As capable inputs go, the Wii remote hasn’t proved to be the equivalent of a PC’s mouse, and shooters designed expressly for the console are almost nonexistent. High Voltage Software, previously known for its licensed titles and ports, decided to make a Wii game that could push the genre’s boundaries. From a technical standpoint, the experiment is a success, but strip away some neat tech tricks, and The Conduit doesn’t have much juice.
As you run down an alien conspiracy through a paper-walled reconstruction of Washington D.C., you’ll see things rare to the Wii, like great-looking water effects and depth of field. You’ll also see endless corridors; to achieve a quality action experience, High Voltage seemingly had to limit level design to the most rudimentary elements. Occasional large spaces are connected by long cattle chutes that limit your exploration and enemy movement. Aim forward, and you’ll usually hit the mark.
To provide the illusion of exploration, there’s a gadget called the all-seeing eye. The orb/flashlight reveals hidden doors and messages, ghost mines, and nodes that control special locks. It’s a neat way to combine keycards, secrets, and other little standard shooter elements into one package. But an alarm sounds every time you really need to use it, so the little exploration it might have set in motion is typically moot.
Not that The Conduit deserves dismissal. It’s a solid shooter experience, complete with a satisfying array of conventional and alien weapons, and a great control scheme. Still, it comes with a qualifier: “Only on the Wii!”
Beyond the game: The Conduit’s controls are as customizable as a PC shooter’s. You can tweak every aspect of camera/cursor movement speed and map your actions to buttons, making the Wii-mote and nunchuk as useful a controller combo as possible.
Worth playing for: The multiplayer modes, which break out of the constrained single-player corridors to deliver frantic, though traditional, shootin’.
Frustration sets in when: The enemy AI is about as smart as an empty ammo crate. Adversaries will stand still and fire into obstacles, adding to the shooting-gallery feel of the single-player mode.
Final judgment: Ambition outstrips achievement, leaving a solid technical base for future shooters.