Reviewer: Steven Hopper, Review Date: 09/17/2002


“While not without its flaws, the Act Labs PC USB Light Gun is a very solid product that every die-hard shooter fan should check out.”

If there is one niche genre that hasn’t quite gotten its due on the PC, it’s the shooter genre. For years, PC shooting fans have been limited to using their mouse to poorly recreate an arcade shooting experience. However, Act Labs is looking to change all of that with the Act Labs PC USB Light Gun. Act Labs manages to successfully create a very unique and enjoyable game play experience with its latest gun product. While not without its flaws, the Act Labs PC USB Light Gun is a very solid product that every die-hard shooter fan should check out.

Installation was quick and easy. The PC was shut down and the monitor cable was unplugged from the video card. Then, the monitor cable was plugged into the gun’s adaptor box, which was then plugged into the video card. The gun was then plugged into a USB port and the system was turned on. Windows 98 SE quickly recognized the USB device and the installation was complete.

While the instructions on the Product CD state that it isn’t necessary to calibrate the gun before you use it, I found that calibration was required each time the resolution changed. However, the calibration process was a simple matter of flipping the calibration switch on and moving the gun up, down and across the screen. Once this process was complete, I found the gun to be extremely accurate and versatile with many different types of games.

I found the gun to be very sleek and comfortable. The overall look was very polished, and the gun was very lightweight and didn’t feel at all bulky like many console and arcade guns.

The first game I tried the gun on was Sega’s The House of the Dead 2. The game was over a year old and met with lukewarm reception upon its release. However, the gun made the game a completely new experience. It was one of the closet experiences to playing an arcade game on my PC I’ve ever had. The gun was responsive to every pull of the trigger and every slight movement.

Next, I tried the gun on several of the Shockwave Games that were provided via Internet links on the Product CD. There were a few broken links, but of the games I played all of them performed flawlessly with the gun. Also, I found the gun to work quite well with the latest version of MAME (although, for some reason or another, the ROM for T2: Judgment Day would not work properly with the gun, much to my chagrin).

The USB Light Gun did have a few sore spots, however. I tried to use the gun with one of my favorites from my childhood, American Laser Games’ Who Shot Johnny Rock? Even though the Act Labs website states that the gun is compatible with WSJR?, I could not get the cursor to line up properly with the gun, no matter how many times I calibrated it. Also, no amount of calibration would get the gun to work properly with the Nintendo Emulator FCE Ultra, even though the Act Labs website notes compatibility.

While there were a few problems, I found the Act Labs PC USB Light Gun to be a great product that changed my perception of shooters on the PC. Any arcade shooter fan with a PC owes it to themselves to give the USB PC Light Gun a look.

The Act Labs PC USB Light Gun requires a Pentium 166 or higher running Windows 98SE/ME/2000/XP, a VGA monitor (will not work with LCD or plasma screens), a VGA Video card, DirectX 7 or higher and 5 mb of disk space.

Reviewer's Conclusions:
A very sleek, comfortable and precise piece of equipment. Installation was a snap, and the calibration process was quick and easy.


It didn’t work properly with certain choice games (i.e. Who Shot Johnny Rock?), and it didn’t have a hardcopy installation guide. Plus, it is a bit of a pain to recalibrate the gun before every game, regardless of how easy the process is.

Verdict: 8.5

An overall great product that will give you a completely new shooting experience on your PC. With over 100 compatible games, the PC USB Light Gun is a great buy for any gun game fan.