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Game Bytes

Here’s an abbreviated look at some spooky multimedia titles for the entire family just in time for Halloween:

• The Last Guy (for PlayStation 3, Sony Computer Entertainment America, $9.99)-A new twist to the sci-fi survival horror genre of gaming replaces the usually graphic violence with a set of puzzle mazes featuring plodding zombies and human-consuming creatures.

In this addicting downloadable PlayStation Network title, Earth is bombarded with a mysterious purple ray, turning anyone caught outdoors into the mindless monsters we love so much.

Over-the-top — in perspective and anxiety levels — the action has the player control a caped soldier from the Unified Rescue Force. He must carefully search 15 locations around the world and find survivors, leading them to clearly marked pickup zones.

Each time-sensitive mission’s objective requires saving a certain number of humans hiding in buildings, garages and shrubbery while avoiding giant bugs, massive scorpions and 10 types of zombies.

As humans are found, they form a sort of panicked conga line behind the hero as he maneuvers them to the rescue spot.

The clever design uses real aerial photography maps of such famed locales as San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf, the National Mall and London’s Trafalgar Square, mixed with the ant-sized populace and larger bad guys.

The game also features some strange music, screams from the distressed survivors, powerups such as time freezes and invisibility and the chance to find special citizens to help boost point totals.

Especially high-scoring players not only get their numbers prominently posted on the PS Network, but also can unlock additional levels.

• Nancy Drew: The Haunting of Castle Malloy (HER Interactive, for PC, $19.99) - The famed sleuth’s virtual adventures have consistently been a hit with the casual gaming crowd, especially girls, and the latest edition should be no exception. This time out, the heroine confronts some of the spookier elements of folklore while find a missing groom.

Nancy is maid of honor at the wedding of pal Kyler Mallory at a creepy Irish castle, setting sets the stage for some creepy happenings involving a banshee.

Through first- and third-person perspectives, the player points and clicks through three-dimensional environments as she gathers and manages clues, interrogates suspects, deciphers puzzles and solves the mystery.

The well-rounded experience mixes traditional puzzles such as tile sliding, matching and spot the difference with activities such as sheep shearing, printing wedding programs, mixing drinks and even using a jetpack.

Compared with Nancy’s latest DS adventure, this game packs a much better presentational punch with vibrant animated characters and scenes, full lip syncing, photo realistic environment exploration, eerie sound effects and macabre music.

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