If you’ve ever been asked to name a video game heroine before, then Lara Croft should be at the top of that list in more cases than none. After all she’s been around for the past 14 years in the Tomb Raider series of games alone, as well as a few feature movies, some animated short films, and other various printed adaptations too. The sexy bombshell explorer has dropped the name Tomb Raider for the very first time now and has some help in the form of a co-op player for the very first time in franchise history, and the game is also in an all new isometric view point for Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light.
Now I’m far from a fanboy of the Tomb Raider seires of games, having never really played them in the past, aside from a couple demos that I’ve checked out. My experience with the movies is where it pretty much ends for me and Lara Croft in general here. I think it might be the fact I’ve just never thought much aboout playing a game from a girl characters perspective really. But when I heard that this game was going to have co-op built into it, I was very much interested and from what I saw back in the E3 reveal and hearing how much they had focused on the co-op from the start, I knew then and there I would have a date set with this heroine once the game had launched on the Xbox 360.
Scott Pilgrim v.s. The World: The Game was published by Ubisoft, developed by Ubisoft Montreal and Ubisoft Chengdu. It was released on 8/25/2010 and retails for 800 microsoft points.
Castlevania: Harmony of Despair was developed and published by Konami for XBLA on August 4, 2010. Retails for 1200 Microsoft Points.
Everyone remembers their first time playing one of the numerous Castlevania games. Mine happened to be Super Castlevania IV on the Super Nintendo, and I didn’t see another until Symphony of the Night. And then not again until the Gameboy Advance with Aria of Sorrow. The beauty of the Castlevania series is that all the games are similar yet very distinct at the same time. That’s where Harmony of Despair comes into the picture, it is the offspring of all the SOTN-era Castlevania’s.
Hydro Thunder Hurricane was developed by Vector Unit and published by Microsoft Game Studios for XBLA on July 28, 2010. It retails for 1200 Microsoft Points.
The original Hydro Thunder was a favorite in local arcades during the late 90s. The rush of boosting a fantastical speedboat through intense waters and hitting massive jumps struck a nerve in me that most other arcade games failed to do. For those with fond memories from the arcade excitement peaked when a new Hydro Thunder was announced for Xbox Live Arcade, developed by Vector Unit.
Hydro Thunder Hurricane, the first true sequel to the original arcade game, manages to reignite old love for the arcade original. When it comes to the basics, Vector Unit nailed the feel of the original, from the crazy courses down to the way the speedboats handle. Every speedboat that from the original is in HTH, and the inspired courses will evoke feelings of familiarity from Hydro Thunder veterans.
Of course, neat graphical touches remind us that the Hydro Thunder series has been improved quite a bit since the arcade days. Things like dynamic wave effects look awesome in high definition on XBLA, as do water droplets that form on the screen after a gnarly jump. Each boat now has a cool transforming animation once its boost is active. Seeing boats transform from their standard appearance to reveal massive exhaust pipes that spew fire provides a lovely and empowering feeling.
Deadliest Warrior: The Game was developed by Pipeworks Software and published by Spike Games for XBLA on July 14, 2010. Retails for 800 Microsoft Points.
When I think of Spike TV, The Ultimate Fighter and endless reruns of CSI are immediately transfused in to my recollection. What lies between the cage fighting and continuous autopsies is a show about putting yesterdays warriors up against each other in a scientific manner to see who would leave the fight alive; that show is called Deadliest Warriors. With a cult following and the success of the show, what better way to rejuvenate our imagination than to make a game where we can depict our shameless childlike interest in history’s baddest of bad asses.
Blacklight: Tango Down was developed by Zombie Studios and published by Ignition Entertainment for XBLA on July 14, 2010. Retails for 1200 Microsoft Points. A download code of the game was given to us by the publisher for reviewing purposes.
What if the rumors of a futuristic setting for Infinity Ward’s next Call of Duty were right? It might’ve looked very much like Zombie Studio’s Blacklight: Tango Down. While the game was praised by many at E3 for it’s high price/quality ratio, the result is definitely remarkable for a downloadable title, packing a decent fast paced punch for a low budget multiplayer shooter.
Puzzle Quest 2 was developed by Infinite Interactive and published by D3 Publisher for XBLA on 6/30/2010. Retails for 1200 Microsoft Points. A download code for the game was given to us by the publisher for reviewing purposes.
Let’s start this review by asking ourselves, is there still a profitable market for puzzle games? During a time when 3D graphics are the new craze, awe-inspiring virtual physics are praised, and motion-controlled gimmicks try to make things a little bit more noobish, will there be any room left for the puzzle enthusiasts? Infinite Interactive has the answer to that. In 2007, they released Puzzle Quest, which became an instant hit amongst critics and gamers. PQ respectively took home a couple of awards, Gametrailers “Best Puzzle/Parlor Game” and Gamespy’s “Best Xbox Live Arcade Game.” So, with those accomplishments in mind, what could they possibly do to follow-up the success that Puzzle Quest had? Make another one.