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Full Release: Games

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And here we are, the calm before the storm. The holiday shopping season officially kicks off in just a few days. So I guess it’s just as well that the number of notable releases this week is a bit on the thin side; this coming Friday might be the day to get those titles from earlier in the year you’ve been on the fence about, but at a deep discount to finally make it happen. Though if you’re looking for something new, as well as something a bit old, there’s still plenty to see, hear, and play!

Madden NFL Arcade – For those who love football and want a taste of Madden, yet don’t have the time to get involved with a full season, nor get bogged down with all the simulation aspects, or are perhaps simply intimidated by it all, NFL Arcade might be just up alley. Those with fond memories of the fast-paced action found in NFL Blitz will be at home here; we’ve got a 5-on5 game, with a first to 30 goal, 4 players per possession, no penalties, nor field goals. Basically, a very pretty game of backyard football with the fancy NFL trimmings!

Tekken 6 – This one’s been out for the Xbox 360 and the PS3 for a couple weeks now, and it’s finally the PSP’s turn. And truth be told, it might be the best one yet. Why? Well, it’s almost guaranteed to not have the ridiculously long load times that has plagued the PS3 version, and despite the fact that the PSP’s d-pad isn’t the best thing in the world when it comes to fighting, it still beats the one found on the 360 controller, hands down. Best of all is how the ridiculously long and totally not fun campaign mode for something that’s far more straightforward.

Super Mario Kart – Yes, the original, the very best one. Finally available via the Wii’s Virtual Console, it’s what started it all. Forget the needlessly complicated gimmicky Wii version, or all the others that came before it and after the still clearly superior first one. Mario Kart 64 was where the series began going downhill, since that’s when the computer started to cheat once you nabbed the lead. Hopefully Nintendo will get off their asses and finally start releasing all the other SNES classics that everyone’s been dying for, namely Yoshi’s Island and Starfox!

Bit.Trip Void – 8-bit esthetics is all the rage, but at this point, any game that simply tries to ride on the waves of nostalgia alone is not going to last very far. Hence why the Bit Trip series has been the definite highlight of Nintendo’s WiiWare services (which thus far has been somewhat of a mild disappointment). Because when you forget about the retro visuals and chiptunes soundtrack (both of which are quite excellent), you get a gameplay experience that actually delivers on what’s promised, and that’s something that taps into the past but infuses it with contemporary bells and whistles. The first one was like Pong, the second was like Dance Dance Revolution, and this new one is like… anyone out there familiar with a space shoot’em up called Ikaruga? And speaking of…

Mushihime-sama Futari – Um, excuse me? First off, you won’t be finding this at your local Best Buy or Gamestop, so don’t bother asking. The only place to find it is in Japan, or via online retailers like Play-Asia or National Console Support. Mushihime is the latest installment of a long line of releases from a company called Cave, which excels in making games in which you control a space ship and must blast away bad guys in the skies and stars. Remember like Galaga and Gradius? But the enemy in this case throws so much at you that the games themselves are classified as “bullet hells” and are all the rage with gamer dorks across Japan. As well as those in the US, and this latest installment is aimed squarely at American soil; unlike most Japanese Xbox 360 titles, this one is compatible with American consoles! So if you have the cash to spare and want a taste of the exotic (should I also mention that, instead of piloting a space craft, you’re controlling a cute anime chick riding a big bug?), give this one a shot. Here’s a gameplay video to help make up your mind…

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