Tony Hawk’s video game empire continues to grow and this time it coincides with the launch of Sony’s PSP handheld. THUG Remix’s only variation from THUG 2 includes four additional levels (Santa Cruz, Kyoto, Las Vegas, and Atlanta) incorporated into the story mode. For THUG 2 activists the story mode is the same-it’s the world destruction tour starring Bam Margera’s team versus Tony Hawk’s team. Each level (city) has a list of goals personalized for your skater as well as one other pro skater and two additional secret skaters revealed on each level. And to top it off, every city has a massive destruction goal where you do a certain trick on a particular obstacle and the catastrophic event totally changes the landscape of the level to create even more combo possibilities. And although the story mode is the main focus of THUG, you’ll find many hours of finger fun with classic mode, free skate, and multiplayer with the wireless capability of the PSP. This game will compliment any long car ride, cross-country flight, or transcontinental train ride nicely.-Eric Sentianin
Lumines isn’t your typical kind of game for the folks at Ubisoft, considering they’re the same people responsible for delivering action stealth games like Splinter Cell. It’s a puzzle game taking on the characteristics with a Tetris style of play. But instead of different shapes, Lumines utilizes dual-colored blocks (each block is made up of four smaller blocks), which fall from the top of the screen. The object of play is to rotate each block to make uniform colored squares. When a uniform-colored square is made, the blocks disappear and the blocks above fall below-either causing problems or maybe, if you’re lucky, deliver a huge combo. Puzzle gamers should really take to Lumines, especially if you couldn’t get enough of Tetris. The gameplay can be intense considering the soundtrack that accompanies Lumines is technoesque. When the pressure is on you’ll feel with the music. I probably could’ve made it to a higher level if my heart didn’t explode from all the anxiety a game like this can cause. But isn’t that what you’re looking for in a puzzle game of this caliber?-Eric Sentianin
Fight Night Round 2
GameCube/ PlayStation 2/ Xbox
So, you think you have what it takes to be a champion, huh? Step into the gym, put the gloves on, and start sparring. It’s going to be a long journey on the road to being the champion. EA’s Fight Night Round 2 starts you off by choosing your boxer-create one or use an existing fighter (like “Sugar” Ray Leonard)-and then throwing them in the amateur ranks where you battle your way on the circuit of low-budget gyms hoping to last long enough to get the nod to turn pro. Before each fight there’re training sessions where you can develop your boxer’s skills and increase their stats based on the exercise. Once you turn pro, you’re ranked at the bottom of your weight class-number 50. With each successive fight your rankings will increase as will the length of the fight. Don’t get too cocky, though, your opponents are very skilled. They’re not just going to hand you the belt. You’re going to have to really develop good, clean boxing skills. This ain’t the days of Mike Tyson’s Punch Out where each fighter had a pattern of punches. The AI on Fight Night is the real deal. Defense, defense, defense. If you’re not careful, someone will catch you off guard and clobber your glass chin, knocking you to the canvas. But that’s okay, there’s always another fight, unless of course you’re too old, then maybe you’d just better retire.-Eric Sentianin
Destroy All Humans!
PlayStation 2/ Xbox
Alien invasion games aren’t the newest to the gaming market, but instead of fending off the aliens from destroying Earth, this time you play the alien trying to annihiilate the human species. Destroy All Humans! is set in a plot that resembles a bad alien-invasion movie set in the 50s-there are flying saucers, death rays, anal probes, and mysterious government agents who are keen to you.
You are Cryptosporidium 137 and you have been sent to Earth to collect DNA samples from the humans and bring them back to the mothership in order to ensure the Furon species survival. It seems like a very serious plot, but all of the actions in Destroy All Humans! is very comedic. Crypto is a very sophisticated alien. He can morph into any human form that he targets on, and his weaponry is no match for the 1950s setting armed forces. Once you’ve zapped your human target into a pile with your disintegrator ray, you can extract the human’s brain stem-the body begins to shake and their brain stem pops right out. But this sort of weaponry is only the beginning. Crypto’s ship is equipped with a death ray that virtually destroys buildings in seconds. Destroy All Humans! throws every clichà‡ about alien invasions in the game-it’s totally awesome. The graphics are sharp, and the gameplay is hilarious fun. If you’re not even into accomplishing all the missions, it’s fun enough to walk around making people’s heads explode. Happy invasion!-Eric Sentianin
EA Sports Big
GameCube/ PlayStation 2/ Xbox
EA Big’s first attempt at applying the Street formula to its soccer franchise isn’t about winning the game but how good you looked while winning. FIFA Street is a four on four game set up in a various locations around the world on mini fields-pretty much an indoor soccer set-up. With no referee to call unruly fouls, the gameplay is fast paced and full of flashy and over-the-top moves-you’ll definitely see some spectacular flying-through-the-air unrealistic goals. FIFA Street’s downfall, though, is the lack of AI and the player movements are more reminiscent of past FIFA titles then its latest 2005 edition. But once again the games focuses on winning with loads of style-so basically humiliate your opponent with nutmegs, lifting the ball over their head, or using the wall to leave them in their tracks, then you’ll be rewarded with extra cash to recruit new players (like David Beckham, Freddie Adu, and Ronaldinho), improve your skills, or enter Rule The Street tournaments. Hopefully next season, FIFA Street will borrow more from its brother FIFA title and really take the game to the next level. The showboat tricks are already there.-Eric Sentianin