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Boredom Bourne's worst enemy

Fighting and shooting with only a few moves -- it's hardly a match for the film's kicks.

June 12, 2008|Pete Metzger | Special to The Times

So you've got this new Ferrari, and man, does it look good. It's got shiny chrome, perfect lines and a smooth interior. Problem is all four tires are flat as can be, making the car nearly impossible to drive. What a shame.

The Bourne Conspiracy, a recently released game based on novelist Robert Ludlum's assassin character, suffers from the same problem. The title is great to look at and attached to a decent story, but it's so incredibly limited in its controls as to be nearly unplayable.

There are two basic components to Bourne: fighting and shooting. Although the shooting is good, and at times close to old-school fun, the fighting is limited and gets repetitive quicker than you can say "repetitive quicker."

Punch, punch, kick. Punch, punch, kick. Yawn.

Bourne also switches too easily between gunplay and fisticuffs, forcing you to play its low-rent version of "Fight Night" when a couple of well-placed shots from your pistol would eliminate the enemy threat. (Luckily, however, all the bad guys who want to scrap have what we like to call "ninja-itis," wherein only one bad guy attacks at a time, despite any strength in numbers. So even though the fighting is lame, at least it's fair.)

Because the fighting makes up the bulk of the game, and because it is so poorly designed, you'd be better off getting your Jason Bourne kicks from watching Matt Damon.

Grade: D (The gun stuff is decent, but the fighting is deplorable!)

Details: PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 platforms; $59.99; rated Teen (blood, mild language, use of alcohol and tobacco, violence)


Hulk has punch, not much more

The tie-in game to the new movie The Incredible Hulk could have been called Grand Theft Hulk. Though it's not the most challenging, best looking or even original game, it's still not too bad for tween gamers who are dying to see the new movie and its "reboot" of the character. For the rest of us, however. . . .

The big green guy runs around in an open-world Manhattan, complete with actual landmarks such as the Empire State Building and Times Square, clobbering any and everything in sight. Smashing and grabbing is what the Hulk does best, so any building that can be seen can be destroyed, often after only a few Hulk punches. (What, are all the buildings in this game made of toothpicks?) And unlike the actual New York and its police force, the city puts up efforts to stop the Hulk that are trivial at best as he seemingly does whatever he wants.

Like the Grand Theft Auto series, missions can be started by arriving at certain points on the map and Hulk can learn new tricks with experience. But unlike GTA, the cut screens are poorly done and the story is middling, making us want to see the film that much less.

Grade: C (Hulk crush originality!)

Details: Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 platforms; $29.99-$59.99; rated Teen (mild language, mild blood, violence)

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