Monday, December 26, 2005


Happy Christmas all my readers. Stay tuned for blog update Jan 1st as usual.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Xbox 360 Update

I got to play on an Xbox 360 a couple of days ago. No none of my friends have one but the game in town does so when I walk home I play on it! The only game I have got to play is Call of Duty 2. Let me review the console itself rather than the game (I will review it in quick reviews as it is only a demo)

The Controller
The controller is probably going to be the best controller this generation. But then it would have been that if that hadn't changed it at all. The others are absolutely rubbish (more in CONSOLE WARS) So, how does it compare with the current controllers. It is far superior to the Xboxes controller. It is unfortunately a blatant copy of the NGCs but it is a bit better than it because it has 2 shoulder buttons instead of one. The dual shock controller was undoubtedly the best controller ever made. It was the right size, all the buttons were easy to reach and two clickible analog sticks. The X360 however has all this but triggers. I think they are now on equal levels as the PS2 still has a slightly nicer feel to it. For most Xbox users it will very small at first. Those triggers are far smaller and can be pushed not nearly as far. I think this is bad because it means reduced control when it is pressure sensitive like driving games. But on the flip side it does fit n to your hand a lot better.

The Graphics
Yes the graphics really do look amazing. You use the binoculars at 1ft and you can see tons of detail on one of your mens face. The physics are incredible. When you chuck a grenade all the men recoil in a different way. The graphics are NO let down.

More info on game play extra will be in the quick reviews. I will make it an extended 'quick reviews'

Tuesday, December 06, 2005


This has absolutly nothing to do with gaming I will say that now.

I am a suscriber to Google Video or something and everyday he selects a movie from google videos that is the best for that day. They are all normally quite good but this one is AMAZING. It is free-running. BIG STYLE.

Here is the link

This is what the guy who found it said:
"Wow! This guy is amazing: a very Jackie Chan-like romp through abandoned properties in Russia at a breakneck run. Another guy joins him after a few minutes, and he's obviously not as good. There appears to be no safety measures of any kind taken, which makes this pretty dangerous. I don't know if this is a well-practiced routine, or not, but it definitely is worth a watch. This is another longer video for the weekend (though not too long)."

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Quick Reviews

This is a new regular to my blog. I will review 5 games that I don't own. They will be games that I have played on at a friends house or got a demo of. The aim is so that I can:
a)Cover more games
b)Make my blog more accessible for people who don't have time to read my full reviews.

Todays games are:

Battle Front
Battle Front 2
Halo 2
Splinter Cell Chaos Theory
Age of Empires 3

Battle Front
Battle front is a 1st/3rd person shooter. In the demo I have it has one map, the one where the republic have to destroy the shield bunker. The game has a simple backbone. Both army's have a certain amount of troop reinforcements. For every man you kill they lose one. Also, one team will have an objective, like destroy the bunker. The graphics are quite good considering its age but there are no cool special effects. Over all it is great fun but is hardly revolutionary.

Battle Front 2
Battles Front 2 is very similar the the original. Because I played it at a friends house I got to see much more of the game. A big feature is the ability to play in space which is confusing at first but fun once you get in to it. Their are 2 campaigns. One is simple missions that you complete in a chronological order, the other though features a TB section. My friend and I played this bit multi player. It was good but there wasn't, as to be expected, much micro-management and you just choose which units you could be in the battles and built fleets. I think I would enjoy it more if he wasn't so good at it. The graphics have advanced slightly, but still includes no special effects except for some of the vehicles blow up in cool ways.

Halo 2
I think I am the only Xbox owner who doesn't have Halo 2 but does have 16+ rated games. My friend has let me borrow many times so I have played both single and multiple player much. I think the multi player is really fun. There is a wide variety of maps, exciting vehicles and lots of grenades. On the flip side though, I don't think the single player is very good. I say this at the risk of getting a huge amount of back lash, but it is true. All the missions you just run around killing stuff that is so weak you can beat it up with a pistol twice before they kill you. The story line is meant to be really good but the only reason people say that is because Microsoft said it and their is a 'story' as such. Overall, good if you have friends.

Splinter Cell Chaos Theory
Possibly the best Xbox game ever. The single player is intensive, thrilling, un-repetitive and challenging. The multi player co-op, instead of just being the same or a bit harder, is completely different. You get a different set of missions. Their are special moves like climbing on one and other and there are bits where you have to split up and come into a room at the same time. It also has versus but that requires 2 copies of the game so we couldn't try that out but we went on the tutorial and it looks immense. The graphics on this game are stunning two. My only fault is it is not very long.

Age of Empires 3
Age of Empires 3 is a real time strategy game. It is very similar to the other ones and many people complain they haven't done enough to it. They have added some new features and of course the new graphics engine. All the changes that have been made to the original game have been good ones but there aren't enough. If you would like to read more you can at

Blog Update

Hello, sorry this is 1 day late, I just completely forgot.

I am in a REALLY bad mood today, a car while, I was walking home, acknowledged me, acknowledgedly the puddle I was walking past and then sped up, soaking me head to foot. In hind site he probably thought he could get past it if he slowed down, but I still would have preferred he he hadn't tested it.

24 days till Christmas
24 days till Christmas
24 days till Christmas

Christmas is here. The next generation is here. Everything is here. Well except the PS3 and Nintendo Revolution! just think, next blog update and it will all be over.

The Xbox 360 wired controllers don't work with computer but you can buy special ones that will work with Xbox 360 and computer.
There will be no interview with an Xbox 360 owner till after January, because they have been pre ordered up until then .Bad luck if you put your money down and you are still not going to get it until 2 moths later, that will teach you for not following my advise. I wonder if I ever said that advice.
I haven't actually got AoE 3 because it was £7 more than it was advertised on their site so I might get it from Amazon, get it for Christmas or not get it all.

I want to review Winter Sports because it will be a good game to review. Also, today I am going to try and get my 'Quick Reviews' out today as well.

I may do part 2 of console wars or a supplement to it. But then again I want to definitely review a game this month because it seems like ages since I have.

Also, I now have a podcast. It is not very good at the moment and although it says next week I think every month is a more achievable goal. Anyhow, if you have Ipodder then the xml address is It is only ten minutes long and won't take a second to download. Tell me what you think of it if you do.

I got slaughtered in Alpha Centurai last night. I played it on hardest to see what is was like and they had a major problem with me being democratic and took the issue to the battle field, with an army twice the size and more sophisticated than mine, so I died quite quickly. Now I am back down to my normal level. (NO IT NOT THE EASIEST, its the second easiest!)

Also this month I want to create a list to give you some ideas on what you might want this Christmas.

Though of the month: "Will I ever review all my games?"

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Console Wars - Part One : XBOX 360

In this my 4 part piece called console wars, I will be looking at the 3 main consoles:- the 360; PS3; and the Revolution. There will be supplements and a conclusion completely free!

The Xbox 360 has come out this month in America, 2nd of December for the first Xbox over here. No, it's not that bad, but why is there a staggered release. Oh well. Anyhow, the Xbox 360 will have 2 price packages on launch and, although not fully clear, a good selection of launch titles. From racers like PGR3 to FPS like Call of Duty 2.

The price packages are:

£209 - Core

  • One Xbox 360
  • 1 Wired Controller

£279 - Expansive
  • Xbox 360
  • 1 Wireless controller
  • Xbox live kit
  • And also, at launch:
  • Wireless network card
  • Xbox live headset
  • And some other stuff

Neither of these include any games which, for the record, are £50 when the games are launched.

One of the Xbox's strengths was Xbox Live. It worked seamlessly, keeping track of all your scores and allowing you to have one score across multiple games. The only disadvantage was it was pricey. This time round it is free, well silver is anyway. Silver means that you can talk with your friends, play some games(like MMORPGs not games you have bought) and allows you to access and download stuff from the market. You can upgrade to gold, for £50 a year, which will of course allow you to play games on line. The Xbox live headset now goes directly into your controller and shortly after launch it will do even this without any wires.

The Controller

The original Xbox controller is, by a majority vote, its downfall. The black and white buttons being the only problem. These have been moved to the space above the triggers, yes right where your fingers were resting doing nothing. It now looks even more like a GameCube's controller. Also, the start and back buttons have been moved to the center but this is purely for aesthetic reasons. Furthermore, an Xbox live button has been added, this button will take you directly to the Xbox live main menu. The only problem with this being that if you are playing an intense round in any game and you are mashing the controller madly you might accidently hit it, thus terminating the game pretty fast!

Because the controllers are wireless, Microsoft have devised a new system so you know what port you are in. The power button has a green glow around it. This glow, or as Mirosoft call it: 'the ring of power', is segmented into four lights. On the Xbox live button there is the same design. One of these will light up on your controller and a corresponding one on the Xbox. Each light represents a different port. Clever eh?

Very simmilar to the GC, at least you can use the black and white buttons.

Much more stylish while retaining the origanl design. How long will it look that clean though?!

Hard Drive

Another one of the stengths of the Xbox was the hard drive. It meant you didn't need to buy memory cards, you had masses of storage and you would struggle to lose it. Un-fortunately this is changing. As you saw in the price plan, the hard drive is an optional extra. By optional I mean the Xbox will start up with out it. What is worse it, in modern terms 20GB is tiny, most iPods have more than that.

Release Titles

The games look very good though, here is the list for launch. Obviously more will be released fairly soon after but these are the firm-grounded rumour titles:
  • Amped 3 - Snowboarding
  • Call of Duty - WWII Shooter
  • Condemed Criminal Orignins - Shooter
  • Crystal Quest - Crystal Quest
  • Dead or Alive 4 - Fighting
  • eCHANT arM -Adventure
  • Final Fantasy XI - Adventure
  • Kameo : Elements of Power - Platform
  • Mutant Storm - Shooting
  • Need for Speed : Most Wanted - Racer
  • Novadrome - Racing
  • Perfect Dark Zero - Shooting - Yes, it is the PREQUEL to the Dark Zero series
  • Project Gotham Racing 3 -Racing
  • Quake 4 - Shooting
  • The Elder Scrolls : Oblivion - Adventure
  • Tiger Woods PGA tour 06- Golf
  • Tom Clancy's Gost Recon 3 - Shooting
  • Tony Hawks : American Wastland -Skateboarding
  • Wardevil : Unleash the Beast Withing - Action Adventure
Extensive eh? Defintly get PGR 3, it looks immense, I would recommend another but for two reasons I shan't.
1)If you can afford another one at £50 you should give some money to charity
2)There is about 6 or 7 of them which are going to be great, Tony Hawks will be good, as will Ghost Recon, and Elder scrolls and...the list goes on.

The stats are:


Xbox 360


4 2.4GHz Wireless

Embedded Video Memory


Graphics Core Clock Speed


Graphics Processor

Custom ATI Processor

Video Memory

512MB UMA (Shared with CPU)

Controller Ports

Supports up to 4 Controllers

Digital Media Formats


Plug and Play Storage

20GB Removable Hard Drive

L2 Cache



Custom IBM PowerPC CPU

Processor Clock Speed


Built-in Features

Backward Compatible with Xbox (limited), Stands Vertically or Horizontally, Interchangable Face Plates, Xbox Live Service, Media Center Extender

All in all, this means that the graphics are going to be really quite good. When I first saw the graphics I did not believe them. They look real, really real. The amount of formats it supports will mean that you will not have to buy a DVD adaptor. I, as a flash author, am disappointed to see that .swf is not included. Oh well, we can always dream. Also, because of the USB, it means things like PSPs and iPods will plug in. Mircosoft is embracing the enemy.

The Marketing

Many people think that Microsoft have launched too early. They have shortened the life of the Xbox, as it is still going strong. Also, it will mean Sony will have the whole market to themselves. A theory that I have come up with is that because they are a generation behind Sony, they are going to get 2 out before Sony gets one out.

It is clear that they have shortened the life of the Xbox because there are games still planned for release as late as spring next year(Splinter Cell 4)


So we embark on a journey to the next generation. Come January, as they will be sold out until then, there will be an interview with some one who has one as one of my friends is getting it. I think this will be a lot better than the old Xbox and will finally give Microsoft the chance to become a house-hold name in gaming. They can't lose this Christmas. They win by default.

The next generation is here...

Saturday, November 19, 2005

The closest gaming gets to philosophy

The great philosophical question:
To get Age of Empires, or to not get age of empires and save my money.

I have thought about this long and hard. And, after 24 hours of deep meditation, I have come to a conclusion. I SHALL GET AGE OF EMPIRES 3.

I had trouble choosing whether to get it because all the reviews on the web are like:
Yeah is great but then again its rubbish, it has the same formula, but thankfully they haven't changed the formula. All these ideas were found in one review. I vow, to give a review that is deciding. That tells you if it is good or bad. Not both. It will be a review GAMESPOT would envy.

*AoE Review after I have reviewed the winter sport game I got*

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Money burning a hole in your pocket?

A random post.

Now is a great time to buy a game if you are looking to spend some money. Lots of good games are out at the moment and Christmas is still far enough away not to worry about stealing someones present idea. If RTS is your style you have 'Age of Empires 3' and 'Civ 4'. If you are still buzzing about the Sims and need something new, or if your looking for a new tycoon game there is 'The Movies'. Also, you have 'Fable Lost Chapters' if you are looking for an RPG. Also, on the market at the moment is Call of Duty 2, a great looking FPS. Barbarian invasion is worth picking up as well, and of course you have the Xbox 360 if you have lots of money in your pocket.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Blog Update

Hello, another month past and another blog update to write. I just managed to review Rome Total War by the end of the month. I started a new blog today @ so read it. Age of Empires 3 has come out in America but is yet to come out here so we all wait in anticipation. I got a new game for my Xbox- international Winter Sports. I got it because it meant I got money off my new controller. Its very fun if some what repetitive. Full review coming this month. Xbox 360 is also coming out this month and it looks INTENSE. My report on it is also coming this month. Facto. I would like to do a couple of posts on things that aren't reviews and stuff but I am not going to reveal them as I want them to be surprise.

I won't get to do my retro reviews for a while. I was planning to add a new monthly section called 'quick reviews'. They will be 1 paragraph reviews of games I just have demos of or went on at a friends house. There will be 5 a month. I might not be able to do it this month but I will try. If I do it will be the last day of each month. I would like to review Star Wars Force Commander for R2D2!

Another thing I would like to include is web-update which would have my favorite flash movie, game and website. I don't know if I will because I might have to much to do.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Rome - Total War : Barbarian Invasion -at long last

Rome - Total War : Barbarian Invasion
Platform: PC
Rating: 12+
Type: RTS + TBS
Graphics: 8/10
Story: 7/10
Game play: 9/10
Multi-player: 8/10
Sound: 9/10
Overall: 9/10

At long last I have got round to reviewing this game. I wasn't expecting great things from this game as I couldn't see what they could add. The most obvious thing being more historic battles. Nope. An expanded campaign map. Nope. Who'd have though they would have practically completely reworked the code for it.

In the expansion you don't have to unlock all the cool armies, which I think is great, as most players just changed the code so they were all there anyway. All the different armies have different goals but are the normal stuff: conquer so many provinces including this one, that one and usually Rome. There are, of course still custom battles but more on them later.

Now, although the graphics haven't got any better, the same setting have much less lag on my computer. So now I can have those awesome sieges where there are like 4 armies attacking and 4 armies defending. This was discovered when my friend was the Huns, and at the start you start of with 10 armies. All of these consisting of either 19 or 20 units. He then got 9 of these to attack the same settlement. Now, admittedly it took ages to load, but when it had, it was as smooth as when you have 2 units.

The story line starts just after the Roman Empire has peaked and is now about to fall. But, as with all Total War games, as soon as you start playing it it starts to vary from what actually happened. I mean if you can play as the Romans really well and your really sad, you could probably play it to modern day. The problem being it wouldn't have any technologies. The main theme is that the Huns are coming and they wipe out the Romans. Although, as I mentioned above, different things can happen, this one is much more restrictive, it is much harder for the Romans to survive and the most likely out come is that the Romans will be destroyed, who does the destroying can change though...

Game play. Now, you might be stupid and think the game play won't have changed much in the expansion. How wrong can you be. The battles give greater detail to how your troops feel and their moral can be effected by a much greater degree of things. I swear that onagers are more accurate, or, at least, they certainly seem that way when being shot at by about ten units of them! Also their are a whole host of new special abilities; for instance, some troops can now swim across rivers, most spear-men, instead of forming a phalanx : which they do automatically, they now make a circle with all the spears poking out. They can't move and I find it increasingly annoying that I can't put archers in the middle. The big improvements is in the campaign, if your Commander has the right trait then you can conduct night attacks. This, aside from being very visually spectacular, which which it does: all units are carrying burning sticks so the battle has lots of little lights moving around, flaming arrows and stones look amazing flying around in the back sky and the moon light glinting in the river, OK I made that bit up; it gives the attacker a mild advantage: unless the reinforcements general as the night attack trait then they can't join the battle, this good as often you can take them on one at a time rather than all at once.

The campaign has been re-done completely as well. As side from all the new traits, all the armies are new, I don't think the map has changed but the province names are different. As I mentioned earlier you don't have to unlock all the factions. This both good and bad. It means you can play as any factions but it means some people will see it as pointless because your not gaining anything. The AI is a lot better. They attack you, they make their mind up on whether to be allied or not, based on your performance. Enemies apply pressure and guard hills, bridges, etc. For instance I was marching towards a Roman city and saw that my army wasn't big enough. So, I drew some men out of my cities to assist. As soon as I ended the turn the Saxons, who were also my enemy, jumped out from being hidden in the forests and attacked my cities because they were now weak. It is all together a much more enjoyable game and has meant I have played very few custom battles.

The multi-player I haven't been on but I very much doubt it will be any different from the original.

Main Strengths
-The campaign is much better
-The battles load quicker and play better on lower end machines
-It follows the same winning formula.

Main Weaknesses
-Only 2 historical battles
-Still no editor
-The games are in different programs so you can't play old Romans against new

If your wondering weather to get or not this section is for you.

If you loved RTW and just want some more of the same. - Get it, there will be plenty of historical battles to download if that is your thing.

Only play the campaign - DEFFINITLY get it. There is no excuse, it will be the best expansion pack you ever bought.

Can't be bothered with the campaign but I like the battles - Maybe, think twice about it. The battles will load better and there is a whole host of new units, but no historical battles and now major changes, it might be better to edit the old code(guide available @ and make your own historical battles.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Blog Update

***********************************Massive Apology*******************************
Sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry Sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry
********************************End of Massive Apology***************************

Wo, I am high on BI. Yes, I got Barbarian Invasion, no I haven't reviewed it. Sorry for the late update, wow I am in a rhyming like crazy, I was in Edinburgh for the weekend.

My time in Edinburgh
I had a great time in Edinburgh, but I have learnt one crucial thing, just because its red man doesn't mean it isn't 100% safe to cross. It is kind of similar to France, green doesn't mean it is safe, just means it is more safe than normal. Also I walked into the Scottish nationals party meeting. Whoops. We went to the new parliament and there was a band playing out side. We went to watch, thinking it was some local band. After they had finished their song we noticed the 'Independent Scotland' banners and then this guy started talking about the parliament with out power. We left rather sharpishly as, if they are anything like the British nationals in spooks, would get attacked; I didn't fancy that.

Apart from that we did lots of cool things, like we went to Mary Kings Close, what happened was hundreds of years ago the was a close called Mary Kings Close, and Edinburgh needed to build a new building. Instead of demolishing all the old buildings they just built on top. This means that now they have excavated it and we get to see what it was like in those times. There were, of course, ghost stories attached but it was good. We did the tour as well but I had these really odd pains in my stomach so we went back to the apartment.

Enough about my holidays. I got barbarian invasion(In Edinburgh, not on the day it came out though) and have started playing it. Initial impressions, not sure. Slightly concerned about there only being 2 historical battles but it looks good.

Xbox 360 IS coming out November 22nd (don't hold me to that date) with PGR3 and a couple of other games. I will be doing my 4 parter on the next gen consoles soon, 1st one definitely coming out before the 360. Also my friend is going to get it so when he does I will have an interview with him.

All this 360 talk, everyone has forgotten about AoE 3. Like I have said, mixed impressions from me and many other people. I also want to get Splinter Cell Chaos Theory but I hope to get that for Christmas. I don't think I will get Spartan Total Warrior unless everyone says it amazing because it looks kind of simple with no depth.

More retro reviews of games like Alpha Centauri and Age of Empires 1 coming soon as well, but first BI.

Also, I have a site meter on this blog, and intil last week I was convinced that I had no readers, but I had 20 people last week, and none of them were me. I am just intrigued so if you do read this blog please leave a comment. I don't care, merly intrigued...

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Total War Pictures

To quench everyones anger because Barbarian Invasion isn't coming out today(Not because I forgt them yesterday) I have got some pics for you, enjoy:

Total War Special Coverage

Because the final total war game is coming out tomorrow I thought I would do a special on the total war series. It will, sadly, be the last total war game as it was a trilogy, but don't worry, there is a Total Warrior trilogy to come!

Shogun Total War
The first Total War game was Shogun Total War. It was released 14/6/00. It was published by Activision. It was revolutionary, getting numerous awards and enticing many players. The game was set in Japan in the 16th century where the country was at war. Although the total war games have changed allot over the series here lies the foundation. The campaign plays like risk, you do not have complete control over your army's, you can just move them province to province. The graphics were good at the time but now are measly compared to Rome Total War.

Medieval Total War
The second installment, Medieval Total War, is considered by many (but not me) to be the best Total War game. Combining the greater graphics with some of the classic and simplistic features such as limited army control of army's on the campaign map. It is also most people's favorite period of time. As advanced units are just starting but there is still lots of hand to hand combat. This game was released in 19/08/02 and also picked up a rake of awards. This game was also published by Activision and also had an expansion pack.

Rome Total War
The third and final installment was Rome Total War. Released 01/10/04 and also published by Activision. It gives you free control on the campaign map as well as revolutionizing the entire RTS market. Please see my review for full details.

Now you may be wondering why I keep mentioning who published the game. As you know, the Rome: Total War expansion pack is coming out tomorrow. Now you would expect it to be published by Activision. Oh no, it is published by *drum role* SEGA! I didn't even know Sega did publishing. They are also publishing the up coming Spartan: Total Warrior. Apparently, Sega out bid Activision for all of the up coming titles. It is isn't that surprising as Sega publishing probably have a nice new bank balance and saw where the money was. I don't care it is just interesting.

Barbarian Invasion
Although I have already done a preview for this game I have more information. I can confirm that the campaign map is bigger and will include Scotland. Also, if your commander has a night trait then you can choose whether you can attack at night in the campaign. Apart from it being dark, it means reinforcements can't join the battle unless their commander also has the night trait. This is great as before they could have 40 units and you 20. There is also, of course, a whole host of new traits and units and everything.

For all of you who are confused about my release date and what it says on, I have the same dilemma to. I will try to buy it tomorrow but I suspect that that is only in America :(. When it comes out I hereby proclaim it 'INTERNATIONAL TOTAL WAR DAY'. Every year you must only play total war games, or buy a copy of the game on that day. When this day becomes famous remember THK123.

I look forward to playing BI with much enthusiasm. I will not review for ages and will be eating tablets for food as will be playing it constantly and will not be able to click quit. My only hope is that you can run it off the expansion pack disk too so I can play multi player across the network. I doubt it though.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Age of Empires 3 Preview Update

I finally got my hands a demo of the forth coming Age of Empires 3. I can now give more details on the game.

Well, I don't know what to say. I was expecting breath taking graphics, there alright but everyone keeps saying they are amazing. All these people probably get a new computer everyday, my PC has, at time of posting, average computer abilities and the graphics come out like this:

And they claim to look like this:

There is a subtle difference.

Once you get past the average graphics the game is amazing. The gameplay is a massive improvement from AoE 2. Some of the major changes are:
1)Villagers don't have to go to and from drop off points to gather resources.
2)Home City - I will discuss this later.
3)Treasures are found across the map and will give you experience points, see later on.
4)AI much better, they actually attack you, not early on but they do at the end. Also they get angry and if you attack them they attack you. Furthermore they ask for your forgiveness when you start crushing them and they talk to you when key things happen.
5)Physics are included, if you shoot a tower a bit of it will come flying off!
6)Only 3 resources, wood, food and coin. Coin is gold and stone combined.

Home cities is the latest innovation in the world of Age of Empires, it is, as the name suggests, the city which you, the explorer(discussed later), come from. As you gather experience points for all of the things you can do, from collecting wood to building a building or discovering a hidden treasure you will receive experience points which will be added to the circle, at the bottom left of your screen. It is rather similar in appearance to the one in the LOTR games. When it fills up you may order one of your 'cards' from your home city. These can range from villagers to resources or even free flat back forts in a wagon! As you get more experience points your city will level up and for each level your city gains you can by one more card for your deck. Although you can have a maximum of 20 cards in your deck you may by many more and create custom decks to suit a particular strategies or map. SP and MP games count towards this.

The explorer is a hero style unit because he is far superior to any other warriors and has special abilities. He can never die, he will lie on the ground slowly recovering health. If your explorer gets captured by the enemy then you can try and batter him back. He can build town centers and trading posts. Trading posts are used to ally with the native Americans and to get experience points from trading routes. They can only be built in certain places.

There are of course many new units, army's and buildings. One of my favorites is the factory which is only available through your home city. It can be configured to create any one of the 3 resources or create heavy artillery. The resources are useful when in peace time and heavy artillery when preparing to attack. Although the resources it creates isn't enough to cover that resources, keep villagers collecting it too.

I am strongly looking forward to this game and is coming out 10/18/2005 and I will be getting it that week.

Coming up RTW BI(Rome Total War Barbarian Invasion) is coming out 27 September.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Blog Update

Wow, with the summer drawing to a close and school looming in we all know its that time of year when the summer holidays end. Ah well.

The weather might not have been that hot this year, but it has been a hot summer in the gaming preview area. 360, AoE 3, Rome Total War, Spartan Total Warrior, PSP for those in England, Gizmondo(yeah, huge amount of excitement there!) is just some of the stuff we have got to look forward to. I think what ever your bank balance, console or genre you have there will be somehting to buy in the autum and winter.

Well, of course I will have reviews of the games I get, wich will include AoE 3 and the expansion pack to Rome Total War. I have also recently got Rail Road Tycoon 3, so the review for that is under way. I hope to be starting my four part 'Next Gen Console Wars' Report soon so I have my work cut out. I will try to review halo 2 and Brothers in Arms, but may not get round to it.

Enjoy the rest of your summer and tell EVERYBODY about this blog. Now. Go. Tell.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Railroad Tycoon 3

Railroad Tycoon 3
Platform: PC
Rating: 3+
Type: Tycoon simulator
Graphics: 7/10
Story: 7/10
Gameplay: 8.5/10
Multiplayer: ?/10 (Will be updated as soon as I think I am good enough to get kicked by the people online, but it does have online)
Sound: 8/10
Overall: 8.5/10

As is the case with all tycoon games they are underpressed because they are not popular enough to be worthy of shop coverage. It came out 2003 and I am told by many sites that it was a highly anticipated game, the problem was its predecessor came out so long ago most people who wear waiting for it were either dead or not playing video games!

basically you are a tycoon out to make money. There are lots of different scenarios to play each with 3 levels of passing. You play from the begging of America right up 2100 where there are trains that are yet to be invented that travel 200+ mile's an hour. The game has unlimited complexity allowing you to delve into the stock market. Risking everything by buying on the margin, or just simply lay track and build a train and make a bit of money.

The graphics are said to be amazing, I think that is because compared to the last one they are amazing. Having said this the sunsets are quite mezmarizing and are nice to watch. It also does weather effects particular well, but water is a let down and it is only because of the reflection and the waves can you actually tell that is water. Some times when laying tracks it does something impossible, like the track going up at about 80 degrees and then goes into a tunnel 30cm from the top, still climbing! Apart from these minor flaws the graphics aren't stunning but they aren't bad, with of course complete 360 control over the camera.

The story in the campaign is based on real events that would really have involved train tycoons. The problem is that the story's aren't consecutive. It might be 1890 at the end of one scenario and then 1870 at the start of the next, I think this shows that the story is not an important part to this game.

Gameplay. Gameplay is great. The game can be as complicated or as simple as you like. First of all you set up a company, then you connect two cites and run a train between them. You have to choose which would be two good cities. From there you go about completing what ever task is in hand. Sometimes there will be two cities you have to connect or sometimes just make lots of money. One of this missions you have to pull 50 loads of oil. The mission variety is good and there are lots of them too. There is also a mode called sandbox mode where you have infinite money and no opponents, it is basically for messing about. I use it to build MASSIVE suspension bridges from Russia to Scotland and then running the fastest train back and forth. The one thing game play lacks is a mode where you still have money to worry about but no goals. You can create this effect with the scenario editor.

The scenario editor comes in two parts. One is called map builder where you just drag a rectangle over a map of the world and it creates a 'height map' and you can open these up in the other editor to make them proper maps. The problem is it takes way to long. There are so many cities to first of all name and then build all the different types of building's, from houses and churches to grocery stores and super markets. And as if that wasn't enough you have to define the value of every product in every city and or area(also user defined). So although this gives the user a great amount of control it does mean that if you want to whisk up a quick scenario you can't. Another flaw with it is to place buildings you have to start up a company. Which is strange because its an editor not a crazy scenario.

Multiplayer review coming soon, as I said before, when I think I won't get kicked to badly.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Rome Total War: Barbarian Invasion

Seeming as I gave a preview for Age of Empires 3 it seems only fair to do one for the expansion pack for the critically acclaimed Rome Total War. I downloaded the demo of it and have played through both of the supplied levels. Both were an enjoyable experience, as to be expected with Rome Total war, they did enlighten me about some of the changes. It showed off some more armies, in fact every army in the two battles was new.
Here is a list of some(or all) of the new armies:

Western Roman Empire
Easteren Roman Empire
Germanic Frankish Tribes
Romano Brittish

As the name implies, and these armies reveal, it is based more on the barbarians. An interesting thing to know would be if they are expanding the campaign map to include northern countries such as Scotland. I think it would be very fun to defend Hadrian's wall. They might not improve on the campaign though, which would be a great shame. Even if they don't increase the size of the campaign map there will still be new armies to play with.

Another thing that has been changed is, in the original, there was a information box so when you but your mouse over the unit it would tell you the name of that troop, the energy levels, moral and a couple of other things. Now the box is a lot more informative. For instance it used to say: Shaken. Now it says: Shaken- Because they have suffered heavy casualties or something like that. This may not seem like a particularly important change and it isn't but it could well be one of many little changes that come together and make the game a much more enjoyable experience.

A further change is when you fight at night, one man from each squad carries a burning stick to light up the battle field. I am yet to discover if this can be used as a weapon but it makes the battlefield look cool.

Onagers have been changed. They are far more accurate(or at least it appeared that way when they were firing at me) And maybe because it was at night but when they fired with the fire load it looked IMMENSE. There really isn't a better way to describe it. It is a shame there were not flaming pigs in the battle.

Overall I think this will be a worthwhile expansion regardless of whether you have finished the campaign or not. An interesting thing is it is published by Sega, not Activision. I didn't even know Sega did publishing. It is interesting that Activison have dropped out of the boat when there is the expansion pack and Spartan: Total warrior.(Preview coming soon[maybe]) Both of which are bound to make money. Oh well, all fool Activison.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Age of Empires 3, A revelation or some more of the same

Age of Empires is the original RTS and now the third one is coming out. Microsoft have the power to make this a really good game or some more elephants smashing people unrealistically and bowmen shooting down stone walls. Like most gamers, I own a copy of a AoE. I own the first one but have played on the second. I enjoyed both experiences but compared with Rome Total war, it is really simplistic. Now I never played the campaigns in AoE 1 simply because they were boring. RTW on the other hand involved you and you choose the missions you did. It was revolutionary which many strategy WW2 games have followed suit. The question is will Microsoft risk being sued by Activision and use it or not. Activison did not sue the WW2 games simply because they were one, not good enough to pose any threat and two, there's was a different audience. Microsoft on the other hand one AoE already has a reputation to make people buy it, they are drawing a lot of attention to the themselves and finally this is aimed at the same target audience. I personally believe it a risk worth taking because people like me will give it better review and it is hardly like Microsoft are short on cash. Or even if they are at the moment they'll recoup it all when the 360 comes out.

I have only seen screen shots of the game, and they claim to be real. Well, they look Miss's b Miss's e Miss's aut Miss's i Miss's ful my friend. NB. I can spell it is to emphasize how good they are. Picture halo 2 graphics and they combine them with mercenaries then you begin to get a idea on the graphics. Un-fortunately for us the camera is not free control you can just zoom in and out. The water looks amazing but then so does most games water now a days.

Until Microsoft release a demo of the game, which won't happen until closer to the game launch, I can't comment on the gameplay. Microsoft have said that the gameplay will be more advanced than in previous AoEs witch is no achievement. They have only mentioned 1 feature which is 'Home towns.' Home towns is the town you came from and as you gain experience points they send you creates which you choose what you want in them. It sounds like an alright function, and experience points implies they have changed the campaign for the better, but it is hardly revolutionary. I have now seen game footage though and it looks suspiciously similar. Charge...Bowman take the down that massive iron building etc. The trains look quite good though and judging by the video, play quite an important part.

The release date has no obvious implications other than they are trying to beat down the little amount of the RTW expansion pack, which is also coming out then. But it being a expansion pack will mean it won't get much coverage. As if the third AoE isn't going to get enough any way. Ah well.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Blog Update

Sorry for the lack of posts over the last 12 days, I was in France. What is it with the French and UHT (Unbelievably Horrible Taste) milk. The holiday was enjoyable though, except for the drive back. Terrible driving and a 3 hour wait for our ferry was bad enough, but for the starboard engine to fail halfway across the channel making us travel at half speed. if I was to do a review for speedferries... DON'T USE SPEED FERRYS.

Anyhow, I am planning to do a review of Halo 2 as there as been so much hype, which will shortly be followed by a review of the new maps for it. On the multi player front my network is ALIVE, about time too. Another note: DON'T USE BELKIN. So now I might be able to make my report. I am also considering downloading a game called Project Entrophia. I have had a account for some time now and it looks really good. Free game, just with a real money economy. And it being yanky I'll have to setup a paypal.COM account. Conquer :Live and Reloaded is a game I am planning to get so that will also get a look in, as will AoE 3 preview report.

A further post, when I get around to it, will be my toughs on game prices Vs. piracy. Both of which I see as a crime.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Rome:Total War

Rome: Total War
Platform: PC
Rating: 12+
Type: RTS+TBS(real time strategy and turn based strategy)
Graphics: 8/10
Story: 8/10
Gameplay: 8.5/10
Multiplayer: 8/10
Sound: 8/10
Overall: 9/10

This game was released early October, where there was a huge amount of tension. The predecessors, Shougun: total war and Medieval: Total war, where amazing, this one is no let down, as is often the case with anticipated games.

You start the campaign as one of three roman families, each one starts off in different areas of the map. You then have to command your empire to become powerful and eventually become the senate. Once you have completed the game you unlock many factions.

As rts's go the graphics are stunning, as computer games go they are awesome, and as console games go, there pretty damned good. You can zoom in and see each of the troops charge around, smashing into the enemy and sending them flying. Being a 12+, there is a lack of blood or real gore but when the horses smash into the side of a pack of troops, sending them flying, and the elephants crush hundreds of troops and the gauls jump heroically over the enemy troops into the middle, then you know how cool it is and the lack of blood dosen't matter. And I haven't even got started on the sieges. The sieges are truly spectacular. Stones smashing into walls, buildings burning, and oil pouring onto screaming troops. All this and more. Tower assault is cool. The fire is amazing, it looks really good, esspecailly when you start zooming from one side of the battle towards the city. But more about that in the gameplay section.

The story line is fairly accurate if you play it how it actually went in roman times. But of course if you want to be a evil Dictator then obviously it will be different. Because of this there isn't much of the story to talk about. There are a few historical battles which, although I don't know much about historical battles, i checked a couple of them out and they actually happened.

The gameplay section I am splitting into two paragrapahs. One for the campaign and one for the battles.

The campaign is a top down view of the world where you command your forces on a much grander scale, sending troops across Italy rather than across a small hill. You have to manage your towns, although if it all gets too much then you can turn the govenor. You can manage taxes and what troops you train. Who to trade with to where to hide your troops in ambush. You manage the politics of your empire. Occasional you are given missions by the senate which are very similar, block a port; take a base; move your troops; ally with someone. Ultimately you don't have to do them but this will cause the senates distress which will lead to you not becoming senate. On some missions there are much serious punishments, but most of them just cause displeasure to the senate.

The battles are AWESOME. Sieges are intense, the way you charge the elephants at the enemy and you literally see them flying. Of course, if your boring you can automatically resolve the battle in the campaign, but really, this is the best bit of the game. Let me give you a description of a siege. Your defending. You line spearmen up by the door, have some archers on the wall a couple of standard troops on the wall to protect against towers. The enemy have battering rams, onagers, lots of horses and many men. The onagers open fire on our walls and on a building. The battering ram moves forward along with the towers. As the battering ram hits the door then the oil pours on to the poor soldiers below. Your archers and towers pick off troops and the walls start falling down. suddenly the building catches fire and your troops start to loose moral. Then the gate crashes down and your spearmen run into action. I will leave the rest to your imagination. The AI is normally quite good but sometimes if you destroy a key unit to there plan, the whole army just stands still. For instance, I wiped out all of there battering rams, and although they had towers and onagers, they just stood still.

The multiplayer is pretty damn good. It can only have 8 people, and although it is nothing new for a RTS multiplayer wise it is still fun. FFAs are the most enjoyable, especially with 8 people. I have yet to try out the sieges, but I think there maybe a lot of lag as there is a fair share normally.

I think the game is amazing and it is no wonder Microsoft are working really hard on the graphics on AoE 3 as other wise there will be no competition. The main downside of this game is you need a very powerful machine and a massive broadband to play(the broad band is only for multiplayer). Buy it if you are looking for something to play until AoE 3 comes out, as it is quite cheap, then this is it.

Also,when my network gets fixed I will post a weekly/biweekly multiplayer report on all games I play Multiplayer on

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Delta Force 2

Delta Force 2

Platform: PC
Rating: 15+
Type: 1st person shooter
Graphics: 4.5/10
Story: 6/10
Game play: 9/10
Multiplayer: 8/10
Sound: 7/10
Overall: 8.5/10

This game was made in 1999, so it is really old. Some people say the graphics let it down, but you have to remember, at that time, these were revolutionary graphics. It has a lot of ups, but quite a few downs.

In Delta Force 2, you are an elite solider working for an American elite group of people. In some missions you work alone and in others you work with a team of 2-4. Although it is to be noted you cannot command them, they just help. There are two campaigns to take on, both with "different" stories although in both you basically have to save the world from a nuclear war. Deja Vu.

Graphics, they are dismal, really dismal. Everything is pixilated. The gun is 1 colour. Having said this, the game has the best trees I have seen in any game bar Halo2. The scenery interaction is good. For instance if you shoot at the top of a tree it will come spinning of. The gunfire is interesting. Not the explosion at the muzzle of the gun but these strobe lights flying around which represent the bullets. One of the highlights is that if you are on the blue team in multiplayer the bullet lines are blue, if you are on the red they are red. It is obviously deliberate.

The story line is almost as bad as the graphics. It is the same thing in and out, time and time again. Could they not have employed a professional author to write them a cool story. It would have cost relatively little and would have improved the game greatly. They use the terrorist with nuclear war heads story because it is a simple story. It is very easy to base missions around, people feel they can relate to it and it can have a clean finish.

On the other hand, the game play is stunning. If graphics are all that matters then you won't be able to play, but if you can get it in proportion with the game play then you'll love it. The missions are imaginative and rarely repetitive. For instance, in one of the missions you get on a helicopter; fly on it for a couple of minutes with free control, not a video; then you jump out of the helicopter at about 100m onto a moving train. Finally, you then have to clear the train, blow up the tanks, survive the helicopter attack and go through an enemy base then get off the train. You might say, first person shooters aren't original or hard to make, this one has done something, I don't know what it has done, but I LOVE the game play.

The sound is kinda basic, gunfire and the mission briefs do make use of sound but there is only one voice. What is impressive about the sound is that when you wear headphones you can hear what direction the fire is coming from, remember this a 6 year old game. If you play this game, always wear head phones, it makes it soo cool, it is like stepping into a war zone. Noisy and scary.

The multiplayer is one of this game's strong points. Some of the novalogic servers support 50 people simultaneously and the games include voice over net technology. Which means you can conduct live speech to people through the game. Not only is this a cool feature but only Xbox live games can do it 6 years later. The multiplayer games include: Death Matches, team death matches, CTF, King of the hill and co-op. The downside is when you host a game you can't just block cheating or kick cheaters. This is a major downside as there are people who become invisible, go to your base and knife you continually.

The weapons are simple but fun. Most of the time you will take a carbine, which has a scope and a built in grenade launcher. Alternatively, for your first weapon you can have a sniper rifle or a variant of the carbine which has a shotgun attachment instead of the grenade launcher. You can have two secondary weapons which can be anything from explosives to armor suits; missile launchers to extra ammo. There are other options but they pretty much fall into those two groups.

Overall, I think it is a great game and that someone should remake it with better graphics and it would be better than any first person shooter. It is a well lasting game (there are still 500+ people on the server) and although there are sequels I haven't played on them.

I am considering doing weekly updates of the happenings of multiplayer in this game, comments please on what you think of that.

Mercanries-Playground of Destruction

Mercanries-Playground of Destruction

Platform: Xbox
Rating: 16+
Type: 3rd person shooter/RPG
Graphics: 9/10
Story: 6.5/10
Gameplay: 7.5/10
Multiplayer: No
Sound: 5/10
Overall: 8/10

There are a lot of different views on this game and I am going to add my view on it, i
I know its late and this oppinion won't be notticed but I hope you will use it. I have selected XBOX because that is ther version i have.

In mercenaries, you are, as the name suggests a merc. General Song is the main bad guy, he killed his father when his father was about to take north and south Korea into peace, he then stole some missiles and is a major world threat. And you mission overall is to kill him. Along with 51 other people, they are given names from a card. But just because at some point you should catch these doesn’t mean that on the way you can blow up every bridge in Korea does it!!

The graphics in this game are amazing, even for Xbox, which normally delivers excellent graphics, they certainly rival if not beat Halo 2 graphics. Having said this there are places where you can look at a barrel and suddenly Mario looks good, and if you look really closely at the cliff faces, you can definitely see a repeating pattern. And of course, as with any modern game the trees are so bad there not worth the ink on the page in the original sketchbook. But graphics are defiantly one of this games strong points; those explosions blow your mind as much as it blows the un-fortunate Koreans in the blast radius.

The story line is good, if a bit un-imaginative. Evil guy wants to blow up the world with a huge stockpile of nuclear warheads, you, and you alone have the power to stop him. It has been done before, and Mercenaries has not really done anything to change it. I am not sayings it is a bad storyline, but it has been done before, a lot of times.

I have heard a lot of people referring to this game as a “GTA rip-off.” Don’t listen to them. Sure, it is free roaming and you can hijack cars. However, in GTA, you get money for killing civilians and you are the bad guy, you lose money for killing civilians in this game, and you are here to save the world. Although it could be compared to GTA, you could compare it to fable, or any other free roaming game. The style to me seams to me to be shoot em’ up with a new twist or two.

The game play is very good, with no lag, as you would come to expect from a console. Sometimes the missions can come to be a bit repetitive (one mission was to rescue this guy, and then a couple of missions later I rescued three pilots), but are entertaining (I mean, who can get bored of blowing up stuff with huge missiles). Although there quite a lot of different weapons, they all fall into about three different categories: Missile, automatic and stealth. And they all have similar properties. The health system is different to most games. You never regain all you health just by standing there, but you do not have to pick up a health pack to get your self off one health. I think they did this because they wanted it so you have to pick up health kits to increase your health but they also want you to buy supplies from the mafia store, and if you could only gain health form a health pack, they would need to be quite common. The heath regains to 20(out of 100) and then you have to pick up a health pack. This is not the only thing that is strange about the health. You pull a pin out of a grenade but you “Forget” to throw it, it does not kill you un-less you are on health less than 10. This gives the impression that you are invincible, your not, you die very quickly from gunfire. But in this game one is the magic number, providing your below half health if you are hit from anything from a grenade to a tank cannon, you will be left on one health. That is obviously the toughest part of your body! Also, something that is quite handy is you can call for a medi-vac. You go to the allied hospital for a fee of $1000. Another new thing that has not been seen on the game market is a virtual shop where the Russian mafia send you anything form a health pack to a nuclear warhead, well almost. I think one thing that could be improved on is the money system. Most of the time, if you have a mission they give you the equipment you need for free. And other than missions you do not often have to use stuff, so must of the money is just stored, making great non-save turns where you just blow everything up.

The sound in this game probably is its biggest let down. It tried to build in technology that when you are further away from the person speaking it gets quieter. It works except it is just as if not more of a greater change in volume when all you do is turn around, do not move. In addition, they failed to use this technology effectively with the guns, from your ears there is no way of telling how far away the enemy is. All guns once again fall into those three categories and then make the same noise. Although I do personally love one of the tracks on the sound track, and like all shooting games you cannot import your own sound track. Another bad thing about the sound is the bits that you need to hear are very quite and the bits you do not need to here, I.e. gunfire. Are much louder. So you cannot just turn the volume up on your TV. Although you can change the ratio, you can barely notice the difference un-less you turn the un-important sound effects off.

This game un-fortunately lacks a multi-player, which is a great shame because it wouldn’t be hard to incorporate. Although you can effectively play multi-player by taking it in turns to blow stuff up in as much style as you can. A great time waster.

Overall I think the game is good, but needs to have the finishing touches, which is a shame. Having said this I hope they make a second and the most important thing in the second would multiplayer, you could do anything from heli racing (no rules) to playing conkers with C4 covered cars. If you are choosing a game which will keep you going for a while this is definitely a good choice, and that is not even considering the lack of multi player.

Thankyou, i hope to post more later

Wasn't me

Saturday, June 25, 2005


This is an inital post to my blog. Reviews of games, music, DVD's, software and consoles will be posted here. Also, you will be given infomation on release dates of many games and consoles. You may post your own thoughts on the stuff by leaving a comment and if you have something you would like me to review(I can't promise i will though) then email me. If you have any comment or suggestions please also email them to me.

"All your base are belong to us"