The Conduit – Still Going StrongLast time we checked in with High Voltage at PAX, they had only just gotten their hands on Wii MotionPlus. So I wasn’t too surprised to see that there really wasn’t much being done with it at the Nintendo Media Summit – but my proverbial socks were knocked off when I saw how much they’d done with the graphics in that short amount of time. Less than two builds later, The Conduit looks worlds better. All of the graphics have been smoothed over thanks to new detail mapping, which also gets rid of those pesky blurring textures on walls and stuff. The lighting and colors have been tweaked so that a real sense of atmosphere comes through as you play. And we can finally see what the All Seeing Eye tool is supposed to do when you use it to search for hidden passages and enemies; something I didn’t get to try during my last whirlwind tour of the Wii FPS.I started this demo somewhere underneath one of the government buildings in Washington (maybe the Pentagon). The long, dark corridors were moody and tense as orders were being given to me over an earpiece about where to go and who to shoot at. Gas-masked foes jumped out from behind crates and steel doorways, bringing on a rush of Time Crisis nostalgia as I gunned ‘em down. I had to stop and fiddle with the motion controls a bit (mostly just to slow the turning speed). It was every bit as responsive and in-depth as I remembered, letting me set up the control scheme nearly any way I could think of. (I have a sneaking suspicion that The Conduit it would have worked out fine even without MotionPlus). A “soft” targeting reticule was added to this build and there’s now an objective compass that tells you how far (and in which direction) your goal is. Facing a guy and holding down Z brings up a loose box around the enemy as well as a gauge that gives a rough estimate of his HP. Let go of Z and the reticule vanishes (that also seems to happen if the target gets too far out of range). So by “soft” reticule, High Voltage means you still have to work if you wanna shoot someone. After finishing off or chasing away all of the gas mask guys, I came to what looked like a dead end and busted out the All Seeing Eye to look for a clue. I had to walk back along the corridor until I saw something flash on the wall and a yellow icon light up on screen. Using the All Seeing Eye, I triggered a secret lock that had me aligning semi-circles around an illuminati pyramid before a panel slid open to reveal a secret passage. At the end of the passage, a short cutscene showed one of the gas mask dudes getting disemboweled by an alien and then I was back to running through shadowy corridors, looking for more clues and more people to shoot. Before, I compared this game to Turok. What I meant by that was, The Conduit evoked the marvelous feeling that Nintendo FPS games can hold their own against anything Sony comes up with (which I used to believe back when I was 13). I may be more jaded now (and a proud PS3 owner), but I honestly think when I look at The Conduit that I am looking at one of the best shooters anyone could ask for on any console. Even better is the idea of multiplayer. No one’s gotten a look at this yet, but we have heard that WiiSpeak is being incorporated into this part of the game. Even if it weren’t, I’d still be stoked for multiplayer because if campaign mode is any indicator, The Conduit multiplayer stands to be the next GoldenEye. Which means two of my favorite N64 shooters will have been reenacted. Which means my wallet will be lighter. How about yours?