Total Reviews: 36
Average Overall Score Given: 7.38333 / 10
Total Forum Posts: 2

Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars

Overall: Command and Conquer, one of the games that started RTS (real time strategy) for me. I've loved each installment of the game series as it has went along. However, Tiberium Wars has left me feeling, well....wounded and bleeding on the battlefield.

The storyline goes that you are in the middle of yet another struggle between GDI and NOD for either global peace or global domination. Tiberium has spread over the globe and is cl@!%#*!ified into one of 3 zones. Red - uninhabitable as Tiberium has completely taken over this area. Yellow - barely habitable but controlled by NOD. Blue - Tiberium is kept under a tight reign here and GDI rules the roost.

As you play through the initial few GDI missions, you unlock the NOD missions. After playing through to the end of either, you are faced with yet a 3rd confrontant in this battle for Tiberium - aliens. After completing both GDI and NOD missions, you unlock 4 missions to play as the aliens themselves.

Honestly, there were several missions which left me wanting to place the game into a skeet shooter and yell "PULL!". The sheer difficulty of some of the missions was absolutly absurd and in some cases, one mistake in planning costs you the entire mission forcing you to start over from scratch. No joke or exaggeration.

Too many times, I was forced into nothing more than an all out tank rush ("Mammoth tank @!%#*!embled") to stop the hordes from invading. I've never enjoyed tank rushing as it takes no skill or strategy to build up x amount of x tank and just mow down the opposition :(

Read on if you would like to learn more on my ratings. Basically, the only reason I gave it a 7.0 overall is because it is C&C and there are some missions which make up for the idioic ones :-/

Gameplay: Gameplay is your typical C&C style. Build bases, build armies, squash the enemy(s) With new styles of troops and buildings, nothing much is new in this area. As with each new installment of C&C, there are new types of weapons, etc to add to your arsenal.

Some of the missions were absolutely fun and I enjoyed every minute of them. Some however, left me in such a state of complete frustration that one time I actually looked for cheat codes so I could end the bloody thing! However, much to my disappointment, I could find none that would have helped :( So I read through some walkthrus and came to a startling discovery. The people writing the walkthrus had the EXACT same issues with these particular missions that I did. They also came to the exact same conclusion, mess up one time and it's mission over. Might as well start all over again. Thus the level of frustration.

Some missions place you right in the thick of battle with hardly any troops and/or buildings to defend yourself with. Others are so bold as to place you in an area with 3 (yes, count 'em 3) different bases around you and you are supposed to a) build up your base b) build up your base defenses c) build up your army to ultimately take out your enemies. However, because all 3 bases are on the same side, they are all coming after you at once and they only give you a few minutes before the onslaught begins.

There are bonuses in each mission which if carried out to the letter, will result in ribbons. IMO, some of these bonus objectives were absolutely impossible and I didn't even bother trying for them. To me, the difficulty of the game (and I played each mission on medium) was just insane on some missions. Again, other reviewers agree, in some of the NOD missions you have well over 2x the amount of difficulty in completing the exact same mission as when you were on GDI side - just a warning, frustration ahead.

One of the other problems I have with this game is the enemy (insert NOD, GDI or alien here) can be fighting each other. But as soon as they see your base, they BOTH come after you. For some reason, they decide that they no longer want to wipe each other off the face of the map but decide to team up as buds and come after you. IMO, the computer AI here was "knowing" a bit more than it actually should have. Thus these reasons for my low score on gameplay.

Graphics: Visually the game is nice looking. A decent amount of attention paid to detail, so def no complaints here. In an RTS though, you are not really paying a whole lot of attention to details and how "breathtaking" scenery, etc should be. You are more focused on seeing your enemy drawn and quartered before you.

My one big drawback to the visual was the video cutscenes. In some places, the acting was good ... in some, it was plain ugly. Billy Dee Williams acted more like a professional wrestler in some scenes than he did a high ranking official of GDI. "Can you smmmeellll....what the cookin'?"

While the video cutscenes were a nice addition, I expected more out of seasoned actors and felt that some of the "unknowns" did a better job than some of the "veterans" o.0

Audio: New command options available. Sound in this game was very typical for a C&C RTS. Nothing to really write home about. I did enjoy playing as the commando simply because of the snide comments made, but to this day I still have yet to find a commando that made me LOL as much as the original commando. "Got a present for ya","That was left handed" :)

Other than that, the background music, etc are kinda lost in the battle. Again, like the detail on visual scenery, you are not paying much attention to the background because you are too focused on repairing your bases from the constant barrage of attacks.

Suggestions: Can we say re-al-is-tic? Didn't think so. My main beef was when I was playing a mission against NOD or the aliens, the game played as x and I had x as my starting forces/buildings. However, when it was reversed and I was NOD or the Aliens vs GDI/NOD, it was nothing like what I was up against. If you are going to reverse the roles, then make sure to reverse the difficulty to be the same....not 2-3x harder.

If this is the way of C&C games, then I might have to gracefully /bow out :-(

Overall Score: 7.0 / 10 Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, The

Overall: Elder Scrolls does it again with Oblivion. If you thought that Morrowind was a fantastic game, then you have not even cracked open the case for Oblivion. I am a die hard RPG fan and have been so for many, many years. This game satisfied me in every sense of the word and I finally finished the game (minus the expansion pack) with over 140 hours of gametime!!! With so many options, so many different varations of gameplay available, this game could very well take the RPG of the decade award.

I know that this game has been out for some time now, but for those of you looking to pick it up used or new with the expansion pack, this review is for you. One thing I know for sure, for the price that you can get it for now, it's not worth the rental. There is no way in the world you will come close to beating this game in a week, so save your $$ on the rental and do yourself a favor by going out and just buying the game after reading the reviews. You'll thank me later ;)

From being a meat shield with heavy armor to a deadly @!%#*!@!%#*!in or a skillful mage who would prefer to fry first, talk later, you have all these options and more. For me, I was a heavy armor wearing, 1 hand sword wielding, stealthy @!%#*!@!%#*!in. Yes, you read it right. That's just how diverse this game allows you to get.

Gameplay: The gameplay is pretty standard, move and look with your thumbsticks. Block, attack, cast spells, etc. The D-pad is nice as you can set it to be shortcuts for various items/spells/etc that you use quite often in the game. In this way, you are not required to go back into the menu to pick and choose. Where this game really stands out is the diverse ways that you are allowed to play the game. Don't want to start on the main quest yet? Want to hone your skills in the battlefield or spend some time working alchemy? No problem! By the time that I started this game, I had already gone through the entire Fighter's Guild and Arena Champion quest lines, not to mention was half-way through the Mages Guild set as well.

I would suggest that you don't try to immediately jump into the main quest line after the "intro" run. The baddies that you will face within short order are just that, bad :) If you try to do the main quest line and are lower than lvl 20, you will just get pwned and I ain't jokin'.

After the entire game was done, I went back and did the Thieves Guild quest line. The items and buffs that you get as "bonuses" are just incredible. However, I don't know if it would be possible to finish the quest line and achieve all the bonuses without being as high a level as I was (lvl 30).

After a few minutes of the game, you will be given the option to choose which sign you were born under. Choose carefully, as this sign will also govern what bonuses that you have during the game. Bonuses are not just derived from your sign however, some are given by the very race that you choose. For me, as a kitty (can't spell the game, I could self cast a spell to allow me to see in the dark. I found this the main reason I chose a Kahjeet (or however they spell it :p )

You are also to choose your profession. This profession choice will govern which primary skill sets determine your leveling up. If you choose a profession which uses light armor as a primary, but you find yourself using heavy quite a bit, you choose wrong my friend. As your primary skills increase, so does your level. As any good RPG, after you level, you are given the option to increase certain skills such as agility, strength, persuasion, etc. Note: 100 is your max that you can put into any one skill trait.

There was a glitch here or there with collisions. One such that I remember was in a "haunted" cave. I killed the mob and it was laying in the door path. Then I kept on hearing this "BANG, BANG, BANG" and I was looking around to see what was heading my way as it sounded like a Sherman tank :p I quickly found out that the "BANG, BANG, BANG" was not a mob coming after me, nor a ghost in the haunted cave but rather the door trying to close but the corpse getting in the way. Eventually, the corpse "moved" and the door shut much to my thankfullness because that noise was just getting on my nerves. For me, it was a few small glitches like this which drove down the rating a bit.

Graphics: Visually the game was stunning. From the beautifully done water to the intricate details in each character's face. The developers did a fantastic job here as it made the world very immersive. My only issue was each home kinda seemed like the previous one before it. There were a few variations here or there, but you could tell it was the same model with a different skin over it. Overall though, very pleased with the graphics.

I will comment in the Developer's Suggestions with regards to the Kahjeet skill to see in the dark. Quite a bit of improvement was needed there, but since it was only one aspect of the game, it was not enough to drop down the score.

Audio: I found the music and dialog in the game to be great as well. Very immersive. I enjoyed how many different voice overs I heard in the game. To be honest though, the illusion was broken about 3/4 of the way through the game when I began to meet characters who voices sounded EXACTLY like a previous character I met a few hours/days before (game time) It was very disappointing. I understand that with the vast amount of characters in this game, having each one unique would be nigh impossible. However, it did break the illusion of a "unique" world and as thus, it dropped my audio score.

However, that being said, the music score, background elements, dialog, sounds, etc were all wonderfully done.

Suggestions: My suggestion would be to look at the Gameplay Description section for one of the bugs I mentioned. This was not an isolated instance, but occured a few times here or there. Perhaps nobody ever submitted a bug ticket .... /shrug.

My main suggestion would be for the Kahjeet (sp) vision spell. When that thing is on, it drowned every other nice detail in color all out. Nice, pretty shades of blue is all I could see. While I got used to it and could def see better with it on than not, there was several instances where I was talking with an NPC and missed certain key elements because I could not see them. For example, talking with one of the guys in the Thieves Guild, I could not tell he was a vampire until he said something. Again, this was not an isolated instance.

My suggestion is to make the eye of night spell not turn everything a monochromatic shade of blue, but rather just brighten everything so that it's easier to see. In this way, you don't miss out on the great coloring or intricate details which you just cannot see when this spell is active.

Overall Score: 9.8 / 10 Batman: Dark Tomorrow

Overall: Oh my goodness! Where to start? Well, with one word I can sum this game up - stupid. Well, I thought that the trailer and screenshots looked nice, but that's about the only thing that this patethic game has going for it. So what's wrong with the game?, you may ask. What's NOT wrong with the game is my response. Read below if you care.

Gameplay: Crap. Total and utter crap. First off, there is no camera controls. Note to developer: WRONG! Boot to the head. You are running along and can only see your particular screen from the default camera angle. You have no way of moving the angle around to see where anything else is.

Second, when batman fights, he fights like Inspector Gadget or something. He can't fight worth crap. I mean, this is Batman we are talking about. But he is so lame, it's not even funny. Note to developer: Get an idea! Boot to the head.

Third, because of the default camera angle, there are many times that you can't see where you are supposed to step or not step. If you could move the camera, you could see these things. But I guess that these guys were under a tight budget and making a movable camera in a 3D game was just too much thinking! Boot to the head.

There is much more, but if you have read this far, this is enough to say "Save your money". If you still feel like wasting your hard earned $$$, then I'll post my e-mail addy and you can just send it to me :)

Graphics: Graphically, this game looked pretty good. The cutscenes were nicely done and the characters well developed. Also, a much better step up from the previous Batman X-box game. Too bad that the rest of the game was not as nice as the graphics.

Audio: Bleh. At this point, I didn't even bother to listen to the sound. Now I will admit that the intro movie was good and had nice music and sound, but once you start playing the game you are too busy kicking yourself in the butt for shelling out your $$$ on this dumbness to even notice music score or sound effects.

Suggestions: Get a real idea. The graphics and cutscenes are the only thing that you did right in this game. Total bomb, imo.

Oh....btw....Boot to the head!

Overall Score: 2.0 / 10 Brute Force

Overall: Hmm.... I have been playing games for over 20 years, but that don't mean squat as every game is different. Anyways, 'nuff said, on with the review.
Great game! From the intro to the gameplay to the cutscenes, I found it hard to put the game down. When I finished a level, I just wanted to keep going to see what else was next. I tend to be pretty optimistic when it comes to games, if you don't believe me, look at my average scores. So I try to look for flaws within the game and such, but so far this one is lookin' real clean. Now I will admit that I haven't played multiplayer yet and I do know that games with multiple players on a split screen don't work really well. However, I don't think that this game was meant for people to sit and play on one box, but was designed for Live, which would take care of the split screen thing. Worth a rental at the minimum and I am considering very seriously a purchase. This game should keep me busy until Fable comes out.

Gameplay: The game plays just like Halo. Even after not playing Halo for months and months, I picked up on the controls within minutes and was runnin' and gunnin' with the best of 'em. Lots of fun to play and reminds me of kinda a reminesceint DeusEx in a way (another rockin' game) The teamplay aspect was very nice and adds great elements to the game. From commoradorie to takin' down some mutants, it makes for a great overall gameplay. The special abilities of the characters are also kinda nice as well, especially snipping with Flint :)
I did not play with the multiplayer section yet, so I will not even comment on this portion of the game.

Graphics: Wow. Wow. Wow. Did I say that this game has great graphics? I'm sure I did, but I just want to say it again, wow. The ingame graphics could use just a touch bit more work to put the ol' box to the test. However, the cutscenes and intros are incredible. I have not seen ones done this nicely since Halo except for FMV in the Matrix, which is a totally different kind of cutscene. Nice job here!

Audio: Sound is good, but nothing that I found overly appealing. Nothing that makes me really get into the game, but it sufficies and gets the job done.

Suggestions: Hmm.....tough question. Great job on the game and I look forward to more releases like it.

Overall Score: 10.0 / 10 Hulk

Overall: Fun game, right from the get go. You start out playing as our lovable green guy. Now for me, this game has quite a bit of appeal, cause I used to love the Hulk when I was just a kid. There are some problems with the game that, however, will make you want to transform in to the Hulk yourself.

Gameplay: Gameplay is fun. Right from the beginning. You play as both the Hulk on some missions and as Bruce Banner on some. Controls are easy to pickup on and there are over 40 different moves that you can perform as the Hulk. Almost everything, and I do mean EVERYTHING, can be destroyed, smashed, trashed and mangled. Walls, ceilings, floors, pipes, tanks, telephone poles, metal power transformers. You name it. There is also hidden content within the game that makes it that much more interesting. Now I will admit that the respawn of the "gamma dogs" really get's annoying (one of the things that makes my anger level go up and takes me that much closer to turning into the Hulk myself).
Now another problem is when you are playing Bruce, he just doesn't seem to want to climb very easily. So be warned, this can lean to frustration again.
I did want to hear the Hulk talk, but as it turns out, our big green fellow is mute. However, there is a hidden universal input code which will unlock the grey hulk which does talk. Yipee!!!

Graphics: Graphics are as good as any PeonS2 port can get, which for me is a letdown anytime I have to put up with it. To come from such great graphic games like Halo, Brute Force and Splinter Cell to games that are ported, it is a real shame. However, I must live with it and so I will. The cutscenes are pretty decent, but kinda cartoonish (which, don't get me wrong, is not bad, just different). My MAJOR complaint in this department is the lack of camera control.
Once again, PeonS2 rules the developers minds and they give us junk like the controls for Metal Gear. There is absolutely no way to move the camera unless you are holding down 1st person mode. At which point, you cannot move anyways, so it really does no good. Now this gets really frustrating when playing Bruce cause there are levels where you are in disguise but cannot be seen upclose by any of the personel. However, since you can't see anything but what the camera wants you to see, you have a VERY hard time telling exactly where the baddies are and where they are not. (This make Hulk MAD!)
I just wonder when these developers will get it into their heads that using both thumbsticks on a game is NOT a bad thing, but actually the PREFERRED thing. Ok. Off of my soap box. This game would have gotten a higher rating and a higher visual rating if there had been camera control.

Audio: Sound is good on this game, just like most of the rest. Nothing which really stands out, but it gets the job done.

Suggestions: Can anybody say "Camera control"? Nope. I didn't think so. I just wish that developers would wake up and at least give us the option of controlling the camera with the thumbstick. It would make the games that much better and more enjoyable. 'Nuff said.

Overall Score: 8.0 / 10 Enter the Matrix

Overall: Wow! What else can I say? This game just rocks! It's got the moves. It's got the music. It's got the mayhem. It's got it all. Great game so far and the deeper into the rabbit hole that I go, the better that it gets.
If you are a true Matrix fan, you will love this game. The president of Shiny said that the Bros asked him to put in so much hidden stuff, that it's likely that you will never find it all. He said that if you do, you will feelt that it was worth while looking for it.
Not to mention, if you don't play the game, you are missing out on tons of stuff from the movie. Like how all the captains got called together in one location inside of the Matrix, just before Agent Smith delivers his "present" for Neo.
Worth a rental, if not a purchase just to see the "entire" Matrix:Reloaded movie.

Gameplay: Gameplay is just awesome. You play either Ghost or Niobe and interact with the characters from the Matrix and Matrix 2 in your quest to save Zion. Focus (your way of using focused "Matrix" style moves, etc) is a great addition. Wall running and jumping, so many types of moves and weapons, it's just like playing the movie. But then again, it's supposed to be like that :) Then there is the hacking aspect. So far, I have found ways to dump extra weapons on levels, "train" Ghost or Niobe with new moves and a hidden multiplayer fight 'em up. Yes, you read right. A two player vs fighter inside of the game. Morpheus vs Agent Smith, Trinity vs Niobe, Ghost vs Niobe, and many more. A wonderful game, full of hidden suprises, some of which include finding hiddens on the web ;) Maybe part of the hidden content is a X-Box link feature that will download new stuff. That would be cool :)

Graphics: Ok. For visual I give it a 4.5 here. There is one thing that really get's me. There is no camera control. I think that they should have given the ability to control the camera so that you could look around without having to put your character in 1st person mode. Ok. That being said, it is visually a great piece of work. I love the cut scenes as well as the FMV which playes throughout the game. Almost 1 full hour of never before seen FMV shot at the same time as the movie, but devoted totally for the game. Great job and great idea!

Audio: Now I have never been much one for descriptions on sound and such. But I was noticing again today, that not only the music but even the sound effects are totally, 100% "The Matrix". Very nicely done and a true pleasure to listen to as well as play. Very immersive.

Suggestions: Camera control! Please! Also, the ability to map the entire button sequence would have been nice.

Overall Score: 10.0 / 10 X2: Wolverine's Revenge

Overall: Ok. Here it is. The good, the bad, and the just plain UGLY. Like many others, I had VERY high hopes for this game. But sadly, the programmers have taken my hopes and smashed them against an adamantium laced wall. The storyline was good and solid, but the rest left somewhat to be desired. Read below for the gorry details....

Gameplay: Ok. Gameplay was so so. I loved the ability to play one of the greatest X-Men characters of all time. However, there were several flaws that really made me, not only mad, but down right disgusted at the programmer. So let's open Wolverine 101. First lesson, Wolverine has adamantium claws that can cut right through anything, especially human flesh. HOWEVER, the programmers seem to think otherwise. For example, ACT 3: Level 1 you break into a barracks full of sleeping joes in their skibbies. No armour, but yet 5 of 'em can kill ya and you can't kill them. Sesson two, Wolverine's mutant healing power works EVEN when his claws are extended. Nuff' said. Lesson three, Wolverine has VERY hightened scences. However, it seems that he has a problem with following characters such as Wendigo off of the edge of cliffs.... Hmmm.... "rack that up to bug # 23432..."
However, that being said, it was still fun to play Wolverine. I just wish that they would have fixed such glaring problems, which could have turned this rental into a purchase.

Graphics: Graphics were ok, but what can you xpect from a port :p
One HUGE problem, which others have mentioned, is that STUPID camera thing. It has a mind of it's own and just keeps turning when it feels like it. Dumb, dumb and dumber. Very frustrating. Cutscenes were not too bad. However, allow me the ability to skip the movie scenes if I want.

Audio: Sound was solid. Great voicing jobs and such. Background music, nice touch. Overall, sound was the most professionally done. Too bad that the rest of the game was not done as well.

Suggestions: Fire the programmers and hire new ones if you end up making any $$$ on this game. Read above and fix these GLARING errors in programming and design.

Overall Score: 5.0 / 10 Kung Fu Chaos

Overall: Wow! What more can I say? This game is great. Def worth a rental (and I am considering purchase as well). Great multiplayer action. Hilarious game. Very addictive. Overall, a great game with very well thought out design and gameplay.

Gameplay: From lots of different characters to play, to multiplayer, this game really does a great job of offering that replayability factor that alot of games today are missing. It can get kinda hard (and ridiciulous seeming) at times, but makes you want to come back over and over again for more. Very original gameplay. From bouncing stuntmen to bumping ninjas off of an iceberg with life preservers. Great fun with lots of unlockables.

Graphics: Graphics are decent. They are not really above the "norm" for games of this type, but at the same time, they don't make me want to hurl either. I will admit though that the various stages that you play through do offer quite a variety and help with the immersion factor.

Audio: Waaaaahhhh..... "Everybody was Kung Fu Fighting..." Great, great, great. I love the insult portion. Then that movie director can really add a bit of humor to it as well. Overall, very well done.

Suggestions: Umm.....sequal? :)

Overall Score: 10.0 / 10 Tao Feng: Fist of the Lotus

Overall: I had higher hopes and expectations for this game. I am sorry to say that I walked away very disappointed. My suggestion is rent the game, then if you like it, buy it. But rental is the best way to save yourself a few $$$ just in case, like myself, you find yourself feeling disappointed with the game.

Gameplay: Game play was as I expected with a few minor twists. The computer fought (as others noted) unusually hard. I felt like I was playing my 10 year old daughter who just continously presses one button, instead of an intelligent AI. I was looking for easier ability to use poles and walls. Also, I was expecting (like others) that limb damage would not only be a little easier to achieve, but also a little more visible (other than their arms just hanging there) I thought it was an excellent idea, just needed some more work.

Graphics: Visually, it was a very rewarding game. However the way that the camera will suddenly flip from one side to another really ticked me off. Because for you to be blocking, you must pull back, but if the camera moves to the opposite side (for no reason!), now all of the sudden you are no longer blocking, but attacking. Also, I was expecting wounds, bruises, tearing in clothes to occur real time, not after you knock the opponent down to nothing in his/her health.

Audio: Sound was good, but it got annoying having to listen to that old man rattle on at the beginning of every fight. Not bad to listen to one time, but after you have heard it a couple of times, it really gets old.

Suggestions: What were you thinking when you designed that camera flip? Obviously you weren't thinking. Also, make the character visible damage a continious thing, not just in between fights.

Overall Score: 7.0 / 10 Marvel vs. Capcom 2

Overall: The game is fun, no doubt about that. With 56 different characters, multiple new levels to unlock as well as the ability to change how they assist, this game will keep you busy for awhile to come. There are some basic things that should have been done/changed, but for the most part, they did it right.

Gameplay: Gameplay runs very smooth with no hickups at all. I love the ability to unlock tons of different characters and new playing levels. However, why is there no X-Box Live support? I mean Capcom vs SNK2 has it, so why not this one? That would have been a great addition to make this one a keeper. However, from the various ways to play it, it does retain the ability to capture the player's attention for quite a while. One problem that I noticed was there was only the one ending (if you could even call it an ending). It would have rocked to have an interactive story mode like DOA 3 or X-men even. But as it is, no matter who you beat the game with, the ending is always the same. "Thanks for playing Marvel vs Capcom, please play again". Then credits. Talk about boring :x The ending could def use some spice as well as some kind of a story line at least :/

Graphics: Graphics are ok. I mean it's a traditional 2D fighter, so it's what I have come to expect. Colors are bright. But I can't help but imagine what it would have/could have been like if it were done in a 3D aspect like MK:DA or DOA 3. Hmmm.....

Audio: Sound was,again, what I have come to expect. However, that cheesy guy after every fight "I almost had a heartattack" or some other cheesy saying got really old after every fight. In fact, it was old and cheesy even after the first fight :) Get rid of the cheesy guy and get some decent "choose player" music other than "I wanna take you for a ride" crap.

Suggestions: Great idea on the unlockables. However, no X-Box Live support? What were you thinking? Dump the cheesy sayings after the fights and adopt (at a minimum) a storyline.

Overall Score: 8.0 / 10 NBA Inside Drive 2003

Overall: Overall, this game is great! I own the 2002 version and after renting this one, I am considering the purchase of it and the sale of 2002. A fun game to play and, imo, one of the best b-ball games that I have ever played on both X-Box and PC. If you are a fan of the game, then at least give it a rental. You won't be disappointed.

Gameplay: Gameplay is great. They really expanded the dunks in this version and it helps give a better "sense" of the dunk. They go down hard and come on top, even harder. The ability to create your own player and upgrade their "abilities" in career mode is great! I love to see myself in the game, playin' 'side some of the greats. Also, the ability to not only beef up the AI from rookie to veteran to all star, but to be able to increase/decrease the range of the computer and human AI in key areas is a def plus. Getting too many 3 pointers off and want a little harder competition? No prob, just increase the slider on the computer AI up a bit and BANG! you got it a little harder. Want the compute to block you a bit more? Bump up the defense a bit and you got it. Great addition to a great game. I got friends that want to buy the X-Box just for this game alone (and Splinter Cell of course..hehe)

Graphics: Nice job here guys. My only disappointment was you took away the sweet intro scenes from the 2002 version. Instead, it's computer demos and stuff. Also, I was hoping for a halftime show, but nada :( However, they have increased the detail on both the stadium/crowd as well as the characters. All in all, slight improvements made for a slightly better visual appeal over 2002.

Audio: This is one of the things that makes this game shine. The commentary sometimes is enough to make me ROFL off of my couch. Then hearing my guys diss the other team or human player, to hear my buddy say "Eh...shaaaduuup" to 'em makes me grin :> Keep up the good work in this area.

Suggestions: Halftime show. Plain and simple. Also, take that junk off of the front intro and put back some Vince Carter/Shaq slammin' it down hardcore like. Features like hidden video clips of past All Star games or highlights would also be a plus.

Overall Score: 9.0 / 10 Black Stone: Magic and Steel

Overall: If you like Gauntlet, then you will prob like this game. One nice thing about the game, was the ability to upgrade your chacter with the money that you find (as long as it doesn't disappear before you get there). There are a couple of flaws with the game (but what game doesn't have flaws) I would recommend a rental vs a purchase however. Because once the game is beaten, there is no real replay value unless you wanted to go through with friends or some of the characters that you have unlocked. Over, enjoyable but can be beaten with a 3 day rental so save your cash for Fable :)

Gameplay: Gameplay is fun. Especially if you enjoy the Gauntlet type of hack-n-slash gaming. Same style as Gauntlet, in fact, my kids were commenting on how much of the trap etc were exactly like Gauntlet. There was a glaring flaw, imo, that really got me quite irked at times. Your character can be facing forward, but he does not shoot forward. He kinda shoots at an angle. So then when you go to turn him, he doesn't turn very well and if he is facing 1 o'clock and you turn him, he does not face 12 but rather more like 10:30 or so :/ So you will find yourself moving back and forth trying to get the correct angle from which to toss your spells and shoot. Also, something which I did not like was when you are shooting, you cannot move until the fired shot is gone. So if you button mash (and who doesn't on a game like this), you could be stuck in the same position (missing the creatures because of the angle problem) and getting whaled on at the same time from the side. However, that being said, I can overlook these glaring flaws because of the fun factor. The storyline could use a bit of work, but all in all, a good game worth a $5 rental at the very least.

Graphics: Graphics were done nice. No ability to control camera angles, which at times was a little disappointing. But I am used to this style from Gauntlet. After each level is completed, there was a nicely rendered scene that usually looked very well done. Graphics were done much better than Gauntlet, however this is a newer game as well.

Audio: Sound was good as well. There were times when the background music really stood out and helped for those long "back and forth" treks to turn on switches and such. Other than that, the sound is much like any other of this type and style.

Suggestions: Make it that you have more precise control over your character, so that when you are shooting, you can aim your shots better. Also, allow your character to move once he has fired the shot, instead of waiting until the shot is gone off the screen.

Overall Score: 8.0 / 10 Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb

Overall: Overall, this game is great! A classic to be sure. However, I would recommend rental vs purchase unless you are a die hard fan of Indy and must own a complete francise merchandise. This game can be beaten with as little as two rentals and there is no replay value per say. The reason for my 4 rating is because of some major flaws in the game which I will discuss below. If they could have not rushed production and fixed these glaring flaws, the game would have been a perfect 5. Sorry guys.
However, I will say this. I loved how they integrated this game into the movie line at the end of the game. Very nice touch :)

Gameplay: Gameplay was outstanding. I loved the ability to play as Indiana Jones and have played all of the PC versions up to this one as well. This is indeed, the best one of the series. Controlling the characters is as easy as 1,2,3 and learning the actions even easier. It would have been better to be able to switch between weapons faster, but that is not a big deal.
My problem with the game is the physics engine. There was many times in the game that an enemy could shoot me through a pillar or wall, but I could not shoot him back. One time in the game, I tossed a nazi off of a balcony, only to get down there and find him stuck halfway through the floor. His head and torso were gone, with his legs sticking straight up in the air from the floor.
Another problem that really got me was there was places where Indy could easily grab onto a ledge or roof, but yet the game would not allow you. But then when your fighting in one of the final areas and these stone statues come to life, if you are not careful as you are hitting them, Indy will follow them over the edge. DOH! I mean, come on. This is Indiana Jones we are talking about, not some stupid dunder head. But alas, sometimes the moves that he makes (sometimes on his own it seems) make you wonder if you are controlling Indiana Jones or Mr. Magoo.
However, that being said. It was still an awesome game and very fun to play as well as watch.

Graphics: Graphics are great! Attention to detail was very well done. However, the camera angle was something that time and again really ticked me off. You are jumping from one platform to another, you set your camera so that you can see where your feet are. Then you move and DOH!, the camera jumps back to behind the back, center view. Several times (like the tank chase) the camera angle changes so that you can't even see where Indy is, let alone where he is running. Extremely frustrating! This was one of the biggest flaws of the game. Too bad that LucasArts did not take enough time to properly debug the camera and physics collision engines :/

Audio: Sound was great! True John Williams through and through. True Indiana Jones through and through. Gives the game a great feel and sets the pace as well as the surroundings of the game.

Suggestions: I was a little disappointed in the artifact feature. You collect all the artifacts and all you get is an art gallery? I was hoping for an exclusive trailer of the new movie or something :)
Also, work on that collision engine as well as camera angles. That REALLY hurt the game.

Overall Score: 8.0 / 10 Test Drive Off-Road: Wide Open

Overall: A very fun game. While it can be frustrating at times when the stupid computer drivers try to run you off of the road, it is very fulfilling watching them spin off the side of a cliff ROFL :) If you are a fan of off-road racing, this is def worth a rental

Gameplay: Way fun to drive around and try to get revenge on those stupid computer drivers. Upgrade your vehicle and try to unlock hidden vehicles such as as Monster Trucks and such. If you have a steering wheel/pedal combo such as the Thrustmaster, this game is great! Even with just the simple standard controller, this game is fun to play.

Graphics: Um.... graphics are not at all what they could and should have been. This was kinda a dissappointment. Not enough to make you not want to play as the game moves very fast, but better graphics would have made this just a bit better :/

Audio: Sounds are not bad. However, the soundtrack simply rocks! Especially on long tracks where the soundtrack will rotate to a new song. Great job on the soundtrack.

Suggestions: Better graphics. Plain and simple. Use the X's power for graphics and wow us. Maybe even give us a gun to shoot the stupid computer drivers when the make us go insane ;)

Overall Score: 8.0 / 10 Reign of Fire

Overall: Word to the wise. This game is NOT for newbies to gaming. If you are new to the gaming genre, then DO NOT get this game. Extremely hard and difficult missions create much frustration :) However, that being said, it was a rather fun game to play. Purchase? I don't think so. There is no multiplayer (which would have been cool), so once the game is beat (which can be done within a rental period), there is really no replayability.

Gameplay: The game itself was fun, but I'll admit that I was rather disappointed that I had to play and beat most of the human missions in order to play the dragons. Now the dragons are GREAT fun. That is prob the most fun part of the entire game. That being said, the human campaigns are not that bad either. But I think that the whole appeal of this game is the ability to play something in a game that has not been done before, a dragon. It is a bit frustrating however, when Van Zan dies and you cannot control where he goes. Stupid lout just plows right up to the dragon and then screams for help when he dies :) Something else that really bugged me is the sights on the guns and such do not move quickly enough. A dragon comes barrling down on you and you can't spin around fast enough with the sight to attack in a full 180 or so :( As I said before, the dragons are great fun to play with. But the game would have been much better if there was a multiplayer aspect to it. Imagine two ppl beating on each other with dragons or human vs dragons. Oh well.... I can dream can't I? ;)

Graphics: Graphics were very nicely done. However, I was very disappointed with the ending. It lasted about 15 seconds or so and it was just clips from the movie :|

Audio: Sound was great as well. The roar of the dragons, the guns and tanks. All sounded very realistic and not hokey like some games can be like.

Suggestions: MULTIPLAYER! That would have been too cool. Dragons vs humans, dragons vs dragons. Man, that would have been great and would have made for a keeper. Make the sights move much faster, to be able to keep up with the dragons.

Overall Score: 8.0 / 10 The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

Overall: Wonderful game! The BIG problem with the game is how long it takes to complete it. I did it in less than 5 hours. Def worth the rental however. Purchase? Not unless you are a die hard LOTR fan and must purchase every piece of merchandise available.

Gameplay: Gameplay was nothing short of fun. The levels can be a bit frustrating at times, but there is a great sense of satisfaction when you complete them. There are some unlockable features which are kinda nice, plus a secret character and secret mission as well. Level upgrades and powerup purchases allow for character growth during the game. In the game you start out playing Isildor fighting Sauron's troops and work your way to Helm's Deep. So you run, quite the gamit of foes and replay quite a few scenes from both movies. It's a typical hack 'n slash but with some nice combo moves which give ratings on your performance, which in turn, give you more or less experience points for upgrades and enhancements.

Graphics: What else can I say but "WOW!". Not the same kind of graphics as Halo or Splinter Cell, but a different kind that deserves recognition. The most amazing thing is how the game will morph from movie into game and game to movie. There are times when you are watching the movie cut scene and all of the sudden you are watching a game cut scene of the same scene, but you did not see the transition between the two. Incredible job! I was really impressed. However.... the camera angles at times are really bad. It would have been nice to add an ability to move the camera around a bit.

Audio: From sound effects to music track to character voice overs, this is done right! EA Games got the original actors to do every voice over and character grunt and groan. The effect is exactly what they were after, you find yourself not only totally immersed in the game. But you also find yourself reliving the movie, with yourself controlling the action.

Suggestions: Allow for camera angle movement as a option. Make the game longer. Add a multiplayer option, that would rock! The ability to kick some orc butt with some friends like Gauntlet would make a great game even better.

Overall Score: 9.0 / 10 NBA Inside Drive 2002

Overall: This game is pretty decent as far as basketball games go. Now, I know that there is a newer version out (which I have not played yet), so I'm sure that things are done better. But for this shot (which only retails here in Canada for $20), you can't go wrong. Good solid game.

Gameplay: Gameplay is good, but as some mentioned, sometimes it's hard to get a dunk instead of a layup. The game runs nice though and with unlockable codes and features such as classic teams, this game is def a keeper. I laughed my butt off when once one of the refs tripped Shaq, ROFL. I half expected him to jump up and deck him :)

Graphics: Visual was ok, but as some mentioned, as an X exclusive, M$ should have worked some more on the graphics. Now they aren't totally bad, but it's kinda what I would expect from a port or something.

Audio: Sound is good and I love the commentaries. Really helps set the mood for the game. There are times that inplay and end game commentaries have me in stiches "Man, they got beat so hard, like they just got caught stealin'" :)

Suggestions: Work on the graphics some more, use the box's power. A little more variation in commentaries and def more power moves 'n dunks :)

Overall Score: 9.0 / 10 Star Wars Jedi Knight 2: Jedi Outcast

Overall: I was really impressed with this game. While every game has it's bugs and limitations, this one has it's share as well. But they are not that bad and this game is def worth a rental just to give it a try.

Gameplay: Gameplay went very smoothly. Sure, sure, at some points in the game it can get kinda frustrating, not knowing where to go and what to do (as the game sometimes gives you little information to go on). However, that being said, if the game just handed you all the info, marked everything on a map and gave you all the keys, we'd complain that it was too easy ;) Some have said that you have to use a strategy guide just to get past level one. This is not true. I got to level 4 without a strategy guide. So it is a good combination of stragtegy/thinking and 1st person action. I especially like the force abilities, gives you more of a feeling of personal control over your character.

Graphics: Graphics were nicely done as well. I love how the lightsaber interacts with walls, doors, people... :) Nice job done here in this department.

Audio: Sound is classic Star Wars through and through. From music to sound, you can expect just the right touch to enhance your Jedi Knight 2 experience.

Suggestions: Great job on this one guys!

Overall Score: 9.0 / 10 Hitman 2: Silent Assassin

Overall: Overall, it's not a bad game. However, there are several serious flaws that need to be addressed. Also, once the game is beaten, there is no replay value. So my recomendation is just rent it. You can beat it within a 3 day rental. Even if you have to rent another time, the cost of rental will be much less than purchasing.

Gameplay: The gameplay itself was pretty decent. Much reminecient of the original Hitman on the PC, with two exceptions. Hitman one's missions were much better. Disguises actually worked and there was no "scrutiny" when walking around in them. In this, I can put on a waiters uniform, carry some wine glasses and have no guns visible on me, but yet I still get attacked because of some goober thinking that something is out of place. In the original, I could put on a disguise and unless I did something to cause problems, they would not even give me a second glance. Big problem that needs fixed. One big plus however, is the ability to save inside of the mission. While limited to x amount of times, it is a welcome change after Hitman: Code47 where you could not save inside of the level at all.

Graphics: Graphics are pretty good, but not up to X-box snuff now that Splinter Cell has raised the bar. If not for Splinter Cell, graphics might have gotten a 5 from me. Oh well.... One big problem with the game that deals with visual is boundries. There was a portion of the game where I was in a truck. I ducked down and there were two guys about 100 yards from me. I peeked up and they saw me. So I ducked back down again. I followed them on the "map" and could see that it looked like the were right under me. But that was impossible because I was in the back of a army truck, surrounded by crates. So I stood up and looked and they were gone. Then all of the sudden, their heads (both of 'em) popped through the bottom of the truck. So I thought, what the heck, and shot at 'em. Much to my suprise, I killed them too. This kind of thing happens alot in the game. Severe work needs done on the boundries in the game. Things like above really hurt the overall rating.

Audio: Sound was the usual Hitman repitore (sp) with a dash of Splinter Cellism (even though this came out before Splinter Cell) thrown in. Nice touches in sound and music help to create mood.

Suggestions: Fix the glaring problems mentioned above. Thank you, thank you, thank you for save points inside of the levels :)

Overall Score: 7.0 / 10 Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance

Overall: First off, I must agree alot with Dr_J and his brief review. I was SORELY disappointed with this game. I had read alot of the reviews and was kinda hyped about this game. Now I had played Metal Gear way back in a day on the NES and it was AWESOME! (for that day and age), so I was expecting some more great stuff. Unfortunately, I was let down. The only saving grace for me not feeling totally ripped, was that it was a free rental :) Read on for more of why I rated this way.....

Gameplay: Gameplay was not TOO aweful, but the biggest hangup was not being able to adjust the camera angle at all. That just plain killed the game for me, especially since I just finished beating Splinter Cell (which, btw, is a GREAT game :))
So you can look in 1st person view, but you can't move? What's up with that? Please don't tell me that all those Japanese programmers can't walk and look around at the same time.... :/
Having to rely on the map to know what is just on my left, but out of screen view is stupid to say that least. I can to go 1st person and look at it, but I can't move, so I must switch between 1st person to look and 3rd to move. Very, very dumb. If I could look at move at the same time, like Splinter Cell, I would have prob purchased this game.
True cutscenes were long, but hey, you pay some big $$$ for a game, I like it to last a while. So no complaints there.
3rd person camera control woulda made this one a real winner :(

Graphics: Graphics were ok, but like I've said before, what can you expect from a port? Seen better and with the advent of Splinter Cell anybody that gives this game a 5 in graphics after Splinter Cell must have their head examined.
True, the polygons look nice, but nowhere near what the ol' X can do.
Like I said, if you give graphics a 5 on this, then you need to give graphics on Splinter Cell a 12. Nuff' said.

Audio: Sound was good and clear. Background music was not overbearing like some games. At least they got this portion of the game right.

Suggestions: Take a hint from, what will prob be this years "Game Of The Year", Splinter Cell. Can you say "CAMERA CONTROL"? If you can't do something as simple as that, then just don't do it at all :/

Overall Score: 2.0 / 10 Deathrow

Overall: I must agree with DSKing on this one as well. Swearing just killed what might have been an awesome game for me. Cursing is nothing more than a feeble minds attempt to express itself forcefully. Give me a swear filter, like MK:DA does for blood and it might have been good.

Gameplay: Gameplay seemed solid. Could get addictive, if it were not for all the distracting, needless swearing :/

Graphics: Grahpics were nicely done. But with the X's capabilities, I feel that they could have been done much better.

Audio: Maybe I should have played the game with the sound turned off. But then, how would I hear anything else in the game. I can imagine what it would look like in closed caption LOL....

Suggestions: Curse filter like MK:DA blood setting. Utilize the X's graphics capability more.

Overall Score: 2.0 / 10 Serious Sam

Overall: I must concure with a-train on this one. Just do a simple ditto from what he wrote a couple of reviews earlier and you have my basic opinion of the matter as well.

Gameplay: See above.

Graphics: Seen better. In fact, seen much better. Ports aren't always what they are cracked up to be and this one just goes to prove it.

Audio: Sound is more annoying than anything else. Maybe just put on some loud music and turn the sound off on this one, perhaps ;)

Suggestions: A PC port? You can't be serious.... well.... then again :0

Overall Score: 2.0 / 10 Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell

Overall: Awesome game! I can't really say anymore than that and what others have said on their reviews of this game as well. If nothing else, it's worth a rental and def gives Halo a run for it's money as #1 game for the ol' X. With the ability to download new levels, the game will just keep on growing and growing. Expect this one to take game of the year.

Gameplay: Wonderful. A cross between Metal Gear and Hitman. Great idea and very well thought out. The game plays very smoothly and is a change from the "run past and blast" games that have flooded the market. Lots of thinking involved. Makes for an excellent game.

Graphics: Graphics are excellent! The lighting effects are very well thought out and very little pixelation (if any) at all. The fire could use a little work, but hey, nobody's perfect :)

Audio: Ambient sound resonates throughout this game. Pick up a can of coke, drop it on the ground and hear the "clink" of the can. Bottles, lights, you name it. Great piece of work.

Suggestions: Great job guys! More levels and try to touch up the fire just a little bit. Other than that, I am VERY pleased with this game and look forward to more and more. Thank you for a great game.

Overall Score: 10.0 / 10 Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance

Overall: I hate to give this a 4.5 cause it will bring down the overall rating of this game, however, there are a couple of flaws that must be addressed the aformentioned sections.
Overall, the game is great. I will eventually purchase this game (prob after my rental is over ;) ) If you do not purchase this game, at least give it a rental, especially if you are a fan of figher games.

Gameplay: Gameplay was really nice. It takes a little bit of time to get used to the quickness of the combo's to be executed properly, but once you get the hang of it, it's really not that bad. I love the idea of so much unlockable stuff. OK, so some stuff is lame like what retailers did to promote MK5 as an unlockable, but with over 600 unlockable characters & costumes & levels & movies & etc, they had to think of something :)
Gameplay runs smoothly without any burps or hickups, so far. The training on different characters is unique and inovative as well. High marks for that. No X-box Live compatibility, booo! That brings the score down and hinders the overall rating of the game as well. As I mentioned in TJ&Earl, the ability to download content over the Live system is awesome. I would pay extra $$$ to be able to download new characters, costumes, and levels and I don't believe that I'm the only one. Oh well, mabye some other developer will pickup on that ;)
Other than that, the game plays great. Just wish that you could use the analog stick as well as the d-pad :/

Graphics: Graphics are good, but not what they could have been. I almost hate to purchase any PS2 ports cause they almost always drag the visual quality down from what it could have been. But alas, some things are just meant to be. Perhaps when PS3 comes out, the graphics chip in it can stand up to the ol' box ;0
But until then, they are not really too bad. The backgrounds are done nicely, but I would have liked to have seen some more interaction with the backgrounds like DOA3 and X-Men:Next Dimension.

Audio: Sound is great as well. Just like the original MK for music and new sound effects work nicely. Custom soundtrack should have been added in this, but once again, we are dealing with a port, so that was (alas) not meant to be.

Suggestions: Live support for downloadable costumes/levels/characters/etc. Let us be able to use the analog stick as well as the D-pad. Give us a nother split second to execute the combo's please ;)

Overall Score: 9.0 / 10 Toejam and Earl 3: Mission To Earth

Overall: The rating that this game gets is for it's inovation and a few other items. Look at my review of sections to find out why I rated this game a 3

Gameplay: To be totally honest, I almost didn't play the game after sitting through the seemingly endless intro. Some ppl may like the off color jokes and comments that TJ makes during the game and intro, but personally, I have grown up and just find it distasteful. So this was one offset. I was hoping to find another Oddworld, but was sadly mistaken. My children love to play Oddworld, but I would not let them watch, let alone play, this game (for reasons mentioned above). For actual gameplay, I give it a 2. However, inovations (as I mentioned earlier) are what bring the overall up to a 3. Inovations such as great camera control. I love it! Too bad all games did not have this great of camera control. Another + was the ability to download new characters and levels. Wow! A game that actually utilizes the X's hard drive, along with Live capability. That's enough to almost give it a 4 rating alone. The reason that I am so keen on the download idea (even though I dislike the game) is twofold. One, they have created a game that can go on and on. Finish the game? Not really, cause you can download new characters and levels. Great idea! The other reason, I would point to Morrowind. A game, which admittedly from the designers, has several bugs but cannot be fixed and so you must start your whole adventure over again (as I did) or pray that you do not run into one of the MANY bugs (for a list, see their site's forums). However, with the ability to download through Live, if there is a patch... bang... you've got it and your on your way. Problem solved. For that alone, I praise the inovation of the design team. If more games would offer this, the X would rule even more. For example, if X-Men offered more characters and levels, and whatever, I would be all over it. Even if I had to pay a few extra $$$ for the new characters. It would be worth it. Gameplay in this game is pretty decent. Game flows smoothly, but as somebody said earlier, you almost have to be a TJ & Earl fan to like this game past a few hours.

Graphics: Visual was pretty nice. Not the best that I have seen on the 'box, but def not the worst. The cutscenes could have used some work, but the worlds themselves were nicely rendered.

Audio: Sound is sound is sound is sound. Sound fx match the game nicely and the background music blends with the game. Not imposing or overbearing. Not sure about playing the "in-game" tracks with the albums, cause I didn't try them. Just grabbed the albums and went.

Suggestions: Great job on the Live idea! That was excellent thinking. An idea I wish more developers would use. Also, wonderful work on the camera operation. Camera was a delight to use.

Overall Score: 6.0 / 10 Shenmue 2

Overall: I had higher hopes for this game from the reviews that I had been reading. I felt like I was watching some B rated movie with a younger version of Jackie Chan before he learned to act. Like zhiwiller said earlier, for depth? A 4.5 For fun? 2. Worth a rental? I'm not even sure about that. Want more info? Read on...

Gameplay: The game depth is as described in earlier reviews, except I had more of the expectation that it would be like Morrowind. You can talk to just about everybody, but more than likely they will just tell you some information that you already know. I don't know how many times I was told how to get to Wan Chai. Ryu walks a little slow, but the right trigger will make him run. However, be prepaired for waits while the game runs about every 10 steps or so. Mini cutscenes and such really draw out the length of getting from one place to another. Then add on top of that the length to load the level and it just makes the game seem to drag. The voice over acting in this game was horrible. I haven't heard such bad acting since I watched "The Mines of Killimangaro" (sp).

Graphics: The graphics were ok. Nothing to what the X can really do. Face detail was decent, however, the bodies of people (especially the arm wrestlers) looked really bad. Arms looked more like rectangles with some flesh color on them. Instead of pecks on one guy, it looked more like two milk crates with skin stretched over them.

Audio: Sound was dumb. Plain and simple. The voice over acting was horrible and made me laugh if nothing else. A couple of the characters didn't do too bad, but they could in no way pull up the rating due to the rest of the characters.

Suggestions: Too much to name.

Overall Score: 4.0 / 10 Halo: Combat Evolved

Overall: What can be said that has not already been said? This game is no doubt, the best. That is partially why I am rating it, to help put it back at #1 ranking again ;) Don't wanna buy it? Then at least rent it. Give it about 1/2 hour, then find out how to purchase it at your local gaming store :}

Gameplay: Gameplay rocks! Controls are a little hard to get used to at first, but within the first 30 minutes you get it just fine. Revolutionary!

Graphics: Graphics are incredible. Cutscenes are great. They get you right into the game. Even my wife liked to just sit and watch. I think it would make a great movie... hint...hint.

Audio: Sound, like all the rest, kicks some major butt. I don't have 5.1, but I do have surround sound with a nice Velodyne bass and I must say that it kicks.... HARD.

Suggestions: Great job! Can't wait for Halo 2.

Overall Score: 10.0 / 10 X-Men: Next Dimension

Overall: Totally e-X-cellent! This game rocks and is very tight and has most, if not all, of my expectations of the game. If you are into fighting games such as DOA3, etc, this game is a definite must for your collection. With an initial 17 choosable characters, 4 unlockable and 4 secret, your choice of butt kicking lasts for awhile. If nothing else, it is worth a definate rental and play through the game in story mode as it can be beaten in about 2 hours or so.

Gameplay: Gameplay runs at a smooth 60 fps. The developers took some great ideas from other great games to make this. Every level, yes every level, is unending. You can kick Magneto from the library window out to the waiting steps below. Then toss him out to the cement basketball court, then split the ground open to find a waiting X-Men Blackbird jet and yet another playing field. Then kick him around a bit more, through a door, then whack him onto an elevator that takes you right back up to where you started again. Every level is built the same. As noted earlier, there are 17 characters, with 4 unlockable and 4 hidden. Then on top of that there are multiple unlockable levels as well as 4 different unlockable costumes for all 25 characters. Each X-Men and Brotherhood of Mutants has 4 "special" moves and variants of these moves, as well as the usual assortment of moves. The environment can be interacted with, ie. crates tossed, cars bashed, benches broken, etc. Use Phoenix and toss a grand piano at your opponent, and who said Jean Grey had no musical talent :) Some characters have the ability to fly for a limited amount of time as well. Ground as well as aierel combos are also available to add to the amount of entertainment values. I look forward to spending many hours unlocking hidden characters/levels as well as finding out all the details about all levels.

Graphics: Graphics are done really well. Not as good as DOA3, but that's hard considering it's a PS2 port with a little bit of enhancement for Xbox. The intro and cutscenes are awesome though! It really helps to immerse you in the story and add to the enjoyment of the game. Some of the backgrounds are a little fuzzy at times, but nothing to complain about. Characters move seamlessly in fighting and shadows render great. Lighting could have used some work as well as Gambit's card lighting as well at times looks like circular blobs of .gif bitmap light instead of vector based. Phoenix's fire is done very nicely and one of her special moves shows it off great. As noted, graphics of the characters in the cutscenes is awesome. However, the characters themselves in the game could have used a little bit of work. Not awful, but just a bit of rounding in certain areas. However, this may be attributed to it being a port. Every once in awhile, some pillar or whatnot will get in the way for a split second. But it's not bad since the game moves quickly. All in all, the graphics really well done.

Audio: Sound is done great as well. What would have made it better would be the ability to add your own tracks. However, voice overs are done well and Patrick Stewart gives Prof. X just the right touch. The background music helps add mood, but does not overpower the game. Sound effects add a nice touch when hitting electronic panels and getting your head bashed against the TV screen (you'll see what I mean).

Suggestions: Xbox Live would have been an added bonus. Also, take advantage of the Xbox's capabilities and make new downloadable leters like they did with DOA3. Great job!

Overall Score: 10.0 / 10 Dead or Alive 3

Overall: Another game purchased at inception, but just wanted to place a review on it anyways. The game is great. Move over Tekken, there's a new kid on the block and he just kicked you off of your hill. This game is a must for any fighting genre fan. It just raised the bar for fighting games.

Gameplay: Tons of replay value in multiplayer mode. While it would have been better to be able to play online, having a few friends over to give a nice boot to the head doesn't hurt neither :) Hundreds of moves and combos. The ability of knocking an opponent through a wall to a level outside is great! However, more secret characters and secret levels would have been an added bonus.

Graphics: Visually this game is awesome. If I could rate visual with a 6 or 7, I would. The graphics are that good. It just goes to show the power of the Xbox. Not to mention, help inspire sales of Xbox as well.

Audio: Sound is good. Not overpowering. Just right and nicely done.

Suggestions: Sequel. Also, make more hidden characters and hidden levels. Oh ya.... can the character's voice over's be in English this time? ;)

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

Overall: I have owned this game since release date, but decided to review it anyways. The game itself is totally awesome! This is a sure fire hit for any Xbox owner who likes a little madcap adventure every now and then. Sure, there is no replay value, but for the length of the game and fun, it's worth the $$$.

Gameplay: There is not much that I can say that has not already been said. This game is very, very fun to play. I especially liked the ability to "die" on the level but not have to start over again. Also the interaction between Abe, Munch, and the other characters was very well done. A great hit, IMO.

Graphics: Graphics in the game are very well done. The cutscenes are the best and really raise the rating of this game for visual appeal.

Audio: Sound is great as well. Get's you into the mood of the game, but does not overdo or drowned out everything else.

Suggestions: Make a sequel....please :)

Overall Score: 10.0 / 10 Blade 2

Overall: I had higher hopes for this game, and I am sorry to say, I was sorry disappointed. There were several frustrating elements in the game that lends to the overall appeal rating that I have given. My suggestion? Rent it first before you purchase it. Some games are just a given, like Halo, buy it :), but some need some time and a little bit of $$$ to test it out first.

Gameplay: This is probably my major gripe center was gameplay. You control the direction that Blade attacks by pressing the right thumbstick in the direction of his enemies. So you can attack multiple enemies at once, but Blade chooses what moves he performs on each one. Lack of move performed here is one big downer :( Another, as others have mentioned, is you hardly ever get to use his sword. What's up with that? His name is Blade. He's got a kick butt sword. But you hardly ever get to use it? When you do get to use it, it is righteous. But these times are few and far between. The levels almost get a tedious feel to them as well. Blow up bikes. Blow up cars. Etc. Bleh. Mabye it gets better on later levels :/

Graphics: Graphics are ok on this game. Nothing to write home about. Once again, the developer saves some development $$$ and creates a PS2 version, then ports it out.

Audio: Sound and background music were actually pretty decent. However, not enough to help raise the overall gameplayability or appeal, I'm afraid.

Suggestions: Use the sword whenever you want or at least more often. Give us the ability to choose what kicks, punches, etc that he delivers out to the vamps. That way, we will feel like we are really in control of Blade and not just pressin' a button to see what he decides he wants to do.

Overall Score: 6.0 / 10 Gauntlet Dark Legacy

Overall: I have been a fan of Gauntlet games ever since they came out way back when. So this, in part, is why I give it such a high overall appeal rating. I really have enjoyed the Gauntlet series and this allows me to overlook the minor problems (yes it does have some problems) that this game has.

Gameplay: Gameplay is very simple. Hack 'n slash. But this is the way that all of the Gauntlet series has been, so I expected nothing more, nothing less. I do like the available features to build up your character with items/powerups and/or character skill bonuses with the treasure that you find. The gameplay depth has been increased over previous Gauntlet games in the fact that there actually is a goal (other than just reaching the end of the level or the ultimate level where the dragon awaits you, level 100) of collecting all of the runestones to open a gateway to the final boss. The puzzle depth could be a little better, but it is not too bad from the outset. One minor problem is on multiplayer, all of the characters kinda run each other over. You can be waiting for some spikes to go down and somebody comes in behind and pushes you into them. Another problem is, as others have mentioned, that when somebody lags behind, it can affect the rest of the characters playing as well. However, my biggest beef for problems is this. You can unlock secret characters (which I think was a big +), but when you unlock them, they are just level 1 instead of your current level. So if you change to a new, recently unlocked character, you have to start over again from the beginning. So when my lvl 32 Medusa unlocked the Falconess, in order to use her (the Falconess), I had to start over at lvl 1 again. I could not go to where I was fighting with the Medusa, because she would die too quickly. I suppose for replay value, this would help. However, I think once's this game's done, for me, it's done.

Graphics: I must agree with the majority of posts on this subject. The graphics could really have used some work. Too many times, developers make a game to work on all consoles and then port it out to all machines. Bad choice. Save some $$$ in manpower hours, but loose respect in the eyes of the gaming community. If the graphics would have been what they could have been on the Xbox, this game would have gotten far higher reviews, IMO. However, my love for the series allows me to overlook this problem and go on with the game. Hopefully, the ending sequence will be nicer that what I have seen so far.

Audio: Sound is actually pretty good. Now, true, there is not much to expect in the way of sound effects in a hack 'n slash kinda game. But the sounds do not get annoying and neither does the music. In fact, from time to time in multiplayer, I rather enjoy the comments from the players who just had a piece of fruit or treasure stolen from them by another player... "Hey, that was mine!" :)

Suggestions: Look at the list of problems listed and try to work on them for a new version. Take advantage of the Xbox's superior graphics and utilize them. So it may cost a little extra $$$ in post-game production, I think that in the end, you will sell more games and make more Gauntlet fans overall for this.

Overall Score: 9.0 / 10 Batman Vengeance

Overall: Overall appeal? None. Normally, I'm not this sarcastic, but in all truthfullness, it has no overall appeal. I just wish that I had listened to the previous reviewers before purchasing this game. At least I only paid $25 CAD for it though...

Gameplay: Hard to play. The main reason I say this, is the camera angles at times just plain and simple suck. There is no way to rotate the camera unless you are in freelook mode. Another thing that got me is you can only handcuff the bad guys if you have batcuffs in your inventory. IMHO, dumb. There is just no other way to put it.

Graphics: Visually, this game rates right up there with my Atari game system that I tossed in the garbage I don't even remember how long ago. Just kiddin... It's not that bad. The cut scenes are not too awful, but the fact that Batman looks like he has a hanger stuck between his lip and his jaw don't help much either.

Audio: Ok. I guess. I was just so disappointed with the other aspects of this game, that by the time I was "listening" to the music or sounds, I was just tired of the game.

Suggestions: Where can I get my $$$ back from?

Overall Score: 2.0 / 10 The Thing

Overall: The overall appeal of the game varies. I was somewhat disappointed with the game overall, but what it lacked in some areas, it made up for in others. My basic suggestion? Rent it. There is no replay value once the game is beaten. So unless you got alot of extra $$$ to blow, just rent it for the weekend. It won't take a second rental to beat it.

Gameplay: The gameplay was different. I recognize the interactivity of Half-Life in the game, however they could have done more with it. Like previous reviewers, it would have been better to have the characters interact with each other more instead of complaining how stupid this mission is, etc.
One thing that I really hated is the save feature. You can only save at certain points in the game and there a some levels that there is no save point.
Something else that really got me is the first 8 levels are really fairly easy. But then the last 2 levels get insanely hard. It's like they tried to make up for the entire difficulty of the game in 2 levels. Not cool.
The 3 bosses (excluding the final guy/thing) are way too easy, imo. There are sweet spots for these bosses where you don't even get hit one time.
The length of the game was lacking alot. I personally do not care for the idea of paying $50 U.S. or $80 CAD for a game that is done within a matter of hours (like Bruce Lee). That is why I am glad that I read the reviews and rented the game first. Saved myself alot of hard earned cash.

Graphics: The graphics on this game were very well done, I must admit. Now, obviously, it could have been better if it was designed for Xbox first, then ported out to PS2. But alas, that's not the way that ports are done :(

Audio: Sound was good in this game as well. The music helped to create a good atmosphere to play in. Even if it does get old hearing the guys complain about the mission :)

Suggestions: It's an Xbox for crying out loud. Use the hard drive. Make saves available whenever you need them, instead of whenever you choose to place them.
More interaction between characters and allow the characters to stay with you longer.
Make the game longer. Short games vs $$$ = just renting it instead of purchasing it, which in turn ='s less $$$ for you.

Overall Score: 6.0 / 10 The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring

Overall: In this game, you travel through Middle Earth in search of a way to destroy the One Ring in the fires of Mount Doom. In your quest, you will play Frodo, Aragorn, and Gandalf. The game does have a good overall appeal, however, there are a couple of flaws, some major, some minor, that bring it's score down.
My suggestion is this: If you want to play the game, then play the game. It is great and follows the book very closely. However, DON'T buy the game. Rent it. Save yourself some $$$ in the process. Even if you have to rent it 2x in a row cause you don't have alot of time, it will still leave you with a more "satisfied" feeling than if you purchased it.

Gameplay: I would have to rate this as such because of a few flaws in the gameplay.

One such flaw is some areas when you are fighting, what I would term a undead creature, it has to "die" 3x in a row for it to really be dead. This takes a bit of time and get's VERY tedious as well.

Another reason is the game is too short, as I mentioned earlier. One reason for this is they do too much for you. For instance, when Frodo gets attacked by the Ring Wraiths, after a few minutes of fighting, an elf shows up and they place Frodo on the horse and send him off towards Rivendale. Then it goes to a cut scene. As I mention in the suggestions to developer section, let us ride Frodo through the forest across the river. Let us command the river to drowned the Wraith's horses.

Another such instance is they just tell you about crossing over the mountain but having to turn back to go through Moria. It would have increased gametime if we could have tried to trek across the mountain ourselves.

However, on the good side, there are several points I would like to mention.

My personal favorite character to play is Aragorn. He fights really well and is easily controlled. Not your stuffy kind of fighter like Bond can be, but just a direct "yes I called you a horse's butt, just get over it and get out of my way" kind of character.

At the beginning of the game, they go very indepth into "optional" quests in order to raise up your Purity points (which are needed later on to be high to use the ring) but also give you a little background into the Shire as well. My only fuss is that they needed to make more of these "optional" quests later on in the game. Not only would it help to lengthen the game, but it would also lend to being able to use the ring just a little bit more ;)

Another great point is the game follows the book very closely. From Tom Bombadill to regretting stealing mushrooms from Mr. Maggott. That was a nicely pleasing element, plot line was followed nicely.

It takes a little bit of time to get used to the controller setup, but once you are used to it, it controls the characters wonderfully. The developers made good use of all of the buttons on the controller and none go to waste.

Also I find that Merry and Pipen give some well needed comic relief at points in the game, which lends to the appeal of the game itself.

Graphics: The cut scenes are great. I found myself marveling at the level of detail in both the playing realm and the movie cut scenes as well.

The water could have been a bit more realistic (after seeing what Morrowind could offer), but it was still visually pleasing to the eye.

Gandalf's spells give a great light show from Chain Lightning to a simple healing spell, the look of the spells was very nicely done.

As the fighting and cut scenes were running, I was watching for any frame drops but really found none. The game ran smooth and free.

However, that being said, I did run into some problems in some of the houses where random polygons in the walls and ceiling would randomly flash white. Not small pixels, but rather large chunks. It kinda gave the effect of being in a disco dance hall.

But if you can get over that, the visual style and detail in the game was done very well.

I would, however, liked to have seen more movie cut scenes and less talking when moving from section to section on the map screen.

Also, a local map of where you are would have been nice as well.

Audio: The sound in this game is very good. All of the voice over characters give the game a more pleasing quality, so that if you do not want to (or are too lazy to) read the dialog, just sit back and listen.

The background music really sets the stage for the levels I find as well.

Suggestions: Make it longer! Nobody want's to pay $50 for a game ($75 here in Canada) that only lasts around 10 hours. That's a serious ripoff. Don't do everything for us, let us ride Frodo into Rivendale. We are big kids you know :)

More optional quests throughout the game, not just at the beginning.

Also, if you want to make the game harder, fine make it harder. But get rid of the lame dead creatures that come back to life 3x in a row before they are vanquished :(

Overall Score: 7.0 / 10

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