The Ratings Drive-By: November ‘03

411 GAME OF THE MONTH

Disgaea — Hour Of Darkness (PS2)


Atlus. Nearly the entire 411Games staff has fallen head over heels in love with Atlus. The smaller profile, but highly respected developer/ publisher has been churning out the wonderful gameplaying experiences as of late. And the main catalyst for the orgy of worship over the company is emanating from one game in particular. Forget Final Fantasy Tactics, Disgaea: Hour of Darkness is the best tactics style RPG out for any of the current next-gen platforms. With an artistically well-done anime flair, humor by the truckloads, and gameplay innovations to spare, Disgaea’s charm will surely steal your heart as it has ours. Make no mistake about it; you need to buy this game upon site. Don’t overlook one of the greatest RPG experiences of the year.

Runner Up: Viewtiful Joe (GC)

“I quit. I’m retiring. Ain’t enough money in THIS game, to keep me around. Sorry Big, I tried. Honest. Can’t go with me on this ride though. I’m callin the shots. The bar’s closing. Where we going to for breakfast? Roc-a-Fella y’all”¦ OKAY, I’M RELOADED!”
— Jay-Z (Vol.2 Hard Knock Life — Intro)

What’s up boys and girls? Welcome back to the Drive-By. You good folks seemed to enjoy the idea of getting multiple opinions on the latest game releases when we kicked this off last month. That’s because, just like you, each member of the 411Games staff is unique and individual in our tastes. Thus some of you may relate to one staff member over another. Are you an anime adoring Lee Baxley? Do you lean towards the wrestling game loving Cory Laflin? Or perhaps are you a MegaMan obsessed Liquidcross? Or, God forbid”¦ are you an Squaresoft hating, Pokemon crazed Alex Lucard?! *shudder* Even if your gaming profile fits none of us, hearing from more than one of the kliq gives you a better idea of what the deal is with each of the games below. Two to four quick shots at a game are better than just one. But again, these min-views are no substitutes for the actual reviews themselves. So if you want to know the full deal on these babies, click the link for the corresponding game.

This month we take a look at a rarity in that of some Shin Megami Tensei releases. Then we see if the heroes in a half shell and the new Castlevania live up to the hype. Plus we put the #1 Reason To Own A GameCube to the test. All of this, more”¦ AND we’ve invited the always videogame excitable Widro to buck off a bit on some games this month (so that he won’t completely lose it from the kliq’s rebellious antics and fire the entire Games Zone). It’s a jam-packed edition so no need in dilly-dallying here; let’s get it started.

Just as a quick reference, here’s how we currently rate things here at 411Games (if you’re familiar with our extremely stingy reviewing standards please scroll on down to enjoy the reviews)”¦

  • 10.0: “Perfect”

    This score is damn near impossible. It’s saying that a game cannot be improved much more than it is in a meaningful way, and that it sets a new high water mark for whatever genre the game is in (if it fits into one). You’ll rarely see one of these. Very rarely.

    Examples: None

  • 9.0-9.5: “Classic”

    Buy, buy, buy! We recommend the games within this range with slobbering lunatic-like fanaticism. Take it for granted that if you enjoy any games within the genre of the reviewed title, you’ll absolutely get some great measure of enjoyment out of that particular game.

    Examples: Virtua Fighter 4: Evolution, Ikaruga

  • 8.0-8.5: “Great”

    Excellent, wonderful, games. They have their problems, but not enough to seriously dampen the enjoyment of playing them. Highly recommended.

    Examples: Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell, Star Wars Knights Of The Old Republic

  • 7.0-7.5: “Good”

    A score of “7” around these parts is considered a REALLY good rating. A game within this range is just fine and dandy and likely worth your time to check out, especially if you’re interested in that particular genre.

    Examples: F-Zero GX, Phantasy Star Collection

  • 6.0-6.5: “Fair”

    Games in this range have some good qualities, and they’ve got some bad qualities. Not a bad game by any sense of the word “bad”, but when you’re contemplating a purchase exercise some prudence to make sure this particular game is the one for you. Normally worthy of at least a rental to see if it floats your boat.

    Examples: Wrestlemania XIX, Star Wars The Clone Wars

  • 5.0-5.5: “Average”

    Ok, a 5-range score refers to a game that’s “merely average”. Nothing special. Nothing to write home to momma about. A mediocre game. It tends to have enough weaknesses to thoroughly dampen their strengths. Not exactly a train wreck, but goodness knows it could have been better and probably IS done better somewhere else.

    Examples: F-1 Career Challenge, Evolution Worlds

  • 4.0-4.5: “Poor”

    Something went wrong. The game is either fundamentally broken, certain features are glitchy beyond excuse, or the whole thing ends up not having the structure to create a successfully fun game playing experience.

    Examples: Tao Feng: Fist Of The Lotus, Space Channel 5 (GBA)

  • 3.0-3.5: “Bad”

    We’re getting into “stay away” territory. These games may have a few positive qualities, but everything else dampens the experience so much that it makes the rest of it seem even more disappointing.

    Examples: Tomb Raider: Angel Of Darkness

  • 2.0-2.5: “Dreadful”

    Almost completely devoid in quality. There may only be one or two things at the most that can be cited as positive features.

    Examples: Darkened Skye

  • 1.0-1.5: “Appalling”

    What the blood clot happened? This puppy is rare. But in circumstances when a score like this is warranted, there isn’t one good thing we can find about the game AT ALL. No redeeming features. Feh”¦

    Examples: Final Fantasy VIII (No, no”¦ I KID! I KID!)

Got the idea? So according to that scale, a 5.0 is a decent, average, nothing really special about it, game. You’ve probably become accustomed to seeing those types of games with a score of 7.0, but here a 7.0 is VERY good game! Keep that in mind people. Enjoy!

The Ratings Drive-By November 03′ Edition –



MEGA MAN ZERO 2 (GBA)

Full Review: Mega Man Zero 2 (GBA)

Liquidcross
FINAL SCORE: 8.5
Like its predecessor, Mega Man Zero 2 is not a game you’ll fly through. It’s very challenging, but not cheaply so. Fans of the series will love it, and while newcomers may be a bit confused if they haven’t played the first game, they’ll learn to enjoy its various offerings soon enough.

Widro
FINAL SCORE: 7.0
In direct contrast to X7 is Zero 2, the latest in the myriad of 2D side scrolling Mega Man titles that have graced consoles for 15 years. Although I don’t like the Zero games as much as the underrated Megaman and Bass for GBA, it still will satisfy all Mega Man fans, as well as new fans looking for a fun, colorful platformer.!



DEMIKIDS [LIGHT / DARK] (GBA)

Full Review: DemiKids Light (GBA)
Full Review: DemiKids Dark (GBA)

Alex Lucard
FINAL SCORE: 6.5 (Dark)
Welcome to MegaTen boys and girls. I suggest picking up Light first, as it’s an easier game and has less of a learning curve. Dark is step two. And then you’ve experience Shin Megami Tensei lite. However, I gotta be honest, as nifty as it is to have an SMT game in English, I’d still suggest spending your money on Persona 1,2 or Lunacy in terms of the plot and overall coolness of the games. However, all three of those games take a lot of thinking and the ability to appreciate a lot of metaphysical, mythological and religious philosophy. However, if you just want a good RPG with lots of kick ass looking playable characters, this is your game. Although you’ve played many games like SMTDC: DOD, make no mistake: this is the series that revolutionized RPG’s. It may not seem like it because it’s gotten over here so late, but pick it up, You’ll find those new to the series will give it a much higher rating than I have. And in truth, those are the eyes you should view Demikids through. Not Mine.

Lee Baxley
FINAL SCORE: 9.0 (Light)
If you couldn’t tell by now, I love this game. It is truly the best game I’ve played on the Gameboy Advance thus far. It’s simple, yet complex, and any RPG fan can get into it. This game is perfect for people that think Pokemon is too kiddie (even though it’s not), and can be enjoyed by fans of all ages. Plus, it’s the easier of the two games, so you may want to pick this one up, try it, then buy Dark. So please, buy this game. Atlus has already ported Shin Megami Tensei I and II to the GBA, so if this game sells well enough, it may convince them to localize MegaTen to America finally!

Alex Williams
FINAL SCORE: 8.0 (Light)
Having never really played a game based in the Shin Megami Tensei universe, I didn’t know what to expect here. The collecting of monsters bit reminded me of Pokémon, but thats where the similarity ends. You’ve got to convince these guys to join you, and then you need to fuse them with each other to make them stronger! I’ve only played Light so far, since I’m taking “baby steps” into the world of Atlus, but I’m having a lot of fun while doing it. Even if Light is easy.



SUPER MARIO ADVANCE 4: SMB 3 (GBA)

Full Review: Super Mario Advance 4: SMB 3 (GBA)

Alex Williams
FINAL SCORE: 6.5
I wanted to give this game a higher review. I really did. I wanted to praise this thing to the moon and back. I wanted to love again what I loved ten years ago. But I can’t. I just can’t. Things changed too much between then and now. The “enhancements” made for this version did more to hurt than help. Mario fans will undoubtedly buy this, as I have. They’ll appreciate the game the most. But for those who are wary, rent the thing first. See if you find the game challenging enough to keep for more than a week. But for those looking for a challenge, play Super Mario World. Super Mario Brothers 3, I guess, was the best for its time. Now…now I’m not so sure.

Alex Lucard
FINAL SCORE: 6.0
You know, I was looking forward to this. It was the only Mario game I liked. And although I preferred Mega Man 2 and 3 over it, it’s still one of my favorite NES games. It’s great to have it on the GBA, but like most platformers it’s a bit dated. And a LOT easier than I remember. It’s still a good game, but I found my childhood memories of SMB3 are a lot better than my current ones of the game.

Widro
FINAL SCORE: 9.5
What can you say about Mario 3? It revolutionized platformers, and spawned Mario World. Those two vie in my head for top platformer of all time status, and while I’ll give the nod to World for Yoshi, you can’t go wrong with Mario 3 either. The video store near my house got Mario 3 import for rent MONTHS before the US release, and for my birthday, my mom tried to say we “lost” the cart. They wanted $200! Where was I?

Liquidcross
FINAL SCORE: 9.0
Super Mario Advance 4, how we love thee. Yeah, we all bitched and moaned about Nintendo porting yet another game rather than being original, but c’mon, it’s the best Mario title in existence. Plus all that funky e-Reader content–like extra levels–makes it all worth it. My life is complete after beating this shit out of Lakitu with a giant turnip.



CASTLEVANIA: LAMENT OF INNOCENCE (PS2)

Full Review: Castlevania: Lament Of Innocence (PS2)

Widro
FINAL SCORE: 6.5
I still remember beating SoTN 201% when it first came out, rekindling my love of the classic series. While the N64 versions are widely hated by Castlevania fans, I felt they weren’t the abomination that many others felt. LoI continues the 3D tradition of Castlevania by starting from “scratch”. Actually it seems like they took more from Devil May Cry (the true 3D successor to Castlevania so far), with a similar graphical style complete with fixed camera positions. The end result is a fairly attractive, fun but simple romp through a castle fighting baddies — too little of the new, RPG-style depth that the 2D Castlevanias have become known for.

Alex Lucard
FINAL SCORE: 6.0
You know, I really wasn’t impressed by this game. Nothing but backtracking and a lot of jaggy graphics. A lot of bosses were incredible to watch, but Castlevania 3 leaves me colder than a pile of corpses. It’s a cute game, but Castlevania is best left a 2D franchise. Now a 3D version of Simon’s Quest is something I could be intrigued by, but this was a game where I ran around more than Tomb Raider. Back and forth, back and forth.

Lee Baxley
FINAL SCORE: 7.0
While this game will not appeal to everyone, it is definitely a must for action adventure fans. Comparisons to games such as Devil May Cry and Rygar is a given, and it’s certainly not bad company to be in. The game takes many aspects from the original Castlevania titles and revamps them, and though it doesn’t have the RPG aspects that I’ve grown so fond of, it does live up to the name Castlevania. Though flawed somewhat, the game does accomplish what it set out to, and is the perfect starting point for a new generation of Castlevania titles. Does that mean the end of the 2D versions? I hope not, because personally I think they should make both. So rent the game and give it a shot.



MEGA MAN X7 (PS2)

Full Review: Mega Man X7 (PS2)

Liquidcross
FINAL SCORE: 6.5
I’d say Mega Man X7 is for Mega Man X diehards only. The graphics and animation aren’t bad, but the problematic level design and frustrating gameplay will annoy the hell out of newcomers. There’s much better platformers out there right now; approach with caution. Leave the onion-fighting to the Mega Man X fanboys.

Widro
FINAL SCORE: 4.5
The X series debuted on the Super Nintendo, and took over as the flagship console series of the Blue Bomber. As an old school Mega Man fan, I was more partial to SNES’s Mega Man 7 and the Saturn/PS1 Mega Man 8, but I also liked the X series. However, as Capcom continues to try to find a Mega Man formula that will attract new fans as well as hardcore gamers, they have dropped the ball on the release of X7. Unfortunately for Capcom, the game’s nice cel shaded graphics are not enough to cover up the “throw any idea at the wall and see what sticks” thinking behind X7’s strange mix of gameplay modes.



TIGER WOODS PGA TOUR 2004 (PS2, XB)

Full Review: Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2004 (PS2)

Cory Laflin
FINAL SCORE: 6.5 (XB)
A fine, fine upgrade to the TW franchise. The new create-a-golfer is something that was sorely needed, as was the inclusion of left-handed golfers. The cost-based reward system with oodles of unlockables (including KNICKERS, BABY!) is a great addition. The game play is still hilariously easy, perhaps even moreso than earlier versions; but I suppose if you wanted to be frustrated playing golf, you could just go play golf instead.

Chris McCarver
FINAL SCORE: 8.0 (PS2)
EA Sports can’t seem to lose in the sports-sim genre, and Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2004 is another piece of open-and-shut proof. Tiger 2004 is a great golf game that doesn’t feel as boring as its real-life counterpart can sometimes be, and though the game’s audio package was a mixed bag leaning heavily into the area of of the inane, the game’s got enough going for it that overshadows its flaws.



DISGAEA: HOUR OF DARKNESS (PS2)

411 GAME OF THE MONTH

Full Review: Disgaea — Hour Of Darkness (PS2)

Alex Williams
FINAL SCORE: 8.0
Another Atlus RPG I was convinced into buying after glowing recommendations from the other staff members. (I trust them the most when I make decisions on buying games.) Man, is this game fun. The fact that you can power up your characters to uber-gods, and the multitude of random battle maps is incredible. I’ve yet to really get the hang of the character creation system, but creating your own army does have its perks. I haven’t had this much fun with a strategy RPG in a long time. Excellent work, Atlus!

Alex Lucard
FINAL SCORE: 9.0
Original Plot, incredible gameplay, and nothing but innovation from beginning to end. The best RPG on any of the next gen consoles. Alex would buy a system just for this game and it ranks up there with SMT3 as am actual game for the PS2 I would buy. Take a good hard look gamers: THIS is what an RPG is supposed to be.

Lee Baxley
FINAL SCORE: 8.5
If you are a fan of strategy RPGs of any sort, then do yourself a favor and buy this game. It may be hard to find though, because not only is it pretty popular, but it also looks like there weren’t a whole lot of them released. This game will not be enjoyed by non-RPG fans though. I mean, if you’ve played RPGs and just don’t “get it”, then you’ll hate this game. You may like the story, but all those battles will be too boring for you, so just avoid the game. To RPG fans, BUY THE FUCKING GAME, dood!

Chuck Platt
FINAL SCORE: 9.0
Dood. That is exactly why I am playing this instead of the dozen other strategy RPGs I could be playing. The twisted, almost Burton-esque, world of Disgaea, feels like a parody of not only RPGs, but also anime and any other geeky entertainment you can think of. Except hookers, but, come on, they are pretty much funny by themselves. From the “Dood” spouting Prinnies to the spear, Longinus, to how laughably unimportant life and death are, Disgaea takes it’s parody so far that it transcends parody and becomes a piece of great gaming on it’s own merit. Do you have to be aware that RPGs are full of non-sensible and largely irritating animal sidekicks to know that surfer penguins that explode are funny? I hope not. Besides, this game belongs in the annals of great gaming simply for having the ability to throw your teammates and enemies across the board. Throwing becomes an artform onto itself. Then there is the Mid- Boss cutscene. I won’t spoil it, but once you hear it, you’ll understand.



OTOGI MYTH OF DEMONS (XB)

Full Review: Otogi: Myth Of Demons (XB)

The Egg Plant
FINAL SCORE: 9.0
Otogi: Myth Of Demons shows off the many visual effects that can be done on the Xbox. With RPG elements mixed in, it should appeal to action gamers and RPG gamers. If you have any doubts about the game just rent it and you will find yourself buying shortly after. Any Xbox owner looking for one of the best and most genuinely stylish action games so far this year should absolutely check it out.

Widro
FINAL SCORE: 7.5
Sega continues to churn out awesome, non-mainstream action titles, and Otogi is another in that same vein. It has good graphics, intuitive gameplay and it is hard (although not as hard as Shinobi). If you enjoyed Gungrave (PS2), Gunvalkeyrie (XB) or any of Sega’s high octane action/shooting/ass kicking games, Otogi is for you.



BILLY HATCHER AND THE GIANT EGG (GC)

Full Review: Billy Hatcher & The Giant Egg (GC)

Widro
FINAL SCORE: 5.0
It’s getting tougher as a Nintendo or Sega fan to support their games. It’s one thing to decide that games are still for younger kids, and that Sony and Microsoft have the older market cornered. But it’s quite another to take a platformer and add so much lameness that even the most diehard platform fan couldn’t stomach it. The graphics are decent, and the gameplay is fun, but a kid in a rooster suit? Cock a doodle doo to hatch the eggs? I couldn’t stand another minute.

Bebito Jackson
FINAL SCORE: 7.0
Billy Hatcher is a good game. Billy Hatcher is an above average game. But is it a great game? Is it a classic? No, it’s not. Balance issues, a brutal learning curve, and a lack of appeal to those it was designed for smack this game down a few notches. But if you’re a gamer looking for a serious challenge and you have the patience to master the finer nuisances of your platformers then welcome to gaming paradise! Everyone else? If you don’t go too in-depth into the game only playing for a couple of hours, you may not enjoy it at all and dismiss the thing completely due the game’s quirky premise. And that would be a true shame. It’s at the very least worthy of a rental to see if floats your boat. You may just fall in love with it”¦ if you’ve got the testicular fortitude that is (again this game is pee-inducingly hard). Do yourself a favor; look past the “kiddy” exterior and give it a whirl. AND FOR THE LOVE OF GOD IT HAS NIGHTS!



VIEWTIFUL JOE (GC)

Full Review: Viewtiful Joe (GC)

Lee Baxley
FINAL SCORE: 8.5
With style and substance that has never been seen before, this title would be considered a surprise hit, except for the fact that we already knew it’d be great. The cel shading is brilliant, the fighting is incredible, and the game is just all out fun. The only reason this game didn’t get a higher score was because I’m not too big on platformers.

Widro
FINAL SCORE: 9.0
The reviews say it all, but it cant be said enough — Viewtiful Joe is THE game to beat in 2003. It combines awesome graphics, unique gameplay, old school 2D charm and modern trendy special effects. The overall package, despite the unlikable lead character, is one of the most unique gameplay experiences of all time.

Chuck Platt
FINAL SCORE: 8.5
Viewtiful Joe is a rarity, a game full of style, quality execution, and replay. Not old- school, not new- school, Joe is a new kind of game for a new kind of time. With a wink and a nudge, this game finds time to be a platformer, a beat’ em up, and still be pretty damn funny. Where’s my sequel?



TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES (PS2, XB, GC)

Full Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (GC)

Alex Lucard
FINAL SCORE: 7.0 (GC)
This game does retro-stalgia perfectly. It’s fun, and simple, and worth of your purchase. Are there flaws? Of course. It’s too easy most of the time and a button masher at the core, but if you’re a fan of the original Turtles Arcade game, Dungeons and Dragons, Golden Axe, or Final Fight”¦this is your game people! Go out rent it, fall in love with it, and buy buy buy!

Widro
FINAL SCORE: 8.5 (ALL)
It’s important as a reviewer to judge a game on its own merits, and not comparing it to other games in other genres. Compared to Grand Theft Auto or Final Fantasy whatever, there is not a lot of depth in TMNT. But the awesome graphics and sound presentation that mimics the Fox Box TV series bring the show to life, and the simple, fun, old school gameplay is exactly what this game called for. What were people expecting from this Turtles game, luring April O’Neil into a car for a bonus “energy boost”? As a biased TMNT fan, I’m thoroughly satisfied.

Lee Baxley
FINAL SCORE: 4.5 (PS2)
Personally, I think this title is a failure, simply because it’s trying to duplicate something that was done before, but it simply doesn’t do it as good. For one thing, the new TMNT cartoon is so vastly inferior to the original on so many levels (horrible voice acting and I don’t like the art style, since it’s basically the same as X:Men Evolution, which I also dislike), and that transfers to the game as well. Though the cel shading makes the game look cartoony, it’s not very good, and the environments have no detail at all. The sound is decent, except for the awful theme song and voice acting. And what’s up with the total bastardization of the story? Most people would say that I’m holding the original on a pedestal, which isn’t the case. The new series only exists for those like me who loved the original, but it just all felt wrong. Oh, and Konami, I have a little tip. You want the game to look like a cartoon? It’s called Pixels. The DO still exist. You of all companies should know the power of a game that only has pixels.



THE LAST SHOTS OF THE MONTH

Another edition of the Ratings Drive-By has nearly come to a close. But there’s still some rounds left in the chamber, so why not take a look at these remaining reviews form the month of October:

GAME BOY ADVANCE

Full Review: Shining Soul (GBA)
Alex Lucard
Jesus. Maybe this will finally shut people’s mouths about ratings in the 6.0-7.0 range being bad. It’s better than average. Remember people, the other reviewers here at 411 are more likely to give a game a high rating for god knows what reasons where I’d give it something a lot lower. I’m one hard ass bastard to please and even if it’s a Shining Game brought over by my favorite company, I’m still not going to pull any punches. It’s well know Shining Force is one of my big franchises I am deeply in love with, and yet this game got NO bias from me. None at all.
FINAL SCORE: 6.5

GAMECUBE

Full Review: Disney’s Haunted Mansion (GC) [Also on: XB, PS2]
Alex Lucard
This game is on ALL systems people. There is no reason not to own it. It’s a platformer that I’m so fanatical over I randomly IM other 411 staff members telling them to buy this game. It’s like a big bowl of Count Chocula and Boo-Berry right after each other only to find out someone just gave you the last known box of Fruity Yummy Mummy in existence and is still tasty as hell. I can only think of three games I’ve ever given over an 8.0 in the year I’ve worked for 411: Robotech GBA, Pokemon Pinball R/Sand Ikaruga. Say hello to game #4 people. If you want a kick ass story, a tribute to Roger Coreman, HP Lovecraft, and Christopher Walken, graphics and sound to blow your mind away, and a game that spans all systems AND kicks ass”¦then here it is. Don’t f*cking blow your chance to own this. You’ve been warned.
FINAL SCORE: 8.5

XBOX

Full Review: NBA Jam (XB) [Also on: PS2, GC]
Cory Laflin
This rework of the classic arcade game gambles on some gameplay changes and loses. The A.I. is just as cheap as ever but new game modifications give the CPU an even bigger advantage. It may be okay for multiplayer but the cost-based create-a-player function combined with the game’s difficulty makes the experience tedious and frustrating at best. Jam fans should rent first, but I would ask everybody thinking about playing this game to compare it side-by-side with NBA Street 2 before making up your mind.
FINAL SCORE: 4.0

Full Review: Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Chaos Bleeds (XB)
Cory Laflin
A decided improvement over the first Buffy game. More characters, better graphics, and a much improved storyline add as much to the fun as the new multiplayer modes and the various unlockables. Buffy fans should buy, if just for the Joss interview. Other adventure gamers should rent first.
FINAL SCORE: 7.0

Full Review: Freedom Fighters (XB)
The Egg Plant
Freedom Fighters is a top notch game. If you remember the movie Red Dawn than you own it to your self to at the very least rent this game. This is an action packed game that I would say is a solid buy, despite the fact that it is a bit on the short side. A Unique multi-player game adds to the replay value.
FINAL SCORE: 8.0

PLAYSTATION 2

Full Review: Backyard Wrestling (PS2) [Also on: XB]
Cory Laflin
Run, don’t walk away from this game. The A.I. is beyond cheap and it features the worst Create-a-Wrestler feature I’ve ever seen. You’ll run through your character’s entire arsenal of moves within two matches, and that’s even counting the fact that the game won’t let you get any offense in. Trust me, if you and your buds want to beat on each other that bad, rent Smackdown: Shut Your Mouth and play Hardcore matches. It’ll be far more entertaining that this.
FINAL SCORE: 3.0

Full Review: NBA Live 2004 (PS2) [Also on: XB, GC]
Chris Pankonin
NBA Live 2004 seems to have a little something for every basketball fan. Virtually every mode has made at least minor upgrades from last season, and the fans of last year’s game won’t be disappointed or feel threatened by the addition of the more realistic simulation mode as “Action” mode brings back the fun last year’s game made special. A must try for any NBA fan!
FINAL SCORE: 8.0

Full Review: DDRMAX2: Dance Dance Revolution (PS2)
Alex Williams
This is easily the most well rounded US mix yet. Lots of stuff to get new players into the game, while at the same time, including an incredible array of songs that should please even the most hardened gamer. Nonstop Mode provides hours of fun, and the extras will keep you busy for weeks on end. Excellent mix, excellent job Konami.
FINAL SCORE: 8.5



That’s it people. The games staff will be back next go round with multi-looks at the games of November. So until next month, you’ve just been the victim of a Drive-By”¦