Arts & Culture » Games

Pilgrim's Progress

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Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game
Ubisoft
PS3 (available now), Xbox 360 (available Aug. 27)

It's a safe bet that author Brian Lee O'Malley is into way more video games than you. One quick read of the Scott Pilgrim series, and you'll find so many video game references, from the overt, to so under-the-radar, that you'd need your nerd degree to get them all.

And with a new movie in theaters, what's left to do but release the obligatory bad video game tie-in? Well, sorry folks. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game knows its roots, and brings 8-bits of fucking awesomeness to Scott's war against Ramona's seven evil exes.

Rife with video game tropes, from enemies dropping coins when defeated to food powerups, Scott Pilgrim's biggest game inspiration is Nintendo classic River City Ransom. From the brawling and the in-game shops to using downed enemies as weapons, the spirit of River City is alive here. As you play, you'll level up your characters (Scott, his Sex Bob-omb bandmates Steve and Kim, along with love interest Ramona), thus unlocking new attacks. Also available is the ability to summon Scott's 17-year-old Chinese ex-girlfriend Knives for support attacks, damaging all enemies onscreen.

While you bring along lots of fighter power, you'll need all of it, because this game is Nintendo hard. Even the cannon fodder takes a couple knockdowns to finish off, and if you go it alone, you're up against serious odds. What's confounding is that even though this game is meant to be played with a friend or three, it's only local multiplayer, with no online co-op.

While in keeping with the throwback mentality, for a game requiring you to download to play, not having an online element is pretty unforgivable. On the plus side, should you go it multiplayer, you can pull off some pretty sweet team attacks, and the difficulty drops while the fun rises.

The Scott Pilgrim series was written by a gaming dork for gaming dorks, so obviously the video game itself is gaming-dork paradise. Loaded with nods to games past, down to the 8-bit graphics and soundtrack, anyone who's ever picked up a controller before the Playstation 1 will feel right at home.

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