February 2003


The appeal of War Of The Monsters for me came from the game’s one-player mode. Even though the same characters appear in the same order every time, this does not mean that the one-player story mode lacks for variety. One foe brings in a fleet of tanks with him as a distraction; another fight features dozens of weaker mantis creatures followed by a larger foe. One boss can only be defeated by his own bombs, a la Mouser in Super Mario Bros. 2. Each new battle brought with it a new and interesting scenario, and forced me to think up new strategies on my feet. Even without any person-eating mini-games, the one-player mode was engaging.

(full article)


Almost six in 10 Bowie families had annual incomes of more than $75,000 in 1999, according to data from the 2000 U.S. Census. More than half of those families had incomes over $100,000 a year. 

This data stands in contrast to that for Prince George’s County, where 39 percent of families had incomes over $75,000 in 1999.

(full article)


I don’t own an Xbox. I probably never will. I know that this means I am missing out on some great Xbox exclusive games like Halo and, uh, Halo, but my PS2 and GameCube are keeping me plenty busy for now. Not having an Xbox also means I will not get the chance to own Tecmo’s latest experiment in the physics of the female form: Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball (DOAXBV). Fortunately, thanks to the game’s official web site (http://www.doaxbv.com), I have enough information to review the game without actually playing it.

The web site calls DOAXBV the world’s first “sports fantasy simulation,” but I didn’t realize how true the “fantasy” part was until I read about the game’s premise. It turns out that the “famous Dead Or Alive rebel Zack” has bought his own island resort with some casino winnings. Zack decides to invite his favorite female fighting companions to the resort under the guise of a new fighting tournament. According to the web site, “the ladies have been tricked, but they suck it up fast (note the subtle innuendo) when they realize they are stuck on a beautiful tropical island to have fun in the sun and play beach volleyball.”

All right, fine. It’s not like I was expecting Shakespeare-quality writing in the storyline. How the game plays is what’s important. Unfortunately, it’s almost impossible to garner any gameplay details from the web site. Instead, I was able to splice together a vague description of a game in which girls “strip off their fighting attire and slap on their bikinis” to “play some arousing games of beach volleyball” that “promise extreme action and total satisfaction.” Is this a description of a game or a soft-porn flick?

After some careful reading of the site, I was able to figure out that the girls can “set, spike, and kill their way to victory,” with an “infinite number of moves and combos [that] are so extreme, it will be rare to see your character do the same thing twice.” This likely means that the girls each have three or four distinct volleyball moves, each with hundreds of animations in which their breasts jiggle slightly differently. I also learned that the game features an amazing amount of variety in “four different courts” and “two different modes” of play (including “exhibition,” nudge nudge, wink wink).

Tecmo tries to spice up what is probably a rather shallow volleyball game with other activities on the island including a radio station (read: a sound test feature), a movie theatre (read: computer-animated girls in bikinis), a casino (read: a few crappy Vegas games that you can play on-line for free) and “the hopping game” (read: the ‘watch my breasts jiggle’ game).

Also, since “girls love to shop and the DOA girls are no different,” DOAXBV includes an extensive shopping mall, where you can buy even skimpier bikinis or gifts for your partner that can “strengthen your relationship on and off the court.” I can almost hear every horny 13-year-old in the country thinking, “Maybe if I buy Helena the suntan lotion, she’ll make out with Akumi!” As the web site advises: “Try not to drool.”

As a caption for one of the web site’s many, many screenshots, Tecmo tells us that a rather contemplative looking Lisa is “pondering the meaning of beach volleyball.” After playing this game, you’ll probably be pondering the same thing, as well as why you bought this game instead of a porno video. At least the porno video is up-front about the fact that it’s selling sex and objectifying women. DOAXBV seems almost in denial about it.


Fighting games as a genre have been rather stagnant recently. A new fighting game might add flashy graphics, big weapons, or new characters to the mix, but the basic premise usually offers little to no innovation over classics like Virtua Fighter (or Street Fighter 2, for that matter). It’s high time that someone came along and made a fighting game that gives the whole idea of fighting games a swift kick in the behind.

Luckily, Sony’s War of the Monsters for the Playstation 2 has done just that.

(full article)