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Which Console Did You Buy/Receive Over The Holidays?

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Game Profile
PlayStation 2
GENRE: Action
PLAYERS:   1-4
December 12, 2005

Gauntlet II

Gauntlet: Seven Sorrows


Gauntlet: Dark Legacy

More in this Series
Gauntlet: Seven Sorrows
Mega Man X Collection
Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones
 Written by John Scalzo  on November 23, 2005

Quick Hits Preview: December, a time of snow and cold. So a great time for video games! Woo!

We are smack dab in the middle of the fall gaming rush. The eye of the release date hurricane if you will. The final push on November 15 dropped Dragon Quest 8, Shadow the Hedgehog, Need For Speed: Most Wanted, True Crime: New York City and WWE Smackdown Vs Raw 2006 into stores and there's not much else to look forward to. But don't forget, there's still one month to go and there are three December releases in the pipeline that are very exciting indeed. So sit right back and you'll hear a tale, a tale of three games on tour. A tale of?

Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones
Developer: Ubisoft
Release Date: 12/1/05

Launching right at the beginning of December is the third and final entry in the new Prince of Persia trilogy. The Prince's new life is something that game geeks will be arguing about for a long time. Sands of Time was considered a landmark game in terms of platforming elements and puzzle play. However, it sold poorly. Warrior Within sold considerably better, but it changed the Prince to a dark, brooding anti-hero. Much of the platforming was also axed in favor of more action sequences and Godsmack music.

So we come to The Two Thrones with the theme of balance running through our heads. Balance to the platforming and the action. Balance between light and dark. And this balance is achieved by infecting the Prince with the Sands of Time and periodically making him transform into the Dark Prince. And all of this while nary a lick of Godsmack will be heard.

From there Ubisoft has promised a new way to look at the series as the Prince will land in the city of Babylon and be forced to save it (and himself) from the Sands of Time. Huge, expansive environments in all directions (including up into the buildings) await the Prince as he hacks and slashes his way through the game.

This new look will be matched by a Princely focus on platforming and puzzles while the Dark Prince takes up his crazy chain-sword weapon with which he does some serious damage. If that weren't enough, Ubisoft has added some stealth gameplay to the proceedings just to make sure the Prince can handle anything. And finally, in what I'm sure is good news to fans of The Sands of Time, this new look for the series will enable the developers to create tons of city-based puzzles that weren't possible in SoT or WW.

Mega Man X Collection
Developer: Capcom
Release Date: 12/6/05 1/10/06

The X series has never quite gotten the respect that the original Mega Man timeline on the NES has received. I could never understand why. Maybe it was Capcom's insistence it stay on the PSone after the PS2 was well on gamer's radar. Maybe it was the horrid seventh edition that still gives me the shakes. Maybe it was something else entirely. But it finally looks like Mega Man X will be getting his due when the Mega Man X Collection ships in early December.

The X Collection is built just like the Anniversary Collection, taking the first six X titles (three from the SNES, three from the PSone) and throwing them together in one package for a low, low price. Fans of the originals will surely be in for a faithful rendition of many of their favorite games and I for one can't wait. I never really played the X series much and it'll be nice to fill in the gaps that I missed.

Although I'm also very much looking forward to the X Collection's secret game, Mega Man Battle and Chase. Battle and Chase is a Mega Man kart racing game that was released for the PSone way back when and has previously only been available in Japan. I'm a sucker for a good kart racer and I'm a sucker for all things Mega Man, so even if it's a terrible game it'll be a hoot.

Naturally, the X Collection will also include the standard complement of unlockable music and artwork. Mega fans should be very pleased. But they will have to wait a little longer as online retailers have changed the release date to January 10.

Gauntlet: Seven Sorrows
Developer: Midway
Release Date: 12/12/05

The last major release of the year also comes with the most baggage. Gauntlet: Seven Sorrows was originally announced with the intention of creating a deeper RPG style of Gauntlet play and the reins were handed to John "Remember Me For Doom, Not Daikatana" Romero to basically go nuts. Well, as we know, sometime over the Summer Romero packed up all his toys and went home, leaving the game to Sal "NBA Jam!" Divita. I think you can guess what happened next. Yup, out go the RPG elements and in comes that sweet Gauntlet action.

What we're left with is a true Gauntlet for the 21st century. Four player co-op is once again the center of the game and mixing and matching each character's (Warrior, Elf, Wizard, etc...) skill set is the key to survival. The RPG lite elements of the series also return as players will be able to level up 50 times in search of better skills. That 21st century part comes in with upgradeable weapons as well.

As those weapons are key to Gauntlet's next step: a revamped fighting system. Each of the four face buttons house a different attack and stringing them together will create devastating combos and juggles. Not unlike another fall 2005 Midway release, Mortal Kombat Shaolin Monks. These attacks are further subsidized by the four directional buttons on the D-Pad. These are your special attacks that require Mana energy to use, but when used with the combos they create a truly awesome display of power.

Speaking of displays of power, Seven Sorrows is shaping up to be the best looking Gauntlet ever with lots of fancy textures and new special effects all around.

While that's great, a smooth framerate is key to a game like Gauntlet, especially now that Midway has finally given fans what they asked for and added online play to the mix. Mixing and matching players across all levels and all skill sets, the Story Mode is fully online playable for four people and should be a blast (from the arcade past!). Throw in the "Needs food badly" effects of eating moldy cheese off the ground and you got a good to go Gauntlet game.

So there you have it. 2005 is closing out and 2006 (and the PS3) lie ahead. I'll probably be too busy playing the Mega Man X Collection to notice.

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