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since 19/09/2000


Heretic 2 (PC) 16/11/2000

Heretic 2

Heretic 2 (PC) Coming in an impressive two CDROMs and with a printed manual, Heretic II is a huge game. Installation is pretty straightforward, but Heretic II needs at least 300 Mb of hard disk space plus additional megabytes for save games (the manual recommends at least 400 Mb of hard disk space). Another record breaking feature is the memory consumption. Heretic II needs at least 64 Mb Fast RAM and this is only the absolute minimum. The more RAM your machine has the better Heretic II runs - for example, you'll be able to use bigger memory caches for textures and sound, reducing the hard disk accesses notably - which then results in a faster game." "Heretic II is a 3D adventure in the Tomb Raider mold. This means that unlike in for example Quake, the player character is viewed from a third person perspective, straight behind the character. The player is able to freely change the camera view, a feature which is effectively used for checking the surroundings, aiming the weapons and navigating your character through the levels . While awkward at the beginning, the system works surprisingly well once the player gets used to it (especially with carefully defined mouse and keyboard controls). There's very little to say about the plot of the adventure without spoiling the surprises, so I'll keep it brief. The intro movie nicely unfolds the history behind current events, and the actual game starts when Corvus, the main character, returns from a long trip to his home ...

FIFA Soccer (PC) 13/11/2000

FIFA old and bad

FIFA Soccer (PC) When (if) you manage to load the game up you are greeted with a lot of options. There are far too many and it is confusing, especially if you just want a quick game. Once the menus are out of the way the game itself loads. The pitch appears and you select heads or tails at the coin toss. When you try to control your players it all becomes a ridiculous mess. The animation is awful and the whole thing jerks about in an incredibly annoying way. You don't even have full control of your players. You can easily prove this fact by playing a 2-player game without anyone else controlling the second team. The computer moves the players around and will even tackle for you sometimes!! If you don't control what is happening on the screen it isn't a poor game, it's not even a game anymore. Even with control the game only seems to run at about 5 fps. A replay can clearly show the ball moving from a players feet to the goal in about 2 animation frames. Whilst playing the "game", you might just a see glimpse of the ball somewhere between the player and the goal for a split second before it goes in. What on earth were the coders doing with this game? Even if you ignore both these flaws it isn't even half fun. I played with Germany against Bolivia and I could score goals from the Kick-off. You can't pass or dribble easily and so tactics go out of the window so you just find yourself shooting from any distance. Having a 2-button joystick doesn't really help because the game is not ...

WWF Smackdown! 2: Know Your Role (PlayStation) 11/11/2000

WWF Smackdown 2 Beta

WWF Smackdown! 2: Know Your Role (PlayStation) Before I start this review, I must say that this is only a review of the beta version of the game that a friend has been sent to review for a wrestling website by THQ. Please don't email me asking for copies as I can't give them and I don't agree with video game piracy. Luckily enough over the last week I was lucky enough to borrow a copy of the beta version of the new WWW Smackdown 2 game, I know this is going to be a big seller due to the huge response in local shops in the area and the large internet response to the game. However gameplay wise the game is very much of the same as the original version, a number of new moves have been added, but the method of pulling off moves is the same. Although there are some great new additions, like the tables match which works suprisingly well as well as the addition of ladders which add another element to the game, the casket match is a disappontment though as it's fiddelt to say the least, although hopefully this will be improved by release. However the new arena areas don't change the game much, although do look very good compared to the older version. Graphics and sound wise, the game is very similar to the original, the pre-wrestling screens have been improved, but the wrestler animation, crowd animation and backgrounds could all still be improved and with the PS2 around the corner and the Dreamcast suddenly becoming much more popualar, more effort should really of gone into this. The sound is the same, very lovely, all ...

Wipeout 2097 (PC) 05/11/2000

Wipeout 2097

Wipeout 2097 (PC) When I received the game, I unwrapped it and was confronted by minimalist packaging. A CD jewel case, a small colour sheet for the inlay (no printed instructions), and the CD itself. Installation is the small matter of entering the CD and clicking the install icon. You can choose to have the whole game copied to your HD, or just part of it. A full install is recommended, as then the game can play MPEG anims at the same time as it plays the CD tracks. A word about the music - don't be getting all excited about the prospect of hearing tracks from the Prodigy and Chemical Brothers, the music is not from the PSX version. Graphics and soundwise the game is good but even now getting dated. Gameplay wise, the game is ace! The speed of your craft means that it's real heart in the mouth stuff - take the guy in front on the inside of a bend, over the speed up, pick up a missile, shoot the next guy, maneuver in front of him... all at huge speeds, at tracks that dip wildly around amazing tunnels and roads, surrounded by fantastic trackside scenery. You'll want to play again and again to get that coveted gold medal, and then again to get the best time. ...

Lemmings for Windows (PC) 05/11/2000


Lemmings for Windows (PC) "Platform" doesn't really do this game justice.... and that's why Lemmings hasn't been put in that category. Anyway, in Lemmings, the well known PUZZLE game, you control a small army of ...erm Lemmings, who must be guided across a hazardous landscape to the level's exit. This is complicated by the fact that your charges will not patiently wait for your decisions, they haven't got time for that, they'll keep on marching, probably over the nearest cliff. Lemmings come in a variety of professions though, so you can assign one Lemming to redirecting his friends, while another clears an alternative route. This is the game's major appeal, solving the puzzle that the landscape provides you with by clever and quick utilization of your Lemmings. It's cute, but it's also brutal and amusing. This was an important game in the Amiga's success story, and is well worth having.

The Ball (PC) 05/11/2000

On the Ball

The Ball (PC) It`s a football manager game, but, it`s real life. Get rid of those dumb statistic based games, I say. In real life, do you know how good Chris Armstrong is? Sure, you know he can`t shoot with his left foot to save his life, and he`s great in the air. But could you say for absolute certainty that he`s a an 18/20 for heading, and a 7/20 for influence? Rubbish. Thankfully, OTB shuns stats like I shun Maths exams. The only things you know is if a player is especially good at a thing, like creativity, or if he is bad at a thing, like he has no stamina. The only other things that they have are their strength i.e. ability rating, from 1-7, and their current form, from 1-20. A player who was and 7-2 has the ability to play like Paul Gascoigne but is playing poorly at the moment. Players also given character assessments - their temperament, e.g. hot headed, their motivation, and some other ones that I can`t remember. But it all helps things bounce along nicely as you instantly can build up a picture of your players, instead of having to get a calculator out. Oh, and player names are FICTIONAL. This means that you have to actually use some sort of managerial skill, not just put in your dream 11 from last Saturday`s FA Carling Premiership. Another plus point, IMHO. But, should you really want to, you can edit all of the players in the game thanks to a nifty built in player editor module.

Elite II: Frontier (PC) 05/11/2000


Elite II: Frontier (PC) It's worth remembering that this game had to follow one of the most successful games in the history of the home computer, and do so many years after most of us had ceased to be spellbound by a bunch of 3D routines mimicking a universe. Tricky.... Well, most people would agree that Frontier did not surpass it predecessor in terms of enjoyment and wonder, but nevertheless it is a very good game. Very good, but flawed in some simple ways, which if corrected would have propelled the game to classic status. Mr Braben has been pretty serious in trying to create a living, breathing universe where different ships ply the space lanes, each going about it's own individual tasks. An achievement certainly, but this approach does cause some problems. When you are attacked in Frontier, it is almost always by lone ships, this is because the attacking ships really have travelled great distances to reach you and have separated slightly during the voyage. Now a random ship generator would have solved this problem but it would be far less authentic .....but possibly more fun. Another aspect of this "too real" syndrome occurs with the missions. Now some serious work has been done on the missions, since Elite and there are lots of different choices, although they do basically break down into just a few mission types. The problem is that you don't get a sense of being anyone special. The missions are generated for you, as one of thousands of pilots, and you never really feel like a "Star ...

Cannon Fodder 2 (PC) 05/11/2000

Cannon Fodder 2

Cannon Fodder 2 (PC) In Cannon Fodder 2 (like in the original) the player controls a small squad of soldiers on a battlefield that is viewed from above. The game is split into a series of missions, which must be completed in order. The game figures are moved and commanded with a mouse which is also used to aim and fire the guns within the battle - imagine Dune II type battles but on a closeup, grunt level and with a lot less icon clicking - the player just points the cursor at the enemy figure and fires the gun with the mouse click. The problem is it is exactly the same as the first game, no attempt has been made to make the gameplay more varied and as with the first the missions soon get repetitive, good to buy if you don#t own the first or are a big fan of the first, otherwise don't bother.

Cluedo (PC) 05/11/2000


Cluedo (PC) Cluedo is a typical example of a board-game converted to a computer game. The essence of the board game is all there, and there are computer opponents to defeat - this being of course the only good reason for porting a board-game to a computer, the ability to play on one's own. There's little else: apart from a couple of title screens the graphics are simple (but not in a good way); the sound effects few and pointless. But that's not important - what you want to know is how does it play? Well, if you're playing against friends, it's a fairly faithful rendition of the board game - the enhanced version of Cluedo with more suspects, rooms and weapons. But you'll have difficulty concealing your 'cards' from your fellow players, as they appear on the screen for you.

Chaos Engine (PC) 05/11/2000

Chaos Engine

Chaos Engine (PC) The Chaos Engine is a similar game to Gauntlet, a top down, maze based, shoot-em-up, except it looks much nicer and is viewed from a slightly lower angle. You can choose from six characters who you want to be, some are all-rounders, others have rubbish guns but are good on skill and strength, and some have brilliant special weapons. It is a two player game, but if you're on your own the computer will be the other player. Each level is littered with a lots of different power-ups, money, and enemies; the giant hands on World 3 are particuarly good. Each world has got 4 levels, and after every two levels you go to a shop where you can convert your money into experience, and improve your weapons capabilities. The levels and the monsters are very good looking, (you wouldn't want to marry them though) and it's great when you stumble across a secret area. Often you have a choice of which way you go, and this gives the game more appeal. The Chaos Engine starts off easy, but gets harder and harder. It's a well made game, and I really like some of the brilliant guns, "Party Power!"

Alien Breed (PC) 05/11/2000

Alien Breed

Alien Breed (PC) Alien Breed was designed by Rico Holmes and programmed by Andreas Tadick. It was very much based on the arcade machine, Gauntlet, except with Aliens and graphics based on the film "Alien". You had to perform a series of tasks, whilst building up your weaponary in order to keep the Aliens at bay. Almost a 2d DOOM. Rico Holmes did a great job with the graphics using the Amiga's colour palette to maximum effect. I wrote the music and sound effects and learnt a lot in the process. The Alien death sound effects were actually sampled newly born kittens, mutated on my sampler with an explosion added! I had great fun playing Alien Breed, and even more fun when Alien Breed'92 was released. This was the same game engine but with greatly improved levels and missions. Later on, Alien Breed 2 and Tower Assault were launched, both of which were great and again improved on design and gameplay.

Cannon Fodder (PC) 05/11/2000


Cannon Fodder (PC) Sensible Software's famous shoot-em-up blood-fest: you take control of a small squadron of tiny (Sensible-Soccer-esque) soldiers from a sizeable stock of reserves (and you'll need them all!). Your mission is presented at the beginning of each level - usually requiring you to shoot and blow up every enemy and/or enemy building - first with just rifles, then with the addition of grenades, then rocket launchers, then vehicles like 'choppas', jeeps and 'tanx'. For a bit of variation some levels require you to rescue or protect civilians, or even kidnap an enemy leader. All this takes place in large eight-way scrolling maps in several environments, each with its own tricks and traps: arctic wastes, jungle, desert, moorlands and underground bases. And there's a good deal of blood. Turn your eyes away if you're squeamish or abhor the idea of shooting baby seals just in case they're a camouflaged enemy trap. Yes, although obviously cartoonesque, it really is like that. Although it starts out fairly easily, the difficulty level quickly piles up, and it won't be long before you're faced with enemies with rocket- launchers, at which point the game is already hard enough for most people, and it's going to get worse. And that's the main problem with the game. It is very difficult indeed. Those rockets come at you from the side of the screen before you've even spotted the soldier who fired them, and they're deadly accurate - you'd better have good reactions. For the most part, ...

Civilization IV: Colonization (PC) 05/11/2000


Civilization IV: Colonization (PC) Basically, Colonization is a game of (surprise) colonization and revolution. You are the leader of the colonial presence of one of four European powers, the English, French, German, or the Dutch. Your goal is to create colonies that prosper, and evenutally, to declare independence from your parent nation, and survive (and win) the onslaught that ensues. Three different world options appear after the playing language is selected. These are: Start a Game in NEW WORLD, Start a Game in AMERICA, and CUSTOMIZE New World. Any of these are good for play, but I prefer not to choose America, simply because in order to trade more efficiently, colonies need to have access to the ocean. There is a lot of coastline in the America version, but that is the only surface available for all four European powers. Many medium-size islands seems to work better. After selecting where you want to play, a difficulty requester appears. I am not a master strategist, so I chose the easiest: Discoverer. I'm sure some of you out there could cope with the fifth level, Viceroy, but I think this review would never have been completed if I had tried it. The greatest challenge of the game is to balance your manpower between food-related work, defense, and the cash crops that help put money in the coffer. Beyond that, you have to deal with the colonies and colonists of the other three nations, and you have to deal with the Indians (Native Americans) through friendship and appeasement or through ...

The Settlers II (PC) 05/11/2000


The Settlers II (PC) The authors have created an extremely playable and enjoyable game that initially may seem unnecessarily complex. A little patience however will prove very rewarding. "The Settlers" puts you in control of a settlement of folk with all sorts of different skills and talents. There are Butchers, Bakers, .....sorry, no Candlestick makers, Millers, Blacksmiths, Fishermen, Armourers, several differnt types of Knights and many more. Each of them has their own place to live, and if appropriate, to produce merchandise. You'll not be surprised to hear, that there are other similar settlements, that like yours, benefit from as much living space as possible. This is where the Knights come in. By attacking a Knight's hut or castle, you invoke a ritualised duel between your Knights and the enemy's. You can control how many, and how skilful your attacking force is, and if successful, the land gained will become part of your territory, destroying any enemy buildings in the immediate area. This is great fun, and the variety of terrain, and requirements of a well balanced settlement allows for all sorts of tactics and approaches to the game. I haven't even mentioned the mining which is crucial to success. The game has been beautifully crafted, and takes account of the hardware you have available. There is a nice learning curve in the missions as well as a well designed set of tutorial exercises. It could be argued that the combat is too ritualised and honourable, not allowing for unfair ...

Syndicate Plus (PC) 05/11/2000


Syndicate Plus (PC) Basically, Syndicate puts you in charge of a squad of Cyborgs - biomechanically modified soldiers with *serious* attitude problems. Your job is to "relieve" the different countires of the World from the tyrannical machinations of the Enemy Syndicates (Boooh!!). This is usually achieved by killing all the Enemies present in that region, but can be something as simple (Hah! Yeah...) as kidnapping someone, or assassinating a leader, or stealing some weaponry. The choice of mission types is varied - you have a limited kind of decision as to what to do next, although the eventual aim is to complete (conquer, dominate, and maintain control of...) each country. Overall, this game is offers a fantastic, often frenetic, always fun blend of out-and-out glorified shoot'em up violence, tactical planning, and the need for cool-headed patience (especially on some of the later levels!!). If you have a few spare pennies, this is *definitely* worth a look!
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