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Back in the 1600s, Mulla Sadra was da bomb. As one of the most important of the Persian philosophers with his existence-quiddity concepts, Mulla Sadra might have had something to say about PRINCE OF PERSIA: THE TWO THRONES. One of the Mulla's prime tenets was that reality and existence are identical. But this latest installment of the Prince series doesn't feel that real from the get-go, certainly not as real as year's challenging Warrior Within. There, you felt powerful gaming pseudo-reality from the moment you began when you moved through the bowels of a ghostly ship. Here, while the game showcases the Prince's power later on, the Prince begins in a broken down city, trying to jump around and scale some walls. Yeh, I know the maker of the game wants to show the Prince's futility, but I feel there has to be more adventure to keep my interest, to keep my existence real. And yeh, there's a stunning movie sequence to begin with a ship, a beautiful woman and a battle. But starting the gameplay with running and jumping and scaling walls within a fortress didn't make me want to go much further–even though there were fairly rich gaming rewards when I did.

Follow the white rabbit. Wacky Matrix diehards who love conundrums and even loved Revolutions know that the rabbit means part of the answer to the enigma. In THE MATRIX: PATH OF NEO, you do get to wander through the trilogy as Neo, which didn't happen with the error-filled Enter The Matrix. In Neo, there are lots of great cut scenes from the movies, too. And the game does set the proper mood immediately: of green-toned sci-fi loneliness, quietude, and sweet, slow motion surreality when fights do occur. However, Shiny, the gamemakers, really had problems with programming the camera angles. And in a game, any game, there's nothing worse than that to make a geek stop playing. The answer IS out there: maybe in the next Matrix game, not this one, not even for geeks who worshipped Revolutions.

My favorite game of the week is a simple one. PINBALL HALL OF FAME: THE GOTTLIEB COLLECTION takes a handful of classic pinball tables and puts them on the PSP. Do they work on the small screen? Heck, yeh! Somehow, with seamless scrolling, you feel as through you're seeing the whole playing field as you play each game. In fact, you see them better than you would in real life because there's no glare from the pinball glass. And since you're playing with headphones, you get to hear all the sound effects you wouldn't, say, within the din of the Horseshoe Bar. There's even the history of each table for pinheads to read about. Plus, you get to explore an old school arcade and even get your fortune told by one of those old mechanical gypsies. It feels real and so does my existence: Mulla Sadra would approve.

Details

Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones
Publisher: Ubisoft Montreal
Developer: Ubisoft
For: PlayStation2, PC, Xbox, and GameCube

The Matrix: Path of Neo
Publisher: Shiny Entertainment
Developer: Atari
For: Windows XP, Xbox, PlayStation2

Pinball Hall of Fame: The Gottleib Collection
Publisher: FarSight Studios
Developer: Crave
For: PlayStation Portable

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