Game Zone: Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, GameDay 2004, Indiana Jones and the Emperor’s Tomb

By Jae-Ha Kim and Misha Davenport
Chicago Sun-Times
September 19, 2003

FINAL FANTASY TACTICS ADVANCE (Konami, E for Everyone, Game Boy Advance)

With its epic storytelling and battles, “Final Fantasy Tactics Advance” can best be described as a cross between Michael Ende’s classic novel “The Neverending Story” and Mel Gibson’s 1995 film, “Braveheart.” Marche is the new kid in a small country town called St. Ivalice. The first mission – a snowball fight in the schoolyard – not only gets you accustomed to the game’s controls, it also immediately reveals who are your friends. They include Ritz, the sassy, strong-willed tomboy, and the often-picked-on Mewt. After finding and reading from a tome named after the gang’s favorite game, “Final Fantasy,” Marche finds himself transported from the normal world of St. Ivalice into the mythical world of Ivalice. As you try to find your way back to the realworld, you must complete missions (sometimes quests, but usually fights) to earn money that you then use to upgrade your skills and those of your fighting clan. “Final Fantasy Tactics Advance” is a turn-based combat game that also happens to be the the best-looking title out for the GBA right now. Since it offers 30-50 hours of game play, you’ll find yourself – like Marche – getting lost in the colorful world of Ivalice. –Misha Davenport

INDIANA JONES AND THE EMPEROR’S TOMB (Lucas Arts; T for Teen, Playstation 2)

Indiana Jones never fought this well, or dirty, in his feature films. Yes, there’s a threadbare storyline involving our good doctor, an ancient Chinese secret (in this case, a priceless artifact that has the ability to control people – kind of like the precious ring in “the Lord of the Rings”) and Nazis who want to thwart his quest. But this game is all about the action. Kick! Punch! Attack! Down goes a Nazi. Oops, same for the Chinese gang thugs. You’ll travel to exotic locales like Prague and open up a can of whup-ass there, too. –Jae-Ha Kim 

GAMEDAY 2004 (989 Sports, E for Everyone, PlayStation 2)

GameDay is kind of the Jan Brady of football games. It’s not bad, but it’s still a few steps behind the Madden franchise. That said, kudos go out to 989 Sports for improving its line. While the gameplay is similar to last year’s version, the graphics and sound are much improved. The players’ faces pop on screen as they grunt through the game. But if you’re not well-versed at the rules of football, you may run into some problems because this game isn’t forgiving to newbies. It won’t assume you meant to intercept a pass unless you actively go for it with the controls. (Rated E for everyone) –Jae-Ha Kim

CHICAGO’S TOP 10

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

1. Soul Caliber II GameCube

2. Final Fantasy: Tactics Advance Game Boy Advance

3. WWE Raw 2    Xbox

4. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City    PlayStation 2

5. F-Zero GX    GameCube

6. Ghost Recon: Island Thunder    Xbox

7. Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker    GameCube

8. Simpsons: Hit and RunPlayStation 2

9. Madden 2004    PS2

10. Soul Caliber II    Xbox

What’s your game… Rick Nielsen?

“I have and play video poker, and I still don’t win very often. I have a pinball machine in my basement that I bought when I was 15. My kids play Tiger Woods 2003 and Splinter Cell (on XBox).” –-Rick Nielsen, lead guitarist for Cheap Trick

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