Plug yourself in

Review of popular summer video games

It's summertime, so that means time to look outside at the brightly shining sun and decide to turn your focus to the TV for some quality video gaming time. No matter what your system of preference is, be it XBox, PlayStation2 or GameCube, there are plenty of games new and old to hold attention and abate the need for a social life.

X-PLODING PLANS FOR XBOX

XBox fans out in game land have a bright future ahead. With each passing month it becomes more and more certain that XBox is here to stay and with it more and more games available exclusively for XBox and featuring such goodies as compatibility with XBox Live, the ability to connect through the Internet to play other gamers online.

"Midtown Madness 3:" If you are looking to buy a new XBox game with your table bussing cash, a good bet will be "Midtown Madness 3," coming exclusively for the XBox. It is a fun racing game with basic racing gamefeatures with extensive amounts of XBox Live functionality. While this may sound rather run of the mill, the game is made by Microsoft, so this first party game should know how to use the advantages of the system, but it's the XBox Live support that sets it apart. If any XBox owners are looking to own one single racing game, since the "Grand Theft Auto" series does not count as racing, "Midtown Madness 3" is a sure bet.

"Brute Force:" Those with ridiculously short attention spans can also waste time playing "Brute Force," an impressive action-packed game where the user controls a team of unique commandos. With plenty of multiplayer options, it will hold the trigger-happy gamers until "Halo 2" makes its debut later this year.

PLAYSTATION 2 PLAYS ON

PS2 fans have much to look forward to since the Sony PlayStation library of games leaves all other systems in the dust. Fans looking for new games are often greeted to various imports from other countries, along with the standard American releases.

"Magic Pengel:" For summer's gaming pleasure, PS2 has managed to keep its growing reputation as the Role-Playing Game system of choice. "Magic Pengel: The Quest for Color" joins the many titles such as "Xenosaga," "Chrono Cross" and "Final Fantasy."

This RPG game has some unique new features. New developer Garakuta-Studio has given players the ability to create their own combatants in a sort of paint program before going into battle. Once in battle, the game features a simplistic rock-paper-scissors style of fighting, making it a Pok?mon for adults.

"Dance Dance Revolution:" RPGs Not your style? A growing cult classic for the PS2 is "Dance Dance Revolution," a unique game where players step on a dance pad that acts as a controller with a large variety of songs to dance to. A very addictive playing style and varying levels of difficulty lets players groove their way to the only exercise some of them will ever get.

CONQUER THE CUBE

GameCube fans are finally starting to see a respectable library of Nintendo titles, to the point where gamers are not looking forward to the next big game, but choosing which games to buy. Adding to this collection is the new Game Boy Player, a piece of hardware that plugs into the bottom of a GameCube, allowing owners to play any game available for Game Boy, Game Boy Color and Game Boy Advance. In short, GameCube owners gain hundreds upon hundreds of titles to their available library for the low retail price of $50.

"Wario World:" If going back to the world of 2D is not your cup of tea, try the new "Wario World" for the GameCube. While not as vast of a world as last year's "Super Mario Sunshine," the game is a solid platform-jumper that should last the avid gamer more than a few hours of fun.

A NOTE TO THE THRIFTY

As a final note to those gamers on a budget, remember that older games are significantly cheaper. If a new version is due out soon, the outdated game drops to around $15. "SSX

Tricky," for this reason, is of great amusement to fans of all systems. The arcade style snowboarding game is due out with another sequel in a couple of months, making this version a solid investment at its low price. The game has a unique style, wide variety of options and modes to toy with, and multiplayer options for those trying to transition game playing into a fun way to bond with roommates, or that significant other.

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