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Cover Critic
The Holiday Cover Up! (PS2 Edition)
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on November 11, 2005   |   Episode 48 (Show Archive)  

   
A lot has changed since the last time we featured an episode of the Cover Critic. Both Sony and Nintendo have released new portable game systems, long time companies have shut their doors forever, and the world has been reintroduced to a certain lawyer named Jack Thompson. Heck, even this site you're looking at has changed in many ways. So maybe it's time we take another serious look at video game covers, letting you know which ones we like and which we hate. After two years I invite you to embrace a brand new Cover Critic, one that isn't afraidto tell you what we really think. So enjoy five new covers and one new look!
Gun (PS2)
Gun

VERDICT:
B-
As you're walking into your local Toys R Us looking for a game, chances are the first one that catches your eye will be Gun. That's right, Gun, Neversoft's much-hyped western action game. It's not because it has the best cover (it doesn't), it's not because it's the best game on the shelf (again, it's not), it's the fact that the people that designed the box decided to make the thing bright freaking yellow! Oh sure, the skull might catch your eye too, but chances are you won't be able to see anything else ... it's that bright.

Don't believe me? I stood in front of the Gun box for a good half hour and ended up getting a sunburn. And let me tell you, I don't tan, so now I'm stuck here with a Gun-induced sunburn ... don't you make the same mistake! All joking aside, this Gun cover has some nice artwork going on, featuring a couple of guns, a skull (with a bullet hole), and a some really interesting stuff behind it. Oh wait, it's not that interesting. What is that, a close up of wheat? Of are those supposed to be arrows? And the town in the distance, it's almost impossible to see what that's about when the cover is so damn bright. But maybe Activision is on to something, I'm sure when people think of violent westerns the first color they think of is florescent yellow. Oh, and seriously guys do you need two guns to take down a skeleton? I've seen skeletons in the movies, and rarely have I seen a good gun strategy work on them. You shoot zombies in the head, but I'm pretty sure you have to sword fight skeletons!
Shadow of the Colossus (PS2)
Shadow of the Colossus (PS2)

VERDICT:
A-
Some of us still have a bad taste in our mouth about the Ico box cover, a truly terrible display of artwork that (in my opinion) made the game a tough sell. Critics and hardcore gamers may have loved it, but those who just went to Best Buy to pick up a game weren't about to buy a game with that cover. Thankfully Sony realized this before releasing Shadow of the Colossus, the next game by the Ico team. Instead of having a close-up of the hero's face, we get a wide shot of one of the colossi towering over our hero. But don't worry, our hero has a sword and a horse ... what could go wrong? Oh, wait, maybe we should start worrying.

If anything this Shadow of the Colossus cover will make people look at the back just to see what type of game it is; after all, it's not everyday that you see an enemy that large on the box. Surely it must be the end boss, some might think, but they would be wrong ... which will have them thinking for days to come. Unlike the Gun cover, this Shadow of the Colossus box isn't bright yellow, but almost black and white in its design. The colors are all muted, but that doesn't keep it the small details from coming out. Here we get a well-placed beam of sunlight hitting our hero. Wait, is that the Gun cover shining down on him? This cover makes you wonder just how that little guy will defeat that big creature, and that can only help get this excellent game into more homes. It looks like Sony learned their lesson, if only it wasn't too late for Amplitude.
Resident Evil 4 (PS2)
Resident Evil 4 (Sega CD)

VERDICT:
A-
When Resident Evil 4 (or is it, 4 Resident Evil?) was released on the GameCube it had a fairly standard box cover. You got an action shot of Leon, a few of the non-zombies, and that Texas Chainsaw Massacre dude. The problem was, that artwork just wasn't very creepy. In the game the chainsaw guy is one of the scariest things you will run into, but on the GameCube box he was reduced to just being another face in the background. But that's not the case for this truly amazing European cover for Resident Evil 4 on the PlayStation 2. You don't get a real good look at the menacing chainsaw dude, but that doesn't matter, in the middle of that empty forest I can't think of anything scarier!

And I'm not just talking about scary for you, the guy he's going to be chasing after! Oh no, if you weren't in the picture then he would be using his running chainsaw to cut down the trees and make a little money on the side. Perhaps make enough to fix that acne problem he's using the burlap back to cover up. Everybody is afraid of this guy, humans, birds, cute little rabbits, and especially the trees! Looks like the leaves have already been scared off ... and maybe that's a sign you should start running! Unlike Gun, this cover decides to use red and black as their color pallet. Yellow might grab your attention, but there's little doubt that red is a much scarier color. Hell, even his shadow is freaky. Just about the only thing not scary about this artwork is the Capcom logo at the bottom. Capcom is a great company that (generally) released good games, but it's hard to be scared of the crazy chainsaw murderer when you are so distracted by the colorful Capcom logo. Still, if you ever see a guy who looks like this, I'd say it's a good time to get your butt out of that forest. NOW!!!
Ratchet Deadlock (PS2)
Ratchet Deadlock (PS2)

VERDICT:
C-
Believe it or not, this is Ratchet's four game in four years. That's not quite as impressive as the Dynasty Warriors series, but you have to admit that there might be room for some overkill there. Actually, overkill is exactly what Ratchet Deadlock does. It's an ultra violent romp that will have you fighting through a number of arenas to see who the best players are. As you can tell they've decided to drop the Clank character from the name and cover. He does manage to make some appearances in the game, but don't expect to use him like you have in the past. Clearly this cover is setting you up for this disappointment.

But there's something a little unsettling about this box art, and it's not the fact that we have Ratchet essentially doing his best impression of Gladiator. The first thing I think of when I see poor Ratchet is how tight that suit must be. There's just no room for air in that thing, something you'll probably want to have when you're fighting a bunch of enemies. It's a little known fact, but oxygen is extremely important when you're fighting, you need it to keep living. You're going to need water, too ... but it doesn't look like that outfit has any kind of opening (or fly) for his business. And what's with that stern face? I thought this series was supposed to be light-hearted, not as mean and angry as this box displays. And what's he standing on?? Is this really just an elaborate game of hopscotch? Gee, I sure hope so!
The Warriors (PS2)
The Warriors (PS2)

VERDICT:
B+
The Warriors is a great game, full of cool gangs to beat up and plenty of people to mug. It features an interesting story that ends up explaining what happens before everything in the 1979 movie, and features almost the entire cast from that cult classic. The only problem is that this generation's gamers don't have a clue what the Warriors was, and will probably be confused by this cover. But I'm not here to review the game (I've already done that); I'm here to talk about how cool this cover art is. If you've never seen the movie then you probably don't understand the significance of this cover; it is, after all, a who's who of all of the Gangs of New York. No no, not the Martin Scorsese film, but rather the Hurricanes, the Orphans, the Lizzies, the Baseball Furies, and of course the Warriors themselves!

This cover is like when you have a senior class picture in high school, only with a lot less violence. Getting these gang members to stand still long enough to take this snapshot is no easy task, especially since most of them are already holding weapons (just try and count all the baseball bats on this cover). What this box art does right is feel like the movie, when you look at it you can't help but think "1970s", which is certainly not a bad thing. You're looking actually looking at just about everybody whose ass you kick in the game, which should lead to an exhilarating experience. And once you've knocked all of these characters out, then you can go back to your home base and play a cool 2D, Double Dragon-style version of the Warriors. If that's not enough to make you want to bust through this game then this cool-ass cover probably won't do anything for you. I dare you to find a group of more colorful gang members. It's just not going to happen!
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