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I must be getting all retro in my old age, reviewing a game thats been out for almost three years to my knowledge, Unreal still proves that it can go up against the best of em, and still come out on top. Basically, Unreal is a first person shoot-um-up, similiar to the infamous Doom genre, and the more recent Quake series, which was made a classic style of gaming during the nineties by techno wizards ID Software. Pretty soon, other developers tried their hands at the style, and while most failed miserably, others went on to produce high quality games such as Duke Nukem 3D, and Hexen. However, nobody has quite reached the high standards set by ID's favourite puppies, the Doom and Quake series - Although GT Software have had a good shot at it. You see, Unreal was in production around the same time as the sequel to Quake, unsurprisingly named Quake 2. As far as everyone could see, Unreal looked much more fun and action orientated than the more traditional offering from ID, setting up GT Software for a classic game. However, when the time came, it turned out that Quake 2 just pipped Unreal to the spot of best shooter ever, and now I'm going to explain why. History lesson over, let's get down to some reviewing. Renouned as the prettiest 3D engine of it's time, Unreal's lavish graphical eye-candy still gives even the most up to date gamer a severe problem of gobsmacked awe. The very first level provides enough special effects to put Independance Day to shame, from pretty glowing security lights, to shiny reflective flooring, the visual delights make the grungy prison ship seem more like Buckingham Palace than a transport to death row. The story centres around you (duh!), a convict being transported to death row onboard the prison ship Vortex Rikers. Suffice to say, your ship stops to investigate an unknown planet along the way, and is caught in it's unusually strong gravitational field, and starts to desc
end into the planets surface. When you awake, days later, the ship is a mess, and the security grid around your cell is damaged, so you escape (applause applause!). The one problem however, is that the ships entire crew has been killed off by alien nasties, and you have to find away to get yourself off the rock. Like most stories to games of this type, it's only really an excuse to go blast some alien meanies to kingdom kum, however Unreal at least gives you the opportunity to at least take part in some of it. Your first objective is to get yourself patched up (you only start with ten points on your health meter!), and discover what situation you are in before proceeding. This involves reading various mission logs in different areas of the spaceship, which serve to give you an analysis of what has been happening while you were sleeping. What you have to know at this point, this was actually quite a big step for the time, before games such as Half Life proved that an ongoing story could be fun and it didn't have to all be killing and maming everything you see. The other thing that makes this game interesting, is that strategy is very important. You can't just go in guns blazing. 9/10 you'll just die. To succeed, you have to seek out other means of entrance to enemy constructions, or sneak behind hoards of evil aliens to pull a switch, etc, etc. This makes the game much more chanllenging, and Unreal is one of the first examples of this type of gaming. So, some may be saying why doesn't this great, genre defining game quite match the more boring Quake 2? Well, it's a mix match of things that let the game down. 1.) The enemies They're boring! Despite them all being very clever, their actual design blends into the landscape too much, making them not as memorable or scary as those we've seen in games such as Doom or the original Quake. Evil enemies need a personality, and the monsters
in Unreal don't have any. 2.) Some of the weapons Again, the weapons tend to blend in with the surroundings of the scenary, and have nothing special that we haven't seen before. Despite the innovative ALT-Fire idea, introuced in this game, the weapons don't feel meaty enough. You don't get anything near the feeling of chainsawing a cacademon in in this game. That's it really, but these important things do let the game down in both single player and deathmatch modes, as the fun of playing with them all the first few times does soon wear thin. However, if you really don't like them, plenty of amatuers have created great weapons free to download from the internet. Despite these problems, Unreal is still truly one of the greatest shoot-um-ups of modern times, as the imaginative landscapes and clever mission designs more than make up for the lack of imagination in the weapons and enemies. Another factor in this exceptional game is the new price tag. It's age allows it to be considered budget, so I picked up my copy for under a fiver! How great is that? One of the best first person shooters ever, and it only costs the same as Pacman! Overall, it seems that Unreal was adeptly named, because quite frankly, Unreal IS Unreal. (How cheesy was that?)
If, incase you were wondering as I was about two months ago, who Dido actually is, she is the singer on the chorus of Eminem's "Stan" (A piece taken from her original song "Thankyou"), and her debut UK single (Here With Me), is the theme tune to the popular cult series Roswell High. As most of you probably did, I first heard Dido in her duet with Eminem, and I found her haunting vocals far too good for the likes of the American rapper. After finding out that she was going to build up her solo career here in the UK, I knew that I had to get my hands on her debut album "No Angel", and so here I am! First of all, a quick round up of the contents of the album: --------------------------------------------- 1. Here With Me 2. Hunter 3. Don't Think Of Me 4. My Lover's Gone 5. All You Want 6. Thank You 7. Honestly OK 8. Slide 9. Isobel 10. I'm No Angel 11. My Life 12. Take My Hand (bonus) 13. Here With Me (video) 14. Thankyou (video) --------------------------------------------- Having 12 actual tracks in total, the album is relatively short, but the quality of the songs there more than makes up for it - It's far better to have a few truly excellent songs than hundreds which are all garbage. The tone of the album is very subdued, which some may find a little depressing, but I find the haunting tunes very nice and memorable. Some say that Dido's style is similiar to that of Enya, but I would actually say that the style of here songs is more like Sarah Mclachlan's work, except actually quite a bit better. Highlights of the album include track number 1, "Here With Me", the Roswell theme tune and her first single, and the uplifting "Thankyou", the track which the chorus to Eminem's "Stan" came from. Although, any of the tracks could be made into singles, as
the superb quality is constant throughout the album. As a first album, No Angel stands up well, giving Dido an excellent entry into the world of music, and providing us with a brilliant musical experience. The extra features on the album is exceptional, containing the videos to both her current single "Here With Me", and forthcoming track "Thankyou", which hasn't even been released here in the UK yet. It also contains a photo gallery of the singer from various publicity shots. With this album, Dido proves that she isn't just "the girl from Stan", and that she can stand on her own two feet as a professional artist. The only question is, why did she bother with Eminem? Overall, if you liked the chorus to Stan more than the actual song, this is definatly the album for you, and fans of Enya or Sarah Mclachlan will love this style of music as well. A truly brilliant album, and lets hope the quality stays the same for the next one.
In case you aren't sure, Weston-super-Mare is a pleasant little seaside town on the mouth of the river severn. Looking over the brown sea of mud, you can see over to Cardiff, and a little further up, you can just about see the second severn crossing linking Bristol to Wales. Quiter than you'd expect from a seaside place, Weston has an extensive range of shops and nightclubs to keep any age group entertained. The High Street, located near the beach parade is filled with the biggest and best High Street Stores, such as Woolworths and WHSmiths, and various other local cafes and gift shops. Although most of the mainstream shops aren't as big as the ones you'd find in other towns such as Taunton or Bristol, they all offer reasonable prices and all the products you could ever hope to find. In the centre of the High Street, The Sovereign Centre shopping mall provides further popular High Street names such as Dixons, Mothercare and Burger King. The well thought out design of the centre makes shopping pleasant even on the busiest of days, and the plentiful number of seats in the area is easily enough to give you a well earned rest if you need it. Although providing a vast number of shops, Westons shopping areas aren't as large as either Bristol or Cardiff, however the more secluded "un-city like" atmosphere is much more pleasant to be in than either of those places. The only mainstream shop Weston lacks is a BHS, but the smaller clothes shops provide the same things at competitive prices, so it's not really needed. Overall, Weston-super-Mare is a very pleasant place to shop, and depite being smaller than other shopping centres in other local places, the sheer number of well known shops and restaurants more than makes up for it.
After purchasing my Nokia 3310 some weeks back, the first things that I tried to sought out were free ringtones and logos for my new baby. Two sites which supposedly provided for both of my needs were recommended by friends, yourmobile.com, and this site, boltblue.com. Unfortunately, the later did not provide all that I had wanted, for the following reasons. Firstly, by the time I got to the site, they had stopped giving away ringtones for free, and now you must pay £2.50 for a starter pack before you can order. Needless to say, I was not impressed. Fortunately for my bank account, logos are still delivered direct to your phone for no extra cost, and the quality of the extensive range is very high. Logos based on your favourite singers such as Eminem and Britney Spears, to more personalised logos such as your name or your favourite cartoon character, you are bound to find anything you want. Eventhough you have to now pay for the ringtones, the cost is far more reasonable than the newspaper advertisers, as you only have to pay your £2.50 once, as opposed to around £1.50 per ringtone on some operators. Having never ordered a ring tone from them, I can't really talk about the quality of them, however the range does seem to be extensive, and you are more likely to find what you want here than on "real" free sites such as yourmobile.com. However, now that they charge, this site isn't really worth visiting when compared to the sites which really are free such as yourmobile.com, despite the wider selection of tones. Boltblue does provide logos, which yourmobile currently does not offer, however March is going to see an improved yourmobile site which does have a library of them. Yay. My advice is, leave this site alone if you can, and don't think of it as the free haven you used to know. Logos are fun, but the improved yourmobile.com will easily be able to better this site, despite having
a slightly smaller collection of ringtones.
Being the successor to the ever popular 3210, you wouldn't really think that this phone would be that much different to what we're used to: Clip on covers, very flashy, not much under the case, but surprisingly, as the title suggests, one digit makes all the difference. The 3310 is not only superior physically, (Almost an achievement in it's own right), but technically as well. The irritatingly long recharge time has been almost cut in half, mine averagely only taking 6-7 hours solid charging, and remaining on standby for over a week, you have to admit is pretty good. The programmable ringtones and Nokia trade mark clip on covers have returned, however both features have been improved, as the phone gives 7 slots for personalised ringtones, as opposed to the 3210's one slot, and covers are now available for the front AND back. You can even mix and match colours if you want! The phone is way smaller than it's predeccessor, fitting snuggly into the palm of my medium sized hand, it's small, but just about right, and not as fiddly to use as the more expensive 8210. The screen is the perfect size for reading and writing text messages, and just big enough for playing games. All the classic Nokia games are there, such as Snakes (where you must guide an evergrowing snake around a range of tricky mazes), but new time occupiers include Space Impact, an R-Type style scrolling space shoot-um-up, which honestly could rival a half decent Gameboy game any day of the week. The phone has ringtones galore, featuring classic teacher annyoyers like the Nokia theme and Mozart, but new comers include We wish you a merry xmas, and Auld Lang Sine, to really get you in the spirit of the seasons. Or, maybe just irritate you. If you imagine the fun, personalisation techniques of the 3210, improved, and then spliced with the most efficiant phone in the world, then you have a good idea of what the Nokia 3310 is like. A
s it is actually very good for any age group, whether you're a thug teenager that wants to look flashy, or someone that actually uses their phone to have proper conversations, the 3310 will always provide. The cheapest price for this phone that I found any good was only £89.99 from Virgin Mobile, but other operators usually charge around £100 for it. So with any network, it won't burn a hole in your pocket. Finnally, a serious phone that can provide for any user. Kids will love yelling and swearing into it with their mates, while more civilised people (myself included), will love the neat toys, but fully appreciate the sheer practicality as well. Hands down to Nokia. The only problem is, whatever can they improve for the 3410?
Well, I've been on Dooyoo for a while now, so I know what I'm talking about. Just to round it up (for all those newbies out there), Dooyoo is a site devoted to public opinion, and sharing those opinions with the internet community. What I love about Dooyoo is the simplicity of the site. Anyone can just log on and surf through to find anything that they want. So please Dooyoo people, NEVER change the layout! What I don't understand is why the ammount of money that Dooyoo pay has decreased so much in the last few months. My friends all tell me about how great it was when Dooyoo used to pay out 25+ pence per review, and I don't really think that the crown system can make as much of an incentive to create good reviews. Maybe we could have a system where the amount of money you get is measured out with the quality of the reviews. I know lots of people just slap very usefuls on any old review, but surely the number of devoted Dooyoo reviewers outweighs the money hungry few? I'm sure the system, although more complex, would greatly lower the number of bad reviews you find littered throughout the site, and the actual number of reviews would probably go up as well. You may be thinking I am one of these money hungry beasts by now, but I assure you, I'm quite normal. I just think that really good reviews should be rewarded in the manner of a working job, Good Work = CASH! One of the things I don't like is the people that childishy rate down peoples hard work for no apparent reason. Just the other day, my hard work on a yourmobile.com review got rated as Not useful, when others had all rated it very useful, and because of them, the overall rating got knocked down a notch. I strongly feel that some kinds of measures should be put in place if this sort of thing happens. I mean, fine, if the review is short and un-informative, thats okay, but when you put time and effort into something, it's not
very pleasant to get it knocked down when that person probably hasn't even made the effort to read it. And when people look at your account, they see these things, and that really bugs me. Moving on to more positive things, the people that regularly post opinions on the site are great, they really enjoy writing their reviews, and it comes across really well. I'd love some sort of community award system, not for people who always churn out the best reviews, but for the ones that honestly love giving their ideas and take in other peoples comments. Maybe these sort of people could be voted in by other members, say, 85 votes and you're in kind of thing. Anyway, I hope at least some of this is useful to you. Keep up the top-notch work.
Being one of the very few sites that offers free Nokia ringtones sent directly to your mobile phone, you can imagine my initial interest in it after I went and bought a nice new shiny Nokia 3310 from Virgin Mobile. The site seems to have an evergrowing collection of tones, from the latest pop music from all the well known artists, including boy band A1 and the Vengaboys, to classical composers such as Strauss and Mozart, yourmobile.com has a wide variety of music for all tastes. And for those of us that like to have to most annoying ringtones we can find, TV classics such as Eastenders and Buffy the Vampire Slayer are also present in the television and films section of the site. I quite like the layout of the website, as I always seem to find what I am looking for quite speedily, but there is an annoying little problem in the search engine where the search parameters reset themselves after you have peformed a search, which is really annoying, as you have to keep remembering to set it back to the parameters you want before you try again. A neat feature is that you can listen to an accurate interpretation of your ringtone before you have it sent to you. When I say "accurate", I mean it, as they always seem to sound more ir less identical on the phone, which is much better than on some websites that charge, where they let you hear a bad rendition on a keyboard, which is really useless, as they never get it right. Why can't they just record a WAV from a phone or something? Some say that the selection of tones is to small compared to companies that charge, but I think that the varied tunes are quite satisfactory, and even if they don't have what you want, the chances are that they'll get it eventually, so just hang on a little longer - It's better than having to pay or go through the trouble of making it yourself. Being the only well known free ring tones web page, this site definate
ly has the edge over the hotline advertisements and other sites such as boltblue.com, but it does not provide any operator logos like the later, but for a site devoted to ringtones, they would seem out of place, and if you want logos, just go to boltblue, as they are free there (the ringtones aren't however). Overall, a really good value website, giving loads of tones, which are all of extremely high quality, and FREE!
First of all, The UltraHLE project is cancelled, so no further updates are planned. Doh! Okay, so Nintendo tried to ban it, but really, who cares? As long as you stick by the law and only download games you already own it's perfectly legal. At least, that's the theory. UltraHLE is renowned as the best N64 emulator currently available, so, do I agree? Well, yes and no. For the pre, it runs all old games at least as good as an N64, if not better. Popular games such as Mario 64 and Zelda run perfectly with no bugs. Controlling can be awkward without an analogue stick, but you get used to it in near to no time. The interface is very simple once you get the hang of it, and graphics do genuinly look better on a half decent monitor and a higher end 3D card. However, it does have it's flaws. While running older games perfectly, near to no new games such as Perfect Dark or even F-Zero will run at all, which means the games you can play are very restrictive and dated. Also, it requires a 3D card, meaning some people just won't physically be able to run the emulator no matter how good their machine is. However, the good things outweigh the bad. There is no doubt that for older games, this is the finest all rounder emulator you can get, and anyone who wishes to play more complex games could use other emulators such as Nemu 64, but I find that this one runs the majority of games too slowly. Eventhough it only plays more dated software, classic titles such as Mario 64 and Zelda work perfectly, and in some cases look better than on the actual machine. To round up, It's free, it's simple, it works. A fine emulator, even if it does not run some of the more modern games.
Finally, the cult demon killing show has proper DVD releases! Although maybe not to everyone's tastes, Buffy The Vampire Slayer has everything any sci-fi and fantasy fan could want, from action,romance,drama and vampires, this is a cult classic. Despite now being into it's fifth season, it's nice to go back to when it all started, with a low budget, some may say camp, show with a twist of comedy value. For just £39:99, with 3 discs containing the entire first season, with directors commentary on some of the episodes, this is a bargain buy. Before we start, heres a quick roundup of what you are buying: Disc Content & Special Features ------------------------------- DISC ONE: Episode 1: Welcome to Hellmouth Episode 2: The Harvest Episode 3: The Witch Episode 4: Teacher's Pet Special Features: Joss Whedon/David Boreanaz Interview Buffy trailer DVD-ROM content, screensavers & Buffy weblinks Pilot script Commentary, Episodes 1 & 2 contain Joss Whedon commentary DISC TWO: Episode 5: Never Kill a Boy on the First Date Episode 6: The Pack Episode 7: Angel Episode 8: I Robot, You Jane Special Features: Music Video 'I Quit' Photo Gallery DISC THREE: Episode 9: The Puppet Show Episode 10: Nightmares Episode 11: Out of Mind, Out of Sight Episode 12: Prophecy Girl Special Features: Cast biographies Starting with the two part pilot "Welcome to the Hellmouth" and "The Harvest", where we see new girl Buffy Summers starting at her new school, making friends, and saving the world from a maniac vampire known as The Master, you can already see the formation of the second scooby gang beggining to take shape and develop in just these two shows. With just the right blend of drama, romance and action, you can see why this show is still going so strong even n
ow, and why creator Joss Whedon has already produced a spin-off show based on the character of Angel (Buffy's vampire with a soul lover). The characters are a clever blend of conflicting abilities, from computer expert (and later in the series wiccan), Willow, to stuffy English Watcher Rupert Giles, these are the people that you would never expect to mix, but actually do very well. The picture quality is so so, being about as good as high quality digital TV, but this can't be helped as seasons 1-2 were filmed in a lower resolution than most shows. And if you want a copy of the episodes, this is still by far the best way to view them. The box set is packaged in a solid blue, with silver text box, covered in images of our favourite slayer, and it unfolds to reveal a crucifix shape. hmmm, sacrilicious....... and at this price, any fan would be a fool to miss it. Roll on the season two discs
So, The first film to spawn from the 20 year old Star Wars franchise is finally here. Does anyone care? Apparently. Let's see shall we, what can I say about this film except how utterly dissapointing it is. It may be a reasonable film, maybe even a relatively good film, but it just doesn't have the edge that the original films did. And now, I'm going to explain why. Firstly, some scenes seem to have been put there for no real reason other than to show off. Scenes like Obi Wan and Qui Conn (I don't really care if the spellings are right), visiting the under water Gungan city had no real part of the integral story and seemed to be put there to show of the pretty special effects (Which weren't actually up to much considering the budget), and the pod race scenes, though exciting, were far to long and tiresome and pulled to far from the actual story, though that may be a good thing after you read what it's about. Basically, the poor helpless planet Naboo is being invaded by some evil guys (The Trade Federation), that nobody has ever heard of or cares about, and jedi masters Obi Wan and Qui Conn are sent to negotiate. This doesn't last long, and soon they are on the run with the queen of Naboo, Queen Amadala, possibly the ugliest women to ever grace the sci-fi world, from the evil Sith lord Darth Maul. Unfortunately, this storyline isn't pulled off to well, and tends to blend into the background among the pointless trades and races. If this wasn't bad enough, neither the craft or the actors are inspiring or different enough to merit being a Star Wars film - where are all the cool X-wings and Death Stars? As for the acting, the child playing Anakin is at the top of my kill kill kill, die die die list, and Jar Jar Binks has to be the most ridiculous, boring character to ever grace our screens - just another attempt to show off the effects. It's not all bad though, it's stil
l a good film, but it just doesn't cut it in the big world of sci-fi, let alone something with the reputation of the Star Wars franchise.
Well, I couldn't believe it at first. And I doubt that you can either, as you are most likely skimming through reviews trying to find some evidence of what everyone else is saying: A really good Star Trek game? Never? It couldn't be true. Well, yes it can actually, as Ravensoft's new 3D shoot-um-up, Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force proves. First of all, we start with an episode style storyline, with Voyager and it's crew trapped inside a mysterious starship graveyard. We soon meet scavenger races who do everything they can to survive in this new hostile enviroment, and a race of powerful beings who created the space for their own evil purposes in the first place. You are part of an elite crew formed by Voyager's security personnel, named the "Hazard Team", which is basically a Star Trek SWAT team. The first thing that sets this game apart from other Star Trek games is the severe lack of peace and diplomacy involved. Yep, thats right, there are no snivelling Wesley Crushers in your way to carnage and mayhem, using an arsenal of very un-trek like weaponary, you are free to plow your way through alien races, to hell with the prime directive. Despite this, the game has a very episodic feel surrounding it. The storyline is coherant with the series, with all of the actors minus Jeri Ryan as Seven of Nine in their familiar roles. The only quible with this title is the lack of levels, as it is quite easy when compared to classic titles such as Doom and Quake 2. But pumping up the difficulty settings easily fixes this problem. Trekkies will love the Voyager recreation, and the early levels such as the bio-ship really manage to show off the Quake 3 engine to it's full extent. The multiplayer options are quite limited, only the basics, but I've found loads of fun mods on the net, such as Species 8472 wars (Kind of like a team match, but not :-) ) So, do we finnal
ly have a really good Star Trek game? Well, yes, but that doesn't mean they can start slacking. News hot off the press, Raven is now producing an add-on pack for Elite Force, including new weaponary, extra multiplayer options, the originally planned Tour Mode, and what we all want to hear, extra missions! Hopefully, this will sort out most of the problems here, but still, we'll have to probably fork out another 20 quid for it. Oh well, still a great game.
So, a film that started off the cult TV series eh? When I heard about this a few years back, I just had to see it at all costs. And then, as if by magic, it appeared on channel 5 a couple of weeks later. Creepy huh? The film features a somewhat younger Kristy Swanson in the title role, later portrayed by the actress we now know as Buffy, Sarah Michelle Gellar, no Xander, Willow etc (it's set way before the series), and a somewhat creepy Donald Sutherland as Bufy's first watcher. If anyone has seen the pilot episode of the series "Welcome to the Hellmouth/ The Harvest", then the storyline of this movie will be quite familiar, Very evil, old, powerful vamp wants to pig out in LA, so he sends his minions to get im food, vamps ruin the end party, Buffy v Vamp fight, yada yada yada, but the beggining of the story is completely different, as we see Buffy find out about her slayerhood, and her first vamp fight i nthe graveyard (funny) :-) Unfortunately, other than the novelty of seeing the film as a fan of the series, there isn't really much here to make the film worth seeing, and you can see why creator Joss Whedon would develop it for TV instead. The low budget is obvious, with the exception of a pretty cool flying vamp scene (yep,they can fly in this version!), there isn't really much in the way of special effects, for example, vamps just fall over and die. If you want to get into the TV show, I suggest you watch the pilot of the series instead of this, as it's more fun, better acted and way funnier than this. It's great for people that want to see the way the show could have been (god forbid!), but really, nothing else. Let's just hope this chapter of Buffy history is staked and gone forever.
After all the waiting, the first true sequel to the original Pokemon games is here! Set 3 years after the original games, Gold and Silver are set in a land west of the orignal Pokemon League, where 100 new pokemon live just waiting for you to capture. It's the same basic objective as the old games, collect eight gym badges from different towns, using your pokemon to battle gym leaders and solve relatively complex puzzles along the way. Build up their strength, so that they can evolve into bigger, better creatures. The main improvements of this game are graphical. The battle animations look far crisper and more like the cartoon series than the originals did, and the locations are much prettier and more memorable than those in the previous games. Also the gym leaders seem to be more difficult than before, making the game more challenging the others. The only thing I find disapointing about this game is the new pokemon, which aren't really as memorable as the old set, with the few exceptions of he ones you are offered at the beggining, Chikorita (grass), Totodile (water) and Cyndaquil (fire). However, the most interesting of the old pokemon are all still in it, so it's not too bad, and you can always tranfer them over from the old games. Also, the game can appeal to not only Pokemon fans, but RPG fans as well, as even the most experienced "RPG'r" will find it quite challenging,thanks to the improved puzzles and challenges. An added bonus at the end of the game is the chance to visit the old towns and gyms from the previous games, to solve even more puzzles and battle the souped up versions of the gym leaders. Very fun, and RPG fans may like this extra more than the game! Theres rumours that the orange league from the second series of the TV show can also be secretly accessed in here somewhere two, so if anyone can shed light on that I'd be grateful! Overall, a truly great
title, which any age can enjoy, even if they aren't pokemon fans themselves.
Personally, I can't see why anyone would ever consider any other network, and heres why. The main thing about the relatively young network is the simplicity and cost effectiveness. 15p for the first 10 minutes a day, followed by 5p for the rest of the day, is quite competitive compared to the bigger networks, even making Orange's "no Eak in their off-peak" pale in comparison. Another element which makes this network so much better is that the airtime vouchers really don't expire. Now, some may say all networks do this, however if you read the small print, the network will usually disconnect you if you don't top it up with airtime within 6-8 months, so Virgin is exceptional for the occasional user, or if you want to have an emergency phone in the car. Also, I have noticed that some people think that Virgin mobile's phones are daggy, but as far as I can see they have an excellent range, from the stylish Nokia 3310, to the cheap and cheerful Phillips Savvy, you can be sure they'll have what you want. And even if they don't, hang on a little longer, as they update their phone selection every season. With prices starting from £39.00 for either the Phillips Savvy or the Alcatel MAX, to £200 for the flashy stuff, they're also quite competitive in this department as well.
Well, I suppose this review was inevitable sooner or later, given my "appreciation", for the current kids craze, and some of you may be wondering why I'm not to keen on this film (aside from the severe lack of my favourite pokemon). Well, when I originally read the storyline for the film, before it was translated into English, it seemed to have all the neccessary ingredients to make a pretty epic movie. An evil enemy (the super-mon, Mewtwo), big Pokemon battles, and a nice nitty gritty atmosphere surrounding the whole thing. Great I thought to myself! Can't wait for this film! Then the american translators come along and say "hey, this is way to violent and nasty for our little kiddies, let's replace everything that makes it good with worthless trash about friendship and love and basically ruin the entire thing!". Well, if they didn't say that, they did it anyway, by chopping some of the more "scary" scenes out of the movie, dubbing it poorly, and generally shattering the atmosphere that the good Japenese storywriters had built up. Besides these well, pretty major quibles, the remaining film isn't really that bad. Standard storyline, evil Pokemon Mewtwo plans on taking over the world, yada yada yada, Ash, Misty and Brock have to stop him. What I do like about his film however is the great varitey of pokemon that we actually see, including some from the new Pokemon Gold/Silver gameboy games, which kids will just love. The American influences are obvious, but the material should keep you entertained for quite a while. Overall, a fun adventure for the family, but could have been much, much better. Blame the Americans :-)