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Louis Vallance "fs geek" (Sheffield, SY UK)

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X52 Pro Flight Simulator Controller (PC)
X52 Pro Flight Simulator Controller (PC)

30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!, 26 Jun. 2007
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
The X52Pro is an amazing improvement from the original X52. It's made with very high quality materials and features a newly improved MFD with radio stack and autopilot functions. The dual spring mechanism makes this model handle with unparalleled precision compared to any other control stick. The wide array of buttons allows you to program virtually every control onto it, making flight much more realistic and fun. The precision centering mechanism prevents deadzones from occurring and gives the stick constant force.

Having said this, the X52Pro has a few problems that need dealing with when you buy the stick. For some users who owned the original X52, the current profile editor may not work, although in most cases it should. In order to maximize the SST software to it's full potential, the drivers must be updated from the saitek website. Also, don't get too excited when it says you can change the colour of the LEDs, you have to download the driver first. You can access all these updates through the "Downloads + Manuals" tab on saitek's website. Select "Drivers and Software" and find the links relevant to the X52 pro.

One other common problem with the stick is that sometimes it can be assembled too tight and end up wearing down the cup at the base of the stick. Other problems may include unusual clicking sounds and faulty buttons, but this is quite uncommon and if this were to occur, it is possible to send it back to Saitek to have it repaired free of charge and their staff are very friendly. Mine was faulty and I sent it back and they gave me a replacement within a few days.

Overall this product is well worth buying, but only buy it if you are really into flight simulator because it is quite an investment and you should be prepared for the worst in case anything happens.
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Microsoft Flight Simulator X (PC)
Microsoft Flight Simulator X (PC)

52 of 57 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Way ahead of it's time, 25 Jun. 2007
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
If your looking to buy Flight Simulator for the PC, I would strongly recommend getting FS2004. The reason I've given this game quite a generous rating is because (set aside the rest) it's actually an excellent game in terms of it's vastly improved content and realism. For the majority of PC owners who do not yet own Vista, you will find FSX rather disappointing. For a start it occupies a staggering 15GB of HD space! (13.5GB higher than FS2004). It requires a processing speed that exceeds the power of even the fastest computers.

I am a flight simulator fanatic and I bought this game soon after it's day of release and at first I was totally addicted; it was way more dynamic than FS2004. Not before long though I started to notice it's pitfalls: The graphics settings had to be lowered all the way down just to prevent my PC dying on me (even though I've got a fairly descent machine), and dozens of little program errors caused glitchy graphics and poor rendering, making the game seem like a botch job on the part of Microsoft. Soon I became tired, and so did my PC. Since then I have been playing on FS2004 instead. The 'Deluxe' edition (at £10 more) merely adds to you're computer's hardship, although it adds more content, offering a few more missions to enjoy, as well as enhanced scenery. I own the deluxe copy and it does improve the game considerably, you can even play as air traffic controller. This however does not redeem the major pitfalls of the game, as you can't escape it's sluggish performance.

I understand that many people are able to run this game no problemo; it's really down to how good your PC is. A lot of people get annoyed when others give it stick, but I am trying to base this review on behalf of the majority of gamers who's PC may not meet the high spec of this game.

I'm sure that if I came back to this game in five year's time once technology has advanced a little, I would absolutely love this game. I feel that the celebration of 10 years of Microsoft Flight Simulator (hence the 'X') has forced Microsoft to deliver this game too soon, and it hurts me to say that the case is beginning to gather dust. It's not cheap, and whether you're looking for a serious FS experience or you just want a bit of fun, get FS2004 for now. Flight Simulator X will just have to wait


Dr Kawashima's Brain Training: How Old Is Your Brain (Nintendo DS)
Dr Kawashima's Brain Training: How Old Is Your Brain (Nintendo DS)
Offered by MDS Entertainment
Price: £4.49

9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A commitment worthwhile, 24 Jun. 2007
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is the perfect game for having a bit of fun once a day, and it's great to see how your brain progresses, or digresses over time. It doesn't have a massive content, but for its price you get a lot of fun out of it everyday. The head of Dr Kawashima is one that informs and charms the gamer, and he gives you loads of cool tips whilst you train your brain.

The only problem I find with this game is that the lowest brain age is 20. I get a brain age of 20 everytime but because i am under 20 he still tells me that i could do better, but its just a little glitch i suppose.


Trauma Center: Under the Knife (Nintendo DS)
Trauma Center: Under the Knife (Nintendo DS)
Offered by CD DIXIE
Price: £24.90

15 of 25 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Short-lived, 24 Jun. 2007
= Fun:1.0 out of 5 stars 
At first, I thought that I was buying a game where you played the cool doctor who all the girls fancied who had just come out of med school, and was a really good surgeon. I thought that the game would consist of everyday procedures that reflected real life surgory. I was mistaken. Don't get me wrong, the first few operations were really fun and I thought that I was onto a winner, but as the game progressed, I realised how silly it was. Basically you play an idiotic 'doctor' who is constantly trying to prove himself in the hospital. It's clichéd all over; the characters are Japanese manga yet typically American Pokémon style aminations. Instead of deciding the storyline, all the decisions are made for you: its like reading a really crappy book. Second of all, when operating in tense situations, you are constantly interrupted by your annoying nurse on the top screen and you can't continue until you have skipped the dialogue. This is especially annoying in replay mode when you know what you are doing. You really can't take it seriously, for a start that disease that you have to treat is called GUILT. At this point all credibility of the game is lost; you feel like you are no longer operating on people, you're simply just zapping little dragon-monster creatures swimming around and rubbing strange green goo on the patient to heal him/her. Not to mention the fact that you have to defuse a bomb with your surgical equipment. Its just abit silly.

The most difficult aspect of the game was restraining yourself from throwing the DS across the room. I would definitely not buy this game and I plan to return my copy as soon as possoble.
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Flymo Venturer 320 Roller 1000W Electric Wheel
Flymo Venturer 320 Roller 1000W Electric Wheel

5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I've never been happier, 18 Jun. 2007
I'm sure that everyone reading this is familiar with that elated feeling of getting a job well done. Spirits are hightened for the rest of the day/week/month and a sound, untroubled sleep is almost certain to ensue. And for those who relate to this semblance, I feel I can confidently assume that you have also experienced mild trauma when the job in question has been shoddy and scrabbly at best.

The latter of these two states of consciousness was once common in my case, when I would frequently try in vain to compete with my neighbour's salubrious garden, with it's neatly trimmed edges and ostentatiously fashioned lawn.

It was coming to the point where I was considering moving out when I stumbled across an advertisement in my bi-monthly magazine for the Flymo Venturer 320 Roller 1000W Electric Wheel. It was reasonably priced and had sported some flashy designs reminiscent of Lavender Banister OBE (graphic designer and one of my idols), and I decided it was worth a shot if it had the potential to solve my neighbourly troubles. In comparison to my old (and let me stress the importance of the word old in this context) lawnmower, if you can even call it that, the Flymo Venturer 320 Roller 1000W Electric Wheel gave me shivers. It felt like it was meant to be, a partnership, made in heaven. My lawn was no longer choppy, or unsightly, but graceful and poetic. I can now enjoy undisturbed dreams (mostly involving my 'champion' lawn) and sit my bottom perfectly comfortably in my own enclosed bubble, out of which i can escape at intervals to point a jeery finger at my next door neighbour. I think he's planning on buying one now, maybe you should too.


Nintendo DS Lite Handheld Console (Black)
Nintendo DS Lite Handheld Console (Black)
Offered by Bargain Games UK
Price: £79.99

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent all around, 18 Jun. 2007
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
When one browses the internet for the latest hand-held console, one tends to think, "Sony or Nintendo". I always say that its worth going for the less froogle approach, but on this unusual occasion, I would think otherwise.
The first thing that attracted me to the DS was the price. For just under £££, you get a myriad of features, a plethora of games and not to mention the gargantuan abilities of this small but all so mighty console. At a glance, the touch screen seems like a novelty that Nintendo has feebly sneaked in to woo the gaming public, but when stylus loses its innocence to the screen, an aura of smugness embraces the gamer in a way that could not be imagined. Its elusive design and seductive backlit screen never fails to make one tremble at the knees.
The main feature that singles out Nintendo from the rest is the wide range of games ONLY available on Nintendo consoles. For example, where else can you find the red-capped rotund rogue that we have have become so dearly fond of over the years,the one only known as Super Mario? Nuff said!


Airbus Fleet (Add on for FS 2002/2004) (PC CD)
Airbus Fleet (Add on for FS 2002/2004) (PC CD)

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not great, 18 Jun. 2007
= Fun:3.0 out of 5 stars 
On one hand, you get a good deal with the amount of models you get, but looking at the price (£17.99), don't expect to get a long-lived enjoyment out of this one timer. There is a complete lack of detail with only the real basic operations, don't expect to get anything more complex than what FS9 allready comes with. The graphics are actually ok, but there is no challenge involved and the virtual cockpit...well, what there is of a virtual cockpit doesn't really excite the gamer, compared to the highly detailed cockpits of some of the software PMDG make.

This expansion is a fairly poor attempt at a quality add-on, and quite frankly, if your looking for a gaming experience lasting over 10 minutes, do not be fooled by the low price, don't get it.


PMDG 747 Add-On for FS 2004 (PC CD)
PMDG 747 Add-On for FS 2004 (PC CD)
Price: £29.95

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Look no further, you'll find no better!, 8 Jun. 2007
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
I bought this add-on when it was released in 2005. Needless to say I was well out of my depth. My inability to lift the giant off the runway let alone program the ultra-realistic flight management computer led to extreme frustration and anger. It would seem that this is not a product that should be underestimated; in buying any PMDG software, you begin a journey in which you learn step by step through relentless landing attempts and the desperation of trying to get the autopilot working properly. What's worse, there's a phenomenally large manual to swallow before even understanding the aircraft fully.

It seems that in the years, and I stress the word years, that PMDG spent developing this game, they have not left out anything. Let me give a few examples: There are over a thousand moving and functioning parts on the airplane, including well over 100 failure options. These include the notorious engine fire to intricate 'nuisance' failures such as malfunctioning oil indicators, high engine vibration, malfunctioning sensors and abnormal EGT readings. What is most staggering though, is not just the linear `triggering' mechanism of preset failures, but how the aircraft responds to certain events; an engine fire will eventually lead to electrical and air conditioning issues. Will you be required to deploy the oxygen masks and make an emergency descent to your alternate destination? Or will it lead to the failure to the pitot static system? Don't be fooled by the plane's apparent inertia to its surroundings; general mismanagement of the systems such as excessive braking and overthrusting will lead to strain and drops in performance. Don't hit the tarmac too fast, or you'll end up overheating those brake disks! Leave the reverses engaged after passing 60 knots, and you may get fumes in the turbine and cause an engine surge! Lost an engine? Looks like you'll have to open those jettison valves to lose some weight!

I'm not just talking about moving flaps and windscreen wipers; I'm talking MAXIMUM realism here. I've not even mentioned the FMC computers, they've got their own 100 page manual. The cockpit sounds aren't realistic, they're real. From recordings taken direct from the flight deck, you're guaranteed the height of enjoyment. With over 7 different lighting techniques, the flight deck will look just like the real thing. The game was designed three years ago, and the graphics are yet to be exceeded by even the most coveted flight sim add-ons coming out today.

There are few negatives to comment upon, if any. PMDG have succeeded in making the software a low resource consumer, meaning that you should experience increased fps in virtual cockpit mode. Most of the liveries aren't included with the game; they have to be installed through precisionmanuals.com, along with crucial service updates. Once you get into full swing with this thing, chances are you'll already have waved goodbye to the days of flying in the default 737-400, and I doubt you'll miss it either!

If you are eager to step up tp flight sim x, and yout computer is ready, I would recommend that you also consider 747X (the follow-up). This is more of an investment in knowledge and the enjoyment that will ensue once you have fully discovered the delight of this aircraft, than simply an `add-on' airplane. With 50 odd liveries to chose from, the pleasure of PMDG awaits for anyone patient enough to delve into the world of exceptional simulation, and I'm sure that after flying this bird you'll definitely agree that the PMDG 747-700 is truly 'Queen of the Skies'! 5 stars!
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