The season of hot holiday titles continues with XBLâ€™s Summer of Arcade. This weekâ€™s titles give you water splashing, superstar wrestling, ball whacking, bubble popping fun, which just about sums up what the summer should be doesnâ€™t it? Just need a slush puppy to make it arcade heaven. Enjoy!
Hydro Thunder Hurricane â€“ 1200MP
Boost your way around this lavish looking aquatic racing game! Based on the arcade classic, this is a rocket-power boat thrill ride full of hidden surprises and plenty of unlockables. Choose from Normal, Pro and crazily fast Expert classes of boats, each with customizable skins and zoom your way through 8 courses including the sewers of Paris and a giant indoor Japanese water stadium (if only this really existed)! There are four different modes of game play including race, championship, ring master and gauntlet (crashing waves and exploding barrels resulting in carnage) plus you can race up to four players locally (split screen) or up to 8 online. Not the best racing game ever made but it has at its core a true arcade spirit that will definitely raise the temperature of racing fans, despite the gallons of cold water! For the GGUK review: Hydro Thunder Hurricane Review
Elsewhere to buy:
Lord of the Rings: Conquest- Â£14.99
Putting you at the heart of the action during some of the most memorable battles from the much loved books, LOTR:C is essentially a button mashing tumult between good and evil. With the scenery directly imported from New Zealand plus lots of narrative from LOTR star Hugo Weaving and cut scenes taken from the movie trilogy combined with an excellent music score means it looks and feels dramatically epic. You can choose from the War of the Ring campaign and play as a warrior, archer, mage or scout (each with their own special characteristics) as you relive every thrilling moment of defeating evil or for those of you who prefer the darker side of life, thereâ€™s the option of playing the Rise of Sauron campaign where poor ole Frodo Baggins fails to destroy the Ring, leaving you to sweep over Middle Earth, destroying everything in your path and laughing maniacally as Legolas takes a pounding! The single player campaign can be a real tough slog so Iâ€™d suggest forming your own fellowship and heading over to the online multiplayer campaigns for more satisfying massacre action!
SmackDown Vs Raw 2008 – Â£14.99 and SmackDown Vs Raw 2009 – Â£19.99
SDVR 2008 lines up 50 of wrestlingâ€™s biggest superstars, each with their own abilities and finishing moves. Become a legend with some fantastic wrestling moves with added bonuses on offer if your character does something that theyâ€™re well known for in the ring, plus youâ€™re also aided by a weapon wheel where you can use tables, chairs and the odd guitar thrown in by the crowd! Living the whole wrestling life isnâ€™t easy but here itâ€™s made impossible â€“ which resulted in complaints from fans against SDVR 2008 regarding the frustrating 24/7 mode which combined the single player story and manager game into one nasty, messy affair â€“ hire story writers, handle salaries, rest and recuperate if youâ€™ve got injuries but donâ€™t forget to keep fighting all the time. In SDVR 2009, they scrapped the 24/7 mode and concentrated on creating a lengthy action packed career mode, complete with melodramatic entrances. The â€™Create a Superstarâ€™ element in both games is amazing and great fun (go as pretty or grotesque as you like) whilst the â€˜Create a Finisherâ€™ means you can customize and preview your final onslaught to be as outstandingly brutal, long and jazzy as you wish. SDVR 2009 concentrates more on the action of wrestling without all the nonsense that accompanied it in the 2008 game. If youâ€™re a total wrestling nut, I suppose you could get both which offer amazingly realistic wrestling characters but I reckon thereâ€™s more pleasure and to be had in the 2009 version, which should also appeal to the average gamer as well. As GGUK referee, the winner of this bout is SmackDown Vs Raw 2009!
Add-Ons now and thereâ€™s a heady mixture of fantastical, historical and futuristic adventure and sport:
Clash of the Titans
Athenaâ€™s Request Quest Pack â€“ 160MP
Piggy in the middle between man and the Gods, Perseus has yet more quests on his hands. This time heâ€™s got to save his family by defeating monsters that are attacking his village whilst fulfilling a request from the goddess of war, civilization, wisdom, strength, strategy, crafts, justice and skill, aka Athena. On offer are rare gift items and new subweapons in these two new quests entitled â€œA Bird in Handâ€ and â€œSongs of Enchantmentâ€.
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11
So there doesnâ€™t seem to be as many people crying out â€œI am Tiger Woodsâ€ nowadaysâ€¦. Teach the tiger a lesson and beat him at his own game on a variety of new courses!
Championship Pack â€“ 400MP
Ranked number eleven on the USAâ€™s best 100 public courses, Spyglass Hill is known for having some of the most taxing holes on the tour. Cog Hillâ€™s two-tiered green thatâ€™s surrounded by deep bunkers will sort the greats from the good. Can you handle the pressure and become a golfing legend?
The TPC Blue Monster at Doral â€“ 400MP
Long fairways, undulating greens, a deep Bermuda rough and a unique assortment of water hazards are going to ruin this Miami adventure for you if youâ€™re not on the top of your game. Stamina, strength and super accuracy are the order of the day.
The Predator â€“ 400MP
For those of you who have worked really hard to get a decent score on TW11 and want it to remain that way, avoid this course at all costs â€“ unless you actually are Tiger Woods and even then youâ€™ll have to be pretty good to get round this fantasy jungle toughie. It looks beautiful but is ridiculously hard. Great if you fancy a challenge!
North America Pack â€“ 400MP
Any signature hole whose nickname is â€œThe Devilâ€™s Cauldronâ€ means youâ€™re in for a challenging game and the Banff course offers just that. Also included in this pack is Bay Hill, home of the Arnold Palmer Invitational, which attracts the worldâ€™s top professional golfers and that Mr. Woods has won 6 times.
Carolinas Pack â€“ 560MP
Harbour Town and Pinehurst are two of Carolinaâ€™s most beautiful and demanding courses. At the 71 par Harbour Town course remember that Bermuda shorts and a collared shirt must be worn as you head down to the signature 478 yard hole 18. Course two in this pack was established in 1895. Head to the historic Pinehurst course for rolling terrain and tree-lined fairways for a little slice of golfing heaven.
Transformers: War for Cybertron â€“ 800MP
Map and Character Pack #1
Two multiplayer combat maps â€œHavocâ€ and â€œFortressâ€ are included in this pack, plus two new Escalation mode maps; â€œDistrictâ€ where you fight the Autobots and â€œForsakenâ€ where youâ€™re up against the Decepticons. Also on offer are brand new â€œScattershotâ€, â€œOnslaughtâ€ â€œDemolishorâ€, â€œShockwaveâ€ and â€œJazzâ€ characters who are all armed and ready for civil war.
Lost Planet 2
Rush Arena â€“ 240MP
Never a more aptly titled add-on! Return to E.D.N III but ignore any story as this is all about fighting the gigantic bosses that appear in the game including the big bad final boss Over-G in the quickest possible time! Energy guns at the ready!
Finally, Indie Games and this week itâ€™s like taking a trip down memory lane. Ah, do you remember the good ole 8-bit days?
Junior Street Ninja â€“ 80MP
Bringing back happy memories of â€œAlex Kidd in Shinobi Worldâ€, Jr. Street Ninja kicks his way onto the GGUK Indie Game list this week. Jr. is working hard on his open combat skills to earn the title of â€œfirst bornâ€ in this 2D platformer. Prove you have the dexterity and intelligence to pass the tests and join the fighting spy family in this colourful and fast title with authentic Asian soundtrack.
Spring Up Harmony â€“ 240MP
Claiming to be a happy union between â€œBreakoutâ€ and â€œPachinkoâ€ (I would also add â€œPeggleâ€ onto that list) this 2D puzzle game definitely has the addictive factor built in. Catch the primary coloured blocks and jewels that you knock out of the sky by firing a ball of the same colour into them from a variety of angles. Easier said than done, as there are swinging platforms, fans and other obstacles plus gravity itself to contend with. Using physics and skill will get you through the 30 challenging yet fun levels plus you can also play split screen multiplayer. This title will remind you of so many other puzzle games when youâ€™re playing and is a must for puzzle fans.
Gumzoobo! â€“ 80MP
Not sure what the developers were on when they came up with a cast of characters including Bupper the Seal, Froofy the Tortoise, Clavis the Toad and Cheekeze the Penguin but for me, it works! Join forces with the crazy cute gang in order to rid their retro style platform home of robots by shooting bubbles and encapsulating them then popping the bubbles in true â€œBubble Bobbleâ€ arcade style! And the similarity to B&B doesnâ€™t end there; there are over 100 levels to battle through with different types of gum and special items to collect. A great choice for fans who remember B&B or a brilliant title for your little ones plus friends to play during the summer holidays as the 4 co-op mode works really well. This is a bargain.
Sunny smiles all round I hope? Remember that if you download at least 3 of the titles on offer, youâ€™ll get 400MP back whereas if you download all five titles included in the Arcade by August 31st, Microsoft will give you a whopping 1200MP back to spend on more lovely arcade goodies â€“ ooooohh, I like it!