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N. Spurr (UK)

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Fabled Lands 1: The War Torn Kingdom
Fabled Lands 1: The War Torn Kingdom
by Dave Morris
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The pinnacle of Gamebooks, 24 July 2012
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Fabled lands is an engaging, epic and unique gamebook experience that I would recommend to anyone.

I stumbled across this series by pure chance. Being a fan of Fighting Fantasy books as a kid, (and not having played a gamebook for over 15 years) I decided on a whim to purchase the first Fabled Lands book in the series, The War Torn Kingdom, and was blown away.

What the authors have done here is essentially recreate a free-form roaming RPG with no pre-defined structure. You are free to choose what adventures you take part in, where you go, and what morality of character you want to play. It is the closest thing you could get to an open-world RPG in a book. Unlike the Fighting Fantasy or even the Lone Wolf series, you are not forced in a particular direction or to undertake specific tasks - you can simply do what you want to do.

This is an excellent, truly unique series and I cannot recommend this classic enough.

Strictly Come Dancersize [2007] [DVD]
Strictly Come Dancersize [2007] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Karen Hardy
Price: £3.19

2.0 out of 5 stars Outrageously hard, 15 Jun. 2012
The main purpose of this DVD seems to make you sweat. Not so much sweat with the dance moves but sweat over what a complete failure you feel like when you're absolutely unable to complete any of the routines.

The steps are shown to you before each routine starts and there are so many steps that it's too difficult to take them all in. That's fine, I know that things come to you with time, but once the routine starts you are launched into it at full speed meaning that it's virtually impossible to complte even one step and you spend more time vainly looking at the TV trying to work out what they're doing with their feet. The tight camera angle that focus on Erin and Karen's faces don't help - you can't see what their feet are doing!

Karen's routines seemed easier to attempt the first time than Karen's. Karen's routines just had far too many steps and the routines were just too fast to get anything out of them. Karen's seemed less complicated and she also seemed to begin each step with a slower version of the moment before speeding up.

I think there's a confusion between a DVD which is a fitness DVD BASED on some dance routine steps and a DVD which is teaching you dance routines. I don't want to enter into major competitions to jive, I just wanted to lose a bit of weight in a fun way. But this was anything but fun, it was so totally demoralising I would never want to pick it up again.

I'm sure they had the best intentions but unless you already have some training in dance I would stay away.

York DB4 Dumbbell Bench
York DB4 Dumbbell Bench
Offered by Sweatband
Price: £59.99

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great starter bench, 31 Jan. 2009
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This review is from: York DB4 Dumbbell Bench (Sports)
This is a great little bench, perfect for using with dumbbells. It's reasonably cheap compared to the alternatives, sturdy and easy to put together - it even comes with a little spanner to help you.

It can be laid flat, or at various inclines and a decline. Perfect for dumbbell flys, bench press, lying rows, lying deltoid raises, as well as anything needing a back rest.

It's obviously not suitable for heavy barbell work - it's quite thin and says it can only take a training weight of 50kg (110 lbs) plus 100kg of user weight (220 lbs), and of course it doesn't come with anywhere to rack your weight. It's also not good for really tall people - I'm just over 6ft and it just about covers all of me lying down, but no more.

It doesn't fold up, but can be easily stored lying flat against a wall. It's also quite light.

I would recommend this product, it is a great starter bench.

Patlabor: 1 And 2 [VHS]
Patlabor: 1 And 2 [VHS]
Offered by Discountdiscs-UK : Dispatched daily from the UK.
Price: £7.94

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Patlabor 1&2 - political thrillers rather than action films, 14 May 2004
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This review is from: Patlabor: 1 And 2 [VHS] (VHS Tape)
Patlabor 1&2 revolve around the members of the labor armoured police unit solving and dealing with two devious political crimes, with much soul searching and conspiracy theory along the way.
Now, I've noticed many reviewers have lavished four and five stars on this film, but for me these films always felt like they were building up to something big when they weren't. I can only write a review based on my personal preferences for films, and for me, as shallow as this is, I would have preferred to see a much more substantial amount of giant robot fighting action. Both these films are primarily politcal thrillers, and as such action tends to kept to a minimum (although less so in patlabor 1, where there is a very impressive sequence at the end of the film)
However, don't let my disenchantment with this film disuade you from it's many good points. The animation is superbly top-notch stuff, the plotlines complex and crafty, and the dialogue suitably deep and meaningful. It is an excellent example of intelligent japanese animation, if not THE definitive article.
For me however, I prefer my long winded conversations coming from books, while films should contain a certain degree of fighting and giant robots going insane. Perhaps a little childish, but then, I am what I am.
In summary, a must have for any serious collector of manga, but perhaps a little too long-winded for the casual fan.

Ninja Scroll [VHS]
Ninja Scroll [VHS]
Offered by pkeylock
Price: £8.59

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Top quality manga, 14 May 2004
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This review is from: Ninja Scroll [VHS] (VHS Tape)
This film is an excellently well-crafted and enjoyable piece of manga. I won't delve too deeply into the plot-line, suffice to say it involves a wandering ninja coming to terms with an old adversary and in the process allying himself with both a strange and mysterious old man and a beautiful but deadly female assasin.
The animation is sharp and crisp, with beautiful colours which seem quite distinct from any other animation I've seen. The fighting is suitably bloodthirsty (always a plus point in my book) and the characterisation enjoyable. The final set-piece in particular is impressive, and all of the enemy ninjas are satisfactorily evil and perverse.
This film only merits four stars as I'm loath to give out five stars willy-nilly. I feel only films which truly break barriers and set new standards in their genre deserve the five star accolade (For example, Spirited Away. This film truly is something special.) While this film is top quality, it isn't a great depature from any manga I've seen before.
However, all in all, I can't recommened this film enough.

Street Fighter 2: The Animated Movie [VHS]
Street Fighter 2: The Animated Movie [VHS]
Offered by unclejohnsband
Price: £9.95

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Street Fighter 2 - The Movie, 11 May 2004
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is an excellent example of high quality, exciting manga action. The fight scenes are fast, well done and fun to watch. The overall quality of the animation is very good, and the dubbing isn't bad either. Perhaps some of the fights were thrown in just to show off some more Street Fighter characters, but I'm not complaning. My only gripes are that the plot can drift off into nowhere at times, and the final battle left me thinking it was a little anti-climactic.
However, these are minor gripes and I throughly recommened you buy this great piece of manga film-making!

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