Holiday Showdown: DS vs. PSP
This holiday season is CRAZY packed with great handheld games. We sort through them all, so you don't have to. And yes, we DO declare a winner...
The holiday season is upon us. You know what that means. No, not giving the fruitcake that Aunt Phyllis gave to you last year back to her as her present this year...although, feel free to do that. No, it means that a flood of great games are coming our way for the Nintendo DS and Sony PSP. So we thought it would be a splendid idea to put together a little mini-guide talking about the games that are coming out for each system, as well as a little advice as to what system's really the best gift to give this year. Only one can come up a winner, so let's take a look at the ammunition and see how these big guns fire off against one another.
First, let's take a look at the forthcoming games. Mind you, we won't be talking about games that are already on shelves until the end of the article, when we compare the two systems. We're merely talking about what's coming out over the next month and a half as the Christmas season stomps forward.
Lumines II (Buena Vista Games)
This long-awaited sequel to last year's big-time puzzle hit promises more block-producing action than ever before, thanks to a variety of new skins, more crazy music, and two-player versus action that will keep players addicted for some time to come. The reasonable price tag ($29.99) doesn't hurt either.
Activision Hits Remixed (Activision)
Who wants to play Atari 2600 games all over again these days? A lot of retro players, apparently. This is an ideal collection for those who love quick, simple gaming, as this package includes 40+ Atari games, complete with an 80's soundtrack and Game Sharing options, so others can share in the joy of Pitfall and River Raid.
Sega Genesis Collection (Sega)
Everyone else is hopping on the classic game train, so why shouldn't Sega hop on a car and enjoy themselves? This Genesis game packages 25+ classic hits from the 16-bit system's heyday, including interviews with programmers and other fun trivia bits. "Genesis does...what Nintendon't."
SOCOM US Navy SEALs Fireteam Bravo 2 (SCEA)
Sony's back with another military-themed action game, this one featuring all new levels to get your team through and multiplayer options out the wazoo. This one looks to be a definite must-have for those who love their military action or don't mind blowing away a few pesky terrorists.
Mortal Kombat Deception: Unchained (Midway)
This portable take on last year's Deception fighting game offers lots of bloody fun on the go, including several fun mini-games and over 25+ fighters to choose from. And, yes, you can use fatalities all you like and splatter some blood across your PSP. Just don't let you mother see you.
EA Replay (Electronic Arts)
Sega isn't the only company living their Genesis glory days on the PSP. EA is also getting a piece with EA Replay, a fun collection that includes several classics such as Mutant League Football, Desert Strike, and the Road Rash games. Nothing says "Merry Christmas" more than a missile or a crowbar to the face. *sniff*
Gitaroo Man Lives! (Koei)
The PS2 classic lives on in this fun port to the PSP. Gitaroo Man must save the day from all kinds of musical dangers, using the power of his guitar and a rock-themed dog who knows his way around great music. This is one of the more addictive rhythm action games coming around, so don't miss it.
Metal Slug Anthology (SNK)
All seven Metal Slug games in one place, without having to get a big-ass Neo-Geo unit or plunk in a series of quarters? Pinch us, because we're dreaming! This piece of classic gaming fun features a variety of shoot-em-ups made popular in the arcade and on home consoles, and have options that can be tweaked to make the experience feel more like your own.
Sonic Rivals (Sega)
We haven't seen Sonic do any kind of racing action since playing Sonic R back on the Sega Saturn, so we're about due to do a few more laps with him. Rivals looks like a fast and furious racing game with numerous characters, shortcuts, and bonuses to discover, and should suit handheld lovers just fine. Sonic boom!
WWE Smackdown Vs. Raw 2007 (THQ)
Time to play the game! TIME TO PLAY THE GAAAAAAME! Various WWE wrestlers are selectable in this sequel, and can go through a series of modes on their quest to become the ultimate champion. The Create-A-Wrestler mode is a welcome feature that lets players implement themselves into the game. Get ready for...The Falcon!
Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops (Konami)
After tripping Acid two times through now, we're about due for a full-blown Metal Gear Solid action opus- and that's exactly what we're getting in Portable Ops. This game features an all new adventure with hours of stealth-fueled gameplay and multiplayer options galore. "SNAAAAAKE!"
Capcom Puzzle World (Capcom)
Capcom's already got a handful of classic gaming experiences out for the PSP, and here's another one to throw on the pile. This collection includes two key gems that are sure to please- the gem-stacking Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo, and the bubble-popping Buster Bros. Collection. Time to get playing!
Star Wars: Lethal Alliance (Ubisoft)
Last on the PSP list (and definitely not least) is this all-new Star Wars action experience, where you control two brand-new characters as they battle plenty of enemies popping up on the surface. Two-player co-op looks to be a good feature in this game...although we should give you this advice. "Let the wookie win." TRUST US.
Elite Beat Agents (Nintendo)
Seeing as how we couldn't get the original Ouendan released here in the US (it's too racy for some- go figure), Nintendo opted for this ultra-hip conversion instead, complete with a similar play style and an all new track list that will appeal to many audiences. This one looks to be surprisingly fun- we're still playing the demo, in fact. Come on, next week!
BomberMan Land Touch! (Atlus)
The first Bomberman release from Ubisoft was pretty good, but Land looks to be the amusement ride that long-time fans have been waiting for. Along with being able to challenge various single-player levels, this game will also feature multiplayer support, both local and over the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection. It's the bomb!
Yoshi's Island 2 (Nintendo)
Many consider Yoshi's Island one of the best platforming games ever made, and now they'll have a chance to experience more screaming-baby-Mario bliss. Players can now choose from different riders as they help Yoshi to complete his latest task, throwing eggs and doing other great tricks to keep him alive...and the kids happy. "Yoshi!"
Asphalt: Urban GT 2 (Ubisoft)
Although Asphalt: Urban GT isn't the greatest DS driving game ever made (you could pass through walls!), it is enjoyable, and the sequel looks to be even more so. Multiplayer racing, more cars and tracks, and the appearance of some Pussycat Dolls should make this game worth a few play-throughs.
Final Fantasy III (Square Enix)
And with the release of this latest Final Fantasy game, many RPG players are sure to be in bliss. For you see, this game has NEVER been released in the US before, making it a must-have on that reason alone. But an epic quest with numerous characters and other options should keep players going through this until next Christmas, at least.
Spiderman: Battle For New York (Activision)
This spiritual sequel to last year's Ultimate Spider-Man game looks to be a lot of fun. Players play as the Webbed Wonder as he battles all kinds of threats looking to turn New York into their own personal playground. The gameplay looks to follow a classic nature, and the presentation looks like it's ripped straight from the comic book pages. Excelsior!
Chibi-Robo: Park Patrol (Nintendo)
The plug and play little wonder is back for another adventure, helping to clean up the park and save the day in this fun little follow-up to this year's Chibi-Robo release for the GameCube. Extra wireless features and numerous levels make this an easy option for fans of the series.
Brain Boost: Beta and Gamma Wave (Majesco)
Those who can't get enough of thinking with their DS (and, yes, you can think with it) will probably love these new brain-challenging releases, featuring more puzzles than you can shake a stick at that will make you a smarter person. Or at least try to- there's some people that can't be helped.
Kirby: Squeak Squad (Nintendo)
For those who couldn't get enough of rolling Kirby around in Canvas Curse, here's the cure for what ails you! This new platforming adventure features Kirby at his best, stealing abilities and helping friends as he works to save his magical little world. This one looks like tons of fun.
Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin (Konami)
Last year's Dawn of Sorrow was a terrific game, but this year's Portrait of Ruin looks to take the cake and eat it, too. This year's version features the return of a whip-wielding character as he battles many terrors of the night- and day- with the help of a friend. Be sure to get the collector's edition package for $5 more- it's worth it!
And the winner is...