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'Zelda' takes center stage at E3

By Marc Saltzman
Special to CNN.com

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Travel into the darkened land of Hyrule in "The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess."
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LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- More than 70,000 Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) attendees have crammed into the L.A. Convention Center and surrounding venues to catch a glimpse of the future of the multibillion-dollar video game industry.

Imagine walking through enormous booths with blaring techno music, 200-foot-high video screens and scantily clad "booth babes" luring you in to see tomorrow's games today.

At night, show goers mingle at lavish parties at the Playboy mansion and the hottest bars on the Sunset Strip.

Sigh, it's a tough gig indeed (ahem), but at the end of the day it's all about the games.

Here's a look at what's getting buzz on the show floor and behind closed doors:

'Twilight Princess'

Nintendo may have been the most vague when it came to unveiling its next video game console, but it's certainly banking on its next Zelda adventure to be the biggest game launch of 2005 on any platform.

"The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess" for the GameCube is an epic adventure that once again stars a young farm boy, Link, who must set out on foot, horseback and even on all fours as he can transform himself into a wolf. With the help of a mysterious and magical companion named Midna, our hero must travel into the darkened land of Hyrule to face an evil that has enshrouded the land.

Similar to past games in this popular series, puzzle-solving and character interaction is as important as combating enemies and super big boss fighters.

'Konami's Karaoke Revolution Party'

If music is more your thing, "Konami's Karaoke Revolution Party" combines its popular karaoke game-play that challenges players to sing in key and rhythm to popular songs with its Dance Dance Revolution games where you must step on various arrows on a foldout dance pad in time with the beat.

Yes, so now you must be coordinated enough to sing and dance at the same time.

Available this fall for the Sony PlayStation 2 and Xbox, this family friendly game features more than 50 pop classics and recent hits, online head-to-head play for the first time (Xbox only), mini-games and bonus challenges, and support for the Sony EyeToy camera to put your face in the game (PS2 only).

Gamers will also be able to customize their on-screen avatars with dozens of body types, clothes, hairstyles and accessories.

'Quake IV'

Fans of 3-D shooters will be thrilled to lay their sweaty hands on Activision's "Quake IV," a gripping sequel from legendary game developers id Software and Raven Software.

Played from a first-person perspective, this Windows PC and Xbox 360 game will let you step into the boots of Matthew Kane, an elite member of the Rhino Squad who leads Earth's battle against a vicious alien race that's combing the universe for prey.

Unlike its award-winning predecessors, "Quake IV" lets you issue commands to allied troops and you can also climb into futuristic vehicles to navigate on the Strogg's war-torn home world.

This Mature-rated action thriller will be available this holiday season.


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