By Chuck Wilson
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By Alan Scherstuhl
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Plan 9 from Outer Space was probably the first so-good-it's-bad sci-fi film. Sadly eternally etched within my gray matter is the line, "Modern women. They've been like that all down through the ages." Inspired by Ed Wood and other crappy B flick directors, the makers of DESTROY ALL HUMANS! have outdone themselves with a brilliantly, beautifully designed game about a Beavis and Butthead-looking alien who comes down to earth to harvest brain stems. His race has no mojo at all down there, so a DNA strand is as good as 10cc for these miscreants. There's so much here: an unlockable of Plan 9, witty writing (at its best when you read the minds of the dumb humans in the game), a flying saucer with a kick-ass death ray, and satire that's sometimes only a notch or two below the writing in the seminal Dr. Strangelove. Of course, for you Ernest Goes to Camp fans, there's an anal probe to examine those holier-than-thou heartlander farmers and their desperate housewives. As one of the housewives wails, "Ouchie, ouchie, ouchie!"
Aw, look at all the pretty animals. Hey, don't just look at 'em. Raise apes. Care for ailing gators. Shovel the mammoth poop of elephants. Add waterfalls and do it freestyle. Make a pile of cash from your overly expensive gift shop. Also, you're not bound to observing animals from above: ZOO TYCOON 2 offers first-person views should you want them so you can walk among your wildlife. Forget the San Diego Zoo, baby, you can be the Frank Gehry of zoo designers. There's even a half-decent DVD from the National Geographic Channel included in the box. And it's all a lot more fun than the damn suburban Sims.Check out reviews of all the latest and greatest games (updated every week), along with past faves in NYC Guide.
If you mooned over the frantic, electronica-inspired Lumines puzzle game for the PSP, you'll probably become addicted to METEOS for the DS. Meteos is kind of like a Tetrisonly it blasts off. By that I mean, line up the Meteos blocks with your stylus until you fill a column. Whoosh! Up they go, usually with more oomph than that solar sailing thing that Mrs. Sagan invested in and watched fall to the ground. If, however, you've let too many Meteos gather, getting them to launch is hard, like skinny David Spade trying to bench press 400 pounds. There's also a goal here, to save your world, as you zip to different planets in the "Star Trip" mode. It's a nice little extra that'll keep you coming back for more.
Nintendo has created a mini-franchise with WarioWare, the blink-quick avalanche of mini games that take three seconds each to play and become increasingly difficult as you go along. The twist in WARIOWARE: TWISTED is a motion sensor in the cartridge. Tilt, rock, and twist the GBA instead of pressing controls. The upside is it's more formidable to play than just mashing buttons. The downside is you'll probably whack someone accidentally when you play in the subway or on the bus. It took me some time to get a hang of how to, say, shave a man's face in three seconds with the motion detector, and I'm not sure the motion detector works that well all of the time. Twisted is not a life altering game. Instead, it's a commendable, if slightly flawed, addition to the WarioWare library.
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