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GAME OF THE WEEK: A hero for the next generation.

Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy (Naughty Dog/SCEA)

For Sony PlayStation2

Price: pounds 39.99

Every games console needs a lovable hero to fly its flag, and for the PS2 that job belongs to Jak and Daxter.

They are the stars of the latest 3D platform adventure from Naughty Dog, the company that brought Crash Bandicoot to the PS1.

It's set in a universe governed by a naturally occurring substance called Eco. Blue Eco gives them superhuman strength and speed, green Eco restores health and dark Eco has caused no end of trouble to the local inhabitants.

When Daxter falls into a puddle of dark Eco and turns from a human into a small weasel-like character, it sparks a quest to track down the wise sage capable of reversing the spell.

That means a long trek around and across a chain of islands, through villages, along coastlines and across mountains.

At it's most basic J&D is a conventional platformer where you have to run around collecting power-ups, stamping on baddies and avoiding traps.

But it doesn't take much playing time to realise the depth of the challenge ahead of you.

The game is split into 12 levels, each of which has eight specific challenges that you must solve to make progress.

And while there is no compulsion to attempt them in any particular order, finishing certain tasks can improve your chances of success in others.

J&D's universe has been beautifully brought to life with bold colours, well-designed levels and a stunning draw distance.

Coupled with good sound effects, a very funny pair of central characters and a family-friendly storyline, Jak and Daxter will appeal all but the most bloodthirsty of PS2 gamers.

Super Bust A Move

For Nintendo GameBoy Advance

Price: pounds 34.99

While the sharp 3D graphics of Doom show us what can be done on a GameBoy Advance, Super Bust a Move shows us what should be done.

It's a bubble-squirting puzzle game that has been doing the rounds on different consoles since 1995.

The concept is simple. You control a bubble gun at the bottom of the screen that fires different coloured bubbles towards the top of the screen.

Join three or more bubbles of the same colour and they pop, destroying themselves and any bubbles hanging underneath. If you can't pop the bubbles fast enough they fill the screen and it's game over.

This is so simple it's brilliant. Bust A Move is one of those rare Tetris-style games so elementary in its execution that it's addictive.

The GBA version packs 565 different levels, spread out over single-player puzzle, CPU versus and multi-player link modes.

They become progressively harder with the addition of conveyor belts and fans that affect the path of your bubbles, as well as indestructible barriers and special function bubbles.

Super Bust A Move remains an indispensable addition to any Game Boy Advance owner's collection.
COPYRIGHT 2002 Birmingham Post & Mail Ltd
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Copyright 2002 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Jan 12, 2002
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