Follow TV Tropes


Video Game / The Conduit

Go To

"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 Nintendo Wii by High Voltage Software and published by Sega. It's notable for having a custom-built graphics engine created to give visuals on par with PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 titles (at least in terms of effects) using the less powerful 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, D.C. 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.

In 2013, the game was ported to Android OS mobile devices, specifically those with an Nvidia Tegra graphics chipset.

This game provides examples of:

  • Abnormal Ammo: The Drudge's rifle is reloaded by snapping open the front like a break-open shotgun then replacing the glowing orange orb with another one, complete with some crunchy sound effects to complete the organic imagery.
  • 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 ordnance consisting of Drudge organic rifles or Trust energy weaponry. You do pick up a Trust weapon that highly resembles the TDI Vector and shoots energy, though.
  • Aliens Speaking English: Prometheus, John Adams and the alien superior he confers with during the end credits all speak perfect English.
  • 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.
  • Autosave: The game is automatically saved for each Checkpoint you pass and every mission you finish.
  • 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.
  • Brain Upload: Much to Ford's surprise, Prometheus does this to survive after he requests Ford to kill him so that Adams could not use his body for his evil schemes.
  • Checkpoint: Each mission has several checkpoints you will fall back to if Ford is killed or you quit the current mission.
  • 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?"
  • 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.
  • Critical Annoyance: When Ford is low on health, the screen begins to desaturate and the sound of his breathing and heartbeat would amplify, overriding the background music.
  • 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.
  • Damage Over Time: Radiation grenades inflict continuous and deadly damage to any enemy they stick to.
  • Disintegrator Ray: The Strike Rifle and the Trust Mk 4 Deatomizer is this when fully charged.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Mr. Ford after being betrayed by Mr. Adams.
  • Government Conspiracy: One of the major themes of the game.
  • 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.
  • Jump Scare: Shortly after the end credits finish rolling, the screen cuts to a scary face of a villainous alien, complete with a loud growling noise.
  • 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.
  • Last Episode Theme Reprise: The music for the final level, Closure, is almost the same as that of the main menu.
  • Limited Loadout: You can only carry two weapons at a time, pressing a button to switch between them.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Non-Indicative Name: If you expect the eighth mission, "Checkmate" to end with Ford finding and cornering Adams (or the other way around), you're wrong. Also, the last level may be called "Closure", but it ends on a Cliffhanger.
  • 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.
  • 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 Mk 16, 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: The game's engine was made specifically to have graphical quality equal to a 360 or PS3 game on less powerful hardware.
  • 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.
  • Shout-Out: "I have seen the fnords!"
  • Sincerest Form of Flattery: The creators admit to inspiration from Halo and GoldenEye.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: The elevator music in the Trust headquarters is comedically out of place with the fierce action of the penultimate mission.
  • 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.
  • Storm the Castle: Ford enters the Trust headquarters to try and find and kill John Adams in the game's final two levels.
  • 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!"
  • 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."
  • 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.
  • The White House: The fifth level of the single-player campaign.
  • You Have Failed Me: The unknown alien contact whom Adams speaks with in the end credits threatens him with this trope, warning that he will suffer a fate worse than exile if he can't win the war.
  • 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.

John Adams: I haven't spent the last 240 years arranging this to fail now. You win their support and I will win this war.
Unknown Contact: See to it that you do, Enlil. There are worse things to suffer than exile.