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Sega In Full Effect - Turbo-charged lineup has something for everyone

When Sega became a third-party publisher four years ago, few could have imagined the company’s 2005 lineup looking as it does today. Instead of the arcade ports, sports games, and titles featuring anime-inspired characters that used to make up its lineup, Sega’s big games this year are split between Western-developed action titles and new takes on classic franchises.

Leading the Western-developed pack are Xbox 360 games Condemned and Full Auto. Condemned is the latest take on the horror genre, with the player investigating various serial killers from a first-person perspective while fighting using melee attacks and the occasional gun. Full Auto is a combat-based racing game from developer Pseudo Interactive in which players race through realistic cities in realistic sports cars that just happen to have guns attached to their hoods. The game puts a focus on environmental damage, so if you start firing at the buildings in the background, they will crumble apart bit by bit.

On the current-generation console side, the first game to come out of Sega’s recent acquisition of The Creative Assembly is Spartan: Total Warrior, a consolized take on the developer’s popular Total War PC series. In the PS2, Xbox, and GameCube Warrior, players take control of one player in their army, so even though the visual style is similar to that seen in the Total War games, the gameplay is much more akin to a Dynasty Warriors–style action game than a strategy title.

Sega’s in-house development teams in Japan also have a pair of potential blockbusters in the works: Phantasy Star Universe on the PS2 and PC and Shadow the Hedgehog on all current-generation consoles. Universe is the first major evolution of the Phantasy Star Online series since it began in 2000 (2001 in North America), and Sega hopes the extensive offline mode will make the game accessible to a larger audience. Shadow the Hedgehog is the latest in the Sonic series, although it stars Sonic rival Shadow and lets him use various melee weapons and guns he finds lying around. The game offers multiple objectives in each level, and depending on which ones the player goes after, Shadow can either head down a good or evil path in the story.

Of course, not all of Sega’s games are completely new takes on the classic Sega spirit—Virtua Tennis hits PSP, and Gunstar Super Heroes for Game Boy Advance is the long-awaited sequel to hardcore Genesis 2D-shooter favorite Gunstar Heroes. Developer Treasure is back, and the new Gunstar game is said to include tons of hidden and not-so-hidden nods to Sega games from the old days.

By: Matt Leone

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