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Sweep "Sweepington" (UK)

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6ft (1.8m) Christmas Tree , 517 Tips
6ft (1.8m) Christmas Tree , 517 Tips
Offered by UK Home & Garden Store Ltd
Price: £17.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not what I wanted, 13 Dec 2012
Me and the lads wanted the most scruffy, rubbish little tree to decorate with empty beer cans and used condoms in our dingy flat. I was therefore extremely annoyed when this tree was delivered and, to my dismay, it turned out to be quite nice! What the hell am I going to do with it?! It looks like an actual bloody tree that a family could have in their house. Do I look like I have a family? Children? Hell no! Because I am not insane.

I am very upset with the high quality of this tree and will definitely not be buying another - mostly because it looks pretty sturdy, so it will probably last a few years. Very frustrating.

Half-Life 2: The Orange Box (Xbox 360)
Half-Life 2: The Orange Box (Xbox 360)
Offered by GAMEFORCE
Price: £19.99

202 of 207 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars its a big orange pleasure box., 10 Dec 2007
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Ok so I got this game a month ago and have managed to play through all 5 of the sections of this game - for those that arent aware the Orange Box also contains the 2 expansion packs for Half Life 2 which effectively double the length of the game. Ok so lets begin with the big one: Half Life 2. Having heard a lot of the hype I was very sceptical about this game, but after playing through the campaign I have come away very impressed. The game mechanics really single out HL2 from the rest of the FPS market (first person shooters) - Firstly, everything you run into can be picked up, thrown, smashed, destroyed, launched, set on fire - whatever you want. Some of the weapons are very imaginative (a gravity gun which can blast huge objects into the distance or into an enemy soldier) as well as the mandatory machine-guns, shotguns, pistols, rocket launchers and snipers. The pace of the game may be a little slow for some, the areas of intense action and shooting are broken up by simple puzzles. Usually this involved picking up some objects and using them to interact with the environment (eg making some stairs out of several crates). It sounds stupidly simple but actually works very well. The game also contains several vehichle sections which are well done and intergrated into the story although do tend to drag on for a bit longer than I would have liked. However one area in which HL2 especially succeeds is in giving the impression of an outside world continuing around you. You will drive past cities, briefly meet hideouts of rebels, see planes whizzing around the sky. Soldiers you meet will live or die depending on your actions. I especially like the later stages when huge "war of the worlds" like combine vehicles roam around. smashing through buildings whilst they chase you. What is most impressive about this game is the way it moves from one genre to the next. One level is a survival horror, zombie infested town with limited ammunition that really upps the tension. The next a squad based shooter where you order around a small group of rebel soldiers. The next may be a puzzle section, a platformer or a driving section. The entire game has been constructed so that you are always faced with a fresh challenge, never stuck with one task for too long. The load times are quick and checkpoints are frequant so should you find yourself killed you dont have to wait long before you can try again. My only criticisms would be - the soldiers you fight are of the genetic stormtrooper variety. They are all completely lifeless uniforms walking around with guns. I got bored of shooting them fairly quickly. The zombies and aliens were much more fun.

The initial HL2 will take about 12 hours and the expansions about 5 hours each so you are getting your moneys worth with that package alone. However if you arent in the mood for shooting people (yeah, because thats going to happen) then the world of Portal lies before you. When I bought the Orange Box I had no idea that the "bonus" game would be so refreshingly addictive - the puzzles are amazingly clever, mind bendigly fascinating. You can spend ages simply setting up weird loops, an endless tunnel, or chase yourself round in circles untill you throw up. The setup is simple - you are a test subject in a lab experimenting with a "portal gun" - left trigger shoots an orange portal, right trigger shoots a blue protal. Jump through one portal and you pop out the other. Its a simple concept - however once I started discovering the hidden messages of previous test subjects I was so intruiged to find out more I completed the entire game in one sitting, retiring to bed happy and satisfied at 5 in the morning. WARNING - ADDICTIVE. Since playing, this has become one of my favorite games. I know it doesnt sound like much but you simply have to give it a try.

Granted not everyone likes spending half an hour figuring out how to manipulate their own body weight in order to propel themselves over a large pit of acid. However this is not a problem. If you want to shoot REAL people (and having spent many hours on xbox live I use the term loosely) then Team Fortress is for you. An awesome multiplayer shooter, pick one of 9 classes and then participate in a attack/defend online melee with up to 15 others. There are 9 classes to chose from, each with individual skills that are all usefull in different situations meaning there is no core class that is required to win. The gameplay is amazing fun and often very amusing - both the art style and characters. Some of the characters are simply inspired - The engineer can construct sentry turrets and teleporters, the spy can briefly turn invisible or disguise himself as an enemy player, the medic can overheal and eventually turn players briefly invincible with his charged healing gun, the scout is speedy and can double jump, and then there are the more run and gun shooter classes like the rocket launcher weilding soldier, sniper, or heavy gunner - Meaning every class is important to success. The levels are beautifuly constructed and it is obvious that a lot of care and attention to detail went into the design of their layouts for maximum enjoyment. However whilst this is great fun to play and wonderful to watch there are several flaws. Firstly the lack of a splitscreen - you cannot sign in a guest and play 2 player online which I found very dissapointing. Secondly the room search engine is a complete pain, and it can be very hard to find the sort of game that you want. It takes longer than it should, but on the plus side rooms tend to fill up fairly quickly. Just make sure you dont miss the "magic window" before the next game comes out. Whilst there is capture the flag and territory style games (2 teams take turns attacking/defending strategic points on the map) there is no deathmatch or team deathmatch. This is however because of the classes that are available - a medic is vital when attacking a control point but by himself will find himself bested by most other classes, and this would make a deathmatch repetitive and uneven. Lastly the max amount of players is fairly small - 8 men on a team - im sure many would have appreciated a 24 player cap. However this smaller cap means the levels and characters can be better detailed so it all depends on what you want from an online shooter. At the end of the day its great fun to play and makes a nice change from Halo 3 or Call of Duty.

Each of these games deserves 5 stars in its own right. There is something here for everyone. The only unavoidable problem is all 3 of the games are single player unless you go online. Still, if you happen to be that "single player" then your'e in luck because this is one of the top games released this year. Cheers for reading my review - ENJOY!
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 12, 2012 7:41 PM GMT

Pictures and Words: New Comic Art and Narrative Illustration
Pictures and Words: New Comic Art and Narrative Illustration
by Roanne Bell
Edition: Paperback

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pictures And Words, 1 May 2007
After expressing an interest in comic art i was given this book for my 17th birthday. I firstly would like to point out that this is proper "art" comics. If you are looking for pictures of spiderman and wolverine then i suggest you search elsewhere. Also this is NEW comic art, so no Hogarth or anything like that.

I enjoy frequently flicking through this book, as many of the comic strips are funny and clever, although some are slightly strange (and abstract). This is not a book for young kids as a fair amount of the images contain expletives and sex referances.

The layout is crisp and well organised, each artist has been given several pages over which their work has been distributed, with a small text box on the first page with a little background information. Some comic strips take up a whole A4 page, everything is well printed, bright and colorful. It lets the pictures do the talking.

As an A-level student i found this book particularly usefull in referancing other artists that worked with similar styles and techniques to the ones i had been looking at. It is a good way to break away from some of the mainstream comic artists like Lichtenstein and Hokusai. There are over 30 artists in this book and before reading i had only ever heard of about 2 of them.

I found this book both helpfull and entertaining, a good choice for anyone who is interested in the more satirical art styles or just looking for something fun to read. 5 stars.

Lost Planet: Extreme Condition (Xbox 360)
Lost Planet: Extreme Condition (Xbox 360)
Offered by Global Xpress
Price: £14.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars || Lost Planet ||, 16 Jan 2007
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Love this game, cant get enough. I would like to add the the review below by "Rincewinds Trunk" is in-accurate. The "timer" that you play with is your thermal energy. As the game is set in -80 conditions and you are often waist high in snow you need warmth to survive. This Thermal energy therefore needs to be constantly topped up, it can be gained by shooting Akrid (the aliens) or blowing up barrels or tanks. The thermal energy is converted into health when you are injured, and when it runs out it simply means your health will stop regenerating. Besides, the thermal energy is easily topped up, the only time it can become an issue is when fighting a boss because you will be hurt so often your T-Energy will keep getting used up as you convert it into health.

Each of the bigger enemies has a weak spot, where their thermal energy is showing (bright orange). Destroy their stash of thermal energy and they freeze to huge ice sculptures that can then be satisfyingly smashed. Logical really.

As mentioned in several of the below reviews Lost Planet has some neat little tricks. Pressing the RB or LB shoulder buttons makes your character's torso spin 90 degrees left or right, a usefull tactic for taking out swarms of enemies attacking you from all sides.

There is also the zipline, allowing you to hook onto walls and ceilings and then zoom towards them. This is really handy for whizzing about the landscape and looks very impressive in multiplayer. I especially like the way you can drop off a ledge and absail down whilst shooting hordes of enemies. Also, the ability to zipline onto enemies, then stick to them blasting away with whatever gun you are currently holding. This can be very useluff for some of the bosses, although i wouldnt advise trying it with the rocket launcher.

I am also a big fan of the VS machines, or "Virtual Suits" - gundam style walking tanks. Each VS has a different ability (hover, turn into a bike, etc) and you can attach weapons found lying on the ground to the arms of your VS. VS is slow, but were designed to work in cold conditions so prolong your T-Energy meaning you survive longer. If your vs is damaged, hop out and you can then rip off one of the weapons (like a 8 ft gattling cannon) and lug it around the landscape blasting away at enemies.

The weapons are pretty good too, with rifles and shotguns, machineguns and rocket launchers, as well as more futuristic weapons such as plasm and energy rifles that dont need ammo but use up a little of your T-energy instead. I particularly like the large selection of grenades, both normal and sticky, as well as disk grenades (thrown for miles like a frisbee), Plasma grenades (disabling VS suits and players), and dummy grenades (multiplayer only) which inflate into human shapes and float across the landscape - the catch is that they appear as human players on the radar, very confusing for any enemies.

The graphics are (as you can expect with an 360) amazing. The aliens are stunning, especially in large numbers, similar to Dead Rising. The closest thing I can compare too is Starship Troopers except on a snowy planet instead of a Desert. I especially like the massive explosions the engulf human and Akrid enemies alike. The human "space pirates" that you encounter will attack in similarly large numbers in an attempt to outwit you, but they also react to the landscape, so if a Big Akrid turns up they will try and kill that first.

Oh yes, the Big Akrids. i would call them bosses, but they are too frequent to be called bosses. They are huge screen-filling monstrosities, Collosus-esque enemies that each require cunning and manouvreability to defeat.

I especially like the way the enemies react to damage, like if a huge armidillo-like Akrid is rolling towards you and an explosion hits it from the side it will buckle, twisting and sliding towards you in a scrambled mess.

The game has no split-screen mode, and you dont get many oppurtunities to fight with your snow pirate comrades, which is a shame. It would be nice to have some team-mates to rely on, if only to see them get eaten in a variety of ways. However multiplayer is arguably the best part of the whole game, allowing you to play 16 people online (its just as fun with 7 or 8 because its easier to communicate) and there are a load of levels and game modes littered with weapons and VS machines. Great fun, and more than makes up for the slightly short single player mode, which can be completed in 7 or 8 hours.

As you can see, I think this game deserves to be justified as one of the most awesome games on the 360 to date, which is why i made such an effort to write an accurate review. I hope it was helpful =D

Lucky Number Slevin [DVD]
Lucky Number Slevin [DVD]
Dvd ~ Josh Hartnett
Offered by DVDBayFBA
Price: £2.99

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sweet, 9 Jan 2007
This review is from: Lucky Number Slevin [DVD] (DVD)
Luck Number Slevin is good fun to watch. Cant put it any plainer than that. The script is witty, if a little melodramatic, and the plot is gripping and thrilling. As you might expect when watching this sort of film, there is a twist at the end. However, the reason i enjoyed this film is because there is more than one twist to the plot, and these twists stack up on top of each other. It isnt as complicated as it sounds and the result is it works very well. I might point out that the storyline could be considered a little unrealistic, and it can be frustrating to the audience how casually the characters seem to accept such obvious flaws in reality.

On the bright side you get to see Josh Hartnett punched in the face. Repeatedly.

The action is fast and the acting is smoothe. The "all-star" cast seems to have paid off. I couldnt stop thinking about it for weeks after watching, the plot is that good. It makes you THINK, in an action-packed sort of way.

Gears of War (Xbox 360)
Gears of War (Xbox 360)
Price: £14.99

44 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the beef, 13 Nov 2006
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
GOW appears to be your standard run-and-gun shooter, but the developers have really broken the boundaries established by the "last gen" shooter titles. There are several new additions to what would seem to be standard gameplay that add extra dimensions to each battle. For example, reloading - has been completely remastered, presenting the possibility of a gun jamming, or a speedy mag-change that lets the fight continue fluently.

The AI you are fighting with is fairly decent, but the majority of enemies will be dispatched by you rather than your team-mates. Co-op is a lot more fun as you really feel you are relying on your friends and encourages you to take the initiative when planning out tactical manouvres. Another great aspect is the revive function; if your matey gets shot down, you can race over and revive him, in a very similar way to the Conflict Desert Storm games. This is great for online multiplayer, as you can set up some great ambushes. Whilst the team AI will not kill as many as you, they will draw the enemies bullets and order you around, whether it be to flank, lob grenades, or move to cover. The orders you are given will tend to be effective, and if your computer buddy yells at you to flank left, then flanking left will produce the best results.

What i liked most about GOW is the gritty feeling, the tense spooky atmosphere punctuated with explicit gore and bloody firefights. GOW most crucial success is creating an immersive world which you can become completely absorbed in.

The characters tend to be of the stocky "Lets Rock!!" variety, but it seems sort of appropriate considering the context of the game. Whilst playing you sometimes feel that there could be a little more background info, but this drifts into insignificance as the next fight begins.

You as a character are fairly easy to kill, and the enemies are fairly good shots. Therefore most firefights tend to be from behind cover, supressing and flanking and flushing the enemy out with nades. Whilst this seems repetetive on paper, the enemy is using the same techniques to try and kill you, so you get a very tense battle sequence and you often have to respond to the enemy attack before you can launch your own offensive.

You will all know that the graphics are amazing, not much to be said here. The frame rate doesnt drop, everything is very smooth, even in multiplayer.

The hardness of the game escalates severely towards the end (10-12 hours gameplay) and you may find it a struggle on the harder setting, but you can change the difficulty at the start of each chapter, so dont worry if you get stuck.

The replay value is all in the multiplayer, and gameplay on xbox live is addictive and fresh.

I love this game, i would reccomend it to anyone.

5 stars all round.

Dead Rising (Xbox 360)
Dead Rising (Xbox 360)
Offered by Gameseek
Price: £15.49

10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I think the other reviews here are a little unfair..., 1 Nov 2006
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Dead rising is a survival horor action game. Or rather a "Zom-Com" or "zombie comedy game". You start out with a level one character and ite really interesting seeing him develop as you play the game. The story is structured so there are always events taking place, both the main storyline as well as submissions. It would be impossible to complete all the missions in one sitting, and i believe that these submissions are great because they offer new involving scenarios that keep the game fresh each time you play. The central storyline is there as an explanation to the outbreak. If you have completed the game before and already know the outcome then you can instead devote your time to rescuing the dozens of NPC's littering the Mall. Its great fun equipping your little team of survivors with frying pans and hockey sticks before setting off on a zombie smashing rampage.

The game can be played like an arcade free-roaming action game, or you can play out the storyline and the game will progress like a movie. Understandably this will not appeal to everyone, and i wouldnt advise you to buy the game if you didnt enjoy Dawn of The Dead, or Shaun Of The Dead, because thats essentially what the game is.

I think previous customer reviews were a little harsh. Whilst the save system can be annoying, arguably this next gen of games is making the gaming system as realistic as possible. The Save system makes you value how fragile your life is, heightening the tense atmosphere in what is supposed to be a horror survival after all. It makes the boss battles more exhillerating, as well as providing another tactical edge to your style of gameplay.

Meeting the deadlines prompted by the storyline are not as hard as implied either. Once you get to a certain level the zombies become more of a nuisance rather than a real threat, and you will find you can run through most of them, having only to batter your way through the dense patches of the undead.

Lastly the pure scale of the game is amazingly impressive. The amount of variation of the zombies is brilliant, it really feels like they once were a multitude of individual characters. As you have heard there can be hundreds of zombies on screen at any one time. Lastly the idea of being trapped in a shooping mall seemed a bit annoying when i bought the game, but the building really is huge, providing hundreds of locations and hunting grounds.

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