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

Part Three

So many games, so little time to follow them all. Thatís where lifeless geeks like myself come in Ė Iím here to comb through piles of over-hyped super releases to find the hidden gems that may go unnoticed while everyoneís cramming down bucket-loads of Madden and Halo 2. See what golden nuggets of tasty gaming goodness Part Three bringsÖ

 

Killer 7

Why Iím Excited: As you may have gathered, Iím a big style fan. Style alone canít carry a game, just ask Gungrave, but it can sure go a long way. Killer 7 looks like one of those rare breeds of games, like Jet Set Radio Future, Grabbed by the Ghoulies, or Kung Fu Chaos before it, thatís 90% presentation and 10% gameplay. Even from the videos the gameplay looks cumbersome and unintuitive, but the story, the character design, the captivating visual style, and the sheer only-in-Japan weirdness of it all just begs to be played. This just looks like one of those games that, even if it gets panned in the reviews, Iíll want to play for myself and come to my own decisions about itís merit.

Why It May Go Unnoticed: Well, thereís still the chance Capcom can really screw it up (*cough cough* P.N. 03). That could definitely kill a gameís appeal, but I have a feeling it will go unnoticed more for being one of those games thatís just too weird for itís own good. I mean come on, this game has been covered for what feels like forever, and I can still barely wrap my head around the plotÖ

System: PS2, GC.

 

Kingdom Under Fire: the Crusaders

Why Iím Excited: Take one part Braveheart, one part Dynasty Warriors, a touch of Medieval: Total War, and just a dash of The Battle of Pelennor Fields, bake at 350 for about 45 minutes, and youíll end up with something that looks hella like Kingdom Under Fire: the Crusaders, the action-filled console sequel to G.O.D. Gameís fantasy/RTS PC game. Itíll mix story-driven role-playing and light real-time strategy with a heavy dose of hack-and-slashing, plus new downloadable maps via Xbox Live. Sign me up!

Why It May Go Unnoticed: Frankly, this game just looks too damn good for such an under the radar title. There has to be a catch, and if there isnít, thatís still what the majority of the gaming populous will probably be thinking. It doesnít feature Xbox Live multiplayer, so thatís already a strike against it in the eyes of the public, itís based off a franchise that barely made a name for itself among RTS enthusiasts, much less made a splash outside the PC world, and we all know how popular strategy games are among console gamers. Thereís a chance that itís $39.99 price tag may woe fence-riders, but in the end, I see this one heading to the bargain bins no matter how much it lives up to itís promises.

System: Xbox.

 

Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude

Why Iím Excited: Uh-huh-huh-huh-huhÖ boobsÖ Seriously though, Magna Cum Laude looks like one of those rare games that actually succeeds in trying to be funny. Iíve found myself laughing just at screenshots and clips Ė I can imagine the full game is a riot. A truly funny game is always a welcomed thing. Plus, Magna Cum Laude looks just as fun to play. It has been turned into a ďplatformer/graphic adventure hybridĒ similar to Beyond Good & Evil (but, you know, without the fighting and monsters and stuff), with lots of quirky mini-games to keep things interesting and an interactive, real-time conversation system that promises to be fun, funny, and challenging.

Why It May Go Unnoticed: Although Larry made a splash during the late 80s and early 90s, most gamers today were too young to enjoy its good-natured ďadultĒ premise and gameplay. Hopefully, in the age of the rebirth of the ďteen-sex comedyĒ, a game like Leisure Suit Larry can find an audience; but than again, even hybrid ďgraphic adventuresĒ canít seem to get a break, so I guess weíll have to just wait and seeÖ

Systems: Xbox, PS2, PC.

 

Mercenaries

Why Iím Excited: Itís a toss-up whether or not using the acronym ďGTAĒ like an adjective helps, or harms, an upcoming release, but for Mercenaries, itís certainly warranted. You play one of three mercenaries sent into a recently, even more destabilized, North Korea to ďneutralizeĒ 52 high-risk targets before one of them manages to deliver a nuclear payload to an enemy nation, i.e. every other country but North Korea itself. Once you get there, however, the rest if up to you. Want to play the three local factions (South Korea, the Russian Mafia, and China) against each other for as much dough as possible, a la A Fist Full of Dollars? Fine. Want to tackle your targets (represented in the ďPersonality Identification Playing CardĒ format the DoD has become quite infamous for) in any order you wish? Great. Want to just run around, jacking tanks, blowing up buildings, and gunning soldiers down in helicopters? Hey, thatís all right, too! Itís completely open-ended warfare, and who doesnít want a piece of that?

Why It May Go Unnoticed: Even a really, really good GTA-clone is going to have a hard time getting any attention whatsoever with His Holiness San Andreas right around the bend. Hopefully, since San Andreas will have a few monthsí head start before Mercenaries is released it wonít be a problem; but considering how much depth Rockstarís pouring into its latest assault on national productivity, even I might step on Pandemicís neck to get to the Golden StateÖ

Systems: Xbox, PS2.

 

The Movies

Why Iím Excited: Meet Peter Molyneux. Peter Molyneux is insane. The good kind of insane. The kind of insane that makes him propose game ideas so ludicrously ambitious you have to feel sorry for his programmers. To date, heís never wavered on his promises, but his most ambitious ideas have yet to be tested. The Movies is one of them. This ďeverything gameĒ has you taking the helm of a movie studio at the dawn of Hollywood and commanding it on through the modern age. Youíll oversee everything from the physical construction of the studio, to contracting stars, to hiring and firing maintenance workers. Donít think this is going to be just another micro-management heavy sim, however. This is a Hollywood studio we are talking about here! Youíll also get to act as writer, director, and producer on the films your company releases, controlling the very lowest level of production, from cast to dealing with unions to editing to marketing! And to stem the learning curve, Molyneux promises that you can handle as much or as little of the nitty-gritty as you wish. Want to just focus on the layout of your studio lot? Fine. How about just spending your time trying to be the next Scorsese, Spielberg, or heck, even McG? You can do that too! For movie buffs and budding movie moguls, this is as close as your going to get to running a movie studio without leveling your bedroom.

Why It May Go Unnoticed: What, with Fable stealing all the headlines, itís easy to see why this Lionhead release is becoming the redheaded stepchild of Molyneux (Unity having done starved to death from neglect). I, for one, bought an Xbox all those years ago specifically for Fable Ė even a game as phenomenally cool as The Movies canít compete with that. Besides, a game that sounds this good is bound to sell like crap, even if it does nail each and every promise. See also: Black and White.

Systems: PC, PS2, Xbox, GC.

<-- Part Two | Part Four -->

Posted: 9-2-04


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