GAME REVIEWS: 'Call of Duty,' 'Surf's Up' and more

"Call of Duty: Roads to Victory" is pretty basic for a first-person shooter _ Nazis infest gray and brown World War II-era European battlefields, and the player finds lots of period weaponry. Occasionally there's a stationary weapon or vehicle to use, but most of the game is spent on foot. There are three minicampaigns within the game, each with the player in control of a different soldier _ one American, one Canadian, one British. Anyone who's played a shooter in a WWII setting won't find any surprises here. Up to six players can take part in ad hoc multiplayer matches in Deathmatch, Capture the Flag and King of the Hill game types. The game suffers a bit from the same problem that plagues many PSP shooters: tricky control. The lack of a second analog stick makes precision aiming a chore in most games _ "Roads to Victory" makes up for it somewhat by including an auto-aim feature. The graphics look pretty nice and the enemies aren't idiots, though they're also not as smart as in the console and PC versions of "Call of Duty."

2 ½ stars

PUBLISHER: Activision

SYSTEM: Sony PlayStation

PRICE: $39.99




3 stars

"Surf's Up" is a rarity: a licensed game that can stand on its own. The characters and settings of the animated movie are used as a backdrop for the game, but the focus here is on trick-oriented surfing action, not unlike the skateboarding in "Tony Hawk" games or the snowboarding in the "SSX" series. Each stage of the game has a requirement to pass, such as reaching a certain score and passing through a bunch of gates. Depending on the area, the ocean is littered with such obstacles as icebergs, structures, barriers and ramps, and so on. There's an endless wave moving in from one side of the screen. Players can surf along and over this to perform tricks that increase score and fill up a speed-boost meter, and to carry them over some obstacles. Others must be avoided or blasted through.


SYSTEM: Nintendo Wii, also for Microsoft Xbox 360, Sony PlayStation 3, PS2, PSP, Nintendo DS, GameCube, Game Boy Advance, PC

PRICE: $49.99 for Wii ($19.99 to $49.99 on other systems)

AGE RATING: 10-plus



2 ½ stars

Based on Agatha Christie's Poirot story "Death on the Nile," this game, like the story, is a river cruise murder mystery. A wealthy woman named Linnet has been murdered, and it's up to Poirot to ferret out the killer. The player will help him investigate various rooms on the boat, searching for key items hidden among piles of debris in what must be the most ill-kept luxury cruise ship in Egypt. Interrogating suspects, assembling evidence and solving minigames figure into the mystery as well. It's a methodical style of game play that should be gripping for puzzle fans.

PUBLISHER: Oberon Games

SYSTEM: PC ( download)

PRICE: $19.95

AGE RATING: Everyone