GAMER Though the cowboy is a quintessentially American hero, the Western genre has flourished in the hands of foreigners. Famous for his "Dollars" trilogy, Italian director Sergio Leone was one of the many European filmmakers who reinvented and preserved the form, even as it became unfashionable in the U.S. With this in mind, the efforts of Polish developers Techland in creating Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood are impressive, but less surprising. Read more »
GAMER Reading faithfully from Hollywood's remake-happy script, the game industry has learned to cannibalize its history. Bionic Commando is the first in an ever-expanding series of big-budget 8-bit retreads; Splatterhouse (Namco Bandai) is due out later this year, and more are sure to follow.
Bionic Commando slots you into the futuristic combat boots of Nathan Spencer, voiced ably if bombastically by Faith No More's Mike Patton. Read more »
GAMER "War. War never changes." These words have introduced three Fallout games, intoned by narrator Ron Perlman as the camera pulls back to reveal a landscape devastated by nuclear bombardment. The world of Fallout is one steeped in retro-futurism, imagining a history in which the end of World War II was succeeded by rapid technological progress but complete cultural stagnation. Read more »
(Lucasarts; XBOX360, PS3, PS2, PSP, Wii, Nintendo DS)
GAMERStar Wars stories should start with yellow-lettered title crawls. This summer's animated movie Star Wars: The Clone Wars thought it could do without, and it sucked. Star Wars: The Force Unleashed has a title crawl, which is good, because in addition to being a mega-hyped, third-person 3-D action game, it also contains some fascinating revelations about the history of the galaxy far, far away. Read more »
GAMER It was 1988 when the original Ninja Gaiden began emptying the coin-purses of arcade addicts with its relentless difficulty and catchy soundtrack. Twenty years and roughly eight installments later, the series should be winning prizes for consistency. Read more »
GAMER Video games are often pilloried for expressing a particularly juvenile kind of male fantasy, where chain-mail thongs and Kevlar corsets comprise the latest in bulletproof lingerie and mindless, balletic violence is the order of the day. Despite the efforts of more high-minded game designers, every so often a game comes along that confirms the worst of these stereotypes. Devil May Cry 4 is exactly this game. Read more »
GAMER Since its April 29 release, more than 6 million copies of Grand Theft Auto IV have been purchased. While Take-Two Interactive is still taking contractor bids on Scrooge McDuckstyle cash swimming pools, the gaming press has worked itself into a frenzy, bestowing five-star reviews and expostuutf8g on how GTA IV will revolutionize gaming, culture, and possibly the world.
This hyperbole exemplifies gaming's innate pathologies. Read more »
GAMER I thought I was looking for some new, nonmayhem-oriented games, and someone recommended Endless Ocean. I read the box and said, "Hmmm. A game where you swim around and look at pretty fish. Yeah. I could do that."
Endless Ocean is a game about scuba diving: you play a young marine biologist tasked with helping to catalog the inhabitants of an imaginary coral reef. Read more »