Thu, Dec 07, 2006 - Page 14 News List

Video Game Reviews

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The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

Nintendo

Nintendo Wii

Legends are not born — they are painstakingly created over time. Nintendo took four years to create this epic adventure game, the crown jewel of the recently-released Wii console. It was time well-spent, as Twilight Princess will compete with earlier Zelda games for "best of all time" honors. As in earlier incarnations, adolescent teen hero Link returns to rescue the princess. But this time, she's trapped in a mysterious "Twilight Realm." What makes this adventure different is Link's ability to change into a wolf and use his beastly abilities to better navigate dungeons, defeat enemies and collect clues and other items. The Wii's motion-sensor control system is also a new twist. To swing a sword, the player actually swings the game controller. It's especially handy with ranged weapons like Link's bow and arrow. To target an enemy, simply aim the controller at the screen and press a button. It's so simple and effective that other game controllers immediately feel like antiques. Link's horse also gets a workout; mounted combat scenes rank among the highlights in this lengthy adventure. Visually, Twilight Princess is eye-catching, especially on HDTV. The GameCube version is scheduled for release later this month. It's a near-perfect game for young adventurers, or those who are young at heart.

Call of Duty 3

Activision

Xbox 360; PlayStation 3

Capturing the chaos of war has been the hallmark of the Call of Duty franchise, and the latest offering in the powerful World War II series ups the ante in dramatic fashion. From the battlefields crawling with enemies to the skies filled with planes, the action is incredibly convincing. For history buffs, the game takes place as 1944 Allied forces are working to surround and destroy the German Seventh Army and Fifth Panzer Army in the "Falaise pocket." Veterans of the series will immediately jump into the trenches of France and join the Allies as they attempt to blast the Nazis back into the history books. Familiar first-person shooter combat controls are largely unchanged, but a new hand-to-hand combat mode — in which enemy soldiers try to wrestle the rifle out of your hands and bash your skull in with it — is startling and exciting. Missions feel too familiar, and that's the game's most serious drawback: We've all fought this war before, and the game feels a bit stale. But, hey, it looks good. Enemy AI has the occasional hiccup, but on higher levels the game is still challenging. Multiplayer mode takes the war online, where players can become American or German soldiers on about 10 well-designed maps that feature working vehicles, such as Jeeps and tanks.

Marvel Ultimate Alliance

Activision

Xbox 360; PlayStation 3

Comic book villains want to control the world; comic book fans want to control their favorite superheroes. Ultimate Alliance comes to the rescue by giving players power over more than 20 stars of the Marvel Comics universe. There's an odd assortment to choose from — Spider-Man, Wolverine and Captain America are joined by less-than-famous Luke Cage and Ghost Rider. Pick a team and get ready to save the world because Dr. Doom, a familiar nemesis of the Fantastic Four, is up to his old, evil tricks again, and he's got plenty of help from an army of super-villains.

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