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Game reviews

By ROB GUIDO

© St. Petersburg Times, published December 6, 1999


Soul of the Samurai
System: PlayStation
List price: $39.99

Fans of Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai are in for a treat. Now you can live the life of one of those honorable warriors of old with Konami's Soul of the Samurai. But don't fret ninja fans, because you can take control of one of their kind also, kicking and slashing your way to the heart of mysterious happenings in 18th-century Japan.

Graphics in this game are simply beautiful re-creating the time of sword fighting in feudal Japan. Lovers of the period will enjoy the paper sliding doors and Japanese art, as well as Kotaro and Lin's kimono and ninja garb respectively.

Once you get down to fighting, you'll find no shortage of swords or ninja stars. There are a variety of slashes, some more efficient than others, and you'll learn killer moves to get you out of trouble. In all, it's an excellent display of swordplay for a more peaceful time. Grade: B+

Demolition Racer System:
PlayStation
List price: $39.99

Almost as long as man could drive, he has been wrecking his ride -- either by accident or on purpose. Demolition Racer seeks to harness the fun in the latter. Previous games have tried such a feat, but no game has pulled it off with such maniacal precision as this one

Demolition Racer brings new meaning to the phrase "race to the finish." Not only do you have to win races, but you also have to survive while inflicting as much damage on your competitors as possible. Finish a clean first place and you're sure to end up in last. Finish high and take out a few cars in the process, and you can make a space for that trophy on your shelf.

Demolition Racer has a number of classic and novelty cars to attack with, including a hearse and a conversion van. Besides race mode, there also are demolition derby, suicide and chicken modes. Grade: A

Speed Devils
System: Dreamcast
List price: $49.95

Possibly the coolest racer of all time, Speed Devils includes 11 classic hot rods and 12 tracks, one of which takes you through a movie lot amid a Hollywood disaster. Control is superb, as are the multihued backgrounds and fast frame rates. This is a must-have racer for this must-have system. Grade:

Toy Commander
System: Dreamcast
List price: $49.95

Without a doubt, Toy Commander is the most original game since Blast Corps for the Nintendo 64. Like Blast Corps, you take control of multiple vehicles, except this time you're guiding toys. You undertake 50 missions in a huge, suburban house -- in one case you'll have to make an omelet. It's more fun thanToy Story 2. Grade: A

CyberTiger System:
PlayStation
List price: $39.99

The best golf game on the PlayStation since Hot Shots Golf is similar to the slapstick classic. Six kids are yours to mold. As you take them from childhood through adulthood, they grow and become stronger as you win tournaments. You'll get help from special power-up balls such as the sticky gum ball and tree-penetrating ghost ball. Grade:

SuperCross Circuit
System: PlayStation
List price: $39.99

This one lets you create your own motor bike tracks, and it has great graphics, sounds and lots of real riders. Throw in every supercross and motocross stadium and track, and you're in for one low-down dirty rush. Grade:

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater System:
PlayStation
List price: $39.99

It's skateboarding with an attitude. (Is there any other kind?) Choose from a repertoire of tricks, real riders and some killer worlds that let you skate anywhere you want. Grade: B

Omega Boost
System: PlayStation
List price: $39.99

Take to the future, in control of a giant robot. The action is non-stop, with barrages of enemies. Your job: Shoot and avoid being shot. Luckily, you have your trusty booster rockets to propel you to safety. Grade: C

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