June 2007

The PlayStation 2’s library is rife with under appreciated titles, or worse yet those that go largely unknown. One of these is 2001’s The Adventures of Cookie & Cream, a slightly off-color adventure game starring a pair of mischievous bunnies on their way home from the annual moon festival. What made the game so interesting was its emphasis on cooperation, as players worked together to complete levels as they avoided traps and solved puzzles.

Now Agetec is at it again with Cookie & Cream, a newly shipped title for the Nintendo DS. According to Agetec, the game builds upon the charm of the original by takeing advantage of the handheld’s touch screen, resulting in a game “that’s more fun than the original,”at least according to Agetec’s production and marketing VP Mark Johnson.

Playable either alone as one person controls both characters, or as a cooperative game where one person maneuvers Cookie on the top screen while the other is in charge of Cream on the touch screen, Cookie & Cream sounds like a refreshing addition to the DS library. The game also offers nine different minigames, as well as a four player battle minigame.

Let’s hope it does not slip below the radar like its predecessor.

With Harmonix’s encore performance with the popular [i]Guitar Hero[/i] franchise nearly upon us, Activision has been slowly leaking out a few songs each day or so that will make an appearance on the upcoming rhythm action game.

While it’s probably hard to appreciate on your end, it’s been painful not to just tell you all what songs will be on the game, as we’ve been playing the title for a few weeks now. However, given that the lions’ share of the songs have been released, we figured we’d break down the game’s set lists based on what has been officially announced so far.

We’ve also linked to a few videos of us playing a few of these songs as well, so be nice.

[u][b]Opening Licks[/b][/u]

1. I Want Candy (now removed)
2. Holy Diver (as made famous by Dio)
3. We Got the Beat (as made famous by the Go Gos)
4. [url=http://snackbar-games.com/images/news/2007/06/100_3014.MOV]No One Like You[/url] (as made famous by The Scorpions)
5. Bang Your Head (Metal Health) (as made famous by Quiet Riot)


1. Ain’t Nothin But A Good Time (as made famous by Poison)
2. I Wanna Rock (by Twisted Sister)
3. Turning Japanese (as made famous by The Vapors)
4. Los Angeles (as made famous by X)
5. Hold On Loosely (as made famous by .38 Special)

[u][b]String Snappers[/b][/u]

1. Lonely is the Night (as made famous by Billy Squier)
2. Synchronicity II (as made famous by The Police)
3. Heat of the Moment (as made famous by Asia)
4. [url=http://snackbar-games.com/images/news/2007/06/100_3029.MOV]Shakin'[/url] (as made famous by Eddie Money)
5. Bathroom Wall (as made famous by Faster Pussycat)

[u][b]Return of the Shred[/b][/u]

1. Round and Round (as made famous by Ratt)
2. Electric Eye (by Judas Priest)
3. Wraithchild (as made famous by Iron Maiden)
4. [url=http://snackbar-games.com/images/news/2007/06/100_3013.MOV]I Ran[/url] (by Flock of Seagulls)
5. What I Like About You (as made famous by The Romantics)

[u][b]Relentless Riffs[/b][/u]

1. [url=http://snackbar-games.com/images/news/2007/06/100_3015.MOV]Radar Love[/url] (as made famous by White Lion)
2. Play With Me (as made famous by Extreme)
3. The Warrior (by Scandal)
4. Balls to the Wall (by Accept)
5. Caught in a Mosh (as made famous by Anthrax)

[u][b]Furious Fretwork[/b][/u]

1. Seventeen (as made famous by Winger)
2. Police Truck (as made famous by Dead Kennedys)
3. [url=http://snackbar-games.com/images/news/2007/06/100_3031.MOV]18 and Life[/url] (as made famous by Skid Row)
4. Only a Lad (as made famous by Oingo Boingo)
5. [url=http://snackbar-games.com/images/news/2007/06/100_3042.MOV]Ballroom Blitz[/url] (as made famous by Krokus)


1. [url=http://snackbar-games.com/images/news/2007/06/100_3045.MOV]Because, it’s Midnite[/url] (by Limozeen)

[edit: Added additional videos, songs]

Racing games that place an emphasis on hard core simulation mechanics are rare, much more so than the arcade style, over the top racers that have proven so popular with today’s consumer. Given this, the challenge faced by a developer interested in creating a simulation style racer is how to appeal to a gaming public that may not be outwardly predisposed to this type of game. Forza Motorsport 2, Microsoft and Turn 10 Studios’ sequel to 2005’s distinguished Xbox racer, may offer the best possible answer with an intriguing mix of complexity and accessibility not often seen in this type of game.

Of course, as an Xbox 360 showpiece, the attention paid to the game’s graphics is immediately apparent, with a level of visual fidelity lifting Forza 2 up as yet another feather in Microsoft’s next-gen cap. The cars are beautiful, the tracks and the environments are simple but elegant, and the game does a good job of arresting disbelief.

Additionally, while comparisons between Forza and Sony’s Gran Turismo are unavoidable, Microsoft’s effort manages to stand out for its inclusion of vehicle damage, which can visibly and realistically ruin a car’s appearance; rear ending another car with enough force might cause the front bumper to fall off, while hitting the side of something could cause the vehicle’s body to cave in, offering a level of realism not found in most other racing sims.

Also impressive are the numerous licensed cars available to be purchased and customized. Besides each carrying its own distinct look, each car also behaves and performs differently on the track, permitting players to naturally gravitate towards a certain type of car over another to suit their particular driving styles.

Racing a circuit with a car of a particular class or transmission type can feel very different than when put behind the wheel of another entirety different vehicle. Here the developers have emphasized that the differences between the cars go deeper than simply body styles and a new coat of paint. These racing machines all carry their own distinct characteristics such as weight class, horsepower, aerodynamics, engine class, body family, and so forth, and to some degree most of these attributes can be upgraded or tuned given enough credits, the right mechanical know-how, and patience.

In Forza 2, automotive tuning covers every intricacy from springs to differential to aeronautics, and nowhere is the importance of tuning more apparent than when racing online, where the right upgrades, which range from spark plugs and engine components to tire width and racing compound, often define who crosses the finish line first.

One of the most impressive, and perhaps most addictive facets of car customization lies with the game’s paint shop. While most earned vehicles in the game come assigned with some pre-designed paint job, the vast majority of player-purchased vehicles begin life looking rather nondescript. However, through Forza 2‘s paint shop, which allows for some of the most intricate design work available in a racing game, players can turn a forgettable roadster into a work of fine art, a gaudy showpiece, or simply a billboard on wheels.

Players can, of course, quickly dump a full coat of paint on the entire car or paint each section separately, but the real joy is in the decals. Forza 2 offers an assortment of pre-made decals, but it’s entirely possible to make some more complex, even three-dimensional designs. The game also allows users with Xbox Live to snap photos and painlessly upload them to the game’s official community website for others to see, and users seem to be having almost as much fun with this feature as with the racing itself.

Of course, customization is only half of what Forza 2 is about, and when it comes to racing, this game has quite a lot under the hood. Forza 2 offers a variety of different events and cups, everything from the simple (though certainly not easy) A

It’s been a while since we did this, so forgive me if I’m a bit rusty. However, with the newly relaunched Snackbar Games, we thought it would be as good a time as any to revisit our weekly look back at video game news, gossip, and all around happenings. So without further ado, we present… The Week in Review!

Things aren’t going too well for Rockstar games. As we have previously reported, Manhunt 2 was denied an age rating by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) in the UK, essentially banning the game from sale in that region. Since that initial report, the as yet unreleased game was also banned from sale in Ireland, and was similarly branded with the scarlet AO (Adults Only) rating in the states.

As things went from bad to worse for the studio, Nintendo and Sony quickly responded, stating that they will not allow a game with an AO rating to be released on their consoles, a move that quickly prompted Take Two to suspend the sequel’s release until things can be sorted out. We eagerly await what the higher-ups will decide. Will they waste millions of dollars and cancel the project all together, or try to edit the game?

But things were not just doom and gloom for Rockstar this week, with the company unveiling their upcoming Grand Theft Auto IV Special Edition. The pack will cost a whooping $90, but in return, fan’s will net a duffel bag, a customized GTA branded metal safety deposit box, a keychain (for box’s keys), an art book, a soundtrack CD, and of course the game. The Special Edition will be available for both the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions of the game.

Staying with GTA IV, Rockstar has also released the second trailer for the game, and two new screens, all of which can be seen on the game’s official website. The game is looking great.

Elsewhere, officials from Nintendo announced that the company plans to release downloadable games for the Wii, in a fashion seemingly not all that different from Xbox Live Arcade of the PlayStation Network. The upcoming service, called WiiWare in the US and Wii Software in Europe, is described as a A

The Sultan of Persia is off waging war in far off lands and he – being the big dope that he is – leaves the evil vizier Jaffar in charge. Seeing as he’s evil and the Sultan is away, the vizier hatches a scheme to either marry the Sultan’s daughter within an hour or kill her for her impudence. This is where the titular prince – really a Persian commoner – comes in. See, the player character and the princess are in love, and Jaffar has thrown you into the castle’s dungeon. If you can make it through all 14 levels of the castle within an hour the princess will be saved. Along the way you’ll encounter guards, spike traps, slice traps, collapsing floor panels, and challenging jumps. If this all sounds familiar that’s because it is. Prince of Persia Classic is a graphical update to Jordan Mechner’s 1989 PC classic, and it brings with it all the good and bad aspects of the original.

Those of you that played the PC version already know whether you’ll enjoy the 360 remake. If dungeon running was fun for you in 1989, it will be fun today, too. If the controls turned you off and the combat was too hard then there’s no reason to come back. The prince still can’t stop on a dime and he’s not terribly handy with a sword. After all, those guards have probably trained with their weapons, and you just found yours in the dungeon.

Many gamers will complain about Prince of Persia Classic‘s controls – claiming that they feel loose and that it’s difficult to make the prince do what you want. The prince controls just fine, assuming you understand that you’ll need to think a few seconds ahead and have excellent reflexes. The prince takes a second to stop, and it’s not due to a programming flaw; it’s a design decision to make the game feel realistic. People can’t go from a full sprint to a dead stop at the edge of a hole. In combat, the prince has a scant two moves: parry and attack. Parries will deflect any enemy blow assuming you start in time. Combat is difficult, but it’s entirely possible to complete the game without getting hit or avoiding combat.

Prince of Persia Classic is definitely worth your time and money. It’s short, but it’s designed to be played repeatedly. And you’ll need to in order to fully appreciate just how fluidly the prince can move and how quickly each level can be cleared. For those that enjoy additional challenges there are nine elixirs of life to be found (each adds an additional hit point to your initial three) and there’s an achievement for completing the game without dying. Prince of Persia Classic is fun, beautiful, and it has a fitting soundtrack. If you can adapt to playing a game from another generation, then Prince of Persia is a no-brainer, but if you can’t adjust to the controls and don’t really like a challenge then Prince of Persia Classic isn’t for you.