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Maybe it's because the holidays are upon us, those depression-inducing weeks during which a minute of egg-nog-without-snog socializing seems like a day in purgatory. Craving distraction, I cracked open TRUE CRIME: NEW YORK CITY to see a disclaimer saying the NYPD didn't approve this game about police bribery and urban evil. Rebellion: cool. Once I loaded the game, a windswept, lonesome yet violent Christmas in Harlem actually felt real. In fact, throughout Manhattan, there was grit and dirt: the herald angels sing: someone finally got New York City right in a game. The story of a thug turned cop story was compelling, appropriately complex and decently written, if nothing that new. So I finished the training as a cop (definition: how to press buttons, aim and drive in the game, not that much like the police academy) and went on the first undercover assignment with my embittered partner. Somewhere on 8th Avenue in Midtown, I heard a loud BUZZZZZZZZ. Get ready for some fisticuffs and mayhem, I thought. But the screen had stopped on a frame and I had to reboot the game, thus losing my progress (since there was no automatic saving of the game) and the last vestige of holiday sanity. Who made this game, The Grinch Who Froze the Xbox?

50 CENT: BULLETPROOF gets you together with the buff rapper and his clan of mischief makers like the great Tony Yayo. When I saw the game last May at E3, the trailer looked like the most misogynist collections of bytes I'd ever stumbled upon. But that was out of context; the game is raw but not disgusting. Because Bulletproof lets you unlock a load of 50 songs, demos and videos and because folks like Eminem and Dre appear, true fans of the rapper will regard Bulletproof as a must have, especially the editions that come with a bulletproof vest adorning the box. Unlike True Crime, however, the graphics don't feel that real and the unwieldy weapon aiming mechanisms makes me feel like a blind, uncoordinated rugrat trying to use a gun. In da club? Uh-uh. More like in da flub.

Zombies rule all year 'round if you're a horror fan. If you mix zombies with Christmas in New York, you'll get INFECTED, an unusual game, part of which lets you utilize the PSP's wireless functionality. If you want to save Christmas, you have to blast the zombie hordes, then inject them with blood to annihilate them when their defenses are down. It's a darkly humorous game that will appeal to the same crowd who loved Billy Bob Thornton in Bad Santa.

Details

True Crime: New York City
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Luxoflux
For: Xbox

Fifty Cent: Bulletproof
Publisher: Vivendi Universal
Developer: Genuine
For: PS2

Infected
Publisher: Majesco
Developer: Planet Moon
For: PSP

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Guitar Hero
Developer: RedOctane
Publisher: Harmonix

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Developer: Konami
Publisher: Konami TYO

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Dance Dance Revolution Ultramix 3
Developer: Konami
Publisher: Konami

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Dance Dance Revolution Mario Mix
Developer: Nintendo
Publisher:Konami Studios

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Developer: Konami
Publisher: Harmonix

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