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TRENDS, TIPS AND REVIEWS ON VIDEO GAMES

Misha Davenport

GAME OF THE WEEK: KARAOKE REVOLUTION

Konami; PlayStation 2; $70 game and microphone headset bundle, $40 game only (requires headset) (STAR)(STAR)(STAR)(STAR)

Finally, you don't have to go to a crowded, smoke-filled bar to make a fool of yourself. Though you'll probably still need copious amounts of "liquid courage" to get up and sing.

Sing along in traditional karaoke mode as words move across the screen, or hit showtime mode and match your vocal abilities to the recorded track. Just take it from me, don't even think of crooning REM's tongue-twisting "It's the End of the World As We Know It" or Barenaked Ladies' "One Week" --you'll only hurt yourself. The headset microphone doesn't amplify the voice much -- a good thing for the tone-deaf. A wider variety of music would have been nice (it's pretty much all pop, no country or show tunes). Still, there's no better party game for the holidays, so sing, sing a song. (Rated E for everyone)

--Misha Davenport

Top Spin

(Microsoft; Xbox; $49.99) (BULLET)(BULLET)(BULLET)

Looking for the best tennis game out there and the best sports game exclusive to the Xbox? Look no further, my friend. An indepth career mode takes you from courts at the parks and rec to the nets of Wimbledon. Simplified controls make the game easy to pick up -- even for novice gamers like my mom. A lack of top players like a Williams or a Roddick and long load times are the only thing keeping this game from set and match. (Rated: E for everyone)

--Misha Davenport

Mario Kart: Double Dash!!

(Nintendo; GameCube; $49.99) (BULLET)(BULLET)

Mario -- Nintendo's full-time mascot and video game icon -- surely has put a lot of living into his 22 years. It's the only way I can rationalize why everyone's favorite plumber looks so tired and old in his latest game. Sure, graphics have come a long way since when he first took to kart racing, but little else has changed. It's still a fun game -- just not innovative. It's as if Nintendo -- the House of Ideas -- is fresh out of them. (Rated: E for everyone)

--Misha Davenport

CHICAGO'S TOP 10

The hottest new games sold in Chicago on amazon.com last week:

TITLE PLATFORM

1. Mario Kart: Double Dash!! GC

2. Mario Party 5 GC

3. Super Mario Advance 4 GBA

4. Medal of Honor: Rising Sun PS2

5. Madden NFL 2004 PS2

6. Need for Speed Underground PS2

7. Tony Hawk's Underground PS2

8. Yu-Gi-Oh! The Sacred Cards GBA

9. Grand Theft Auto Double Pack Xbox

10. Jak II PS2

UPCOMING RELEASES GAME PLATFORM RELEASE DATE

Beyond Good & Evil GC and Xbox Dec. 2

Culdcept PS2 Dec. 2

Deus Ex: Invisible War Xbox Dec. 2

Dragonball Z: Budokai 2 PS2 Dec. 2

Pac-Man Vs. GC Dec. 2

HINTS, TIPS AND CHEATS

Having trouble as Aragorn on the Paths of the Dead in EA's "Lord of the Rings: Return of the King"? Pause the game, hold the PS2's shoulder buttons down and the following: Up, Square, Triangle X and you boost your experience points by 1,000.

Copyright The Chicago Sun-Times, Inc.
Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning Company. All rights Reserved.





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