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The Player 

by Marty Demarest & r & & r & Elebits Rated Everyone; Wii & r & & r & & lt;span class= "dropcap " & I & lt;/span & n Elebits I am the child of a pair of overworked scientists who specialize in the study of small, electronic creatures known as elebits. Little blobs of blue, pink and yellow with cloyingly cute voices, elebits burble when they move, although they generally prefer to spend their time resting silently in the dark, cramped spaces beneath pieces of furniture and knick-knacks.





Elebits, like living sparks of electricity, power all the appliances, machinery and -- inexplicably -- doors in Elebits. On the clich & eacute;d dark and stormy evening of the game's beginning, my parents leave me alone in our sprawling and cluttered house with nothing more than a gun that captures elebits. My goal is to make my way out of the house and toward a local amusement park. In order to do that, I need elebits.





Without elebits, I can't even leave my bedroom, much less get downstairs, past the piano (blocking a doorway), through the kitchen, past the pyramid of wineglasses stacked on the counter, and into the back yard. Along the way, I harvest elebits in order to power-up and turn on televisions and rice-cookers. These, in their turn, release pink and yellow elebits that power up my gun, enabling me to move larger pieces of murky pastel-colored furniture and uncover more elebits glistening beneath.





For a while, Elebits feels like a laser-gun housecleaning game -- like something for Martha Stewart to relax with. But once the rooms become larger and my gun gains power, Elebits comes to resemble an out-of-control scavenger hunt with bland, cardboard furniture to scatter. That quickly becomes tiresome until, quite late in the game, the action takes me outside.





In the yard, I yank up carrots and cabbages, dragging mewling elebits to the ground's surface. I rip up the bushes that hedge my house and, after picking up enough strength-boosting elebits, I even pick up the house. Dark elebits, with damaging spikes on their back, also begin to make appearances, and it's moderately fun to pick up Dad's sedan and throw it at them. Then it's back to rifling through chairs.





THE GOOD: Elebits uses the Wii remote's motion sensitivity with more subtlety than any other current game. Picture frames and candlesticks can be picked up with the gun's tractor-beam and drawn, rotated, flipped or flung around the room. CDs can be pushed into stereos (yielding elebits) and slices of bread can be stuck into the slots on toasters. At least it demonstrates that the Wii remote can accurately translate intricate movements from the real world into digital actions.





THE BAD: Throwing furniture and making messes quickly become repetitive activities enlivened only by the game's bad physics. (I can slide the bottom plate out from under a pile of dishes, leaving the rest of the stack floating heavily in midair.) The elebits themselves are hardly a challenge for anyone with moderate hand-eye coordination. When the creatures are exposed, they squeakily shuffle toward the nearest piece of furniture, making them obvious and easy targets.





THE BOTTOM LINE: As the Wii's first exclusive shooter, Elebits displays the system's strengths and weaknesses while failing to prove that anything can be made from them.

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