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The Top 20 Games of 2006
Games 10-6
Written by:  Alex Sandell


# 10 Rainbow Six Vegas (Xbox 360)

    I disliked the single-player campaign to the point where I had this game up for sale on half.com.  And then somebody bought it (as people are prone to do).  Oops!  Luckily for me my bank account was locked while the bankers in charge of ... um ... "banking" investigated "red flags" that were put up and I guess my account was being looked into by the Department of Homeland Security.  It all turned out to be a big mistake, but I got to keep my copy of Rainbow Six Vegas and, as a bonus, had one hell of a story to tell (I can only imagine the half.com buyer's look when I said I couldn't send him his game because my bank considers me a potential terrorist -- I betcha he leaves me a negative feedback).  Anyway, while the single-player pretty much blows monkey-chunks -- the online multiplayer is where this game shines!  With about a million and a half different online modes (or at least 5), a system where you literally earn your stripes and more gear and gadgetry the further (is it "further" or "farther"?) you move up the ladder of geekdom, a great cover system and some random guy with the nick of "fatty" that I keep meeting up with online who tells me I "suck" and to "go for the headshot," the fun of this game is second to none.  Second to none, if there were no Gears of War.  Did I just give away a title that is going to make it into the top 5 games of 2006 -- or was I  dropping names to throw the anti-terrorism unit off my trail?  Ooh ... a cliffhanger.  The Government is probably waiting eagerly for me to make my next move by doing dangerous things such as compiling lists of fun multiplayer video games!  It's your tax dollars, folks.    

# 9 Marble Blast Ultra (Xbox 360)

    This is the most fun Iíve had playing local offline multiplayer since I got drunk with a bunch of friends while staying up all night beating Street Fighter II on the SNES. We drank lots of beer, got way too drunk and still ended up beating the game. We then fell asleep on the living room floor for a few hours, woke up wondering if we had any Brokeback moments and decided to reassert our manhood by going to some 24-hour "Adult Book Store" where I bought a penis enlarger.  It didn't work.  Although Marble Blast Ultra doesnít have a 2 player mode and doesnít go well with beer (it's a Super Monkey Ball/Marble Madness type title that needs your mind sober and your reflexes razor sharp), I traded controllers with my brother each time I had a ball fall off (that sounded bad) and we earned quite a few nearly impossible achievements. Since weíre both adults and are stuck with burdensome things such as having a life, we gave up when the achievements moved from "nearly impossible" to "impossible."  No, I do not know whatever came of that penis enlargement unit, but if I ever come across it I'll donate it to The Museum of Bullshit Overpriced Sex Toys.  I still want my $30 back for that ugly plastic tube.    

# 8 Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin (Nintendo DS)

    Itís a new side-scrolling Castlevania Ė what more needs to be said?  Nothing really, other than it's on the DS and not the PSP.  So there!  Watched any good UMDs lately?  I'll shut up now.    

# 7 Call of Duty 3 (Xbox 360)

    I actually like the single-player campaign mode in Call of Duty 3 better than I liked the single-player mode in Call of Duty 2. If I had to play on the beaches of Normandy one more time, I was about to kick something.  Luckily, the game is story specific and centers around the Polish, the Canadians, the British, the Americans and the French circling Paris in an attempt to liberate the place and guarantee Freedom Fries for all.  The problem with the game is that something is totally messed up with the online multiplayer in CoD3 and you canít play at all if you use a router and even if you bypass your router you still have to wait a good 5 Ė 15 minutes to get into a game. If you buy for single-player, the game is great. Multiplayer? Not so much. When I did go through the effort of bypassing my router and running the modem straight to the 360 I saw the potential for greatness.  Great graphics (as pointed out in the ads:  What you're seeing is "actual gameplay"), great gameplay, about a bazillion players at once, nifty vehicles to drive along in or ride in as a passenger, etc.  It felt like seeing the hottest woman ever at a strip-club and knowing she'll always be dancing on that pole, just 5 feet out of reach.  Please, Treyarch and Activision! Give us a working patch before I start making more crazy analogies about mega-hot strippers dancing on poles!    

# 6 New Super Mario Bros. (Nintendo DS)

    If you thought Mario was powerful before, wait 'til you see this unlikely hero grow about 10 times his size (think Ron Jeremy on a handful of Viagra, or "Alice" on a pill-popping binge) and destroy everything in his path like some makeshift Godzilla with a mustache.  Sure, the 3-D Mario stuff was fun.  You got to leisurely wander around and look at landscapes and stuff in the sky.  Once in a while you'd fight a boss or clean up some mud with a hose strapped onto your back.  But the hardcore platforming was missing.  New Super Mario Bros. picks up where the seminal Super Mario World left off.  The game is a combination of the best 3 Mario games ever made:  Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario World and the original Super Mario Bros.  This is a full-fledged, brand-new Mario that anyone who'd rather own a DS than an iPod PSP is going to cream their jeans over.  New moves, new levels, jaw-dropping 3-D graphics in a 2-D world -- this game has it all, with a sweet peach on top (sexual pun strongly intended).  Play it on the DS Lite and your eyes will pop out of your head like that one dude's eye did in Friday the 13th Part 3 when Jason squeezed the sides of his skull in.  If you're disappointed in this one, quit gaming, go buy an iPod and download the entire Jessica Simpson collection.       

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Feeling left out? Stuck with a Last-Gen console in a Next-Gen world?  Not to worry!  Click to read The Best 45 Games You've Never Played (Or Need to Play Again)!  It's the ULTIMATE video game list and many of your favorites will be on it, all at mega-discounted prices!

©2006 Alex Sandell/Cerebellum inc. [All Rights Reserved].  Copy this, without my permission, and I'll have Treyarch glitch your entire life -- trust me, they know how to glitch things!