Showing off their usual suite of extreme and twisted arcade fare, with a couple of cartoon licenses to boot, US giants Midway had a lot of console-oriented material that's playable and looks great, but bears a suspicious resemblance to last year's fare. Here are some of the more prominent titles:
NFL Blitz 2003
Not quite the same stuff as last year. A few more pieces of eye candy, some nice new taunts, and, it's now on GameCube too. The biggest difference is that defence seems to have been slightly tweaked so it's less easy to score touchdowns. But only slightly. Of course, that was some American guy's expert opinion after I joined in with my team 14 points down and proceeded to drive him into the turf. Fun for awhile, but you don't want to be caught playing it alone.
MLB Slugfest 2003
Believe it or not, this is one baseball title that is actually not so bad, even for Aussies. Sure, it suffers from the patented "play it with a mate or die of boredom" syndrome, but especially for people without a fanatics awareness of the sport, it's a decent and worthwhile diversion. Obviously the yanks agree at least in part, of all the Midway titles, both this and Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance drew the most players.
Soccer goes "extreme". This is typical Midway fare - great fun against someone else, but play by yourself for 30 mins, then it rapidly gets old. The visuals are pretty ordinary, and this is one title that manages to make using the GameCube's controller a chore (quite a task, as the controller is very comfortable in most games). It's worth a look mainly for the over-the-top fouls (flying two foot kicks to the back anyone?) and the boosted goal scoring: heelflip the ball up the watch the typical matrix cam 360 pan as your player bicycle belts it into the back of the net.
Just leave the old classics be! LEAVE THEM BE! An ancient cabinet title gets a makeover, but not enough of a makeover to capture anyone's imagination long term. Midway are also trying their hand with resurrecting Defender, part of a continuing trend that sees companies digging up their old licenses trying to squeeze eveyr last dollar out of them.
Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance
Mortal Kombat 4 with some new effects and players. Looked impressive about a year ago, now it's time to get a new script. Even hardcore fans will be hard put to find anything bold or innovative about this baby. I watched 15 minutes of someone schooling everyone else by using three moves over and over again. Given the likes of Virtua Fighter 4, you'd need to be made of cash to go for this one.