Shippin' Out June 5-9: PSP Gradius, PS2 GTA: LCS

Cars get jacked and 'tooned, baseballs get Slugged, The Movies gets stunted, And 1 hits the streets.

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The summer movie season is officially under way, which means gamers need to determine whether they want to spend $50 on the latest console or PC games, or $15 on the latest Jennifer Aniston/Vince Vaughn vehicle and some snacks. (We trust you'll make the right decision.)

With summer popcorn flicks coming out in droves, the inevitable game tie-ins are hitting shelves as well (The Break Up remains exclusive on celluloid, however). Last week it was X-Men: The Official Game that bridged the gap between X2 and X-Men: The Last Stand; this week it's THQ's Cars, based on the Pixar film of the same name that hits theaters this Friday.

Cars drives onto just about every platform, with Xbox, PlayStation 2, GameCube, Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS, PlayStation Portable, and PC editions parking in stores on Tuesday. Next-gen versions will hit the Wii and Xbox 360 later this year. Eager drivers can pick up the game before the film is released without fear of knowing what happens during the movie--the mission-based driving game takes place after the events of the movie.

If cute and cuddly cars aren't your thing, and you'd rather steal autos and run people over with them, the latest from Rockstar Games may suit you. Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories makes its debut on the PlayStation 2 after providing the franchise's debut on the PSP. The game about stealing is almost a steal at the budget price of $19.99. Call it an omen, but the latest in the controversial franchise is available Tuesday...6/6/06.

Liberty City Stories isn't the only game being released where things get smacked with baseball bats. Also this week, Midway's MLB Slugfest 2006 steps to the plate for the Xbox and PlayStation 2. The steroid scandal may be frowned upon in the Big Show, but Midway has embraced beefed-up Major Leaguers by adding moonshot home runs, curveballs with more bite than a Great White, and full-contact gameplay that would make the WWE jealous.

Basketball also goes over the top with And 1 Streetball for the PS2 and Xbox. Ubisoft's baller focuses more on how the ball goes in the basket instead of if--style and panache are the roots of this game. The game also features several of the athletes from the And 1 Mix Tape Tour.

Other notable releases this week include a couple of puzzlers for the DS in Big Brain Academy and Magnetica, The Movies: Stunts & Effects for the PC, and Gradius Collection for the PSP. As for the Xbox 360? It's shut out this week.

This week's new releases are listed below. (The list is taken from retailer information--actual dates may vary. Contact your local retailer for availability.)

JUNE 5, 2006
MLB SlugFest 2006 (PS2, Xbox)
AMF Xtreme Bowling (PS2, Xbox)
Dark and Light (PC)
Magnetica (DS)
IHRA Drag Racing: Sportsman Edition (PS2, PC)
Origin of the Species (PC)
Big Brain Academy (DS)

JUNE 6, 2006
Cars (PS2, Xbox, GC, DS, GBA, PSP, PC)
Gradius Collection (PSP)
WWII Combat: Iwo Jima (Xbox, PC)
Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories (PS2)
Dragon Ball: Advance Adventure (GBA)
Backyard Baseball 2007 (GBA)
The Movies: Stunts & Effects (PC)
Mumbo Jumbo Puzzle Pack (PC)
Race Driver 2006 (PSP)
And 1 Streetball (PS2, Xbox)
Jaws Unleashed (PC)
Ultra Sudoku & Ultra Kakuro (PC)

JUNE 7, 2006
SuDoku & KaKuro Collector's Edition (PC)
Moscow to Berlin: Red Siege (PC)
Deep Sea Tycoon: Diver's Paradise (PC)

JUNE 9, 2006
Juka and the Monophonic Menace (GBA)
Scurge: Hive (DS, GBA)

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