Total Reviews: 22
Average Overall Score Given: 9.09091 / 10
Total Forum Posts: 223

TimeSplitters 2

Overall: A good game, but not too good. It was one of the best first-person shooters of last year, but not the best, in my opinion. The visuals are not too good and sound isn?t either. The game is impressively polished and gameplay is impressive too. Time Splitters 2 is a sci-fi type game set in the future. If you liked Goldeneye for N64 then you will like this game. I enjoyed it for a short while, but as a first-person shooter, it is much worse than Halo. Eidos did a satisfying job, but not one that was too good. Anyway, the game is good and enjoyable, but not perfect. Worth a rent or a play, but buy it only if you?re a first-person shooter maniac.

Gameplay: Gameplay is solid and well layed out. There is a wide range of enemies, as well as weapons. The levels are also impressive. The best thing about the game is probably multiplayer, which is addictive and fun. However, the game was so much like Goldeneye, that for a moment I thought I was playing on an N64. Goldeneye was great, but that was a whole other thing. But the controls are simple and adjustable. The game can get difficult and frusturating sometimes. Overall, gameplay is the best part of the game even though it may not be perfect...because Halo is perfect...and everybody knows that.

Graphics: The visuals are good for a first-person shooter but not good for Xbox. There isn?t enough detail, even though the game is polished, but it seems to have been polished too early. The Xbox has been used to its full power. The levels do have good environments and modelling is somewhat impressive. The animations and cinematics are probably the greatest part of the visuals. But the visuals are still somewhat weak.

Audio: Sound is so and so. Some good sound effects, such as guns and environmental sounds. Voices are okay too. The music is fair, but sometimes its at the wrong moment and its a bit weak at the edges. Once again, I?m thinking of Halo...and all that dynamic academy-award winning music. Oh, well.

Suggestions: Eidos should work on adding more detail into the visuals and getting more music and sound effects. Gameplay is good, but they shouldn?t have made it so similar to Goldeneye. Otherwise, Eidos did a fair job and its good that this game came onto Xbox. With Xbox LIVE online play, many more people would like it.

Overall Score: 8.0 / 10 Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell

Overall: The most detailed and most brilliant game on Xbox since Halo. Tom Clancy?s Splinter Cell is ultimately a revolutionary game. High-detailed visuals, stunning environments, great sound effects, effective music, amazing gameplay, and one hell of a Tom Clancy storyline mix in to create an amazing game. I admit I did not purchase this game because: I wanted to get other games and also when I first played it, it seemed to be sort of hard and frusturating. Especially after beeing a gun-happy maniac in Halo, attempting this game was difficult. In Splinter Cell, you take the role of Sam Fisher as a stealthy action commando of the Third Echleon. Through ten levels of stealth action, you commence in highly dangerous missions, across many different countries. Ubi Soft has delivered a stunning game for Xbox and Splinter Cell truly has high quality.

Gameplay: Even though I do not preffer the type of gameplay used in Splinter Cell, I still found it clever and enjoyable. Throughout greatly structured missions, you commence in confidential stealth operations. Some levels may be harder than others. For example, one level may take you half an hour, while the next level takes you several hours to beat, depending on your skill at games. The only problem I had in gameplay is that it is sometimes too hard and that some moments are frusturating. The game follows the Tom Clancy-style one shot-one kill system, so you can die quicker. Enemies are also smarter, which proves that Ubi Soft has created a high quality AI. The game is also frustrating sometimes, especially when you cannot figure something out. There is a wide range of weapons and equipment, that are all very impressive. Controls are simple, but may need to be worked on a small bit. Gameplay is good...very good...but I preffer other gameplay types.

Graphics: Visuals are stunning. They are ultimately real. UbiSoft has enhanced the Unreal engine and created state-of-the-art graphics. Splinter Cell really shows true Xbox graphics. I also like it of how you can switch between normal vision to night vision to thermal vision. They modes are very creative and visually amazing. However, all characters and enemies in the game have also been modelled amazingly. The environments are also great, because there is a massive amount of details. Almost every object in Splinter Cell can be destroyed. The visuals are amazing and probably the best part of the game.

Audio: Sound is just as good as the visuals. Firstly, there are some great sound effects. There is just as much detail in sound effects as in visual effects. It?s all great! Voices are also good, but are not too important. Music is also great, but during gameplay it?s not too frequent. It isn?t as good as the music from Halo, but still satisfying, and it fits in with the mood of the game. Splinter Cell is also magnificently created in Dolby Digital with a great sound impact. Overall, sound is also stunning, just like almost every other aspect of Splinter Cell.

Suggestions: Since Splinter Cell is so good, it?s very difficult to think of suggestions. It would be stupid to say ?make gameplay easier? because gameplay in Splinter Cell is supposed to be exactly like it is. If Ubi Soft does go to developing a sequel to Splinter Cell, then I hope that they will improve it so that it will be EVEN better than this one. Otherwise, excellent job Ubi Soft!

Overall Score: 9.0 / 10 All-Star Baseball 2004

Overall: All-Star Baseball 2004 is a good baseball game, but not one of the better ones. It could have been an amazing game, but the developer has turned it into just a standard baseball game. Baseball fans might want to pick this one or maybe rent it, but its a bad choice, especially if you have better baseball games like WorldSeries Baseball 2K3 or MVP Baseball 2003. However, the game has fair visuals and sound, but it suffers mostly from gameplay. Rent it, but don?t expect a great game.

Gameplay: All-Star Baseball 2004 includes many modes such as Franchise Mode and Home-Run Derby. Whats good is that it includes many great special features, for example a baseball trivia game. The controls are somehow messed up, especially since its really hard to hit the ball. Pitching isn?t good either. The problem with these annual sports games is that they come out every year, so improvement can happen more frequently, but there isn?t enough time for it. The developers also concentrate on one aspect of the game, while no caring about another one. The game also has some downloadable content, such as rosters, but it doesn?t make the game too much better. Gameplay is fun for a short while, but that short while isn?t too good either, since batting gets more and more frusturating.

Graphics: Visuals are the better part of the game, but aren?t still perfect. Player faces, baseball stadiums, and animations are well done, but could still be improved. In other words, don?t push your luck. Early screenshots may have looked great, but on the inside, the game is worthless. I?m not too impressed with the visuals.

Audio: Sound is good and thats all there is to say about it. Sound effects such as batting contact and crowds are good, but could be much better. The commentator announcements are probably the finest part of sound, but Acclaim could push the sound a bit further.

Suggestions: There are tons of suggestions, but I have probably already made my point. It is certain that Acclaim will release All-Star Baseball 2005, because they always do. Xbox LIVE online play would be nice, instead of simple roster downloads.

Overall Score: 8.0 / 10 Kung Fu Chaos

Overall: ?Everybody wants kung fu fighting!? That?s true. Kung Fu Chaos is a fun party fighting-action game, that great and fun to play, mainly because it?s exclusive to Xbox. The game is a mixture of N64?s Super Smash Brothers, of Fuzion Frenzy for Xbox, and of the wackiest, most chaotic, gameplay fighting ever seen in the history of mankind. Kung Fu Chaos is hilarious. Some people may say that it?s bad, while others might say that it?s excellent, although I?m in the middle. The game may not be the most impressive one around, but it sure isn?t disappointing. Through different modes, you compete as kung fu actors in battles and mini-games, which are then supposed to be turned into a movie. So in other words, your ?boss? is the director. The storyline or concept of the game isn?t so amazing, but most games in this sort of genre, aren?t supposed to anyway.

Gameplay: Gameplay is great...and fun. There are many types of modes, as well as a whole bunch of battles arenas and mini-games. It?s also fun to taunt other competitors, because you can really do that during battles, which even earns you extra points. What is sad is that the concept of many mini-games from Kung Fu Chaos were ?stolen? from Fuzion Frenzy. It?s no wonder, since Microsoft published both of them. The controls are basic and not difficult. The game itself is not frustrating (unless maybe at the very end of the game). However, sometimes gameplay can get too chaotic, which isn?t any good. In general, gameplay is really great, but could be better.

Graphics: Visuals are not a strong part of Kung Fu Chaos, but for this type of game, they are reasonable. There is a lot of good animation throughout the game, which does fit in. However, the graphics do not use the full graphical capabilities of the Xbox. It?s too bad, but almost every single party game has poor visuals.

Audio: Sound is a better aspect of Kung Fu Chaos. There are some good sound effects that originated from those 70s kung fu movies. Voices are also well done, such as the fighters and the director, which make a hilarious result. The game is also presented in Dolby Digital, which could make a good surround sound, but is not really necessary. There is also a whole lot of 70s music that was used for those old kung fu movies and TV shows. In comparison, sound in Kung Fu Chaos is still much better than the visuals.

Suggestions: Kung Fu Chaos could have been more original and better when it came to visuals. A sequel would be a complete waste of time. It would be better for Microsoft to waste their money...I mean use their money for other new game concepts rather than for sequels to games like Kung Fu Chaos. If it had Xbox LIVE then I predict that more people would play it.

Overall Score: 9.0 / 10 Rallisport Challenge

Overall: Microsoft and Digital Illusions have created an amazing racing game. This is truly the best racing game on Xbox, next to Project Gotham Racing. Rallisport Challenge is based on rally racing. The game has a massive amount of different tracks and cars. Tracks vary upon terrain and weathers, as well as their location, which ranges across many continents. There are also many cars, that come from the top car industries in the world (Peugeot, Ford, Opel, Mitsubishi, are only a few of them). The most fascinating aspect of the game is its visuals and the sound, which both mix in with great gameplay to bring an amazing racing game. The game is truly on the track!

Gameplay: Gameplay is great and thats just one simple word to describe it. There are several different modes, which include Career, Single Race, Time Attack, and of course Multiplayer, which are found in almost every other racing game. Then each of those is seperated into four other modes, which vary upon the type of terrain. There is Rally, Rallycross, Hill Climb, and Ice Racing. There are two different difficulty levels: Beginner and Normal. Racing gets more difficult throughout the game and it depends upon the terrain and the competitors. You also get a co-driver, who after a while gets annyoing, but is sometimes helpful. Controls are also good and include a realistic amount of vibration on the controller. Overall, gameplay is awesome and I have no complaints.

Graphics: The visuals of Rallisport Challenge are stunning. The environments have a massive amount of realistic detail. Then even the cars have been designed with amazing modelling. Every bit of detail, from car damage to tire skidding to sunlight is great. The graphics of the game are exaclty what I want to see on Xbox. A review on another game site said ?Rallisport Challenge is the Halo of racing games?, which I completely agree with. If you own an Xbox (or a PC since it was ported too) and you are a racing fan then get this game. You will not be dissapointed.

Audio: Sound is another amazing aspect of Rallisport Challenge. The sound effects fit in perfectly with the visual environment and gameplay. Obviously, the game is presented in Dolby Digital and it presents great sound surround for car racing. If you have 5.1 surround speakers (and an Xbox racing wheel) then you will not even have to buy a car, because Rallisport Challenge is so realistic. The game also features some cool music, which fits in with gameplay. However, like many other racing games on Xbox, the game supports soundtrack music, so you can listen to your own music, while racing. Once again, no complaints with sound.

Suggestions: No suggestions and no complaints. In the future, I hope that racing games on Xbox will be like this one. Rallisport Challenge really shows true racing game quality. I would be satisfying to have a sequel, which could already be in development. And it would be great if it were to have Xbox LIVE support too.

Overall Score: 10.0 / 10 Apex

Overall: Apex is a good racing game with a brand new concept, but is still weak in various aspects and there are better racing games on Xbox. Firstly, it?s great that Apex is Xbox exclusive. There are several different modes, however, the main concept of the game is to design and build your own car and then compete with it in races. This isn?t a perfect game, not even impressive, but it?s fun to play during it?s short lasting appeal.

Gameplay: Gameplay is like any other racing game, but it features something new. Apex has a system that allows you to design and build your very own car in Dream Mode and then lets you race it across many different tracks, such as cities, racetracks, mountains, and speedways. There is also arcade mode, where you can just race with the CPU, do time attack, or race in multiplayer. Controls are simple and the game is like any other ordinary racing game. Apex also features cars from many famous brands such as Mercedes Benz, Toyota, Mitsubishi, and more. Good gameplay, but the main focus of the game is the new concept of building your own car.

Graphics: Visuals are...well...okay. There is nothing bad about them, but I have seen better. Environments, interfaces, car modelling, and animation are all great, but could always be better. There is not much to say about the visuals, but the Xbox has not been used to its full ability. Apex is visually like most other Atari games on Xbox.

Audio: Sound has been worked out better than the visuals. Sound effects are great and there is some good game music too. However, the sound IS NOT like some Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround super high defined game sound generator or at least you get my point. The sound is fair and is good enough for Apex.

Suggestions: tions. It?s difficult to think of suggestions for Apex, but I know there are tons of them. For almost every single game you can say ?With Xbox LIVE it would be better? and that goes for Apex too. Otherwise, Atari should think about making other games, because racing is not their style.

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

Overall: Does the game match up to the greatness of the movies? Absolutely yes! It?s fantastic that you can experience the movies. The game is based on the first two Lord of the Rings movies, The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers, even though it?s named after the second movie. You play through over a dozen levels in an action combat style, fighting to save Middle-Earth from the evil minions of the dark lord Sauron. The game includes great visual engineering, the original LotR soundtrack, scenes from the movies, and awesome gameplay. Like many of EA?s games, this game is great, but not too special in any way. But it?s a must-buy for Lord of the Rings fans and actions fans, as well as highly recommended to everyone else. The game also includes a whole bunch of special features and unlockables. EA?s Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers is also a much better game than Black Label Studios? Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, which is actually based on the books and not the movies. The only bad thing about this game is that it?s a port from the PlayStation 2 version.

Gameplay: Gameplay is great and addictive. You can play as Aragorn, Legolas, or Gimli, through over a dozen levels, fighting all sorts of evil enemies. There are several weapons, but not too many. Aragorn has a sword and bow, Legolas has a bow and two daggers, and Gimli has an axe and some throwing axes. Enemies range from Ringwraiths, to Orcs, to Uruk-hai, to cave trolls. The also has a secret level to unlock (Tower of Orthanc) and a secret character to unlock (Isildur). After each level, you gain experience points, which can boost up your skill level or you can use the points to purchase moves, weapons, and health. Overall, gameplay is awesome, but it could still be improved.

Graphics: Visuals are great and have many excellent aspects. The game even won AIAS? award for Outstanding Achievement in Visual Engineering. The characters have gone through good modeling, even though they may not be perfect. Environments are also done beautifully. There is also a good transition between game cinematics and movie cinematics, which often switch from one to the other and thus a good effect is created. The graphical part of the game is, even though not fully done for the Xbox, still great.

Audio: Sound is also an outstanding factor of the game. Firstly, there are excellent sound effects, which create a fantastic LotR experience. Voices are perfect, because EA managed to get five LotR movie actors to voice their own characters. Ian McKellen, Elijah Wood, Viggo Mortensen, Orlando Bloom, and John Rhys-Davies are all there. Music is also great, because EA has included the award-winning musical score from The Fellowship of the Ring. Overall, sound effects, voices, and music all blends together to make a great audio part of the game.

Suggestions: The game creates a great Lord of the Rings experience and there aren?t too many suggestions for it. Firstly, visuals and some sound factors can be improved. Secondly, the game would be much better if there was cooperative multiplayer, because it would increase the lasting appeal. It is also irritating that I can?t play as Gandalf. But I guess that there will be many improvements, as well as additional characters, if EA goes to make the game based on Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.

Overall Score: 10.0 / 10 Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb

Overall: Indy?s back! The world?s most famous daredevil archeologist, Indiana Jones, makes his debut on Xbox. This is truly a stunning game and LucasArts has really been sincere with Indiana Jones and the Emperor?s Tomb. The game is set in 1935, right before the movie Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Indiana Jones races around the world in search of the Heart of the Dragon, a powerful artifact that can give ultimate powers to the one who possess it. Indy not only solves complicated puzzles and survives treacherous traps, but also fights his way through Nazis and Asian triads, as well as mutated living dead-zombie-demons. The game is very similar to many of the movies and many settings in Indiana Jones and the Emperor?s Tomb are almost identical to the movies. For example, Ceylon (like South America in Raiders of the Lost Ark), Prague (like the Nazi castle in the Last Crusade), Istanbul (like Egypt in Raiders of the Lost Ark) and many more. The game has fantastic gameplay, amazing visuals, and one hell of an Indy soundtrack that you will never forget. If you?re an Indy fan then this game is a MUST! But I strongly recommend it to anyone else. The game manual looks great too, just like a real Indy diary! The main menu of the game is fabulous too, because its very interactive and creative, unlike in many other games. A good thing about this game is that, even though its a multi-platform game, it has been released for Xbox first!

Gameplay: Gameplay is magnificent. There is a mixture of everything that makes a great Indy game. There are treacherous traps and puzzles, which are not too complicated and just require some common sense. However, a main aspect of Indiana Jones and the Emperor?s Tomb is the action. Through the levels Indy fights against Nazis (?Nazis...I hate these guys!?), Asian triads and gangsters, and finally zombies and other mystical enemies. Not only do you get a whole load of weapons (from revolvers to shotguns to sub-machine guns to turret guns to grenades to spearguns to infinity), but you also get your trusty whip, which looks great. But most of all, you get to punch the living daylights out of your enemies. The game is divided into ten chapters, which then divide into various sections, but overall level layout is great and non-repetitive. Each chapter has three artifacts (30 artifacts for the whole game), so if you get all of them, an art gallery will open up. There aren?t any slowdowns or freezes in the game, but once or twice I experienced in the last few levels. The game is fairly easy to beat (on normal that is), especially since you have a canteen to refill your health. Then to refill your canteen, there are special fountains throughout each level. There are even some special medkits found sometimes. Overall, the game has uncomplicated and great gameplay and is enjoyable for anybody.

Graphics: The visuals, huh? Well, lets put it this way...they?re great, great, and great! Both in game and in the cinematics, the graphics are amazing. Maybe their not as good as some other games (hrmm...Halo...Splinter Cell), but this is a whole other genre and their definitely good enough for Indiana Jones and the Emperor?s Tomb. The characters and environments are both done beautifully. Indiana Jones and the Emperor?s Tomb is a major improvement from the Infernal Machine, especially in the field of visuals.

Audio: The sound, in every aspect, is excellent! It?s completely excellent! Sound effects are done greatly from guns firing to punches to footsteps and so on. Voices are also magnificent. Unlike in the previous Indy games (and other LucasArts games) the voices of the characters are similar to the voices of the characters in the movie. In this case, Indiana Jones sounds a lot like Harrison Ford, even though it isn?t Harrison Ford. The music is outstanding, amazing, stunning...I?m running out of words to describe it! It?s just like in the movies and it fits in perfectly with gameplay.

Suggestions: There are no suggestions to this game, because I am fully satisfied with it. LucasArts and The Collective have done a magnificent job. However, if LucasArts does make another Indy game in the future (probably based on the Indy 4 movie), then I suggest improving gameplay and other aspects, so that it will be EVEN better than Indiana Jones and the Emperor?s Tomb. It would also be real fun to see an Indy multiplayer mode, where Indy (with a whip) goes against his dad (with an umbrella) in deathmatch. In general, all I can say about this game is ?Fortune and glory, kid. Fortune and glory.?

Overall Score: 10.0 / 10 James Bond 007: NightFire

Overall: The name is Bond...James Bond. The British secret Agent returns once again to the Xbox. James Bond 007: Nightfire is a major improvement upon 007 Agent Under Fire, for many reasons. The story in 007 Nightfire is about James Bond investigating the theft of a stolen missile guidance chip. Raphael Drake, a businessman and the main villain of the game, is presummed to have stolen it. It turns out to be true and levels throughout the game take Bond to exotic and dangerous locations until the final showdown in space. Bond encounters deadly villians and beautiful women, as always. The story in 007 Nightfire is very ?Bond-traditional?. Therefore it?s very classic with many elements taken from Goldeneye, Moonraker, and other Bond movies. 007 Nightfire is a great game, with amazing Bond gameplay, quite good graphics, with awesome Bond music and sound effects. 007 Nightfire also features Pierce Brosnan as James Bond (only the face), making the appearance for the first time in a non-movie Bond game. 007 Nightfire still may not match up to Rare?s revolutionary Goldeneye on the Nintendo 64, but it still is the best Bond game since then. It?s also the best Bond game EA Games has ever made, proving that they can make a good game if they try. Personally, I rated the game quite high, mainly because I?m a Bond fan and I got 007 Nightfire, because it was a Bond game.

Gameplay: Gameplay is quite good and has a Bond style to it. It?s split up into three types. The first one is first person shooting, which is excellent, but still cannot be compared to Halo. The second one is driving, where in a set of levels, Bond drives the Aston Martin V12 Vanquish, which was also in the new movie Die Another Day. The third gameplay type is ?on-rail?, where Bond just shoots enemies as someone else controls a vehicle. This happens for example in a snowmobile or in an airplane. Unlike in previous Bond games, 007 Nightfire has Bond switch to third person instead of first person, when he is walking along a zip line or when he is sneaking around. There is also a scoring system used in 007 Nightfire, which is easy to calculate. There are three difficulties in 007 Nightfire: Operative (easy), Agent (normal), and 00-Agent (hard). It doesn?t mater which difficulty level you beat it on, but you?ll get a higher score. In between missions and sub-missions, there are loading times, which are fast. An essential and extremely good part of 007 Nightfire is the multiplayer modes. Up to four players can play in settings from Bond movies (like from Moonraker, The Spy who Loved Me, and Goldfinger) and Nightfire itself, as characters from both the Bond movies and Nightfire again. The multiplayer modes can be chosen and customized, there are a lot of features. What I like most is the idea of AI Bots throughout the game, which is becoming quite popular in multiplayer. Up to six AI Bots can be customized, so that a maximum of ten people can play at once. The controls in 007 Nightfire can be modified which is good, unlike in 007 Agent Under Fire. Overall gameplay is mostly good. If you?re an anti-Bond person then don?t even try playing this game. However, if you liked the Bond movies or your a Bond fan, then 007 Nightfire is a must, but I suggest renting it first, if you?re not sure. It would be better if there were more levels, but the amount of levels in 007 Nightfire makes it enough for a good Bond experience. I would have also preferred more areas, more AI Bots, and more classic Bond characters in multiplayer. Multiplayer is not online, which the PC version was, but for me it doesn?t make a difference. Even though 007 Nightfire may be a bit short for most people, after you beat the game, there are still hidden upgrades and rewards to unlock, by getting each medal (Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum), even though this can be sometimes hard, especially getting Platinum on the last levels. If you finish all of that, there is still multiplayer that will keep you glued to the game (even if you don?t have any friends or family that can play with you).

Graphics: There are no major problems with the graphics, actually they?re pretty good, especially on Xbox. From environments to enemies and characters to vehicles, everything is fine. The face of Pierce Brosnan as James Bond has also been done excellently using some sort of digital scan. It gives a ?Bond-feeling? to the game. The Need for Speed team, which worked on the driving levels, also did a good job at the Aston Martin V12 Vanquish, which makes the cars in Project Gotham Racing look sad. The cut-scenes throughout the game are also very good and similar to the actual Bond movies. Some visual options can be adjusted in the game. Even though the visuals are good, they still can be improved by all means.

Audio: In a game, I always look for good sound. Whether it?s the sound effects or the music. Games like Halo or Morrowind on Xbox left me speechless. The music in 007 Nightfire may not be as amazing as in those games, but it still is good. The original James Bond Theme has been redone for the game in many ways. The music was also composed according to your actions (when you drop from a vent, the music immediately changes). This is very effective, especially in a Bond game. There is also a new title song done especially for the game. The song is titled ?Nearly Civilized? and is performed by a group called Esthero. It?s not the best song ever, but it does fine. The sound effects in 007 Nightfire are also fine and there is nothing wrong with them. What annoys me a lot (and has annoyed many people), is the voice of James Bond. It?s a good Bond voice, but it simply doesn?t go together with the face of Pierce Brosnan. Too bad that EA Games couldn?t get the voice of Pierce Brosnan. Some audio options can be adjusted in the game, same as the visuals. Overall, everything was good with the audio part of the game.

Suggestions: There are no major suggestions to give EA Games. Just make a bit more levels in single-player mode, enlarge the multiplayer mode, and get Pierce Brosnan to voice as James Bond. I encourage EA Games to keep on making good Bond games and hopefully we will see a ?Die Another Day? game sometime soon.

Overall Score: 10.0 / 10 Shenmue 2

Overall: The saga continues...and Ryo Hazuki?s adventure gets even bigger. Shenmue II, the sequel to the original Shenmue on Dreamcast, is an amazing adventure RPG with many elements of martial arts fighting. It is true that Shenmue II is like a movie, because there are great cut-scenes, an amazing story, and realistic locations. In the sequel, Ryo travels to Hong Kong in search of Lan Di, the man who killed his father back in Yokosuka, Japan where the original game was set. Ryo?s goal is not only avenging his father?s death, but also learning the secrets about the Phoenix Mirror, which he has in possession. Ryo finally finds out about the Phoenix (and Dragon) Mirror from a man named Yuanda Zhu, who had sent a warning letter to Ryo?s father once. The gaming world in Shenmue II is more than four times bigger than in the original one. The storyline is also way bigger. The game is split up into three sections. The first section occurs in Hong Kong (areas called Aberdeen and Wan Chai), where the story heads to a start. The second section occurs in Kowloon (a big city close to Hong Kong, with giant buldings), this is where most of the story (and action) happens. The final part of the game occurs in Guilin (a region of villages and fields northwest of Hong Kong), this is where the story is wrapped up and where Ryo meets Shen Hua, whose ancestors had made the two ancient mirrors. Shenmue II also comes with an extra Shenmue the Movie DVD, which is basically the original Shenmue game portrayed as a feature-length movie. The original Shenmue on Dreamcast was actually my favorite video game of all time. Personally, I enjoyed the first one better, but overall Shenmue II is much better in all sorts of ways (graphics, sound, gameplay, etc.). Even though Shenmue II was available on Dreamcast also (in Europe and Japan only), it could be considered a bit of a port onto the Xbox. Ryo Hazuki himself is a very original strong-willed character, who sometimes could remind me of either Jackie Chan or the Karate Kid. I strongly recommend Shenmue II to almost everybody. If you like (and have the patience) to play RPGs, then you should consider it. Fans of martial arts should also be interested, because martial arts fighting is an important element of Shenmue II, with a Virtua Fighter engine used in the game. Yu Suzuki, a video game genius, who wrote and directed Shenmue II, did an excellent and outstanding job together with SEGA-AM2 and Microsoft.

Gameplay: Gameplay is amazing in Shenmue II. It?s divided into three main areas. The first one is Free Quest, which is when you explore and walk around (this is almost all the game). In Free Quest, you can have conversations with all the characters, you can work at part-time jobs, you can go to shops, you can gamble, you can go to the arcade, you can sleep, you can fight, you can take snap-shots (it is possible to take up to 126 photos of anything you want), and many other things. There are some limitations, for example you can?t steal things, which in some other RPGs you can do. Free Quest is entirely in third-person view, however you can sometimes zoom in on objects or people, which will create a first-person view. There is much to explore and it will take you many days to explore everything. Especially places such as Kowloon are enormous, because there are big buildings that can reach between 10 and 40 stories high, and you can go to every floor you like with an elevator. The second main area is fighting, where you have to fight using different martial arts. You can either spar with some special people for fun or you can fight for money. However, throughout the main storyline, you have to fight and enemies get harder and harder. You can learn new moves and use older ones too. The third main area of the game is QTE. It takes up a very little percentage of the game and it only happens throughout the main storyline. QTE stands for ?Quick-Timer Event?, which is when a button flashes on the screen and you have to quickly press it in a limited time, if you do this correctly, Ryo will perform an action, usually some kind of martial arts move. There are also Command QTEs, where you have to press a series of buttons at once to perform a longer action. Command QTEs were not included in the original Shenmue. There is also a time and date system in Shenmue II, mainly because the story is set in 1987. There is also a weather system, where sometimes it might be cloudy, rainy, sunny, or whatever. Even the clouds on the sky move. You can also experience mini-games and fighting just for fun in a Shenmue Collection section, but you can only do the stuff that you have unlocked through the main storyline. There is only one difficulty level in Shenmue II, which is satisfying, because the game is easy to beat. Controls are fine and some of them can be changed. Gameplay is great and there are no major things that have to be changed. All I would want, is that there you be a bit more items that you can purchase at shops, more gambling games, and also more part-time jobs.

Graphics: Visuals are excellent and they have been in Shenmue games, even since the original one on Dreamcast. The landscapes and environments have great architecture and good graphics. A good amount of modeling has been done on all the faces throughout the game. The cut-scenes are well done and seem like a real movie. Though some parts of the cut-scenes may not be so smooth, but it?s still all right. The visuals don?t use the graphical capability of the Xbox fully, because they still look like they came from the Dreamcast, therefore it would have to be improved. The screen also sometimes is a bit blurry during fighting, which isn?t so good. Although all characters, environments, buildings, and objects in Shenmue II are realistic and great graphics.

Audio: Sound in general is astounding in Shenmue II. There are songs both new and old, as well as great sound effects. Each area and building in Shenmue II has its own theme. There is an enormous amount of music, which is great. The original Shenmue music theme is also there and is fantastic, just like in the original one. It?s just too bad that Ryo couldn?t have a cassette player with music cassettes, like he did in the original Shenmue game. Sound effects are not only excellent, but also realistic. From a flock of birds flying away to rain drops falling to a man clapping, there are sound effects everywhere. The only thing that disturbed me a bit was when you ran with Ryo, his feet would make a strange sound against the ground. After a while, you would get used to this, so it?s no major problem. No famous actors were used for the voices in Shenmue II, but everyone has a different voice and the game is entirely in English, instead of Chinese or Japanese. Overall, almost everything is perfect with the audio side of Shenmue II.

Suggestions: I have no major suggestions to the developers. Just make the graphics a bit better next time. I hope that SEGA-AM2 will make Shenmue III, because even though not everybody may like the Shenmue games, there are still people who enjoyed the games very much (one of those people is me). If they do decide to make Shenmue III, then I beg them to make it on Xbox.

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

Overall: It?s Crazy Taxi 3: High Roller! The crazy world of Crazy Taxi comes to Xbox. It?s bigger, better, and crazier.If you haven?t played any of the other Crazy Taxi games, then what it?s about is simple: drive around like mad, pick up passengers, and drive them to their destination in the wildest places. Crazy Taxi 3: High Roller combines the West Coast course from Crazy Taxi (DC, PS2, GC, and PC) and the Small Apple course from Crazy Taxi 2 (DC), including an all new Glitter Oasis, Las Vegas course. If you are a Crazy Taxi fan or you haven?t played the other versions, then Crazy Taxi 3: High Roller is a must! Otherwise rent it first. I?m a real Crazy Taxi fan, even from the days it was just an arcade machine, and so I had to get this game.

Gameplay: Gameplay is very simple. You pick one of the three courses and pick the type of mode you want to play:Normal rules, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, or 10 minutes). You then pick one out of four taxi drivers (is different for every course), who have the craziest attitude ever. You then drive around the course you picked and you pick up a passenger(s). Then you have to drive them to the destination they want to go. At the end you get tons of cash ($$$). To get to the destination, you have to race through the streets and dodge cars, to gain tips also. A whole bunch of tricks are available, such as the Crazy Hop (jump over cars) or the Crazy Dash (burn your wheels by dashing). Apart from all this, Crazy Taxi 3: High Roller has mini-games too, called Crazy X. There are old games that have been modernized and there are all new games. What sort of bugs me in the game is that you can?t have your own file and that there is one whole file for the entire game. However, you can also make replays of your drives, which with the Xbox Hard Disk is better, because you can save more than on a Dreamcast. There is one annoying bug in the game also, which slows you down sometime when you drive around.

Graphics: Visuals are great and are better than on the Dreamcast or any other console. Crazy Taxi 3: High Roller might not have excellent visuals comparing to other games, but it certainly has good visuals. One of the things that makes the cities so good, is the visuals.

Audio: The music and sound effects in the game are really good. The music completely fits in with the game, especially all the bands such as Bad Religion and The Offspring, which are quite famous. Sound effects are also pretty cool, for example when the passengers (or drivers) complain or complement. Everything from pedestrians to car traffic has effective sound effects. Crazy Taxi 3: High Roller also supports Dolby Digital Surround and so the entire sound has a good quality.

Suggestions: It would be nice to see Crazy Taxi 4 sometime in the future. If there will be another Crazy Taxi game, then I recommend checking for bugs, adding more cities and levels, adding more mini-games, as well as including a multiplayer mode and a practice mode. It would be nice to see a multiplayer taxi competition in a Crazy Taxi game. Otherwise I am satisfied with this game and that SEGA, together with Hitmaker, created this game for the Xbox.

Overall Score: 10.0 / 10 Elder Scrolls III : Morrowind

Overall: Even though Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind might not be my favorite RPG, it still is the best RPG I have ever seen (and I haven?t played the previous Elder Scrolls games). First of all, don?t buy this game, unless you are ready to be addicted to it, because the game world is enormous! Anybody who says playing Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind should last a few hundred hours is a lie, because you can play Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind until infinity. Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind is a RPG with a fantasy theme. The game is set on an island called Vvardenfell , which is in the province of Morrowind in the Tamrielic Empire. You create your own character and you play throughout the world of Morrowind. The gaming world of Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind is huge! You can go wherever you want at any time and you can do anything you want. You can steal anything or kill anybody. Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind is probably one of the best Xbox games and is definitely even more addictive than Halo: Combat Evolved. Not to forget, Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind is the first RPG on Xbox.

Gameplay: You start off by arriving by boat at a small town called Seyda Neen from an Imperial prison. You first type in your name, then you are given the choice of your race, your face, your hair, etc. Later on you choose your character class and your birthsign, which gives you special skills. From then on you are given duties to carry out, which leads into the main quest, but it isn?t neccessary to carry out those duties, because you can just explore and travel through Morrowind whenever you want and as long as you want. It is possible to travel between cities by foot, which is easier especially with the map and direction arrows. It is also possible to travel throught cities by boat or by silt strider. Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind offers a variety of many weapons and armor. There are hundreds, or even thousands, of different items. Not including the thousands of NPCs (non-playable characters), which you can interact with. Even if you steal or kill and you are caught you can pay off your bounty or go to jail or even resist the attack. It is true that your actions define what happens. You can joins factions or guilds, which makes people like you and others hate you. Battles and fighting are mainly done using weapons or using magic spells. The controls are simple and somewhat similar to Halo: Combat Evolved. Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind can be played either in first-person perspective or in third-person perspective, but this only applies to the Xbox version of Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind. The game offers dozens of cities and towns, as well as hundreds of quests. Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind also uses the time and weather system and teh day and night system very effectively.

Graphics: Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind has excellent visuals. Apart from a few bugs, all the objects and things in Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind shows high detail. The skies and landscapes are very realistic. The entire world of Morrowind is so realistic, that?s it?s too hard to explain it. One of the most realistic things in Morrowind is the water. The water looks as if somebody took water from the real world and just stuck it into the game. Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind is a true example of a real 3D RPG. A large part of the greatness of Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind is made by the high quality and the realistic visuals, that are mainly created by the Xbox?s graphics unit.

Audio: The music of Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind is very good. I just love listening to the Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind Main Theme and the Battle Theme. You can hear the music during gameplay or at the start of the game. The music si greatly composed and presented. I wouldn?t be suprised if they made a Morrowind Soundtrack. Even though the music repeates itself quite often during gameplay, it still is quite effective and nice to listen to. The same goes for the sound effects of Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, which are higly effective and greatly done. From water splashing to wild life to sword fighting to bow shooting to magic casting, I could go on forever, because it?s all great! I was a bit upset when I saw that the character you play or even the NPCs didn?t speak. But later on I realized, that Bethesda Softworks would have released Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind ten years later if they had to vocalize each question and each answer. But I?m satisfied with the fact that when you look at an NPC, the NPC will then say something short, which is enough. It is also good that Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind is in Dolby Digital and it uses a special surround system, which is represented by the little picture next to the Dolby Digital logo on the game disc. To make a good game, you need good sound and Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind has it all.

Suggestions: The first suggestion that went over my mind was: make Elder Scrolls IV for PC and Xbox! Bethesda Softworks did a great job on Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind and for the next Elder Scrolls game, they should make the loading times shorter, fix a few bugs here and there, and if possible make the gaming world even more bigger. But even though there were a few bugs, Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind is one of the best games!

Overall Score: 10.0 / 10 Halo: Combat Evolved

Overall: Halo: Combat Evolved is one of the most successful and most popular games of all time and the best game on Xbox. Halo: Combat Evolved is about a mysterious ancient alien ringworld called Halo that has been lost in space for thousands of years. The game is about the Human-Covenant War that is set on Halo, in which a player takes the role of Master Chief, a SPARTAN super-soldier, who is mankind?s most advanced warrior. The setting of Halo: Combat Evolved is based on the novel Ringworld by Larry Niven. Halo: Combat Evolved has not only won the title of Game of Year 2001 (; Electronic Gaming Monthly; Official Xbox Magazine; Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences), but has won many other achievement awards. Halo: Combat Evolved is also the only game the history of computer and video games to break the record of selling more than one million copies worldwide in just a few months after launch. The popularity of Halo: Combat Evolved is so high, that even an author called Eric Nylund decided to write the prequel novel called Halo: The Fall of Reach. Halo: Combat Evolved is held as the best game for Xbox presently available. The game brings a new action/science-fiction story, as well as amazing graphics and sound with excellent quality.

Gameplay: Halo: Combat Evolved has some excellent gameplay. You start the game on the battle ship, Pillar of Autumn, together with your present leader Captain Jacob Keyes. The ship is invaded by a ton of Covenant aliens. After you battle your way through the ship, you escape in an escape pod and you finally land on Halo. During the game, you battle through ten long levels, with different difficulty levels. There are a variety of weapons, from Jackhammer Rocket Launchers to Assault Rifles. Even though you can only carry two weapons at a time, you still have a good choice of brutal weapons. Apart from primary weapons, you can also carry four grenades at a time, either Fragmental or Plasma. As in every 3D ego-shooter, you do of course get health, which is measured in shield power in Halo: Combat Evolved. For the majority of the levels in Halo: Combat Evolved, you do cooperate with Human Marines, which can get annoying, but are helpful. Halo: Combat Evolved also has some cool vehicles such as Warthogs (a type of jeep), Tanks, and Banshees (small flying alien battle transports). A good gameplay must have a good setting, which Halo: Combat Evolved does have. The landscapes and skies are simply beautiful, which completely changes after there has been a major slaughter in the area between Humans and Covenant. It is also very good of how the enemies react to your actions during gameplay and of how the enemies have not been made to easy, as well as not too hard. Apart from the Campaign Mode, Halo: Combat Evolved has a Multiplayer Mode. The Multiplayer Mode has many different features. The first feature is cooperative play, which means you can play the Campaign Mode with up to 4 players. The next feature is Split Screen Mode, which is basically a battle mode, where there is a variety of different modes for up to 4 players to play against each other. The final Multiplayer Mode feature is System Link Mode, where you can hook up to 4 Xboxes together and play either Campaign Mode or Split Screen Mode with up to 16 players at once. The controls are quite simple in Halo: Combat Evolved and are perfect for any 3D ego-shooter. The left thumbstick is to walk around, the right thumbstick is to turn your weapon/head around, the R trigger is to fire your weapon, the L trigger is to throw your grenade, and there are many other easy to use commands. Halo: Combat Evolved has one of the best gameplay modes that any game could have.

Graphics: Halo: Combat Evolved has amazing visuals. Bungie Studios has added every single bit of detail to the game. When I played Halo: Combat Evolved my first time, and when I saw the first intro movie, it almost looked as a real cinema movie. The buildings, vehicles, weapons, humans, enemies, lakes, skies, landscapes, and everything else you see in the game is absolutely great. Special effects and visuals have been used very well in relation to the different missions. The Xbox?s graphical capabilities have been used a lot in Halo: Combat Evolved and I am very pleased with the work Bungie Studios did on the visuals. I have to say that Halo: Combat Evolved is extremely realistic and that developers should use the game as set standard for future 3D ego-shooters.

Audio: Halo: Combat Evolved includes great sound and music. There has to be good music for good visuals. It is very good of how Bungie Studios used voices in the game. The characters? voices fit in well with the actual characters. The sounds that the enemies make is also pretty good. Sound effects have been used very well in the game and the weapons? fire is quite effective. A good use of sound effects is also that while you are walking, the different sounds you make, when you are on cement, on grass, or in water. The music in Halo: Combat Evolved is once again very good and is effective to gameplay. The monks? singing is pretty cool. It is no surprise that there is a Halo Soundtrack, because the music in Halo: Combat Evolved is great.

Suggestions: I would not make any major suggestions to Bungie Studios, because Halo: Combat Evolved does not need any important improvements. Bungie Studios must make a sequel, which should include more maps of levels, more weapons, more vehicles, and more levels. Apart from a sequel, Bungie Studios should consider making an online version of Halo: Combat Evolved, so that players from all over the world can play Halo: Combat Evolved together using Xbox Live. Halo: Combat Evolved is an excellent game and I hope to see games for Xbox just as good as it (or better) in the future.

Overall Score: 10.0 / 10 Star Wars: Obi-Wan

Overall: Star Wars: Obi Wan is a game based on the events of Episode I: The Phantom Menace. You take the role of young Obi Wan Kenobi, as you fight with your lightsaber through many missions. Star Wars: Obi Wan is the first Star Wars game that has a title after a particular Star Wars character. Star Wars: Obi Wan features a good story related to Episode I: The Phantom Menace as well as a good multiplayer mode. Star Wars: Obi Wan is sort of like a mix of Star Wars: Jedi Power Battles (DC,PSX), Star Wars: Episode I (PC,PSX), and Star Wars: Jedi Knight (PC). Star Wars: Obi Wan is a game that I would recommend renting not buying, unless bought at a low price.

Gameplay: As Obi Wan Kenobi, you fight with lightsabers and blasters through missions and levels. You need to have good reflexes to defeat enemies. After every few missions, bonus missions can be unlocked. Most of the bonus missions are lightsaber duels with members of the Jedi Council. Apart from the main single-player story mode, there is a training mode and a multiplayer mode. The multiplayer mode is mainly lightsabers duels that you can have with another player in different arenas. The controls of Star Wars: Obi Wan are pretty simple, however the game does get harder and harder. At some points in the game, it can get really frustrating. Some features in Star Wars: Obi Wan are pretty cool, for example the aerobic stunts or the lightsaber tricks that Obi Wan does.

Graphics: The visuals are very poor. Some environments might have some nice details, but the overall visuals are quite bad and lack details. Even the cut scenes have bad visuals. There might be some moments in the game where special effects are cool, for example when smashing a lightsaber against a Trade Federation Droid.

Audio: Star Wars: Obi Wan does have some pretty good music from Episode I: The Phantom Menace. The music does come at right moments, during gameplay. LucasArts should have asked Ewan McGregor (who played Obi Wan) and Liam Neeson (who played Qui Gon Jinn) to be the voice of their own character, because when other people speak as Obi Wan, Qui Gon Jinn, and other characters, it sounds really stupid. The sound effects are satisfactory, because they are mainly the same as other third-person Star Wars games. It is was also cool when enemies say things such as ?kill the Jedi?, because then the game flows better during gameplay.

Suggestions: LucasArts should have changed the visuals and they should have used the Xbox?s graphical capabilities better. Some improvements in sound could have been done especially the characters? voices. I would not recommend this game that much to anybody. I was expecting Star Wars: Obi Wan to be a better title.

Overall Score: 8.0 / 10 Star Wars: Starfighter - Special Edition

Overall: Star Wars: Starfighter Special Edition is a flight action games that takes place during Episode I: The Phantom Menace. It is full of flight combat missions, as well as bonus missions. Star Wars: Starfighter Special Edition is a remake of Star Wars: Starfighter for PC Windows and PlayStation 2. The remake, only on Xbox, features bonus missions and a cool multiplayer mode. The game isn?t too good, so it isn?t worth buying, however every Star Wars fan that has a Xbox should at least rent this title. This isn?t a Rouge Squadron type of game, so don?t be disappointed.

Gameplay: The missions are based on the events of Episode I: The Phantom Menace. There are three different story lines, each with one different starfighter. The missions in Star Wars: Starfighter Special Edition are set in space and on planets. The multiplayer mode features many different games that 1 to 2 players can play. The bonus missions are also good to play. Controls in Star Wars: Starfighter Special Edition are not so complicated and the game should not be too hard.

Graphics: The visuals in Star Wars: Starfighter Special Edition are quite bad. During missions, the visuals are very poor. However, during the cut scenes, between missions, the visuals are somehow pretty good. I do like the backgrounds in the missions, for example suns, stars, or other planets that appear further away. They give a good effect on the visuals. The Xbox?s graphical capabilities could have been used better.

Audio: Star Wars: Starfighter Special Edition has excellent Star Wars music. The sound effects are satisfactory. Some explosions or lasers do have quite good sound. The characters have good voices too.

Suggestions: I would not recommend a sequel, however I do know that LucasArts has already released the next game in the Starfighter series, called Star Wars: Jedi Starfighter. I would suggest major improvements in visuals and graphics. There could have been more missions based on actual events in Episode I: The Phantom Menace. Some improvements could have also been done on sound effects. Star Wars: Starfighter Special Edition is not one of the better Xbox titles. A good Star Wars game, but a bad Xbox game.

Overall Score: 8.0 / 10 Wreckless: The Yakuza Mission

Overall: WRECKLESS: The Yakuza Missions is an action-packed racing that is set in Hong Kong. You can chose between a scenario of the local Hong Kong police or of a government spy. Each scenario is packed with plenty of awesome cars and wild missions. The game itself doesn?t have much, but the concept is new. One of my favorite parts of WRECKLESS: The Yakuza Missions, is that the entire city lives. There are great details from pedestrians to trashcans. The game sort of reminds me of Super Runabout for Dreamcast and PlayStation One. WRECKLESS: The Yakuza Missions isn?t a game that I would buy, because after a while it will get boring and it isn?t one of the better Xbox games. Both scenarios in WRECKLESS: The Yakuza Missions do have an excellent story that does make the game somewhat interesting.

Gameplay: The objectives of the missions in WRECKLESS: The Yakuza Missions are simple and easy to understand. Mission objectives are ones such as destroying cars or getting certain items within a time limit. The bonus missions are fun to play. As you beat missions, you unlock vehicles. There are different missions and different vehicles for each scenario. The controls were about the same as other racing games and so I had not trouble in controlling vehicles. Most the missions were easy, although some were a bit of a challenge. I did enjoy watching some of the cut scenes, which had action and some humor.

Graphics: The visuals and graphics aren?t too impressive, especially the characters. The game does have important details throughout the city, but the Xbox?s graphical capabilities have not been used enough in the game. The cars and vehicles do have an average visual standard, but it?s nothing like the cars from Project Gotham Racing. I wouldn?t say that the graphics are bad, however I would never put this game onto a list of the Xbox games with the better graphics. One of the good things about the visuals in WRECKLESS: The Yakuza Missions is the special effects. I found it really cool when I crashed my vehicle into those Dim Sum stands in Hong Kong, because it gave out these explosions.

Audio: There is not much to say about the sound in WRECKLESS: The Yakuza Missions. The sound effects were pretty cool when it came to city life and car crashing, however everything else wasn?t really new. There was some good music in the game that was convenient when driving a vehicle. The game itself doesn?t have any particularly good soundtrack.

Suggestions: Improvement in visuals and the missions is a major suggestion from me. The developer should have used the Xbox?s graphical capabilities more. There could have been more missions, which could have been more exciting. I also would suggest a wider variety of vehicles, as well as a multiplayer mode. I do not suggest a sequel, however I am aware that the game will be eventually available for PlayStation 2.

Overall Score: 9.0 / 10 Nascar Thunder 2002

Overall: Start your engines! Nascar Thunder 2002 is a Nascar racing game created by EA Sports. Nascar Thunder 2002 was the first Nascar racing game that I have played and I enjoyed playing it. Since it was created by EA Sports, it is obvious that it has to be good...

Gameplay: You start off your career as a pro racer and you speed through season after season of high speed racing. Gameplay is simple (race around speedways to get to pole position). It might get boring after racing in circles for a long time, but we must keep our Nascar spirit. I myself am not a Nascar fan, but the I liked the game. It isn?t one of my favorite Xbox games, but still, it has something in it. The controls in Nascar Thunder 2002 are like all other racing games. The multiplayer mode is also cool. The game might start off somewhat easy, but racing is always a challenge.

Graphics: It isn?t as realistic as on TV and the Xbox?s graphical capabilities have not been used at a maximum. However, the visuals are even though quite good. Since it is an EA Sports game, it is somewhat realistic, actually to me it seemed very realistic. Car collision and car damage is done very good in Nascar Thunder 2002.

Audio: Engine sound effects have been also done very good. It is also good that they added in commentators to make it more realistic. The main title song of Nascar Thunder 2002, ?Sweet Home Alabama?, is also quite nice, even though it is from the 70s. Sometime ago, I found the song on the Forrest Gump Soundtrack. Both music and sound effects have been effectively used in Nascar Thunder 2002.

Suggestions: Nascar Thunder 2003 will probably be created by EA Sports sometime this year, so there is no point in me suggesting it. Visuals and sound could have been used at a maximum, but it?s still okay that they have been used at a satisfactory level. It would have been cool, if EA Sports put a bonus demolition derby game onto Nascar Thunder 2002, but since it?s a sports game, they probably wouldn?t do that.

Overall Score: 9.0 / 10 Nightcaster: Defeat The Darkness

Overall: Nightcaster is a mysterious action-adventure fantasy game that is about a boy who finds a special cave and an orb, which leads him to being the chosen one who must save the world from the evil Nightcaster. That boy goes away from his home to increase his strengh and powers. He returns to his home village as a young man and finds that his parents have been killed by the Nightcaster. He then decides to go onto a long journey to free the world from the darkness that has been created by the Nightcaster. The game is a Xbox exclusive game, but is not too much special and is not worth buying at all.

Gameplay: The entire game consists of levels. In each level, you must fight against creatures that have been created by the Nightcaster. You can use your staff or amazing spells. The creatures (or better to call them monsters), get harder to defeat as you advance in levels. Your character changes from a young man to middle aged man to an old man as the game proceeds. The controls of Nightcaster are not so good. They are complicated and after a while they might get irritating. During the game, if you press pause, you do not appear in a pause menu, however a spell/wizardry book opens up. The concept and how the game flows is pretty bad. It does also get irritating and boring defeating enemies using only a staff and spells.

Graphics: Quite bad. It seems as if the Xbox?s graphical capabilities have not been used at all. The characters and creatures are too simple. The environments are not big enough and do not have enough detail. Nightcaster lacks a lot of visuals. The visuals are hardly impressive. Nightcaster is one of those Xbox games with the really bad visuals.

Audio: The sound effects aren?t that good. The creatures give out really strange noises. Some of the music can get really annoying after a while. Actually, I hardly even heard any music. One good thing is that the orb and characters do speak. It would have made me mad if I had to only read text. One thing that I did like, was of how at the beginning of every few levels and of how at the beginning of the game, there is a spoken introduction, that is said in a poetic way.

Suggestions: Please, no sequel! A sequel to Nightcaster would just be a waste of money and time. I suggest major improvements in visuals and sound, as well as improvement in overall gameplay and levels.

Overall Score: 7.0 / 10 Fuzion Frenzy

Overall: Fuzion Frenzy is action-party game developed by Blitz Games and Microsoft. It features over 40 mini games, as well as a great tournament mode and a cool multiplayer mode for 1 to 4 players. It is a game with average visuals, a great soundtrack, and simple gameplay. Fuzion Frenzy is a game for all ages and for all members of the family. Fuzion Frenzy is the only available party game on Xbox. It isn?t too serious (for 17 year olds) and it isn?t too childish (for 8 year olds). Fuzion Frenzy isn?t a typical Mario Party game, although it is a game with party action and humor at the same time. Fuzion Frenzy isn?t a game that I would spend all my time playing, because after sometime it could get boring. It isn?t worth buying, because a demo of it, is just as good.

Gameplay: In tournament mode, you go through different areas each with several rounds (mini-games). The winner is the player with the most points. Then there is the more simple mode, called mini-game mode, where you can just play any mini-game you want as many times as you want. There are different controls for each mini-game. The objectives of each mini-game are explained clearly. Some are fun, others are boring, some are easy, and others are hard. The objective of each mini-game varies. There are a few characters to chose from and each mini-game can be played from 1 to 4 players.

Graphics: Some details in Fuzion Frenzy might be impressive. However, the overall visuals and graphics are not that good. The good thing is that they don?t really have to be, because it?s just a simple action-party game and not a highly detailed 3D shooter.

Audio: The sound effects and noises in the game are quite cool. The soundtrack and music in the game fits in well with the whole point of the game. It?s also cool to see what each characters has to say after specific mini-games or tournaments. The most annoying thing in Fuzion Frenzy, is probably the commentator, who shouts ?3,2,1,GO? at the top of his lungs.

Suggestions: A sequel to Fuzion Frenzy would be pointless. Although, I do suggest an online version of Fuzion Frenzy, so that people can play it online with other people all over the world. A few improvements in visuals and sound might have been necessary, but everything else is exciting to play.

Overall Score: 8.0 / 10 Project Gotham Racing

Overall: Project Gotham Racing is a stylish racing game created by Bizarre Creations adn Microsoft. It?s set in San Francisco, New York, London, and Tokyo. The game is not based on speed, because speed alone can not win this game. You need speed to win the race, but the style of your racing is important too. The game is an enhanced remake of Metropolis Street Racer for Dreamcast. Project Gotham Racing is one of the best street racing games ever and it is certainly much better than Grand Turismo 3 for PlayStation 2.

Gameplay: Racing with not only speed, but also style, is the main concept of the game. You race through four amazing cities with great cars. The more you win, the more Kudos points you will get. The more Kudos points you get, the more courses and cars you will unlock. Controls are the same as every other usual racing game. There are several modes including a multiplayer mode. The game could get boring, but it is really a true racing masterpiece. I do not recommend it for beginners, because you need to have a great skill at racing games to get a lot of Kudos points. There is a very large variety of cars and courses to chose from also.

Graphics: Simply amazing. The cities, buildings, and monuments have excellent visuals. The visuals of the cars are fabulous. The Xbox?s graphical capabilities have really been used in Project Gotham Racing. From car damage to car visuals, everything is highly detailed. Both cities and cars are really photo-realistic. The time and weather effects have been also used quite well during the game.

Audio: The sound effects in Project Gotham Racing are really cool. Car collision and car sliding have realistic sounds. Project Gotham Racing is one of the games, which can use the Xbox?s soundtrack, so that you can listen to your own music while driving. But why use your own music, when you can listen to the dozens of songs that the game can offer. There is an overall CD in the game that you can listen to, or you can listen to radio stations. Each city in the game has their own radio stations, which have different types of music.

Suggestions: A sequel would not be necessary. However, I do suggest an online version of Project Gotham Racing, so that people from all over the world can compete against each other. In my opinion, the Kudos point system is a new way of racing, but I didn?t too much like it. The developer could have made the game a bit easier for the beginners. Project Gotham Racing is still an excellent racing game, exclusive for the Xbox console.

Overall Score: 9.0 / 10 Amped: Freestyle Snowboarding

Overall: Amped: Freestyle Snowboarding is a really fun game to play and in general, it?s a great game. The main point of the game is simple: snowboarding. There are no rules, no limits, and no opponents. The visuals and sounds of the game are amazing and outstanding. The game offers several modes of playing such as Multiplayer and Quick Race, although the Career mode is the main one. In career mode, you create your own snowboarder and you start to snowboard, trying to lead yourself up the World Rank. One of the main features of Amped: Freestyle Snowboarding is it?s music. Not only can you play your own soundtracks, but you can also listen to over 10 CDs worth of music when you snowboard. In my opinion, Amped: Freestyle Snowboarding is a high quality game and Microsoft did put some time in making it.

Gameplay: The controls of the game are simple and there is a large variety of tricks to do. When a player starts their career, they first create their own snowboarder and then they start their career. There are over a dozen mountains in Amped: Freestyle Snowboarding, each with many runs. Each level has five stages. The first one is the High Score Challenge, in which there is a high score that a player must beat. The next one, is the Media Coverage Challenge, which is one of the most important parts of the game, where you have to have the media make photos of your tricks, so you can get points and beat the media score. The third one, is Sponsor Challenge, in which there is a sponsor watching your entire run, some sponsors may want you to do spins and flips where others want rails. In the Sponsor Challenge, you have to do certain tricks, for the Sponsor to feel ?Amped? at the end of the run, where at the beginning of the run, the sponsor feels ?Bored?. The fourth one, is the Pro Challenge where you have to follow a Pro down a run and at certain jumps, the Pro does a trick and a player must then do their own trick and make a score equivalent to the Pro?s score or higher. There is also the Explore Challenge, where in each level there are eight snowman put all over a level and you have to find all of them. The gameplay of Amped: Freestyle Snowboarding is very good in my opinion. Some levels and runs may be simple to beat and others may have a complex structure which raises the level of difficulty. As you move up the World Rank in Amped: Freestyle Snowboarding, you then gain more skill points and you unlock new levels, new clothing, and new gear. The scoring system in Amped: Freestyle Snowboarding is fair in my opinion, the computer doesn?t cheat on scoring. Points for single tricks and trick sets vary, some can be a few thousand, others can even be over 100,000 (one of my highest was 105,000 points in just on set of tricks!). Tricks in Amped: Freestyle Snowboarding can be stylish as well as amazing using trick features such as jibs and bonks. The Multiplayer mode in Amped: Freestyle Snowboarding was not too good in my opinion. I was waiting for the Multiplayer mode to be one where I can snowboard with another player in split-screen, however the Multiplayer mode in Amped: Freestyle Snowboarding is different. In the Multiplayer mode, there are rounds, in which the rules can be chosen such as the winner is the snowboarder with the highest score or the highest trick set score, etc. The Multiplayer mode was not that good, however there is a large choice at the match and round options, which I think improves the Multiplayer mode.

Graphics: The graphics and visuals of Amped: Freestyle Snowboarding are excellent. Every run in the game, has perfect details. From the trees to the halfpipes, everything has good graphics. One major disadvantage in the visuals, is when a snowboarder falls into the snow it looks pretty unrealistic. The Replay mode in Amped: Freestyle Snowboarding is impressive and using the Xbox?s massive hard disk, you can save as many replays as you want. The Replays can be even presented at slow or fast motion and at several different camera views. The introduction movie, replays, and overall game visuals are all stunning and amazing.

Audio: One of the most important parts of Amped: Freestyle Snowboarding is the sound and music. Amped: Freestyle Snowboarding is compatible with the Xbox Soundtrack feature. You can use our own soundtracks while you snowboard or you can use the enormous amount of music available in the game. Over 10 CDs worth of music, about 150 music soundtracks featuring rock, rap, hip hop, and more. Another cool sound feature in Amped: Freestyle Snowboarding is the media. When you snowboard past or into a media person, they either say some rude stuff or if you do a good trick, they compliment your snowboarding skills. The sound effects of Amped: Freestyle Snowboarding are good. When a snowboarder goes onto a rail, the sound effects of the friction are pretty cool. Overall, the sound, music, and sound effects of Amped: Freestyle Snowboarding are very good.

Suggestions: Firstly, Microsoft could have improved the Multiplayer mode just a bit, so that players could compete against each other in split-screen. Secondly, I think more different levels could have been added to the game. Apart from these few things, Amped: Freestyle Snowboarding is an excellent game. Thumbs up for Microsoft.

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

Overall: Oddworld: Munch?s Oddysee, in my opinion, is one of the best Xbox games. It has stunning graphics and amazing sound, as well as pleasant gameplay. When I decided to get this game, I didn?t know what awaited me, since I haven?t played the previous Oddworld games, although when I first played Oddworld: Munch?s Oddysee I really loved the game. Both Munch and Abe make a great duo together by trying to save the last of the Gabbit eggs and Abe?s brothers. Through the entire game, Munch and Abe encounter dangerous challenges, helpful friends, and angry Industrialists. Oddworld: Munch?s Oddysee is hilarous, exciting, and full of new suprises.

Gameplay: The controls and the way the entire game flows is quite simple. For most parts of the game, players switch between Munch and Abe, each with their Odd capabilities. Munch is a super fast swimmer and can take control of machines throughout the Industrialists world. One the other hand, Abe can jump up extremely high and can take control of several Industrialists themselves. Both heroes encounter special Vendos throughout the game. Some like Expresso, that make you run faster, and others such as Zap (my favorite), that can be used to electrify or zap enemies. During the game, Munch and Abe must rescue their friends to increase their Quarma. Munch must rescue furry and dangerous Fuzzles and Abe must rescue his Mudokon fellows. Both Fuzzles and Mudokons can help you by defeating the Industrialists, since Munch and Abe themselves do not have any weapon. Both heroes must use their rescued friends, take control of machines (Munch), or take control of enemies (Abe) to be able to destroy the enemy. Another really cool part of the game is GameSpeak, which is the way to communicate on Oddoworld. GameSpeak is used by both Munch and Abe. Through GameSpeak, Munch and Abe can communicate to Fuzzles, Mudokons, and other allies, encountered throughout the game. GameSpeak has features such as Greetings, Orders (like Attack or Wait), or the hilarious, rather disgusting, burps (Munch) or farts (Abe). Another great feature, is the SpooceLock, which can be opened by harvesting SpooceShrubs (just running through them in the game = harvesting), and when the SpooceLock is opened, Munch or Abe can go to the next level or to another area. In overall, gameplay in Oddworld: Munch?s Oddysee is not complicated, making the game frustration-free, especially when there are limitless lives.

Graphics: When I first played Oddworld: Munch?s Oddysee and watched the introduction movie, where Munch gets caught in the trap, I was amazed, because for a few moments I actually thought I was watching a computer-animated movie, although then I realized it was just the game that had such excellent graphics. The in-game graphics are also very good. Every character and object has much detail. I also really enjoy the way a player can just use the Directional Pad on a controller to adjust the angle of the camera, the way the player wants it and not like in many games that I have played, where the camera angle is not adjustable. The visuals of the characters are a lot better on the Xbox, than they would have been on the PS2. On I saw a picture of Abe on the Xbox and another picture of Abe on PS2, and I can tell you that the PS2 image of Abe was a lot worse than it is now on the Xbox.

Audio: The sound and music in Oddworld: Munch?s Oddysee is once again great. The sound is even better, thanks to the Dolby Digital feature. The music during the game, really does flow with the way the game is structured. An example of this is, when I was Munch at one point in the game, I was just roaming around the level and there was no music at the moment, then when an Industrialist appeared and started chasing me, and at the same time, really cool, but also strange, music came on that had the beat going faster and faster, which really fitted in with the way the game was at that point. The sound effects in the game are also very awesome. In overall, the sound and music of Oddworld: Munch's Oddysee is quite effective.

Suggestions: There aren?t many suggestions that can be given to Oddworld: Munch?s Oddysee, although one suggestion can be that the way the weapons are used could be improved a bit, by making it easier to aim and control weapons. Gameplay itself is great and needs no improvement. I thank the guys at Oddworld Inhabitants and Microsoft for making Oddworld: Munch?s Oddysee for Xbox. I look forward to the next Xbox game of the Oddworld Quintology.

Overall Score: 10.0 / 10

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