From a blood-soaked twist on Greek mythology to stealth combat in the near future, two new video games offer excellent but very different action thrills.
For a strategic, methodical approach to action games, "Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory" is worth the $50. For the same price, "God of War" is a frenzied, breathless experience that'll leave your fingers ached and cramping.
If you've read Clancy books, you already know what to expect in "Chaos Theory." (There's even a book version, "Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell," written by none other than ... David Michaels?)
Chaos Theory, the M-rated game for GameCube, Xbox, PlayStation 2 and Windows computers casts you as lone wolf Sam Fisher, the head agent in a secretive U.S. government agency called Third Echelon, to stop some renegade computer code from crashing the global economy and starting World War III.
"God of War" takes much of what you learned about Greek mythology and spins it into a bloody, vengeful tale of anti-hero Kratos. He's a tattooed, musclebound mortal who has little choice but to do the bidding of Athena, Zeus and company, who are getting worried about the warlike ways of - surprise - Ares.
Parents, be forewarned: even by M-rated standards, there's a lot of sex and violence, including digital breasts and bloody decapitations.
But it's hard to put down. If you're like me, you'll find yourself on an irresistible quest to get to reach the next level.
Four stars out of four for "God of War," three and a half stars out of four for "Chaos Theory."
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