Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots

(Playstation 3)



Man, few things in gamers' lives make them feel older than game franchises. Has it really been almost 10 years since my introduction to a two-dimensional super spy named Solid Snake on Sony's first game console?

Well, regardless of my incredulity, Konami is releasing the fourth game in the MGS series and the first made specifically for the powerfully equipped Playstation 3.

The story in the game is being kept under heavy wraps, but the main two characters from previous games are once again butting heads: Solid Snake, who resembles Nick Fury with an AARP card (he is still no joke in all kinds of incapacita- tions, however) and his evil rival Liquid Snake, whose Pinky and the Brain-ish penchant for world domination has survived intact from the last game.

The PS3 gives the game a breadth that is almost unimaginable. Many more outdoor environments and associated interactive elements abound.

Sometimes, you have to remain the stealthy character you've been playing for years; other times, your guns should be blazing as you help friends in larger battles.

Snake's abilities, as well as those of other characters you may control, have been heavily upgraded and made easier to use. The heavily touted "Snake Eye," which gives gamers more real-time, on-screen information than you could imagine, a ring that encircles your character and acts as a directional warning system, and a host of new camera modes (including first-person) make stealth action, this game's historical staple, even more tactical than before. If you don't plan a couple of steps ahead at times, you may find your behind six feet under.

Various meters also help you judge what to do next, including the psych meter. Everything from bad weather to bad smells will affect it, and in a campy moment in a very serious game, simply flipping through a girlie mag (relax, there is no nudity) can build it back up. That's right, with gun-toting enemies all around, you will find yourself hiding in a trash can eyeing babes in order to continue the fight.

Expect, as in previous MGS games, to spend plenty of time watching intricate cut-scenes throughout the game. Some see this as wasted game time, but these are pretty exceptional pieces of animation that will probably only be topped by the next Final Fantasy game, whenever that comes out.

Don King Presents: Prizefighter

(Xbox 360)

2K Sports, Take Two Interactive


Whatever one thinks about fight promoter Don King, you can't deny that for 30-plus years he was in the middle of every big match. And while his influence has waned, his trademark verbosity and electric- socket hairdo make him a staple of the boxing world.

Weird that it took so long to get out a decent game with his name on it.

Now, this is more of a manager sim than just a button-mashing lesson in pugilism. Gamers will have to be a Don, literally. The game comes equipped with a Don King dictionary called King's English. It contains phrases in the voice of the King himself that can be strung together to make just as little sense as the real man. The better you get at talking this nonsense, the more successful you are at promoting fights. Could it be any other way?

Gamers also will guide former champs, including Ken Norton and Larry Holmes, and current boxing star Joe Calzaghe through a career filled with temptations such as 2007 Penthouse Pet of the Year Heather Vandeven and video sexpot Bria Myles as they try to distract you in the most blush-worthy ways.

I am not sure who would pay 60 bucks for all of this, just like most of King's fights these days aren't worth the pay-per-view price, but it is a different, silly, funny, kind of game that may appeal to some fight fans. Just like the man himself.