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’Worms: A Space Oddity’ for the Wii.

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WORMS: A SPACE ODDITY

“Worms: A Space Oddity” is like the earthbound “Worms” ... but in space! This edition adorns the usual strategic adventures with a science-fiction backdrop, as if a game about angry worms blowing themselves up wasn’t weird enough already. There’s a campaign mode that provides an escalating series of situations for the player to blast through (or to complete in more devious or unusual ways).

A team of worms is armed with various heavy weapons with which to destroy each other turn by turn, though this time the team size is three instead of the usual four. Some of the weapons are new, while others are futuristic updates of classic devices. What’s fun is how the Wii Remote is used for many of them. Grenades are tossed with a swing of the remote, while homing missiles are guided by the on-screen pointer.

The graphics and sound are the usual 2-D sprites and high-pitched voices. The game is a bit of a rehash, but a well-done one — and it’s the only “Worms” for the Wii.

PUBLISHER: THQ

SYSTEM: Nintendo Wii

PRICE: $49.99

AGE RATING: Everyone 10-plus

GRAN TURISMO 5: PROLOGUE

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Looking forward to “Gran Turismo 5”? Well, here’s a taste of what’s to come.

The “Gran Turismo” series has always been about realism, from the handling and physics of the machines to the real-world tracks and licensed makes and models of vehicles from manufacturers around the world.

“Prologue” offers less than 100 cars and only six tracks (with reverse runs making 12 courses in all). It’s cheaper than a full game would be — just $40 — and is available in boxed and downloaded versions.

“Prologue” is fantastic-looking and will certainly appeal to gamers waiting for the fifth installment to arrive. But it’s hard to shake the feeling that it’s a bit of a rip — two-thirds the price of a full game for less than a quarter of what that finished title is rumored to offer. And for all its technical achievement, the “Gran Turismo” series doesn’t have much of a sense of fun.

PUBLISHER: Sony

SYSTEM: Sony PlayStation 3

PRICE: $39.99

AGE RATING: Everyone

ARMAGEDDON EMPIRES

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“Armageddon Empires” — independently developed and released by Cryptic Comet — combines the brainy pursuits of a turn-based hex-grid strategy game with the random chance of a collectible card game.

It’s best suited for strategy fans with the patience to come to grips with its utilitarian interface and complicated game mechanics. The game play is based on action points, which are required for all actions; resource points, which are used to put cards into play; and dice rolls, which determine each turn’s move order and the outcome of combat, among other things.

Set in a post-apocalyptic world ravaged by a war between alien races, “Armageddon Empires” lets the player choose from four different factions, each with a unique pool of cards with which to create a deck; there are a couple of pre-made decks for beginners.

Each game starts with a randomized grid of hexagonal tiles. Players establish a home base, draw cards and deploy them as units, upgrades, structures and special abilities, and use armies of units to explore the map in search of treasures like fuel and weapons — and to find and destroy computer-controlled factions.

PUBLISHER: Cryptic Comet

SYSTEM: PC

PRICE: $29.95 (download via www.crypticcomet.com)

AGE RATING: Everyone 10-plus

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