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Metroid Prime 2: Echoes (GameCube)
Metroid Prime 2: Echoes (GameCube)
Price: £59.99

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Black and White, 14 Dec. 2004
Owning this game, I can safely say that anyone who doesn't, will never truly appreciate what your Cube has for you. This game pushes the boundaries of the console in every direction, with eerie tunes playing, vast worlds to explore, an incredible number of imaginative enemies, and graphics so intricate, that it seems like your GameCube has some kind of point to prove. In this sequel to possibly the best GameCube game ever, Metroid Prime, Metroid Echoes is no letdown. The game has an altogether more sinister feel, as you crash-land on a strange planet after being sent to rescue a group of Galactic Marine troopers. As the plot unfolds, you become aware of a deeper evil within the planet. It is in fact torn in a dimensional rift, with a replica of the planet in a parallel universe. This planet is a dark version of the one that you land on, and is connected to it by means of portals. As Samus, you must uncover this evil, and save the Luminoth, the race in the Light world, from total annhiliation by the creatures of the dark World.
The game is better in some ways than Metroid Prime, although perhaps the objectives are displayed in a slightly less imaginative way. Completely new variations on Samus' armor, you must find her new weapons and upgrades to progress through the game, ranging from finding bombs for the ever-present morphball, or locating a new visor to see the planets from a whole new perspective...
Echoes takes a little while to get going, as the start is fairly quiet and unnerving, as if you are searching for something big. And that "big" thing takes a while to come by. But when it does, you are completely overwhelmed by the beauty of the game, and find yourself in a complicated storyline which weaves its way back and forth across the worlds. About a quarter through the game, you begin to see what it has been trying to show you, but has been to shy to yell about it as soon as you land.
Don't miss this game, it'll have you absorbed for ages. And you won't get bored.

Sony PSP Handheld Console Value Pack, Includes Memory Stick, Battery Pack, Headphones, Demo Disc and More
Sony PSP Handheld Console Value Pack, Includes Memory Stick, Battery Pack, Headphones, Demo Disc and More

8 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars PSP vs DS... who cares??, 8 Dec. 2004
Well, there's been a lot of online review battling to draw in gamers from Sony and Nintendo to buy each one's latest handheld console: DS and PSP. I'm not particularly into handheld gaming, as I can live for more than a few days away from my home consoles, as for the fact that when I go somewhere with a PS2 or GameCube, I carry my games and memcards around with me. And the way that these newbies are going, you won't be able to play away from a power source for very long. But as this is the latest rivalry between Nintendo and Sony, I'm putting forward my views for those bent on getting one of the two. Why on the PSP section? If you look, I've put this onto the DS section too. I know I'm called Cube Master, therefore I'm obviously a Nintendo-er, but I do also have a PS2. Cubemaster just sounds beter and shorter than Playstationmaster, or something like that. So don't think I'm taking sides.
Nintendo have put a lot of creativity in for the DS, with its touch screen, stereo sound, wireless communication, voice input, dual screen and 10 hour battery life. Those seem to be the factors which everyone's hooked on. I can't really see the point in two screens (maybe one massive screen on the top half of the console?) but the touch screen and voice-in have a lot of potential. PSP has a B-E-A-utiful screen, but is it being wasted on naff games?
Maybe the most off putting thing is that not many of the new DS games look like they'll be that good, or not as good as PSP's, and the graphic capability of the PSP could pull gamers in Sony's direction. Then again, PSP games also look like modified versions of the run-of-the-mill stuff. I appreciate good graphics, but that's not the whole thing. Gameplay is what counts, and I think that DS have a real chance there. When developers get used to two screens, they'll think of a better use for the top one than maps or whatever. PSP can also improve on the games instead of graphics. I mean, they have a better games line up than DS, but can they do anything to make it massively different from a small PS2? I think thay can, but they may not want to.
PSP's DVD playing capability is pretty nice, but do we really need it? I was considering getting one, until I found that the DVD thing adds quite a chunk onto the price. For the gaming device itself, I may have bought it, but I want a gaming device, not an all-round gadget. Hey, if you like it, I don't blame you, it's pretty nice, but I don't need an MP3 & DVD player. It costs about 200 quid, 180 on Amazon. That's the main reason DS appeals to me slightly above the PSP: it's not at a ridiculous price, and it's a machine for just gaming (maybe more to come.)
There, I've had my say, and I'm not pulling you in either direction. Just mull it over and don't go with the crowd. If you really want a decent handheld machine, choose whichever goes for you:
The pretty graphics-blaster which you need to save up quite a bit for, and has "yay" many gadgets (PSP) or
The console with creative and new potential which is only limited by developer's lack of imagination, but is at a pretty chunky size and without many mindblowing games...yet (DS).

Red Card
Red Card

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun fun fun, 24 Nov. 2004
This review is from: Red Card (Video Game)
Throw aside the normal rules for footie. Take a ball, teams from all over the world, an ignorant ref, and a load of crazy moves. You've got RedCard. The main idea of the game is like any other football game, but this time you can hack out annoying players to your heart's content without getting sent off. Kicks in the face, deliberate tripping, and simply diving into the player are al ways of gaining possession. With a certain amoun of talent you can create a cut-shot, when you shoot for goal, which slows time into a Matrix-style scene, as your player flips a burning ball into the air and hammers it home. Here's sheer enjoyment, as you can play in friendlies and world conquest, with opponents varying from absolutely rubbih to world class. And of course, what's more fun than a tournament with up to three other friends battling with the CPU and eventually each other?? If you want to play normal footie, go to the park and kick that ball around. But if you feel like letting loose with crazy tackles, slinky moves and film-worthy shots, then try RedCard.
Graphics-wise, they're very realistic for an unreal game. The sound is good, and the commentary certainly knows what he's talking about: he rarely says the same thing twice in a match. And if you get annoyed with the ref, you can simply slide tackle him. Fun.
One of the easiest football games to master, it won't delve deep into tactics and hard-core complicated moves. It'll keep you going for ages, and is great fun against anyone on multiplayer.

Nintendo DS Handheld Console (Silver)
Nintendo DS Handheld Console (Silver)

25 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A new door to the gaming world, 13 Nov. 2004
When I first saw the DS in preview shots, I thought it looked kind of cheap and maybe a step back. But when I found out that Nintendo had given DS a makeover, I had to see for myself. It looks incredible. How many different ways are there to play? There's a touch screen with a stylus (which hides away neatly and securely in a slot so you don't lose it straight away), a microphone to give vocal orders into the machine, there's a wireless connection available to interact with other consoles (16 per chat "room"), and stereo sound. Stereo sound, in a handheld console! The two screens, at first, seem slightly pointless, but then it's only because we've never tried playing with two screens before. Neither have game designers. Which is why they all seem to be wanting to use the second screen for a map or to combine them in tandem to make a larger level. But it's only a matter of time until designers think of amazing new possibilities.
Also, when I saw it, I instantly thought that the price would be way up there along with Sony's stuff. But 80 quid! How much better do you get?! And it plays GBA games too. It's a neat little machine, and it's coming out this February.
If you have no imagination, a lot of money and like lone gaming, get a PSP. If you're the average person who can't afford such "luxuries", and you believe in this new world of gaming, DS is for you. There's never gonna be anything else like it.

Star Wars Rogue Squadron III: Rebel Strike (GameCube)
Star Wars Rogue Squadron III: Rebel Strike (GameCube)

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars (Not) The best sequel I've ever seen?, 8 Oct. 2004
Did anyone have great expectations from Factor 5 and Lucas Arts when they announced that Rebel Strike was in the making? I certainly did. Now it seems that they dropped the ball, and have considerably lowered the standards of the game. Excellent craft and backgrounds, definitely. It puts all other console graphics in the shade. But the game itself has been a bit of a let-down. The main reason, I reckon, was that with Rogue Leader, the levels all involved being able to star in the films, to really be there taking out the Death Star, to feel the thrill of knocking down a walker, and to sit back in pride after taking all that a Star Destroyer can chuck at you and live to tell the tale. Nearly every single level could relate to the films. But Rebel Strike went a bit too far and made up most of them, taking the familiarity and thrill away a little too much. The levels themselves are excellent, but in most of them you're too limited for available craft.
And why the on-foot sections? I reckon that in the Rogue Squadron series, you weren't ever mean to leave you're craft. It's no fun and involves no skill, as the gun aims automatically. On a game like Metroid Prime, lock-on is acceptable as you're doing so much other stuff at the same time. But in this, you just hammer A as you run in whichever direction you're supposed to go. True, taking control of an AT-AT and chicken walkers is great fun, but why bother walking?! It adds a lot of tedium to what should be an improvement to the old games, and frankly it's kind of a disappointment.
Multi-player? Now that's a different story. The game could be worth getting solely for it. There's nothing like going for the Death Star with a friend to guard your back. There are also endless availabilities for other types of VS gaming: Rampages, Tag and Defend, or simply take out your opponent.
All in all, it's still a good game, but if you don't have any Star Wars fans in the near vicinity, you're in for a pretty boring time walking around shooting stormtroopers.

Metroid Prime 2: Echoes (GameCube)
Metroid Prime 2: Echoes (GameCube)
Price: £59.99

17 of 82 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Looks good, 5 Oct. 2004
I've rated this game 5 stars for what it looks like as I haven't played it myself.
This game isn't actually out yet, but I can tell it'll be good. I've seen some previews and a DVD watch-demo, kindly provided by NGC magazine issue 99. All I can say is that it looks excellent. Maybe lacking a bit in originality, some might say, but I don't think that that is the point. It's more of a "Chapter Two" in the Metroid Prime series, not "Collection Two". You are sent on a mission to protect the Galactic Federation on Aether, which is a world torn between light and dark: the opening sequence shows an impressive planet which is a bluey-green, which suddenly pulses and turnes dak purple-black. The world is constantly changing from a light dimension to a dark one. Your ship is struck by lightning as you pass throught the atmosphere, so the landing's not too smooth, but Samus comes out in one piece. I don't want to give away too much as the game's not due out until a month after I've posted this comment, but I know that new beams include Light and Dark, and that there is a limit of ammo now, because according to the makers, players often stuck to their "preferred choice of weapon", dancing around the creatures landing small hits on them until they beat it. So Retro Studios wants to create a bit more strategy, and make you use your weapons to their greatest efficiency. I agree with this, as I generally stuck to the Plasma Beam and the Super Missile in Metroid I, and simply hammered the A button until the enemy disintegrated or collapsed.
It looks like you will be fighting more Space Pirates, but I have to admit that the annoying whiny music that accompanies their presence hasn't changed too much. It's the same basic tune, but slightly more ominous. I still have to take off my hat to the creators though, because it looks like an amazing game. Graphics have been polished even more and the game is altogether more sinister and in-depth. With a new <<>>! (sorry can't tell) Visor and an Echo Visor, Samus will see in a whole new way.
Plus, there's multiplayer battles which look awesome!!
We're trusting you, Retro Studios!! Bring Samus back into the limelight (if it ever left her). Players, ENJOY!!

Metroid Prime (Player's Choice  GameCube)
Metroid Prime (Player's Choice GameCube)

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Your Cube is, and will remain, incomplete without this., 5 Oct. 2004
In a word. Genius. This little beauty really squeezes the power out of Game Cube. Remarkably original, this game contains so much that it will take at least a couple of months until you have completely emptied it of its surprises. This game, by the name of Metroid Prime, is a smooth, heavy sci-fi mix of an adventure/ puzzle/ RPG/ shooter. As you sink into your sofa after switching the Cube on and slide the controller into your hands, you become immersed in a chapter of the life of interstellar bounty hunter Samus Aran. Equipped with polished, top-notch technology and weaponry, you land stealthily on board a Space Pirate Frigate station, and get to grips with the controls. An accident further on loses you most of your kit and throws you into your ship to take you to the planet Tallon IV, where an extinct race called the Chozo have left their mark in ruins and helpful scripts. Your job is to fulfil their prophesy and save their planet of "a poison so deep that all [the Chozo] can do is contain it". Using your wide variety of beams and their upgrades which you pick up as the game develops, a morphball with several tricks, and a strong mind, you infiltrate several parts of the planet, nearly all overrun by the Space Pirates and their Bases. Using what common sense and skill you've got, you have to fight, roll, jump and scan your way through various levels beautifully and intricately thought out. And the rewards are no little thing either. Metroid Prime shows you little places as you progress which you discover you can't reach, and this keeps you coming back to them either to pick up an another key piece in the mysterious puzzle, or to find a pleasant surprise.
Beautiful in every aspect such as graphics, gameplay and depth, this game will, as I said, keep you going for ages. If you are a newbie to the Cube world, first of all welcome. This is the perfect game to start off with. If you're already a well-established member of the Cube society and you haven't got this yet, you haven't fully unleashed your Gamecube, mate! Get it, I tell you! Dive into Samus Aran's sinister world, and release Tallon IV from the clutches of the Metroid Prime once and for all!

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