Archive for March, 2008

New video game releases week 14, 2008


Get Riddle of the Tomb for PCHere’s a list of this weeks U.S. game releases. On the downloadable games front we’ve got today’s Wonder Boy and Cruis’n USA on the Wii Virtual Console download service, and on Wednesday there’s Mr. Driller on Xbox Live Arcade. No word yet on any PlayStation Store games (updates Thursday).

Cruis’n USA – $10 (Wii Virtual Console)
Great War Nations: The Spartans (PC)
Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis (PS2)
Overclocked (PC)
Panzer Command: Kharkov (PC)
Riddle of the Tomb (PC)
The Abbey (PC)
Wonder Boy – $5 (Wii Virtual Console)

Diner Dash: Hometown Hero (PC)
Double Sequence: The Q-Virus Invasion (DS)
George of the Jungle and the Search for the Secret (DS)

Mr. Driller – $10 (Xbox Live Arcade)

Women’s Murder Club (PC)

James Cameron’s Dark Angel game review (PS2)


James Cameron's Dark Angel game for PS2James Cameron’s Dark Angel is a 3rd person action adventure game that promises to deliver intense hand-to-hand fighting and high-octane action reflective of the hit TV series. Set against the backdrop of a post-apocalyptic Seattle, players take on the role of Max, a genetically enhanced super-soldier with attitude to spare, on a quest to reclaim her past by finding her sister and fellow genetically altered escapees.

System: PS2, Xbox
Genre: Action, Adventure, Hack and Slash
Release dates: November 20th 2002 (USA), February 21st 2003 (EUR)
Players: 1
Save: 170KB minimum
Developer: Radical Entertainment
Publisher: Sierra Studios / Fox Interactive
Origin: Canada
Rating: T for Teen due to Violence

Dark Angel game screenshot

In the year 2009, the United States was hit by the Pulse — an electromagnetic shockwave unleashed by terrorists. Ten years later and still suffering from the aftermath of the Pulse, the U.S. has become a third world nation. Welcome to Seattle, this is Max’s world, a city that epitomizes what it would be like to live in the wild West.

Max is a genetically enhanced human prototype created to be the perfect soldier. As a child, after witnessing one of her siblings being shot, Max and 11 others escaped from Manticore — an organization devoted to the development of the perfect soldier at any cost. After escaping, they separated in order to avoid capture. Since then, Max has made a life for herself on the cutthroat streets of 21st-century Seattle; her obsession with locating her siblings has been her main driving force.

Max has spent the majority of her free life in search of her humanity — a way in which she can identify herself as something other than a lethal fighting machine. Her genetically altered physiology has always provided her with a combat advantage, but it continues to alienate her from the people around her. Never allowing herself to be vulnerable, Max believes that by finding her family she can overcome the battle that rages inside her. The soldier she was trained to be has always confronted the woman she wishes to become.

Max teamed up with Logan Cale, an idealistic underground cyber-journalist, to expose the corruption that is rampant in Seattle. In exchange Logan has assisted Max in locating her siblings and played a key role in helping Max destroy Manticore. In the days following the destruction of Manticore, a new and more aggressive threat has arisen. It seems that Manticore was not the only organization aggressively researching and developing genetically engineered soldiers. The – I – Corporation has emerged from the ashes of Manticore as an equally ruthless threat to humanity. They have identified Max as an excellent genetic sample and have made Max’s capture their utmost priority. The – I – Corporation also holds vital information that would further uncover secrets from Max’s past.

Logan has located several locations that have an unusually high amount of sector police and military presence. There were scattered reports of strange things happening in those sectors before they were locked down. The only relevant information leads to downtown Seattle and a facility known as Tri-Tech. Post-Pulse Seattle is a dilapidated city, controlled by the heavy hand of the sector police. Martial law type restrictions have been imposed to keep the streets “safe”. The streets are crawling with sector police on the lookout for Max, but she must safely navigate her way through the streets and alleyways of Seattle. Luckily Max has her streetwise instincts and fearless hand-to-hand combat skills that are crucial to her survival.

Watch the Dark Angel game launch trailer.

They designed her to be the perfect soldier…
a human weapon… then she escaped.
In a future not far from now… in a broken world…
she is haunted by her past.
She cannot run, she must fight… to discover her destiny.

What are Dark Angel’s main features?

* Original story progressed beyond the television series and features voiceovers by Jessica Alba and Michael Weatherly.

* RAGE System: Unleash over 50 fighting moves by unlocking the soldier within Max.

* Stealth Mode: Utilize unique evasive moves, plus enhanced vision.

* Interact with familiar friends and foes from the series, plus many new characters and environments.

* Exclusive Dark Angel bonus material, including Jessica Alba photo gallery, cast interviews and trailers.

This video shows some Dark Angel gameplay.

As a conclusion let’s rate this game on its fun-basis.

Dark Angel Season Two on DVDDark Angel Season One on DVDThe Dark Angel game is based on the Dark Angel television show that starred the sultry Jessica Alba. Although the game was announced shortly after the game debuted at E3 2002 that the television show was canceled. Those looking for a continued Dark Angel saga can look to the game’s original storyline that has the genetically enhanced soldier Max trying to find her sister and restore her past by following others like her. There are side stories of lost siblings, destroying Manticore, and helping Logan Cale overturn corrupt government movements. And that’s the main attraction of this game. Actors Jessica Alba and Michael Weatherly, who played Max and Logan on the show, both contributed voice work for the Dark Angel game, and it includes their likenesses.

James Cameron’s Dark Angel is a third-person action adventure game with 25 single player missions that are spread out over six different environments, where players can use more than 50 hand-to-hand combat and evasive moves. Sadly the gameplay itself is uninspired and simple to control making fights a bore, not to mention the stupid enemy A.I. that acts at random. The camera angels won’t fully tilt outwards and seems to hate walls, so you’ll end up having to replay sections lots of times. This is especially bad when the stealth missions fail because you couldn’t see if an enemy spotted you from afar, because then you’re given a limited amount of time to beat all the enemies before reinforcements make you go “game over”.

Why does the game come off as rushed? You see, the shows second and final season ended on May 3rd, 2002. So when the series got a video game by the end of 2002 it really was all fans would ever be seeing from it, aside from books, to add to the Dark Angel storyline. Sadly the game’s production was scaled back considerably following the cancellation of the show. As a result the boring gameplay and samey level designs aren’t fine-tuned and you’ll need a lot of patience to play through the entire game by replaying sections over and over till you succeed. But honestly — as a big fan of the TV show myself — I have to admit that at least it’s something new for the fans to enjoy. If you’re a fan of the show too, don’t mind the low score and consider the game a must-have.

Graphics – 6.0
Most of the graphic detail and better animations were put into Max’s character model, most of the generic enemies look alike, although the Y5 class soldiers you encounter for bigger fights do spice up the look of your adversaries. Environments throughout the game mostly look like similar back alleys and are laid out in a generic manner. No doubt the lack of visual detail and design variety is the direct result of a rushed development cycle. The cutscenes are passable though.

Audio – 7.0
The voice acting from Max and Logan is done by the same actors who do the TV show, it’s very true to the series, so expect snappy one-liners. The sound effects are your standard fare. At least the soundtrack borrows from the show’s fast-paced techno beats when the action takes place, so the music is good.

Ingenuity – 5.0
After an extensive tutorial level, the game starts off with a series of levels that revolve around Max beating up an endless array of villains, usually over ten at a time. Which is the first big annoyance, the combat is repetitive and thus no challenge. The game’s villains are generally representative of either policemen or Manticore operatives, and it is testament to the game’s overall poor design that one is never quite sure which is which. Until the stealth sections start, you’ll find most of the game consists of an endless stream of violent confrontations that revolve around button-mashing Max’s melee techniques. The majority of enemies are easily dispatched with repetitive kick, punch & grapple combination moves that are incredibly easy to activate. There’s also a special mode: When Max is in Rage Mode, her attacks will cause more damage and new attack combinations will be unlocked. Max can enter into Rage Mode only if the Rage Meter is full. To activate it, hold the punch or kick button down. Once activated the Rage Meter will continue to deplete as long as Max is engaged in a fight or until the meter runs out. The speed at which Max is able to accrue rage points will be dependent on the number of fights she wins as well as by the number of combos performed.

Dark Angel game Max stealth screenshot
Then the second big annoyance begins when the stealth sections start about three or four levels into the game. Max must dispatch all visible enemies within a certain time period or suffer automatic capture. This results in rehashed levels where you’re often forced to repeat sections when an enemy disappears into an in-obvious element of the level and thus cannot be found within the specified time limit. Within the game you must be able to find Max’s family in a certain amount of time. Basically it’s annoying to progress in the story when you get stuck/fail every so often. So remember to save multiple savegames every once in a while, so you can go back to try and save ammo and such to beat security forces you got stuck on further on when button mashing didn’t help.

Replay Value – 5.0
There’s not much replay value once you’ve played through in under 6 hours. For Dark Angel fans looking for a new storyline that adds to the show, this game is still a great addition to their DVD set collection.

If you want to know the full Dark Angel story, I suggest you read the following Dark Angel books: Before The Dawn prequel, The Eyes Only Dossier, the Skin Game, and After The Dark. These last two books tie up the loose ends like the siege, the anti-Logan virus, the breeder cult, Ames White, and Max’s purpose.

Emergency Heroes announced for Wii in May


SAN FRANCISCO – March 31, 2008 – Today Ubisoft, one of the world’s largest video game publishers, announced that it will publish Emergency Heroes exclusively on the Wii(TM) home video game system from Nintendo. Developed by Ubisoft Reflections and Ubisoft Barcelona, Emergency Heroes is an open world rescue driving game. Young rescuers can jump into 16 different variations of next-generation rescue vehicles as a police officer, firefighter or EMT and navigate through the sprawling streets of San Alto, keeping citizens safe along the way. Emergency Heroes will be available in North America in May 2008.

Key Features:

• Drive the next generation of rescue vehicles. Pilot and command numerous hi-tech rescue vehicles designed specifically for ultra-high-risk, high-speed navigation. Choose between police, fire and EMT vehicles.

• Explore and protect the entire city. As an emergency hero, your mission is to protect the peaceful city of San Alto. Drive through stunning free-roaming open environments, rescuing the city from imminent danger at every turn.

• Two Player Co-Op. Challenge your friends or combine forces to form the ultimate rescue hero team to protect your city.

• Fun for the whole family. Making full use of the Wii Remote(TM), everyone in the family can enjoy being an emergency hero.

• Fast-action gameplay. Take advantage of Hero Mode and play like you mean it – the faster you drive, the faster you rise and gain access to powers of invincibility.

No online, eh?

Published on March 31st, 2008 under

Inside the DualShock 3


PCWorld takes a look inside the new DualShock 3, along with the DualShock 2, and the SIXAXIS controllers.

The PS2 DualShock 2:


The original SIXAXIS for the PS3:


The PS3 DualShock 3, which is out in Japan and is officially coming to North America in April:


Published on March 31st, 2008 under

New Blu-ray movies for the week 3.31.08


Seems like the Blu-ray floodgates are starting to open. Plenty to pick from this week and a lot more coming in the next couple months. Anything for you this week?


* Alvin and the Chipmunks (20th Century Fox)
* Unbreakable (Disney / Buena Vista)
* Hidalgo (Disney / Buena Vista)
* Coyote Ugly: The Double-Shot Edition (Disney / Buena Vista)
* Justin Timberlake: FutureSex/LoveShow Live from Madison Square Garden (Sony Music)
* Category 7: The End of the World (Echo Bridge Entertainment)
* The Curse of King Tut’s Tomb (Echo Bridge Entertainment)
* Beer League (Echo Bridge Entertainment)
* 10.5: Apocalypse (Echo Bridge Entertainment)
* The Last Sentinel (Echo Bridge Entertainment)
* Blackbeard (Echo Bridge Entertainment)
* Behind the Yellow Line (Celestial Pictures)

Published on March 31st, 2008 under ,

Hotel offers Wii rentals, training for — wait, how much?!


225_image_1093997674_2488.jpgGot $120 handy? That’s how much an hour of Wii Sports “training” costs you at the fitness center inside Manhattan’s Le Parker Meridien. The move is part of a new deal with Nintendo that will see customized Wii consoles provided to smarmy hotel chains. In the case of Manhattan’s Le Parker Meridien (great towels, btw), the hotel has a customized Nintendo Wii console with preloaded games. Guests and non-guests use the console to work out with a trainer on Wii tennis or boxing projected on a racquetball court wall. All that is yours for only $120 an hour. Feeling antisocial? No worries–you rent the console to play solo for just $50 an hour. Sound like a deal? Then you’re an idiot. Bring your own to play for free and stay at Infendo-preferred Best Westerns and other cheap-o venues.

Published on March 31st, 2008 under , ,

Online PSN Store Revamp Underway


[Update: Tosh sent me these rumoured screenshots of new store.]


SCEE says that the PLAYSTATION®Store is going to go through a revamp very soon, and that there will be no new content for two weeks! Yay and boo at the same time I guess.

Salient part of the press release:

Customer feedback drives new design, interface and navigation
Updates on hold for two weeks; new-look Store launches mid-April

This April, PLAYSTATION®Store, the online content store on PLAYSTATION®Network, is getting a whole new look and feel – and it’s in response to feedback from the millions of PSN registrants in the PAL region.

The revamp comes in response to a survey last year which showed that many PLAYSTATION Store users wanted a better interface and easier navigation. The new design will deliver a hugely improved navigation system, much greater scope for categorisation and a dynamic new user interface.

Content will be suspended for two weeks while the improvements are carried out but users can look forward to a special update in mid-April.

There will be no weekly content updates between now and the re-launch, although users can still download content from the back catalogue, such as Warhawk™ and Gran Turismo™ 5 Prologue.

The PLAYSTATION Store revamp will not affect PLAYSTATION Network accounts or the virtual wallet system.


PLAYSTATION®Store to undergo April revamp

Published on March 31st, 2008 under

Excitebike Bracelet races around your wrist


Excitebike Bracelet

Pretty sharp. $15 and they can race around your wrist all day long. And remember, tapping A makes him get back on faster.

Published on March 31st, 2008 under , ,

What’s your favorite game-specific forum?


1112028_wag_555s_dirty_mone.jpgThe following is a paid review: offered filthy lucre to the Infendo overlords in exchange for a name drop, link love, and review of their Zelda forum. This is a first for Infendo; consider it a pilot for now, provided there’s no reader or internal backlash. We welcome your feedback on this advertorial in the comments.

First, a quick rundown of what Zelda Gamers appears to be: A clean-looking Zelda forum that obviously ganked its aesthetic from proper, including the background image. The site currently boasts 3,472 members (hopefully most are humans, not Daft Punk robots) and doesn’t have any running ads at the moment, unlike our ugly (but smart!) forums. In addition to general discussion and Zelda specific message boards, a video game section is also present. Zelda Gamers is currently the second most popular Zelda message board, according to Google.

On that note, I thought I’d ask: What’s your favorite game-specific website, if any? I currently don’t affiliate with any franchise-specific community, opting instead for the much larger scope but focused discussion on sites like Infendo, GamePro, Crispy Gamer, Kotaku, and Evil Avatar. I’ve come across several game-specific forums during my time on the internets but have never joined. You?

Published on March 31st, 2008 under ,

On Wii Virtual Console today: Sega Master System debuts with Wonder Boy, plus Cruis’n USA


Get a Wii Points Card at AmazonToday Nintendo adds new classic games to the popular Wii Shop Channel. The games go live at 9AM Pacific time. Wii owners with a high-speed Internet connection can redeem Wii Points to download the games. Wii Points can be purchased in the Wii Shop Channel or at stores like Amazon (see to your right).

It’s only fair that after the Commodore 64 debuted on the European Wii Virtual Console last Friday, that today America sees the debut of the Sega Master System emulating Wonder Boy on the Wii. We’ve included videos of each of today’s games for nostalgia’s sake or so you can see if it’s for you.

This week’s new games are:

Wonder Boy on Sega Master SystemWonder Boy (Sega Master System, 1-2 players, Rated E for Everyone — Comic Mischief, 500 Wii Points = $5): As Tom-Tom the Wonder Boy, it’s up to you to rescue your girlfriend Tanya from the vile clutches of the monster that has kidnapped her. To do so, you must navigate a series of worlds in a race against time to reach your goal. Along the way, you’ll battle foes and collect fruit that will add to the amount of time you have to complete your mission. You can also receive helpful power-ups from various eggs, but make sure to avoid the bad eggs and poisonous mushrooms that sap your precious vitality. Find the magic doll in each level to open up hidden areas, and make it to the very end of your journey to rescue your one true love.

Cruis'n USA on N64Cruis’n USA (Nintendo 64, 1-2 players, Rated E for Everyone, 1,000 Wii Points = $10): Ever felt like driving to the Golden Gate Bridge, Mount Rushmore and the White House in one day? Well then, gear up to put your racing skills to the test in a frantic trip across the United States, following a route that you won’t find on any map. Whether it’s the rolling hills of Appalachia, the flowing cornfields of Iowa or the crowded tunnels below Chicago, you’ll find yourself too focused on the intense racing action to worry about the scenery. Get started by picking from a garage full of cars to find the one that best suits your style—if you’re good enough, you’ll even find a few hidden ones to round out your selection. Then choose one of three different playing perspectives and get ready to hang on tight. With five difficulty levels, the ability to remove traffic or other racers, and two- player simultaneous racing, it’s enough to make you forget all about finding that next rest stop. Just watch out for the cows, OK?

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