Total Reviews: 5
Average Overall Score Given: 7.80000 / 10
Total Forum Posts: 2

Amped 2

Overall: Pseudo-realistic snowboarding at it's finest. Not arcade style like SSX games but real mountains. This game is not easy but addictive as hell. Career mode is a blast to boost your stats, then show off those skills online. Better yet, join an XSN pack and compete and make friends that love the game too. I can honestly say this is my favorite Xbox game.

Gameplay: You pick a character, and equipment, then play to boost your stats (such as ollie, spin. balance, switch, big air). The challenges get tougher but with your better stats it's a good balance. You complete challenges for media, sponsors, and score as well as trick challenges, gaps, and finding those pesky snowmen. With Xbox Live, the game really gets fun. You can play different game modes online but the heart of it is "just ride" where you go down the hills for various scores that are recorded at (despite the sometimes buggy XSN). It's like playing single player but with other people there - like a real mountain. Of course, it,s not completely real based - the tricks stretch reality quite a bit, especially grinding lift wires. You can also butter (like a manual in THPS) to link tricks for higher scoring combos. My only beef is that some of the pro challenges in career mode are ridiculous hard but not enough to stop me from continuing to try, over and over and over - until I nail the run. That's why this one gets a 5.0

Graphics: As with most of the MS studios games, the graphics are amazing. This is one of those titles, like Crimson Skies, that make a good show off title of how the Xbox can simulate reality. The replays look even better than the gameplay since they re-edit your run on the fly to mimic a highlight film. I though Amped was good but Amped2 raised the bar by quite a bit.

Audio: It includes a ton of indie music. If that's your thing, cool, but listening to custom soundtracks is where it's at for me. Like any good Xbox game should - it supports soundtracks. The in-game FX sound like you would expect for snow, ice, and metal grinding. The media people yell at you, which is sometimes annoying but sometimes pretty funny too. If you have 5.1 surround, you can actually use it to help you locate the chattering snowmen.

Suggestions: Keep up the good work! but, here's a few things: 1. Make butters get more difficult over time. Some online players just butter back and forth to get scores in the billions. That kind of throws off the overall score tracking. 2. It would be nice to be able to save replays from online games and allow others to view them or compete against. 3. How about a run through of pro challenges where the camera follows the pro. It's hard to tell what they are doing to get their scores at times. 4. Sometimes, there is a stutter when the soundtrack song changes - it can throw off a good run at times. 5. Get on XSN to iron out their bugs. It is completely frustrating to score big and find that it didn't post to the servers.... That's all - thanks for a good game.

Overall Score: 10.0 / 10 Speed Kings

Overall: I am a fan of the old game Road Rash so I was exciting to see how similar Speed Kings seemed since the Road Rash franchise is MIA. I am not disappointed. Speed Kings brings arcade motorcycle racing (and combat) back with nice style. In addition to driving and punching/kicking opponents the game has a powerboost that is earned by doing tricks or skills during a race. The tracks are fun to drive and look great. I hope a Speed Kings 2 is in the works since there are a few features that should have been included (I'll explain below). Since it is only a $39.99 title (which I picked up for $31) I can't complain too much. Overall it's a lot of fun and worth a least a rental for arcade racing fans. 3.5/5

Gameplay: The main gameplay is racing. During a race you can earn credits toward a powerboost by doing tricks, dinging vehicles, skidding, sliding, etc... Some of the tricks are counter productive to winning since they utilize the brake. I found that just racing to win, with an occasional opponent knockdown, was enough to earn a few powerboosts during a race. There are some fun obstacles during races like traffic, stopped trucks, fallen trees, trains, and more. Jumps are sometimes necessary to clear a train or other obstacle. You must slide under trucks, trees, and other items that block the road in order to prevent crashing. It's a fun move. Doing tricks during a race is kind of a waste but there is a Trick Attack game mode for people into that feature. The "career" mode is called Meets (the "meat" of the game) where you must race 3 races and finish with a score good enough to earn a trip to the next meet. You can only restart a race 3 times before it forces you to start at the beginning of the meet. There is also a Grand Prix mode that must be unlocked by getting the best times for each race. The game also includes Multiplayer version of it's game options (unfortunately NOT on XBOX LIVE) with an unlockable TAG mode where you must pull off more tricks then your opponent during a race. 4/5

Graphics: The game's visuals are really sweet. Motorcycles, tracks, and scenery all look great. During a powerboost, the point of view blurs and stretches adding to the feeling of really going fast. The crashes are really cool but unfortunately the sound ruins perfection (see sound section below). The major goof is that during replays you don't have any VCR controls to watch the race and the cool crashes in slow-mo, rewind, or even change camera angles. Some "Matrix" style slow-mo camera work during crashes would have made this game! (and the option to save replays) 4/5

Audio: The sound is a weak point in the game. Although the package says it supports custom soundtracks, it doesn't. So it has OK background music that is repetitive techno style. It works well for racing but custom would be better. The motorcycle noises are what you would expect, nothing special. Unfortunately the crashes, which are visually very cool, have just generic a "pop" noise rather than the sound of crunching metal, breaking glass and screeching tires. 2.5/5

Suggestions: Programming crimes!! = No LIVE support, No custom soundtrack support (even though the package claims it does), No ability to save replays, No camera/speed options during replays. You really must put these features in if there is a SK2. The crash sounds need a lot of improvement. Another nice addition would be weapons (a la Road Rash: chains, clubs, pipes) that you can swing at your opponents. Also rider/opponent personalities (like in SSX) would be nice to add some additional depth to the game. Hidden shortcuts would also be cool. It's a great game and I hope you follow up with Speed Kings 2 adding more features.

Overall Score: 7.0 / 10 Enter the Matrix

Overall: This game had nice variety. So far I finished it with Niobe only and did the hacking. Still going to play with Ghost. Includes Shooting, Fighting, Driving, Piloting a Zion Ship,and some DOS style command line 'hacking'. Also includes a lot of video cut scenes that relate to Matrix Reloaded. Maybe they tried to do too much because some choppy play, an occasional bad camera, and some poorly designed missions kept this game from being a five. Despite it's downfalls I did play it every chance I got until I finished. Took about 8 hours or so.

Gameplay: 4 styles of gameplay (I played Niobe). First is fighting/shooting which was well done with the focus (bullet-time) mode and lots of cool moves that are somewhat chosen automatically when punch, kick, shoot, or dodge. Some missions made you protect a NPC which was occasionally frustrating since the NPCs are idiots as usual and can die easily. Even so, It only took a few tries on the levels that gave me trouble. The best fighting was against the vampires where the finishing punch included a wood stake through the heart! Second gameplay style was driving a car. This was very easy and somewhat monotonous. The freeway felt like the Flinstones road where you keep passing the same stuff all the time. It was cool though to bring Ghost out the side window (holding Y) to shoot and destroy police cars. They would explode and fly into the air in front of you just like in scenes from the movie. Third style was flying the Logos (Zion ship) through tunnels. This part stunk! Again it felt like you were traveling through the same few tunnels over and over. Flying was not much fun since the tunnel walls made abrupt changes and I was constantly scrapping the sides. This knocks off the sentinels but is boring to look at and disorienting. It was like a lousy version of the old PC game 'Descent'. The last style was hacking. This is a character independent minigame that brings up a DOS style prompt allowing you to dig deeper into game content. Basically it is where you enter cheat codes also gives you access to all video sequences and character/weapon/item info from the game. You can also toy with the levels and add weapons but I didn't bother. Unlocking the video is nice because you can show others the cutscenes without them having to play. If you know DOS you will figure out the hacking section completely in 30 minutes or less. The gameplay kept me interested but a lot of sections were disappointing. Being a fan of the movies I was interested in the story. Otherwise if I was rating it just as a game, it would have gotten a 3.0 rating.

Graphics: Visually the game is great (except for the flying part). Everything has the same green tint as things do in the matrix. The game cut scenes and full motion video were great and completely fit with the style and feel of the movies. Some levels were repetitive, but they did look nice. The motions were pretty good but not as good as DOA3 or MKDA. It almost had a GTA3 (PS2) feel at times. Basically, the in game visuals were good but not great and the FMV was great. Overall average 4.0

Audio: I really thought the sound was perfect. Similar music to the movies. It did seem to change to give you atmospheric soundtrack score when you were going about a mission then hopping it up with some 'spybreak' style action music when the pace picked up. No complaints on the sound. I have a 5.1 system and it performed perfectly and sounded great throughout this title.

Suggestions: It was very ambitious to include so much, and release the game for every platform. It came out good but it doesn't seem polished to completion. The gameplay graphics could be smoother and the levels felt 'cut and paste' repetitive. Also, for the price it is a bit short. Longer game, but less repetitive. Drop the flying section completely. Have more levels where fighting is the only option, that was really where the game was Shiny.

Overall Score: 8.0 / 10 Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance

Overall: I'm a long time MK fan but had my doubts about new life being added to the franchise. I was pleasantly surprised that MKDA has the feel of old MK games but updated for the XBOX (and other systems). There are 3 fighting styles for each fighter, fighter tutorials (KONQUEST) and a fun KOIN earning system. The KOINs are used to unlock koffins which contain MK history, trivia, costumes, characters, or more Koins. My only "komplaint" is that a lot of the moves, combos and fatalities are so hard to pull off that you rely on luck as much as skill when trying to execute them. The game also includes videos of MK history and the making of MKDA. A nice overall package.

Gameplay: There are several modes of gameplay. Konquest teaches you the basics and some advanced moves of your chosen fighter, Arcade is a difficulty ladder where you advance by fighting harder opponents, there's a VS mode for two player action (which I didn't try), and a practice mode. IMHO, the arcade mode is the primary focus since it is closest to the original arcade MK machines play. There are interesting mini games, "test your might" (a button mash contest) and "test your sight" (a follow the "ball" in the cup contest) between every few fights. They give you more Koins to spend in the Krypt. The Krypt is huge so having a list (Gamepro had one) of the koffins contents is a big help to maximize satisfaction. The game has the same feel as MK2.. move up the ladder, fight a ridiculous monster, then fight an easier end boss (or in this case 2 end bosses). Gameplay doesn't feel very new but it's still a winning formula for a fun game.

Graphics: Visually the game is really good. They did a great job of bringing the characters up to date and the arenas and backgrounds are fantastic. After playing DOA3 I can only give MKDA a 4.0. MK looks great but doesn't match DOA3 for visual.

Audio: I didn't notice any soundtrack support (but my rental had no instruction book so forgive me if I'm wrong) which would have been a plus. Otherwise the sounds seem pretty generic MK fight sounds and background music. Nothing very exciting but not bad either. Worthy of a 3.5

Suggestions: Figure out a way to make combos and fatalities easier to pull off. The d-pad seems to work fine for every game I own but for some reason (perhaps critical timing) I found combos and fatalities to be luck rather than skill based. I would do the same combo and it would only work 1 out of 10 times in some cases. It's the only frustrating aspect of this game. Also more interactive environments and multi-level environments would be nice. Soundtrack support? (or get tracks like the MK movies had). Otherwise I think you made a great game.

Overall Score: 8.0 / 10 Namco Museum

Overall: A nice flashback title for those who remember spending lots of quarters playing these games (Pac Man, Dig Dug, Ms. Pacman, Galaga, Galaxian, and Pole Position I & II) in the arcades. Nothing in this collection measures up to todays games but they are not meant to. They seem to be emulations of the actual original arcade games. The graphics and sounds are the same as the originals. Namco didn't do anything special to sharpen them up for the XBOX. There are also some new versions of a few of the games, called 'arrangements' which are fun but I like the originals better. They seem to be titles produced a few years after the originals to try to pump a few sucker quarters out of arcade players. There are also two locked games, but they aren't much fun for more than a few minutes. It's a budget title ($29) and it shows. Unless you are nostalgic about these games you probably shouldn't waste your time and money. Otherwise, It's a nice collection of retro games that is good to have when you want to play a game but only have a few minutes. It's hard to comment on lasting appeal since I don't consider this a play-for-hours hardcore title. It's more of a library collection meant to played on occasion in my opinion.

Gameplay: As I said in the overall review, the appeal will only apply to old skoolers that played these games a lot. Young kids might get into them too since the games are simple. If you never played these games or don't miss anything about them, this title will bore you in minutes.

Graphics: Unfortunately, the games seem to be directly emulated and no care was taken to upgrade the graphics to appear sharper on the XBOX. It is very pixelated and doesn't look as good as they do in the arcades.

Audio: The sounds are very basic but true to the originals. Again, nostalgia comes into play since a big part of hanging out in arcades was the game sounds. No enhancements seem to have been made for surround sound. It also doesn't support soundtracks.

Suggestions: Rather than putting this out to make some easy money, Namco should have spent a little to remix the old sounds in DD5.1 and allowed you to play your soundtracks in the background. Also the graphics are very pixelated and should have been cleaned up to appear very sharp on the XBOX. Pole position should have been tweaked to play better with the XBOX controller - it's the worst of the bunch. It's a good thing this title is only $29 (which I also had a $5 off coupon for) otherwise I would have given this a REALLY bad review. I like the idea of bringing back old arcade titles but next time fix them up a bit more. I'm not saying to change them, just make them look and sound as good as possible on the XBOX. Also, as far as the 'museum' aspect, it would have been nice to have some 'extras' like DVDs do: photos of the arcade machines, interviews with designers, etc.

Overall Score: 6.0 / 10

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