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Reviews Written by
Bill Morris "Jazz Dragon" (St. Albans, Herts England)

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X-Men The Official Game (PS2)
X-Men The Official Game (PS2)
Offered by BLUESHINE
Price: £16.75

2.0 out of 5 stars That's 30 quid I won't ever see again, 17 Aug. 2006
For anyone lokking in nutshells to find a description of this game, I have 2 words - NO REPLAYABILITY. For anyone who found the second word too long, I have 3 - TOO DAMN SHORT.

I completed this game in like 2 days. It took me the whole rest of the week to utterly conquer it. Not only is there not enough levels, there is not enough to do in the levels that you get, and while you can play them again, you don't want to because they're so damn boring. Getting the extra costumes is diverting for an hour, and the danger room missions for maybe 2 (an hour and a half of which spent on Nightcrawler's), and then you may as well lock the game in a box, throw the key down a well, and bury it in the British Virgin Islands (has anyone else seen the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie?) because you're not going to play it again.

Let me list the most interesting points about the game:

Nightcrawler's missions are like prince of persia times 10.

I think Iceman's comic suit makes him faster.

On one of Wolverine's levels, you can check the names above the cells and they are names of people who were in weapon X.

There, done. What would be totally awesome is to have a free roaming Nightcrawler game (like Ultimate Spiderman) and be able to teleport around the city. That would rule on everything that this sucks on: it would be fun, you could never finish it, and it wouldn't have to pretend to be a coherent part of the films.

Lastly, there's a bit in the credits at the back of the book listing Kitty Pryde and the voiceover, but she is totally nowhere in the game. Trust me on that one.

Apple iPod nano 4GB - Black [MA107FB/A]
Apple iPod nano 4GB - Black [MA107FB/A]

32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Smaller than a mouse and 10 times as cute, 17 Aug. 2006
Yeah yeah, very good item, so compatible, yada yada yada. Every other review (except the one by the dude who can't work iTunes) will tell you these things, but they won't tell you that the nano is actually a lot hardier than people give it credit for. My nano is as strong as anything - you'd have to work quite hard to make it snap, and since when has that been criteria for an mp3 player? You can see the designer chewing his pencil, having a bright idea, and writing, "Must..." Seriously though, who is going to let their little baby nano come to any harm? No-one but a paedophile, that's who.

Next issue - scratching. I've just examined my nano, and after about 9 months' use it is still more or less pristine. Again, the only way I can imagine this getting scratched is if it has no case. This is just elementary care, not expensive. You don't have to lock it away in a vacuum vault to prevent it getting scratched (that would be a bit awkward), just keep it in a case! Not hard.

Anyhoo, just thought I'd say this to reassure people that the little peewee pod is not helpless and vulnerable. Oh, and get the 4G version - you might as well get a shuffle, otherwise.

Offered by Bridge_Records
Price: £4.33

6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Please don't slit your wrists - someone loves you, 11 Mar. 2006
This review is from: Fallen (Audio CD)
At the time of writing, Evanescence have disappeared for years. This, in my opinion, is a great shame as I really enjoyed, and enjoy, their whole album. The singer Amy Lee has an amazing voice which can produce very clear notes at both ends of the scale. It really sounds awesome when backed by extreme guitars, as borne out by the astounding chorus of the very first track. For those who don't know, there are two hits on the album: Bring me to Life, and My Immortal.
Bring me to Life is loud and dark. Lots of crashing and guitars in this one, with Amy's fantastic voice over the top. It's the wow factor that won this hit. Didn't it get to number one? Can't remember. Anyhoo, My Immortal is almost the opposite. It has, alongside the vocals (singing quietly this time - ooh) just a piano and some strings. This is the song most liklely to move you, especially when it gets to the bridge. The lyrics, combined with the piano solo, make you feel a sense of loss, but maybe that's just me.
Similar to that is the track Hello. It is quiet as well, and as far as I know, it's about an insane person's mind. How jolly. No discernible chorus in this one, but there is a bridge of sorts, when the vocal switches to about 2 octaves higher, reaching insanely high notes just before the end. But probably my favourite track is number 10. It sounds the best if you consider from a musical point of view, and if you are just listening passively (i.e. without thinking) then some of the chords and things will still stike you. And if you listen to it, then the words are really rather sad and meaningful. Of course, they don't sound that way because it's done over with grungy metal type things.
It really would be a shame to let this highly vertasile band fade into the darkness of obscurity. So we can only hope that they will make a comeback, or try and release some more hits from the album. No, I'm no goth, but I still like this music a lot.

Haunting Ground (PS2)
Haunting Ground (PS2)
Offered by APE-GAMES
Price: £14.66

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A totally different type of game, 11 Mar. 2006
This review is from: Haunting Ground (PS2) (Video Game)
I have not played any of Capcom's games (like Clocktower) before, so when I got this it was a breath of fresh air from the hack and slash stuff I usually get (I was in fact going to buy Prince of Persia: TTT before my mum intervened and picked this out, so, thanks mum.) It's so weird not being able to do anything to an enemy except attempt to get your dust trail in their eyes. Yeah, you have to run away from everyone if you value your life - and I mean that: Daniella has serious issues.
The game actually does scare you, which is so much harder to achieve in a game than a movie. A lot of this is being scared of what you can't see. It's almost paralysing when Hewie starts growling and you know that this is your early warning, that something's coming but you don't know where from, that you might run past a door and it's THERE... But believe me, it's worse by far when you're being chased by Debilitas, who was originally cast as the cave troll in Lord of the Rings (now you now..) Daniella is slower than Debilitas, and at least she's hot. He, on the other hand, is not, even if you give a shave and a haircut. He's just so big and freaky that you want to run away rather that fight, which is basically what the game is all about.
Good luck trying to get rid of the sod, by the way. He can run faster than you, and will catch you up if you stop for anything unnecessary, like because you've run out of juice and can now only limp along in a pathetic girly way. If you can, get a retaliation point or hide, cos he's hard to take down if you're just doing it as you are, with no hench boots to help. Once you do have the hench boots to help, then you need to run away from Daniella. She's very slow. I mean, she walks after you. But if you get into a dead end situatation (oh, I'm good) with her, then she hacks at you with an impossibly durable bit of double glazing. It takes two hits to send you into complete panic, and if you fall over and get caught, then you can finally see what all that alcohol has been doing to the liver. For some reason, the maid seems to take a particular interest in this as well. Like I said, issues. Trouble at home?
Yeah, so. This is a really good game, but hard hard hard. It will require you to think and feel in order to get past things that would simply be a matter of waving a sword around in other games. It's probably the best made game I've ever played. I haven't finished it yet.

House Of Flying Daggers [DVD]
House Of Flying Daggers [DVD]
Dvd ~ Takeshi Kaneshiro
Price: £1.00

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great film, shame about the ending, 2 Feb. 2006
House of Flying Daggers is the second film by the inimitable director Zhang Yimou. The first that I saw was Hero, which I did initially have doubts about, but these were quickly dispelled as I saw the stunning action sequences. At the end of the film, I felt a bit befuzzled by the twisted and insanely original plot, but I was nevertheless pleased by the film.
At the end of this film, I felt cheated. It stops about 15 minutes from the end. I honestly believe that the storyboards for the ending were lost or destroyed, and the writers forgot to do anything about it. There is even a shot of an army creeping through a forest, which made my friend and I perk up slightly, but this was dismissed as though it had never been there. The plot, one feels, builds up to some great confrontation or revelation: take your pick, it doesn't matter anyway because it never happens whatever it is.
Speaking about the plot, this is actually easy to follow (unlike Hero, for which you need to be a Nobel Prize winner or plain loopy to understand.) It is relatively clear what is going on at all times, and no-one needs to think about where, when and why something is happening. This is undoubtably a good thing, as it leaves the grey matter free to focus on the action, which is again fantastic. The fights are choreographed perfectly, all the blows and blades tying in to each other perfectly in a way that no western film could ever achieve. The warriors do not seem to be fighting in earnest so much as putting on a show for anyone who might be watching.
I could talk here about the great visual effects, the camera and audio work done, but all the other reviews do that so I won't. What I will say is that although the film is fantastic, stunning, all that jazz, it leaves a lot of loose ends (like, for instance, all of them) to be tied up. But if blades flashing and arrows seeking out targets like a pigeon are your cup of green tea, then I definitely reccomend you watch this film (show?)

Lord of the Rings: The Third Age (PS2)
Lord of the Rings: The Third Age (PS2)
Offered by marxwax
Price: £20.76

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Plays very well - until you finish it, 27 Jan. 2006
For those who do not have the game, this is nothing like the other games in the LOTR franchise (read: bandwagon). Those games are in the nature of platform games, after the fashion of Dynasty Warriors. This, on the other hand, is a Role Playing Game (RPG) where you take turns to attack enemies.
The rough story of the game has cleverly given itself a lot of freedom by making it about a set of characters who are not in the game at all. It follows a man named Berethor on his rather shaky quest to find his captain Boromir. Along the way he picks up various companions and friends, sometimes fighting alongside the members of the fellowship. You can also build up your skills, eventually earning new ones, which look really cool.
It is all tremendous fun, and the game reaches a climax on the pelennor fields. You fight a LOT of mumakil, then you fight an improbable number of Nazgul, and finally he Dark Lord himself. Lord knows how you got there. Once you have defeated him, there is lots of cheereing and celebration, and then...nothing. There is actually nothing you can do once you have finished the game. You can redo the end of the game again and again, and that's it.
It would be much better if you could do the whole game again, complete with special battle and bosses. There is a "travel" feature, which lets you go back to places and have random battles, but it is not nearly as fun. One feels that there is a whole lot more to do (in the respect of skills and such) and nothing to do it in.
So this is indeed a good game, but rather annoying once you have finished it.

Age of Empires III (PC)
Age of Empires III (PC)
Offered by Digitalville UK
Price: £8.50

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good actually, 26 Jan. 2006
I rarely get to play on this game, owing to my brother being on it 24/7. He is completely addicted to AOE3, and it is kind of growing on me too.
I really don't mind about the game graphics, although I must say that these have been upgraded. I care more about the gameplay and ease of use than about what you see if you just stare at the screen.
For those who don't know, AOE kind of carved out the C&C genre of games all by itself, joined by the Total War series later. This is the latest of the AOEs, chronologically. A far cry from AOE2, where there is a hint of guns in the hands of the bombards and the hand cannoneers, now you have armies made up of musketeers and field guns.
It is very different from the hack-and-slash of the other ones (although these have not been totally abandoned - guns don't work close up and those bayonets look so cool) because you will now, instead of rushing in with swords faling, withstand an enemy charge with a sneer and a bullet. Your armies, while not being stationary, will find they have to move less to engage an enemy.
One of my favourite things in this game is the concept of a home city which aids you in battle and can be improved to enable it to help more. This, aside from being a great idea, ties together your random battles so that you can progress to harder and harder ones, giving the sense of working with just one thing. It forms a connection with your army that you just don't get in other games.
This is, I think, the best Age of Empires so far, and a contender for the best C&C game as well.

Little Creatures
Little Creatures

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's great, even for very young kids, 23 Jan. 2006
This review is from: Little Creatures (Audio CD)
I first listened to this album when I was about four years old. My parents were both fans of TH, and we often listened to this CD in the car. I rediscovered it last week, after a gap of about ten years from listening to it. I knew none of the words, but I could hum the tunes off by heart. They were the kind of thing that nobody ever hears any more.
My favourite song on this CD is obviously Road to Nowhere, but deciding second place is a lot harder. Television Man is great especially if you have surround sound, because for about a minute the song travels in circles round your head (clockwise). Creatures of Love is a good one too: it is tuneful while remaining rather mad, in a specialised TH style.
But I think my second favourite is Stay Up Late, purely out of memory. This was my favourite when I was young, because it was about a baby! The words are easy to hear and are funny as well, but I like it mainly because you don't have to do a lot of visualisation when you listen to it. If any song was ever an "easy listen", this is.
So that is why I love this album. Buy it and play it to your kids, even if it's just so that they can love it in later life!

Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £4.00

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not immediately appealing but grows on you, 19 Jan. 2006
This review is from: X&Y (Audio CD)
This is not the kind of CD where you listen to it first time and are blown away. This is the kind of CD that you listen to again and again, and gradually more and more of the tracks appeal to you, until you just think, "Hey, this is actually a really good album." Almost all of the tracks have at least one part which you remember even after it has stopped playing, and that is where Coldplay display their subtle mastery. In fact, if I had to pick one word to describe X&Y, it would be the world subtle. The tracks have so many threads that you can concentrate on one part of the song each time you listen (if that floats your boat) or you can just familiarize yourself with the feel of the song.
I didn't like this album when I first listened to it, all except for one track - White Shadows. This one did grab me, possibly because it is upbeat right from the beginning. It's a really nice composition, despite the fact that the words make no sense.
I then heard Talk in a Gap store and was humming the tune all day. When I got back I listened to it more often, and also gave Fix You a go too. Fix You is a very soulful song, with a simple tune that is nevertheless sweet.
I think more thoughtful people will enjoy this album, although those other oh-so-shallow Coldplay fans can come too. I really hope you'll like it.

Dynasty Warriors 4 (PS2)
Dynasty Warriors 4 (PS2)
Offered by RAREWAVES
Price: £3.36

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is the best in the series. Really., 20 Nov. 2005
First, read the title of this article. Now, read it again. Repeat it to yourself when you go to a video store, game site, etc. Don't let any of the other games in this series fool you, not even number 5. (If you check the reviews in number 5, you will see I have done one there as well.)
OK, so what have I got to back up my opinion? I have had this game for a year, and I haven't even come close to completing it. Every character is different, with different moves, weapons, and attributes. Then, when you have exhausted all the weapon experience and stats that every person has to offer (and if you say you have then you're a filthy liar) you need to get all the level 10 weapons. Then what? Stop lying, play it again for three years, then maybe I'll believe you. Have you done that? Now you need to get Xtreme Legends and get the level 11 weapons.
If you're finished before you turn 50, you're either god, lying, or awesome.
Right, so much for longetivety. Now, gameplay. It's exactly the same as the previous installments, but SHOCK AND AWE, you get 6 hits to wallop the bad guys with. Each of these has a charge attack tagged on to it, and yup, these are different for each character.
Now, you people who play number 5 will say, but in DW5 you get 9, haha. You don't need 9. Six is enough for anyone to get along with, and while we're at it, you forgot the musou rage attacks. Why bother?
My friend and I own all the games between us, and we both agree that DW4 rules all the others. The balance between innovation and just adding frills is perfect. Buy this game, and if you don't at least don't waste your time and money on any of the others.

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