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Images: Battling harpies and international thugs

New games bring to life the horror of the Hydra and the smarminess of infowarriors.

Battling harpies and international thugs

Sony's "God of War" is set against the background of ancient Greece. The player controls Kratos, a tattooed Spartan warrior whose mission from the gods is to stop a renegade deity from destroying Athens. The game is known for lavish visuals.

Credit: GameSpot

A scene from 'God of War'

Battling harpies and international thugs

"God of War" begins with Kratos trying to kill himself by leaping from a mountain. A narrator interrupts, however, flashes back to events of the past and begins dispensing tantalizing bits of information about the murderous Kratos. Apparently, it takes awhile to learn all there is to know about the game's hero, but he does end up seeming "endearing," according to the GameSpot review.

Credit: GameSpot

A scene from 'God of War'

Battling harpies and international thugs

The characters from the game are all inspired by Greek mythology. Foes include cyclopes, gorgons, harpies, Minotaurs, undead warriors and, of course, a Hydra.

Credit: GameSpot

A scene from 'God of War'

Battling harpies and international thugs

Kratos' opponents are formidable, but he's helped by a pair of deadly blades chained to his arms. He also stumbles across a few magic spells that help him overcome daunting odds.

Credit: GameSpot

A scene from 'God of War'

Battling harpies and international thugs

Some of the game's villains "amount to mere grunts that can be cut through reasonably quickly," according to the GameSpot review. But "the game tends to throw lots of them at you, meaning you'll need to be quick with your attacks." Still, the game isn't all about killing; it also features some challenging puzzles, according to the review.

Credit: GameSpot

A scene from 'God of War'

Battling harpies and international thugs

A review by GamePro.com praises "God of War" for "excellent visuals," noting that the "detailed architecture deliver(s) the aesthetic punch of an era long gone."

Credit: GameSpot

A scene from 'God of War'

Battling harpies and international thugs

According to GameSpot, "what 'God of War' does best of all is create a fun yet dark atmosphere."

Credit: GameSpot

A scene from 'God of War'

Battling harpies and international thugs

The hero of "Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Chaos Theory" is Sam Fisher, a secret agent who often finds himself immersed in international intrigue.

Credit: GameSpot

A scene from 'Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Chaos Theory'

Battling harpies and international thugs

The game is set in 2007, according to Ubisoft's official game Web site. The players: China, Japan, North Korea and the United States. The problem? Informational warfare.

Credit: GameSpot

A scene from 'Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Chaos Theory'

Battling harpies and international thugs

The game's visuals have received mixed reviews. The New York Times' Charles Herold says "technically, the game's graphics are the best of the series...yet the series seems to be losing its visual panache."

Credit: GameSpot

A scene from 'Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Chaos Theory'

Battling harpies and international thugs

According to GameSpot, "Fisher and his foes look a bit too much like plastic action figures, (but) the game's incredible animations, meticulously detailed environments, and gorgeous lighting effects more than compensate."

Credit: GameSpot

'A scene from Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Chaos Theory'

Battling harpies and international thugs

Among Sam's equipment is a set of EEV goggles, which allow him to scan an area and see the properties of objects.

Credit: GameSpot

A scene from 'Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Chaos Theory'

Battling harpies and international thugs

According to a review by NextLevel Gaming, the point of the game is sneaking around: "Sam's way isn't running and gunning; his best work is done in the shadows when you have no idea he's even there." But, yes, Sam does have plenty of guns.

Credit: GameSpot

'A scene from Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Chaos Theory'