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Enjoying video games galore

If you look at the top of most kids' wish lists, you are bound to find new titles for their gaming systems. We looked at a bevy of the latest releases and they're sure to please this holiday season.

Based on the immensely popular Nickelodeon television programs, THQ, Inc., Calabasas Hills, Calif., adds The Fairly OddParents: Shadow Showdown ($39) and The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron Boy Genius: Attack of the Twonkies ($29) to its large video game library.

The plot of Shadow Showdown sounds like a kid's worst nightmare--there's no TV reception! As Timmy and his Fairy Godparents set out to solve this problem, they unveil that the dastardly Shadow's ultimate plan is to take over the world. This game, designed for one to two players, features six levels based on episodes of the TV show and 18 new wish inventions such as Suit Spray, Repair-o-Tron, and Pogo Stick of Justice. Players will find several unlockable mini-clips from the show as they race to unmask the evil-doer.

In Attack of the Twonkies, only Jimmy Neutron can save Retroville from the terror when ferocious alien Twonkies take over. There are secret gizmos hidden in each of 15 levels of this one-player game which give Jimmy Neutron enhanced power-ups as participants find gadgets to create all-new inventions and capture the Twonkies.

If your children prefer movies to television, we're sure they've seen "Shrek 2" and "Shark Tale." Activision, Inc., Los Angeles, Calif., has created new titles based on these DreamWorks' productions.

In Shrek 2 ($29.99), players can relive the adventure of the film by playing their favorite characters--Shrek, Donkey, Princess Fiona, and Puss-in-boots. Additional characters, original to the game, become available as the action progresses. By mastering the unique skills of each, players can switch among them to solve puzzles, fight monsters, and complete the adventure. For one to four players, the game covers 11 levels that include film locales and entirely new locations such as Dwarven Mines and an enchanted forest.

In DreamWorks' Shark Tale ($49.99), players assume the role of Oscar, a fast-talking little fish working his way up the food chain. He becomes an unlikely hero in his search for an easy path to fame and fortune. There are more than 25 missions set in locations from the film and new environments exclusive to this one-player game.

Sega of America, San Francisco, Calif., jumps in with another product ideal for young players--Amazing Island--and its name says it all. An exclusive to Nintendo GameCube, the setting is a lush island where the Maboo tribe has been captured by the "Black Evil" and players must rescue them and win back their land. By creating monsters and entering them in competitions, participants of this one- to two-player adventure can win enhancements for their creation with each victory. As Amazing Island ($39.95) is Game Boy Advance compatible, children can trade their monsters and challenge their peers in role-playing-game-style banes.

And speaking of Game Boy Advance, Sega has launched Astro Boy: Omega Factor ($29.99) for that platform. Created in 1952, Osamu Tezuka's flagship character, Astro Boy--a robotic superhero with a human mind--is one of the most recognized characters in Japanese animation and was the first Japanese animated television show aired in America. In Omega Factor, players embark on an adventure to reunite the robotic and human races in battles across 10 areas created to replicate environments from the show.

All of the above games are rated E for Everyone and are available at toy stores and mass merchandisers. With the exception of Astro Boy, the prices listed are for the GameCube versions.

If you're looking for a game for mature audiences, check out Fable from Microsoft Game Studios, Redmond, Wash. This is a game about morality and choices: Will the user choose good or evil, or something in between? In this role-playing adventure game, participants create a life story from childhood to death, in which every action--whether choosing the path of righteousness or dedicating the life to evil--determines the player's skills, appearance, and reputation. The characters physically transform as a direct reflection of their actions and decisions.

Fable, a one-player game that is not for the fainthearted, is exclusive to XBox and retails for $49.99. Be aware, however, that this game is rated M for Mature (17+) audiences and contains blood, strong language, violence, and sexual themes.

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COPYRIGHT 2004 Society for the Advancement of Education
COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group





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