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Video Game: The Conduit

My name is Michael Ford. I'm probably the only one left who knows the truth... I know it, because I was there.
Michael Ford

The Conduit is a first-person shooter developed for the Wii by High Voltage Software and published by Sega. It's notable for having a custom-built graphics engine which allows the visuals to resemble PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 titles (at least in terms of effects) using the Wii hardware. It was released June 23, 2009.

In the game, you play as Michael Ford, a former Secret Service agent caught in the middle of a Washington, DC. Alien Invasion, set in the near future. Your job is to get to the bottom of the mystery with weapons both human and alien, directions from a man known only as Mr. Adams, and the mysterious All-Seeing Eye for environmental interaction.

Besides the above features, the game has online multiplayer with Wii-Speak support and a fully customizable HUD and control scheme.

This is one of the first major games by HVS, who spent years earning money from making Licensed Games and commercial simulators.

The sequel, Conduit 2, was released in April 2011; it features more weapons, expanded multiplayer options, individual character classes, split-screen local cooperative and competitive play, and a single-player campaign that takes players to exotic locations around the world.

This game provides examples of:

  • A.K.A.-47: Averted. All real-life weapons are referred to by their real names. It helps that there are only a couple real-life weapons in the game, with 2/3rds of the game's ordinance consisting of Drudge organic rifles or Trust energy weaponry.
  • Alien Invasion
  • America Saves the Day: Inverted, as it's heavily implied that the United States of America's very existence is part of a plot to facilitate alien invasion. In Conduit 2, it is revealed that America's not the only nation that's secretly being controlled by aliens. However, the hero is an American.
  • Awful Truth
  • Bee Bee Gun: The Hive Cannon shoots exploding bees.
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: Mr. Adams.
  • The Bermuda Triangle: radio host Conspiracy Theorist Gordon Wells suggests the Bermuda Triangle is a defense mechanism for Atlantis.
  • BFG: The SMAW rocket launcher and the Carbonizer Mk16.
  • Big Bad: John Adams.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: The Drudge in general, and the Scarabs and Invaders in particular.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Available as a cheat option after beating the campaign. In mission 6, after killing an Invader guarding the last intact bridge leading to the How We Got Here tunnel section you have a bottomless magazine. Might be tied to the "Kill 1000 Enemies!" Achievement.
  • Bug War
  • Camera Lock-On
  • The Chessmaster: Mr. Adams.
  • Concept Art Gallery: Not only does the game have an art gallery, but the Limited Edition version included a color booklet with more art.
  • Conspiracy Kitchen Sink: Hinted at through the various secret messages.
  • Conspiracy Placement: Finding the seals of The Trust leads the player to secret caches with One-Hit Kill weapons and arms. Justified in that the seals are Invisible to Normals and can only be seen with the ASE.
  • Conspiracy Theorist: Radio talk show host Gordon Wells. His radio broadcasts become more and more extreme as the Drudge invasion progresses.
    "But let us not forget the other sides of these coins. The Bermuda Triangle, long thought a defense mechanism of fallen Atlantis? The pyramids, the ziggurats of South America. I mean, maybe the Mayans found something. Maybe the floating eye seen in so many images was no longer needed by the Mayans. Did they discover something?"
  • Contemptible Cover: Gamespot: "You almost get the sense that the artists who created the graphics on the front had a checklist of 'bad sci-fi cliches from the 1990s' and went through the list checking off as many as they could."
  • Cosmetic Award
  • Creator In-Joke: In the tie-in comic book "Orange Lights", the mailing address for Conspiracy Theorist Gordon Wells is actually the address of developer High Voltage Software.
  • Cut and Paste Environments: Happens a bit on the earlier levels, though partially justified by the settings (do you expect airports and random buildings to be distinct?) Luckily you can use the ASE to show the path to the next objective.
    • This happens to be one of the topics of a Fourth Wall leaning conversation of Prometheus and Ford's in the second game.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Mr. Ford after being betrayed by Mr. Adams.
  • Dynamic Loading
  • Everything Fades: Killed enemies fade out with a nifty evaporation effect.
  • The Faceless: You never see Ford's face in-game, and what little you see of Adams' face is always shrouded in shadows.
  • Fan Nickname: TCon is the abbreviation for the game on GameFAQs.
    • Quarter Ring of Death - A glitch in the multiplayer mode where a quarter ring shows up in the middle of the screen when you enter the match, and you can't move. You have to either wait for the match to end, or restart your Wii to get off that screen.
  • Fantastic Racism: Prometheus calls the Drudge "souless monsters" at one point which, they kind of are.
    • You can hardly call that Fantastic Racism since the Drudge are all copies of him.
  • Giant Spider: The Drudge Invaders, alien creepy crawlies the size of a tank.
  • Government Agency of Fiction
  • Government Conspiracy: One of the major themes of the game.
  • Granola Girl / Straw Feminist: One of the radio stations features Autumn Wanderer, a host who believes that the Drudge come in peace and all the fighting was caused by the angry, male-dominated government.
    "Today, the universe has blessed us with new visitors. We are here to welcome our brothers from the stars. Our government wants us to fear you, brothers, when we know you are here for the love of Mother Earth. Come to us and share in our blessings. Callers seem to be confused, as our government seems to think our visitors are hostile and aggressive, as if the male psyche has taken hold over their judgment. We need to free them, sisters, and let them bathe in the feminine ideals."
  • Hey, It's That Voice!: The player character is voiced by Mark Sheppard, John Adams is his daddy W. Morgan Shepard, and Prometheus is Kevin Sorbo.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Related to the inversion of America Saves the Day. Being it is heavily implied that America was created as a front to facilitate an alien invasion, it's amusing to know that the biggest impediment to the aliens' plan, who stole the ASE, stopped the creation of more Drudge, and destroyed the Trust, is an American. And, to add more insult to the injury, said American is a former Secret Service agent, a person who works for the American government.
  • How We Got Here: The first level consists of a tutorial set in a subway system. The second level starts with a flashback five days earlier, and the story doesn't return to the subway until late in the game.
  • Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels: Named after the five levels of the Homeland Security Advisory System: Low, Guarded, Elevated, High, and Severe.
  • In-Game TV: Most stages include television screens and radios with broadcasts that last several minutes.
  • Insectoid Aliens: The Drudge.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: In the tie-in comic book "Orange Lights", The Men in Black use specially-designed orange lights to erase Gordon Well's knowledge of the truth behind the Drudge invasion before he can share it to his listeners.
  • Loading Screen: Several methods are used:
    • The single-player campaign displays a transcript of the current briefing before each stage, accompanied by a Viewer-Friendly Interface and wireframe fly-by of the next level.
    • Featureless hallways, sewer pipes, or corridors are used to disguise mid-level streaming of upcoming areas.
    • Multiplayer matches display a screen of the current match settings, along with information about the game's various weapons.
  • MacGuffin: The ASE.
  • The Man Behind the Man: The game ends with John Adams conferring with his superiors.
  • Mini-Game: The player must solve a simple "fix the seal" minigame to unlock secret weapons caches.
  • Monumental Battle: Several levels are set in or near Washington D.C. monuments, including the Jefferson Memorial, the Library of Congress, and the Pentagon.
  • Mook Maker:
    • Orange portals, known as Conduits.
    • The egg sacs that the Mites pop out of.
    • The Invaders launch swarms of flying Para-mites.
  • Mooks:
    • Elite Mooks: The Trust Agents in the last two levels of the game have energy weapons, as well as special Trust Armor similar to the protagonist's that lets them soak noticeably more damage than the basic human soldiers you've previously been fighting.
    • Giant Mook: The Drudge Scarabs, 9-foot tall exosuit-wearing aliens equipped with full-auto grenade launchers, who can soak almost a full mag of fire before dropping.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Mr. Ford spends the first half of the single-player campaign trying to stop Mr. Adams, but ends up unintentionally convincing the President to turn over all power to Adams instead.
  • No Plans, No Prototype, No Backup: The ASE is implied to be one.
  • No Sidepaths, No Exploration, No Freedom: An oft-cited complaint against the single-player campaign. The last few levels are considerably more expansive, however.
  • Offscreen Villain Dark Matter: Exactly how are the egg-sacs able to spawn more than one Drudge Mite (each Mite is the size of the entire egg sac), let alone spawn one every few seconds?
  • One-Hit Kill: The HVS45 and the Strike Rifle (when fully charged). Also available as a cheat option after beating the campaign.
  • One-Man Army: Mr. Ford
  • Organic Technology: The Drudge's weapons. Especially the Hive Cannon, where the reload animation involves feeding it with a squishy squeal. In The Reveal, it turns out that, in fact, The Drudge themselves are Organic Technology, having been the clones of your Voice with an Internet Connection, Prometheus. Needless to say, this justifies his Fantastic Racism towards them.
  • Pink Mist: Shoot a Drudge Drone in the head, and it explodes with a fountain of pink yellow mist.
  • Pistol-Whipping: Shotgun blast + melee attack = winning combination
  • President Evil: It is strongly hinted that Mr. John Adams, the antagonist you're fighting throughout most of the game, is the same John Adams who was a Founding Father and the second President of the United States. Word of God says that he is indeed him.
  • Pretty Little Headshots: When you shoot a human in the head (contrast with shooting a Drudge in the head, as noted above).
  • Ray Gun: Many of the Trust and Drudge weapons, particularly the Deatomizer, the Carbonizer Mk16, and the Strike Rifle (when charged).
  • Really 700 Years Old: Mr. Adams, who says he is "over 200 years old" in a voiceover during the credits.
  • Regenerating Health: Justified because of the suit Micheal is wearing. For missions 2 and 3 you don't have it. It's given to Micheal at the start of mission 4.
  • The Reveal: Prometheus is the template for the Drudge.
  • Rock Me, Asmodeus!: Played with by Fang Jorgenson, host of the "Fang Bang Metal" radio show. He starts off as a stereotypical heavy metal fan, but as the Drudge invasion proceeds, he interprets it as a demonic uprising with unrestrained glee.
    "So it comes down to this, the attacks are not done by terrorists after all. They are demons here to take the world for the Lightbringer! The Bug has plagued the masses. Demons are attackin' on our streets. Death seems to be at every turn. We may live to see the end of days!"
  • Scenery Porn: A whole new engine was written so this game could have the graphical quality equal of a 360 or PS3 game.
  • Sequel Hook: Just when it appears to be heading to the final boss fight, the credits roll.
  • Shown Their Work: All of the conspiracy messages that you can find throughout the games.
  • Sincerest Form of Flattery: The creators admit to inspiration from Halo and GoldenEye.
  • The Stinger: During the credits, Mr. Adams is heard talking to an ominous, unknown voice, who hints at another faction that may soon get involved.
  • Story Breadcrumbs: The radio and TV transmissions in the game, and the invisible messages in some areas.
  • Strawman Political: One of the radio stations stars Timothy Browning, a right-wing talk radio parody who blames everything on liberals.
    "Where are the Democrats on this matter? What have they done to make this country safe? What really needs to be done here is the Democrats allowing the GOP to take charge in this time of crisis so no more lives will be spent needlessly!"
    • And his political counterpart, Jared X. Fulton:
      "Ya' know, I don't want to point fingers, but these recent terrorist tragedies are a direct result of a lax legislation of the GOP. The Republican party has gone out of its way to undermine public safety. Their shoot-from-the-hip foreign policy has isolated us from potential allies, their loose gun policies have allowed criminals and terrorists easy access to weaponry right here in the country!"
  • Swiss-Army Weapon: The ASE performs a half-dozen functions, including finding hidden caches, hacking computers, and revealing invisible switches and enemies.
  • Talk Show: Several of them on the radios scattered around in the levels.
  • Tech Demo Game: This is probably one of the few Wii games that etches out every last bit of hardware the Wii had at the time.
  • This Is My Story
  • Twenty Minutes into the Future
  • Unwitting Pawn: Mr. Ford, who inadvertently helps Mr. Adams advance his agenda for the first five levels of the campaign.
  • Virtual Ghost: Prometheus becomes one after you kill him.
  • Voice with an Internet Connection: Mr. Adams. Also Prometheus.
  • Walk It Off: But only after Mission 3, when you first get the high-tech alien armor the main character's seen wearing on the front cover of the game. Before that, all you're equipped with is a standard Secret Service suit and tie, and you're dependent on picking up medikits for health.
  • Washington, DC. Most of the game takes place in the D.C. area.
  • Washington D.C. Invasion
  • The White House: The fifth level of the single-player campaign.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Mr. Adams leaves the protagonist to be killed by invading aliens after gathering information from Prometheus's bunker.
  • Zerg Rush: Just about any area filled with conduits or egg sacs, especially the Drudge nest at the end of level 4.

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alternative title(s): The Conduit
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