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AICN Games: Monki's Weekly Wrap-Up! Mutliple Lara Crofts! Oh my!

Greetings humans, Monki here with a fresh batch of game news for you. It's been a busy week here in the treehouse as I am currently relocating to a fresh new abode, one where I can put all my arcade games and wire the hell out of the entire place. There will be a party and you will be invited. (Maybe.)

Aside from that, I've been busting my furry ass trying to beat Guitar Hero 2 on Hard. "Jessica" can bite my bald red ass.

Earlier this week I kicked off a new contest, make sure you drop an entry in. Read more about it here.

Also in this column I'm bring in one of our new games writers to talk about the recently released Forza 2. Hopefully we'll be getting more of these as I'd like to get a new review up weekly!

Lots to cover, here we go.

Press Releases of the Week!

Okay, admittedly, this release is old but I promise I will make up for it with the accompanying video. Enjoy.

ATLANTA - May 17, 2007 - GameTap, the first-of-its-kind broadband entertainment network from Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. (TBS, Inc.), announced today the launch of a new GameTap Retrospective series and a new original animated series, "Re\Visioned," that pays homage to one of the game industry's top franchises of all time – Tomb Raider.

"10 Years of Tomb Raider – A GameTap Retrospective" profiles the creators, the games, the live-action models, and the fans who have collectively made Tomb Raider a pop culture phenomenon. The documentary will be available for free for all fans to view at and new segments will be added each week through June 7th.

"The Retrospectives series explores the most beloved game franchises and their impacts on pop culture. With ‘10 Years of Tomb Raider,' we show the history of this legendary series of games," said Ricardo Sanchez, GameTap's vice president of content. "Fans of Tomb Raider will get an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at one of the industry's most successful game franchises."

"We wanted to do something special for Lara's 10th anniversary," said Larry Sparks, Eidos' head of brands management. "Working with GameTap allowed us to tell the Tomb Raider story like never before, complete with fan interviews from around the world and a first ever photo shoot that brought together the live action Lara Croft models."

GameTap has also created a new original animated series, "Re\Visioned", for GameTap TV. This all-new animated series explores and reimagines well known video game franchises. The first season features interpretations of video gaming's leading lady, Lara Croft, by well-known animators, comic book artists and writers.

To create "Re\Visioned: Tomb Raider" GameTap commissioned Peter Chung, Jim Lee, Warren Ellis, Cully Hamner, Gail Simone, David Alvarez, Michael Stackpole, Brian Pulido, and Christos Gage, among others, to provide their ‘Re\Visioned' view of the famous video game heroine. The first episode in this original animation series will debut on July 10th with new episodes running through August 23rd. There are 10 episodes in total and they will be available to view for free at

"Lara Croft is an icon, so we brought in some of the most iconic creative talent of today," continued Sanchez. "These writers and artists have created or worked with some of the best known characters from comics and animation and we've been honored to work with them to make the first season of our ‘Re\Visioned' series a reality."

Visitors to the newly launched micro-site, will get access to the new Retrospective documentary, "Re\Visioned: Tomb Raider" animated series, trailers and clips for both programs.

Fans can also purchase the PC version of Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Anniversary at's new digital retail storefront and GameTap subscribers can play the game day and date when it hits retail shelves on June 5th, 2007.

And, as promised, a special video.

IGN has the photos...hooray.

Personally I've been a fan of re-imagining video games as long as the core gameplay isn't modified. I would love to play some of the original Tony Hawk levels with the new engine from Project 8, or get my hands on Warcraft 2 but all 3d modeled and what not.

There was a project a while back to convert the first chapter of Doom for Doom 3 called "Classic Doom." You can find it here. I never got a chance to check it out but I love the idea.

Pretty Images of the Week!

The Darkness is one of those games that just looks fun as hell. You are a mafia guy with giant evil monsters coming out of your back? Wicked.

From a violent shooter to a family title...with all the Star Wars news going around, I gotta throw this trailer out there. Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga (Ep's 1-6)...looks like a good time for the whole family.

Who wants to help me disassemble Jar Jar over and over?

Monki's X Most Important Stories of the Week!

New York is donating money to the ESA...via a video game law that will be shot down.

Holy crap. Forza 2 artists are freaky good. I want to drive a Butters-mobile!

Microsoft launches Surface. RTS fans around the world collectively crap their pants. (Does that count as WoW news?

Spy Hunter gets a new director. When is the Halo movie coming out again?

Oh yeah...we're not sure if it is even coming out. Man, I wish some company with a shit-ton of money would back it. You know, maybe someone who publishes the game...I don't know...who could have that kind of money?

Dogs and cats living together...mass hysteria. We must be near the end-times when these two are on the same stage. I wonder if either of these guys can pay for the Halo movie.

Behold, the wireless axe. My next tool to fail horribly on "Jessica" with.

I foresee a lot of sick days within these few weeks.

Stepping Away from the Podium of the Week!

This week I'm going to hand off some time to Player One who is one of our new AICN Games writers. He sent in a brief review of Forza 2, now available for the XBox 360. I'm not a huge "car game" fan, so this is perfect for me to step aside from and let someone else take the mic. Expect to see more stuff like this over the next few months with AICN Games. Enjoy Player One's review.

Forza Motorsport 2 isn't your little brother's racing game. There are no blue shells, nor are there any sweet jumps or traffic checking. Rather, developer Turn Ten has delivered an honest to God driving game for the Xbox 360 where the main focus is exactly that: driving. In order to make an accurate and compelling driving sim, the art and science of what makes a car 'go' must be understood and implemented well into the mechanics of the game.

Turn Ten has built off the already amazing driving engine from their previous Forza game in 2005, but have improved upon them as they have focused on honing and adjusting the car physics to be as accurate as they need to be. The result is astonishing as every car feels distinct and unique as they react to speed and the road with amazing reality. Yet it is in these surreal behaviors of the cars that may act as a deterrent to anyone new to the franchise or the genre. That is to say that the game isn't as accessible to those who do not already have an interest in racing sims or who aren't huge gear heads. It isn't all that fun for Newman Newbie to be constantly be spinning out and crashing into walls in a Volkswagen Beetle. Despite this, the game tries to break those dividing walls and does a great job at combating this harsh learning curve by providing plenty driving aids as well as refined braking line that guides the driver of when and where they should break during a turn. Forza 2 is a hard game, but with the driving aids it is only as hard as you want it to be.

The driving engine may be the star of the game, but the community marketplace is where the game becomes addicting. With a mix of eBay and the World of Warcraft auction house, the Forza 2 online market is simply incredible. By allowing one to sell and buy cars and paint jobs from anyone in the world, it makes the game personal and intimate. The custom paint job system in the game is so layered and advanced that it allows for some truly amazing works to be made; and then sold for a nice profit.

Forza 2 in essence is that girlfriend you used to have who you loved dearly yet wasn't pretty enough to show off to your friends. The visual in Forza 2 has this effect on the game as it fails to impress graphically; especially in standard definition. While the game runs at an amazing 60 frames per second, the 'wow' factor is missing. Sure, the car models are amazing, but so is every next gen racing game's. In the new age of high def graphics, Forza 2 has no visual leverage in the racing game market to warrant a purchase merely off of visuals. For Forza 2, graphics aren't king; gameplay is. And it would seem as if many Microsoft games are taking this approach (*Cough*Halo 3*).

At the end of the day, Forza 2 delivers only what it promises; a great driving game with plenty of community input. Anything beyond that, the game wanes and fails to impress; especially on an aesthetic level. Turn Ten understands the language of racing cars as well as car worship, and in doing so speaks loud and clear to the enthusiast in all of us.

Two Credits to continue...
Player One

Not pretty enough to show off to your friends...oh snap! I'm sure I'll check this one out eventually, next weekend the Halo 3 beta ends and I'll be stuck crying over my 360 so I'll have a lot of free time.

Thanks Player One.

Moving Sucks Wrap-Up of the Week!

Summer is officially on us...the weather outside isn't completely unbearable yet and most people are getting a lot more free time then they are used to. What are you doing with it? Are you up till 2am playing Halo 3? Are you still chugging away at Motorstorm? Have you destroyed your LCD TV with a WiiMote yet? I'll be spending the early days of Summer moving into the new house and sweating off a few dozen pounds in the process. Hooray progress.

To wrap up this column I offer you a few Rejected WiiPlay Games. Enjoy.

That guy who got his head lopped off was way too happy. Also, look for the Spaceballs reference.

That does it for me this week, you kids stay safe, beware of coyotes. Until next time, back up the tree I go.


Readers Talkback
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  • June 4, 2007, 8:53 a.m. CST

    first, who cares

    by Clair Bennetts G-String

    uh, yeah...

  • June 4, 2007, 8:55 a.m. CST

    first=flames on Laura Crofts' Crotch

    by Clair Bennetts G-String

    I have no idea what thats supposed to mean....

  • June 4, 2007, 8:58 a.m. CST

    Anniversary is pretty good

    by photoboy

    If you enjoyed Legend this is more of the same really, and in this case that's not a bad thing at all. I finished it on Friday and I'm going back through on the time trials now, which are pretty hard on some levels.<br><br> I'm really hoping at some point there's a video of The Darkness that shows more than just shooting people or killing them with those tentacle things. After the magnificence of Escape from Butcher Bay I'd hate to think the developers have just gone for a mindless run & gun game.

  • June 4, 2007, 9 a.m. CST

    Lego Star Wars!!

    by jarjarmessiah


  • June 4, 2007, 9:38 a.m. CST

    Forza Motorsport 2 is simply amazing. It FEELS real.

    by JDanielP

    And if you like to customize cars, there isn't ANYTHING that can touch Forza 2. Great game...and my favorite on Xbox 360 thus far. Heck, I hardly even slept any all weekend. It is THAT good.

  • June 4, 2007, 9:46 a.m. CST

    I guess...

    by loafroaster

    ...Rhona Mitra is too busy starring in Neil Marshall's upcoming Doomsday to appear with the other Laras. Pity, she was always my favourite...

  • June 4, 2007, 9:51 a.m. CST

    Lego Star Wars

    by lost.rules

    If only the movies were as good.

  • June 4, 2007, 10:03 a.m. CST

    Lego my ego

    by Se7en


  • June 4, 2007, 10:14 a.m. CST

    If there isn't any girl-on-girl action...

    by MisterE

    ...then what is the point of whatever this is?

  • June 4, 2007, 11:45 a.m. CST

    Again, slow bloody news day.

    by Jakes Nel

    Someone make something up. Harry, get on the phone. I need my fix.

  • June 4, 2007, 12:17 p.m. CST


    by apStalin

    That be rad. I guess.

  • June 4, 2007, 12:30 p.m. CST

    Slooooooow goings.....

    by Rat Fink

    Man, another slow day on AICN

  • June 4, 2007, 12:53 p.m. CST

    Forza 2 is Solid

    by DarfurOnTheRocks

    I am personally a little miffed with the IGN review which wanted something "more." This game is truly a GT-Killer. The amount of customization is ridiculous in a good way. I say that because if you do not want to delve into that level of tweaking you can still thoroughly enjoy this game. One problem though, I am awful with the steering wheel.

  • June 4, 2007, 1:24 p.m. CST

    Jessica on hard? Try Carry Me Home

    by Leopold Scotch

    Eventually it's not unreasonable to expect five stars for Jessica. Even now, though, I can't get more than three for carry me home, and there's no way I'm putting in the time to bother with it. Another one I hated was ROck This Town. That was a bitch.

  • June 4, 2007, 1:34 p.m. CST

    If you think "Jessica" on hard mode is tough...

    by Dwide Shrewd

    Good luck on expert. "Psychobilly Freakout" and "Hangar 18" will curl your monkey pubes.

  • June 4, 2007, 1:39 p.m. CST

    When do the Laras start kissing?

    by Abominable Snowcone

    Is there a shower scene?

  • June 4, 2007, 1:54 p.m. CST

    Tomb Raider fandom recent unhappy mutterings

    by cyberskunk Disclaimer: I have not written TR fanfics.

  • June 4, 2007, 1:57 p.m. CST


    by Robur Limax

    I got stick on Rock This Town on Expert. Damn that song. Damn it to hell!

  • June 4, 2007, 2:44 p.m. CST

    Guitar Hero 2 woes

    by Jack Burton

    I turned it on last week to find the memory block had been corrupted and all data was erased. Not the whole memory card JUST the Guitar Hero 2 block. Not a happy day.

  • June 4, 2007, 3:01 p.m. CST

    Jordan on hard is Tough

    by DarfurOnTheRocks

    Wow. GHII is significantly harder than GH.

  • June 4, 2007, 3:56 p.m. CST


    by XAOS

    I made it through half a paragraph before I couldn't take anymore. "Tomb Raider fanfic community" and "heights of quality" indeed.

  • June 4, 2007, 4:47 p.m. CST


    by MellowNinja

    This was actually a surprise. A good surprise. We fellow Le Medders have been playing it non-stop for the week. You should at least rent it. Most likely, you'll take it back and buy it.

  • June 4, 2007, 5:14 p.m. CST


    by photoboy

    I agree, IGN were talking shit with their "I was expecting more" review. What more were they expecting? The game has everything in it, you can tweak everything about the performance and the looks of a car. And you can even hook multiple 360s up to multiple screens and create a wraparound display! Honestly, the IGN writers just spend all day looking at Chobot's chest. Also I love the way every writer on IGN has "editor in chief" in their job title. It's like everyone has to have an impressive job title to compensate for something...

  • June 4, 2007, 5:18 p.m. CST

    Hanger 18 on expert is insane.

    by iamnicksaicnsn

    I just can't beat it. The solos are too much. It has what, 9 solos? I stopped playing for about two weeks for some Gears and Halo 3 and it really affected my hands. I think it improved my hand eye coordination to take a break, but it really fucked up my pinky.

  • June 4, 2007, 6:21 p.m. CST

    GTA IV or Halo 3?

    by Zardoz

    Um, how about both? I'll buy them at the same time! Shit! "But I want it NOOOOOW!"

  • June 4, 2007, 7:35 p.m. CST

    The Darkness does indeed look awesome

    by FuzzyWhisper

    And anything Jim Lee does immediately piques my interest. Cool news.

  • June 4, 2007, 8 p.m. CST

    "Jessica"? Did you mean Jessica Chobot?

    by Orionsangels

    Jessica Chobot is a friend of mine and she's always at that these events and she's real good at GHII.

  • June 5, 2007, 5:08 a.m. CST


    by The_Deathticle

    I finally clawed my way to 5 stars all songs on Hard. The worst offenders to me were "Psychobilly Freakout," "Carry Me Home," and "Fall of Pangea." The intros alone to "Crazy On You" and "Carry Me Home" are absurdly difficult. Use the "more stats" to find your weakest spots in a song then practice those parts at a slower speed in practice mode until you can get through them. Practice and strategic use of star power will help matters greatly. I moved on to Expert and beat the first 10 songs, but at this point my hand is pretty much a withered claw. I gotta take a vacation from that game.

  • June 5, 2007, 5:16 a.m. CST


    by DrSurvey

    Is there ever a time when you are not moving Monki? It seems that everytime the article appears you have either a)lost the internet connection because you are moving or b) Have been busy moving. Are you on the run or someit?

  • June 5, 2007, 6:02 a.m. CST

    I dont enjoy TR as much since they changed the controls

    by Col. Tigh-Fighter

    Resident Evil kept the original controls when they introduced the new joysticks, but had all the zippy thumb conroller features for the new fangled kids. TR have made you use the thumb thingy regardless. Give us a break, some of us were born in the 70's! Up, Down, Left, Right - thats what I can do!!!

  • June 5, 2007, 6:39 p.m. CST

    What about Space Invaders?

    by Time Duncan

    They updated Space Invaders with some cool cut-scenes. Check it out:

  • July 2, 2010, 11:20 a.m. CST


    by GenevieveClayton

    I would like to propose not to hold off until you get enough amount of cash to order different goods! You can get the <a href="">business loans</a> or just consolidation loans and feel fine

  • July 3, 2010, 1:57 p.m. CST


    by orcus