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July 24, 2007 - When we previewed the Core Gamer Wii Blaster yesterday [Register or Login to view links] we weren't expecting to have one to play with immediately. Happily, today we unexpectedly got a hold of the Blaster and put it to the test.

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The Blaster departs from the design of Nintendo's own Zapper, dropping the forward tommy gun grip in favor of a shotgun style straight barrel. Like the Zapper, the Nunchuck resides in the rear grip, and the Blaster bracket provides access to both the C and Z buttons as well as the analog stick. Up front a cutout gives direct access to the Wiimote's own trigger, which we like a lot since we found the Zapper's mechanical trigger mushy when we [Register or Login to view links].

Installing a Wiimote and Nunchuck in the Blaster shell is pretty easy. The Wiimote drops directly into its cavity and is secured by the orange plastic slider visible on the top of the gun just aft of the Wiimote. The bracket 'breaks' like a barrel loading shotgun to provide access to the hollow chamber below the orange slider, which is useful for gathering up the Wiimote's lanyard and the excess cable from the Nunchuck. The Nunchuck sits in the grip area without any restraints. The wire between the Nunchuck and Wiimote is exposed as it runs from the base of the handle to the main barrel of the Blaster, which kinda kills an otherwise clean looking design.

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When assembled the Blaster is decently comfortable. The forward grip area for the Wiimote trigger is smooth plastic that isn't bothersome to hold, but the rear grip around the Nunchuck has a pretty sharp plastic edge that'll chafe your palm after a lot of play. We imagine we could sand it down a bit, but it would have been nice if Core Gamer had smoothed it in the first place.

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We put the Blaster to use in the Wii Play shooting game and Red Steel. In each the Blaster did allow for a fair degree of extra accuracy thanks to the fact that we were able to stabilize the Wiimote with both hands. The design also proved itself superior to the Zapper for playing legacy games like Red Steel due to the fact that the forward grip allows access to the A button and D-pad, which the tommy gun style Zapper does not. At first we were annoyed that the Nunchuck isn't very firmly seated in the Blaster's handle and can fall out easily, but we quickly realized this was rather necessary in that we often had to remove the Nunchuck from the bracket to push open doors, pick up guns, and throw grenades in Red Steel.

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Overall the Blaster may well be preferable to the Zapper thanks to the fact that it'll work with older FPS titles on the Wii and provides direct access to the Wiimote's trigger. Our only major complaint is the rough plastic on the rear grip around the Nunchuck, but a little sand paper will probably sort that out.

IGN's Ratings for Core Gamer Wii Blaster
Rating Description out of 10

9.0 Performance
Superior to that of Nintendo's own Zapper due to the fact it provides direct access to the Wiimote's trigger as well as the top buttons that are critical for playing games like Red Steel.

6.0 Build Quality
Plastic is pretty light and rough use or bending would probably break it. The grip area around the Nunchuck is roughly cut and tends to chafe our palms.

8.0 Ease of Use
Installing a Wiimote and Nunchuck is a very simple process.

6.5 Value
$16.95 isn't exactly a rip off, but on the other hand the Blaster is nothing but a piece of plastic.

6.5 Comfort
The two handed grip style necessitates a shoot from the aiming style, which we're not huge fans of. The grip area around the Nunchuck is roughly cut and chafes palms.

8.0 OVERALL
(out of 10 / not an average)

Thanks to [Register or Login to view links] for sharing the news with us!