<< Crash and burn

By L.A. Youth staff,
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Katherine may think video games are a waste of time and that The Sims in particular was less interesting than counting tree leaves, but not everyone at L.A. Youth feels that way. Many of our writers love video games, including some girls. Check out Kevin’s review of The Sims 2 (take that Kat!) and reviews of Chrono Trigger, Ratchet and Clank: Up Your Arsenal, Ratchet: Deadlocked and NCAA 2005.

The Sims 2

By Kevin Laguan, 16, Daniel Murhpy Catholic HS

The Sims 2 is one of the most addicting games I have ever played.

From changing the clothes of your Sims to putting them to bed to even having them use the bathroom, playing The Sims 2 is like looking into a tiny gnome’s house and watching it parallel our lives. The only point is that you get to live as a pixelated guy or girl. You grow up, become an adult, get a job, start a family, buy stuff, build stuff and even pay bills! Of course you have to eat, clean and sleep. If you don’t do these things, then your Sim will become unhappy and then not go to work or interact with other Sims.

You can choose whether you want your Sim to focus on starting a family, making money or gaining knowledge. For my Sim, I chose the family path because it’s easier for me to just love and care for my family instead of buying expensive things just to keep my Sim happy. The drawback is that once you choose an aspiration, you can’t change it back, so choose wisely.

You even have the option of creating your own neighborhoods where you can place different houses, props, animations (like cars or planes passing by) and stuff like that. The graphics and game play are just phenomenal. It’s realistic, except for how they speak. All they say is "Ubo wubo duba huba." I find it hilarious.

I highly recommend The Sims 2 to anybody who wants to play a game that doesn’t require that you save a kingdom, kill a few bad guys, slay monsters or capture that enchanted sword. Overall, I give this game an "A" for addicting.

Chrono Trigger

By Sarah Evans, 15, Temple City HS

Though it’s nearly 10 years old, Chrono Trigger is still among the best role- playing games ever created. When spiky-red-haired Crono stumbles forward in time to discover a giant monster has destroyed the world, soon he’s tangled in a thoughtful, epic and moving quest to save the future. Throw in some heroic rescues, floating cities, and one awesome soundtrack, and you’ll remember the characters like close friends long after the game is over.

Chrono Trigger’s simple and instinctive game play makes progressing through the game fun instead of forced. Unlike most boring role-playing-game battle systems, your characters can use powerful team attacks against opponents that aren’t –yawn—stuck in one place. Better still, battles only happen when you run into enemies on-screen, so they can be avoided. But what really sets Chrono Trigger apart is its multiple endings feature. Depending on when and where you defeat the final boss, the story will have a different outcome—truly making it something you will want to play more than once.

Least impressive are the outdated graphics, which show tiny sprites running around in a two-dimensional world. Even so, they don’t detract from the experience.

Although the original Super Nintendo version of Chrono Trigger is no longer in circulation, it was re-released in 2001 as Final Fantasy Chronicles for PlayStation. If you want a refreshing and compelling experience, Chrono Trigger is one you won’t forget.

Ratchet and Clank 3: Up Your Arsenal

By Victoria Imtanes, 15, Fairfax HS

Ratchet and Clank 3 is a role-playing game that is as adventurous as it is entertaining. You play as Ratchet, a lombax (fictional alien race) completely covered in yellow, velvety fur, with orange stripes. He is on a mission to stop Dr. Nefarious, a flesh-hating robot, from killing off all organic life throughout the galaxy. The Tyhrranoids, Dr. Nefarious’s allies, have already started their attack. It’s up to Ratchet with a little help from the Galactic Rangers, who are fighting to protect their planet, to defeat the Tyhrranoids and get past all the obstacles they throw at him.

This game involves a lot of shooting many weapons but it also makes you do some tricky jumps, shots and swims.

One thing that’s so special about the game is that there are so many choices and ways to fight and travel. With money, health and ammo in boxes by your side, you will never be stuck or unarmed along your journey.

And talk about the graphics! This game has some of the best graphics I’ve ever seen for PlayStation 2 games. No matter where you look in the game, there is always the finest detail and color on every object! The in-between movies in this game are hilarious as well.

The whole story line is well thought out and gets two thumbs up from me. This game and its tons of props, features, and movies and challenges is what makes it definitely worth your while!

Ratchet: Deadlocked

By Juan Mejia, 16, Fairfax HS
Ratchet: Deadlocked is one of my favorite action-adventure games. You play as Ratchet, a fuzzy yellow lombax, who has been taken captive by Gleeman Vox. Ratchet along with all the other heroes of the universe has been forced to participate in Dreadzone. In Dreadzone, the heroes are forced to fight each other and put on a good show. Ratchet or any of the other kidnapped heroes can either be killed during the challenges or killed by Gleeman Vox if he or she is not entertaining the fans.

My favorite weapon is the super-nova, which shoots up into the air and then a shower of blasts hits all your enemies. The worst weapon would be the dual vipers. They don’t hurt the enemy as much as the other weapons do, but they hold more ammo than the rest.

One of my favorite things about the game is the ability to play in many modes—single player, multi-player, cooperative and online. In cooperative you can team up with your friend, and in multi-player you can play against your friend. Playing in single player you will be accompanied by two robots, which are helpful at times but have a habit of dying quickly. In cooperative you’re accompanied by your friend, who will last longer than both your robots unless he/she sucks.

In online mode there are a variety of games–Death Match, King of the Hill, Capture the Flag, and Juggernaut. My favorite is Death Match, in which you are required to kill each opponent until you earn as many points to become the winner.

This game is great for all ages.

NCAA 2005

By Shonari Johnson, 15, St. Michael’s Preparatory School

NCAA 2005 brings the brilliance of college football to the video gaming world proving to me that it’s the one of the best sports games I have ever played.

With an improved running system that allows you to more easily change direction, you can make your running back throw in a few smooth moves to make a defensive player hit the ground and miss or outrace the defense to the touchdown.

Another new feature: you can make your defense pump up the crowd and direct its hostility toward one opposing player causing say, the quarterback to throw interceptions. As the adrenaline pumps, you’re drawn deeper into the game. The feeling is overwhelming as you try and fight the crowd during an away game while your controller rumbles in your  hands.

In dynasty mode you get to experience what’s like to be the head coach as you manage your budget to recruit other players from high schools and other colleges. You can also draw up your own plays and create your own sign to display on the side of the field during timeouts or halftime. You can even adjust the stadium’s ticket prices to increase your team’s budget. The only drawback is memory; this game takes up a ton. That’s part of the reason I had to buy a separate memory card.

As the controller rumbles and your palms grow sweaty making all of Reggie Bush’s moves or coming from the bottom to the top and bring a college to its first bowl game, I know this is the best sports game out there.