Slam, bam, thank you ma'am . . . old-school arcade b-ball action lives again in this triumphant, if largely predictable, remake of the arcade and SNES/ Genesis classic. Gravity-defying two-on-two hardwood action reigns as huge-headed caricatures of top all-stars execute physically impossible dunks and rule-breaking blocks, clocking point tallies more akin to SAT scores than actual shots counted. Still, while everything feels a mite too familiar, there's no faulting extras like boss battles, piles of hidden secrets, and motion control support in terms of putting points on the board. Electronic Arts / Wii / www.easports.com
A clever mash-up of high-stakes solo and multiplayer racing that packs heavily customizable drivers and vehicles, plus dynamically evolving exotic island backdrops that offer a growing range of thrills via downloadable updates. Cruising Ibiza's striking high-resolution byways and tropical views, floor it through a variety of mission types or join clubs and compete against rival speed freaks, with clothes, cars, and cribs among the spoils of victory. A respectable, yet hardly revolutionary effort, it gets plenty of miles to the gallon regardless. Atari / PC, PS3, Xbox 360 / www.atari.com
08GUITAR HERO: WARRIORS OF ROCK ma
Mostly more of the same, albeit with a fantasy-meets-heavy-metal vibe. Per usual, players shred along with guitar, bass, drums, or vocals in time with on-screen prompts, while pursuing a quest to save rock and roll from "The Beast." KISS frontman Gene Simmons provides narration as you complete chord-shredding challenges, earn special powers, and blow speakers out to the soothing sounds of Anthrax and Megadeth. A new plastic axe controller with interchangeable bodies cements the ear-splitting experience.
Activision / PS3, Wii, Xbox 360 / www.activision.com
09 LUCHA LIBRE AAA: HEROES OF THE RING i ■ ■ ■ □
The masked stars of Mexican wrestling may not be as popular as their beefier and better-publicized WWE counterparts, but clearly illustrate here how they're infinitely more agile and melodramatic. Credit a number of catchy gameplay twists that spice in-ring action up with more acrobatic, high-flying maneuvers and calls for crowd support, which make the energetic simulation a welcome championship contender. Offering greater focus on hilarity and histrionics than scientific holds and takedowns, the goofy grappler provides hours of solid spectator sport. Konami / PS3, PSP, Wii, Xbox 360 . www.konami.com
10 Despite clearly being influenced by the success of Modern Warfare 2and dropping its once-iconic World War II setting for more cliched contemporary Middle Eastern battlefields, the latest MOH still delivers a suitably engaging run-n-gun experience. Thank atmospheric sun-baked backdrops, stomach-churning rat-tat-tat sound effects and taut scenarios that take you from desperate hostage rescue missions to surgical strikes on terrorist strongholds. While neither the most original nor eye-opening take on present-day military operations, for a token series reboot, its aim proves surprisingly on-target. Electronic Arts / PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 / www.ea.com
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