Microsoft dates, prices Block Party promotion

Toy Soldiers leads Xbox Live Arcade cavalcade on March 2, with Scrap Metal, Perfect Dark, Game Room hub following; Fret Nice, Greed Corp, Lazy Raiders online tomorrow.

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Microsoft's giving Xbox Live gamers the chance to map out their purchasing schedule for the next month. This week, the publisher announced the full details of its March Xbox Live Arcade Block Party promotion, as well as pegged the release lineup for Games on Demand through next week.

The Xbox Live bonanza begins tomorrow with the arrival of Pieces Interactive's Fret Nice for 1,200 Microsoft points ($15). The rhythm-based 2D platformer received an underwhelming critical reception upon its launch for the PlayStation 3 earlier this month. W! Games' online strategy game Greed Corp and Sarbakan's puzzle-platformer Lazy Raiders join Fret Nice on Microsoft's virtual arcade this week. Both clock in at the MSP 800 ($10) price point.

Perfect Dark descends March 17.
Perfect Dark descends March 17.

In March, Microsoft will begin its Xbox Live Arcade Block Party promotion. The initiative kicks off on March 3 with Signal Studios' World War I-themed tower defense game Toy Soldiers for MSP 1,200 ($15), continuing with Slick Entertainment's car-combat racer Scrap Metal on March 10 for the same price. 4J Studios' update of venerated Nintendo 64 shooter Perfect Dark follows on March 17 for MSP 800 ($10).

Microsoft will close out the month with the release of Game Room, a free download that will serve as a hub for the publisher's retro gaming push. Thirty Atari and Intellevision games will be available at launch, and Microsoft has said that more than 1,000 titles are on the docket.

Games can be purchased for play on both the Xbox 360 and PC for MSP 400 ($5) or for an individual platform at MSP 240 ($3) apiece. Single rounds of any individual game can be played for MSP 40 ($.50). The Game Room will also support Xbox Live Avatars, as well as voice chat, 1080p graphics, cross-platform leaderboards, and achievements.

Gamers who pick up all three Block Party titles and the free Game Room hub will have MSP 400 ($5) credited to their Xbox Live account. Those who subscribe to Xbox Live's Gold membership will also have their subscription extended by one month.

As for Games on Demand, Disney and Black Rock Studio's Pure is available today for $19.99. The off-road trick racer received solid reviews upon its debut in September 2008. On March 2, Microsoft has queued up Bethesda Softworks' acclaimed postapocalyptic role-playing shooter Fallout 3. However, pricing information is not yet available.

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