Review: March 2004 Archives

Ninja Gaiden Review

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Publisher: Tecmo
Developer: Team Ninja


Platform: Xbox
Reviewed on Xbox

There are different kinds of ninjas. Polar opposites like Ninja Gaiden and Tenchu: Return from Darkness really illustrate the diversity of game ninjas. There are ultimate power ninjas and Shinobi-style ninjas – but Ryu Hayabusa, the main character of the Ninja Gaiden series, is the very best kind.

Ninja Gaiden is a stellar game and an even better fantasy. In it, you play as the kind of ninja that runs along walls, fleet of foot; lops off a dozen heads in a row; performs fifty-hit combinations with an assortment of weapons; wields fire and shurikens as if they were an extension of the body; all with the toughness of a warrior and the grace of a feline. It's even beautiful.

Breakdown Review

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Publisher: Namco Hometek
Developer: Namco


Platform: Xbox
Reviewed on Xbox

Derrick Cole only knows his name because that's what a medical technician called him. A few conversations and mysterious flashbacks suggest that he was a U.S. Marine participating in top-secret experiments. Now he awakens in a joint US-Japanese facility in Yokahama, Japan, but without memories, in a world that doesn't quite make sense.

Carve Review

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


Platform: Xbox
Reviewed on Xbox

Carve drops you into the world of watercraft racing, as four wetsuit-clad teams compete to be the fastest to the finish line. Take advantage of ramps scattered around the courses to perform tricks or just swerve full-speed around buoys to become champion of the waves.

Publisher: Atari
Developer: Epic Games, Digital Extremes


Platform: PC
Reviewed on PC
Windows System Requirements: Pentium III 1 GHz, 128 MB RAM, 3D video card, DirectX 8.1, internet connection for online play

When games transform into a franchise with annual installments, there's a certain sense of dread that comes over me. The Madden series of games, while usually fantastic, also innovate little from year to year, relying instead on roster changes and a graphical facelift. Back when the team at Epic Games unveiled their intentions and new naming scheme, many of us were skeptical. Had Unreal Tournament run out of steam? Were we setting ourselves up for minuscule upgrades and a $50 a year fee to have the latest and greatest? Thankfully, at least so far, the answer is a resounding no. Unreal Tournament 2004 is close to a master work, containing tons of new levels, new modes, and a great excuse for upgrading your video card.

Drakengard Review

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Publisher: Square Enix
Developer: Cavia


Platform: PlayStation 2
Reviewed on PlayStation 2

War has erupted between the Empire and the Union. Once part of the Union, a splinter group has gathered fortresses and troops. Calling itself the Empire and supported by unfathomable force, that splinter faction is seizing castles and lands formerly held by the Union. In a dash to save his sister from besieging Imperial troops, Prince Caim attempts to single handedly cleave his way through an entire army. Mortally wounded, Caim accepts a pact with a desperately wounded dragon – they link their lives and spirits so that together they can turn the tide of the Imperial threat.

Publisher: Encore / JoWood
Developer: Phenomic


Platform: PC
Reviewed on PC
Windows System Requirements: Pentium III 1 GHz, 256 MB RAM, 32 MB video card, 2 GB HD space, DirectX 9, 16x CD ROM

Years ago, a circle of thirteen mages came together to bring about a golden era for all the world. Despite initial good intentions, these mages were overcome by a personal lust for power, shattering the world in an orgy of power unleashed while attempting to ascend to godhood. Former continents are now shattered fragments of islands floating in space. One mage of the circle, Rohan, has attempted to undo the damage. He has created the Order of Dawn to reassemble the broken world, and has linked the diverse world fragments through a series of magical stones. These same mages once relied on powerful warriors and magicians to do their bidding. These creatures were given a form of immortality, but linked forever to runes that preserved their essence. Once again, an entity strives for complete power, at the expense of the rest of the world. Awakened from your rest within a rune, you are a Rune Warrior tasked with preventing this disaster.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries in the Review category from March 2004.

Review: February 2004 is the previous archive.

Review: April 2004 is the next archive.

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