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J. Jackson

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Empire: Total War (PC DVD)
Empire: Total War (PC DVD)
Price: £4.99

2.0 out of 5 stars Beware the endless crashes, 1 April 2015
This game is very buggy. It is hard to get through an hour's campaign play without it crashing to desktop. Although I am a big fan of TW games, this is technically the most frustrating I've ever played. It clearly was released before it was ready. Some people have found that MadBoris's memory workaround (on fixes this. It didn't solve my problems, and I've scoured the net for fixes, to find that there are myriads of gamers suffering all sorts of crashes and bugs from the game. I cannot recommend it.

Steam also acts like malware, and you cannot sell a secondhand game because the steam DRM won't allow another user. A disappointing experience, and I expected better from developers CA.

Sid Meier's Civilization V
Sid Meier's Civilization V
Offered by Game Trade Online
Price: £9.98

2.0 out of 5 stars Another game for the graveyard of empires, 29 July 2014
A brief review. I am in agreement with the many reviewers who found it a disappointment compared to Civ 4 and particularly Alpha Centauri.

I play games for enjoyment and particularly enjoy the strategy and empire building type of games where you have a long, complex challenge, with lots of options and different ways of achieving objectives, and styles of play.

Playing Civ 5 is basically like sitting down to an exam, which you haven't revised enough for.

If you have played any of the other civ games, I think it is a let-down. It just grinds on, with much lowered choices compared to the other games, its tedious, and if you go and beat on another nation, even if they started it, your empire becomes horrendously unhappy and everything grinds to a halt, in a way I find unhistorical, and bad game design, because its just about impossible to prevent this. The battle AI is so poor it couldn't annihilate a city I built on an island halfway across the world (I sent 1 settler, 1 pike, and a worker on a long sea voyage just to have something to do, and to get some luxuries). AN AI nation was there when I arrived and declared war, and has failed to seize the city, in spite of outnumbering me at least 7-1 on land and sea with superior units. If I hadn't sent the caravel home, to avoid losing it, I might have started to win. [Shakes head sadly].

Another game for the graveyard of empires, sorry games.

The Twelve Children of Paris
The Twelve Children of Paris
by Tim Willocks
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.85

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Violent and ludicrous, 30 Jun. 2014
I have read the previous Tannhouser book, the Religion, which was great.

However, Tim Willocks from the first book I read of his (Green River Rising) seems enamoured of horrific violence in a way that Scarrow/Pressfield/Cornwell, who write similar sword wielding hard-assed adventures don't. Some of the violence was so horrible that I just felt sickened.

I shall only make a couple of comments: Tannhauser kills more people than Clint Eastwood in Where Eagles Dare. Without getting a scratch, even though (contrary to the cover illustration) he doesn't seem to be wearing any armour. He even kills dozens of people while on a set of boats linked by a boom - I would suggest that even the most skilled fighter might find the swaying motion of a boat renders him vulnerable to the ....useless dolts who get killed by the score.

He savagely kills innocent people like the unarmed musician in the bar - not v heroic. He burns alive a character called Herve at the end because two children look at him funny, even though he promised Herve he'd let him go.

He is a better archer than Legolas, never missing.

Most annoyingly, he tortures (really sickening) and kills the Uber villain - before the guy tells him what the whole plot against Carla and Tannhauser was about, thus rendering the whole book moot.

Good bits: very exciting in places...and I really enjoyed getting into the mind of pregnant Carla as she struggles to birth her baby in strange circumstances, though I suspect many readers won't. The tarot stuff went on too long though. Willocks does have a facility for language.

Unlike some of the heroes of the authors I mentioned above, who use brains as well as brawn, Tannhauser is just a superhuman who kills everyone in his way. At one point he gets a priest to forge a letter. I wondered why he hadn't tried to get some sort of pass forged, so he didn't have to kill everyone in sight any time he wanted to get across the guarded Seine Bridges (which happens a lot). He acts like a total idiot poling a fireship towards the aforementioned boom, without another boat attached to escape in if the fire gets out of hand.

Basically towards the end I had to struggle through it because it was so ludicrous that I couldn't suspend my disbelief.

Catch That Tiger
Catch That Tiger
by Noel Botham
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Agree with other reviewers, 18 Feb. 2014
This review is from: Catch That Tiger (Paperback)
This is simply a badly written book. If the actual capture of the tiger happened as it was depicted in this book, it would have made a good magazine article. The rest is padded out,made up, inaccurate (in the extreme), and theres even a hitler bad sex scene. Avoid.

Watching War Films With My Dad
Watching War Films With My Dad
by Al Murray
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £14.88

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Rambling incoherent memoir, 31 Dec. 2013
This is a rambling, badly written, and self indulgent memoir, studded with annoying parentheses (and footnotes) that are barely relevant. This was a supermarket impulse purchase I regret.

A few of the anecdotes are amusing. As other reviewers have said, it could do with editing. It does feel like it just splurged out from someone with little writing skill.

Finally - it goes on and on and on about inaccuracies and mistakes in old war films (particularly wrong equipment, eg tanks). There are only two pictures in the book, of German WW2 tanks. One of them is wrong: it's supposed to be a Panzer Mk 1 but is actually a Panzer Mk 2. That sums it up for me.

A much funnier and more touching book about airfix, war comics, action man etc, is Achtung Schweinhund. Achtung Schweinehund!: A Boy's Own Story of Imaginary Combat
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 2, 2014 5:15 PM GMT

True Soldier Gentlemen (Napoleonic War 1)
True Soldier Gentlemen (Napoleonic War 1)
by Adrian Goldsworthy
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Dull, 2 Jan. 2013
I am a big fan of military type novels and have also read some of the author's historical works (which were good).

I have abandoned this. It is very dull and Goldsworthy cannot plot or create intriguing characters. If you can't make Sir Arthur Wellesley interesting you really cannot be let loose on historical fiction. Coincidentally I also got Scarrow's Sword and Scimitar and it was like changing from a 2CV to a Ferrari.Mr Goldsworthy should stick to the factual writing which he is good at.

by Jeanne Griffiths
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best UK book on the business of photography, 12 July 2012
This book is an excellent distillation of Jeanne Griffiths' expertise in photography. It is a guide to the all-important business side of photography. It covers eveything from picture agencies, to copyright and contracts. If you don't make back the costs of the book many times from the fees you will earn following her advice, then there's something wrong with you ;-).

Highly recommended, particularly for UK readers. There are a number of excellent US-based photography business guides but this one focusses on the British angle. There is a lot of information that is applicable globally however.

Dark Souls: Healing and Recovering from Toxic Relationships
Dark Souls: Healing and Recovering from Toxic Relationships
by Ms Sarah Strudwick
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.12

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book about predatory individuals, 20 May 2012
This is a very good book about the social predators who are called psychopaths/sociopaths/malignant narcissists. It covers Sarah's own story and also information to help you deal with the problems that occur when you are mixed up with these "energy vampires" - particularly if you have the misfortune to be in a relationship with them. Sociopaths have mesmeric charm and a predatory lifestyle and so tend to suck their victims dry and move on. Let's assume 3% of people are sociopathic, non-violent predators. This means that YOU are probably interacting with one or more sociopaths at work or in your social life - if they decide you are their next victim you are going to experience a lot of pain and grief. Awareness is the only defence, so this book is very useful along with anything by Robert Hare, the Sociopath Next Door by Martha Stout and Zero Degrees of Empathy by Simon Baron Cohen.

Highly recommended.

Brilliance of the Moon Episode 1: Battle for Maruyama (Tales of the Otori: Brilliance of the Moon)
Brilliance of the Moon Episode 1: Battle for Maruyama (Tales of the Otori: Brilliance of the Moon)
by Lian Hearn
Edition: Paperback

1.0 out of 5 stars This is only half the book, 28 Jun. 2007
The tales of the Otori series is great. However this item is called "episode 1" of Across the Nightingale Floor: they've rejigged it so it's only half the book. I found that very disappointing, because lots of things happen in the second part of AtNF.

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