NEED FOR SPEED UNDERGROUND
(Electronic Arts—GameCube, PC, PS2, Xbox) 8

The newest Need for Speed introduces the novel ability to exoticize your crappy base-model with conspicuously sporty aftermarket parts, like spoilers. (And I don’t mean car-safety guru Ralph Nader.) Engine ups and nitrous tanks unlock automatically, but hustling style-points by drifting around corners and landing jumps opens almost infinite combinations of superficial customizations. No spinners, though—race designers have yet to reinvent the wheel.

The Suffering
image: Courtesy Midway
The Suffering

Details

The Suffering
For: PS2 (review copy), Xbox
Developer: Surreal Software
Publisher: Midway Games
Rating: 7 (out of 10)

NINJA GAIDEN
(Tecmo—Xbox) 9

The world’s best hack-and-slash epic: Basic combos multiply into wall-run back flips and blood-spurt beheadings, the smoothest acrobatics and most graceful gore this side of the Pacific. Counter meatier and meatier varieties of enemies with swords, nunchakus and bow-and-arrow, all while grabbing technique-teaching scrolls and running across walls and—WWJD?—on water. You just won’t be able to turn it into wine.

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