Chugging right along: CHUCHU ROCKET
BY SAM MACHKOVECH
Maker: Sega/Sonic Team
Rating: three and a half stars
System: Sega Dreamcast
Suggested price: $30
Number of players: Up to 4
I tend to not like cute video games. So why would I bother to say a nice thing about the unbearably cute ChuChu Rocket? Simple: Itâ€™s the best multiplayer title for the Dreamcast yet. Donâ€™t count on feeling that way at first, though, as thereâ€™s no training mode and the instruction book isnâ€™t specific enough to explain the insane game play.
After 20 minutes, however, players will figure out the game, which is almost a high-speed hybrid of Lemmings and Pipe Dream. Cats and mice run around a small maze, and players must lay down arrows to direct mice toward their base and away from three opponents. By sending harmful cats toward opponents and taking advantage of random bonuses, players can turn the tables repeatedly, which makes the high-speed competition between friends even more intense.
ChuChu is a great step toward making Dreamcast a true four-player system. But worry not, solo players, as the game also includes some extra single-player puzzles to tax your brain, along with Internet play against gamers in the United States and Japan. However, because of horrid online lag, the game wonâ€™t respond to your button presses for two seconds, which takes some getting used to.
Graphics are simple, but considering how chaotic ChuChu can be, this simplicity is suitable. The sound effects are tolerably silly, while the music is surprisingly catchy. Itâ€™s challenging, exciting, Internet-compatible and only 30 bucks. Go buy it already! Suitable for all ages.
Sam Machkovech is a student at the University of Texas at Austin.
MARVEL VS. CAPCOM:
CLASH OF THE SUPERHEROES
BY IMRAN REHMANI
Rating: two stars
Platform: Sony PlayStation
Number of players: Up to 2
Suggested price: $40
The tradition of flawed Sony PlayStation translations of Capcomâ€™s animated series continues. Marvel vs. Capcom pits heroes from both the video game and comic book worlds against each other in an all-out, two-dimensional brawl.
The story behind the meeting of the Marvel and Capcom characters is only scantily explained in the manual, but fans wonâ€™t need a story line. The draw of the game lies in thrashing opponents with high-count "combos" and boasting or acting smug afterward. In this area, the PlayStation does moderately well. This edition features all the characters and moves from the arcade game. The frenzied speed of game play is up to snuff, as well.
Only a small amount of slowdown occurs during play.
The biggest failure of the PlayStation version is its lack of the arcade originalâ€™s tag-team game play, which is a key aspect of the series.
Given the technical limits of the PlayStation, this exclusion is foreseen, but fans will still mourn this loss.
Other problems arise with missing frames of animation and washed-out colors. But these are expected with the aging PlayStation hardware, which never was good at handling two-dimensional fighting games in the first place.
PlayStation owners with interest in Marvel vs. Capcom might want to pick this version up at a discounted price. Otherwise, the Sega Dreamcast port is a superior alternative.
Recommended for ages 13 and up due to animated violence.
Imran Rehmani is a student at the University of North Texas.
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