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First Impressions: The Conduit on Wii

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The Conduit for the Nintendo Wii (click for larger image)What up, Con-DUDE’s and Condu-ETTES? Adam here! Before I get into this preview, let’s break apart a classic … Goldeneye 007 for Nintendo 64. First-person shooters are constantly being compared to it, and, apparently, nobody has lived up to it … well except for Perfect Dark, which was made by the same developer, Rare.

What made those games incredible? Why can’t anybody in the next-gen live up to a game that graced a dead console TWELVE years ago?! In my opinion, it had to be the tight corridors, the unpredictable enemy AI, and a sense of freedom and pacing with a seamless (but non-intrusive) blending of puzzle-solving. There was always something interesting to do, and the freedom you had to solve the multiple missions made you FEEL like you were actually in charge of the tale’s outcome. Goldeneye and Perfect Dark felt like REAL games, without the flash/crutch of cinematic grandeur defining the experience, as so many of today’s games tend to do. That was the case until June 23rd, when a new first person shooter will grace yet another Nintendo console. Prepare for The Conduit.

Recently, I was privileged enough to have a one-on-one with the game (courtesy of developer High Voltage Entertainment) and was blown away by what I saw and felt while playing The Conduit. This is the real deal, and the closest a game has ever come to feeling like Goldeneye or Perfect dark — yeah, you can quote me on that. The story focuses mainly on a freak alien invasion of Washington D.C., where portal-like devices known as “Conduits” are used to deploy their forces throughout a battle-ravaged city. Simple sci-fi fare, but as they say, the devil is in the details. Suspicions arise as to the involvement of the U.S. government. Armed with sci-fi gadgets and high-powered weapons, players will battle aliens, rouge agents and enemy forces as a former secret service agent codenamed “Mr. Ford.”

Our hero, Michael Ford, is voiced by actor Mark Sheppard (you may have seen him in little shows like “Firefly” and “Battlestar Galactica” … heard of those?) who does a stellar job selling the character. Michael is a Secret Service agent who is inducted into a secret Government team known as “The Trust” after saving U.S. President Charles Thompson during an assassination attempt. John Adams (voiced by Mark’s REAL father, William Morgan Sheppard) is the commander of The Trust who orders Ford to penetrate the Washington D.C. area to discover the sinister motives for the alien Drudge’s invasion. One of the primary antagonists is a man calling himself Prometheus (voiced by Hercules himself, Kevin Sorbo), a former member of the Trust who left the organization for unknown reasons and later fell in league with the Drudge. Couple that bit of intrigue with tight game play and ultra smooth execution and we might very well have a classic on our hands!

What comes next is a blur of vicious aliens slashing at you from every corner of the building we are exploring. Too many hits and the world swims out of focus before you hit the ground … your own twitching hand the last thing you’ll ever see. Aliens aren’t the only menace you’ll encounter as wave after wave of “men in black” suited up like agents from The Matrix are on the attack along side a strike force in full battle gear. From the top of an escalator, I wait patiently with my long range scope and pick off each trooper as he sticks his head out. Even though it seems like we are at JFK Airport, there are still canisters nearby that explode with a well placed bullet, taking out multiple targets at once. In a spooky turn, I watch all my enemies in a section re-animate with a glowy red power surrounding them. For a moment they resemble rag dolls and then they are back to the business of ending my life. In another section while blowing through a train, I wield a sort of laser blaster that pulses or charges up for an impressive bolt of energy. We are told there is even a weapon that can seek out the enemy around corners!

The biggest advantage for The Conduit is in the way this game plays. I was sold from the moment I jumped into it, and it left me wanting more (in a good way!) For those who want to mess around with the controls, The Conduit offers easy customizable control features, such as an option to change the size of the bounding box, the speed at which the player can move the camera and cursor sensitivity. If that isn’t enough, the player can adjust these options in real time, without having to leave the adjustment screen to try the changes. High Voltage has also included the option for the player to change the control layout, giving every player the freedom to play The Conduit in the way that makes them the most comfortable. Never before have I seen such a flexible control scheme, and it is MORE than welcome. It’s the primary difference between “you playing the game” and “the game playing YOU“.

One of the more interesting features of The Conduit is a device known as the “All-Seeing Eye,” or ASE, which the player earns earlier in the game and used to solve various puzzles, or uncover secret story details. The ASE can detect hidden traps and freakish enemies scattered throughout a level, and reveal special features in the extremely varied environments that can help the player to progress further. AWESOME. The rest is what you would expect from a first person-shooter on the Wii. Point-and-shoot, kill a bunch of creeps, solve some awesome puzzles, save the princess, then we all go home happy (well, maybe not the last two, but you catch my drift).

How to the graphics hold up? It’s the Wii. While graphically the weakest of the three next-gen consoles, The Conduit is an absolute marvel on Nintendo’s experimental system. The game uses an engine known as Quantum 3 that pushes the console to the limit without jerking the frame rate. The result is an onslaught of impressive effects never-before-seen on the Nintendo Wii. Gimmicks include bump-mapping, reflection and refraction, light and shadow maps and projections, specular and Fresnel effects, missive and iridescent materials, advanced alpha blends, gloss and detail mapping, motion blur, interactive water with complex surface effects, and animated textures—-I hope you got all those, because there will be a quiz later. NERD TEST!!

On June 23rd, where will you be? Kicking serious butt in The Conduit, I hope! You’ve never played anything like it. While seemingly inspired by Metroid Prime 3, this game feels like a complete evolution of everything we’ve come to love about gaming. This is not just a first person shooter. This is an experience.

Bring on the Drudge!

Adam, out.

The Conduit Features:
• Conspiracy-driven Action – Dive into an engaging story set in modern day Washington D.C. involving secret agents, invading aliens, and centuries-old government cover-up conspiracies.

• Wii specific Controls – Robust calibration and controls customization built from the ground up for the Wii allow you to tailor the game to your preferred style.

• Intense Online Multiplayer – Grab your friends and join up online to battle in a variety of multiplayer modes.

• Ruthless Enemies – Vast numbers of incredibly realistic AI enemies react to player’s moves by taking cover and utilizing elements in the environment to their advantage.

• Highly Detailed Visuals – The award winning graphics feature dynamic environment mapping, interactive water with real-time reflection and four-stage texture composition that includes gloss, diffuse and bump-mapping.

• Award Winning Development – IGN Best Shooter Game of E3 2008 (Wii), IGN Best Graphics Technology of E3 2008 (Wii), IGN Best Overall Wii Game of E3 2008, and GameTrailers.com Best Wii Game of E3 2008.

• Peripherals – Supports Nintendo’s new Wii Speak peripheral during multiplayer matches.

Visit The Conduit here for updates and info!

Adam McCabe

VISIT THE EVILSHOP @ AMAZON!
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Whatever Happened to Eli Roth’s Thanksgiving?

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Back in April of 2007, we all sat in our local darkened theater and watched as Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino’s exploitation double feature Grindhouse (review) blew the roof off the place for 3 hours straight.

Well, it’s ten years later, and I think we are all asking ourselves the same question: Where the hell is Eli Roth’s Thanksgiving?

Like every other human out there, I enjoyed both Tarantino and Rodriguez’s films – along with the fake trailers by Rob Zombie and Edgar Wright – but the big takeaway was Eli Roth’s faux trailer for the greatest 80’s slasher that never was.

So what happened to the feature?

Well, Roth was originally working on the feature back in 2007 after finishing his work helming Hostel: Part II, telling Cinema Blend:

“I’ve been working on the script with my co-writer, Jeff Rendell, who plays the pilgrim in the trailer,” Roth told the site. “And it’s me imitating Jeff’s voice [for the narration]. But Jeff has been working. I said that his deal is he has to work on the script while I’m promoting The Last Exorcism, and as soon as I’m done in mid-September he’s going to fly to California, we’re going to sit down, and bang out the script.”

But then the planned film died out as Grindhouse flopped at the box-office. Following the film’s underperformance, all talks surrounding Edgar Wright and Eli Roth’s Grindhouse double feature spin-off were silenced in a single weekend.

In fact, the last update we received on the possible standalone Thanksgiving film was last year when Roth did a Reddit AMA, and said this about the film’s current development:

“Have a draft not totally happy with. I want to put some more work into it so the film lives up to the trailer. We have the story and mythology cracked so now it’s about getting the kills right.”

Nice. Seemed like the film was making some headway. Nothing to do but gut the T’s and cut the heads off the I’s. But then nothing happened. At all. No updates. No nothing.

With that in mind, we here at Dread Central decided to reach out to Roth personally and see if there were any new happenings in regards to the film. Unfortunately, we were unable to reach him so I guess we’ll all just have to keep wondering and waiting.

Maybe it’s the pressure he no doubt feels making the much loved faux trailer into a feature. After all, he did say this back in 2007: “No matter how many movies I make my whole life, that two-and-a-half minute trailer is what I’ll be remembered for: ‘Eli Roth — he had a guy fucking a turkey with a decapitated head on it.’”

Or maybe the rights to the film were just tied up with the now infamous Weinstein company. But with that company finally going under (thank God) maybe now the rights could be sold off to new producers and finally, we’ll see not only Thanksgiving but features based on Don’t and possibly even Werewolf Women of the S.S.

But I dream…

Until we get the full-length feature flick of Eli Roth’s Thanksgiving, we can always look back on the comments he made to Rolling Stone way back in April of 2007, in which he talked a bit about the Pilgrim’s backstory.

“My friend Jeff… we had the whole movie worked out,” Roth told the magazine. “A kid who’s in love with a turkey and then his father killed it and then he killed his family and went away to a mental institution and came back and took revenge on the town.”

Jesus, please us. I don’t know about you, but that sounds like the f*cking perfect setup/backstory for an 80’s slasher throwback flick set on Thanksgiving.

So ten years later, let me be the one to come right out and say it: Please, Eli Roth, make Thanksgiving. Please. Every horror fan in the world would thank you. Forever.

Sigh…

We’ll make sure to update this article in another ten years.

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Charles Manson Has Died: These Are the Victims of His Murderous Cult

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Sharon Tate

Yesterday brought the news that famed cult leader Charles Manson had passed away at the age of 83. He passed away from natural causes after spending the last 48 years in jail. While he was supposedly never present at any of the murders caused by his “family”, he was convicted of ordering the deaths of several people and sending his followers to commit the horrible acts.

But let us not dwell upon him anymore. Another psychopath passes on and we should continue about our lives. That being said, instead of discussing him any more, I think we need to take this time to say the names of the victims of Manson and his “family”:

Abigail Folger
Wojciech Frykowski
Gary Hinman
Leno LaBianca
Rosemary LaBianca
Steven Parent
Jay Sebring
Donald Shea
Sharon Tate

These people were each taken from this world too soon, robbed of their lives by those who wished to start a “Helter Skelter” race war. They had families. They were sons, daughters, wives, husbands, fathers, mothers… They were innocent people who were murdered by the worst of the worst.

Today, I do not mourn the death of Charles Manson. Rather, I mourn again the death of nine people who had yet to experience and offer all that life brings. I mourn the death of Sharon Tate’s unborn child, who never even got to breathe the same air we breathe now. I feel saddened by the devastating impact that these murders had upon their families, a pain still felt to this day.

Rest in peace to the victims of a man who wanted to incite war and cause divisiveness. May his passing bring you some semblance of peace. And may we forget his name as quickly as possible.

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This Valentine’s Day Experience the Death of Love

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On the hunt for a new comic and like a bit of humor with your horror? Then the upcoming Death of Love from Image Comics should be right up your alley! Dealing with a broken heart? Even better!

Writer Justin Jordan (The Family Trade, Spread) teams up with artist Donal DeLay (You are Not Alone, My Geek Family), colorist Omar Estévez (Heavy Metal Magazine, Batman ‘66), and letterer Rachel Deering (In the Dark, Vertigo Quarterly) for the least romantic Valentine’s comic ever: Death of Love.

“Love is funny. Chainsaws are funny. Love AND chainsaws, therefore, is gonna be super funny,” says Jordan. “Basically, if you’ve ever wanted to see Cupid torn apart in increasingly hilarious ways, this is definitely the comic for you.”

“I just want everyone to laugh the same way they would watching Army of Darkness or This Is the End,” added DeLay.

Issue #1 arrives on Valentine’s Day (February 14th) next year, and we have a preview of several pages to share below.

Synopsis:
Love sucks. And Philo Harris is going to do something about it.

After a particularly bad, drunken decision, Philo gains the ability to see the Cupidae, the creatures responsible for all the love in the world, and declares war on love itself. With a chainsaw.

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