The Wii hasn’t been particularly kind to shooter fans. Numerous titles have been ported from other consoles only to fall prey to gimmicky controls and lackluster graphics.
The folks at High Voltage Software noticed and decided to build a Wii shooter from the ground up. The result: "The Conduit," which delivers a superb, customizable control system and very good graphics for a Wii title.
The T-rated "The Conduit" tells the story of Michael Ford, a Secret Service agent who’s called into action by a mysterious group known as the Trust, which claims to have been watching over the United States for the past two centuries. However, things start getting somewhat murky about the time space aliens start sniping at you with energy weapons. Conspiracy theories, secret agendas and intrigue abound. Sure, we’ve seen it, played it and shot it all before, but "The Conduit" still makes it fun.
Much of that fun can be attributed to the control system. While the Wii is best known for its motion-senstive controllers, shooter fans have learned that waggles and waves just get in the way of the action. It’s great to be able to aim by pointing at the screen, punch a foe in the face by flicking the remote or toss a grenade by flicking the nunchuck. However, developers really need to drop anything beyond that — which is precisely what High Voltage did. As a result, the game plays very smoothly, with most other actions being handled by buttons or the joystick.
Another plus is the game’s highly customizable interface that lets you precisely tweak every element from turning speed to the size of the Wii’s dead zone to match your preferences. If you find the settings aren’t quite ideal, you can alter them on the fly.
While the graphics can’t compete with the sort of realism attained in some games on the more-powerful consoles, developers have definitely raised the bar for the Wii. The settings — in, around and under Washington, D.C. — offer a good amount of detail and texture. The character are a bit stylized, but the weapons, animations and effects are solid.
Many of the foes are on the dim side — sometimes forgetting to duck or deciding to run right up to you even though you’re firing a beam into their belly. However, there are always enough of them to keep things interesting.
The voice work is very good, with Mark Shappard of "Battlestar Galactica" portraying Ford and Kevin Sorbo of "Hercules" portraying the shadowy Prometheus.
"The Conduit" also offers a robust collection of multiplayer options for those who want to continue the battle online. In addition, the game is the first shooter to offer voice chat using the Wii Speak attachment. Voice communication has been the biggest gap in the few Wii shooters that have offered online competition.
Hard-core shooter fans probably won’t see "The Conduit" as ground-breaking. However, playing a first-person shooter that’s truly fun and doesn’t require random jerks and waggles to accomplish simple tasks is a huge deal for Wii fans.
Platform: WiiOn the Web: www.conduit game.com
Compete against the developers
The "Conduit" team is very supportive of the U.S. military and is eager to test their skills against servicemembers.
If you’re interested in joining a multiplayer match with the guys from High Voltage Software, e-mail your Conduit Friend Code to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
You will also need to enter the friend codes for High Voltage team members in your own Wii. They are: 1848-9258-2939 for Josh, the producer; 2450-2083-7409 for Rob, lead designer; 4554-7423-6103 for Joe, lead artist; and 1548-2652-4952 for Sam, designer.
They’ll then get in touch to set up specific times and dates.