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Christmas Cheer

Good Games For Christmas? 613

Since nothing really interesting seems to be happening today (unless you count some lame overpriced scooter) I figured I'd throw this out. We've discussed christmas presents in general, but what about refining the subject to just video games? With Final Fantasy 10 not due out until the day after christmas, what new games are coming out? Please mention systems in your subject line. Personally I just finished Klonoa 2 and enjoyed it, I'm maybe half way through Grand Theft Auto 3 and am absolutely in love, and just picked up Metal Gear Solid 2 but have yet to break the celophane, but can't wait. On the PC side, The Sims Hot Date expansion pack is pretty smooth if your idea of fun is micromanaging an armada of virtual people. I hope a psychiatrist never analyzes my Sims style.
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Good Games For Christmas?

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  • Wolfenstein (Score:3, Interesting)

    by zarathustra93 ( 164244 ) on Monday December 03, 2001 @04:03PM (#2649731) Homepage
    Oh how I loved this game in the earlt 1990's, and oh how I love it with a modern graphics engine. This one is one not to miss. I literally sweat while playing this game!

    5 fps stars!
    • Re:Wolfenstein (Score:4, Interesting)

      by HMC CS Major ( 540987 ) on Monday December 03, 2001 @04:10PM (#2649832) Homepage

      Oh how I loved this game in the earlt 1990's, and oh how I love it with a modern graphics engine. This one is one not to miss. I literally sweat while playing this game!

      While I certainly agree with you in your assertion that Wolfenstein is a great game, I question it's quality in a family setting. I certainly would not want anyone younger than, say, 10 playing this game. Killing Nazis is fine for teenagers, but should probably be avoided for anyone younger than 10.

      A second game for the teenage age that I would certainly recommend is Halflife. Yes, it's been out forever. But, for people who dont have brand new 2.0 ghz p4's or 1900+ Athlon XP's, Halflife offers a game that is easy on older hardware, has an active online multiplayer community, and is really fun to play.

      For those who arent yet teenagers, or who dont enjoy killing people for sport, I'd suggest any of the recent sims. In fact, I'd actually support the purchase of some of the sim clones: they cost less, and, for the most part, are completely up to par with the originals.


      My opinions arent necessarily the opinions of anyone else, in fact, they're usually wrong.
      • ---Killing Nazis is fine for teenagers, but should probably be avoided for anyone younger than 10.---

        Are you kidding? The only reason Nazis were invented in the first place was so that we would have computer game villians that could be killed without bothering _anyone's- moral conscience.

        The only reason 10 year olds shouldn't buy Wolfenstein 3d is that the Nazis in it speak English for some twisted reason. THAT'LL warp their little minds...
  • All i want is Civilization 3. I just had my birthday yesterday, and I was given money to but it from a family member with the sincire promise that I won't buy it untill the christmas holidays (2 weeks!!!)

    • Civ III is cool! It's also addictive as hell. Don't plan to do anything else the first week you have it. I toyed with it a bit just before Thanksgiving vacation, then started a real game last monday. Duh! I haven't done anything else! My bills are backing up, so that I take them in to work so I can do them because once I get home my brain shuts off and I play Civ III until I fall asleep. I expect to finish the game tomorrow night, then I can finally get some real work done :-)
      • Are you kidding! The minute you finish your first game, you'll realize how stupid you were with certain decisions, you'll have read a few forums with good strategies, and then you'll be chomping at the bit even more to start 'just one more game' so you can do it right on the Warlord level. I can't even imagine how bad it's going to be for me when I am able to move on to the more challenging, and more fun, Prince level (or whatever level 3 is called in Civ3).

        BTW, did I mention what an addictively fun game Civ3 is? The AI politics are so much better than any of its predecessor's political AI. I just wish that that damn Infogrames hadn't made me go find game cracks just so I could circumvent their non-working (on my computer anyways) CD copy-protection scheme just to play the game! *still angry about that*

    • Re:Civ 3 (Score:4, Informative)

      by Doomdark ( 136619 ) on Monday December 03, 2001 @04:23PM (#2649969) Homepage Journal
      I know it's just matter of taste, but I thought Civ 3 was bit of a disappointment (or at least mixed bag). I loved Civ, Civ II, and have been happily playing CivCTP (since I bought a copy on Linux back when it first arrived... with enough patches it's even stable. :-)), but Civ 3 I bought few weeks ago is now collecting dust. It wasn't totally horribly bad, just not quite what I hoped for. Perhaps Sid is getting old or something. :-) (or perhaps I am)

      The biggest problems were its instability (dunno why, perhaps it's not completely Civ3's fault, but Win ME kept on locking up all the time when running Civ 3), crappy gfx (I absolutely hate them compared to, say, Civ 2), non-usable UI (compared to what CivCTP or Civ 2 had... hey, let's make it more user-friendly by removing all "complexity", like menus...), and the fact that there didn't seem to be all that many interesting new features.

      On plus side, it wasn't total rip-off (a la Settlers 3); sphere of influence (or whatever it was called) is a nice idea, movement restrictions are more varied (and interesting) now, diplomacy seems to have been improved, special resources are a nice addition... and perhaps there are more goodies if I do spend more time with it.

      Hmmh. Perhaps I'll need to give Civ 3 a new chance during xmas break, after all. :-)

      • Re:Civ 3 (Score:3, Informative)

        by Arandir ( 19206 )
        non-usable UI (compared to what CivCTP or Civ 2 had... hey, let's make it more user-friendly by removing all "complexity", like menus...)

        I'm not a Windows user, so I thought that was standard :-)

        Seriously, the UI really sucks, and the manual doesn't help much. I talked with a friend who have won two games (where does he get the time!) and he talked about saving the game and then retiring just so he could see what his score was. Then I mentioned the "h" button hidden on the unit display and he went gaga. Then he told me about the capital diplomacy menu having different options than the advisor diplomacy menu (which has different options than the "d" button diplomacy menu hidden on the unit display).

        Just pretend Civ III is Myst III. There's a hidden control panel there somewhere, and you job is to find it.
        • When you click the E button for Espionage, you only get two choices: Investigate City and Steal Technology. If you double click on the little pentagon in the city where you built the Intelligence Agency, you get options to plant spies and do other Espionage stuff. I'm on my third full game and I just figured out what this obscure little pentagon means.
          • I think you pointed out another of Civ III's flaws: Incomplete documentation.

            Things that would have been nice to have in ahrdcopy:
            Unit list, resources needed, cost (shields)
            City improvement list, resources needed

            umm... more complete details of commands.

            Who knew that the star with stuff in it, or the pentagon-shaped CIA were really things you could (and should) click on.)

            A better manual sure would have been helpful.

            But that's just my $0.02
            *goes back to Civ III*
  • Note, only buy this for your favorite geek if you wish absolutely no f2f contact with him/her until Groundhog's Day.
  • Civ III (Score:5, Informative)

    by UberOogie ( 464002 ) on Monday December 03, 2001 @04:04PM (#2649744)
    This is a gimmie. Buy it, and you won't need another game, or TV, or food, for a vera, vera long time.

    • Re:Civ III (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Saxerman ( 253676 )
      Although both redundant and late I'd like to make the attempt to advise caution before spending the money on Civ3. I'm reminded of all the god-damn wonderful reviews that helped convince me to buy Black and White, and then being totally disappointed with the game itself.

      As a long time fan of Civ, Civ2, and SMAC I was rather disappointed with Civ3. Especially with all the tiny features that helped build Alpha Centuari into a great game, many of the features I've come to expect in the Civilization line are conspicuously absent.

      The wonder cinemas are gone, keyboard shortcuts feel clunky and missing, the tech tree feels a bit bare as they've cut out a few techs and reduced a few others to mere filler roles, air power is radically changed and feels a bit lite, and the new quirks with Corruption and Culture and the throwback combat system make Civ3 a totally different game than it's predecessors.

      While not a bad game by any means, it doesn't really give me the same feel of quit-my-job-and-leave-my-wife addiction that the originals did. I tried giving myself the time to get used to the new changes, but I'm afraid I just can't get into this version. Maybe I'm just old now. :(

      • Re:Civ III (Score:5, Informative)

        by UberOogie ( 464002 ) on Monday December 03, 2001 @06:48PM (#2651100)
        I certainly understand this sentiment. I had been waiting six years for this game. The CTPers were cheap ripoffs with pointlessly snazzy graphics. I bought a copy of Civ III on day one, and promptly got my ass kicked by the computer until I saw the note about starting the game at two levels below what you're used to playing at. I got frustrated and went off and completed Max Payne and Wolf 3D (both in under a week--not long games, but good games), and I came back to Civ III. And then I found the sucking of my soul returned. Some brief reasons why this is a great game:

        Wars: Wars are much more realistic in this go around. They are much more difficult. You have to use actual planning and strategy and concentrate on specific goals (like one city).

        Strategic Resources: There add an entire new element to the game, and give much historically realistic reasons for wars. You might finally find yourself sympathizing with the Japenese in WWII when you're playing the game and another civilzation will just not trade you for an important strategic resource you need that is just outside your borders.

        Culture: This one kicked my ass to there and back and is the biggest change you have to get used to in the game, but the culture in the game accurately reflects the influence it has in the real world. One only has to look at the pervasiveness of American "culture" today to see how it really has an influence on geopolitics.

        In all, it is much more realistic and deep advancement on Civ II. Take a step back and come back to it with fresh eyes. The hype and the wait probably did the same thing to you as it did to me.

  • Golden Sun for GBA (Score:2, Interesting)

    by TimeTrip ( 254631 )
    This is one of the best traditional console RPGS I've played in a LONG time. My current fave it Final Fantasy 5, but this one is catching up. AWESOME graphics, and a huge storyline!

    Check out this review:
  • Super Mario Kart 2!!!!!

    please.... somebody, anybody...

    no, neither MarioKart64 or MarioKartAdvance count... trust me, sometimes you just have to be a purist.

    On a slightly more reasonable note, Tony Hawk 3(for PS2) is a pretty fresh pick, and I mean who could get tired of more Tony Hawk(and the character customization is ridiculously cool... nothing is quite as much fun as watching a 3d-modelled person who looks JUST LIKE YOU do a 900 off of an 18-foot ramp and then fall flat on his face, smearing blood everywhere).
    • The best thing about the super-customizable characters is the ability to put your favorite PHB on a skateboard and drive him into the bucket of molten steel on the Foundry level...
    • Hehe...I love the customization features. Tony Hawk in a top hat, big sunglasses, purple vest, red pants, and flippers skating in Canada is utterly hilarious. The game kicks ass too.
  • PS2 : GTA3 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Tek Neek ( 221685 ) on Monday December 03, 2001 @04:05PM (#2649766)
    I know it's mentioned in the story, but Grand Theft Auto 3 is just awesome. You get complete freedom to do whatever your sick twisted mind can think of. Plus the story is pretty non-linear, and the side missions are plentiful.
  • Descent (Score:2, Informative)

    by an_mo ( 175299 )
    Descent 3 is an example of a great game gone forgotten because of bad marketing. The good thing is that you can find it for $9.99.
  • by carlhirsch ( 87880 ) on Monday December 03, 2001 @04:05PM (#2649770) Homepage
    And exactly how smutty is the Sims Hot Date expansion? Personally, I'm hoping for Leisure Suit Larry-ultra.

    Maybe we can get the Linux community to create a Leather Goddesses of Phobos 3-d game.
    • > And exactly how smutty is the Sims Hot Date expansion?

      It's still pretty much G-rated. You can turn it up to PG-13 here [7deadlysims.com] and to the next level here [8thdeadlysim.com]. The second site is a pay site, but it's cheap -- $3.50 US for 30 days, which is more than enough time to suck down everything on the site.
    • by dswensen ( 252552 ) on Monday December 03, 2001 @06:24PM (#2650959) Homepage
      And exactly how smutty is the Sims Hot Date expansion? Personally, I'm hoping for Leisure Suit Larry-ultra. Maybe we can get the Linux community to create a Leather Goddesses of Phobos 3-d game.

      Look, Sims Hot Date is $29.99. Penthouse will run you about five to six bucks. Just cut out the middle man.

      I'm kidding. I actually own Hot Date, and it's entertaining enough (if a little buggy), but smutty it isn't, at all. Nor, I think, will the Sims ever be, as the "T" rating and lack of tit & ass / power armor / ludicrous gibs / seeing one's own reflection in the blood splattered on the wall from Sodomizer 5000 no doubt helps put Sims in the top ten sales rankings.

      Not that I don't enjoy my Unreal Tournament, but the Sims is a nice change of pace from the usual fare of Decapitator III Online (now with bare-naveled mascot!) or what have you. I can get that kind of stuff anywhere.
  • New Games? (Score:2, Insightful)

    Frankly there is so much going on in the mod scene for Half-Life, UT, and Q3 to get me to go out and pay 40$ for something new that I'll play for a few hours before going back to some of the better mods. (This does not include Counter-Strike in my opinion.) If you want the really cool ideas, check out the Half-Life mod scene. Its amaizing what is being done with a 3(?) year old engine. Aside from that, there is some decent games on the PS2, including Gran Turismo 3 and MGS2. Nothing on X-Box nor the Gamecube is going to get me to buy those, at the moment at least.
  • Gift Certificate! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nuintari ( 47926 ) on Monday December 03, 2001 @04:06PM (#2649779) Homepage
    Get me a gift certificate for final fantasy then, I can wait a day, then bombard the stores and fight my way to aisle containing it. Well have plenty of crowd dodging practice by that time.

    Must admit, my xmas shopping skills are weak this year.

    I always prefered gift cerificates anyways, else my mom will be me a copy of "Who wants to be a billionare (but not really), the video game. Whee, I just looove those gifts.
  • by Nelson ( 1275 ) on Monday December 03, 2001 @04:07PM (#2649784)
    It's pretty cool. Not the longest game in the world but the graphics are amazingly fluid and it's entertaining. It's not your run of the mill sports game or shoot 'em up, you've got to do a lot of exploring to beat it. I highly recommend it if you havne't played it yet. Check out Ico.

    Also that scooter has two wheels, side-by-side, I've been wondering why it hasn't been posted on the front page yet.

  • Rez is coming out for PS2 sometime in january. It's a rail shooter (like panzer dragoon) with graphics similar to ones you'ld find in an MP3 visualization, and electronic music that responds to your play style. The gameplay is amazing, and the music kicks ass, and unlike most shooters, It doesn't get booring the 10th time through. Here's some more info: http://www.thegia.com/psx2/rez/rez.html

    If you really want something before christmas, a Dreamcast + 4 games will set you back under $100. Most games on it look as good as other consoles and cost 1/4 what they do...

  • If you can afford it:

    X-box w/ Halo, Oddworld, and Project Gotham Racing

    PC Games (listed in order of desire):

    Return to Castle Wolfenstein
    Aliens vs Predator 2
    Sims - Hot Date
    Mechwarrior4 -Black Knight
    Empire Earth

  • PS2 / PC Games (Score:5, Informative)

    by Captain_Frisk ( 248297 ) <captain_frisk AT bootless DOT org> on Monday December 03, 2001 @04:08PM (#2649800) Homepage
    PS2 Wise I would recommend the following:
    • Grand Theft Auto 3 - Amazing
    • Metal Gear Solid 2 - Has its ups and downs, but pretty cool
    Reviews have been good on the following:
    • SSX Tricky
    • Tony Hawks Pro Skater 3
    • Ico
    • Devil May Cry

    PC Wise the only thing that I have played civilization 3, and its good, but might not be for everyone.

    I'm also probably going to pick up the often discussed Return to Castle Wolfenstein.

    In a related note, does anyone know of any good party style games for the PS2? I really enjoyed Smash Brothers on the N64, but don't want to pick up a new system just for the 1 game, so I was hoping that there was a similar, multiplayer, simple PS2 game out there my girlfriend might be able to play.



    • Re:PS2 / PC Games (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Just Some Guy ( 3352 ) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Monday December 03, 2001 @06:11PM (#2650889) Homepage Journal
      My wife and I were recently browsing through the local Best Buy, and she found something called CookiesandCream [game-revolution.com] for PS2.

      In a nutshell, this is exactly what you're looking for. Up to 4 people can play (2 people can share a controller!). The basic idea is that the screen is split in half by a vertical divider, and each player (or team) is racing from the bottom to the top. The catch is that you're really only trying to beat the clock, and the players have to help each other. I.e., the left player has to pull a rope that pulls an alligator out of the path of the right player, and the right player has to launch a catapult to launch a cabbage into the water in front of the left player so that a hippo will come and eat it and the left player can hitch a ride on it.

      It's hopelessly cheesy at first; I was tempted to try to return it after the first 15 minutes. However, once you're into it, it's a blast to play. Even more importantly, my wife, who has literally never played a video game before in her life, picked up the controls pretty quickly and is now a pretty competent partner.

      See if you can demo it at your local game store. If you can get past the goofy into and the Fisher-Price graphics, you'll love it, and your girlfriend will appreciate you bringing something home that she can play with you.
  • ...on a Gottlieb machine :)

    Or some 8 Ball Deluxe, or some GnR Pinball...

    Forget consol games, go for some old fashioned pinball this Xmas. Yer index fingers will love you for it.
  • Even though it's done by Microsoft, I'm a big fan of the Age of Empires series. I thought Star Wars, Galactic Battlegrounds looked good enough to play.

    Basically, it's AOE2 with Star Wars themed races, units, etc. with all the graphics, Y-wing fighters, and sounds.

    I'll probably pick it up once i'm done with my second round through MGS2!

    Oh, and a review of the game can be found at http://pc.ign.com/reviews/15959.html
  • I asked for Uplink (Score:5, Interesting)

    by edremy ( 36408 ) on Monday December 03, 2001 @04:10PM (#2649823) Journal
    Yes, you've never heard of it. Available only from the website [introversion.co.uk]

    But /. folks should love it- it's a hacking simulator. Break into computers, copy or trash data, delete logs, break bank computers to get funds, create fake credentials... Who, me amoral?

    Highly idealized, of course, but the basic ideas are sound. There's a short demo available-sold me on the idea.


    • I've been pretty happy with Uplink -- this game is the best hacking-type game I've played since the old Neuromancer computer game. As an added bonus, you get both Windows and Linux versions for only $25 or so.
  • Based on the Age of Empires II Engine, but in the Star Wars universe...

    See the LucasArts page on it [lucasarts.com]

  • by Matt2000 ( 29624 ) on Monday December 03, 2001 @04:10PM (#2649827) Homepage

    I'm picking up playstation games now that are only 1 year or less out of date and having a wicked time. Everyone knows what the best games are, so you're guaranteed to get something good, and they don't cost more than $20 usually. Here are my picks:

    NHL 2001 [gamespot.com]
    Driver (obviously) [gamespot.com]
    Ape Escape (a crazy 3D platform game, amazing design) [gamespot.com]
    Grand Turismo [gamespot.com]

    If you're looking at getting laid off like me, you can pick up a playstation super cheap and get games galore for nothing. Look into it.
  • For the pc... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Aiee ( 526906 )
    Personally, I'm not too fond of consoles, but I've heard good things about GTA3. On the PC, the most obvious thing to mention would be Castle Wolfenstein, which I spotted in the stores the other day. Judging from the popularity of the multiplayer test, it's going to be ripped off the shelves. I've heard some people [gamespy.com] complain about the AI, but personally, I'd much rather play multiplayer anyway.

    For strategy-lovers, there's always Stronghold. [godgames.com]A realtively new game from firefly studios, stronghold mixes bits of the fighting from age of Empire with the resource management from the settlers and adds some spicy caste-building extras on top. It may not be everyones cup of tea, but I find it very enjoyable.
  • PC: Civilization 3, Return To Castle Wolfenstein, Commandos2, Tribes 2
    PS2: Metal Gear Solid 2, Devil May Cry, Grand Theft Auto3
    GameCube: Super Smash Brother Melee, Rogue Squadron 2, Super Monkey Ball, Waverace
    XBox: A severe beating and maybe Halo
  • by ellem ( 147712 ) <ellem52@nOSPAM.gmail.com> on Monday December 03, 2001 @04:14PM (#2649869) Homepage Journal
    My wife plays the SIMS because she is a control freak and she can push them SIMmy types all around (you know for when I'm not home.) ;)

    I for one can't get into a game where I have to get up, take a shower, eat breakfast, clean up, go to work, come home, watch TV, read a book, go to bed... I already do that. I prefer SIMS that let me do stuff I don't do everyday like racing SIMS or flying SIMS... (MicroSoft Train Simulator? Simulate your commute? WHAT?!)


    I played this dating game in the hopes that I could make a really slutty girl. But it sucks. I played for about 8 total hours. My girl just cries all the time about her neighbor and won't have sex with any of the prospects I try to pick up with her at the bar I built. I wish there was a shallow grave option in BUILD MODE.

    Ugh! Talk --> About Interests, Talk --> Gossip, Kiss --> Peck

    I'm waiting for The SIMS Fetish Pack to come out so I can tie this girl to a water pipe in a basement somewhere and walk away from the computer for a week.
    • by pi_rules ( 123171 ) on Monday December 03, 2001 @04:50PM (#2650199)
      I have a younger brother that sounds alot like you. He once made a town of lesbians in the original Sims game. Apparently it takes a long time but he had three houses in his town each occupied by a lesbian couple. I can only imagine what happened when one would go underwater in the hot-tub.

      Ho hum...
    • > I wish there was a shallow grave option in BUILD MODE.

      Build the smallest pool possible. Stick unwanted sims in pool. Remove ladder. You can even sell the resulting tombstones for 50 simoleans a pop.

      > I'm waiting for The SIMS Fetish Pack to come out so I can tie this girl to a water pipe in a basement somewhere and walk away from the computer for a week.

      Look no further [8thdeadlysim.com]
    • I played this dating game in the hopes that I could make a really slutty girl. But it sucks.

      Isn't that the whole idea?

    • by albamuth ( 166801 ) on Monday December 03, 2001 @06:58PM (#2651150) Homepage
      You think that's bad? My ex-girlfriend from a year ago was positively obsessed with the Sims. The worst aspect was that she made exact replicas of all her friends, her and myself included. She even had every single Sim's zodiac sign match our real ones!

      Guess what happened when we started dating? Our Sims moved in together. Argument in real life? Temper tantrum expressed via my sim has to sleep on the dreadful Comfort: 2 couch.

      Guess what happened when we broke up? My sim moves out. She gets back together with her old boyfriend (who I maliciously drowned in a pool at the start of our relationship...er, I mean, his Sim!) so she remakes him and moves him in. She changes apartments -- her sim-house changes. I had to beg her to make a door in the room in which my Sim was locked up...fortunately I, I mean, my Sim is still alive.

      After about six months of that (and playing with all the fan-made skins and things) I had to walk away from the sims. However, my worldview was scarred forever...

      Please, if you're going to get someone a PC game this Christmas, make sure that it in NO WAY resembles reality.

  • by Marx_Mrvelous ( 532372 ) on Monday December 03, 2001 @04:14PM (#2649873) Homepage
    If you want a very high-quality game, go for Wizardry 8. Not only will it take a long time to fonish, but it is feature-rich, entertaining (sometimes downright funny!), and completely enjoyable.

    As a bonus you could first purchase Wizardry Gold for cheap, play it for a good hundred hours, then import your party to Wiz 8 and start from there.
  • Gamespot gave it a 9.1, even tho it was developed 2 years ago (or just finished in May or something). 60 hours of gameplay, and its already being talked about as RPG of the year by many sites. Go to ebworld.com .. they have exclusive distribution rights for the first 30 days of sale?
  • Myst III: Exile. A sequel to Myst I, with a Riven (Myst II) feel, and an actual plot! Graphics are cool (realistic panoramic view). Brad Dourif is your thoroughly wicked and entertaining antagonist.

    Civilization III: Addicting. Addicting. Addicting. Just two more turns and I'll go to bed. Okay, just two more turns and I'll turn off the alarm clock telling me to get up. A major evolutionary (not revolutionary) update to Civ II. Diplomacy actually works. Conquering the world is damn near impossible.
  • After overcoming my initial inability to master
    the games movement style (which consisted of me
    coming to the understanding that it realisticly
    expects you to apply thrust when you're airbourne
    if you want to move horizontally), I've come to truly enjoy this game. It includes much variety as to the style of the players' weaponry and armor, and the vehicle operation gives it something above Quake 3:TA and UT (both of which I also think of highly). It's slow-paced comparitively, but it's a lot of fun, and it has tremendous replay value.
  • New for Nerds? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Scratch-O-Matic ( 245992 ) on Monday December 03, 2001 @04:17PM (#2649904)
    unless you count some lame overpriced scooter...

    I tell you, I just don't understand the animosity toward this amazing technology. I was hoping the subject would come up again today after people had actually SEEN it, but no such luck. For those of you who haven't seen it in action: this machine actually keeps balance. It reproduces an extremely intricate function of our brain and nervous system. Here's what the story on Time.com [time.com] says:

    Pulling off this trick requires an unholy amount of computer power. In every Segway there are 10 microprocessors cranking out three PCs' worth of juice. Also a cluster of aviation-grade gyros, an accelerometer, a bevy of sensors, two batteries and software so sophisticated it puts Microsoft to shame.

    If that's not news for nerds, I don't know what is. Non-closed-minded people should check out the story at the link above. The rest of you can carry on with the discussion about which amazing new game you can play while your fat ass is plastered to the couch.
    • > I tell you, I just don't understand the animosity toward this amazing technology.

      I understand the animosity. It's hype-backlash.

      Yes, it looks cool. Yes, it should appeal to geeks. But it was so massively over-hyped. Is this really going to change everything about life as we know it, or was that a bit of an exaggeration?

      You can't tell me you weren't at least a little letdown. Does it use a Sterling engine? No. Does it run on hydrogen or some alternative fuel source? No. Does "everyone want one"? Not at $3k.

      Ok, very neat, "think forward, go forward". But beyond that, it's not like people are really incapable of learning to use a throttle. For the most part, when I'm driving I don't have to consciously remind myself which pedal to step on to make the car go...
      • Re:New for Nerds? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by tswinzig ( 210999 )
        Yes, it looks cool. Yes, it should appeal to geeks. But it was so massively over-hyped.

        This is hilarious. The slashdot crowd over-hyped the invention -- not DEKA -- and now the slashdot crowd is pissed off at DEKA because it does not live up to the hype?

        Ok, very neat, "think forward, go forward". But beyond that, it's not like people are really incapable of learning to use a throttle. For the most part, when I'm driving I don't have to consciously remind myself which pedal to step on to make the car go...

        You just don't get it. It's very simple. This device lets you move 4 times as fast as walking speed, while you expend LESS energy, and you are LESS likely to be knocked over by outside forces.
        It requires about 10 cents worth of energy per day to run.

        Why does it need a Stirling engine or alternative fuel?

        Oh, I forgot, because that's what the slashdot crowd said it would have.
    • Pulling off this trick requires an unholy amount of computer power. In every Segway there are 10 microprocessors cranking out three PCs' worth of juice. Also a cluster of aviation-grade gyros, an accelerometer, a bevy of sensors, two batteries and software so sophisticated it puts Microsoft to shame.
      Then this begs the question, what would a beowulf cluster of THOSE be like? (I know, I know, shut up Dan)
    • For those of you who haven't seen it in action: this machine actually keeps balance. It reproduces an extremely intricate function of our brain and nervous system.

      BFD. So do my feet and they don't cost $3K.

      No offense intended, but fuzzy control circuitry has been doing more complex stuff for years. So someone has finally built a package that combines decent sensors and a bit of motor control. And the best they could come up with for this stuff is some lame ass scooter? That doesn't even have a useful purpose? Call me when I can overclock this thing to 45 MPH.

    • Don't worry, it's just typical of everyone to not be wowed and amazed to something that looks just ordinary. Unless it has three eyes, gills, a tentacle, and runs on thirteen different 486's running Linux, the Slashdot crew, like much of the world (including my coworkers!) won't think it's that amazing.

      Invest now, and watch as an 'ordinary, just-another-scooter' invention becomes the next big thing within 10 years.

      People keep slamming on Steve Jobs for touting it as the Next Big Thing, because after all, he only invented Apple Computers and they never did so well. Considering he helped invent the entire desktop PC, which MS stole GUI ideas and other things from, I honestly don't know why slashdot (users and site operators alike) is being so gay about IT.

      For Christmas I want:
      IT, Segway, Ginger, whatever you call it.
      Civ3 - I already got it, but highly recommend it
      Return to Castle Wolfenstein - if my computer had a GeForce3 it would run fine for me, and I played the multiplayer test more than CS over the past few weeks!
      GeForce3 - to run games better on my PC
      PS2 + Final Fantasy 10 - give me a gift certificate to Best Buy, I can wait a few weeks ;)

      Yes I strayed off-topic a bit, but somebody had to do it.

    • by Greyfox ( 87712 )
      If it's not capable of at least 200 mph [consumerreview.com] I'm not interested.
  • Other choices (Score:4, Informative)

    by ChaoticCoyote ( 195677 ) on Monday December 03, 2001 @04:18PM (#2649918) Homepage

    For those of us who aren't into anime (FF 10) or first-person shooters... ;)

    Kohan: Ahriman's Gift [kohan.net] , the most original and entertaining RTS this year.

    Wizardry 8 [wizardy8.com] , if you like party-based, heavy-combat, first-person RPGs.

    Stronghold [fireflyworlds.com] , a terrific "castle simulator" built by some of the folks who created the Caesar/Pharoah series.

  • I have to say... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dhamsaic ( 410174 ) on Monday December 03, 2001 @04:19PM (#2649922)
    Xbox is pretty great. I picked one up a few days ago and have gotten four games. I did a lot of research before buying. Here's what I've found.

    -Halo - Wow. This is seriously one of the best games I've ever played. For a FPS, the play and control is actually pretty good for a console. The graphics are good, and I find myself really getting into it. It's a great game, and anyone that enjoys immersive action games would appreciate it. You can check out an IGN review at http://xbox.ign.com/reviews/15922.html [ign.com].

    -Dead or Alive 3 - WOW! I find it exceptionally hard to stop playing this game. The graphics are *stunning* and the fighting is great. This is really a game you get to play with someone else. It's fun the first 20 or so times by yourself, but after that, there's not much to go for. It also did very well with an IGN review, which you can get at http://xbox.ign.com/reviews/16249.html [ign.com].

    -Project Gotham Racing - This is a very cool game indeed. Great for those that like racing and want something new. The tracks are pretty good and the cars are awesome. I personally don't have the racing wheel yet, but I find controls with the standard Xbox pad to be pretty good. Definitely enjoyable. IGN review at http://xbox.ign.com/reviews/16195.html [ign.com].

    -Amped - This is probably my favorite of the bunch. I cannot take this game out of the console. Besides looking absolutely stunning, it's really addictive to play. There are tons of ways to go down the mountains, and I find myself making 15 or 20 runs in a row just trying to get the trick off just right. Very satisfying game experience. Highly recommended. IGN review at http://xbox.ign.com/reviews/16174.html [ign.com].

    I'd strongly recommend buying a second controller. They're $40 each but you really wanna play this thing with someone else. Especially Dead or Alive 3 - it's great fun having the guys over and playing DOA3 for a few hours. If you're only going to be playing Halo or Amped and you'll be by yourself, don't bother with the extra controller. Also, if you're getting it for someone that's likely to just play games by themself. But personally, I need the second controller - I'm all about gaming with friends.

    Anyway. That's what I'd want for Christmas if I didn't already have it. The games that I listed above are great and they'll undoubtedly be appreciated by any gamer.
  • Um, while I know its been crucified since its release. Try Anarchy Online - either for the first time or again. I beleive FunCom is offering december free for those who canceled their accounts.

    All I can say is - its getting better. No, its not 100% there, but it is getting better.
  • Grand Theft Auto 3 (Score:5, Informative)

    by GregGardner ( 66423 ) on Monday December 03, 2001 @04:21PM (#2649950) Homepage
    CmdrTaco already mentioned this game, but he didn't give enough detail on it to convince people why it is such a great game.

    Unfortunately it is only out for the PS2, but for those of you with a PS2 should seriously think about getting this game. The complexity and depth of this game is pretty amazing. And the graphics are a huge improvement from GTA1 and 2. That silly low-detail overhead view made playing the game too cumbersome. GTA3 got the graphics/interface right.

    I have been playing it every spare second I have for the last month, and I am still only 36% through it according to the stats. And I believe that only relates to the missions. If you are bored with the missions you can always:

    1) Try to get "stunt" bonuses by stealing fast cars, boats, or airplanes and driving them off ramps, bridges, buildings, etc.
    2) Steal a taxi cab and play a little Crazy Taxi-esque game to earn a little side money
    3) Steal a fire engine and go around the citty putting out fires for $$. I hear if you put out 10 in a row you get the flame thrower. (How does that work?)
    4) Steal an ambulance and drive people to the hospital.
    5) Steal a police car and go on "Vigilante Missions" where you track down criminals around the city and get cash for killing them.

    Oh did I mention that this game is very non-PC and not recommended for people under 17? But man is it a lot of fun for those of us who are over 17.
  • Dreamcast. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dhamsaic ( 410174 ) on Monday December 03, 2001 @04:23PM (#2649971)
    The Dreamcast price has been dropped to $50, and most great games (Crazy Taxi, Soul Calibur, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 & 2, etc) can be found for $20 or less (I saw Crazy Taxi for $10 at Best Buy Saturday night). One must not overlook the Dreamcast - it's cheap, it's got great graphics, there are a lot of *really* great games for it - it's the perfect gift for anyone that's into console gaming. Cheap for you, fun for them. Nothing to lose buying it.
    • I have always been pro-cheap on hardware. I am always at least a year behind or so when I purchase a new machine... The games are great at the time but then after like 6 mos I get bored and start seeing the great crap that just came out...

      So the cycle begins again.
    • Worms is an excellent game on the Dreamcast too. I started playing Worms II on the PC, a friend had it on PS1 (that one didn't work so well though.. screen kinda sucked) but on the DC the game plays very well. You can find various versions, Worms Armageddon and Worms World Party. I prefer World Party because you have the option of using more than 1 controller where as Armageddon forces you to pass the controller around from person to person. It's not the act of passing it that bothers me, but it's easy to bump the "fire" button while passing and kill the next guy's worm with a bazooka blast planted right in front of him on accident. If you've ever played it you probably know what I mean.

      It's a fun game for a group of 4 people, very addictive if you ask me. Can be quite humorous at times too. Really fun when you get more than 2 people going because you get "politics" going as people gang up on the leader and such. Maybe that's just my group of friends though.

      Oh yeah, like all DC games now it's cheap. I got a copy for $20.
  • Mame (Score:5, Insightful)

    by crow ( 16139 ) on Monday December 03, 2001 @04:24PM (#2649989) Homepage Journal
    While it may seem like a lame cop-out on the surface, I think that putting together a CD of old arcade games may make a great gift for some people. The target for such a gift would be someone who isn't likely to download and install it themselves, but would enjoy the games. So do the work for them (granted, it's not that much work) and get them a CD that they just pop in their system and play.

    Think of it as the geek equivalent of hand-drawing your own greeting cards. Martha Stewart of Borg would be proud.
    • Yeah, I got a CD with about 500 SNES/Genesis/Gameboy ROMS on it as well as a couple of good quality emulators from a friend to give to my girlfriends kids. They love it.
  • I am a big fan of Rogue Spear, after finishing it I bought the Urban Operations pack. So I naturally picked up Ghost Recon when it came out. It is a slightly different type of game, which has some things better than RS, some worse.

    It is a wartime game, not like RS which was anti-terrorist. I kind of prefer that format, even though the massive outdoor scenarios in GR are awesome. I also miss the ability to have a wide variety of weapons to choose from. GR gives you classes, where you have 1 or two combinations. In RS, you could select from 10 assault rifles, 5 or 6 pistols, 6 or so sniper rifles, etc.

    Ghost Recon is just a slightly different type of game, but you do have the ability to command the other squads during the game, instead of like in RS where you had to define it all before starting.

    My personal preference would be to have more silenced weapons in GR, because I am more of a stealthy guy. But the gameplay and AI is pretty cool, the scenery is awesome, and the action is top notch.

  • Racing games? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by abischof ( 255 ) <alex@@@spamcop...net> on Monday December 03, 2001 @04:32PM (#2650053) Homepage
    Personally, I'm a big fan of racing games, such as the Need For Speed [needforspeed.com] series (I like the varied environment there, as opposed to a set track from, for instance, Formula 1 games). High Stakes [needforspeed.com] was good, but that's a bit old now. And, Porsche Unleashed [needforspeed.com] only has Porsches, of course.

    Are there any new racing games that I should check out? And, before you suggest it, I'm not particularly interested in Motor City Online [ea.com], as I prefer non-Internet play ;).
    • Re:Racing games? (Score:3, Informative)

      If you are interested in racing get a PS/2 and GT3 A-Spec, nothing else compares. Project Gotham has prettier cars, but the tracks suck, and it has only 25 cars and 4 base tracks (Albeit 240 variations of those 4), vs 140+ and 29 tracks in GT3. The Crazy Finn
  • RPGs: Wizardry 8, this game is really really fun. The graphics are pretty good at times and pretty strange at times. (for instance, really really thick doors) Overall a vibrantly colored, fun game that will take a LONG time to beat. (This game almost plays like an FPS)

    Strategy: Well, its hard to pick a favorite for this category, I like Civ3, but it can be pretty boring at times, so I also like Empire Earth (It's an AOE2 clone that's graphically pretty well done and from what I've seen so far, got a great amount of diverse gameply), and Star Wars Gallactic Battlegrounds, this game IS AOE2 with a Star Wars Theme, so if you like AOE2 and Star Wars, this is a must have. Heck, if you like Strategy and Star Wars, it's a must have. The campaigns take you through the ENTIRE Star Wars saga. On a side note, the graphics could be better, but the sound/voices are superb. Monopoly Tycoon is worth a look too, if you can get it cheap.

    FPS: Return to Castlewolfenstein was a pretty lackluster single player title for me, so I don't recommend this game except maybe for the netplay. The netplay is very well done and seems to be the main reason why people are getting this game. But is it more popular/better than CS? I really doubt it. Aliens Vs Predator 2 is a really really polished title and expansion on the first, I recommend it just for the sheer size/diversity of the gameplay. Heck, it's fun too. Max Payne, I know it's not a Christmas/Holiday title, but if you haven't played it yet, well, bullet time is to die for. And, it has X-Box and PS2 versions of it coming out on Dec. 11th in the US. (I do know that Max Payne is a 3rd Person game, but it's an FPS, trust me.) The last title I would recommend for the FPS genre is one called Codename: Outbreak. It was made in Russia, but the gameplay is set in Montana, which is kind of funny because the members of your crew in the game are mostly Americans, but EVERYONE speaks Russian style english (grammar and accenting). But the FPS gameplay is pretty good most of the time, but can drag at others. Worth mentioning is the excellent sound/music, and really sweet weapons in the game. The Zoom on your gun also has an audio magnifier so you can listen to where you're looking. Sweet.

    RTS: Well, I have to say, Battle Realms is an AWESOME game. Beautiful graphics, fluid gameplay, excellent voiced and diverse storyline, and hours and hours of gameplay. If all that wasn't enough, you can play with lots of people on the internet too. This game is a must, but it does have rather steep system reqs (req: P3 500, 128mb) But it's worth it.

    Last, I can't WAIT for DNF to come out. I get a chubby just thinking about it.
  • by EvlG ( 24576 ) on Monday December 03, 2001 @04:33PM (#2650068)
    Both of these games are amazing. My copy of Pikmin doesn't arrive until tomorrow, but the reviews look stellar.

    As for Monkey Ball, if you have a GCN, you need this game. Hell, if you are an avid gamer at all, you need this. Mega fun with 4 people, and quite addictive and enjoyable just by yourself or with your spouse. My fiance and I wasted all of Thanksgiving weekend on this one, and she doesn't even like games much.

    Gamecube is a lot of fun, but unfortunately, it hasn't gotten much attention from store employees and media with Xbox's release. But don't let the lack of enthusiasm from sales monkeys deter you; GCN is a boatload of fun (not to mention you can pick up the console AND these 2 games for the cost of one of the other consoles alone!) What a value!
  • Star Trek Armada II just came out, and theres another came called Bridge Commander thats coming out sometime soon. Cant go wrong with Trek!
  • These games deserve to be in a lot of X-mas stockings. Because the game allies you with a creature, you can get: (1) first person shooter (you shoot), (2) third person shooter (your creature shoots, largely based on how you train it), (3) roleplaying (be good, be evil, whatever), (4) real-time strategy (limited, game only lasts for 5 scenarios). Anyone who loves games for their variety has to try the interface these games have.
  • The creator of Mario and Zelda created a real-time strategy game where you are a spaceman who crash landed on a planet, and with the help of hundreds of little native creatures (Pikmin) you have to gather your spacecraft parts. Preview [ign.com]

    Looks quite impressive. A creative approach to the RTS genre that I'm sure will attact a large range of players. Will be released tomorrow here in the US. I know it's on my Christmas list! ;)
  • Since us gamers just got the early Christmas of a lifetime with the release of the Xbox (hush your mouth) and Gamecube, not to mention the amazing games that are flooding the market for the PS2, it's going to be hard NOT to buy a good game/system for Christmas. Anywhoo... here are some suggestions on games to get (or avoid) for Christmas.

    Playstation 2

    Metal Gear Solid 2: Yes, it's as bad assed as it wants to be. The intro looks like something from Michael Bay and Jerry Bruckheimer's wildest imaginations. The game itself is pretty dang fun even if I do keep getting confused on which button does what (play it, you'll see what I mean). I want to play this game some more, but there's so much more to see!

    NFL 2K2: This game is hands down the best looking football game I've ever seen. If you can handle the slightly more arcade type feel to the game, it has it all over Madden 2002. It sure would be nice to have some equivalent of the Madden Cards but even without it - this is one helluva football game. You can't coach that.

    Gran Turismo 3: Okay, yes this game has been out for six months now, but I had to put some more time into it after playing Metropolis Street Racer for the Xbox. This game is damn near flawless. Well, with the exception of a lack of skid marks (almost unforgivable), crash modeling, and complete lack of ability to turn up the volume on the background music (really). Outside of that, the cars handle just like you think they would - and this game is deep enough to keep you busy for months. Literally. If you're going to own one driving game, this is it.

    Grand Theft Auto III: I don't mean to rain on anybody's parade but please, give me a friggin' break. The way people were talking about this game, you'd of thought that it'd be fun. Marketed as a 'mature' game, I guess a large part of the fun of this game is suppoed to come from all the bad things you can do. Hmm... maybe I haven't gotten far enough in this game (roughly 6-7 hours into it) but picking up a hooker (read: woman with fishnet stockings) to take her to a policeman's ball isn't criminal - it's a taxi service. I was thinking this would be a criminal Shenmue type game, but it's just not there. The palatte of colors used in the game is muted, the storyline isn't that engaging, in short - I don't get the appeal of this game. I'm sure some of you will LOVE it, but if I'm going to spend several hours driving around, I'd just as soon drive in a game with realistic handling. Skip it.


    Halo: I'm not the biggest fan of first person shooters. Personally, the last time I spent a lot of time on one was when 007's Goldeneye came out for the N64. But Halo pretty much rocks. It's the best looking FPS I've seen, and it has a high nervous quotient to it in the beginning because you just get dropped into the action - so you have to learn everything on the fly. I've only spent an hour with this game, but it deserves some more time.

    Oh, and Penny Arcade has a great comic [penny-arcade.com] about it.

    NASCAR Thunder 2002: I know what you're thinking... it's NASCAR. And you're right. But it's also one fun racing game. They've crammed 43 cars onto one track, built in a nice drafting system and they put you on the NASCAR tracks and let you go to it. It's pretty fun to start a race in the middle of the pack and to be passing cars the entire race. If you like to race, this is a great game.

    Project Gotham Racing: Do you remember Metropolis Street Racer on the Dreamcast? No? Shame on you. Yes? Well, this is like MSR 2. It's really good. It looks good, the sound is awesome and there are enough tracks and cars to keep you busy for the next 3 months. It has a kudos system to reward good driving, and the game demands expertice to beat it. It's a really fun title.

    Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2x: I'm a Tony Hawk freak. Ever since THPS1 on the Dreamcast, I've logged more hours on THPS games than any other game I can remember playing with the exception of some Final Fantasy games - or maybe some game for the NES back in the day when I didn't have anything better to do. I own a bunch of them, THPS 1 and 2 on the Dreamcast, THPS3 on the PS2, THPS2x on the Xbox and THPS3 on the Gamecube. So I feel TOTALLY qualified to say what's right and wrong with this game. And this game has an issue - it's the controller. The Xbox controller is about the size of New Hampshire. It's friggin' huge. I just haven't gotten used to the controls on this game yet. Otherwise, this is THPS 2 on the DC with marginally better graphics, a few new areas on existing levels to explore, a new menu system, supposedly THPS 1 is in the game somewhere - so you can now manual throughout that game (they added the manual after THPS 1) and there are six new levels. It's fun, but if you have THPS 1 and 2 for the Playstation or Dreamcast already... you can pretty much pass this title up.

    Dead or Alive 3: This game is basically Dead or Alive 2 with better graphics. I've never been a huge fan of this series because I personally like to beat the crap outta people without having to be graceful about it. And best I can tell, DoA3 asks for grace. You have to know just when to block, just when to counter and just when to attack. There's no run-away command to back up quickly, so everything is pretty much hand to hand short distance combat all the time. It's fun for about 10 minutes, but then I just want to play Soul Calibur for the Dreamcast - if I'm going to play a fighter.


    Luigi's Mansion: Okay, I thought this was a dumb as hell idea for a game. Give Luigi a vacuum cleaner and a flashlight and let him run thru some mansion stunning ghosts so he can suck them up in his vacuum cleaner. But I have to admit, this game is fun. It brings back some of that original Mario feel to a 3D game. It's silly, and ultimately, pretty stupid, but give it up for the game and the system. I woke up this morning wanting to play it some more. And now that I've finished it - I have to admit - it's one of the best looking games I've ever seen. Seeing Bowser rendered in all his 3D splendor alone was worth the purchase.

    Rogue Squadron II: This is supposed to be the game that got everybody's juices flowing when they saw it. And it comes pretty damn close to the hype that preceeded it. The original Rogue Squadron came out for the N64, and that game was bad ass. This game is just as cool. It looks at times just as good or better than the Star Wars movies. This isn't like Star Wars Starfighter on the PS2 where you can do barrel rolls while flying your craft. Starfighter feels a bit more like a sim game, where you really have to have skills to blow stuff up. This game is all about recreating the fun of the dogfights from the movies. The explosions are amazing. And when you fire a missle down a shaft, you see the light from the missle light up the shaft as it flys down it... majorly cool. This game is way fun. And the sound is amazing. Add to that, this is the first game I know of that has a making of documentary built in, and you've got a title that you pretty much need to own if you have a GameCube.

    Tony Hawk Pro Skater 3: Like I said above, I rock these games. Off the bat, I like this game better than the PS2 version. Mostly because I could pick up the game without looking at the manual and I could trick all day long, so the controls are really good. There are a few issues with the game being too forgiving with landings or how you do tricks - but I almost prefer it to the PS2 version where everything has to be perfect. I guess maybe I'm just somewhat of a sloppy skater. But the game is super fun. If you're a THPS fan and have a Gamecube... consider this a must buy.

    Wave Race: I wasn't so sure about this game. I've never really liked any other wave race type games (the one for the N64 comes to mind) bascially because I was bad at it. The waves frustrated me, and there was nothing compelling enough about the title to make me put serious time into it. But this game changes all of that. The water is hands down the best, most amazing beautiful water in any game you've ever seen period stop end of discussion. It's that good. It looks great in all conditions. But when it's raining outside, it especially looks cool. The water will splash up on the camera and leave water marks. The graphics are gorgeous. Once I got the hang of the controls (not hard to master), this game totally rocked. This was the big surprise game for me. With tons of tracks, and tons of characters to choose from - I can already tell that this game will get some good play for weeks to come.

    Lastly, if you're on a budget, but you want to be happy-happy on Dec. 25th, go buy a Dreamcast and a bunch of used games. Systems run $80, and your typical used game goes for around $20. Try Soul Calibur, Crazy Taxi, NFL 2K2, Samba de Amigo, Shenmue, Sonic I & II, Virtua Tennis, Skies of Arcadia, THPS 1 & 2, Metropolis Street Racing, Ferrari 355 Challenge, and, Test Drive LeMans among the many other great games for this underappreciated system.

    Well, that's the wrap-up. Happy gaming.
  • by Tom7 ( 102298 ) on Monday December 03, 2001 @04:48PM (#2650184) Homepage Journal

    - Chu Chu Rocket (Dreamcast)
    - Advance Wars (GBA)
    - Paper Mario (N64)

    Golden Sun for GBA looks really good. RTCW and Max Payne were pretty fun for the PC, but I think I am personally a sucker for bad single-player FPS games.
  • For you old-school adventurers out there. A great game that can be had pretty cheap, didn't sell too well due to poor marketing but got rave reviews from... pretty much everyone.

    Nice graphics, great speech, and a female lead who's not all about tight-fitting clothes and guns.

    More info here [longestjourney.com]
  • Spy Hunter for PS2 (Score:3, Informative)

    by steveha ( 103154 ) on Monday December 03, 2001 @04:51PM (#2650209) Homepage
    I just got Spy Hunter and it's a blast.

    20 years ago, Spy Hunter was a sprite-based top-down scrolling shooter. Your little car sprite would shoot the other little car sprites, or drop oil slicks in front of them. Sometimes you would drive a little boat sprite. You drove on an endless scrolling road (or sometimes river). (With Shockwave, you can play a version of the original Spy Hunter here [shockwave.com].)

    Now, on the PlayStation 2, Spy Hunter [midway.com] is a 3D game. The camera is just above and behind your car. There are 14 levels to play, with multiple objectives per level. It plays a lot like Hydro Thunder, but with weapons.

    Drive into water, and the car morphs to a boat. Drive the boat up onto land it and morphs back to car. When the car takes too much damage, lots of parts explode off it and what's left morphs to an armored motorcycle! Even cooler, drive the motorcycle into the water and it morphs into an armored jet-ski! When you are driving the car/jetski, you don't have the full special abilities of the car, and you have reduced firepower, but you can play the level anyway; it's just tougher. Dock with the weapons van (or weapons boat) for a full repair of all damage and full ammo load.

    If you like Hydro Thunder you should like this too. I haven't had it long, but I don't think I will get tired of it, just as I'm not tired of Hydro Thunder. The gameplay is somewhat repetitive: you drive around shooting bad guys, you try to find the ramps that let you make the jumps, etc. But the level design is fun, and I don't seem to get tired of locking guided missiles on enemies and blowing them away.

    I have only two complaints about the game. 0) Most of the cinematic cutscenes are pretty boring (just a shot of your car making the getaway after finishing the level). 1) If you are a good player, it will probably take you 20 hours or less to finish all the levels. But as I said there is a lot of replay value even just playing the same levels over and over, plus it will take you many plays to find all the secrets and accomplish all the objectives. Once you have found all secrets and accomplished all objectives, that level unlocks for 2-player mode; in 2-player mode you both play, split-screen, at the same time. I haven't tried 2-player yet but it looks like a blast.

    The music is great. The rocking "Spy Hunter" soundtrack the "Peter Gunn Theme" by Henry Mancini, but remixed and with variations. I like the soundtrack so much that if they sell a CD of just the music, I'll probably buy it.

    GameSpot has a review [gamespot.com]. They like it but not quite as much as I like it.


  • CmdrTaco, could you please take yourown advice and list the system names with your games.
  • Playstation 2:
    You've already mentioned GTA 3 and Metal Gear Solid 2, which are absolute must-haves. Devil May Cry, Silent Hill 2, ICO, Tony Hawk 3, Spy Hunter, and Gran Turismo 3 are also worth picking up. As for party games, Frequency, WWF Smackdown: Know Your Role, and NBA Street are good candidates. Which reminds me, don't overlook the sports titles out there (I'm not a big sports nut but I do enjoy playing football games like Madden 2002 and NFL 2K2 as a change of pace every so often).

    Star Wars: Rogue Leader is a must-have. The second-to-last level, simply titled "Battle Above Endor," is breathtaking (my friends are always astonished at the sheer amount of chaos that occurs on that level). Wave Race: Blue Storm and Super Smash Brothers Melee are great party games. Luigi's Mansion is good, although people have complained that the completion time is rather short.

    HALO and Dead or Alive 3 are must-haves and great party games. Oddworld: Abe's Odyssey is also worth picking up.

    With the console's price slashed down to just $50.00, you can quickly stock up on a great collection of games. I was shocked that Space Channel 5 and Jet Grind Radio were less than $10.00 apiece at the local Best Buy last weekend.

    PS One and Nintendo 64:
    I've recently started picking up many games that I had previously overlooked which have now been heavily discounted (Castlevania: Symphony of the Night for instance). It might be worth filling some holes in your collection.

    I wish this list were more complete but all of my games are at home and I'm at work. :)
  • Real War (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Sanity ( 1431 ) on Monday December 03, 2001 @05:03PM (#2650343) Homepage Journal
    I recently purchased "Real War", a real-time strategy game which is clearly inspired by the "Command and Conquer" series, but which strives for realism in terms of military hardware available today.

    In my opinion the C&C series went downhill since "Red Alert", the problem being that the game complexity kept increasing, allowing people to develop pre-cooked strategies which could only be defeated with other pre-cooked strategies, reducing the opportunity for creativity in playing the game.

    While I am still getting accustomed to it, I think Real War has the potential to get back to the simplicity that made the early C&C games so much fun. Combine that with impressive graphics, and the knowledge that the US military actually uses the software upon which this was based to train people, and I think we have the makings of the best RTS game yet.

  • Have to forgive the lameness penalty it gets for having "tycoon" in the title. This game just freekin rocks. Addictive, fun, intuitive interface, and very well packaged into a great game. And it's been out long enough that you can pick up a (legal) copy for less than $20.

    Plus hey, i even got my wife to play it!

  • Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance [ebgames.com]

    The baldur's gate games have never missed their mark, and I'm eagerly awaiting this one. This one looks like it'll be diabloesque, but with actual role-playing involved, rather than just a click-fest(or in this case button-mash) arcade game.
  • I'm thinking of giving myself the gift of Harpoon 97 online for Xmas.

    Harpoon [harpoonhq.com] is a series of naval-warfare simulation "games." I wasn't Navy, but ever since I read Tom Clancy's novel The Hunt for Red October, which the original Harpoon wargame was used to help develop, I've been fascinated at the idea of simulating a modern naval battle via software -- not just the surface-warfare element, but the air, submarine, and amphibious ones too.

    My fondest dream is that either a bunch of people develop a GNU version, or that the code someday winds up placed in the public domain and naval-warfare-enthusiast geeks seize upon it, port it to the *x platforms, and extend it further. I fancy a small group naval-warfare geeks gaming over the 'net with this to win the Battle of Midway for the Imperial Japanese Navy.
  • by Ondo ( 187980 ) on Monday December 03, 2001 @05:39PM (#2650669)
    Don't buy - just rent.

    Check out www.redoctane.com - they have a rental program similar to NetFlix. For a monthly fee you get a certain number of games out at any one time, and when you return one they send you the next one on your list. They have a great selection (including some imports), but it's pretty common for games to be out of stock for a while. For example I put Sonic Adventure 2 in my queue when I joined in late September, and recieved it in early November. I still haven't gotten Parasite Eve though, which I also added when I joined and which it now finally says is in stock. I haven't gotten any GameCubes games yet, and don't really expect them for a while.

    Still, it's been worth it. There are a lot of games that just don't take that long to finish. ICO, for example, was very fun first time through but I can't imagine wanting to play it again. It's also nice to not have to rely on reviews, but actually be able to easily check games out for yourself.
  • by eddy ( 18759 ) on Monday December 03, 2001 @05:49PM (#2650742) Homepage Journal

    Not new, but still the very best of the best: Planescape: Torment [planescape-torment.com] and Baldur's Gate 2 [interplay.com].

  • by Blimbo ( 528076 ) on Monday December 03, 2001 @05:56PM (#2650789) Homepage
    Wizardry was the THE game back in the day. This was the first "real" computer game i ever saw being played and as i recall that was on the Apple II My UberGeek pal recieved a Diploma of sorts for finishing up or scroring high in one of the series. IIRC. I was never a huge geek myself, but 2 weeks ago i rushed right out to grab it at EB, only to find no one else i know is playing it ?? I guess FPS and such have realy over run a good ole RPG in terms of popularity. Or maybe everyone is all tuckerd out fm playing Baldurs Gate 2, perhaps a more intelectual RPG. ?
  • Half-Life! (Score:3, Informative)

    by sbryant ( 93075 ) on Monday December 03, 2001 @06:51PM (#2651110)

    It still rocks! No need to spend big bucks for the latest games. You should be able to pick up a bargain-priced copy of HL - if you're lucky with Opposing Force and maybe even Blue Shift. HL is still (IMO) the best single-player experience that ever happened.

    Download the latest patch and you become part of the biggest online gaming community. Team Fortress Classic and Counter Strike are included in the patch, and are the most well known, but there are others. See Planet Half-Life [planethalflife.com] for more mods/skins/levels/cheese.

    Another FPS which had a good immersive story line was Who Wants To Live Forever. More tongue-in-cheek than violent. Shouldn't be too expensive now either.

    Other classics would be the original Command & Conquer and Red Alert. Tiberian Sun wasn't bad, but RA2 was pure cheese.

    Also worth a mention: Total Annihilation (along with expansion packs Core Contingency and Battle Tactics), and Age of Empires II. I liked those.

    The game I play the most: TFC (online of course). I'm looking forward to TFC2.

    -- Steve

  • Some games (Score:3, Informative)

    by JimPooley ( 150814 ) on Monday December 03, 2001 @07:45PM (#2651384) Homepage
    The aforementioned Return to Castle Wolfenstein. Really shows how things have changed in the last ten years.

    Hmmmmmm.... Leather-clad Dominatrix Nazi Babes.... Can I freeze frame that bit...

    Ahem. For the flight sim fan, Microsoft Flight Sim 2002 is a major improvement over the 2000 model. Better and more importantly faster graphics, autogen scenery, other planes, and ATC.
    Free-scrolling virtual cockpit with working dials means you can take a good lookout as you'd do in a real plane. The program that shows Microsoft can do some things right!

    Also on a flight sim vein, IL2 Sturmovik is a delightfully different combat flight sim. Unlike most WWII combat flight sims, IL2 concentrates on the air war over Russia, and the Russian IL2 ground attack fighter. Looks pretty good so far..

Logic is the chastity belt of the mind!