the ball, you could put one over the fence!

Hot Shot: Remember Pong? Well, here’s our enhanced and twisted tribute to Atari’s ground-breaking computer game. Two paddles are tough, and four paddles will really keep your fingers and brain racing. See if you can keep up as the action gets hot!

Head Shot: Talk about a head game! These guys are really in your face. To escape, you’ll have to knock them out one by one – without missing the ball. But beware! Some of these guys require multiple strikes, and to go all the way you’ll have to dodge death-dealing lightning balls!

Plus these other great extras:
  • More than 200 outrageous audio clips including explosive keyboard noises
  • 18 side-splitting interactive screen savers, 18 living and 10 static wallpapers, plus custom wallpapers you create from any game
  • 32 eye-popping desktop icons
  • “Hot keys” and bonus rounds
  • Over 50 levels of game play
  • Joystick supported
~ from the back of the box

If you're ever bored sitting in your office, procrastinating about work you know you should be doing, chances are you'll be playing with a desktop toy. You could clack metallic balls with a Newton's Cradle, push parts of your body on a nail bed to make Pin Art, or load up a random CD-ROM such as Take Your Best Shot.

Released in 1995 by 7th Level, Take Your Best Shot is based on a classic award-winning 1991 animation called Push Comes to Shove. Created by famed satirist Bill Plympton, many of you of a certain age will remember the comedically violent short by other means. It was featured regularly on MTV's Liquid Television and us UK audiences were exposed to it as a series of adverts for Golden Wonder's Nik Naks, albeit with completely unique animations. I remember these adverts quite vividly as a kid and wouldn't see the full short until years later. Even so, the imagery is iconic sparking the beginning of Plympton's carreer in the medium after it won the Jury Prize for Best Short at Cannes.

Best Shot (left) is a fun representation of the animated short, but it is not much of a game.
Head Shot (right) showcases some insane animations in an Arkanoid clone.

The premise is that two suited business men take increasingly imaginative shots at each other with little consequence. A head explodes before growing back again, a tongue is stretched and twisted tightly around its owners face, a boulder is pulled through the nasal cavity; it's all surrealist fun before a light flick on the nose brings one of them to tears. The short alone can be read in several different ways but I took it to be a metaphor for corporate life. You'll have to suffer blows from po-faced men in your stride before you will inevitably break by the slightest tap. Take Your Best Shot takes this further by deliberately stating that the whole situation is a discussion between an employee and the boss about a pay rise. Oof!

Each side has several icons which can be clicked on to initiate an animation - the same ones in the short for the most part. They have an arbitrary set of points awarded to them and the winner will have the most by the end. It presents itself like a one-on-one fighter, but the actions are all pre-determined and the winner is usually the person who gets bored last. In this regards, it's more like an interactive presentation of the short than it is a game. Some entended scenes have been trimmed, with one attack completely removed to even out both sides so it's not all here. Nothing's been added either, which is a shame too, but there's no denying that it's imagery will indelibly sear into your brain for years to come.

Hot Shot (left). Choosing four paddles for extra challenge will add them to the top and bottom.
Line Shot (right). If any of you win a game, I don't believe you. Send pics or it didn't happen.

Also included in the package are three mini-games. They are all basic and derivative of other games that have existed since the dawn of the medium. Head Shot is essentially Breakout with heads replacing the blocks. I've always liked a Breakout clone, and this one plays competently enough but there isn't enough to keep playing. Upon every hit, the heads will animate to explosion or other varied deaths features in the short. Sometimes they'll pause after a few frames meaning they'll take multiple hits before they disappear. The issue is that all heads begin by looking the same so if several knocks are required to off a block, you won't know until the first hit.

The second game is called Hot Shot. Being a Pong clone, it has even simpler gameplay than Head Shot with either the Boss' or Employee's face playing the role of an obstacle in the court. If you aim the ball at him and score a hit, you will earn points and a short animation for doing so. Either way, the black void of a background does nothing to help the presentation, but I guess it's better than staring at an overly expensive everlasting spinning top for five minutes.

You can preview the multimedia content from the main menu (left).
Some of the screen savers are fully interactive. Just click on the heads to pop them (right).

Line Shot goes down the sports route by being a Baseball game. It was probably chosen because they already had a baseball animation digitised thanks to the Employee literally knocking the Boss' block off with a bat in the original short. I feel this one is more satirical than the other two as there appears to be no way to win against the Boss. A baseball will be thrown at you from one of those ball throwing machines and it is random what pattern it will take. Sometimes it will dive for you at great speed causing a strike. Other times it will loop all over the place again causing a strike. I was determined to try and win a match so in the space of 30 minutes or so I managed to hit the ball twice. The first time it was a foul ball. The second time, I was caught out. The computer-controlled home team play out off-screen in a series of text prompts and you have no control over it. As a result, every inning I played, I ended up with 0 runs while they successfully got at least 2. Success is futile. Sounds like the average office experience.

Like every other multi-media CD-ROM of the era, Take Your Best Shot also contains its fair share of wallpapers, screen savers and desktop sounds. 27 years on, all of these extras are as useful as an Enron executive or a Twitter tick but some are amusing enough to watch through. A few of the screen savers are also interactive too; you can click on the floating heads to elicit one of the many animations you've probably seen countless times by now. As a short, Push Comes to Shove remains a memorable piece of animation history. Take Your Best Shot is just history. It's fascinating that such a thing exists and is curiously entertaining for a short while, but as a desktop toy - much less a game - you'd be better off poking appendages at pins.

To download the game, follow the link below. This custom installer exclusive to The Collection Chamber uses the DOSBox Daum build of DOSBox 0.74 running Microsoft Windows 3.1 to get the game working on modern systems. Read the ChamberNotes.txt for more detailed information. Tested on Windows 10.

File Size: 128 Mb.  Install Size: 178 Mb.  Need help? Consult the Collection Chamber FAQ


Take Your Best Shot is © 7th Level Inc
Push Comes to Shove is © Bill Plympton
Review, Cover Design and Installer created by me

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  1. I remember this one from a 7th Level demo disk I got with their Ace Ventura game. Even as a kid I found their oeuvre puzzling. From the quality of the experiences on their gameplay merits, you could almost write them off as a shovelware company: none of their games (except perhaps Arcade America, which is in its own way a genuine classic) made particularly inspired use of the medium or hung together well on a technical level.

    And yet they still seemed to be putting in an extraordinary level of effort, it was just directed in the presentation layer: art, sound, video and animation. They seemed to have a passion for dark comedy, satire and all things grotesque. Something that was presumably only possible in the multimedia age, while we were still hammering out what was viable in the burgeoning commercial software market. I wonder if the appstore underwent a similar phase?

    1. I very much agree. I believe because of their attention to artistic detail, their games all hold up from a visual perspective. As for gameplay, well, that's a matter of opinion. I really liked Ace Ventura and the last two Monty Python games. Arcade America's fun in bursts too. These are the only ones from their back catalogue that I can recall that act like full-blooded games and not - as one of their titles put is - a complete waste of time.

  2. I thought they looked familar until you mentioned the Nik Nak adverts https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MeAkH0iklro