Easter: a time of eggs, relatives, Jesus and, most importantly, the four-day weekend. Four whole days. With that much time we could paint several fences, tile the bathroom, reorganise our entire CD collection in seven different ways, write an abridged version of the last Potter book and still find time to wash the dog. However, in reality all we'll do is sit around on a beanbag eating chocolate and playing videogames, and if you're honest that's probably what you have in mind too.
But while some might say it's a shame that the games industry hasn't risen to the occasion and tried to fill this unusual leisure void, we once again find ourselves leaning back, furrowing our brows and crossing our legs pensively, and pointing out that a couple of dull weeks is pretty much what we all needed to break up the pace of the season, save our wallets some grief, and catch up on all the treats of yester-month. How many of the games you bought recently have you completed?
Life of cryin'
And unless you're a fleet-footed GameCube owner with the power to retrieve a copy of the new multiplayer Wario Ware title from the States, or a Game Boy Advance owner (for all of whom Metroid: Zero Mission is surely a default must-buy), that's really what we're up against this week. The flow of new releases has been stemmed, almost as though someone rolled a giant boulder across their path, or nailed them all down, or [fired everybody responsible? -Ed].
Highlights, if you can call them that, consist of Acclaim's Alias title (PS2/Xbox), which perhaps surprisingly has been on the end of a warm critical reception from most quarters, Digital Jesters' Desert Rats vs Afrika Korps (PC), the long overdue (and safely ignored) Xbox conversion of Take-Two's Mafia, and the 'starts off good then rapidly becomes frustrating and rubbish' Rise To Honour (PS2), which distinguishes itself only in that Sony had the sense to change it from "Honor" to "Honour" in localisation.
Otherwise there's very little to shout about, with the possible exception of Singles - Flirt Up Your Life (PC), Deep Silver's Sims-alike relationship title that aims to "do sex" without becoming obscene or gratuitous. The game seems to manage it without too much difficulty from what we've seen of it, although the sight of fluffy handcuffs and bondage tape in our press pack kind of sets it back a little in its attempts to be taken seriously...
The Passion of The Diced
Across the pond it's much the same story. Apart from the aforementioned Wario Ware multiplayer title (which has been reviewing relatively well, although failing to scale the heights of its dizzyingly fantastic handheld progenitor), the only other new release of note is Fight Night 2004 (PS2/Xbox) from EA, which is due out in Europe on April 30th. Surprisingly enough, it's actually been reviewing very well, although you'll have to wait a couple of weeks to hear what we think about it.
Nevertheless, the news that Fight Night is good is unlikely to prove useful as you saunter around town in search of some new games to battle for control of your monetary resources. So, with this in mind, your ever-helpful correspondent has taken a look back, and will now attempt to cram some of his favourite titles of the past month into the space of one paragraph. If you don't own any of the following games, and you're not buying Metroid: Zero Mission this week, then you can't really go wrong buy picking up one of these beauties:
Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow (Xbox/PC) - familiar and yet unfamiliar, it's a nice blend of comfortable old single-player and intriguing new multiplayer. Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes (Cube) - slightly expanded version of a classic, which remains a classic; otherwise known as the best pair of rose-tinted spectacles an MGS fan can buy. Unreal Tournament 2004, Far Cry and Battlefield Vietnam (all PC) - excellent first person shooters all, and each with more than enough to do online. Forbidden Siren (PS2) - an unusual and frustrating but nevertheless enchanting survival horror title. Deus Ex: Invisible War (PC/Xbox) - a game more about what you don't do than what you do do. And Puyo Pop Fever (PS2/Xbox/Cube) - frantic multiplayer puzzling that ought to carry a warning.
Phew. And with that, we're off to enjoy a weekend of solid, unadulterated gaming, interrupted only by the sound of gnashing teeth as the mighty reds of Anfield journey south to seek fame and fortune in the once-impenetrable fortress that is Highbury. (Football, chaps.) By the next time you hear from us, it'll be ancient Eastery. Thank you and goodnight.
- PAL Releases
- Alias (PS2, Xbox)
- Conan (PS2, Xbox, Cube, PC)
- Desert Rats vs Afrika Korps (PC)
- Knightshift (PC)
- Mafia (Xbox)
- Metroid: Zero Mission (GBA)
- Rise To Honour (PS2)
- Singles - Flirt Up Your Life (PC)
- World Championship Rugby (PS2, Xbox, PC)
- Key US Releases
- Fight Night 2004 (PS2, Xbox)
- Wario Ware Inc.: Mega Party Game$ (Cube)