Machine Age

Please add Jamie Kennedy to the illustrious list of award show hosts—Whoopi Goldberg, Billy Crystal, the guy from Dude, Where's My Car? who isn't Ashton Kutcher. "An actor," according to All Movie Guide, "whose name became synonymous with 'comic relief' in the late 1990s," Kennedy took a break last week from his busy schedule as the WB's biggest draw to host G-Phoria, the G4 cable network's video game awards. Public Enemy and A Flock of Seagulls performed, and celebrities in attendance included Baywatch babe Traci Bingham and 13-year-old former Guiding Light star Hayden Panettiere. (Tina Yothers couldn't make it.) The winners? Why, every gamer who tuned in!


ALIENS VERSUS PREDATOR: EXTINCTION
PS2, Xbox (review copy)
Developer Zono Inc.
Publisher EA Games
Rating 6 (out of 10)

Screw Freddy vs. Jason—what could be more badass than pitting drooling, reproducing Aliens against dreadlocked, eviscerating Predators? (The Olsen twins versus Martha Stewart, maybe.) PC gamers already have the pleasure of blasting these uglies to bloody chunks in the excellent Aliens Versus Predator first-person shooter series, but this is the only console title to translate this fanciful big-screen matchup. Until now, I'd only witnessed it in my adolescent nightmares. Now, if only they would come up with a game in which I'm standing in front of the classroom in my tighty whities and Rocco Di Ruggiero comes up and gives me an atomic wedgie.

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sigourney Weaver do not appear in Aliens Versus Predator: Extinction. This is good, because I'd hate to see what either of their Alien babies would look like. Anyway. This is a rare real-time strategy console game, which essentially means that you (and you alone—there's no multiplayer option) set complex combat in motion by organizing, upgrading, and instructing warrior teams on how, when, and where to attack, monitoring the poorly animated action from above. If you choose to side with the human Colonial Marines, who're trying to beat the warring Aliens and Predators of planet LV-742 into submission, make sure you don't lose your crucial Medic or Commtech. Opt for the Alien side and you'll have to build your forces by impregnating enemies with Chestbursters. (All it takes is luring potential mates close by and giving them a Facehugger. Not that that's ever worked with any girls I know.) Or, better yet, take advantage of the game's slightly flawed design and go Predator, slaughtering the weaker species. That's what Rocco would do, anyhow.


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Aquaman
(Image: TDK Mediactive)
AQUAMAN: BATTLE FOR ATLANTIS
GameCube (review copy), Xbox
Developer Lucky Chicken Games
Publisher TDK Mediactive
Rating 5

Aquaman's no Silver Surfer, but as comic book heroes go, he's sorta dope. While Superman was forced to change into his tights in phone booths, Aquaman's got his own kingdom under the sea, Atlantis, where he can summon fish to school his enemies and, I imagine, meet lots of mermaids. You know the song—darlin', it's better down where it's wetter. But Aquaman: Battle for Atlantis, in which our hero fends off Black Manta and company in monotonous flipper-to-flipper combat and submarine attacks, suffers from classic underwater maladies: Everything looks blurry, and it's tough to move around and fight—some combos require you to punch a dozen buttons. Plus, the panel-by-panel narrative looks more cheap than it does charming. Aquaman is all washed up!


Recent, Less Sucky Monster Games

Brute Force (Digital Anvil/Microsoft, for Xbox): religious aliens and cloned humans resolve differences, kill for the Confederation: 8 out of 10; Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee (Pipeworks/ Atari, for GC, Xbox): nuke-age fallout, fully destructible cities—perfect for post-9-11 paranoia: 8 out of 10; Return to Castle Wolfenstein: Tides of War (Nerve/Activision, for Xbox): play online as first Jewish vid-game hero B.J. Blazkowicz versus Nazi zombies—or vice versa!: 9 out of 10.

Plans for 52 Card Pickup have been dropped

Massachusetts company Allinplay has developed an online, text- and sound-based version of the card game Crazy Eights for the visually impaired, the Associated Press reports.

 
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