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Harry Carr "carrliadiere" (Hampton Wick)

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Dead Or Alive Paradise (Sony PSP)
Dead Or Alive Paradise (Sony PSP)
Offered by GeeksWholesaler
Price: £9.99

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars What are you buying?, 12 April 2010
= Fun:3.0 out of 5 stars 
Dead or Alive: Paradise is a re-release of Dead or Alive Xtreme 2 on the 360. Some of the games have been stripped away (Jet Race and Water Slide), and an extra character has been added. On the topic of that extra character, Rio, she is now officially the best DoA girl.

Here's the long and short of it: DoA:P is a game based on mini games and collection. It can be played in bursts of less than 5 minutes, or for extended periods. It saves all the time, so you can turn it on and off whenever you want. If you enjoy simple mini games, anything to do with collection, or digital females, then you'll like it.

The macro game which encompasses the micro games is just plain relaxing, and that's the best word to describe the game. A two week holiday on a tropical island, punctuated by the casino, the volleyball, and the obligatory pictures.

But it expecting a relaxing collection of minigames, and you'll get an enjoyable experience. Buy it expecting anything else, and you'll not get into it at all (see the other review for more on that line of thought).


Bahrain Mini Visitor's Guide
Bahrain Mini Visitor's Guide
by Explorer Publishing
Edition: Paperback

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Miniature guide to Bahrain, surprisingly, 23 Jun. 2008
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I have been fascinated with Bahrain for about 10 months now, but have found it quite tough to get tourist advice for the country. It has some fabulous ancient sites and inspired tourist areas, but findout out about them is a chore.

Enter the Bahrain mini guide! It really is exactly what it purports to be. It's very small, smaller than you'll expect it to be. It would fit in you pocket easily. It contains information about the entire country, and handily maps most of it comprehensively. It includes simple 'If you only do one thing...' advice for each area, and succinctly highlights the... highlights of each area.

I am completely satisfied with this guide, and would feel perfectly happy having it as my only guide when I do go to Bahrain.


Atlas Shrugged (Penguin Modern Classics)
Atlas Shrugged (Penguin Modern Classics)
by Ayn Rand
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.69

7 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An epic of style and substance, 27 Nov. 2007
Atlas Shrugged is quite simply an awe-inspiring book, literally as well as in terms of content. As previously mentioned, it's a veritable behemoth, weighing in at 1180 pages.

However, much like War and Peace, its size stops being as issue the second you get involved with the book. The plot is incredibly detailed, often to extremes - 50 pages of various men discussing social sanctions is quite usual - but it never becomes dull because of the combination of incredible characterisation and genuinely refreshing philosophy.

Obviously Ayn Rand's philosophies are not 'new' as in 'brand new', but they are a largely under-read and under-valued capitalist philosophies which are of genuine interest. The fact that they are delivered through at least four of the most finely detailed and realised characters ever committed to paper - Dagny Taggart, Hank Rearden, Francisco D'Anconica and 'John Galt' - makes this novel hard to put down.

Part social commentary, part science fiction, part mystery, part romance, part philosophy - and the sheer bulk of the novel's content draws it all together superbly.

So much of it is fresh and engaging, and genuinely thought-provoking, that this is a novel which must surely go down as one of the all-time classics, not only for this generation, but for all time. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. Get through the first few segments, get used to the fact that you're reading mostly about the construction of railroads, and a gem of a novel awaits.


Children of Men [DVD]  [2006]
Children of Men [DVD] [2006]
Dvd ~ Clive Owen
Offered by DVDBayFBA
Price: £3.16

19 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful, 24 April 2007
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Children of Men [DVD] [2006] (DVD)
Children of Men is an emotional, powerful and shocking science fiction film.

The story is superb, and whilst the storytelling itself may fall short of some people's expectations (certain things never being explained), the cinematography is absolutely sublime, Clive Owen turns in the performance of an absolute master, and the impact of the film last for a very, very long time.

Absolutely fantastic, completely brilliant in every way. I cannot speak highly enough of this film

I urge you, if you haven't seen it, please do so.


Broken Sword: The Angel Of Death (PC DVD)
Broken Sword: The Angel Of Death (PC DVD)

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Old fashioned genius, 21 Sept. 2006
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
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The unique problem with the two modern Broken Sword games is that their very structure is a problem. Sony USA decided early on that the previous game 'The Sleeping Dragon' was simply too old-fashioned for their new, hip market, and as such refused its release in the states.

And starting up 'The Angel of Death', you can fairly easily see what Sony saw as a problem. Controls is clunky and unresponsive, George walks slowly and stoicly as you direct him, clipping and pathfinding problems abound and the graphical transition to 3D still proves to be a slight problem to Charles Cecil's Revolution Studios. The sense of danger in the opening scene is there, but the slow strategy of examining, finding and using items is not condusive to action as a whole. George Stobbart is not an action hero.

And it's when you realise this that the game as it is meant to be clicks into gear. Everything that George comes across that is of any importance can be scrutinised, and the vocal work is of the highest standard. Seemingly impossible situations can be thought through and played at a leisurely pace, and the fully interactive nature of the scenes makes this an enjoyable experience.

Characters are, as usual, varied and interesting, and the almost accidental part that they play in George's life makes them all the better. The simple depth of the people you meet comes together to produce the feel of a very deep and real world, and as the game progresses this is what makes it feel like such a seminal experience. You feel like your actions have meaning, as the already fantastic narrative is bolstered by the inclusion of these minor people who add the fringe of humour and purpose. The self-referential nature of the game is also a plus in this regard: having George confuse Anna-Maria with Nico Collard is a genuine masterstroke, and a nod to the fans who have been with the series for over ten years.

What else is there to say? If you're a fan as I am, this is the game you wanted it to be. The transition to 3D does work, and although nothing will ever be as memorably lush as the first Broken Sword game, the fashion of fantastic narrative and memorable characters is carried on here and polished. A great story, a great experience, and a fantastic addition to the series.


Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney (Nintendo DS)
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney (Nintendo DS)
Offered by MICRO LTD
Price: £14.99

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Before you judge my lies... at least let me tell them!, 30 July 2006
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
When a game is this good, you know it right away.

Aside from being possibly the most comedically brilliant game on the DS, it is designed so well that you hardly notice the devices you are using to play the game. A game which represents a Japanese justice system with American characters set in America sounds tough to do properly, but thanks to the touch-screen and the genius design, something as complex as presenting a piece of evidence to contradict a certain statement can be done in as little as three presses.

With a cast of characters which is varied and colourful, the game is engrossing and entertaining, as well as being something it is truly fun to play. The stories are presented fantastically and the drama of the court room is pitched to absolute perfection. On top of it all, there's little more rewarding than yelling 'objection!' at your DS and having it react accordingly.

Phoenix Wright is hilariously funny from start to finish, but manages to sneak in those little elements of meaning which transform it from pure parody into a meditation on the validity of human actions. As you watch the lives of your clients rise and fall, you are left with the words of Phoenix Wright himself to guide you in the end - 'What you've done in the past isn't important - learning from it and building for your future is.'


We Are The Pipettes
We Are The Pipettes
Price: £7.87

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Pipettes, 20 July 2006
This review is from: We Are The Pipettes (Audio CD)
Easy, very listenable pop tunes with the glossy veneer of retro-chic glamour. 'We Are The Pipettes' lasts just over 30 minutes from start to finish, and is a delight for the duration.

It's great to know that The Pipettes are just as cheery and dancy in person, too: their recent album release saw a live performance and signing at HMV Oxford Street, and the relentless energy and vigour of the girls (coupled with the Weezer-esque cool of The Cassettes) shoved home the fact that this is much, much more than a half-hearted attempt at a new take on retro pop. The Pipettes are about slightly eccentric, perfectly honed pop. Nothing more, nothing less. And they do it brilliantly.

There's certainly nothing here to enrage anybody. While the album might be lacking the killer punch which makes it a classic, the 14 tracks are more than enough to confirm The Pipettes as accomplished pop artists, and I hope there's much more to come.


Around the World in Eighty Treasures
Around the World in Eighty Treasures
by Dan Cruickshank
Edition: Hardcover

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From informative to intriguing to positively moving and life-altering, 4 Jun. 2006
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
As an avid fan of the BBC show 80 Treasures, and disgruntled at the lack of a DVD for the fine series, Cruickshank's book seemed like a good bet. I am interested in monuments and world history, and so Dan's travel around the world and look into the significance of its architecture in relation to society spoke to me on several levels.

And what a good choice it was to make the purchase! Cruickshank's writing style is quite something to behold when you first encounter it - it's between first- and third-person, past and present narrative, personal and social comment - and crucially it teems with the excitement he clearly has for his endeavor.

The pictures are stunning, but more stunning is the story Cruickshank tells. The story of the treasures and the story of his journey combine to provide a story about life - his conclusion that 'there is a universal religion' offers a fantastic conglomeration of expression and content which pervades the book as a whole.

Highlights include the Giants of Tula, Dan's obsession with eating insects, Petra, The Acropolis, the Taj Mahal and my personal favourite Lepis Magna, in which he manages to bring to life the city both on the page and in the mind of the reader. This is what is truly stunning and moving about the book - the story of the world's past is quite clearly the story of man's struggle to find meaning - to square the circle as Dan puts it - in his own existence, and his treasures and journey explore this to its fullest.

So don't even worry if you disagree with the inclusion of the colt, the death masks, the volkswagen and other such non-architectural treasures, because each one is chosen for its part in the wider story of history, and serves its purpose admirably.


Haunting Ground (PS2)
Haunting Ground (PS2)
Offered by Gamesbuyer
Price: £13.45

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Acta Est Fabula, 25 May 2005
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Haunting Ground (PS2) (Video Game)
Haunting Ground is one of those survival horrors 'with a difference' - a sub-genre which has flourished since the proliferation of Resident Evil titles, the success of Project Zeroes 1 and 2, and the ever growing shadow of the more intelligent and thoughtful Silent Hill titles. The difference here is that Fiona, the game's perky protagonist, is weak and feeble, and has absolutely no means of attacking anyone or anything herself. Seeing that she's now stuck in a castle being chased by a bevvy of unknown antagonists then, she'll need all the help she can get - and this comes in the form of a German Shephard, Hewie.
What we get, then, is a Clock Tower style game in which you must tip-toe around, solve the traditional puzzles, and run and hide whenever you are discovered by the local madman. Or woman, as that may be - the game excells early on with the introduction of the deliciously confusing Daniella, a character who will never truly be topped after she departs from the main thrust of the action.
Combat is handled by giving commands to Hewie, and after a short period of confusion this becomes second nature. You can also make him search, sit, shake hands with you, run away and other things, along with being able to praise or criticise him as need be. The Hewie / Fiona partnership is a strong one - playing as a helpless Fiona, you are almost pitifully reliant on Hewie, and as such you become quite endeared to him: his presence is calming and reassuring in a game which frequently comes very close to being terrifying.
But then again, it's just survival horror. The characters play out their parts in rusty voices, and the script is just a tad short of being 'cleverly concealing', and is instead annoyingly incomplete. I've completed the game, and I'm still not sure why everyone was after Fiona to such an extent. Unless, that is, they were attracted to her: Fiona is one of a relatively new breed of young, nubile, underdressed and over-sexualised protagonists who, for all their failings, rake in the pundits merely for their feminine qualities. It's questionable as to whether the average male player feels more inclined to protect Fiona because she's a scared young girl, or because she's a sexy young thing.
Well, whatever works for you. I have no shame in admitting I spent more than a fair few minutes deciding exactly which outfit to put her in, but what's more important is that I spent a good few days fully engrossed in an entertaining and involving game. It's easy to be genuinely worried about Fiona and, by the end, it's easy to see why Haunting Ground has been flying off the shelves to a far greater extent than Capcom considered possible - it's successful on almost every level.


Final Fantasy X-2 (PS2)
Final Fantasy X-2 (PS2)
Offered by games.empire
Price: £10.95

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Therapeutic return to Spira, 7 Mar. 2004
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Final Fantasy X-2 is a confused game, this much is clear from the two opening sequences to the game. The usual, sombre opening credits are intact, and from this beginning you could be forgiven for thinking you were about to embark on the usual Final Fantasy adventure, with accompanying heavy plots and emotional scenes aplenty.
This is shattered once you start the game, however. Our heroes are introduced in colourful cut-away freeze frame, in moments which very correctly remind many people of 'Charlie's Angels.' Yuna sings J-Pop, Rikku tries to subdue a guard using her cuteness, and Paine jumps straight into action. A few moments later, the girls all join up for a group freeze-frame, and the unsuspecting gamer is left not knowing what to think.
It establishes itself quickly as light-hearted, yet also throws you quickly into the thick of battle, and the unitiated may be taken aback by the speedy nature of the turn-based battles. This is a tremendous change for the series, though: the clunky, pause-ridden battles which have typified FF games thusfar is emphatically thrown out of the window, and replaced with something much more condusive to real action.
Side-quests are a large feature of this game, and it is pleasing to discover that if you should ever bore of the main story, you can take day-trips to other areas and indulge yourself in a mini game or two. I once visited Luca, intending only to level up a few times before I continued, but was drawn into a beuatifully detailed reconstruction of some of Yuna's backstory: a most pleasing diversion.
Production values in this game are consistently high, and the amount of speech, especially in battles, is hugely impressive. The characters are thus fleshed out fantastically, and the player is drawn into the experience with great intensity.
The one drawback is that this is still Final Fantasy: seemingly a curious criticism. You still go from A to B and battle a boss before you get the item you want. You still have to level up and get money to beat these bosses, and you still have to use trial and error on too many occassions.
The saving grace of FFX-2 is the inventive nature of the in-game experience, and the diverse society which makes up Spira.
Rikku, Yuna and Paine do succeed in making this a successful sequel to FFX, and hopefully Square-Enix can learn from what they've done here to make FFXII a fantastic experience.


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