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GAMES TO WATCH

2/26/2001 02:00:00 AM Eastern

ATV Off-Road Fury


Platform: PlayStation2

Rating: T

Suggested Retail Price: $49.95

Available: Now

For off-road racing enthusiasts, or even couch-potato speed demons who love life on the edge without any of the risks, ATV Off-Road Fury will be an addictive delight.

The 3-D graphics of this title go a long way to validate the power of the new PS2 terminal. At times, the onscreen action creates sensations of motion that seem almost real. Thank heaven it's not, or some of these wipeouts would be permanent.

One of the first off-road racing titles developed around three- and four-wheeled motor bikes, the game can be played solo or with multiplayers.

Players start the game by selecting the driver, outfit, and style and color of vehicle to be raced. The action takes players through a variety of off-road environments from inside an off-road racing arena to a pastoral tree-strewn countryside, with a gamut of obstacles including train tracks with trains and telephone poles.

For those who like the sensation of flight, check out the jumps and explosions in this game, the experience can be momentarily unsettling.

Phantasy Star Online


Platform: Dreamcast

Rating: T

Suggested retail price: $49.95

Available: Now

Phantasy Star Online (PSO) is an example of the cutting-edge software that Sega envisioned carrying its Dreamcast platform through a field of powerful competitors.

Unfortunately for Sega, time and money ran out on the hardware end of the business, leaving this intriguing sci-fi fantasy role-playing game to compete with lame-duck status hanging over its head. Regardless, this should be a must-have title among Dreamcast enthusiasts.

PSO is designed for single-player offline gaming or up to four-player online gameplay. The story line is set on a distant solar system and centers on a galactic federation that has lost contact with colonists traveling to a new planet. The mission of each player is to find out what went wrong, encountering all manner of beasts along the way.

One of a series of new Dreamcast titles that let users take gameplay to the Internet, PSO allows players to interact with other Dreamcast owners tied into a main server through the 56K modem built into Dreamcast consoles—and online playing quality is where the game excels.

Players are encouraged to take the persona of a character who will interact with other players' characters to trade information and items, and then form gang-style teams to travel the strange onscreen world and defeat their enemies.

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