Publisher: Namco (2005)
Rating: Teen (mild language, violence)
Publisher: Namco (2001)
Publisher: Sega (2002)
Just when I was getting weary of 3D fighters, Virtua Fighter 4 comes along and breathes new life into this genre. As of this writing, this is hands-down the best
3D fighter I've ever played. While its graphics may not quite
reach the level of Dead or Alive 3 (Xbox), they are comparable, and VF4's gameplay is much better. While most 3D fighters let you get by with mindless button mashing, Virtua Fighter 4 requires you to know what you're doing. Only three buttons are used (punch, kick, and guard), but the action is remarkably deep. The instruction book provides a long list of moves for each fighter, and I found myself studying the various combinations. I love the fact that the matches tend to be short
. Credit that to the 45-second time clock and devastating attacks that do substantial damage. An excellent training mode walks you through every aspect of the game, and you can even create your own character "AI" (artificial intelligence) and compete against it! The thirteen fighters are taken mostly from past Virtua Fighter games. They look extremely life-like, with moving lips and actual facial expressions. While VF4's graphics take a backseat to its outstanding gameplay, this game still sports some of the finest visuals you'll see on your PS2. The arenas that let you fight in snow or shallow water look amazing. My favorite stage features Greek ruins and a raging thunderstorm, with lightning toppling sections of the huge monuments. Virtua Fighter 4 is outstanding in every way, and its sets a new high water mark for fighting games. © Copyright 2004 The Video Game Critic.
Virtua Fighter 4 Evolution
Publisher: Sega (2003)
Rating: Teen (suggestive themes, violence)
I was skeptical about this half-sequel to Sega's critically acclaimed Virtua Fighter 4. Was Sega just trying to cash in on the same game twice? Maybe, but Evolution is still a terrific game. It raises the bar for 3D fighting games, if only slightly. So what's new here? Well the gameplay and graphics are practically the same, but the skill level has been ratcheted way up to appeal to Virtua Fighter experts. As a matter of fact, this may be too
hard for its own good. Evolution also adds two new fighters to the mix: the Frankenstein look-alike Goh, and Brad the kick boxer. But the most dramatic changes relate to the options. The main menu interface has been streamlined and has a better feel. The repetitive Kumite mode has been replaced by a more compelling "Quest" mode. Quest sends you to a series of virtual arcades to compete in a variety of Virtua Fighter tournaments. Depending on the arcade location, the rules change slightly, which really spice up the action. For example, in some contests the walls may inflict extra damage, or your damage might be carried over between rounds. The Quest mode is hard as nails, and even experienced gamers will find their skills pushed to the limit. As icing on the cake, a 10th Anniversary edition of the original
Virtua Fighter game is also included. Evolution isn't a huge step forward, but its cool extras make it a "must have" for serious fighting fans. © Copyright 2004 The Video Game Critic.
War of the Monsters
Publisher: Sony (2003)
Rating: Teen (violence)
Publisher: Eidos (2001)
Look what I picked up in the bargain bin - a jet ski game from the people who made Tomb Raider! I can't go wrong with this one - or can I? The gameplay is similar to Wave Race (Nintendo) where you race other skiers around a course by weaving through buoys, but the controls are astonishingly bad. Even with the better-handling jet skis, your turn radius is ridiculously wide. In fact, some of the tighter turns require you to come to an almost complete stop
to stay on course! The courses are poorly designed with buoys that are often completely hidden from sight! Missing a buoy slows you to a crawl, and six misses disqualifies you from the race. Wave Rally allows you to perform tricks off ramps, but the confusing control scheme would cause Tony Hawk to roll over in his grave (if he were dead that is). In terms of graphics Wave Rally is subpar. The water has a cool blurry effect, but it looks somewhat chunky and pixilated. Likewise you won't find any scenery you haven't seen in other jet ski games. You probably won't see many tracks anyway, since you can't select them, and you must place third to advance to the next one. The sound effects are practically non-existent, and the generic dance music is bland. Wave Rally really doesn't have anything to offer jet ski fans. © Copyright 2003 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Konami (2002)
Rating: Teen (strong lyrics)
Winter Sports 2008
Publisher: RTL (2007)
World Heroes Anthology
Publisher: SNK (2008)
Rating: Teen (alcohol reference, blood, violence)
World Soccer Winning Eleven 6 International
Publisher: Konami (2003)
Sporting a name so long it's comical, World Soccer Winning Eleven 6 International represents the first legitimate challenge to EA's long-running FIFA series. This game has been hyped like mad by video game magazines, many who call it the best soccer game ever. Sorry to burst their bubble, but while Winning Eleven certainly has some excellent graphics and innovative features, it still needs work. The graphics are very nice, with player animation that's second-to-none. The TV-style presentation is also impressive, with announcers that keep up with action and discuss highlights after each half. But the dribbling and passing controls are where the game really shines. Unlike most soccer games of the past, the ball behaves like a separate object, not just an extension of the player. Intuitive controls let you perform all kind of fancy moves with ease. But the Achilles heel of the game is obvious to anyone who's played it: the shooting absolutely sucks! Aiming is nearly impossible, and most shots sail far over the goal. My friends and I experimented quite a bit and were never able to overcome this horrendous flaw. Another major problem is the lack of configuration options. Sure you can do worthless things like edit a team's flag, but you can't adjust basic parameters like fouls, offsides, or replay frequency. Winning Eleven makes a terrific first impression, but the more you play, the more glaring its flaw become. Winning Eleven has some nice ideas and delivers some excitement, but it needs more time to bake in the oven. © Copyright 2003 The Video Game Critic.
World Soccer Winning Eleven 8 International
Publisher: Konami (2005)
Yu-Gi-Oh! The Duelists of the Roses
Publisher: Konami (2003)
Publisher: Take Two Software (2005)
Rating: Everyone (fantasy violence)
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