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Simon J. Whight "fourfourfun" (Manchester)
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Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem (GameCube)
Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem (GameCube)

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nintendo go dark to great effect, 7 Feb. 2005
Nintendo's first foray into the more adult orientated game. Hard to think isn't it that one of the main players has firmly stuck to its 'Family Orientated' policy up until this point. The survival horror bug has bitten here and something a bit sinister has come from the usually bouncy Nintendo. Eternal Darkness isn't so much a Resident Evil clone, as it would be easy to pigeon hole it as such, but more of an expansive gothic horror.
The story is truely terrific, spanning thousands of years and several different characters, each having a chapter in the Tome of Eternal Darkness. Alex Roivas finds herself troubled by nightmares of the undead and her Grandfather when she is called to his house late one night by the Police. Something horrific has happed to him and Alex decides to explore his manor to search for clues as to why he was murdered. She stumbles upon an ancient book, the Tome of Eternal Darkness and begins to read. The book chronicles several stories of people from the past and their encounters with the Tome, each one providing a new chapter in a mystery that goes much deeper and darker than murder.
The chapter by chapter structure keeps pulling you into the game as you get to see other characters experiences and how they fit into the overall plot of the game. You get to explore medieval and Roman times, the First World War, right up to modern day times and as Alex's Grandfather. You also get to roam the Roivas manor between chapters as Alex too. The control method is essentially as you'd find in Resident Evil/Silent Hill but there is a greater sense of the game being an adventure game. Solving puzzles to find new chapters of the Tome and general puzzles encountered in the course of the game.
One thing that makes this game unique is the Fear meter. Every time your character encounters a nasty, a bit of your sanity is chipped away. The more insane you get, the more twisted the visuals and music get. Various odd things can happen like blood starts trickling down the wall, books flying around and a few other surprises that I'll just let you encounter yourself! Can switch the game from walking through tackling the shuffling undead to something just a bit more manic instead! One to crank up at night.
Visually, each location is wonderfully rendered, the graphics are amazingly solid and realistic with special effects really adding to the atmosphere. The direction of cut scenes and acting are way above the usual standard. Possibly some of the best you will encounter in todays games. The rune based magic system was a bit underused in my game and also could be potentially baffling to some.
I don't know whether Nintendo will ever continue looking into developing more adult orientated games, if they ever do surface and they are of the quality of Eternal Darkness, it can't be a bad thing if they stick a few more out!


Nokia 6230 Mobile Phone SIM Free/Unlocked (Black & Silver colours)
Nokia 6230 Mobile Phone SIM Free/Unlocked (Black & Silver colours)

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Solid all round phone, does all you could want ... well!, 5 Feb. 2005
Absolutely fantastic phone. I started off on Nokia's before having a blast on Samsung and Panasonic phones. One thing I began to realise that Nokia put a lot of effort into easy to navigate menus, quick and functional texting, solid build.
I spent alot of time researching the phones that came out at the same time as this, in terms of functionality and design, this comes out way on top.
The amount of features are staggering, with an onboard memory card you can store videos (which while not at a massively high quality, are more useful than the stuttery images that the Samsung E710 passes as video), you can store mp3's to listen to, and pictures (which are of an impressive quality and decent resolution). You can stick Java applications on the phone, I've got a nice version of Puzzle Bobble that I can play if stuck somewhere bored. The messaging is as simple as you would expect from a Nokia and I've got it hooked up to my home email account so I can pick up mails from anywhere. The WAP browsing is also very useful ... especially if you need to do something like find a taxi number.
It doesn't look as flashy as the recent Nokia's, looking more like an evolution from the 3330 style, but it is solid as anything. Replacable facias aren't just a novelty, just try selling a clamshell Panasonic on thats had its case all battered and scuffed from flying around your pocket with your keys and various other nasty damaging bits.
Pair it with some headphones and a data cable and you've got one of THE best all round phones you can get at the moment, no wonder it is the current most popular phone on the market right now.


Game Boy Advance SP: Silver
Game Boy Advance SP: Silver

3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pocket sized joy!, 5 Feb. 2005
Nintendo's original GBA release had a few things working against it; we had the joy of being able to play greater than SNES quality games but not actually see them, unless you modded it and stuck a back light in it, the display was dismally dark. Two, it still looked a bit like a nasty plastic kiddy toy.
So Nintendo had a bit of a rethink and brought us a sleeker model in a variety of colours, this the silver model is in my opinion the best looking of the lot. Add to this a lovely widescreen display with backlight and you've got a machine that looks good and finally plays well.
What does this platform offer you? Well you have a LOT of SNES classics brought onto this platform, from the various Mario games, a wonderfully updated Mario Kart, classic Metroid and the still astounding Zelda. Now this can be a good or a bad thing depending on how you look at it. On the bad side of things, only now have some truely original titles started to come out and this machine has been out for a while. On the good side of things, the classics that have been ported across are all of an astounding timeless quality. The newer titles are all fantastic, Advance Wars, Zelda The Minish Cap, Metroid Fusion ... don't let their 16bit look put you off, they're real quality games and all the more fun as you can have them in your pocket at any time.
Wandering round town with your girlie? Stuck outside a changing room waiting for her to come out? Whip the GBA SP out and you're happy as Larry! The downside of this portability is not the battery life, which is actually totally fantastic... never had a problem, its the actual design of the case. You may want to buy something to protect it, by just having it in my pocket while going around day to day life, the silver has rubber away in places and it does look a bit scuffed now. Not really ideal if you're looking for resell value further down the line.
Since Nintendo are a bit good at the old innovation game, certain GameCube games offer link up functionality with your GBA. Final Fantasy Chrystal Chronicles lets you uses the GBA as a controller, with a map and vital details held on the second screen. Plus marks there.
There is something to take into consideration with the GBA platform now however, there is the soon to arrive Nintendo DS coming on the scene and the VERY impressive looking Sony PSP which looks certain to spoil the party on Nintys dominance of the handheld scene.
Naturally this is cheaper and the classic games and GC link up are definate pluses but beware of what is looming on the horizon.


Clouddead
Clouddead
Offered by westworld-
Price: £20.00

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars imagine BoC mixed with surrealist rap, 5 Feb. 2005
This review is from: Clouddead (Audio CD)
A sticker on the front of the CD states that its the sound of Radiohead's Kid A and Cypress Hill essentially put into a blender and given a good old whirring.
Obviously they had their head stuck up a dark musty place when coming up with that opinion because it sounds nothing like that at all! I first heard Apt A Part 2 on a Big Dada compilation and knew I had to get it immediately. Almost the sound of Boards Of Canada's Music Has The Right To Children set to surrealist rapping.
The album is pretty similar in mood, the dark grainy samples, eerie synths and the most bizarre occurances you'll ever hear in rap music. Each track can flit between several moods, breaking down into bizarre samples of old 8 bit computer games, crazy percussion, backwards rapping and all sorts! Its a collection of cLOUDDEAD 10" single releases and sometimes I find it a bit hard to digest in one sitting, but plucking out the Apt 2A, Bike and Jimmy Breeze pt 2 tracks always raises a few hairs. cLOUDDEAD No 5 also stands out with its droning ambience, not quite electronic , something more organic.
As a first step into cLOUDDEAD I'd recommend you head to the more coherant Ten, but this should quickly follow as a second purchase ... you'll never hear rap like this ever.


The Michael Palin Collection - Complete 16 Disc Box Set [DVD]
The Michael Palin Collection - Complete 16 Disc Box Set [DVD]
Dvd ~ Clem Vallance

94 of 95 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best of the best!, 5 Feb. 2005
Sixty quid is alot of cash to pay out for a DVD, luckily you're getting way more than your moneys worth in this collection. Michael Palin offers you the world in this collection of his travels to date.
They're not nice easy touristy jaunts from one luxurious location to another, its proper gritty travelling. You get to meet the people of the world, see its stunning geography and generally have documentaries with real heart. Also there is the bonus of being able to see the world caught in a moment in time, the former Soviet Union in Pole To Pole, a gorgeous river running through China flanked by stunning razor sharp rocks ... no doubt now all totally underwater as part of China's Three Dams project.
The classic race against time Around The World In 80 Days following the travels of Fogg is charming, Palin's dry wit perfectly set against the colourful characters that he meets as races against the clock.
My personal favourite is the year long epic Full Circle, I love the far Eastern locations that he travels through in the earlier stages of the documentary.
You also get his most recent jaunts of Sahara and Himilaya in this package plus Great Railway Journeys for those wishing to have an expedition of somewhere closer to home.
The best money you will ever spend, perfect for those moments on a hazy Sunday morning when you want to kick back and escape the real world for a moment.


FABRICLIVE04: Deadly Avenger
FABRICLIVE04: Deadly Avenger
Offered by usnap
Price: £2.88

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars An alright mishmash of cut and paste hip hop tracks, 4 Feb. 2005
Initially I loved this release, a really instant access mix full of bolshy cut up hip hop tracks. Unfortunately it hasn't aged that well. Avenger himself says that he just plays sets full of wedding records. Listen through, in fact just look through the track listing, there are alot of cut and paste party pieces there. They have their place but not 70 minutes of them. After hearing the likes of Bugz In The Attic and Joe Ransom ... it is plain that there are better examples of the urban sound of London in this series. Hardcore Hip Hop heads would probably be better suited to the DJ Spinbad mix.
Since I get this as part of a Fabric subscription at a discount, I found that it was passable, but I wouldn't pay full whack for it.
For better examples of Deadly Avenger, hit his Deep Red album or the The Last Time I Do This For Nothing mix ... both are of higher quality than this mix.


Tyrant 2: No Shoes, No Cake
Tyrant 2: No Shoes, No Cake
Price: £7.33

5.0 out of 5 stars The best of Tyrant to date, 4 Feb. 2005
A standalone mix album on the Fabric label, who have picked up the series off Distinctive Breaks, this is the sequel to the highly rated Tyrant mix by Lee Burridge and Craig Richards. Shot to fame as the pair that rekindled Sasha's passion in the dance scene, they brought a bit of darkness and some tasty bassdrums to the dancefloor to a scene that was losing its way in 15 minute epic prog trancers with 4 minute ambient breakdowns.
Now a follow up is a hard thing to do, nothing is ever better than the first release, but in this case I would say that this surpasses the original Tyrant. The set on each CD is just perfectly created pitching you on a rollercoaster ride of moods and styles. CD1 comes out on top between the two, if the album was to only contain this CD I would be more than happy. Breaksy dub tinged house (for lack of a sufficient one word
description!) opens up the CD before shifting into Lee Burridge's own dark tribal tech monster, Lost, but rather than head down a murky house path we shift into the sublime spoken word house of KB's Groove, the dubalicious Kenny Hawkins before hitting the spooky electro of Multiple Mirrors. A cracking track which takes the Bedrock Beautiful Strange vocal and creates something that is far superior to the original and all of its remixes put together. Grimy acid breaks from Omni AM and clicky quirky house follow. The CD peaks and closes with the truly amazing Hot by Sieg Uber Die Sonne and Love Variations. I spent a good two years searching for Hot and Richards recently released it on his Tyrant label. Easily the stand out track of the album.
CD2 doesn't quite match the heights of CD1 but that is a rather tough act to follow. A more standard tech house affair, you do get some top moments in the form of the very Fabric sounding Stucco Homes by Brett Johnson, plus the eerie throwback to standard old house programming on the Rocket track is very effective. Military drums fire over familiar a sounding house track structure, but its done oh so well. The finale of this CD is a lesser known Bushwacka! track, typically manic and twiddly synths over crispy breaks. The perfect ending.
THE most solid of the all the Tyrant mixes and the best release to come out of Fabric full stop. Fans of this should also head to Lee Burridges 24:7, be wary of the recent Fabric15 Craig Richards Tyrant mix if you're expecting more of the same ... its a completely different sound to this one, lots of glitchy deep euro techno and a CD of electro and downtempo (but still a fantastic CD!).


Fabric18 - Baby Mammoth Beige and Solid Doctor:
Fabric18 - Baby Mammoth Beige and Solid Doctor:
Offered by Global_Deals
Price: £4.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Alright mix with some great individual tracks, 4 Feb. 2005
An interesting Fabric release this one, I personally would have associated it more with the FabricLIVE series. Three seperate outfits go head to head with a selection of their tracks, children of the Pork Recordings sounds. Baby Mammoth, Beige and Solid Doctor (one half of Fila Brazillia).
As a mix CD it doesn't quite flow right for me, its more of a showcase album for each artist. Baby Mammoth and Beige serve up hefty doses of some of their tracks and Solid Doctor has plenty of efforts from Fila's 23 Records label.
Quirky leftfield funk is the order of the day, influences from all genres getting poured into the big mixing pot, with organic instruments married against good old electronics. The Solid Doctor section is similar in mood to the recent Pheobus Brumal Fila album, lots of sparky funk laden tracks. Nicely bumpy tempo.
I love some of the Beige tracks, I'd never heard of Beige before but the groovy eletroid funk of Sizzling Finch and harsh electro of BottleBack are deffo very nice. Baby Mammoth offers up the best selection tracks, in a similar vein too, and its nice to finally hear a few tracks from an artist I've heard about but never managed to check and I do like the way Finale grinds along and the opener Elephunk is nicely spine tingling. I have to say, from this wee glimpse I don't think I've managed to get the full picture of what he's about yet. My problem with the mix is that its all a bit 'background music' for me... too much of the same, not the variety of a standalone artist album, the artists don't quite get the chance to shine as if they got a CD to do each. Its all a bit like a promotional materials album. Its good if you like to quickly flick to the tracks that find you enjoy but I don't think I've ever had the patience to stick it on from beginning to end. Baby Mammoth starts off the mix with purpose but it just loses the spark as the mix progresses.
Cramming all three onto this one disc didn't end up with the quality mix that you would hope from quality artists. I've heard Fila do some nice mix CDs in the past and they are head and shoulders above this effort yet retaining the same leftfield funk vibe. A good effort, some good tracks but not outstanding, I wouldn't recommend this as anyones first purchase in the Fabric series, but as a subscriber who gets them sent out each month, I'm happy to have it in the collection. At least its not some god awful Ministry Of Sound compilation...


Fabric19 - Andrew Weatherall
Fabric19 - Andrew Weatherall
Offered by Global_Deals
Price: £5.82

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars electropunk, 3 Feb. 2005
I like this mix, theres plenty of diversity to be had from Mr Weatherall. His sound of the moment is definately electro inspired with a bit of gritty punk thrown in for good measure. I love the opening 'Freak' tracks, they sit perfectly next to each other and that throwback 80's sound doesn't go for that obvious Electroclash approach and is pretty rocking!
Then you get treated to some good solid tech house, very Kompact/Michael Mayer style. Like disco, electro and techno all thrown into the big melting pot.
There is a pure headache moment in the middle of the mix in the form of Steve Bug's That Kid. I didn't like it on the Lee Burridge 24:7 mix, it comes across as an old whining late 80's house track, and the form it is in on this mix is just atrocious. Sounds like your CD player is having a fit.
Luckily we're back up to speed after this momentary dip and we finish off with a slighty more abstract techy selection, with more than a nod towards the IDM scene.
Putting the Steve Bug track aside, a nicely diverse mix fitting into the recent electro tech house vein that Fabric seems to be serving up.


FABRICLIVE19: The Freestylers
FABRICLIVE19: The Freestylers
Price: £10.96

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Vibrant Breaks Action, 3 Feb. 2005
This installment of the FabricLIVE series is pure bassline led party time breaks! The emphasis is on dancefloor rockers rather than a mix of the chin scratchers.
Its similiar in vein as to something the Stanton Warriors would serve up, and stirs up memories of Mother Rave from years gone by with its unashamed energy and instant access tracks.
One thing I'm not too great a fan of is the MC that is occasionally scattered across the mix, not too intrusive but I don't really need reminding that this is 'Freestylers! Exclusive! Freestylers! Mix it up yo!'.
For bassline and bounce freaks, this is an essential buy, and proof that London isn't just about moody house music.


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