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    Gears of War for Microsoft Xbox 360

    Gears of War is definitely one of the top third-person shooters on the market right now. The game is amazingly detailed and completely beautiful. There are dynamic characters, decidedly evil villains, and sinister boss battles. What more could you ask for? Multiple player cooperative on a single system, you say? Oh wait, Gears of War has that already, and so much more.

    First, take a look at this game for a rather unique concept for a game. Instead of an alien invasion, you have an infestation coming up from beneath the very ground itself. You are Marcus Fenix, formerly in jail for ignoring a direct order to save your father, who had already died. The war has gone badly for the humans of Sera, and the military comes to recruit you back into the army. There are many moments worthy of note (at one point, two officers argue over Flint's worth, as he calls out the number of "overwhelming foes," as it quickly drops to zero when facing his relentless spray of bullets), but the game continues to develop a story while satisfying the basic gamer's need for blood and guts. Add in beserkers invulnerable to artillery fire that have to be lured into the open and hit repeatedly with a satellite laser, hundreds of freakish creatures swarming at you, and multitudes of enormous creatures looking to kill you for the fun of it, and you have an instant classic. Add in the ability to bring your buddy along for the ride, and you have a smash hit like Gears of War. If only it were longer, it would deserve a perfect score, but alas it is too short for me and only gets a 9.

    Controls for this game are amazing. You hit the X button to pick up weapons and ammo, as well as kick the ever-loving daylights out of doors. The X button also allows you to roll. The A button makes you run when you hold it down, as well as leap over whatever you use for cover and take cover. The directional pad allows you to switch weapons, and the right trigger fires, and the left trigger allows you to aim from cover, with just pulling the right trigger only allowing you to blind fire. To reload, you can either just tap the right bumper to passively reload, or actively reload by first tapping the bumper and then tapping it again just as the moving line connects with the solid line on your reload meter. Completing this will give your bullets destructive power long after you hit an enemy. The controls are simple and tons of fun, and the B button I leave for last- it allows you melee, which in the case of your main weapon means slicing enemies to pieces with a chainsaw. Oh yeah, a chainsaw. For bringing death and destruction to a whole new level of fun, Gears of War gets a perfect 10.

    The graphics on this game are amazing. I'm very glad that Epic Games talked Microsoft into biting the bullet and upgrading the system to 512 MB of RAM before they began production of the system. The graphics would be nowhere near as amazing. The blood, the gore, the lines and hair on the characters' faces when the cutscenes begin, and still when the game is actually in progress. The game is just great looking in every aspect, and I have no single complaint. Just a load of compliments going from architectural styling of some of the buildings to the look of the world, a world obviously torn apart by war will always get a powerful 9.5 from me.

    The sound of this game is pretty epic, as well. Background music fades in the background as grubs appear to shoot at you, but the sounds they make are very similar to the sounds of savage zombies and other undead ghouls. The music is eerie and the world sounds almost dead, devoid of the life that once made it home to the military still struggling to help their people survive on the nearly deserted planet. Any time that cool sound effects meet a suitable soundtrack and leave you with a distinct impression like that, you have to give the people behind it all some credit. The people working on the sound for this game get another 10. There just isn't anything else you can ask for in a game like this, and they deserve credit for making something this powerful. You have to play it to understand.

    Overall, this game is a real adventure. Short as it may be, it is more than worth replaying to see it over and over. The levels are amazingly well put together, and the game comes together in a way that is hardly ever matched. Perhaps Halo 3 will dethrone Gears of War when it releases later this year, but something makes me doubt it when I tear a grub in half with a chainsaw attached to a machine gun. What better game to deserve an overall 9.5 out of 10?

    Written by MT

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