It seems that Street Racing titles with custom vehicle modifications seem to be all the rage these days and for The Fast and the Furious, in principle at least, you could see any of the latter `Need for Speed' titles. I am not in any way saying that The Fast and the Furious is derivative or an addition to an overcrowded market, were it not for the first Fast and the Furious movie release, we may not even be writing this review such was the impact it had in revealing street racing to the minds of the masses. Could this interactive release build on the originality at the time of its movie counterpart or would it tread where Need for Speed as already done so on the console platforms?
Having played Ghost Rider, I find it difficult not to sum it up in the first paragraph. Never having been one to ignore a gut instinct, rightly or wrongly, it seems I am going to write the review in reverse order. I read elsewhere that a chap felt that Ghost Rider was "mediocrity at its finest" and it is easier said than done to find a phrase that feels more comfortably correct. Ghost Rider is undeniably entertaining in small doses but becomes a bit repetitive in the long run and really it has all been done before - perhaps literally but I will touch on this later. This really is a shame because the main character is a flaming skull of a man roaming around the underworld and he really deserves a better medium as such a unique character, than something that is as derived as Ghost Rider undoubtedly is.
Okami begins with a (very) lengthy story about how the multi-headed demon Orochi has been brought back to life and turned the land into a waste-ground as he once did in times of old. Accompanying the subtitled story telling is a voiceover that can only be described by likening it to how the adults sound on the telephone in any Charlie Brown or Snoopy cartoon. Initially amusing, but as the story drags on until what seems like twenty minutes have past, increasingly irritating. As the game begins you take the role of the white wolf Amaterasu. Surprisingly this is not an Italian footballer but rather the embodiment of the sun god who banished Orochi the last time he raised his ugly heads using the unimaginable power at his possession that is derived from the sun itself. Your task, alongside your sidekick Issun is to roam the lands 'Nippon', defeating any variety of demons that stand in your way to find the 13 guardians of the brush strokes before defeating Orochi and reclaiming Nippon into peace.
Final Fantasy XII takes place in a fictitious world called 'Ivalice'. The power base in Ivalice is the all conquering Archadian Empire who has been invading and 'acquiring' neighbouring lands as it swarms across the land like the Roman army. As the all conquering empire invaded a small kingdom called Dalmasca, the ensuing battle resulted in the death of the King. The deceased's daughter and the sole heir to the throne of Dalmasca, Princess Ashe, decided it was a great idea for Dalmasca to stand up to the forces of the Archadian Epire and took a stand. Unsurprisingly, things didn't go so well. Many people died. The Princess then met Vaan. You take control of Vaan (who rather suspiciously wants to be a 'sky pirate') and a motley crew of rebels and take the fight to the Archadian Empire. Anyway, enough about the "plot."
Way back in the days of SNES and Megadrives one of the key genres on any system was the scrolling beat-em-up, classics of the genre include Double Dragon, Final Fight and Streets of Rage. While these games worked perfectly in 2-D they seemed to suffer in the early transition to 3-D and as a result a once popular genre seemed to be left in the past. God Hand from Capcom's Clover Studios follows the tried and tested scrolling beat-em-up format and tries to regenerate the genre in the final days of the PS2. After seeing the early hype and trailers for God Hand I was really excited as over the last year Capcom have constantly churned out top quality games and I was hoping that God Hand was more of the same.
If you are buying this game or reading this page I assume that you are familiar with the concept of `Lemmings' titles. However, for those of you who have randomly stumbled across this page, the objective of the game is to guide your group of kamikaze Lemmings to the exit of the level. Sounds simple doesn't it? Well not when you have an assortment of traps, holes in the ground, lava and whole nasty assortment of other obstacles to negotiate. In order to do this you have an assignment of jobs that you can allocate to any particular Lemming; from carpenter/bridge builder through `bouncers' to diggers, crawlers, suicide lemmings and much more. Per level, you are assigned a time limit and percentage of Lemmings that must survive in order to progress to the next level.
Seemingly every summer blockbuster now contains a superhero and there have been numerous superhero based computer games over the years, however many have fallen short of the mark in terms of fun factor and quality.
Cricket titles have probably been the least successful sports genre that has made an entertaining transition to the world of computer games. In recent years EA have competed against Codemasters' Brian Lara series to get the transition right but both have had successes and failures, sometimes in similar areas, sometimes in differing ways. Specifically in a one player scenario, it is difficult to recreate the mind games with current artificial intelligence that occur on the cricket field between bowler and batsman that can mean the fine line between winning losing. It may be bringing a batsman out of his crease with successive shorter balls and manoeuvring him into the area you want him before you strike or mind games and sledging, but this is definitely the main reason why it is difficult to bring the game of cricket to this form of multimedia entertainment.