Hardy Plumbing
May 31, 2006

Game Dork


The 'Da Vinci' Load: Game's Religious Mystery Is Not A Novel Idea

"The Da Vinci Code" video game is partly about extremists killing over religion. That sounds like the gist of both world history and certain modern warfare. But as you'd imagine, "The Da Vinci Code" is mostly a religious mystery based on the novel and the movie. It is also quite awful.

The "Code" doesn't use the voices or likenesses of Tom Hanks or other actors from the flick. But the plot and characters are on the same track. You play as a detective-type guy who looks for clues in artworks and corpse parts to uncover supposedly long-hidden secrets about Christianity. Guards of these secrets try to stop you with violence.

It's this boring: you walk around clicking one button on your hand controller to examine barely visible clues, while strolling the grounds of the Louvre and other points of interest. That means you walk-and-click stupidly forever, until you want to set fire and brimstone to the game disc.

There are puzzles to solve and a few religious henchmen to outrun. But those more excited moments aren't enough to overcome the tedium. Fittingly, your character randomly utters the lines, "There's nothing really relevant about this" and "I should move on, this isn't important."

I couldn't agree more. So I decided to quit playing this abomination, then catch up on another poor if interesting, movie-based game I didn't get to review for you some months ago.

"From Russia With Love" for the handheld PSP: I don't understand why many James Bond fans are gung ho about Sean Connery's version of 007. He was manly but dull. Pierce Brosnan looked more the martini type. And Roger Moore was sassier at seducing women with such lines as, "When one is in Egypt, one should delve deeply into its treasures."

That said, it was a cool idea that Connery's image was resurrected for a retro "From Russia With Love" game. Too bad it's mediocre. Bond's world should look big and grand, not small and rote. You point guns at rogues and kill, over and over. It's like a shooting gallery where bad guys pop up willy-nilly. It neither shakes nor stirs you.

Correction: A few weeks ago, I panned "Final Fantasy XI Online," because it was frustrating and time-consuming to even start the thing. The game demanded I input my phone number, other personal information and codes just to tap into its online abilities.

I erred, though, when I said you have to pay $50 a year for Xbox 360 Live's "gold" membership. You can sign up for the free "silver" membership. You still pay $13 a month to tap into vital parts of the "Final Fantasy" gaming network. A representative for "Fantasy" claims fans of such games are used to such fees.

Whatever. "Fantasy" costs $50 retail. I bet I could buy eight awesome games at a used-game store for that amount alone, not to mention what I could do with $13 a month.

("The Da Vinci Code" for Xbox and PS 2 — Plays like an incredibly dull series of clue-finding and puzzle-solving. Looks decent. Challenging. Rated "T" for blood, language, violence. One-half star out of four.)

("From Russia With Love" for PSP — Plays rote and small. Looks average. Moderately challenging. Rated T" for alcohol reference, suggestive themes, violence. One and one-half star.)

NEW TO YOU — USED GAME OF THE WEEK

"Need for Speed: Most Wanted" is one of the finest racing games ever made. A half-year old, it's now selling at used-game stores for $20. That's a bargain. This thing lets you race cars on very gritty but realistic roads while outrunning rivals and cops. The $20 used games are for Xbox and PS 2. The Xbox 360 version is still selling used for as much as $55. It's rated "T" for mild violence.

NEW AND COMING SOON

"Hitman: Blood Money" is the latest in a series of awesome, super-violent assassination games. The May 30 release retails for $60 for Xbox 360 and $50 for Xbox and PS 2. It's rated "M" for blood, strong language, use of drugs, partial nudity, sexual themes and intense violence.

"MLB Slugfest 2006" amps up the action of baseball by turning big-league hitters and fielders into highly acrobatic, bone-smashing crushers. The May 30 release retails for $20 for Xbox and PS 2. It's rated "E 10+" for crude humor, lyrics, violence.

(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. "New Super Mario Bros" (Nintendo) for DS; rated "E" (comic mischief)

2. "X-Men: The Official Game" (Activision) for Xbox 360; also available for Xbox, PS 2, GCube; rated "T" (violence)

3. "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)

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

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

6. "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)

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

8. "Kingdom Hearts" (Square Enix) for PS 2; rated "E" (violence)

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

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

(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. "X-Men: The Official Game" (Activision) for PS 2; also available for Xbox 360, Xbox, GCube; rated "T" (violence)

2. "X-Men: The Official Game" for Xbox

3. "Over the Hedge" (Activision) for PS 2; also available for Xbox, GCube; rated "E 10+" (cartoon violence, crude humor)

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

5. "Over the Hedge" for GCube

6. "X-Men: The Official Game" for Xbox 360

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

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

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

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

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

Site Search


Lang
2107 Capeletti Front Tile
Gurney's Inn