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Cambridge Writer "CK" (Northampton, UK)

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WipEout Pure - Platinum Edition (PSP)
WipEout Pure - Platinum Edition (PSP)
Offered by Invero
Price: £5.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Wipeout Anthology of sorts, 24 Mar. 2007
Wipeout Pure contains a range of vehicles, tracks and modes across all the Wipeout games up to its release. Because of this and the portability of the PSP format, it is my favourite Wipeout game and a worthwhile addition to any PSP collection. It's the best racing game on the format - technically it never chugs, even at the higher speed classes where Wipeout's legendary high speed shines through, and the whole game looks brilliant with light effects, bright colours and detailed explosions. In the same way that Mario Kart DS contains a hand-picked range of features across the whole series and offers up pretty much the perfect incarnation of Mario Kart, so too does Wipeout Pure for the Wipeout series.

The well-balanced weapon set, the downloadable content (new tracks, etc.) and the classic Wipeout gameplay make this one of my favourite PSP titles. I'm not the world's biggest Wipeout fan, but I can appreciate a few tracks before bed or on the train, and found myself getting hooked and spending serious time working through all the modes (the cups, the time trials and zone mode - where you can't slow down and keep going until your ship runs out of energy and explodes).

My only criticism is the lack of an online multiplayer. Sure, you can play with your friends who have PSPs in the same room wirelessly but I would have liked to be able to compete online over the internet. Other than that, this is a great summation of everything that's good about the Wipeout series, and portable to boot.


The Complete Guide to Game Development, Art & Design
The Complete Guide to Game Development, Art & Design
by Ste Curran
Edition: Paperback

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great insight into the production of a game, 23 Mar. 2007
I stumbled upon this book in the university library, doing a computer search for stuff by Ste Curran (an ex-EDGE editor whose work I enjoyed). A university library is precisely where such a book belongs. Anyone doing a media course would benefit from reading it to find out more about the process of game production, as video gaming is already a hugely important medium that is influencing film, comics, literature, TV and even theatre.

If you're a pre-university student considering a course in graphic design, computer science or anything else that might lead to a job in the games industry then this book is well worth reading as it explains what different jobs involve, how games are put together - the whole lot. Even someone thinking of going into game journalism would benefit, so they actually know the nitty gritty of how games are made instead of just obsessing over details they don't know the techniques behind.

In short, anyone interested in how games are made or even vaguely considering a role in the field would benefit from reading this book.

My only criticism is that I've heard from people who do work in gaming just how demoralising it can be and I felt this was something the book didn't really adequately tackle. I know that the book isn't supposed to be just a guide for people interested in working in video gaming (it's more of an overview of the process of game design) but as these people are, I think, the book's primary audience, it could have given more personal detail from people in the industry about their experiences and gripes.

I should point out that the book is presented brilliantly with lots of full colour pictures and excellent diagrams to explain the processes in as interesting a way as possible. There's very little dry writing and it's been made to be as readable as possible.

If you're at university and the library doesn't have a copy then definitely bug them to order it!


Game On!: From Pong to Oblivion - The Greatest Video Games of All Time
Game On!: From Pong to Oblivion - The Greatest Video Games of All Time
by Simon Byron
Edition: Paperback

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth buying as an introduction to video games, 23 Mar. 2007
As a long time video game fan my initial instinctive reaction to reading this book is to angrily throw it down shouting "I could have written this! And anyway, where is obscure Japanese shoot 'em up XI that everyone knows is the best game ever made?". I should point out, I didn't do this because I know that this book isn't for the veteran gamer who has played everything in it. This book is for those people who want to know about gaming from a broad perspective. That doesn't mean it's just for people who have never played a video game, but it's for people who haven't played across a broad range but would like to know more.

It is a common problem among gamers that they think because they play Pro Evo and Quake 8 hours a day they are therefore an expert on video games. WRONG! Game On shows the diversity of the medium and has insightful and easy to understand analysis of why the game in question is good, where it's weak, what it's done for video gaming as a whole, legacy, influences, all the relevant information if you want to know what titles are truly significant.

In short, this book is a perfect "Bluffer's guide to video games".

Whether you just want to get up to speed on gaming (perhaps you're doing a media course and are not a gamer, or maybe a parent of a video game developer) or whether you are already an avid gamer but are aware that you're missing out on the bigger gaming picture then a read of this book will clue you right up. Game On is complemented well by the authors' other, slightly more technical, book The Complete Guide to Game Development, Art & Design. If you read Game On and want to know more about gaming, particularly the production side, then that book is a good place to start.

I'm quite tempted to buy a copy of Game On specially for the bathroom so that the gaming-ignorant who go in there at least come out a little less so.


No Title Available

37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very naughty but a fascinating and enjoyable read, 23 Mar. 2007
There are three books in Alan Moore's Lost Girls series and they all concern the sexual adventures of Alice (from Wonderland), Dorothy (from the Wizard of Oz) and Wendy (from Peter Pan). In this first book the three girls - now grown up - meet by chance in a hotel and tell their experiences to each other, as well as having quite a lot of sex.

What is so great about the book is how the authors have reinterpreted the original fictional works and turned them into sexual stories which show how certain implications could have been hidden. For example, in the original Peter Pan, Wendy and her brothers receive a visit from Peter who shows them how to fly with magic dust and happy thoughts. This scene in Lost Girls is reimagined in graphic, sexual detail. It sounds like "filth", and to a certain extent the risqué element is part of the attraction, but actually it is a very clever and literate way of telling an original story.

This first book is mainly about setting up the characters of the three women by telling their first stories (the beginnings of the three books relating to girls) and having short interludes concerning the men in the women's lives now they are grown up, as well as sections about their desire to experiment (with Alice, the oldest and a lesbian). The opening scene is particularly well constructed I thought, where Wendy and her husband are talking and casting shadows on the wall which, while the positions causing the shadows are innocent, are incredibly sexual in their nature. It is subtle implications (about for example in this case people's subconscious desires) that Moore does so well.

Melinda Gebbie's art style gives a dream-like, slightly deformed feeling to the whole affair, which is highly appropriate to the subject matter, particularly in the more graphic sections where it is not just necessary to convey the plain mechanics of the action but to show how the characters themselves are feeling in participating.

If you are an open minded sort with a bit of background on the literature in question (Alice's Adventures in Wonderland/Through the Looking Glass, Peter Pan, and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz) then you should enjoy this. If you are the sort of person who flips out at the mere form of an erect penis or is offended by graphic sex scenes involving your beloved childhood story characters, then I advise steering clear - you will only upset yourself.


Super Mario 64 DS (Nintendo DS)
Super Mario 64 DS (Nintendo DS)
Price: £26.69

25 of 31 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A brave attempt at remaking Mario 64 but limited by the controls, 23 Mar. 2007
Mario 64 is one of the greatest games ever made. The balance of different levels and tasks requiring skill on the Nintendo 64's original control pad with a progressive demand on player ability made it one of the best balanced titles of all time. However, this version is for the Nintendo DS and so uses the stylus input to control the characters. Unfortunately it shows that the game was designed for an analogue gamepad and not the stylus and, no matter how long you play, it still feels imprecise and tricky to get the level of control needed for certain levels.

The main game does still shine through with some new levels (there are 150 stars to collect now - the original had 120) and, although you never quite get used to the stylus control, it's good enough that the game isn't completely spoiled and can still be enjoyed.

The real star of Super Mario 64 DS though is the selection of minigames you unlock from playing the main game. These are perfect for showing off the strength of the DS touch screen, from the turtle shell curling/pinball-style score games to the brilliant bouncing games where you draw lines to act as trampolines saving Mario from falling off the bottom of the screen.

It's worth playing, but if you are a fan of the original, you may be a bit disappointed by the way the new control system tarnishes an otherwise perfect game.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 15, 2013 9:23 PM GMT


Resident Evil (GameCube)
Resident Evil (GameCube)

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A worthy remake, 23 Mar. 2007
The original Resident Evil was groundbreaking. Playing the Zombie B-movie genre for all its worth, it used shocks, scary music and scarce ammo to make the player genuinely scared. However, the Playstation and Saturn original versions do look quite dated these days. This Gamecube remake is the perfect way to enjoy the original game without the frustrations of the limitations of the older consoles.

If you want to know where it all started or are just a fan of good, well put together survival horror games, you can't go wrong with this remake of the original classic.


Resident Evil 4 (PS2)
Resident Evil 4 (PS2)
Offered by APE-GAMES
Price: £12.27

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the very best action games on the Playstation 2, 23 Mar. 2007
This review is from: Resident Evil 4 (PS2) (Video Game)
Resident Evil 4 throws away everything that was inferior about the previous Resident Evil titles and builds new, better ideas from scratch. No more pre-rendered backgrounds, no more loading times covered by opening doors, and no more unclear targeting of enemies, just when you need a clear, accurate shot.

In Resident Evil 4 you play Leon, saving "the president's daughter" Ashley from a bizarre European location that, judging by the village you start in, may as well be 17th century Spain. However, the opening village is just the beginning - you move through a castle, an island, and the disturbing research labs that are in every single Resident Evil title.

The enemies are smarter, wielding melee weapons such as pitchforks and scythes, and later on there are enemies with miniguns and dynamite as you progress through a military base. The best change for this instalment of the series though is the focus on set pieces. Early on, there is a great section where Leon is under siege in a house in the village and barricades the doors against enemies trying to get in, including one particularly disturbing one with a chainsaw. Later on the set pieces continue, with sections involving cannons, lava pits, gates and cannisters of liquid nitrogen.

The game is packed with extra features too, a "Mercenaries" mode is unlocked upon completion of the game, which sets a time limit and requires the player (as a range of characters, not just Leon any more) to kill as many enemies as possible. It's an addictive and arcade-style mode which gives a reason to keep playing after having seen the main game.

This Playstation 2 version does have slightly longer loading times than the Gamecube game but there are more extra features, such as a whole set of levels involving Ada, which explain what she was doing in the main story in between the bits we see her with Leon. For a completist, this makes the PS2 version worth playing even if they've gone through the whole of the game on the Gamecube.

I genuinely think Resident Evil 4 is the best game of its generation overall, because it had better graphics than anything before it, offered a huge amount to do without dragging the main story too much and it refined the Resident Evil gameplay into something much more playable and precise than before.

One of the classics of the PS2 generation.


Resident Evil 4 (PS2) Platinum
Resident Evil 4 (PS2) Platinum
Offered by Gameseek
Price: £12.70

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars There's no excuse not to own this now., 23 Mar. 2007
Resident Evil 4 throws away everything that was inferior about the previous Resident Evil titles and builds new, better ideas from scratch. No more pre-rendered backgrounds, no more loading times covered by opening doors, and no more unclear targeting of enemies, just when you need a clear, accurate shot.

In Resident Evil 4 you play Leon, saving "the president's daughter" Ashley from a bizarre European location that, judging by the village you start in, may as well be 17th century Spain. However, the opening village is just the beginning - you move through a castle, an island, and the disturbing research labs that are in every single Resident Evil title.

The enemies are smarter, wielding melee weapons such as pitchforks and scythes, and later on there are enemies with miniguns and dynamite as you progress through a military base. The best change for this instalment of the series though is the focus on set pieces. Early on, there is a great section where Leon is under siege in a house in the village and barricades the doors against enemies trying to get in, including one particularly disturbing one with a chainsaw. Later on the set pieces continue, with sections involving cannons, lava pits, gates and cannisters of liquid nitrogen.

The game is packed with extra features too, a "Mercenaries" mode is unlocked upon completion of the game, which sets a time limit and requires the player (as a range of characters, not just Leon any more) to kill as many enemies as possible. It's an addictive and arcade-style mode which gives a reason to keep playing after having seen the main game.

This Playstation 2 version does have slightly longer loading times than the Gamecube game but there are more extra features, such as a whole set of levels involving Ada, which explain what she was doing in the main story in between the bits we see her with Leon. For a completist, this makes the PS2 version worth playing even if they've gone through the whole of the game on the Gamecube.

I genuinely think Resident Evil 4 is the best game of its generation overall, because it had better graphics than anything before it, offered a huge amount to do without dragging the main story too much and it refined the Resident Evil gameplay into something much more playable and precise than before.

Now the game has been released on Platinum there's no excuse not to own it!


Resident Evil 4 (GameCube)
Resident Evil 4 (GameCube)

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For my money, the best game of its generation, 23 Mar. 2007
Resident Evil 4 throws away everything that was inferior about the previous Resident Evil titles and builds new, better ideas from scratch. No more pre-rendered backgrounds, no more loading times covered by opening doors, and no more unclear targeting of enemies, just when you need a clear, accurate shot.

In Resident Evil 4 you play Leon, saving "the president's daughter" Ashley from a bizarre European location that, judging by the village you start in, may as well be 17th century Spain. However, the opening village is just the beginning - you move through a castle, an island, and the disturbing research labs that are in every single Resident Evil title.

The enemies are smarter, wielding melee weapons such as pitchforks and scythes, and later on there are enemies with miniguns and dynamite as you progress through a military base. The best change for this instalment of the series though is the focus on set pieces. Early on, there is a great section where Leon is under siege in a house in the village and barricades the doors against enemies trying to get in, including one particularly disturbing one with a chainsaw. Later on the set pieces continue, with sections involving cannons, lava pits, gates and cannisters of liquid nitrogen.

The game is packed with extra features too, a "Mercenaries" mode is unlocked upon completion of the game, which sets a time limit and requires the player (as a range of characters, not just Leon any more) to kill as many enemies as possible. It's an addictive and arcade-style mode which gives a reason to keep playing after having seen the main game.

This Gamecube version was the first to come out and has shorter loading times than the PS2 one as well as, in my opinion, a better-suited control system.

I genuinely think Resident Evil 4 is the best game of its generation overall, because it had better graphics than anything before it, offered a huge amount to do without dragging the main story too much and it refined the Resident Evil gameplay into something much more playable and precise than before.

Well worth playing.


Lumines (PSP)
Lumines (PSP)

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The best "zone" puzzle game since Tetris? Quite possibly!, 22 Mar. 2007
This review is from: Lumines (PSP) (Video Game)
Any gamer worth their salt will have played Tetris, and any gamer worth their salt AND pepper will have played Tetris enough to have it completely dominate their brain, the block-dropping patterns creeping into their mind when trying to get to sleep, when trying to concentrate on work, and even when watching TV or a film.

Lumines is just such a puzzle game, like Tetris, to get inside your head.

The player drops square 2x2 blocks into a space where a line is sweeping across in time to very hip, stylish music. The patterns are made of two colours and the aim of the game is to construct shapes of 2x2 or larger of the same colour, which will be removed with the sweeping of the line.

It's really that simple.

What makes Lumines so effective, like Rez from the same producer (Tetsuya Mizugichi), is that the music and bright, colourful lights move you into a trance-like state of block-dropping and pattern forming. Playing Lumines is a pleasant, relaxed experience of musical and aesthetic enjoyment.

The game doesn't try to beat Tetris as a deeper or more satisfying puzzle challenge, it simply offers something else to the mix - music and graphics - to take the experience in another direction.

Lumines is the kind of title you can play a bit every day for months. It's perfectly suited to the portable format as you'll find little times here and there (on the bus, in bed, on the loo) where you just have a quick 10~40 minute burst that causes you to forget about all your problems and trivialities of modern life and just escape - get lost in an abstract world of satisfying aesthetics.

Lumines isn't a game to rush out and buy immediately (there are other PSP titles that I would play before it priority-wise) but it's definitely worth snapping up cheap and having in the collection for when the puzzle mood takes hold of you.


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