With the holiday season here, many college students are e-mailing their wish lists to Santa. They hope to get that certain something that would make their already crammed dorm room complete. So what seems to

With the holiday season here, many college students are e-mailing their wish lists to Santa. They hope to get that certain something that would make their already crammed dorm room complete. So what seems to be topping everyone’s list this year? PlayStation 2.

PlayStation 2 ($299.99) has been out for nearly a month. Already, its success has been legendary. The system combines breathtaking, new game technology with familiar aspects of the original PlayStation to form the ultimate all-in-one mega-game machine.

Demand for PS2 has grown out of hand. Retailers cannot provide display models for consumers to test out. Consequently, they are sold out in many stores until after the holiday shopping season. The small, black, rectangular shaped marvel has taken the country by storm. Does it live up to the hype? In two words, Heck yeah!

PS2, which resembles a squished black computer, not only plays new, state-of-the-art video games, it also runs original PlayStation games, plays audio cd’s and DVD’S. It also comes equipped with ports for a keyboard, mouse and Internet hook-ups.

Three new games, Tekken Tag Tournament ($49.99) Madden NFL 2001 ($49.99) and Unreal Tournament ($49.99) are available for purchase as well. Tekken Tag Tournament is the fourth in a series of solid 3-dimensional fighting games. The latest installment allows players to freely switch between two different characters during fights. The enormous casts of fighters range from a sumo wrestler, a boxing dinosaur and a zombie woman whose moves are controlled by a floating demon. The visuals are stunning, leaving every previous Tekken in the dust graphics-wise. Thumping techno music serenades battles, while tight controls ensure the skilled will prevail over the button mashers. The game even has a hidden bowling mode. Tekken will keep players on the sticks for hours trying to unlock all of the secret characters and endings.

Madden NFL 2001 is the latest in a long line of football games inspired by Fox’s legendary sports commentator John Madden. Providing tough competition for Dreamcast’s NFL 2K1, Madden 2001 is chock-full of new plays, options and those lovable Madden-isms. Each simulation is presented in the same manner as a Fox NFL Sunday match-up with instant replays, player and coach close-ups and great play-by-play commentary. Questionable plays can even be challenged. While NFL 2K1 may have sharper looking players, Madden has an easier offensive scheme, more plays and a new go-to-guy option where players can pick plays based on hot players. Madden 2001 is an absolute must buy for any sports fanatic. Plus, the multiplayer matches are top-notch fun for the entire dorm.

Unreal Tournament is a PS2 version of a PC game with the same namesake. It’s a first person (i.e. Doom) shooter where the player assumes the role of one of many bloodthirsty commandos out to kill each other. One strong point is the multiplayer death match option. Up to four people compete in a split-screen with computer- controlled opponents in dark, post apocalyptic arenas. A commando talks “smack” after they gun each other down with flak cannons and rocket launchers. Smooth graphics and eerie sounds complement a great action game.

One main weakness is the controls can be confusing. Making a 180-degree turn is painstakingly slow, leading to many early deaths. Mastery of the commands unlocks a very fun, action-packed gore-fest.

If these games aren’t feasible, there are thousands of original PlayStation titles to choose from. DVD movies run without glitches, displaying premium visual and sound quality. All of the bells and whistles of a DVD player are included. Just use your old PlayStation controller to flip through the boring scenes in Mission Impossible 2. So much is crammed into that little box it’s frightening.

After witnessing what the PS2 can do, one wonders what’s next. Commercials warn that this is only the beginning. Many other PlayStations will do even more. But for now, the second incarnation of Sony’s PlayStation is the coolest thing on the planet; bar none.

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