As regular followers/detractors of this column may have lamented/enjoyed, there wasn't one last week. This was down to a combination of factors, some of which were, variously, that I was in Los Angeles, I was very busy writing about other things, and that I am rubbish and should be burnt down and moulded into an Xbox 360 faceplate where I can live out my days spinning through space like those folks from Superman (one of whom had a beard) until someone hits me with a nuclear weapon.
As a result, this week's effort [strong word - Ed] will begin with a quick look at what came out last Friday, and will be twice as insightful with twice as many jokes. Or I might just start talking about ant-people again.
Right, look quickly this way: Boiling Point came out last week. So did Pac-Pix on DS. And the Xbox version of Sid Meier's startling Pirates! Boiling Point is a very buggy but very entertaining openworld style first-person shooter. Channelling Gillen, I will note it's doing the rife stuff, and is full of little stories you'll tell your gaming children.
Pac-Pix starts off with a clever idea (draw Pac-Man to make him come to life and then draw walls to bounce him around) and then adds various layers of cleverness (arrows to shoot down items on the top screen, enemies that have to be eaten in order, etc) until you get completely lost in it. In Japan, Namco gave out special styluses with it that it took me lots of effort to track down. This is not something Namco's doing in Europe to my knowledge, but, much to my utter disgust, it is something that happened at E3. I don't want one if everyone else has one!
Incidentally, I never played Pirates!, but if I did they'd probably find me afterward and cut me up. Gillen played the PC version a while back and was sufficiently impressed to give it a seven, and the game drew plenty of admirers. But really, we all want another Monkey Island from Ron Gilbert, don't we? [Look behind you, a three-headed monkey! - Ed]. Where? Hrm. Pass the grog.
Glancing down this week's new releases, I'm wondering whether merely skimming over last week's was a good idea after all. Alien Hominid is out, which is good news for anybody who missed our "Eurogamer Signature Edition" promotion and fancies picking it up. It's a sideways-scrolling shooter with lovely hand-drawn cartoon visuals. Quite simple at heart, but beautifully realised. You might want to go and read some reviews though, since it's definitely an acquired taste.
Moto GP4 is Sony and Namco's latest motorbikes game, which should not be mistaken for the THQ-published and Climax-made MotoGP series on Xbox and PC, which will roar into its third cycle this September, and is usually very good.
Need For Speed Underground 2 on the Nintendo DS. It's a good thing the touch-screen is resilient, because I've just taken to stabbing it.
Next up, Singles 2: Triple Trouble does not support threesomes, according to publisher Deep Silver, and sex is not the focus at all, despite it being a Sims-style game about deciding who you should be trying to have sex with. Deep Silver (formerly KOCH Media, and, before that, Clutching At Euphemisms) is going to try and sell it based on its amusing script and, well, I was told some other things when they showed it to me at E3, but my voice recording mostly consists of static and I seem to have lost the bit of paper I wrote on. Or perhaps I burnt it when spokesplaything Angelica Bridges didn't show up for my meeting.
All of which leaves me to leave off WWE WrestleMania 21 (which even the Americans hate anyway) and talk about something I do care about: the new Game Boy Advance Fire Emblem. Since this is going to be a bit of a labour of love for me, I've avoided reading any reviews so as not to spoil it before it turns up in the post next week. But I've read a few conclusion paragraphs, hoping to get a feel for its quality.
GameSpy says it's "easily one of the best GBA titles to ever come out", which is either a childish implication of gender-confusion based on its regal stylings or more likely a proclamation of goodity based on "its rich story, colourful characters, and excellent gameplay". IGN is a bit less excited, claiming that it is to Fire Emblem what Advance Wars 2 was to Advance Wars: the same with a new storyline. Kind of how IGN is to GameSpy what... (Just kidding. I like those guys.) Various websites I've never heard of also recommend it. [But can more than 7,000 people in the UK actually buy it this time, eh? - Ed].
I'll be playing it next week, so I'll give you a review that is to those reviews what [snip -Ed] just, just in time for you to find out about it ahead of its European release in, er, November. Or to import it yourself, since it'll be the exact same cartridge with a couple more language options when it turns up here. Nintendo doesn't really like people importing games but, to continue the (much-derided) pattern of ending on a quote: "That's their issue, not my problem." Cheers Reggie.
- PAL Releases
- Alien Hominid (PS2, Xbox)
- Monster Hunter (PS2)
- MotoGP 4 (PS2)
- Need For Speed Underground 2 (DS)
- NHL Eastside Hockey Manager 2005 (PC/Mac)
- Singles 2: Triple Trouble (PC)
- WWE WrestleMania 21 (Xbox)
- Key US Releases
- Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones (GBA)
P.S. Steve from Capcom reminds us: "the PAL version of Monster Hunter was released today, but it's not on your list of new releases". That's because I am rubbish, Steve, but thank you.