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kojak123

kojak123

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Apologies for my sporadic visits, I do try to publish reviews once in a while but it's hard finding time! I'll still be rating when I can! Kev.

Reviews written

since 12/02/2014

68

Road Rage 3 (PS2) 25/02/2017

Road Rage 3. Wants to be GT, plays like I:D

Road Rage 3 (PS2) Road Rage 3 PS2 review This is an odd little game. Developed and published on a shoe-string in 2003 by low budget independent outfit Phoenix Games, this was a fairly average racer which drifted right under most peoples radar. Phoenix ended up with a pretty poor reputation in the gaming community for ripping off other games, 'borrowing' themes and ideas and generally turning out poor quality games - particularly for the PS2. I recall reading once that they spent a couple of months programming a new game, where the big studios would spend a couple of years ironing out all the kinks and making sure it's actually ready for the public to play. This one isn't awful, but it's nothing ground breaking either. The Game Road Rage 3 is a Japanese racing game with its feet stuck right in the "Drift" style of racing. At first glance it's a total knock-off of the Initial D arcade games, but it's actually a bit more advanced than that with a couple of game modes. As I mentioned, it's Japanese themed. All six car manufacturers featured (Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Subaru, Mitsubishi and Mazda) are Japanese and that really limits things. Yes, there are still 30 cars to work your way through, but it gets pretty boring pretty quickly, you'll even find your opposition driving the same cars a lot of the time. The tracks are also Japanese, we have four open at the start and I seem to recall there are 12 in total. All very tight winding race tracks, quite a lot of mountain racing (imagine the last ...

Resident Evil 4 (PS2) 22/02/2017

Resident evil 4; PS2. Go FOURTH and prosper!

Resident Evil 4 (PS2) Resident Evil 4 PS2 Background Resident Evil is one of the best known games of the modern age. First released in 1996 on the Playstation (1) it created its own sub-genre with Survival Horror and constantly fought off newcomers to stay on top of the pile. Silent Hill came close to "out-horroring" Resi in the late 90's, but as far as playability goes, Resident Evil is the boss! Since that first slow paced, action/adventure/survival horror in the mid 90's RE has come on in leaps and bounds. It can be said that each game has evolved slightly, regular players and fans of the series will notice dozens of small changes, but in 2005 Resident Evil 4 took an enormous leap by introducing the first roaming third-person perspective. All previous games had eerie fixed-angle cameras focusing on a corridor, or a specific part of a room for example. It was an old system popularised by the old Point-and-Click games on the early PC's, but it worked well and became a bit of a trademark for the Resident Evil series. Fixed cameras help keep the tension up (you never know what is lurking just off screen) as well as utilising the more limited programming of the 90's by using pre-rendered scenery and just animating the character instead of the surroundings. The gamble of updating the viewpoint seemed to pay off. Some of the RE purists complained that it had become a clone of the other 1st and 3rd person action games flooding the market and had lost its soul by stepping away from its roots, but ...

Red Dead Redemption (Xbox 360) 17/02/2017

Red Dead Redemption; A million ways to die in the west!

Red Dead Redemption (Xbox 360) Red Dead Redemption x-box 360 version Back in 2004, Red Dead Revolver re-invented the Western for a new generation. It could all have been so different - the game was originally bank-rolled by gaming industry giant Capcom and planned as a silly, fun, off-the-wall shoot-em-up set in the Wild West. Following various hiccups and set-backs, Capcom agreed to sell the property to Rockstar Games (best known for the Grand Theft Auto franchise) who took it right back to development and turned it into a gritty, story driven action/adventure game with free roaming and third person view. It worked perfectly! It was slow paced and glitchy, and not as well received as the GTA games of course, but it paved the way for much bigger things. Roll on to 2010 and X-box 360 and PS3 owners were treated to a sequel. Rockstar had played it very close to the chest to avoid any disappointments (good job, with 5 years in production!), but with Red Dead Redemption they blew audiences away. Rockstar used their patented RAGE engine (Rockstar Advanced Gaming Engine) to deliver players an enormous, immersive, free roaming environment comparable to Grand Theft, but set in the early 20th century American South West. The story was fantastic, the music fit the game, the voice acting was perfect and the game just seemed to appeal to gamers from every popular genre. A third person shooter at heart with decent action, elements of RPG (role playing games) and cinematic cut-scenes straight from a Spaghetti ...

Ghost Rider - Spirit Of Vengeance (DVD) 16/01/2017

Ghost Rider Spirit of Vengeance. Ghost-BUST!

Ghost Rider - Spirit Of Vengeance (DVD) Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance DVD review Well, where to start. After the first movie released in 2007, which was passable but in need of improvement, Warner Brothers and Columbia Studios went back to the drawing board and came back with this effort in 2012 It's a sequel of sorts, but to be honest it all but ignores the first movie (even going as far as reproducing the scene where Johnny Blaze signs away his soul) and I suppose it stands alone in its own right. So, Johnny Blaze is Ghost Rider, a spirit who comes alive in the presence of Evil to feast on the souls of bad people. He also is/was a bounty hunter for the devil (or Hell-Lord, depending on whether you've read the comics) named Mephistopheles, or Rourke in his human form. The premise is that Demons have little power on earth when in human form, so they need right-hand men to do their dirty work. Ghost Rider was intended to be just that, but turned on Mephistopheles in the last movie and so lost his protection. Right, let's get this over with... Cast Nicolas Cage - Johnny Blaze / Ghost Rider Ciaran Hinds - Mephistopheles / Rourke Idris Elba - Moreau Johnny Whitworth - Ray Carrigan / Blackout Fergus Riordan - Danny Ketch Violante Placido - Nadya Ketch Directed by Mark Neveldine & Brian Taylor. OK, the good bit first - No Eva Mendes. Thank the Lord. Now the bad bit... everything else! Seriously. This is laughably bad. Nic Cage takes off from the last movie but gone is the tortured soul struggling to control ...

Ghost Rider (Extended Edition) (DVD) 14/01/2017

Ghost Rider - I ain't afraid of no Ghost

Ghost Rider (Extended Edition) (DVD) Ghost Rider DVD review - extended cut Ghost Rider is a 2007 movie focusing on yet another Marvel Comics hero. Ghost Rider has been a part of the Marvel comic universe since 1972 and has a huge fanbase. The comic is a step away from the traditional super-hero fodder as this one is based more on the supernatural with heavy leanings towards religion (good v's evil = God v's the Devil), and while religion has played a part in the Marvel world in the past (Thor is a God, for example), nowhere is it more closely observed than here, there are Bible quotes and direct references galore! The movie was intended as one of the very first of the new wave comic-book adaptations to hit the silver screen with Marvel floating the idea of a feature film to studios as early as 1992, but it ended up being stuck in the planning stages for well over a decade and then passed from pillar to post until Columbia Studios finally picked up the rights and started production in 2002. Nicolas Cage wasn't the first choice for the character by any means, but as a very well known comic book collector and general Marvel geek he actively pursued the studio for the role. Interestingly, he cites Ghost Rider as his favourite character and even has a tattoo of him on his back, which of course the studio had to cover up on screen! Cast Nicolas Cage - Johnny Blaze (Ghost Rider) Peter Fonda - Mephistopheles (Demon/Devil) Sam Elliot - Caretaker/Carter Slade Wes Bentley - Blackheart Eva Mendes - Roxanne ...

Gone In 60 Seconds (2000) (DVD) 11/01/2017

Gone in 60 seconds, done in 118 minutes.

Gone In 60 Seconds (2000) (DVD) Gone in 60 seconds DVD review Gone in 60 seconds is a high-octane action thriller released back in 2000. It's a slightly controversial one in that our hero is a car thief and the movie is essentially a 2 hour heist - indeed the title is born from the idea that it takes a professional under 60 seconds to steal a car The original Gone in 60 seconds from 1974 was a classic car-chase movie with a light story but heavy action. It is great fun to watch now and still holds the record for the longest car chase at 40 minutes!, but it doesn't really stand up to modern cinema, hence the remake! In my ever growing (currently over 2500) DVD collection I have three versions of this. The regular version, the "Directors Cut" and a double pack with The Rock (stupidly unnecessary since I also have the normal and special editions of The Rock too!). The reason I'm reviewing the standard version here and not the Directors cut is simple... the DC is rubbish. There are some decent featurettes, but the "extended scenes" add absolutely nothing to the movie, and the original isn't exactly light on DVD features in the first place, so it's the original 2000 released DVD I'm writing about. The Cast Nicolas Cage - Randall Raines (Memphis) Angelina Jolie - Sara Wayland (Sway) Christopher Eccleston - Raymond Calitri Giovanni Ribiski - Kip Raines Delroy Lindo - Detective Roland Castlebank Timothy Olyphant - Detective Drycoff Robert Duvall - Otto Halliwell Will Patton - Atley Jackson Chi McBride - Donny ...

Minions (DVD) 16/10/2016

Minions DVD. These Minions served me well.

Minions (DVD) Minions DVD review Minions is a 2015 animated movie featuring, surprisingly, the Minions. Minions are little cylinder shaped creatures with human characteristics, very much childlike in personality and a huge bundle of fun. Their single purpose in life is to serve, their life goal: to find the biggest, baddest boss on the planet and commit themselves to a life of cheerful servitude. They speak a nonsense gibberish language which I thought would really grate after an hour and a half, but it can generally be deciphered to an extent. With the mannerisms captured perfectly through the computed animation it's really easy to work out what they are telling each other. These little chaps were the star of the show in the 2010 and 2013 "Despicable Me" films, and while they proved a pretty amusing side-show, I really wasn't sure they could carry a movie alone. Luckily, I was totally wrong. My little girl dragged me to see this at the cinema and by the end of the 91 minutes (plus credits) they'd won me over. Cast Pierre Coffin ~ The Minions (all of them!) Sandra Bullock ~ Scarlett Overkill Jon Hamm ~ Herb Overkill Geoffrey Rush ~ Narrator Directed by Pierre Coffin (Despicable Me) and Kyle Balda (one of Pixar studios top guys). Sorry to cut the casting so short but no-one else matters, though we have some decent cameo appearances with Michael Keaton as Walter Nelson, Jennifer Saunders as The Queen, Steve Coogan playing a couple of characters and of course Steve Carrell makes a ...

Need For Speed (DVD) 11/10/2016

Need for Speed does not succeed.

Need For Speed (DVD) Need for Speed DVD review Need for Speed is one of the best gaming franchises of all time. Owned by developers Electronic Arts, NFS has come from being a generic, if very accomplished, racer on the 5th generation consoles (Sega Saturn, PS1 and ill fated 3D0) and has undergone countless transformations to stay on top of the charts. While similar racing games of the era like Ridge Racer felt their popularity and interest levels slide after turning out more of the same old same, Need for Speed constantly re-invents itself to keep the fans interest. Since 1994 there have been 22 versions of NFS with more still in development. The fact that they can still shift units (and millions of them) after so many games just screams FAN BASE and to be honest, even though it doesn't really lend itself to movie formatting, I think Hollywood would have missed a trick by not making some attempt at it. Need for Speed the movie was released in 2014 after a couple of years development, but no huge bells and whistles until it was almost complete. That can either be a big enticement or a massive red flag - why were the studio not screaming about this from the rooftops? Hmmmm... Cast Aaron Paul - Tobey Marshall Dominic Cooper - Dino Brewster Imogen Poots - Julia Maddon Harrison Gilbertson - Pete Coleman Scott "Kid Cudi" Mescudi - Sgt Benny Jackson (Maverick) Ramon Rodriguez - Joe Peck Rami Malek - Finn Michael Keaton - Monarch Maddon Dakota Johnson - Anita Coleman Directed by Scott ...

Splashdown (PS2) 24/09/2016

Splashdown. Wetsuits at the ready!

Splashdown (PS2) Splashdown: PS2 What is it? This is one of my all time favourite racing games, and yet this is the first review on it?? Thank goodness for the alphabet challenge or this might have gone unloved forever! Splashdown is a very simple racing game, but with a bit of a twist: it's on water, and you race with Jet-ski's! This was one of that wave (pardon the pun) of racing games that tried to steer away from the norm. The PS2 already had a load of exceptional racing games and it was always quite exciting when they announced something new, sadly nowhere near the same effort seemed to go into the unusual stuff as say Ridge Racer, Gran Turismo or Formula 1. That's why this is such a gem. Released in 2001, just 18 months after the launch of the console, this blew everyone away. Not only did it look absolutely stunning, the gameplay was spot-on too. Released as part of a 3 game deal from French industry goliaths Infogrames after their buy-out of Atari, this was the game that put Atari back on the map. The Game It's really quite a basic layout for a racing game of the time. There are half a dozen or so racers to choose from, each with a different jet-ski, all from the Sea-Doo brand, and all with slightly different attributes (speed, acceleration, handling etc). Once you've chosen your character there are three options for game modes. Arcade single player gives you free reign to explore courses, take on time-trial challenges and race for fun. Arcade two player is a split screen 1-on-1 ...

SingStar Rocks! (PS2) 20/09/2016

Singstar ROCKS (and so do I)

SingStar Rocks! (PS2) Singstar Rocks! Here we go, I'm about to embarrass myself by revealing my little Singstar collection. ;) What is it? Singstar is a karaoke game series first released for the Playstation 2 console back in 2004. It was a huge hit and spawned sequel after sequel - I think the last count was 17 different UK versions spanning general compilations (Singstar Party, Singstar Legends etc) through genre specific compilations such as this one, and even artist-centric variations for Take That, Abba and Queen. Singstar was born while Sony were playing around developing new peripherals for the PS2 console to boost flagging sales. Given that the console was close to 5 years old and the PS3 was on the horizon the market had stalled slightly. After trying all manner of weird and wonderful new ideas two of them went through the roof and helped get sales back on track again, one was BUZZ, which was just a set of four 4-button control pads which turned your console into a real life game-show, and Singstar was the other. How to play The idea is very simple - plug the pair of colour coded microphones into the USB socket on the front of the Playstation and sing. That's it. Each game comes with 20-30 tracks to pick from, all listed on the back of the case, so you just choose one you fancy and belt it into one of the little plastic microphones. The songs official music video plays in the background, lyrics appear at the bottom of the screen with a very accurate bar-style layout of the length and ...

Street Fighter X Tekken Special Edition (Xbox 360) 19/09/2016

Street Fighter x Tekken - uncross this cross-over!

Street Fighter X Tekken Special Edition (Xbox 360) Street Fighter X Tekken; x-box 360 Review of the game + standard/special edition comparison I am a Street Fighter fan through and through, and I have been since the SNES days. However, I can't do Tekken at all. To my mind it's overly complicated, difficult to control and not nearly as playable as Street Fighter. The graphics are always great and it's gorgeous to look at, but I think it sacrifices quite a lot of the fun for that. My wife is a fairly big Tekken fan. Despite her not being much of a gamer her brother is. When he needed someone to practice on, he dragged her in as cannon-fodder, meaning she was already well and truly schooled in the ways of Tekken and the console beat-em-up when I met her. With me as a Street Fighter fan and her as a Tekken fan, there was only one thing for it.... we bought a copy of Mortal Kombat! I kid, of course, we snapped up a release copy of this to see just which was best! What's it about? The game is standard beat-em-up stuff. There are approximately 40 playable characters (Most available from the start, some unlockable ones and some only available through download) to choose from, you pick your players(s) and set about slapping each other around. There are ten different arenas to battle in, all in 2D but rendered beautifully. Your characters each have a health bar and when one is depleted that character is 'KO'd and has lost. The game is played on a best out of three basis, so the first player to win 2 bouts wins the game. (The best ...

Captain America: Civil War (DVD) 26/08/2016

Captain America v's Iron Man - nothing civil about it!

Captain America: Civil War (DVD) I wrote an epic 2000 word review on this a few weeks ago and when I saved it, Ciao "Lost" it. Very unimpressed... Captain America: Civil War Civil War is the third installment in the Captain America franchise, although you'd be forgiven for thinking it was the next Avengers movie to be fair because everybody and their dog appears in it! Released in 2016 it follows 2011's The First Avenger and 2014's The Winter Soldier in the series, and once again follows (loosely) one of Captain America's main story arcs from the comic books, although in the comics this particular story ends in "The death of Captain America" (also known as The Death of the Dream). In this case, however, the story appears to be leading into the Infinity War storyline, in which the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy (along with one or two dozen other Marvel characters) team up against Thanos in his quest to possess the Infinity Gauntlet. Cast Brace yourselves; Team Cap Chris Evans - Steve Rogers / Captain America Sebastian Stan - James "Bucky" Barnes / The Winter Soldier Anthony Mackie - Sam Wilson / Falcon Jeremy Renner - Clint Barton / Hawkeye Elizabeth Olsen - Wanda Maximoff / Scarlett Witch Paul Rudd - Scott Lang / Ant Man Emily VanCamp - Sharon Carter / Agent Carter Team Iron-Man Robert Downey Jr - Tony Stark / Iron Man Scarlett Johansson - Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow Don Cheadle - James "Rhodey" Rhodes / War Machine Chadwick Boseman - T'Challa / Black Panther Paul Bettany - Vision Tom ...

A Walk in the Woods (DVD) 05/07/2016

A Walk in the Woods

A Walk in the Woods (DVD) A Walk in the Woods DVD review, 2016 A Walk in the Woods is the 2016 movie based on the book of the same name by famous travel writer Bill Bryson and his attempt to hike the formidable Appalachian Trail. ~~~ The Appalachian Trail in America is claimed to be the longest 'hiking only' trail in the world, measuring in at around 2200 miles. It follows the Eastern Seaboard and crosses 14 States starting with Georgia in the South (duelling banjo's anyone?) all the way up to Maine in the North. It's a formidable challenge for anyone, regardless of fitness levels, and will take anything up to 6 months to complete while carrying your worldly belongings on your back! ~~~ Bill Bryson is one of my favourite authors and this particular book is one I have chewed through four or five times now. In fact I'd say it ranks as my joint favourite of his travel tomes along with Down Under (about his travels...down under). Bill Bryson (OBE dont-cha know)! is an American born writer who spent most of his adult life living in England. We finally got rid of him in the 1990's, but it was short lived, he's back again and still writing some exceptionally funny books about everything that comes into his head and yet nothing in-particular. He specialises in travel writing but has dipped his toe into history, language and culture too and his knowledge seems to know no bounds (either that or he has access to a better version of wikipedia than I do). First published in the 1980's he is still turning out ...

Rounders (DVD) 01/07/2016

Rounders: No Jokers, just Aces.

Rounders (DVD) Rounders Movie only review Rounders was 1998's little known low-budget drama about the hidden world of cash-game poker. It was met by a pretty muted critical response at the time, so the box office was fairly poor taking in just over $20 million worldwide, but after the 2003 World Series of Poker, when the Moneymaker effect triggered the biggest poker boom the world has ever seen, this movie rose up the ranks to become a true cult classic. ** Chris Moneymaker was an amateur poker player who won the World Series of Poker main event in 2003, banking $2,500,000. Rather than buying in directly for the $10,000 entry fee, he won his seat via an $86 satellite game on one of the online poker sites, which triggered an enormous wave of interest as amateur players across the world mused that "if he can do it, I can do it". ** Set in New York and filmed in New York and New Jersey, the movie follows a young gambler torn with a life of excitement and uncertainly or a mundane 9-5 with stability. The arrival of an old friend tips him towards the former! Cast Matt Damon - Mike McDermott Ed Norton - Lester "Worm" Murphy John Turturro - Joey Knish John Malkovich - Teddy "KGB" Famke Jannsen - Petra Grechen Mol - Jo Martin Landau - Abe Petrovski Michael Rispoli - Grama Great cast in my opinion. Obviously Martin Landau and John Malkovich had been around for ages when this was recorded so scoring those two was quite a coup. Malkovich especially is superb in this as a Russian mobster, he has an ...

Harry Ramsden's, Blackpool 25/06/2016

Harry Ramsden's Blackpool.

Harry Ramsden's, Blackpool Harry Ramsden's; Blackpool branch We've just had a spur-of-the-moment break in Blackpool and I thought I'd share my experiences. A couple of days in the Seaside town comprised of a day at Blackpool Zoo, a night in a lovely local hotel (The Queens Plaza - not on Ciao sadly), a fun day on the sea-front and far too many meals out. Harry Ramsden's was saved for lunch on our second day, deemed not quite fancy enough for our evening meal the night before but still a must-try since we'd decided that fish and chips was on our agenda. Ramsden's is probably the best known chippy chain in the UK - it's certainly the only 'famous' one I can think of off the top of my head. Founded just outside Leeds back in 1928 it stayed in the Ramsden family for 26 years before Harry Ramsden was bought out by his business partner (Eddie Stokes) in 1954, who continued to grow the brand for another decade. The chain has changed hands numerous times since, and is currently owned by a private investor trading as "Boparan Ventures Limited". There are 45 Harry Ramsden restaurants in the UK, with a good mix of quick and easy fast food kiosks (often found at Motorway service stations) and a handful of City Centre restaurants at the more expensive end of the scale. The Blackpool restaurant is in a superb location, found right next to Blackpool Tower at the North end of the promenade. It's signage is visible for a good distance in either direction and the front of the building stretches almost a whole ...
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