| Nov 27, 2003

Hobbit's-eye view of world

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You cannot put yourself in Frodo's shoes as Hobbits walk barefoot. You can, however, walk in Frodo's virtual footsteps. In "The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King" (ROTK), players visit Middle Earth as the main characters from the "The Lord of the Rings" ...

| Nov 13, 2003

Come to Disney, go to Mars

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Mission: Space, a new ride/space flight simulator at Epcot Center, part of the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, takes Disney guests in a whole new direction -- straight up into space. The byproduct of a partnership between computer giant Hewlett Packard and Disney, Mission: ...

N-Gage fails to engage

| Oct 30, 2003

N-Gage fails to engage

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It's no use beating around the bush, N-Gage, the new hand-held cellular telephone/video game system hybrid from Nokia, is quite probably the worst game system in video game history -- and that's counting such notable disasters as the Nintendo Virtual Boy and the Bandai ...

| Oct 9, 2003

TV icons hit the road

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What do you get when you cross America's favorite dysfunctional family with the video game "Grand Theft Auto III"? You get "The Simpsons: Hit & Run," a new game from Vivendi Universal Games for Xbox. Few Americans are familiar with Astro Boy and, I suspect, ...

| Sep 25, 2003

Worth fighting for

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Most "greatest hits" games are too familiar. They were great when they came out last Christmas and everybody bought them, but now they're simply old. "Virtua Fighter 4: Evolution," a fighting game from Sega for the PlayStation 2, however, has the blush of youth. "VFE" is ...

| Sep 11, 2003

Let's roll -- at 800 kph

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If there was ever a litmus test for hardcore gamers, "F-Zero GX" (F-Zero), a new antigravity racing game by Nintendo for the GameCube, is that test. In "F-Zero," players steer high-speed, hovering rockets around futuristic race tracks. While a few tracks are quite simple, most ...

| Aug 28, 2003

A horror smorgasbord

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With monsters in the hallways, blood on the wall and gross-outs lurking behind every corner, "Silent Hill 3" is an all-out assault on the player's sensibilities. In "Silent Hill 3," the latest addition to the popular horror series from Konami for PlayStation2, players control Heather ...

| Aug 7, 2003

Lessons in rage control

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"Hulk," a game that is ever so loosely based on the new Universal Studios movie, has an element missing from most superhero action games -- fun. In "Hulk," players control both the Jekyll and Hyde incarnations of Dr. Bruce Banner, the scientist protagonist who turns ...

The pirate planner

| Jul 24, 2003

The pirate planner

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It does not take money to make money, at least not when you're a pirate. In "Tropico 2: Pirate Cove," a new game for PCs from Take 2, you can gin up money from thin air. That is if you have a mighty ship ...

Dracula's open house

| Jul 10, 2003

Dracula's open house

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When you think of James Bond movies, gadgets and martinis come to mind. When you go to a "Matrix" movie, you expect a mixture of multiple realities and dark glasses. When video game players hear the name "Castlevania," they expect a castle, armies of ...

Choose your weapons

| Jun 19, 2003

Choose your weapons

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"Soul Calibur 2," Namco's new fighting game for GameCube, Xbox and PlayStation2, has little new to recommend it. Thank goodness for that. The first "Soul Calibur," which was only released for Sega's short-lived Dreamcast game console, was a brilliant spectacle that was fun to play ...

| Jun 12, 2003

Internet at light speed

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Here we go again. Just when I thought I was enjoying affordable, high-speed Internet access, along comes yet another new technology that makes my once-fat data pipe look like a swizzle stick. I'm talking fiber. Fiber-optic Internet access (known as Fiber-to-the-Home, or FTTH) has been ...