Videogames: Five for Fighting

Sometimes it seems as if there is a new video game every 10 minutes. With so many new titles popping up, it's easy to overlook a good one. Here's a roundup of several released in the past few months that you should check out if you missed them when they came out.

- Empire Earth III (Teen; PC Windows XP/Vista, $30; Sierra) The problem with "conquering the world" games, even with Empire Earth II, is that complexity killed the fun. But this version makes gameplay as simple as possible, so you can get to the action quickly. If the artificial intelligence were a touch smarter, this might have been the strategy game no armchair general should live without. As it stands, it's still a lot of fun, but be prepared to babysit your forces more than necessary. At least the strategy part of the game is nearly flawless.

- F.E.A.R. Perseus Mandate (Mature; Windows 2000/XP, $30; Sierra) This game follows an excellent new trend in the industry: expansion packs that don't require that the original game be installed. The graphics aren't cutting-edge, but they aren't bad. The game does have realistic physics and a variety of environments. Any fan of shooter games will enjoy the Perseus Mandate.

- Ghost Squad (Teen; Wii, $30; Sega/AM2) This Wii variation of the 2004 arcade hit features a lot of new options while retaining the fun spirit of the original. It has the complete arcade game, which one to four players can grab a remote and play, as well as such humorous options as ninja mode (enemies appear as ninjas) and beach mode (enemies are bikini-clad women). This shooter title is sure to satisfy anyone who likes light gun games.

- Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles (Mature; Wii, $50; Capcom) This is hands-down the best Resident Evil shooter game. The controls are precise, save for a few issues of response time; the graphics are good, but they do not stand out. Reliving old Resident Evil moments is a blast. The sound is high-quality, with the music providing great ambiance. It's not the best game for the Wii, but it is a fun experience.

- Virtua Fighter 5 (Teen; Xbox 360, $60; Sega) The Xbox version of this game is great because of its online component. It has little to no lag time. (That could change depending on the speed of your opponent's Internet connection.) If you enjoy fighting games and have an Xbox 360 and Xbox Live, get this game. It can be frustrating to newcomers to the series, but it's one of the best fighting titles ever.

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