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Stocking stuffers for gamers

By ROBB GUIDO, Times Correspondent

© St. Petersburg Times, published November 29, 1999


There's sure to be a video game or two on more than a few kids' holiday wish lists. With a crowded field of titles, parents probably need a little help sorting it out.

Here are my choices for those trying to decide on that one special something:

Nintendo 64

Donkey Kong 64: This huge and beautiful adventure game should top everyone's wish list. You get five playable characters, each with special moves, and an utterly vast jungle world to explore. Nintendo boasts 100 hours of game play, and I believe it.

Mario Golf: You don't have to like golf to love this game from the developers of Hot Shots Golf for the PlayStation. Cute characters, putt-putt and some of the best graphics and sounds top off this perfected golf engine.

WWF Wrestlemania 2K: The biggest, brightest wrestling game yet is sure to please wrestling fans, even more than WCW Mayhem. It contains hundreds of moves.

Harvest Moon 64: The original Super Nintendo game comes to the N64. On a system devoid of many solid role-playing games, this one about a farmer fits the bill nicely.

NBA Courtside 2: Featuring Koby Bryant: NBA Jam collides with NBA Live to create this fine basketball title. Play with all the rules or dump them for 15-point shots and court-rattling dunks. This game has something for everyone.

PlayStation

Gran Turismo 2: This is the racer to end all racers -- though it probably won't. You get 400 brand-name vehicles and 20 tracks, as well brand new drag racing and off-road racing modes. Available December.

Crash Team Racing: It's a reprise of the famous Mario Kart, only with characters from the Crash Bandicoot games. Wacky weapons, lots of tracks and a four-player mode do its predecessor more than justice.

Grandia: Better than Final Fantasy VIII, Grandia is a light-hearted, extremely long role-playing game that gives you control of the magic and weapon skills you learn.

Resident Evil 3: Nemesis: No. 3 in this scary series picks up before the last one, making it a prequel of sorts. It's not for the weak of heart.

Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage: That cute, fire-breathing dragon is back for a second sizzler, in this 3-D action game. Playful and challenging, this one is good for any age, especially younger gamers.

Game Boy Color

Pokemon Yellow: Pokemon is back in the third installment of the wildly successful Game Boy series. New features include Pikachu, Charmander and Bulbasaur together for the first time, as well as Transfer Pak compatibility, meaning you'll be able to download data and then upload into the soon-to-be-released Pokemon Stadium for the N64.

Mario Golf: While not quite as fabulous as the N64 model, this one has a nice stroke while maintaining multiple camera angles and the refined play of its big brother. It's a fun diversion for golf lovers.

Mickey's Racing Adventure: A highly unique melange of racing and role-playing, Mickey's Racing will please both kids and hard-core gamers. It's loaded with hidden items and mini-games, not to mention land and sea vehicles.

NBA 3 on 3: Featuring Koby Bryant: A scaled-down port of the N64 superstar, 3 on 3 may be smaller but it still has solid looks and control. Lots of options should keep players busy through the season. Available December.

Toy Story 2: Take control of Buzz and Woody in the Game Boy version of Disney's holiday movie. Good graphics and sounds should please the kids.

Dreamcast

Rippin' Riders Snowboarding: Sega enters the snowboarding market with by far the prettiest game in its genre. All the tricks and some hyper fastgame play will sell even non-enthusiasts on the sport.

Sega Bass Fishing: Even the biggest landlubber will be quickly drawn into this game. It includes 14 lures, eight fishing locations and four tournaments, not to mention some of the smartest fish you'll ever struggle with. Add the Dreamcast fishing controller and you've got a new hobby.

NBA 2K: If it plays half as good as it looks, basketball fans are in for a treat.

Sega Rally 2: Rally car racing with the promise of Internet connectivity in the future -- what more could you ask for? Available December.

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