Originally created 08/07/02

Three little titles for Game Boy Advance

This week, let's get small.

Two titles for Game Boy Advance and one for the still-popular Game Boy Color are on tap -- two winners and an also-ran.

Best of the trio is Mega Man Battle Network 2, featuring one of the oldest video game characters in captivity, the titanium terror, Mega Man.

This isn't your father's Mega Man, who was noted for his nonstop battles with a selection of weird bosses.

This latest iteration revolves around a gadget called the PET, for Personal Terminal. In Mega Man's world everybody has one, and they can be used for phone calls or e-mail, as a textbook or a newspaper and almost anything else you can imagine.

So what's the problem? Computer viruses. To combat the pesky viruses, people equip their PET Net Navi programs with Battle Chips. This electronic protection is called Virus Busting.

And that's where the game comes in. While you do play in the real world, the excitement comes in using Mega Man in the computer world to destroy the invading viruses, using Battle Chips. There are scores of the chips with different abilities.

Great graphics, excellent control and a fast pace make Mega Man Battle Network 2 a great choice. It's rated E, for ages 6 and up.

A close second is GT Advance 2 Rally Racing, from THQ.

GT Advance features a form of racing that isn't very popular in the United State - rallying. Rally races are run on public roads, usually in the middle of nowhere, and feature terrible conditions - mud, gravel, dust, sand, cliffs. If you shouldn't be driving on it, you'll find it in a rally.

There are tons of tracks, more than a dozen cars, plenty of adjustments for you to make to the racers, and even a "license" mode that puts you in specific cars for a series of tests against the clock.

You can also play as the co-driver, something unique to rallying. The co-driver keeps a written description of the track and yells commands to the driver as each corner comes up to let him know what to expect - gentle right, sharp left, left turn dropping off the face of the earth.

In two-player mode, you race against a friend.

Graphics are excellent, control is good after you practice for a while and you get a taste for a form of sport you won't see on television unless you have the Speed channel. It's rated E, for ages 6 and up.

Game Boy Color fans may have been waiting for a new Resident Evil title, but my guess is Resident Evil Gaiden, from Virgin Interactive and Capcom's Resident, isn't it.

In console form, the Resident Evil series, with its brilliant graphics and terrifying monsters populating beleaguered Raccoon City, has the power to really scare you. Resident Evil Gaiden is more likely to irritate you. That's not the same thing.

One problem is that the little Game Boy just doesn't have the computing power to create scary monsters. In fact, these particular creatures blend in with the surroundings so well that sometimes you don't even know they're there.

This version is played on a cruise ship. But where that could be exciting, in this case it's just boring and repetitive. The music is irritating, control is only adequate, and the 2-D graphics are downright blah.

I was not amused.

Resident Evil Gaiden is rated T, for ages 13 and up.

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