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Welcome again, gaming friends. Another week, another batch of new downloadable titles for your console goodness. This week on the Virtual Console, we have three of the greatest ninja games ever made…NINJA GAIDEN for the NES, the lesser known (but still quite good) NINJA SPIRIT for the Turbografix 16 and…PAC-MAN for the NES? Okay, two out of three ninjas ain’t bad. Today, on XBLA we got two games, AEGIS WINGS, a side scrolling shooter made by Microsoft Interns and offered for free, as well as SOLTRIO SOLITAIRE a solitaire game with…multiplayer? Yeah…that’s strange, but true.

Also, as far as updates are concerned, CRACKDOWN received a giant mess of them, included in two download packs. More missions, a cheat mode, new races, weapons, and vehicles, more achievements…that’s what DLC should be. However, sadly for those who bought the game just for the HALO 3 beta, it seems there’s a bit longer of a wait, since there’s a need for a patch…already. Should be up by tonight though.

So what else do we have for you this week? Handheld games anyone?

LOST IN BOREDOM 2

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You wouldn’t think that being stranded on a desert island, searching for food, meeting another survivor and sharing your adventures and rations with them and fighting for survival would be so…tedious. And yet, LOST IN BLUE 2 does just that. Much like it’s previous title, this sequel makes survival mundane, and tasks like gathering food and building fires…well, just as boring as they sound.

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The main problem with this game is that you really don’t have enough time to do the really cool stuff, like explore the island, or converse with your counterpart (a character of the opposite sex as whichever you choose at the outset of the game). Most of the time is spent trying to fend off hunger (which comes ever three seconds) or fighting spiders and crocodiles. Sure, the cooking and food making mini games are…well, not entertaining, but something to do, but after 15 minutes, three days had passed and that was ALL I had done. I can’t run through the island for 12 feet before getting thirsty. Are these the most out of shape survivors ever or what?

The worst part is that even after time, things don’t shape up. There’s no direction for the game, no semblance of what you should do. How do you get rescued? CAN you get rescued? How the hell can you get to stave off hunger for more than five minutes? For those that endured the first game and were looking for improvements to hit the sequel, sadly…we’re still waiting.

One Gamer’s Opinion:

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CALL ON THE ROAD

codrtv.jpgLove World War II first person shooters, but just wish you could play them on the road? Well, wish no longer, as the mother series of them all makes it’s way to PSP with CALL OF DUTY: ROADS TO VICTORY. Taking the familiar format from the previous entries in the series and scaling it down for the PSP, things move fairly smoothly as you take on the role of three different Allied soldiers; American, Canadian and British.

While the PSP’s control format makes FPS’ a bit difficult for the handheld (yes, we know…there’s no second analog stick) the scheme is actually set up quite well. There’s a helpful lock on feature when aiming down the scope, and battles are quick and frantic enough that playing on the go in short bursts is simple and fun. Plus, the mission structure is just as familiar as the home versions are, so enjoyment is pretty much guaranteed.

Well, ok, NOTHING is guaranteed. If you haven’t been able to enjoy an FPS on PSP before, this will probably be a hard sell. Still, I have to say, as difficult as it is to translate the genre to this system, this one certainly moves and plays well enough that one actually can not just struggle though but actually WANT to continue and finish an FPS that uses face buttons to aim. Sure, the lock-on helps, but the ease with which one aims, shoots, runs, ducks and fights through the war torn streets of foreign lands really makes for an exciting and more importantly fun title. Plus, and best of all, players can actually customize the controls to fit their playing styles.

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If you’re hankering for some portable WWII excitement, this is the one to go for. Quick and easy to pick up, fun to play, looks great, sounds great…what more do you need?

I mean, y’know…OTHER than a second analog stick.

One Gamer’s Opinion:

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I WILL SURVIVE IN MY MACH 5

mach.jpgModified Air Combat Heroes sounds like a weird acronym, but since planes fly at mach speeds, then M.A.C.H. seems to fit…sort of. Under the idea that unmanned ships will save lives, these no jobless pilots take their ships to the black market where they…well, fight and race each other. Sure, that sounds good for a game.

Honestly, the plot takes a backseat. This title is about two things: being the fastest, and being the deadliest. It’s not just about crossing the finish line, it’s doing it one piece as you gun down every plane in your way. While the shooting and racing genre isn’t new, it’s nice to see it in the skies as opposed to on the streets.

What sets this title apart however, isn’t the planes, but how you can customize them. Outfitting your ship with whichever guns, paint apps and the like is up to you, and the modifications you get down the road are truly something to behold. However, this comes at a price…

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Frankly, after a few missions and upgrades, the game looses any and all challenge it had. Once you get a good enough plane and weapons, you have a bit of unfair advantage against your opponents. Wireless multiplayer keeps that a tiny bit fresh, as living opponents are always more fun to play than AI controlled ones (so says the game’s “plot”) but even then, the few courses and arenas they offer here won’t squeeze enough fun for more than a few goes. And while the game looks good, there sadly is also no real sense of speed. You may be going mach 5, but it could be 5 mph for all we know.

Still, it’s not all bad, as the first few levels a fun and unique enough for starter. Sadly, the game looses about as much momentum as it’s graphics fail to showcase…it’s fun for a bit, but once you upgrade your planes, it just goes down for the count.

One Gamer’s Opinion:

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Stay tuned, new podcast should be up soon, kids.

THE GAME ON! RATING SYSTEM

 

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Ratings From Greatest to Least:

Kick Ass, Right On, Okay, Eh, and Stinker (aka CRAPTACULAR)

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