When the Wii Zapper was released for the Nintendo Wii in late 2007, it was welcomed with open arms by light gun shooter fans. After all, they had long been forced to buy titles with individual pack-in gun controller accessories. Then Nintendo came along with a simple, inexpensive ($20-25) device that, when fitted with the Wii Remote and Nunchuck controllers, could easily turn any on-rails shooter into an arcade-like experience, regardless of the game’s developer. Sadly, the peripheral has not seen overwhelming support in the past year. Nonetheless there are still several quality Zapper-compatible titles available on the market, including the following video games.
Link’s Crossbow Training – A spin-off of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Link’s Crossbow Training comes packaged with the Zapper in North America and Europe. It features three modes of play, including a standard target shooting mode and a free-roaming mode in which the player controls Link using the Nunchuck control stick. It may not be the deepest gaming experience in the world, but hey, the price is definitely right!
Ghost Squad -- An enhanced port of an old Sega arcade game, Ghost Squad is a fun albeit short game in which the player assumes the role of an anti-terrorist unit operative. There are only three levels, although each has branching paths and increases in difficulty upon completion. While enjoyable, the game is hampered by one serious flaw: the fact that the game can only be saved if the player completes all three levels at one time. Clearly, then, this isn’t recommended for short pick-up-and-play sessions.
Medal of Honor: Heroes 2 -- While Medal of Honor: Heroes 2 is for the most part a standard first-person shooter, the Wii edition of the game does include an arcade mode which turns it into an on-rails product. Zapper fans should look into this one, not just for the arcade mode, but also for the rest of the package, which includes 32-person online multiplayer. It is one of the highest rated Wii first-person shooters to date.
Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles -- Arguably the best of the Zapper-compatible titles on the market, The Umbrella Chronicles is an imaginative retelling of the original Resident Evil survival horror games. Featuring excellent graphics, an eerie atmosphere, branching pathways, 10-15 hours of playtime, challenging boss fights, three selectable difficulty levels and co-op play, this M-rated game is an absolute blast to play. Yes, it may sound cliché, but the truth is that if you can only pick up one game for your Wii Zapper, this should be the one.
The House of the Dead 2 & 3 Return -- Like Ghost Squad, The House of the Dead 2 & 3 Return is a port of previous Sega-developed arcade light gun shooters. On the whole, it has received fairly mediocre reviews, garnering praise for the tight Wii Zapper controls while drawing criticism for the lack of depth and value in the package. Probably best to just rent this one first.
Wild West Guns -- The sole WiiWare entry on this list, Wild West Guns was developed by Gameloft and features six levels and a pair of difficulty levels. Reviews on this one have been mixed, with some media outlets criticizing the game’s lack of depth and others applauding the graphics, presentation and gameplay. One interesting feature included in this game is the fact that enemies can grab the player’s character, forcing him or her to either shake the remote or move the Nunchuck control stick in a circular direction to break free. At 1,000 Wii points ($10), most gamers will find that Wild West Guns offers a good amount of bang for the buck.
Fans should also keep an eye on the forthcoming Call of Duty: World at War. According to various media reports, the November 2008 release will also include some form of Zapper support.