Atari has made some radical changes since the series’ original release in 1997 by Infogrames. The animals in the game can see, smell, hear and even fight when they are targeted in a hunter’s sights, unlike previous games where they typically respond after a shot is fired. Some of the animals targeted even threaten and hunt the hunter down until a final showdown where it is the player being attacked, not the animal.

Deer Hunter Tournament has the first ever online hunting community through its tournament system that is designed to create a massive network of players who regularly compete and communicate with one another in the Deer Hunter universe.

In addition to the tournament community, the game now involves new dynamics such as bullet time, thermal scopes and rag doll physics, so that hunters can scout their hunting area before they start shooting in order to set up traps and hiding spots.

The latest expansion pack for the Neverwinter Nights 2 franchise will be coming in late 2008 to the PC under the title Storm of Zehir. This most recent expansion to the Neverwinter Nights 2 universe occurs concurrently with previous expansion pack Mask of the Betrayer.

Continuing the legacy of Dungeons and Dragons role-playing videogames, Storm of Zehir features a new map, improved party game play, a world economy that reacts to players’ adventures and choices and new classes, spells, creatures, and playable races.

One of the coolest games in Atari’s line-up was also the only unnamed game at the convention. Created by Atari producer David Geudelekian, the DS title is a platformer with a plot like no other. The story switches between its two main characters; Felicity and Felix. The male and female lead met at the beginning of the game and set up a date. The rest of the game is focused on the two of them trying to reach their date in time while maintaining their crush’s interest.

The point system is a type of ‘crush-o-meter’ which can either gain or lose interest in the characters’ significant other dependent upon their actions. Using cool skills and getting to the end goal fastest allows players to gain crush points, while dying or spending a really long time getting to the end-goal causes them to lose points.

Definitely the coolest aspect of the upcoming in-the-process-of-being-titled game, slated for a Valentine’s Day release, is its usage of DS functionality. A player can use their stylus to draw platforms for themselves across the top of the screen.

However, instead of making it so that a player can use the draw-yourself-a-platform skill to cheat their way through the entire game, a power bar depletes on the DS’s top screen the more the player draws platforms. If a player is unable to multitask and navigate the top screen while keeping an eye on their power bar, the drawn platform changes in color as the power bar depletes from green to yellow to red, which we at Blast found very, very cool. It is our recommendation of a title to keep an eye out for, once it gets named.

All in all, Atari came out with a very well-rounded line-up; dabbling in a little bit of every genre, but doing it well. It’s been a hard past few years for Atari, but they have come back strong and it only seems like they’re coming on stronger. They came to this year’s E3 to say ‘Hey, we’re not out of this business,’ and they said it well.

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