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GAME DAY

A manly treasure hunter

January 03, 2008|Pete Metzger Special to The Times

More than just Tomb Raider with a hip dude instead of a hot babe, Uncharted: Drake's Fortune is Indiana Jones for the new millennium.

Move over Lara, now there's something manlier.

Like the jungle classic Pitfall souped up on human growth hormone, the well-written adventures of treasure hunter Nathan Drake make Uncharted an instant classic.

Like the uber successful Tomb Raider series that this will no doubt draw comparisons with, Uncharted boasts beautifully lush jungles, brain-twisting puzzles and all kinds of great action (including heated gun battles with an endless stream of baddies).

But what separates our hero Nathan Drake from Lara Croft is how human he is, and not just because of how realistically rendered he is. Playing Uncharted is more like watching a great movie with real actors than simply controlling a video game character (even one as perfectly drawn as Ms. Croft). Gameplay slides seamlessly between puzzles, action and cut screens with very short load times.

In fact, some of the epic set pieces are so well-planned and executed they might even make Lucas and Spielberg blush.

Grade: A (A remarkable adventure).

Details: PlayStation 3 platform; $59.99; rated: teen (blood, language, mild suggestive themes, use of tobacco, violence).

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It makes no sense, but that's the fun

Pain is a quirky, nonsensical game whose only point is to launch your rag doll character into a cartoon city using a giant slingshot in an effort to see how much damage can be done to both the environment and said rag doll.

We've stepped in deeper puddles after a rainstorm.

And we've also never played a game quite as offbeat or amusing as this one.

Surely not for everyone, like those without a twisted sense of humor, Pain is repetitive good fun that is more puzzle-based than it sounds. In order to rack up the most points and unlock other parts of the game, players have to decide exactly where to shoot the little guy and when to do it. (Do I aim for the giant bowling ball on top of the building before the train travels underneath or as it passes? Tough call.)

One of the best games available for purchase and download straight into your PS3 from the online PlayStation Network, Pain is uncomplicated fun.

Grade: B (Bizarre fun that's not for everyone).

Details: PlayStation 3 platform; $9.99; rated: teen (crude humor, sexual themes, violence).

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