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GAME DAY

NFL Tour gets outplayed at kickoff

The new football game is in a much different league than illustrious competitor Madden -- but it's less expensive.

January 17, 2008|Pete Metzger | Special to The Times

Just about every aspect of NFL Tour, the newest pro football game to hit shelves, can best be described as "light." It's light on the gameplay options. Light on the realism and play selection. Light on the controls. Light on the players' artificial intelligence.

Light on the fun.

Luckily, however, it's also light on the price (a whole $20 cheaper than most brand-new next-gen games), which almost makes up for its shortcomings.

Geared to those who find too daunting the controls and depth of the John Madden series, the grand don of NFL games, NFL Tour offers a bizarre seven-on-seven tackle football game where the players wear just shorts and T-shirts and play on a field that is part hockey rink, part Arena Football field. The action is supposed to be more arcade than simulator, sure, but instead of pushing the envelope like the classic NFL Blitz series did, Tour stays too close to normal to be original.

Besides the ho-hum football-game arcade action, there are only two other modes of play: Smash and Dash and Redzone Rush, a free-for-all and a one-on-one challenge, respectively.

And that's it. (Unless, of course, you count the game previews, including one for Madden NFL 08, which helps show exactly how much action and variety NFL Tour is lacking.)

While this might be enough for those needing a fix during the playoffs and Pro Bowl, serious fans would be better off revisiting their copies of Madden 08.

Grade: C (Cheap Madden impersonator).

Details: PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 platforms; $39.99; rated Everyone (mild lyrics, mild violence).

--

Pick a card, any card . . .

OK, Nintendo, we get it. Your Dual Screen can do anything. Even impersonate the late Doug Henning.

Master of Illusion is an outstandingly original game that gives anyone with a DS the opportunity to create real-world magic shows. With a few simple instructions and a little practice, tricks such as card predicting and mind reading are easy to learn and pull off -- with the help of the DS, of course.

Included in the package are magic cards used during performances (the secret of which is unlocked with enough practice).

Besides the tricks available to learn, Master of Illusion also packs a show mode of tricks that don't get explained to entertain the player, as well as some great card games and memory-building exercises.

Master of Illusion is perfect for those eager to be the next David Blaine, but who lack the skills and experience.

Grade: A (Amazingly entertaining).

Details: Nintendo DS platform; $29.99; rated Everyone (mild suggestive themes).

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