Shippin' Out April 23-27: Pokémon DS duo, LOTR Online

Two more Pokémon games to catch, Middle-earth challenges Azeroth; also, F.E.A.R. hits PS3, Rabbids hit 360.

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Wonder Boy in Monster World
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Insurance salesman by day, level 16 dwarf by night.
Insurance salesman by day, level 16 dwarf by night.

It appears the Great Game Drought of '06 may finally be over. Two popular properties had huge releases today, as Nintendo unleashed a pair of Pokémon games for the DS, and the universe of Lord of the Rings finally delved into the massively multiplayer online realm.

After working the charts over for years on the Game Boy Advance, the first proper Pokémon games for the DS make their debut in the US today. Pokémon Diamond and Pokémon Pearl feature the series' traditional role-playing gameplay, as well as more than 100 new critters to catch. Both games feature online play, where trainers can fight or swap Pokémon with other users. The games will also support interconnectivity with Pokémon Battle Revolution for the Wii, which is due out in late June.

Those who prefer their nerdiness with pointy ears, furry feet, and flowing robes can join the virtual Renaissance Faire known as The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar. The game was developed by MMO specialists Turbine (Dungeons & Dragons Online: Stormreach, Asheron's Call) and will feature creatures and settings from the books of J.R.R. Tolkien.

Raving rabbids have raging cavities.
Raving rabbids have raging cavities.

The only new retail releases for the current crop of consoles aren't actually so new. This week sees a trio of ports hit new systems, as Sierra Entertainment spreads F.E.A.R. to the PlayStation 3, Eidos builds Bionicle Heroes for the Wii, and Ubisoft breeds Rayman Raving Rabbids for the Xbox 360.

On the download circuit, the Wii gets a trio of old titles and the Xbox 360 gets a pair of new games. Gradius III, Wonder Boy in Monster World, and Battle Lode Runner were all released on the Virtual Console on Monday, and Pinball FX and Eets: Chowdown will be available on Xbox Live Marketplace on Wednesday.

This week's new releases are listed below (list taken from retailer information--actual dates often vary, call your local game retailer for confirmation).

APRIL 22, 2007
Pokémon Pearl (DS)
Pokémon Diamond (DS)

APRIL 23, 2007
Battle Lode Runner (Wii via Virtual Console)
Wonder Boy in Monster World (Wii via Virtual Console)
Gradius III (Wii via Virtual Console)
Made Man (PC)
The Red Star (PS2)
Eureka Seven Vol. 2: The New Vision (PS2)
Th3 Plan (PS2)

APRIL 24, 2007
Tokyo Xtreme Racer DRIFT 2 (PS2)
Aedis Eclipse: Generation of Chaos (PSP)
Ancient Wars: Sparta (PC)
The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar (PC)
Dunes of War (PC)
SNK vs. Capcom Card Fighters DS (DS)
Rayman Raving Rabbids (X360)
EverQuest The Anniversary Edition (PC)
The Fast and the Furious (PSP)
Hard Rock Casino (PSP)
Model Train 3D (PC)
Bionicle Heroes (Wii)
Cube (PSP)

APRIL 25, 2007
F.E.A.R. (PS3)
Circus Empire (PC)
Pinball FX (Xbox 360 via Xbox Live Marketplace)
Eets: Chowdown (Xbox 360 via Xbox Live Marketplace)

APRIL 27, 2007
Vegas Casino High 5! (DS)
Stargate Online Trading Card Game (PC)
Tank Beat (DS)
Fairy Godmother Tycoon (PC)

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