You can't find two games more psychologically different than a shooting game where you blast holes into cops' faces, and a kiddie game where the main purpose is to endearingly smash crates. So that's what we're doing this week. It's The Godfather II vs. Monsters vs. Aliens. Let's go to the movies!
I'll start with Monsters vs. Aliens, since it's based on a mega-popular, computer-animated 3-D film for families. I'm not kidding when I say your goal is to smash crates. To be fair, you also smash space-type machines in a spaceship-type environment, and you rollerblade across rails, and...blah blah blah. The plot is...whatever, who cares.
I am being flippant because I've seen this type of movie-based game before. You play along a pre-set path. You step into the shoes of a very tall woman who blades along a set route. You also play as a blob that glides like a mop and as a Tasmanian devil-ish guy who punches things.
All this seems to me like an updated, fancy version of the 1990s hit Crash Bandicoot.
So for an adult like me, the game Monsters vs. Aliens - which is not 3-D - is a yawner. But I have to say it's definitely suitable and probably fun for many kids, as long as you parents don't mind the flatulence jokes. What is childhood without flatulence, after all, apparently?
Adult gamers may be much more impressed by Godfather II. This new Godfather game starts in Cuba in 1958. You do not play as Michael or any of those Corleones. You portray Dominic, a young new Don who must battle rival families in New York, Miami and Havana.
You hijack cars; drive to rivals' businesses with tough guys in tow (a safe cracker, a dynamiter and so on); you beat people to death; you intimidate people; you sweet-talk topless strippers; you hear glorious Dean Martin songs and old-school dialogue like, "What a drip" and "Eat lead!"
Godfather II is, as you gamers understand, similar in tone, texture and game play to the "sandbox" experience that worked so well in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and Saints Row 2, just to name a couple of titles where you roam a huge city, but also carry out predetermined missions.
The game lacks certain technical finesse. Images don't appear to be ornately drawn, and moving around feels a smidgen sloppy. And yet, I am already feeling pretty addicted to playing Godfather II, far more than the first Godfather game. It's fun.
By the way, Godfather II's antiheroes behave far more monstrously than the Earth-saving hero-monsters of Monsters vs. Aliens. Is it just assumed these days that all our protagonists must be monsters of one sort or another?