We've all got our guilty pleasures. Here at Got Game headquarters, I've found a new one: the lovely lady wrestling game Rumble Roses.
Every few months a new version of SmackDown! lands on my desk, and invariably it matches up two steroid-fueled behemoths for a gripping sweatfest. Still, it gets so — ugly. Isn't there a prettier way to wrassle?
Indeed. Rumble Roses is an undeniable jigglefest with more cause to upset feminists than Bobby Riggs ever had. In a nutshell, it tosses several sexy video vixens into the ring (or, yes, mud) in revealing outfits. The gameplay is strong, and so are the grappling graphics, but once ogling loses its novelty, Roses' limitations start to show. Whether the bouts are exhibitions or part of an ongoing tournament story matters very little. There's also a "gallery mode" — call it 14-year-old mode — in which you can move a camera to view almost every square pixel of your femme-bot.
Sure, I've stepped in deeper puddles. But for a big serving of fun with a dollop of guilt, few games compare.
Details: PlayStation 2 platform, $39.99, rated mature (sexual themes, violence)
It's lonely in the future
Metroid Prime 2: Echoes is awfully good-looking. No debate there. But it's also a terribly lonely experience. With none of the typical background chatter from assorted characters, it's as if Samus is wandering through a beautiful futuristic painting, all by herself.
And then there are the controls. Most first person shooters use one control stick for character movement and one to manipulate the view. On Metroid, buttons change the view, so the little yellow thumb stick sits there, useless. Yes, in fact, lonely.
That other recently released FPS is a much better way to waste your time.
Details: GameCube platform, $49.99, rated teen (animated blood, violence) Big air? Awesome!
Loyal fans of this hit skateboarding series won't be disappointed with the latest version, Tony Hawk's Underground 2. Besides better graphics and more places to pull gnarly tricks on each level, this sequel has added a story mode in which Hawk's skate team battles a team of troublemakers led by MTV's prankster du jour Bam Margera ("Viva La Bam").
The team that wreaks the most havoc (including tagging city walls with graffiti) with its tricks wins the "World Destruction Tour" competition.
Details: All platforms, $49.99, rated teen (blood, crude humor, language, suggestive themes, use of alcohol, violence) This blue yonder: wild
Let's get right to brass tacks here: Ace Combat 5 is an Oscar-worthy game, from the photorealistic cut screens to the epic orchestral score. Players choose from a wide selection of warplanes that swoop over vastly different landscapes — some of the most detailed I've seen — as they engage in dogfights with the enemy.
Ace Combat offers a story mode, complete with soap-opera-style plot twists and cinematic score, and an arcade mode for those who prefer more gunfights and screaming guitars.
This one is the unrivaled "Top Gun."
Details: PlayStation 2 platform, $49.99, rated teen (mild language and violence) Computer-speak blur
How do we describe Tron 2.0: Killer App? Let's see — wretched? Asinine? Add repulsive and that should cover it.
The plot and dialogue are overloaded with computer-speak — and unlike the 1982 movie, not in a cool way. Even a geek like me had trouble keeping up. The gameplay is so horrible it made me pine for Catwoman, a stinker of a game if ever there was one. Race the light cycles? No help either. Delete program.
Details: Xbox platforms, $39.99, rated teen (violence)