The Tuesday media recap. And on time this weekend, before most of you layabouts have bothered to crawl from beneath the feathery bliss of your Calvin Klein duvets (I wrote "duvet" instead of "comforter"; that makes me a "metrosexual"; time left before that moniker thankfully expires: 26 hours, 17 minutes).
First, video games, because as the holiday overindulgence season approaches, the games are practically pouring off the shipping ramps of major publishers. This week you'll want to look for Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. Singled out for top pick this week: although the much-ballyhooed convergence of games and film occurs with frightening regularity and often reprehensible results, Return of the King may mark the watershed event for games riding movie coattails: a great game based on a film expected to have immense popular appeal and rank well among respected movie critics. Available on PlayStation 2, Xbox and GameCube, though you'll likely want the GameCube or Xbox versions for that graphics edge. To split hairs, go Xbox with this one.
Next up, Castlevania: Lament of Innocence, exclusive to PlayStation 2. Nothing lamentable about this one; fans of the series will want to buy now. Action-adventure mavens otherwise occupied may delay, but if you own a PlayStation 2, likely you'll drop $50 for Castlevania sometime over the holidays or save a bit at a New Year sale.
Finally this week, SOCOM: U.S. Navy Seals II, also exclusive to PlayStation 2. This is a multiplayer experience, not highly recommended if you're in it only for the solo game. And if you don't already have the necessary accoutrement, it's not a game, it's a bloody — it's all fake blood in SOCOM of course; remember, it's only a game — investment: $50 for SOCOM; $40 for the modem/broadband network adapter; $40 for the voice-enabling headset (yes, you need it, really). Note the word "modem" in the network adapter description. Ignore that: if you don't have a broadband Internet connection, forget SOCOM. The good news is that the network adapter works with other online titles for PlayStation 2; and that whopping $40 for the headset gets you a quality piece of peripheral engineering, not the electronic trinket included with the first SOCOM title. Speaking of SOCOM the first, if you run out right now and pre-order SOCOM II before it ships about mid-week, you'll get a bonus disc containing a playable demo of the game. The original SOCOM had its share of detractors and technical problems: do not hesitate to try before you buy, especially if you'll need to eBay the family sterling to afford the headset and network adapter.