Shippin' Out: Mario Strikers Charged, Marathon: Durandal

Mustachioed plumber dons his soccer cleats and leads Nintendo-loaded lineup this week; Halo forerunner blasts onto Xbox Live.

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With August just around the corner, game publishers appear to be girding their loins for the impending holiday-season blitz, beginning with Madden NFL 08 on August 14. This week, though, saw only one major new game arrive on a single console--the Nintendo Wii.

Tomorrow, the House that Donkey Kong Built will ship Mario Strikers Charged. A sequel to 2005's Super Mario Strikers for the GameCube, Mario Strikers Charged returns the mustachioed plumber and his crew to the pitch for a rousing round of footie, as the Brits may or may not say. Mario Strikers Charged is the second game for the Wii to take advantage of Nintendo's Wi-Fi Connection for online play, with the first being Pok�mon Battle Revolution released in June. The game also bears the dubious distinction of being the first Mario-centric game to bear an E10+ for Everyone 10 and Older rating, due to its "crude humor and mild cartoon violence." Mario Strikers Charged retails for $49.99.

With the Nintendo DS's installed base expanding geometrically, it's no wonder the handheld receives a substantial weekly injection of games. Leading this week's DS lineup is Nintendo's puzzler Picross DS, a logic-based game where players use numbers to fill in a grid and create a picture. Players can create their own puzzles and send them to friends, as well as download classic Picross puzzles from previous iterations of the game through the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection.

Accounting for the Xbox 360's only new releases this week is a pair of downloadable titles. Before Bungie was selling Xboxes with the original Halo, it was innovating in the first-person shooter space with Halo's forerunner, Marathon. An updated version of the second installment in the trilogy, Marathon: Durandal debuts on Xbox Live this week and can be had for 800 Microsoft points ($10). Also appearing on Xbox Live this week is Spyglass Board Games for 400 Microsoft points ($5). Included in the pack are the board-game staples chess, checkers, mancala, and reversi.

Today, Nintendo's Virtual Console receives its weekly update of retro titles. The vertically scrolling shooter Start Soldier for 500 Wii points ($5), the platformer Dynamite Headdy for 800 Wii points ($8), and the Breakout clone Drop Off for 600 Wii points ($6) are all now available.

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

JULY 30, 2007
Mario Strikers Charged (Wii)
Picross DS (DS)
Drake & Josh: Talent Showdown (DS)
Chameleon: To Dye For! (DS)
Pet Alien (DS)
Bratz Ponyz (DS)
Star Soldier (Wii)
Dynamite Headdy (Wii)
Drop Off (Wii)

JULY 31, 2007
Glory Days 2 (DS)
Brave Story: New Traveler (PSP)
World Championship Cards (PS2)
World Championship Cards (PSP)
Attack on Pearl Harbor (PC)
Spelling Challenges and More! (DS)

AUGUST 1, 2007
Marathon: Durandal (X360)
Spyglass Board Games (X360)
Ride! Carnival Tycoon (PC)
Let's Ride: Friends Forever (PC)

AUGUST 3, 2007
Combat Mission: Shock Force (PC)

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