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If things look familiar in this fall's video game lineup, it's because many of the big titles are sequels to past hits.
One of the biggest matchups will be the battle of the bands between the popular music-and-rhythm games "Guitar Hero: World Tour" and "Rock Band 2." The former comes out Oct. 26 for home consoles, while the latter arrives Sept. 14 for Xbox 360, Oct. 19 for PlayStation 3 and Nov. 18 for Wii and PlayStation 2.
The next-gen rival consoles will also reload for sequels to their flagship shooters, "Gears of War 2" for Xbox 360 on Nov. 7 and "Resistance 2" for PS3 sometime in November.
The PS3 will also rev its engines once again for the high-octane racing game "Motorstorm: Pacific Rift," due Oct. 7.
Without a doubt, the killer sports title will be the latest incarnation of the hockey favorite "NHL 09," which hits the virtual ice Tuesday for Xbox 360 and PS3. (A PS2 version is due Oct. 28.) But rival "NHL 2K9" will make a power play when it comes out a day early, on Monday, for all home consoles.
Other sequels include:
The kid-friendly "Viva Piñata: Pocket Paradise," Monday for Nintendo DS.
The retro alien-invasion bash "Destroy All Humans! Path of the Furon," Nov. 3 for 360 and PS3.
The highly anticipated adventure "Harvest Moon: Tree of Tranquility," Sept. 16 for DS.
The massively multiplayer online role-playing game "Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning," Sept. 18 for PC.
Several military shooters: "Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway," Sept. 23 for 360, PS3 and PC, with the related "Double Time," same day for Wii; "SOCOM: Confrontation," Oct. 14 for PS3, and "Call of Duty: World at War," Nov. 11 for consoles and PC.
The horror tale "Silent Hill: Homecoming," Sept. 30 for 360 and PS3.
The role-playing game "Fallout 3," Oct. 7 for 360, PS3 and PC.
The latest Tom Clancy adventure, "Splinter Cell: Conviction," Oct. 7 for 360 and PC.
The action RPG "Fable 2," Oct. 21 for 360.
The web-slinging "Spider-Man: Web of Shadows," Oct. 21 for all systems.
Nintendo's "Animal Crossing: City Folk," Nov. 3 for Wii, the biggest title in a quiet season for the No. 1 system.New offerings
Of course, not everything will be reprogrammed rehashes. Today brings the release of the hot evolution simulator "Spore," a computer title from Will Wright, creator of "The Sims." It would be even bigger if it had a console version. On Sept. 16, the "Star Wars" universe targets all systems with "The Force Unleashed," and the Disney-produced racer "Pure" hits PS3, 360 and PC.
On Sept. 23, the Caped Crusader becomes a blockhead when "LEGO Batman" swoops in on all systems.
Nintendo brings out new adventures with two of its favorite characters Sept. 29, "Kirby Super Star Ultra" for DS and "Wario Land: Shake It!" for Wii.
On Oct. 7, the LucasArts' shooter "Fracture" takes aim at PS3 and 360, and "Ghostbusters" haunts all systems.
PS3 players can create their own patch of the world and share it with others Oct. 21 in the network-enabled "LittleBigPlanet."
Halloween meets sci-fi horror when "Dead Space" arrives Oct. 31 for 360, PS3 and PC.
The popular Japanese RPG "Valkyria Chronicles" starts its quest Nov. 11 on PS3.
The latest James Bond adventure, "Quantum of Solace," sets its sights on most systems Nov. 4.Leaps forward
Finally, two November games will change game-playing conventions.
The on-the-run thriller "Mirror's Edge" -- for PS3, 360 and PC -- promises total immersion through features such as experiencing vertigo when scaling heights and feeling collisions when you run into objects.
The Wii exclusive "Wii Music," due Nov. 3, asks players to wave around the controllers to create music using more than 60 virtual instruments. Industry experts aren't sure what to make of it, but Nintendo is clearly hoping that it will be music to casual gamers' ears -- even if it's more of a high-tech toy than a video game.
Randy A. Salas 612-673-4542