| Marc Ecko’s Getting Up
Ready your paint cans: We’ve reached the release of Marc Ecko’s Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure, a sprawling urban action game that advocates the use of graffiti as protest. If nothing else, Getting Up will teach you all about how graffiti artists manage to get themselves up high enough to paint those highway overpass signs.
| Indigo Prophecy
Formerly known as Fahrenheit, Indigo Prophecy is Atari’s attempt to revive the French adventure-game genre. The story is some bizarre yarn about how you totally kill some random dude in a fit of demonic possession, and you’re now trying to figure out why it is that other people are randomly killing the same way you did. The good news: It looks better than most pointless European point-and-click titles.
| S.L.A.I.: Steel Lancer Arena Int’l
Metal scraping against metal, thousands of customization configurations and machinery upgrades—no, it’s not another racer: It’s Konami’s mech battlefest S.L.A.I.: Steel Lancer Arena International. In addition to the single-player campaign, you’ll also be able to take your mech online and battle with up to six friends at a time in locations such as Cairo, New York, and Hong Kong.
| Radiata Stories
From the creators of Star Ocean comes a new RPG, Radiata Stories. As Jack Russell (who’s not a dog), you’ll adventure your way through a medieval world in your dual quest of becoming a knight and (of course) saving the world. A lot of the game looks awesome, but one thing we’re not looking forward to are the game’s timed events, in which you’re arbitrarily stuck waiting around for a character to return to the appointed meeting place. That’s not our idea of fun.
| Genji: Dawn of the Samurai
It may seem like another Dynasty Warriors rip-off, but Genji: Dawn of the Samurai was directed by Yoshiki Okamoto, he of Street Fighter II fame—which is why our expectations are high for this samurai action game.
| Total Overdose
Pretend that Robert Rodriguez (the director of Sin City) made Max Payne, and that should give you have a good idea of what Total Overdose, a zany, over-the-top third-person shooter, is looking like.
| One Piece Grand Battle
Do you love anime about lovable, wacky pirates? Then buy One Piece Grand Battle! What better way to portray the awesome fighting abilities of pirates than with a good ol’ fighting game? Especially when this new installment is filled with even more characters and attacks than the original game had.
| Commandos: Strike Force
The WWII-based Commandos series has built a powerful rep among real-time strategy aficionados with its deep tactical gameplay, innovatively combining stealth, action, and puzzle solving. So it seems counterproductive to change to first-person action, which is the case with Commandos: Strike Force. Hey, the Westwood guys made this sort of shift with Command & Conquer: Renegade, and look where that got them. Right: gone.
| Spartan: Total Warrior
Creative Assembly, known heretofore as a developer of straight-up PC strategy games, is breaking out of the mold with Spartan: Total Warrior for Sega. You’d not be wrong to liken the game to a Greco-Roman Dynasty Warriors, only you should expect more strategy, more cinematic verve, and even more moving bodies onscreen.
| DDR Extreme 2
The latest iteration in the series that has become gaming nerds’ favorite workout, DDR Extreme 2 is returning with all the standard modes and the EyeToy support introduced last year. What’s new this time around? Online support, which will be appearing for the first time on PS2.
| EyeToy: Kinetic
If you have a hard time keeping the beat but still want to get fit with your PS2, then EyeToy: Kinetic might be more your speed. Use it to build your own custom fitness workout; the game can then help you track your progress over the span of 12 weeks.
| Gretzky NHL 2006
Since Wayne Gretzky has been retired for quite some time, you might not think that he would be a factor in Sony’s hockey game. You’d be wrong, though—the company has to somehow justify still calling it Gretzky NHL! The development team has added an arcade-style Wayne vs. Wayne mode in which you can activate Wayne Gretzky for a brief period of time for 6-on-5 action. The new team chemistry feature also rewards good teamwork.
| NHL 2K6
Even though the NHL has been on hiatus, you can still enjoy the on-ice action with NHL 2K6, which features an all-new on-the-fly coaching mode that lets you make split-second decisions for your team depending on the situation. As always with the 2K games, you can also expect a robust franchise mode and full-season online play.
| Backyard Football
Making its first appearance on the PS2, Backyard Football offers a cartoon version of football, complete with goofy power-ups. It’s not in the same league as Madden, but Atari’s long-running series is usually a safe bet for younger fans.
| SnoCross 2: Featuring Blair Morgan
Many of you out there may not even have been aware that there was an original SnoCross. Well, there was, and sequel SnoCross 2: Featuring Blair Morgan (which, uh, features “celebrity” snow-mobiler Blair Morgan) brings players even more trick-based snowmobile action.
| Cabela’s Outdoor Adventure
What better way to spend an afternoon than with guns and deer urine? If you can’t answer that question, then Cabela’s Outdoor Adventure is probably just the game for you.
| Romancing SaGa
Square Enix proves that there is an audience for everything, as there is yet another installment of the SaGa franchise, Romancing SaGa. This latest entry will be more like a normal game. Characters can move! There will be a somewhat normal battle system! Maybe Akitoshi Kawazu did, indeed, learn from the mistake that is Unlimited SaGa.
| Call of Cthulhu
Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth has been in development for a long time (this last May marked its third consecutive E3 appearance), but this FPS based on the written work of sci-fi author HP Lovecraft might offer some surprises.
| World Poker Tour 2K6
For those who are too afraid (or too smart) to put their actual money on the line, 2K Sports’ officially licensed World Poker Tour 2K6 will allow players to bet fake coin against digitally rendered versions of real-life poker professionals.
| Tiger Woods PGA Tour 06
Messing with a tried-and-true formula can be disastrous (anyone remember New Coke?), which is why you won’t be seeing any huge changes to Tiger Woods PGA Tour 06. However, one modification you will see is a new putting system.
| Top Spin
2K Sports’ popular Xbox tennis game Top Spin will make its way to PS2. Featuring 16 professionals (including Venus Williams, Maria Sharapova, and Roger Federer), the PS2 version will also offer EyeToy support to help you create a digital avatar to take online and pit against other players.
| Crash Tag Team Racing
Remember Crash Team Racing? Well, you’ll get a good idea of the upcoming Crash Tag Team Racing if you imagine similar mechanics with the added ability to ram vehicles together to form more powerful vehicles. Fantastic.
| Urban Reign
Namco sure likes its fighting. The company got members of the Soul Calibur and Tekken teams to help make Urban Reign, a new 3D brawler complete with four-player action and lots of fisticuffs.
| Frogger: Ancient Shadow
No, you’re not just crossing the street in the latest entry in Konami’s long-lived franchise, Frogger: Ancient Shadow—there’s also platform jumping and other fairly standard stuff, like collecting.
| Ty the Tasmanian Tiger: Night of the Quinkan
The tiger from Down Under is back; this time Ty’s trusty boomerangs are aimed at the quinkans, mythical aboriginal creatures that have invaded his home. In addition to the kart racing of past games, you’ll also be able to soar through some missions in flying vehicles called bunyips.
| Scooby-Doo! Unmasked
As with any episode of the cartoon it’s based on, you can accurately guess what Scooby-Doo! Unmasked will feature even before it begins. In this case, you’ll get more platforming action set in a silly mystery plot complete with the requisite meddling kids.
| Midway Arcade Treasures 3
Like San Francisco Rush 2049 and Hydro Thunder, among other arcade driving games? Then look no further than Midway Arcade Treasures 3, which also offers crazy games such as Rush The Rock: Alcatraz Edition, Off Road Thunder, STUN Runner, and Badlands—all on one disc!
| Capcom Classics Collection
Not wanting to let Midway corner the market on game rereleases, Capcom is releasing its own compilation, Capcom Classics Collection. If you miss the days in the arcade with Commando, Bionic Commando, Ghosts ‘n Goblins, Final Fight, and 1942, plus 17 others, start saving your quarters.
| Burnout Legends
While it’s a bit maddening that most of the good PSP games so far have been car-based, that doesn’t make us any less excited about Burnout Legends, especially when we think of all the modes (crash, road rage, pursuit, and more) the team has managed to pack onto a single UMD. Now we’re just crossing our fingers that the load times don’t crash our PSPs’ batteries....
Frantix is a puzzle game built around the simple premise of getting from point A to point B. Of course, it’s never a smooth journey, and you’ll be dodging monsters, avoiding pits, and plotting your way through each level. The frantic part comes in as you race to beat the clock.
While GripShift does put you behind the driver’s wheel, it’s as much a puzzle game as it is a driving game. Though one of the challenges is hitting the finish line, part of the struggle is just staying on the tracks, which are suspended in midair. There’s a collection element too, as you’ll be trying to gather pickups scattered throughout the courses.
| Tiger Woods PGA Tour 06
It’s only been a few months since Tiger 2005 came out, which means Tiger Woods PGA Tour 06 doesn’t look a whole lot different than its predecessor. One tweak we hope the team concentrates on, though, is working on optimizing the PSP even more to shorten up those loading times.
| World Poker Tour 2K6
Shuffle up and deal! 2K Sports is keeping details on World Poker Tour 2K6 fairly quiet, but the idea of getting our hold ’em fix on the go pushes all the right buttons. Expect an infinite variety of games with the rules editor, online play, and hand-by-hand commentary.
| Frogger: Helmet Chaos
The little green frog that could may not seem all that relevant these days, but that’s not stopping Konami from publishing yet another game based on Frogger. Helmet Chaos features 3D environments mixed with typical 2D Frogger-style gameplay; the arcade original is an unlockable bonus.
| Namco Museum Battle Collection
Classic collections aren’t anything new, but classic collections with support for Wi-Fi head-to-head and co-op modes are. Namco Museum Battle Collection features dozens of arcade classics, including Pac-Man, Dig Dug, Xevious, and Galaga. Some of them have even been slightly upgraded to look slicker on your PSP.
Copyright © 2005 Ziff Davis Media Inc. All Rights Reserved. Originally appearing in Official U.S. PlayStation Magazine.