Review: December 2003 Archives

Publisher: Diversions Entertainment
Developer: Diversions Entertainment


Platform: PC
Reviewed on PC
Windows System Requirements: Pentium III/ AMD Athlon 733, 128 MB RAM, 16 MB video card, 1 GB HD space

One Must Fall is the first name in PC fighting games thanks to the cult popularity of the shareware/freeware One Must Fall: 2097, released in the mid-90s. After its underground success, Diversions Entertainment went back to the drawing board to create a new One Must Fall game. Back in the summer we previewed One Must Fall: Battlegrounds, the anticipated 3-D PC fighting game that would revolutionize a genre. Has One Must Fall achieved a first round knockout, or is there still room for PC fighting games to grow?

I-Ninja Review

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Publisher: Namco
Developer: Argonaut Games


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

The overlord O-Dor has seized control of the land, slaying and imprisoning all the ninja sworn to protect the region and its inhabitants. A young, ninja-in-training (known only as Ninja), along with his undead tutor (known as Sensei), is all that remains to retake the world. Ninja was undertaking a secret mission that hid him from O-Dor's army, but now he must save the planet and free the Ninja Guardians, ultimately to take on O-Dor himself.

Beyond Good & Evil (PC) Review

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Publisher: Ubisoft
Developer: Ubisoft


Platforms: PC, Xbox, PlayStation 2 and GameCube
Reviewed on PC
Windows System Requirements: Pentium III 700 MHz, 64 MB RAM, 32 MB video card, 4x CD-ROM drive, Windows 98 or more recent operating system

The planet Hillys is under assault by the alien DomZ, and has been for so long that buildings and cities are equipped with protective energy shields to protect the occupants from DomZ meteor attacks. The government's Alpha Section, an elite military cadre, claims to be making strides to contain the DomZ, yet the attacks continue unabated. Citizens continue to disappear from Hillys, apparently related to the DomZ attacks.

Jade is a young reporter, as well as the caretaker of a lighthouse full of orphans (with the help of her adopted uncle Pey'j). She is working to create a photographic catalog of the planet's animal life when she encounters a rebel organization known as the IRIS network and begins to explore the truth about the war, the abductions of sentient beings and the Alpha Section.

Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment America
Developer: Insomniac Games


Platform: PlayStation 2
Reviewed on PlayStation 2

Once upon a time, platformers in gaming were the pinnacle of console entertainment, thanks mostly to Shigeru Miyamoto and the Mario Brothers. Times have changed since platform games reigned supreme, but platformers themselves mostly haven't. New games rehash every idea set forth by Nintendo, earning many of them the nickname "Mario-clone." Although quite a few platformers have been worthy of respect on their own merits (including games such as Crash Bandicoot, Banjo Kazooie, Spyro the Dragon, and Rayman) in recent years it seemed like all of them (including the Italian Stallion himself) had flatlined.

Enter Naughty Dog's Jak and Daxter in December 2001. In the following year, a few excellent platform games were released on the PS2, and two of the better ones owe their excellence to Naughty Dog. The best of the new breed was Ratchet and Clank, a game developed by Insomniac using Naughty Dog's technology and adding entirely innovative gameplay. This year both Jak and Ratchet have sequels. Has Ratchet and Clank again come out on top? Is there hope for the future of platform games?

Crystal Wizard Review

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Publisher: Tates Colony
Developer: Tates Colony


Platform: PC
Reviewed on PC
Official Site: tatescolony.com/games/games.php

Windows System Requirements: Pentium II 200 MHz, 32 MB RAM, Windows 95 or more recent operating system

Perhaps it's a thaumaturgical exercise. Perhaps it's just straightforward entertainment. Either way, Crystal Wizard is a casual game with familiar elements from games such as Puzzle Bobble and Pachinko, all tied together with a mystical theme.

Whiplash Review

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Publisher: Eidos Interactive
Developer: Crystal Dynamics


Platform: Xbox, PlayStation 2
Reviewed on Xbox

"Spanx is a crazy weasel once used for electro-shock testing. Redmond is a know-it-all rabbit who failed his last mascara test in the makeup lab." So what if Spanx may have killed and eaten Redmond's mother? They both have a common cause – they need to escape from Genron, a conglomerate that can solve any problem with animal testing. They also have a common bond – a chain that shackles them together. Spanx and Redmond will have to cooperate to reach freedom and avenge animal kind.

Publisher: Encore
Developer: Black Ops


Platform: PlayStation 2
Reviewed on PlayStation 2

It was bound to happen sooner or later. Fugitive Hunter is a first-person shooter that lets you lay the smackdown on none other than Osama bin Laden. As Jake Seaver, former Special Forces operative turned super bounty hunter, you trot the globe putting the kibosh on a variety of international baddies all the way up to Osama himself and, in the process, make the world safe for Mom and apple pie.

Publisher: Shrapnel Games
Developer: Illwinter Game Design


Platform: Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, Solaris
Reviewed on Windows
Windows System Requirements: Pentium II 300 MHz, 64 MB RAM, 250 MB HD space, Windows 95 or more recent operating system

"Too long have you been confined to this mortal realm. Too long have you been denied what should rightfully be yours. Are you not a god? Should you not be the One True God of this miserable dirtball? Yet there are others that dare challenge your authority. Pretenders to the throne, with their false priests and prophets. These miserable creatures that have the audacity to impugn your rightful place in the cosmos! But you will show them, won't you? Gather your armies, raise your fortifications, and let loose the dogs of war! The time has come to assume your proper position, to crush your enemies beneath your boots and take what is meant for you."

Rogue Ops Review

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Publisher: Kemco
Developer: Bits Studios


Platform: Xbox, PlayStation 2, GameCube
Reviewed on Xbox

On vacation with her husband and daughter, Nikki Connors sees them killed by a terrorist's car bomb. Seeking revenge, Connors, a former Green Beret, finds her way into the ranks of an elite counter-terrorist agency called Phoenix. While Connors is plenty capable as a combatant, her new agency tends to prefer she operate by stealth in her fight against terrorist group Omega 19. Sneak or shoot – just get the job done.

XIII Review

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Publisher: Ubisoft
Developer: Ubisoft


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

System Requirements: Pentium III 700 MHz, 128 MB RAM, 32 MB video card, 120 MB HD space, Windows 98 or more recent operating system

The President of the United States has been shot – assassinated. A man awakens, dazed and wounded from a near-fatal gun shot to the head. He has no memory – only a tattoo with the number "XIII" and a slew of armed men in pursuit. To all appearances, XIII is the assassin who killed the president, so the authorities are out to capture, interrogate and convict XIII. Unsure who to trust or what to do, XIII is left to establish the truth and his own identity, but the police aren't the only ones out to stop him.

Maximum Chase Review

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Publisher: Majesco
Developer: Genki


Platform: Xbox
Reviewed on Xbox

From the developers who brought you the Tokyo Xtreme Racer series and the upcoming game The Fast and the Furious comes Maximum Chase, an Xbox exclusive title and another notch on Genki's driving-action belt.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries in the Review category from December 2003.

Review: November 2003 is the previous archive.

Review: January 2004 is the next archive.

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Review: December 2003: Monthly Archives