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Harry Carr "carrliadiere" (Teddington)
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Grand Theft Auto III and Grand Theft Auto Vice City- Double Pack (Xbox)
Grand Theft Auto III and Grand Theft Auto Vice City- Double Pack (Xbox)
Offered by Bonkers4Bargains!
Price: £58.95

23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An essential re-release, 2 Jan 2004
This re-release of the two most recent GTA games is an absolutely essential purchase for any fan of the games. The reason? The XBox versions are far, far superior to the PS2 versions which preceeded them.
The L and R triggers used to control cars affords you a FAR greater level of control, and the custom soundtrack option, which manifests itself in a CD player in GTAIII and a tape deck in GTA:VC, adds to the game even more.
After a reasonably lengthy and difficult getaway from the police, i completed a jump over a river to safety... just as 'Mr E's Beautiful Blues', one of my favourite songs, kicked in on the car radio, as a custom track. It doesn't get much better than that!
Grand Theft Auto III shines, literally. The character models have had a hefty re-think, and everything is much more defined. The cars are shiny to an extreme, and reflect the city and the light beautifully. The draw distance is also much better than the PS2 version, and there are no points where you see a blue square on the road where the PS2 would be struggling to load the graphics.
When you save the game, it is almost instant. Not as instant as it is on Halo, but FAR faster than the PS2 versions.
What this all adds up to is the tweaking to perfection of a brilliant game. The XBox is the ultimate console for this game, and although Rockstar are tied to the PS2 for the foreseeable future, they could seriously consider XBox versions, as the console offers far more for this genre.


Pro Evolution Soccer 3 (PS2)
Pro Evolution Soccer 3 (PS2)
Offered by Quick Discount Sales
Price: £39.99

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the beautiful game, 27 Dec 2003
PES1 was great, PES2 was quite simply sublime, and PES3 has continued the trend by being just that bit better, just that bit sleeker, and just that bit more like the real beautiful game.
Everything is here. A far more realistic master league, now featuring 4 seperate leagues each split into two divisions, which leads to a champions league style tournament between the top teams of each league.
Player transfers between teams have been tweaked to near perfection: you can no longer acquire players with no club team for free, making for a much more balanced master league experience.
Players perform the duties they perform in real life. Zidane is a playmaker with incredible skill, Roberto Carlos powers down the wing and shoots from long distance, David Seaman lets a lot of poor shots past him.
The gameplay has been honed to perfection. Matches can be high scoring (4-0 is the highest I have acheived, and also the most I have been defeated by) or they can be 0-0 affairs where nothing you do works. It's all down to you - if you have the skill, you can pull something special out of the bag. If you're just running straight at the goal, more often then not you'll be broken down and counter-attacked. Your players have varying morale and fitness - if you don't rest key men you can find yourself suffering at the hands of a team far below you in the league.
Celebrations are better now, also! There are many trademark celebrations, and I am pleased that scoring late in the game makes your striker pick the ball out of the net and run back to the centre.
The licence is again disappointing: I solved this by purchasing the update disc from amazon, which was cheap enough and worked perfectly. As a result, this game could not be any better. I would like to see Konami put more money into the licence, however: it would make a great game absolutely irresistable. The commentary is fine, and functional. There are some pretty nifty comments (although I am disappointed that PES2's 'that's the shot of a master!' has been removed) but it is mostly unspectacular.
One player is fantastic, as are exhibition matches or tournaments with two or more players. You could kill many hours on PES3 multiplayer.
It is often said, but it needs saying again. PES3 is how football is supposed to be. It flows, it's realistic, and when it all comes together, it feels brilliant.


Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (Xbox)
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (Xbox)

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extremely successful use of the Star Wars franchise, finally, 16 Sep 2003
Before this, the mildly distracting Rogue Squadron games were the pinnacle of Star Wars games, but now there is a truly successful game based on the wildly popular films.
Taking the form of a Morrowind-style RPG, the game starts with you waking up on a starship which is under attack. You are soon on a planet and going about your first mission, and it is during this that you will realise how well-conceived the game is.
Unlike Morrowind, which was truly open-ended, Knights of the Old Republic is somewhat linear. However, it is linear in the best possible way - all the side-quests seem brilliantly tied-in with the mission you are currently on, and work to build upon the impact of the game world, rather than stretch it, which was often the case with Morrowind.
As a result, the Star Wars universe seems fantastically diverse, and yet your mission still seems acheivable and important.
The battle system, the subject of much praise, seems awkward and random at first. However, once your group has swelled to three characters, and more items and attacks become available to you, the brilliance of it becomes apparant. Battles can be paused, attacks prepared and defenses lined-up. Once mastered it can be manipulated with great ease, and is generally very pleasing.
The story of each of the player characters is enthralling, the plot is well-told, and the game frequently diverts your attention with such things as races, starship battles and even cluedo-like 'play detective' scenarios. The graphics are fantastic, and the entire experience seems highly polished.


What Is the Problem?
What Is the Problem?

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars fantastic track, 23 Aug 2003
This review is from: What Is the Problem? (Audio CD)
A fantastic track from Grafiti - totally unlike anything i've heard before, and yet totally catchy. 'Hooligan House' is probably the best way to describe this type of music, but it's more sedate than this description makes it sound... classy music.
I can see this being used as the backing tune for countless TV shows, it has a definite 'drive.' Can't wait for the album.


Silent Hill 3 (PS2)
Silent Hill 3 (PS2)
Offered by Super-bargains
Price: £7.93

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 'Remember me, and your true self as well', 24 May 2003
This review is from: Silent Hill 3 (PS2) (Video Game)
The story of Silent Hill 3 is standard fare, but is told very well. I was particularly impressed by the Mall sequence, where you are transported from a regular Mall, with regular people, to a completely twisted vision of hell - and it seems like a natural progression. Konami successfully make the decay from regular life to hellish life as smooth as possible, making the game flow more.
The weapons system is much more accessible than in Silent Hill 2 - there are more weapons, more ammuntion, and there's a feature which allows you to 'lock on' to the enemy somewhat, which helps significantly.
The dynamic camera is impressive, and although it has a tendency to get stuck in a birds-eye view position, which helps nobody, this can easily be solved by tapping L2.
The graphics are incredibly good. Protagonist Heather is detailed brilliantly, as are the supporting characters. I have a minor gripe with the draw-distance in exterior locations (although it is vastly improved from SH2), but this rarely becomes a real problem.
The fear-factor of the game is not particularly vivid or gruesome (despite an unintentionally hilarious warning when you start the game), it's the things you can only partially see which worry the most.
And the soundtrack, designed specifically so you can't tell if it's the groans of monsters you can hear or the music itself, does its job brilliantly. The queasy may be more inclined to turn off their speakers than to shut their eyes, as the music is, in some areas, demonic.
All in all, a very decent game. I can't find a definite fault with it, unless being too scary actually counts.


SOS: The Final Escape
SOS: The Final Escape

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic survival horror, 22 Mar 2003
This review is from: SOS: The Final Escape (Video Game)
Firstly, the following things are true: The graphics aren't great, the frame-rate is, at time, shocking, and the camera has a lot to answer for. This game, like most all games, is not without its problems.
However - this game makes up for all these shortcomings with incredible finesse.
The first time you see a building crumble, the game captivates you. For the first time outside of Sim City, the city you are in seems very real, and very vulnerable. Something as simple as walking a long a street becomes potentially hazardous... when you see the bridge to your left ominously sway.
And therein lies the beauty of the game. Success is about quick wits, about getting the hell out of the way when another earthquake hits. Yes, there are 'instant death' scenarios... but once you've experienced them, you think to yourself: 'were I in that situation, would I actually walk into a subway train which is dangling off a bridge?'. The game teaches you lessons, and forces you to act.
As a result, it never fails to excite. Scenarios such-as an entire restaurant slowly crumbling and sliding into the ocean while you are finding valuable items keep the tempo high, and these types of scenarios occur on a regular basis.
Much has been said about the awkaward qualities of the voice acting and script, but having played for four hours, I can honestly say it doesn't grate. The script is of a low standard, but this adds to the game, giving it that quirky japanese feel that games like this benefit from greatly.
To conclude: a brilliant game, plagued (but not killed) by some animation glitches. If you liked Project Zero, or liked Resident Evil but not the zombies, then this is a must-buy.


Ring (1998) [DVD] [2000]
Ring (1998) [DVD] [2000]
Dvd ~ Nanako Matsushima
Offered by Jasuli
Price: £4.95

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars anxiety and fear, 26 Feb 2003
This review is from: Ring (1998) [DVD] [2000] (DVD)
Simply put, a fantastic film.
I watched this film in a state of almost constant fear - it is therefore odd to re-watch the film and find that there is really only one instance in which a visual effect 'scares' you. The rest of the fear is built up through, as Ryuji himself says, 'anxieties and fears', which manifest themselves into a belief that the impossible could happen, and that the supernatural could become natural.
The direction is sublime. My hat comes off for the director, who successfully manages to make scenes seamlessly switch from innocent to potentially devestating - the scene at the very beginning is testament to this, as the viewer does not know whether to laugh or hide behind a cushion.
Further plaudits must go to the actor playing Ryuji, who is perfect all the way through, changing from cynicism to conviction, fear to calm, and providing a strong and reassuring presence on screen. In scenes where Ryuji is ominously absent, the level of fear for the viewer rises exponentially.
No horror film, since The Shining, has succeeded as both an effective horror and a fantastic film, for me - Ring changes this.
A fantastic film, made all the better by the fact that no lazy dubbing has been attempted. Recommended.


Project Zero (PS2)
Project Zero (PS2)

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A triumph of cinematic videogaming, 5 Jan 2003
This review is from: Project Zero (PS2) (Video Game)
Project Zero is, from the outset, a wonderfully realised videogame. Starting off in dreary black and white, you play as the main character's brother, on an initial trip to a deserted mansion. Obviously, Resident Evil springs to mind, but the comparisons should really end there.
You could be forgiven for expecting the entire game to take place in black and white, as it looks positively stunning - but when Miku appears, you are transported to luscious colour, and the game just gets better from there.
Individual moments of the game succeed in tying together the past and the present (such as seeing the ghost of your brother, walking the footsteps you walked him in minutes earlier...), and this keeps the plot alive - the experience is never a lonely or boring one.
A useful 'correlation' screen keeps you in check with the ins and outs of the various characters you meet or are searching for, and this aids the progression of the plot markedly.
The sound effects are sublime -without sounding geeky, the 'ting' when the white kimono girl appears is fantastically executed - and the effect of the sound and graphics combines to make a brilliantly spooky affair - this is a game definately meant to be played in the dark.
It is not without problems, though. The control system is awkward at first, and Miku is not always fully responsive. The camera system is, contrary to popular belief, not difficult at all. If pressing O then X is hard for some people, then maybe they should put down their controllers right now.
The voice acting is, at time, lamentable - the audio tapes that would provide pleasingly atmospheric plot clues are spoken in a catatonic tone that suggests a man reading from a script, poorly.
Other than that, Project Zero is a wonderful experience, and worth every penny.


Final Fantasy X (PS2)
Final Fantasy X (PS2)
Offered by MyMemory
Price: £9.47

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Formulaic, 11 Nov 2002
This review is from: Final Fantasy X (PS2) (Video Game)
FFX has the right mood, the right tone, great presentation, and its heart is obviously in the right place. The characters, while not actively interesting, are colourful, and from time to time, i guess you do care about what happens to them. The world is well-realised, the plot is standard fare, and the battle system is as it ever was. There are many problems with the game:
It's too linear. There is absolutely no room for branching out, and deviating from the set path. None whatsoever, mainly because of the absence of a world map.
It's too formulaic, and repetitive. The biggest challenge is beating the next, bigger monster - and the way you do it is always the same. You fight the smaller monsters and get more sphere points and become better. Repeat, ad naseum.
It is far too obscure and meaningless. The less said about the ending, the better. And the plot, while never really predictable, never sparkles. Nothing truly shocking happens, there's no scope for it. And, due to the relative unimportance of your band of characters, and the players' seperation from most of them, no real emotional tie is developed with anyone. The game is nothing more than an infant school play, acted out before you. Sure, it's cute - but it's not great.
All in all, a nice game. Nothing like the experience FF7 was - closer to a graphically resplendant Hybrid Heaven than anything.
The only really good bit, call me a videogame fanboy if you will, is that Lulu is really hot.


Coupling: Complete Series 2 [DVD]
Coupling: Complete Series 2 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Jack Davenport
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £2.96

17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You're shaking the caravan, Jeffrey!, 17 Oct 2002
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Simply put - comedy. Purely British, English comedy and not dumbed down for anyone. Coupling almost has it's own 'bubble', what with all the theories the group are throwing out about the world and life, and how things work... it's like being inside that bar is being inside a slightly different, much funnier world.
Only poor episode is 'Jane and the truth-snake', which steers too much towards a Friends-style relieance on props to achieve comedy.
Brilliant moments include Captain Subtext, the melty man, the dangerous parts of australia, the cushions, having too many legs, and accidentally telling your girlfriend your name is Dick Darlington.
Series 3 is currently on BBC2, and it seems as though this series will be leading British comedy for a while to come. Very good!


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