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shinyhead "shinyhead" (Cheshire, UK)

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Doom 3 (PC)
Doom 3 (PC)

3.0 out of 5 stars Impressive lighting fails to brighten an otherwise dull game, 30 Sept. 2004
This review is from: Doom 3 (PC) (Video Game)
Doom3 looks great. Read any review and somewhere in there it will state that fact. The graphics will leave you open-mouthed, slack-jawed, agog even. And rightly so. But good looks alone are not enough to save this game from the bargain-bin of mediocrity - or perhaps worse.

The trouble is that although the graphics are good, they're probably too good; too over the top for a game of this style and this pace.

Take the lighting effects for example - they are spectacular! Have a good look at them - it's a colossal technical achievement. Shadows, specular and diffuse lighting, all the other stuff - its implemented flawlessly. But in the frenzy of game-play, you'd hardly notice it as you're too busy trying to kill the beasties who are trying to kill you.

And there's the rub - you don't need all these super-duper lighting effects because during game-play your attention is directed elsewhere- i.e. staying alive. It's just too much technology taking up too much processing power in what is effectively still a simple shoot'em up game. The implementation might have been updated, but the game-play remains very much in the mid-nineties.

In contrast, take Thief: The Deadly Shadows. A game based on light and shadow, it cannot boast the same technical prowess as Doom3, but its inferior lighting technology is more than adequate in creating a powerful ambience central to the game. Doom3, in contrast, concentrates on technical excellence rather than atmosphere or game-play - so it's a pretty but bland, repetitive experience.

If you want to wade through Hell and kill lots of monsters then try Painkiller - it has great level design and huge level-bosses - but above all it's fun! Doom3 might have the looks and the lineage - but that might not be enough to see you through to the end.

Thief: Deadly Shadows (PC)
Thief: Deadly Shadows (PC)

12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still the sneakiest game around, 9 July 2004
If you've played any of the previous Thief games before, here is what you need to know:
The graphics are much improved: Thief is about lighting and shadows - and in this respect this is the best game yet.
Because of the improved graphics, the feel of the game (and the atmosphere) is much improved.
The sound is just as good as it ever was
The storyline is well written and compelling
The voice acting is just as good as before
The "City hub" adds even more realism - you can thieve in between missions if you are so inclined
3rd person view is entirely optional - it's not an issue
Rope arrows being replaced by climbing gloves works fine - but there could have perhaps been more climbable surfaces
If you've not played any of the Thief series before, then this is THE stealth game. Set in a medieval/steam age, Thief places you as Garret, the master thief who needs to sneak his way around to achieve various objectives in order to stop the "Dark Age" descending on his world.
Brilliant graphics, sound and (sadly overlooked these days) a well-written storyline, add up to a most compelling game. But beware! This is not a game for the gung-ho - going toe-to-toe with any adversary will get you dead very quickly. Thief requires thought, patience and an eye for an easy steal when the guards backs are turned.
For the players of the previous Thief games - this is a much improved game.
For any new players - "darkness is your friend" - you ain't seen me, right?

Far Cry (PC)
Far Cry (PC)
Price: £2.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Now this is looking good...., 18 Mar. 2004
This review is from: Far Cry (PC) (Video Game)
Just played the demo and things are looking good. Really good.
The graphics are monumental and have surely set a new standard by which all other FPS's will be judged. But great eye-candy doesn't make a great game - Unreal 2 taught us that harsh lesson.
Here however, the graphics are not just for show but add a real atmosphere to the game - you can roam just about anywhere and lose yourself in some pretty convincing jungle, ducking for cover as enemies spot you and give chase. You can almost feel the undergrowth pulling at your clothes as you scramble to cover.
AI seems up to scratch and the weapons clatter out rounds in a very satisfying manner - but I've yet to see how the plot pans out and whether the opened ended gameplay mentioned in various reviews is delivered.
Still, 4 stars 'cos it's only a demo - but a demo which promises great things. Recommend you play the demo first, but I've seen enough to buy it.

Feels Like Home
Feels Like Home
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £4.22

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Feels like Music, 10 Feb. 2004
This review is from: Feels Like Home (Audio CD)
Even if Norah Jones hadn't won all those Grammy's for her first album - it would still have sold millions.
Why? Because music as good as this spreads faster by word-of-mouth than any advertising campaign could hope for. And we want it.
The same applies here. In a world where the majority of music is produced purely to make money and is forced upon us day after day - here is something we WANT to go out and buy and WANT listen to.
Songs at our level; songs that touch the heart and soul; songs to remind you what music is for - to move us and to carry us away from the everyday just for a moment before reality comes seeping back in.
Okay, it's not for everybody - but for those who liked the first album, continue the journey that Norah Jones is taking us on.

Deus Ex: Invisible War (PC)
Deus Ex: Invisible War (PC)
Offered by NextDayEntertainment
Price: £8.82

2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars It's a real conspiracy, 21 Jan. 2004
I've played the demo and it was poor. Other reviewers have played the entire game and thought it was poor. Even the American messages boards are saying its poor.
Yet the games magazines still give it a score of 90+ precent
So here's my conspiracy theory; who's paying them to score it so high?
I'd spend time pondering that instead of playing this game - it would be time better spent.

Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £9.42

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mutterly Wonderful, 31 Oct. 2003
This review is from: Mutter (Audio CD)
It's hard to pin a label onto Rammstein - so I won't bother. All you need to know that it's head-noddingly foot-stompingly great music.
Massive crunchy guitar riffs, huge drums and syths, growling german vocals (often offset with a fine female accompaniment), a smattering of orchestration here and there - it all contributes to a consistent and eminently listenable album. There are no album-filler tracks here - each one is beautifully crafted and stands out as a great tune in it's own right.
You will nod your head in time. You will stamp your feet in time. You will sing along in german - oh yes, you will.

Halo: Combat Evolved (PC CD)
Halo: Combat Evolved (PC CD)

4 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Now let's not get too excited..., 24 Oct. 2003
I tried Halo because of the rave reviews I read in various PC magazines. Halo might be quite exciting on the X-box, but it sure is nothing extraordinary on the PC.
The good bits:
The plot: Humanity is offensive to the enemy (known as the Covenant) and so will be wiped out. Any human missions comprimised by the enemy will abort or self-destruct to avoid the Covenant finding Earth. Great stuff! - stirs the blood gets you trying to tie potato-peelers onto the end of broom-handles just in case the Covenant really do find Earth.
The AI: Much better than what is usually encountered - but once you recognise the patterns then the challenge becomes somewhat diminished.
The manual: Read it then throw it on the desk. The back cover shows all the keys etc. necesary to get you going in the game. Nice touch.
Voice acting: Especially the Marines, who come from England, Austalia and probably other parts as well. Great phrases, good team formations - gives you a real sense of responsibility.
The bad bits:
Repetitive: Repetitive. Repetitive. Another level - another set of the same enemies. Same weapons, same objectives. Kill to get to this point - then kill some more to get to next point etc.
OK - one bad bit to four good bits - but enjoying the four good bits is short lived - believe me. Once you overcome the game's initial charm with the cutesy enemies, chirpy marines and lively AI, it settles down to become a plod through various levels in which neither the AI or the plot can keep you interested long enough to complete them.
So, while we're all waiting for HL2/Doom3 to emerge, Halo is a decent enough distraction. But it is not truely worthy of the hype that seems to have surrounded it.


12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Chrome which doesn't shine at all, 6 Oct. 2003
This review is from: Chrome (Video Game)
The good thing about Chrome is that it looks great. The bad thing about Chrome is that it has only one good thing about it - it looks great. And looking good is not a quality that necessarily makes a game a good game - Unreal2 for example.
Okay, it's acceptable fare for a FPS, but there's nothing here either engages you or wants to make you play any further. There's the now customary "Buddy" that you get to help you through the game (but why?!? Gordon Freeman in Half Life managed perfectly ok on his own, didn't he? ), but the weapons are very much below par - the main "staple" weapon having such terrible sights that it is awkaward to use and has little impact. In addition, the inventory system is un-intuitive and poorly covered in both the manual and tutorial.
There are vehicles that you can get into and drive/shoot etc., but you're limited as to where you can go and it adds very little to the game.
Overall, if you're looking for a filler game until Half-life 2 or Doom 3 comes out then look elsewhere - this Chrome ain't shining in any way at all.

Whitesnake + Northwinds
Whitesnake + Northwinds

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Coverdale at his best, 4 July 2003
This review is from: Whitesnake + Northwinds (Audio CD)
David Coverdale's debonair lovelorn vocals are at their very best on these albums of bluesy ballads. Forget what came before or after - it doesn't get much better than this.

Watership Down
Watership Down
by Richard Adams
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for any child or manchild, 25 April 2003
This review is from: Watership Down (Paperback)
I first read this book when I was 13 years old - and as a 13yr old I read it 5 times - and cried at the ending every time.
I can't put my finger on what makes this such a great book - I know now that some have drawn parallels with characters in the book to heroic figures of the past - but as a 13yr old the appeal was of adventure, danger, adversity, triumph.
Watership Down is a truely remarkable book - as an adult I find it difficult to describe adequately what I felt when I last read it all those years ago. But as a 13yr old I can't recommend it highly enough.

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