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Best On Rails Shooters Wii

author
Maria Johnson
• Friday, 04 December, 2020
• 10 min read

Sadly, by the time the rail shooter started to establish itself arcades were slowly dropping off the map, leaving the genre stagnant and on all but on life support. Fortunately, the Nintendo Wii, with its pointer functionality that worked with modern TVs, breathed a bit of new life into a genre on the verge of becoming irrelevant.

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Contents

It also helps that there are multiple solutions for replicating the feel of a real light gun that work quite well (my personal go-to was the NYK Perfect Shot) Blessed with a combination of arcade ports and new, forward-thinking titles, the Wii become a haven for traditionally-minded shooting and old school gameplay sensibilities.

So, to celebrate the reemergence of classic genre, let us review the current state of the rail shooter on the Wii. Sega have contributed greatly to this list with an upgraded port, compilation and House of the Dead: Overkill, a new, console-exclusive installment in the popular series.

Overkill is a little more conservative than Resident Evil and Dead Space: Extraction, playing it straight with the familiar rail shooter experience as found in previous entries in the series, focusing on an uncomplicated combo system, a grind house aesthetic and humorous dialogue. The combo system rewards consistent accuracy, granting additional points for headshots, saving civilians and hitting other bonuses.

That is, until the director’s cut is unlocked (a slightly extended retread) and the system reverts to a fixed amount of lives. Overkill’s other main hook is the grind house/exploitation direction, seen in recent films such as Planet Terror and Death Proof, and the parody of series conventions.

The acting in cutscenes is intentionally B-grade and completely over-the-top, dialogue is littered with F-bombs, gore and sexual innuendo is gratuitous. Personally, I loved the way characters constantly query Agent G over the meaning behind his name his sole initial (“When you going to tell us what the f**king ‘G’ stands for?”).

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Overkill features 7 episodes, each lasting for roughly 20 minutes a piece, totaling a couple of hours of gameplay. In terms of la stability, Overkill employs a weapon upgrading system similar to Resident Evil, there’s a director’s cut feature and a handful of mini-games which do add a decent amount of length, however, Overkill primarily services high scoreboard chasers.

The recreation of these games in 3D and in the rail shooter format both act as a service to fans (who will surely enjoy the slew of hidden files and backstory) and a palatable point of entry newcomers. As a shooter, the Chronicles games bring little additions to the standard formula, besides some neat tweaks and flourishes, but this isn’t important.

Final Word: A well-designed rail shooter which defeats the age-old problem of la stability and finds itself a welcomed place on the consoles. Invariably, House of the Dead II is superior, in that the progression system is constantly offering up surprises.

Final Word: It goes without saying though, if you’ve never experienced House of the Dead II or III before, both titles are worth your greenback, otherwise there’s nothing new here. Extraction is a unique rail shooter in that there’s a great deal of atmosphere setting and narrative spliced between the shooting.

The single player story therefore becomes a much more padded out experience, filled with sequences of conversation and quiet moments of downtime. No doubt some people will complain about this (there is a separate mode which will satisfy their itchy trigger finger, however), yet Extraction is a quality production and these external elements only work to make the shooting feel meaningful in a genre which can occasionally feel trite with repetition.

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The mesomorph’s (space monsters) alien amalgamations of body parts ensure that each creature has their own characteristic weak points and the shooting is therefore consistently varied. Player’s can also temporarily paralyze mesomorphs, giving them minor control of the pacing, injecting a surprising amount of strategy and depth into the gameplay.

These two aforementioned points (strategic dismemberment and paralysis) are just a handful of the good ideas incorporated throughout Extraction. There’s also some mild puzzle elements, branching paths, a knife slash, glow-worms as well as all the other spoils which come with the modern rail shooter.

Final Word: If you’re looking for a more progressive take on the rail shooter than Dead Space Extraction is one of the freshest new entries in recent years. If you’ve played Ghost Squad in the arcades then you’ll already know that it’s a highly enjoyable terrorist-blasting romp with memorable story sequences and some nifty ideas.

The arcade title was only three missions long which is roughly 45 minutes of gameplay and although Ghost Squad was put out as a budget release, it doesn’t compensate for the severe lack of content. Sega supplement the 3 missions with two secret modes where the characters and weapons are re-skinned to humorous effect, but these added frills do little to clear the stench of a quick cash in.

Final Word: As with House of the Dead II and III: Return, Ghost Squad is a fab rail shooter that reeks of fast money. While Sega has a lot of success in the arcade light gun game genre, it has some titles that don’t have nearly the name recognition of The House of the Dead or Virtual Cop series.

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It is a shame that Sega never bought the likes of Virtual Cop 3 to home consoles, but at least they ported over some other older, lesser-known games to the Wii for many of us to re-discover or, perhaps, discover for the first time. With sales of The House of the Dead (or even the Saturn itself) not especially strong, it’s not surprising that these games didn’t surface on Sega’s consoles.

Unlike most of Sega’s gun shooters, your character is in a helicopter that occasionally swoops down close to the ground at times and rotates to attack off-screen opponents. LA Machine guns were released by Sega in 1998 as a sequel to Gun blade NY (but with an arguably more generic-sounding name) as was developed for the Model 3 system.

The Model 3 was used for games like Virtual Fighter 3 and Daytona USA 2 before Sega moved to the Naomi platform. This time, aside from taking place in LA, the game is set in the near future where the law enforcement utilize hover bikes and often encounter androids and weapon pods that amp up the offense.

Especially with its relatively high resale value (making the honorable mentions on our Rare and Valuable Wii guide, an original copy is probably only for complete collectors or die-hard fans of the genre that like to try to beat their scores. This Old western-style shooter came out rather late in the Wii’s lifecycle, but arrived with an interesting visual style (almost a cell-shaded look) that feels youthful but grown up simultaneously.

Final Word: Gunslingers doesn’t really add a lot to the light gun shooter genre, but it showcases great refinement of the tried-and-true concepts and is a well-rounded package. You might assume that a branded title from a youth toy line wouldn’t be a very solid game at all, but EA teaming up with Nerf actually worked out quite well.

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The light gun style section is just interesting enough to keep your attention as experienced player, and it has a fun vibe to boot. It’s also a great fit for kids as you only shoot robots with Nerf guns, so it really downplays the violence aspect.

Targets are well positioned, the combo system rewards accuracy over spam shooting (as with Hold: Overkill), there’s a secret branching path in every stage, plenty of side fodder and the visual and aural cues are clear and effective. Furthermore, the feedback from the Zapper/ Wii -mote combo is great and the Zapper mold makes for a convincing bow gun.

The only real concession made for newer gamers is the dense iconography populating the screen (used to distinguish soldiers from the drab monotonal backgrounds), but this is hardly affects play. The shooting itself is good fun and includes all the standard tropes you’d expect from the genre (branching paths, health packs), however, the scoring system is admittedly quite weak, based solely on one’s kill count.

Fortunately, this is partly rectified by the achievement-like awards offered at the end of the campaign based on certain criteria, such as 75% accuracy or achieving a set number of kills. This odd premise acts to establish the energy management system which the rail shooting hinges on.

Since ammunition effectively takes the role of your health, Eco Shooter is a game which demands accuracy and precision, random blasting will only serve to make to squander your progress. With only three levels total, Eco Shooter’s length is also rather short and the extra modes offer little incentive to keep players interested.

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Target: Terror sees you defending some of America’s popular cities and landmarks against an invasion of terrorist foe with a fairly standard, although sometimes outlandish, arsenal of weapons. I haven’t personally played Target: Terror and critical reception would suggest that I shouldn’t as reviewers have unanimously panned this title as a complete budget flop which best be avoided or purchased only for comedic value.

The core criticism is that the technical issues impede significantly on what is a fair bog standard rail shooter with a low frame rate and common glitches. Mad Dog McCrae was born in awkward subset of 90s gaming when 3D graphics were in their infancy and developers were experimenting with interactive live video as a way to bridge to realism.

The live action video caught the attention of gamers in the arcade, but it was notorious for not not providing a responsive gameplay experience in a genre that demanded accuracy. Since it was made for the arcade, you can expect that it will try to milk credits out of you, but Mad Dog McCrae often gets a little extreme in this department.

This budget release definitely gives the impression of the shovel-ware type of games that started accumulating near the tail end of the Wii’s lifespan. In trademark Treasure fashion, the game largely consists of a gauntlet of memorable boss and mini-boss encounters that put both the player’s reflexes and wits to the test.

Dark side Chronicles has A LOT of content, and it's my personal favorite, even not being a huge fan of the actual series. There're some parts where your character has erratic movement, shakiness, but those don't happen enough to ruin the experience.

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Ghost Squad is pretty cool, its arcade origins are very evident, but it's not really a bad thing as long as you know that. They're really meaty experiences for rail shooters, with lots of unlockable and upgrades.

Sin and Punishment 2. Of the ones you listed, I liked ghost squad the best, but the RE games have a lot more content. Umbrella Chronicles for classic arcade fun with a RE skin, Dark side Chronicles for a more cinematic on-rail game with good budget and much cinematics, bosses, set-pieces, and a bit of a shakier cam (with a RE skin).

Dead Space Extraction if you want a more challenging and coherent darker experience with atmosphere (though some areas rather cheap and finite ammo makes some bosses impossible with certain set-ups making you sometimes need to restart a level). Sin & Punishment's fantastic, and Dead Space Extraction is a surprisingly awesome ride. I'm a fan of Gun blade NY and LA Machine guns, myself.

Typing of the dead is good, but if you want to play the shooter version, clicking on zombies with a mouse has got nothing on a light gun/ Wii remote experience. Sin & Punishment 2 is the best of its genre but closer to Blood Bros. and Wild Guns rather than what you're looking for.

Shame the frame-rate sucks, but it's got a lot of content and is very easy to pick up and play. Dark side Chronicles had tons of content and was pretty good.

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Never tried 4 players but heard it was pretty fun.Also, there wasn't a huge hassle in using the Z button as fire when using the zapper. House of the Dead Overkill sounds like it best serves your desires for kitsch co-op fun. Dead Space Extraction is certainly an interesting one though.

Typing of the dead is good, but if you want to play the shooter version, clicking on zombies with a mouse has got nothing on a light gun/ Wii remote experience. Sin and Punishment 2 is one of the games which justify the Wii's existence. HotD Overkill and Dead Space: Extraction are great fun in local coop.

Am I the only one that insists on playing without the cursor? Gunblade NY is a lot of fun, and all the Sega games. To be fair, the typing version includes the original light gun version, too.

Dead Space Extraction is AWESOME. And Sin & Punishment 2 is one of the best games of the past generation. To be fair, the typing version includes the original light gun version, too.

What I meant was, buy it on PC and skip the Wii version--looks better, more content, plus Typing mode. Typing of the dead is good, but if you want to play the shooter version, clicking on zombies with a mouse has got nothing on a light gun/ Wii remote experience.

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Wii motes are nice, but you're still just moving a cursor around, it's not really comparable to an actual light gun. Rail shooters typically give you control over your character within the rail (Red being one of the few exceptions), games like Panzer Dragoon, Star Fox, Sin & Punishment.

Light gun style games are the ones where you're just shooting, like Virtual Cop, Time Crisis, RE Chronicles. Seeing all the S&P2 posts gives me hope in humanity. If you're looking for a more traditional light gun experience go for Hold: Overkill.

Great production values, genuinely funny in places and a shoot rollercoaster ride from HELLO!!! Considering the actual good titles have already been named, try Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon.

You have to reload by shooting off-screen which isn't good when you have to point back to the TV and see where the cursor shows up. The dialogue has a lot of swearing (it becomes amusing) which some people might find offensive. LA Machine guns Arcade hits is very short, so I'd put in the bottom of the list.

Ghost Squad is short but has good replay value with multiple paths through stages and funny modes to unlock (the water pistol one with all the enemies wearing swimming trunks is an example). Dead Space Extraction is pretty long and so might be less action packed.

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I have these games in mind: -RE: The umbrella Chronicles -RE: The Dark side Chronicles -House of the Dead: Overkill -Ghost Squad -Special Air Assault Force/ LA Machine guns Arcade hotshot do you recommend? My takes: Umbrella chronicles is the best Conrail shooter if you are interested in unlockable, secrets and storylines.

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