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A. Kelly (Bath, UK)

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Sennheiser CX300-B High Quality Stereo Ear-Canal Headphones - Black
Sennheiser CX300-B High Quality Stereo Ear-Canal Headphones - Black

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The best earbuds you can get for this price, basically., 7 July 2006
After using - and being religiously disappointed by - Sony's shoddy EX71 Fontopias, these are a breath of fresh, musical air. The cable is nice and light, the bass is deeper than the ocean, they're brilliantly comfortable and they look nice to boot.

Sony MDR-EX71SLB Fontopia Headphones - Black
Sony MDR-EX71SLB Fontopia Headphones - Black

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Five week lifespan? No thanks., 5 July 2006
I've been using these for over a year. I've gone through 6 pairs. And it's not because I'm a clumsy, fat-fingered idiot - it's because they're built from cheap materials. Sure, the bass response is good and they're nice and clear, but I can guarantee - and thousands others on hundreds of forums around the web - that one of two things will happen after a month or so of use; A) One of the ears will go or B) the rubber on the wire will perish, leaving the copper exposed, which shocks the back of your neck. Get some Sennheiser CX300s instead. They're around the same price, and about a million times better. Or just get these, but be ready to pay for another pair in a month's time. This is the first negative review I've ever written on Amazon, but these ridiculous things compelled me to lay down the cuss. Awful.

Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne (Xbox)
Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne (Xbox)
Offered by Tracymuk
Price: £19.99

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Max Payne returns..., 4 Feb. 2004
Max Payne 2 is the kind of satisfying, brain-free blasting action that console gaming was invented for. It's a rain-soaked, noir-styled thriller that follows the titular Payne through yet another life-or-death, intrigue-filled trawl through the seedy, underbelly of New York City. The game's premise is as shallow as it gets, but thanks to the excellent plot and cinematic stylings you'll forgive it's 'shoot, run, shoot' mechanic and learn to appreciate it's no-holds-barred take on the genre.
But, of course, no game is perfect, and Max Payne 2 has it's fair share of flaws. Firstly, it's too damn short. You'll love every minute of it, but when the end arrives you may feel a little short changed. Secondly, the ragdoll physics, although mostly excellent, occasionally glitch and end up looking a bit, well, crap. A shame, as the rest of the game looks stunning. Otherwise, everything's as tight as a drum. Some say the bullet time is flawed, but with proper mastery, wiping out a room full of goons never gets old - especially with a pair of Ingram sub-machine guns in your posession.
Gameplay highlights include the funhouse level based on a TV show that plays throughout the game (an excellent parody of David Lynch's Twin Peaks, I might add), and is gloriously surreal. The hand-drawn sets and cardboard-cut-out characters are sheer genius. In fact, the whole game is one big highlight, and thanks to the Havok physics engine, each playthrough can differ depending on how you interact with the environment. Offed bad guys stumble into chairs, fall over balconies and get their limbs caught on stuff - it's completely overblown and unrealistic, as is the nature of the game. The major improvement over the previous game, however, is the upgraded Bullet Time system that now allows for more varied use of Max's slow-mo abilities, and just looks cooler, which is the most important thing, right?
There are a hundred unique touches that make Max Payne truly unique including chattering enemies, hilarious, self-depreciating humour and self-referential TV shows that mirror Max's life. And then there's the graphic novel wherein the game's plot is advanced between levels on the pages of a comic book; gritty, hard-boiled voiceover and all.
So, let's get down to the nitty gritty; should you spend forty hard-earned notes on this? Well, that depends. If you're expecting depth and longevity, look elsewhere, but if you're cup of tea is pure, unadulterated fun, then Max Payne 2 is the game for you. Entertaining but short-lived.

SSX Tricky Platinum
SSX Tricky Platinum

4.0 out of 5 stars Fast, Furious, Fun, 26 Jan. 2004
This review is from: SSX Tricky Platinum (Video Game)
Lead characters. Whether they're monotone, muscle-bound sword swingers, absurdly proportioned ladies or 'hilarious' furry creatures, they rarely exceed their purpose; to give the player access to the game world. Some games get it right and you grow emotionally attached to your alter-ego, but mostly they're just soulless stacks of polygon that you'd rather just ignore. Now of all the games you'd expect to have likeable, charismatic characters, would you expect a snowboarding game to be one of them? Well, EA's gaudy new 'boarder, SSX Tricky, tenders a cast of quirky characters that, with the help of a few celebrity voiceovers, give you something to relate to other than a faceless, tattooed nobody. And the game isn't bad either.
For those who don't know already, Tricky isn't an original game in the traditional sense; rather a dramatic re-working of it's already excellent predecessor, SSX Snowboarding. The engine and courses are the same, but they've been souped up with ramps, rails, pipes and all manner of trick-aiding nonsense. And then there's the new characters who, with the help of luminaries such as Billy "Titanic" Zaine and Lucy "Charlie's Angels" Liu, really help the game stand out in a genre saturated by generic simulations.
So what has changed gameplay-wise? Well, the basic game mechanics are still intact but this time around the emphasis is squarely on pulling off absurd, gravity-defying tricks rather than just straight racing. When your rider's adrenaline meter is full you can knock off 'Über Tricks' that are just plain ridiculous. But tricks aside, it's the graphics you notice first. The lighting effects are exceptional, with more stroboscopic, lens-flaring luminescence that you'd have ever thought possible. If Pink Floyd, Jean Michelle Jarre and The Orb got together to host a concert, the accompanying light show wouldn't be a patch on SSX Tricky. It's a non-stop, triumphant eye-feast that perfectly compliments the solid gameplay. The only gripe we had was the collision detection which lets itself slip from time to time, especially on rails and ramps.
Like it's predecessor, there are three main games modes in which to hone your boarder's skills. First up it's the World Circuit - the meat and potatoes of the game. Here you can either race against other boarders in an attempt to win gold, or you can go solo in 'Showoff' mode wherein you try and link together tricks to gain massive pointage. Both are entertaining and ultimately rewarding as your chosen rider gains stat upgrades, new boards and new costumes upon completion of certain events. Then there's the usual time trials, practice and freeride modes to indulge in. You're never short of things to do, that's for sure. Ultimately, though, the joy of the game is that perseverance brings tangible progress, and with it genuine satisfaction. As a result, this isn't a game for 'hit and hope' heroes, although undeniably they'll have a limited degree of success on some of the easier courses which can be mastered in the time it takes to boil an egg. Dedicated gamers will find that the rewards for shortcut and trick mastery are great indeed.
Okay, so let's summarise the whole game as neatly as we can: it's like someone took everything that's good about extreme sports games, everything that made the original great, hurled them into a blender, whizzed it up, and poured you out a great big helping of all the creamiest, loveliest bits. An essential purchase.

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