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As WP's senior editor, I edit review and preview articles, attempt to keep up with the frantic pace of Rainier's news posts, and keep our reviewers on deadline, which is akin to herding cats. When I have a moment to myself and don't have my nose in a book, I like to play action/RPG, adventure and platforming games.

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Tuesday, September 19, 2006 Shipping Announcements

by Judy on Sept. 19, 2006 @ 10:51 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:

Capcom Classics Mini Mix (GBA)

Capcom Classics Mini Mix for the Game Boy Advance is an action-packed compilation of three of Capcom's most popular titles originally released for the Nintendo Entertainment System. The trio of old school action titles includes Bionic Commando, Strider and Mighty Final Fight,all faithfully recreated and available to play in either the original aspect ratio or stretched to fill the handheld's widescreen display. Capcom Classics Mini Mix carries a "T" rating for teen audiences by the ESRB and is now available at retailers across North America at a value price of $19.99 SRP.

Swing into action with Bionic Commando, where players must defeat the evil BADDs and Generalissimo KILLT in order to rescue Super Joe, a missing ally. The limber hero is a commando outfitted with an incredible bionic arm that allows him to navigate levels by latching onto and swinging across various parts of the environment. The appendage can also be used to grab hold of and attack enemies. In addition, various weapons including guns and rocket launchers become available as additional stages are completed.

In Strider, take control of Hiryu, a member of a global organization of infiltration specialists called Striders that battles to keep the world safe from evil forces. The hero reluctantly accepts a mission to located a fellow Strider and eliminate him. His primary weapon is his "Cypher" sword, a deadly blade which strikes with great speed and can be powered up with various enhancements including the ability to shoot plasma arrows. Hiryu also gains additional abilities as the game progresses including healing powers, enhanced jumping, warping and more.

Choose one three fighters in Mighty Final Fight, a beat-em-up action game that takes a twist on the original Final Fight with super deformed character designs and a more comical style. Playing as Haggar, Cody or Guy, embark on a quest through Metro City to rescue Haggar's daughter, Jessica, from the Mad Gear gang. Each character has their own unique weapon and special techniques at their disposal as they battle their way through the mean streets.

Danny Phantom: Urban Jungle (NDS/GBA)

Danny Phantom: Urban Jungle for the Nintendo DS and Game Boy Advance has shipped to retailers throughout North America. Based on an upcoming special episode of the same name that will air Columbus Day Weekend, Danny Phantom: Urban Jungle is rated "E" for everyone and is now available at a suggested retail price of $29.99.

In Danny Phantom: Urban Jungle, players will pilot the Fenton Flier through ghostly 3-D worlds attacking all new enemies in frenzied shooter action. The game comes jam-packed with new inventions from the Fenton Lab including a never-before seen freeze superpower that players will discover in the Ghost Zone. Players will need to master the all-new Freeze Power in order to battle the enemy Undergrowth as he tries to turn Amity Park into a nightmare of plants and vines.

Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime (NDS)

Developed exclusively for the Nintendo DS handheld system, Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime, from the creators of Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King, has shipped to retailers across the nation.

Groomed for his debut starring role in North America, the loveable slime from the Dragon Quest series embarks on a colorful quest filled with humor and excitement for players of all ages. Set in the delightful kingdom of Boingburg, players will encounter a wacky and loveable cast of 100 unique slimes and dozens of different enemies. With its simplified controls, the game allows parents, children and casual gamers to have no problem jumping right in, and enjoying the captivating adventure. An innovative and addictive tank battle element makes full use of the Nintendo DS dual screen functionality, creating an exciting experience that can be enjoyed by up to four players at a time.

Far, far across the big blue sea lies the tiny island country of Slimenia. There, in the capital city of Boingburg, lots of little slimes were gooing about their business, enjoying the goo life…until one day, they were suddenly attacked by a mob of menacing monsters called the Plob. Before they knew it, the entire plopulation of Boingburg had been slimenapped!

With the future of slimanity at stake, it's up to Rocket to stop the Plob invasion and bring order to this once peaceful nation.

It's payback slime!

Key Features:

  • Stretch, bounce and slingshot across Boingburg to rescue a colorful cast of 100 unique slimes
  • Explore puzzle-filled levels and encounter a familiar array of monsters from the Dragon Quest series
  • Scour the land for weapons and items to use in the massive tank battles – build up an arsenal and challenge up to three other friends and family members with the Nintendo DS wireless play feature
  • Keep track of the battle via the DS dual-screen technology – unique dual-screen gameplay provides a crucial overview of the action during the tank battles
  • Simple, streamlined controls allow players of all ages to bounce right in and enjoy the adventure

Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime is rated “E” for Everyone. Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime is available at North American retailers for a suggested retail price of $34.99.

EverQuest: The Serpent's Spine (PC)

EverQuest: The Serpent's Spine, the 12th expansion for the MMORPG EverQuest, is now available via digital download at www.everquest.com for the price of U.S. $29.99. The EverQuest base game is required to play this expansion.

Nestled in a great ravine in the Serpent Spine Mountains is an ancient abandoned ogre city now called Crescent Reach, which is home to a new race born to protect the future of dragon kind, the Drakkin. Six dragons defied the council of the ancient dragons of the Nest and chose to create a new race to protect their future. The Drakkin are borne of humans touched by a dragon's blood and their colors and appearance represent the dragon that created them. Rapidly aging and reaching maturity in only months, the Drakkin forget their human beginnings and make their pilgrimage to Crescent Reach, the home of their dragon creators and the rest of their kind.

Key Features:

  • New Player Race: The Drakkin have been created from both human and dragon blood to protect the future of all dragon kind. Several colors and customizations will be available to make each Drakkin character unique, such as elegant scale markings and horns.
  • Level Cap Increase: Players can now reach level 75, complete with new spells, abilities, raids and quests for greater power.
  • Content for Levels 1 to 75: Play through every level of the game without ever having to leave the Serpent Spine Mountains.
  • New Starting City: Crescent Reach is a fully functioning city with all that is required to learn and thrive in EverQuest, including merchant, quest, combat and tradeskill areas.
  • Dynamic Features: New zones, NPCs, destructible and interactive objects.
  • New AAs, Spells: Experience new spells and Alternate Advancement abilities.

Ford Bold Moves Street Racing (PS2/Xbox/PC)

Can't find a place to test drive the Shelby GT500? Then buckle up your recliner and pop in the disc, because racing high-performance Ford vehicles is now at your fingertips for less than $20. Featuring Maximum Team Control Racing and progressive damage modeling, Ford Bold Moves Street Racing is a value. Display your bold move and grab the game for yourself.

The Godfather (PSP/X360)

The Godfather: The Game for Xbox 360 and The Godfather Mob Wars for PSP have shipped in North America and Europe and are now available on store shelves. Rule the streets of the Big Apple in these new and improved, highly-anticipated video games based on the critically-acclaimed movie by Paramount Pictures and the book by Mario Puzo.

In The Godfather The Game for Xbox 360, join the Family, carry out orders, earn respect, and rise through the ranks of the Corleone Family in a vast open world environment in a quest to become Don of New York City. Players will embark on new missions, compound venue takeovers, and contract hits for big payouts and respect. With enhanced family interaction, gamers will now have the ability to hire crew member soldiers for back up on jobs and track performance against other players online. Custom-built for the Xbox 360, players will choose their path in this rough and tumble living world of 1945 NYC with enhanced BlackHand Control combat, stunning graphics, and HDTV support.

The Godfather Mob Wars is a custom built experience for the PSP. Gamers will test their mob skills while rising through the Corleone ranks in the Godfather storyline and engaging in turf wars as they take over territory in the strategic Mob Wars mode unique to PSP. Players will direct their mobsters and play the right cards to take control of NYC one territory at a time.

Both new games go beyond the films and book to virtually recreate The Godfather fiction throughout 1940s-50s New York City. Players will relive classic Godfather moments alongside unforgettable and memorable characters from the film such as Luca Brasi, Sonny, Tom Hagen, and of course, Don Vito Corleone himself. Actors from the film, including James Caan, Robert Duvall, Abe Vigoda, and Marlon Brando reprised their roles lending their voices to both games.

The Godfather The Game for Xbox 360 was developed by EA Redwood Shores and has a MSRP of $59.99. The Godfather Mob Wars for the PSP has an MSRP of $39.99.

Okami (PS2)

Okami for the PS2 tells the story of a mythical sun god who sets out to restore a dismal world, decimating the forces of evil who stand in the way by commanding the elements and mythical abilities the deity possesses. Mixing Japanese folklore and a stunning traditional Japanese art style, players must utilize an inventive control scheme to overcome the challenges and evil that awaits.

In Okami, the legendary monster Orochi has come back to life and turned the world into a wasteland. To restore the earth's natural order and beauty, players assume the role of wolf-embodied sun god Amaterasu and participate in numerous action packed battles against the ominous beings they encounter. However, conquering these impending enemies is no small feat. Amaterasu will travel through different regions of the world to regain her "Celestial Brush" powers, all the while revitalizing everything in her path. Using an innovative control scheme, gamers can slash away at enemies, use various brush strokes to solve puzzles, create pathways, chop down trees or turn night into day. The real-time fighting system not only involves assorted brush techniques, but also myriad of specials attacks typically not associated with the physical prowess of a normal wolf.

Featuring a visually stunning art style, Okami comes alive through beautiful scenic 3D levels that have the appearance and texture of paper scrolls brushed with watercolor-like calligraphy art. Throughout the vibrant and distinctive surroundings,players must also interact with a dynamic cast of characters, building their faith to uncover clues and hints. The blend of stylized graphics and unique gameplay will result in a rich and dynamic experience never seen before.

Key Features:

  • Create and destroy at will - Play as a god to re-establish order and beauty to a world laid barren by evil.
  • Innovative gameplay and control scheme - Defeating monsters requires the usage of not only physical attacks, but also Amaterasu's 'Celestial Brush' to paint the desired powers for decimating enemies and solving puzzles.
  • Intense action-packed battles – Rooted in Japanese folklore, fight against a diverse line-up of demons and monsters.
  • Utilize various gameplay styles – In addition to the Celestial Brush, Amaterasu can wield three types of offensive weaponry, each with their own unique abilities and effects. Depending on how a weapon is equipped, it can be used as the main or sub weapon:
    • Reflectors – These well-balanced weapons are suited for close range combat
    • Rosaries– Sacred magatama beads are great for quick long range attacks
    • Glaives – These can be charged up to unleash powerful close range attacks
  • Intriguing main character – Assume the role of the sun god, Amaterasu, who descends upon the earth in the form of a wolf. The Japanese translation of the word wolf is "Okami".
  • Original visuals and revolutionary design– Vibrant and inspiring graphics, reminiscent of traditional Japanese art created on paper scrolls, produce a large variety of stages with a watercolor-esque appearance.
  • Interact with a unique and dynamic cast of characters.

Okami is the brainchild of Capcom's Clover Studio, which is renowned for acclaimed titles such as the Steel Battalion and Viewtiful Joe series. Okami's addictive and mesmerizing gameplayis now available at retailers across North America and carries an "T" rating for teen audiences by the ESRB.

Strawberry Shortcake Sweet Dreams (GBA)

Now available exclusively for the Game Boy Advance, Majesco Entertainment's Strawberry Shortcake Sweet Dreams is based on the October 1st premiere of the theatrical "Sweet Dreams" movie from DIC Entertainment and American Greetings. Developed by Gorilla Games, Strawberry Shortcake Sweet Dreams is now available for a suggested retail price of $19.99.

Fans can play as Strawberry Shortcake, Raspberry Torte, Angel Cake, Ginger Snap and Sleepbug as they work together to save Strawberryland and beat the Purple Pieman. Players will fly on the back of a giant butterfly, drive a racecar, ride a rollercoaster, sprinkle dream dust and collect bad dreams. Each mini-game is introduced via images from the "Sweet Dreams" film but players can also unlock additional pictures in My Sweets mode.

World Series of Poker: Tournament of Champions (PSP/PS2/X360/PC)

High stakes poker is reaching new heights with the release of World Series of Poker: Tournament of Champions. Building on the success of its predecessor, the all-new poker game features more than 20 top pros, gives players access to extensive poker tools that will help them improve their game, and includes DigiMask Technology that actually maps a player's face into the game.

World Series of Poker: Tournament of Champions features an immersive storyline that casts players as a newly turned poker pro building his career under the tutelage of Chris "Jesus" Ferguson, one of the world's foremost poker pros and winner of five World Series of Poker championship bracelets. Gamers advance their career by competing against top pros and celebrities like Joseph Hachem, Phil "Unabomber" Laak and Jennifer Tilly in premier Circuit Events with the goal of qualifying for the Tournament of Champions, a winner-take-all, invitation-only event held at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. World Series of Poker: Tournament of Champions also features commentary from Norman Chad and Lon McEachern, the popular commentators of the World Series of Poker broadcast on television.

The Xbox 360 version of the game features DigiMask facial mapping technology, which allows players to map their face directly onto their in-game character. In addition, expanded LIVE! and online capabilities offer multi-table tournaments for the hottest poker action and the ability to actually read opponent's tells with Vision and EyeToy camera peripherals.

World Series of Poker: Tournament of Champions is available for the PlayStation 2, the Xbox 360, the PSP and the PC. The game has been rated "T" ("Teen") by the ESRB and is available for a suggested retail price of $39.99 for Xbox 360, $29.99 for PlayStation 2 and PSP, and $19.99 for PC.

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