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Wednesday, September 20, 2000

Party! Party! Party!

Posted By on Wed, Sep 20, 2000 at 12:00 AM

This is a dream: Gamers alike have yearned for a system that would deliver a multiplayer, party punch — taking the humdrum of singles night to a more intoxicating level. That is the authority of Sega’s blazing Dreamcast.

First, automatic transmission is provided in Infogrames’ phenomenally pleasant surprise, Wacky Races. Dick Dastardly, Penelope Pitstop, Peter Perfect and ruthless mutt Muttley are revived in this beautifully rendered racing delight, using revolutionary, cell-shading technology (a must-see for eye-candy hounds). Like Super Mario Kart, this is a necessity at all four-player party scenes. Eleven vehicles, 22 tracks and elementary gameplay controls are the joys of Races, so fulfill your Cartoon Network addiction with interactivity.

More astonishment comes from Acclaim’s seemingly adolescent Fur Fighters — but don’t judge a game by its linticular, three-dimensional cover. Humorous animation, pure-breed action and monstrous levels are some of this shooter’s more enduring qualities. Playing solo can be amusing in this third-person adventure (similar to Syphon Filter, but with zoo-compliant stars), but true adversity and hours of competitive, head-to-head slaughter are only a toggle away in the “Fluffmatch” option. Here, change camera angles to first-person and engage in shotgun warfare.

Finally, Capcom’s long-awaited sequel, Power Stone 2, is yet another persuasive 4-player romp. Awesome interactive, multitiered stages (like a sinking submarine crashing into icebergs), truly original battle modes allowing the use of 120 different weapons (flamethrowers, gun turrets, hovercrafts and umbrellas being just a sampling) and unique characters add up to quite an engaging fighter. Though, per the poor rating above, Stone 2 is short on gameplay. After only 30 minutes, most hard-kickers will be able to pound through this game’s lackluster array of just six levels.

All recommended, all action-packed, all guaranteed to entertain even the most sleepless game zombie — and all on the indelibly effulgent, 128-bit Dreamcast machine.

Jon M. Gibson writes about video games for the Metro Times. E-mail letters@metrotimes.com.

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