411MAX: News News Revolution (1.02.04)

Well, well, well! It looks as though I have the honor of welcoming all of you to the new year at 411Games! This is such an HONOR! No, really. I mean that.

Anyway, this is Alex Williams, and this is 411MAX. I’m glad you could join me today as we kick-start the new year at 411Games!

To begin, let me just say that there has been a literal DROUGHT of news in the last couple of weeks. You can blame that on the holiday season. So, there will be no haikus this week. If I did include them, there would only be about…I dunno…four or five max. So it’s best to skip them for now.

In other news, I’m currently playing Final Fantasy X-2, and I’m enjoying it. And to be honest, I’m glad that I’m in the middle of it now. I really enjoyed the first game, despite what others might say to the contrary, and its nice to actually continue the story.

But my likes/dislikes aren’t what you came here for. You want some NEWS! Well, far be it from me to deprive you of it. ON WITH THE NEWS!
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TOP STORY: New US DDR On Its Way!

Normally, I would NEVER take news from an EGM article. However, I’m willing to make an exception in this case.

Over on the DDRFreak website, they have posted an article from the February issue of Electronic Gaming Monthly, where they talk about the “ultimate” games. The Dance Dance Revolution series actually made the list at #15, complete with a quick information blurb. But in that blurb, it states that new PS2 and X-Box versions of DDR have been scheduled for the future. I guess that this, coupled with the US Extreme rumor I posted a couple of months ago, means that we can expect more of my OUR favorite game in the coming months!

And for the record, DO NOT EXPECT A COMPLETELY PORTED JAPANESE VERSION GAME! The American titles have followed their OWN direction, and will continue to do so. Besides, the US mixes have always been decent and fun, so NO COMPLAINING!
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Pluck The Prince’s Splinter, Keep It For Free!

For those who haven’t picked up their very own copy of Splinter Cell yet, Ubisoft is offering us an interesting deal for the month of January. According to them “all major retailers” will be offering a free copy of Splinter Cell with any purchase ofPrince of Persia: The Sands of Time for any platform. The only catch is that both games MUST be for the same system.

This is probably being done to create more buzz for the upcoming sequel: Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow.

So basically, what this means to me is if I buy Prince of Persia, I get a free doorstop! BRILLIANT!

(Apologies all around for stealing Chuck Platt’s shtick for the purposes of this story.)

(Credit goes to Games Are Fun)
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Come To The Sugar Bowl! Get Free Crap!

Nokia and Eidos have teamed up to offer one of the crappiest promotions I’ve ever heard of. And it all takes place this Sunday at the Sugar Bowl.

If you’re attending the Sugar Bowl itself, you’ll get a chance to see a super-model dressed up as (and pretending to be) Lara Croft! Not only that, but they are also going to be giving away 70,000 copies of the Tomb Raider N-Gage game.

Yes. 70,000 copies.

That’s more copies of the game than N-Gages sold to consumers, I’ll bet.

And giving them all to goers of the Sugar Bowl? I doubt that even 90% or more of those people even HAVE N-Gages. Besides, what are they gonna do? Go out and plunk $300 just to play the useless piece of plastic they are getting? You know guys, there’s a REASON they have 70,000 copies of the game just sitting there. And it’s not because they need to fill more orders, either.

(Sigh) I can see the Sugar Bowl now…one play the audience doesn’t agree with, and they all throw they’re “free games” out on the field in protest. And when it happens, I’ll laugh. Hard.

(Credit goes tom GameSpy)

And that’s the news for this week. Even less than the last. Ah well.
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CHEAT!!!

Can’t think of a catchy gimmick for this for the new year, so I’ll just hit you with…

PRINCE OF PERSIA: THE SANDS OF TIME (PS2/GC/XB)

Time-travel WAAAAY back into the past and play the original Prince of Persia games!

Yes, both original Prince of Persia games are included on this disc. Here’s how to access them:

Prince of Persia: Beat the game once.

Prince of Persia 2: This one is a bit trickier. About a third way into the game, you’ll get a sword that allows you to break walls. Soon after this point, you’ll be in a room with a rotating switch. In this room is a wall that can be broken, but won’t look like it. If you hit this wall three times, you’ll find a secret room and unlock POP2 in the process!

(Credit goes to GameFAQs)
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COMMENTARY: 411MAX’s 2004 Gaming Predictions

So a new year is upon us. A year in which ANYTHING can happen…but will probably result in more unchanging mainstream crap. However, that hasn’t stopped me from putting on the magical “411 Funny Future Hat (TM)” and peering into the year to come to see just what’s gonna happen. And it goes a little something like this…

–With the retrogames market gaining a bigger audience, many different companies take advantage of it. Capcom releases two Megaman collections for the PS2, GC, and GBA, Midway resurrects all their old Mortal Kombat titles into one collection, and Eidos rounds up the five PS1 Tomb Raider games for a PS2 release. An Eidos representative comments on this buy saying “Hey! Tomb Raider was good once! Remember the first game when it was new and original? Remember when we hadn’t run the franchise into the ground? Remember? Huh? Remember? Please?” The press laughs at him uncontrollably.

–In a bold marketing decision, Nokia announces that they will reduce the price of their N-Gage unit to $39.99, and include a bundle of 10 games, a 128-bit flash memory card, free long distance phone calls for a year, and their very own third world nation while supplies last. Only three new units are sold as a result, however.

–Sammy continues their hostile takeover of Sega with very unconventional methods. When experienced Sega developers announce a new Sonic game in development for home platforms, Sammy purchases 5,000 more share of Sega stock. When Sega announces a home conversion of their latest arcade title, Sammy purchases another 5,000 shares. When Sega says to Sammy personnel, “Hey! That’s not fair!”, Sammy purchases 5,000 more shares. Sega responds with “But…”, and Sammy purchases 5,000 more. Sammy then sends Sega to its room without supper until it can follow Sammy’s glorious plan without disobeying. Sega says “I hate you! You’re not my real father! I’m running away!”, and slams the bedroom door in Sammy’s face. They retort buy purchasing 5,000 more shares of Sega stock.

–At E3, the longtime rumored GC sequel to Super Mario Sunshine is finally revealed. Tentatively labeled Super Mario: Mushroom Mission, it brings back the famous mushroom power-ups for a 3D update. Shigeru Miyamoto describes the experience as “One mushroom makes you larger, and one mushroom makes you small. and the third mushroom momma gives you won’t do anything at all. Go as Alice when she’s ten feet tall.” When he finally took off his headphones, however, he informed the bewildered crowd that he was kidding and is really bringing back the water backpack again. Collective groans all around.

–More new footage of the upcoming Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater is uncovered, unveiling new gameplay elements. In addition to eating snakes and fish, you also have the option of devouring raw human flesh when no other sustenance can be procured. Simply the dead carcass of a freshly disposed guard to a secluded location, remove his uniform, skin him, and fill your belly to your heart’s content. Also noticed was a “Bathroom Meter”, but no additional information was given.

–With the new football season approaching, EA Sports releases Madden 2005: This Time It’s Not Madden 2004 for all the major platforms. The gameplay remains unchanged, but everything is shinier, and contains a digitized Madden running around in a speedo and pantyhose during halftime. The game sells millions of copies.

–Donovan McNabb of the Philidelphia Eagles is given the cover of Madden 2005, but suffers a freak accident when lightning strikes him TWICE in the same place five seconds after the deal is signed. He misses the first 14 games of the season.

–Building upon the success of the debut of “First Person Mode” last year, ESPN NFL Football 2K5 debuts a brand new mode entitled “Locker Room Mode”. Before and after the game, you get put right into the locker rooms of your favorite NFL teams, watching them change in and out of their uniforms, as well as following them into the showers. The famed “Towel-Snapping” feature is a big hit amongst veteran Sega Sports fans.

–More games incorporate going online without actually going online, as made popular with MegaMan.EXE and dot HACK. Included in this new batch of games are Sonic.com, Tomb Raider: Cyber Babe and BurgerTime.Org.

–Finally, the mysterious Phantom console is finally released in time for the 2004 holiday season. When consumers realize its simply a PC turned on its side, they pass it up completely. Just another doorstop to go alongside the N-Gage.

So the upcoming year doesn’t look all that promising after all. Damn. Oh well, at least there’s 2005…
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PLUGS AND SHILLS THAT PAY THE BILLS

With the holidays coming to a close, we’ll hopefully come to the end of a dry content spell. It won’t stop me from plugging what we have here now, though.

News You Can Use

Gamer’s Hangover News Report — Cory Laflin
Lack of news, but Cory’s fake news stories more than make up for that. Mondays are sweet with Cory around.

Clap Hands, It’s News Happiness Time — Chuck Platt
More lack of news, but MY FAVORITE WRITER comes in with his wishes for 2004, his favorite game music, and the top power-up items for 2003. While I may not agree with his music picks, the Horse Weiner is DEFINITELY #1 in the power-ups category.

Mid-Week Mid-Boss News Report — Lee Baxley
Aside from actually HAVING news, he gives us some more concrete predictions for 2004. Also, my condolences for losing your pet ferret, Lee. I lost my pet cat Snuffy around the same time last year, so I know what you must be going through.

Reviews You Can Use

Lucard pulls triple duty again this week, and he rules for doing so. Here’s what he reviewed:

Midway Arcade Treasures (GC)
CIMA: The Enemy (GBA)
Sword of Mana (GBA)

Columns You Can…uh…Use

Retrograding Mailbag — Alex Lucard
Three reviews, AND a mailbag. He definitely gets MY vote for 411Games MVP of the week.
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PARTING THOUGHTS

We got a whole new year to look forward to. A whole year of possibilities, experiences, and games just waiting to be played. And we here at 411Games will be more than happy to guide you on your journey.

Until next time…uh…DRINK MILK! IT BUILDS CALCIUM! YEAH!

Alex Williams