Darren Pai's Game Recommendations

Here are some links to websites offering reviews and previews of videogames. If you're looking to save some cash, here are some games you can find either as Greatest Hits re-releases or in the used game section.

Playstation 2
Kingdom Hearts - This is a game for everybody. Take the most beloved characters from Disney, turn them over to one of Japan 's most respected game developers and watch magic happen. The presence of Mickey, Donald and Goofy may turn off some older gamers. Too bad, they're missing out on one of the best examples of interactive entertainment that can be found. Despite its simple appearance, Kingdom Hearts features some real depth of gameplay and character development. Rated "E."

Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando - A recent entry into one of the flagship franchises on the PS2, Going Commando piles on the fun. With witty humor and non-stop action, it's easy to see why the Ratchet & Clank series continues to be so popular. Whether it's finding all those secret treasures or upgrading your fantastic arsenal, this title offers a variety of challenges that make it well worth every penny. Rated: "T"

God of War: A huge hit last year, this is now in Sony's Greatest Hits collection. God of War is perhaps the best blend of adventure, puzzle solving and relentless action available on the PS2. Featuring a great setting, a compelling main character and smart writing, God of War weaves an epic tale. Few games offer such visceral, gut wrenching combat. Warning: God of War is "M" rated for good reason. Definitely not a game for kids.

Halo 2 - Microsoft's best-selling game ever is still the best on the original XBox. Non-stop action, a rousing musical score and bad guys that simply must be stopped, Halo 2 has got it all. Throw in the magnificent on-line multi-player aspect and you get more than your money's worth. The storyline suffers in comparison to the original Halo, but you tend to overlook that flaw in the face of so much fast-paced combat. It only serves as a reminder that you'll have to buy Halo 3 when it hits stores next year. Of course, you won't be able to play Halo 3 unless you have an Xbox 360. Rated: "M"

Star Wars Battlefront - Experience battles on the same epic scale you've seen on the big screen. Fight the Empire or beat down the Rebellion, it's your choice. Fast and easy to play but difficult to master, this title really delivers. Added bonus: you can find this one among Microsoft's Platinum Hits, so it's relatively cheap. A sequel, Battlefront II, hit stores last year. That one is still selling for its regular price. Rated: "T"

Jade Empire - An action role-playing game set in the kind of mystical Chinese empire seen in old kung fu movies, Jade Empire thrusts the player into a world where characters go by names like "Sagacious Zu" and "Tiger Shen." Sharp graphics, intelligent writing and a well-developed combat system highlight this title. Often overlooked, this is a true gem. May you be blessed with the fortune of finding Jade Empire in the used game bin of your favorite game shop. Rated: "M"

Playstation Portable (PSP) Sony intends to launch a Greatest Hits collection for the PSP this summer. Until then, here are a few PSP titles that are well worth your money.

Daxter - The sidekick from the bestselling Jak & Daxter series on the PS2 finally gets his own game and it rocks. Daxter is an old-school platformer complete with jumping, smashing and item gathering. The graphics really shine on the PSP's bright screen and the writing is witty and full of humor. Even if you don't like cartoony characters, it's hard to resist Daxter. Rated: "E"

Lumines - I don't like puzzle games. Hate 'em. Wish they never existed. But I am absolutely addicted to Lumines. It's sort of like Tetris on steroids. This game is so good both Microsoft and Sony want it for their next-generation consoles. The music alone makes this game seem like a companion piece for one of those "in-crowd only" parties where only the tragically cool may enter. Even non-gamers will find themselves hooked. Rated: "E"

Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror - The world needs saving and you are just the secret agent to do it. Great action sequences, spectacular graphics and rousing sound make you feel like you're in the middle of a spy movie. The only drawback: some truly bad Hollywood-style dialogue. Warning: rated "M" for foul language and some excessive violence.

Gamecube, Gameboy, Nintendo DS Sorry, I don't own anything made by Nintendo. Without having personally played any games on the system, I can't vouch for them. But I hear good things about Advance Wars for the Gameboy Advance.