January 2003 Archives

Publisher: Electronic Arts (and Fox Interactive)
Developer: The Collective

Platform: Xbox
Reviewed on Xbox

Vampires were once the bogeymen of Europe, and myths based on their existence have sprung up in cultures throughout the globe. These days, the rest of the world has little to fear, as evil has taken up residence in Sunnydale, California. Where do vampires go to hang out? Sunnydale. Where do demons gather to open the gates of hell and bring their brethren streaming into the mortal world? Sunnydale, California.

It just so happens, that Buffy Summers, seventeen-year old and "chosen one" also moved to Sunnydale. As the Slayer, the one woman in each generation empowered to combat evil, Buffy is humanity's best hope against the foul machinations of the undead and demonkind. Of course, Buffy's nemesis, The Master, has returned from the dead to attempt once more to permanently break down the boundaries between Hell and earth. Buffy has killed The Master once before, but he's managed to take down Buffy once, himself. This time, The Master is aided by the three Dreamer Demons: Urd, Skuld and Verdandi, making Buffy's task all the more difficult. For Buffy, this match against the master is for the "best two out of three."

Publisher: NewKidCo
Developer: Vis Entertainment

Platforms: Xbox, PlayStation 2 and GameCube
Reviewed on PlayStation 2

Call it baby's first beat 'em up. Developer Vis Entertainment and publisher NewKidCo have put together a fighting game aimed at younger gamers featuring the characters of the Tom & Jerry TV cartoon. As in the cartoon, the melee action is stylized rather than gory and features an array of colorful, cartoony backdrops and "weapons" like snowballs, watermelons and pasta. The single-player challenge mode unlocks characters that may then be used in other modes, including multiplayer events.

Publisher: DreamCatcher
Developer: Digital Reality

Platform: PC
Reviewed on PC

Windows System Requirements: Pentium III 600 MHz, 128 MB RAM, 16 MB 3D video card, 550 MB HD space

Although humans have colonized their own solar system, not all is well. Mars is restless under the rule of Earth, and a civil war ensues. The civil war resolves itself (one way or the other) with your help. And just in the nick of time, too, for along come the aliens. The heroes of the civil war, the Legions of Iron, must head back into action to face the threat. Hegemonia: Legions of Iron seeks to combine fully 3D space combat in a real-time strategy framework with 4X management elements. Seek and destroy your enemies, but don't forget to set your tax rate back home. Hegemonia offers two single-player campaigns and a variety of multiplayer modes, both cooperative and competitive. Saddle up space buckaroo.

Iron Storm Review

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Publisher: DreamCatcher Interactive
Developer: 4x Studio

Platform: PC
Reviewed on PC
Windows System Requirements: Pentium III 500 MHz, 128 MB RAM, 32 MB 3D graphics card, 700 MB HD space

War began in 1914 – the war to end all wars. In 1964, that war is still raging, with both sides entrenched, motionless across the Friedrich line that splits the German provinces. On the western side of the line, the United States of Western Europe man their trenches, occasionally sending progressive waves of young men to their deaths, ministered to only by the wall of machine-gun fire from the trenches of the Russo-Mongol Empire. Led by Baron Nikolai Aleskandrovitch Ugenberg, known as The Khan, since the early days of the war, the Russo-Mongol Empire may be close to developing nuclear arms that could escalate this conflict far beyond the already eighty million dead.

As much as the world needs to see the war end, powerful forces need to see the war continue. Since 1925, the world's many armies have traded on stock exchanges. Speculators and businessmen's fortunes rise and fall with the tide of the war. In a mission kept secret from friend and foe alike, Second Lieutenant James Anderson has been chosen as a desperate effort to stem the bloodshed and turn the tide of war.

Go Read a Book

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by Robert de los Reyes, Esq.

On Tuesday, the New York Times ran an Op-Ed piece from a semi-regular contributor by the name of Verlyn Klinkenborg. Reading his past pieces, you get the sense he's an older fellow (I think he lives in the upstate New York countryside). This particular column is about his adventures with the Xbox and Blinx the Time Sweeper. The starting point for Klinkenborg's adventure was simple curiosity. He hadn't played a video game since Pong, but has been reading the news – he knows that video games are now big business. So, he ups and buys an Xbox, a handful of games, and settles in.

Publisher: Rockstar Games (Take-Two Interactive)
Developer: Rockstar North

Platform: PlayStation 2
Reviewed on PlayStation 2

Grand Theft Auto III had the silent carjacker. Vice City, an ersatz Miami of the 1980s has Tommy Vercetti, a mafia hoodlum who sat out the Vietnam War in a maximum security prison. Finally freed to return to work for his old master, Sonny Forelli, Tommy is sent to Vice City to assist in a major drug transaction that goes horribly wrong, losing Forelli's money and the goods. After barely escaping with his life, Tommy is given a hotel room for shelter and a barely competent lawyer as his only contact. Sonny wants his cash back. Now. And he's holding Tommy responsible.

That kind of money is hard to track down, so Tommy starts doing minor chores for local crime moguls until he finds himself a central power broker in Vice City. Together with his sidekick, Lance Vance, snappily dressed in a white suit, powerful friends and equally powerful enemies, Tommy gets ready to take over the party capital of America. And to steal a lot of cars.

Denki Blocks! Review

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Publisher: Majesco
Developer: Rage

Platform: Game Boy Advance, Game Boy Color, Mobile Phone and Set-Top Box
Reviewed on Game Boy Advance

Join Jessop the wizard, your guide on puzzle island to learn the favorite puzzle of all the inhabitants of Puzzle Island – Denki Blocks!. Train, participate in single puzzle challenges involving Denki Blocks!, or join the tournament to earn Puzzle Island's honored title of Puzzle Master.

Publisher: Infogrames
Developer: Dimps

Platform: PlayStation 2
Reviewed on PlayStation 2

Goku, his son Gohan, and their motley assortment of friends save the universe from alien threats, android invasion and the collateral damage caused by arguing over which super-powered being is the most powerful fighter in the universe. Characters make the ultimate sacrifice, return to life, summon dragons and battle to the death. The plot and action are sometimes inscrutable, but always filled with powerful attacks and world-shattering explosions.

Publisher: Mythic Entertainment
Developer: Mythic Entertainment

Platform: PC
Reviewed on PC

Windows System Requirements: Pentium III 1.4 GHz, 256 MB RAM, 32 MB 3D video card, internet connection, Dark Age of Camelot

Shrouded Isles is the first expansion for the fantasy MMORPG Dark Age of Camelot. With this expansion come three large new areas to explore, three new playable races, six new character classes, a handful of graphics enhancements and more besides. In order to play Shrouded Isles, you must own the original Dark Age of Camelot.

Buboids Review

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Publisher: Blue Dojo Studios
Developer: Blue Dojo Studios

Platform: PC
Reviewed on PC
Windows System Requirements: Windows 98 or more recent operating system and support for 1024x768 resolution

Solve puzzles by helping odd, small creatures reach comfortable places on rotating wire constructs.

Sometimes It's Necessary

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by James Cresswell

When Boris Karloff portrayed Frankenstein's monster in the 1931 film, Frankenstein, immortalizing the oblong-headed, neck-bolted beast from beyond the grave, an objectionable scene was removed. The monster comes across a young girl by a lake, and, surprisingly, she is not frightened of him. He approaches and plays with the girl, at one point throwing her into the lake with a wide, playful grin on his scarred visage. The girl laughs, and attempts to climb out. The monster, though, is enjoying his game, and keeps throwing her back in, until, inevitably, she drowns, leaving the pitiable creature saddened and wondering what has happened to his playmate. The scene demonstrated two things: first, that the monster was amoral, rather than evil, as it clearly showed his lack of understanding. Secondly, it showed the public what has long been considered the most objectionable of all images – violence directed towards children. It's removal from the final cut of the film resulted in a crucial absence of the monster's child-like innocence in his actions, while protecting the public from the powerful horror of the death of a small child. Clearly, though, the scene was crucial to the portrayal of that monster, and its removal transformed him from a confused creature who didn't know any better, to the vengeful beast that crept up on unsuspecting villagers. This raises the issue of whether violent video games can claim the same kind of intrinsic value in their violence.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from January 2003 listed from newest to oldest.

December 2002 is the previous archive.

February 2003 is the next archive.

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