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Joystiq presents

2008's Biggest Blips: Part III

Over the past two weeks, we've previewed more DS games than you can shake a whole pack of sticks at, and we're not yet done. In the final part of our look at 2008's most interesting upcoming titles, we're going to zip through a few last intriguing titles. Some of them haven't settled on anything close to a release date, and for others, there's little information available, but for one reason or another, they're all exciting enough to get us to sit up and take notice.

Unfortunately, they're probably also going to have a serious impact on wallets everywhere. As though we weren't already faced with the prospect of buying tons of games! We've never been happier that DS games are at least cheap.

Dragon's Lair
Developer: United Coders
Publisher: Conspiracy Entertainment
Release: Q2 (Europe)

Sure, there are dozens of editions of Dragon's Lair (literally), but that's just one reason why the classic should be on the DS. After all, the DS is a haven for remakes, and this one not only sounds pretty good, but will, we hope, recapture the fun of the arcade classic -- which is something few of those other versions actually managed to do.

Gallery: Dragon's Lair

Dragon Quest IX
Developer: Level-5
Publisher: Square Enix
Release: TBD

Why is one of the year's biggest games relegated to a blurb when we dedicated pages of (attempted) lulz to lesser titles? Because so many things are up in the air. Dragon Quest IX may be the single most interesting release on the DS this year -- or, for fans, period -- but we're not really sure we'll see it this year. Word is that it's almost done, but that could mean anything. For now, we've got our fingers crossed, but we're still waiting on word of localized versions of the Dragon Quest remakes as well. Bring 'em on, SE. We need more Dragon Quest. What do we need to do to convince you? We would rather not resort to this, but if that's what it takes ....

Gallery: Dragon Quest IX

Developer: Lightweight
Publisher: Majesco
Release: March 4

We squealed like little girls the moment this strategy game with the ever-changing name was announced for localization, and can you blame us? It's adorable, it sounds like a blast, and hey, it has a little bit of a message. If it could manage to cook you dinner, it could be the perfect game! Unconvinced? Luckily, if you're near a DS download station, you can give it a whirl -- the free download will be available through May.

Gallery: Ecoris

Etrian Odyssey II
Developer: Atlus
Publisher: Atlus
Release: February 21 (Japan)

Etrian Odyssey surpassed all expectations last year and quickly became a hard-to-find title. Despite a mixed critical reception, those gamers who managed to lay hands on the title acclaimed the punishing gameplay. In fact, it was even a contender here at DS Fanboy for game of the year honors. That said, the sequel is sure to bring more of the same, and we're all waiting for word of a U.S. release. Given Atlus's track record, it seems likely we'll hear something this summer. Let's just hope it's easier to lay hands on a copy this time around.

Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Ring of Fates
Developer: Square Enix
Publisher: Square Enix
Release: March 11

2008 is set to be a big year for the DS, and a lot of that is due to Square Enix. It's hard to say that third parties are having a tough time with the handheld when SE can rock out so many amazing titles and rack up the sales, and Ring of Fates will be first out of the gate this year. Thanks to waves of media updates, we've had a chance to watch this one develop, and we must say it looks quite pleasing, despite the less-than-awesome WiFi feature.

Fire Emblem
Developer: Intelligent Systems
Publisher: Nintendo
Release: Hoping and praying for 2008

Yet another game with an amorphous release date! Despite the lack of information, any time something that even sounds like the words "Fire Emblem" come up at the DS Fanboy offices, shrieks rattle off the walls as Candace runs up and down, screaming her fool head off with excitement. We wonder if she's friends with this person .... Since it's been a while since we've seen anything, we hope that more information and media will surface soon.

Gallery: Fire Emblem DS

Izuna: Legend of the Unemployed Ninja 2
Developer: Ninja Studio/Success
Publisher: Unconfirmed for U.S.
Release: Unconfirmed for U.S.

Oh, Izuna. There's no pink-haired ninja we'd rather have kicking us while we're down, especially considering the crazy marketing that's surrounded the sequel. While the follow-up to the original dungeon crawler sped out with a quickness in Japan, a U.S. version has yet to be announced. As Izuna: Legend of the Unemployed Ninja was another game that was frequently mentioned in our discussions of 2007's best, we can't help but hope that changes soon.

Gallery: Izuna 2

Luminous Arc 2
Developer: Image Epoch
Publisher: TBD for U.S.
Release: TBD for U.S.

Much like Etrian Odyssey, the first Luminous Arc suffered a little critically but was well-received by gamers. A number of improvements, from cosmetic to practical, seem planned for the sequel, but overall, not much is known at this time about the finer details of the title. However, most gamers who stuck with the first discovered a satisfying gaming experience, and that's enough to make us look forward to a little more time with the SRPG.

Gallery: Luminous Arc 2

Mushroom Men
Developer: Redfly Studios
Publisher: Gamecock
Release: Summer

Like the other Gamecock-published titles, we're keeping an eye on Mushroom Men. We're suckers for anything quirky, and the concept (and concept art) for the title has been excellent so far. We hope to see a little more at Gamecock's upcoming EIEIO, so we'll know if our burgeoning excitement is in the right place.

Gallery: Mushroom Men

Prey the Stars
Developer: Koei Canada
Publisher: Koei
Release: TBD for U.S.

Speaking of quirky, anything that mixes dogs and eating with a sort of Katamari vibe has our attention at first appearance. While this title -- known as Gabu Gabu Planet in Japan -- looks to be a little on the shallow side, the wacky concept and bright visuals offer enough to keep our attention.

Gallery: Prey the Stars

Viva Piñata
Developer: Rare
Publisher: TBD
Release: TBD

If ever a game should have been on the DS from the get-go, it's Viva Piñata. While information and media has been released at a trickle, we're not fussed, since we already know what to expect. While we'll miss the lush visuals of the Xbox 360 version, so far, Rare looks to be doing a good job with the scaled-down take on the simulation. Now if we only knew when to expect it!

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Gaming to Go!We debate the hot topics!

This Month's New Games

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