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Supernature
Supernature
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £4.28

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Electro-Glamour-Puss Alison does it again, 5 Sep 2005
This review is from: Supernature (Audio CD)
I only write reviews on Amazon when the CD really is worth raving about, and this is no exception. Those of you who aren't hooked from the outset - give it a chance. It took me a few listens to really get into it (although it's more immediate than Black Cherry), but now it's on permanent repeat on my hi-fi. There's camped up 80's disco very reminiscent of Gary Numan (the write-ups hit the nail on the head, one track's riff reminded me of Cars), downbeat electronica for the chillout fans, and mostly pure unadulterated pop and thumping moog bass for the rest of us. This coupled with its glossy yet edgy production (like they've been camped in a studio for weeks honing the sound, with warped, echoing and fizzing vocals) and sweeping string arrangements makes it all sound very special indeed. This isn't as dark and brooding and brazenly sexual as Black Cherry, and the lyrics border on the laughably awful at times, but it's breezy, poppy, spaceage electrofunk, with no filler tunes, and (a rarity these days) is a joy to listen to in its entirety. Standout tracks include Ride A White Horse, Fly Me Away and Number 1. Let's hope Gregory and Goldfrapp are feeling productive and don't leave it long till their next outing! Essential listening.


Doom 3: Limited Collector's Edition (Xbox)
Doom 3: Limited Collector's Edition (Xbox)
Offered by Click4entertainment Limited
Price: £39.95

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pant-poopingly brilliant, 15 April 2005
For those of you that are thinking of buying the game and want to know what the special edition of Doom 3 offers over the normal version, I recommend you get this edition. First of all, it's only 3 quid more expensive at the mo, and for what you get it's good value. As has been well publicised, you get full versions of both Ultimate Doom (the 1st game), and Doom II. Both come with multiplayer options - Deathmatch or Co-op (although they aren't playable on X-Box Live). Although they're quite dated now they're still addictive and the multiplayer options add an extra dimension (keeping you and your mates amused!). There are also interviews with the ID Software team about the making of the game and an extensive concept art Stills gallery (where you get to look at some of the fantastic original designs of the monsters and characters).
Unlike some reviews have mentioned, note that this is a SINGLE disc special edition, with all the game and extras on the 1 disc (unlike Halo 2 for example which had a full bonus disc of extras, but it's similarly packaged in an embossed tin box and plastic sleeve over the case).
About the game: ID Software have come on a long way from Doom I days, and have obviously put a lot of painstaking effort into making this the most immersive and scary single-player on the market. I only bought it a week ago but am hooked. You constantly find yourself looking over your shoulder and treading carefully as you don't know what horrors might lie around the next corner! It's quite simplistic and straightforward gameplay (a cross between Half Life and Halo - shoot the zombies - with Riddick graphics and sound thrown in for good measure) but has plenty to differentitate it from your average shooter.
It's claustrophobic, scary, gory and there are some great weapon pick-ups (admittedly not very often), enemies and surprises along the way. It is very linear, typical for the genre, but very involving as you have to achieve various objectives along the way in every level.
In fact my only minor gripe with the game would be that the PDA option is a little annoying and detracts from the action. You pick up staff PDAs along the way which contain vital clues, info and audio logs about what happened at the lab, security codes for Supplies cabinets etc, and you use the black button to bring up your PDA to read/listen to this info. However, you do get used to it.
Graphics are mind-blowing, with some fantastic textures, shadows and effects (steam is particularly good), character animation in the cut-screen videos is excellent and lifelike, and the action is in permanent darkness which adds to the atmosphere. Very reminiscent of Riddick actually. Sound is impeccable, with realistic and effective weapon sounds, voices and effects. When you're using your torch and a zombie jumps out at you, I defy you not to jump!
The repeat playability once you've completed it is questionable, but the action is so enjoyable I'm sure you'll want to do it again and again, plus there are 4 differing levels of difficulty to challenge even the most hardcore gamer. I haven't been online yet (although I have X-Box Live/broadband), but there are Coop and Deathmatch options for that too, and I'm sure the action is hectic and enjoyable!

For the best playing conditions, I recommend playing this at night, on your own, with the lights off and with a pair of headphones on to experience the surround-sound terror!
Highly recommended - 5*
Roll on Half Life 2!


NBA Inside Drive 2004 (XBOX)
NBA Inside Drive 2004 (XBOX)
Offered by Click4entertainment Limited
Price: £4.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars He deserved a replay with that play!, 19 Jan 2005
XSN (Microsoft's sports game label, which has also done the Top Spin and Links games for X-Box) excel in making a sport realistic, but fast-paced with an arcadey and accessible feel. NBA Inside Drive 2004 is no exception to the rule.
The sound is the major bonus here and the first thing to hit you, with some excellent (albeit repetitive at times) commentary. The banter between the 2 commentators is often very funny and adds to the atmosphere. A neat touch is when there's an injury to a player - you get an in-game report from Katie Kelaveral (???) who tells you exactly what happened. Unfortunately the in-menu music can be annoying, but there are some good rap and r&b tunes among it all, including a track by Musiq Soulchild.
Player animations are a little jerky and unrealistic on the floor, but on the whole good - especially in close-up on a replay (when a player drives to the hoop to pull off a slam-dunk or signature move - most of which are so good you just have to see it again!).
I found the stamina of players inconsistent and annoyingly unrealistic - Shaquille O'Neal of course needed to be rested regularly, but Kobe didn't tire at all and was sprinting around the court happily and stayed there for virtually the entire game!
Controls are good, as expected, and easy to use. A = pass, X = shoot/rebound, B/right control stick = dekes/post moves, the Y button is to choose who to pass to. The only control I didn't like was the intentional foul (Back button), as it can never be reached quick enough - by the time you press it your opponent's already scored a basket! I also found rebounding really difficult, not being able to time it right (should be just a simple tap of the X-button to jump, but it's a hit-and-miss affair really). I guess with practice things will improve!
The menus are excellent and allow every possible option in the game to be adjusted, from the basics (quarter time limit, looking at player statistics etc), to creating players and guiding them through the season (these rookie players pick up experience, physical, shooting etc points to spend at the end of each game, gradually improving them as the season wears on). This Create Player function is fantastic fun, and you get to change every possible option, not only his style of play and name, but the whole player appearance from sweat bands to tattoos! I now play as a 7 foot 4" blocking/dunking monster with some cool dragon tattoos on my arm! The trading and drafting system on the other hand is rather complicated and difficult to get to grips with. I found myself creating my own player rather than being able to trade successfully with other teams (they all seem to want Kobe Bryant in return for one of their rubbish rejects!).
There are 2 All-Star games in mid-season where you can participate, controlling one of the two teams.
There's a training facility where you can practice either free throws or free training (in a gym, to work on your moves, alley-oops and get used to the player's style).
My (short-lived) X-Box Live multiplayer experience was really disappointing if truth be told. There are very few players online to have a game with, and most are in the USA so someone in Germany like me will always get ridiculous lag. They don't tend to like "newbies" like me so I couldn't get any experience before they kicked me off! I only played 2 games before getting fed up. It's more for the single player game or getting your mates together at your place. There is some downloadable content, but it's just the latest player rosters.
A major downside - as with most X-Box games these days, sadly - I found it way too easy and went through the entire season unbeaten with a series of something like 95-0, virtually all of which were "blow-out" games with a lead of about 50-100 points! Admittedly I chose the LA Lakers to play with, and it took weeks and weeks of solid play every night to complete, but you still expect more of a challenge. The good thing is that the repeat playability is great, as you really want to develop your players, be consistently good (you'll be blocking and stealing and pulling off some great moves after a short while) and guide your team to multiple title wins. I am still trying to break World Records too, which increases the longevity even further.
This has grown to be one of my favourite sports games ever (along with Tiger Woods Golf), let alone one of my fave X-Box games, and it's always getting picked up for a quick blast. It certainly knocks the spots off ESPN and EA Sports' NBA Live series I think, and at this reduced price it's an absolute steal! Highly recommended to all basketball fans.


Baise Moi [DVD] [2002]
Baise Moi [DVD] [2002]
Dvd ~ RaffaŽla Anderson
Offered by DVDBayFBA
Price: £10.00

31 of 42 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Shocking....as in shockingly bad, 7 Jan 2005
This review is from: Baise Moi [DVD] [2002] (DVD)
I have to agree with "A Viewer" from York.
I initially bought this as (a) I'm a lover of French cinema in general and had heard good things about Baise Moi, and (b) I thought it would be some fast-paced, exciting, erotically-charged entertainment. I was very wrong on both counts. This was without a doubt the worst French film I have ever seen. As you can gather from the other reviews, two women are in difficult situations with their private lives - 1 brutally raped, the other disillusioned with life in general. They meet by accident one night while coming to terms with what to do next and decide to go on a road trip with no fixed destination. Along the way they begin to turn the tables on the men that have messed them around for so long, and start to manipulate them, which soon develops into a killing spree.
Before you mistakenly buy this under the premise that it's some cheap erotica, don't bother. The sex scenes are completely irrelevant and add nothing to the atmosphere or (incredibly thin) storyline. With 2 or 3 very graphic sexual (including fellatio in close-up) and violent scenes, the initial shock value is made redundant by the fact that it's context-free, gratuitous and serves no purpose. What we have here is essentially a Thelma & Louise revenge plot-by-numbers. Girl gets raped, nothing to live for, teams up with equally angry woman, together they wreak havoc on mankind (first sexually, then violently), and it can only end in tears.
Baise Moi is incredibly stark, cold and brutally portrayed, not only from what happens to the main protagonists but also in the grainy, shaky camera work, poor lighting, and complete disdain of the actresses, who really look like they don't give a damn. "I got raped. Oh well, let's go and kill some people". Little is made of the transition from downtrodden mistreated woman to fully-fledged serial killer - it all happens far too quickly. The rape scene is incredibly difficult to watch, deliberately, as we are supposed to sympathise and identify with the women's predicament. However, I found that completely the opposite occurred. I can safely say there is not one single likeable character in the entire movie.
The story, despite it's incredibly short length (a blessing more than a curse) is aimless, and the conclusion is appalling, easy to second guess, leaving you wondering why you wasted your time.
The main question will ultimately always come down to: "Is it Art"? In my opinion the French Government had a point trying to ban this tripe - it certainly isn't art, it's just a bad, bad movie. Avoid like the plague.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 13, 2013 1:59 PM BST


Fried
Fried
Offered by Side Two
Price: £3.99

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Poppy Soul Power, baby!, 19 Nov 2004
This review is from: Fried (Audio CD)
I totally agree with Michael from Leeds' review, but don't let the Morcheeba comparisons put you off!
I simply cannot get this CD out of my discman and have played it on repeat for weeks! My Dad got me into this after he heard the "When You Get Out of Jail" track, and I must admit, it didn't grab me straight away. However, the album is laden with poppy soulful classics and is definitely a "grower". It's basically the pet project of the Fine Young Cannibals guitarist, David Steele (as mentioned in all the Amazon reviews) where he produced the music using guitars, samples and hip hop drum beats, and what you get is a modern hip-hop twist on Motown soul. And it really works.
The production is absolutely perfect - slight scratching sounds in the mix only add to the classic soul/vinyl feel! And it showcases the fantastic vocals of Jonte Short, which are the icing on the cake here. Apparently Steele was looking for a sassy soulful Aretha Franklin wannabe to do the vocals, and he hunted high and low in the UK and the States. The effort was worth it - he's unearthed a real talent in this lady. Plenty of gospel-honed oomph, great control and breathing and she puts a whole lot of emotion in the lyrics.
Standout tunes for me are "Whatever I Choose I Lose" (the 2nd single, a Motown-y sighing lament/shrug of the shoulders about being unlucky in love, sung over a looped guitar riff, and with a great beat) and "Sugar Water Days" (a barnstorming perky pop tune reminiscing about childhood with ace multi-tracked harmonies).
This is quite simply one of the best pop albums of the past 10 years and comes highly recommended.


Star Wars: Battlefront (Xbox)
Star Wars: Battlefront (Xbox)
Offered by Bonkers4Bargains!
Price: £31.65

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Use the force Luke - but not too much, 18 Oct 2004
This is a pretty slick game and is perfect for X-Box Live. I'm a major fan of the Star Wars films and have been waiting for a studio to make full use of the licence and translate the epic battles from the films into a decent game. There have been several half-baked attempts so far for the X-Box which have all been disappointing for me. I'm glad to say - with the exception of a few niggles - that this is great fun.
The primary aim is to capture all checkpoints to cut off enemy reinforcements and prevent them pushing forwards. You can win by killing all enemy troops instead of course!
You get to play 3 different single-player modes - "Instant Action" (where you charge into a battle straight away), "Historical Campaign" (a story-based game where you follow a timeline of events and try to win battles on each planet at a time, unlocking exclusive bonus goodies along the way) and "Galactic Conquest" (where you get to choose the planet to attack next, and on winning a battle you get to choose a planetary bonus like bringing a Jedi Hero - like Darth Vader or Luke Skywalker - into the battlefield to support you!)
There are different factions you can play as, including Rebel Alliance, Imperial Forces, Trade Federation CIS and Clone Warriors, each with their own different weapons, vehicles and soldier types. Sadly no chance to play the Gungans, Ewoks, Sand People or Jawas, although they do make their appearance on the battlefield.
You have to win two battles to conquer a planet. There are many different planets from the Star Wars universe here, including Kashyyyk and Rhen Var, alongside well-known ones like Tatooine, Mos Eisley, Cloud City, Naboo and Geonosis. There are dozens of different vehicles which are fully useable, including X- & Y-Wings, TIE fighters and bombers, AATs, AT-ATs and AT-STs, Hailfire droids, Snowspeeders and speeder bikes etc etc. There are many many different weapons - you have one primary and one secondary (usually a laser pistol) weapon, plus a limited supply of thermal detonator grenades. Weapons include missile launchers, blasters, EMP grenade launchers, sniper rifles and you even get to use stationary gun turrets as well.
There are different spawn sites on the battlefield which you can use to gain control of the battlefield and flank enemies and try and plan your attack.
In-game presentation is excellent, with cut screens of actual film footage, e.g when you conquer a planet as the Imperial forces, you get to destroy it using the Death Star, and watch as the planet explodes, in the scene taken from Ep.4 - A New Hope. Brilliant you might say!
The list of features goes on and on....the only thing is, despite this mind-boggling amount of detail is if it makes any real difference to the playability. I'm just not so convinced how playable it is after a few weeks or so of solid playing.
There are 3 levels of difficulty, and after a week I've already completed the Galactic Conquest mode on Medium Difficulty and close to completing the Historical Campaign on the same level.
I wish they'd used extra capacity on improving game animation, smoothness and handling rather than cut-screens. I've lost count of the number of times I've been shot in the back as I hear a shot behind me, want to turn round quickly and can't. Unresponsive and frustrating game mechanics put this game to shame.
Also, there's very little strategy to the game. Generally it's a tiresome and simple point-and-blast-a-thon. I've found that most of the weapons are ineffective and tend to stick with a blaster-wielding soldier, but your trigger finger gets tired after a couple of hours playing.
There's no way of controlling your teams either - it might have been a good feature to send one unit to attack one checkpoint while another tries to flank and attack from the other side. As it is, there are only limited controls using the D-Pad (e.g. "Follow Me", "Hold Position" etc), and these are pretty ineffective, only controlling a handful of troops in your immediate vicinity.
The online multiplayer via X-Box Live is fun and improves things a bit, but it's frustrating too, and a lot tougher than the single player. At the end of the day most X-Box servers online are just too jerky, with little or no accuracy to your shots.
I've ended up going back to Counter Strike instead, impatiently awaiting the release of Halo 2!
If you're a die-hard Star Wars fan though, it's well worth a punt for some mindless blasting fun - and you'll be hard pushed to find a better SW game on the market right now. Not great, but good - try before you buy.


ShellShock: Nam '67 (Xbox)
ShellShock: Nam '67 (Xbox)
Offered by media-4-u
Price: £8.99

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Something's missing....and it ain't a limb!, 10 Sep 2004
I hired this before I was thinking about buying it, and I'd recommend you'd do the same.
I'm a massive fan of Apocalypse Now and Vietnam War based PC games, so was pretty excited about Shellshock coming out (one of the 1st of a whole wave of new Vietnam-based games coming out over the next few months). Problem is, I think the anticipation built up my expectations too much! Don't get me wrong, it's a good game with some great touches, but it feels like there's something missing from the gameplay....
It plays like a Vietnam-based and violent "Brute Force". Clumsy controls mar what should be fun gameplay. Played from a 3rd person perspective just behind the character, and with a click of the right thumbstick you zoom in to 1st person through the sights of the weapon. The emphasis is on the action, not so much on realism. This means there are wave after wave of Viet Cong to shoot and plenty to keep your itchy trigger finger busy, but very little in the way of stealth missions (which the majority of Vietnam warfare was all about).
Controls are very intuitive with buttons doing what you expect, and the switch between 1st and 3rd person views is clever, but selecting weapons is unnecessarily complicated (hold black button and move D-pad to select weapon), it can be slow to turn and also the collision detection can be frustrating at times. As can the diffficulty level - although there are regular checkpoints there are often large chunks of action to survive before the next save point and you may find yourself going over and over the same part time and again!
The choice of weapons is large and they all act differently (more kickback, single shot v. automatic etc), but weren't satisfying enough and didn't feel like they packed a punch - the effects were a bit weak compared to other similar games. The grenades on the other hand were great with earth, soil and enemy body parts exploding and showering everywhere!
The sound and music is very atmospheric, including all the hits of the time playing in the background when you walk around the Base Camp, like Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin. Sound effects and speech is also excellent with (basic) interaction possible with all friendly characters. Every cliche in the book is used in this game, drawing on ideas from a variety of Vietnam films (Platoon, Apocalypse Now etc.) - but it all adds to the atmosphere. Unfortunately, after the atmospheric intro movie setting the scene and briefly explaining the background to the war, the standard of some of the cut-screens and animation is actually pretty poor from what I've come to expect from my X-Box. Shame really, but only a minor gripe as there are often so many enemies on screen to shoot that you're too busy to worry!
Missions are varied and you get to rescue hostages, hold forts, storm villages, plant explosives in Vietcong tunnels, explode Sampan boats etc. I've only had it for 2 nights on hire so far, but already I'm very near completing the game on the Medium difficulty level. Then again, I have been playing it a lot. There is a lot to see and do, and you get bonuses for picking up war trophies and collectables from dead enemies along the way to improve your mission score, which is a nice touch.
As you can no doubt tell, "Shellshock" is pretty brutal and unapologetically bloody, fully earning its 18 certificate. It does show some atrocities (hostages being shot in close-up, rotting corpses littering villages, limbs flying off when hit with a grenade etc) and the like, so it's definitely not for kids, but I personally think this is one of the game's best and most realistic features (although heads exploding from afar after one or two bullets is a bit unrealistic).
Longevity of the game is slightly improved by the difficulty level - it is genuinely difficult to progress and you get a real sense of achievement when you reach the next checkpoint. If you stand still, more soldiers appear and run for you, so you're a dead man if you hang around too long before completing the objectives!
Overall I just want to say that I really like the game. However, I don't think it has enough long-lasting appeal for me to go out and buy it. Try before you buy....


Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six 3 (Xbox)
Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six 3 (Xbox)
Offered by b68solutions
Price: £4.99

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Counter-Strike beater!, 29 July 2004
Wow! Definitely the most absorbing and engrosing first-person shooter I've played on the X-Box. I only got round to buying this recently at the reduced price and boy was it worth it.
This is one of the most hyper-realistic war FPS games I've ever played.
***Enemy AI is outstanding (enemies are intelligent enough to shoot their hostages if provoked, seek the nearest cover, shout for backup and run away or retreat when outnumbered). There are lots of terrorists to shoot too so rarely a dull moment to be had! And head shots are lethal, needing only one well-aimed shot. This also means the difficulty level is very high, and with only 2 save points allowed per mission (with large maps to get through), and a team of limited abilities (if you don't send them to cover when under fire they'll get wiped out very quickly), it means the going gets frustratingly tough at times, especially on the highest "Elite" setting.
***The choice of weapons and equipment is impressive, and with a few additions. There are the usual knives, pistols, shotguns, sniper rifles, grenade launchers and automatics of course, but there are also new weapons like chain guns (e.g.M203), explosives (e.g.Claymores or remote charges) and several types of grenade for different uses, (including tear gas with the appropriate effects on your vision!).
***The animation is smooth and the graphics engine is excellent with some impressive light and shading effects (based on the Splinter Cell engine - you'll recognise some of the "moving curtain" effects from there).
***Sounds are of a high quality, with an atmospheric orchestral soundtrack, not to mention realistic sound effects - including human voices from your team members ("Contact! Tango rear!" for example) and crackling interference on the mic. In fact, when you use the headset, you can give voice-activated instructions to your team, which works surprisingly well. It gives you a hell of a kick to shout "Open Flash & Clear" to your team at a doorway, and watch them charge in and clear up all the terrorists! Clever stuff.
***Single player is addictive as hell - great cut-screens develop the storyline and characters nicely. It also serves as a kind of briefing before the next mission. There are various (up to 3) objectives per mission, but your route through the map does tend to be fairly linear. Still, there are lots of entry points to most rooms - give the "Zulu" code and you can command your team to enter via a different doorway to you as you move into position. Another clever touch.
***The online multiplayer game can be a bit jerky and annoying at times I found, and with varying levels of shooting accuracy. Then again, I guess it's just dependent on the weapon you use and how good/bad a player you are!
***Maps vary in size - they're demanding with several levels (accessible via stairways or slopes, like the 6-storey car park map "Parkway"), rooms and places to take cover behind (e.g. oil drums, vehicles and explodable boxes).
***The actual gameplay is fantastic, and although not as fast-moving as other games (RS3 is mainly based around stealth tactics, using cover and grenades), you will find that you meet your opponents quickly as they "spawn" nearby. This speeds things up a great deal.
***Controls are virtually identical to other FPS games and is fairly easy to just pick up and play, although Counter Strike regulars may get a bit confused with the lack of a jump button and the slow turning of the character at first. The "peek around the corner" function (D-pad left/right) will also take some getting used to.
***There's plenty of new downloadable content now available, with around 5 new maps and a new multiplayer game option.
To sum up, this is a brilliant game with some great touches and a lot of fun to be had, but you need to have a lot of patience. Try before you buy if possible. If you want the most realistic modern war FPS on the X-Box, go for this. If you want something more arcade-style with less realism, go for Counter Strike.
Looking forward to RS3:Black Arrow now!


Halo (Xbox)
Halo (Xbox)
Offered by multimedia-online
Price: £24.99

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Daddy of all X-Box FPS!, 5 April 2004
This review is from: Halo (Xbox) (Video Game)
Without a doubt Halo has to be the most addictive, long-lasting and hugely entertaining FPS I've ever played, and fully deserves all the praise (both critical and via word-of-mouth) it's been getting. Since Halo was released many FPS games have flooded the market, especially for the X-Box, yet it still holds up incredibly well (and is unique as there are so few futuristic sci-fi FPS games on the market). The fact that it is still the best-selling X-Box game ever proves this.
The story and cut-screen movies are excellent, and built into the action, seamlessly linking a movie into the start of a new level. As a result it feels like you're taking part in an interactive sci-fi movie! The graphics and textures, although not quite as realistic and stunning as something like Splinter Cell, are smooth, detailed and functional. However, as Splinter Cell isn't an FPS and is not "made-up"/sci-fi, comparisons are difficult. Shadows, backgrounds, lighting effects and characters are really well drawn, coloured and animated (the ice and smoke effects etc on some levels really are breathtaking).
The Dolby sound is excellent and atmospheric, building the pace of the music when you reach a large group of aliens. This is particularly effective on later levels when hordes of Flood forces appear out of nowhere and scare the pants off you. The sound effects are equally good, with satisfying weapon sounds (the explosions from a SPNKR rocket launcher are fantastic!), as are the in-game voices, with some good casting. The monkey-sounding little Covenant aliens deserve a special mention - screaming "Run Away!" and yelping in panic when a plasma grenade gets attached to them! It's little touches like this and the attention to detail which makes the game so special, in my opinion).
Controls are simple, and straightforward for those that play FPS games regularly - right trigger shoots, left trigger = grenades, X button is reload etc, control sticks for moving/looking around etc. Enemy AI is excellent, with Covenant aliens hiding and taking cover when you shoot, or charging you at full pelt, whereas the smaller Covenant aliens run away screaming in a mad panic!
The choice of weapons and vehicles throughout the game makes things much more fun - you can pick up sniper rifles, assault rifles, shotguns, rocket launchers and more along the way, not to mention the Covenant arsenal like Needler guns and plasma pistols, all of which have their own strengths and weaknesses. As do the vehicles - during the game you get the opportunity to use the Warthog jeeps (with nearby Marines clambering onboard to provide extra firepower!), Scorpion tanks, Banshee flying machines and Ghost hover scooters, which all adds another (welcome) dimension to the gameplay.
The gameplay screams "play me - lots".
Completing the game on lower difficulty levels is admittedly not that taxing - you are rewarded with regular checkpoints and have the opportunity to save your progress in-game. However, completing the game on the Heroic and Legendary difficulty levels in single player (with wave upon wave of Flood and Covenant enemies) are a tall order for any half-decent gamer - there's many many hours of entertainment here.
Not only this, but the multiplayer adds to the enjoyment. The system link option (up to 16 players) has had me and my friends addicted for ages. The split screen loses none of the detail, if it is a little cramped and difficult to handle on smaller TVs. However, the in-game banter with your mates is worth the price alone (screaming at a mate to jump in the back of the Warthog jeep instead of running around like a headless chicken is absolutely hilarious). You're also able to create profiles for each and everyone of your friends, specifying their control and character settings, which personalises the whole experience.
It's dead easy to pick up the game basics, without even reading the instructions, so newbies will enjoy it as well as seasoned arcade freaks.
To sum up, Halo is a highly amusing shooter romp with plenty of surprises and clever ideas, which fully deserves to be at the top of every X-Box gamer's shopping list - highly recommended.
Roll on Halo 2......
PS: I also hear that it's just been released on the "Classics" label, at a reduced price which makes it excellent value for money and even more of an essential purchase!


Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2003 (Xbox)
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2003 (Xbox)
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £9.97

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars That's right at the hole, Billy!, 17 Mar 2004
I must admit I haven't played Links 2004 or TW PGA Tour 2004 yet, and bought this because it was cheap. I'm not too worried about online play with sports games though and to tell you the truth I used to find golf really rather boring. However, I'm happy to say this was the best purchase I've made on the X-Box - it's the best and most realistic sports game I've ever played on a console and I'm now completely hooked.
What sets it apart from other sports games are the graphics. It's obvious that a lot of effort has been made getting the movement of the players' swing, reactions and the facial expressions to look right. The cut screens, ball movement, water movement, tree effects and collision detection is all excellent, and the camera view following the ball after a stroke is good (but could be better - at times it's difficult to see the ball, especially on long putts where you sometimes want to be able to move the camera yourself...)
The sound too is second-to-none.
Commentary, as with all EA Sports games is excellent, and based on the on-screen action. If you play into the rough be prepared for cheeky comments and playful banter like "Oh dear, that's simply awful" and similar! One little gripe here would be be that if played for a long time, you do hear a lot of repetition.
Ambient sound effects are effectively used - you can even hear seagulls crying and the crashing of waves on the rocks at Pebble Beach for example! And if you listen closely you can hear fans cheering on other holes/courses nearby. The spectators also cheer wildly and groan according to how good your shot was.
The little touches add so much to the game - when you connect with a good shot and it's headed for the pin, the pad rumbles as if you're heart's beating fast, and the cut-screens with close-ups of the players' faces all add to the excitement.
Controls are always going to be a critical issue in a golfing game, and I'm happy to say that they're easy-to-use, but are ideal on the Controller S (spin and power buttons easier to reach and use). Either one of the analogue sticks can be used to control the swing - push back for the backswing, and push forward at the right moment to do the forward swing. Easy-peasy you might think, but you will soon be challenged by wind, sloping greens and dog-leg fairways so getting used to the spin and power controls (with the excellent tutorials, on-screen tips and a Skill Zone to practice your shots in) is essential. The putting technique takes a while to be good at however - judging the distance is often difficult and the "caddy tips" are all too often misleading.
Although the game does not have online play, the excellent multiplayer options make up for it. Playing with friends is hilarious, especially when placing a wager on the hole, and there are a variety of different options you can change to spice things up a bit.
With a host of different game modes, including a World Tour, full Season, tournaments, challenges, skins, progressively more challenging players and courses (some real, some invented)
it will be a long time before you get bored.
The ability to improve your golfer by buying attributes and unlocking equipment (winning rounds earns you money to spend in the club shop, so you often have to play just that one more time.....!) really adds another dimension and makes it even more engrossing.
There is a wide choice of locations, and you can choose from more than 20 courses, which are unlocked as you progress in the tours and other game modes, some invented but most from real tours (Pebble Beach, TPC at Sawgrass, St.Andrews etc).
There really is so much to do and explore in the game and various game modes to try out that it will take weeks of solid playing to get through it all to "unlock" everything, and helping Tiger progress through the ranks, earning money and buying kit, can be a very rewarding experience!
All in all, this is so excellent, I had to give it 5 stars. If you want a realistic golf game with a few surprises and great gameplay and graphics which you'll always enjoy coming back to, then you know what to do!


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