image from terapeak.com
I have always loved light gun games. All the way back to playing Duck Hunt
on the NES as a child, I have always felt that light gun games were special. Though these games can sometimes be lacking in creative gameplay ideas because of the nature of the a gun peripheral, I love the pick up and play aspect of a light gun game, as well as the direct physical correlation between aiming the actual gun and the actions on the screen.
I remember finding out way back when that light guns do not work on high definition televisions. I was disappointed that I would no longer be able to use the light guns I owned at the time for the NES, Xbox, and Dreamcast. Luckily, the Nintendo Wii eventually came along to rekindle my love for the light gun genre. Let's take a look at a few of my favorites.House of the Dead 2 & 3 Return
and House of the Dead: Overkill
was one of the first games I picked up after I bought my Wii. I had owned both of these games in their original home releases on the Dreamcast and Xbox. I really, really
wish the original House of the Dead
was included on this compilation, as I never owned the Saturn version or even the light gun for that console, but I love playing it in arcades. Although HOTD3
is the better game here, my nostalgia for HOTD2
is way stronger. The game's legendarily bad voice acting is intact on this version and must be heard to be believed. Overkill
is almost an entirely different beast. Originally released as a Wii exclusive, Overkill
throws out the so-bad-it's-good drama of the previous games for a more comedic approach. Overkill
lives up to its name with way over the top gore, filthy language, and even filthier creatures (you're not going to believe the final boss in this one). My only complaint about Overkill
is that there is a tiny frame rate stutter that happens a lot of the time while shooting. It's hard to explain, and it seems a lot of players don't even notice it, but I find it to be annoying at times. Ghost Squad
- When you get tired of gunning down zombies, why not try some terrorists? To me, Ghost Squad
is basically a cheesed up version of Rainbow Six
reimagined as a light gun game. Ghost Squad
features some depth to the gameplay with sniper sections, quick time events, and branching paths. The voice acting and overall presentation are great, and the branching paths and level-specific difficulty levels add a ton of replay value to this game. Gunblade NY & LA Machineguns Arcade Hits Pack
- This compilation came highly recommended to me by my friend singlebanana after I told him on the Playcast about my love for unlimited ammo turret sequences in games. In these two games, the player can permanently hold the trigger down and waggle all the bad guys away. This style of game is very different from that of House of the Dead
in that you won't be reloading and more importantly, hearing a disembodied voice yelling "Reload! Reload!" at you the entire game. Dead Space: Extraction
- I cannot think of a spin-off game in a different genre from the original titles that makes more sense or works as well as Dead Space: Extraction
. The game is a prequel to the original Dead Space
game, and like any great prequel, it lets you step into the shoes of characters you only heard about, but were very interested in, from the first game. The franchise lore is perfectly represented here, and the original game's mechanics are tailored to light gun shooting amazingly well. As with the original game, going for headshots will do you no good. Foes must be dispatched through dismemberment, and doing so with the light gun is extremely satisfying. The only minor gripe I have with the game is the flamethrower weapon you get later in the game is totally overpowered and makes the difficulty take a nosedive. This is simply corrected by using a different weapon, but the flamethrower itself is very satisfying. Without a doubt, Dead Space: Extraction
is the best game overall on this list.
So what are your favorite light gun games on the Wii? I didn't discuss the Resident Evil
light gun games here because quite frankly, I don't like them! A few of these games were ported to the PS3 for use with the Move controllers. Have you tried them?
My favourite is "The House of the Dead 2 & 3 Return".
Civillian: "I don't wanna die! "
James: "My god."
I believe the original "The House of the Dead" game wasn't included because they lost the source code for it.
Glad to see Dead Space Extraction get some love. I really enjoyed it as well. And Ghost Squad is so campy....I love it (pretty sure that's my screen shot you used too )
I'm a big fan of these types of rail shooters and probably my favorite on the Wii is the Gunblade NY/LA Machine Guns set. My wife and I played a ton of the HOTD series in college and it's still a favorite of ours today. While we enjoyed playing through Overkill, the language and camp were a little much. It reminded my of Tarantino's grindhouse flick Planet Terror. The original HOTD is still my favorite and like you said, too bad it didn't get a release on that compilation.
I own all of the games on this list and I'd like to add a few more for your consideration:
Target:Terror - a bit like Ghost Squad and the Time Crisis series; a little tougher to find, but worth it.
Mad Dog McCree: Gunslinger Pack - some fun comical, live-action, western fun. Not the best game, but still a classic
Attack of the Movies 3-D - travel through old monster movies and shoot baddies. Be sure your copy has a set of the 3-D glasses!
Sin and Punishment: Star Successor - not a lock and load type game, but I'd still consider it a rail shooter and probably the best on the system. (Shawn, how could you not include this!!)
Sin & Punishment is unreal. So good
An underrated genre. The Master System had some of the best.
I wasn't thinking about Sin & Punishment as a light gun game, but it is the best game of all time, so don't mind it being mentioned.
@GrayGhost81: Yeah, kind of a mix in terms of controls. But, the controls are very similar to Gunblade NY/LA Machine Guns in that you don't really use a zapper, but point at the screen to direct continual fire. Still, anytime you can get Sin & Punishment on a list, it must be done! Awesome game.
I'm happy to see I have most of these games already, and I've been looking for Dead Space recently. I didn't mind Resident Evil Darkside Chronicles, but I tried several times on Umbrella Chronicles, so I'm kinda with you on those. The Wii was a great console for these types of games.
Great article! I love light gun games, too, though I don't get to play them as much. I recently acquired HotD 2&3 as well, along with Ghost Squad, and of course, Dead Space Extraction. I'm looking forward to playing them. I know for sure I'm going to want the Mad Dog McCree pack, because I have memories of playing the original arcade game as a kid, and love the cheese factor of the game. The Gunblade pack looks cool too. It seems like there are a LOT of light gun games on the Wii, and it has become the sole bastion for the genre in the last decade or so. Don't forget about the stuff in the 32-bit era, loads of great stuff on the PS1 and Saturn.
Metroid Prime Trilogy can be played pretty comfortably with the Wii Zapper, if you remember to switch the controls. Just thought I'd mention that.