Available November 22, 2006
The anthropomorphic dog in detective's clothes and the "hyperkinetic rabbity thing" were born from the pen of comic-book artist Steve Purcell in the 1980s, and they became gaming cult heroes with the release of LucasArts' Sam & Max Hit the Road
in 1993. Adventure fans have been craving a sequel for the freelance police duo ever since. Telltale Games, an upstart developer featuring some of the crew behind LucasArts' classic adventure games, has worked with Purcell to create a new, unique, episodic series of adventures for the wacky pair. The first episode, Culture Shock, hits retail shelves on November 1.
Activision's X-Men Legends franchise gets a major boost of adrenaline with this action-adventure game. Dr. Doom and his powerful Masters of Evil have created a nefarious plan for world domination, and all of the superheroes must band together to stop them. The game features more than 20 playable Marvel superheroes, including Wolverine, Spider-Man, Captain America, Blade, and the Thing. All in all, developer Raven Software promises that 140 Marvel characters will make an appearance.
After a pair of amazingly successful street racers, the Need for Speed franchise shifts back to its roots with a dramatic contest that can be settled only in the desolate stretches of Carbon Canyon. Master three distinct classes of cars--Tuner, Muscle, and Exotic--to lead your crew in street races to take over the city, then put the finishing touches on your enemies with the ultimate showdown in the Canyon. Wolfmother, Ladytron, and Pharrell are a few of the diverse artists included in the game's soundtrack.
Fifteen years after the gangster flick of the same name made Quentin Tarantino a cinematic superstar, the violent adventure lands on PCs, inviting users to play along with the wisecracking group whose jewelry-store caper goes horribly wrong. Rather than simply re-create the plot of the film, the game will flesh out some of the action that occurs off camera, such as what happens to Mr. Blue in the diamond store. Psycho ear-cutter Mr. Blonde Michael Madsen lends his voice to soundtrack.
Available Q4 2006
The PC racing-simulation genre has fallen on hard times recently, but this standout sequel from SimBin demonstrates that quality trumps quantity. Highly realistic cars, a dazzling array of tuning options, and intense online races with up to 28 players at a time make for a game that's both immersive and challenging. The learning curve is long, but a new driving school feature makes the journey more manageable for mainstream gamers. At $20, this GameSpot Editors' Choice is likely the best bargain of the holiday season.