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Gaming Round Up for 2/3/07

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Gentlemen, Place Your Bets

EA Sports recently released its bet on the upcoming Super Bowl results, with Madden NFL 07 predicting the underdog Bears’ teeth won’t be sharp enough in its encounter with the Colts.

Based on an automated simulation, Madden 07 has the Colts taking home the Lombardi this year in an 11-point spread, 38-27. Hitting the Bears hard at the start of the game, the Colts lead 10-0 after the first quarter. While the Bears actually outscored the Colts in the second quarter (13-7 to make a halftime score of 17-13, Colts) and enjoyed a short lead following a first-strike, third-quarter touchdown, the team failed to continue such momentum in the second half as the Colts rallied back with three second-half TDs.

The simulation tagged Colts quarterback Peyton Manning and Bears running back Thomas Jones as the game’s MVPs.

Pokemon Explodes Yet Again in Japan

Just when people tend to forget that Pokemon exists, new releases of the IP-giant surface just to remind us of why we have “to catch them all.”

The Pokemon series, in total since its birth 10 years ago, has sold 155 million games through September 2006 and a recent announcement by Nintendo to hype its newest U.S. releases indicate 5 million units of Pokemon Diamond and Pearl have already been shipped to Japanese retailers. The games launched Sept. 28 in Japan and are scheduled to be unleashed in America on April 22.

The new titles will take place in the exotic Sinnoh region and through successful play in Pokemon Ranger, players will have access to an egg code that will hatch the water-type Pokemon Manaphy in the newest versions. By completing Pokemon Ranger’s story mode and capturing the said Pokemon’s egg, players can visit the official Manaphy Web page and obtain their code.

Homecourt demo hits home

Xbox 360 owners will be able to test the courts as EA Canada’s NBA Street Homecourt hit the Xbox Marketplace.

The demo features the game’s “Trick Remixer” and “Flight Control” game play mechanics in a sample battle between the Denver Nuggets and Detroit Pistons at the Venice Beach street court. The full game will be available Feb. 20 for the 360 and March 6 for the Playstation 3.

Win the Final Four, Take Home a New Ride

March Madness starts early thanks to 2K Sports, who recently announced its second annual Pontiac Virtual NCAA Final 4 Tournament.

The tournament pits players in every match-up of the actual NCAA tournament before it happens through Xbox Live play in College Hoops 2K7. The four finalists in the tournament will be invited to play the actual NCAA Men’s Final Four match-ups live in Atlanta (where this year’s Final Four will be held) for bragging rights and a new 2007 Pontiac G5 GT.

To qualify for entry, players must have a gold account on Microsoft’s Live service and complete 10 online, ranked games of College Hoops 2K7 on the Xbox or Xbox 360 by March 10. Qualified players can then register on the tournament’s official Web page. The top-ranked 192 registered contestants will advance to the full online tournament.

Mercenaries Sequel Finds Publisher

Although the title has been in the works almost immediately after its first effort in 2005, Pandemic Studios now has a confirmed publisher in Electronic Arts for its upcoming Mercenaries 2: World in Flames.

While no financial terms have been made public on the agreement, David DeMartini, vice president and general manager of EA Partners, noted the company is “thrilled to partner” with the studio.

The launch of the brand-new IP was published by LucasArts and went on to become a best-selling re-release in the United States. The Japanese version of the original title (and its “Best” reprint) was, coincidentally enough, handled by Electronic Arts.

EA Drops Icon Soundtrack Details

Rap and fisticuffs mend once again in March as the newest iteration of the gritty Def Jam fighting series makes its way to the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3.

Electronic Arts recently unleashed the in-game songs that will be featured in Def Jam: Icon – a game where the beat of the music will affect how players will fight opponents and avoid dangers in the game’s environment.

The licensed tracks will include tracks from Big Boi, E-40, Fat Joe, Ghostface, Jim Jones, Konkrete feat. Big Boi, Lil Jon, The Eastside Boys, Ludacris, M.O.P., Method Man & Redman, Sean Paul, T.I., The Game, Young Jeezy and Young Joc. While there are 29 tracks in total featured in game, players will be able to utilize MP3 song files on storage devices to implement their own flavor of music into the game.

The9 Continues Chinese WoW Responsibilities

Blizzard recently announced it has signed an agreement with The9 in order to operate its recent best-selling expansion, World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade, in China.

The company already maintains the original installment in the country, which features more than 3.5 million subscribers. Localization is currently underway and further details regarding the released will be announced at a later date. The9 will be responsible for providing community management, technical support and around-the-clock in-game service as well as distribution of game cards and physical hosting of the title on local servers.

The Dreamcast’s Last Hope?

RedSpotGame’s title Last Hope went on sale starting Friday. What’s so special about it? It marks the newest release for the oft-thought-dead Sega Dreamcast.

The game has no region protection according to the sales page on Play-Asia and can be had for the price of $39.99. Of course, the new title is another of Japan’s arcade shmup-turned-console game, which the system has enjoyed commercially in Japan for the past number of years.

The horizontal shooter relies on the use of rotating satellites, which players can rotate around the ship for protection from small projectiles and engage in eight different directions. The Dreamcast version will feature a 16-bit CD soundtrack, VMU support for saving and visuals, Dreamcast joy pad and arcade stick support, use of 64 channels of stereo, a high-res title screen, adjusted difficulties, explosion/particle effect reduction (for screen clarity), better hit detection and improved visualization of boss weak points.

A limited edition (only 500 pieces) will feature a multipack case for two CDs, adjusted spine card with handwritten numeration, a game CD with multicolor label print, 12-page color game manual, official soundtrack on vinyl-CD and a 4-page soundtrack booklet.

Sega does not license the title and the publisher warns the CD-ROM-based product may not work in Dreamcast systems manufactured after October 2000.

Atlus Announces Etrian Success

The Japanese must be happy with the Atlus effort Sekaiju no Meikyuu, as the company is reporting the title has nearly sold out in stores.

The RPG for the Nintendo DS is designed by Trauma Center director Kazuya Niinou and will be translated and released as Etrian Odyssey in North America. The title also has other game veterans to its credit including scenario writer Shigeo Komori of Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner fame and composer Yuzo Koshiro, most known for his work on Actraiser and Streets of Rage.

The title is scheduled for a May release in the United States. For more information on the title, see our preview.

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