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The Other 25:
The OTHER Games Iím Looking Forward to...
Written By:
J. Michael Neal

Part Two

I continue my look at 25 games worth keeping an eye on for the next few monthsÖ even if bigger, flashier, more hyped games scream for your attention like so many spoiled 2-year oldsÖ

Evil Genius

Why Iím Excited: Who wasnít thought about taking over the world at some point in their life? Well, looks like youíll be getting your chance when Evil Genius comes out. Youíll get to build your secret base, train henchmen, hire lackeys, construct doomsday devices, and hatch all manner of evil schemes! Muhuhahaha!

Why It May Go Unnoticed: There are a few things working against Evil Genius at this point. The first is that its developer, Elixir Studios, have a thing for prolonged development cycles, release date roulette, and frequent ďback to the drawing boardĒ revisions, as evident in their last release, Republic: The Revolution. Secondly, as Republic also showed, itís still in question as to whether or not Elixir can deliver on any promises made before release. Therefore even if Evil Genius does wrap production some time within this century, who knows what form it will have taken by then? Third, and finally, even if it does come out as promised, on time and as cool as it sounds, thereís still a good chance the public will treat it with the same sort of indifference they showed Ghost Master. Call me naÔve, call me hopeful, but I for one still have faith in this underdog.

System: PC.



Why Iím Excited: This is another one of those games where, if you arenít excited yet, itís simply because you havenít seen it in action yet. It looks absolutely PHENOMENAL! First of all, itís by Monolith, and Iím sold on pretty much anything they announce the moment they announce it. They are one of my favorite developers out there, and with the exception of Contract J.A.C.K. (which was a cosmic shame) they have one of the best track records in the industry. Period. Second, this game looks like it may give Half-Life 2 a run for its money when it comes to single-player action. Seriously. It looks that good. Crazy physics and all. Third, did I mention it was by Monolith?

Why It May Go Unnoticed: Letís see, do any of these ring a bell: Tron 2.0? No One Lives Forever 1 and 2? Aliens vs. Predator 2? How about Blood 2 or SHOGO: Mobile Armor Division? They should. They are some of the best PC games to be released in the past 10 years, yet no one seems to own them. No matter how much Monolith turn themselves inside-out to deliver some of the most amazing gaming this side of heaven, their efforts seem destined to go unnoticed by the public at large, and I fear F.E.A.R. may end up a similar storyÖ

System: PC.



Why Iím Excited: Destruction Derby was the first PlayStation game I ever owned, and I still look back on those early 32-bit days fondly thanks to Reflectionís (then) spectacular smash-um-up racer. Now, nearly ten years later, BugBear Entertainment has me excited about smashing up cars all over again! Mixing equal parts BurnOut, Destruction Derby, and Downhill Domination, FlatOut looks like it will come as close as possible to actually ramming a speeding car into a pile of crap as one can get without being Kelsey Grammer! Donít believe me? Watch the videoÖ And if you still arenít interested, I have just two words for you Ė Ragdoll Olympics.

Why It May Go Unnoticed: Hey, this oneís so under the radar even I nearly missed it! Thereís a chance it might get more attention as it approaches completion, but with Gran Turismo 4, Need For Speed Underground 2, and EAís newly acquired BurnOut 3: Takedown just around the corner, the odds look very slim.

Systems: PC, Xbox, PS2.


Freedom Force vs. the Third Reich

Why Iím Excited: Freedom Force was a wonderful little game, and its sequel looks even cooler! As both homage to and satire of Golden Age comics, Freedom Force featured tongue-in-cheek humor and genuinely cool gameplay, plus a distinct visual style and classic, campy audio. Now, with the FF taking on the powers of Nazi Germany, we can expect some truly wicked lampooning of WWII-era, anti-Axis, hyper-patriotic American superhero comics as well as improved gameplay and multiplayer modes to boot! This oneís nearly guaranteed to be a classic.

Why It May Go Unnoticed: Logic stands to reason that the sequel to a game no one noticed would go unnoticed itself. Freedom Force was one of those games that dropped for $14 bucks brand new a few weeks after release, and now can be found places in the single digits - yet still the game is shown no love. Can you believe it? Well, since chances are youíre one of the millions who did just that, you probably can believe it. Iím sure a similar story will follow the release of Third Reich, no matter how awesome it is.

Systems: PC.


Guilty Gear Isuka

Why Iím Excited: The Guilty Gear franchise has been kicking ass since the PS days. It made a splash with its amazingly detailed visuals and hyper-refined gameplay. Plus it had some insane character and level designs, and was brutal as all hell. Well, itís been getting prettier, faster, crazier, and more refined with each installment, but now, I think Sammy has just flat out lost their minds. A four-player 2D fighting game?! This is bound to be one of the most unique and enjoyable fighters to come out in forever.

Why It May Go Unnoticed: The first Guilty Gear was monumentally ignored for having the nerve enough to not only be a 2D fighting game on a 2D-bias system, but to do so without the benefit of a Capcom or SNK logo. Since than itís steadily gained a larger and larger cult following, but cult status is still cult status. Isuka may see a jump in typical Guilty Gear sales, but thereís also a chance some current fans may be put off by the radical gameplay change and choose to give this one a pass. Regardless, expect titles like Tekken 5, Dead or Alive Ultimate, and Mortal Kombat Deception to steal the majority of fighting game thunder this quarter.

Systems: PS2.

<-- Part One | Part Three -->

Posted: 9-1-04
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