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Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance – Review

The release of Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance for the PlayStation 2—a high-profile PC franchise appearing on a console—is something unusual. This is not entirely new, as the Ultima series made appearances on consoles in addition to its original PC releases. But Dark Alliance differs from the console versions of Ultima in that its gameplay deviates heavily from its franchise-mates on the PC. The other Baldur's Gate games were an excellent example of the PC style of role-playing games—open-ended strategic games based heavily on rules from pencil-and-paper RPGs. Instead, Dark Alliance is a fast-paced, real-time action game where one player controls one character; any attached rules are mainly flavoring for the main course of arcade-style action. Given the incredible difference in gameplay, it's no surprise that rather than attempt to build Dark Alliance itself, franchise studio Black Isle contracted Snowblind Studios to develop it.

Super Monkey Ball – Review

When I first heard about Super Monkey Ball, I was looking forward to a couple of other high-profile GameCube titles, like Star Wars: Rogue Leader and Super Smash Bros. Melee. Super Monkey Ball had nearly slipped under my radar screen since the arcade game from which this game is ported never saw the light of day outside of Japan, and I knew very little about it.

Super Monkey Ball – Consumer Guide

According to ESRB, this game contains: Mild Violence

Azurik: Rise Of Perathia – Second Opinion

A great game is like a Tootsie Pop: you slowly penetrate through the tasty outisde layers, which then melt away into an even more satisfying and chewy middle. Azurik: Rise Of Perathia has more in common with the strange rice cakes I bought a while back. At first taste, I wondered what all the fuss was about, but after two or three of 'em a nice buzz began to develop on my tongue, and soon enough the whole bag disappeared. The challenge, then, is to get the gamer to take that many bites, particularly when the two or three you need to start liking the rice cakes translates to two or three hours for Azurik.

Amped: Freestyle Snowboarding – Review

Just as Devil May Cry and Halo re-wrote the rules of their genres, Amped: Freestyle Snowboarding eschews many of the conventions of snowboarding games and presents a refreshing spin on its weathered concept.

Amped: Freestyle Snowboarding – Second Opinion

When I first heard of Amped: Freestyle Snowboarding I was intrigued by the concept. Although I really enjoy the over-the-top extreme sports action in games like SSX or the Tony Hawk's Pro Skater series, there is something to be said about a game that involves a sport like snowboarding and tries to model it after the real world experience of the sport. No crazy levels, no outlandish characters and no mid-air break dancing tricks. Just man and board trying to take over the snowboarding world. Cool.

NHL 2002 – Review

NHL 2002 ultimately succeeds at bringing NHL-styled hockey to the XBox. While it isnt a perfect recreation of the worlds "coolest sport," it does a nice job of capturing the major nuances of the game and recreating them in videogame format.

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 (Game Boy Advance) – Review

No matter which way you look at it, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 is a monumental achievement. When Nintendo first announced the specs for the Game Boy Advance to the world, speculation abounded from all circles in the industry as to what the true power of the console could be. There were debates about how many sprites the unit could actually handle and whether it could pull off a convincing 3D with polygons of any degree of sophistication. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 puts that debate to rest as soon as you turn on the game.

Castlevania Chronicles – Review

For the most part, I agree with a lot of Mike's points regarding Castlevania Chronicles. The game certainly brought back fond memories of earlier Castlevania titles that Ive played in the past. I just wish that I had enjoyed playing it more; unfortunately, the obnoxious difficulty and inconsistent jumping mechanics marred the experience.

Vandal Hearts – Second Opinion

I can't say for sure since Im not privy to the full scope of games released in Japan, but it has seemed to me for a long time that Konami promotes a particular aesthetic in their RPGs. Their two most prominent RPG series in the U.S., Vandal Hearts and Suikoden, have always been similar in theme and tone.

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