REVIEWS, TIPS AND TRENDS ON VIDEO GAMESJae Ha-Kim
GAME OF THE WEEK
Fight Night 2004
EA Sports; Playstation 2; $49.99
What would it have been like if Muhammad Ali had fought Sugar Ray Leonard? Yeah, yeah. I know they're in different weight classes, but wouldn't it have been cool? Thanks to EA Sports' awesome new Fight Night 2004, we can find out for ourselves how these two champions would have fared against each other. We also can take on Evander Holyfield and a slew of other fighters, like Roberto Duran. One of my favorite matches was when I pitted Roberto Duran against, well, Roberto Duran. (The darned computer-controlled Duran won, by the way.)
Though you don't have a fight-club option, you can make your guys box in a dingy gym or in the opulence of something like Caesars Palace.
With a few exceptions, the players' depictions are dead-on. Ali is Ali, right down to his graceful foot movements. Leonard looked less like the handsome boxer head on, though his profile is more realistic. And when the players are hit in the head, the blood streams out at just the right moment.
Then there are the ring girls, whose bodies look like real-life centerfolds. Unfortunately, their stiff mannequin faces don't match the realism of their bodies.
A nice touch is the ability to overcome a knockout. When you're KO'd, the screen shows fuzzy multiple images of a referee. If you're able to use your joysticks to merge those images back into one, you remain in the match. If not, you lose.
The one disappointment is that when the players are knocked out, they all tend to wobble to the mat in a similar, wimpy manner. Not that he was KO'd a whole heck of a lot, but that is not how Holyfield hit the mat. (Rated T for teen).
(Nintendo; GameCube; $49.99) (STAR)(STAR) 1/2
A group of thieves called Team Snagem has developed a way to steal pokemon from their trainers and turn them into shadow pokemon capable of attacking both other pokemon and trainers. Playing as "Hero" -- a reformed former member of Snagem -- you have to recapture the shadow pokemon and purify them.
I breezed through story mode in this game in a few hours without much of a poke-strategy. The graphics -- while rendered in 3-D -- aren't really anything special, either. Of course, the big attraction for fans is the ability to download the pokemon you've collected in "Colosseum" to your "Pokedex" in your GBA Pokemon games. While that's probably enough incentive for fans, it probably won't win over any new gamers. (Rated E for mild fantasy violence) --Misha Davenport
(Atari; PlayStation 2; $29.99) (STAR)(STAR)(STAR)
Ever wonder what Alex Rodriguez, Sammy Sosa and Derek Jeter were like as kids? I'm guessing they weren't quite as adorable as their animated childhood counterparts in the latest of the "Backyard" games. But that doesn't take any of the fun away from this interactive baseball game, where gamers get to choose from 10 pro players. Batters are up in a variety of makeshift 3D fields. You'll hear the roar of a car driving by as young A-Rod hits a homer and scampers across the plate.The cute factor may dissuade some older gamers from giving this one a shot. But if you're embarrassed, get your kid (or kid brother or sister) the game and insist on helping him or her brush up on their skills. You won't regret it. (Rated E for Everyone) --Jae- Ha Kim
1. Pokemon Colosseum Gamecube
2. ESPN Major League Baseball XBox
3. MVP Baseball 2004 PS2
4. Harvest Moon: GameCube
A Wonderful Life
5. All-Star Baseball 2005 PS2
6. NBA Ballers PS2
7. MLB 2005 PS2
8. EA Sports Fight Night 2004 PS2
9. Ninja Gaiden XBox
10. The Suffering XBox
GAME PLATFORM RELEASE DATE
UFC: Sudden Impact PS2 April 19
World Championship PC April 20
Shining Soul II GameBoy Advance April 20
Worms 3D XBox April 20
Judge Dredd: Dredd XBox/PS2 April 20
WHAT'S YOUR GAME?
"I'm blown away by the new James Bond game. It's almost too complicated to play; you have to spend hours and hours to get really into it, but the cool thing about it is that it's a totally multimedia experience. You're just basically watching a movie, and by playing the game, you determine how the movie starts and ends. It's mind-blowing."
--Junkie XL, DJ and record producer
Copyright The Chicago Sun-Times, Inc.
Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning Company. All rights Reserved.