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04 October 2023

Release your inner action hero with these titles

Elika joins the Prince on his travails. (SUPPLIED) 

By Lou Kesten

Notwithstanding the success of Wii bowling, video games exist largely to give most of us abilities we don't already have – including physical activities such as executing a backflip or scaling a cliff.

Even if I got off the couch and started working out every day, I couldn't pull off such feats with the panache of a video-game star like Lara Croft. Perhaps she'll inspire a younger generation of gamers to take up gymnastics. Me, I'm thrilled when I can create one of her moves on an Xbox.

Prince of Persia (Xbox 360 and PS3, from Dh180): The latest incarnation of Ubisoft's Prince – the top selling game in the UAE now – is one of the most acrobatic game heroes ever. He can leap across pits, scramble along walls and somersault over enemies.

And this time he gets invaluable assistance from a princess named Elika, who can magically retrieve the prince if he takes a wrong step into the abyss.

Compared to the last couple of Prince titles, this chapter focuses more on movement and exploration than combat. The lush landscapes look like watercolours come to life, and Elika is an unusually appealing sidekick in a game that is a refreshing new direction.

Tomb Raider Underworld (Xbox 360, PS3, and Nintendo Wii, from Dh180) Lara Croft may not be the icon she was, but she's on the verge of a comeback. She looks better than ever, and Underworld presents her with a series of massive architectural ruins that demand the most of her athletic ability and your wits.

The adventure takes Lara from an undersea city to the Arctic Circle (and beyond), and each environment serves as a clever multi-stage puzzle.

Combat is considerably less interesting; fortunately, it doesn't happen too often. Marred by occasional technical hiccups, Underworld delivers awe-inspiring sights.

Shaun White Snowboarding (Xbox 360, PS3, and Nintendo Wii from Dh180) White, the snowboarding gold medalist from the 2006 Winter Olympics is your guide to this fast-paced tour of the world's most vertigo-inducing mountains, and he'll have you leaping off cliffs and executing flips and spins.

The boarding is smooth, but the events scattered around each slope get repetitive. The Wii version is better, because you have better control with the Balance Board. It's not a very deep game, but it does deliver the rush of going downhill fast.