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Surviving the Condemned

Former FBI forensics expert Ethan Thomas returns to thescene of the crime — but perhaps as only half the man he used to be. Afterbeing shaken to his core by the events of the original Condemned game, Thomasis now a homeless alcoholic, suffering from hallucinogenic visions. When theFBI comes calling on him to help solve the murder of his former mentor, Thomasis dragged back down into the dark world of conspiracy and bloody violence.

Condemned 2:
Bloodshot
Publisher: Sega
Platforms:
PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Rated: M — Mature
Game type:
First-person shooter/action
Rating: **** (out of
five)


What’s the premise?

Former FBI forensics expert Ethan Thomas returns to the
scene of the crime — but perhaps as only half the man he used to be. After
being shaken to his core by the events of the original Condemned game, Thomas
is now a homeless alcoholic, suffering from hallucinogenic visions. When the
FBI comes calling on him to help solve the murder of his former mentor, Thomas
is dragged back down into the dark world of conspiracy and bloody violence.

This game is most
similar to…?

Condemned: Criminal Origins, Max Payne

Is it suitable for
younger gamers?

I’ll add a new addendum to my standing rule about keeping
games with guns away from kids: No games that involve pummeling people to death
with pipes, 2x4s, toilet seats, etc., either.

One player or more?

Up to eight players can duke it out in the filthy back
alleys of Metro City if they go online.

What’s missing?

A barf bucket after seeing the amount of blood that flies
off your victims and a Valium so you sleep after playing.

The (not-so) secret
to success is…?

Hit them with your best shot. You’d think it’d be easy to
take down a hyped-up homeless person with a nail-filled 2x4, but you’ll
actually need to work on combos and blocking to be able to progress —
especially as the bad guys get tougher later on.

And in the end?

Condemned 2 is bloody good fun.

Singstar ’90s
Publisher: Sony
Computer Entertainment
Platforms:
PlayStation 2
Rated: T — Teen
Game type: Karaoke
Rating: *** 1/2 (out
of five)

What’s the premise?

Get ready to rock the mic with one of the most eclectic
karaoke video games ever released as the fifth edition of Sony’s popular
Singstar franchise kicks up the beat.

This game is most
similar to…?

The previous four Singstar titles.

Is it suitable for
younger gamers?

There’re some saucy lyrics (thank you, Sir Mix A Lot) and
some of the videos that accompany the songs have some strong sexuality. Here’s
a guideline: If Muchmusic isn’t child-blocked in your home, they’ll be fine
with this game.

One player or more?

Like the other Singstar titles, this one is all about
getting together with friends and making an ass of yourself — perhaps even more
so that any of the other games thanks to ’90s songs like New Kids On The
Block’s Step By Step, Color Me Badd’s I Wanna Sex You Up and, of course,
Vanilla Ice’s Ice Ice Baby.

What’s missing?

Personally, I could have gone for a lot more alt and grunge
— the game features Nirvana, Soundgarden and Stone Temple Pilots — and a lot
less of the pop stuff, but others would no doubt prefer the opposite.

The (not-so) secret
to success is…?

Try to resist the urge to dig into the back of your closet
for your vintage parachute pants when singing along to MC Hammer’s U Can’t
Touch This. Props do not necessarily enhance the experience.

And in the end?

There’re probably enough great songs from the entire decade
of the ’90s to divide into sub-genres like grunge, rap/hip-hop and pop and
release three discs. That might’ve helped avoid making this fun game seems so
oddly diverse.

 
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