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Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 3 (PS2)
Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 3 (PS2)
Offered by Soprano Entertainment
Price: 47.99

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars *Insert Vegeta meme here*, 23 Mar 2008
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Here's a question. What was the most iconic programme of your childhood? Was it a foreign masterpiece like Inspector Gadget? Was it something utterly ridiculous but reeked of so much coolness it just had to be enjoyed like Ghostbusters? Or maybe it was something educational like Blue Peter, which taught you how to make Tracey Island with milk cartons and sticky back plastic? Chances are it could very well be none of these programmes and be something else, but that's not the point. Because in my opinion, you could very well find all these points in one of the most iconic anime series/cashcows of all time, the legendary Dragonball Z.

I mean, think about it. Dragonball Z began life as a continuation of the Japanese anime series Dragon Ball that also was a continuation of the Manga series (there was no name change involved so it just went on as Dragon Ball), the battles were absolutely insane, in fact the closest I can come to describing them is think Smith Vs. Neo in Revolutions, add energy blasts, make it go NINE THOUSAND times faster and make each character have the power to destroy a planet in a single punch.

And as for education, well, if you don't know screaming at several million decibels increases your strength, then you best come out of that rock.

In seriousness though, even if you're not a fan of DBZ, chances are you've heard of it, will hear of it (with the up and coming live action movie next year) or may have seen one of the many titles available on various consoles. In fact, "Budokai Tenkaichi 3" is the seventh DBZ game in five years for the PS2 and will most probably be the last.

Being the last game in the series, developer Spike seems to have tried to cram as much in as possible in the game to give the ultimate DBZ experience. For a start, there is a whopping 161 characters in the game from various stages of the series, ranging from the original Dragonball, all the way to GT and of course, many movie villains and heroes. Of course, many of the characters share the same moves and similar attributes, but fans of the series would have to be pretty picky/demented to demand any more in the game.

Speaking of characters, you also get to experience the various battles that take place in the series within the Dragon History mode. To summarize DBZ storyline in a nutshell, its space pirate apeloids, followed by alien dictator, followed by Terminator rip-off, followed by cyborg grasshopper and finally a pink god killer. Add the fact you get bits of Dragonball and GT's story, as well as bonus movie battles and your looking at a pretty decent (or absolutely crackers) storyline which takes a few hours to clear.

In terms of graphics, the game looks pretty good, it's the same cel-shaded affair we've had since the original Budokai, characters do have some facial expressions during in-game fighting, however this is just limited to a blank stare, concentration for in-game transformations and wincing in pain. It's not the prettiest PS2 game on the market, but it still looks good.

The environments also do the job, you get about thirty or so levels, all of which taken from the TV series, many of which are also destructible and I have to admit, it never gets tiresome smashing a friend through a 15 story building and watching the damage unfold.

The most important aspect of the game is of course the gameplay and depending on your preferences to beat-em ups, it maybe a hit and miss. The main criticism with DBZ BT 3 is that the game doesn't play as a conventional fighting game. For a start, the camera is placed on the shoulder of your character so you're nearly always behind your character. Another interesting point is that you're given quite a lot of freedom during fights. It's not exactly 360 degrees but it's quite a bit more then your standard 2D fighter.

As always with DBZ games, the controls are pretty simple. With a few five button combos to unleash a high amount of damage (usually using only the Square and Triangle buttons), "Mortal Kombat" and "Street Fighter" fans who are used to punching in longer and more complicated combos might find the game tedious and boring due to the simplicity and ease of doing high damage by holding three buttons together. However, if you preserver with the game, you'll find it actually has quite a interesting and at times, addictive fighting system, rewarding well timed button combinations with flashier moves.

The put it in simple terms, the game doesn't really play like a normal fighting game, instead, it plays exactly like how a Dragonball Z battle looks on television. You can teleport and dodge energy attacks the size of nations, compete in beam struggles, even move at super sonic speeds and try to match buttons to inflict more damage or rotate the analogue stick in quick fire spars.

As we come to the end of this review, in short, if you're after a more regular fighting game with Dragonball Z characters, your better off getting Budokai 3 or waiting for the series' first venture on to the 7th generation consoles in the form of Burst Limit. But fans who want a more...Dragonball z-y game will probably enjoy this game just as much. It's an enjoyable game that most DBZ fans will like, it has a feast of extras (like Japanese and English voices, character bios, password characters etc) that give the game an extended life span and should provide tonnes of entertainment.


Brain Thrust Mastery
Brain Thrust Mastery
Offered by NetsavesUK
Price: 2.29

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Warning: The Following Contains Dinosaurs, Ghouls and...Saxophone?, 9 Mar 2008
This review is from: Brain Thrust Mastery (Audio CD)
Ahh, the second album. If there's a point in a musician's career that could define them, it's then. It's the stage where it's time to expand horizons, change perspectives and prove you're not a one trick pony. Sadly, it's also a stage where there seems to be many hits and misses. For every Radiohead success story (where the second album well and truly trounces the first), another band with real prospect seems to fall apart (one that springs to mind was one of my favourite bands, Hard-Fi, which seemed to have more than the odd thing go wrong e.g. non-rebellious cover and a mix bag of songs ranging from good to tedious (but that's another review for another time)). Thankfully, when the questionable second album does work, you truly get some gems.

In the case of New York Indie rockers/randomists with tongue firmly in cheek We Are Scientists, while not an absolute gem, it's still a mighty impressive rock.

After suffering a similar fate to Sheffield doppelgangers Arctic Monkeys (with a member of the band leaving before the second album was released, in this case, lovable drummer Michael Tapper), the band's (or duo's) second album like there doppelgangers has thankfully changed their sound. Instead of the addictive, indie goodness of before with some, quite frankly, great drumming thrown in, "Brain Thrust Mastery" seems a lot, to bluntly put it, slower with a darker shade.

Opening track "Ghouls" sets the mood of things to come. Although lyrically, there's similar content to the band's previous album, the music isn't as frantic or fast. It's an alright track, possibly not the best way to start the album since there's better tracks, but at least it showcases some of the band's newer sounds.

From there, things get more expansive. At times, it feels like there are two sounds happening. For example in "Let's See It", it sounds as if the band's returned back to the previous album's roots, but when songs like "After Hours" (which actually sits right at home here) and "Tonight" groove there way through the speakers, it makes you wonder if the band listened to something like Joy Division or some other hits from the 70's/80's in the recording process.

By the time the album draws to a close with "That's What Counts", a great finale laced with saxophones and somewhat, upbeat lyrics of enjoying moments instead of thinking of consequences, I was left thinking that during the whole album, there wasn't a single song I would use as the album's summary. It's not like "With Love & Squalor" where I could say listening to "It's a Hit" gives you the general gist of every song on the record. Here, because each song has something distinctive and sounds different from before, you'd have to listen to the whole album to see the wide range of things going on.

To put it in simple terms, if you're expecting indie anthems like "The Great Escape" or laugh out loud lyrics like "Ram It Home", there not here. Instead, it's more of a mature sound that expands on the good stuff, but also brings new stuff to the table, which is what many bands fail to do on the second album.

Fans of We Are Scientists should enjoy the second album, there's a few dud moments here and there (one example being "Ghouls", it wasn't the best way to open the album) and if your music taste was ruined in the 80's with the use of synths amongst other things, you may as well not bother. But minus them, it's a great second album and it's nice to see a band with a lot of potential to make it huge, get past one of the toughest stages in a musician's career.

Well done lads, you well and truly have rammed it home.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 31, 2010 10:12 PM BST


Pro Evolution Soccer 2008 (PS3)
Pro Evolution Soccer 2008 (PS3)
Offered by Gameseek
Price: 16.45

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Pro DEvolution 2008, 28 Nov 2007
= Fun:2.0 out of 5 stars 
I'll be honest, when I first got into football games on to consoles, the first one I owned was FIFA International Soccer for the SNES. Although dated, isometric and unofficial, the game was a pretty good experience. It showed me that as long as the game was fun to play, that alone could overcome some of the game's short comings.

I was a FIFA fanboy up until 2005 (on my Gamecube, yes, I stayed loyal to Nintendo too) when after being "forced" to play the so-called enemy, Pro Evo, I was hooked. The game lacked a licence and didn't have the hundreds of teams FIFA offered, but instead, went for the more realistic approach to the game, it was more fluent, goals required actual skill and was an overall more satisfying experience.

I eventually gave up on FIFA and ended up for the next two years buying a second hand PS2 just to play Pro Evo 5 & 6. When the next gen consoles came along, I went with the PS3 and I eagerly awaited Pro Evo 2008. I hoped that the game would have the near-perfect of the original games with the added bonus of crisp, high-definition graphics with a better online mode.

So, come late October, Pro Evo 2008 was released, I knew it had a lot to live up to, despite turning on FIFA, I actually enjoyed FIFA 08 despite some problems but still deep down knew it would be well and truly trounced by it's counter-part.

Sadly, my hopes came crashing down, along with mine and many others.

Pro Evo 2008 to bluntly put it, shouldn't have been released. This isn't just my opinion, this is a lot of people's, including its creator, Shingo 'Seabass' Takatsuka who has stated the game shouldn't of but had to be released. If that hasn't warned you of the bashing this game will get, then this message should.

The most important part of Pro-Evo is the gameplay. The PS2's titles although had a few ningles, we're pretty much flawless. Although it has transcended well, a few too many bits and pieces haven't. Controls are exactly the same as before (which is fine if you've played Pro Evo before, but newer players will pick it up in time too). There's a few new features, one of which is diving, which will either cause you to jump for joy after winning a penalty, or feel like killing your system if the game does the same to you. The A.I for your opposition is alright, it still hard to score and if you make a good set piece, then chances are you weren't lucky and you generally did a good job.

The referee however seems to be in a time warp and has gone back to the ways of Pro Evo 4, in that, he hands out cards like breaths of air. Seriously, unless you do a slide tackle from the front and win the ball, chances are, your player could be sent off. In a multiplayer game I had, I had 3 players sent off for fairly normal tackles (in Football, a contact sport, keep that in mind) whilst my friend had 4 players kicked off for similar challenges, normally straight reds. It might be Konami's way of making sure slide-tackles are used to a minimum and discourage players from using them in the real world, but sometimes, when it's needed and it's a slight mistake, you'd think they'd be a bit more lenient.

Looks wise, although this is the PS3 (which has had a pretty mix card in its first year) and although it's Pro Evo, I did expect a bit more bling for my buck. Sadly, the game just doesn't cut it. Even on a Hi-Def TV, it still looks pretty poor. Pitches look drab, the crowd looks pretty poor (which it always did, just now, you'd expect they'd have the power to perhaps, touch it up). Some players look like their real life counter-parts, but for others, it will be a complete guessing game and it can be pretty distracting.

Speaking of distracting, how about we add a bit of lag to the experience? Yep, Pro Evo, famed for its fluency and well paced action, has now replaced it with slowdown and lag. Some stadiums are worse then others, but replays, many players on screen (e.g. corners and battles in the middle of the pitch) and online have suffered tremendously. Luckily a patch has just been released which does cure most of these problems, but online is still pretty much unplayable and the odd problem still happens offline.

Overall, Pro Evolution 2008 is the start of Konami's venture into next-gen consoles (you could include last years since PE6 was on the Xbox 360, but since there was no PS3 or Wii versions, it's the first game with all next-gen platforms) and it's gone pretty downhill. Instead of just updating PE6 with fancy graphics, some new moves and an updated roster, something else happened and this is the end result. It's done some good things, but as a whole, its a very disappointing experience and not worthy of buying (which is evident with the recent price dropping). If you want a real football experience on your console, keep PE6 and wait until next year, if your that bothered for a next gen football game, FIFA 08 is your only other option, which after this travesty, doesn't seem that bad anymore.


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