From Russia With Love, 25 To Life, Prince Of Persia: The Two Thrones, Gauntlet: Seven Sorrows

From Russia With Love

EA Games

GameCube/PlayStation 2/PSP/Xbox

***

Overview: This is EA’s take on the classic 1963 Bond film starring the likeness of Sean Connery. The game loosely follows its movie counterpart and even rewrites some of the story line to suit the game. Maybe this will open the door to make games out of other classic movies like Clint Eastwood’s The Good, The Bad And The Ugly.

Gameplay: It’s a third-person action shooter including some cool Bond gadgets like his laser watch and sonic cufflinks. Most missions aren’t difficult to pass; however, it may take some extra tries for 100-percent completion. Some missions accelerate the fun with fast-paced driving, speeding through canals on a boat, and flying around with a jetpack—very Bondesque. Use research points found in the missions to purchase upgrades for your weapons and gadgets, making Bond that much more powerful.

Graphics: Cool retro style. Everything is modeled—classic cars, buildings, gadgets, and Sean Connery—in the time period and equally matches the movie.

Sound: Bond theme music is beautifully embedded throughout.

Entertainment: The learning curve is roughly fifteen minutes. The game is relatively easy to complete, but is fun to play and will provide plenty of mindless joy.—Eric Sentianin

25 To Life

Eidos Interactive

PS2/Xbox/PC

****

Overview: The game pits Andre “Freeze Francis and his 22nd D-Street Boys gang against Detective Lester Williams and the local police force.

Gameplay: A cross between Def Jam Vendetta and SOCOM II, you and sixteen of your online buddies can form the nastiest gang the local cops have ever seen. With lethal and non-lethal weapons like Molotov cocktails, pipe bombs, AKs, tazers, and Desert Eagles, the D-Street Boys can tear every law-enforcement officer to shreds (including SWAT teams, Federales, cops, and ATF members). Why the Tony Hawk Pro Skater franchise doesn’t have this feature included is a mystery to me.

Graphics: Details like tats and laser sights will have every skinny suburban gamer believing they’re as intimidating as Suge Knight.

Sound: A silly dope soundtrack of hip-hop tracks, including “Where The Hood AT? by DMX and “Code Of The Streets by Gang Starr. Boomboxes are scattered on each level, so if you don’t like a cut that’s playing, just flip the switch.

Entertainment: For anyone who’s played an online shooter before, 25 To Life will be very easy to learn. Shooting accuracy can be difficult though, ’cause there’s no auto-aim or lock-on feature—something the cops don’t have a problem with. Besides that, 25’s deep arsenal of weapons and fluid gameplay will keep that violent streak in you alive and well.—Gamey Thomas

Prince Of Persia: The Two Thrones

Ubisoft

GameCube/Nintendo DS/PlayStation 2/PSP/Xbox

****

Overview: The conclusion to the Sands Of Time trilogy.

Gameplay: The Two Thrones is relatively easy to learn how to play. It’s basically a single-path third-person game featuring a lengthy story line with dual personality. Let’s just say that there’s an accident and the prince develops a dark side. Throughout the game you’ll switch back and forth between the two. It can be a bit frustrating on certain levels, because the dark prince constantly loses health, but seems to be a bit more powerful on the attack than the good prince. The Speed Kill feature is crucial for success and the boss fights require some strategy to defeat. The Powers Of Time the prince develops are pretty handy, too. Recall allows you to rewind time if a mistake is made and Eye Of The Storm slows down the environment around you, while the prince stays at normal speed—helpful when you’re battling multiple foes.

Graphics: Well-constructed environments. Various camera angles leave no blind spots.

Sound: Realistic sword-fiight noises.

Entertainment: The Two Thrones is challenging and after completing the game, you might find yourself playing again on a more difficult setting.—Eric Sentianin

Gauntlet: Seven Sorrows

Midway

PlayStation 2/Xbox

** (2.5 out of 5)

Overview: Did you ever play the 80s arcade version? Stomping through the dungeons was well worth the quarter.

Gameplay: Gauntlet is a straightforward slash-and-destroy-everyone-in-your-path game. Play as the warrior, valkyrie, elf, or wizard. The game doesn’t require much thought or strategy to conquer levels and the combos don’t seem to help all that much. The faster you can push the buttons the faster the enemies will fall to the ground. Co-op play can be great fun, but there’s no real challenge to the hacking. But saying that, it’s actually kind of fun to journey along the path destroying monster generators and annihilating everything in sight.

Graphics: The level modeling is average and the camera angles leave many blind spots.

Sound: Didn’t stay at the screen long enough to hear the story line, but the action sounds real enough.

Entertainment: Need a game to play with someone who doesn’t know what a button on the controller does? Tell them to push the blue one over and over and to follow you, and you’ll have plenty of fun.—Eric Sentianin