System: Sony PSP
ESRB Rating: T
Review rating: 3 1/2 stars
Fighting fans yearning for portable melee combat will be more than satisfied with Namco/Bandai's latest title, "Tekken: Dark Resurrection." Sporting exceptional graphics, smooth game play and more than 30 combatants, fighting in public will never be the same as the ultimate brawling franchise pummels its way onto Sony's PSP. Nearly every pugilist from Tekken's past makes an appearance in this title, including favorites such as Law and Jack, as well as newcomers Lili and Dragonuv.
In a first for the series, all characters are unlocked from the start, so players don't have to tediously unlock several brawlers to find the ones they want. Controlling the combat is intuitive since the PSP sports the same control setup as the PlayStation 2. While the PSP analog stick can be used, its limited mobility (compared with the PS2 analog stick) will force most players to use the directional pad instead.
While the lack of online game play is disappointing, the wide variety of gaming modes makes up for it. Players can duke it out in classic Story and Arcade battles, practice in the Tekken Dojo, trade data with friends online in Network mode and fight in matches with strict rules in Attackmode.
From the highly detailed character models to the ultrarealistic backgrounds, "Tekken: Dark Resurrection" is one of the best-looking PSP games available. How the developers managed to make the graphics rival those of its PS2 cousins while still running at a buttery-smooth 60 frames per second is a mystery.
"Tekken: Dark Resurrection" sets a high standard for PSP games that it's hoped will mark the end of mediocre ports from PS2 to PSP.
Game: "Monster House"
System: Nintendo Game Cube
ESRB Rating: T
Review rating: 2 1/2 stars
If saving trick-or-treaters from becoming the next meal for a ravenous residence sounds like fun, then it's time to explore the supernatural confines of THQ's film-based adventure "Monster House."
Though the game isn't groundbreaking, it also doesn't fit into the customary avoid-it-at-all-costs, cheap movie tie-in category. The game follows key events from the movie and adds original content as players can investigate the insidious abode as DJ, Jenny and Chowder.
All three children are equipped with exclusive advantages to help them in their plight, such as DJ's stun-inducing camera, Jenny's sniper slingshot and Chowder's area-of-effect water balloons. In addition to those weapons, each child has a water blaster. Using these armaments, the children must avoid traps and fight animated household objects in order to stop the insidious abode from pigging out on Halloween candy hoarders.
Just like the movie, players also can indulge in a fun, 2-D minigame called Thou Art Dead. This little diversion tasks the player with eliminating all sorts of monsters and is an enjoyable, nostalgic break from the main game.
Unfortunately, there are no multiplayer modes online or off. I imagine that pint-sized fans of the movie would love to explore the house with a friend or battle each other with lethal water-infused pistols. As it stands, there's really no reason to play through "Monster House" more than once.
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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)