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Xbox 360 Console Core System (Includes: Xbox 360, wired controller and composite TV connection & SCART adaptor)
Xbox 360 Console Core System (Includes: Xbox 360, wired controller and composite TV connection & SCART adaptor)

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Console But The Best Is Yet To Come., 13 Feb 2006
At the moment Xbox360 is the leading console, clearly the best you can buy at the moment and at an affordable price. The games that have been released at the moment look great in High Definition and are quite good to play, even though the best games are still to come.
I got the console while I still had a normal definition TV and the games looked good but on a HD ready set the games look ten times better, the difference is amazing. So if you do decide on buying a next generation console and you want to really enjoy it at its best a HD ready TV is a must buy.


Say You Will
Say You Will
Price: 9.70

5.0 out of 5 stars Truly Great Bands Never Die, 28 April 2003
This review is from: Say You Will (Audio CD)
'Say You Will' was a brave prospect for Fleetwood Mac, but after the coming together for 'The Dance' live album it seemed they were musically and personally friends again, from a time previously when they couldn't tolerate being together it's unbelievable that now there is another Fleetwood Mac album. For a band to have released albums such as 'Time' and 'Behind The Mask' as an unworthy last note on the music scene during the nineties Fleetwood Mac stepped forward to give it another go with amazing success.
Eighteen tracks adorn 'Say You Will' and when most albums with such a large track listing has four or five songs that become largely ignored, but not so in this album. Like Macs albums from the seventies 'Say You Will' returns to a warm acoustic sound, 'Miranda' being reminiscent of 'Big Love' and 'Peacekeeper' illustrating pefectly Macs ear for a catchy chorus with a full acoustic sound full of warmth and honesty. 'Illume (9-11)' is Stevie Nicks dedication to the horrific events of September 11th and her voice is still as strong and even better than her early days as Fleetwood Macs front woman. It's not all laid back tunes as 'Come' erupts into an aggressive chorus equipped with wicked guitar solo from Lindsey Buckingham, 'Murrow Turning Over In His Grave' also has an element of anger residing under its strutting chorus. Those who have watched or listened to 'The Dance' will remember the instantly likeable 'Bleed To Love Her' that can also be found on this album. Tracks like 'Running Through The Garden' would not go amiss on the 'Tango In The Night' album illustrating that Fleetwood Mac recognise what worked before and have compiled original songs in that same formula but with a sound that never feels out of date and in fact is incredibly refreshing. Songs like 'Smile At You,' 'Silver Girl,' and my particular favourite 'Thrown Down' lets Stevie Nicks tell her stories with gentle and raw emotion. It's not all Nicks though, Lindsey gets centre stage in 'What's The World Coming To' and with particular sweetness in 'Steal Your Heart Away' as Nicks lends her voice to the flowing chorus, as always fitting in perfectly with Lindsey's voice. What stands out more in this album than any of the other Fleetwood Mac albums is Lindsey's acoustic sound, he creates lush sounds especially for songs like 'Destiny Rules' and 'Say Goodbye' as he handles the music in its entire form without having to give way to piano, and with the sorry absence of Christine McVie it seems he has settled into a role that he and Christine filled together previously, it could be that the lone guitarist without McVie's piano may bother some people, especially since Christine McVie won't be singing on any of the songs, but this is as much a guitarists album as a bands.
There's a lot to like on this album and 'Goodbye Baby' ends with a purpose and respect for their listeners that has always been paramount to Fleetwood Macs fame. The truth is that Fleetwood Mac could have another heated argument and head in seperate ways back to the distant horizon, it would not matter as 'Say You Will' is about a band coming back together for the music, perhaps the only thing they were sure would never leave them.


Dog Soldiers [DVD] [2002]
Dog Soldiers [DVD] [2002]
Dvd ~ Sean Pertwee
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: 4.39

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Back To Basics Horror, 27 April 2003
This review is from: Dog Soldiers [DVD] [2002] (DVD)
Horror films have not had the best press lately, mainly because most are sequals, updates or an awkward mix of different genres that will hopefully convinvce people it's not a horror film they're watching. It seems studios have been too frightened to release a no nonsense horror due to the fact it may put people off going to watch it. But finally Neil Marshall has released a film that resembles everybodies expectations of a good horror film.
The highlands of Scotland provides the expansive and terrifying (at night) backdrop as a team of soldiers are led into a training mission that is littered with conspiracy as well as a whole band of werewolves who are out to devour them - no questions asked. It's a refreshing approach to a horror film to have a creature that needs no excuse apart from the fact they're hungry to kill people instead of a lengthy backstory to why they are the way they are.
The dialogue is highly original and comedic and worth watching the film just for it, with the story of Eddy's devil tatoo being a classic moment. It's not all funny stuff though as the film deals with the fear of the soldiers as they hide in a cottage in 'Night of the Living Dead' style as hordes of werewolves watch in with perfect night vision.
The gore is dished out in measured in your face doses, but this is more than just cheap lust for blood and gore as the film cares about setting an atmosphere that is as much full of suspense as it is dripping claret.
The film does borrow from other films but rather trying to hide it from the viewer it commemorates the achievements of these films and uses the influences respectfully. The cast of Sean Pertwee, Kevin McKidd among others are on top form and rather being static macho posers they look out for each other with bravery that outplays any muscle bound grunt from any Arnie film.
So what do the werewolves look like? Pretty damn good, considering every film is so willing to jump to CGI smoothness, in Dog Soldiers we are left with humanoid wolves that are just as terrifying as anything Dreamworks could muster, in this case it's Image FX that come up with the creature effects.
Dog Soldiers is no classic and perhaps borrows too much from other films. Some may also feel the Werewolve has been resurrected and killed a bit too often, but it's still a welcome break from vampires. Also as the film draws to its close we begin to see a predictable film unfold, which leaves out any M. Night Shayamalan style twists but this is not an M. Night film and if your out for fast paced action, combined with blood, classic quotes and classic recognisable creatures than this is for you.


The Family Man [DVD] [2000]
The Family Man [DVD] [2000]
Dvd ~ Nicolas Cage
Offered by MusicnMedia
Price: 3.42

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars IMPOSSIBLE TO DISLIKE, 18 April 2003
This review is from: The Family Man [DVD] [2000] (DVD)
If you've ever wondered what your life would have been like if you had made certain decisions in your life and wished you could have seen if your life would have turned out better or worse then being Jack Campbell (Nicholas Cage) would seem like a dream come true. Except such a decision is more difficult when you seem to have it all and as for Jack he has a well paid job as a Wall Street Investment Banker, he has a fast car, a luxurious appartment in which he can entertain plenty of beautiful women. Jack feels his life is complete until one day he intervenes in a robbery at a local store and by explaining that his life is better than the thiefs he awakens to find himself in the arms of his ex girlfriend (Tea Leoni) from 13 years ago, a confused Jack is then confronted by his two children and pet dog. It's from that moment that Jack looks into the life he missed and after trying to retain the life he left he finds out that the wealthiest man is the man who has a family.
Cage is on top form as he tries to convince the strangers around him that he is the real Jack. It sets up comedic moments as well as moments of complete desperation on the part of Cage as he tries to gain back his old life while sticking with the family forced upon him. Leoni is the perfect wife who unlike Jack is a non profit lawyer. With that the messages in the film are many, whether it's the age old debate of you're not really happy when your wealthy or alone, to the contrasts between the big money hungry city and suburbia where everyone knows your name and respects you despite your status in life. For me the film is mostly about the decisions we make and how they mould who we become and what life we lead, whether it will be a good or bad choice you will never know if it was the best one.
The film has a lot of sentimentality especially between Jack and his children which increasingly becomes more touching and tragic towards the end when his glimpse of what could have been draws to a finish. Indeed whether you like your films butch or not you will not help but sympathise with the messages and excellent interaction between each of the characters Jack meets, all of them who love him in different ways. By the time the final credits role you suddenly see the fast cars and high paid jobs as less important than the relationships we have.


Tenchu: Wrath of Heaven (PS2)
Tenchu: Wrath of Heaven (PS2)
Offered by multimedia-online
Price: 28.99

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Swords, Sorcery and Stealth, 16 Mar 2003
Tenchu was a groundbreaking game when it first appeared on the PSONE with it's unique blend of action, atmosphere and stealth that required the gamer to actually think about their moves, it was a game that relied on staying hidden and being quick on the kill rather than running around like a rampaging barbarian and hacking everything that moved. So it was obvious when PS2 was announced that eventually Tenchu would make it's way onto a better console, and it was a good choice.
You begin as either Rikimaru or Ayame, both will use stealth to kill their opponents but Rikimaru is a bit better at the ground combat and Ayame is better at the agile climbing and leaping around of the game and when it comes to hand to hand combat she will have to out play her opponents when if she wants to keep her health and become Grand Master.
The missions are quite similar to the previous but they seem a little shorter but more involving with more bosses that at times come at you at the beginning of the mission! The added graphical content like mist, water effects and lightning plays with your mind as ninjas are quick to become suspicious and when they do they seek you out and can even change their pattern of walk which welcomes an intelligent AI that at times seems far superior to yours.
One of the most welcome improvements are the controls, it's now more easy to stealth kill your opponents in many different ways even at times from the top of a building and onto their shoulders slaughtering them in many gruesome ways. It's not all pointless violence, by stealth killing your opponents you gain a strange Japanese symbol that lights up, kill up to so many opponents in stealth fashion and you get a new skill, it adds the gamer to concentrate more on cunning and timing the kills than simple hack and slash, though that is an option you can choose, it is a lot more harder, as you are a ninja you must be one with the shadows and all that.
You get more items to pick and you can pick up new ones, even though you can only carry 15 items, most of which will be medi kits, it's a shame you can't carry more of the strange assortment of bombs and traps to use.
The other minor problem are the save points, by collecting a ninja rejuvenation bottle thing you can recover in the same point the enemy kills you but if you fall down a hole, and in this game there are quite a few, you will be transported back to the beginning where you will have to once again test your patience, this minor flaw does irritate in some missions.
Overall, Tenchu: Wrath of Heaven is the best of the series and those who enjoyed the previous outing of Rikimaru and Ayame must own this game.


Drakan: The Ancient's Gates (PS2)
Drakan: The Ancient's Gates (PS2)
Offered by Click4entertainment Limited
Price: 39.95

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Slash em' ups should not be this boring, 10 Mar 2003
Drakan was a superb PC game involving Rynn and her faithful dragon sidekick Arokh, and together they did battle on ground as well as in the skies. The PC game was involving, the locations varied, the game had suspense, and the fighting was more intelligent. The PS2 version, however, has failed to deliver the same degree of gameplay that made its predecessor a great success.
The first problem is the combat, you simply run in a circle and bash a button, the orcs, spiders and pitiful excuse for scavengers (that were really tough to kill on the PC) come at you only to be slaughtered quite simply with a few swipes of your weapon. Perhaps that's because the creature AI is so poor, for example, the huge orc creatures that shake the ground when they walk sound scary, well, they don't look it and they get stuck behind so much graphics that all you have to do is arm your bow and shoot at its head, it falls, you win without even downing a health potion. PS2 boasts games with great enemy AI but in this the AI is just bog standard.
The aerial battles are not much better as Arokh disposes of black dragons and arrow cannons from below effortlessly, in the PC version you actually had to fly around a lot and even retreat, in this just fly in a circle and shoot, it couldn't be less exciting.
I may be quick to criticise Drakan, but at least there is the experience system, defeat so many bad guys and you get a point to attach to your arrow, melee or magic skills, which at least keeps you approaching fights. You can also find money to pay for extra equipment, even though your napsack is really small and in later missions the amount of items you can't carry does irritate, especially since the weapons take ages to break, another flaw that was better in the PC version.
On a good note, the environments in the air are beautiful to look at, and Arokh flies smoothly between mountains, but the environments on the ground begin to become far too similar and predictable. Some of the boss battles are good and the environments are huge to navigate in. Drakan 2 could have been a great game if only they had made it as tense and challenging as the PC version, and in this case if you've already played Drakan for the PC there's not much point visiting this one and being dissapointed.


Neverwhere
Neverwhere
by Neil Gaiman
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Ride Into The Dark Fantastic, 3 Mar 2003
This review is from: Neverwhere (Mass Market Paperback)
Neil Gaiman uses London as the backdrop of a tale about an average business man who has to escape from the underside, an alternate London made up of sewers, tube stations and doors that lead into strange and dangerous places. Gaiman adds believability to this strange tale by describing real London locations and even Harrods gets a mention. You really feel Gaiman loves talking about London, and you can picture the events in the novel unfold within the dark alley ways, damp sewers, and eerie tube stations of London.
Gaiman's other strength is the way he introduces the grotesque yet majestic characters. You feel he really loves the characters he writes about and none of them are ignored as characters that appear briefly in the novel still remain in the readers mind.
The novel is quite a dark novel but it is written with some wit especially when we see Richard Mayhew's view point as he struggles to come to terms with the new world he has entered and his dilemma of trying to escape, but inevitably secures emotional relationships with the characters he meets and at times there are many tender moments that touches the reader emotionally.
The novel is a triumph of fantasy. It's the sort of novel that introduces strange sets of circumstances that makes the reader feel like the main character Richard lost and somewhat confused, but then with each page the puzzle is revealed, and it's how Gaiman leads the reader through this wonderful world that is the novels biggest achievement.


The Sims (PS2)
The Sims (PS2)
Offered by Gameseek
Price: 8.43

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Strangest Game Ever, 11 Feb 2003
This review is from: The Sims (PS2) (Video Game)
You shouldn't like this game, there's no explosions except maybe a cooker catching on fire, there's no big cars or planes, there's no jumping from platforms or battling with demonic creatures. Yet somehow, you're hooked within the strange little existence of The Sims.
The experience can only be described as like watching Big Brother but with you in control of what happens as you move each of your characters to perform quite mundane tasks like going to the toilet, have a shower, make dinner, watch tv, and sleep to name the most common few. However, performing such tasks are vital to the happiness of your Sim and leaving the bladder meter to go to low for example will result in the Sim wetting themselves, is not a pretty sight, or if you don't let your sim sleep they will simply fall over. It's all quite comical and is the equivalent of a light entertainment computer game, but it's what the game does to the player is what amazes as you begin to care about their welfare like they're some kind of fragile pet and it's then that you realise you have to get out some more.
It's not all about bodily functions though, there's a level based mode curiously entitles 'Get A Life' (you can't help but feel this a note to the gamer) and through this you have to complete certain missions like looking after mum or getting off with a party girl at a roomies party etc which all lead to you unlocking some great products which you can buy for your dream home. If you don't want to bother with that simply complete some of the missions and start on the general game which allows you to create your own sim family and build their dream home from the little money you have. Once your sims show their disgust in your cheap taste in wallpaper it's time to get them a job and make some cash by building up points such as body, logic, charisma, cooking etc by using the domestic appliances you can afford. For example a bench press will build muscle, while a cook book will steadily increase your cooking expertise, so if you want a promotion at work and more money say as a Counter Intelligence Officer then get playing chess to improve your sims logic. This does add another dimension to the sims that is slightly less mundane as you the sim now have another purpose rather than going to the toilet and eating a lot.
The game is slightly more easier than the PC version and in my opinion a little better, there are many items, though for obvious reasons none which you can download from the internet which limits it a bit, but there a few more problems, like with the sim only being able to build a house with one floor, and then there's the time issue, as the 24 hours pass rather quickly trying to benchpress and keep awake can be difficult, and then there's the chore of trying to have a social life and keep a job, it's a juggling act that can irritate. The Sims will not be to every gamers taste but those who enjoy watching soaps and Big Brother can in some ways create the gaming equivalent as the story of each sim unfolds. Even though I'm convinced The Sims is a government experiment and not a game those who still want a break from the noise of guns and explosions will be able to sit back and chill out to the strange little world of the sims.


Lara Croft Tomb Raider -- Special Collector's Edition [DVD] [2001]
Lara Croft Tomb Raider -- Special Collector's Edition [DVD] [2001]
Dvd ~ Angelina Jolie
Offered by CP UK And Global LTD
Price: 2.80

1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Leave your sense in the basement and simply enjoy, 5 Jan 2003
There has been a lot of harsh criticism come this films way since before it even went into production. However, you cannot fault Angelina Jolie as the gun spinning and back flipping Lara Croft, she's has the mannerisms and accent off to perfection, and she apparently does most of her own stunts. If none of you know already Lara Croft is what made Playstation cool in the early days with the hit games series of 'Tomb Raider' so it was inevitable that one day she would get widescreen treatment.
Jolie may play her part as Lara to perfection but it's the other stuff like the plot that doesn't quite live up, but writing about time travel never has been easy for anyone and you feel the film makers of Tomb Raider got a bit too ambitious for the first and brave outing of Lara Croft onto screen.
However, it's when you see the lush sets and Jolie run with her guns drawn that you begin to really appreciate the film. Sure there are bits that seem rushed, and dance or rock music during some scenes never seem to work for any film. I'm sure the film makers will polish out these flaws for a sequel that will be superb.


The Getaway (PS2)
The Getaway (PS2)

14 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars FORGET GTA AND GET THIS, 2 Jan 2003
This review is from: The Getaway (PS2) (Video Game)
Avoid the forgettable eighties designer suits seen in GTA:Vice City and get The Getaway. It's gritty with some incredible cut scenes you would expect from a film like 'Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels' but with more swearing than 'The Osbournes' and more realistic tension than the cartoon elegance of GTA.
Where GTA was awkward to control on foot, The Getaway makes up for it by providing a decent control mechanism designed for sneaky shoot em up violence rather than bash all the buttons mayhem. The difference is that you have to use your head for them to lose theirs. For example you can crawl along a box and simply point your gun and shoot the bad guys without them seeing you even though the aiming is sometimes well off. You can also walk up behind someone and take them hostage, even though this rarely keeps the bad guys at bay, but it saves you getting shot for a brief period. The only problem seems to be the camera angles as they shift everytime you turn to face in a particular direction and occasionally the bad guys AI can be a bit unfair when several creep up behind you and it seems two firm wallops to your head will end the mission.
The car chases can get pretty chaotic and it seems it's more a case of doging the cops and bad guys rather than outspeeding them, and reaching top speed in the incredibly busy streets of London is no easy or simple task.
The graphics are superb with both the streets of London and interiors with loads of detail and realistic sounds to add authenticity to the game. As you drive through the city you really feel the expanse of the city, in GTA you could drive from one end of the city to the other it seemed in five minutes but in this game a mile means a mile and you really feel your travelling through a living city.
The game is not perfect, as I mentioned before the shifting camera angles can become problematic. The missions can become repetitive but the shoot outs are great fun. Also the use of indicators to show where you are supposed to turn can become a problem and through the game you never really know what street you're on which can make the included map is not really worthwhile. I can see cab drivers loving this game as well as any gamer, The Getaway is one of the best games of the year and deserves all its hype.


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