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S. J. Wilde "Billy The Fish" (London)

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Trafalgar: The Biography of a Battle
Trafalgar: The Biography of a Battle
by Roy Adkins
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Informative chronology of the battle itself, 23 May 2009
Most books about the Battle of Trafalgar tend to focus on Vice-Admiral Lord Nelson. Nothing wrong with that, as he was, in my humble opinion, the greatest Englishman who ever lived. However, this book is something different.
A thoroughly absorbing blow-by-blow account of the way the battle unfolded, complete with diagrams, anecdotes and letters from the men (and women) who were actually there, English, French and Spanish.
Add into the mix newspaper accounts from the period and the fact that you're taken from the preparation of both fleets, through the battle, the following storm and out the other side, and you have a very informative and engrossing read.
There are any number of excellent biographies of Nelson out there, but for information on the actual Battle of Trafalgar itself, this excellent paperback is pretty much all you need.
Highly recommended.

Tomb Raider: Underworld (PS2)
Tomb Raider: Underworld (PS2)

38 of 40 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars DO NOT BUY THIS GAME!, 28 Jan. 2009
= Fun:1.0 out of 5 stars 
Now we know why us PS2 owners have had to wait so long for this game to be released on our console. Clearly, whoever was responsible for porting this over from the PS3 coding simply doesn't have a clue what they're doing. It is atrocious in every conceivable way. And no, that is not hyperbole. Even 'Angel Of Darkness' is wa-a-y better than this (and you ought to read my review of that!)
If anyone is coming straight from 'Anniversary' to this, you're in for a shock. The graphics are astonishingly bad. Think PS One quality. Really. Lara looks like Claire Redfield from 'Resident Evil 2', except RE2 was playable - this isn't. The flames you encounter on the opening level, for example, are so laughably programmed you'll think you actually are playing a PS One game. The camera is all over the place - through walls, Lara's head, the floor. Anywhere but where you want it. Worse - the game has absolutely no fluidity whatsoever and the cut-scenes are beyond abysmal. At the end of the first level, you see Winston in the burning mansion, then someone shoots at you and - zip - the next thing you're underwater in another level. No voice-over, no explanation, nothing.
Please - DO NOT let yourself be ripped off with this. If you're new to Tomb Raider and want to know what all the fuss is about then buy 'Anniversary', it's fantastic. If you've played 'Anniversary' and want to play this, then buy an Xbox (Don't buy a PS3 as they're no longer retro-compatible!) - but whatever you do, steer well clear of this rushed, confused and horrendously bugged nightmare of a game.
You have been warned!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 4, 2009 6:42 PM GMT

Nemi: v. 1
Nemi: v. 1
by Lise Myhre
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £9.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading for all Goths and Metalheads!, 12 Jan. 2009
This review is from: Nemi: v. 1 (Hardcover)
For those of you unfamiliar with the character, Nemi is a Goth girl who lives to party, doesn't suffer fools gladly (or at all) and wishes there were more dragons in the world.
Nemi's daily exploits in the Metro have kept me sane on many a London bus journey and here we get a sumptuous collection of the usual short (three/four panel)strips, together with a longer tale or two, which seems to suit Nemi's flights of fantasy very well. If you've ever read Calvin & Hobbes and wondered what a twenty-something female Calvin would be like (minus the tiger and with added alcohol...yes, I know, it's a tenuous link, but go with it), then here's the answer.
This is a nicely produced book printed on high quality stock. An essential purchase for anyone who's ever felt like an outsider in a big, mean city. Remember Ray Zell's Pandora Peroxide? Nah, neither do I. Go Nemi!

Belkin Ultra Hi-speed Gaming Nostromo Speedpad (F8GFPC200ea)
Belkin Ultra Hi-speed Gaming Nostromo Speedpad (F8GFPC200ea)

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Indispensible PC gaming kit, 6 Dec. 2008
I'm about to purchase my second Nostromo. Not because my original N52 has had it - far from it; it's served me faithfully through over two years of almost daily stints on Half Life 2, Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, Bioshock and Crysis and it's still going strong. No, it's just that I'm moving up to a new PC - one that I've had blue LEDs fitted into and I'm vain enough to want a funky new glowing Nostromo to match. Sad, yes, but you won't be if you shell out for one of these. Completely programmable for whatever your current game of choice, there is simply no better gadget for PC gaming.
Abandon your keyboard and go for a Nostromo/mouse combination and you will never look back. Get one in now - you won't regret it!

Perverting the Course of Justice: The Hilarious and Shocking Inside Story of British Policing
Perverting the Course of Justice: The Hilarious and Shocking Inside Story of British Policing
by Inspector Gadget
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime!", 25 Sept. 2008
You may remember that statement, made back in 1997 by some grinning goon whose name escapes me.
Anyway, here we are eleven years later and Inspector Gadget, a frontline uniformed Police Inspector, tells us EXACTLY where a decade of Nu-Labour spin and soundbites have brought us to.
This book details the working life of a dedicated, conscientious Policeman. One of the ones we, the public, never seem to see patrolling the streets anymore (Gadget will tell you why this is.)
The Inspector's points are brilliantly written, matter-of-factly delivered and slam home like bullets. What could so easily have become a sub-Littlejohn rant is a thoroughly compelling (and, sadly, depressing) insight into the way the thin blue line has become entangled in paperwork, targets and political correctness.
As more and more of us become totally disillusioned with politicians on all sides of the spectrum, it's easy to see how any Party taking Gadget's words to heart and actually ACTING on them could walk straight into Number Ten courtesy of a landslide delivered a grateful public who are, like the good Inspector himself, so sick and tired of our Police Commissioners acting as glorified social workers, forever chasing Home Office targets instead of the underclass criminal vermin that infest our towns and cities.
This country has a Police Service. It desperately NEEDS a Police Force.
Read this book now.
Then buy another copy and send it to Jacqui Smith...

Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness (PS2)
Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness (PS2)
Offered by CDandVinyl
Price: £13.52

0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars An embarrassment to the franchise., 10 April 2008
= Fun:1.0 out of 5 stars 
So wrong in so many ways.
The development of this, Lara's first PS2 outing, was a history of setbacks and postponed release dates.
This was apparently due to a 'revolutionary' new control system thatnever worked and was ultimately replaced at the last minute.
The graphics are pretty enough, but not the next-gen leap from 'The Last Revelation' that everyone expected.
The story is muddled and chooses to forsake Lara's history by deliberately adding an annoying and unnecessary new side-kick 'Kurtis'.
There's also a 'sneak round corner' mode too, making me feel they had a last minute "let's rip 'Metal Gear Solid' off" moment in the later development meetings.
What kills the game stone dead, however, is the in-game camera, which is just about the most infuriatingly bad example of it's kind you will ever see.
Save your money and wait for the next installment when, hopefully, they'll have got the coding right..

Tomb Raider - Platinum (PS)
Tomb Raider - Platinum (PS)
Offered by Click4entertainment Limited
Price: £34.95

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A true icon - the original and still the best, 10 April 2008
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Rhona Mitra is not as wonderfully airbrushed in her beauty as Angelina Jolie, but she'd still kick her derriere.
That's how I feel about this, Lara's first incarnation.
Compared to the fluidity and polish of Tomb Raider: Anniversary (the remake of this, eleven years on), Tomb Raider looks chunky and dated.
Don't let that fool you, this game and this alone is the reason the PlayStation brand leads the world today.
Once played, never forgotten.
Most of you reading this review will already have played it and are merely curious as to other people's views, so let me try a little experiment.
Think: Lara being chased by wolves. I bet you can hear the music now, can't you?
If by some bizarre quirk of fate you haven't played this, then your education has been sadly lacking - this is gaming history.
Buy it now and be prepared to write off a couple of days in glorious retro nostalgia.

Spartan: Total Warrior (PS2)
Spartan: Total Warrior (PS2)
Offered by GameExplorers
Price: £9.44

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Total War for the ADD generation, 10 April 2008
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
Lots of big, dumb, hack 'n slash fun from the guys who brought you 'Rome: Total War'.
Blown out of the water by the 'God of War' franchise, but still a rollicking ride of carnage and destruction.
Addictive gameplay, decent graphics and a thumping soundtrack.
For this price, you simply can't go wrong.

God of War: Chains of Olympus (PSP)
God of War: Chains of Olympus (PSP)

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tomb Raider + Tekken + Greek Mythology =, 10 April 2008
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Pretty much a reason to buy the PSP in it's own right.
A superbly-crafted, story-driven mix of puzzles and gory beat-em-up designed for the over eighteen crowd.
The non-fighting parts feel very 'Lara' - lots of opening stuff and collecting things - albeit with a big bald fella instead of a pneumatic brunette. The fighting side of things isn't just button-mashing either. The more enemies you defeat, the more 'orbs' you collect, which can then be traded up for more effective combos and moves.
Then there's the story, which is an excellent spin on Greek mythology, with a genuine plot that you'll want to follow.
Some may bemoan the static camera, but that never harmed the enjoyment of the early Resident Evil games, did it? Besides, the camera here is way superior - you don't actually feel like trying to go where you can't because the visuals are so rich and the level design so accomplished that you are naturally drawn to where you need to be.
Buy this now! And when you do, play it through a decent set of earphones to really appreciate the excellent sound, score and narration.
I'd long since abandoned my PS2 in favour of PC gaming, but after this little gem, I will be buying God Of War and God of War II and going back to the old DualShock joypad!
For the price of a pizza and a bottle of wine, this is an absolute steal!

Cloverfield [DVD]
Cloverfield [DVD]
Dvd ~ Lizzy Caplan
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £1.72

10 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The first 'must-own' DVD of 2008., 15 Mar. 2008
This review is from: Cloverfield [DVD] (DVD)
Let me say straight off that I hate 'shaky-cam'. It ruined the Bourne movies for me and I'm tired of seeing it scattered liberally about Hollywood films for no reason other than the director thinking it conveys 'kinetic action'. It doesn't. It can be confusing, nauseating and will more often than not ruin a sequence because the viewer simply can't figure out what's going on. It is a lazy and tired cliche now, over-used in much the way that 'bullet time' was after the Matrix debuted.
So I was amazed to find that I enjoyed Cloverfield as much as I did since the whole movie is shot hand-held. All of it. The difference between the hand-held work here and the stuff you've seen in Bourne et al is that in Cloverfield you're watching someone's home movie. A home movie that documents an attack on New York City by a sodding great monster, sure, but a home movie nevertheless. You're seeing a group of upmarket twentysomethings in their natural environment and watching what happens within the social dynamic once the wheel comes off.
I'm not going to bemoan the whiny dialogue, the shonky sound and numerous other petty gripes that others have mentioned here, they're part of the charm. Like I said, it's a home movie you're watching. If you want structured plotting, bleeding edge CGI and progressive character development in your monster films then go watch Emmerich's Godzilla. Or rather don't, as it's dreadful.
Instead what you have here is almost Dogme in it's delivery. Stripped to the bone in style, despite the huge amounts that were obviously spent in seamlessly stuffing the impressive CGI into the story to make it appear 'real'. There is no unnecessary exposition. You end the movie knowing no more about the cause of the events that you did when you went in, but that's the point. The characters you're involved with aren't part of the big picture, they're simply caught on the periphery and running for their lives. They're reacting exactly how you would and that's what makes you invest in their fates. Once the rollercoaster is over there is no neatly tied-up ending, such as Spielberg handed out in War of the Worlds. No saccharine-sweet implausibility here, Steve, move along.
Cloverfield demands to be seen in a darkened room with the sound up high. This isn't a background movie to stick on on a wet Sunday afternoon while you're doing the ironing, What Cloverfield gives you is eighty-five minutes of total immersion. Don't try and put the jigsaw together, just marvel at the pieces. If you tell yourself before you hit the play button that this is someone's home movie you're watching. If you're really prepared to buy into that premise then, trust me, you get rewarded with the ride of your life.

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