Game Reviews

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The Independent Online

South Park Rally Dreamcast *** Farting, diorreah, projectile vomiting, filthy underpants and small cars - this is South Park, where puerile humour usually kicks ass and bodily functions get laughs. The South Park characters have found room in their TV and film schedules to make a quick buck with a move across to the Dreamcast.

South Park Rally Dreamcast *** Farting, diorreah, projectile vomiting, filthy underpants and small cars - this is South Park, where puerile humour usually kicks ass and bodily functions get laughs. The South Park characters have found room in their TV and film schedules to make a quick buck with a move across to the Dreamcast.

Of course, it would make perfect sense to use the crudely drawn, 2-D mischief-makers with their strongly defined characters to transform what might otherwise be a very ordinary racing game into a lavatorial romp around the park and through the competitors' personal insult cupboards.

As followers of the darkly humoured TV series would expect, the characters fart, explete and insult their way around a variety of courses while exchanging nasty diseases and avoiding sticky vomit in the race for the prize undies; races involve different challenges such as collecting easter eggs and stealing underwear while avoiding unpleasant boobie traps. But because there is little narrative drive and little effort put into characterisation, the usually dark and subversive show fails to be anything more than a rather lame it's-a-knockout game. (Acclaim, £39.99)

Marvel v Capcom II Dreamcast *** It's a beat 'em-up, it's a sequel and it features Marvel and Capcom characters. That's as much as the title reveals and all you really need to know about this old-school game in which Marvel cartoon characters do battle with, surprise, surprise, stars from the Capcom games hall of fame. So if you're suffering from nostalgia for the halcyon days when superheroes fought in the street, then this could be right up your alley.

The game of pugilistic mayhem pits such cartoon greats as Spiderman and Hulk against newcomers Rubyheart, Amingo (a strange, cactus-like character) and Tron - indeed, there are over 50 different characters waiting to be collected as you trade in points for superheroes. But as is becoming more frequently the case these days, the importance of characters takes precedence over decent gameplay.

Yes, the variety of low blows and vicious attacks used to level adversaries is far easier than usual to master, but the sheer chaos unleashed during a fight often seems to bear no relation to the buttons being bashed. Ultimately, you can't help feeling you've seen it all before - probably because you have. (Capcom, £39.99)

MoHo PlayStation **** Rejoice. It can be done. In MoHo we have a game with a spark of originality without licence or prequel, which is actually rather good. The idea is nicely far-fetched: incarcerated synthetic life forms lose their legs and in their place gain a large marble; the gameplay has the simplicity of gladiatorial tournaments: compete your way to freedom.

Choose your prisoner and then progress through different challenges in varying arenas of numerous prisons. Medals won lead you slowly towards liberation. Levels involving races against fellow prisoners are initially tricksy as your marble affords little propulsion, but master the art of gaining and keeping your momentum - much like a skateboarder - and you'll stop looking like a weeble wading through glue and actually win. Other challenges are less straightforward and can involve eliminating opponents, crossing obstacle courses and collecting tokens. (Take Two Interactive, £29.99)

Dragon's Blood Dreamcast **The Zombies may all have disappeared for August, but goblins, trolls and fantasy roleplays are resolutely sticking to the shelves. This third-person, over-complicated little number consists of the usual nonsense: life is cheap since the Backlash, which destroyed Parthem and it's up to you as either Cynric or Aeowyn to bring peace back to this troubled kingdom and stop the ignominious slaughter by assembling three artifacts to make the earth rune. No surprises there, then.

Why do so many companies keep on churning out these cheesy second-rate versions of the excellent and yet-to-be-bettered Zelda by Nintendo? This is another slaughter-the-bad-guys, collect-the-keys and improve-your-skills style game with emphasis placed firmly on the swordplay aspect of the game. Master the special moves and you shall be master of the kingdom. Yawn.

The game has poorly animated key sequences and corny dialogue to make you want to pull the scripwriter's fingernails. If there were one iota of self-parody evident in the game, it would be forgiveable. There isn't. (Interplay, £39.99)

s.chatterton@independent.co.uk

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