Samurai Champloo: Sidetracked

All this is unusual, but it fits the style of the show, something the game goes out of its way to do. The story of Sidetracked is presented as a "lost chapter" of the TV series, and it's scripted by the show's writers and packed with the same postmodern gags and trippy visuals. Also, players can choose between either Mugen or Jin at the beginning, and each follows a different path through the story. Each one's fighting style is intact as well - monkey-like Mugen hops around and slashes like crazy, while calm, collected Jin uses more graceful, precise strikes.

Rounding out the package are an unlockable third character, a dream sequence aimed at old-school gamers and a free-roaming castle town players can visit between levels to buy music and play shaved-ice-eating minigames. Assuming its rough edges are hammered out before its spring release, Sidetracked's sense of humor and unique approach could make it worth snagging.

Mikel Reparaz
After graduating from college in 2000 with a BA in journalism, I worked for five years as a copy editor, page designer and videogame-review columnist at a couple of mid-sized newspapers you've never heard of. My column eventually got me a freelancing gig with GMR magazine, which folded a few months later. I was hired on full-time by GamesRadar in late 2005, and have since been paid actual money to write silly articles about lovable blobs.