Scurge: Hive

Scurge: Hive

Scurge: Hive

Screen digest.

Remember when the DS was first announced? And none of us could figure out what good, exactly, a second screen on a handheld console was supposed to do? 'I hope it's not just used as a map screen all the time,' went our derisory cry, accompanied by much tutting and shaking of heads, because, well, we couldn't think of anything better ourselves. It seemed so obvious, so pointless.

Two years down the line and, inevitably, many more imaginative uses for the twin screens have surfaced; and, just as inevitably, dozens upon dozens of games have reached our hands, especially those with no use for touchscreen control, apologetically bearing nothing more than a map on the secondary display. But our moans and claims of creative bankruptcy have been notable by their absence. Why? Because map screens are great. Think how much more painless retreading Resident Evil's corridors was with a map you could glance at any time without pausing play. Think how the tight overhead view, with item-tracking, revolutionised multiplayer Mario Kart.

A map screen is basically all that the DS version of Scurge: Hive offers over its GBA counterpart. Well, that's fine by us. Especially since this tidy little action game is basically an isometric reworking of Metroid, and thus involves plenty of backtracking and criss-crossing through the labyrinthine, gloop-smeared gangways of some disused space factory or other, in pursuit of the next power-up which will unlock that mysterious door that you saw- where was it again?

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Orbital's DS, GBA games

Pushing new dimensions.

Canadian developer Orbital Media has unveiled two new titles for Nintendo's handheld consoles. And boy do they sound good.