The Playstation and its successor, the PS2, were home to
some of the best light-gun games around. The Point Blank and Time Crisis series
were important contributions to the genre as they offered novel gameplay mechanics,
and pinpoint accuracy in the home environment. While House of the Dead was
released for the Xbox, buying a $30 gun peripheral for a single game made little
Fast forward six years, past the Columbine mindset the permeated
throughout the industry earlier in this decade. On November 20th,
Nintendo will release the Wii Zapper, a wiimote attachment that will be bundled
with Link’s Crossbow Training. In addition to that game, three third-part titles
will be Zapper-compatible: Capcom’s Resident Evil Umbrella Chronicles, EA’s
Medal of Honor Heroes 2, and Sega’s Ghost Squad. I spent a bit of time with
each of these shooters at E for All and have some initial impressions. Please
note that the screen flashing technology (which allowed light guns to ‘read’
the guns aiming position, and therefore, work) present in the games of old has
been replaced by the IR tech of the Wiimote. Thank goodness!
Link’s Crossbow Training- While he’s known for his sword,
bombs, and boomerang, Link’s new weapon of choice is a crossbow in this new
Nintendo title. More of a collection of three minigames, that a full-fledged
title, the game offers target shooting, defender (I hope there’s no impending litigation from Midway), and ranger mode.
Target mode offers an ever increasing amount of pop-up targets to shoot. Think
of it as Nintendo’s 21 Century update to Duck Hunt; simplistic and addictive.
Defender has Link in a horizontally controllable, third person perspective; moving
the Zapper to the edges of the screen will adjust the players direction of
sight. Think Red Steel without the wonky wrist and vertical control. Ranger is
the fullest realized mini-game, allowing the player to control Link with the
Nunchuck, while zapping enemies in indoor environments.
Medal of Honor Heroes 2– While the list of box bullet points
on this title is inspiring (32 person multiplayer, FPS AND Shooter games), I
have one huge caveat with this title. Playing with a pistol or machine controlled
well, and was very intuitive, but the playing with the sniper rifle was a
completely different story. One level had the player picking off enemies,
against a setting where Nazis were plinking away at the player’s life bar. Controlling
the level of magnification, while aiming, shooting , and spotting enemies was a
control nightmare. I sincerely hope EA fixes this before release, and
implements a simpler system, or else they will suffer the critic’s wrath.
Ghost Squad- Here is Sega performing what they do best-
simple, short games great for a quick round of pick-up and play. Ghost Squad offered
three branching storylines, involving terrorists, hostages and a multitude of
weapons. The game offered a wealth of unlockables to keep players coming back
to the game; one humorous example of Sega’s self-referential playfulness:
Soldiers slitting the neck of enemies with bananas from Super Monkey Ball. At
$20 less than its competitors, this game should do brisk business.
Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles- Capcom takes the RE
universe through an on-rails shooter. Recent play showed that Capcom was listening
to critics who were worried about a very linear experience. While displaying
the train level from E3, evident were hidden power-ups and a more gratifying sensation
when enemies are shot. Unlockables were on display to increase longevity to