June 2004 Archives

Sacred Review

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Publisher: Encore
Developer: Ascaron

Platform: PC
Reviewed on PC
Windows System Requirements: Pentium III 800 MHz, 256 MB RAM, 16 MB video card, 4x CD-ROM, 2.5 GB HD space, Windows 98 or more recent operating system

Sacred is a fantasy-themed action/RPG (you know what comes next) like Diablo. Not content to be a clone, Sacred tries to put a little more emphasis on the "RPG" than its famous predecessor. You'll have six characters to choose from as you journey out into a world that, according to developer Ascaron, is 70% open to exploration the moment you load up your character. Pick up quests, fight bad guys by the horde, hope for good item drops and purchase a trusty steed as you seek fame and glory. Play solo or choose from a couple of multiplayer modes including a co-operative campaign mode.

Aquawords Review

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Publisher: Realore
Developer: Realore

Platform: PC
Reviewed on PC
Windows System Requirements: Pentium 200 MHz, 16 MB RAM, Video card with 1 MB RAM, Windows 95 or more recent OS
Available at: www.realore.com/aquawords/

Fans of Scrabble and other tile-based word games, such as Boggle, can download any number of electronic games. A newcomer to the field is Realore's Aquawords.

Publisher: Midway
Developer: Midway

Platforms: Xbox, PlayStation 2
Reviewed on PlayStation 2

Paranormal mental powers are a reality. Spurred on by the discovery of ancient artifacts, older than mankind itself, the world's nations began to investigate using psi-operatives to supplement conventional espionage. World wars have been fought over these ancient artifacts. Humanity landed on the moon to acquire more of them. Hidden from the public eye, psi-operatives were key to operations on both sides of the Cold War. The US established Mindgate as a training and operation center for psi-operatives, but when the Cold War ended, funding dried up. When the General in charge of Mindgate was caught overstepping his authority, he fled rather than face a war crimes tribunal.

Mindgate was disbanded by the government, which underplayed the power and potential of its psi-operative soldiers rather than face public fears. At the same time, the General and many of Mindgate's most powerful operatives formed the Movement. The Movement dedicated itself to establishing a new order in which psi-capable humans ruled over "mundane" humans lacking powers such as Telekinesis. The Movement is currently building its ranks by transforming and reconditioning mundanes into completely devoted and unstoppable Meat Puppet soldiers. Nick Scryer, a former Mindgate operative, has been given radical plastic surgery and a memory wipe to obscure his identity. After being captured along with a squad of soldiers set to be converted into Meat Puppets, Scryer is activated and set on the path that must ultimately lead to the demise of the Movement.

Front Mission 4 Review

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Publisher: Square Enix Co.
Developer: Square Enix USA

Platform: PlayStation 2
Reviewed on PlayStation 2

Elsa is a young, French soldier who has recently joined a research unit, the Durandal, that investigates new applications for wanzers, massive fighting vehicles that transformed warfare long before the recent Second Huffman Conflict embroiled the globe. Darril is a wanzer pilot in the UCS army, fighting for an alliance that spans North and South America, against a rebelling Venezuela. He is also a ne'er-do-well and greedy deserter. Elsa's cause may be noble, while Darril is initially motivated by a lust for wealth, but the two ultimately face down a conspiracy that would plunge their homelands into another global war.

Razer Viper Mouse Review

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Company: Razer
Platform: PC
Windows System Requirements: Pentium 200 MHz, 32 MB RAM, USB Port

Official Site: razerzone.com

Razer initially made its impact by launching the Razer BoomSlang series of mice in late 1999. Named after a venomous snake, the mouse was designed for hardcore gamers with hardware that more precisely and accurately monitored mouse movement than other products on the market. In subsequent years, the company fell on harder times, and the BoomSlang went out of production. Soon after, existing Razer BoomSlang mice were commanding prices in excess of $200 on eBay, confirming demand for the product. Razer made a recent comeback and is currently selling the Viper, a high-end optical mouse.

Publisher: Eidos
Developer: Rotobee

Platform: PC
Reviewed on PC
Windows System Requirements: Pentium III 1 GHz, 256 MB RAM, GeForce 2 with 256 MB RAM, Windows 2000, XP or Me

Singles: Flirt up your Life! is a simulation game that focuses on the relationship between two people sharing an apartment, and ends (if you're lucky) in a lot of nakedness and sexual activity. Since the very first time screenshots of Singles: Flirt up your Life! surfaced months ago, mere mention of the game has since been accompanied by nervous laughter and blushing. We're talking about a game that can be shelved alongside Bubble Bath Babes and Custer's Revenge in terms of propriety, but assuming you can get beyond all that, Singles: Flirt up your Life! is actually pretty successful within its niche. The only question is, are you interested in what this game has to offer? The answer, thankfully, can be kept in the privacy of your own home.

Publisher: Destination Software
Developer: Inferno Games

Platform: Game Boy Advance
Reviewed on Game Boy Advance

Wade Hixton's Counter Punch is a tribute to the quintessential boxing game, Mike Tyson's Punch Out, on the Game Boy Advance. Without explicitly paying homage, Counter Punch features a near identical fighting system, diverging in story, style, and secondary features. Dissimilarities aside, there are too many obvious nods to the classic boxing title that the comparison to Punch Out! can't be ignored. Can a rookie game go pound for pound with one of the heavy hitters of the NES era? Absolutely.

StarCraft: Ghost Preview

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Publisher: Blizzard
Developer: Nihilistic Software and Blizzard Entertainment

Platforms: Xbox, PlayStation 2, GameCube
Official site: www.blizzard.com/ghost/

"You are a Ghost, an evolutionarily advanced human with enhanced physical and psionic abilities."

Trained from infancy, Ghosts are those humans with mental capabilities far beyond the ordinary and used by the Terran Confederate Government as espionage and counter-intelligence officers. Lethally effective both in armed and melee encounters, Ghosts use a combination of their training, superior equipment and mental powers to cloak themselves (becoming effectively invisible), lockdown mechanical devices (rendering them temporarily unable to function), and even serve as spotters for devastating nuclear assaults. Now, you serve as a Ghost, at the Vanguard of the Terran military's operations, advancing the cause of humanity throughout the galaxy.

Publisher: LucasArts
Developer: Sony Online Entertainment

Platform: PC
Official site: starwarsgalaxies.station.sony.com/expansions.jsp

When Star Wars Galaxies: An Empire Divided (SWG) launched on June 26 of last year, fans bemoaned the lack of spacefaring vehicles. Come this fall, with the release of Star Wars Galaxies: Jump to Lightspeed (Lightspeed), players will be able to hop into an X-wing or TIE fighter and leave the confines of planetary gravity for the open reaches of space.

I must confess that I harbored profound skepticism when I first heard about Tapwave's Zodiac. Now that the product has officially launched, and I've had a chance to spend time with the Zodiac handheld, I also have to confess that I was wrong. The Zodiac is an extremely impressive device. If there is one criticism, it is only that the available software has yet to explore the full potential of this remarkable handheld gadget. But it's still young.

Kyle Ackerman

It's easy to lose sight of the tremendous scope of the mobile gaming market. Computer and video gaming is a decidedly young business, but only the last few years have seen widespread adoption of phone handsets sophisticated enough to provide games on the go. Suddenly, mobile gaming is huge, and what could be a better platform than the device you have with you at all times, that serves as your connection to the world? It's not just the current focus on mobile gaming that has major players drooling – it's the potential market. For example, Deloitte and Touche declared last week that they believe there will be 2.6 billion devices capable of playing electronic games by 2010. They aren't talking about game consoles. They expect that growth to come primarily from mobile phones and personal data assistants, which are increasingly converging.

Publisher: Global Star Software (Take-Two Interactive)
Developer: Opus

Platform: PlayStation 2
Reviewed on PlayStation 2

The Ultimate Fighting Championship began in 1993 as a tribute to mixed martial arts and to answer that burning question of children everywhere: "Who would win in a fight between..." two entirely different types of fighters. While the UFC has yet to figure out if Batman would conquer Superman (a secret FI has already learned but isn't sharing), it has managed to settle some more immediate questions, like "Can anyone beat a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu fighter?" (The answer in the case of Royce Gracie is decidedly no.) UFC: Sudden Impact is a sequel to the PS2 game UFC: Throwdown (that came out in 2002), and features a fighting style that combines elements of both boxing and wrestling.

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This page is an archive of entries from June 2004 listed from newest to oldest.

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