Contra prequel leads XBLA House Party on Feb. 16

Konami's Hard Corps: Uprising kicks off Xbox Live block next week; Bejeweled Blitz Live, Beyond Good & Evil HD, Torchlight, Full House Poker follow in succession.

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Microsoft has already publicized a number of big names that will be on hand at its Xbox Live House Party, telling gamers to expect appearances from Beyond Good & Evil, Bejeweled, and others. Now, the publisher has given gamers the heads-up on when it will be getting that party started.

Konami's Hard Corps: Uprising will be first out the door on February 16 and will cost 1,200 Microsoft points ($15). Developed by Arc System Works, the 2D side-scrolling shooter sees players assuming the role of the soldier Bahamut as part of a prequel story to Contra: Hard Corps.

Hard Corps: Uprising gets the party started on February 16.
Hard Corps: Uprising gets the party started on February 16.

On February 23, PopCap Games will deliver the latest installment in its addictive gem-matching puzzle franchise, Bejeweled Blitz Live. The MSP 800 ($10) title offers both classic and twist gameplay modes where gamers can compete to top leaderboards. The game also features a 16-player Party mode playable through Xbox Live.

Beyond Good & Evil HD follows on March 2 and will cost MSP 800 ($10). An update of Ubisoft's well-regarded action adventure Beyond Good & Evil from 2003, the Beyond Good & Evil redux will feature 1080p graphics, including enhanced character models and upgraded textures, and Ubisoft has also remastered the game's musical score.

Runic's Diablo-esque dungeon crawler Torchlight gained accolades on the PC in 2009, selling more than 800,000 units to date. That hack-and-slash loot-grabbing experience comes to Xbox Live on March 9 and will cost MSP 1,200 ($15).

Microsoft and Krome studios will be closing out the House Party on March 16 with Full House Poker. Specializing in Texas Hold 'Em-style poker, the downloadable title deals hands for two, or players can join 30-player online tournaments. Full House Poker also features a Windows Phone 7 companion title. It will cost gamers MSP 800 ($10).

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