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GameTap Guide: The top five 'E' and 'E-10' games of 2007

  • Story Highlights
  • Hundreds of games published in the E category each year, not all worthwhile
  • E10 games are bit racier, but several offer co-op play
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By Douglass C. Perry
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( -- There are hundreds of games published in the E category each year, but not all are worth your while. For parents worried about violence, gore, or fighting, nothing in the E category should be inappropriate for your children.

Super Mario Galaxy

Super Mario Galaxy serves as both a great game unto itself and a great kids game.

Here are our top E picks (excluding sports games, which get their own category):

Beautiful Katamari (Action, Xbox 360, $39.99)

Simple, fun, innovative, and easy to pick up and play, Katamari enables gamers to roll a growing ball of trash through peculiar environments in an arcade setting.

Nancy Drew: Legend of the Crystal Skull (Adventure, PC, $19.99)

A single-player adventure game, this Nancy Drew game represents the best of the series as the developers have solved various problems and created a rich atmosphere, good make-work puzzles, and a quality story.

Super Mario Galaxy (Platformer, Wii, $49.99)

Consider by many critics to be the best Mario game since Super Mario 64, the Wii-exclusive platformer boasts excellent diversity, applaudably themed levels, and great craftsmanship. A surefire winner.

Viva Pinata: Party Animals (Action, Xbox 360, $49.99)

Following last year's Viva Pinata (yes, the same game as the CG-Saturday morning show), Microsoft's minigame-rich title is cute, funny, and avoids repetitiveness and excessive menus.

Pokemon Diamond and Pokemon Pearl (Role-playing, DS, $34.99)

Nintendo's continuing Pokemon series remains a constant: It's deep, engaging, relatively inexpensive, and always filled with, you guessed it, Pokemon! In all seriousness, either of these titles are worth you hard-earned cash.

Other "E" recommendations:

The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass (Adventure, DS, $34.99)

Rayman Raving Rabbits 2 (Action, Wii, $49.99; DS, $29.99)

Drawn to Life (Action-Adventure, DS, $29.99)

Zack and Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure (Action-Adventure, Wii, $39.99)

Project Gotham 4 (Racing, Xbox 360, $59.99)

The top five "E10" games

These titles are a smidgen racier than "E" rated games, but several of these offer co-op play, an evergreen feature that parents, kids, and friends always love.

Avatar: The Burning Earth (Action-Adventure, DS, $29.99; PS2, $39.99; Xbox 360, $49.99; Wii, $49.99)

Better than last year's event if not Super Mario Galaxy quality, the various versions of Avatar remain true to the series, improving the diversity of fighting and action, and offering a decent amount of role-playing-lite upgrades.

Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga (Action, DS $34.99; PS3, $49.99; Xbox 360, $49.99; Wii, $49.99)

Normally product placement is just annoying. Here, the Lego characters perfectly blend into the game's aesthetics. The title is not only well designed and fun on its own, it's one of the best co-op games around. The only issue with this full collection is that you might already own one of the previous versions, as it's made up of the two prior releases of the Original Trilogy and Lego Star Wars.

Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction (Platformer, PS3, $59.99)

The series was made famous on the PlayStation 2, and the first PS3 version of Sony's loveable action-platformer is funny, well-crafted, and gorgeous. The range of weapons and tools is excellent, the story is silly but entertaining, and it's neither short nor shallow.

Spider-Man: Friend or Foe (Action, DS, $29.99; PC, $19.99; PS2, $39.99; PSP, $39.99; Xbox 360, $49.99; Wii, $49.99)

Unlike the annoying, bug-filled Spider-Man 3 movie tie-in, Spider-Man: Friend or Foe is a simple button-mashing beat-em-up in which Spider-Man teams up with his enemies. It's also a co-op game for two-players, which makes it double the fun. Nice little RPG-lite aspects complement the rather simple, repetitive landscapes.

Surf's Up (Extreme Sports, PC, $19.99; PS2, $19.99; PS3, $19.99; Wii, $19.99; Xbox 360, $19.99)

Originally full-priced (i.e., over-priced), Surf's Up is now perfectly priced at $19.99. It's a short game based on the movie, but it's an excellent if rather shallow game to play with kids.

Other "E10" recommendations:

Fire Emblem Radiant Dawn (Strategy, Wii, $49.99)

Dance Dance Revolution: Hottest Party Bundle (Music, $69.99, Wii), or Dance Dance Revolution: SuperNova 2 Bundle (Music, $59.99, PS2), or Dance Dance Revolution: Revolution Universe 2 Bundle (Music, $59.99, Xbox 360)

Naruto: Path of the Ninja (Role-playing, DS, $29.99)

Buzz!: The Mega Quiz with 4 buzzers (Trivia, PS2, $39.99)

Tony Hawk's Proving Ground (Extreme Sports, DS, $29.99; PS2, $39.99; PS3, $59.99; Xbox 360, $59.99; Wii, $49.99) E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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