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GHV (Southampton, UK)

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Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Double Agent (PS2)
Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Double Agent (PS2)
Offered by marxwax
Price: £15.98

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fisher is back and better!, 19 Feb. 2007
There are many stealth-based games on the market and the Splinter Cell series is undoubtedly the best, but Double Agent boasts something that none of the others can- playing for both the American government and a terrorist organisation called the JBA. It all starts on a mission to Iceland, where it is discovered that five deadly `Red Mercury' devices have been stolen and several devastating attacks on US soil have been planned. After a personal tragedy, Sam Fisher takes on his most risky mission yet- working undercover in the terrorist group that plan to use the Red Mercury. However, he has to play both sides, otherwise he risks the JBA discovering his true intentions or the government thinking he's in too deep.

This is where the important decision-making comes in, and it always comes with its consequences. For example, do you let a bomb go off and please the terrorists or tamper with the trigger and save 2000 lives, whilst risking the JBA's distrust? Trust is important in the game and there is a trust bar showing which organisation trusts you the most. It is best to keep it balanced, but your actions affect how trusted you are, with later decisions having the lives of your fellow operatives at stake.

Concerning equipment, everything is there from the previous games (pistol, rifle, attachments, grenades, etc). However, there are some new aspects to your gadgets. The EMP ammunition is a new device that can be launched from your rifle, and instead of only being inoperative for a short time, this permanently disables electrical equipment such as cameras, lights or turrets. For certain missions where you have to investigate the JBA's headquarters, there is a new pistol available (called the SC-303 Compact Launcher) that can only fire non-lethal ammunition like rubber bullets and tranquilliser darts.

As with all Splinter Cell games, the mission locations vary from all over the world- and Double Agent is no exception. Levels see Sam commandeering a land-locked oil tanker in snowy Russia, to escaping from an American prison, as well as infiltrating a cruise ship in Mexico. In my opinion, it would have been better if there were one or two more maps in the solo campaign, but nether the less, the nine missions are still top quality. The final level set in New York is perhaps one of the best. Also, Double Agent removes the mission rating system seen in previous Splinter Cell titles, which removes some re-playability as on the prior games, you could strive to obtain the 100% score. This game also introduces two bonus maps to play and this is a nice new feature to add. These take place before the solo campaign and are exciting to play- whether you're eliminating every hostile on a ship or escaping a bunker whilst you are suffering from being drugged.

Overall, with its new features this game adds a bit more originality than the other games in the Splinter Cell series. It is heart pounding to play and has perhaps the most gripping storyline of a stealth game to date.

Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Chaos Theory (PS2)
Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Chaos Theory (PS2)
Offered by trguk
Price: £8.97

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great stealth game, 10 Feb. 2007
Like in the previous games, you play as Sam Fisher, an elite field operative for the American government's Third Echelon program. After a series of events, the US and North Korea are on the brink of war. You must infiltrate several locations all over the world- from blacked out New York to the war torn South Korean capital- and find out who is really behind it all.

As it's not a good idea to be sneaking around unprepared, Fisher has several gadgets he can utilise in the field. For starters, he has his night vision and heat vision, as well as an EMF vision to allow him to see what electrical devices can be hacked or destroyed. Concerning weaponry, you are armed with your reliable silenced pistol and SC-20k rifle, which can be equipped with one of four attachments. The fore-grip attachment gives you better precision and there are powerful, but loud sniper and shotgun attachments. The launcher attachment is, in my mind the best attachment as it allows you to launch different non-lethal devices as a secondary fire. The sticky shockers and ring airfoils for example, can knock out an enemy without killing them. There are also sticky cameras, which are used for surveillance purposes mainly and allow you to take the camera's perspective to get a better look around. You also have a variety of grenades to use during missions, which include smoke and flash grenades that enable you to get past foes, and frag grenades in case you want to kill your enemies.

However, this is most certainly a stealth game, with frag grenades and bullets unnecessary if you wish to achieve the 100% mission rating at the end of each level. Completing optional and secondary objectives will boost your rating, but being spotted, triggering alarms or killing your foes will result in a lower score. Although it is very hard to complete a level perfectly, it is possible -you have to creep through the levels, avoiding detection and knocking out enemies not killing them. If you are a fan of `gun and run' games, then this is not the game for you as all-out firefights are best avoided and it takes patience and thought to complete. The AI itself is accurate, with enemies lighting flares or using torches to search for you in the dark shadows.

The levels are lengthy, with most taking around an hour to complete fully. The interesting locations in the game include a bank in nighttime Panama, a well-guarded bathhouse in Japan, offices and apartments in blacked out New York, and many more. Each level has many primary, secondary and optional objectives for you to complete and these vary from assassination to sabotage to data retrieval.
Overall I think this is an excellent instalment in the Splinter Cell series. Not only are the graphics great, but also it is realistic and a must for stealth game fans, but does take patience and a bit of thought to play successfully.

"Star Wars" the Ultimate Visual Guide
"Star Wars" the Ultimate Visual Guide
by Ryder Windham
Edition: Hardcover

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All you need to know about a galaxy far away!, 29 Jan. 2007
Ever wondered what species General Grievous was?

Or how Jabba got his pet rancor?

Ever wanted to know what happens next after the end credits roll?

Well this great book covers it all! It explores all six films, the expanded universe, the Star Wars merchandise and video games as well as a look behind the scenes. On every glossy page there are several high-quality pictures from the films, comics and cartoons and no page is unexciting. It is full of information and facts- whether it's about individuals, planets, battles, weapons or anything else it is all very fascinating and is a must of any Star Wars fan!

Destroy All Humans (PS2)
Destroy All Humans (PS2)

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One giant step on mankind!, 27 Jan. 2007
Whether you're devastating towns with your flying saucer or extracting human DNA, Destroy All Humans has everything you need when it comes to invading Earth. You play as the short but temperamental alien called Crypto 137, sent to Earth to discover what happened to his predecessor (Crypto 136) and to collect brain DNA in order to keep his species- the Furons- alive.

In order to cause as much damage as possible, at Crypto's disposal are several alien weapons that are exciting to use. These include the electrifying Zap-O-Matic, the pain-inducing Anal Probe, the vaporising Disintegrator Ray and the highly explosive Ion Detonator, which is like a grenade launcher that can be detonated remotely to great effect. Throughout the game you can earn upgrades for each weapon, which can vary from greater ammo capacity to increased damage. All these weapons are original and necessary for invasion! However, if you're finding yourself a little outgunned, you can always retreat to your saucer and wreak havoc from the skies. Your ship comes equipped with 4 weapons, which may not sound a lot- until you see the damage they cause. The Death Ray is your main weapon, which as the name suggests, emits a deadly beam that burns and destroys objects, though you will need to charge between shots. The Abducto Beam is the least exciting feature, and this simply raises selected objects from the ground allowing you, for example, to dispose of a tank by dropping it into a lake. The Sonic Boom and Quantum Deconstructor are your most powerful weaponry and these cause devastating damage but ammunition is limited. Your saucer weapons can also be upgraded as you progress through the story missions of the game.

Concerning the missions, these take place over several locations in 1950s America- from the suburban Santa Modesta to bustling Capitol City, these places are reasonably large and interesting to explore. Scattered throughout the locations in the game, there are several probes to collect and this, as well as a variety of side missions, will keep you occupied even after you have completed the story. There are different foes within the game and these include the local police, the army, and the mysterious 'Majestic' agents as well as more.

Overall this game may be a little slow to start (with a limited amount of weapons and mind powers), but once you progress and game gets much more exciting and addictive.

No Title Available

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Imaginative idea, fun to play, 25 Jan. 2007
This game boasts something that no other RTS can offer- mixing two different animal species into one amazing creature and then sending them to wage war against other freakish armies.

There are so many different animal combinations that every battle is different and new. You can mix a lobster with a ram, giving you an amphibious unit that can charge up beaches and gore foes with its horns. By combining an eagle with a piranha you can create a flying fish that swoops down on enemies, tearing them with those impressive piranha teeth. Add a polar bear's limbs upon the body of a killer whale and you have a large walking tank that can traverse both land and sea. These are just some of my favourite combinations and there are many more.

The idea of mixing the creatures and making your own fighting units, each with their own strengths and weaknesses is a very imaginative, fun and interesting concept, but this game is definitely not the best RTS around. For example, the maximum number of units your armies can comprise of is a mere 75 -that's including workers (called 'henchmen' in the game).

However, this game does introduce some other good points other than its imaginative selling point. Some animals, such as wolves, lions and hyenas are pack hunters and therefore, when fighting in groups of four or more, receive an attack bonus. Similarly, as oxen, rams, elephants, etc, are herding creatures, when they are combined with other animals they gain a defence bonus when attacking in groups. These are nice extras and also feature the skunk's 'stink cloud' capability to stun foes and the whales' 'sonar pulse' to reveal an area of the map momentarily.

The maps themselves are average, with players battling on either a snowy, grassy or arid desert map, each comprising of land- sometimes separated by water- dotted with areas of coal (an important resource) and geysers that generate electricity when built upon with certain structures.

Overall, this is a good game with a different, interesting selling point that will keep anyone amused even if they are not a huge fan of the RTS games.

LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy (PS2)
LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy (PS2)

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Star Wars + Lego = Fun!, 30 Dec. 2006
This is a game which allows you to escape from the captive Blockade Runner, traverse the crowded streets of Mos Eisley, take on the lumbering AT-ATs in a snowspeeder and fight your way through Jabba's dusty palace- but in Lego!

You play through the original trilogy, with 6 chapters within each film. In story mode, each level has you playing alongside 2-4 other characters, allowing for cooperative play with a friend. In the first level for example, you can be playing as Leia, whilst player 2 is accompanying you as R2-D2. There are so many various characters in the game, but many of these are only playable in Free Play mode (where you can replay levels to obtain all hidden objects and can be whoever you want). As well as the obvious main stars, other unlockable characters include Greedo, Bib Fortuna, Sandtrooper, Tusken Raider, Boba Fett, IG-88 and many many more. Each character has certain abilities, which is useful in finding all hidden content in the game.

The game's levels are surprisingly lengthy and remain accurate to the Star Wars universe, yet still provide some Lego uniqueness. Within some of the levels, you can come across and use vehicles- from AT-STs and Landspeeders to Banthas and Tauntauns. Certain levels have you piloting a vehicle for the entire mission and these can sometimes be difficult. Examples of these type levels include you flying snowspeeders to defend Hoth and piloting X-Wings down the hazardous trenches of the Death Star. Personally I prefer the land missions and these include several puzzles and hidden secrets to discover. Several objects are destroyable and provide you with coins which act like money for purchasing new characters for example. You're also challenged to reach a high amount of coins in each level and collecting is enjoyable.

Overall, this is a great game with its own humourous take on the original Star Wars films. It is a game that challenges you to find, collect and unlock everything until you reach 100% and yet still you find replaying levels fun. There are lots of various characters to play as and vehicles to use, making this one of the best games of 2006 that is enjoyable for all ages.

Mercenaries Playground of Destruction (PS2)
Mercenaries Playground of Destruction (PS2)

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly a Playground of Destruction!, 19 Nov. 2006
As the title suggests, in this game you play as a ruthless mercenary, deployed into gloomy war-torn North Korea which has been subject to a bloody coup at the hands of the President's son, General Song. At the start of the game, you can choose to play as either an American, a British or a Swedish mercenary- each with their own bonus on the battlefield. The American for example, can withstand more bullets, but is not as fast as the Swedish mercenary and not as stealthy as the ex-MI6 Brit.

Within the expansive, free-roaming setting, there are four main factions: the Allied Nations (AN), the Chinese, the South Koreans and the thuggish Russian Mafia, all enemies to the insurgent North Korean forces. Each of these factions asks you to carry out their dirty work, but with their interests overlapping in this unstable country, it is difficult to keep everyone happy. Missions vary from assassinating Mafia officers for the Chinese, to destroying North Korean artillery barraging the AN.

As if that's not enough for any mercenary, your main objective within the game is to bring in the infamous 'Deck of 52'- dead or alive. These are the 52 key North Korean leaders, with General Song himself as the Ace of Spades. The members of the 'Deck of 52' are located throughout the two provinces of the game. When you find them, you'll get paid considerably for subduing them, calling for a helicopter extraction and loading the unconscious bounty aboard. The deck is separated into the state-sponsored crime lords(the Clubs), high ranking officers in the NK military (the Diamonds), Song's weapon scientists (the Hearts), and lastly the lethal Spades, the North Korean Special Forces and General Song himself.

Concerning vehicles, there are many different types available in the game. From swift AN helicopter gunships to powerful Chinese tanks, Mafia armoured SUVs to even a fast sports car, there are enough vehicles for any tactic a mercenary wishes to employ.

In addition, providing no-one sees you enter a vehicle, you can disguise yourself as any faction. For instance, if you get behind the wheel of a North Korean truck, you can drive straight past the enemy with them thinking you are on their side. This can be good or bad, as when disguised as the NK, the Chinese, Mafia, South Koreans and the AN all shoot at you thinking you are the enemy. If a faction's officer sees you or if you sound the vehicles horn, you lose your disguise. Sounding the horn can also be a signal to any allies around you to either mount the turret (which most military vehicles have) or jump in the back. With some means of transportation you can only get two or three allies aboard (like with the NK Sungri Scout). However, there are certain vehicles- particularly transports- that many troops can hop in. If you hijack a civilian metro bus, which can be seen driving around cities, you can honk the horn and get several Mafia thugs aboard, ready to storm an enemy encampment in the North Korean countryside.

As it's not such a good idea to roam a war zone empty handed, this game offers several types of weapon. There are the machine guns (some come silenced), the RPGs for taking out most vehicles effectively, shotguns- a favourite of the Russian Mafia- and sniper rifles for a kill at range. Of course there are grenades too, but much more of an effective explosive is by far a C4 charge- probably where the 'Playground of Destruction' really starts. Any building in the game can be reduced to rumble with one or two C4 charges placed and detonated at a safe distance. However this is just the straight forward way to use it. Noticed that an enemy vehicle often drives a certain route? Place a charge on the road, lay in wait and when it drives straight over it, you hit detonate to make any form of transportation a flaming wreckage of its former self.

But with all the cash you're making doing missions, collecting bounties and selling unwanted vehicles, how can you spend it? Well within the game there is an online shop found on your PDA called the 'Merchant of Menace'. This is run by the Russian Mafia and is like a black market for any weapons, vehicles or supplies you need delivered to you via helicopter- for a price of course. You can even purchase a variety of devastating air strikes of which some examples are bunker busters, artillery strikes and stealth bomber attacks. These are expensive but effective, taking out men, vehicles and even buildings in the impact area, depending of course on how devastating of an air strike you have purchased.

Overall, I bought this game with not too many expectations, but was pleasantly surprised. With the wide range of vehicles and weapons, all the varied missions and challenges for the clashing factions, and a believable storyline makes Mercenaries in my opinion a unique and entertaining game.

Peter Jackson's King Kong: The Official Game of the Movie (PS2)
Peter Jackson's King Kong: The Official Game of the Movie (PS2)
Offered by Quality Media Supplies Ltd.
Price: £8.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Does the film justice, 23 April 2006
This game does the film justice. From the moment you start playing there is great graphics and addictive gameplay- whether you're sniping bat creatures out of the sky or spearing a dinosaur.

You play mainly as Jack Driscoll, but later levels allow you to take control of Kong himself and rage through the jungles or the streets of New York.

This game is very tense and suspenseful at times, with you catching a glimpse of dark figures darting between trees...

Star Wars: Battlefront (PS2)
Star Wars: Battlefront (PS2)

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wage war in a galaxy far, far away..., 23 April 2006
This is a game which allows you to clad the white armour of a stormtrooper, grip the cold bowcaster of a Wookiee, see through the scope of a clone sharpshooter and roll into combat as a ruthless droideka, battling armies in a galaxy far, far away. Within the game, there are four different factions to fight for upon the battlefield: the Empire, the Rebellion, the Republic and the Confederacy- each with their different units and vehicles. Every faction has the same types of soldiers- basic troopers, long-range snipers, anti-vehicle heavy units, pilots and certain unique units to each army (eg: the agile Dark Trooper for the Empire and the strong Wookiee smuggler for the Rebel Alliance). You can take the role of any of these units, allowing you to choose how to fight in combat- be it sniping enemies from a Mos Eisley rooftop or launching missiles at Republic gunships on Geonosis.

Concerning the many maps for you to wage war upon, these vary from Kamino's stormy Tipoca City to the icy wastelands on Hoth, the vast clean streets of Theed to the Wookiee villages upon nighttime Kashyyyk and several more. These maps feature famous landmarks from the Star Wars films such as Echo Base on Hoth, the Ewok village in the dense forests of Endor and the lethal Sarlacc pit in the dusty canyons of the Tatooine's Dune Sea. Scattered around each of the maps are command posts (CPs) that can either be controlled by your faction, the enemy's faction or be neutral, ready for the taking. These command posts are a vital part of playing Battlefront as not only are they spawn points for your reinforcements, but also if your faction has seized all the CPs on the map, you are victorious and have won the battle. This is not the only way to win however, as by killing all of the opposition you will also gain victory.

To get the upper hand on your foes, you can utilize vehicles in combat. The land vehicles in the game include: the sturdy AT-ST and AT-AT walkers, swift Speeder bikes and STAPs, AAT tanks, Rebel combat speeders, Desert Skiffs, AT-TE walkers, rapid Hailfire Droids and others. On certain maps, starfighters are also available. The airborne vehicles in the game include: X-Wings, Y-Wings, Geonosian and Jedi starfighters, Snowspeeders, TIE fighters and bombers as well as the bulky Republic and Confederacy gunships.

Overall, this is a very good game, enabling you to relive some of the most epic Star Wars battles. It is accurate to the films in most places and is great fun to just pick up and play- be it alone or in multiplayer.

Zoo Tycoon Triple Pack: Includes Zoo Tycoon, Dino Digs and Marina Mania (PC CD)
Zoo Tycoon Triple Pack: Includes Zoo Tycoon, Dino Digs and Marina Mania (PC CD)
Offered by SelectGames
Price: £11.90

22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All 3 versions and extras!, 22 April 2006
With the Complete Collection, you have everything- the original animals, the marine creatures and the dinosaurs.

Also, to my surprise, several new zoo objects and about a dozen new animals are included on top of that. In my opinion, most of these new animals are very rare, impressive and nice to see like the wild horse, whale shark, orangutan, tapir, komodo dragon, Asian black bear, African wild dog and mountain lion. However, as I like to exhibit 'real' animals, I have not yet included the new yeti or bigfoot in my zoos.

I was also pleasantly surprised at how fun Marine Mania was as I originally thought it would be boring, never really being interested in sea creatures. There are actually some very interesting animals like the different sharks, manta rays, etc. and new visitor attractions- like the boat hire- are nice ideas.

Overall, this game is great, but I find the later scenarios almost impossible!

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