The two-week period from December 7 to December 20 offers Parisian subterfuge in The Saboteur, the engaging and easy-on-the-eye Zelda: Spirit Tracks, classics reinvented for the Wii in Resident Evil: Zero and Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, vintage gaming in Konami Classics, and family friendly murder mystery in Blue Toad Murder Files.
The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks (DS)
Release: North America, December 7. Europe, December 11.
Sequel and successor to The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, 2007's award-winning, top-rated outing for Zelda on the DS, Spirit Tracks' all new adventure uses a similar art style and control method, which can only be a good thing - it already picked up "Best Handheld Game" when previewed at this summer's Gamescom exposition in Germany.
Price: $34.99 / €39.99
The Saboteur (360 PC PS3)
Release: North America, December 8. Europe, released on December 3.
The Saboteur at first glance appears to be a serious-console version of the Wii's tuneful 2008 freedom fighting color-fest de Blob: In The Saboteur, Irishman Sean Devlin (loosely based on a real historical figure) brings color back to WWII-era occupied Paris via resistance activities, clambering around famous landmarks, and 1940s race car action. Developers Pandemic were closed down by parent company EA in November, but fans of 2005's Mercenaries are hoping that this swansong will be the spiritual successor they've been waiting for.
Price: $59.99 (360 PS3), $49.99 (PC) / €69.99 (360 PS3), €49.99 (PC)
Resident Evil Archives: Resident Evil Zero (Wii)
Release: North America, December 8. Europe, January 22, 2010.
The Wii is compatible with games from Nintendo's previous home console, the GameCube, so anyone with access to an original copy of Resident Evil Zero will be able to play it on their shiny Wii. However, this Wii-specific reworking of the prequel to seminal survival horror action-puzzler Resident Evil includes support for the Wii Remote and its waggly gestures, as seen previously in The Umbrella Chronicles, The Darkside Chronicles, and the critically acclaimed Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition.
Price: $29.99 / €29.99
Silent Hill: Shattered Memories (PS2 PSP Wii)
Release: North America, December 8. Europe, February 12.
1999's seminal survival horror Silent Hill joins Resident Evil Zero and Resident Evil: Darkside Chronicles as another seminal Japanese survival horror given an alternative angle. Shattered Memories retains the rough outline of the original as Harry Mason searches for his missing stepdaughter in the desolate town of Silent Hill, but this time psychodramatic combat is replaced with a more evasive, puzzle-solving, but equally chilling approach.
Price: $49.99 (Wii), 29.99 (PS2 PSP)
Konami Classics Vol 1 & 2 (360)
Release: North America, December 15.
Konami compiles six classics into two volumes of videogaming history: Volume 1 contains CastleVania, Frogger, and Super Contra (aka Super Probotector), whilst Volume 2 comprises Contra (aka Probotector), Rush'n Attack (aka Green Beret) and Track & Field. Though Track & Field and Rush'n Attack are already available on the Xbox Live Arcade for 400 Microsoft Points each ($5 / €3.40) on the Xbox Live Arcade, here they are compiled on disc for those without internet connection, gift givers, or those who simply prefer hard copies of their games.
Price: $19.99 each
Blue Toad Murder Files, Episodes 1 & 2 (PS3)
Release: Europe, December 17. North America, TBA.
The Blue Toad Murder Files is a family whodunit from Relentless Games, the same company behind the super-popular PlayStation 3 quiz series Buzz!, whose most recent release was only a month previous with Buzz! Quiz World. Here, the Blue Toad Murder Files takes a more considerate, deductive approach to all-age multiplayer gaming with a series of crime mysteries taking place in the cartoony village of Little Riddle.
Price: PlayStation Network Store download - £6.29 / €7.99 per episode, £9.99 / €12.99 for both