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Tuesday, August 29, 2006 Shipping Announcements

by Rainier on Aug. 29, 2006 @ 9:17 a.m. PDT

Another day, another batch of games shipped to stores. Instead of giving them all their own posts, we grouped them, and so far there are announcements for:

Ultimate Ghosts‘N Goblins (PSP)

Created by members of the original Ghost'N Goblins team, the long awaited fourth installment to the favored franchise sees the triumphant return of valiant knight, Arthur, as he saves the princess from the clutches of evil. Specifically recreated from the ground up, witness the evolution of the series with the inclusion of exciting upgrades and new gameplay features. Ultimate Ghosts‘N Goblins is now available at retailers across North America and carries an “E+10” rating for everyone ages 10 and older by the ESRB (Entertainment Software Rating Board).

In Ultimate Ghosts‘N Goblins, Arthur’s heroic battle with the underworld was finally over and the entrance to the realm was sealed. So he thought. Time passes and unknowing to mankind, the dark lord has awaken from his slumber and kidnaps the princess in an effort to conquer the human world. Arthur must set off for the evil forest to save the princess from imminent doom and keep the devil, as well as his minions, at bay. The excitement and intensity of the forerunner continues as our armored hero takes on this new challenge for the sake of humanity.

With the use of a 3D graphics engine, the Ultimate Ghosts‘N Goblins world comes alive as effects, cutscenes, backgrounds and animations are given more depth and richer detail. Retaining the classic design of the series, several new facets have been created for a broader range of motion and control techniques. Now our hero has the capability to dash, double-jump, shoot up or down, grab onto ledges, etc. Furthermore, a new leveling system allows gamers to build up Arthur’s skills for more powerful magic abilities and attacks. With the addition of extra lives, death doesn’t mean starting from a check point but rematerializing where they left off. Also making its debut in the series is the inclusion of three difficulty modes that will suit every experience level: Novice, Standard and Ultimate. With the introduction of these new settings, a wide range of players can now fully enjoy Arthur’s daring and unique world.

No longer just a linear experience, Ultimate Ghosts‘N Goblins has plenty of branching sub-missions that will encourage players to explore their surroundings for a more open-ended experience. Gamers can save their progress along the way and revisit cleared stages at anytime to expose unexplored paths, concealed items or weapons to help conquer the challenges that lie ahead.

Ultimate Ghosts‘N Goblins boasts the following features:

  • New features and upgrades for the series –
    • New 3-D characters and environments enrich the side-scrolling adventure!
    • New weapons, magic and armor help Arthur overcome difficult challenges
    • New and improved moves for the heroic Arthur
      • Double-jump in mid-air, grab onto ledges and much more
    • New save feature allows gamers to revisit cleared stages at anytime
    • New level-up system for more powerful abilities and attacks
    • New difficulty settings that provide their own unique challenges for every gamer:
      • Novice – An easier mode for those not familiar with the series
      • Standard – The default setting for those wanting a challenge
      • Ultimate – A setting reminiscent of past Ghosts‘N Goblin titles
    • Extra lives mean starting where players left off and not at check points
  • Expansive environments – Five main stages, each with multiple sub-missions, hidden paths and bosses to conquer

Saints Row (Xbox 360)

Featuring stunning next-generation graphics, extensive customization options and the genre's first-ever multiplayer experience, Saints Row is further establishing THQ as a leading publisher of high-profile, original next-generation properties.

"The overwhelming support from consumers and press alike is a clear indication that the next generation of open-world gaming has truly arrived," said Kelly Flock, executive vice president of worldwide publishing, THQ. "Our internal studio, Volition Inc., has re-defined the genre, bringing the open world online for the first time and adding countless hours to an already expansive game-play experience."

In Saints Row, players begin the game as a member of the 3rd Street Saints, battling rival gangs and corrupt officials while attempting to conquer the city of Stilwater. Gamers will personalize their experience through an unparalleled level of character customization and the freedom to progress through multiple storylines in any order they choose. Unique activities such as Insurance Fraud and Snatch will help a player earn respect, which will in turn open up missions, and unveil the vast, next-generation potential of the fully dynamic city. Saints Row brings online multiplayer to the open-world genre for the first time allowing gamers to form and battle rival gangs online in a variety of different modes. T he game will support 12 players on the Xbox Live® online entertainment network.

The Saints Row demo has been downloaded at a record rate since its August 1 release on Xbox Marketplace, according to Microsoft, and gamers can now experience the entire game for a suggested retail price of $59.99.

Xenosaga Episode III: Also sprach Zarathustra (PS2)

Fans of the series will rejoice as Shion and the crew are back in this final and exciting chapter of the Xenosaga trilogy as they uncover the future of mankind in a journey to unveil the Gnosis phenomenon and save the galaxy.

“We are thrilled to have Xenosaga III ship to retailers today as this final chapter reveals and answers everything the fans have been dying to know since the release of the first game. Xenosaga III takes ‘epic’ to a whole new level with its grand-scale and engrossing storyline and the speedy, action-packed battle system,” Yoshi Niki, NAMCO BANDAI Games America Inc.’s Product Group Director said.

The story of Xenosaga III starts a year after Xenosaga II ended. Shion has resigned from Vector Industries after learning that the company is deeply connected to the Gnosis phenomenon. She instead joins forces with Scientia, an underground organization working to unveil Vector’s secrets. Uncover the truth and save mankind in the exciting finale of the Xenosaga series as it launches onto store shelves today.

Xenosaga III’s final engrossing chapter boasts more than three hours of movies, an updated battle system and an improved customization feature with more in-depth character specialization and diversification. This must-have RPG will also include an easily accessible database feature, the “Xeno Bible” and a mini-game with more than 50 levels that will challenge both you and your friends.

Find out how the epic saga ends as Xenosaga III hits retailers nationwide today.

Dance Factory (PS2)

Dance Factory is a one-of-a-kind dance mat game that is infinitely expandable and customizable, and can even help players lose weight. Thanks to innovative and unique beat recognition technology, Dance Factory creates dance steps from any piece of music in gamer’s entire CD collection – all genres and artists. The game scans the track and generates a dance pattern to which players can groove. As other dance games have fixed song lists, Dance Factory is the next step in the evolution of dance mat games – truly combining gaming with a player’s personal taste in music for the fist time ever.

With Dance Factory, players not only pick the tune but also can lay down their own moves in the game’s Recorder mode, where the game records players’ own dance, which can be saved for prosperity.

When used in conjunction with an EyeToy USB Camera, Dance Factory adds hand icons to the stream of directional arrows -- as well as dancing, players will also have to “disco point” at certain parts of the song. On the Expert setting, the challenge becomes even greater.

For the health conscious, Dance Factory offers an intense Fitness mode. Players input their weight, and the game calculates how many calories they are burning as they play. The interface will also tell gamers how far they would have had to run or swim to achieve the same result.

Dance Factory’s Creature mode provides dancing monsters to groove along with. How well they dance depends on players’ own step-matching skills. Good dancers will have the monsters tearing up the dance floor, racking up points along the way. With points, players can accessorize the monsters with adornments and even special dancing powers. No other dance mat game has visuals that are so reactive to the player’s abilities (or little monsters).

Dance Factory is now available in stores exclusively for PlayStation 2.

Bomberman: Act Zero (Xbox 360)

Players are challenged to survive through 99 stages as they try to escape an experimental underground facility and destroy their opponents to fight for survival in a terrifying industrial future. The game also brings the series’ timeless multiplayer action online as players can engage in massive eight player battles over the Xbox Live online entertainment network.

Bomberman Act: Zero features a breakthrough “FPB” (First Person Bomber) mode that gives players complete control over the camera, allowing for a tight over the shoulder view of the action or a birds-eye perspective of the entire battlefield. This mode also grants the player maneuvers that let them absorb the impact of bomb blasts in addition to a life bar, allowing for more aggressive play and new strategies for obliterating their opponents. All of the game’s 99 single player stages can be played in the new FPB mode or in the classic Bomberman style without a life bar from a top down view.

Bomberman Act: Zero lets up to eight players go head to head with others from around the world in epic clashes online through Xbox Live®. Players can customize each aspect of every online game, from their character’s appearance to the length of each match and even how often special items appear. As they compete online, players will earn points that increase their rank on the game’s World Ranking leaderboard.

Bomberman: Act Zero carries a suggested retail price of $49.99 and is rated “T” for Teen by the ESRB.

Yu-Gi-Oh! Double Pack 2 (GBA)

The game combines the hit Yu-Gi-Oh! Destiny Board Traveler and Yu-Gi-Oh! Dungeon Dice Monsters video games into one game pak, letting Yu-Gi-Oh! fans enjoy two exciting adventures on the Game Boy® Advance. Each copy of the game will include three exclusive trading cards: D.D. Assailant, Twinheaded Beast and Emes the Infinity.

Yu-Gi-Oh! Destiny Board Traveler lets players take on the role of characters from the hit Yu-Gi-Oh! television series, dueling with up to three friends across several maps such as Domino Park and Outer Space. Combining the best elements of the Yu-Gi-Oh! trading card game and a strategic board game, it’s an all-new way to duel.

Based on the dice game played by the characters on the Yu-Gi-Oh! television series, Yu-Gi-Oh! Dungeon Dice Monsters lets players collect and fight with dice inscribed with mystical powers and magic in order to defeat their opponents. Players can enter more than a dozen different tournaments and ultimately face-off against the nefarious Duke Devlin. Players can also go head to head with their own Dungeon Dice Monsters using the Game Boy® Advance Game Link® cable.

Yu-Gi-Oh! Double Pack 2 is rated “E” for Everyone by the ESRB and carries a suggested retail price of $29.99.

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