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Holiday Gaming Guide

My favorites

By James Stevenson     November 26, 2002

I think it's almost over. It is this nasty little storm that I've been enduring, the arrival of way too many video games. I mean, I'm all for video games, but when you start tossing on an insane amount of course work, balancing time can be perilous. I've never had so many unopened games before (I think I say this every Christmas, though).

Nevertheless, there are still quite a few games that are worth putting on your Christmas list. It has been a wickedly good time for gaming, all starting with the GameCube, and what quite possibly is the next Game of the Year.

METROID PRIME is the triumphant return of Samus Aran to the console realm. While played from the first-person perspective, it's hard to call this game a DOOM clone. The most important aspect of the game is not really fighting, but rather the element of exploration. There are lots of hidden upgrades for you to find, and this will definitely take up a chunk of time.

Other very strong GameCube titles include SONIC MEGA COLLECTION. This is a compilation of ALMOST every classic Sonic game (damn you Sega, why not SONIC CD?). STAR FOX ADVENTURES is a solid title, but perhaps a little disappointing. SUPER MARIO SUNSHINE and SUPER MONKEY BALL 2 are two very solid sequels with plenty of gameplay. And for the Star Wars fan, THE CLONE WARS, BOUNTY HUNTER and JEDI KNIGHT II await gamers.

If you really like Metroid, or perhaps just the older Metroid games, don't pass up METROID FUSION on the Game Boy Advance. It plays just like SUPER METROID.

Moving onto greener pastures, well, green in the sense of the box's color, the Xbox has some high quality titles of its own. On every gamer's list is STEEL BATTALION, the $200 game that comes with its own giant controller. A longtime friend site, Gaming Nexus, ran a review that increased their daily traffic by nearly 1,000 times and took out their server over the weekend. There's tons of interest, as the game is sold out and prices on eBay are nearly 50% higher than retail already.

XBOX LIVE is another great gift, as is the key game for it, MECH ASSUALT. UNREAL CHAMPIONSHIP, METAL GEAR SOLID 2: SUBSTANCE and SHENMUE II are all great Xbox games that are well worth the cash spent on them.

But perhaps it's the PlayStation 2 with the best lineup. I know I'll miss some games, but RED FACTION II, DDRMAX: DANCE DANCE REVOLUTION, GRAND THEFT AUTO: VICE CITY, SLY COOPER, RATCHET AND CLANK, SOCOM: US NAVY SEALS, CONTRA and many many more games are available for the console. There's no way you can find time to play all of these games and believe me I've tried.

Because of us moving Gamers' Thumb around a bit, I'm going to re-work the sections for next week. My pick for gamers this week goes to BOUNTY HUNTER. Gamers' Thumb will be back next week with the more traditional form you know and love, and hopefully things will be slightly less crazy. Until then, happy gaming, and have a great Turkey Day!

Gamers' Thumb is our weekly video game column.

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