MEMBER PROFILE FOR faceoff508

Total Reviews: 24
Average Overall Score Given: 8.83333 / 10
Total Forum Posts: 3945

Reviews
Azurik: Rise of Perathia

Overall: I loved this game. I dont get why many people hated it. This game was so much fun. I geuss I like what people hate.

Gameplay: I had a lot of fun. Getting powers, using all the elemnts, etc. Very cool.

Graphics: The character is really done well.The fire is pretty cool. And I loved it all.

Audio: Nothing that bothered me.

Overall Score: 10.0 / 10 Crazy Taxi 3: High Roller

Overall: I never knew it was going to be this much fun. I have never played the orginals but I think thsi is the best one yet.

Gameplay: It gets repetitive but its still FUn. Very fun, and addicting. Wish they changed it from last years.

Graphics: Not the best Xbox game. Its average. too bad. i wonder how it would of looked like if it used the Xboxes hard drive. But good lighting.

Audio: I had no promblem with it. But why can we rip our own music.

Suggestions: This is a good game, but I think 3 sequls is enough.

Overall Score: 10.0 / 10 Max Payne

Overall: If you like first person shooters, you'll love Max Payne, despite the fact that it is a third person shooter. And, by getting the XBOX version you can be assured you aren't getting a shoddy port.

Gameplay: Max Payne controls like an first person shooter, despite it being third person. You move Max with the left thumbstick, and aim with the right thumbstick. Controls are ultra-responsive, and you don't feel restricted by the controller at any time, which again is impressive for a PC port. Max's weaponry includes a collection of guns and melee weapons with which Max can slaughter his enemies. Max Payne's biggest draw is its use of its Matrix-like "bullet time", Max's ability to temporarily slow down time. This gives Max the ability to dodge bullets, make perfectly aimed diving headshots, and blow away rooms full of enemies without getting hit once. The game itself plays like a first person shooter as well - you run through levels killing bad guys and solving minor puzzles. Plot is mainly told in static comic-book style cutscenes in between levels, though occasionally plot is revealed in level. Overall, the gameplay in Max Payne is fantastic, and works great as a console game, despite its PC roots. The only problems with Max Payne's gameplay is that the game is mission based, relatively short, and may not be as much fun the second time around.



Graphics: Max Payne's graphics are stunning, however many of the token XBOX special effects are not found in this game. Although it's clear Max Payne doesn't push the XBOX to its limits, it is still an excellent looking title. It's the best PC port I've seen to date, looking identical to its PC counterpart along with zero slowdown.



Audio: Max Payne boasts an incredibly atmospheric DD5.1 soundtrack. Fitting music, great sound effects, and good voice acting make the sound on Max Payne top notch. Only complaints here are that you cannot use your own custom soundtrack, and that the sound pauses while "flipping" pages during the comic-book cutscenes.



Overall Score: 9.0 / 10 Mad Dash Racing

Overall: If you can get around the framerate hiccups and seemingly unnecessary load times, this game is a worthy purchase and addition to your XBOX library, but be warned you may tire of single player mode after many play hours.



Gameplay: This game is easy to play, and can get addictive quickly. Running, jumping, using powerups, and most importantly picking the right path through the 5-minute-plus long boards is all part of the game. There are several different characters, which all have strengths, weaknesses, unique personalities, and special abilities to help them win the race. This is also an excellent multiplayer game as well, which will provide you and 3 friends with lots of fun. Load times are, however, an issue sometimes; in single player mode, it takes 10 seconds to load before and after you run a race, then another 3 seconds to load "player data" once the menu screen to pick the next race comes up. Multiplayer doesn't have the "player data" delay, but it still has the 10 second track load. Lastly, there is the replay value, which may be an issue for some here. Though the tracks are huge and varied, there aren't many of them, so you may get tired of single player mode after many hours of play.



Graphics: Mad Dash has fantastic graphics, with bright colors, huge expansive tracks, and blistering speeds - at times. Unfortunately, the framerate sometimes drops below 30fps during play. At the beginning of every race, the camera pans around the starting line to show all of the racers; and, every time it gets the sides of all four in view it stutters, dropping below 30fps for a second. While running, you will see slowdown occasionally depending on the board, and the number of racers in your field of view; the underwater board seemed to have the most instances of slowdown. In 2-4 player multiplayer mode, there are even more hiccups, and in 2 player mode the splitscreen is vertically squashed. This game is centered around speed, so framerate hiccups do detract from the overall experience.

Audio: Mad Dash supports Dolby Digital 5.1, and has a moderately aggressive soundtrack. Sound effects and music are both very good as well. The only thing that brings Mad Dash down is that you can't use your own CD-ripped soundtracks; however, you do get to pick and choose which of the songs you want to hear while playing Mad Dash from the selection Eidos licensed.



Overall Score: 7.0 / 10 Nightcaster: Defeat The Darkness

Overall: If you are looking for a fun fantasy action game with an adventure twist, go out and grab Nightcaster. Be wary though, if you tire of the gameplay, there isn't a deep storyline to back it up.



Gameplay: The gameplay of Nightcaster is most easily described by thinking of it as a combination of Gauntlet, Phantasy Star Online, and Robotron 2084. It has massive amounts of enemies coming from spawners you must destroy, along with an overhead battle perspective similar to Gauntlet. In addition, it has the loose quest-driven plot of Phantasy Star Online, a similar spell system, monsters who are resistant to certain types of spells, and a third-person exploring perspective. Lastly, it has dual analog controls which allows you to run in one direction and launch spells in an entirely different direction similar to Robotron 2084. So how does it have two different camera perspectives? Arran controls a ball of energy fittingly called the "Orb". When the Orb is with Arran, the game plays out in third-person style similar to Phantasy Star Online. This perspective looks the nicest, however the field of view is better for item hunting as opposed to fighting. When you move the Orb away from Arran using the right thumbstick, the game switches to an overhead perspective. From this perspective you can actually aim your spells using the right thumbstick and an onscreen target cursor, making it an excellent battle view. You switch spells by cycling through the four types with the left trigger, and firing spells off with the right trigger. The four types of spells are Light, Dark, Fire, and Water. Within each spell class, you can assign spells of varying power and range. For instance, you could assign to Fire a powerful fire spell that only affects the area directly around you, or you could assign to Fire a weaker fire spell that shoots out a projectile. Either way, you can only have one type of each spell ready at any given time. You will need one of each type too, as monsters are resistant to the element they are made of; in other words, a Fire creature is resistant to Fire spells, and a Dark creature is resistant to Dark spells. Of course in each level there are monsters of every element, so you will be changing spells throughout. The amount of mana you have is dictated by the amount of mana balls and elemental rings you find in the game. Some powerups, such as the mana ball, allow you to choose what area to increase your expertise in, adding an RPG element to the game. Make no mistake though, this is an Action/Adventure game, not an RPG.



Graphics: Nightcaster's graphics are quite good, but not as spectacular as many of the other XBOX games out there. The lighting creates a wonderfully creepy atmosphere, while the environment and spell animations dazzle the eye. The only negative point I see is that NPCs could have looked a lot better.


Audio: Again, the DD5.1 music and sound effects do a great job of creating a creepy environment. As for voices, some are good, though NPC voices are quite weak. Overall a "good enough" effort in the sound department. You cannot use custom soundtracks with Nightcaster.

Overall Score: 8.0 / 10 Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX 2

Overall: The XBox version of the game is something that is worth taking notice of, simply because the visuals aren't as muted as they appear on the Game Cube version of this title. Although the game is the same title that you'll play elsewhere, and nothing has been added to the overall game play itself, the control interface that you're dealing with here is something that just doesn't seem to cut it! The over-sized controller just doesn't seem to have the ability to effectively throw off the tricks that you're looking for, and if you're into high-scoring runs, it might just take you a while to get through them.



Gameplay: Where to start!? Dave Mirra has some of the most comprehensive game play to date in terms of the amount of tricks, trick lines and in game challenges anywhere. You can select from thousands of tricks, for 16 different riders, your skills will be put to the test through 7 different stages with over 20 challenges for each! You'll ride through the infamous Woodward Camp, to an industrial area, and even through a busy highway at dark. The game revolves around being able to perform several different challenges that rank from the easy to the insane, and through this, you'll gain Respect Points which will allow you to advance to different stages, unlock new bikes, and invite you to the different competitions.

Dave Mirra also features a gnarly multiplayer mode that allows you to do different events from proving that you're the supreme trickster with a Best Run mode, or to appease the twisted gamers out there, break your head open with a Wipe Out option! Aside from that, you'll find that there is virtually no change from the Playstation 2 title to both the Game Cube and the XBox. This will come as nothing of a surprise to some gamers, but those of you who are looking for some system-only type of improvements, just will not find them here in these two versions of Dave Mirra. Everything, from the Park Editor to the different stages that you have to complete challenges in has not changed in one single way since the PS2 release!

Tight control, and tight control means that pulling off tricks is easy to do with enough practice! Different buttons perform different actions, and the control set-up allows you to perform multiple tricks without much difficulty. Anyone who has played through the Tony Hawk games, will recognize the control set-up and beomce rather accustom to it after a few minutes, or it can easily be changed in the options interface. The only thing that I can say about the XBox version of the game is that the controller is so large and heavy, it'll take some gamers a little bit of practice to get through the different tricks and complete some of the level goals. While this isn't anything that some practice and patience won't get you through, it can be a little tiresome to try and link together a high scoring combination in a contest, and only have it fail because your finger touched an over sensitive button! The XBox controller just doesn't seem to have the right feel and overall handling that you may have run into with the PS2 version of the game. Disappointing to say the least, the XBox version was the more difficult of the three versions of the game that I've played, and it truly does take some serious practice to get the high-end tricks to work.



Graphics: Clean and clear, every rider is life-like, and each stage is huge and well detailed with plenty of action in the tricks, and in the background as well! What keeps this from being perfect is the fact that with some tricks in certain areas, you'll find that the image slows down, or that the camera angle blocks the way of seeing your rider. Other than that, everything moves with proficent speed, and you'll be a little dizzy when trying to bust out a no hander double backflip, and trying to get your landing just right for the maximum score! Again, with both of the versions that are available through the XBox and the Game Cube, there are no noticeable difference between the versions, other than the Game Cube looks to be a little more muted than the XBox version. These smaller differences with the game will not really throw too many people off who have played the game before, and if you've never played the title on the PS2, then you'll find that both versions of the game are just as clean and fluid as the other!

Dave Mirra is the closest that you're going to get to a good extreme sports game for a while, and it does beat out anything on the BMX game market right now. With impressive speed, killer soundtrack and a sick trick list that can be modified up into the hundreds, gamers will have plenty to do, and hardly anything to complain about! Worth a rental at the very least, hardcore BMX fans will probably want to add this to their collection with all of the famous faces and all the killer tricks available in this title. But that is where the comparison of the game really begins, because it is nothing different than the PS2 version, having been available for quite some time now.



Audio: Sum 41, Ozzy Osbourne and several other well known musical groups all contribute to the soundtrack of Dave Mirra 2. There is nothing like listening to Ozzy crooning and a Tribe Called Quest blaring while you're busting out a huge trick combination! The sound effects on the other hand are relatively low and boil down to grinding sounds, cars honking and the grunt and groan of your rider smashing into the wall or ground when landing wrong! With the Play Station 2 version being chief among the versions because of an earlier release, you'll still find that the XBox and the Game Cube both do the game music and sound justice throughout Dave Mirra, simply because of the CD format that the games are printed on! As with the other version of the game, everything here is virtually unchanged in the audio department, and gamers on either system (XBox and Game Cube) will find that there is plenty for the ears to help guide them through the game with no problems.



Overall Score: 10.0 / 10 Fuzion Frenzy

Overall: This is one of the best "party" games I've ever played, as it has so many facets that everyone will find a number of events that they love to play time and time again. If you are looking for an excellent multiplayer game, look no further than Fuzion Frenzy.



Gameplay: Microsoft delivers the goods again, with high quality, responsive gameplay. The sheer variety of games will have you and your buddies playing for ages, with games that run the gamut from Tron to Super Sprint to American Gladiators to Dig Dug 2 to Dance Dance Revolution to Marble Madness and beyond. Fuzion Frenzy basically takes the best gameplay elements of many fun games of the past, while creating many new ones, giving you over 45 mini-events that will keep you and your friends playing for hours on end.



Graphics: The models for the characters in this game are Dreamcast quality. However, there are tons of lighting and particle effects that Dreamcast could not handle. Not a show stopper, but many events do provide some nice eye candy.



Audio: Fuzion Frenzy supports Dolby Digital 5.1 sound. The sound effects are adequate, however the music and voices can get irritating after a short while. Thankfully, Fuzion Frenzy allows you to use your own custom ripped soundtrack. The surround effect with this game is noticable, but nothing to write home about, which makes sense based on its content.



Overall Score: 7.0 / 10 Genma Onimusha

Overall: If you want a great action game, Genma Onimusha is the game to get. This game lasts much longer then the PS2 version did, but it is over pretty quick. Thus, the game will keep you on the edge of your seat and when it's over, you'll be begging for more.


Gameplay: In Genma Onimusha, you play a masterless samurai named Samanosuke Akechi who is accompanied by his female friend Kaede (yes, hot Japanese babe with short skirt). The plot: Demons come to earth to capture Princess Yuki and Yumemaru, her little brother, for a sacrifice the demons want to perform. Your job is to fight through levels of demons and monsters to get to the end and save the princess. Easy as pie? Not really, the game takes hours to beat, but luckily you can save your game at designated save points. When you first start, you'll try to run forward and you won't go anywhere for ten minutes. Then you realize this isn't Halo, and you have to use the digital pad, not the analog stick. When you first start, the controls are a bit odd to get used to, mainly because you use pretty much every button during combat one way or another. But as the game progresses, you'll become a much better fighter. Another thing you'll notice in the game is in "third person". The camera automatically switches shots while you move, kind of like the cameras are on set mounts and can't be moved. This also takes some getting used to.



Graphics: Genma Onimusha is actually the revamped version of Onimusha: Warlords for PS2. The game is pretty much a straight port graphics wise. Aside from slightly cleaner textures, the game looks the same as it did on PS2. The most impressive parts of the graphics are in the cutscenes. The CG is smooth, crisp and extremely well done.



Audio: Genma Onimusha does support Dolby 5.1 surround sound. Although, during gameplay, the game doesn't really take advantage of the surround. In fact, the only part that really utilizes the surround sound would be the cutscenes.



Overall Score: 8.0 / 10 SSX Tricky

Overall: Overall, SSX Tricky is the game that SSX was to the Play Station 2. If you've played the original game, then you'll know exactly what I'm talking about, but if you've never played the series before, then you're really in for a good treat. With the amount of character, tricks, options and stage redesign, you're really looking at a game that shows what happens when you do a good sequel. Other than the cheap difficulty at some points, there really isn't much that I can find with the game that is wrong, or even remotely wrong, other than Eddie. There isn't a reason to have hair that big and that orange in any type of game. For the SSX fan, or EA Sports junkie, SSX Tricky is a game for the XBox that will truly test your ability to use the overly large controller and make a master out of you in a couple of short days!



Gameplay: The gameplay is all about hot and heavy racing with plenty of flashy tricks thrown in for the hell of it. Most people when they pick up a game of this type, they look to see what kind of tricks they can do from the very beginning. In the original SSX, you had several good looking tricks that you pulled off with some monstrous effects to win either medals or increase your little turbo boost meter to help you through the rest of the stage. In SSX Tricky, it works on the same basis that the better your trick and the faster you spin, the better off your boost total is going to be. Now, where the first one merely enhanced your speed, SSX Tricky offers you a new Tricky meter that allows you to hammer out some Matrix-style tricks that not only catch your eye but add up for high scoring combinations. Through doing special Tricky maneuvers, you'll find that you can light up the word Tricky and therefore give yourself an infinite Super Boost through the rest of the stage!

The game is divided up into two sections in the World Circuit series that allows you to do either a downhill race of the Show Off competition. Both of these allow you to build up your character statistics in order to better their attributes in the form of speed, trick speed, edging and stability. The better the medal that you receive, the better your attribute distribution points are going to be in which you can turn your rider from a fresh meat rookie into an SSX Master! The Race option pits you against five other racers in a three heat race across several stages which encompass all of the original tracks and two new ones (Garabaldi and Alaska). You would probably think that the stages would all be the same, but the tweaking on the game play really shows in which the stages have been redesigned to add more challenge in both the downhill racing and the trick competition! Most of the changes that you'll see is with the overall layout of the game, in which you have to learn to utilize the shortcuts that permeate the stages, both new and old.

The Show Off competition allows you to pull off the various tricks while collecting point multipliers to increase your score into the hundreds of thousands. In Show Off, you'll find that all of the stages with the revamping have really paid off, considering that the stages in Show Off are geared for tricks and tricks alone! Grinds and high flying jumps litter the stages, and the better the trick, the higher your boost until you hit the top of the adrenaline meter and turn it into Tricky Mode. In Tricky Mode, you can then start turning out super tricks that range from BMX moves {Barspins, Superman) to MX moves (Nac Nac) to other various X-Games style maneuvers that are really out of this world. Again, the better you do in the competitions, the better your medal and the better your medal, the better your attribute point distribution will be. In gaining the gold, you can unlock other characters and new boards as well as new stages to compete on, and with enough tricks, you'll unlock new character outfits to wear during your races.

The bulky controller that the XBox offers does plenty to turn the game play challenging with every passing move. To be honest with you, if I had my choice on what it was that I could do with the controller design, then would not be it! With the lack of extra buttons, some of the grabs and otherwise have been taken out of the game due to lack of functioning control set up. If you can actually get the control down to a science, then you may find that there is very little that has been taken out. This essentially cuts down your possibilities on the different tricks and what you can do with your rider, which will catch most SSX fans off guard, simply because of the strange lack of tricks.

However, in order to pull off those insane looking Uber-tricks, you have to hit two of the top triggers along with one of the facial buttons. Something that can be done though, is the change up of different button sets, which can ultimately change the game for you and this will help to get your comfortable with a decent set up. For those of you who have played the PlayStation 2 version of the game, you'll find that the severe change in the way that the game handles and trick buttons are going to take a little getting used to. If you've never played the game before though, then you'll find that the game plays like a dream with just a little practice and a working knowledge of what's going on with each of your riders!


Graphics: Visually, the game is full of eye candy and not as muted as the first one seemed to be. With the new additions to each stage, new paths and shortcuts, new and old, you'll find that SSX Tricky is one cut above the first in this area! With the characters ranging from the cute (Kaori) to the truly psychotic (Psymon) you'll find that SSX Tricky offers more variety in the visuals department than the first one did. All of the stages have simple lighting, but heavy detail in the way that they are all set up.

Even the tricks and the outfits that your character of choice wears looks sleek and well defined, and the Uber Tricks are something that have to be seen to be believed! There is nothing like watching a character in mid air release his board, pick it up, spin it around their neck and then drop it to the snow before they land to really make you appreciate what good programming and testing time does. Plenty of snow boarding game makers can take plenty of lessons from EA Sports, because this one does have the right stuff.



Audio: The audio here in SSX Tricky is first rate, with some high profile names doing the voices for the characters. Billy Zane (Sniper, Titanic), Macy Grey, David Arquete, and Jim Rose (Jim Rose's Freak Show) all perform the voices for the characters that you find here as well as other high profile names in the entertainment world. To add into this, the tracks are mostly mixed by the Beastie Boys DJ to create a truly pulse pounding and adrenaline pumping soundtrack that keep the pace of the game at a full clip. The voice acting of the introduction with the selection of boards and outfits as well as the overview parts of each stage really make an impact on the ears and will leave a lasting impression!



Overall Score: 10.0 / 10 James Bond 007: Agent Under Fire

Overall: 007: Agent Under Fire is a great game in general. This may be just a rental for some people due to the short single player missions, but for others, it may be one to buy for the long run multiplayer fun that comes from it. The graphics and sound are definitely the main reasons to give this game a try. And like I said before, some Nintendo 64 "Goldeneye" fans will love this game for the multiplayer fun, while others will turn away.



Gameplay: James Bond is invincible. Period. Getting shot in the game is like the enemies are just throwing tennis balls at you. You seem to live forever whether you are being shot at by machine guns, pistols or shotguns. To help ease that difficulty level, this game has Auto Aim. No one likes auto aim because it takes the fun out of first person shooters. In 007, having auto aim changes the gameplay to "blast whatever the target is on." This hurts it a bit since it takes a lot of the fun and skill out of doing it yourself that other Bond games had like Goldeneye. The standard controls in 007 are quite odd if you are used to Halo. Unfortunately, the buttons can get confusing. For example the B button is used to your gadget and using the gadget, but to switch back to a weapon you must pull the trigger or switch weapons using the thumb pad. The left thumb stick generally makes you look around while the right thumb stick moves you. These controls can be tricky and very uncomfortable. The options menu DOES allow for controller changes. The game comes with 4 different presets, allowing you to change the way the controls move. Luckily, there is a setting that swaps the assignments of the thumb sticks. The game offers two play modes: Single and Multiplayer. Single player consists of 12 missions. Although short missions, the game has a lot to offer because the action is pretty high and intense. Each mission has mini missions, or sections to it, usually 2 or 3. Multiplayer is similar to ; for Nintendo 64 in a way that it supports 4 players. As for the depth of multiplayer, some fans may not get the same excitement as in Goldeneye. There are 12 exclusive maps and CPU controlled bots, both not found in the PS2 version.



Graphics: The graphics in 007: Agent Under Fire are astounding compared to others we have seen. Yes, this game is a direct port from Playstation 2, but the visual quality of the game overall is a lot better due to the nVidia graphics engine. Compared to the Playstation 2 version, the Xbox graphics seem very well cleaned up, crisper, sharper, more colors, while on the other hand the frame rates also seem to stay up in at least or above the 30's. One mission allows you to drive the BMW Zed8, the Bond car for the game. The car sports nice reflections during the action scenes, and other objects like buildings show nice detail. Seeing the graphics during the car racing scenes shows you the potential that Grand Theft Auto 3 for the Xbox can have.



Audio: 007: Agent Under Fire supports Dolby Surround 5.1. If you are a James Bond fan, it is worth turning up the sound on this one. The game has full blown gunshots and explosions in high quality audio. One problem I noticed with the sound is it is lower than normal. In comparison to the Playstation 2 version, the volume in general seems lower, making you turn up your speakers. This can create humming noise and distortion, something we don't want to hear while playing. And where would James Bond be without his famous background music. The game sports some of the movies' best soundtracks, like the famous "James Bond" theme and some of the best in-game scores to be heard. The music in the game, however, differs from the Playstation 2 version somewhat. In the Playstation 2 version, when you would open a door it would do the "James Bond just opened a door" music, long and pretty loud. EA must have realized this mistake and lowered the volume for Xbox.


Overall Score: 6.0 / 10 Blood Wake

Overall: Blood Wake is a very fun, action packed game. There are plenty of missions to go through (and they can get VERY difficult, even on the lowest difficulty), there's tons of things to unlock, and a very nice multi-player mode to keep you playing. It's also a nice title to show off to your friends, and definitely holds promise for a sequel. Avast, ye scallywags!



Gameplay: In terms of gameplay it seems Blood Wake has been branded outright as a Twisted Metal clone. But thats not the case, Blood Wake does have a personality of it's own.Unlike Twisted Metal, Blood Wake is a mission based game, featuring huge levels where you face off against dozens of gunboats. Blood Wake puts you in the lead role of several (close to 30) missions vital to the success of your clan over the vicious, but often over-confident Jade Kingdom, and the toweringly powerful Iron Empire. Missions find you carrying out a variety of objectives, from collecting tribute from port towns, to covertly taking out ammo dumps while an enemy is out of town, to your basic 'destroy all enemies' missions. Now the actual controls of the game work well most of the time, but can often be very frustrating. For instance, try backpedaling during a fire fight and don't be surprised if you almost lose your ship trying to get realigned with the action. Going in reverse is just handled strangely, pulling it off correctly is often a hit or miss procedure. Another thing that can get in the way quite often is the shock wave that the water gives off when you blow something up. If you happen to be going at a decent speed and run into a shock wave as it happens, your boat will fly into the air for what seems like minutes, all the while as the enemies take pot shots at you in the air. Likewise, your boat has the same 'floaty' feel when going off any normal jump or big wave. Other than those irks, the gameplay works effectively, the control set up works easily and moving about is usually simple and fun, and definitely feels like you're cruising around on water.



Graphics: Now don't let the graphics fool you. I must admit, the graphics are very auto-combat-like, but where Twisted Metal has a closed course level design, the levels in Blood Wake are of an epic scale, giving the game a much more open ended and broad feeling. And where Twisted Metal goes for the dark, disturbing approach, Blood Wake tries to capture the olden-days, Chinese-like culture, painting large port cities and castles, and using stylized speedboats, gunboats, and hydro-planes as it's vehicles of destruction. Now given Blood Wake takes place completely in huge oceanic levels, a huge part of the graphics come in the form of the water's physics and their use throughout the game. Most of the time, the water in the game is used to excellent effect, it animates beautifully and always gives off some really brilliant lighting and shimmering effects. The physics are also quite dynamic, you'll see the water produce shock waves upon blowing up an enemy, and leave a very nice trail behind your ship as you speed ahead. The water looks especially nice during stormy whether conditions. All in all, the water works very nicely for the game. The castles and cities also look nice, and you can always see very far into the horizon. Some things don't fare as well though, the rock structures and grass on hills look pretty dull, and the menus in the game are fairly lackluster. The pictures that forward the story are also not too impressive (much like the ones in Soul Calibur).



Audio: Speaking of the story, the story is forwarded along with some very nice voice samples (well except the main character, who sounds like he's been smoking more of the green stuff than Cheech and Chong). The guns, missiles, and other assorted weapons all have some nice sound effects as well. The back ground music on the other hand, leaves a little to be desired. I mean it has style, sounding like something a DJ from China would produce (yes, a DJ from China, complete with scratching and distorted sounds), but it's very sparse, drowning out for a moment, then coming back for a bit, then going back out. Strange, to say the least, but it does have personality.



Overall Score: 6.0 / 10 Jet Set Radio Future

Overall: JSRF in overall is a great game. It deserves a wider audience then it gets. I enjoyed the game very much and the adventure is worth the playtime.

Gameplay: Gameplay has involved with cell-shaded graphics. It?s more based to the Japanese audience then anything, but its great. In JSRF you have to explore your surroundings compared to Jet Grind where you get faster paced action. As I mentioned above JSRF has massive environments. It has tripled from its original, but still looks !&%$@#* good.

In this game you must control your character and spray paint tags located on your map. Those tags, which you spray, unlock new levels, graffiti souls, and even more tags. You collect graffiti souls, which unlock more tags, and characters. You can see where I am going here. The game?s lasting appeal is great. After you complete the game you still can unlock all the playable characters. If you do that, you?re a true JSRF master! The trick system has been upgraded also. With new air combos, rail combos, and hand plants really get you into the game.

The difficulty has also changed, from extremely hard to normal. From Jet Grind?s almost impossible XL tag with a tank chasing you to bottled up policemen who don?t put up much of a challenge. The difficulty fits me perfect overall, too easy sometimes, but hard at others. I just love this gameplay; it?s the way most games should be.


Graphics: The cell-shaded graphics, the weirdest thing ever in video gaming, that?s all I can say. The graphics fit this game perfectly. Smilebit, who is the developer of this game, made them to top notch. From the first time I saw them, since the last time I played the game, I have loved them. I couldn?t see JSRF being made without having cell-shaded antics. They are greatly improved, flesh out on a bigger, more massive world than the original. Everything from the characters to the grinding rails. From the citizens walking the streets to the graffiti on the buildings. With no frustration I can say JSRF is the best looking cell-shaded game I have seen.



Audio: With this game being popular in Japan, Sega decided to use some Japanese style music. With a large soundtrack and some good tunes they can get irritating. With some songs saying weird stuff, and screaming all the time, gamers might possibly be turned off. If you could input your own tracks I would of thought this over. I unfortunately think that?s the worst part of JSRF, it?s darn sound.



Overall Score: 10.0 / 10 Hunter: The Reckoning

Overall: Overall Hunter is a game to buy, and its short gameplay doesn?t really affect it that much. It?s one of the most fun and addictive games on the Xbox. Whether your by yourself or have a group of buddies over this game shouldn?t be missed.


Gameplay: The gameplay in hunter is frenetic and very fast paced which keep you playing for a while. You go around killing bad guys gaining experience. You can also pick up weapons such as shotgun, machine gun, flame-thrower, chain saws, and rocket launchers. They have limited ammo, so you must use them wisely. Also edge powers are an important part in this game. They are like spells, which can be used to attack enemies, or heal you. One minor flaw in the game is its dreaded camera angles. (Which slowly irritate you) You can?t change the camera the way you want it to look. So I suggest to the developer in the sequel please make something so you can control your camera angle. Not only is this game made for one player, but for a whole team of four. So invite your buddies over and grab some snacks cause its going to be some great fun! I recommend not starting without your buddies if they are coming later. You can join in at any time, but they will have less experience points meaning weaker edges, and attacks.

Throughout the game you are given objectives like freeing souls or just saving innocent people. You must complete your objective before you can move on to the next section. When you complete the objective you can move on, and get an extra continue.

The later stages in the game are extremely hard not to mention everytime a person joins the game the difficulty rises. The bosses are not much easier either. You have to use the same tactics over and over again to accomplish your goals. Examples are shoot, run away, shoot, and run away again. Over time the boss will die. The frame rate absolutely never drops in this game. No slowdowns what so ever! This truly shows off the power of the xbox.

The controls are very easy to learn and placed nicely. The left trigger allows your character to jump, which isn?t a necessity in the game. The Right trigger allows your character to attack with the weapon, or edge he or she is equipped with. The left analog thumbstick controls what direction your hunter moves. The right analog thumbstick can aim. The A button reloads your weapon, or activates switches, and opens doors. The X button cycles through your melee weapon and your firing weapon. The Y button allows you to cycle through your edges. And last but not least the B button cycles through the weapons you pick up.

Graphics:
Visually Hunter is a great looking game. It has certain environments from churches to sewers. Each environment has its own enemies like gargoyles, zombies, to little tiny children. In some certain areas gas tanks and cars can even be exploded.

The bad guys are very good looking in the game. Even down to the clothes they wear. The ghosts, looks brilliant and they enemies variety is very good, Probably the best I have ever seen in a hack and slash game. With enemies arranging from rats to umm how should I say this, a giant teddy bear!

One thing that lacked in the game was the cut-scenes. Yes, they were well placed but they looked dreaded. The opening scene isn?t a very good example on how good this game really is. But, with improvements in the graphics during the game make up for it.



Audio: The audio division is what you expect. No you won?t crap your pants half to death as you would in other survival horror game due to the fact of zombies screaming at you. Music turns on when hordes of enemies come up on you, and the attack noise can get sometimes annoying. Explosions are done well, along with the sound of your very own footsteps. The guns sound right, and the hunter?s grunting is also well placed.



Overall Score: 10.0 / 10 Amped: Freestyle Snowboarding

Overall: Microsoft did it pretty good! You don't need to be an fan of snowboarding to love this game. It's a great snowboard game with great graphics good music and much! So go to the store and buy this game or go rent it now, it's a must have xbox title!

Gameplay: The career mode gives you the option to create your own snowboarder with its own clothes, gear and abilities. There are 5 'Challenges' in the career mode: 'high score', 'media', 'sponsor', 'pro' and 'explore'. After you have gotten a higher score then the 'high score' that is needed you will need to get an even higher score after that and after that another one, the same for the 'media score'. The media score is the score you will earn when you perform a trick in front of the camera [those cameramen who are standing at a hill or another obstacle with a red circle and a camera above it]. You will also have to do this three times until you have completed this. Then there is the 'sponsor race'. The sponsor option in the career mode gives you the ability to grow out to a professional. you start as a local rider, after completing some of the sponsor?s tasks, for example a sponsor will only sponsor you have you get 'Amped' in your 'Amped meter'. You can get this meter full [Amped] by doing the tricks that the sponsor likes to see. For example a sponsor likes rail slides, then you do some good rail slides on that run to get the sponsor. There are also three of those tasks in a level. Then there is the 'pro option'. A professional boarder will start snowboarding from the hills and performs some tricks. You have to do exactly the same, but you will have to get a higher score on the jumps/tricks you do to beat the professional, Also this has to be done three times to complete the level. This is only available when you are a shop-sponsored rider, so you have to complete the 'high score', 'media score' and some of the 'sponsor options' to let a professional challenge you. And last but not least there is the 'explore option'. At first I didn't know what it was, but when you explore the levels, you will see some objects, like a snowman. When you ride into it, you will get a explore point. There are 8 snowmen scattered throughout each level. You don't have to do this all to unlock the next level though, you will probably get a new level when you've got 2 high scores and some media score.

After winning some of these 'Challenges', you will earn a new level and some new clothes and gear. You will also get higher on the world rank and your sponsor status will be better. Every time you get something there will be added a picture of your accomplishment in your 'scrapbook' in the portfolio section.



Graphics: The levels look really great, the cameramen who are cheering and laugh at you when you fall or the boarder who suddenly ride next to you and cut you off look great and sometimes it's really funny to ride against them. The shadows, the snow and the outfits everything looks fantastic. When you ride in an environment with a lot of trees, the trees will become transparent and that makes it a lot easier to get out of there. The obstacles in the levels are great to jump off or rail on.

Audio: The music is good and there are more than 200 tunes on the Amped Soundtrack, if that?s not enough, you can add some music to your hard disk and listen to them.



Overall Score: 10.0 / 10 Oddworld: Munch's Oddysee

Overall: As fun as Oddworld is the first time around, this game just isn't the type you play twice. Once you complete the game, you can easily play through the game in less than half the amount of time it took you to finish it the first. The surprises and charm just seem to vanish. But its still fun to play.

Gameplay: For those of you who don't give Oddworld a second glance, or have played the awful demo of it on the halo disc, should all know that they are missing out on one of the best reasons to own an Xbox. I was smart enough to pre order this game along with my Xbox, and couldn't have been happier. This game is just plain fun. The game takes place in the forest where the evil mafia Glukkons have decided to move their factory. As Abe, you have to shut down the factories, and drain those Glukkons of every cent they have, in order for the forest to be at a rest again. Munch has to stop the Glukkons from selling the last can of Gabbiar, a food that is made of Gabbit's (Munches creature type). If that can is sold, there will be no other Gabbits, and Munch would be lonely forever. At some point, Abe and Munch meet up, and team up against the money grabbing Glukkons, and set out on a quest like no other. Each character has their strengths, and their faults. Abe cannot swim, but he is fast on land, and can jump very high. Munch is slow on land, and can barely jump at all, but Munch can swim at incredible speeds. Using the black and white buttons, you can switch between each character (in most levels). Using the Y, X, and B buttons, you can command your minions (Mudokons and Fuzzles) to do tasks for you. If you can't beat them, why not just create a possession orb by collection 10 spooce. All you do is, create the orb, run it into an enemy, and now, you have complete and utter control over it. The load times are minimal (compared to other games), and you can save as many games as you want. This game can easily be considered a "killer app". Oddworld will own you for days.




Graphics: The graphics in this game are very good, but because this was originally a PS2 project that moved to the Xbox, the graphics are not at full potential, but still are pretty stunning. Without a doubt, the FMV sequences are some of the best I have seen, and very comparable to Hollywood CG movies, such as Monsters Inc. The Frame rates in the game are steady, and never stutter. The game takes advantage of the beautiful Xbox water, and many other features. All in all, this is a beautiful game, but imagine how it could have looked if it hadn't started on that dreadful PS2.



Audio: The sound in this game is pretty amazing. Almost all of the characters voices were made by the creator, Lorne Lanning. The water splashes at the right time and volume, and you can hear enemies in the distance. The music never interferes with gameplay, and never annoys the player.

Overall Score: 10.0 / 10 Rallisport Challenge

Overall: Once again, the Xbox has another winner on its hands. I have to say that this game ranks up there with Halo, which is the #1 game of the year. If you are a racing fan or just looking for a cheap thrill and bang for your bucks?this is the game. If you are looking to show off the power of your Xbox?this is the game. And of course, if you don?t like racing at all, this game can change your mind.



Gameplay: RSC offers you many modes to choose from in racing. Let?s say its 8am, and you start work in 45minutes, and you want to get a quick race in before work; just insert the CD and click ?Instant Race? and off you go. Now let?s look at it this way, you want to race, but don?t want to get involved in a career game, you can play a Single Race or Time Attack game. There you can play the beginners? maps from career mode or unlocked maps as you progress in career mode. Now you have a couple of friends over, and they were talking smack about how they are a better rally racer than you; well you can fire this game up into multiplayer for up 4 players on the same console and race in rally game type. Whether it is closed circuit or straight line race?or even a good old fashion hill climb rally, they got you cover.

Now the racing is an experience on its own. I hope you read your driver?s manual and remember the part about control your car after a skid?you?ll need it. Not only will you slide out faster than lubed up cu !&%$@#* ber, but you will lose control of your car. The only time you will regain control is after you hit the wall, then its all yours. But this adds the difficultly that intense racers are looking for. It adds challenge to racing, and weeds out the passive driver. But don?t get me wrong here; the slides are controllable if you know how to control them. Otherwise they are down right aggravating. But it?s easy to get the hang of it. And it also helps to watch your opponent when they take turns, you might be able to pick up a few pointers from them, since you will be stuck behind them after hitting a few signs.



Graphics: In two words, this game is ?beautiful?. The cars are excellently rendered nicely. And you get little pieces of realism where you will see the car misfire a spark from the muffler as it revs up and when you gear shift. You can see damage inflicted on the as you crash into boulders or flip over the side of the mountain. Now the cars are not the only thing that looks good in this game; the tracks play a major part in this game. What is a rally race without great looking scenery? RSC has some stunning graphics that will blow your socks off. As you race through the Ice maps, you will notice the nice detailing on the ground as you catch a nice glare that is enough to think that you are actually outside. With the effect of bump mapping, you also get the effect that the ice is not smooth. But that?s only one area. You will be playing in different parts of the world, with different types of climate such as rain, snow, and clear days. Oh yeah, take a little time to admire the scenery as you are upside down your car, its great.



Audio: The sound is great. With the option to control the levels of volume for everything from music to environment is great. You can also use your ripped songs (from a CD of course) and create your own customized playlist. So as you are spinning out uncontrollably into ?PIAA? ad sign, risking severe damage you?re your car; you?ll be bopping your head to your favorite tunes. The engines are great sounding and give you that feeling that you about to blow a piston if you keep redlining your engine. Don?t worry, it wont blow?I think.



Overall Score: 10.0 / 10 NBA Inside Drive 2002

Overall: NBA Inside Drive 2002 happens to be a sure fire hit in the basketball game market. The Gameplay is good, the controls are easy and simplistic, yet complex enough to perform crazy maneuvers, and the graphics and sound track are insane. If you are into sports games such as this one, or feel that you want one to be your first?this would definitely hit the right spot. Let?s just hope it?s not with an elbow.



Gameplay: One of the more impressive aspects about this game is the game play. Not only does the AI associate itself to passive and aggressive players, it also varies its strategy from team to team. So when you play a season, different teams will play more different than the last. Now when you play head to head against a human opponent(s), the game become a little harder. You have full control over every player that is on the screen, as long as they have the ball or the indicator under them. The game speed is nice and fast, which allows you to make incredible moves and feel like you are not slowing down. The free-throw shooting is different than other games, but easy to master. Inside Drive gives you a new scheme where you have 2 circles and an aiming point in that bar. Make the point mark both circles in the center, and you get yourself a point. Also, you?ll have tons of fun performing monster dunks, smooth lay-ups, cross fakes and just charging your opponent. It?s all fun and games till someone gets hurt though.



Graphics: Inside Drive manages to pull off incredible graphics at amazing speeds. The character modeling is great. And they also have a nice layer map for the face, which gives each player their own unique face. Jordan looks like Jordan, Ewing looks like Ewing and so on. Also, most of the players have a tattoo, which is actually shown in the game. The models move fluidly with realistic movement, which was modeled after Vince Carter. The Dunks and other moves were also modeled after him, which suppose to be around 50 dunks, but I only managed to pull off about 10 of them. The stadiums that you play in are unique in detail. When I say unique, each stadium looks like the actual one in each state division. But the courts themselves look average. I mean shiny wooden floor with reflections, transparent hop bases, and a stadium full of people. You also get a nice glare from the spotlights above when the starting line-up enters. The only problem that I have with this game is the framerate. At times, the framerate drops during game play. And no, it?s not the slow motion effect. Also, the player models are boxy-like when seen up close.



Audio: What good is a game without an excellent soundtrack? Inside Drives incorporates some nice in game and menu music to go along with the atmosphere. The announcers are also very interactive. They comment on your game and insult you when you suck. Believe me; it helps out if you are losing by 20 points. While in game, you will usually hear the player say something taunting like ?Yeah baby, in your face? or give commands out to other team members; which is cool. But I also like the fact that it?s not said often enough to kill the impact of it, and its also not loud enough to become annoying.



Overall Score: 8.0 / 10 Wreckless: The Yakuza Mission

Overall: A good solid game, with great graphics, great sound, that will just make you love it. I am supried I am the only person who likes this game. Though it did need multiplayer!

Gameplay: Great gameplay, but sometimes the levels have the same exact ring to it but there is only two of these levels!! Some levels have multiple objectives that seem impossible to beat!!

Graphics: ummm!!! Just look at the !&%$@#* screens!

Audio: Have had no problems with it!! Its all good, but I never noticed any music!! Hmmm....

Suggestions: Just one thing..... MULTIPLAYER!!

Overall Score: 9.0 / 10 Project Gotham Racing

Overall: Many call this XBOX's Gran Turismo 3 killer; it's not - that will likely be Sega GT 2002. Though Project Gotham does kill GT3 graphics-wise, it is simply different gameplay-wise. Project Gotham emphasizes balancing style with speed while throwing a little gambling into the mix, as opposed to tuning your car to win races. In addition, the game is not as simulation oriented as GT3, but not a total arcade fest either; it lies somewhere in between. Bottom line - Like racing? Buy it.



Gameplay: Controls are wonderful, as the game is very responsive and easy to get into. Force feedback is also used well in this game. The unlockable tracks, cars, and customizations available will have you playing hours on end by yourself, or with a friend.

Graphics: Amazing models, detailed backgrounds, and outstanding animation all lead to Project Gotham having the best graphics of any racing game to date, ousting Gran Turismo 3 from that spot. The replays are incredibly realistic as well, seeing your driver's head jolt when you crash into things, sparks fly from your wheels, and realtime reflections. Best of all, you get this with no slowdown at all even in split screen multiplayer, and little to no jaggies. My only complaint is that if you look really closely during the replays and occasionally when racing, you can sometimes see a few pixel seams (white in color) at places where the track joins, however you really have to look close for this and you only see them sporadically. Nothing's perfect I guess.



Audio: Project Gotham has a great sound system, letting you use some of the games' own excellent soundtrack to compile your own playlist, or adding tracks of your own to the playlist. You can add your own tracks by ripping your CDs to the XBOX's hard drive in the console's "Music" menu. In addition, you can have mock radio announcers overlay whatever songs you choose, or you can simply just listen to the music by itself. Sound effects and music in the game are very high quality, with astounding low frequency effects. If you have a subwoofer, this game will give it a workout. Project Gotham, like all XBOX launch games I have played so far, supports realtime in-game Dolby Digital 5.1 sound. Most of the sound in Project Gotham Racing is tied to the front two speakers. The surrounds are mainly used for ambience, and more agressively during replays, while the center channel is mainly used for in-game Kudos-collecting sound effects.

Overall Score: 10.0 / 10 Tony Hawk Pro Skater 3

Overall: Over 20 skaters and more modes than you can shake a twig at. I mean it when I say you will play this for an entire year.

Gameplay: It can be a bit difficult to get the hang of if you've never played T Hawk before, but once you know the controls, you'll be amazed at what you can pull off. The engine gets better with each version.

Graphics: A pretty game with plenty of little details to make your eyes water with joy. The slowdown is not terrible, but is definitely noticeable.

Audio: Great soundtrack and some nice effects. And it offers custom soundtracks!


Overall Score: 10.0 / 10 NFL Fever 2002

Overall: Fun with friends, even if they're not online anymore. But solo players won't get much out of the shallow Franchise and Season modes.

Gameplay: Solid football engine makes the passing game one of the best around. Easy to learn, tough to master and fun to play.

Graphics: Looks and animates a lot like a Dreamcast game with some added detail, but nothing stunning. Excellent camera work

Audio: Proves videogame commentary can be engaging, interesting and accurate. Very well done.

Overall Score: 7.0 / 10

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