5th Annual PSX Extreme Awards (Part 2)
PSX Extreme Editors' Picks
Yesterday you saw our consensus GOTY picks, but today you'll get our personal choices of other games that we really enjoyed this year. These might not be the highest scoring games in our review database, but that doesn't mean they didn't suck up tons of our time and make our significant others jealous of how much attention we paid to a game, rather than them. If you haven't checked out any of these games, and you dig the genre their in - do yourself a favor and head to your nearest Blockbuster and give them a shot. Now, on to the show.
Aaron's Extreme Picks:
ESPN NFL 2K5 (Visual Concepts, Rated E)
PSX Extreme Review Score: 8.7
R.I.P. ESPN NFL 2KAnything. Sega blew people away with the $20 price tag, and while the game had its fair share of bugs, it let people know that Madden wasn't the only game in town. EA's deep pockets have insured that Madden actually IS the only game in town now, but hopefully Visual Concept's creativity will inspire the team at Tiburon. I get misty-eyed just thinking about Chris Berman's highlight show at halftime, the SportsCenter at the end of the week, and most of all, I will miss my crib, which was decorated with Suzy Kolber and Trey Wingo posters.
Karaoke Revolution Vol. 2 (Konami, Rated E)
PSX Extreme Review Score: 8.6
Nobody other than my apartment walls will ever hear me play it, but despite my reluctance to share my vocal talents, I loved Karaoke Revolution Vol.1 & 2. The song selection is great, and includes artists like: Britney Spears, Rick Springfield, Elvis, 3 Doors Down, Steve Miller Band, KISS, Madonna, and many more. The voice recognition is top-notch, and even if you can't sing, there's a difficulty level that you will enjoy. Obviously you need the microphone for this game, so that makes the purchase price a bit higher, but it's included with Vol. 3, so you can get your kicks for a reasonable price.
Arnold's Extreme Picks:
Need For Speed Underground 2 (EA, Rated E, PC Version)
PSX Extreme Review Score: Not Reviewed
You might be asking yourself why a PC game just got some major props from a PlayStation publication. Well, I managed to control myself and not fight to have the PC version of Need for Speed: Underground 2 sitting as 2004's runner-up; but I knew that not mentioning it would be downright wrong. So since this is a category I have full say in, (Aaron: "and he owns the site") I felt as if it needed to be said that the PC NFSU2 is 2004's best racer overall. Oh, yes...you read that right. I plugged in dozens of hours into the game and the fact that it has so much more depth, in comparison to the first, is an enormous plus. It's visually incredible and the engines sound friggin' awesome. The amount of customization is practically limitless and the new race modes are pretty darn cool. Hate them as much as you want, but EA whipped out the best racer of 2004. NFSU2 is the one racing game every high-end PC owner must play. It's just that good.
Street Fighter Anniversary Collection (Capcom)
PSX Extreme Review Score: 8.2
Man, there's nothing better than Street Fighter. It's the game that my older brother and cousin put the most hours into during our elite 16-bit days. I still remember the day my old man bought the bro Street Fighter II Turbo from Nobody Beats The Wiz (a now bankrupt electronics chain in NYC). That was back in the hay-day when SNES carts cost an upward of $90. 12 years later, it feels great to play that very same game again in addition to playing the finest Street Fighter to ever come out of Capcom's shop. Street Fighter Anniversary Collection is easily one of the most enjoyable experiences of 2004, largely because of its nostalgic value. It features a version of Street Fighter II that's hopped up on steroids and the tightest version of Street Fighter 3 Capcom ever put out, 3rd Strike (last appearing on the ill-fated Dreamcast). Though Capcom's efforts may seem questionable many times, there's no doubt that Street Fighter Anniversary Collection is worth the price of admission.
Frank's Extreme Picks:
Katamari Damacy (Namco, Rated E)
PSX Extreme Review Score: 8.5
When the King of All Cosmos accidentally destroys all the stars in the sky, he orders you, his pint-sized princely son, to put the twinkle back in the heavens above. How, you ask? By rolling everything and anything on Earth into clumps, so he can replace what's missing in space. That's all there is to Katamari Damacy--use the two analog sticks to roll a ball over the landscape, ultimately picking up everything in your wake (including plants, pets, people, houses, giant squids, etc.). The unique premise, the cute graphics, the easy play mechanic, and the over-the-top soundtrack all combine to make this a sleeper worthy of entry into anyone's private collection. Also, it retails for just $20.
Alien Hominid (O~3 Entertainment, Rated T)
PSX Extreme Review Score: 8.4
What started out as a downloadable Flash game has been turned into something of a cult phenomenon. This shoot 'em up has a lot in common with Contra and Metal Slug, but really carves out its own spot in the pantheon with its crudely cute graphics and some downright awesome attacks. The entire game (backgrounds, characters, etc.) was hand drawn, poorly, and done so on purpose. And yet, it's gorgeous! There's just something sexy about the way giant pudding monsters, cute aliens, and squirting blood go together. Beneath all of that, this is a great game to play too. There are at least a dozen different guns to pick up, and you can have the alien drive vehicles, hide underground, or bite the heads off of FBI agents, all at the tap of a button.
I feel it. I feel the cosmos!
If you haven't played any of the above games, or you don't know who the heck feels the cosmos, do yourself a favor and rent some of our Extreme picks over the holiday break. That's it for our Extreme picks and our annual GOTY awards - we hope you enjoyed them.
12/29/2004 PSX Extreme Staff