By Matthew Scott Hunter
‘Left 4 Dead 2’ (M)
A co-op sensation
Ever since they started moving faster than 0.01 mph, zombies have become the new A-list video game villains. They were effective enough shambling towards us in the “Resident Evil” games, but now they sprint — with just as much bloodlust, but significantly less rigor mortis. Survival horror is no longer about conserving your ammo, but rather, getting rid of your bullets as fast as you can, in the vain hope that they’ll slow down the latest wave of kamikaze corpses. It was this quality that made last year’s “Left 4 Dead” a frantic, co-op sensation. We didn’t have to wait very long for the sequel, but if we did, this one would’ve been well worth the wait.
“Left 4 Dead 2” plops four memorable characters down in the Deep South, where they have to survive long enough for rescue to arrive. And if Hurricane Katrina taught us anything, it’s that rescue in the Deep South doesn’t come fast enough. In the meantime, the zombies have learned a few new tricks since the last game. Some spit acid, and others hop on your shoulders and steer you towards trouble. Fortunately, our survivors have learned new tricks as well. Melee weapons have been added to the mix, because the only thing more satisfying than killing a zombie is killing a zombie with a chainsaw.
A lot of James Cameron fans have been worried that “Avatar” won’t be the sci-fi masterpiece they’ve been waiting 12 years for, and the video game tie-in isn’t going to do anything to assuage those fears. The game doesn’t follow the plot of the movie, but it introduces you to both playable sides of the central conflict. The blue-skinned Na’vi, with their primitive weapons and ride-able creatures are slightly more fun to play than the human soldiers, who are as generic as video game soldiers come, only with less user-friendly vehicles.
“Rogue Warrior” could be a five-star joke, but since paying $60 for one joke would be an outrage, it’s just a half-star game. It can be shockingly funny though. Enemy soldiers conveniently stand with their backs to you, begging for stealth kills. If you’re clumsy enough to reveal yourself, the bad guys will be sympathetic, usually giving you a few seconds to kill them before they fight back (except in one case, where the bad guy quickly shot an exploding barrel and killed himself). The profanity-saturated dialogue (delivered by none other than Mickey Rourke) is unintentionally hilarious, and the whole overpriced debacle is over in less than two hours.
“Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” gets converted into tiny building blocks in the latest “LEGO” version of “Indiana Jones.” Not content to base all of their content on the weakest movie, LucasArts has also revisited the original trilogy. But as it sometimes goes with LEGOS, the best pieces have already been used up, and you can’t make much with crappy leftovers. There’s finally a feature that allows you to build your own levels out of virtual LEGOS, but the interface is clunky, and there’s no online sharing, so what’s the point?