Friday, November 17, 2006

Bring on the Game Bytes

“God Hand”
Capcom, for PlayStation 2
rated M for Mature (blood and gore, language, suggestive themes, violence), $29.99.

Can a video game parody a particular genre? Because it seems to me that “God Hand” is nothing so much as an over-the-top send-up of classic brawlers such as “Final Fight.”

In “God Hand” you play a wandering drifter armed with, well, a magical arm. As you make your way through some Western-themed towns, you make hay with all of the local toughs using ridiculous martial arts moves such as the “Pimp Hand.” You’ll occasionally come across more colorful villains, such as the cigar-chomping, overweight demon and the flamboyantly gay, Las Vegas-styled duo.

Unfortunately, technical glitches dial down the fun a bit. The game’s camera in particular seems designed to drain the fun out of the game. As a result, “God Hand” comes off as intermittent fun, admirable more for its style and ideas than its execution.

“Mercury Meltdown”
Ignition, for PlayStation Portable
rated E for Everyone, $39.99.

In the first “Mercury” game, you guided a small blob of liquid through a perilous maze that floated in space. Lose too much liquid or fall off the edge and it’s game over.

“Meltdown” continues the basic premise of the first game while adding a few challenges, such as being able to solidify your blob.

Not every addition is a winner, and though the difficulty level has been dumbed down a bit (there’s no longer a time limit to complete a puzzle, for example), certain puzzles can be mind-bendingly frustrating.

Still, “Meltdown” is a pleasant enough time-waster to be worthy of recommendation. If you’re looking for a game to play on your way to work or school, this is a safe bet.

“Rainbow Islands Revolution”
Codemasters, for Nintendo DS
rated E for Everyone, $29.99.

In this arcade-styled game, you use the DS stylus to direct a little boy trapped in a bubble through a maze filled with treacherous hazards, such as toy tanks, evil birds and whatnot. Yeah, it doesn’t make much sense to me either.

It also doesn’t play very well. You can knock enemies aside by swiping them with the stylus, but trying to do so while guiding your bubble boy can prove to be difficult. Plus, the game doesn’t always respond to your swipes.

Considering its simple premise, “Rainbow Islands” is a rather lackluster title. Gamers looking to travel down the “classic arcade” route would do better elsewhere.

Copyright The Patriot-News, 2006



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