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Jan 26,2007
Video Game Reviews: Wii controller creates electrifying experience
by Jeb Haught

Game: "Elebits"

Publisher: Konami

System: Nintendo Wii

Cost: $50

ESRB rating: E

Review rating: 3 stars

Combining hide-and-seek game play with laser-gun controls, Konami's new Wii title, "Elebits," captivates gamers with an addictive adventure that's as adorable as it is innovative. Too bad the graphics are so mediocre.

In an alternate world, small, cuddly, creatures known as Elebits provide all the energy needed to run everything, so natural gas, coal and nuclear energy aren't needed. When a lightning storm knocks out the energy in his town, a boy named Kai sets out to collect enough Elebits to restore power to the area, starting with his house.

'ELEBITS' - Combining hide-and-seek game play with laser-gun controls, Konami's new Wii title, 'Elebits,' is an addictive adventure. CNS Photo courtesy of Konami.
BEAT THE CLOCK - In 'Elebits,' players take on the role of Kai and use his special capturing gun to move objects and bag Elebits before time runs out. CNS Photo courtesy of Konami.
'BIONICLE HEROES' - 'Bionicle Heroes' follows the story of a soldier who must recover the stolen 'Mask of Life' and bring peace back to his land. CNS Photo courtesy of Eidos.
BIONICLE BATTLE - In 'Bionicle Heroes' the hero can pick up different masks that sport individual types of deadly armaments such as shotguns, lasers and explosives. CNS Photo courtesy of Eidos.
Players take on the role of Kai and use his special capturing gun to move objects and bag Elebits before time runs out. Using the Wii remote controller, budding gatherers fire a beam of energy that can "grab" objects and move them around. Flinging objects around is half the fun, so feel free to create a mess. Doing so reveals hiding Elebits, and the player must then zap them before they escape.

Captured Elebits are displayed as watts, and certain wattages must be achieved before lights and appliances are turned on and doors are opened. Speaking of doors, every door in the game is unnecessarily difficult to open, which can be maddening when you're in a hurry. Otherwise, the innovative control scheme is the highlight of the game.

This title also features a hectic, full-screen multiplayer mode for up to four in which players compete to gather Elebits faster than their rivals. The cool ability to create customized levels and share them online is also included.

While the execution may not be flawless, "Elebits" is extremely fun to play and looks to be a solid, Wii-exclusive franchise.

Game: "Bionicle Heroes"

Publisher: Eidos

System: Xbox 360

Cost: $40

ESRB rating: E

Review rating: 2 1/2 stars

Based on Lego's line of robotic builders, which also spawned three computer animated movies, "Bionicle Heroes" follows the story of a soldier who must recover the stolen "Mask of Life" and bring peace back to his land. Since this game doesn't veer from the unwritten laws of cyberspace, delivering peace requires a lot of firepower.

Fortunately, our hero can pick up different masks that sport individual types of deadly armaments such as shotguns, lasers and explosives. It's also possible to build objects out of Lego blocks, just like in "Lego Star Wars." When enough Legos are collected, the Toa, or hero, turns gold, becoming more destructive and gaining the ability to build special gold creatures.

Bionicle fans will be thrilled with the array of extras, such as additional characters that are playable in Free Mode, but unfortunately the game has several shortcomings.

"Bionicle Heroes" is presented in an over-the-shoulder view, with third-person-shooter-style controls, and suffers greatly as a result.

While the environments and special effects look impressive, surroundings don't matter much if the player is struggling with the camera view. When you couple the iffy lock-on system with the inability to strafe and aim at the same time, nothing in this universe could make this game easy to play. Unfortunately, there are no co-op or multiplayer modes to be found, so gamers are stuck playing alone with their Legos.

- - -

RATING KEY

4 stars - Must have

3 stars - Pretty good

2 stars - So-so

1 star - Don't waste your time

- - -

Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB)

E: Everyone

T: Teen (13 and older)

E10-plus: (Everyone 10 and older)

M: Mature (17 and older)
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