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OFFICIAL. IN-DEPTH. FIRST!

WORLD
EXCLUSIVE REVIEW!

XBOX 2002: HALO Say HALO to

WE’VE SEEN the game of


the year

THE FUTURE
1 Project Ego
2 Wreckless
3 Buffy the Vampire Slayer
4 Genma Onimusha
Exclusive
NEWS & SCREENS

Official Xbox Magazine


WORLD
EXCLUSIVE
REVIEW!

DEAD OR
THE NEW FACE OF FIGHTING GAMES

The
ALIVE 3
Only on Xbox. Only in this magazine.
ultimate
Xbox home
theater

13 HARD-HITTING XBOX REVIEWS!


PROJECT GOTHAM NFL FEVER 2002 TONY HAWK 2x FUZION FRENZY
December 2001
Premiere Issue

IVE IVE
EXCLUS EXCLUS $7.99US $9.99CAN
1 2>

0 71486 01503 1
12 First Look
Contents Get the big picture with our exclusive first-looks
at the biggest games of the future.
.

12

16
WRECKLESS
Motorized mayhem in the crowded streets
of Hong Kong.
GENMA ONIMUSHA
A frightening look at Capcom’s special
Xbox take on the PS2 classic.
73 Feature
Grading your Xbox set-up
Find out what you need to make the most of
the Xbox and its stunning A/V output. We look
at the latest in HDTV, surround sound, and beer-
refrigeration techniques. The question is, will your
set-up make the grade?

84 Reviews
Thirteen of these bad boys, right in time for
22 All Access launch – who loves ya?

This month, All Access talks to god-game creator 47 DoA3 (review within cover story)
Peter Molyneux, splashes around in volumetric
water, and looks at Xbox hacking, Matrix games, 84 Halo
and much, much more. 92 Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2x
96 Project Gotham Racing
TransWorld Surf
36 Feature
98
101 NASCAR Heat
Dead or Alive 3 overload: 102 Cel Damage
The new face of fighting games 104 Fuzion Frenzy
Our massive and exclusive DoA3 feature looks 107 4X4 EVO 2
at every major and minor aspect of the ultimate 108 Madden 2002
fighting game – oh, and it finishes things up with 110 NFL Fever 2002
the only officially sanctioned review in the entire
world. That’s all. 113 AirForce Delta Storm
114 Star Wars Starfighter: SE

54 Previews 84 Extended
Play
Xbox 2002, indeed. These giant previews will
more than whet your appetite.

54 PROJECT EGO What’s a strategy and codes section without


Just another Molyneux masterpiece. Ho the strategy or codes? It’s a fantabulous letters

AAAAHHHH
hum. and contest section, that’s what!
59 BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER
Surprisingly promising vampire-killing
simulator.
64 SSX TRICKY 96 What, FEATURE: DoA3
“It’s tricky to rock a rhyme/ to rock a
rhyme that’s right on time/ It’s tricky.” That’s It? A massive feature, new shots,
68 SILENT HILL 2: RESTLESS DREAMS We unveil the controversial Explain-a-tron™, an
Special Xbox version that’ll make
sleeping nigh-impossible.
earnest, if shaky, attempt to put our brand-new
reviews in a quasi-historical context.
and a full review! Fight!
Page 36

GameFinder
Issue 01

Too impatient to play by the rules? Quickly flick to your


game of choice:
107 4x4 EVO 2 32 Mad Dash Racing
113 AirForce Delta Storm 24 Max Payne
32 Bloodlust 32 MX2002
59 Buffy the Vampire Slayer 32 The Matrix
102 Cel Damage 101 NASCAR Heat
Official Xbox Magazine

26 Circus Maximus 110 NFL Fever 2002


28 Crash 54 Project Ego
36 Dead or Alive 3 96 Project Gotham Racing
31 Falcone: Enter the Maelstrom 68 Silent Hill 2: Restless Dreams VAMPY!
104 Fuzion Frenzy 64 SSX Tricky
16 Genma Onimusha 114 Star Wars Starfighter: SE BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER Page 59
26 Gun Metal 28 Strident
31 Gun Valkyrie 32 Test Drive
84 Halo 92 Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2x
RACY!
32 Jet Set Radio Future 98 TransWorld Surf PROJECT
24 Loons 26 Wrath GOTHAM
108 Madden 2002 12 Wreckless RACING
Just another HUT... HUT...
exclusive
review for NFL Fever 2002 TONY HAWK 2x
WHEEE!
Publisher’s statement: Official Xbox Magazine (ISSN 1534-7850) is published monthly by Imagine Media, Inc., 150
North Hill Drive, Brisbane, CA 94005. Application to mail at Periodicals Postage Rates is pending at Brisbane CA and
your reading Finally, Madden gets some stiff-arm
competition on the football field. Our review reveals what’s so “x”
LOOK OUT!
pleasure.
additional mailing offices. Newsstand distribution is handled by the Curtis Circulation Company. Subscriptions: One
year basic rate (12 issues + 12 game discs): US: $39.95; Canada $49.95; Foreign: $69.95. Canadian and foreign orders
must be pre-paid, US funds only. Canadian price includes postage and GST (GST# R128220688). POSTMASTER:
Page 96 Page 110 about the new Tony. Page 92 HALO Its very first review, anywhere. Page 84
Send address changes to Official Xbox Magazine, P.O. Box 5156, Harlan, IA 51593-0656. Printed in the United States.
Ride-along enclosure in the following edition(s): C1, D1, D2.

04 Official Magazine December 2001 ■ THE REAL DEAL: This, technically, is Issue One, since last month’s issue was only a preview, and it was technically Issue Zero. ■ MOST OVERUSED TERM EVER: “World Exclusive” is thrown around with such abandon in the magazine business that we December 2001 Official Magazine 05
That probably makes it a collector’s item. Better check eBay... hesitated to even use it, but since our “World Exclusives” are actually world-exclusive, we figured you wouldn’t mind so much.
Editor’s Letter
He still gets one per issue – sorry again

It’s official.
We finally made it. After nearly two years of speculation, rumor, hope, and hype, we are just a few Official Xbox Magazine
Magazine
Official Xbox
days away from the launch of the mighty Xbox – and the Premiere Issue of Official Xbox Magazine
Issue 01 � December, 2001
is here to make sure you get the most out of your Xbox experience.
I won’t bore you with the details of the extensive process required to become an Official WORDS AND PICTURES
magazine (basically, we had to prove to Microsoft that we could make a better magazine than Mike Salmon � Editor-in-Chief
Frank O’Connor � Executive Editor
anyone in the world), but I will tell you what “Official” should mean to you. Official means we have Sarah Ellerman � Managing Editor
unrivaled access to Xbox games, people, and news. We’ll know about them first. We’ll play them Dan Egger � Features Editor
first. And our readers – and our readers only – will read about and play them first. Francesca Reyes � Senior Editor
Dave Rees � DVD Editor
As it happens, this issue is a perfect example. We sent two editors all the way to Japan for the world-exclusive Mike Wilmoth � Art Director
review of the stunning Dead or Alive 3 (page 36). At the same time, we sent four editors up to Microsoft HQ so they could Juliann Brown � Associate Art Director
be the first in the world to sit down and play final versions of the stellar first-party titles Halo (page 84), Fuzion Frenzy (page Editorial Contributors: Andy Mahood, Jim Preston, Gary Whitta

104), Project Gotham Racing (page 96), and NFL Fever 2002 (page 110). Contributing Art & Photography: Corbis, Jack Hutcheson,
Hiroki Izumi
So the world-exclusive reviews aren’t enough? You want to know what Xbox games are in your future? Well,
nobody else has detailed information and completely new screens on future Xbox titles Wreckless (page 12), Genma TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS
Karen Quilantang � Publisher
Onimusha (page 16), or Project Ego (page 54). Still not enough? How about our DVD stuffed with over 60 minutes of karen@imaginemedia.com
exclusive Xbox game footage? Oh, you want to test out the best Xbox games for yourself? Better buy our next issue, then, David Barrow � Global Brand Manager
because our Xbox Game Disc is the ONLY place you’ll be able to get fully playable demos of killer new games like Tony dbarrow@imaginemedia.com
Stacy Bremmer � National Sales Manager
Hawk 2x and Oddworld: Munch’s Oddysee. sbremmer@imaginemedia.com
We are the only Official Xbox Magazine in the world, and the only Xbox source you’ll ever need. And that, my Michelle Torrey � Sales Consultant
friends, is official. mtorrey@imaginemedia.com
— Mike Salmon, editor-in-chief Anika Cunningham � Marketing Manager
acunningham@imaginemedia.com
Official Xbox Magazine
Megan Fischer � Ad. Services Manager
mfischer@imaginemedia.com

Meet the team


PRODUCTION
If music be the food of love, then video games must be Richie Lesovoy � Production Director
sex-burgers. With fries and a Coke. Jose Urrutia � Production Coordinator

CIRCULATION
Mike Salmon Frank O’Connor Sarah Ellerman Kate Bailey � Group Circulation Director
editor-in-chief executive editor managing editor Mimi Hall � Newsstand Marketing Manager
Peggy Mores � Fulfillment Manager
Favorite Food: Chili’s fried Favorite Food: Anything with Favorite Food: I am a devotee Mary Nicklin � Direct Marketing Specialist
cheese sticks dipped in the Tabasco sauce. Not Crystal, not of In-N-Out Burger. I think I
cheesy goodness of their queso Dave’s Insanity Sauce, not Doctor might have moved to California INTERNATIONAL LICENSING
dip – if only there were a way to Death’s Sauce of Doom. Old- just to eat a perfectly crafted Wish Simon Wear � Int’l Licensing Manager
deep fry that and then dip it in school, classic Tabasco. Not bad for Burger and the most beautiful fries simon.wear@futurenet.co.uk
more cheese. Mmmmm. something that’s made with just two ingredients. on the planet. Plus they have tons of lemon slices so I
Least Favorite Food: Raisins. I don’t like any food that Least Favorite Food: Celery is the only food I don’t like. can make my favorite drink, the “Battery-Acid Coke.” CONTACT INFORMATION
reminds me of Grandma Dixie naked. And even that’s okay if it’s boiled. Like in chowder. Least Favorite Food: I pretend to like salad. But I lie. If you need customer service, you may:
Favorite Launch Game: TransWorld Surf isn’t my favorite Favorite Launch Game: DoA3 – so good it’s weird. Favorite Launch Game: Munch’s Oddysee. It’s got � Send an email to BOXcustserv@email.cdsfulfillment.com
game, but I am, surprisingly, playing it way too much. Dumbest Purchase Ever: Electric cat-poo scooper. They creatures and plights. Creatures and plights are good. � Call us toll-free at 1-888-318-8368
Dumbest Purchase Ever: A SNES RPG where I thought ALL break. I’m on my third one now. Maybe they really Dumbest Purchase Ever: A $1,300 scanner. I cry when I �Or write to us at Official Xbox Magazine Customer
the cover art would represent the game. The box lied. are just for cats. think about it. Crappier than a $99 one from Walgreens. Care, PO Box 5156, Harlan, IA 51593-0656.
msalmon@imaginemedia.com foconnor@imaginemedia.com sellerman@imaginemedia.com

Dan Egger Francesca Reyes Mike Wilmoth IMAGINE MEDIA, INC.


features editor senior editor art director 150 North Hill Drive
Brisbane, CA 94005
Favorite Food: Biscuits and Favorite Food: Fran Pocky. Favorite Food: Pizza. 415-468-4684
cheese. Southern-style biscuits. Obviously. I have to say that I Pepperoni is my pizza of
Anything on biscuits is good. I like the strawberry best. And not choice, but I’m not averse to Imagine Media is a part of
once had chocolate on biscuits. because it’s pink. sausage. Veggie pizza is a waste of THE FUTURE NETWORK PLC.
And that was some good eatin’. Least Favorite Food: Chicken, my time, however. The excessive
Least Favorite Food: Cilantro. Vile weed. It tastes like a although I will eat it in nugget form. It’s the bones I onions, tomatoes, and occasionally garlic just mask the Greg Ingham � Worldwide CEO
little rancid-bush. object to. I’m not about munching stuff off of skeletons. flavor of the cheesy goodness.
Jonathan Simpson-Bint � President
Favorite Launch Game: NFL Fever – I gots tha feva! I’m not a zombie, after all. Least Favorite Food: I told you already. VEGGIE PIZZA!
Dumbest Purchase Ever: A 10 pound bag of donuts that Favorite Launch game: DoA3. Favorite Launch Game: Easily Halo. Matt Firme � VP/Editorial Director
were almost a week old (true story) My roommates and I Dumbest Purchase Ever: A brown 1990 Honda Civic, Dumbest Purchase Ever: Crayola Crayon #776, Infra Tom Valentino � VP/CFO
tried to eat them as fast as possible, but we eventually the year just before they became indestructible. Mine is Brown. It’s a color that can’t be seen in the normal UV Holly Klingel � VP/Circulation
had to give most of them to my dog. quite destructible. spectrum. I can’t find it now. Steve Leibman � VP/Human Resources
degger@imaginemedia.com freyes@imaginemedia.com Charles Schug � General Counsel
mwilmoth@imaginemedia.com

Juliann Brown Dave Rees Grandma Dixie THE FUTURE NETWORK


associate art director DVD editor cookie baker 30 Monmouth Street
Bath, BA1 2BW, United Kingdom
Favorite Food: Sushi. Rock ’N’ Favorite Food: Noodles. Favorite Food: Baked prunes. + 44 1225 442244
Roll is my fave, although sushi Specifically, udon. Nothing’s Least Favorite Food: Ribbon www.thefuturenetwork.plc.uk
purists will claim it isn’t real. I’m tastier than a bowl of dashi with candy... but I can foist it on my The Future Network plc serves the information needs of groups of
quite fond of eel, though. noodles and tempura in it. Yum. idiot grandkids whenever they visit. people who share a passion. We aim to satisfy their passion by
Least Favorite Food: Steak. Seriously. Least Favorite Food: Japanese Favorite Launch Game: Tony Hawk creating magazines and websites that offer superb value for money,
trustworthy information, multiple ways to save time and money, and
Yuck. It’s muscles, plain and simple, and I’m not seaweed candy. No wonder Godzilla is mad all the time. 2x. That boy gives me feelings that I haven’t felt since are a pleasure to read or visit. This simple strategy has helped create
a vegetarian either. Favorite Launch game: It would have to be Halo. I just that nice Lorenzo Lamas fellow was on TV. one of the fastest-growing media companies in the world: we publish
Favorite Launch game: I don’t play fighting games a can’t seem to get into fighting games right now or it Dumbest Purchase Ever: A spandex unitard. Those more than 100 magazines, 20 magazine websites, and a number of
whole heckuva lot, but because it looks so yummy, I’d would be DoA3. ladies on my exercise stories looked so attractive in web networks from offices in four countries. The company also
have to say DoA3. Dumbest Purchase Ever: I waited in line for eight hours them, I thought I’d try the same... who could have licenses 42 magazines in 30 countries. The Future Network is a public
company quoted on the London Stock Exchange (symbol: FNET).
Dumbest Purchase Ever: 1989 Saab 900t. It ended up to get a PlayStation2, then I waited eight months for a known that it would make me look dumpy?
costing me 40k. It was a nice color, though. Charcoal. reason to play it. MEDIA WITH PASSION
jbrown@imaginemedia.com drees@imaginemedia.com Write a nice old-fashioned paper letter. San Francisco, London, Bath, Milan, Paris

08 Official Magazine December 2001 � WORST FOOD?: Mr. Donut in Japan serves curry and egg-salad-
filled donuts. It might not kill you, but the guy in the next stall is dead.
First Look Official Xbox
magazine
ABSOLUTE EXCLUSIVE
First Look
Wreckless

DEVELOPER: Bunkasha Publishing

W
reckless has been floating around on a sea of
PUBLISHER: Activision RELEASE DATE: Spring 2002

Wreckless
mystery like some latter-day Marie Celeste.
Developed by the mysterious Japanese
Light fantastic tripped software company Bunkasha Publishing, it
was formerly known (by scant few) as Double S.T.E.A.L.
The lighting in Wreckless is What did that acronym stand for? We may never know –
incomparable, especially in but we do know what the game, under its new title,
the nighttime sequences. Other
so-called next-gen racers are Why race an oval when you can Wreckless, stands for. It stands for mall-smashing,

drive through the mall in a


beggared by the sheer polygon people-scattering, crime-boss-busting racing of a type
counts here, but add to the that has simply never been seen before – at least not
intricate detail the layers and
layers of neon, argon, and
halogen light, and you have a monster truck? at this magnitude.
When we first laid eyes on a short, jagged video
game whose look is beginning of the game, we were inspired by the amazing physics
to typify the Xbox experience –
total realism – right down to as monster trucks smashed into buses and plate glass
the sickly phosphor glow in the flew apart after impact. We thought, “That’s what physics
night sky above Hong Kong. should be about. Smashing stuff to bits and driving as
fast as is humanly possible through crowded Hong Kong
markets.”
Bizarrely, there’s even a
plot – some glib nonsense
Driving
about taking down the insanity
that may
Hong Kong Mafia structure.
And there are two plotlines,
but either way you’re a
good guy. Big deal. That invalidate
■ It’ll make you think twice ■ Wreckless fittingly makes other
doesn’t explain why the
game gives you the chance your
about walking on city streets. driving games look rather “pedestrian.” to smash your way through
20 different missions, in 10
factory
different vehicles, ranging
from an absurdly large
warranty.
monster truck (complete with fully-active gas struts) to a
Messerschmitt bubble car. And mission objectives vary
wildly, not unlike those seen in Driver. It might be a
straight race against time, or you might have to stop
another marauding vehicle in its giant, 3D, gloriously
bump-mapped tracks.
The game’s emphasis on physics isn’t just for show –
the cars suffer damage from the abuse you hurl at them.
Although you can leap at one hundred miles per hour
from an overpass onto the roof of a bus traveling below,
it’s insanity that may invalidate your factory warranty
somewhat. That and the traffic patterns (based on real-life
Hong Kong gridlock) mean that there’s a real element of
method required to traverse this madness. And watch
out for peeps. Perfectly animated humans scatter and
dodge (though, sadly, they don’t splat) as you careen

What is Soylent
through the teeming streets.
A mix of real cars and As you can plainly see from the screenshots,

fake – but there’s no Green again? Wreckless is even more detailed than the thoroughly
amazing Project Gotham, and as our nighttime shots
mistaking this for GT3. It’s people, and one of the most intriguing aspects
of Wreckless is its pedestrian content. Harried
reveal, it has even better neon than DoA3.

businessmen are made more harried by your


automotive onslaught. Cute secretaries flee in
terror from your bubble car, and marketplaces
COMING SOON...
chock-full with vendors and customers suddenly
find themselves in the middle of an epic car chase. Next month, we’ll have a massive preview of Wreckless, with amazing new shots and info, a trailer on our
Not sure at this point if you get points for hitting Xbox game disc, and an interview with Japanese developer Bunkasha!
them or avoiding them. But you can’t ignore them.

12 Official Magazine December 2001 ■ URKELMOBILE: Although the GT series claims to offer the most cars, to our knowledge, only Wreckless lets ■ WRECKING CRUDE: Why is the game called Wreckless? That would imply a lack of wrecks, when in fact, the game is December 2001 Official Magazine 13
you drive a Messerschmitt bubble car, as used by Urkel on Family Matters. nothing less than the biggest series of car wrecks ever. Maybe there’s a Stealth mode…
First Look Official Xbox
magazine
ABSOLUTE EXCLUSIVE
First Look
Genma Onimusha

DEVELOPER: Capcom

A
PUBLISHER: Capcom RELEASE DATE: Spring 2002 lthough in style and function, Onimusha is

Genma
somewhat indebted to both Resident Evil
and Dino Crisis, its emphasis on action over
lockpicking – and character skills over
sophomoric herb-combining – leads it very much down
the path Capcom is also taking with Devil May Cry.
Onimusha is still laden with foreboding dread and
suspense, but it’s dense with activity and, most

Onimusha
importantly, action. Now, a revamped, retooled version
is headed to Xbox in the form of Genma Onimusha.
With a storyline pieced together from both Japanese
historical fact and fiction, players wield their virtual
swords as the samurai Samanosuke Akechi, who must
battle demons in order to save a princess from death

Less with the unlocking, and his country from the grasp of an undead warlord.
But throughout the game, those who played through
the original will notice a number of significant changes.

Souls are more with the killing According to Kenji Inafune, the producer responsible
for both versions of
Onimusha, his team is
Laden with
up for grabs pitching Genma straight to
“hardcore” gamers. To do foreboding
between the this, Capcom has included
dread and
player and new enemies and attacks,
which will shore up
suspense...
the enemy the game’s difficulty
considerably. The most
in Genma marked change from the original will be the ability of

Onimusha.
your enemies to absorb souls. Therefore, when you
defeat a monster, you’ll have to compete against live
enemies in order to absorb the soul. If the enemy
absorbs it before you, it will become more powerful
and possibly evolve into a new type of monster.
In addition, players will also now be able to access
a new area, called the “Ancient Forest,” beyond a door
that was previously locked in the original Onimusha.
With these factors to take into account, we’re hoping
that Genma Onimusha ends up more than a simple
remix.

■ Samanosuke’s “affections” lie with his


princess cousin, not the cute female ninja.

Huh?
According to Capcom, the word “genma” is
■ New armor, new
enemies, and new skills
beef up Genma’s appeal
■ No better way to start your day than a
derived from two different Chinese characters. for returning fans.
“Gen” means illusion, while “ma” can be defined rousing game of tug-of-war for the soul.
as either magic or demon. The word “onimusha”
is simply demon warrior. Therefore, put them all
together and you have either “illusion magic
demon warrior” or “illusionary demon demon
COMING SOON...
warrior.” We would have voted for Super Happy We’re close to getting our grubby mitts on a playable of Genma Onimusha in the office to see,
Fun Bunny Donut Demon Bonanza, but this one firsthand, what Capcom means by keeping it real for the “hardcore” market. Expect a full report of how
■ One of the few graphic tweaks for the Xbox is the much-improved
is good, too. it plays next month or perhaps the month after.
lighting, as witnessed in this epic rooftop showdown.

16 Official Magazine December 2001 ■ ONIMUSHA: THE MOVIE?: In our interview with Kenji Inafune (producer of both Onimushas) he states, “I know as a base, ■ NOBUNAGA’S AMBITION: The bad guy in Onimusha is none other than Oda Nobunaga, an actual soldier of fortune who December 2001 Official Magazine 17
Onimusha can be a good movie. Not a Japanese movie. I would like it to be done in Hollywood.” A samurai movie? Sweet, we say. aimed to militarily unify Japan. He took his own life at age 49; he is now remembered mainly through KOEI strategy games.
All Access A backstage pass to the world of Xbox > > > Launch Central
All Access
Xbox – ready for lift-off

> > >

>

>
Launch sequence

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Launch Variable: Launch Variable:
COMPETITION (SONY) COMPETITION (Nintendo)
Despite dropping the price of the PS2 The videogame industry wouldn’t be what it is
around $100 in Europe, Sony has announced today without Nintendo. Of course, Nintendo

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that it will not drop the price of the console today isn’t what is was in its heyday. The once-
in the US before the holidays. Until recently, invincible videogame giant stumbled with the
it was widely believed that a price drop to Japanese launch of the GameCube (see news

Behind the complex machinations of

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$199 was imminent for Sony’s box. story, page 24) and could face a similar struggle
In The News Xbox Launch Status with its US launch.

a major console launch In price terms, the Xbox should start on a level playing field with the PS2. Xbox Launch Status

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However, it’s always possible that Sony could drop the price at the last It’s not yet been proved that the gaming public can support three consoles.
minute, especially since the precedent has been set in Europe. Since the PS2 is doing well in sales, the key battle is for second place...

O
n November 15, millions of PS2 units made their

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2001, the Xbox will way into homes. Some of the 15621 678594
345247
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finally hit stores. same people pointed to the 9959 957223 54463 563465 09732 8244344
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After more than 20 Dreamcast’s quick start as a

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months of rumor, speculation, sure indicator of future success, Launch Launch Launch
28 marketing, hype, and even
backlash, the world’s most
only to predictably have their
predictions proved false.
Variable:
THE ECONOMY
Variable:
THE TIMING
Variable:
THE MARKETING

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Q & A = C- powerful console will finally be
a reality in the consumer world.
In truth, the fate of a console
launch is rarely decided by a
After nearly a decade of
unprecedented growth,
Despite many denials to
the contrary, Microsoft
The importance of launch
marketing is debatable. On
Peter Molyneux stares But as with any launch, there single factor, and the Xbox the American economy is going through a finally announced that it one hand, Sega built the Genesis into a household
down the 10 toughest

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downturn. During the boom years, huge console would push back the name with sly advertising. On the other hand,
are a number of issues that will launch is no different. For better
questions in the industry. determine whether the launch or worse, what happens during
launches were all but guaranteed. Now that the
economy is tighter, however, people may be
launch of the Xbox one
full week to November 15
Sony launched the PS2 with the critically reviled
PS9 campaign and still did great. So who can tell?
is a success or failure. the early days of this console will reluctant to spend big bucks on videogames. – but even with this delay, What is sure is that without significant marketing

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When the PlayStation2 be based on a cumulative effect Microsoft will still be in the general public won’t embrace a new console.
Xbox Launch Status stores before the GameCube.
exploded onto the scene last of a wide number of mission- At launch, this really isn’t a huge concern since Xbox Launch Status
year, many pointed to hardware critical factors. On the facing Microsoft will be pumping on all cylinders just to Xbox Launch Status $500 million is a lot of cash and the Xbox certainly

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fulfill demand. However, if the recession gets The most important date that Microsoft is has the games. The only question now is whether
shortages and deemed the page, to the right of the shuttle
worse, then the $299 price may start to look a focusing on is the day after Thanksgiving. If the Microsoft can convince the general public that the
launch a failure – even though launch, we explain them. little steep to consumers who are seeing their Xbox isn’t jammed in stores by then, the holiday Xbox is “cool.”
discretionary income wane. season could be lost.

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092474 924586 69383 735634 7628932 9879998 5632911 87602 09871324

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Tasty rumors Launch Variable:
THE LAUNCH SOFTWARE

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Our man on the inside has Four questions matter when you’re talking about launch software. First of all, is there a good
another batch of industry quantity of games? Do the games give hope for the future? Do the games deliver an experience you
gossip just for you. can’t get on any other console? And finally, does the system have proven franchises?

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Xbox Launch Status
The Xbox has the first questions answered. It has a lot of software titles, and there are a significant
number of exceptional games right at launch (check out our reviews at the back of the magazine).
Most importantly, games like Halo and DoA3 simply couldn’t be done on any other system, making

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the Xbox a true generational step above the competition. The big question is proven franchises. Our
take on it is that the best new Xbox games are going to make the “proven franchises” look tired
and old, while starting a new proven franchise of their own. Can you say Halo 2?

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24
GameWatch
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The best source for keeping
track of Xbox games.
>

>
22 Official Magazine December 2001 ■ SQUIRREL MONKEYS IN SPACE: Gordo, a squirrel monkey, was the very first “US Ape-o-naut.” He survived re-entry, ■ ¡YO QUIERO TACO BELL!: In the dog-eat-dog world of fast food, Dinky the lovable chihuahua was wearing Milk-Bone December 2001 Official Magazine 23
but tragically died when the rocket’s nose cone sank. Was this the very beginning of the Robot/Monkey Apocalypse? Perhaps. underwear. The former spokespooch was made redundant in 2000 after three years of dedicated service (that’s 21 in dog years).
All Access
A little bundle of evil...
Under
the Radar
The best Xbox games
you haven’t heard of
Sega to use Xbox
in arcades?

A bit of the old


Resident Evil creeps elsewhere
The news: New game, you say? So what’s
Despite early hopes and many rumors, the wildly popular it called? ■ Currently
Resident Evil series will not make its way to the Xbox. Wrath. you can find

this and that


Capcom has announced that it will re-create early versions these at
of the series for the GameCube exclusively and follow ■ Rich, glorious Who’s making it?
them up with brand-new episodes of the series. colors really The Collective. The same guys who are currently deserted malls
Why it’s important: bring out that
finishing Buffy the Vampire Slayer. across America.
The Resident Evil series is one of the most popular franchises “fantasy novel
in the history of videogames. Although the Xbox will be What’s the game about?
the home of the Dino Crisis series, Resident Evil would have
cover” look. But It’s all about one-on-one fantasy-monster arena
been a valuable tool for breaking into the Japanese market. this is realtime. combat (OOOFMAC). And we’re not talking
If it’s important to the Xbox, we’ve got it here: The Official Xbox Magazine take: about your traditional cutesy fantasy creatures like
unicorns, nymphs, and Smurfs, we’re talking about
Resident Evil has been selling in smaller and smaller
huge, hairy lizard beasts with fangs, claws, and
numbers during the last few years. We’ll miss it, but other sharp objects protruding out of places where
barring a serious redesign, Resident Evil’s best days are
Codemasters signs on Xbox bundle strategy most likely behind it.
most videogame monsters don’t even have places.

for four explained Why should we care?


The news: The news: The monster design already looks awesome and
Codemasters, producer of classics If you already have your Xbox while we’ve already seen what these guys can do with
such as Micro Machines and Colin you’re reading this magazine, you GameCube Hackers take aim at a tiny, huggable Sarah Michelle Gellar. So we
McRae Rally, has announced that it
will fully back the Xbox with four
probably bought it through a pre-
order bundle. Before the launch, many disaster, or bad the Xbox anxiously await what they’ll do when they’re
free to create some big time creatures. Plus,
The news: Sega’s arcade division will allegedly use Xbox
games. The titles are TOCA Race questioned some retailers’ strategy of Xbox omen? The Xbox is a games-only machine... the concept art is out of this world. technology as the basis for its NAOMI 3 coin-op
Driver, LMA Manager, and Mike Tyson selling bundles costing up to $1,000 The news:
Heavyweight Boxing, with Ultimate right? Well, not if hackers have their technology, according to several Japanese news
dollars. But in a recent phone call to Nintendo’s GameCube Why haven’t we heard of it yet?
Blade of Darkness – as an Xbox say. Blokman Trading, a company in sources. Sega has commonly used “off-the-shelf”
Ed Fries, the VP of Microsoft’s games launch in Japan dropped The Collective is currently slaving away on Buffy,
exclusive! – wrapping up the lineup. the Czech Republic, has already components in the past, including NEC’s PowerVR
division, he explained the plan. well below expectations so that’s the game that’s in the forefront. Once it
Why it’s important: modified Linux to run on the Sony graphics set, and the powerful Xbox technology
“Basically, we don’t want retailers to with early estimates stating hits stores, expect to hear a lot more about Wrath.
LMA Manager, which is a soccer- PlayStation, and others have done would be a very compelling and cost-effective solution
pre-sell more than half of their units. that less than 60 percent
management simulation (kind of like the same with Dreamcast and PS2. in an increasingly expensive business. Custom arcade
We want people to be able to go to of Nintendo’s launch units
fantasy football) and TOCA are huge The Xbox, with its built-in hard-drive hardware is cripplingly expensive, and the recent
the store and buy an Xbox on the day (fewer than 300,000) sold and broadband capability, is already

THE IT THING
in Europe, where of launch. That’s very important to us. during the first week. downturn in arcade profits reflects that.
the Xbox needs a a target of hackers who plan to wipe
We did give incentives for participating Particularly frightening Namco, Sega’s biggest arcade rival in Japan,
substantial foothold. the system and install their own OS.
in certain bundle programs, but in were the launch software sales. Nintendo sold around one Why it’s important:
currently uses a system based on PlayStation2
The gory Blade of the end, the choice was up to each game per GameCube during that span. A normal console technology. Any Xbox hardware used by Sega would
Darkness and the Microsoft is determined to make sure
individual retailer.” launch will see an average of two or three games per unit. Wave Race likely include more RAM, and apparently it will only
Mike Tyson game the Xbox can’t be hacked. “Bill Gates
Why it’s important: Why it’s important: innovated both support HDTV monitors. The upside for Sega is a
add a dark action was the first one to bring up this
Even with the crazy bundle price tags, There could be numerous reasons behind the botched the look and feel simple development environment, and the upside for
edge to the lineup. issue,” Ed Fries recently explained.
Toys “R” Us and other retailers sold launch, but three stand out. Lack of interest in the of water in video Xbox owners would be accurate and quick coin-op
The Official Xbox “What exactly we did to make it
out before launch. GameCube, distractions from the recent terrorist attacks, or games. conversions. At time of going to press, Sega still
Magazine take: difficult, I honestly don’t know. Not
The Official Xbox Magazine take: a general reaction to a faltering global economy. If it’s the
It’s great for Limeys, many people on the planet know, hadn’t made an official announcement.
We love the Xbox, but even we were third option, the Xbox may feel the sting as well.
Krauts, and Frogs... scared by the $1,000 bundles. That
but that’s probably best.” Blood Wake
The Official Xbox Magazine take: The Official Xbox Magazine take:
we mean, our being said, it’ll be really nice to show has “real” water
We’re just going to have to wait and see with this issue. Why would anyone want to turn the
European friends. up on Nov. 15 and get an Xbox. physics and a
Xbox into a lame PC? photo-realistic
appearance.

Robot/Monkey Apocalypse: It’s when a serial killer goes postal and ices his co- in Sega’s Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker, the Hyper-realistic water
workers that hindsight and hubris go hand-in hand. seminal-popstar-inspired isometric 3D shooter.
Episode II “I should have seen it coming,” says a survivor. “He
was a time bomb!” Which brings us to the second
Just a few feet from the very start of the
game, Michael’s chimp, Bubbles, appears.
It’s been five years since Nintendo changed the way we think about water with Wave Race 64, and for quite some time, no one has improved
upon the original. Thanks to the Xbox, however, we are now seeing a flood of new games with amazing new water features.

The Phantom installment of Robot/Monkey Apocalypse, our


monthly look at how a Robo-Simian Rampage will
Collecting him causes Michael Jackson to mutate
into a giant laser-spewing automaton. If that isn’t a
Two Xbox graphics tricks make water look so good on this system – pixel shaders and vertex shaders. The Xbox was built from the ground
up to handle complex surfaces with ease. You can see awesome water effects in Halo, Munch’s Oddysee, TransWorld Surf, and even Shrek, but
Blood Wake tops them all. This game features the most realistic-looking water we’ve ever seen in a game – and this is just a first-generation Xbox

Monkey
likely end the earth, oh, well, pretty soon now. The sign of a Robot/Monkey Apocalypse, then we don’t
game. We can only imagine how wet things get from here.
first sign of the impending apocalypse was possibly know what is.

GameWatch The quick dirt on 10 games you’ll hear more about soon... GameWatch
Max Payne Loons: The Fight for Fame Gun Metal Circus Maximus
Projected release: Sometime 2002 Projected release: Spring 2002 Projected release: Spring 2002 Projected release: Spring 2002
The good stuff: Max Payne was a The good stuff: We love party games The good stuff: As long as there are The good stuff: After watching Ben
surprise hit on the PC earlier this year, (just try to get ahold of us during one videogames, there will be videogames Hur or Gladiator, who hasn’t wanted
but let’s be honest – third-person of our marathon Fuzion Frenzy days), about giant robots who turn into to try their hand at a little chariot
shooters like this belong on a console. and Loons is built for four-player vehicles. Gun Metal fulfills the Xbox’s combat? If the this game is as fast,
And no console can do this game mayhem. Plus, the classic Warner Bros. requirements for this game type with beautiful, and deep as Kodiak
better than the Xbox. We can’t wait to characters are a fresh break from the the typical, flashy graphics style of UK Interactive promises, we may all get
see how good the “bullet-time” gunfire cliché-spouting faux-hip Gen-Zers in developer Rage. our chance. Now we just have to
sequences look on the Xbox. Frenzy. The scary stuff: Do giant robots really decide whether to be the driver or the
The scary stuff: We’ll say it in bullet The scary stuff:What’s with all the need to transform into planes and cars guy with the whip.
time: W-h-e-r-e a-r-e t-h-e “Fight for Fame” crap? Just give these to cause destruction? Can’t they just The scary stuff: We still haven’t seen
m-u-l-t-i-p-l-a-y-e-r m-o-d-e-s? characters some anvils and get the step on stuff with their massive any screens of this game from the
heck out of the way. titanium boots? Xbox... they’ve all been taken from PC.

24 Official Magazine December 2001 ■ HUBRIS-CAM: After devoting several column inches last month making fun of Nintendo for missing its launch date in the US, 26 Official Magazine December 2001 ■ WELCOME TO THE FANTASY ZONE: A certain editor from this magazine once got his coat caught in the hydraulics of
we then found out that Xbox, too, would be a week late. Xbox is still not purple, though. So there. a Sega Space Harrier coin-op. The resulting stumble as he exited the machine can only be described as historically hysterical.
All Access
10 Ridiculously
News and views for youse
This month we grill Peter Molyneux, the famed creator
of games such as Populous, Syndicate, Dungeon Keeper,
and Black and White. He’s also working on one of the

Tough Questions most anticipated Xbox games in development – Project


Ego (see page 54 for the full story on his latest).

1) True or False: The Xbox is the most powerful


console out there.
T. The Xbox is a fantastic combination of great graphics
capabilities, fast processor, a reasonable amount of
5) True or False: You were once locked in a
cupboard by your employees at Bullfrog.
F. Although I am sure there were many times when
they felt like doing this. I was expelled from junior
10) If you think the Official Xbox Magazine
is the best magazine you’ve ever read... then
don’t answer.
ARMCHAIR GAMER
Baseball may be considered our national pastime, and football may Mason-Dixon line have trouble grasping the intricacies of driving in
For guys who prefer their
sports indoors
own. Even though the sport has migrated in recent years from

Final Grade: 70/100


be the most popular sport on our continent, but for those who live in repetitive counterclockwise circles, Southerners have embraced the Canada to as far south as Florida, the sport is best loved in the home
memory (I don’t think I could ever be satisfied with school after being found naked in a cupboard at . . .
anything less than terabytes), and to cap it all, a hard- the Deep South and for those in the Great White North, those two finer points of the sport, such as drafting, teamwork, pit strategy, of Stan Mikita.
school with a girl called Susan, though.
Okay, we sports aren’t even close to a top priority. talking without teeth, and making sure your sponsor is happy. Thankfully, the Xbox has both bases covered. Here are the key
nine Ridic actually only sent
disk. We can make games that are visually stunning,
e
Right answer... but not Score:10 re ever! Maybe we’r In the South, NASCAR is king. While those who live above the Those from the North, on the other hand, consider hockey their competitors right now:
Questions touloPeusltery .ToWughe scr
create worlds that are more realistic than ever before,
and the hard-disk will enable us to create types of games
with persistent worlds that simply would not be possible
Score: 5
enough details. up, so we ewed C-soft onOuroursecridonicud-louhigheslyst touscogh grading...
on any other console. credit. Buthavafteertothigivs..e .full going
SOUTH NORTH
6) True or False: You used this period of more free rides. no
Score: 7 is correct,reebutpoiyou
The answeyter s? nts off (naked) incarceration to come up with the
s? Ter ab !? Th plan for Black and White.
want terabyteintern had to look that up for us. F. But it would have been great to have had a few
because our
2) True or False: Project Ego is an extension of
spare quiet moments.
naked
We valueinouther qucloietset, above
Ridiculously Lorne Lanning 71. Avg. Score
NASCAR Thunder 2002 NHL 2002
Tough Hall
themes you first began in Populous. 70.5
mome nts Peter Molyneux 70. DEVELOPER: TIBURON DEVELOPER: EA CANADA
False-ish. What Big Blue Box has done is to be inspired Score: 9 all else. PUBLISHER: ELECTRONIC ARTS PUBLISHER: ELECTRONIC ARTS
by stuff they have seen at Lionhead and games that I
and they have worked on together. The Project Ego
world is persistent and has thousands of characters, and 7) True or False: Online console gaming will
of Fame At this rate, even Miyamoto couldn’t
get a B. ■ WHAT’S GOOD: NASCAR Thunder 2002 is vastly
improved over EA’s disappointing PS2 version, which
■ WHAT’S GOOD: Right off the bat, those with sharp
eyes will recognize that the Xbox version of NHL
this originated in Dungeon Keeper and Black and White, never take off. hit shelves last year. There are more cars, brilliant 2002 looks even better than its PS2 counterpart. And
but they have now taken this technology far beyond F. I think as more and more great console the sluggish framerates that plagued last year’s PS2
lighting effects, and most importantly, it’s now being
anything Lionhead or I have ever attempted. developers – particularly some of the legendary version are all but gone.
developed by the guys who have turned Madden into
designers from Japan – have the ability to design ■ WHAT’S BAD: EA is keeping quiet about Xbox-
a masterpiece.
We don’t weaccrs.ept wishy-
online games, then I think we’ll see some incredible
Score: 8”ish” designs.
■ WHAT’S BAD: EA seems to be playing things close exclusive goodies. The hard-drive could easily provide
Score: 5 washy ans Mmmm...
Mas y
to the vest when it comes to making games for the post-game highlight shows, online capabilities could be

Multiplayer Metsivel
PS2, the Xbox, and the GameCube. Why not take ■ NASCAR Thunder 2002 ■ NHL 2002 added, and space could be made for quick roster
Score:10 Soli d…
al Gear advantage of the more powerful Xbox hardware
■ NASCAR Heat 2002 ■ NHL Hitz 2002
upgrades. Don’t expect to see any of these, though.
3) True or False: Project Ego will ship on time. free 10s for everyone! instead of programming for the lowest common ■ SECRET WEAPON: EA is focusing on drama and
T. Providing we set the release a month before it comes denominator? storytelling in this edition. By tracking player stats and
out. I’ve always got release dates completely wrong but ■ SECRET WEAPON: If you drive as badly as we do, commenting on them, the game can make you feel
will now give you a release window: Project Ego will be 8) True or False: Japanese RPGs are trite, it won’t take long to notice the cool new realtime like the star of the show.
released in 200?. (I should be safe with that one!) auto-cannibalizing, and need a massive body-damage effect on the cars. ■ CANADIAN EQUIVALENT: Moosehead –
overhaul. ■ DEEP SOUTH EQUIVALENT: Tons of cars? Canadians certainly know their beer, and this is an
our
(Becaur sethethatothe’sr
True-ish. I think your words are a bit too strong, Realistic body damage? Spinouts? …think “Wal-Mart all-around favorite.
Score: ? bet fo n mark.)
though. RPGs are the first games I ever played and parking lot on a Saturday afternoon.”
Score: 3 questio
still the ones I enjoy most. However, I have been
frustrated by their limitations. NHL Hitz 2002
4)True or False: Project Ego will be a
We warned you... that’s NASCAR Heat 2002 DEVELOPER: MIDWAY

masterpiece conceptually, but it won’t push Score: 8”ish”: 5 another 5. DEVELOPER: HASBRO INTERACTIVE PUBLISHER: MIDWAY
PUBLISHER: INFOGRAMES
technical boundaries. Score ■ WHAT’S GOOD: If you truly appreciate the
■ WHAT’S GOOD: First of all, NASCAR Heat looks great. But what’s most important is that this title finer points of hockey (like when Eric Lindros gets his face smeared across the glass by a surly
F.I hesitate to declare that any game will be a 9) True or False: There is unlikely to be a defenseman), Hitz will appeal directly to you. Like NBA Jam before it, this title is designed to
masterpiece, but I do think Project Ego will push is unofficially the first Xbox network game. That means you’ll be able to connect up to eight different
WAP version of Project Ego. TVs and Xbox units into one massive multiplayer race. highlight the more visceral moments in hockey, while maintaining a much stronger sim element
technical boundaries – character morphing, a linear T. than its predecessors.
you’re ■ WHAT’S BAD: This game isn’t as graphically impressive as Thunder, and it doesn’t have as many
Sorry, PePrte,ojectweEkngoowand all,
branching story engine, a persistent world, and ■ WHAT’S BAD: The snobby hockey elite will probably frown on the over-the-topness. As if a flaming
collapsible AI. All of these features are at the cutting cars on the screen at the same time. That being said, the game plays great (see review, page 101).
edge of technology.
Score: 7 close to heard some rumors on an ■ SECRET WEAPON: The “Race the Pro” option lets you challenge against the best runs raced by hockey puck is going to hurt anyone.
■ SECRET WEAPON: Mini-games. Once you’re bored with traditional hockey, this game will stretch
ible
You had usur uninttilern“cwoolln’apst even look but we newsgroup... We’ll wait real pro drivers. Let’s see how good they are behind a game pad instead of a steering wheel.
your playing time with special mini-games taken from the official NHL super-skills competition. Also,
Score: 9 AI.” O for us. Internet ■ DEEP SOUTH EQUIVALENT: Eight people and eight TVs all tuned to the same thing at once?
the game is built for four-player gaming, and the Xbox conveniently has four controller ports.
that one up and see. ■ Can you tell what I’m thinking? I’m thinking I want to seduce you on
…think “Alabama government housing during Monday Night Raw.” Government housing, just to be
clear, means jail. Prison. ■ CANADIAN EQUIVALENT: Molson – the guilty pleasure everyone likes, but no one will admit to.
this zebra-print sofa. Seduce you with my eyes, and thoughtful gameplay.

GameWatch
Strident Crash Gun Valkyrie Falcone: Enter the
Projected release: Q2 2002 Projected release: Q1 2002 Projected release: February 2002 Maelstrom
The good stuff: What do you get The good stuff: There’s a little The good stuff: It’s a gorgeous Projected release: Spring 2002
when you combine team combat from something in all of us that loves to see shooter that flat-out moves. It’s got a The good stuff: Imagine a perfect
games like Rainbow Six, mix in a a good crash. So that little something typically weird Sega storyline and cross between Unreal Tournament
healthy dose of Double Dragon-style will be tickled pink by Rage’s glossy some decidedly cool “eleki-punk” and Colony Wars, a game where you
beat-’em-up gameplay, flavor with a new racer. At the heart of Crash is the character designs. (We don’t really can not only zoom around in epic
dose of Spider-Man wall crawling, and ability to turn gorgeous 10,000+- know what “eleki-punk” means, but space battles, but board the ships
top it all off with gorgeous graphics? – polygon vehicles into smoking piles of we think it describes the guys who pirate-style for a more conventional
Strident à la mode. junk metal... what more do you need? hang out in front of polling booths first-person-shooter experience.
The scary stuff: Mixing so many The scary stuff: Namby-pamby car and hassle voters.) That’s what Falcone is.
different styles of gameplay is a tall manufacturers won’t license their cars The scary stuff: It’s a new series for The scary stuff: It’s called Falcone:
order. If it works, the game’s brilliant, out for this kind of game. Sega... will it have the legs to last as Enter the Maelstrom, which is
but if it doesn’t.... a franchise? among the worst names ever.

28 Official Magazine December 2001 ■ BETTER LATE THAN NEVER: In typical Peter Molyneux fashion, his answers to the ten (err... nine) Ridiculously Tough Questions ■ POSTER BOYS: To graphically represent our brothers from above and below, we sensitively chose images that are symbolic of their December 2001 Official Magazine 31
were about a week late. Luckily for him, we don’t mark down game geniuses for handing in late papers. respective cultures. After all, what says “the South” better than the General Lee or the “the North” better than the brothers McKenzie?
All Access
Rumors, trends, etc.
Trendspotter
K
Each month we take a look at the cutting-edge trends that
make up the Xbox game world. Our society is beset by
disturbing trends such as mesh T-shirts, acid-wash jeans, and
pants that buckle around the thigh – and the world inside the
Xbox is sometimes just as unfortunate.

The
This month’s trend is PETTY CRIME. It used to be
Can’t handle the cold? that videogame society was safe from petty crime.
Sure, there were hyper-violent felons, drug
So by now it’s probably no longer a rumor that Nintendo
dealers, and arsonists of every sort in the average
has canned the GameCube sequel to the snowboarding
game, but petty crime... well, that was neglected
game that started it all. Well, didja know that the reason

Rumor
by even the most heinous game villain. On the
behind this was that the game couldn’t quite match up
Xbox, however, petty crime is all over the place,
to two Xbox snowboarding games – EA’s SSX Tricky and
and it’s not the villains who are committing these
Microsoft’s own Amped? Seems as if the big N is a little
misdemeanors – it’s the stars of the game! It
afraid of some direct competition.
wouldn’t be like this if Steve McQueen was still
alive. Anyway, here are the worst offenders:
Could a Blizzard be coming?

Mole
Quick, name one company that makes “must have”
Crime: Vandalism
games every single year without fail? If you said Blizzard, Game:
you are right on the money (except for the “every year” Jet Set Radio
part – they always have trouble with deadlines). Rumor
has it that the people behind a certain console that starts Future
with the letter X are in talks to bring the powerhouse PC Punishment:
developer onboard with at least three exclusive titles. A Community service
completely revamped and stunningly rendered in 3D repainting bland
Master of disguise Diablo, anyone? Just a thought. textures in PS2 games

All-knowing Xbox insider The Matrix engine? Crime: Public drunkenness


A while back, the Mole got a glimpse of a game that was
Blabber of secrets so damned impressive he had to pick his cleverly
disguised jaw up off the floor. The game in question –
Game:
DoA3
Bloodlust (tentative name) – features a half-vampire,
half-human hottie who bounces around dark (not to Punishment: Forced
Well, the Mole is to share room with
back. I want you all mention splendidly rendered) city streets like something
straight out of The Matrix – so much so that rumors the “angry”
to know that I’m
have been flying that Shiny wants to get ahold of this Backstreet Boy
working on an even
better disguise. It game engine and use it for the much-anticipated Matrix during rehab
seems that some game. However, Shiny has always been known for
people in the industry developing its own technology, and Bloodlust is being
don’t like their rumors shopped around to many different publishers, with Crime: Leash law violations
spread all over Interplay certainly not being the wealthiest shopper. But Game:
the Official Xbox you never know, it could happen.
Magazine. So I’ll
Mad Dash
Punishment: Sent to
probably have to do
this one from even 2D fighters, rejoice! an animal shelter with
deeper undercover The Mole just doesn’t understand all the excitement cast of Running Wild
than usual. I’ve about 2D fighters, but I’ve got to admit they’ve got a
gathered the tastiest huge following. So, you 2D fighting fans will probably
rumors and secrets go nuts when I tell you that I’ve heard that Capcom is
surrounding the planning to release an Xbox version of its weirdly
Xbox… and while popular Capcom vs. SNK series. The Mole prefers 3D,
but what are you gonna do. Crime: Reckless endangerment
they are all rumors,
this month at least Game:
one of them is a
Hawking the Xbox Wreckless
stone-cold lock.
You’ve just got to Tony Hawk 3 is making its way to the PS2, but the Mole Punishment: Forced to
guess which one it is. hears that Microsoft is negotiating with Activision to add “W” to game title
ensure a super-special THPS3 only for Xbox. Aww yeah.

GameWatch
MX 2002 Featuring Ricky Test Drive
Carmichael Projected release: November 2001
Projected release: November 2001 The good stuff: Yes, Test Drive is
The good stuff: Although, for the coming to multiple platforms, but no,
most part, this is a direct port of the it won’t look quite as picture-perfect
PS2 version of MX2002, a few new on anything but the Xbox. Incredible
features have been added. Two new reflection-mapping means you can see
tracks, motorcycle-tuning features, and the silky sunlight reflect off of all sides
a two-player version of Horse round of the car, and pixel shading allows
out the title nicely. Xbox-exclusive effects like swaying
The scary stuff: The graphics haven’t trees and the illusion of moving water.
been updated thus far, and the low- The scary stuff: Does this time-tested
resolution PS2 textures look bad when classic (i.e., really old) still have what it
rendered cleanly by the Xbox. takes to compete?

32 Official Magazine December 2001 ■ ACTUAL MISDEMEANORS: In Kentucky, you must remove your hat if you come face-to-face with a cow on the road. In
Arizona, there is a “veggie hate crimes act” that makes disparaging its produce a crime. Believe it or not, these are REAL laws.
T
he game’s improvements are

Dead or Alive 3 a curious mix of subtle and


extreme, and while the

THE
technological feats are obvious,
■ ...and do more than kick sand in his face. the gameplay cues are more
� ...or catch him unawares on the beach...
subtle. In some ways, it has become the sum of
its parts, building on an existing framework and
boosting the basic feature set. But in other ways,
� Use lens flare to distract an opponent... ■ I think he got the message. it has blossomed into more than the sum of its
parts, with improved control and tweaked combos

NEW
that turn it into a faster, smoother, and more
liquid experience than either Tekken or Virtua
Fighter.

THE BIG PICTURE


Innovation comes in many forms, and one of its
most-overlooked elements is the final presentation

FACE OF
of a game. Of course, all games have to look
great on any TV or audio set-up, but the games
that are really going to drive the industry forward
are those that focus on the big picture. And by
big picture we mean a big, colorful TV. Although
DoA3 looks absolutely astonishing on any TV, it
can be best appreciated on a high-end set-up with
a wide-screen HDTV and Dolby 5:1 sound. The

FIGHTING
game supports all of these features superbly. On
an HDTV, running at the selectable 480 (non-
interlaced) vertical resolution, the game looks
simply breathtaking. It looks almost fake. The
option has to be selected on both the Xbox
preferences and during DoA3 itself.
Even the forgotten, oft-ignored sound has

GAMES
been given the full treatment. Dolby Digital sound
is fully implemented, and although it’s noticeable
throughout, during the “Pancratium” level, a
howling sandstorm makes for a quite unsettling
aural adventure. The same can be said of the
beach level, where the gentle lap of waves follows
the ever-roaming camera in perfect harmony.
As Xbox games improve in quality and move
away from the port mentality often displayed
Ever since fighting games made during a system’s launch phase, we’ll see high-
end audio and video features become much more
the jump into 3D, Tekken and intrinsic parts of gameplay. These aren’t the type
Virtua Fighter have defined the of additions or features that make a game great –
they are simply the extras that make a great
fighting genre. And while the DoA game revolutionary.
series has steadily improved with
each version, it has always been
viewed as “that good fighting
game with bouncy boobs.” With Gen Fu’s hat
DoA3, Tecmo is set to change all flies off as he
of that. takes a hit
from Ninja
Hayabusa.
THE
OLD
FACE OF
FIGHTING
GAMES
Tecmo’s coin-op was a
bit hard to find in US
arcades (although it
enjoyed some success DEAD OR ALIVE DoA2 DoA2: HARDCORE
in Japan), but the Tecmo surprised many with Dreamcast owners reaped …But PS2 owners had the
home conversions of its overtly sexy, yet brilliantly the benefits of Tecmo’s last laugh when it was
the DoA games were playable, PlayStation fighting staggering improvements ported, with extras, to PS2.
all big hits. game. over the original DoA…

36 Official Magazine December 2001 � DEAD OR ALIVE OR CALLED FOR ROUGHING THE PASSER?: Itagaki’s first-ever videogame project was the final December 2001 Official Magazine 37
version of cult football hit Tecmo Bowl.
THE NEW FACE OF THE NEW FACE OF
FIGHTING GAMES FIGHTING GAMES
FINISHING THE STORY
One thing that DoA seemed to be missing
previously was the inclusion of those
compelling, occasionally senseless, and yet Eat nature, mutha! Smashing an
totally addictive end-of-game rendered movies. DoA’s use of natural environments is
Team Ninja agreed, and so DoA3 has finally
unparalleled. Much has been made of the forest opponent into
level, with its falling leaves and babbling brook,
embraced them. Now, when you beat the game but there are more to see, including an amazing an object
with a character, you get to see a movie that sandstorm, an undersea palace, and our favorite, increases
explains his or her motivation in usually the snowy creek.
dramatic, and always-impressive, ways.
damage.
The team was too busy to actually
implement the movies, so they simply created
storyboards and plots, then farmed the process
out. The result is stunning – just distinct enough
in style to differentiate the look and feel of
the almost movie-like gameplay, but definitely
retaining the character of the DoA world. We
don’t want to spoil the plots for you, but some Interactive
characters advance their prior storylines, while environs
others, including Gen Fu, finally find some Using the environment
closure. Others, like Bass, open up brand- to your advantage
new mysteries. Gen teaches isn’t simply a gimmick,
Jann a lesson it’s an intrinsic part of
the gameplay
SINGLE PLATFORM = in respect for and something that’s
BETTER GAME been increased in
DoA3 is a prime example of why focusing on elders – but scope for DoA3.
one system is the only way to redefine a genre. headbutting
Rather than program for PS2, GameCube, and folks in the
Xbox, Team Ninja concentrated on Xbox only.
While financially that doesn’t make much sense crotch is not
(more games sold = more money made), safe at any
artistically it is the only way to make a mark. age.

Perhaps no other game on the Xbox fighting games. Itagaki and his team have
■ Oftentimes, objects such as this ice
(with the possible exception of Halo) so earned a permanent place inside every game formation are destroyed on impact, but
clearly demonstrates the awesome power of developer’s playtest (cough – steal ideas – there are solid obstacles, too.
Microsoft’s little black box. The graphics are so cough) lab. In this industry, imitation is
smooth, crisp, and lifelike that they immediately definitely the highest form of flattery. ■ Once the ice is good and smashed up,
make your average arcade look like a collection the arena becomes less claustrophobic,
of Sega Saturn games. Whether it’s leaves PERFECTING THE GAME CHARACTER which completely changes the strategy
blowing in the wind, ice shattering into
hundreds of perfectly rendered shards, or just
We’re not going to sit here and tell you that
DoA3 completely re-invented the fighting
PROFILES for the arena.

the stunningly smooth animation of each and genre. In fact, nearly every element of this
every move in the game, there is no denying game has been seen in other fighting games.
that DoA3 has forever raised the bar on However, no game has ever come close to so
perfectly combining all of it into one cohesive
and jaw-droppingly impressive package.
Never has there been a fighting game Kasumi Ryu Hayabusa Hitomi Zack Gen Fu Brad Wong Tina Bass
Japanese female Japanese male German female American male Chinese male Chinese male Armstrong Armstrong
which so fluidly dropped gamers into a truly Fighting styles: Fighting styles: Fighting style: Fighting style: Fighting style: Fighting style: American female American male

alive 3D world. The usual constraints of a 2D Mugen Tenshin Style Hayabusa Style Karate Thai style boxing Xynyi Liuhe Quan Zui Ba Xian Quan Fighting style: Fighting style:
Ninjutsu Tenjin Mon Ninjutsu Occupation: Occupation: Occupation: Occupation: Pro wrestling Pro wrestling
genre slowly moving into the third dimension Occupation: Occupation: High school student DJ Bookstore owner Bohemian Occupation: Occupation:
are almost completely gone, and the once Runaway shinobi Owner of curio shop Likes: Likes: Likes: Likes: Pro wrestler Pro wrestler
Likes: Likes: Sachertorte (German Ice cream Mabo Dofu Drinking Likes: Likes:
pre-rendered and mostly insignificant back- Strawberry millefeuille Sushi chocolate cake) Seafood Sautéed chicken
Hobbies: Hobbies: Hobbies:
grounds of the past have been replaced with Hobbies: Hobbies: Hobbies: Billiards Painting Game of Go, Hobbies: Hobbies:
unbelievably real and reactive environments. Fortune telling Mt. climbing, fishing Cooking Chinese fiddle Cycling, videogames Motorcycles
This funky dude, with Gen Fu fought in DoA
It no longer feels like a couple of polygonal A kunoichi (female Ryu, the modern super Hitomi is the daughter his self-taught Muay to obtain the money One day, the old master Tina is a superstar in An undefeated bad guy
characters in a game – it now feels like you ninja) who was ninja, is the best friend of a Japanese mother Thai, is back in DoA. needed to cure his sick Chen, great teacher the world of women’s professional wrestler.
are actually fighting in the real world. The key ordained as leader of of Kasumi’s brother and a German karate One day, after using granddaughter May of Zui Ba Xian Quan, wrestling, and the Although Bass has
the “Mugen Tenshin” Hayate. In the last master. She has been up all of his prize Lin, who was suffering says, “Bring me the only daughter of the already retired from
to this feel is animation and collision detection style. Instead, she tournament, he practicing karate under money from the last the ravages of a rare legendary drink. The professional wrestler his job, he fights to
■ Where characters step or fall, the so believable you are likely to forget what you became a “runaway successfully brought her father’s tutelage tournament, Zack disease. May Lin, name is ‘Genra.’” What Bass. She is a woman stop his daughter
powdery snow is crushed flat. are watching onscreen is just a game. shinobi” so that she down Bankotsu-bo – since she was just a realizes he has a thanks to the prize is Genra? It seems like of boundless ambition Tina from winning
might avenge of her the feared Tengu of child. She has always problem. He’s forgotten money, now grows a riddle. So it is that who thirsts for even the tournament. Bass
Put simply, DoA3 is the absolute pinnacle of older brother, Hayate. Destruction (weird wanted to fight in to do what he always better and better every Brad Wong begins his greater fame and loves his daughter very
■ Snow is also loosened from tree fighting games, and we’re damn happy to say She finally met her Santa-lookin’ dude) – DoA in order to test wanted to do – enjoy day. One last surgery, journey in search of the celebrity. Recently, she much but wants Tina to
branches, falling in clumps. long-lost brother in the who had brought chaos her formidable skills the many luxuries of however, is needed in mysterious Genra. finally made her debut become a professional
it is ONLY ON XBOX! last tournament. to the whole world. against the real world. as a model. wrestler like her daddy.
a vacation. order to cure her.

■ WOULD YOU LIKE FETA WITH THAT?: The oddly named “Pancratium” level in DoA3 is named after the earliest formalized December 2001 Official Magazine 39 ■ THEY CALL ALL OF US BRUCE: At time of going to press, there were, like, more than seven hundred fake Bruce Lees December 2001 Official Magazine 41
martial art, a mixture of boxing and wrestling developed in ancient Greece. available for rent at Blockbuster, including Bruce Li, Bruce Le, Truce Lee, and Brucilla Lee, the girl version.
THE NEW FACE OF
FIGHTING GAMES

Face-off
Since we had to go to Graphics
Japan to review the
game (Mr. Itagaki is
1st DEAD OR ALIVE 3
Handily beats the brand-new arcade versions of Tekken and Virtua Fighter
famously and with more beautiful environments, smoother animation, and basically much
rightfully protective better characters. Virtua comes closest in this regard.
of his baby), we
decided to use the 2nd VIRTUA FIGHTER 4
opportunity to test A very pretty game, and indeed, some of the level backgrounds come close in
DoA3 against two quality to DoA’s, although they tend to be much smaller. Character art and
other games we were animation is a little inconsistent, however.
very much looking
forward to: namely, 3rd TEKKEN 4
Virtua Fighter 4 and Some levels, like the steam-filled industrial zone, are inspired, while others, like the
marble lobby, basically suck. Characters look almost exactly like those seen in Tekken
Tekken 4. How did it
Tag Tournament — with newer costumes.
compare, blow for
blow, with these two
arcade giants from Innovation
Sega and Namco 1st DEAD OR ALIVE 3
respectively? To be fair, DoA3 comes in first place because the other two games have done practically nothing
really new. Improved Tag battles and interactive 3D environments are the biggest changes here.
To the right,
our objective 2nd TEKKEN 4
appraisal: The tag system is dropped, and in comes a vaguely interactive environment. Walls now hem the
fighting arena, and they affect the battle much as the walls in DoA – only they never break.

3rd VIRTUA FIGHTER 4


New characters and moves are pretty much the only real innovations, although fighting in
3D is now a good deal more logical and fluid.

Control
1st DEAD OR ALIVE 3
Yup. It’s a clean sweep in the made-up-at-the-last-minute boxout awards. Tecmo’s fighter is
slick, intuitive, and above all, fun. Itagaki’s claim that it was both easy and deep holds true. A rare
2nd TEKKEN picture of
For all its faults, this is still a stunning fighting game with quick response and lightning
moves. Yes, you can also pull off Rain Man-style button combos for glam multi-part moves.
Tomonobu
3rd VIRTUA FIGHTER
Itagaki
With the emphasis still on a hopeless attempt at “realism,” Virtua Fighter is starting to using a US
show its age — but in this otherwise flashy group, that could be construed as wisdom. But it
has to be said, Virtua, Tekken and DoA make a pretty amazing top tier of fighting games.
Xbox
controller.
CHARACTER
PROFILES

Leon Bayman Jann Lee Leifang Christie Helena Hayate Ayane


Italian male Russian male Chinese male Chinese female English female French female Japanese male Japanese female
Fighting style: Fighting style: Fighting style: Fighting style: Fighting style: Fighting style: Fighting styles: Fighting styles:
Russian Martial Arts Russian Martial Arts Jeet Kune Do T’ai Chi Quan She Quan Pi Qua Quan Mugen Tenshin Style Mugen Tenshin Style
Occupation: Occupation: Occupation: Occupation: Occupation: Occupation: Ninjutsu Tenjin Mon Ninjutsu Hajin Mon
Mercenary Assassin Bouncer College student Assassin Opera singer Occupation: Ninja Occupation: Ninja
Likes: Likes: Likes: Likes: Likes: Likes: Likes: Likes:
Pizza Beef stew Hamburger Chinese dessert Tomato juice Blancmange Sushi, sukiyaki Marrons glaces
Hobbies: Hobbies: Hobbies: Hobbies: Hobbies: Hobbies: Hobbies: Hobbies:
Gardening Chess Watching action movies Aromatherapy Driving Walk Iaido, Zen Beauty treatment

Rolande, a woman thief This professional The fighter without a Leifang is known to With all the traits This fighter is the Hayate is the brother Ayane’s former teacher
of the Silk Road, died assassin acquired his cause, Jann Lee, still many as the young required for an illegitimate daughter of Kasumi and also and foster parent, the
saying, “The man I love commando-style walks a lonely path. genius of T’ai Chi Quan. assassin, this cold- of Fame Douglas, the 18th leader of the leader of Mugen Tensin
is the strongest man in martial arts in the Though the reputation Ever since Jann Lee blooded woman has leader of DOATEC, and “Mugen Tenshin” style. style Hajin Mon, has
the world.” So, in order military. Donovan, who of Jann Lee – the saved her from thugs, undergone the ultimate his mistress. With no He was the subject of disappeared. His name
to justify his long-lost once requested the Dragon, as he is called – she has entered DoA to adaptation. She excels regard to her wishes, DOATEC’s experimental is Genra. Ayane, now
lover’s lamented last task of assassinating is universal, his search test her skills against in the art of She Quan, she is dragged into superhuman project the most powerful
words, Leon entered Fame Douglas, had sent for a stronger foe does his. Jann has shown his which she employs to the intertwined (Project Epsilon), in Shinobi in Hajin Mon,
the last DoA, only to be a sniper to dispose of not end. His presence is superior skills in the the fullest in her work. conspiracies within the which he lost his learns that he has been
defeated. Memories of Bayman. But Bayman still prominent in DoA, last two tournaments, Christie has been DOATEC organization memory. But in the turned into a puppet by
Rolande still return to easily disposes of the and his battle cry can but Leifang won’t let hired by Donovan, a as the only living last tournament he DOATEC and its evil
haunt him. sniper. still be heard. that stop her. lieutenant of DOATEC. relative of Douglas. recovered his memory. Omega Project.

42 Official Magazine December 2001 ■ WIDER IS BETTER: Although the Japanese version of the Xbox controller fits some hands better, the location of the start
and select buttons, to the left of the unit, means it’s easy to hit “pause” accidentally if you have big thumbs.
THE NEW FACE OF
FIGHTING GAMES

Face to face with


TOMONOBU
ITAGAKI Executive Officer & General Manager
Creative Division, Tecmo Ltd.

Us: First off, what has changed in


Dead or Alive 3 from previous iterations
of the game?
Him: In the first place, it’s two years later and
most of what has changed is my feeling towards it.
I wanted to make a fighting game that anyone can
enjoy. I’ve tried to make a game that has a lot of
reaction, and yet a game that is very fair and
balanced. There is also a great deal of strategy
“All areas added. You can have a game that features a lot

of the of beautiful action, but a game that is also very GAIDEN


easy for anyone to play. So it is easy, but it is will also implement some refraction and diffraction. IS COMING!
game also very deep. In the Pancratium level, you can see already the So where does it go
from here? At time
sand blowing in the wind, but this will become a
benefit Us: Tell us a little about the full sandstorm. You can really hear the Dolby
of going to press,
Tecmo’s president
from Xbox Tag Battle System. Digital effect in that level. and other folks will
Him: Well, Team Ninja created Tag Battle in 1999
technology. – so we were the first. So this is a very interesting Us: What kind of research did you do for
be making decisions
regarding the future
It’s feature in Dead or Alive 3. You can see a lot of the environments? of Ninja Gaiden,
Tecmo’s most famous
powerful improvement – and we have improved the quality
a lot. In Dead or Alive 2 Hardcore, the Tag Battle
Him: Well, about 50% of the research came from
the teams’ previous personal experience. We also
franchise prior to the
Dead or Alive opus.
enough to system was really for hardcore gamers. In Dead or looked at a lot of visual reference material, books It’s clear from talking
to Mr. Itagaki that he
handle Alive 3, we really wanted to make it easier and
more accessible to casual players. I think we have
and video. The rest of it came from going on my
own to such locations.
wants it to be on
everything done that this time.
Xbox, or at least that
he wants to continue
at once.” Us: When did Tecmo decide to go with
Us: What have you done to utilize the
Xbox’s other features, like hard-drive and
down the path he
started with Dead or
Xbox for DoA3? broadband adapter? Alive 3.
Him: Not until January of 2001. We made the Him: We utilize the hard-drive already, to make Ninja Gaiden, for those
decision to go with Xbox after a long research game loading faster. We wanted to have game who don’t remember it,
study. loading be almost instantaneous. So it gives us much was a seminal and
quicker loading times. DoA3’s engine and the Xbox occasionally ground-
breaking arcade romp
Us: How have you found the technology both have the ability to handle huge volumes of data
that featured scrolling
during this process? simultaneously. beat-’em-up action
Him: The Xbox hardware is excellent to work with. It is possible that the game can support LAN, (including throws and
It’s powerful rather than easy. All areas of the game but that is not a [priority]. grabs!) and more
benefit from the Xbox technology. It is powerful “The importantly, it had a
huge emphasis on
enough to handle everything at once. In terms of
power, the Xbox seems approximately three to five
Xbox Us: Tell us a little about your next project.
Him: Team Ninja, after DoA3, will continue work
interacting with

times more powerful than the PlayStation2. It would seems on Ninja Gaiden. Some of them are already working
environments. Your
ninja hero could leap
be possible to create the snow level we’ve done on
the PS2, but not with the other things, characters,
[about] on it. We want to create a game that will let you do
many of the things you could do in the original. So
deftly into the air,
grab a street sign and
environment motion. It would be impossible to have three yes, you can hang and swing around on posts, and
swing around it to kick
marauding bad guys
all those things with the PS2 machine power.
to five the character can climb walls. But the game will be
much more advanced than the original. The game
as they attacked.
Itagaki promises to
Us: Do you think that PS2 is starting to times engine for Ninja Gaiden is already 60% complete, bring all those retro
moments back, but
look dated?
Him: Yes. The PlayStation2 already belongs to more but a lot of work has to be done on graphics.
in a fully realized 3D
environment, probably
another [previous] generation. powerful Us: Will this game be available for Xbox? better than that seen

Us: What types of environmental effects than the Him: That is a decision that will be made by my
boss!
in DoA3.
Right now, the
has the Xbox enabled you to achieve?
Him: Well, even with a very short time to go,
PS2.” Us: So can we expect it to look better than
game’s future and its
choice of platform is
mired in the political
we’re still trying to make improvements. The water Dead or Alive 3? process that only
on the beach level will, we hope, accurately express Him: That depends on which machine we make it appears when a must-
wave movements and splashing during fights. We for! I should waive further comment on that. have game is on the
horizon.

44 Official Magazine December 2001 � EURO-NINJA: The reason many European game fans have never heard of
Ninja Gaiden is that in many territories, the game was called Shadow Warriors.
LIVE FROM JAPAN WORLD EXCLUSIVE
WORLD EXCLUSIVE REVIEW REVIEW

DEAD OR
DEVELOPER: Tecmo PUBLISHER: Tecmo MULTIPLAYER: 1-4 WEBSITE: www.tecmoinc.com obvious, even to fans of other genres. The
impetus in most fighting games is to knock out
your opponent as quickly as possible and get to Fall
the next level. Here, the impetus is to get to,
see, and actually explore the next level – more
guys
Most levels

ALIVE 3
like Mario than Mortal Kombat. And the
feature multi-
exploration isn’t simply visual. Each new level
tiered combat,
has true 3D features to exploit and use in allowing players
combat, either defensively or offensively, and to smash each
while elements of this can be seen in other other through
fighting games, none handle the idea with such various levels,
intuition and panache. And although the feature often falling
The best fighting game ever made! was touched on in DoA2, here it’s fully realized
and absolutely essential to the look and feel of
from ridiculous
heights. The
the game. initially pretty,

F
rom a cult fighting game whose but hardly gasp- ■ ...then, the battle continues on the
SINGLE The new characters are a varied bunch, and tiled rooftops until somebody loses
major attraction was its jiggling worthy, castle
BATTLE surprisingly (or at least, comparatively) well their footing... at which point they
mammary quotient, the Dead or STAGES level reveals its
Alive series has grown and evolved defined. One of our favorites is a fighter whose charms only fall into the courtyard, where
1. Lorelei alternate costume reveals him as a Russian breakable objects, such as flaming
into something much more impressive, and after you smash
secret service commando, complete with a huge through a secret torches, litter the arena.
arguably more enjoyable, than mere boobs.
(Hey, we did say arguably.) And in its latest and intimidating combat knife strapped to his panel….
evolution, Dead or Alive 3 on the Xbox will not chest. Don’t worry, though, he fights bare-fisted.
2. Tao Christie, who so gracefully adorns our cover, is If the game falls short in any area, it’s in one But like a supermodel with a PhD, it’s
only change the way you view fighting
games, but what you should expect from a balletic mistress of kung fu. Her graceful style that’s endemic to the genre – anemic plot and occasionally easy to forget that this game is
videogames, period. DoA3 really will is smooth and liquid, making her an immediate character description – but there’s an smarter than it is pretty. So disarmingly
change the face of fighting. favorite. It doesn’t hurt that she’s totally hot, unavoidable reason. Each character has the attractive are the levels that you’ll find yourself
3. DOATEC HK either. Old favorites have, of course, been opportunity and ability to win. To give each a booting it up to show off your Xbox to pals, or
The fighting system, which consists
of a seemingly simple combination of jazzed up with new moves and outfits. And yes, reasoned, well-thought-out storyline would be even simply to watch these epic environments
kick, punch, guard, and counter, is more there will be more than enough hidden goodies pushing the boundaries of credibility, but the unfold on screen. But play it, and play it a lot,
complex, with more moves and combos for you to discover – including the mysterious end movies do, in fact, advance the DoA because the fighting system and the terrifically
4. Lost World and flaming “Genra.” universe, albeit in a typically obtuse fashion. expansive selection of game modes and options
than seen in prior DoA titles. More
importantly, the control feels smoother and
more intuitive, and it’s certainly quicker to
respond. The game has been balanced so that
there are never “dead” moments where two
fighters are simultaneously performing moves
5. Ice cave
IN MOTION >>>>> One of the most spectacular stages begins in a Hong Kong skyscraper…

that cancel each other out. Everything has cause


and effect.
6. Beach
Most levels feature an old DoA trick – the
ability to smash through barriers and fall onto ■ Luckily Gen’s fall is
and into other parts of the level. One example
broken by the red-hot,
razor-sharp neon
is the Japanese castle – a seemingly confined,
7. Forest signage.
yet beautiful, castle room with a black, reflective
lacquered floor – but smash an opponent
through one of the shoji screens and the battle
continues on the sloped, tiled roof of the castle.
8. Azuchi
Teeter too far to the edge and you’ll fall into a
Modus operandi STORY MODE
Yup, fight the other guys,
TEAM BATTLE
One of the best modes in
torch-lit courtyard where the battle continues
Game modes are encyclopedic. Most outstanding as embers spark and float into the night sky.
get to the end, and open Tekken is fully fleshed out
is a fully realized Tag mode – almost a game in up some of the secrets. in DoA3; choose your five It’s the scope and variety of levels that makes
its own right. Tag in an alternate whenever you TIME ATTACK (option to faves and duke it out. 9. Snow
are in trouble to literally double your strategic choose single or tag battle) VERSUS
DoA something markedly different in the
alternatives. Itagaki was quite insistent that this You can play Time Attack A quick two-player match fighting arena.
feature be fleshed-out and improved. In pace, it mode (against the clock) in in Tag or regular mode. The 3D environments are obviously pretty,
regular or Tag Battle WATCH
plays quite differently than other modes. mode. A strangely satisfying but they’re also very much a part of the action.
Time Attack, Survival, and a useful and SURVIVAL chance to watch computer It becomes not only possible, but also essential, Tag
detailed Practice mode are returning favorites, Just keep fighting as long AI kick butt.
that you occasionally counter a strike and swing battle
and the brilliant five-member Team Battle almost, as you can. Harder than it
sounds.
PRACTICE
No penalties or death – your opponent into a tree or even a burning
stages
but not quite, rounds things up. There’s a
TAG BATTLE just a big chance to try
torch to knock them out. Most levels also 1. Iron Hell
stunning Watch mode, where you can have AI A lot of effort has gone combos and throws, 2. Pancratium
opponents duke it out to spectacular effect, into tuning and balancing unhindered. feature varying heights of terrain, à la VF3, and 3. Aqua Palace
complete with wacky camera angles and slow-mo this mode. Pick two MOVIE THEATER it means that the switch between levels 4. Danger Zone
■ Even the glass that was left intact has spiderwebbed from the ■ The camera angle quickly switches ■ And Gen gets an “owie” that no
moments. This sounds like a cute extra, but it’s fighters and switch If you’ve opened end-of-
5. X Octagon impact of Gen smashing through it. during “plunge” sequences. Band-Aid is going to help.
between them, health bar game movies, watch them becomes far more than simple aesthetics. Some
absorbing. Watching the Xbox “do it right” and permitting, of course. at your leisure here.
with stunning directorial flair is utterly hypnotic.
levels are harder to fight on than others.
And this is where the distinction becomes

■ LOST HORIZONS: The Lost World stage in Dead or Alive 3 is not only the largest physically, but the only stage December 2001 Official Magazine 47 48 Official Magazine December 2001 ■ I AM NOT SANTA: The weird Santa-lookin’ dude from DoA2 is in fact a Tengu, a mythical Japanese forest-demon. Specifically,
that was created without either visual reference materials or a trip to an actual location. he’s a Konsha Tengu (big-nosed Tengu) and looks a lot like their king, Sojobo, who reputedly carried a seven-feathered fan.
■ These clothes
show off some
of the slickly
rendered and
convincing
fabric textures
that make
alternate
costumes
valuable, THE VERDICT
unlockable Immersion
Graphics
eye-candy. Life-changing, genre- The smoothly improved
defining, generation- fighting system and the
busting perfection. And impossibly convincing
this is Tecmo’s first environments combine to
attempt on the Xbox… drag you into their world.

Sound Design
The only feature on the Itagaki and his team
game that isn’t have painted a fading
revolutionary. Perfect genre vibrant once
samples and very more, with clever design
Japanese tunes do the and the coolest blend of
trick, though. tech and art to date.

GOOD ( + ), BAD ( — ),
PERPLEXING (?)
ON THE + If you can see these screens, you can understand.
GAME + A brilliantly implemented, crisply crafted, and truly
3D fighting system.

DISC
make this a labyrinthine gameplay experience, looking videogame of any kind, ever. If for + Fighting environments so perfect, they’re distracting.
with novelty and subtlety you’ll be discovering some ridiculous reason you hadn’t previously + Uses all Xbox faculties, HDTV, Dolby 5:1, etc.
— Well, there’s that one tune we don’t like…
for months to come. made up your mind whether or not to buy an
Movie — Character designs not as polished as their
Describing how good DoA3 is, and how Xbox, then relax. The decision’s just been made implementation.

9. 5
much better it is than the games that have for you. You’re basically three hundred big ones Check out the boys
preceded it, is a difficult task indeed. What’s in the hole as you finish reading this. Between and girls of Dead or
Official Xbox
easy, however, is proclaiming that Dead or Alive DoA3 and Halo (page 84), it is finally possible
Alive 3 in motion on
our disc, as a video magazine
3 is quite simply the best fighting game ever to witness the power and possibilities of Xbox. demo shows off verdict 10.0
made – and quite possibly the single best- – Frank O’Connor some of the levels,
including the
amazing snow and
forest

>>>>> >>>>>
stages.

■ As the camera pulls back, it reveals ■ ...which Gen lands on face-first. Amazingly, the fight will continue. After he wakes up, naturally.
an amazing street scene...

■ RUN LIKE HELL: Fans of Dead or Alive 2: Hardcore will recognize the Iron Hell stage. Team Ninja resurrected the level December 2001 Official Magazine 49
deliberately to show how much better it looks on the Xbox.
Previews
Preview
Project Ego

Deeper looks at Xbox games of the future

Project
Organic-looking
environments match
Ego
There’s nothing more
the very organic nature
of the game perfectly. absorbing than being
It’s all about growth,
physical and spiritual. self-absorbed…
Whoa... that’s heavy.

W
hen this game shows up, anime eyes. Even the protagonist is a
sometime in the fall of prototypically Japanese RPG kind of
2002 (cross fingers, pray), hero: a 15-year-old male or female
it might well redefine the complete with the issues associated

Project Id
difference between a console and a with troubled teenagers (except acne –
PC game. Its developer, Big Blue come on, how about some realism!).
No ground-breaking game Box, is headed by Peter Molyneux, But from that point on, Project Ego
a man who has often expressed his takes a dramatically different path.
What would Project Ego be like if it
were developed by the shooter kings at
would be complete frustration at the PC’s ever-changing For one thing, this might be the
Id Software? Well, here’s our feature without ground-breaking development base. The Xbox, more first mainstream game featuring a
list, as imagined by us – your kings.
lens flare. This time, than any other console in history, character that actually ages as the ■ Our hero wanders in a town that will eventually
be populated with living, breathing characters.
■ Game has to be updated to
it’s using the awesome addresses and fixes those concerns – game progresses – and it’s not the
with bells on. Xbox, by all accounts, is simple switch between childhood and
latest beta release every third horsepower of GeForce
time you play it. graphics.
Molyneux’s dream machine.
In a very broad, simplistic sense,
adulthood seen in Zelda, but rather a
constant maturation process that’s There are enough subtle
■ Character behaves explosively,
as limbs fly off to signify aging
this game is an RPG. It even looks
a little like a somewhat idealized
shaped by your actions throughout the
game. And the process is frighteningly
factors to ensure that identical
process. Japanese RPG. Characters wear big organic – by the time your character characters will be a pretty rare
coincidence.
■ “Ever-changing-world” is knee- floppy boots and smile with oversized grows to adulthood, their appearance
deep in blood by the time your
character is 20.
TRACK RECORD will be defined by how much Only on
Xbox
■ Characters say things like, “Eat
my fifth-level magic, orc-breath.” DEVELOPER: Big Blue Box PUBLISHER: Microsoft RELEASE DATE: Fall 2002
exercise they’ve had, or how much
exposure to sunlight. If you want to be
■ Entire plot revolves around the WHO ARE THEY?: Big Blue Box is a brand-new company, and its first project is, in fact, Project This is currently an Xbox exclusive,
Ego. But Big Blue Box is not without some heritage, having been founded by industry legend Peter buff and tan by the time you’re 30 and has all the hallmarks so far of a
skill of “wand-jumping,” where you Molyneux – the West’s answer to Shigeru Miyamoto. But like any company, it’s got other people in years old (and who doesn’t), you’ll must-have, in the Metal Gear/Zelda
shoot magic at the ground to jump it, many of whom seem to be playing either Final Fantasy VII, FFVIII, or Vagrant Story, at least mold. The fact that it relies heavily
according to the bios on their website – which is very interesting, given the graphic design of Project have to make choices to achieve that. on graphic features and the hard-
higher. drive found on Xbox means that
Ego, which does sit somewhere squarely between Japanese and Western design sensibilities. We Like a classic RPG, those who choose a
even see shades of Japanese RPG character in the choice of brash young protagonists. it’s unlikely to appear on other, less
■ John Romero starts work life of magic use will tend to the gray fully-featured systems anytime soon.
on rival game called Project and infirm spectrum, while warriors It might, however, make it to PC.
Superego, starring Sly Boots III.

54 Official Magazine December 2001 ■ EGO-MANIAC: Although the word ego is associated with self-importance (and Madonna), its ■ OOPS: Last issue, we falsely reported that Xbox would support progressive scan on DVD playback. December 2001 Official Magazine 55
Indo-European root in the word eg simply means I. They changed it because of some licensing issues. There are still 69 reasons to buy an Xbox.
Preview ■ The Pirate look may be removed, since the
Preview
Project Ego Project Ego
ESRB has rated it “Aaarrrr!”

GAME POTENTIAL
LOOKS GOOD ODDS ARE...
■ Fantastic character design. This will expand the boundaries
■ Brilliant, proprietary graphics engine. of gameplay in roughly the same
■ Take the path of ■ You have a life ■ Molyneux Magic™. way as Black and White and
light and become a to live, so build a ■ Compelling RPG/Godgame/Adventure Populous did before it. Only with
goody two-shoes. house, or even a game concept. better graphics.
Do good, be good. castle.
NEEDS WORK HYPE
■ Sometimes developers bite off more Nothing creates its own drama
than they can chew – that could be the like a new Molyneux game. He’s
■ Behind closed ■ Or you can run case with Ego. the closest thing we’ve got to
doors, you’ll be able around murdering ■ Moment-to-moment gameplay Spielberg. One slight hindrance –
to sire children and ‘til your heart’s structure unclear at this point, or at Project Ego isn’t the game’s final
ensure your line. black as coal... least secret. name, so they’d better rename it
■ Isn’t done yet. Hurry up, already. quick before people get used to
this moniker.

FINAL THOUGHTS
Project Ego might be to the Xbox what Metal Gear Solid 2 is to the PS2 –
and there’s good and bad in that equation. MGS2 is still nowhere in sight
and is so ambitious in scope that delays are probably unavoidable. That said,
the game has progressed remarkably in its short development cycle, and Big
Blue Box has a talented bunch under its eaves, so who knows? This might
even ship on time.

Freeze-frame >>>>> TRULY ORGANIC WORLD


WHAT IS IT?: The world of Ego evolves with you – seasons change, trees grow.

The combination of massive graphics horsepower and a hard-drive makes miracles happen on Xbox.

1 Something as
simple as a choice
of weapon will have a
cascading effect on
a male character, since nine months even half of its promise, then it’s likely how Ego evolves.
If the Xbox ever needed a of cramps and morning sickness does to be a gaming benchmark, like Mario

reason to have a hard-drive, not sound like fun or very useful for
storming castles and whatnot.
64 or even Populous.
— Frank O’Connor
then Project Ego might be it. What’s not clear at this point is the
minutiae of the gameplay. Is this a
Zelda-style adventure with linear More with
Molyneux
end up looking more like barbarians – you’ll become evil, but it’s also possible paths? Is it a Final Fantasy-style stat
in that sense, the game feeds on itself (and presumably more difficult) to lead builder? Is it wholly new and original?
and the history of the genre. It’s
difficult to describe character classes,
a just and noble existence, perhaps
becoming a knight or king.
The 3D graphic engine has great
possibilities for all of those options, and
3 Volumetric
grass may
be old hat,
but volumetric
since they are shaped by player And if the Xbox ever needed a its use of light, shadow, and rich wheat? Infinitely
actions, not simply assembled from a reason to have a hard-drive, then environment is pretty peerless. more fiber and
shortlist of features. It is very likely that Project Ego might be it. The world you Black and White, Molyneux’s actually pretty
every character created in Project Ego explore and in which you live your life complex. Sure
previous project at Lionhead Studios,
makes the world
will be unique – sure, there’ll be is constantly evolving, and that’s only was an almost absurdly ambitious look real, though.
similarities in appearance and ability, practical with a dense storage medium game that really worked, on every
but there are enough subtle factors to like the 10-gig Xbox hard-drive. And level. It was even polished and pretty
ensure that identical characters will be this is an ambitious world. Trees when it shipped. If Project Ego fulfills
a pretty rare coincidence. actually grow, seasons pass, and
Appearance is one thing, but the people’s reactions to your behavior
game’s primary function is to define
character in its truer sense, that of
and appearance will change over time.
Molyneux promises that you will even
WIRED
Honestly, www.bigbluebox.com is a See how Peter Molyneux 2 It wouldn’t be an Xbox game
without self-shadowing musculature,
and if being buff and ripped isn’t enough,
good and evil and the various shades be able to have children in the game. remarkably entertaining website. So scores in our ten ridiculously
go read it. Right now. you can get tattoos, or even pile on some
in between. Rob and kill, and of course At that point we recommend choosing tough questions on page 28. pounds. Like Subway’s Jared, in reverse.

56 Official Magazine December 2001 ■ SUPEREGO: The game Project Ego was originally known as Heroes, and then Fable. Kind of fitting, since most real ■ BIZARRO JARED: Maybe we’re just weird, but we are so waiting for Jack In The Box to debut a Bizarro Jared December 2001 Official Magazine 57
heroes are generally just fables anyway. who gains 250 pounds eating Ultimate Cheeseburgers and curly fries.
Preview
Buffy the Hot Teenage Vampire Slayer

Buffy
Vampire Slayer
the

Stakes: Never been higher...

F
or those that follow Buffy,
it’s not so much a TV Only on
show as a religion.
Seldom has the sci-fi Xbox
Expect intensive use of the Xbox’s
fantasy genre been so generously and
pixel-shaders to make magic effects,
consistently well presented on TV. In fog, and explosions look almost
place of the drab and repetitious plots desperately colorful and scary. We’re
of, say, Star Trek Voyager, viewers also hoping to see fully bump-
mapped textures in here, although
are given a constantly expanding, it’s very likely that the game will
■ Nobody ever said that ever-surprising series of shows, with ship without any useful Internet
the wit and sophistication of The features.
Buffy has to fight fair – after
all, vampires are mean... Sopranos, and the compelling nature known as The Chosen One.
of that age-old story: good versus evil. This Chosen status translates
Frankly, good never looked so good. nicely into videogame status, thank
It’s about time Sarah Michelle Gellar’s you very much, and the resulting
indisputable charms made it to a third-person action/adventure is
videogame near us. shaping up as a clear lesson to the
In spite of the fact that the movie tired and soupy Tomb Raider franchise
that this show (and ostensibly this – faster, more action-packed, and
game) is based on came out around infinitely more controllable. The
ten years ago, Buffy is still 17 years emphasis here, though, is on combat
old and still battling the forces of evil. – not on puzzle solving.
What has changed very dramatically, The game consists of lots of
though, is her persona. She used to familiar areas from the TV show,
be a somewhat addled teenager and including the Bronze nightclub, the
was actually pretty dense and naïve. high school, and the unfortunately
Now she’s a supernatural badass placed library, which sits upon

TRACK RECORD
DEVELOPER: The Collective PUBLISHER: EA/ Fox Interactive RELEASE DATE: Q1 2002

WHO ARE THEY?: Although this game is being GAME: SYSTEM: SCORE:
distributed, packaged, and effectively published by
Star Trek: PC 7/10
Electronic Arts, the game was originally to be published by
■ Xxxxxxxxx
Fox Interactive, xxxxxxxx
a company that wisely got out of the
Deep Space
Nine: The
expensivexxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxx
business of moving boxes of games around in Fallen
favor of Xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxx
the glamour and swank of simply utilizing its not-
inconsiderable quiver of TV and movie licenses. The
xxxx xxxxxx xxxx xx
developer, The Collective, has collected prior experience on
Men in Black PC 3/10
some shoddy PC games – hopefully, this will change.
AVERAGE: 5/10

■ NOSFERATU: The expression Nosferatu comes from ancient Transylvanian legend. It means, literally, December 2001 Official Magazine 59
“not-dead” – which is appropriate, since Buffy isn’t dead, after all.
Preview
Preview Buffy the Polygonal Vampire Slayer
The Buff-ster

■ Combat is deep, intense,


and possessed of some of
the most detailed graphics
you’ve ever seen.

� Often, battles
are against multiple
opponents, so use
of magic becomes
indispensable.

just as you’ve always dreamed. Sadly challenging foes in the shape of Spike,
for you and luckily for her, all you can The Master, and Drusilla will also be
do with her is run, jump, climb, and making an appearance. As the plot � “No, seriously, look behind
thoroughly kick butt. The game’s progresses, you’re joined by the clean- you, I’m not kidding...”
combat system is pretty ambitious, cut ever-so shiny and wholesome
with a huge arsenal of standard and voices of Xander, Angel, Willow,
special “Slayer” moves, as well as
combatants who learn from their
Cordelia, and Giles, and there are lots
more in there, too. We can’t tell you
GAME POTENTIAL
WIRED mistakes and get smarter as the too much about the plot, because that
LOOKS GOOD NEEDS WORK
Two choices. We could direct you to
game progresses. would spoil it – but we can say that � Staggeringly realistic character � What? No Sarah Michelle
www.foxinteractive.com so you could To keep you occupied throughout, the game, like the show, is full of models – almost worthy of Namco voiceover?
learn about games they haven’t there are dozens of demons and surprises. or Tecmo. � These games have a tendency
published in three years, or tell you � Beautifully fashioned and lit toward the repetitious…
■ Vampire – or goth girl with bad teeth? zombies wandering around, just – Frank O’Connor environments. � Her outfit is far too wholesome.
to go to www.buffyguide.com and
study every script ever written. waiting to get beaten up, but more � Everyone from the TV show
Everything I know about vampires, (except Buffy) lent their voices.

Combatants learn from their


I learned from Count Chocula
Vampire Fact 1: Although Vlad the Impaler was brutal and all about impaling folks,
Old-school Frankly, this Buffy game looks
like an absurdly ambitious version
of Capcom’s Final Fight. And if
THE HYPE
By the time this game appears,
the Buffy TV show will have eased
THE HOPE
If the gameplay can live up the
standards already set by the

mistakes and get smarter. history notes that he was otherwise a fair and fiscally prudent leader. you think you’re old-school for out of the dubba-dubba-dubba- graphics, then we might be in for a
remembering Hagar, Guy, and the dubba WB and into its new home at treat. However, as Square’s The
Vampire Fact 2: Vampire bats will, in fact, bite humans, although they prefer cattle. The guys, then you’re SOL. Old-school “Oopin’” UPN. This should keep Bouncer (another third-person
biggest risk is from rabies or other infection. Not from the cattle, though, from the bats. would be remembering how to geeks happy, at least until the new old-school combat game) ably
the entrance to hell. Good luck turning convincing. Light and shadow cast defeat the guy with the bombs from Star Trek show (which was a bit demonstrated, it is possible to
Vampire Fact 3: The distinctive color of poo is caused by bilirubin, a by-product of red
that place into some live/work lofts. their gloomy and atmospheric pall on blood cells. Vampires, however, don’t like poo.
Irem’s Kung Fu Master. We’d give better than we expected) gets its polish a turd. This will have to
The graphics, as you can see from the proceedings, but it’s the character you that, but if you remembered off legs; it might also help create a feature slick, intuitive combat, lots
Vampire Fact 4: A vampire could easily beat a werewolf in a fight, since it could shoot the top of your head what the little more buzz for this videogame of varying challenges, and possibly
the screenshots, are extraordinarily builds that really show off the game. silver bullets just as well as some dude. Plus they can fly and stuff. joystick combo for a roundhouse incarnation of the show. Other than even some multiplayer action to
detailed, and have improved The Buffy model is lithe, animated, kick in Data East’s Karate Champ that, we can’t see how hard it will keep us interested by the time it
Vampire Fact 5: A vampire can only enter your house if invited. Or if you failed to was, we’d have to give you mad be to sell Sarah Michelle to the rolls around. That or a nude code,
tremendously since this first appeared and extremely true to its real-life select the Vampire-opt-out check box at the bottom of a web page. props. And don’t even get us started gaming public. anyway.
on the radar as a PC title. Each counterpart. Finally – Sarah Michelle on Konami’s Yie Ar Kung Fu…
Vampire Fact 6: There are only five known facts about vampires. See above.
location is brilliantly rendered and very Gellar is under your complete control,

60 Official Magazine December 2001 ■ BEST VAMPIRE MOVIE EVER: Near Dark is up there, but possibly the best vampire movie ever made � HATE AT FIRST BITE: There’ve been good (Castlevania) and bad (Vampire Hunter D) vampire games, but December 2001 Official Magazine 61
is the little-known Love at First Bite, starring George Hamilton as the tannest Dracula ever. Psygnosis Sega CD atrocity Bram Stoker’s Dracula was so dreadfully rotten that it nearly ruined the genre.
Preview Preview

SSX
Gettin’ tricky with it... SSX Tricky

Extreme
Cold
In an attempt to prepare for the most

Tricky
extreme of sports, we decided to
WIRED fortify ourselves with the most
They sell games with “attitude” at extreme drink we could find.
www.easportsbig.com and that’s all
well and good, but it’s certainly no
www.snpp.com. But then, what is? ■ Gatorade Ice
■ The mountains are the same – it’s only the Pictures of frozen mountains on
container gave the illusion of extreme
courses that have been changed. cold, but alas, it just tasted like every
other flavor of Gatorade – which in

Quite Cross turn tastes just like Capri Sun.


EXTREME FACTOR: 5 (of 10)

Mmm, deliciously fresh virgin The acronym SSX stands loosely for
“Snowboard Supercross,” and describes
■ Red Bull & vodka
A deadly combination that’ll get you

powder. An unspoiled canvas


the sport that has utterly changed the fall-down drunk and so wired that’ll
ski industry. Snowboarding started off you’ll get back up and stumble around
as a niche sport, but now accounts for like a flea on crack until eventually

for us to paint our wrath on.


much of the snowsports business. Very the acidic nature of the beverage will
few slopes still prohibit snowboarding, cause a permanent ulcer and make
and the ones that do tend to be super- the rest of your miserable life even
snobby, like Deer Valley in Utah. Why more miserable.
they prohibit it is something of a EXTREME FACTOR: 9 (of 10)

S
SX Tricky is arriving on For one thing, all the levels on SSX mystery, since snowboarders are
slower and therefore less dangerous ■ Mountain Dew Slurpee
some crowded slopes. Tricky are brand new – that is to say,
than skiers. Our bet is that Deer Valley Currently available exclusively at 7-11
When the game shows radically redesigned with different rescinds its policy in 2003 when stores nationwide. Not only did this
up, hopefully this year, it’ll routes, even if they’re located on dwindling returns on ski business force syrupy viscous nightmare cause a
be on a system already inhabited by roughly the same mountains (EA it to eat crow. sugar rush of Screech-like proportions
THQ’s Dark Summit and Microsoft’s describes the courses as about 50% (see Saved by the Bell, 1993), it also
gave us a brain freeze that required
own Amped. To be fair, this has more different, but that, of course, means us to be hurtled into the burning core
■ Grinding is easier and more frequent, but it
in common with Dark Summit than 100% different in terms of overall doesn’t have any effect on the size of your hair, of the sun for relief.
Amped, and if you’re not at least experience). There are also two in case you were wondering... EXTREME FACTOR: 10 (of 10)
vaguely familiar with the original SSX completely new hills to conquer:
concept, then let us enlighten you. It’s Garibaldi, which is in beautiful (and
snowboarding, with the emphasis on appropriately cold) British Columbia, ■ There is a bigger arsenal of tricks
to choose from this time.
fun, rather than simulation.
The game comes from EA’s “Big”
and the simply titled Alaska. You can
probably guess where that is. Both
GAME POTENTIAL
sports label – where words like
“extreme” and “radical” are thrown
new mountains offer new challenges –
Garibaldi focuses on big air, while
“Extreme” and “radical” are thrown LOOKS GOOD
■ Amazing new levels.
ODDS ARE...
This will happily take over as the number-
around with irresponsible abandon.
SSX took the gaming world (and
Alaska gives you the kind of extreme
verts that make those extreme
around with irresponsible abandon. ■ Cool new characters.
■ Bump-mapping and self-
one snowboarding experience on the
Xbox, unless Amped or Dark Summit can
shadowing. really pull some surprises out of the bag.
apparently EA) by surprise when it snowboarding movies so watchable. ■ Tons of play modes and two- It also sets up the Xbox for a nice run of
like Tony Hawk than before. Grinding, the original other six are there, but will
eclipsed almost every other PS2 title – The “Tricky” part of the title has player options. SSX sequels and probably conversions of
for one thing, seems noticeably easier be joined by six new characters, voiced other EA Sports Big titles.
both in gameplay and graphical a two-fold meaning – one is that the
in this new incarnation of the game, by some big-name talent, including
achievement. SSX Tricky is described game’s emphasis has in fact shifted NEEDS WORK HYPE:
and certainly a lot more frequent. Lucy Liu, Billy Zane, and Macy Gray
as an update rather than a true sequel even more toward tricks and (we’re ■ No worthwhile hard-drive EA may not know how to be warm
Riders have a set of basic skills, but (although it seems like these might be interaction. and fuzzy, but it could sell pineapple to
– but that’s a very modest claim. sick of saying this) seems a little more
each character also has access to his or subject to change). ■ Framerates and camera Hawaiians and tips on etiquette to the
unfinished when we saw it. Japanese. Expect a massive marketing blitz
TRACK RECORD her specific set of moves. The other
part of the “Tricky” nomenclature?
There is one downside to the Xbox
iteration of the game (also suffered on
■ “Shrinking” the controls is
absolutely unnecessary.
with TV ads, posters, magazine spreads,
and possibly sky-writers over the White
There’s an early rumor that British pop the GameCube version), which is the House. The momentum and fanbase SSX
DEVELOPER: EA Sports Big PUBLISHER: EA Sports RELEASE DATE: Nov./Dec. 2001
star Tricky will be on the soundtrack. fact that the control scheme has been already has probably won’t hurt one little
GAME: SYSTEM: SCORE: bit either.
WHO ARE THEY?: EA is a freakishly large corporate We do know that the Beastie Boys will “shrunk” to accommodate the two
behemoth, as cold and unforgiving as the ice in SSX. EA NBA Streets PS2 FINAL THOUGHTS
Sports Big
5/10 be making an appearance. shoulder buttons on the controller, as
■ isXxxxxxxxx
what they call anxxxxxxxx
“imprint,” which is a way to
Although the version we played was some way from completion, it was
explain why some of the sports are “wacky” like SSX and Character development, which was opposed to the PS2’s four. Which
xxxxxxxxx
NBA Streets, while othersxxxxxxxx
are “serious” like Madden and already apparent that barring some unseen disaster, or an unlikely pack of
Xxxxxxxxxx
NHL. Frankly, nobody caresxxxxxxxx
about the imprints except fine in the first game, has taken on a sucks, but the developers promise the lies from EA, this is going to be a stunning game – possibly the best version
the marketing people at EA who have to keep themselves more serious (and expensive) note in Xbox control scheme will be a delight, on any console. Self shadowing, bump-mapping – these are terms we like
busy, butxxxx xxxxxx
it is a good way toxxxx xx of dollars of a
spend millions SSX PS2 7/10
marketing budget for no good reason. this sequel. Although Japanese and and based on our early tests, we’re to hear. In fact, these are terms we should demand from now on. The tune
AVERAGE: 6/10 selection from top artistes just makes us like it more. ■ Go from a grab trick to rail to multiply your points.
German legends Hiro and Jurgen inclined to agree.
won’t be making it this time around, – Frank O’Connor If it sounds like Tony Hawk, it’s because it is.

■ ABSOLUTE ZERO: In all materials, a point is eventually reached at which all oscillations are the ■ COLDER THAN A WITCH’S TEAT: This is a misleading expression, since witch’s teats are
64 Official Magazine December 2001 slowest they can possibly be. The temperature which corresponds to this point is called absolute zero. technically no colder than, say, a cow’s. Which are warm. And don’t even start on the Wiccans…
December 2001 Official Magazine 65
Preview Preview
Silent Hill 2: Restless Dreams Silent Hill 2: Restless Dreams
� “All I wanted to
do was take your
temperature! Please Unlike its distant survival-horror

Strangers in the night


The PS2 version had only five different characters to
don’t... turn away... cousin, Capcom’s Resident Evil, the interact with. The upcoming Xbox revision will have more.
[sob] Silent Hill series aims for a much more Life is sweet, indeed.
cerebral sense of terror. Instead of
merely opting to shock gamers with
B-movie thrills, Silent Hill constructs
its trademark brand of dread and fear
through suspense and an uncanny
ability to press all the right buttons.
And while this isn’t a brand-new
episode in the series, Konami has
made sure that the Xbox version

Silent
has enough new features and story MARIA ANGELA EDDY
elements to warrant that this is more
She’s the spitting image of James’ dead A strange and brooding girl with a past James’ “introduction” to Eddy in Silent
than a mere PS2 redux. In fact, with wife, but her extroverted tendencies as mysterious as Silent Hill’s, James will Hill 2 is definitely one of the most
the additions Konami has planned, and fashion sense clearly differentiate cross paths with Angela on many memorable, for the mere sound effects
SH2: RD will be a significantly longer her from Mary. So, who is she? And occasions, but who is she really looking alone. We won’t ruin it for you, but be
what is she doing in Silent Hill? for in the town? sure to keep a bucket handy.
and more fully fleshed-out adventure.
While the development team has

Hill 2:
made the necessary cosmetic changes
needed for the transition from PS2 to
Xbox, they’ve also seen fit to create
whole new areas to explore and an
entirely new “chapter” to the game.
And not only is there a new character
to play as in the game, there are also
new characters to interact with on

Restless Dreams
LAURA MARY JAMES
your journey. In essence, SH2: RD
doesn’t merely revisit the PS2 version, A bratty little girl who seems to know Stricken with an unnamed, but terminal, Our main guy and the initially playable
all the twists and turns of Silent Hill. disease, Mary was a kind, loving wife to character. He’s been through a lot
it literally reworks the game into a Though she’s alone, she doesn’t seem James before she passed away three lately, so can you trust his judgment to
brand-new experience. to pay much attention to the hordes of years ago. But could she be alive and see you through and to ultimately
As big fans of the original and the monsters that inhabit the town. somewhere in Silent Hill? solve the mysteries of Silent Hill?

Let us go, through certain of a letter from his deceased wife,


recently postmarked, asking him to
we find James already on the outskirts
of the town, ready to track down Mary
PS2 sequel, we simply cannot wait to
get our hands on Silent Hill 2: Restless

half-deserted streets... meet her in their “special place” in


Silent Hill. Could she still be alive?
and resume what was once a very
happy life. But nothing is as it seems.
Dreams. Scary, dark, and deep, it will
give Xbox owners plenty of hours of
WIRED
As with almost everything in Silent The town is blocked off and the only gameplay to keep them from restful
While there’s not much in the way of
GAME POTENTIAL
S
Silent Hill 2: RD Xbox-specific goodies
ilent Hill. A small town ground for all the things that lurk Hill 2, nothing can be easily classified way to reach Silent Hill is on foot, at www.konami.com/silenthill2, check
sleep.
nestled on the shores of a within the shadowy corners of our as being real or unreal. As the game through a dense shroud of eerie fog. Is it out anyway for a cool treat. LOOKS GOOD ODDS ARE...
– Francesca Reyes
large lake, bustling with darkest fears and imagination. begins and the opening movie fades, this a dream? ■ The oft-hyped CG cinemas This is one game that is unparalleled in
tourists and quiet cafes. And the result is even more are simply butter… smooth, survival horror for its uniquely disturbing
silky, melting in your mouth. imagery and strange storyline. While it
Silent Hill 2: Restless Dreams, on the terrifying than the original, with a ■ If the first game scared you may, for the most part, be a rehash of
other hand, is a darkly disturbing heavy emphasis on story and sound. silly, prepare for a mega-dose what has come before on PS2, it’s superb
game, filled with grotesque imagery Players assume the role of James of the creeps. for delivering the message that Xbox
■ Additional features for the ain’t just for kiddies.
and a wicked storyline. What the game Sunderland, an ordinary man who
Xbox-only version certainly
does with this sleepy, small town is is haunted by the death of his wife, merit a playthrough from fans.
methodically transforms what could be Mary, three years prior. But his
Anytown, USA, into a breeding mourning is interrupted by the arrival NEEDS WORK HYPE:
■ Will there be more replay Though touted by some as violent and
value, besides different gory, anyone in the know realizes that this

TRACK RECORD endings, for Xbox owners?


■ Stretches of gameplay seem
a bit aimless and slow down
is only partially the case when it comes to
Silent Hill 2. There’s much more to the
game than its M Rating hype; it harbors
DEVELOPER: Konami PUBLISHER: Konami Computer Entertainment Tokyo the pace. some of the best-looking cinematics
around, along with a well-fleshed-out
RELEASE DATE: Dec. 2001 storyline and creepy gameplay to boot.
WHO ARE THEY?: The actual core team responsible for the Silent Hill series is only a small part of
Xxxxxxxxx
Konami’s�immense network ofxxxxxxxx
developers located in Japan. The Tokyo office has produced such
FINAL THOUGHTS
wondersxxxxxxxxx
as the Suikoden xxxxxxxx
series, as well as the Beatmania (“bemani”) series. So, how did a group of
developers surrounded by people creating music games and RPGs come up with something as From what we’ve seen of the game, thus far, this is definitely THE premier
Xxxxxxxxxx
twisted and xxxxxxxx
dark as the original Silent Hill? We’re not sure, either, but a huge load of the credit goes survival horror adventure to keep Xbox owners up at night. Next issue,
xxxx
to the series’ CGxxxxxx xxxx
and character xx Takayoshi Sato, sound genius Akira Yamoka, and producer
designer expect a full review of Silent Hill 2 where we give you the lowdown on the
Akihiro Imamuro. Collectively, the three have worked on only a handful of other Konami games in full experience.
the past, including International Track ’n’ Field (PSOne). � While there are fewer monster models in SH2 than ■ Expect to fondle corpses for keys and search
in the original, they’re no less creepy or deadly. garbage chutes for clues. All in a day’s work…

� LAKE CREEPY: There is a real-life Toluca Lake (also found in the game) located just south of Modesto, ■ SOLO HILL: Sato “Takayoshi” Sato, the CG artist and character designer for SH2, created and fine-tuned all the
68 Official Magazine December 2001 CA. Just ask Salmon, who survived the horror of working at a country radio station in Modesto for years. CG cinematics and character design for the PlayStation original by himself! He finally got a little help for the sequel.
December 2001 Official Magazine 69
Nerd! GorillaZ Rulez!!

g y o u r
n
x
a d i
o
G r

Xb se t - u p
Eminem Rulez
Korn Rulez
Town Rulez
O
Bizkit Rulez
Limp

History Paleolithic Era Key Dark Ages


Xbox set-up Key Xbox set-up
■ innovation: Fire ■ innovation:
Vandals (inspires

Lesson
Key gaming
Jet Grind Radio)
advantage:
Dark caves provide Key gaming
great gaming advantage: Rat
As time goes by, the ultimate Xbox set- environments on a spit = perfect
up changes. New technology, important gaming snack
Key gaming
advances in sofa comfort, and rapid disadvantage: Key gaming
innovation in the snack-food market Granite sofas disadvantage:
continue to transform our gaming uncomfortable The plague kind
experience. So, as we ponder today’s during long gaming of puts a damper
ultimate gaming set-up, let us not sessions on multiplayer
forget the Xbox set-ups of the past. gaming

■ OLYMPIAN CHEAT FEAT: The first recorded cheat in the Olympics was Eupolus of Thessaly, who bribed three boxers to December 2001 Official Magazine 73
fake defeat in 388 B.C. However, nobody bit anyone’s ear off.
Feature Cheat shefoertyour Xbox game room
Grading your Xbox set-up grade
ys to improve the
The seven best wa

Is your home ready for the most


rals
Remote control 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
5. Study your periphe

F O R
ision
Nothing I own uses a remote A +1
1. Upgrade your telev can improve your
Hella remotes B +2 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Sometimes peripherals
ound your TV.

powerful console in the world?


Four remotes thi ng rev olv es ar
ery atly. Try out the
C +3 Ev
Three remotes D +4 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 gaming experience gre
possible.
One remote, but then again, I only have Think HDTV if at all s at a local game
third-party controller

O F F I C E
one remote-controlled device E +5 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Two remotes +6 right for you.
shop to see if they’re
G
One remote for my two remote-controlled 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
d system
Listen up, class, the Xbox is here. So let’s hope Television type Lighting control devices H +8 2. Improve your soun
you’ve been doing your homework, because this One remote for my three (or more!) J +10 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
d10system is costly,
A home-theater soun
Portable A +1 Just bare windows A +1
e strike
6. Stage a pre-emptiv
is where the rubber meets the road. After all, you B/W Windows with lacy, translucent curtains remote-controlled devices
B +2 B +2
a much
will make your games
can’t just bring the Xbox home and hook it up in Anything with wood-grain finish C +3 Windows with miniblinds C +4
Subtotal points = 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
but it
any old room. The Xbox demands a home set-up Rear projection D +4 Blanket or sheet duct-taped over window D +5 on distractions
worthy of its might. Is your home ready? Food proximity grander experience.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
chine to screen
Color, > three years old +5 Windows with dark curtains +6

U S E
E E
This is a take-home exam, and you should fill Color, < three years old F +6 Windows with dark curtains and blinds F +8
From my primary gaming position I am within an arm’s reach of:
(Give yourself one point for each box checked) Use your answering ma
out the attached form in the very room where 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Flat-screen color G +7 No windows, light-colored walls G +9 ger, toss the cell
calls, shut off your pa
you hope to put your new system. Answer every Anything flat enough to set a can on A +2
Plasma H +8 No windows, walls as black as night H +10
question honestly, because cheaters will be Cooler B +2
3. Comfort first and tell your
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
HDTV +9 Subtotal points =
phone, lock the door,
I
punished. (And they never prosper.) Mini fridge C +2
Flat-screen HDTV +10
J
ing is

O N L Y
Once you are finished with this test, go back 10ever seat
Phone (for pizza delivery) +2 8 for9 what
f visiting your sick
D 7 ttle
1 2 3 4 5
Do6n’t se
friends that you’re of
Subtotal points =
over it and you’ll find some easy ways to boost the Cash to pay delivery guy E +2
grade for your Xbox gaming set-up. Now, pencils Television inputs supported Subtotal points = 9 . Yo
TV u’ll be playing for
1 2 3 4 5 clo6sest7 to the
8 10
ready... let’s go. No input A +0 grandmother.
Sound Rabbit ears B +1 a comf
8 d 9
ortable seating
Mono TV speaker A +1 VHF screws C +2
Nearby extras 1 2 3 4 5 ho6urs, 7so fin 10

The Test: Stereo TV speakers B +2 Coaxial cable D +3 Heater/fan


(Give yourself one point for each box checked)
A +1 ar6rang7emen t be9 fore you even start.
7. Snacks on hand
Headphones 1 2 3 4 5 8 10
C +3 RCA jacks E +5
IMPORTANT Emergency generator B +1
Stereo speakers away from TV D +4 S-video F +8
• USE A #2 PENCIL Broadband Internet connection C +1
e hungry to think
Don’t wait until you’r
Speakers through amplifier 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
E +5 Component G +10
• MAKE DARK MARKS Digital TV recorder D +1
• FILL CIRCLES IN COMPLETELY
AC3 surround system F +6 Subtotal points = A “blankie” +1 4.6 Fo7cus on lig9hting ks, drinks,
about food. Grab snac
E
1 2 3 4 5 8 10
• EXAMPLE A B C D E Dolby DTS Surround System G +8
No-Doz (for all-night sessions) +1 can
windows or skylights
F
Dolby 5.1 Surround System H +10
Un co7vered before you
and more solid foods
Deodorant (ditto) G +1 1 2 3 4 5 6 8 9 10
Subtotal points = Distractions
NAME Magazine rack with Official Xbox Magazine H +1 ction. Blinds,
(Give yourself one point for each NO Answer)
cause glare and distra n’t have to
even start, so you do
Eye drops I +1
DATE Do you have brothers, sisters, or children 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Bathroom within 15 feet coverings will
curtains, or makeshift
J +1
Seating within nine feet in the house? no +1
Television screen size of television More than one? no +1
Subtotal points = 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 stop during a game.
< 13" A +1 Dirt A +1 Do you live with your parents? no +1 solve this problem.
Test Record
19" B +2 Lawn chair B +2 Do you have a roommate? no +1 Ad up all your subtotals from the test to see how ready you are.... FINAL SCORE
20" C +3 Folding chair C +3 Are you dating anyone? no +1 90 -100 Valedictorian – Great score... maybe too great. This means you, cheaters
Part 1 Part 6
25" D +4 Rolling chair D +4 Do you have a pet? no +1 80 - 89 Salutatorian – You’re the envy of your friends and lord of the boardz
27" E +5 Papasan E +5 Do you own a PS2? no +1 Part 2 Part 7 70 - 79 Summa Cum Laude – Congratulations! You’re in great shape for the Xbox launch
29" F +6 Beanbag F +6 Is your phone ringer turned on? no +1 60 - 69 Magna Cum Laude – Pretty good, but you might want to do a little shopping, no offense
32" Futon Do you carry a cell phone or pager? no +1 Part 3 Part 8 50 - 59 Cum Laude – You can enjoy your Xbox, but it’s a limited, unfulfilling sort of enjoyment
G +7 G +7
Is there a clock in your gaming room? no +1
40 - 49 Graduate – Well... you can at least invite people over without dying of shame
36" H +8 Sofa H +8 Part 4 Part 9 30 - 39 Class Clown – We feel the one thing you should be serious about is your Xbox set-up
40" to 50" I +9 Recliner, > five years old I +9 Subtotal points =
20 - 29 Dim Bulb – But honey, we’re just concerned that you’re not living up to your potential
> 50" J +10 Recliner, < five years old J +10 Part 5 Part 10 10 - 19 Dropout – The only explanation is that you want to fail
Subtotal points = Subtotal points = Test continued on the following page: TOTAL points = 0-9 Very Old, Very Young, or Very Dumb – We figure you must be one of these things to score this low

■ Renaissance Key Xbox set-up


innovation: ■ 1950s Key Xbox set-up
innovation: the ■ 1960s Key Xbox set-up
innovation: Color ■ 1970s Key Xbox set-up
innovation: ■ 1980s Key Xbox set-
up innovation: ■ 1990s Key Xbox set-
up innovation:
Printing press (leads remote control, or TV, at last Beanbags The Internet HDTV
to Official Xbox “clicker.” It really did
Key gaming Key gaming Key gaming Key gaming
Magazine) click in those days,
advantage: Mind- advantage: Hi-fi advantage: The advantage: The
and quite loudly
Key gaming altering drugs stereo sound for proliferation of VCRs rise of “extreme”
advantage: Sofas Key gaming make game colors blasting for taping TV shows sports like
created for nude advantage: more vibrant soundtracks while gaming skateboarding,
modeling also work Huge TVs snowboarding, etc.
Key gaming Key gaming Key gaming
well with games Key gaming
Key gaming disadvantage: disadvantage: disadvantage:
disadvantage:
Key gaming disadvantage: Annoying Realizing 52 games ’80s TV (Dukes of
Vomit-inducing
disadvantage: Tiny TV screens flashbacks make on Atari Combat Hazzard, BJ and the
use of the word
Lots of naked videogames more actually meant 52 Bear, and Bosom
“extreme” by
Italian men frightening identical games Buddies)
marketing execs

74 Official Magazine December 2001 ■ THAT’S A MAN, BABY: A famous Polish cheat, often thought erroneously to be an urban myth, was Stella Walsh, who was ■ VCR HISTORY: JVC invented the VHS standard in 1978, battling against Sony’s earlier Betamax and another system (with December 2001 Official Magazine 75
the first “woman” to break 11 seconds for the 100-yard run. “She” was in fact a fella, as a post-mortem exam revealed. double-sided tapes) called Video 2000 from Philips.
8
Feature
Look, a robot, over there
5
7 20

Your 9

pictorial 6

guide to
a perfect
Xbox
19
10
21

set
set-
12
3

up... 13 18
15

14
2 11
16 17
1
4

22

� Xbox � Yamaha RAV-2000 � Monster Cable Director AV � Metal Gear Solid X shrine � Cold sodas for a quick � One year of Official Xbox
1 $299 Best bet: www.xbox.com 4 Intelligent Remote Control 7 4.1 A/V Input Selector $349 10 Burn a candle for hope. 14 caffeine rush. 19 Magazine $24.95
Please don’t forget this... otherwise your $499 See page 80 for more details on http://www.monstercable.com/entech/ www.officialxboxmagazine.com
tragically pointless Ultimate Xbox Set-up will bring the remote control advanced enough to bring index.html Switch between your VCR, DVD, Even we’re embarrassed by this sort of shameless
� Toaster and Pop-Tarts
shame and embarrassment upon your friends and
loved ones.
your father to tears. Digital Recorder, and Xbox with this high
performance audio/video input source selector 11 � Personal desktop fan
$24.95 www.sharperimage.com 15 Hot breakfast, just like Grandma Dixie used
self-promotion.

to make.
� R.O.B. (Robotic Operating that actually enhances signals.
5
Warning: After more than 36 hours of
� Xbox Debug Kit (sorry, for
� Ultimate TV Buddy) $10.00 www.ebay.com gaming, no fan can move the stench. 20 developers only)
2 $299 www.ultimatetv.com We love R.O.B. We’re holding out hope that
at least one Xbox game will support it. 8 � Sennheiser RS65 Wireless 16 � Snacks
Should never be out of arm’s reach.
Mmmm... see-through green Xbox.
Headphones $145 Not available � Hot+Cold Snack Box
Don’t ever put off an Xbox game for a TV
show... just digitally record it and watch it later. yet in the US, but coming soon. Great sound, 12 $99.95 www.sharperimage.com
� First aid kit
6 � RCA 36-Inch Digital High
Resolution TV $1699 See page 80
comfortable feel, and no wires! It can either keep sodas cool or warm
your snacks to a tepid 140 degrees. We love to 17 � Real food For the rare kinds of
nutrition that Pop-Tarts, chips, and candy
21 The pink stuff for long gaming marathons,
and bandages for sore thumbs.
� Yamaha RP-U200
3
keep our fresh Krispy Kremes nice and warm...
for more details. (And please note that we bars just can’t provide.
� Near-complete collection
$499 See page 80 for more details.
(And put your ears real close to the
would have used a larger TV for the ultimate Xbox
9 of Simpson action figures...
� Nougat is scientifically � Emergency sodas 22 � Extra game pads
13 18
game room, but it wouldn’t fit through our door...
magazine to hear how good this thing sounds A touch of geekiness helps liven up any $39.99 You never know who’s going to
while on mute.)
next year we’ll include a chainsaw on the list.)
Xbox game room. proven to be good for gaming. drop by.

78 Official Magazine December 2001 � THE ACTUAL COOLEST THING ON THIS PAGE: is R.O.B. – even though, earlier this year, we did note that “all it could � LIQUID BREAD: For those readers who are over 21 years of age and fond of the occasional drink (or the occasional December 2001 Official Magazine 79
do was pick things up, swing around on its plastic hips, and drop things – like an old man buying chicken at a supermarket.” binge-drinking session), may we suggest replacing sodas with a delicious micro-brew for maximum game-room goodness.
Feature

Best in class
Cream of the crop

■ Remote control
Our choice: Yamaha RAV-2000 Intelligent
Remote Control
$499
http://www.yamaha.com/yec/products/
RAV2000/ravinteract.htm
As home-entertainment systems become more
diverse, more complex, and more numerous, so does
While creating your own Xbox set-up, it’s wise to check the collection of remote-control units littering your
coffee table. Without going into too much detail, let’s
out some examples of the products that we love. The just say that certain girlfriends have had enough, and
made certain threats to certain editors about certain
following are three great audiovisual set-ups that are privileges. Either the remotes went, or certain
girlfriends did. Thank goodness, then, for Yamaha.
guaranteed to raise the grade of your Xbox game room. The Japanese
motorcycle/piano/jetbike manu-
facturer also has a rather nice
line of AV equipment, and now
■ The TV introduces the RAV-2000
remote. Xbox owners who’ve
Our choice: RCA 36-inch digital high- invested in the DVD kit can
resolution TV easily and quickly program
$1699 the RAV-2000 to learn the
http://www.rca.com/product/viewdetail/ Xbox DVD commands, and
0,2588,PI45059-CI207,00.html? at a press of the touch-
sensitive, backlit LCD
There was a time (and we’re talking, like, ten screen, switch to control
years ago, and not during the Great War) when every other device in the
American TVs were humongous, 800-pound, house. Most codes are
“wood”-sided, evil-smelling, cathode-burning actually built into the
fishbowls whose one saving grace was the fact that machine, and we couldn’t
each one produced enough excess heat to warm a even find a device
Minnesota mansion, and enough static electricity to obscure enough to
fry anyone dumb enough to steal it. But times have baffle the built-in code
changed, and now the Zeniths and RCAs of this database, and believe
world are no longer a source of shame and eyesore. us, we’ve got some weird crap here.
For a number of reasons, we chose the RCA In fact, the RAV’s only drawback is the – take a deep
36-inch digital high-resolution TV as our Xbox best. breath, now – $499 price point.
The two main reasons were its price (a relatively
reasonable $1699) and the sheer flexibility of the
set. With seven AV input sockets, you can connect
practically every device you own simultaneously,
including a PC or Macintosh, thanks to the inclusion ■ The sound system
of a VGA port. The set’s 1080i-capable resolution Our choice:Yamaha RP-U200
is exactly what’s needed for videogame HDTV Receiver: $449
support, so no worries there. A three-line digital Speakers: $199
comb filter has a startling effect on standard S-video http://www.yamaha.com
signals for a way-better-than WEGA picture. And
yes, it’s perfect for progressive-scan DVD The RP-U200 is a remarkably fully-
watching – movies look staggering on featured, Dolby Digital- and DTS-capable
this set. monster that will hook up nicely with a
If it weren’t for its 190-pound girth, wide range of speakers. For convenience,
this would be a perfect solution (do not quality, and aesthetics, we’ve paired it with
set it atop that empty beer case in your the Yamaha NSP 220 front, rear, center,
dorm room). As it is, it’s a stunning and subwoofer package.
surprise from an old American establish- The cool thing about the RP-U200 is
ment (now owned and operated by giant that it has been built from the ground up
French conglomerate Thomson as a gaming system. That means that as
Multimedia. Ahem). The speakers are well as the usual DSP audio modes
great, but don’t use ’em – Xbox deserves (church, movie theater, etc.), there’s a
its own home-theater sound system. finely honed game mode that balances
and sharpens videogame audio to suit the
most discerning ear. In short, it more than
■ 2001 Key Xbox set-
up innovation: ■ The Future Key Xbox set-
up innovation:
takes care of both game and movie
requirements, it is an absurdly over-
The Xbox The hovertoilet qualified receiver for CDs, mini-discs,
MP3s, or whatever.
Key gaming Key gaming The RP also includes a USB port – so
advantage: advantage: you can customize your Xbox settings in a
All the good Holographic brilliantly intuitive user interface that lets
stuff has finally technology will you “describe” your room and find the
been invented make 3D gaming best settings to suit your environment.
really 3D
Key gaming
disadvantage: Key gaming
Where’s our disadvantage:
hovertoilet? Now where’s
Pausing to “go” our turbo
just doesn’t cut it hovertoilet?

80 Official Magazine December 2001 ■ TOILET FUN: In Scotland (and other places) in the Middle Ages, housewives would toss out bucketfuls of human waste
directly from the window, yelling, “Gardez Loo!” Rumors that this instigated the Dark Ages are probably true.
Review

Reviews
Halo

The definitive source for Xbox reviews Highlight


The ability to play through every single-player mission in two-player
cooperative mode (either split screen or with a dual Xbox set-up) is one
of Halo’s best features. When you and your buddy hop in the Warthog
and start blowing away aliens, you really get an entirely new game.

They’re here! contents


They’re here!
Yes, dear readers, that glorious time has
finally arrived. The time when the Console
Fairy sprinkles brand-new games and
systems onto all the good boys and girls out
there in Xbox-land. And what does that
mean? It means Ultra-Honest Reviews™ in
our pages to help you decide which games

92
to blow your hard-earned cash on and which
games to scare children with! We review a
whopping 13 launch titles to assist your
game-buying needs come November 15.
While not all launch games were available
Tony Hawk 2x
for review by press time, you can be sure The ultimate skateboarding
collection – or just a rehash?

Halo
that we cover some of the biggest (and best)
ones of the bunch: Dead or Alive 3, Halo,
and Madden 2002. So, read on to transform
yourself into one of the few, the proud, the
knowledgeable Xbox owners.

How we
score
10 – 8.5 Only the best and the brightest WUSOIVRE LREDVIEW!
score in this range. If a game scores 9.0 or
Check then
above, out our Verdict
there’s box in every
no guessing review
involved.
96 EXCL
The hype didn’t
for the
Buy lowdown
it, love it, and on
watchgraphics,
as othersound,
games
immersion
follow (look it up), and overall design.
in its footsteps.
We’ll also break down the good, the bad, and Project
8.4 – 7.0 Justperplexing. Gotham
even do it justice
the downright All of but
shy of greatness, these
stillfactors
an
lead into our official, final word on how the
exceptional experience.
game scores on a scale of 0.0 to 10.0. Racing
6.9 – 5.0 There’s a bit of entertainment to Gran Turismo
be found, but something’s amiss. can’t touch this!
DEVELOPER BUNGIE PUBLISHER MICROSOFT MULTIPLAYER 1-16 WEBSITE WWW.XBOX.COM/GAMES/ACTION/HALO.HTM
4.9 – 2.0 Rushed, poorly executed, or
maybe just tired. Only fools dare tread EXTRAS 1-2 player co-op mode, 1-4 deathmatch splitscreen, 16 players via system link (four systems, four players per TV, four copies of the game)
further.

1.9 – 0.0 Craptacular goodness that is

H
onestly, I had mixed rushing around a lush sci-fi landscape in I knew that the transition to a joypad control
proud to call Fantastic Four (PSOne) or expectations when the time vehicles and on foot were light years beyond scheme rarely works well, if at all. Even given
Superman (N64) its superiors.
finally came to review Xbox’s anything I’d seen. I knew right there and the dizzying array of multiple sticks and
The eternally-hyped “killer app.” I then that this was a game I’d be counting buttons on the Xbox pad, I was skeptical that
the complex control Halo needed could
Xbox remember Halo from the very beginning,
when an early PC demo came from nowhere
the hours to completion.
When Microsoft later acquired Halo’s survive the transition. And I’ll admit it, as an
Elite 108 to become the surprise sensation at the 1999 developer Bungie and announced that the old PC die-hard, I worried the game might
Any game that scores
9.0 or higher will be Electronic Entertainment Expo – it had game would be moving from the PC to be “dumbed down” for console, or that the
stamped with our Xbox Madden virtually every journalist in attendance Xbox, I had some misgivings. The 3D action graphics wouldn’t be as shiny as the ones
Elite Award. This mark vs. Fever rushing around telling anybody who’d listen genre of which Halo is a proud member that first dazzled me way back when.
guarantees a solid game A gridiron showdown that they had to go check it out. When I evolved on the PC, where high-speed, Fast-forward to the present… The
to be had by all (all that between the two best
have $50, of course). So finally saw it, I wasn’t disappointed – while precision aiming and maneuvering is made finished Halo is here, and having played it to
football games on any
buy it already. the gameplay was still in early concept possible by the mouse. Having played exhaustion, I’m disappointed. Disappointed
system.
stages, the images of futuristic commandos console ports of other first-person shooters, that I wasted all that time and energy

84 Official Magazine December 2001 ■ MR. SPARKLE: Halo is the first game (that we remember) to feature the now-increasingly-common sparkle effect seen ■ HALO, DARKNESS, MY OLD FRIEND: Halo started life as a product for the new, games-capable Mac G4 series, but December 2001 Official Magazine 85
on distant ocean vistas. It’s also used well in Konami’s AirForce Delta Storm. after Microsoft bought Bungie, things changed for the better (unless you are a Mac gamer still toiling away on WarCraft 2).
Review
Say Halo to my leetle friends

■ Shielded Covenant grunts are as


deadly as they are annoying.

■ This alien wants to be


your friend... yeah right.

■ The holographic hottie who gives you


advice appears to have a crush on you,
■ Kill the Alien in this Ghost without and romantic tension is high.
harming the ship and you can hop in

The ride of your life


and take out the rest from above.
■ You are here. This is a bad place to be.

Halo provides an array of land and air vehicles to jump into and

I’m disappointed
control – our favorites are the huge human tank called the
worrying it wouldn’t live up to the hype. It Scorpion and the Ghost, a sleek Covenant jetfighter – and they mix
absolutely does. I believe Halo is, without up the action nicely in both single- and multi-player. Here’s a quick
question, the best game for the Xbox and
a very serious contender for best game of
that I wasted all guide to a few of them and where we had the most fun with them:

2001 on any format. that time and WARTHOG


When they say all-terrain vehicle, they

energy worrying
Fusing hoary old sci-fi clichés with some
mean it. There’s virtually no hill this
impressively original concepts, Halo’s story puppy can’t handle with ease, and
casts you as a cybernetic US Marine super-
commando stationed aboard a space it wouldn’t live there’s extra room inside for a
tail gunner and one other

up to the hype
passenger to provide
battleship. Retreating from the enemy – a additional fire support.
monstrous race known as the Covenant –
the ship performs an emergency hyperspace IN-GAME HIGHLIGHT:
Jumping inside an enemy Warthog in
jump and finds itself in an uncharted area of the ship’s complement of Marines are forced the middle of a multi-player game and
space, in orbit around an immense ring-like to bail out and crash-land on the mysterious shooting up the passengers while they try to
structure supporting an entire artificial ring-world, with Covenant forces hot on your figure out where the hell they are getting shot from.
ecosystem. When your ship is destroyed by tail. To give away any more of the plot would
the pursuing Covenant, you and the rest of spoil the surprise, as the game’s story SCORPION
unfolds beautifully in cut-scenes between The Marines’ tank is a serious piece
of hardware, packing a heavy machine
(and during) each of the 10 missions; suffice
Halo multiplay it to say that you’ll quickly discover that the
Covenant are the least of your problems on
gun, a devastating main cannon, and slots
on the chassis for extra Marines to jump on
and fire from.
Halo comes equipped with an impressive this strange new world…
array of multiplayer options, including a IN-GAME HIGHLIGHT:
Ten missions might not sound like a lot, Co-op mode. One
cooperative mode that allows players to
take on any of the game’s 10 missions but each one is a huge, sprawling enterprise player at the wheel and
together. The missions play out the same, broken down by multiple objectives, cannon, the other riding on the
but you’ll be able to pull off some nifty tag- side with a fully-loaded rocket launcher. Alien blood everywhere!
unforeseen twists and turns, and, mercifully,
team techniques on some of the tougher
aliens. In addition, there are no fewer than numerous save points. Each level mixes
26 (count ’em) styles of competitive elements of puzzle-solving and exploration, GHOST
multiplay, including standard Deathmatch, The Covenants’ primary air fighter is
since some parts of the maps have maze- sleek, agile, and packs a punch.
Capture the Flag, Assault, and the excellent
Oddball, in which teams fight for possession like qualities – but make no mistake, Halo’s Expect its speed and maneuver-
of a human skull (don’t ask). You can also prime mover is combat. You’re unlikely to ability to be a big factor in
tinker with the rules to create your own multiplay.
ever spend more than 30 seconds in this
custom games. Halo allows for as many
as four players to compete on a single gameworld without being shot at by IN-GAME HIGHLIGHT:
Xbox in split-screen mode, and for as many something. But thanks to a tremendous Shoot down a Covenant
as four Xbox systems to be connected via without destroying the Ghost.
arsenal and some delicious AI on both sides,
Ethernet, for a grand total of 16 players. Then hop in and start taking out those
And that’s some serious deathmatchin’.
you’ll have a helluva fun time shooting back. pesky aliens from above.
The weapons at your disposal are many

86 Official Magazine December 2001 ■ TRAINING DAY: The Halo training sequence is brilliantly woven into the plot, never slowing the pace of the action from
the instant you press start – there’s even a good excuse for switching your controller axis.
Review
Review Halo

Yeah,
Halo

what
he said
We love second
opinions. You love
second opinions.
Unfortunately,
we couldn’t find
anybody in the
office (or the streets
of San Francisco)
who could disagree
with the review and
the overall greatness
of Halo. But in case

The alien AI is so good,


Microsoft needs any
more material for
advertisements,
here are more
gushing remarks. you can see them react
FRANK: Since Valve to new situations.
refuses to make
Half-Life 2, I’ll have
to be content with
something much,
much better. Halo.
It’s worth buying a
spare Xbox for.

MIKE: Astonishing.
Spellbinding.
Stunning. And
another synonym for
“damn good.” This is
the best first-person Halo Weapons THE VERDICT
shooter I’ve ever Graphics Immersion
played on any system. Halo delivers a mean arsenal of US Marine weaponry, plus you can Astonishing. Everything The impressive AI,

Shoot a Covenant
in the game, from the dialogue, scripted
Period. pick up alien weapons from the bodies of dead Covenant troops. sequences, and slow-
backdrops to the aliens
Some of the best: and weapons, boasts burning storyline all

soldier and you can DAN: They had to a high level of detail conspire to make you
rip Halo out of my ASSAULT RIFLE and imagination. feel like you’re inside
Reminiscent of the M-41A Pulse Rifle Tremendous lighting a megabudget sci-fi

pick up its weapon.


hands. Next time, I’m effects and other eye- movie. Play it with the
holding on tighter. I from Aliens, this baby comes with a popping SFX are the lights down and Dolby
can literally play two- 60-round clip and a dazzling rate of icing on the cake. 5.1 sound way up for
player co-op mode all fire. It’s a good idea to keep this maximum effect.
day and night. ready to rock in one of your two
and varied (see sidebar, page 91), but in a weapons slots at all times. Sound Design
DAVE: Halo is a The haunting title track Well-constructed levels,
clever and logical touch, the game breaks and powerful in-game challenging enemies (at
brilliant piece of SNIPER RIFLE
with genre tradition by not letting you lug Equipped with two zoom modes and
music draws you into four levels of difficulty),
work that delicately Halo’s gameworld, while thoughtful puzzles,
around every weapon you come across. balances the a night-vision scope, this one-shot the sound effects, from and a wide variety of
You’re only allowed to carry two weapons capabilities of the killer is a great way to take out achievement. As an example, when you weapons fire to the roar situations will keep you
enemies without getting your hands of the aliens, are rich, glued to your pad. In
(plus grenades) at a time, so you’ll often Xbox to produce stand in the verdant forest of Halo’s first meaty, and often very pure design terms, Halo
a game that is far dirty. Just don’t try to use it up close. scary. But nothing is the most expertly-
have to make crucial decisions about what to advanced over the level and see the huge arcs of the circular compares to the constant constructed confection
abandon and what to take with you. competition. Finally, PLASMA PISTOL landscape extending up into infinity in either and varied banter from since the awesome
we have a game The standard sidearm of lower-rank fellow Marines. Half-Life.
One thing you’ll always be glad to have direction, it’s an awe-inspiring moment.
that surpasses the Covenant troops, this single-shot
with you, however, are your fellow Marines. seemingly unbeatable repeater is most effective when you The soundtrack, meanwhile, is worthy of GOOD ( + ), BAD ( — ),
They’re a cut above the usual AI buddies Half-Life, and it’s only hold the trigger down for one big a spin-off CD, from the Gregorian chanting PERPLEXING (?)
on Xbox. powerful burst of energy. Booyah! + Aliens and background damage don’t disappear
who never seem to have enough sense to of the opening screen to the heart-pounding after a while, which gives a good sense of carnage
keep themselves alive for long. These guys FRANCESCA: While NEEDLER incidental music and ever-present ambient and helps you figure out where you’ve already been.
+ Stunning physics allow for some great grenade kills,
can fight, and they can talk some serious ■ Each player on the tank pictured can be controlled either by a human player, it’s an overused Our personal favorite, this Covenant sounds. Oh, and that control scheme? After including chain reactions that will blast enemies all
trash, too – their context-sensitive dialogue word in gaming, I’d weapon shoots out waves of razor- about an hour or two, the dual-analog over the room.
or by computer AI. It’s revolutionary stuff. — It’s possible to get lost and confused on some of the
have to agree with sharp glass needles that home in
lends a genuinely immersive quality to Gary and say that on a target and then explode. Bad, movement and aiming is as instinctive more complex levels – an automap function might’ve
been helpful here.
Halo; it actually seems like you’re fighting intense, Bruckheimer-esque, “I can’t believe should also be noted that, in a genre that Halo is incredibly real bad. and natural as you could hope for. — Three- and four-player split-screen can be
alongside real people. I just saw that happen” action, and palpable, has been trying desperately (and failing) “immersive.” It’s like This, then, is Halo, for my money the unsatisfying on all but the biggest TVs. Better to
jumping into a really ROCKET LAUNCHER bring more than one Xbox to the party.
This feeling of “being there” is Halo’s white-knuckle tension and fear. It should since 1998 to produce a worthy heir to Half- best game of the year on any system. From

9 .5
well written sci-fi With very limited ammunition and a
best and most pervasive quality. The entire be noted that Halo, in many of these Life, Halo is the first game to come along novel. Even though slow reload time, you’ll only want to top to bottom, it’s just a stunning, stunning
experience is imbued with a cinematic style techniques, owes a debt of gratitude to the that really deserves the accolade. it seems to skew use this in very special situations, but achievement. Seventy reasons why you have Official Xbox
that makes you feel like you’re the hero of PC classic Half-Life, which redefined the Technically, for sure – Halo’s without on the “PC” side, when faced with overwhelmingly
to get an Xbox? Pah. As of right now, you magazine
the gameplay is superior forces, this explosive beauty verdict 10.0
an epic action-adventure story, not merely genre by setting new standards for cinematic doubt the best-looking game I’ve ever seen, amazingly tight. is just the job. only need one.
playing a videogame. There are moments of tension and in-game storytelling. But it both technically and in terms of artistic – Gary Whitta

88 Official Magazine December 2001 ■ TWISTS AND TURNS: The Halo plot, which borrows heavily from sci-fi sources galore, is deep and compelling enough that ■ YOU MAY REMEMBER: The illustrious Gary Whitta from such publications as the US and UK versions of PC Gamer, December 2001 Official Magazine 91
Microsoft actually swore us to secrecy on many plot points. Hint: nothing is as it seems, or so it seems. Computer and Video Games, Total Movie, and Popular Computing Weekly. His favorite food is bubble-and-squeak.
Review
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2x

■ The
combination of
Tony Hawk 1
and 2 is more
than just a glue
job – the way the
moves, skaters,
and levels
■ Sure, it’s more of interact means
the same, but in new strategies.
this case, it’s much
more of the same,
with five new
levels, new tricks, ■ This shot shows two players competing head-to-head over
and some weird a LAN. In this case, simply by plugging into our office LAN.
secret stuff that
Hawk fans will
simply have to
have. Mano-a-LAN-o
Although the two-, three-, and four-player split screen is not only
playable, but arguably the most brilliant implementation of that
feature to date, full-screen LAN games are what it’s really all about.
You can connect two Xbox units with a straight Ethernet cable – or,
It is a wee bit disappointing that the
Create-a-Park mode hasn’t been particularly
THE VERDICT
Bomb better yet, over a LAN (the Xbox should simply detect the other
Xbox systems on the LAN). That way, you don’t need two Xbox
enhanced. It’s faster and easier to use than Graphics Immersion

da bass
Bump-mapped textures? Tony Hawk at its heart
units and two TVs in the same room. We hope that next year will before, but no more flexible or expansive. Check. Volumetric isn’t about progress, or
bring this or similar experiences to the Internet. However, the capacious hard-drive does grass? Check. Clever even scoring: it’s about
lighting? Check. a near-magical process
Hey, before you
mean you can have more custom parks at Everything you expected of enabling – skaters
ON THE and more, including new can achieve improbable
some cases, superior to existing Hawk your disposal.
pop Tony Hawk
2X into your Xbox, GAME All in all, it’s the most complete Tony
animation, and draw feats, soar to incredible

The “x” stands for best skateboarding game. Ever.


levels. The Detroit Rooftop level is now heights, and do nine
DISC
distances that reveal
why not make more level than you hundred impossible
firmly my favorite and a multiplayer fave Hawk experience to date, with more than

Tony Hawk’s
a mix of your ever suspected was things before breakfast –
favorite CD tracks? Movie in the office, too. The trick system is enough extras to supplant any feelings of there. Solid, impressive, kinda like the Marines,
but not amazing. but with skateboards.
You can simply taken directly from Tony Hawk 2 – cynicism regarding the repackaging of old
pop a CD in and Wanna see this baby with all those tricks available in the goods. It’s huge, it’s pretty, and it’ll do more Sound Design
rip it to the Xbox in motion? Complete Familiar Tony Hawk Only two of the best-
hard-drive MP3- with volumetric TH1, 2, and 2x levels. In fact, than just keep your appetite whetted until tracks are somewhat designed games ever,
grass, high-res overshadowed by the glued seamlessly
style, although in most of the game’s skeletal Tony Hawk 3 shows up. This is the absolute new samples and sound together and wearing

Pro Skater 2x
textures, and much
reality, the tracks better polygonal structure, including the skate shop, best version of Tony Hawk ever made, and if effects, and backed up by a big flowery hat of
are encoded as character builds? a host of phat new beats extra-ness. The classic
secure Windows Then just pop the play modes, and even hidden cheats, is you’ve played any of the earlier versions, and bangin’ choons. interface is there, and
Media Audio, exclusive Xbox taken from TH2. There are a couple of 2x- then you know it is plenty good enough. Skatepunks may be the implementation of
Game Disc in a somewhat offended by new tricks in an old
encrypted and specific hidden goodies, though…. – Frank O’Connor the bleeps and whistles game is surprisingly
suitable DVD player
locked down. and enjoy. of techno, but there is a novel and adds some
You can edit and disco level, for goodness rich twists to the old
delete them, but sake. So it makes sense. chestnut.
you can’t post ’em
to the Internet, GOOD ( + ), BAD ( — ),
Napster-style. Our
DEVELOPER TREYARCH/NEVERSOFT PUBLISHER ACTIVISION PERPLEXING (?)
MULTIPLAYER 1-4 VIA LAN OR SPLIT-SCREEN WEBSITE WWW.ACTIVISION.COM + The inclusion of new levels and the expansion of
first test was with old answers the question: Do I need this, too? The
a classical guitar weird recombination of Tonys 1 and 2 is what makes

I
collection (don’t this stand up on its own.
t’s impossible to review So what makes Tony Hawk 2 so “x”? them. Forget the inclusion (and expansion)
ask), and it actually
changed the mood this game without at least Well, the four-player split-screen mode, for of every level from Tony Hawks 1 and 2; — Well, there’s certainly an element of repetition, and
the character builds and density of world population
of the game pretty acknowledging the existence of one thing. Graphics so sharp that on any this game actually comes complete with five may still seem a little primitive to those who’ve
dramatically, Tony Hawk 3. It’s lurking like a decent-sized TV, the graphics aren’t simply all-new “2x” levels – specifically, a neon-lit witnessed the busy streets of Tony Hawk 3.
making for a more
mellow and less- specter (a specter of goodness, mind you) on sharp – they’re almost as clear as the London nightclub, a New York subway, a ? What if Tony Hawk 3 came out in six months –
would you still want this?
rushed-seeming the horizon. TH3 on Xbox ships some way single-player modes on other, lesser games. construction site, a new skate park, and

8.8
experience. You into next year, though, so breath-holders And it’s smooth to boot. Quite simply, it most impressively, a stunning Detroit
can achieve the
opposite effect might bust their colons waiting (the thought makes the multiplayer experience accessible rooftop level, vertiginously planned and Official Xbox
by ripping some of which disgusts us). So we suggest you and workable in a way that it never was in damned frightening to skate on. magazine
speed metal to verdict 10.0
take a look at Tony Hawk 2x and this review, previous iterations of the game. These new levels aren’t simply tagged on ■ Existing areas have had more than simple graphic tweaks – some have new, more revealing backgrounds, while
the soundtrack.
since both are full of welcome surprises. And then there’re the new levels. Lots of – they’re complete, well-executed, and, in others have completely new secret areas to explore.

92 Official Magazine December 2001 ■ THE TRUTH ABOUT OLLIES: The “ollie” was invented by Alan Ollie Gelfand. The trick is a leap into the air during which ■ 1080 DEGREES OF SEPARATION: If Atari’s classic 720 coin-op had come out now, post-Tony’s amazing 900 feat, December 2001 Official Magazine 93
the board stays flush with the feet. “Ollie” North was that guy who lied a lot and looked a bit like Treat Williams. they’d have had to call it 1080. And then Nintendo would be pissed….
Review
Review Faster than a speeding ticket
Shinier than is absolutely necessary

T
Washed, waxed, and ready to roll here’s some pretty serious
pressure attached to being an Gotham’s changing skyline

Project Gotham
Xbox launch title. Especially
Microsoft and Bizarre were so excited about
when you’re a much-
the inclusion of New York City in Project
ballyhooed racing game that’s expected Gotham Racing (supplementing the trio of
to leave the PS2’s standard-bearing Gran cities that were featured in MSR for the

Racing
Turismo 3 choking on your high-resolution Dreamcast) that the box art for the game was
drawn up to prominently feature the NYC
exhaust fumes. Project Gotham Racing skyline (complete with the World Trade
manages to pull it off, however, as even the Center) in the background. Since
most rabid GT3 fanatics would be hard- the tragic events of September 11, all
representations of the WTC towers have been
pressed to see their darling match up with removed – both on the cover art and in the
Microsoft’s new racer for graphics, sound, game itself.
and overall wow factor.
Not that the Sony title really had much
of a chance. With the CPU and graphical Gotham is more than just sound and THE
muscle of the Xbox behind it, Gotham imagery, however. Ostensibly an enhanced VERDICT
delivers an audiovisual experience quite version of Bizarre’s earlier Dreamcast classic
– Metropolis Street Racer – it also delivers Graphics
unlike anything that has ever come before it. In a word – stunning!
The spectacle includes insanely detailed car one of the deepest gameplay premises of Painstakingly authentic
cityscapes, 16,000
renderings (featuring over 16,000 polys per any console racer today. The “kudos” system polys per car, and
DEVELOPER BIZARRE CREATIONS PUBLISHER MICROSOFT MULTIPLAYER 1-4 vehicle), animated drivers, lifelike weather ■ Let’s see, rich brick textures? Check. Hazy distant skyline? Check. Gleaming, perfect car that first appeared in MSR has been reflective environment
models? Check. Now all we need are trees and a bridge... mapping raise the
WEBSITE WWW.MICROSOFT.COM/GAMES/PROJECTGOTHAM effects, and some of the most convincing significantly tweaked here to reward skill eye-candy bar so high
that it’s impossible to
as much as Tony Hawk-style flair during
environment-mapping reflections outside of count the calories.

If you don’t believe your local hot wax shop. What the heck’s a Feroce? races. And, with over 100 Kudos Challenges
Immersion
us that the graphics and over 200 gorgeous circuit layouts to If you’re a racing
ON THE And what an environment! The urban
GAME
are really this cool, fanatic, then there is
master, the experience is best measured in
then simply pop thoroughfares of Tokyo, London, San a significant danger

DISC months, rather than weeks or days. Some


your exclusive that you will play this
Official Xbox Francisco, and New York have been game to the exclusion
Magazine demo superior AI coding gives the single-player of everything (and
reproduced with uncompromising precision, everybody) else in
Movie disc in a DVD player. game even more legs, while up to four
from the volumetric steam escaping from your life. That might
people can also indulge in some split-screen not be good.
subway grates right down to the correct
multiplayer action. Sound
placement of billboards on the game’s The cacophonous wail
There has to be a downside, though,
hundreds of real-life buildings and structures. of an honest-to-god
right? Well, yes and no. The chief complaint Ferrari F50 screaming
Toss an unflagging 60 fps game speed into out through your five-
that is likely to surface is the absolute poverty
the mix and the sense of immersion is total. speaker surround
of vehicles in Project Gotham compared to sound system while
Developer Bizarre Creations also recorded the radio blares.
It may not boast the raw horsepower of a the stable of 150 found in GT3. While it’s
real-time audio from each of the 29 cars Design
Dodge Viper RT/10, but the English-built true that a selection of 29 cars hardly
featured in the game to enhance Gotham’s Delfino Feroce (that’s right, despite the
No open country
constitutes a magnum opus, the phrase roads to relieve the
incredibly lush sound environment. The exotic name, this beauty is built in the urban claustrophobia,
good old U.K.) is one of the sweetest “quality over quantity” clearly applies here. A but for a street racer,
authentic wail of a Ferrari 360 Spider
pieces of machinery that you’ll encounter mouthwatering selection of Ferraris, Porsches, the gameplay options
screaming at full revs now complements an in the game. This all-wheel drive, 280- are exhaustive.
BMWs, and Audis are at the core of this
ambitious soundtrack that showcases more horsepower dream car will transport you ( + ) Good,
around any of Gotham’s 200-plus circuits collection, and, while not blessed with the
than 50 artists ranging from The Chemical (—) Bad,
with a level of adhesion and outright advanced driving physics and “tweakability” ( ? ) Perplexing
Brothers to David Lee Roth. You can even driveability that will have the other of GT3’s cars, each machine is still quite a + Gobsmacking
tune your car’s radio to an FM station vehicles spinning their wheels just trying graphics.
to keep up. It may take a little time to treat to powerslide through the concrete + Lush sound.
appropriate to the city you’re racing in or rip + Solid AI.
unlock it, but when you do, it’ll be tough canyons of New York or Tokyo. What’s more,
your own tunes directly to the hard-drive. + Immense gameplay
to wipe that goofy smile off your face. the participating manufacturers have even depth.
— Fewer than 30 cars.
permitted some unprecedented damage — Simplified physics.
effects to be applied to their precious steeds — Damage effects are
cosmetic only.
(albeit a visual-only model that doesn’t ? With only 29 cars
to render, you figure
impact performance in any way). they should’ve been
Pretty minor caveats in the grand scheme able to throw in a
proper in-car
of things, however, because when you get dashboard view.
right down to it, Project Gotham Racing hits
the streets as a highly immersive and richly Official Xbox
magazine
textured Xbox racing game that manages to verdict
■ Sure, there are fewer cars

9.0
measure up to anything else on the console
than in GT3, but how many market – GT3 included.
Hyundais do you need? – Andy Mahood 10.0
■ Replay angles are worth racing for. ■ Starting with a Ferrari makes sense to us.

96 Official Magazine December 2001 ■ LITTLE-KNOWN FACT: Andy Mahood, the author of this review, has more than 17 collective years of pro-racing cred. He ■ ACCORDING TO DICTIONARY.COM: The name “Gotham” refers to “New York City. The nickname was popularized December 2001 Official Magazine 97
has competed in Formula Ford, Formula Atlantic, and Player’s/GM Motorsport series events and driven all sorts of exotic cars. by Washington Irving and others in Salmagundi, a series of satirical sketches (1807-1808).” Eat your heart out, Batman.
Review
Review NASCAR Heat
TransWorld Surf

■ Grab tricks ■ Surfing’s not


are possible, just for boys,
and you can and luckily for
even get the world of
points for surf babes,
leaping over that girl looks
submerged much prettier
obstacles. in the flesh.

■ When he perfected his invention, Sir


Edmund Texturemap never suspected it
might be used for blatant commercialism.

Go faster and lefter than you ever have before! THE VERDICT

NASCAR Heat
Graphics Immersion
The fun of surfing without all that sand part, you’ll learn your skills while opening
new levels. They’re smartly designed to THE
Excellent. The tracks are
almost photo-real, and
Deep. Although there is
no story to get wrapped

in your pants
the cars look great. up with, the controls,
gradually teach you new tricks and challenge VERDICT Plenty of little touches audio, and graphics are

TransWorld
like rotating signs and first-rate.
you to improve slowly. persistent skid marks.
What we like best about this game, Graphics
The waves look
though, is that the developers seemed to incredibly real, but Sound Design
the character models Fantastic. The 5.1 Dolby The 36 challenges are a
have fun making it. The game is packed are merely Dreamcast DEVELOPER MONSTER GAMES INC. PUBLISHER INFOGRAMES MULTIPLAYER 2-32 VIA SYSTEM LINK Digital rumble will knock great way to introduce
with cool stuff such as sea creatures galore, caliber. that cigarette from your the sport to newcomers.
WEBSITE US.INFOGRAMES.COM/NASCARHEAT EXTRAS: 5.1 DOLBY DIGITAL SOUND lips. Engine sounds are Menus are intuitive and
surfer-hungry sharks, and a reef girl who will Immersion very realistic. set-up is easy.

Surf R
hit on you if you’re doing well and treat you It made a bunch of eally – what’s not to love about the Heat” challenges. There are 36 different
land-loving editors
with shameless disgust if your surfing feel like they were NASCAR? It features dangerous challenges, starting from the ultra-smooth ON THE
GOOD ( + ), BAD ( — ),
PERPLEXING (?)
GAME
actually surfing and
“karma” drops too low. the depth in play kept
driving, lots of noise, gas fumes, “hold the line” runs, to insane, come-from- + Great graphics, and an excellent challenge system.
The actual gameplay is so fun and
addictive that we almost forgot the stunning
us coming back for
more.
and the freedom to smoke in
public again. And the only thing missing
behind victories. It’s a great way to slowly
introduce gamers to the subtleties and
DISC — Doesn’t have all the official tracks, and it’s tough
even on normal difficulty.
? Why would anyone drink Bud out of a can?
Sound Movie

8.2
graphics. TransWorld Surf won’t always If you’ve got a good from Infogrames’ NASCAR Heat is a few of strategy of stock car racing.
sound system and a the newer tracks and a pack of Camels (sans
convince you that you’re looking at real nice bass amp, you’ll
There are other modes as well, including Can’t stand the coverage Official Xbox
DEVELOPER ANGEL STUDIOS PUBLISHER INFOGRAMES
water, but it comes as close as any surfing actually feel the big filter, of course). Other than that – it smokes. the simple Single Races, Head-to-Head, and of NASCAR on NBC? magazine
MULTIPLAYER 1-4 WEBSITE WWW.TRANSWORLDGAMES.COM
game we’ve seen before. We guarantee
waves.
Not everybody’s idea of a good time is Beat the Pro Challenge. Beating the pro is
There is a solution,
ladies and germs. Just verdict 10.0
Design driving in circles, however. Yet NASCAR pop our exclusive Xbox

L
et’s talk for a minute about the In fact, until now, surfing games have you’ve never seen breaking waves look (or A lot of the design especially tough, as you compete against a
Game Disc in a suitable
sound) this good in a game before. And we is similar to Tony Heat does an excellent job of reaching out to ghost car that is controlled by an actual DVD player and enjoy
rich history of surfing games… generally stunk. So how about we forget Hawk, but we’re not a hot movie of the
guarantee you’ve never played a surfing complaining because NASCAR newbies, thanks to its cool “Beat NASCAR pro. In case you weren’t sure how championship. The only problem here is that
oooh, wait a second, there is the past and kick off a new rich history with it absolutely works.
game.
no rich history of surfing games. TransWorld Surf? game this fun either. much you sucked, the pros will let you know. NASCAR Heat only features 19 of the 23
– Dan Egger ( + ) Good, Finally, there is also a Season mode that actual tracks, so it’s not exactly like the real

Rich-textured,
It’s an appropriate beginning because (—) Bad,
we’re likely to see a bunch of clones of this ( ? ) Perplexing will let you race for the Winston Cup points season. And beware of the nasty AI, which
+ Great waves. makes competitors run perfectly through the

creamy
title in the future. Like Tony Hawk before it, + Excellent gameplay.
TransWorld Surf has introduced a way to Best surfing — Sometimes the level
goals are confusing.
pits and fly past you with a lap to go.
The graphics, however, are pretty close to
game ever?
make surfing in videogames fun, and others — The surfers look
will definitely follow. (Let’s be honest, awful when compared Although NASCAR the real thing. All of the cars look simply
to the beautiful vehicles do tend to
though: the core of the gameplay was environments.
amazing, and with the addition of damage
Fans of retro gaming will know this before ? How come girls are look, well, similar, they modeling, they look even more amazing
cribbed from Tony himself.) Numerous we even begin. The best surfing game so mean to me? also have some of
challenges, an intuitive trick layout, and tight (before this one, that is) was actually a sub- the most challenging after you’ve driven them into the wall a few
control add up to a game that perfectly fits game in Epyx’s California Games for the Official Xbox textured surfaces times. Granted, NASCAR Heat won’t convert
Atari Lynx color handheld system. Not only magazine around, with sponsors’ people who dislike driving games – or have
the tired cliché “easy to pick up and almost was the game incredibly fun and simple verdict logos garishly wrapped

8.2
impossible to put down.” to pick up, but the water effects produced in a skintight fashion a fetish for turning right. But for the rest of
When you start, you’ll be lucky to string on the weirdly powerful Lynx were around each car. The us, NASCAR Heat is a great addition to the
unmatched. To this day, the game is still vehicles to the right, Xbox’s early collection of racing games.
a single combo together without wiping out, played on emulators in this very office. It 10.0 by the way, are
but before long, you’ll be a pro. For the most is, to borrow a phrase, totally radical, man. mechanically identical. ■ Some Xbox car textures. ■ Variations on a theme. – Jim Preston
■ Free them. Don’t compete with them.

98 Official Magazine December 2001 ■ SHARK ATTACK: The sharks seen in the San Francisco Fort Point level of TransWorld Surf are only a couple of miles from ■ OFFICIAL APOLOGY: We’d like to take a moment to apologize for our use of the term “persistent skid marks” (above). December 2001 Official Magazine 101
reality, since the nearby Farallon Islands host one of the largest congregations of Great Whites anywhere on Earth. Upon further review, it is really quite disgusting, and we fear it could bring back unfortunate memories for some readers.
Review
Cel Damage

My so-called life as an abused cartoon wheelman

Cel Damage
DEVELOPER PSEUDO INTERACTIVE PUBLISHER ELECTRONIC ARTS
MULTIPLAYER 1-4 WEBSITE WWW.CELDAMAGE.EA.COM
GAME
DISC
ON THE

Movie

L
ike cotton candy covered in games like Jet Grind Radio, Klonoa 2, and
whipped cream and finished off Wacky Races have sported the look, but
with RC Cola, Cel Damage is none have ever gotten the rubbery physics
just too much of a good thing. down the way Cel Damage has.
It is visually spectacular, and the closest we The problem is that the graphics are the
have ever come to playing a Chuck Jones- only real hook. The car-combat gameplay is
style cartoon in a videogame. But the certainly wacky (or even “whacky”), but it is
gameplay is equally cartoonish, and it soon insanely manic and fast, and just about every
degrades into a slaphappy frenzy of constant attack kills you. The result is about 30 or 40
■ Short-range weapons serve you well in certain stages.
death and respawning. If we didn’t have respawns in five minutes of bedlam. You
epilepsy before, we just might have it now. appear, you die, and then you repeat.
The title Cel Damage refers to cel- It doesn’t help that the 12 small levels Yet what is even more frustrating is how THE
shading, or the process of making computer further add to this battle-in-a-blender feel. cool Cel Damage could have been. The VERDICT
graphics look like they are made with There are three different modes (Combat, weapons are great (ranging from a vicious Graphics
traditional, cel-based animation. Previous Gate Relay, and Flag Rally), but they each chainsaw to a portable hole), the sound Brilliant. No other
cel-shaded game has
play almost identically. The Flag Rally, for effects and voices are top-notch, and did we

Why not...
so accurately captured
example, has you capture four flags, then mention how damn spiffy those graphics are? not only the look,
but the motion of
return them to a preset point. But since you But the repetitive, frantic, and rather shallow cartoons.
die constantly, there is a feeling of never combat lessens the experience and eventually
Immersion
having your fate in your own hands. It’s all left me with even more brain-cell damage. Not much. There are
Instead of just whining, we’re going to offer funny characters, but
quite frustrating. – Jim Preston no one you ever really
some ideas for the next Cel Damage.
care about. It’s pure,

A slaphappy frenzy of constant


Aren’t we just the swellest. zany combat.

Sound
death and respawning. Excellent. There are
all types of cartoonish
thonks!, zaps! and
ka-pows! The music is
snappy, too (Ed. note:
This is the last time we
can ever use the word
“snappy”).

Design
Shallow. Every minute,
mode, and movement
feels the same. It’s all
■ With some constantly in motion
revamping, we with little feeling of
control over your fate.
wouldn’t mind a
Cel Damage 2. ( + ) Good,
(—) Bad,
HAVE DEFENSIVE WEAPONS: ( ? ) Perplexing
Nothing is more annoying than being + Superb graphics.
+ Sound design is first
defenseless (it reminds us too much of our rate.
real lives, thank you). — Gameplay is
monotonous.
SLOW IT DOWN: — Way too frantic.
? All three modes play
Fast is great, until it gets to the point that almost identically.
you lose control of the game and don’t
even get a chance to gander at the stellar ■ Fast-paced and Official Xbox
graphics. magazine
dead-on with its
verdict

6.0
CHARACTERS INSTEAD OF CARICATURES: cartoony physics,
Give us something to relate to and it’s a damn shame
something with a bit of depth, rather than the gameplay
just a combination of clichéd stereotypical doesn’t quite 10.0
cartoon wise-guys. measure up.

102 Official Magazine December 2001 ■ WHAT’S UP, CHUCK: Animation legend Chuck Jones has made more than 300 animated films. Besides giving us Bugs, Daffy,
and Elmer, Chuck gets credit for Wile E. Coyote, Roadrunner, and Marvin the Martian – sorry, Chuck, Grandma Dixie is all ours.
Review
Review 4X4 EVO 2
In the mood for a little four-play?

Remember when games were so Off-road madness or just off-the-mark blandness?

4X4 EVO 2
simple anyone could play... and so
fun that anyone would?

Fuzion ■ “She’ll be
comin’ ’round the
mountain when
she comes! She’ll
DEVELOPER TERMINAL REALITY PUBLISHER TAKE TWO MULTIPLAYER 1-4
WEBSITE WWW.TAKE2GAMES.COM EXTRAS DOLBY DIGITAL 5.1

Frenzy
be comin’ round

T
he original 4X4 Evolution was
the mountain...”
released earlier this year for just
about every system except the
Nintendo 64. It received only
� Small arenas and ruthless opponents
lukewarm reviews from critics, but the sales
put the “frenzy” in Fuzion Frenzy. Sorry.
must have been good enough to justify a
hasty sequel.
Not surprisingly, the follow-up is going
DEVELOPER BLITZ GAMES, LTD. PUBLISHER MICROSOFT to receive lukewarm reviews as well, starting
MULTIPLAYER 1-4 WEBSITE WWW.XBOX.COM with this one. One of the main problems
with the first game, aside from its slow 20

O
f all Microsoft’s first-party launch But we’re big enough to admit when even our art staff. That means that even your mph uphill “races,” was its ridiculously lunar
titles, Fuzion Frenzy is the one we’re wrong. Fuzion Frenzy (pardon the z) non-gaming buddies/relatives/girlfriends can physics. Two-ton pickups and SUVs bounced
that has surprised us the most. is essentially a collection of small mini-games fill empty slots... and they’ll be hooked before THE through the landscape as if their tires were
Like many gamers, we didn’t that owe a great debt to classic arcade you know it. VERDICT filled with helium. Fortunately, the gravity ■ The internal view is okay, but doesn’t
expect much from this title. After all, party gameplay. In fact, playing through it with Unfortunately, the single-player mode isn’t Graphics has been turned up and the ridiculous flight relay the orientation of the vehicle, which
games are pretty much for kids – and the the staff reminded us of “the old days” quite as fun and isn’t nearly as deep as the This game would
times have been toned down for the sequel. is vital on berms and banks.
still work with 8-bit
marketing mindset behind this title was so (Great Scott, the Eighties!) – all that was classic Mario Party series. But this game isn’t graphics, but it The main problem with 4X4 EVO 2
groanworthy (Isn’t it the 1000th game to really missing was a joystick, feathered hair, about single-player action, and if you have actually looks good
side-by-side with is that it has two distinctly different sides. aimlessly through the woods looking for
have a title with a misplaced z and a cast and a pocketful of quarters. friends… any friends… there’s more than other Xbox games. On one hand, it wants to be a hardcore “secret areas.” Knocking opponents into
of Mountain Dew rejects?) that no one can Almost every mini-game comes with enough fun in this game for you. Immersion simulation on par with the Gran Turismo oncoming traffic during a high-speed race?
blame us for underestimating it. a single-sentence explanation and two – Dan Egger When you’re going
series, yet on the other, it also wants to be a Compelling. Looking for some missing hikers
up against three of
buttons’ worth of control. What they lack in your trash-talking good-ol’-boy rock-’n’-racer along the lines of in a pickup truck? Not really.
complexity, these sub-games make up for in friends… you’ll be ■ Oh really,
plenty immersed. officer? 65 in Smuggler’s Run. It actually doesn’t do either And while the graphics are certainly
intensity. For instance, one game sets four particularly well or poorly. respectable, they’re not Xbox-caliber. The
Sound a 55 zone?
raft-floating players on a waterfall with the The game sounds are Shouldn’t you The main new addition to this game is draw distances are much better, and the cars
last one to go over the edge losing. The great, but the game be out busting the greater emphasis on single-player driving certainly look fantastic. But there is nothing
could have done
concept is simple, but we could play it 10 without the “wacky” crack addicts? over multiplayer racing. The Career mode so unbelievable that you would drag your
times in a row without becoming bored. player comments.
now features off-road challenges, which pit Nintendo-loving friends into the room to see
And there are at least 20 others that are just Design you against the clock or other racers in an it. 4X4 EVO 2 has been slightly improved
as addictive. The games are great,

When played with three other friends,


but does anyone
besides middle-aged THE VERDICT effort to complete objectives such as “find
the missing rafts” or “find a crashed
over the version of this game we saw a few
months ago, but it still isn’t the most
guys in suits still
this is perhaps the most accessible game believe that “extreme” Graphics Immersion airplane.” compelling racing on the Xbox, or any box
on the Xbox right now. Best of all, the dudes are cool? Respectable. Draw distances are nice, Poor. Collision detection with other cars The problem is that there is nothing for that matter.
with very little pop-up. The cars look is mushy, it’s way too easy to drive
� Apparently, in the future, we’ll all wear instructions and gameplay concepts are so � All of the games in Fuzion Frenzy particularly compelling about driving – Jim Preston
( + ) Good, great, and some of the environmental completely submerged in water, and
platform shoes and bell bottom pants. simple that absolutely anyone can play – depend on skill more than strategy. (—) Bad, effects are well done. there’s no damage modeling.
( ? ) Perplexing
+ Hopelessly
Sound
Solid. The Dolby Digital 5.1 is cool, and
Design
Average. The racing is fun, but the new It’s not
called 2X2
addictive. single-player challenges are a bit of a
The more Fuzion Frenzy hearkens back to some of the most enjoyable arcade games of all time. This is just a sampling of its heritage: the engines sound great. We tired of the
+ Can be played and macho soundtrack before long, though. snooze-fest.
enjoyed by anyone.
— The single-player
GOOD ( + ), BAD ( — ), PERPLEXING (?)
things game is nowhere near
as deep as Mario
+ Good graphics. In 4X4 EVO 2, there are more
+ Improved physics. than 100 parts you can upgrade,
change, Party.
+ Lots to upgrade.
— Boring, pointless career challenges.
more than 70 vehicles from 12
— The racing is too slow. different manufacturers, and 32
the more
Official Xbox
magazine ? It’s possible to drive straight through a lake. Huh? different off-road tracks. But
verdict

5 .5