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Forza Motorsport

Microsoft

Xbox

Forza Motorsport is Xbox’s answer to the PlayStation 2 dominated racing simulation game series Gran Turismo. And the areas that GT is lacking-there’re actually a couple-Forza does a good job of incorporating into its game engine. For one, Forza has introduced a damage engine, which of course means you can’t run head on into a wall without some consequences. Not only will you see cosmetic damage, but your car will handle poorly severely reducing lap times. Another area that Forza shines is in the rarity classification of every car in the game. As you tune you car with higher performance parts, your car will become more rare, which means it’ll be worth more on the open market. If you’re familiar with Gran Turismo then you know who annoying it can be when you spend 100,000 dollars tuning a 2,000-dollar car and when you’re ready to sell it, the stupid thing is only worth 1,800. Forza did an excellent job with this feature of the game as well as incorporating more than 230 cars from 60 manufacturers-including Ferrari. Although GT will probably be regarded as having the better racing simulation factor, Forza’s playability is neck and neck with the competition. Probably the most spectacular aspect to Forza’s game is its dynamic suggested racing line. It actually becomes addicting. The optimal racing line is dependent on your car’s velocity and varies from green (pedal to the metal) to yellow (lay off the gas) and red (brake, son). Although you can start to rely on it a little too much, there are better lines to drive-especially if you’re an aggressive driver. Like with most racing games, Forza’s all about winning money and building a reputable garage with many exotic and rare cars. All of this is wrapped up in a sharp graphical engine that resembles real life and easy to navigate menus. Forza’s simulation will be difficult for beginners, but with all the assisted features it shouldn’t anyone too long to become a driving champion.-Eric Sentianin

Area 51

Midway

PlayStation 2

Touted as the Halo for the PlayStation 2, Area 51 will amaze you. If you’re old enough to remember, Area 51 was one of the most popular arcade gun games about fifteen years ago. Now in the year 2005, it has its own story and hero. You play as Ethan Cole, the leader of a special forces Hazmat team that is sent in to Area 51 to investigate a viral outbreak. As you get deeper into the game, Ethan will mutate and get special alien powers, as well as futuristic tech weaponry. There’re also a smorgasbord of government conspiracies to uncover, such as the “faked” lunar landing, alien autopsies, and some other “highly classified” activities. With voice-over work from David Duchovny, Powers Boothe, and Marilyn Mason, Area 51 is one of the most exciting first-person shooters to have come out in a while. The truth is out there-available now on the PS2.-Aaron Schmidt

Lego Star Wars

Eidos Interactive

PlayStation 2

Strong with the force this game is. At first glance, you’ll be thinking to yourself, “What, a new Star Wars game that involves little Lego pieces? I’m not eight years old anymore.” Sure, I thought the same thing, but let me tell you-this is one of the funnest Star Wars games ever produced! Lego Star Wars lets you relive the prequel trilogy (Episode I, II, and III) where you can play out adventures as Anakin, Obi Wan, Yoda, and even the two droids, Threepio and R2. The co-op play is superb as there’s no split screen bullshit to deal with when you play with two players. You collect tokens along the way through each level, after which you can purchase cooler characters like Darth Vader and Jango Fett. Another plus to the game is that there’s no incessant dialogue to ruin your gaming experience, Lego Star Wars is all action and no words. The only downside to the game is that it ended too soon. Let’s hope they ddo a game for the original trilogy, that would be so amazing.-Aaron Schmidt

Medal Of Honor: European Assault

EA Games

PlayStation 2

The long-running World War II first-person shooter game has been called back into action. After a huge Rising Sun letdown, the Medal Of Honor franchise has gloriously returned to the top of the shooter market with the release of European Assault. The game’s producers got smart and took all the elements from the best console FPS war-Call Of Duty and Brothers In Arms-and created a bona fide breadwinner. This new game is like Medal Of Honor: Frontline on crack. With so many new features, this game should keep you busy for a long time. New features like the Adrenaline meter-when you get enough kills, time slows down for a minute and you get unlimited ammo to spray Krauts with. Also, another new favorite is the use of a three-man squad. If you don’t like squad-based games, don’t worry. It’s simple to use and if you don’t use your team, they will follow you and back you up. With European Assault, it’s as if you’re playing a PC version of MOH shooter on your console. This is a must-buy for fans of war.-Aaron Schmidt

Doom 3 Resurrection of Evil

Activision

Xbox

I don’t know how many of you remember the first Doom released on the Commodore 64, but I think I tweaked on that thing for hours. Ten years later, the overall look has come a long way, but the storyline, guns, and enemies haven’t changed. If you’re not familiar with Doom, the game takes place on the planet Mars after the forces of hell invade a base. Your primary goal is to destroy the evil demons. If you think this is going to be like Quake or Unreal Tournament where you run around and shoot ‘em up, you won’t make it passed the first level. Doom 3 is all about patience and strategy. Just like the first two, we get a variety of weapons as we work our way through 26 levels, 23 different enemies, and four bosses. The hardest part is dealing with the darkness. Switching from flashlight to weapon gets confusing especially in a time of panic. Make sure you have the sound turned up because you spend a lot of time playing in the dark. During the twenty-plus hours it’ll take you to finish the game, you’ll need to rely on your sense of sound to track enemies.-Daxter Lussier