Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire…

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What was supposed to be a day in NHL heaven turned out to take an alternate course; all because of a store's website that LIED to me.

The last week I checked out both the Gamestop and EBWorld websites, and they had the PC version of NHL 2003 scheduled for this last Tuesday (the 17th). I was looking forward for this day to arrive, but I had to also remember that unlike places like Suncoast who ALWAYS get their titles on the day they are scheduled, software stores have to wait another day for the release, claiming that the listed date is the "date that it is shipped."

Now I have said in the past that when a launch date is posted, it should be when the game arrives in stores, but in this case is was taken to a whole new level.

This Wednesday I planned an NHL day, which started off with my annual trip to Piney Orchard, which is the training camp for the Washington Capitals. It was good to see the team again, and made me look forward to the upcoming season, despite not being able to get my season tickets this year.

After an enjoyable practice session I headed off to the local software store (who once again shall remain nameless) to pick up NHL 2003. Go figure no copies were there, and as always, the store reps acted like total idiots when I asked them. I even mentioned that on THEIR website it was listed as coming out on the 17th. When they finally got off their lazy butts to check the computer, they claimed it was actually coming out on October 1st, despite their website's obvious claims of the 17th. So, once again I was lied to. (I wouldn't be surprised if it was in the store, but held back for the "special" customers a la Wal-Mart).

As a result, I had to pick up another title to test out, and believe it or not, the best choice I had available was Kingdom Hearts. I know a lot of people would be surprised by this choice because of my jaded past with Squaresoft, which has only had a few highlights (or mid-to-high-lights) in the forms of Bouncer and Final Fantasy X (the only one in the series that I liked), and I admit I did have my skepticisms about the game. I was also not one of the biggest Disney fans in the world (my late mother would KILL me if she heard me say that), but I did enjoy some titles such as Aladdin, Lion King, and both Toy Stories. I also feared that the game would fall under the typical FF standards of crappy animation, FMV overkill, and cheap enemy spells that take minutes to execute. Wrong on all counts!

Beautiful animation, Zelda-esque gameplay (a major surprise to me), and exceptional voice acting (even better than FFX's, except for Wakka) drew me in right from the start, and I haven't stopped playing since. But what did I find was the best thing about the game? James Woods returning as Hades"YES!!!!!

I will also be adding KH to the review pile which I'm hoping to work on this weekend. So many great titles, so little time, and when the stores finally get NHL 2003, I will be spending lots of time on that. Let's just hope they list the correct ARRIVAL date, not just a shipping date!

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