At Thrillville, players are invited to enjoy every aspect of their theme park, from building roller coasters to entertaining guests. Playing alone, gamers must ensure the survival of Uncle Mortimer's Thrillville by completing over 100 missions. Players must build from the ground up, constructing a total of five parks that feature three themed areas. Each area can be filled with over 100 attractions, 75 ride types, and 15 environments including "Pirates Gone Wild" and "Gold Rush."
Not just for looks, the midway games offer a break from the tycoon aspects of Thrillville by presenting one to four-player mini-activities such as bumper cars and saucer soccer. Another multiplayer activity includes swapping track and coaster designs with the wireless Ad-hoc connection. Keeping guests happy plays a major role in the overall success of a park, and players can sustain their customer's contentment by chatting and flirting with them, or by challenging patrons to one of the midway games. ~ Gracie Leach, All Game Guide
Konami's genre-founding dance sim series returns to Xbox with this fourth edition of Ultramix. Players score points by following onscreen directions in time to the music. While a gamepad will work, the best way to enjoy the game is with a dance mat controller, which has players tapping their feet to the beat. Like earlier versions, Dance Dance Revolution Ultramix 4 is playable over the Xbox Live online service, allowing song downloads, content uploads, and head-to-head challenges between dance-happy gamers across the country. The game includes beginner-friendly levels, difficult challenges for the die-hard DDR fan, and improvements for existing modes such as "Quest," "Party," and "Jukebox." Players may alter steps and backgrounds in "Edit" mode, and Dance Dance Revolution Ultramix 4 is compatible with the downloadable song packs for previous Ultramix titles. ~ All Game Guide
Xyanide is a sci-fi shooter inspired by classic arcade games such as Gradius and R-Type. Rather than adopt a side-scrolling perspective, however, the game employs a combination of 3D graphics and 2D movement, allowing for a more cinematic feel. The object is to defeat a sinister witch named Aguira, who has conjured an army of evil from the dark recesses of her mind. Players must battle through six deadly environments filled with more than 100 waves of enemy vessels and creatures.
While the game follows the familiar shooter template of acquiring power-ups and engaging in both mid- and end-level boss fights, Xyanide offers a new twist with its mutation element. As players advance through hostile space, their ship's firing rate, damage capabilities, and power-up effects can mutate into faster or stronger versions. Other notable design choices include dual analog support for maneuvering and firing weapons, five difficulty options, and branching levels with multiple paths to victory. ~ Scott Alan Marriott, All Game Guide
After dominating the action-based football scene for nearly 15 years, EA Sports trades in the pigskin for a clipboard with NFL Head Coach. The first strategy-oriented football game on home consoles, NFL Head Coach utilizes the developer's Madden NFL graphics engine to simulate the daily trials and tribulations of a user-created coach. After interviewing for a position with a favorite NFL team, players will be expected to assemble a winning program through drafts, trades, free agency, and more. Before each game, playbooks must be examined and modified, team strategies must be set, and rival teams must be analyzed to expose potential weaknesses. Coaches will also need to motivate their star athletes to perform to the best of their abilities, meet with agents and staff members, and oversee training camp. The goal is to become a Hall of Fame head coach by fulfilling team objectives in a career spanning 30 seasons. ~ Scott Alan Marriott, All Game Guide
Full Spectrum Warrior: Ten Hammers is a modern-day war simulation that incorporates authentic squad-based combat with real-time tactical maneuvers. As in its 2004 predecessor, Ten Hammers lets players assume the role of squad leader, issuing commands to multiple infantry squads through 12 levels of strategic action set within the fictitious Middle Eastern country of Zekistan. Although the Al-Afad regime was successfully ousted in the first game, players are charged with the task of restoring stability to a fragmented country that has several militias vying for power. Players are joined by a coalition of forces as they engage in urban warfare from inside the oil-rich city of Khardiman.
Each squad is outfitted with the latest in military weaponry, from grenade launchers to sniper rifles, but players can also call air strikes as well as command mechanized units like Bradley Tanks and Armored Humvees. The four-man squad can be splintered off into two-man "buddy teams" for added protection, and players now have the ability to enter interior locales to position snipers. Ten Hammers also lets players take control of an individual unit for precision shooting at specific targets. The Xbox version supports up to eight players in a choice of team-based scenarios, from destroying munitions and rescuing stranded soldiers to gaining strategic control of a monastery and disabling a radio communications tower. ~ Scott Alan Marriott, All Game Guide
Blazing Angels has players strapping into the cockpits of 42 authentic aircraft to fight in some of World War II's defining aerial battles. Cast in the role of a squadron commander, players and their wingmen will engage the enemy in Western Europe, across the Pacific Ocean, and over Pearl Harbor in a series of 18 missions. While special attention has been given to the look of each plane, from the P-51 Mustang and P-38 Lightning to the B-17 Flying Fortress and the British Spitfire, the action-oriented controls have been designed to be accessible for all skill levels. After conquering the skies in the solo campaign, players will be able to engage in dogfights and cooperative team play with up to 16 pilots via Xbox Live. ~ Scott Alan Marriott, All Game Guide
Gamers drive their virtual alter egos toward greatness, as the second generation of "people simulation" gets a life on consoles. Though it features the same charming style and real-world challenges, the Xbox version of Sims 2 has been customized for the console. As in the console ports of the original Sims game, there is more of a focus on the player's main character, and less on the neighborhood interactions as a whole. Along this line, the most obvious difference between the computer and console versions of Sims 2 may be in the way players control their characters. Instead of a point-and-click strategy game-styled interface, players take direct control of their console characters, "driving" them around the game world with the analog stick (as in a third-person RPG).
Other differences also allow players to concentrate on their individual console characters. Unlike characters in the PC version of the title, Xbox sims do not age or have children. Players still have great control over their characters' looks and lifestyles however. By choosing different "grandparent DNA," players can alter the look of their sim until it's just right. A new "fashion designer" feature allows players to create their own custom outfits from a wide selection of mix-and-match components. The console version also uses the Sims 2 aspiration system, which allows players to define their character's "life goal," and makes it easy to find everyday activities that help work toward it.
Other features are exclusive to the console versions of the game, such as personal interactions that blur out the background to concentrate exclusively on the involved sims, and a food creation system that challenges the players' creativity as well as the characters'. Characters can collect objects found all around the game world, from fruit off a tree to fish in an aquarium, and combine these as they see fit into a new meal. Some custom meals may produce desirable effects in those who consume them, while others may just make characters sick, so discovering and perfecting recipes can be an ongoing, profitable mini-game for those who are willing to experiment. ~ T.J. Deci, All Game Guide
The Kingdom Under Fire saga continues on Xbox, in this action-strategy prequel to 2004's Crusaders. Players can take command of their troops from afar, or ride to battle alongside them. Deployed archers or infantry can hold the line on one front, as the player's hero pushes forward on another. Kingdom Under Fire: Heroes offers seven new hero characters and more than 50 campaign missions, as well as customizable challenges and multiplayer competition over Xbox Live. New online features allow players to communicate more efficiently with voice chat, and multiplayer game modes include "Troop Battles," Hero Battles, and Observer. Cooperative play is also supported, on certain single-player maps. ~ All Game Guide
MechAssault makes its second appearance on Xbox, once again offering multiplayer gaming through the Xbox Live service. Players return to the 31st century to pilot heavily armed, 40-foot-tall walking assault vehicles in a war for the future of humankind. As the subtitle might suggest, MechAssault 2 is designed to offer a deeper, more engaging single-player campaign than the original, for "Lone Wolf" players. Online multiplayer gaming is fully supported as well however, with features to promote team strategy and competition with players all around the world, regardless of region. The MechAssault games are the Xbox offshoots of Microsoft's long-running MechWarrior series of PC games, based on the BattleTech universe of tabletop strategy games. ~ T.J. Deci, All Game Guide
Xbox gamers pilot giant robot attack vehicles in Tecmo's online-enabled makeover of the 1996 Sega Saturn game. Like the original, this Xbox version is set in a dismal future, where civilization has broken down and factions of surviving humans battle viciously for control of Earth's scarce remaining resources. Players take control of a renegade soldier who pilots a "High-MAC" mech, loaded with firepower and designed to take out tanks. Online play is supported through the Xbox Live service, where team work and tactics will be keys to victory. ~ All Game Guide