Sunday, December 10, 2006

It's Good to be THE KING

Do yourself a favor. Choke down a Burger King value meal and buy one of the xbox games. I got all three last weekend for my birthday. You can relive BK commericals with Sneak King... surprise hungry people with BK food. I don't see a lot of replay value in this one, but it is freaking funny to watch THE KING bust a move when you pull off a level 3 flourish (flouish = show you put on whilst presenting the BK food). A decent one player game and certainly worth four bucks.

The other two games are Pocketbike Racer and Big Bumpin'. Pocketbike Racer is the clone of MarioKart we've asked for and I think might be a little better. Same premise: race around a track and use weapons to screw with the other racers. About the only differences are you get to play as various BK characters (King, Whopper Jr. and Subservient Chicken aka Big Buckin Chicken) that instead of picking up a random weapon, you have a power meter. Each time you pass between a set of traffic cones, your meter goes up. You have access to different weapons depending on that level. You can also use that power as a nitro boost so you have to choose between that homing missle you've always wanted and extra speed. Plus all characters have the same driving abilities... you can unlock different bikes that perform differently. No more getting stuck with Toad or Princess in multiplayer. Good selection of tracks and game modes (Battle Mode is great). Great player characters. Oh, and yes, you can play over Xbox Live. At four bucks, this is a no brainer. Throw the food away if you have to.

Big Bumpin' is bumper cars on crack cocaine. Several game types and two modes, individual battles and tournament, keep the action fresh. There's good old fashioned bumper battles that take place in BattleBot-like arenas. There's a hot potato version where you try to avoid having the bomb when it goes off. Another mode has you driving to one point to pick up energy and trying to get back to a base to score points. The catch is that the other three drivers are trying to wreck your shit and drain the energy so you get fewer points when and if you can get back to base. There is a mode where you score points by having possession of the puck. The last car to touch the puck scores points for every second the puck is their color. Then there is two on two bumper hockey. This is one of the most addicting games I've ever played in my life. Simple rules. Three minute period. Score more than your opponents. Eric and I played this for two hours last week after a good night of drinking. You can play on the same team or against each other with a computer teammate. All game types can be played on two different courses and the powerups can really change the game. Someone chasing you with the bomb? Grab the speed up and jet across the board. Pick up the super magnet and the puck will try to attach to your back bumper. Scoring a goal becomes ridiculously easy unless they pack their car between you and the puck. All cars and drivers have the same skill, so again, no worries if someone picks The King and the pretty pink car. You can play the tournaments in multiplayer also, so you battle it out across several game types to see who's the best all around player. You can play over Live also. The computer puts up a good fight in almost all games modes except the hot potato version, but the multiplayer is really where it's at. Again, it's four bucks. Insane.

These games all suffer from loading times though. You'll spend a good 30 seconds loading to play 3 minutes of hockey or worse, to play 6 seconds of the demolision derby game as it doesn't take long for 3 of the 4 cars to either get bumped off the stage or drive off the stage. I've only played once or twice over Live, and it seems you have to set up the game each time and join the lobby for that game each time. The music isn't going to win any awards either. Think of a cross between NES and SNES music. Really though, you probably won't notice it, and what do you expect from a game you bought at a fast food restaurant?

If you can't tell, I highly recommend Big Bumpin' and Pocketbike Racer. These are great games simply due to the instant gratification. Perfect when you want to play something but don't want to invest a couple of hours to reach the next level. Also they are great party games. Anyone can pick up a controller and play, even if they may have consumed some adult beverages. Put these on your Christmas list. Your significant other might scoff at buying you a $50 dollar game either because it's $50 or they hate the fact it's a video game, but these are $4 games they will actually like if they give them a try. By the way, each game comes with both Xbox and 360 versions so you can HAVE IT YOUR WAY.

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