Hey folks Valkor here, with an intro to new TOV writer Magus, who's starting off on the right foot with a two in one. He'll be handling gaming/media and maybe some tech duties. You can also check out his work over @ 2D-X.
I'm always hesitant to try out third-party peripherals. They're usually made of cheap, flimsy material or they rarely do what they are supposed to do. Or they just do it -- whatever it is -- poorly. So I was surprised to learn gun peripherals are still made, on top of of my surprise that the ancient, limited lightgun genre has remained viable all these years. (Aside: I typo'd "lightgun" as "lightfun". Count my subconscious among the genre's defenders!)
But what really surprised me is the availability of lightgun peripherals for the Wii, a console that doesn't need extra peripherals, if you think about it. Or look at it. The Wii remote is something that already points and shoots. Yet it's the sole console to keep the genre alive with games like The House of the Dead: Overkill, Dead Space: Extraction and Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronciles and its upcoming sequel, Darkside Chronicles, so inevitably there are some peripherals to cash in on this.
The first one I tackled is the Komodo Buck Shot shotgun. At first sight this beast looks badass, covered in shiny deep red, with a pump-slide that actually works and a comfortable rubber grip. It's a piece of work for sure, until you take it out of the box to find out it's just a case. An empty shell. Nowhere on the box does it say you have to load your Wii remote into it by flipping the top open, squeezing it in and using a crude docking port thing that suggestively locks the Wiimote into place. So when you pull the trigger a little lever is actually pressing the B button, and when you reload the Buck Shot some mechanism is molesting the A button. What a ruse.
What a pain in the ass, too, since you need to use the A button to navigate the Wii's menus. That means pumping the shotgun over and over, which wears out your arm quickly. It doesn't help that the installed Wiimote in the shotgun's barrel weighs it down which makes holding the thing an exercise. I found it works best balancing it on my knee and aiming it like a mounted turret. It's silly, but it beats holding the thing and it works nicely with House of the Dead: Overkill since you don't even need to press a different button to reload, so there's no bothering with the pump-action slide, sucking all the fun out of of using a shotgun. Despite some brief novelty, the Komodo Buck Shot works better as a Halloween accessory than a thing to play video games with.
The second toy I tackled is Penguin United's CrossFire Remote Pistol, a handy little doodad that gets big ups for being a standlone device. As in, you don't need a Wiimote for it. It's its own thing, infra-red sensor and all. Thing is, it's way too sensitive. Freakishly so. Playing Overkill, I got lost in the corners all the time. It wasn't until I fiddled with the Sensor Bar sensitivity in the Wii's main menu when things finally reached some sort of equilibrium. Yet it still made shooting the undead difficult. Merely pulling the trigger was enough to send the onscreen reticule into conniptions. It has a built-in speaker as well. A cool idea, proper Wiimotes have them, but the CrossFire's is tinny and abusive. I had to lower the volume in the Wii controller settings to keep from hearing its crackly gunshot sounds. The lights on the side of the gun aren't very pleasurable for the eyes either. Seriously, anyone susceptible to epilectic fits would do well to steer clear from this flashing thing, or at least have someone else connect it to the Wii. Which took ages, by the way. To my knowledge there's no other way to do it than to use another Wiimote, press the Home button, go to Controller settings, disconnect that controller, then reconnect with the CrossFire by holding down all its buttons. Asspain abounds.
Oh, and it runs on double-A batteries. Joy. It wasn't enough Nintendo made the Wiimotes run on double-As. Its peripherals have to, too?
I can't in good conscience recommend either gun. Both proved to feel cheap, unwieldy and above all, annoying to use, and none of it was worth it for something so fleeting as a lightgun game. They're redundant. The Wiimote is a lightgun already for crying out loud. I'm sure Komodo and Penguin United produce better hardware but when it comes to fake firearms I am disappointed.
I tested both these products with House of the Dead: Overkill at the same time with two friends and my brother a couple different times. I took their opinions into account for the review, since they were spot-on and I agreed with all of them. SO out of TOV 5 stars I give both guns a 2.5.