Game Zone: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Mega Man Zero 2, Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3

By Jae-Ha Kim and Misha Davenport
Chicago Sun-Times
October 31, 2003

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (Ubisoft, T for Teen, PlayStation 2)

If you’re expecting a game as innovative as the film on which it’s based, you’ll be disappointed. But if you enjoy fighting — in a video game, that is — you’ll probably get a kick out of this martial-arts fighting game. You get to play as Li Mu Bai, Shu Lien or Jen, three warriors trying to retrieve the magical sword Green Destiny. The game’s selling point, unfortunately, also is its downfall. The battles are intricate and well-choreographed. However, once you figure out the right combo to fight your opponent, you have the key to winning every battle. In some cases, winning really isn’t everything. And this is a perfect example of where a little mystery would have gone a long way. — Jae-Ha Kim 

Mega Man Zero 2  (Capcom, E for Everyone, Game Boy Advance)

This game is hard. That said, it shouldn’t deter you from picking up the game, regardless of whether you’ve played its predecessor. Set in the future, where innocent robots are attacked by a government faction intent on getting rid of them, the game centers on its hero, Zero. With the aid of CyberElves, Zero has to outsmart (and fight) the enemy. Unfortunately, not all Elves are created equal. Pick the wrong one and you may as well be alone. But the right critter may have the power you need to win a battle. Regardless, beware of the pits. There are many and can end your game quicker than you can load in your game cartridge. — Jae-Ha Kim 

Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3  (Nintendo, E for Everyone, Game Boy Advance)

“Super Mario Bros. 3” (“SMB3”) is one of the best platform games ever. After all, 15 million people can’t be wrong. That’s how many copies were sold during the game’s initial release in 1990. It’s a world record — and rightfully so.  And now, Mario fans who’ve enjoyed playing this on the Nintendo Entertainment System can play it on Game Boy Advance.  Bowser Koopa has returned to the Mushroom Kingdom, turned all the monarchs into animals and kidnapped the princess. He plans to marry her and make himself king. You play as Mario or his brother, Luigi, and it’s up to you to stop him. Shigeru Miyamoto’s masterpiece holds up surprisingly well for being a 13-year-old game. While graphics have certainly improved since the game first came out, you’ll find no better example of great game play than here. There are eight worlds to discover — Mario will make his way over land, sea and air, developing new powers and facing new enemies as he makes his way to the final level to rescue the princess and save the day. — Misha Davenport

CHICAGO’S TOP 10

The hottest games sold in Chicago on amazon.com last week:

1. Soul Calibur II GameCube

2. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Walker GameCube

3. Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour GameCube

4. Mario Kart: Double Dash    GameCube

5. Star Wars Rogue Squadron III: Rebel Strike    GameCube

6. Wairo World    GameCube

7. WWE Smackdown! Here comes the Pain PlayStation 2

8. Jak II PlayStation 2

9. SSX 3    PlayStation 2

10. Grand Theft Auto III and Vice City Bundle Xbox

Tips, tricks and cheats

Feel like you’re missing out on some secrets within “Arc the Lad”? Use the steal spell on your enemies and shake them down for items that uncover extra bonuses in the game.

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