Publisher: Cinemaware Marquee
System: Windows 2000/XP
ESRB Rating: E
Review rating: 3 stars
The surreal realm of Darwinia is in trouble, and it is up to you to help its creator, Dr. Sepulveda, rid the virtual world of a nasty virus in this real-time strategy title.As a result of stringing 10,000 home computer consoles together, Sepulveda has created the world's first quantum computer. Much to his surprise, it generated a living world within its matrix in which creatures carry out realistic life cycles.
Unfortunately, one of Darwinia's inhabitants became corrupted, and this started a domino effect that is slowly turning the peaceful Darwinians into cyber-monsters.
Eliminating the virus is the only solution, so you must help the good doctor by controlling a variety of virtual life-forms that fire lasers and other lethal weaponry.
Controlling squads in this game is fairly easy, as players can use a standard point-and-click interface to tell their troops where to go and what to shoot. One feature that stands out is the ability to aim and fire the selected squad's weapons, which makes the game more intense and action-oriented.
While it isn't technologically remarkable, "Darwinia" uses old-school visuals that mimic those found in PC games of the '80s. In addition, 8-bit sound effects are emulated to give game play more of an arcade feel.
The end result is a novel title reminiscent of the "Tron" universe, sans humans. Although the game does have a few bugs, like characters having stuttered movement around bodies of water, "Darwinia" delivers great fun in an unusual package.
Game: "MotoGP 4"
System: Sony PS2
ESRB Rating: T
Review rating: 3 stars
Motorcycle fans rejoice, as Namco/Bandai has revved up its popular MotoGP series with new gaming modes, the ability to upgrade bikes and best of all - smooth online game play for up to eight players.
All licensed tracks, pro riders, motorcycles and engine classes from the 2004 season are included to give players a realistic racing experience. But since we are halfway through 2006, why not give fans the 2005 season?
Sports fans are a finicky bunch, and the last thing they want are outdated stats and rosters. The MotoGP series has always provided ultra-realistic game play, and this iteration is no different.
Budding motorcycle champions will have to frequently slam on the brakes around turns. This might disappoint fans of arcade race games. On the other hand, most fans of real-life MotoGP circuits don't want anything less than a totally authentic racing experience.
All bikes in the game can be upgraded at certain points in the season, but players have only one chance to pass a challenge that rewards them with an enhanced part. Basically, this flawed system rewards advanced players instead of those who really need it. Would providing a second chance really make the game too easy? I don't think so.
Despite these problems, the addition of online game play greatly extends the replay value of "MotoGP 4." It's also more fun to race real-life opponents rather than predictable, machine-generated characters, especially when you can distract them with smack talk.
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4 stars - Must have
3 stars - Pretty good
2 stars - So-so
1 star - Don't waste your time
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Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB)
T: Teen (13 and older)
E10-plus: (Everyone 10 and older)
M: Mature (17 and older)