Christmas Gaming: Merry Gear Solid 2: The Ghosts of Christmas Past (PC)

You can download Merry Gear Solid 2: The Ghosts of Christmas Past here (It’s a German site)

Here’s part two of my favorite Christmas games. The game takes place three years after the events of Part One. This time, however, you’re not Solid Santa but Solid Snake who has to infiltrate an extremist group (The Ghosts of Christmas Past) to avoid them getting hold of the Spirit of Christmas. Here, again, this game is so much fun, with its hilarious ideas (not spoiling anything here), its funny dialogues and a soundtrack that often combines Christmas songs with James Bond like music. Here, again, there are lots of allusions to the original Metal Gear Solid game(s) Unfortunately, the dialogues feel a bit long at times. Also, some riddles you cannot solve without help from your guy at headquarters, e.g. when fighting the ghost of Christmas Present. Anyways, the game which is completely in English is totally worth checking out!



Christmas Gaming: Merry Gear Solid: Secret Santa (PC)

You can download Merry Gear Solid: Secret Santa here (It’s a German site)

I played this game a while back and it’s one of my favorite Christmas games, so I had to replay it for this years Christmas Gaming Special. After the events of 9/11 it’s not safe for Santa to travel through American airspace, thus, Jolly Old Nick has to deliver all the presents on foot. The goal of this game is to deliver presents to a tree on a house’s upmost floor without being detected by the naughty, naughty children. Plain and simple: the game’s a ton of fun. The soundtrack is Christmassy, the conversations between Solid Santa and Major Tim (probably manning headquarters during the mission) are funny and avoiding the naughty children isn’t exactly a walk in the park. There are also allusions to the original Metal Gear Solid game(s), though those of us (including me) who don’t have a lot or any experience with those might not get them. Still, go check it out if you can. It’s totally worth it. The game’s completely in English.

Christmas Gaming: Weihnachtsmann Polonese (PC)

You can download Weihnachtsmann Polonese here (It’s a German site)

In Weihnachtsmann Polonese (Santa Claus Polonaise) you have to get a group (or polonaise) of Santas safely to the Northpole. On your way you have to evade obstacles by jumping over them and you can also collect presents. The further you make it in the level, the more points you get. However, it seems that the level is endless or maybe I just didn’t make it to the Northpole. What makes the game quite interesting is the fact that yu control all five Santas at once by moving your mouse over them. Thus, timing your jumps correctly becomes quite a challenge. The game ends of course when none of your Santas is left. Unfortunately (apart from the starting screen) the game has no music; all you hear is the Santas jumping, collecting presents and colliding with obstacles. Anyways, it’s an entertaining game.


Christmas Gaming: Christmas Puzzle (PC)

You can download Christmas Puzzle here (It’s a German site)

It’s one of those Bewejeled or Jewel Quest like games where you have to combine at least three symbols of the same color in a row. So it’s nothing new but it’s so much fun. The symbols are all Christmas related, e.g. gingerbread men, snowmen, sugar canes, presents… The game’s got a nice wintry background with different landscapes and there’s even snow falling in the background. The soundtrack consists of two songs (one of which is Joy to the World) which, fortunately, is easy to ignore. I don’t mean that in a bad way; it’s beautiful music but you can block it out easily and focus on the game. Level design is pretty varied. However, in some levels you have to get certain symbols through narrow passages which can take a lot of time. Anyways, time is not of the essence as you don’t play against the clock (at least not one that’s counting down). Another negative aspect is the following: Your task during the game is to collect coins in order to pay for Christmassy upgrades (lights, a snowman etc.) for your virtual house. In most levels however you can only collect one or two coins so that it takes quite some time until you’re able to buy something. To end on a positive note: You cannot fail as the game offers you goodies like bombs, rockets or a hammer to be able to find a way to continue. Be warned, though, you might become addicted to Christmas Puzzle!

Christmas Gaming: Northpole Showdown (PC)

You can download Northpole Showdown here (It’s a German site)

If you’re looking for some Christmas action…look again. Although the game presents quite a nice idea (and even has an introdutory video), namely, the Northpole being invaded by an army of Christmas robots turned evil, the game doesn’t make you experience any real action. You’re an elf named Elfington and you’ve got to clear the path to Santa by defeating robots. Elfington’s talking and giving advice to his partner Panza (an elf pumped full of steroids) who says he’s right behind you but can never be seen (maybe in multiplayer mode) which makes having a partner quite pointless. Apart from that Elfington’s at his best or most effective using normal attacks, e.g. kicks and punches. Special attacks seem to be not as effective as those normal attacks. Also, enemy attacks do much more damage than one’s own attacks and paralyzing/stunning your enemy even protects him from suffering more punches. As I said, the game presents quite a nice idea but for those of you seeking some Christmas action, you’re better off watching Die Hard 2: Die Harder

Christmas Gaming: Geschenkfabrik (PC)

You can download Geschenkfabrik here (It’s a German site)

In Geschenkfabrik (Present Factory) you have to help Santa pack his sleigh full of presents. You’re one of Santa’s vertically challenged helpers and kind of head of security as you have to protect the presents from being stolen by thieving magpies. In order to do so you have to shoot them with a snowball cannon which, in my experience, is one of the only problems of this game as you can only shoot snowballs in arcs. This way, aiming well might be a problem especially when the game becomes faster and more magpies try to steal presents. Another problem is that you have to shoot using the “shift”-key which, pressing it too often in a row, results in Windows asking you if you want to turn on sticky keys. In this case you have to get rid of the message while the game continues. Last but not least, the magpies’ cawing can be a bit annoying. On a more positive note: whenever Santa’s satisfied with the amount of toys on his sleigh he let’s you know by Ho-Ho-Ho-ing; if he’s not, however, he stamps angrily on his head and if he does so three times, it’s game over. All in all, it’s a fun little game with a bit of festive music that helps to pass the days until Christmas.

Christmas Gaming: Santa Hanta (PC)

You can download Santa Hanta here (It’s a German site)

If you’re not in a festive mood or you’re already sick of Christmas, here’s the game for you: Keep the Santas in this game from delivering their presents. The game uses the Moorhuhn-(Crazy Chicken) principle but instead of shooting Santa you have to throw snowballs at him (or rather them). The further they are away the higher your score when you hit them. You can collect bonus points when you shoot a Santa Claus while he’s delivering a present after knocking on a door which results in children screaming. Apart from shooting Santa you can also shoot Yetis that appear from time to time. ANother fun addition is that if you throw the snowball at Santa’s feet you can cause a small snowy explosion blowing Santa away. The game itself is obviously repetitive and only consists of one level but there’s motivation in trying to break your own highscore. The graphics, however, are quite nice. There’s festive music playing in the background which sounds like some elves have produced remixes of famous Christmas songs. It’s a fun little game for those of us who want to let off some festive steam.