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Reviews written

since 30/11/-0001

9

Creative Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS 05/10/2004

'One' of the best sound cards around.

Creative Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS Depending on whom you talk to, 7.1-channel audio (up to 7 speakers and 1 sub-woofer) is either the Holy Grail of immersive sound or the answer to a question nobody asked. As is often the case with new technology, the truth is somewhere in between. But one thing is clear: For movie buffs and hard-core gamers sold on this technology, Creative Labs pushes the envelope with its stunning new 7.1-channel sound card. The main thing I would like to mention though is the unit is surprisingly easy to install, thanks to a mature setup utility and streamlined configuration and calibration tools. There's also a nifty new Software Auto-Update feature that --much like Microsoft Windows Update --automatically locates and installs the latest drivers and applications. If you're wanting a sound card that does everything very well (DVDs, games etc...), has all the latest audio features of today, and delivers a solid sound, then go for it. It's at a perfect price now and will last you and your ears a long time. The massive support that comes from software and hardware developers insures that.

Burnout 3: Takedown (PS2) 04/10/2004

You're driving cars not rockets!

Burnout 3: Takedown (PS2) The Burnout games have always produced some enjoyable fast-paced racing, but never seem to last as long as everyone wishes they would. In Burnout, there was just a general lack of depth, while although Burnout 2 improved on its predecessor with a brand new Crash mode and more tracks, there just weren't enough new options. However, Burnout 3 is completely different. This time around, both regular racing and Crash mode are included in large quantities, as well as a brand new Career mode making its debut, and plenty of online-specific options included for added depth. Basically, Burnout 3 is a game you'll be playing well beyond Christmas... While most racing games only include your opposition, in Burnout you race along proper streets and highways which are filled with normal cars, lorries and buses. These obstacles mean that crashing is far more common in Burnout than in any other racing game. In Burnout, though, you're pretty much aiming to cause crashes... the more crashes there are, the more damage you cause, and higher you'll score. Naturally you're going to have to get involved in some crashes, but if you can simply nudge your opponent into a nearby truck, then you'll not only cause a great deal of havoc, but you'll be able to speed off into the distance as well. It's features like this that make Burnout 3 so enjoyable. If you've bought any of the previous Burnout titles, you'll know just how fast this game can go, and just how dangerously you have to live if you want ...

Tony Hawk's Underground (PS2) 03/10/2004

Now it's your name on the box.

Tony Hawk's Underground (PS2) So your boards ready, everybody’s watching, your going to attempt a 540 flip over one building to the other ... HA, you wish. Chances are you couldn’t do it, you're probably not good enough but don’t worry, thats what games are for. With this game, you can attempt anything without the worry of falling over and breaking your neck. That's right, you can do it in the comfort of your own home. With Tony Hawk Underground, you can make a nobody into a superstar, because in storymode you will be able to create your own skater and follow in through the story. With pros, friends and passers by to set you tasks, you can bet you’ll have plenty to do. Your main goal is to become a legend in skateboarding like the great Tony Hawk, but a lot of people and even friends don’t want to see you succeed. You must show your skills and talent to the world. You can look forward to seeing Tony Hawk, Bam Margera, Bob Burnquist, Kareem Campbell, Rodney Mullen, Chad Muska, Mike Valley, Jamie Thomas, Paul Rodriquez, Steve Caballero, Bucky Lasek, Eric Koston, Rune Glifberg, Elissa Steamer, Andrew Reynolds, Geoff Rowley and Arto Saan, all the pros, helping you on the way or even just skating around. You can now drive cars or other rides and even walk about to climb buildings to do huge transfers. Also once again there are a huge variety of skateboarding tricks to pull off and if you don’t like the tricks, create your own with the new create-a-move option that is new to the Tony Hawk ...

Medal of Honor: Rising Sun (PS2) 01/10/2004

Banzaaaaai!!! BANG!

Medal of Honor: Rising Sun (PS2) The first Medal of Honour game for the PS2, "Frontline" was one of the best first-person-shooters available for the platform, with fast paced action, coupled with the intensity of old World War Two weapons that don't reload quick enough, whilst you're dancing around an opponent, bullets flying everywhere. The game appealed to many gamers due to the realism in the look, feel and sound of the weapons, the excellent music and the set pieces, not to mention the jaw-dropping 'Saving Private Ryan'-esque first level. Also, "Frontline" was a huge game that kept you playing for days. Moving on to 'Rising Sun', the game hasn't really changed much, except in location, although it's worth noting that the graphics look oddly ropey, even compared to 'Frontline'. After some experimentation, the graphics engine does seem to suffer, possibly due to the product being under-tested, or rushed. Despite this descrepanmcy, the game still feels like 'Medal Of Honour'; the weapons are basically the same, with the inclusion of some extra Japanese automatics, and the sound and music have the same nerve-jarring punch about them. Which leads us nicely onto the AI. The main difference you will notice is that you will experiece 'banzai' attacks, in which soldiers come running at you (in a bid to skewer you at close range). Other than this, the AI hasn't developed much from the first game. It does the job, but hasn't really pushed any boundaries. The set pieces are really exquisite. The game ...

Doom 3 (PC) 30/09/2004

Alone in the Dark

Doom 3 (PC) Wow doom 3, what can i say about ID's work of art? You start in a beautiful looking, brightly lit area of Mars, you walk though following your orders talking to people and evesdropping on other peoples conversations, from these you can see that something is wrong with this place and you actually do start to worry even though nothing has happened yet. After your first mission things start to go terrably wrong and it's upto you to fix it. The first thing i noticed besides the eyepopping graphics is the voice acting, it was truely amazing and made me feel like i was in a Hollywood film, this makes it even more scary because after a while instead of it being a voiceless, nameless character you're playing, you start to believe you're actually there and that it's you walking around with your pistol and not some character with no identity. I think ID meant for this to happen because trust me it triples the scaryness. I have a tip for anyone who is planning to play this game with the lights off at night waring headphones. Make sure you DON'T! I read a review on Gamespot.com and they said that the game was "predictable".... well let me tell you this, if you can predict when the floor is going to burst open and some hellish beast jump out at you, or when a creature is going to jump out of the darkness at you then yea ok it is predictable, but to any normal human it is a total pantfiller everytime you meet a new enemy. The sound gets a paragraph of it's own. There is no ...

Full Spectrum Warrior (Xbox) 29/09/2004

Zekistan or Afghanistan?

Full Spectrum Warrior (Xbox) Full Spectrum Warrior marks the beginning of a new genre in gaming; it’s unlike any other game out there, combining the squad based tactics of titles like Ghost Recon and fast paced strategy. Unlike other team based shooters out there, in FSW you don’t actually take direct control of your troops but instead, move them around the map with a context sensitive cursor and giving them fire sectors telling them which direction they should shoot in. Strategy games don’t usually translate well to consoles due to the lack of a mouse but FSW is an exception, the controls are very easy to use and within minutes you’ll be commanding your squad like a pro. This game has been specifically designed for the Xbox control pad and it shows. The game itself takes place in the fictional ex-Soviet state of Zekistan. A Middle Eastern country that bears an uncanny resemblance to Iraq/Afghanistan and even has an evil dictator for a ruler that only the Americans along with a coalition of NATO forces can remove. You can’t deny that the content of the game has more than a passing resemblance to recent events in real life, and since the games based on a training tool used by the US Army; it’s most likely the intention. When you first play the game, you’ll have to go through several tutorials. The training levels in most games are boring but FSW actually manages to have an entertaining training level where your soldiers use training gear and fire blanks for authenticity. This authenticity that ...

Need for Speed Underground (PS2) 13/09/2004

Look at my spoilers!

Need for Speed Underground (PS2) Note: This review will be moved to the PC version ASAP. How many decent PC racing games can you think of? A dozen? In the 10 plus years we have had Windows there must have been only 25 greats, while the consoles could boast over 100. Need for Speed Underground fits into the PC's list of quality racing games with its perfect car handling, neon cityscapes and smart track design that is riddled with lots of secret shortcuts. Ok, so the streets are a bit 'narrow', but this is all part of the design, forcing cars to scratch paint as they overtake to the front. Some of the background dance music is slightly annoying (typical in EA games), but is fitting to the car customization culture. The game content consists of a Race mode, which is the main single-player affair that serves up races revolving around circuit tracks, point-to-point tracks and Knockout races that takes the last car to finish a lap out of the race. Progressing through Race mode earns your motor various performance and style upgrades and inevitably turns your car into the Batmobile if you play long enough. The second mode is called Drag Racing mode that has straight lined roads for you to burn down, going at God-knows-how-fast speeds, to get to the finish line. You must note that this mode will be a lot more fun if you get yourself a gamepad, perferably a Playstation one with an adapter. Trying to control your car with the arrow keys as you go at drag speeds is damn hard. It's good to see Need for Speed ...

Unreal Tournament 2004 (PC) 04/06/2004

The 'Offline Death Simulator'.

Unreal Tournament 2004 (PC) This game, just like the 2003 edition, really disappointed me. My favourite online multi-player game EVER was the original Unreal Tournament, and when UT2003 was being hyped up I was really, really excited. But when it was released it didn't impress me, just like this 2004 edition. What's the problem you might ask? Well, any fan of the first UT game will know that playing these beefed up 'fat' editions just don't feel the same. The magic and fun of running around gothic structures and spooky looking maps of the original seems to have gone. What is here is massive bumpy outdoor areas which can confuse your brain to the direction fire is hitting you, curvy surfaced indoor areas that are just filled with over-the-top detail that gets in the way of the level design, and the style of all this.just looks like a game trying to showoff its technology and not being the Unreal game it should be. What a shame. The content in Unreal Tour 2004 isn't an issue, though. There are plently of modes including Onslaught (Vehickles included), Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Last Man Standing, Catch the Flag and Assault, and there're 10 in total. All the maps from UT2003 have been included which brings the total to just over 100, and some of the weapons have been remodeled which is for the better. It must be noted that UT2004 isn't compatible with UT2003 due to what is known as 'net code' being changed, so don't expect to frag people with that version. I just can't get over the new fat visual ...

Super Smash Bros.: Melee (GameCube) 01/06/2004

Nintendo Abuse!

Super Smash Bros.: Melee (GameCube) Smash Brothers, the 2001 hit, is still an amazing game. It has so much to offer the lone gamer that it doesn't matter if you're short of other human life to play it with. The packed single-player experience it offers is rare to come by in a beat-'em-up, and this is what I'll try to cover here. Lets go throught the 1P modes. There's Adventure, Classic and Event Match to go with. Classic mode is just what you would have experienced in the N64 1999 game, where you battle random characters from arena to arena and have this broken up with bonus stages. These stages include 'Race to the Finish', 'Break the Targets', and many other imaginative mini games. When you get past all this a boss awaits you at the end. Adventure mode is my favourite single-player mode. You go through some side-scrolling stages that are connected to the typical arena stages. The themes of the side-scrolling stages are taken from the various characters' universes. So you can be squashing Goombas in a level that is straight out of Super Mario Brothers 1, and later be exploring a dungeon from Zelda. At the end of the platform and arena action you once again face a boss, but this boss is different from what you encounter in the Classic mode. In Event Match mode there are 50+ goal-based matches to complete. You first start with only 10 of them and unlock up to 30. To get all 51 events you must find some of the secret stages and characters in the other modes and return to see the extra events you have ...
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