By Gary Gray, 16, Brooks Institute
Print This Post

Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way! Oh what fun it is to play video games all day, HEY! Hello, to all my fellow video gamers. You have just a month or so to beg and plead with anyone you know to get you the following games. Actually, don’t plead. Grovel. Trust me, ruining your reputation is small sacrifice for one of these awesome games.


Since the release of The Fast and the Furious, street racing has become more and more popular. So hopefully you won’t be that surprised when I say that the driving game you have to get for the holidays is a street-racing game.

Need For Speed Underground (NFSU)

System: GameCube,
PlayStation2, Xbox

When I heard the people who created Need for Speed were working on a street-racing title, I was skeptical. I figured, Need for Speed is known for its expensive cars, and having a game without them is just wrong. Well, they proved me wrong. In NFSU, the graphics are slicker than even Midnight Club 2. Detailed buildings and wet asphalt whiz by while you push your modified car up to 180 mph. When you get enough money you can slap some decals and a new paint job on your car. You can even add another 20 shot of nitrous oxide (NOS) to make your Honda go as fast as a Ferrari F1.


Last year, when I reviewed SOCOM, I secretly hoped that I would get to review a sequel this year. Looks like I got my wish.


System: PS2

WOOOHOOO! It’s here! SOCOM bursts back on the scene with awesome graphics and improved artificial intelligence (even though I don’t see how that could be possible). SOCOM also brings back its flagship—online play. Now, every time you kill someone online, you get to do one of many victory dances, including the Macarena, back flips or break dancing. Many new weapons have made it to the sequel, like the all-powerful rocket launcher (you can blow up multiple enemies—SWEET!). In single-player mode, tanks make their SOCOM debut. They get annoying though, especially when they try to blow your head off with a shell the size of your leg.

Medal of Honor: Rising Sun

System: GameCube, PS2, Xbox

I seriously almost cried when I viewed the trailer for this. This game is so emotionally heavy-hitting. The first level is the battle of Pearl Harbor. They put you right in the middle of the action. EA Games programmed the game with 300 scripted events, compared to 30 in Medal of Honor: Frontline. Rising Sun also has accurate soldier uniforms, weapons and gear for that time period. The artificial intelligence has been improved, too: enemies now pop out from pits in the ground and shoot from trees.

Role-playing Games

I was drooling at the sight of these great games. All I can say is that anyone who buys them will not see sunlight for a while.

True Crime: Streets of L.A.
System: GameCube, PS2, Xbox

Some say it’s a Grand Theft Auto clone. Some say it’s crap. I say it’s GENIUS. You won’t believe how long I sat at my desk, trying to figure out what category I should put this in. It has everything: driving, fighting, shooting, even some puzzle solving. You play Nick Kang, a hard-as-nails cop cleaning out the streets of L.A. one criminal at a time. Speaking of L.A., there are 250 accurately recreated miles of the city. All the way down to the fast-food restaurants or that alley you thought only you knew about. You may commence drooling.

Ninja Gaiden
(available Dec. 23)
System: Xbox

Most L.A. Youth readers may be too young to remember the awesome ninja game by the name of Ninja Gaiden. It came out on the 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System. Well, now there’s one coming out on the Xbox. An all-new storyline will be part of this game, along with new enemies and allies. You will learn how to run on walls and accurately throw ninja stars on your quest for revenge. The combat of Ninja Gaiden is reminiscent of an old kung fu flick, classic and ultra-smooth.


I will only list the worthy sports titles this year seeing that there are only a few.


System: PS2 and Xbox

First-person quarterbacking. It’s a thing of beauty. ESPN football puts you inside the helmet as you battle it out on the field.

1080 Avalanche

(available Dec. 4)
System: GameCube

As its name implies, this snowboarding game is fast and furious. It includes high winds, avalanches and other obstacles that get in the way of your impressing all the cute little snow bunnies.

NBA Ballers

(available February 2004)
System: GameCube, PS2 and Xbox

This title won’t be out by Christmas, so please don’t send me hate mail. It was originally scheduled for a summer release and then for a September release. The game itself is a one-on-one game of basketball between real NBA players at fantasy mansions. That’s right, you get to play in the backyard of many of the NBA’s elite (60 current players and 24 legends).