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Commandeering Anomaly Warzone Earth on Xbox Live Arcade


We've read the books, we've seen the TV shows and celebrated the films. Whether it's a skirmish with the neighborhood bullies or full-on worldwide war, everyone knows that you need to have a Keanu Reeves-type person on your side if you hope to win.

Yes, that's from South Park, but it doesn't make it any less true. And in the Xbox Live Arcade port of Anomaly Warzone Earth, everything rests on the shoulders of one man: the commander.

Gallery: Anomaly: Warzone Earth (XBLA) | 6 Photos

First of all, you're the commander, a brand new addition to the XBLA port. You control this little guy in real time with the left analog stick, who behaves as a living cursor in the game. But that's kind of underselling him: he can distract enemy units and draw fire, adding a new layer of depth and strategy to the tower offense title.

His usefulness is maximized in a series of six new maps, built specifically for the Xbox 360. Each of these new maps revolves around employing a central solution theme or idea. Some of them call for ingenious use of the newly added foot-soldier -- in one such map, I had to constantly loop my convoy behind me while running into the fray and detonating explosives amongst clusters of enemy units. If my convoy got anywhere near those enemies, they would've been cut down immediately. The only way this foot soldier could be more useful is if he had a gun, to be honest.

I've spent a lot of time playing Anomaly Warzone Earth on my iPad since first getting my fingertips on it, and I find it superior to the original PC version. The intuitive touch-based controls just work so well on the platform. But after about an hour of playing on the Xbox 360, I'm starting to rethink that assessment. It's still essentially the same game I've played before, but it feels remarkably different on Xbox, all thanks to one little blue man. Even replaying old missions allowed me to rethink my approach and change tactics based on this little guy, leaving me wanting to go through it all again.

Anomaly Warzone Earth will cost 800 MS Points ($10) and is expected to launch sometime in March.

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