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Alan Wake - Limited Edition
Alan Wake - Limited Edition
Offered by John Seth Smith
Price: £69.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece of Modern Gaming, 8 Jun. 2012
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I am not a massive fan of linear, repetitive, mindless shoot 'em up games with no real story, no character development, and obvious lack of effort by game developers to rush something out to the shelves in order to make a quick sale.

Alan Wake is none of the above.

I happened upon this game accidentally, while looking for other XBOX games for my new console. It was a suggested title after researching Deadly Premonition, which apparently has hints of inspiration from the TV series Twin Peaks, one of my all-time favourite TV shows. After further research, I find out that the same is said for Alan Wake.

From the start of the game, you are thrown into a kind of compulsory tutorial in the form of a dream sequence, giving you a hint of what you will be facing throughout the course of your adventure. This gives you an idea of how to handle the combat scenarios and how to deal with your surroundings in general.

The characters that you soon go on to meet are all extremely diverse - cliché small town American inhabitants, but diverse and interesting nonetheless. Stay on your guard though, some will have your best interests at heart - others will not.

The primary focus of the game is the search for Alice, Alan's wife who disappears under mysterious circumstances, and the game's developers have done a great job in making sure that you actually care about your main goal, by adding enough character traits that make you warm to her, and by adding enough mystery and intrigue surrounding her disappearance.

The game comes in episodic format, a six-part adventure which feels like you're playing part in a TV mini-series. The wonderful result of this means that there are often gripping cliffhangers at the end of each part. After playing an "episode" to the end, with the intention of coming back to the next one later, I found myself glued to the game and playing it well into the next part.

There are a number of high adrenaline scenes, which really do get your heart pumping, as you are surprised by one enemy, or relentlessly attacked by several. Playing this game by night, with the lights off, is not for the faint hearted, but is guaranteed to increase the atmospheric impact.

The only minor problem I would be bold enough to note is that the battle sequences can sometimes become a little repetitive, and you may find yourself longing for the respite of daylight. What would have made this game perfect in my eyes would have been the addition of more puzzles to solve along the way. However, there are enough variants of enemy to keep the fight scenes interesting, and enough different weapon types to give you a variety of ways to defend yourself against the hordes of mysterious attackers.

Overall, Alan Wake is an inventive, well written, imaginative, creepy, and fascinating adventure with stunning graphics and an outstanding soundtrack. I urge anyone who is interested in this genre to grab their copy immediately. After researching this game before purchase, I was so confident that I was going to enjoy it that I bought the Limited Collector's Edition. There is also a Prima guide available to help you along, and avid collectors may be more interested in the two-book bundle version, which comes with an extra book detailing background information behind the five year development of this excellent game.

As with all popular releases, further merchandise is available, such as a book based on the game, and the full length eighteen track soundtrack available on CD. The CD that comes with the Limited Collector's Edition of the game is only ten tracks long, and gives you a mere taster. The same can be said for the soundtrack CD that comes with the Limited Edition of the PC version of Alan Wake, which is only thirteen tracks long.

Alan Wake is a game that will keep you coming back for more, and after completion, you'll want to play it again, possibly on one of the higher difficulty settings if you're feeling masochistic. The two downloadable content episodes add further depth to the story (The first one is available free with the Limited Edition Pack for XBOX, and both are available free with the Limited Edition for PC), and the recent release of the stand-alone game Alan Wake's American Nightmare, makes me think that there are still many more good things to come from the world of Alan Wake.


Stephen King's The Golden Years [DVD]
Stephen King's The Golden Years [DVD]
Dvd ~ Stephen King
Offered by wantitcheaper
Price: £6.02

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Butchered version of an original classic., 17 Jan. 2011
Well, King has strayed from his usual horror story genre to produce a little bit of TV mini-series heaven.

Set in upstate New York, "Golden Years" is based around 70 year old Harlan Williams, a janitor working for a top secret government plant. He is accidently caught in an explosion from one of the labs where the typical cliche "mad scientist" Dr Todhunter was conducting so-called 'regeneration' experiments. Over time, Harlan begins to notice sudden changes in his body. Brown hairs begin to reappear in the place of grey ones, his skin becomes softer, his eyes don't need glasses anymore! He begins to get younger.

The accident causes some concern in the government, so the spooks are soon on the scene in the form of King's notorious "Shop" agents. Witnesses to what is happening to Harlan begin to disappear after the arrival of government agent Jude Andrews. The heads of the plant, Terri Spann and General Lewis Crewes, grow suspicious of the intentions of the people they have been working for and decide to help the old janitor and his wife escape to safety.

A race across the states begins, Harlan and his wife flee for their lives while coping with the effects of his reverse ageing. This is a great little story, and had it not been rushed to an ending, it may have become a King classic. The original ending to the 7-part series finished on a cliff-hanger where Jude Andrews and his henchmen may have actually caught Harlan. It ended with the tag-line 'To Be Continued...' But the TV network was disappointed with viewing figures, so a new ending was shot, providing closure for this quite inventive story. Unfortunately, what you find on this DVD is a butchered, shortened down 4 hour version of the original 6 hour classic.

The concept of the story is great, the characters are brilliant (especially the play-off between old enemies Jude Andrews and Terri Spann as she manages to be one step ahead of him every time), it is just a shame that the final scene was so rushed, and that there seems to be no sign of an uncut DVD set (except for in the Netherlands of all places!).

For die-hard sci-fi and King fans, this is still definately worth a look. But try and get hold of the complete 7 episode version instead.


The X Files: Essentials [DVD]
The X Files: Essentials [DVD]
Dvd ~ Gillian Anderson
Offered by Discs4all
Price: £2.47

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Means to an End, 24 Jun. 2008
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I must agree with the first reviewer of this item when he says that there are much better episodes to immerse yourself into the world of The X-Files.

This DVD set is being advertised on the premise that it is preparing you for the upcoming movie "The X-Files: I Want To Believe", but I am sensing a slightly different motive. Looking at the selection of episodes that have been chosen for this release, it appears that each one covers a totally different genre. We have the "Pilot", which covers aliens. "Beyond The Sea", covering ESP. "The Host", covering a monster-of-the-week story. "Clyde Bruckman" and "Bad Blood" covering comedic and narrative episodes. "Memento Mori" covering drama...

The point I am making is that this is almost a 2-DVD advertisement to non-watchers of the show saying "Hey, look at all the stuff we can do, go out and buy the whole series!"
From the episodes chosen, it certainly does not work as a lead up to a movie. The stories are too varied and would confuse a new viewer as to what The X-Files is trying to be.

In my opinion, this set works for an avid fan to be able to purchase a new piece of X-Files merchandise in 2008 and to place on their shelves next to "The Truth" that they bought back in 2003.

My advice to new viewers who are intregued by the upcoming movie is to either buy the whole set and start watching now, or to just go see the movie with an open mind.

I'm sure the new movie alone will be a perfect advertisement to new viewers to go and buy the series, without this set ever needing to be released.
This 2-DVD set is not a thorough initiation into the X-Files world. It merely skims over the surface of one of the most in-depth and intelligent television shows of our generation.

PS: It gets 5 stars because I am one of those people who will probably be sucked into buying this so I can place it next to MY copy of "The Truth".


Bully: Scholarship Edition (Wii)
Bully: Scholarship Edition (Wii)
Offered by Bonkers4Bargains!
Price: £14.95

42 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't Believe the Name, Believe The Hype, 26 Mar. 2008
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Having only recently bought a Nintendo Wii, and exausting Wii Sports to death, I plunged for "Bully" as my first official game purchase for my new console, and I have to say I was more than pleasantly suprised.

"Bully" is the tale of 15 year old Jimmy, a little tough guy who is not afraid to stand up for himself and what he believes in. Unfortunately, there are others who wish to stand in his way, which include not only members of the student body, but authority as well.

Due to the fact that this game was a Rockstar release, the same software house that has brought us the incredible "Grand Theft Auto" series, "Bully" (or "Canis Canem Edit" in it's previous 2006 release) has received a lot of bad press from ignorant, uninformed people too quick to brand this as another violent game that was going to promote bullying in schools. What you actually realise while playing this game is that this is far different from the style of gameplay brought to us in "GTA." Although the graphics, game engine and playing style are basically the same, the story pits you (as Jimmy) AGAINST the Bullys, fighting for what he believes in and sticking up for the weak and helpless.

The moral story behind "Bully" is rather positive, and therefore should be celebrated as an achievement from Rockstar, balancing out what they brought us with "GTA". Sure, you have elements of mischeif, but there is no blood, no vicious violence, no killing and no explicit bad language. It is purely the fun and cheekiness that we all wish our school days had been like! (Speaking of school days, if you ever played "Skool Daze" or "Back 2 Skool" on your ZX Spectrum or Commodore 64, you will realise that "Bully" is the game you always wanted them to be!)

Overall, with the Wii, "Bully" is a fantastic game. You can use the remote to fire your catapult, fist fight with the bullys, pinch girl's bums, and even raise your arms up to give the bad guys wedgies! It's the most fun I've had in ages.

Thumbs up Rockstar!
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 20, 2008 8:01 PM BST


Stephen King's Golden Years [DVD] [1991] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Stephen King's Golden Years [DVD] [1991] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Offered by EliteDigital UK
Price: £23.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Butchered Version of an Original Classic, 26 Mar. 2008
Well, King has strayed from his usual horror story genre to produce a little bit of TV mini-series heaven.

Set in upstate New York, "Golden Years" is based around 70 year old Harlan Williams, a janitor working for a top secret government plant. He is accidently caught in an explosion from one of the labs where the typical cliche "mad scientist" Dr Todhunter was conducting so-called 'regeneration' experiments. Over time, Harlan begins to notice sudden changes in his body. Brown hairs begin to reappear in the place of grey ones, his skin becomes softer, his eyes don't need glasses anymore! He begins to get younger.

The accident causes some concern in the government, so the spooks are soon on the scene in the form of King's notorious "Shop" agents. Witnesses to what is happening to Harlan begin to disappear after the arrival of government agent Jude Andrews. The heads of the plant, Terri Spann and General Lewis Crewes, grow suspicious of the intentions of the people they have been working for and decide to hel the old janitor and his wife escape to safety.

A race across the states begins, Harlan and his wife flee for their lives while coping with the effects of his reverse ageing. This is a great little story, and had it not been rushed to an ending, it may have become a King classic. The original ending to the 7-part series finished on a cliff-hanger where Jude Andrews and his henchmen may have actually caught Harlan. It ended with the tag-line 'To Be Continued...' But the TV network was disappointed with viewing figures, so a new ending was shot, providing closure for this quite inventive story. Unfortunately, what you find on this DVD is a butchered, shortened down 4 hour version of the original 6 hour classic.

The concept of the story is great, the characters are brilliant (especially the play-off between old enemies Jude Andrews and Terri Spann as she manages to be one step ahead of him every time), it is just a shame that the final scene was so rushed, and that there seems to be no sign of an uncut DVD set (except for in the Netherlands of all places!).

For die-hard sci-fi and King fans, this is still definately worth a look.


Lost: The Video Game (PC DVD)
Lost: The Video Game (PC DVD)
Offered by 4GamersUK
Price: £1.30

15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Island Is Calling..., 21 Mar. 2008
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
FIRST THOUGHTS:
When I saw this game was due for release, I couldn't be more excited. Part of me was hesitant at not wanting this flawless series ruined by a substandard piece of merchandise, but I decided to give it a go due to the screen-shots and previews I had seen.

INTRODUCTION:
You play the part of a male survivor of the Oceanic 815 crash, but unfortunately you are cursed with amnesia. I will not say any more than that. Your aim in the game is to search for clues to your true identity and try to get the other survivors to trust you.

COOL TIE-INS:
For the true fans (and I will keep this as spoiler-less as possible) you get enough things thrown in to remind you that you're in the world of LOST. You wake up on your back, follow the dog to the crash site, race around trying to help people, run like hell from the black smoke, enter the numbers tirelessly into that crap computer, see weird maps on the wall when the LOCKDOWN happens, get the crap beat out of you by Sayid before he locks you in the armoury, use dynamite to blow stuff up, gunfights with the Others, visit the Black Rock, visit the other Dharma bases (such as the Flame and Hydra), have Locke tell you how great and wonderful the island is, have Ben try and mess with your head... there is enough to keep the avid Lost fan happy.

GAME QUALITY:
The story is very good, told in true Lost style. Each of the seven "episodes" you take part in are loaded with suspense and intregue. Each begins with a "Previously On Lost" trailer, and an interactive "teaser" before the official Lost intro. To mirror this, each "episode" ends on a cliffhanger. To the none-Lost fan, the gameplay would not make much sense, as there are things referred to that you are already expected to know. Other than that, the graphics are fantastic, the audio is well produced and the actors are nearly all genuine (yes, ignore the review that says they're all fake impersonators, just read the cast list for proof.)

GOOD POINTS:
All of the above, plus more. Bloody brilliant production. Plus, there are numerous clues that avid Lost investigators will pick up on (references to Widmore, Hanso, etc) and followers of the online game "The Lost Experience" will pick up on (Thomas Mittlewerk, etc). Also, it may be worth mentioning that the very final cutscene at the finale of the game (which just blew me away half an hour ago) is a very big clue to what is actually happening on our favourite island.

BAD POINTS:
Some tedious puzzles (the fuse ones), and the fact that this game is just too short. Don't get me wrong, it is blatantly obvious that a hell of a lot of time and effort has gone into producing this game, but (as with the actual series) it just left me wanting more.

CONCLUSION:
Very simple advice here: If you love Lost, buy the game. If you've never watched it, don't bother. My only other wish is that I'd waited 2 weeks... because they just knocked the price down by a tenner!!!

4 8 15 16 23 42

Namaste.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 24, 2008 11:43 AM BST


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