Shippin' Out June 16-20: Secret Agent Clank, Spore CC

Console gaming takes a week off, as headliners joins classic gaming staples Space Invaders Extreme on DS, PSP, Arkanoid on Nintendo's handheld; free trial of Maxis' sim-everything.


In the wake of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, there isn't much that could have made this week not seem slow. However, the gaming industry seems to be giving Konami and Kojima Productions' masterpiece plenty of breathing room, as this week's slate suffers from a paucity of console releases.

While the stream is weak, a few portable titles may turn to gems in the sifter. Namely, Sony and High Impact Games will be releasing Secret Agent Clank on the PlayStation Portable. A spin-off of Insomniac Games' popular Ratchet & Clank franchise, Secret Agent Clank sees the franchise's titular robotic Swiss Army knife going undercover to clear his imprisoned cohort's wrongfully maligned name. The game offers a variety of action and puzzle sequences, as well as the ability to play as a number of characters from the Ratchet & Clank universe, including the dubiously aligned Captain Qwark.

A pair of arcade classics land on Nintendo's and Sony's portables this week. Square Enix hopes to breathe new life into Space Invaders for its 30th anniversary with an Extreme edition on the PSP and Nintendo DS. A 21st-century redux of Taito's seminal alien invasion game, Space Invaders Extreme updates the game on all fronts, adding trippy visuals, new gameplay mechanics, and a spiced-up soundtrack.

Square Enix and Taito will also be teaming up to release Arkanoid DS on Nintendo's handheld this week. The game will feature similarly restyled presentation and gameplay mechanics, and players will be able to plug in an optional scroll-knob peripheral to the Game Boy Advance cartridge slot. Also exclusive to the DS is Namco Bandai's Tamagotchi Connection: Corner Shop 3. Developed by NanaOn-Sha (of PaRappa the Rapper fame), Corner Shop 3 offers 13 new shops that let aspiring entrepreneurs practice their task management and minigame-playing skills.

EA and Maxis won't be pollinating store shelves with Spore until September 7, but the two are giving gamers an early look at Will Wright's sim-everything with the game's Creature Creator on PC and Mac this week. The retail version of the game runs for $9.99 and gives players free rein to take evolution into their own hands. A free trial version is also available through the game's official Web site, opening up approximately 25 percent of the tool. Players will be able to share their abominations with both versions, and the final products can also be uploaded to popular video-sharing site YouTube.

While the retail sector has a light week ahead of it, the online storefronts will see their standard shipment of new titles. On the PlayStation Network, Koei will be releasing Fatal Inertia EX. Originally slated in as a PlayStation 3 launch title, Fatal Inertia debuted to lackluster reviews on the Xbox 360 in September. Koei promises to have cleaned up a number of the complaints leveled at the 360 game with the EX edition, and it will be available on Sony's online store this Thursday for $29.99.

Microsoft's Xbox Live Marketplace will see the release of Sea Life Safari and Elements of Destruction this Wednesday, both running 800 Microsoft points ($10). Sierra Online and Wanako Studio's Sea Life Safari offers an underwater marina filled with more than 60 creatures of the sea. Those looking for a less placid playing experience may want to check out THQ and Frozen Codebase's Elements of Destruction, where players can assume the role of an out-of-work scientist wreaking havoc on his former employer by channeling the power of the elements.

Nintendo's double storefront has a trio of new products in the window. On the Virtual Console, SNK's classic NeoGeo fighter Samurai Shodown is available for 900 Wii points ($9). As for original gaming, Gameloft will release its own take on Arkanoid with Block Breaker Deluxe as a WiiWare title for 800 Wii points ($8). Neko Entertainment will also be offering for download Cocoto Fishing Master, which uses the Wii Remote and Nunchuk to mimic a real-life rod and reel, for 700 Wii points ($7).

This week's new releases are listed below (list taken from retailer information--actual dates may vary).

JUNE 16, 2008
Block Breaker Deluxe (WiiWare)
Cocoto Fishing Master (WiiWare)
Requiem: Bloodymare (PC)
Samurai Shodown (Wii VC)
The Political Machine 2008 (PC)

JUNE 17, 2008
Arkanoid DS (DS)
Code Lyoko: Fall of X.A.N.A. (DS)
Deadliest Catch: Alaskan Storm (X360)
Imagine Rock Star (DS)
Secret Agent Clank (PSP)
Space Invaders Extreme (DS, PSP)
Tamagotchi Connection: Corner Shop 3 (DS)
Wacky Races: Crash & Dash (Wii, DS)

JUNE 18, 2008
Elements of Destruction (XBLA)
Sea Life Safari (XBLA)

JUNE 19, 2008
Fatal Inertia EX (PS3)

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