Game Daze: 'Klonoa,' -- 'Avalon Code' -- 'Fallout 3: Broken Steel'

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Reviews are out of four stars.

'KLONOA'


3 1/2 stars = Very good
Ratings explained

"Klonoa" (Wii; $29.99; 10-plus), a remake of a PlayStation game from 1998, is a pretty piece of work and one of the best platform games on the Wii -- and that includes the classics available on the Virtual Console.

The original game's sprites on 3-D backgrounds have been replaced by a full 3-D treatment with a charming, old-school feel.

The game play is strictly 2-D in Klonoa's journey to stop an evil lord. The levels twist and turn into themselves and are riddled with split pathways and switchbacks, but the action is always centered on Klonoa, and part of the fun is figuring out how he can get to a seemingly out-of-reach area within the strictures of a left-to-right platformer.

Klonoa has a fairly simple set of moves: He can jump and glide; grab enemies and throw them as an attack, or to bust open item capsules, or to give himself a jumping boost; and summon a whirlwind to slow down foes.

'AVALON CODE'


2 1/2 stars = Average
Ratings explained

The world is nearing its end, but one will be chosen to use the mystical Book of Prophecy to record those parts of the old world worth keeping, so they may be reborn in the new one.

In the action-RPG "Avalon Code" (DS; $29.99; 10-plus), the player is that chosen one. When the book is used to strike an object or person, it scans attributes and represents them as bits of code on a grid -- a character may have the code for forest or lightning or justice in their nature, and the player may remove or replace these at will, even when far from the source.

Adding a fire attribute to one of the chosen one's swords can make him stronger, while adding an illness to the goblin enemy type will weaken all goblins. But using the book is a bit of a pain. Creating a desired effect involves paging through entries to find the right bits of code and transferring them to the intended target, a tedious process.

'FALLOUT 3: BROKEN STEEL'


3 1/2 stars = Very good
Ratings explained

The third downloadable add-on for "Fallout 3" (Xbox 360; Xbox Live Arcade download; also for PC; $10; 800 Microsoft Points; Mature) adds a set of new quests and several new weapons, enemies and other items to the base game. The quests mainly revolve around the Brotherhood of Steel's struggles with D.C.-area Enclave forces.

But "Broken Steel" does more than that. It rewrites the ending to allow players to continue beyond the activation of Project Purity and see its water-cleansing effects, which differ depending on choices made in the original end game.

More importantly, it increases the game's level cap from 20 to 30, adding numerous new Perks as well, such as one that generates a new dog if the player's companion Dogmeat dies. The previous two downloadable expansions are good, but this one's pretty much essential for a "Fallout 3" fan.



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