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Under the sea, off the hook

January 24, 2008|Pete Metzger | Special to The Times

Something's not right with the newest video game to hit the Wii.

There are no aliens to battle. There's no one to kill. There's no time limit. There aren't even any puzzles to solve.

In fact, besides strapping on an air tank and exploring a tranquil sea of aqua hues and brightly colored fish, there's very little to do at all.

And that's what makes Endless Ocean a perfect escape. It's an undersea exploration simulator without rules, challenges or even a point. It's pure, pressure-free enjoyment.

The controls are simple (point the cursor, press the button and swim), the sea life friendly (pet a fish enough and it will tell you its species) and the water beautiful (this is a sea painted with bright colors and realistic-looking plants). Explore the waters at your own pace. Accept the suggested tasks, or don't. It's up to you.

It's the complete antithesis to everything that's popular right now. It's fresh and original and the perfect way to relax. Lazily spending time on (and under) a boat in the middle of a tropical diving paradise? Now this is an experience.

Endless Ocean's only knock is the lack of high-resolution graphics, something we hope will be remedied on the next generation of Wiis.

For now, we'll happily dive right in, again and again.

Grade: A+ (One of a kind).

Details: Nintendo Wii platform; $29.99; rated Everyone.


Evidence against lawyer Birdman

If you are a fan of "Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law," you'll buy this game. (It's an interactive version of the offbeat animated show on Adult Swim.)

But if you're new to the series, this in-game quote from Mentok, one of the show's characters, will sum up your feelings after just a little game play: "Everyone give Birdman a hand for completely wasting our time."

While the animated bits that make up the majority of the game are quirky and well produced, the interactive parts are nearly impossible.

Miss a detail in someone's bizarre testimony and you are forced to guess the next logical step and ask yourself questions such as, "Is this where I should present that lobster as evidence?"

Maybe fans of the show will understand all the quirky humor. We sure didn't.

Grade: D (Don't bother unless you get the TV show).

Details: Nintendo Wii, Play Station 2 and PlayStation Portable platforms; $29.99-$39.99; rated Teen (crude humor, mild language, sexual themes).

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