Wii Zapper can add to the fun of some titles
Fans of Nintendo’s Wii are used to actions that mimic reality. They’ve been golfing or bowling by swinging its motion-sensitive controllers for months. Now, they can aim and fire with a gun-shaped Zapper.
The Zapper is really just a two-handled hunk of white plastic that holds the Wii remote and Nunchuck. It actually seems somewhat backwards because the trigger is on the front handle. And it really isn’t essential for playing games since all of the “Zapper-compatible” titles work perfectly well without the gadget.
However, it does make it a lot easier to imagine that you’ve just landed in Normandy with a Tommy gun when your fists are wrapped around one.
The Zapper costs about $20 and comes with “Link’s Crossbow Training” from Nintendo.
In this T-rated game, the hero of the “Zelda” series tests his skills in three types of shooting mini-games. The most basic challenge involves firing at targets that pop up in settings familiar to anyone who’s played “The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess” on the Wii. Another mini-game involves standing your ground while being rushed by scores of enemies. The final type is akin to a third-person shooter where you roam the map in search of foes to vanquish.
Each level offers hidden surprises, which you need to find and hit before you can score enough points to advance to the next level. It’s not complex, but it can be a bit challenging.
Another game that boasts a link to the Zapper is “Ghost Squad” from Sega.
This T-rated title evolved from an arcade game in which players used light guns to battle terrorists. That original game is still at the heart of the Wii version. It moves you through the action on a rail, so you usually don’t have to do much more than aim, shoot and reload.
After clearing the game’s three initial missions, you can opt to replay them with higher levels of difficulty and additional challenges. There are 16 versions of each mission. As you progress through the game, you also can unlock different weapons and uniforms.
The graphics and cheesy dialog haven’t changed much from those in the arcade game. And its story line is pretty short and shallow. However, this isn’t a game that takes itself too seriously. One of the unlockable uniforms makes your commando look like a panda. The game also offers two unlockable modes available only on the Wii. In one, the commandos use dolphin-shaped squirt guns to battle bikini- clad vixens — and bosses who look like cast-offs from the Village People. In the other extra mode, the commandos and their foes are dressed as ninjas and throw deadly metal stars.
With this sort of humor, fast-paced action and the ability to accommodate four players, “Ghost Squad” is a good game to share with friends. Plus, it costs only about $30.
Electronic Arts offers some Zapper action in “Medal of Honor: Heroes 2.”
In this T-rated game, you play as Lt. John Berg, an OSS agent who’s been attached to the Rangers for the invasion of Normandy. Your job is to dig up secrets and destroy assets vital to the Nazis in a mix of street fighting and special ops.
The fanciful plot is matched by fast- paced arcade-style action. Play involves a lot of running and gunning with the typical assortment of World War II-era weapons. Aside from aiming and reloading, only a few special tasks — such as setting explosive charges, melee attacks and throwing grenades — require special gestures. This keeps the controls from getting too gimmicky.
Although it’s fun to use the Zapper in the campaign, the mode is actually best played using standard Wii controls. The gestures are more efficient and fun.
However, the Zapper is a definite plus in the game’s arcade mode. This easy-to-play mode is in keeping with EA’s desire to make Wii games accessible to the widest possible audience. Like “Ghost Squad,” it puts you on a rail, so all you need to do in most cases is aim, fire and reload — although ducking a few times is advisable.
The arcade mode follows the same course as the main campaign, which means that even beginners can get a good taste of the game’s action. It can be a lot of fun for experienced gamers, too.
In addition to these modes, “Heroes 2” offers online competition for up to 32 players. There’s no voice chat, but that’s probably for the best when you consider what most of the voices say during online games.
The graphics are OK, but I have seen much richer detail in other Wii games.
Because of its fast-paced campaign, fun arcade mode and online options, “Heroes 2” is probably the best bet for most gamers eyeing a Zapper — even though the gadget isn’t really needed to enjoy the game.