21 Things The Conduit 2 Could Learn From N64 Shooters

April 26, 2010 at 8:44 pm | Posted in Gaming Article | 1 Comment
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If you’ve read my review of The Conduit you’ll know how frustrated I was that the gameplay failed to live up to the impressive graphics and ended up turning what could have been a great title into yet another by-the-numbers shooter. Some of the most basic advances in the FPS genre made two generations ago were missing but could be so easy to add into the sequel. Below is a list of things (some serious, some whimsical) from the N64 era I’d like to see in Conduit 2 (and most new shooters).

But before the sensationalist title of this feature is taken to heart I’d like to assure all readers that this is not intended as a stab at the guys ‘n gals at High Voltage software. I have a lot of respect for the fact they actually put some effort into this Wii title, not easy for a small development studio, and look forward to their future endeavours. You can substitute The Conduit for any one of the hundreds of dull, uninspired console shooters we’ve been subjected to over the last few years – the genre as a whole has stagnated like so many others in this generation with few titles showing a willingness to try something new, or even learn from the mistakes of their predecessors. As always, your comments are welcome.

1 – Body shots

Goldeneye was the first FPS to include damage and reaction animations to enemy characters – shoot a guard in the leg and he’ll hop, get him in the groin and he’ll clutch his crown jewels, you could even take off his hat with a well-placed shot. Perfect Dark improved on this and even let you shoot the guns from their hands, prompting some to reach for their weapon or just try hand-to-hand combat to take you down, if you let them live long enough to try that is. This is still not a standard feature in modern FPSs

2 – Non-linear levels

Goldeneye, Turok and Perfect Dark all had some pretty large scale levels with multiple ways to go about completing them. They were also great to just roam around in and explore, something missing from The Conduit and its all-to-linear corridor filled levels.

3 – Co-op

If an N64 can cope with co-op (ok, so it did chug a bit at times) then surely a console one-an-a-half generational leaps ahead can too. I’m sure HVS would love to use it as a test of just how much their engine can handle and would be very popular among gamers.

4 – Multiplayer Bots

We may live in an age where online rules the roost but do developers really have to forget about those gamers with no internet connection or friends? It’s not just the small titles that are guilty of this, Halo 3 was shipped with no such options to accommodate those without an Xbox Live Gold membership. Perfect Dark’s simulants gave a great instant challenge when friends were erstwhile engaged and the simplistic AI routines given to the different bot types have rarely been bettered in multiplayer.

5 – Intelligent AI

Pitting your AI routines against a player in a multiplayer combat session is a good test of how robust your programming has been. Turok 2 and Perfect Dark had some pretty advance AI for the time, with dinosaurs and guards finding all sorts of ways to creep up or outnumber you. Unfortunately The Conduit’s bad guys wouldn’t last five seconds in such an arena of conflict. Enemies running madly from one room to another trying to find us were a common sight, and I spotted more than one trying to shoot at me through a gas canister they were standing right next to. I also had to raise a titter at the unfortunate Drudge drone who for some reason decided to throw a grenade at the wall opposite me and then ran straight into the blast radius, perhaps it had just had enough of listening to such poor AI routines and wanted to end it all.

6 – Spying

In a game with a plot focussed so heavily on conspiracy theories it was a bit of a surprise that we didn’t actually get to do much spying on the opposition in The Conduit. Goldeneye obviously had to include a lot of espionage type activity because of its main star, but Perfect Dark gave you the proper tools to sneak up on enemies via the excellent cam-spy and CCTV hacking devices. The Conduit’s world is just rife for a resurrection of these types of devices and would offer a welcome break from the monotonous shooting.

7 – Alien homeworlds

Actually this a red-herring, the one thing I really don’t want to see is a trip to an alien homeworld. Perfect Dark’s later extra terrestrial levels were awful and confusing compared to the tight design of the Earth levels; Half-life and Halo 3 are also guilty of including late alien levels that aren’t fit to wipe the boots of the other stages. Please HVS, don’t send us to that ol’ Drudge homeworld, we’ll be good we promise.

8 – Challenges

Perfect Dark’s challenges were a quick and cheap way to give it extra life but were still pretty good fun. HVS came up with some good ideas for the multiplayer modes in The Conduit, so we’re sure they can think up some ingenious challenges set in the single or multiplayer sections.

9 – Expanded difficulty levels

Another Goldeneye invention that strangely has rarely been seen since, except in expanded form in its semi-sequel Perfect Dark. We’re tired of increased difficulty levels just equalling higher hit points for enemies, why can’t we have some difficulty-specific objectives or levels? It prolongs game life and gives an incentive to try a higher difficulty.

10 – Fully customisable multiplayer characters

Perfect Dark let you create your very own avatar to take into multiplayer matches from all the different enemy body parts, and this would be an awesome addition to The Conduit 2. I’d just love to be able to play as a grey alien with Miyamoto’s head just one last time before I die.

11 – Interactive environments

Light bulbs could be smashed in Perfect Dark, Turok 2 had entire buildings you could destroy, hell even Goldeneye had chairs that blew up when you shot them. I want to be able to interact with FPS levels like I once did, it made them seem that little bit more real and more fun to be in – remember getting that sudden uncontrollable urge to press an alarm on Goldeneye’s bunker level just to see what would happen? Even if it’s just as simple as a TV switching on or a crank pointlessly turning when you touch it, I think you should be able to do more with the levels in Conduit 2.

12 – Crazy cheats

Big Heads, Paintball guns, Disco mode are just some of our favourite cheats from the N64 shooters. There’s been a severe lack of good cheats in games ever since they started becoming too costly to include, but we’d love to see a return to those days. Goldeneye’s legendary cheat modes gave extra longevity to its levels and getting every single one was a challenge in itself. The Conduit had a few of its own, but I’d like to see some more please.

13 – Weapons besides guns

Shooting is good, but taking down an enemy with a well-aimed throwing knife or a death inducing laptop is even more fun. Give me lots of tools with which to deal death and I’ll be a happy bunnies.

14 – Dinosaurs

Not sure how this made the list, but what the hell, let it be known that I want more dinosaurs in The Conduit 2.

15 – Varied enemies

The Conduit had a couple of different types of enemies but they were all dispatched the same way – with an unhealthy dose of lead (or plasma). I’d like to have enemies that require a bit more strategy to take down like the bosses in Turok.

16 – Vehicles

Whether it be a tank, a hover bike or a massive Triceratops, riding things in an FPS is fun. HVS should have at least a couple of vehicle sections to take us away from straight shooting (imagine a co-op level where one player drives with the Wii wheel, while the other just shoots shit with the Zapper).

17 – Underwater action

Not a necessity but Turok’s short and sweet underwater sections were a nice change from the regular levels. Now we have better physics in games a section under the sea could provide an interesting change of pace.

18 – Gadgets

James Bond and Joanna Dark had tonnes of interesting things to play with. At the very least we should get a watch device that can shoot lasers, control remote bombs and tell the time.

19 – Developers as NPCs

David Doak is virtually assured a place in video game history after his appearance in Goldeneye’s Facility level and the rest of the staff made it in as unlockable enemies in multiplayer. I think there should be more opportunities for developers to be featured in their games (if Hollywood directors can give themselves cameos why not game designers?) and I’d love the chance to go to battle with Eric Nofsinger at my side.

20 – Local multiplayer

This isn’t just something to please gamers with no internet connection, but a worthwhile addition to an already great multiplayer package. The fun factor in being able to shoot your mates down while their sitting right next to you (I hope Jack Thompson isn’t reading this) is underestimated by today’s developers who seem intent on forcing us to play against annoying, cussing, 12-year old American teenagers if we want some multiplayer action.

21 – Monkeys

Yep, ok I’m really scraping the barrel now. But Turok 2’s tag mode, which cast one player as an unfortunate simian, is one of the funniest multiplayer experiences I’ve ever had. Since the monkey-loving guys at Free Radical are no longer around to provide our daily dose of chimp mischief I must ask High Voltage to carry the torch and let us spank some more monkeys.

So there we have it, my little wish list for the sequel to the winner of my entirely fictitious ‘best-Wii-shooter-that-isn’t-Metroid-related’ award. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this article, till next time kids.

1 Comment »

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  1. YES! I agree 100%, especially with the local multiplayer & bots & dinosaurs. WOW that would be awesome of Conduit 2 had all of the things on your list.

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