E3 2005: Level Up
Majesco's Handheld Lineup
Product: Majesco DS, GBA and PSP Games
Company: Majesco
Date: 05/23/2005
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Majesco, third party publisher of games like the recently released Psychonauts and the GameBoy Video line isn't holding back when it comes to the portable systems for the upcoming year. Majesco is bringing out games for all of the major handhelds on the market to date.

Majesco's two GameBoy Advance games include Teen Titans and a series of 2 game collections called Double Game Paks. Many of Majesco's top GBA games will be bundled together in one cartridge for $29.99. These combinations include Monster Trucks / Quad Desert Fury, Cartoon Network Speedway / Cartoon Network Block Party and Texas Hold ?Em Poker / Golden Nugget Casino. These pairs are some of the best games that they have published recently, and are packaged together to make the most optimal pair. If you are into video game poker, then picking up Texas Hold 'Em will also net you Golden Nugget Casino, which is probably also up your alley.

Teen Titans is based off of the hit Cartoon Network series that follows DC adolescent heroes Robin, Beast Boy, Raven, Cyborg and Starfire as the little legends go up against more than 30 enemies from the Hive Academy. These baddies include Gizmo, Jinx and Mammoth, as well as their evil director, Brother Blood. Switch between the five heroes in real time in order to use each character's special abilities.

Majesco also has a whole slew of titles coming out for the Nintendo DS and PSP. For the DS, expect to see games like A Boy and His Blob, Age of Empires: The Age of Kings, and ATV Quad Fury 2. A Boy and His Blob is a sequel to the classic NES game of the same name. Now, the boy is 16 years old, and the blob has grown as well. As you progress through the 3D rendered side-scroller, your blob will eat jellybeans and turn into many different things like ladders, bombs and blowtorches. Taking place six years after the original game, the boy has tried to tell people of his story -- but no one believes him. But now, his friend Blobert returns and the two must once again stop the Evil Emperor once. Age of Empires takes the classic turn-based strategy and puts it in the palm of your hands. Take over the world from the Dark Ages to the Middle Ages with five different civilizations. You can choose to control the Britons, Franks, Mongols, Saracens or Japanese. At your disposal are 45 different types of troops including monks, mercenaries, bowmen and samurai. The Age of Kings also puts special historical figures into the mix. Use hero characters like Joan of Arc, Robin Hood, Richard the Lionheart or Genghis Khan, each with their own abilities that could easily turn the tide of any war.

Bust-A-Move DS has you tackle over 250 puzzles and who knows how many secret puzzles. You and four friends can connect wirelessly to see who can last the longest. Bub and Bob will shoot bubbles from the bottom screen up to the top one as the roof drops a level every second. Using the DS' touch screen, you can perform attacks, defensive moves and counter attacks during the multiplayer games. You will also use the lower screen to control where you want your bubbles to fly by controlling the bubble launcher with your stylus. BAM DS also lets you store up and use a wide variety of special bubbles. These bubbles include Bomb, Star, Rainbow and the grief-causing Nuisance bubble. Look for Bust-A-Move to hit the dual screens this holiday season.

Texas Hold 'Em Poker DS and Golden Nugget Casino DS are ports of the GBA versions with better graphics and a more intimate feel. ATV Quad Fury 2 will feature Wi-Fi multiplayer high-speed racing and big air driving abilities. The DS' touch screen will let you upgrade your vehicles on the fly, as well as have a radar and a vehicular status display. You and three friends will be able to race on 40 tracks across 8 different environments, in the dual screened ATV game.

Guilty Gear also finds its way onto the current gen handhelds -- but not just one, there will be a 2D Guilty Gear fighting game for both the Nintendo DS and the PSP. Guilty Gear: Dust Strikers will be for Nintendo's system (get it Guilty Gear: DS), while the Sony system will boast Guilty Gear: Judgment. DS takes all 21 Guilty Gear characters from the past games and throws them together in a multi-screened battle royale. The fighting area has grown to include the top screen - so now you aren't constrained to just the one fighting area. If you are caught in a corner -- jump to the platforms above you and get away. But watch out for the traps hidden throughout the levels. Dust Strikers features 6 modes of play like Arcade, Survival, Vs., and a ton of mini-games. Each battle can have up to 4 fighters at one time -- letting you go all out against either three CPU's or three friends. Besides the all-out, last-man-standing fighting that will occur, you will have to look out for environmental hazards like lightning, poison, and fire.

Though Guilty Gear Judgment for the PSP doesn't give you the higher ground that the DS version does, Judgment doesn't seem to be lacking. Judgment is a port from the arcade game, Guilty Gear X2#, but with a few added features to sweeten the deal. One of the new modes found in this version is Boost Mode where players will get to go through an action-packed side-scrolling adventure featuring most of the Guilty Gear cast. Sol-Badguy, Potemkin, May, Dizzy, and 16 other fighters each have their own overlapping stories to be unveiled in Boost Mode, adding untold number of replay-hours to this game. The story starts soon after all contact from a small Eastern European kingdom has been broken off. Apparently horrible genetically manipulated monsters have been let loose in the kingdom, and the United Nations has offered up a huge monetary reward for anyone who can stop the assault. The Guilty Gear characters are just some of the mercenaries who have stepped up to the plate and plan to rid the world of these new monstrosities. Look for both GG titles this Fall.

Guilty Gear isn't the only game to come out for both consoles. Black and White makes its portable debut on both the DS and the PSP in Black and White Creatures. Slated for release in the second quarter of 2006, the AI masterpiece will have you training 10 different types of creatures across eight different islands. You train your creatures to be just as good or bad as you want based on how your reward or punish it for its actions. You want your earthly-avatar to be a blessing to the people of your islands -- then punish it when it harms a person and praise it when it helps. Do you want it to be evil -- then do the opposite. The more times you reinforce your commands, the more the beast will follow your direction on its own. Creatures will have both single and multiplayer aspects. You go on Creature Quests, Creature Battles, even a dance mini-game. The DS version of B&W will use the touch screen as your "Hand of God" letting you punish or pleasure your beast.

Also for the PSP is a story that parallels The Advent Trilogy. Advent Shadow follows a mercenary pilot in a third-person action adventure that throws your character into the middle of an invasion. Your character soon finds herself joining forces with Gideon Wyeth, the hero from the first Advent game. You and various characters from the Advent series will participate in high-speed chases, aerial dog fights, tank battles, melee combat and acrobatic platform gameplay all set in massive, destructible environments. The story of your character overlaps well with the world and story created by famed Sci-Fi writer, Orson Scott Card.

Zombies invade New York City and the PSP with Infected. Your mission is to survive the hordes of infected creatures that have started sprouting out around NYC. To do this, you will arm yourself with everything from chainsaws, to double guns in a blood-filled, gory game where anybody can be your enemy. Your character is a rookie cop who is infected by the virus early in the epidemic ... but for some reason you are immune. Using the PSP's Wi-Fi, you can "infect" other people's PSP's like viruses with your personally created avatar in Chain Infection mode. This one looks to be filled with fast, furious and blood-drenched action and lands on the PSP right before Halloween 2005.

Look for all of these Majesco portable titles as well as their reviews throughout 2005.

J.R. Nip aka Chris Meyer

GameVortex PSIllustrated TeamPS2