Thursday, March 08, 2007

Dolby Digital Sound In A Headset

I'm loving the new Triton Technologies "Ultimate Gaming Headset" which are lightweight, and at $149.95, as solid and comfortable as some of the $400 headphones I've tested.

Best of all these are designed with gamers in mind. You can use these with any game system that has a digital sound input, like Xbox, Xbox 360, PC or PS2.

What's cool is that when you're using these, you can kick up the bass and the headphone cups actually rumble. These headphones also deliver true 5.1 sound. It's amazing to hear sound so clear without any distortion. And for people who cannot afford to go spend $500 or more for a true 5.1 setup (and $500 is seriously entry-level), these will make a good alternative.

Games come to life.

I heard so many new things playing especially sports and war games. Watching movies with these was also a special experience. Sounds mixed to only the rear speakers appear to come behind you, so much so that for the first few minutes of the new Superman DVD, I caught myself looking behind me more than a few times (Grade: A-minus).

Burnout Dominator: Racing isn't good enough on this PS2 and PSP title. You want to go really, really fast to achieve a burnout, but don't crash. This is not so hard in the open roads but in city traffic, well, yours truly wrecked more than I'd like to admit. Each car has its own characterisitics, like football players in Madden and the visuals here are about as good as you'll get on these platforms.

The feel of speed is actually more acurate on the hand-held than the aging PS2. And I liked how you could use shortcuts to get back into the race. The cool thing is you bang your opponents through a barrier to enter the shortcut area (Grade: B).

Crackdown: You are a rookie Agent and you have to clean up a mythical city overrun by three gangs in this Grand Theft Auto style game. The Xbox 360 title looks beautiful and parents needs to know this isn't for anyone younger than 16.

This game is built around violence, human cloning, killing gang bosses and collecting orbs. This game is also seriously addicting and could cause you to lose yourself in it for hours. It's beautiful to look at and collecting the orbs and destroying your enemies and gaining new abilities will keep you mashing buttons for hours.

The violence and mayhem are depicted quite realisitically. For players, as you get better, your Agent is able to do more things, like run faster or jump farther. Of course, he'll find more weapons to use. He'll drive cars and other vehicles and is just this short of superhuman. This is the kind of title that will upset those who hate violent videogames. But taken for what it is, it's a very excellent videogame that I would use caution about giving to a teenager (Grade: A).

Wario: Master Of Disguise: Not sure there's enough here to warrant more than a rental. The Nintendo DS game breaks no new real ground. You can change into different forms to move through different areas of each level.

The game begins with Wario seeing a master of disguise on TV. He jumps through the TV, steals the disguise master's wand and jumps into location after location. You can change Wario by drawing a symbol on him. So, boom, he's Cosmic Wario with laser blast ability, or a thief who can tackle people.

I won't lie. This is push-button fun in the Nintendo classic fashion, but I've got a big feeling of 'been there, done that' with this game (Grade: B-minus).

Rogue Galaxy: I've been playing this PS2 title for a month on my PS3 unit. I wish this was a PS3 title as I've spoiled by next-gen graphics now, but this is a massive role-playing game that takes you into deep space with access to 500 different weapons. You can play as multile characters in six really, really big "worlds".

In the end, the game is like a good "Star Trek" movie. You're on a crew in search of a distant planet which may hold the secret to eternal life. Another crew is also hunting this treasure, and they don't care for your group to find it first.

There are more than 100 hours of gameplay and many mini-games, like completing battles under specific conditions, that give players special upgrades.

Had this been done for PS3, it would've been a masterpiece. Without the graphical power, it's still awful, awful good (Grade: B-plus).

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