July 2002 Archives
Developer: Blizzard Entertainment
Reviewed on PC
Windows System Requirements: Pentium II 400 MHz, 128 MB RAM, 8 MB video card, 700 MB HD space, 4x CD ROM
It's not just for Orcs and Humans anymore. The third in the Warcraft series introduces two new playable races: the Undead and the Night Elves. In the single-player part of the game, you play through, in order, campaigns for the Humans, Undead, Orcs and Night Elves. Each campaign gives you a different perspective on a unified storyline that runs throughout the game. So as to avoid spoilers, suffice it to say that the land of Azeroth is under threat, and each of your heroes and his armies have a role to play (for better or worse) in the unfolding events. And, of course, it wouldn't be a 'Craft game without multiplayer action. In a mechanism quite familiar to Blizzard fans, you can find a game with strangers and friends alike via Blizzard's free, proprietary Battle.net service, or you can set up a LAN game of your own. Numerous custom maps are also available for your use, with scenarios laid out for anywhere from 2 to 12 players. These maps can also be played single player vs. computer opponents. Since Warcraft III also includes a world editor, the included maps are likely just the beginning.
Developer: Raven Software
Reviewed on PC
Windows System Requirements: Pentium III 450 MHz, 128 MB RAM, 16 MB video card, 1.3 GB HD space, 8x CD ROM
John Mullins and The Shop are back, complete with high technology and plain old bravado. The game is mostly set in the modern day but opens with a flashback series of missions in which Mullins extricates a defecting scientist from behind the Iron Curtain. Back in the present day, Mullins is called back to active assignment by news from that scientist that the program he began may have fallen into the wrong hands. It is up to Mullins, along with a little help from The Shop and the U.S. Marines, to investigate clues that point to the existence of a horrifying weapon and a well-outfitted, international network of terrorists bent on using it. By the way, you'll also need to thwart their plan, mostly by yourself. Bring a gun.
Platform: PlayStation 2
The 16 MB Mega Memory Card from Interact purports to have "twice the capacity of a standard card, plus a secret weapon – The included Memory Manager Plus software! This suite of software utilities allows you to manage and archive your saves, expand your memory capabilities and even write game saves to an Iomega Zip Drive." 'Nuff said.
Developer: PopTop Software
Reviewed on PC
Windows System Requirements: Pentium 200 MHz, 32 MB RAM, 820 MB HD space
Tropico is a simulation game in which you play as the dictator of a small Caribbean island. The gameplay is familiar to anyone who has played games such as Sim City or Roller Coaster Tycoon. Choosing from a range of customizable settings, you select the qualities of your island and your dictator. You begin with an undeveloped nation of farmers and laborers and seek to create a prosperous, politically stable island while making sure that your personal Swiss bank account is fully stocked so that you may enjoy retirement in a manner befitting your stature. Along the way, you must provide housing, jobs, entertainment, education and healthcare for your people. You must also be sure to keep the local political factions happy (or scared) lest you get voted out or overthrown in a bloody coup. Further complicating matters are your relations with foreign powers (limited to Russia and the U.S.) who, when sufficiently pleased, may provide invaluable assistance in the development of your country. The game may be played at various turn speeds and is fully interactive even when completely paused.
Developer: Rockstar North
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 2, Xbox
Reviewed on PC
Windows System Requirements: Pentium III 450 MHz, 96 MB RAM, 4x CD-ROM, 16 MB 3D video card, 700 MB HD space
Wealth, power and reputation must be earned by working hard, and stealing every automobile that rolled out of Detroit. For you, as the mute lead in Grand Theft Auto III, it started with a bank heist. Betrayed by your girlfriend, arrested and thrown in a police convoy, Grand Theft Auto III begins on your way to the penitentiary. Sometimes it pays to be a small time crook in the middle of big events, and one of the other prisoners was important enough to be busted out, leaving you and another felon alone and free. Fortunately, the whirlwind which restored your freedom also deleted your identity, thanks to some determined and well-connected computer hackers, leaving you free to start a new life. Your fellow prisoner, a friendly demolition expert with badly burned hands, exchanges his expertise for your help, and sets you up with a hideout in Liberty City and a contact for alternative (to put it kindly) employment.
With a fresh start in life, you are free to take up the honorable profession of Mafia errand boy. If you prove yourself reliable, you can graduate from ferrying Mafia molls around the city, to made man, only to find yourself suddenly performing hits for the Yakuza, and perpetrating drive-by shootings against the gangs in Wichita Gardens. Perhaps you can even pursue revenge against the woman who betrayed you.
Developer: Digital Mayhem
Platform: Xbox, GameCube
Reviewed on Xbox
Many things went wrong on the evening of the execution of Nathaniel Arkady at Ashcroft Prison. When the switch was thrown, the tortured souls of dead prisoners escaped through a tear in the world. Four people, at the prison to witness Arkady's execution, were imbued, given the ability to see the evil spirits and the power to fight them. These four individuals become Hunters. On that night, they learn that the prison is actually a haven for vampires and zombies. They beat back the spirits and seal them in. Years later, on the anniversary of Arkady's execution, some residents of the town of Ashcroft throw a rave outside the door of the old prison. For reasons unknown to you (at the start), the spirits stir, break out of prison and overrun the town. Into the breach return the Hunters. You choose one of four Hunters to play as: Avenger, Judge, Defender or Martyr. You can also play multiplayer with everyone sharing a single screen. Each Hunter is equipped with one melee weapon, one ranged weapon and "edges" – special powers in unique combinations available to each Hunter. You'll also find an array of special weapons lying around, just right for all your undead killing needs. Find the source of the evil, free the innocents and save Ashcroft from a reawakened evil.