What’s On The Menu?: A Look At The Games
Part 2 reveals the true
power of the N-Gage’s game capabilities.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater
This incredible version of
the game is a replica of the PSone versions. Not only does it use polygons,
but the whole game is set in the third dimension. The "Advanced" Tony Hawk
games were cool, but after getting your hands on this you will never want to
The controls are excellent;
don’t be intimidated by the nine+ button keypad. Tony Hawk’s default control
scheme is set to match that of the PSone. It’s not exact, but 4 is used for
flip tricks, 6 is used for grab tricks, and 2 is used for grinding. Press the
desired button and the directional pad to execute your tricks. It’s very easy
to pick up and play whether you’re a Tony Hawk master or not.
Graphically the game is
practically a work of art. I had played Tomb Raider and Padnemonium for brief
moments before finally getting my hands on a copy of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater,
but neither of those games had the graphical capacity that this game has. I
was pretty much in shock — I had seen Tony Hawk before and played it numerous
times on the big screen. But every portable version included 2D, or at best,
semi-3D gameplay. The graphics on N-Gage are nearly as pretty as they were on
the PSone. The backgrounds are stunning, and if you look closely you can even
make out some facial detail on the pro skaters! Their animation is
top-notch. There are few minor technological mishaps, but none of them are a
hindrance to the gameplay.
At least 10 skateboarders
are available, and there are more than eight courses to grind your way
through. If you get an N-Gage, you can’t live without the Hawk!
Super Monkey Ball
You couldn’t be a gamer
without being amused by Super Monkey Ball. It wowed show-goers at E3 2001 and
gained tons of fan support at Nintendo’s first Cube Club. Its mini-games were
so appealing, even women who don’t usually game were compelled to exchange a
Barbie doll for a GameCube controller.
Three of the mini-games
(Monkey Race, Monkey Fight and Monkey Target) are back, but the main
concentration is on the single-player experience. It takes some adjusting to
go from the analog control of the ‘Cube to the D-pad-style controls of the
N-Gage, but with a few minutes of endurance, you’ll be guiding your monkey
ball to the finish line with ease.
This 3D Marble Madness-type
game includes some of the wildest level designs you will ever find in a game.
It’s a very challenging game, but is short enough to enjoy in short intervals,
making it the perfect game to take wherever you go.
Back in the early days of
the PSone, there were at least a few really cool games released that I wanted
to check out but never got the chance. One of them was the original Rayman,
which has since been ported to the Game Boy Advance. That was a 2D
action/adventure game, so porting it was easy. Other games included an
excessive amount of polygons, making a GBA port impossible.
Enter the N-Gage. You want
to port a PSone game? Then this is the system to go to. As Eidos
Interactive’s first title on the system, Pandemonium brings all the PSone
action to the world’s first cell phone gaming machine.
As it turns out, Pandemonium
is a little like one of my favorite PSone titles: Klonoa. The gameplay is
purely 2D, but the graphics are 3D polygons that shift the camera around to
make the gameplay more immersive.
Your goal is pretty basic:
run, jump, and when the powers are acquired, shoot. Most enemies can be
eliminated by jumping on them. You can use this to your advantage to reach
areas that are high up and are difficult to reach otherwise.
Worth Checking Out
Thus far, Sega has been a
great supporter of Nokia’s first game console. They’ve announced more games
than anyone else, with Super Monkey Ball out at launch and Sega Rally coming
early next year. They had a second launch title as well: Sonic N.
This game is short, but it
is also one of the most entertaining Sonic games released in years. The beach
levels were inspired by the first level of Sonic Adventure, and some of the
boss battles are moderately challenging.
Game Boy Advance owners know
Sonic N as Sonic Advance. That’s what this game is, only with improved
picture clarity. There isn’t much more of a difference than that, so if you
have the GBA version, you don’t really need another. A must-rent for
everyone; a good buy for anyone who doesn’t already have it.
It wouldn’t be crazy to
assume that everyone’s sick of Lara Croft right now. The last movie bombed,
and the new game seemed to disappoint everyone who bought it. Still, you
can’t forget the reason why we fell in love with her in the first place. In
1996, her first game was released. It was an entirely new experience for us
at the time, and led the way for all of the third-person shooters we have
On the N-Gage, Lara Croft is
still a little more sluggish than she should ever be. However, it’s no more
difficult to control than it was on the PSone. The graphics are really
nice-looking, and you know what? It just feels cool being able to hold and
play a mobile version of the original Tomb Raider.
This isn’t a must-buy for
everyone, and it may not be a must-buy for anyone. But it is a good rental.
If you have an N-Gage you should at least try this game out.
Currently you’ll see
Puzzle Bobble VS and MLB Slam! on store shelves. Puzzle
Bobble is a bit slow when compared with the other versions of the game, so be
parents should be cautious if they were thinking about making it a stocking
stuffer. I haven’t played MLB Slam! enough to make a judgement call, so I
recommend waiting for GameZone’s full review before making a purchase.
Due out soon are a number of
promising games, including Red Faction (real first-person
shooting on a mobile console!), Virtua Tennis, and Taito
Memories (a collection of classic games). Stay tuned to GameZone
Online for coverage on these games and more.
And be sure to check back on
Monday for Part 3 of our N-Gage Blowout: Having Cake and Eating
If you missed it
Click here for Part 1