The Courier-Journal from Louisville, Kentucky on June 13, 1998 · Page 67
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The Courier-Journal from Louisville, Kentucky · Page 67

Louisville, Kentucky
Issue Date:
Saturday, June 13, 1998
Page 67
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into) (Trp (jSM y u uu u u s SCENE Gizmo Editor Ric Manning says it's sequel city for new computer and video games, but that's not all bad CHECK OUT the new computer and video games that arrive over the next few months and it may look like deja vu all over again. The shelves are going to be full of familiar names like Zelda, Turok and Quake. You'll also need a calculator to keep track of the version numbers. There's Prince of Persia 2, Need for Speed ill, halcon 4.0, Quest tor Glory 5, Hardball 6, Final Fantasy VII, Interstate '82, NFLGameDay99, SimCity 3000 and Chessmaster 6000. yt ,.o . Y J The annual Electronic lyi- , 1 Entertainment Expo for manning computer- and viaeo-game manufacturers that took place in Atlanta this month was a reunion of old friends and enemies. Lara Croft and Duke Nukem were there. So were Gabriel Knight, Indiana Jones and Crash Bandicoot. And they were all planning a return trip to your computer or video screen sometime before Christmas. Almost any game that sold well in the past few years is likely to have a new sequel by the end of the year. There was no sign of Pac-Man at the expo, but Activision has a new version of Asteroids, a game that was at its prime when Jimmy Carter was in the White House. But don't get the wrong idea. Just because a new game is a sequel to an earlier version doesn't necessarily mean it's Psycho II or Alien 3. "Yes, we saw a lot of sequels, but a lot of them were very good games," said Jeff Tschiltsch, the editor of Game Week, a trade magazine for the electronic gaming industry. "In the past, companies would have two or three stand-out titles and the rest was a lot of junk. This year many companies seem to have trimmed back the number of titles, but they were all pretty good." Developers continue to find ways to cram more detailed graphics and faster action into both cartridge and CD-ROM games. Games such as GT Interactive's Unreal, Nintendo's new Zelda and Ion Storm's Diakatana will each raise the bar for 3-D realism and smooth action. "I'm in awe of what the developers have done," said L. Gregory Ballard, the chief executive officer of 3Dfx Interactive, a company that produces high-end video acceleration cards for personal computers. But at the same time, game companies are all playing follow the leader as they pile on to the latest hot-selling genre. Babes and bullets Few virtual characters have captured the attention of teen-age game players as thoroughly as Lara Croft, the long-legged heroine of Eidos' Tomb Raider. Of course, now there's a Tomb Raider II and Continued on Page 14 GAME PREVIEW Here's a preview of some of the new computer and video games slated to be released in the next few months: ACTION Redneck Rampage Rides Again (Interplay for PC) Imagine Duke Nukem on grits and Moon Pies. Yes, this is another alien bug shoot, but this time the heroes drive swamp boats and drink Pabst Blue Ribbon. The game is not a Quake clone. The graphics are not fully 3-D, which may disappoint some players. Others may find that a benefit because the game can run on older and slower computers. Release: now. Forsaken (Acclaim for PC, N64 and PlayStation) This new run-and-gun game puts players aboard one of 16 fast cyberbikes as they race through dazzling futuristic environments. The enemies on this scavenged planet aren't just grunts with guns. They include heavy-armor tanks and mechanized mutants firing guided missiles. Forsaken has clearly pushed the envelope for first-person action games. Release: now. . r r 3 1 4 Urban Assault Urban Assault (Microsoft for PC) If you play Command and Conquer, Uprising or Battlezone, you might think you know everything about real-time military strategy games. But Urban Assault adds a new wrinkle: At any moment in the game, you can hop aboard one of the air or ground vehicles that you've built and tear across the game's dark and gritty landscape. Players can control any of 15 vehicles, from jeeps and tanks to jets and bombers. Release: summer. Asteroids (Activision for PC and PlayStation) Asteroids deserves its place among arcade classics like Pac-Man and Space Invaders. But I'm not sure who will like this updated version. The game doesn't have the same feel as the 1979 original. For example, the ship doesn't scoot off the edge of the screen as it always did when I played. And the sky is a little too corded with planets and space junk. Release: summer. Army Men 3D (3DO for PlayStation) Remember those colossal battles on the backyard dirt pile when you were a kid? You set up your plastic soldiers in formation, then attacked with rocks, slingshots and if mom wasn't watching maybe a BB gun or a bunch of firecrackers. Army Men lets you fight those wars again without spooking the neighbors. Release: fall. Interstate '82 (Activision for PC) Interstate 76 brought the campy humor of 1 970s TV shows to a game that featured heavily armed hot rods. Interstate '82 expands the field of play and adds helicopters and motorcycles to the motor Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings pool and smoke screens, harpoon launchers and even orbiting satellites to the weapons arsenal. Release: winter. ADVENTURE Starship Titanic (Simon & Schuster for PC) From the brain of Douglas Adams, the guy who taught us how to hitchhike across the galaxy, comes a game in the best tradition of Zork, Myst and Leather Goddesses of Phobos. This Titanic is a large and luxurious spaceship populated by malfunctioning robots and twisted characters that express Adams' unique sense of humor. Release: now. Prince of Persia 3D (Red Orb for PC) The original Prince of Persia had one of the best interfaces of any computer game. It was equally easy for both kids and their parents to play. The new version retains that accessibility in a game that has a richer 3-D environment and more fluid characters. The game mixes adventure and exploration with puzzles and combat. Release: early 1999. Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine (LucasArts for PC) Indiana Jones returns in a new 3-D action-adventure game that has Indy searching the ruins of the Tower of Babel looking for an ancient machine that could unlock a legendary inter-dimensional gate. The game includes special action sequences that range from guiding a raft through white-water rapids to an off-road Jeep chase through the jungle. Release: fall. .i - I , S .5? i T . 3 - Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine ROLE-PLAYING GAMES Quest 64 (THQ for N64) Nintendo owners have been clamoring for a role-playing game since the console made its debut. This is the genre's first release, and that makes it the best, at least until the next Zelda arrives. The game has a bright, cartoon-style look, a solid story line and plenty of spells, weapons and enemies. Release: Monday. REAL-TIME STRATEGY Total Annihilation: The Core Contingency (GT Interactive for PC) The original Total Annihilation cranked up the standards for real-time strategy games with great graphics and a huge field of play. This expansion pack adds 75 new battle units, 50 multlplayer maps and six new worlds. Not enough? Then build your own with Total Annihilation's map and mission editor. Release: now. Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings (Microsoft for PC) This sequel spans 1 ,000 years from the fall of Rome to the late medieval period. It challenges players to use trade, diplomacy and combat to build great civilizations such as the Japanese and Byzantine, or great raiding parties such as the Mongols or Vikings. Up to eight players can participate using the Microsoft Internet Gaming Zone ( Release: spring 1999. Need for Speed III: Hot Pursuit RACING Need for Speed III: Hot Pursuit (Electronic Arts for PlayStation) Here's the deal: You're driving a new BMW down a mountain road at night. The pavement Is slippery, there's snow on your windshield and any second you could skid into a rock wall. What do you do? You floor it, of course. And when the police car appears in your rearview mirror, you go even faster until the police put out spikes that shred the tires. You may never again boot up a track-racing game. Release: now. SPORTS Hardball 6 (Accolade for PC) There was a time when Accolade set the standard for sports games and the Hardball series was the best baseball game around. This new upgrade adds more graphic realism to the players, hitting options that change with the situation, All-Time teams featuring stars like Babe Ruth and Jackie Robinson, and Internet play over the network. Score it an extra-base hit, but not a home run. Release: now. All-Star Baseball '99 (Acclaim for N64) Once there were no baseball games for the Nintendo 64; now there are three. If it's not the best, All-Star Baseball '99 is at least the best-looking of the three. It has the same high-resolution graphics as Acclaim's NFL Quarterback Club plus 3-D stadiums, more than 700 players and support for four-player competition. Release: now. Kobe Bryant in NBA Courtside (Nintendo for N64) Nintendo's first basketball game boasts highly realistic characters drawn from video of real NBA players. The game also features a new animation system that makes for fluid dunks and dribbles. Players can use the Nintendo controller to conjure up unique moves like a "post-up" offense, cross-over dribbles and alley-oop dunks. Release: fall. Madden NFL '99 (EA Sports for PC, N64 and PlayStation) Players get a more polished and rounded look in the version for this season. A new interface makes the kicking game more accurate. Release: fall, Knockout Kings (EA Sports for PC and PlayStation) How do you think Evander Holyfield would do in the ring against Muhammad AN? Knockout Kings might settle a few arguments or add fuel to the fire. The game offers electronic representations of Ali, Holyfield and 15 other fighters from Sonny Liston and Rocky Marciano to Lennox Lewis and Oscar De La Hoya. Release: fall. World Cup '98 World Cup '98 (EA Sports for PC, N64 and PlayStation) The official licensed product of the FIFA World Cup France '98 updates EA's popular soccer game to match this year's World Cup competition. The game has 40 national teams, 10 authentic stadiums and eight World Cup classic final matches. Soccer fans can also look up facts about the national teams and statistics on more than 1 ,600 players. They can even play the national anthems and watch opening and closing ceremonies. Release: now. CHILDREN'S AND FAMILY SOFTWARE Disney's Mulan Animated Storybook (Disney Interactive for PC or Mac) Based on the newest Disney animated film "Mulan," the program takes children on a journey into ancient China to search for magic scrolls. Children can explore Mulan's home and army camp, dress her in historical costumes, play games and solve puzzles. Release: Tuesday. The D Show (Disney Interactive for PC and Mac) What's Donald Duck's middle name? What other names did Walt Disney consider for Mickey Mouse? The D Show tests your knowledge of Disney trivia with 540 multiple-choice questions and 150 video clips. Players can compete alone, in groups or on teams; and at the end of the game, everyone joins Billy and Zina in singing the show's theme song. Release: summer. 4''.. K p ' C'"' ..'v Prey SEVEN WINNERS Out of the hundreds of new games on display at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, fewer than a dozen looked like sure-fire winners. Here are seven that you are going to want. Prey (GT Interactive) has the look and feel of a science-fiction novel. It mixes American Indian shaman magic with a mind-bending "portal" technology that lets characters move freely from one level of the game to another. Ultima: Ascension (Origin), the ninth installment of the venerable series, combines the beauty of Riven with the action of a fighting game. It also makes the traditional role-playing genre more fun and accessible to casual players. Wheel of Time (GT Interactive) adapts the first-person perspective of Quake and Unreal to a world of medieval castles and crafty wizards. An arsenal of amazing weapons lets you shoot around corners while magic potions let you adopt the image of your enemy. This may become the most captivating multiplayer game yet. SimCity 3000 (Maxis) makes world-building a collaborative effort. You can re-create Los Angeles on your personal computer or build Louisville from scratch by designing your own buildings or swapping them with other urban developers on the SimCity Web site. Silent Hill (Konami) is a dark and gritty murder mystery with spooky alleys, a deserted school, zombie-like creatures and police on motorcycles. Play this one with the lights out. Metal Gear Solid (Konami) is an action-adventure game that comes closest to re-creating the excitement of Quake for the PlayStation. The game has plenty of shooting, but it also rewards players for stealth and speed as well as marksmanship. The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time (Nintendo) will make you wonder how a game cartridge can produce so much depth and detail. The game features a guardian fairy who warns Link of impending danger, intricate landscapes and a wider range of movements for the main character. In this game Link can mount and ride a horse, throw and catch a boomerang and perform a spin attack in battle. THE BEST OF 1997 Nintendo's GoldenEye 007 took home a lot of the hardware when the video- and computer-game industry celebrated its version of the Oscars. The fast-moving shooting game, developed by the British design house Rare Inc., was the star of the first awards program sponsored by the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences. Here are the winners: Best sound and music: Parappa the Rapper (Sony PlayStation), Sony Computer Entertainment. Best software engineering: GoldenEye 007 (Nintendo 64), Nintendo of America and Rare Inc. Best art and graphics: Riven: The Sequel to Myst, Red Orb Entertainment. Best interactive design: Parappa the Rapper. BEST CONSOLE GAMES Action game: GoldenEye 007. Adventure game: Final Fantasy VII (PlayStation), Sony Computer Entertainment. Fighting game: WCW vs. NOW: World Tour (Nintendo 64), THQ Inc. Deer Hunter fans sit and wait - and love it America's best-selling computer game doesn't have evil monsters or movie-style graphics and special effects. Instead of charging their way through a hightech space station or a spooky cave blasting anything that moves, players mostly sit and wait. The game is called Deer Hunter, and its premise couldn't be much simpler: You choose a weapon a .270-caliber rifle, a 12-gauge shotgun or a bow and you wait for a clear shot at Bambi's mom. The waiting can take anywhere from 10 minutes to half an hour, plenty of time to examine your surroundings: an alpine meadow, an Arkansas woods or a snow-covered Indiana meadow. Look closely and you might find subtle clues such as matted grass or deer droppings. As you might guess, the idea for Deer Hunter didn't come from some big-budget Silicon Valley developer. Instead, it was an executive at Plug-in cards help cheaters win Console gamers who like to comb through gaming magazines and the Internet collecting special cheat codes will like the new SharkBytes cards from InterAct. The plug-in cards memory cards give players access to extra lives, hidden characters, more powerful moves and weapons. . 1 An unlicensed "cheat card" for Tekken 3 has begun to appear m stores m the United States and Japan. InterAct says it plans to work with game publishers to create official versions of the cheat cards for both PlayStation and Nintendo 64. Racing game: Diddy Kong Racing (Nintendo 64), Rare Inc. Role playing game: Final Fantasy VII. Sports game: International Superstar Soccer (Nintendo 64), Konami of America. Console game of the year: GoldenEye 007. BEST COMPUTER GAMES Action game: Quake II, Activision. Adventure game: Blade Runner, Westwood Studios. Simulation game: Microsoft Flight Simulator 98, Microsoft Corp. Strategy game: Age of Empires, Microsoft, and Starcraft, Blizzard Entertainment (tie). Role-playing game: Dungeon Keeper, Electronic Arts. Sports game: FIFA Road to World Cup '98, Electronic Arts. Creativity program: Orly's Draw-a-Story, Broderbund Software. Edutainment program: Where in Time Is Carmen Sandiego?, Broderbund Software. Family or kids' entertainment title: Lego Island, Mindscape. Skills-building title: Carmen Sandiego Word Detective, Broderbund Software. Computer Entertainment Title of the Year: Starcraft. Wal-Mart who happened to mention to the store's software distributor that a deer-hunting game would probably sell by the boatload. WizardWorks, the division of GT Interactive that produces low-priced games, took the idea and ran with it. The game started out as a Wal-Mart exclusive but quickly went into wider distribution. The stores sold a quarter of a million copies at $19.95 each during last year's Christmas season. Sales have since topped 500,000. "This is a game that appeals to people who typically don't buy computer games," said Ron Chaimowitz, president of GT Interactive. WizardWorks quickly went to work on a series of follow-up titles. Deer Hunter Companion is a $9.95 add-on that provides more hunting areas. Deer Hunter Extended Season adds a black-powder rifle to the weapon collection; and Rocky Mountain Trophy Hunter lets players go after elk, moose and bear. Saturday, June 13, 1998 SCENE Page 13 Page 12 The Courier-Journal SCENE June 13, 1998

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