Hardy Plumbing
May 24, 2006

Game Dork



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"Dragon Ball Z: Sagas" (click for larger version)
A Soldier's Story

Searching For 'Electropants' In 'Modern Combat'

"Battlefield 2: Modern Combat" is so good that when I first popped it into my Xbox 360, it stole an entire spring Sunday from me. Birds were landing on my terrace with their potential bird flu. Ducks were coughing at me from the green park outside my window. And I sat on my couch playing "Battlefield 2" for 18 hours straight. Seemed safer.

That's right, 18 hours. I didn't take 20-minute meal breaks. I didn't answer the phone. I missed parties. And I didn't care. I was signed up in the video game's army, shooting tanks with rocket launchers, sniping bad guys with a scope rifle, and parachuting out of helicopters.

To tell the whole truth, "Battlefield 2" isn't a great game if you play it by yourself. I tried that and it was "eh." Then I played it the more entertaining way, online through Xbox Live, which is a $50-a-year service that allows you to play against other gamers around the world.

So there my character was, engaging other players in realistic war zones — desert towns, an oil rig, and lushly Asian islands. Usually, about 23 other soldiers were sniping at me, blowing me up with grenades and drilling about a thousand holes in me. When I died, I would "respawn" and keep fighting in the same battle until one team won.

The game is fun even with its high mortality rate. You die fast when you get shot just once or twice. Many games allow you to live forever, bullet-ridden, as if you're an action-movie hero. But "Battlefield 2's" fast-deaths work online, because it makes you work smarter at staying alive.

The interaction with other gamers is funny. Some gamers go into revenge mode against each other. I did this once against a gamer named "Electropants23" or something like that.

She (I hope it was a she) found this ideal spot on top of a water tower and kept picking me off with her sniper bullets. Naturally, I found a one-tree hill to hide myself under, and I sniped her back. Then she respawned and sniped me back.

It's easy to fall into vengeance mode, but it's better to resist the urge unless it's absolutely necessary, because your team misses your gun, and your personal ranking withers from not compiling a high body count. (That sounds gruesome, doesn't it?)

Xbox Live also lets you speak to these gamers through a microphone-and-headphone gadget. That could be interesting since gamers' names suggest they're from ports around the world. But I just couldn't take "Battlefield 2" to that level. The voice of Electropants23 would have been disappointing, I'm sure.

("Battlefield 2: Modern Combat" for Xbox 360, Xbox and PS 2 — Incredibly fun as a multiplayer game, OK as a standalone game, best on Xbox 360 and Xbox. Looks great. Very challenging. Rated "T" for language, violence. Four stars out of four.)

NEW TO YOU — USED GAME OF THE WEEK

"Dragon Ball Z: Sagas" is not a fantastic game, but it was popular last year for being a somewhat entertaining fighting game. You play as animated weirdos against other animated weirdos with names like Captain Ginyu.

It's selling lately for less than $15 in used-game stores. It's available for Xbox, PS 2, and GCube. It's rated "T" for animated blood and violence.

NEW AND COMING SOON

"Rockstar Games Presents Table Tennis" has the game-maker's name Rockstar in the title to beckon fans of the company's popular "Grand Theft Auto" titles. But this ping pong game is less violent than those, obviously. It retails for $40 for Xbox 360. It's rated "E."

"Rogue Trooper" is another multi-player soldier game, but set in a destroyed world of war with black-hole portals, and developed by Eidos (developer of the "Hitman" and "Lara Croft" series). It retails for $30 for Xbox and PS 2. It's rated "T" for blood, use of tobacco/alcohol, and violence.

"Puzzle Challenge: Crosswords and More" is an unusual game in that it brings wordplay to its action, which means typing in letters and numbers on a hand controller. It retails for $30 for PS 2 and PSP. It's rated "E".

(Ratings: "E" for "Everyone;" "T" for "Teen;" "M" for "Mature 17+")

TOP 10 NEW GAMES

Here are the Top 10 best-selling video games, according to retailer Blockbuster. Games are listed by title, company, gaming system, and rating from the Entertainment Software Rating Board.

1. "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas Special Edition" (Rockstar) for PS 2; also available for Xbox; rated "M" (blood, gore, intense violence, strong language, strong sexual content, use of drugs)

2. "God of War" (Sony) for PS 2; rated "M" (blood, gore, intense violence, nudity, sexual themes, strong language)

3. "Kingdom Hearts 2" (Square Electronics) for PS 2; rated "E 10+" (mild blood, use of alcohol, violence)

4. "Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion" (Bethesda Softworks) for Xbox 360; rated "T" (blood, gore, language, sexual themes, use of alcohol, violence)

5. "Final Fantasy XI Online: Rise of the Zilart; Chains of Promathia; Treasures of Aht Urhgan" (Square Electronic Arts) for Xbox 360; rated "T" (animated blood, mild language, violence)

6. "Kingdom Hearts" (Square Electronics) for PS 2; rated "E 6+" (violence)

7. "Rampage: Total Destruction" (Midway) for PS 2; also available for GCube; rated "E 10+" (violence)

8. "Battlefield 2: Modern Combat" (Electronics Arts) for Xbox 360; also available for Xbox, PS 2; rated "T" (language, violence)

9. "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas Special Edition" for Xbox

10. "Major League Baseball 2K6" (Visual Concepts) for Xbox; also available for Xbox 360, PS 2; rated "E"

(Ratings: "E" for "Everyone;" "T" for "Teen;" "M" for "Mature 17+")

TOP 10 RENTAL GAMES

Here are the Top 10 best-renting video games, according to retailer Blockbuster. Games are listed by title, company, the gaming system, and rating from the Entertainment Software Rating Board.

1. "Kingdom Hearts 2" (Square Electronics) for PS 2; rated "E 10+" (mild blood, use of alcohol, violence)

2. "Major League Baseball 2K6" (Visual Concepts) for PS 2; also available for Xbox 360, Xbox, GCube and PSP; rated "E"

3. "Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War" (Namco) for PS 2; rated "T" (mild language, violence)

4. "The Godfather: The Game" (EA) for PS 2; also available for Xbox; rated "M" (blood, gore, intense violence, strong language, suggestive themes)

5. "Black" (EA) for PS 2; also available for Xbox; rated "M" (strong language, violence)

6. "Tomb Raider: Legend" (Eidos) for PS 2; also available for Xbox 360, Xbox, GCube and PSP; rated "T" (blood, language, suggestive themes, violence)

7. "Fight Night Round 3" (EA) for PS 2; also available for Xbox 360, Xbox, PSP; rated "T" (blood, mild language, suggestive themes, violence)

8. "NBA Ballers Phenom" (Midway) for PS 2; also available for Xbox; rated "E"

9. "The Godfather: The Game" for Xbox

10. "Major League Baseball 2K6" for Xbox

(Ratings: "E" for "Everyone;" "T" for "Teen;" "M" for "Mature 17+")

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