E3 2005: Level Up
ATARI Lineup: Classic to Next Gen
Product: ATARI Lineup
Company: Atari
Date: 05/21/2005
Avaliable On:

ATARI not only looks to the future with titles for the Xbox 360, but they are also taking advantage of their own personal classics, as well as a whole slew of titles for the current generation systems.

One of ATARI's main attractions was Test Drive: Unlimited. This latest game in the Test Drive line comes out for the Xbox 360 and will have you driving up and down the streets of Hawaii's islands in cars and bikes from makers like Lamborghini, Ducati, Aston Martin, Mercedes, Salerno, Shelby, and Jaguar. Each car is fully customizable with parts from the dealer's actual catalog and colors for the exterior as well as interior trimming and leather.

Because of the seamless online integration that the next generation console will support, Unlimited will allow you to join or create car clubs, buy or trade parts from other players, as well as monthly additions to the game's built in opponents, vehicles, aftermarket parts, and character clothing. Not only will you be able to fully customize your cars and character in Test Drive, but you will also be able to buy houses and garages to keep you and your car safe.

Also available for sharing across the net are your own, custom made challenges. You can create a wide variety of races through the game's Custom Challenges option and send them to your buddies across the globe. Between the wide variety of options and the beautiful supped up cars themselves, Test Drive: Unlimited is bound to be one of the top launch titles for the Xbox 360.

Like I said before, ATARI is also going back in time and re-releasing the ATARI 2600... well sort of. The ATARI Flashback 2.0 is an all-in-one plug-n-play console that gives you the authentic look and feel of 40 classic ATARI games including Pong, Asteroids, Centipede, Millipede, Lunar Lander, Breakout, Missile Command, Combat. The classic looking system works just like the other third-party systems that have been hitting the market as of late -- except this one is straight from the source and isn't a messy port. All you have to do is plug the audio-video cables into your TV and turn it on. Relive the best games from one of the original consoles -- or introduce these classics to a new generation with the Flashback 2.0. Expect to see this product on the shelves this August for $29.99.

That's not all that was at ATARI's booth; the long-standing game publishers also showed off the latest incarnation of the Dragon Ball Z: Budokai series. DBZ: Budokai Tenkaichi takes Budokai 3 and adds elements like free flight and huge, fully destructible, free-roaming arenas. Budokai Tenkaichi and its 60+ characters are due to release this November for the PS2 only.

Also on the PS2 will be a new Matrix game. For the first time ever, gamers will be able to play as Neo in The Matrix: Path of Neo. You will have complete control over Mr. Anderson as he discovers what exactly The Matrix is and who he is. But this isn't just a late-release of a movie-based-game. When I said Path of Neo gives you complete control, I meant it. Maybe you want to listen to Morpheus at Neo's work and not turn yourself over to the Agents, or maybe you decide to take the blue pill instead. Don't think Neo should have gone after Morpheus when the character was captured by Smith? Then don't. You choose Neo's path -- you can either follow the trilogy or reshape the movies the way you think it should have gone. Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss and Hugo Weaving all reprise their roles as Neo, Morpheus, Trinity and Agent Smith. Path of Neo will also be coming out for the Xbox and PC.

Dungeons & Dragons fans will take to the net this Fall with the release of Dungeons & Dragons Online: Stormreach. This MMORPG will put you in the land of Xen'drik and it is filled with ancient ruins and hidden treasures. Stormreach is set in the latest campaign world of Eberron, and lets you take on the role of either a human, halfling, elf, dwarf or warforged. This plus the nine different classes (including, but not limited to barbarian, bard, fighter, rogue, and wizard) gives you 45 different initial combinations helping you find a character that is just your style. D & D Online lets you start fighting the fearsome denizens on the net this Fall.

Once again making a showing at E3 is Marc Ecko's Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure, a GTA-like game that has you tagging walls and signs instead of stealing rides. In Getting Up, you take on the role of a young street dweller, Trane, who lives in a world where freedom of speech has been outlawed. Trane is a small-town graffiti artist with dreams of becoming the biggest and best there is. As you progress through the game, Trane tries to claim the title of "All City King" as he climbs walls and shimmies across ledges all in the hopes of getting to the most elusive places to leave his mark. You will have to fight your way through Civil Conduct Keepers (CCK) and other hoodlums -- all in the name of your reputation.

That's how the game starts off anyway. It isn't long before you realize that the mayor of the city is corrupt. Now it is up to you and your growing skills to spread the word and expose the politician for the man he truly is. In order to get the word out, you will have to dodge traffic and climb to impossible heights in order to leave your message in areas that are too hard for the CCK to clean. Can you save New Radius City from the corrupt mayor? ... Who knows, you might just start a revolution against the freedom-stripping government. Marc Ecko's Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure takes to the streets this September, exclusively for the PS2 and is being developed by the amazing minds at The Collective. Yes, the same folks that brought us the last iteration of Indy Jones. This game will be one to watch.

Coming out for the PS2, Xbox and PC is the adventure title, Indigo Prophecy. Lucas Kane becomes the next victim in a series of strange murders ... and by that I don't mean he dies -- he is the murderer. Throughout New York City, strangers are killing strangers randomly and for apparently no reason. Lucas wakes up in the bathroom covered in a dead man's blood -- now he needs to find out exactly what happened both to him and his home city. Lucas isn't the only character you can play as. You can also choose to be Detective Carla Valenti, Detective Tyler Miles or Lucas? brother Marcus Kane. Along the way, you will have to choose actions that will keep the characters in a psychologically balanced state. There are a total of 44 acts that will keep you racking your brain. Indigo Prophecy used more than 50 stunt men and actors with motion-capture equipment in order to get the smooth and clean animation found throughout the game.

Indigo Prophecy can be thought of almost as a "which way" adventure. During certain parts of the game, it will go into split screen and you'll be able to see what some of the other characters are doing and how it will affect you. You will encounter other characters and can opt to interact with them or not, and your choices will affect your game. Have a headache and don't take medicine for it and it may change the outcome of what you are doing. There will be a stress meter that you will have to watch as well to maintain your character's mental health. Mini-games will be another diversion to keep stress in check.

Indigo Prophecy is a paranormal thriller being developed by Quantic Dream, the same team that brought us Omikron: The Nomad Soul on the Dreamcast and PC years ago. This cinematic adventure will be M rated as it contains adult content (not gore and sex, per se, but themes that will make you think), and the score is being composed by the same composer who did the music for Twin Peaks. Indigo Prophecy will immerse you into its cinematic world this Fall.

J.R. Nip aka Chris Meyer

GameVortex PSIllustrated TeamPS2