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Final advice: Electronic Arts has done the bare minimum to bring this classic to video game screens. It looks pretty and uses the basic game mechanics, but can’t duplicate the live game nor does it add enough to give players something really new.

For my money, I would stick with hovering around an actual board and watching my friends and family turn into money-grubbing tycoons.

Game Bytes

Monster Lab (for Wii, Eidos, $29.99) — A belated Halloween treat turns a player into a junior version of Dr. Frankenstein as he assembles creatures to defeat evil Baron Mharti and his minions.

First off, I can’t howl enough about the polished combination of animated designs, game depth and Wii controller functionality that completely immerses the player in this ghoulish experience.

As an assistant researcher, a youngster works his way up through the ranks of the Mad Science Alliance. He eventually mixes ingredients to produce more than 150 body parts and assemble some cool monsters.

With help from experts in mechanical, biological and alchemical monster building (Dr. Fuseless is a Bela Lugosi kind of a hoot), his primary tasks take place in a scary castle complete with a room to shock the new creations to life.

The player then deploys his new friend to B-movie-style towns to help citizens, retrieve more ingredients and challenge frightening foes.

Minigames abound and act as ways to assemble body parts and collect those precious ingredients. The 20-plus games range from protecting a growing heart (use the Wiimote to shoot carnivorous seeds), repairing a monster after battle (spin an electrical wheel using a circular motion with the Nunchuk to heal body parts) and digging for buried treasure (the Wiimote is a shovel and swing the Nunchuk to strike an item).

While in towns, monsters move via spaces, as in an intricate board game, and encounter plenty of enemies. Versus, turn-based battles ensue, requiring scientists to target opponents’ body parts and attack or defend with acquired moves. Battles can extend into online multiplayer contests via Nintendo’s Wi-Fi connection.

Great characters, twinned with Scooby-Doo-friendly humor makes it one of the best games around for tweens enamored with monster movies.

Exit DS (for DS, Taito, $19.99) — Famed professional escapologist Dr. Esc breaks away from the PlayStation Portable and appears on Nintendo’s handheld wonder to give puzzle fans a stylish selection of nail-biting adventures.

The player controls a heroic silhouette peppered with a bit of color as he works through more than 100 side-scrolling rescue missions, traversing fires, floods, earthquakes and even a sinking luxury liner to save a variety of citizens.

Our hero moves with a click of the stylus on the touch screen and uses tools such as ladders, fire extinguishers and ropes to get to survivors and clear an exit path. Rescued citizens can join in on the heroism or further complicate Dr. Esc’s life.

Each timed mission is a stress-inducing, as well as satisfying, addictive challenge. Although a bit of frustration may set in due to imprecise DS controls, overall, Exit DS is budget-minded, pure - er - escapist entertainment.

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