LOS ANGELES — The biggest underdog story of E3 was by far Atari. As a company that’s been through every kind of trouble imaginable in the last few years; management changes, financial troubles, and struggling through complicated ownership situations with their French parent company, Infogrames, Atari managed to put out a well-rounded display of their game development potential.

Winning E3’s Best in Show for DS and PSP, N+ led the charge to highly acclaimed gaming. Based on the award winning flash-game N, N+ is a uniquely addictive platformer experience.

As a ninja trying to obtain as much gold as possible during your average one and a half minute lifespan, N+ has 300 puzzling levels to explore, plus some hidden unlockable ones. Each level of N+ has a door to the next level, gold coins to obtain, and various robotic bombs and missiles to explode a player as often as possible. Luckily for N the ninja, he has remarkable regenerative capabilities that allow the player to restart the same level where they most recently had a tragic death.

In addition to the faithful translation of the original online game, the DS and PSP versions also have a wide array of multiplayer capabilities. With 100 cooperative levels and 50 competitive levels, N+ also had the ability to download new maps from the N server as well as design new maps with the integrated level editor. The ability to share levels over the PSP and DS wireless connectivity services is new to the N universe.

N+ is coming to handheld systems worldwide on August 12.

Atari’s big PC title came in the form of The Witcher: Enhanced Edition; an updated version of the role-playing game released in October 2007. In addition to updated features like more than 5000 rerecorded lines of dialogue and a new character differentiation system for non-playable characters, the enhanced edition also includes a multilingual game disc which allows any language combination of voice-over and subtitles, the official soundtrack CD and a short story by The Witcher novelist Andrzej Sapkowski.

The Witcher, based on the novels by Sapkowski, has won more than 90 awards and has sold more than 800,000 copies worldwide since its release in 2007. The player takes on the role of the renowned monster slayer Geralt of Rivia in a world where moral ambiguity reigns. A unique feature of the game is the way that each decision made may not directly affect the game until hours later. The Enhanced Edition of The Witcher is set to be released in September.

On a different note, RACE Pro is an ultra-realistic simulation racing game coming from Atari in November for the Xbox 360.

RACE Pro’s new ‘Hot Seat’ feature gives a different meaning to multiplayer racing. Each player drives in the ‘hot seat’ for a short period of time before they have to pass off the controller to the next player. This unique feature accelerates the pace of the game and makes multiplayer a more communal experience.

Atari went out of their way to produce as realistic a racing game as they could. RACE Pro features more than 15 real life tracks that span all continents across the globe. Players can win official championship titles using a wide variety of realistic car models. Participants earn their skills as a true racer would in real-life; through intense training, scoring key wins and receiving big sponsorship deals.

Hailed by many as being better than 2K’s 2008 tennis title Top Spin 3, Smash Court Tennis 3 was Atari’s big sports game release. Coming out in August to the Xbox 360, Smash Court Tennis 3 allows players to compete against or alongside some of the biggest names in the industry such as Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Justine Henin.

Smash Court Tennis 3 allows the player the ability to compete in the tennis world on more than a dozen courts and championships in five different modes; Arcade, Tutorial, Exhibition, Pro Tour, and mini-games.

Players can play with their local or online friends via Xbox Live. Smash Court Tennis 3 has already been released on the PSP.

Coming this fall is the newest installment of the Deer Hunter franchise and, as the Atari producers said, the most addictive. Deer Hunter Tournament is to be released for the PC and, for the first time, the Xbox 360 later this year.

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About The Author

Terri Schwartz was a Blast Contributing Editor from 2008-2009.

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