The Rabies Blog

Xbox 360 community-friendly blog

List of upcoming Arcade titles

Next week’s Arcade Wednesday offerings will actually hit LIVE on Tuesday with the Fall Dashboard Update in the form of discounted Arcade Hits.

As mentioned in my previous post, gamers will now have a chance to take advantage of the permanent price cuts on some of Arcade’s best titles including: Bankshot Billiards 2, Lumines LIVE (discounted to 800 Microsoft Points each), Marble Blast Ultra, Small Arms and Zuma Deluxe (discounted to 400 Microsoft Points each).

Microsoft has also revealed a number of titles due to reach Arcade over the coming weeks, some of which have been blogged here in the past. The current list includes:

Arkadian Warriors (Sierra Online) – Gamers can play as one of three heroic shape-shifting warriors embarking on a trek of epic proportions to release the Land of Arkadia from the evil Gorgon’s stony gaze. An original title on Xbox LIVE Arcade, Arkadian Warriors features treacherous dungeons where cooperative hack-and-slash role-playing action enhances a deep single-player storyline. The game includes a robust LIVE-enabled cooperative multiplayer mode for two players online or on the same console.

Brain Challenge (Gameloft) – An entertaining brain training program, Brain Challenge boosts brain activity and helps players develop stress-management skills thanks to a wide variety of games. A personal coach helps players develop their abilities in several areas of cognitive function, including logic, math, memory and visual thinking, in a fun and entertaining way.

GripShift (Sidhe Interactive) – Through a mix of sky-high platforming and stunt driving, GripShift combines automotive and puzzle-solving skills across 120 challenge levels, 25 rubber-burning racetracks and 20 deadly Deathmatch arenas. Gamers can zoom to victory with four players over Xbox LIVE or race solo, all while enjoying a customizable music experience.

N+ (Slick Entertainment and Metanet Software Inc.) – Gamers can play as an acrobatic ninja in this addictive action-puzzle platformer. N+ features inadvertently homicidal robots, stylish graphics, a level editor and intense multiplayer awesomeness.

Omega Five (Hudson Entertainment) – Omega Five is a next-gen, high-definition shooter with awe-inspiring graphics. Gamers can fly through dangerous 3-D environments in this side-scroller and do battle with enemies that come at them from all sides, even the background. Omega Five comes to Xbox LIVE Arcade this winter.

Poker Smash (Void Star Creations) – Players will experience a whole new puzzle game with a poker twist as Poker Smash delivers stunning visuals and radical features such as super-slow motion and card-blasting bombs. Gamers should get ready for a fast-paced innovative game with amazing HD graphics and a custom soundtrack that will blow them away!

Rez HD (Q Entertainment) – The psychedelic, cult-classic shooter created by Tetsuya Mizuguchi, Rez HD makes its way onto Xbox LIVE Arcade early next year. A frenetic, wire-frame adventure backed by industrial beats, the story of Rez HD takes players deep into the world’s computer network, where they must hack the system, alter the visual output and take over the music, creating their own rhythms and eye candy as they dig deeper into the cyberworld.

Sensible World of Soccer (Codemasters) – The game that inspired a generation, Sensible World of Soccer lets players experience both the classic and modern HD version. With multiple play modes, they can play a quick game, start a career mode, manage a team or take part in their own Champions league.

More detailed information on these games will be made available at http://www.xbox.com/ in the very near future.

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November 30, 2007 Posted by | Game Companies, Games, Xbox LIVE | Leave a comment

New Fall Dashboard Update features revealed

Microsoft has confirmed a sizeable list of new features that gamers will be able to enjoy when the Fall Dashboard Update hits consoles next Tuesday, December 4th. While this doesn’t include every new improvement included in the update, the following list is pretty impressive in and of itself:

Downloads:

Xbox Originals – With this new service, announced on Nov. 13, consumers can download-to-own full original Xbox games that were previously only available at retail. The digital shelves will always be stocked with classic titles, such as Crash Bandicoot: Wrath of Cortex, Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge, Halo, Fable, Fuzion Frenzy, Psychonauts, and more as the catalogue grows over time, at 1200 Microsoft Points per game.

Xbox LIVE Arcade Hits – On Xbox LIVE Arcade, the Arcade Hits program kicks off where some of the best selling Xbox LIVE Arcade games will become available at permanently reduced prices, making it easier than ever for everyone to build a library of downloadable games! The first games to become Arcade Hits will be Bankshot Billiards 2 and Lumines LIVE, which will be available for 800 Microsoft Points each, and Marble Blast Ultra, Small Arms and Zuma Deluxe, which will be available for 400 Microsoft Points each.

News, Information and Community:

Inside Xbox – A new direct feed brings current news straight from Xbox.com into the Xbox LIVE Dashboard providing members an easy, predictable entry point where they can discover what’s new in: game releases, events, and Xbox LIVE Marketplace offers.

Enhanced online profile – Members interested in sharing a few more details about themselves will have the option to go beyond their motto and further personalize their profile with an expanded bio. The extended bios will be visible to “Friends Only” or the entire Xbox LIVE community.

Expanded Friends List access – A quick and easy way for gamers to expand their personal community on Xbox LIVE, members will be able to see the Friends Lists of other Xbox LIVE members, boosting their social networking experience on the service.

More Control:

Enhanced Parental Controls – Family Timer, a strong and flexible new addition to the Xbox 360 Family Settings, enables parents to set the amount of time their Xbox 360 can be used on a per-day or per-week basis by their children or other members of the household.

New video features – The convenience of full-screen movie previews and enhanced video codec support further expand the options when it comes to the Xbox 360 entertainment experience.

Easy-to-use navigation features – With several noteworthy changes in the Xbox LIVE Dashboard, from the new Game Store button to the Video Store button to enhanced visuals and descriptions in the video library, Xbox LIVE members can find what they want, when they want it.

The full list of included features and enhancements will be made available at http://www.xbox.com/live when the Update launches on December 4th.

November 30, 2007 Posted by | Console, Game Companies, Games, Gaming websites, Xbox LIVE | 2 Comments

More Atari classics headed to Arcade

Following the debut of Asteroids and Asteroids Deluxe on Xbox LIVE Arcade this week, Atari has announced that they will be releasing another batch of titles from their classic library of yesteryear hits this holiday season.

Gamers can expect to see updated versions of Battlezone, Warlords and (my personal favorite) Tempest over the next month or so as Atari digs out some of their best games from the golden years of the upright machine.

All three games will feature updated HD graphics along with an Emulation Mode for those who prefer a more classic style. Additionally, both Battlezone and Warlords have been fitted with multiplayer modes and Xbox LIVE Camera support.

November 29, 2007 Posted by | Game Companies, Games, Xbox LIVE | 1 Comment

First details of Fall Dashboard Update revealed

Microsoft has revealed the first details of the Fall Dashboard Update with their announcement that, beginning on December 4th (the scheduled release date for the Update) LIVE members will have the ability to browse Friends Lists of other members right from the Dashboard.

By expanding this network of Friends, gamers will be able to send Friend Requests, messages, game invites and compare games with their friend’s friends. Xbox LIVE is such a friendly place!

One thing to note, when the Dashboard Update launches, Friends List sharing will be active by default. Anyone wishing to keep their Friends List private will need to change their settings by performing the following steps:

Log in to www.xbox.com/fof and select one of the three sharing options available for your Gamertag:

Everyone (only available to members 18 and older)

Friends only (available to members 13 and older)

Blocked (available to all members, and automatic for anyone under the age of 13)

I’ll be sure to pass along more information on the Fall Update as soon as it becomes available.

November 26, 2007 Posted by | Xbox LIVE | Leave a comment

College Hoops 2K8 developer interview

I recently had a chance to sit in on a conference call with some of the development team at 2K Sports for an interview about their new College Hoops 2K8. What’s amazing is the amount of time and effort these guys put in each year in order to produce the game. With the overall amount of teams, players and arenas that are involved in collegiate sports, you can’t help but be impressed at the job their development team does to put it all together.

If you’re interested in checking out the article, head over to Totally360 and check it out.

November 25, 2007 Posted by | Game Companies, Games, Interviews | 1 Comment

Hands on – Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock

I’ve spent a good deal of time with GH III one over the past few weeks and I’m happy to say that the game possesses the same obsessive, addictive traits as the earlier Guitar Hero titles.

The new wireless Gibson Les Paul controller performs perfectly, the new Guitar Battle and Battle Mode features are a fantastic addition and the tunes they included with the game cover several decades and genres of rock.

The only real criticism I have is the online feature. There seems to be a real connectivity issue going on when trying to get into player and ranked matches that proves to be extememly frustrating. The matches that I have been able to play were great, but the amount of time spent to get into a match just isn’t worth it. Hopefully, Neversoft will get this problem addressed sooner than later so the game can reach its full potential.

If you’d like to read my full review of Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock, just head over to Totally360 and check it out.

November 22, 2007 Posted by | Games, Review | 2 Comments

Happy 5ifth birthday Xbox LIVE

Over the past 5 years, Xbox LIVE has grown from an “interesting concept” to the benchmark for online success. With more than 8,000,000 members and the best combination of online play and downloadable content, we’ve all got something to celebrate!

November 20, 2007 Posted by | Console, Xbox LIVE | Leave a comment

Mass Effect hits stores today

Just wanted to post a quick reminder that Mass Effect comes out today. All of the questions regarding just how good this game really is should be answered shortly…

Drop a line if you’ve had a chance to play it.

November 20, 2007 Posted by | Games | Leave a comment

New Halo 3 maps coming in December

On December 11th, Bungie Studios will release the first content expansion for Halo 3 with the debut of the Heroic Map Pack.

For 800 Microsoft Points, the new map pack will contain the following three multiplayer maps:

Standoff: A symmetrical valley with entrenched bases and fields of boulders. Ideal for mid-sized objective and Slayer game types.

Rat’s Nest: An “indoor vehicle paradise” with large labyrinth-like passages. Ideal for large team battles.

Foundry: A huge, open industrial warehouse built with Forge in mind. Players can add stairways, walls, bridges and tunnels as they fine-tune this map to their specifications.

In line with Bungie’s history of map releases, the Heroic Map Pack will eventually become a free download in Spring 2008 as they get primed to release their next set of maps.

November 19, 2007 Posted by | Games, Xbox LIVE | Leave a comment

Rock Band downloadable tunes revealed

With the release of Rock Band just around the corner, Harmonix and MTV Games have recently released the schedule of downloadable songs that will appear on Xbox LIVE Marketplace. The game itself will ship with an impressive catalogue of tunes to begin with, but it’s always nice to have something to look forward to:

Week of November 20, 2007: (160 Microsoft Points per track and 440 per pack for Xbox 360)

Metallica Pack
“Ride the Lightning” – Metallica
“Blackened” – Metallica
“And Justice for All” – Metallica

The Police Pack
“Can’t Stand Losing You” – The Police
“Synchronicity II” – The Police
“Roxanne” – The Police

Queens of the Stone Age Pack
“3’s and 7’s” – Queens of the Stone Age
“Little Sister” – Queens of the Stone Age
“Sick Sick Sick” – Queens of the Stone Age

Individual Tracks:

“Fortunate Son” as made famous by Creedence Clearwater Revival *
“Juke Box Hero” as made famous by Foreigner *
“Bang a Gong (Get It On)” as made famous by T-Rex *
“My Sharona” as made famous by The Knack *
“Cherry Bomb” as made famous by The Runaways *
“Joker & The Thief”- Wolfmother

Week of November 27, 2007: (160 Microsoft Points per track and 440 per pack for Xbox 360)

David Bowie Pack
“Moonage Daydream” – David Bowie
“Heroes” as made famous by David Bowie *
“Queen Bitch” as made famous by David Bowie *

Week of December 4, 2007: (160 Microsoft Points per track and 440 per pack for Xbox 360)

Black Sabbath Pack
“N.I.B.” as made famous by Black Sabbath *
“Sweet Leaf” as made famous by Black Sabbath *
“War Pigs” as made famous by Black Sabbath *

Week of December 11, 2007: (160 Microsoft Points per track and 440 per pack for Xbox 360)

Punk Pack:
“Rockaway Beach” – Ramones
“I Fought the Law” – The Clash
“Ever Fallen In Love” as made famous by Buzzcocks *

Week of December 18, 2007: (160 Microsoft Points for Xbox 360)
“My Iron Lung” – Radiohead
“Buddy Holly” – Weezer
“Brass in Pocket” as made famous by Pretenders *

* This is a cover version of a song made famous by the artist indicated. All others are original master recordings.

November 16, 2007 Posted by | Games, Xbox LIVE | Leave a comment

Hands on – Scene It? Lights, Camera, Action

This past weekend, my family and I spent some quality gaming time with the new Scene It? Lights, Camera, Action (Microsoft Game Studios) and I have to say that, although it’s certainly not perfect, it is a very good game.

To start with, the game features an impressive amount of media – in the form of video, audio and stills – from a wide variety of movies spanning more than 5 decades. Movies like The Wild One, Saving Private Ryan, Footloose, The Devil Wears Prada and more offer a true test of your film trivia skills. Not all of the questions posed in Scene It? are based on clips however, as the game is broken down into several different puzzle types including Credit Role (guess the film from the movie credits), Anagrams (unscramble the movie title) Pictograms (figure out the answer from clues within the picture) and more. Each puzzle type contains only 5 questions and each round of gameplay features 3 to 5 puzzles each, which really keeps the game feeling fresh throughout the match.

Scene It? offers 3 game modes to choose from: Short Play (3 puzzles per round), Long Play (5 puzzles per round) and Party Play (never ending). Both the Short and Long Play modes are great for small groups who want to determine a winner at the end of each match – and unlock some Achievements along the way – while Party Play is really designed for players to jump in and out of the game with no true winner. Regardless of which mode you choose, players need to answer trivia questions in order to score. A countdown points-timer begins as soon as a question is presented so, the sooner a player enters their answer, the more points they earn if they’re correct. Being quick can result in some impressive scores early but can work against you in later rounds since incorrect answers will cost you those same high points.

Packaged with Scene It? are 4 of the new Xbox 360 Big Button Pads, the tool with which players submit their answers and, without a doubt, the most conversation-generating aspect of the game…

The new Big Button Pad controllers utilize infrared wireless communication similar to most television remote controls. Included in the package is a USB infrared receiver which plugs into the Xbox 360 and delivers the signal. Once placed in a good line-of-site area, such as on top of your television or monitor, the receiver delivers the signal without a problem. Each controller has its own unique Big Button color to keep them from getting mixed up during play, as well as A, B, X, Y ,Start, Back and Guide buttons. While the layout certainly isn’t ideal for a frag-fest evening, it feels very comfortable for Scene It?

On the downside, I did notice some questions repeated after only a few matches. I’ve no doubt that this is due to the true random nature of the way the game generates questions, but I still was surprised to see it happen so soon. One other thing to take note of is the age group of potential players. The game carries a “T” rating due to the nature of some of the material contained within the movie clips. The disclaimer should also include the “I won’t be too interested” descriptor as well. As an example, my kids are 8 and 12 years old. The good majority of questions that we faced were from movies that they had never even seen. It didn’t take too long before me and my wife were looking at two abandoned controllers as our kids left the room discouraged and grumpy. Of course, my wife also left the room discouraged and grumpy but this was due to my having totally dominated in the game. She just can’t accept the fact that I’m a genius! Anyway….back to point… Scene It? Lights, Camera, Action is a great game for adults and older teens, but will probably bore the younger ones in the family.

With its wide variety of trivia and the cool new Big Button Pad, Scene It? Lights, Camera, Action is an ideal activity addition for your next house party.

GAME RATING: 8 out of 10

November 13, 2007 Posted by | Games, Review | 5 Comments

Mass Effect events announced

With the long awaited arrival date of Mass Effect finally within sight, Microsoft, Yahoo! and the SCI FI Channel are teaming up to create “Mass Hysteria” with some very cool special events.

For starters, Microsoft has launched a brand new Mass Effect micro-site on Xbox.com. The micro-site, www.xbox.com/masseffect, features a slew of Mass Effect content including the latest news and events on the game, screenshots, special promotional items and the Mass Effect Original Game Soundtrack, now available for presale and at retailers on November 20th.

The celebration continues tomorrow (November 8th) when Yahoo! debuts the exclusive television trailer for Mass Effect at http://games.yahoo.com/.

On Monday, Nov. 12, the SCI FI Channel and Microsoft will premier the brand new, two-hour extended episode of “Battlestar Galactica: Razor” in select movie theaters. Attendees of the Seattle premier will have the opportunity to meet Battlestar Galactica’s “Apollo” Jamie Bamber as well as show creator and executive producer Ronald D. Moore.

And finally, on launch-day Tuesday, Nov. 20, the SCI FI Channel will debut their 30-minute special entitled “Sci vs. Fi: Mass Effect” at 11 p.m. Eastern and Pacific. The special will feature some great, in-depth information about the game, exclusive interviews and exciting behind-the scenes footage. Fans can also visit www.scifi.com/masseffect beginning November 13th to register for a chance to win a limited collector’s edition of Mass Effect and to view the complete broadcast schedule for the special.

More information on Mass Effect is available at http://masseffect.bioware.com/.

November 7, 2007 Posted by | Game Companies, Games, Gaming websites | Leave a comment