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Neal Vincent (UK)

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Team America: World Police [DVD]
Team America: World Police [DVD]
Dvd ~ Trey Parker
Offered by Qoolist
Price: £2.61

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars America had it coming..., 8 Jun. 2005
"Team America" plays like Trey Parker and Matt Stone broke into Gerry Anderson's house while he was away, got totally loaded, and made a movie.
Like South Park, "Team America" rips into anybody and everybody - gay, straight, Republican, Democrat, Arab, American, French, Korean, treehugger or warmonger - no matter what kind of person you are there's guaranteed to be at least one scene in this film which will make you SQUIRM.
The primary target of the film is, as the title suggests, the macho gung-ho cowboy way America carries out its "war on terror", i.e. throwing military hardware around wherever they like, generally flattening population centres while wearing cheesy grins, all in pursuit of a handful of terrorists.
That said, the film is equally keen to rip into liberals with just as much venom - causing some to wonder whether it's a pro-Bush propoganda vehicle (!) - but the truth is that it's offensive to everybody, and fair play to it. Those same people probably think the Cartman character from South Park was proof that the South Park creators are neo-Nazis! Oh dear... It's called "satire" - and this might be some seriously scatological satire, but it's satire nonetheless!
It's been called the most offensive puppet movie ever made (although I wonder whether the people saying that have seen Peter Jackson's "Meet the Feebles"!) but, as undeniably foul as it is, sadly this DVD isn't quite as offensive as the filmmakers intended... The version of "Team America" available in the UK is the R-rated version that played in American cinemas and which was cut by about a minute, mostly in that infamous sex scene. Happily, there's an "uncut and unrated" version available on R1 DVD for those who want to see all boundaries of taste and decency well and truly violated!
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 6, 2010 2:12 AM BST

Gauntlet Dark Legacy (Xbox)
Gauntlet Dark Legacy (Xbox)

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Red Dwarf needs food badly!, 1 May 2005
Gauntlet Dark Legacy got a bit of a kicking in the magazine reviews when it was released, possibly because reviewers were hoping for something more like the console versions of Baldur's Gate than Gauntlet, but in my opinion this game stayed true to its roots in delivering a straightforward arcade-style game for up to 4 players simultaneously where the only objective is to fight your way through hordes of enemies in search of the exit - which is fine by me!
One thing to be clear about is that Gauntlet Dark Legacy is basically just a slightly expanded re-issue of Gauntlet Legends, released previously on PS1 and Dreamcast - it's essentially the same game with a few added levels and an enlarged roster of unlockable characters, so you might well feel short-changed if you already own Legends.
I can't comment on the PS2 version because I haven't played it, but owners of multiple consoles might find it useful to know that the Xbox version of Dark Legacy is significantly better than the Gamecube version - the Xbox version has 60Hz support which the Gamecube version lacks, the gameplay is smoother and faster, and movies play smoothly whereas on the Gamecube they are afflicted with a nasty jerkiness.
Finally, if you want arcade-perfect versions of the old 2D Gauntlet games on your Xbox, Gauntlet can be found on Midway Arcade Treasures, and Gauntlet II can be found on Midway Arcade Treasures 2.
Fingers crossed for "Gauntlet: Seven Sorrows", due for release Q4 2005 on PS2/Xbox/PC and coded by a team led by John Romero (Doom, Quake) and Josh Sawyer (Icewind Dale) - looks cool, but talk of "expanded RPG elements" probably means that Dark Legacy is going to be the last of the old skool Gauntlet games!

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

12 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars PAL gamers get another kick in the teeth, 10 April 2005
To cut straight to the chase, the PAL version of Xbox "Doom 3" does NOT support PAL-60 (60Hz mode). Yep, we're looking at yet another PAL version of a top game that's limited to 50Hz because the developer simply couldn't be bothered - and that's especially annoying when your PAL Xbox is built to do 60Hz, and it's a doddle for developers to include support. This applies to the main game as well as the pair of retro Doom games included on the same disc. The whole shebang is 50Hz.
I'm sure most people will say "So what? It's full screen innit?" - but that's not the point. This game undoubtedly pushes the Xbox hardware about as far as it can possibly go and the developer spent months optimising it to run as smoothly as possible on NTSC systems, so the last thing it needs is 17% extra work-load addressing the extra lines on a PAL display. Try side-stepping in a larger room and you'll see the screen update become erratic and choppy - something I bet our cousins across the pond don't have to endure.
On top of that, the fact that the PAL version is 50Hz means that you will NOT be able to play on Xbox LIVE against anyone outside of Europe due to the speed difference - so the other reviewer on this page who was looking forward to playing "Doom 3" against cousin Harry in the USA ... well, sadly, he can forget about it!
It's high time PAL gamers got the same deal as the Americans. While it's great that the PAL Xbox console supports 60Hz and makes this possible, this fact just makes it even more of an insult when developers can't be bothered to use it. In short, those of you who can run import games are advised to go USA with this one.

The Asphyx [1972] [DVD]
The Asphyx [1972] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Robert Powell

30 of 37 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Classic film, lamentable DVD, 27 Mar. 2005
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Asphyx [1972] [DVD] (DVD)
(EDIT: This review refers to the 2004 Anchor Bay DVD release of The Asphyx, NOT the 2010 release from Odeon Entertainment)

I'm in complete agreement with the other reviewer here - this disc is a travesty, and shame on the usually reliable cult-film label Anchor Bay for releasing a classic of British horror in this sort of condition! I'd come to think of Anchor Bay as a genuine film lover's label, but this was a real reputation-destroyer as far as I'm concerned and I'm now as wary of Anchor Bay discs as I am of most other labels.

The main sins here are: "The Asphyx" was shot in 2.35:1 and yet Anchor Bay's disc is presented in 1.78:1 - it's not even "halfway-house" 16x9 widescreen either, in fact they've used a pan & scan full-screen master and then further compounded the insult to both the film-makers and the viewer by cropping the top and bottom of the picture to try and make it look "widescreen". As if that wasn't bad enough to invalidate this disc (and in my opinion that's more than enough!) this version of "The Asphyx" is also the shorter of the two versions out there, running at 83 minutes instead of 99 minutes!

If you want the full-length version of "The Asphyx" in 2.35:1 on DVD then you'll have to seek out the increasingly rare R1 disc from Allday Entertainment, released way back in 1997. The fact that the full version has been released on DVD, and is therefore certainly not "lost", just makes this disc look all the more lamentable.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 20, 2010 3:10 AM GMT

Need for Speed Underground (Xbox)
Need for Speed Underground (Xbox)
Offered by Bonkers4Bargains!
Price: £15.89

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Style over Absolutely Everything Else, 4 Jun. 2004
I'm quite gobsmacked to see some of the glowing reviews here for this game - am I playing the same game as those guys?! The only thing you really need to know about Xbox NFS:Underground is that it has the worst frame-rate issues I've ever seen - it struggles to stay in double-figures at the best of times and most corners see the game become so choppy I'm amazed it got released. And it's not as if it's doing anything very spectacular either: there's no car damage, rarely more than 2 or 3 other cars on-screen even with traffic set to maximum, and the car models are very bland and lo-fi. Burnout 2, Rallisport 2, PGR 2, and (if you absolutely MUST have that underground streetrace "vibe") Midnight Club 2 - any one of those games is infinitely better than this broken jalopy of a game, because every one of them has a consistent high frame-rate and real feel to the gameplay. This is the gaming equivalent of hamburger - flashy, big-budget advertising may tempt you to buy it, but take off the wrapper and what's inside is bland, nasty and leaves you feeling vaguely ill. Play this, and as you gaze at loading screens imploring you to kit out your ride with umpteen corporate logos, as you chug choppily beneath huge McDonalds billboards, you'll be in no doubt where all the money and effort went with this title ... it certainly wasn't spent on developing a decent game engine to hang all that licensed accessorising on! :)

Predator (2 Disc Special Edition ) [1988] [DVD]
Predator (2 Disc Special Edition ) [1988] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Arnold Schwarzenegger
Offered by Qoolist
Price: £3.98

40 of 43 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Be careful here, people..., 12 May 2004
Just a quick note to warn purchasers of this new 2-disc set that due to a foul-up by Fox it seems that many copies contain the wrong Disc One. I don't know how widespread this problem is, but in my local shop every single copy was incorrect - and, yeah, I made 'em check! :)
Due to a pressing or packaging error Disc One was the old single-disc edition of Predator - i.e. no DTS, no audio commentary, and a heavily-censored version of the film! Disc Two was correct.
Disc One SHOULD have a large picture of Arnie's face and say "Disc One" on it - the incorrect disc has a fuzzy picture of Arnie with a gun and DOES NOT say Disc One.
Seeing as the previous UK DVD release of Predator was a foul-up on Fox's part in the first place - apparently they mistakenly used a heavily-censored master intended for the German market - you would have thought they'd have taken a little more care this time around...
It's a good film, as I'm sure you already know, and it's good to see that it's finally been given a decent release in the UK - providing you've got the right disc in the pack!
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 20, 2015 12:05 AM BST

Tenchu: Return from Darkness (Xbox)
Tenchu: Return from Darkness (Xbox)
Offered by zoverstocks
Price: £9.98

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Simple Fun, 23 Mar. 2004
First impressions weren't great - no 60Hz, slightly jerky opening movie, minimal options... The enemy A.I. is frequently laughable - prime example: hotly pursued by a ninja, you run into a dead-end dust-trap behind a ladder ... whereupon the ninja (plainly visible to me, so presumably I'm plainly visible to him) yells "I'll find you!" before promptly forgetting you're there and wandering off, leaving you "hiding" in plain view in a nook with one way in or out! D'oh! I imagine that connoisseurs of "modern" stealth games with all their dynamic shadows and intelligent adversaries would be horrified...Tenchu's enemies have the memory of goldfish, and are painfully short-sighted - in fact the entire game is so simplistic that it feels like the original PSOne code with PS2-quality graphics running on, erm, an Xbox. Not good, you'd have to agree - so surely this game deserves ridicule then? No, actually - I can't explain it, but it's actually good honest simple fun. I actually found it quite refreshing after all those high-ambition Splinter Cells and suchlike. No matter how much I wanted to like MGS : Substance, or Splinter Cell, I can't honestly say I enjoyed them - in my opinion they had too many gadgets and gizmos, and the gameplay never quite delivered that vital factor called "fun". Techu: RFD is a simplistic game, sure - likely too simplistic for some to stomach these days - but I found I enjoyed it a heck of a lot more than its more ambitious competitors. Go figure...I'm not blessed with broadband so I can't comment on the Xbox Live aspects of this game, but I've read since that they're a hoot and a holler. Sounds like you can add another star if you've got Xbox Live then!Overall: Would've been more acceptable as a budget release, but it's simple stuff that's somehow very enjoyable in an almost retro kinda way. Looks & feels like a game from the last gen, but sometimes simple arcadey fun is more important in a game than an accurate physical model of life the universe and everything! :-)

Soft Cell: Live In Milan [DVD] [2002]
Soft Cell: Live In Milan [DVD] [2002]
Dvd ~ Soft Cell
Price: £8.99

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars DVD good, CD better..., 14 Mar. 2004
As a long-time Soft Cell fan I pounced on this DVD on the day of release! You never know quite what to expect when you go to one of Marc's live shows - one gig I went to saw him putting down the mic and singing unaccompanied and unamplified, just one man singing to a roomful of people, something I've never seen any other artist do, and other gigs (notably during the Neal X period) featured hard & heavy guitar-driven versions of Soft Cell tracks that had the crowd moshing furiously! Talk about range! :-)
This DVD, recorded in Milan on the opening nights of the Soft Cell reunion tour, sees Marc reunited with Dave "The Grid" Ball after nearly 20 years and it's a real pleasure for any fan to see them back together. The set covers everything from old favourites to material from the then-new "Cruelty without Beauty" album, and it's clear that everybody involved is having a whale of a time.
The only thing I'll say against this DVD is that, presumably in an effort to release the DVD as soon as possible so that it could benefit from the ongoing tour publicity, material is only taken from the first couple of nights of the tour and the sound mix sometimes seems like it could do with beefing up a bit - most notably on Bedsitter where the mix sounds rather weak and in need of more bass on the EQ.
In my opinion, this tour is better represented on the later double-CD "Soft Cell Live", where Marc and Dave had material from the entire tour to work with and the time to mix it to their satisfaction, as well as hand-picking the best versions themselves. In summary, this DVD is good - but the live CD is MUCH better! Needless to say, if you're a fan, buy both!

Price: £6.99

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars At long last..., 29 Feb. 2004
This review is from: Psychomania (Audio CD)
Wow. I've loved the soundtrack to this uniquely loopy old film (available on DVD in the USA!) ever since I first heard it and it's one that I've been checking the net for a release of on-and-off for years - and here it is, finally! Good to know I wasn't the only one, then! :)
I approached this disc with some trepidation because I already owned the soundtrack CD to "The Wicker Man", released on the same label, and was very disappointed with that because it was recorded directly from the film's final mix, with sound effects, dialogue, noises off, etc - i.e. nothing you couldn't have done yourself by sampling the movie. Thankfully, this time, the producers have somehow managed to track down the original masters and this CD is the real deal. A couple of tracks have still been taken from the final mix (the graveside ballad "Riding Free", for example) presumably because the masters could not be found - but the vast majority of this CD is taken from the original session recordings, and therefore includes bits that didn't make it into the film, alternative takes, etc. Sound quality can be a bit iffy in places, but these are "lost" recordings from over 30 years ago - and, as the sleeve notes rather amusingly say: "Don't worry about it - life's too short!" I'll second that, and add a big thanks to Trunk Records for releasing this tripped-out gem - another one I can cross off my all-time "I wish they'd release that" list! :)
OK, Trunk Records, howzabout soundtracks for The Omega Man, or Blood on Satan's Claw next? Pretty please?
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 8, 2011 8:59 PM BST

Wrath Unleashed (Xbox)
Wrath Unleashed (Xbox)

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Archon by any other name..., 29 Feb. 2004
Wrath Unleashed, developed by The Collective who previously produced Buffy and Indiana Jones for Xbox, is essentially a glossy remake of a very old game called Archon. My first encounter with Archon was way back on the Spectrum, and I think I must've played every incarnation of this game - "Archon II: Adept", "Archon Ultra" (PC), even the PS1 update which went by the name of "The Unholy War". If anyone out there remembers "The Unholy War" then you'll know what you're getting into here as it's that version which "Wrath Unleashed" most closely resembles.
The original "Archon" took place on a chess-like 2D game board, where players took turns moving their creatures and casting spells, the gimmick being that instead of simply "taking" an opposing piece you had to fight for control of the square in one-on-one arcade-style combat. On the Spectrum this involved two little sprites running around a single-screen playfield shooting at each other until one dropped, rather like a one-on-one Gauntlet duel. "Wrath Unleashed", like "The Unholy War", shifts things into 3D arenas and the "board" section of the game now takes place on sprawling 3D hex-maps which can be rotated and zoomed, but the core gameplay remains the same. It's basically strategy-lite (try to occupy areas that give your units the advantage in battle) enlivened by short & sweet bouts of real-time arcade-style combat (5 attack types, a block button, and various terrain features to exploit or avoid).
You'll probably already know whether this game appeals to you or not - and if it does then you won't go far wrong with this one. It's slickly produced, supports up to 4 players for the first time, has extremely nice graphics (60Hz - yay!), good sound, and doesn't require you to read a tome of a manual before you're up and running. Single player modes are included for the friendless (one-off games against the computer, and a campaign mode) as are straight action modes (versus and team battles) which concentrate solely on the fighting and give the strategic aspects a miss - but if you're blessed with up to 3 like-minded mates then you'll definitely be getting the most out of this title.
Oh, and finally - ignore the dodgy review of this game in a certain official mag ... frankly reviewers who don't like certain genres of game have no business reviewing them! :)

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