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Despite EA Sports? annual/biannual unleashing of Fifa clones, I?d heard some good press about this one, tested it in a games store and just had to purchase - what an excellent game I have bought! After an intriguing prologue and introduction comprising of various fascinating football moments and a classical orchestra, one is welcomed by an authentic official Korea Japan pre-menu screen, with a spirited flashing ?press start? animation. I?m in. Not wanting to go straight into the World Cup itself, I took the friendly option, it seemed the least intimidating at the time, and was relieved to find the same insanely brilliant visuals that I?d seen in the store. Good, it plays just as well too! The graphics are, in a word, revolutionary. The Xbox comes into it?s own with visual performance, with this version of Fifa smugly looking over the graphically inferior Game Cube and PS2 games; the stadiums and pitches look authentic ? highly detailed, alive with the crowd and the player animation is particularly fluid and realistic ? although the players heads do take a rather enlarged form when they score and celebrate, but the facial detail is excellent ? Michael Owen would be proud of his polygonal counterpart, and the vibrancy in the colour is fantastic. It?s a pleasure to watch the game as well as play. And it doesn?t half play. This has to be the best Fifa to date in my book, it?s easy to get into but there?s plenty of depth in learning and mastering special moves and skills, as well as all those in game set pieces. A slightly confused free kick system won?t help you achieve Beckham style benders every time, but practice will perfect. There?s a range of passes, the long ball, short one-twos, back heels ? you can even add spin to the ball to guide it round the opposition. Thankfully it?s not as ridiculously easy to score as in past Fifa games - I must have hit the woodwork at least 5 times in a WC final defeat to the hand of Portugal, but again with practice in those friendly matches, you will perfect and become a better player. An excellent feature is the power bar, helping you to get the right weight on your pass or shot, and although upon first glance, the appearance of a red tail on powerful shots and passes might seem a little over the top, it does add to the excitement and shows you when you?ve unleashed a real thumper. Two forms of tackling ? the sliding tackle, or the more conservative, don?t be too reckless, but if you like your ankle breakers then you can always turn the referee strictness down a few notches. Every area of play is well balanced, unbiased and surprisingly engrossing ? much more playable than before. The commentary isn?t quite on a par with the rest of the game despite the inclusion of the ?perfect voice? for commentating in John Motson, but he?s accompanied by Andy Gray, so it doesn?t always seem overly pre-scripted. Saying that, you will learn those regular phrases which pop up every single match, still, as long as you know what you?re doing you shouldn?t really need to be told! The crowd cheers have turned up a level & you?ll actually be able to hear ?one-two!? and alike from the players! The premise of a World Cup football game is purely to win the world cup, and as such EA felt that any other tournament or league options would be out of place on such a game, and thus there?s only the world cup tournament to play, and of course the friendly, but that?s ok ? because the World Cup IS the greatest tournament on earth. 4 levels of ability from beginner to World Class mean you can always retry the competition at a higher standard, and there?s always the friendly multiplayer option. You can fiddle about with the game speed and all sorts of options, unlocking special teams as you progress with different teams in the Cup, there?s plenty to see and do to justify the price. A superb game that I recommend to anyone, especially at this time of the year. < br>
If cricket is one of my most loathed sports, why is it I can?t stop playing Cricket 2002? This game is absolutely fantastic - there really is no need to play the actual sport thanks to EA Sports? PS2 offering! I cannot stand watching cricket on the television, nothing ever seems to happen, but at least the sport was the inspiration behind this game. My perception of Electronic Arts is rapidly changing for the better. SSX and Tricky were fantastic sports games, if a little crazy, they?re fun to play in one or two player games, and believe it or not non-extreme sports other than football can actually make a decent video game. If cricket is to you as it is to me then it?s simply about batting and bowling, with a few other players scattered about the field. Find a few mates, one is all you need though, choose a couple of teams, select a 10 over match, read the on screen control instructions and away you go! The first notable aspect of Cricket 2002 is the brilliant graphics. It?s as close to watching the real thing on the Tele, only without all that waiting. The player animations are superb, very smooth indeed ? everyone looks at moves in a far more realistic way than in previous sports games. The textures and colours are all first rate, the crowd and stadiums are all accurately represented ? I?d say it?s on a par with Fifa 2002. The commentary is supposedly insightful from Mr Richie Benaud, everything is remarked upon, which can be useful if you?re playing manual fielding ? ?that one?s right up in the air!? you?ll learn whether it?s possible to catch the batsman out, or when to run in order to prevent them hitting the boundary. Of course when you perfect your bowling you might be able to send the batsmen walking straight from the bowl. Anyway, the commentary is realistic, although some phrases aren?t put together all that smoothly. The crowd don?t make much noise ? it?s just like the real thing! The presentation is all very EA, wit h suitably low key menu music, as you?d expect ? very professional ? the menus offer game modes from Exhibition Match, Tournaments, honing your skills in the Practice Nets, you can even edit all the player details, why not put yourself in the England Squad! If you?re like me and can?t be hassled to change anything, then go straight through to ?Play Now?, select everything including the weather! Select from the likes of India, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, West Indies, Australia and England. Go with a high ranking side if you?ve never played before. When you?ve complete certain sections in the game, won tournaments and so forth you?ll be able to play as the unlocked All Star squads too. As ever, start off with the coin toss to select the starting positions. Here?s where the fun starts?I?m much more a football or basketball person, yet for me the gameplay in Cricket 2002 eclipses the very best of other sports related computer games. If you?re bowling you?ll have to set your target from the moving circle, set the pace from the ball bar (make sure not to over run the line or get a wide ball) and away you go. I would advise leaving auto-fielding for your first few games, leaving your only responsibility to bowl to your heart?s content. Make the batsmen work my adding spin or blistering pace (I didn?t know it could get up to 130kmh!?). Batting is much more fun ? slog the ball at your peril, play the safe shot and don?t run when the signal is ?no run?! It?s a great feeling to get a 6 or a boundary, watch the umpire wave his arms about as you get 4 runs. What a game! For the fanatics, or those who know more about cricket than me, there?s all the up to date 2002 statistics, all the official players, 10 international teams and 22 magnificent stadia. I still wouldn?t sit through 30 minutes of cricket; I?d rather play tiddlywinks than actually play ?real? cricket, but for some reason Cricket 2002 offers superb gaming for more than just fans of the sport. 1st class delivery from EA!
As a Dreamcast owner I found that there weren’t all that many football games on the format, but thankfully UEFA striker, being highly playable made me contented. No FIFA games, no ISS game, just a barrage of exclusive Sega own brand trash in the form of SWWS and Virtua Striker. Not the best selection really, and the so the Dreamcast will always be waiting for that ‘killer app’ football game in the eyes of the gaming public. After buying PlayStation 2, I was looking forward to the releases of all these Konami and EA sports football titles, the ability to be Blackburn and beat Man U 7-0 was just too alluring. Fifa 2001. OH dear. ISS 2. OH dear. These games were mediocre and quite frankly, typical of the first wave of PS2 games, but the promise of Pro Evolution Soccer and Fifa2002 meant I could get a top footy game before the year end. Which to get? On the one hand Fifa has all the official players, the best commentary – John Motson DOES have the perfect commentary voice (fact), & being Fifa, everything in it is officially licensed. Downside of Fifa – it’s rubbish. I’m sorry to say but behind the glossy finish and ‘advanced’ graphical movement and fluidity roams a flawed gameplay system that has no place in football. Sloppy controls, a different, but equally as poor passing system and well, it just didn’t impress. I’ve heard murmurs of “Get Pro Evolution Soccer” “DON’T GET FIFA” and luckily I’d only played the EA title at a friend’s house, and not wasted £45. After reading many reviews, including those on this site, I thought ok this looks good – I’m getting it. Playstation magazine tell me “It’s by far the greatest game the world has ever seen!” as well as stating it’s ‘undoubtedly the best footy game ever’…Bought the game, took it home, put it on and watched the very nice little FMV video scene at the start. Wait for game to load, select match and already feel disappointed. How many teams has this game got? Oh yeah, this isn’t Fifa – so Man United, is simply Manchester. Stadiums don’t have official names, but let’s forget that – maybe the players do, so press ‘start match’ after fiddling around with the tactics. Oh no. Do people really think that this game has mind-blowing visuals? I don’t really care if I’m the only person that thinks this, but my opinion is the primary one I go on when deciding if a game is good or not, especially when I’ve forked out near £40 for it – and in my opinion? This game struggles to achieve mediocrity, it plays like a castrated donkey – there is no spark, the graphics although fairly colourful aren’t vibrant – they’re plain, dull & the players look alienated from the turf, nothing fits together well, and the most horrifying thing? Get this – the cameramen and stewards behind the advertising boards, they ‘are’ cut outs - it looks so wrong, just don’t get me started on the corner flags. The stadiums don’t look right, the crowd shout a heck of a lot louder than they move, so much so that you can barely here the commentary, which isn’t such a bad thing because that’s absolutely pathetic. No player names are mentioned, although I think most players do have correctly spelled names, with exception to the Barcelona star ‘Ravoldi’, or is it ‘Rovaldi’. Do you remember way back at the PS2’s launch, many games were being criticised for having ‘jagged edges’? Well, I’m sorry Konami, but my finger’s pointing at you and I’m still snarling! ARGH!! Apparently this football game has the best gameplay engine. But then appearances don’t always tell the truth, and guess what…The free kick system is jus t ugly; the goalkeepers cannot run out of the goal area with the ball, red cards are given for no reason at all and how on earth do you aim your shot? Ok, so many people have bought it, but I’m not going to follow the crowd – mine’s up for sale now, and I feel rather let down. This is not the future of gaming, this is just, well work it out. If you have to get anything, get TIF2002. Dan
Firstly, I can't believe I wasted £5.70 on this monstrosity! Jeepers Creepers immediately put me off watching it by the name alone - I mean c'mon? But don't judge a book by it's cover and all that, I went to see it with a few mates, and thankfully they all agreed that it was the worst film they've ever seen. Anyway, it starts off promisingly, aside from the half empty cinema (not a great sign), with some intriguing goings on in, a brother and sister driving back on a long road from Uni or something, squabbling but trying to find the way back to their home... Approached by a large rusty train like truck, with a rather suspicious looking number plate "BEATNGU" decides to try and plough them off the road, they manage to let it past, and the story continued. Now if this review seems bitty, and it should do, it's because the film's storyline seemed to have torn apart from the beginning to the end - the siblings notice a small church on the side of the road, down a small lane and that rusty war like train lorry is outside it, the driver gets out and dumps a couple of body shaped rope tied cloth wrapped things down a pipe...Very nice... Ok, after the BEATNG U truck leaves they stupidly go and investigate, the brother of course uses a guilt trip on his sister "what if it was you down there", well they go and look with the brother peering down there, and his sister (I forget the names, but they weren't important), holding his feet so he could get a closer look - at this stage the film looks very promising - they might both fall down and some kind of scary movie may have taken place, but no. The brother slips down after a gang of rats makes the whole cinema jump out of their skin (and make his sister drop him) and the story could go anywhere from here... He sees the wrapped up bodies, well he hears them too, and helps one of them to half unwrap - a half dead character starts gasp ing to him, but we can't tell what he said - maybe it was help, I can't remember - any who, he dies there and then and the brother (is it Kay or Jay? Hmmm), looks around to see all these maimed bodies - with stitched on heads, very plastic looking and not that authentic (they do look like display models...) all over the walls of this underground passage way - loads of them all over the place, kind of yuck, but ok... Making his way to this flock of crow infested but otherwise deserted church, the brother meets up with his sister and do what they should have done when they saw those bodies get thrown down the pipe thing - get the hell out of there! Anyway this person/driver of the weird BEATNG U truck, who we later find out only comes out to eat every 23 years, for 23 days (yeah, great eh), then has a personal vendetta with the brother (or sister...) and won' really let him go, as you'd find out if you were as misinformed about the film as I was and end up going to see it... Ok, they manage to get to a cafe/service station and tell their story to the police, and ergh, the story stays the right side of scary for the moment until a phone rings in the cafe, asking for whatever the brother is called. What she tells him suggests she's a psychic, whom we do find out, and most importantly she tells him to get away as fast as he can when he hears the really old song "Jeepers Creepers". Oh dear oh dear. Another scene, this time at deranged cat loving woman's house sees her get killed by this mysterious character after she shoots him for standing in her garden - naturally he ends up crashing through her roof and holding her up by her neck.... lovely stuff, she dies, they escape but he starts to chase them. Oh and for that little bit of extra tension, their car conveniently has gear changing problems...Ok, they're totally freaked out by now, I'm half way through my 1 litre bucket of mint choc chip ice cream and a group of girls in the corner of the cinema still won't shut up. What happens next? You're in a car with your brother or sister, have no idea where to go, you've seen enough dead people for one day and an indestructible huge bloke with a healthy truck's after you...what do you do? Run him over of course! That'll solve everything right? Well, they run him over several times just to make sure, and then drive off to a police station. I think it's around this stage the film just becomes completely laughable - the bloke who's obviously got some kind of problem, or is just into speeding up people's lives, suddenly sprouts a wing. How fantastic! A wing. While some people might be thinking "what the hell is this creature, oooh what a scary film" the rest of us, if not all were feeling pretty gutted we forked out at least a fiver on this pile of trash - oh and what was the director thinking? Ok, so he flies away and now he's after them - some police get killed and we're now watching a state police station not know what to do, and we meet up with Mrs Psychic woman... The story is completely mashed up from hear on - flying thing goes around eating everyone's organs and the brother and sister get told that it wants one of them - to eat or something... After much unconvincing struggle, and confused plot the story does attempt to conclude - finally. The flying BEATNG U beast thing flies off with the brother out of a window in the police station, with the sister running off to chase them, not a good plan. End scene - we see a kind of work shop, the Jeepers Creepers music probably starts up again, who really knows, and we see the brother, now not living sadly, oh and he has no eyes - is this because the flying beast thing knew what he had seen and didn't want him to tell anyone? Anyway - it ends with a shot of his eyeless face, with the beast t hing behind it, with his eye peering through. What A Load Of Rubbish! The end. I therefore conclude that this film is one of the stupidest I have ever seen, how it can be advertised as the scariest movie in America is beyond me, and I do not recommend this to anyone - it just goes beyond a joke. If the flying thing wasn't able to fly, oh and if there was actually a storyline then maybe, just maybe this film would have been good. Ironically the acting isn't too bad, and the crows do give an excellent performance, but as a production, Jeepers Creepers sucks big time. Thanks for reading, hope you aren't too disappointed, Until next time, Dan
Look, I haven’t played any of the previous Grand Theft Auto games, but I can definitely assume GTA3 is the greatest so far! And what a game it is! With only 5 PS2 games to my collection, there’s no denying that this one jumps out, batters and runs off ahead of all the others, and I’ve got GT3 too! There is no single aspect of this video game, and you have to remember it is ‘just a video game’, that makes GTA3 such an addictive title. Firstly, no matter how splendid and shiny a game is, the enjoyment will come from how well the game plays. It’s pretty hard to look past the violence and foul language in Grand Theft Auto, but if you can you’ll find one of the most addictive with the most fluid gameplay in a game that you can. I will be pretty annoyed if the gaming press slam the game for it’s violent level – if games like Quake and Half Life or even MSR are allowed then there’s nothing wrong with this. You wouldn’t go round street racing in real life - you would go round battering old people and stealing their cars either, that’s WHY we have computer games. So, you’re an ex convict, back on the streets, and you need some money. No problem! Become a car thief, in fact, work for people that want you to carry out little tasks, and get a hell of a lot of cash for it. As well as the near 100 main missions, they’re also many sub missions and task for you to partake in and utilise your newfound gangster prowess upon. There’s a street race earlier on and many other typical mafia type missions to add to the main game!! Work for Joey, Luigi, or maybe even Tony, either way, this game has a certain charm like no other I’ve played on before. One especially endearing feature is the atmosphere from this game. The voice acting is actually brilliant & in case you have hearing difficulties there are also subtitles. Depending on which car you’ve stolen you wil l be able to listen to one of Liberty City’s excellent radio stations – if you thought Metropolis Street Racer had some decent ones, you’ll be overjoyed with GTA3’s! Some are so funny, they just add to the impressive gameplay and overall fun factor - listen carefully, they are superb!! Right – graphics! Gran Turismo 3 set the standard for visual amazement in a console game, and although Grand Theft Auto 3’s graphics may not be as slick, they’re definitely near to Shenmue standard, but have some absolutely incredibly realistic lighting effects – the little fellas inside the PS2 must be working their socks off – at times you will believe you are in a real life city – living a gangster movie or something! Real time weather effects, that do actually change – fog, rain, sun, cloud, no snow as of yet, but it might change :-) Car explosions all look suitably horrific, with some nice smoke and fire effects & people will lose blood if you choose to practice your Uzi shooting on them. This is definitely a game that deserves it’s 18 rating. Ah the police! No not Sting, but the most annoying factor in GTA3, but one that makes it all happen – avoiding the ‘fuzz’ will be something you have to contend with in most challenge/missions, and it is best not to try opening the police car’s door, they will bust you! You can die, but you’ll always have another life, but not be too wasteful, stats don’t lie and it could make effects the end of the game! Overall, with decent sound, unbelievable visuals in places, the most addictive gameplay (where has my weekend gone!), with the charisma of Robert De Niro, and hard man presence of good old Vinnie, Grand Theft Auto 3 will not be leaving your PlayStation 2 for a long while. It’s better than superb, I’d give it 10/10. Flawless. D1A1 Oh and the cinematic views? Awesome stuff :)
Forgive me for placing this here, I had to. I felt that I should say something about life, aspects and so on, hopefully get a discussion going, leave a comment. In light of recent events, I was, as I am sure you were, not best pleased, but for some reason I'm not surprised, I'm not about to preach to you about anything - just read what you want, and thanks. I believe that everything happens for a reason. We cannot go back in time and change things, and nor should we, but something like a war, or a terrorist attack - you have to take something out of it - a positive, and not only hope that nothing of the sort happens again, but actually make it happen. Sounds simple, sorry if you find what I'm saying irritating, boring, but I have to say it. Life is the most important aspect of, oh wait 'life'. Life is something that you'll only have one go at, and I hope you live your life to the full, and enjoy what you do in it, it's one massive experience, and nobody knows what happens after it (other than you die, maybe there's a heaven, maybe not, I am not religious, but I believe in life) so I ask you to realise that what you have is almost incomprehendable. The world is OUR oyster, let's not abuse it... Anyway, what has happened in the USA is the spawn of something mallicious, evil and disrespectful of life, causing many to be lost - just like that - I'm not asking you to live your life as if each day's your last, but I am trying to open up your eyes and appreciate what we have, everyone of us. Don't let that arguement commence, don't aggrevate someone uneccessarily - don't make their lives a nightmare, help someone. Encourage someone that maybe you don't usually get on with, just be the best person you can. Murder, crime, bullying - terrorism. These words describe the wrong doings of individuals, groups of people, and they do not belong in life. Respect yourself, respect others and respect life - it's precious. How anyone can do something that ends someone else's life - it's beyond me. I'm choking up, I'm just gonna let you discuss. My condolences to everyone assocciated, families that will have to get through the recent events, and my heart goes out to them. Thank you for reading, I'm sure you have a say, let's live in the hope that the world not only takes notice of what has happened, but takes action too. Dan
Sold my PlayStation 2, saw GT3, bought a PlayStation 2 and GT3. Enough said. No wait, you want more than a sentence… Ok, if you’ve been side tracked for a few years, with the last memory of a racing game in your mind being Sega Rally in the arcades, then hearing, yet alone seeing or even playing, GT3 will give you a rather nice surprise. I’ve never purchase a games console solely for one game before, but the time had to happen, and Sony, I am sure are thankful for my purchase – I certainly am! The game is nothing short of spectacular, and I didn’t really want to admit that after raving about the Bizarre Creations game Metropolis Street Racer, but as close as it comes, I have to say Polyphony Digital take the chequered flag, and now lead the race for the best driving game, of all time. Many people have said ‘been there, bought that, got the A international licence’, but I never did that, I was only able to scratch the surface of the prequels, but now I have the latest masterpiece in virtual racing – MS err what now? Sony don’t only demand respect, they actually deserve it and if I could recommend any one game to you this year then it would have to be Gran Turismo 3. This game is one of the most well known throughout the industry, so make sure you know what it’s about. Racing is just the forefront of it: this game will have you enwrapped in a world of mufflers, lowered suspensions and other BHP enhancing customisations – if you don’t want to get all greasy and oily being a mechanic, buy GT3 – you don’t even have to be 17 to drive the cars! My TVR Tuscan handles like a barge, but still, it’s the most accurate graphical representation in video game land. You have to admire the people responsible for the shininess. Graphics: amazing, the visuals are so much better than anything else I have played although I would say MSR, F355 come close. Bu t this is what you know you bought your PlayStation 2 for, the cars look almost real – but don’t worry, you won’t damage them, as unfortunately, and somewhat lazily, there is no crash damage. But then, the other two games mentioned also refrain from allowing you to morph your car into mashed up heap. Respect. Don’t be put off with the immediate lack of speed as you take on the likes of a Daihatsu in your lovely Volkswagen Beetle, progression is key in the game, and you won’t have to put up with any “PENALTY” warning signs as in another certain racing title. You’ll soon be rolling in the money form the Sunday Cup and be ready to take on the world in whatever you wish to spruce up and help you acquire that sense of smugness that we all get from beating irritating AI cars…Honda NSX anyone? There are too many manufacturers to mention, but most cars are officially licensed, all look very realistic and accurate, and even have individual engine noise…I mean music! Talking of music, I don’t want to talk about the in game music, it’s just not right, I have no idea what was going on that night, we should be listening to Paul Oakenfold, and other quality artists, perhaps even the odd clip of Layla during an endurance race, anything but that noise! The lighting effects are, yep, you guessed it – unrivalled. The PlayStation 2 is finally using it’s potential to the fullest and you will not be disappointed with your acquisition. There’s more to just racing though, as you have licenses to complete, cars to do up to the max and new cars to unlock – progress further, spend more time and you’ll be treated to some absolute caning beastie cars – namely the Viper GTS… The presentation may not be as exciting as before, but it’s a lot easier, for someone who’s not used to the GT layout, it’s perfect. If you ever manage to pull yourself away from the single player experience, then you may find out that there’s a rather fantastic arcade mode, for two of you or more (tournaments) to battle it out on. GT3 rules, it is the king of racing, and I’d recommend it to anyone. 10/10 Thanks Dan
Returning from retirement into a world of hatred and despise, I find myself on Dooyoo.co.uk and writing another opinion to add to my masses, D1A1 still exists, and you should remember that, just in case someone asks you on the way home…I have been fairly unimpressed by the Dooyoo.co.uk staff attitudes towards some of my thoughts and emails, but I shall not tell you about this, it’d be a breach of controversy – let’s just say I am back, and roaring to go, writing opinions for you to condemn and moan about. Ready? Good show… Do you rate fairly? What is fairly? And why should you rate fairly? I have been a member of this website for almost a year now, having my say on over 200 separate issues, products, services – you can see from my opinions list what I usually review. I am proud to say that I’ve received a fair number of crowns, and my opinions are generally Very Useful, and I’ve always tried to improve my writing style, and achieve better ratings. So, after reading an opinion about ratings here, I thought I’d have my go – how will you rate this one huh? Well? The purpose of writing opinions in the first place is to speak your mind, tell the world how you feel – how YOU feel about something, not what someone else has to say, and so every opinion is individual and different, but don’t go thinking you’re special, we’re all the same, but only in the sense that we’re all unique. And writing opinions is no different. I used to play a lot of console games, that’s where most of my best opinions are located, and I’m proud to have received around 10% of the gaming premier opinions (come on Video games magazines – take me away!), but not everyone likes computers and gaming, in fact my playing time has definitely deflated over the past few months. Anyway, when you’re writing an opinion you aim to help other people. Yes you are getting pa id for your viewpoint, you’re opinion on something, and you can make a small amount of money, but Dooyoo.co.uk was set up so consumers could help each other – not so that they could pay you 10pence for a 75 word pasted nonsense, they want consumers to express their emotions, and the opinions are probably read by manufacturers, producers across the world – so that they can take what you say, and use the information (as Dooyoo.co.uk is THE research capital of WWW) to improve their products, making us happier as everything improves. A fantastic circle, don’t you think? Rate me. When you read someone else’s opinion or review on something, you should really rate their opinion in accordance to how useful it is. I started off slowly with my ratings, as I would sometimes read opinions that had no use to me whatsoever (i.e. some on baby food or feeding etc…) but I was not going to rate it ‘Not Useful’, but I was reluctant say yes, very useful, I’m going to make a buying decision thanks to you. So I didn’t rate, and they still got their 50 miles, but I learned that I should really rate. I have no clue why I was reading opinions that I wouldn’t find useful anyway, but that’s just me. That opinion, I forget which, was a very useful opinion – it had lots of information, was well written – grammatically correct, with good punctuation and spelling, so I should have rated it Very Useful. But I didn’t know then, now I do. >Advice< read the opinions that you want to know about, i.e. if you’re thinking about buying a new car, read and rate the opinions about cars, not about cheese. You get the picture. That way, you’re in the right position to rate. How do I rate? Daft question, would be though, I asked it, here’s the answer – rating is simple, you read the opinion, decide how useful it was and then select one of four cho ices, click submit, wonder why the rating an opinion system has change so that you have to keep clicking all the time, and then leave a comment if you so wish. Your choices: Not Useful: If the opinion is poorly written, only just covers the 75word minimum, doesn’t help you in anyway, and wouldn’t help someone who would want to know about the subject reviewed, then it’s a good idea to give a Not Useful. Do not be scared of rating Not Useful, for rating appropriately is the only way forward and that is how Dooyoo.co.uk – yours and my website (we own the content after all) will evolve and become greater. Opinions that aren’t useful should not be condemned straight away, as people do take time to improve their opinions, new members don’t always posses the writing skills or stamina of other, somewhat more veteran users. Somewhat Useful: Don’t be disheartened by this if you receive a somewhat useful rating opinion, as your view has helped the reader in some way, but wasn’t really in enough detail to achieve a greater rating. Hopefully, if the reader or rating person gives you an SU or even a NU, then they would be decent enough to leave an explanation – not saying “you suck mate, naff off” or “your opinion’s s**t”, they’re worse than you, hopefully, and probably you will find that members are writing comments offering help encouragement, and perhaps even offering you help via email to improve your writing style. We’re all opinionated, but we’re not all fantastically talented at writing opinions. Useful: Well done. If you have achieved a Useful rating you should be pleased, don’t be disheartened if you haven’t got the Very Useful rating, as Useful is the second highest rating, meaning your opinion has helped another person – you are a good opinion writer, but possibly, you could improve more so. Rate an opinion how you see fit, but don’t go marching around rating every 100 word opinion Very Useful, some maybe, but if an opinion is 100 words, it’s likely to be pretty thumbs down, improve it now, kind of thing. Having said that, a 100 opinion maybe very useful – you are only required to write 75 words as your minimum, you should aim for double that and above, but just because an opinion is short – don’t mean it’s shi*e. Same goes for hefty opinions, this one I’m in mid writing for may not be of any use to you at all, you may feel it’s completely woeful, has no purpose and no right amongst the rest of the ops here. Your call, but be fair. Useful is a good rating, for a good opinion. Very Useful: Cream. You rate an opinion Very Useful if it is just that. If it’s helped you, made you think and impressed you with the imaginative use of interesting vocabulary, encapsulating your mind, conjuring up visual images inside your mind and making you become transfixed with this opinion – an ocean of writing that deserves that very useful rating. If you feel an opinion is worthy, then leave a comment saying well done, keep it up – and thank the opinion writer as many do, it’s a nice feeling to know you’ve helped someone other than yourself. Comment on those ops: If you have time – comment. Leave a comment, get involved in the community side of Dooyoo.co.uk – that is what you are in now, it’s more than an opinions website, it’s a community where you can meet new people, learn new information and gain experience and wisdom from others. We’re all here to help each other – make sure you let people know you’re grateful. Similarly, offer advice, be kind, not condemning, offer assistance and tell that author of their 75word muddle how to improve. You may just make a friend. Why should you rate? If you don’ ;t rate the point is lost. The best opinion that you’ve ever read may be suffocated at the bottom of a 100 opinion pile, just because you didn’t rate it, no one else saw it, and that author leaves the site due to not becoming involved in the community – it’s your right, and it’s only fair. Rating does: show your view on that opinion: add 50miles (that’s only 5pence), to the opinion writers’ mile count, and does make you an active, good member of Dooyoo.co.uk – you don’t rate, they don’t get recognition, they don’t get money. Don’t be harsh. Where am I? Right, I’ve said a lot, as I always seem to do, but there’s more. REVENGE RATING!! Don’t do it. Simple as that – revenge rating is rating another member’s opinion not useful solely because they rated yours not useful, and it’s clear that the opinion you rated, was of use. IF you feel that someone has rated unfairly then send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and it’ll be sorted – give the talented Miss/Ms/Mrs Star time to actually send the email to the person you’re reporting – all the staff are human, they aren’t robots, and they do have lives outside of this website. Don’t revenge rate, be a good member of your community. Similarly, don’t go around rating useless opinions Very Useful, that doesn’t help. If you have your reasons for writing a grammatically deficient 75word opinion Very Useful, then leave a comment, if you’re that way inclined… Rating is part of Dooyoo.co.uk – it’s an integral part, and it makes things work. People rate your opinions - rate other people’s too. I’ve said a lot, it’s never enough, rate this opinion as you see fit, please leave a comment – and if anyone rates this within 2 minutes of submission, I’ll be onto you like a school of pi ranhas in the Amazon. Dan, D1A1, yeah whatever, I don’t count – what I say does. Thank you and good day to you all, 5-1, not bad…
Right, beware – I will not hold back any anger or hatred now as Empire Direct really should have thought about researching ‘how to become a business’ before starting theirs. Please accept my apologies if I end up offending anyone with foul or abusive language, I shall **** anything out if I do feel the need to swear my f***in’ fingers off. Ahem. Right, straight down to it, Empire Direct is the worst online store, in fact the worst company or business that I’ve had the misfortune of buying something from in my entire lifetime. Empire Direct suck, and they suck big time – without remorse. You may well have ordered from them and had no problems at all, which is great for you, or maybe it isn’t – the earlier you have a problem, the earlier you’ll learn how pathetic they are with dealing with the problem, thus you’ll know sooner to stay well away from them. Please read this if you’re considering buying anything online in the near future. Having previously had no problems whatsoever with them after ordering a Panasonic hi-speed VCR, bar the order status query (they took a while to ship it), I thought I’d return to them, they seemed to be a decent enough place to buy electrical items from, and to be fair they do stock a lot of televisions, hi-fis, portable music players, games consoles, basically anything Japanese, made in Taiwan. Attracted by critical acclaim hurled at them from DVD magazines and Shopsmart.com – I was immediately impressed by their pricing, although you will have to pay a fair amount of postage and packaging, you will save a lot on high street prices, but as I unfortunately found out, the price I paid, was not so much in sterling. I needed a wide-screen television - well at least that’s what I felt like purchasing, so I did. After purchasing a Hitachi 24inch Nicam wide screen from Comet, costing £349.99, (model no. C24W411TN), I hadn’t been careful enough – this television had colouration problems, and Comet, to their credit stuck to their “2 time tried, tested unsolved” problem returns policy, giving a full refund. Bad Hitachi, ok Comet – but this model costs £307 on Empire Direct? That’s over 10% on high street. So, I was now prepared to spend a little more, knowing that I’d save a decent amount if I bought online, so looking around the high street stores – in John Lewis especially. The only appealing model was the next stage up on my previous Hitachi, the Digital Spatial Dolby surround sound “3DS” (model no. C24W511TN), which had a stylish champagne colour, with a nice console deluxe two shelved stand. This was where I made the biggest mistake, but hey – hindsight is a wonderful thing isn’t it? The television was around £500 in John Lewis, but I knew I could get it for less than £400, after p & p, on Empire Direct, so my high street traipsing would conclude, and I would order online that night. So, my mistake – ignoring past advice and experience: the engineer from comet who came out twice to see the previous television was raving about Sony, Toshiba and Panasonic, saying that Hitachi was a mid range television, ok fine, but I had already found out that television tubes were in a worldwide shortage, hmmm, and of course I had had the awful colouration trouble on that Hitachi television. But, I ordered – way back in march, over 4 and ½ months ago, paying £392.99 for the television, after Postage and packaging. The saga was about to kick into action, let’s recap now… The television arrived on a Saturday with the somewhat mad looking ‘Amtrax’ delivery person telling me that one of the boxes had not been sent to him, so he only gave me one. I was given a number to phone if that second box didn’t arrive on the monday. So, half excitedly opening the large Hitachi box I found that at least I had been sent the significant part first, for hopefully the stand would arrive soon. That night I thought I’d watch Gladiator on DVD – having not seen it at the cinema, I really wanted to watch this epic film, so I set the television on the floor, connected up the DVD player and watched, brilliant picture quality, ouch, bad neck, superb film – no problems. Monday came, and went, without the stand bothering to show up – so I phoned the number, was told the stand should be with me by the end of the week. Great…Anyway, for that week I didn’t have any real problems, aside from a lack of console deluxe stand. The stand didn’t arrive that week, so I phoned up empire direct again, and waited, waited and waited just to speak to a human voice – I am not a great believer of automated voices, but nonetheless had a rant at one anyway, it would never beat me in an argument anyway. So, after an hour’s discussing topical issues with the computer voices and intermittent drab classical music, I finally spoke to the rarity that is a human voice, hopefully coming from a human person – and live (what an exclusive)!! I was fobbed off with some excuse that my stand had been lost somewhere and that another would be sent as soon as possible. Ok then…bare in mind, this is national rate call costs, my tiny talk here cannot begin to justify the anger and frustration that was about to develop and unleash itself… A couple of days later my fear had become a realisation, and this brand new, could have cost £500, television set had started to show those colouration problems – blue patches to the left, yellow to the right (here I am stuck in…), ‘sigh’, I took the television to different locations in the house – maybe it was the area that was causing this? But no, the colouration continued, intermittently. The television was meant to be for upstairs, so I moved it downstairs in the lounge, more space – and a table for it to sit on, right – I contacted Empire Direct again, explained the situation, again waiting an unacceptable time to speak to a staff member, and was told that an engineer would come and check the television out. By this stage I still hadn’t received the stand, things were not good - stress was showing, I wasn’t the happiest of customers. ‘Engineers’ arrived, hadn’t a clue about televisions or anything, but seeing as the fault on the television was intermittent, it kindly didn’t show up when they were there, but at this point in time photographic evidence had not yet been taken. They said it could be from the speakers, said they could degauss it, but seeing as the television was brand new, I wasn’t too pleased about that, and basically they just fobbed me off with excuses, didn’t seem professional at all, arrived late, and couldn’t help. Phoned Empire Direct again, no stand still, problem had developed – screen started to jump, like it was continually trying to adjust itself. They arranged to have it collected, so I accompanied the television with some photographic evidence, clearing showing the fault in all it’s glory, along with a letter of explanation of why it was going back. Am I boring you yet? (WAKE UP!!), right, sorry about this – just trying to make sure I get everything in the correct order… A month had passed, no stand had arrived, the stand would probably be around £50 - £75 of the television price, after waiting a week without contact – Empire Direct had to be phoned, and waited for yet again, and asked where my stand and television had gotten to. I was told that no fault was found, and that the television would be returned and a stand sent out as soon as possible, with no explanation as to why I hadn’t received it before. No apologies, nothing. The television did return, same dodgy looking Am trax driver, (he won’t be reading this – he looks like Keith Chegwin Scrunched up, is impossible to understand and laughed far too loudly at a ‘joke’ he made, of course I didn’t understand what he was on about, oh well) and the fault was still there. Ah… I’m boring myself writing this, but I’ll get to the good part soon! 6 weeks after paying them my hard earned cash, the stand finally arrived, hoorah! But at this stage, the television had gone back for a second time, as the fault had not gone, more photos had been taken and provided – they’d been taken out before (stolen!), without word as to why, and I this problem was becoming stupid. I now have a stand, which I kept in the box until the television would return. Anyway, to cut a horribly long story short – the television went back to Bradford (Empire Direct is based there) around 5 times, without conclusion, Hitachi engineers couldn’t do anything, I think the TV was on the testing shelf for about a month, I was losing any sanity that I may have had before this nightmare, and my phone bill was racking up big time, and Empire Direct were about as useful as rotten wood, actually, less useful. Although, at least I haven’t had any problems with rotten wood for me to be able to get my own back on! See, I’m losing my mind here!! Help me! OK. So, Hitachi/Empire, I forget – one or the other, wanted video-graphic evidence, i.e. using a video camera, so I obliged, but in the end it was not actually used for proof of this evil flaw in the wide screen TV. Time for letters to go out – one for Hitachi, one for Empire Direct – I figured that this would be a more effective method of complaining, as it is I found out I’m not the best complaints person of all time. Oh, by the way – I set up the stand – took me about an hour, strange instructions, nice stand, and yes the television did actually ma ke it onto the stand for about a week or so, before returning to Empire Direct yet again. The Hitachi letter returned itself, they’d switched places, so I sent it again, Empire Direct actually phoned me, (we’re now in early July), I have no idea what they said, but I clearly explained that I wanted a refund, and that the set was very much not right – what are you playing at you brainless monkeys? Apparently Empire Direct did not want to give a refund as Hitachi were not happy to take the set back, shouldn’t have been my problem, but they delegated to me, aw, how kind. Hitachi had sent a reply, we’re now mid July, a reply which made no sense at all, claiming that I should discuss the matter with the retailer, that they were sorry for the trouble I had been having with my set and how Hitachi make every attempt to produce their products and to the highest standard. Basically, the letter was a load of bull. I wouldn’t have minded if it were Red Bull, that’s like £1 a can, but no. How inconsiderate. Right, matter nowhere near resolved, my lesson was being learned, “never buy from Empire Direct again, actually no, never buy anything ever again”, my faith in everything was lost, I was even scared to move in case my legs started producing intermittency problems, but thankfully they’re ok. 17th July. I nearly had a heart attack – phone call from Empire Direct – what’s going on! They called to say that a fault had still not been found, so I was calm, cool and considerably collected, told them that it had been over 4months, they’d had my television for at least three, said I wanted a full refund, but apparently, still wasn’t allowed one (Trading standards here we come), told them how to actually see the fault “turn the television on, plug it into a socket…” here’s the funny part “We don’t usually do this for our customers” ̵ 1; I refrained from telling them where to go, and expected another phone call later on. No phone call, this is the end of July, I could have invested this money in shares, but no, I had to have a lust for a wide screen television, and as I type I can see the incredibly heavy console deluxe stand, which is now home to a retired cable box, with clothes strewn on top, I think of how many wasted hours I spent with this – I would not want anyone to go through such an unnecessary ordeal. So, I phoned them up, and guess what? They’d only given me a refund, although I was relieved, I was damn annoyed that they had kindly forgotten to mention in over two weeks that they had given me the refund – they supposedly issued it on the 17th of July. Hmmm… So as I sit here, mad hours of the morning, £400 to spend on something, probably won’t be a television and definitely won’t be a Hitachi product, I’ll try not to get mad at what happened. Empire Direct = visit there site NOW www.empiredirect.co.uk and take a look around. They’re site is cluttered, messy and clumsily designed, but there’s no denying the prices are very impressive. But believe me that is not the price you’ll pay. So, they have good prices, a decent range of products, but unless you live within thumping distance of them, I don’t recommend you even consider purchasing from them. I can’t fault the customer service though, why? Because they have none… the customer isn’t always right, in this case I was, but Empire Direct don’t give a shit about their customers, they have no customer service, and this I cannot find fault with something that does not exist. Suggestions for improvement – well, I wouldn’t help them fix the mess they’re in, not for a hundred Hitachi 24inch wide Screens. They could try implanting some customer service into their dusky little company, they could even t ry hiring a competent staff member, monkeys, would do a better job. Bradford may be in a bit of rough patch at the moment, so I am sorry if you’re having problems if you live in that area. I am also sorry to anyone that has had problems with this empire. They’re not direct, my problem has taken over 4months to be resolved, possibly a new world record, and even when it was, the neglected to inform me about it. As for the Empire side – they’re more like a back street black market Rodney and Dell boy. Avoid at all costs. My problem pales into a universe of insignificance and cannot even be compared to some of the travesties and horrors going on in the world. I live a normal life, have a roof over my head and food to eat, with running water, and for that I’m grateful and appreciative. I’m not in a poverty stricken part of the world, I may be insane, but hopefully I’m not suffering any ill health, so just to put my complaining into perspective – it won’t make a lot of difference in society, I’m not through with Empire Direct yet, I will write to the trading standards, I will complain to Hitachi again, demanding something or other, but thanks for reading, this review should never have been written. Just think about how lucky you are for a minute, then donate some money to charity, then take my advice again. Never, Ever, Buy from this hellhole. Thanks Dan
UK Games = Special Reserve. Special Reserve = great! Ha! There’s no way I’m going to leave it like that, as a member there for 270days+ the inevitable has happened, and I am now sitting down about to tell you about one of the best online stores, and communities, on the web, so buckle up and read away. Hmmm, you see Special Reserve is different. It’s not your standard Amazon.co.uk – it’s more of a community, and that is what the internet has become, it’s no longer a tool, or something that you ‘surf’, it’s about meeting new people, discussing – having your say and basically porn, porn and more porn. Only kidding guys! Special Reserve ala UKGames.com is a fantastic place to discuss gaming, it’s a great way to win games, win DVD movies, but more importantly meet people – make new friends, as well as finding some absolute bargains – UKGames.com is a haven for PC upgrades, software, peripherals and all kinds of gadgets – DVD movies are sold here, as well as loads and loads of games. You should definitely take the opportunity to sign up with Special Reserve, just £6.99 will secure you a membership – you will receive eleven magazines each year, you will need to renew every twelve months, unless you go for the two year membership, and the best thing? When you sign up you can choose a free gift, which is arguably worth more than the cost of membership. So what are you waiting for? Right, as far as online stores go, I look for a few major factors – customer service, safety and pricing. I’m not going to lie to you - SR has all three, and they’re all up there with the very top. Customer service, ok, aside for a few miss-orders, i.e. I got the wrong GBA pack, had to pay an extra £10, and some 10plug tower stand things getting destroyed in the post – Special reserve take every care to get what you ordered to you on time in the cond ition that it’s supposed to be in, and if it’s not there’s none of this waiting around – phone them up, tell them the problem and it’ll be sorted within a few days – brilliant customer service, staff that actually know what they’re talking about as well as understanding what I’m on about (that is a very scarce skill, not one that I possess yet!), and generally we have never had any problems from them. Good telephone manners & clear voices – all you need to make a phone order! Oh and the staff have that too. Except for Ali, he’s a ware wolf and can only snarl or growl. (Alistair is like one of the main people) Safety? Well, it’s probably safer buying online – that little padlock symbol is present, email confirmations are minimal, but that’s the beauty of it – Special Reserve is simple – it’s not over complicated, everything works, aside from the competition selections (Sorry!), although the competitions are not as important for Special reserve, as they are for us – and we make the forums what they are. Anyway, safety – yep, games delivered – in suitable packaging, if it isn’t complain they’ll change it for you (as of now they should be using boxes for GBA games now right) and in general the service is fast, reliable and comes with that peel off shiny strip thing, in packets, not boxes, so that makes everything worth while! Oh and with every order, even Game a day and film a day wins (that is the name of the competition), you get a “reddy”, specially from the bank of special reserve – useless on it’s own, although could be used to wipe your face, but when you accumulate 5 such tokens, you can send off for a free gift – I have done this many times, thanks a lot – makes winning 5 times that much better than winning 4! Very safe! Prices? Well, they have a superb PC fixing, constructing facilit y – the PCs have won many awards, always critically acclaimed, and I’m going to do so too. I have a main computer from SR, no problems with it at all - only been back to Sawbridgeworth for upgrading purposes. Brilliant PCs, puts Dell’s to shame, which I also have – hard drive failed in a month, yummy! Anyway, Special reserve sell a wide range of products, excluding Virtua Tennis – oh well, and the prices are competitive.. No P&P charges, no hidden fees – what you see is what you pay. And if you’re not a member - why not! £6.99 for 11 magazines (or 12/13), and you can claim a free gift too? Brilliant if you ask me. The forums are the place that I’ve been ranting on for the better part of the last 30days of being online – 50000 words about in 30days, the more I write the less I win, but that’s fine by me because I’ve ‘met’ new people – “we all play games, do you have MSN?” Excellent. I’ve been talking to ‘Dringo’ at 11pm till 1am each night, talking to ‘M16 (BFG), TW, Meka, Grix, Dan UK (Strafex), Sniper, Sheepy, Rakuga, Ant, Bandy, jd99, and more – and because of my strange sleeping habits – I go to bed at 6:30am now, all night between weightlifting (honest!) I talk to ‘Game’, about nothing in particular keeping him from being asleep, everyone is different and I’ve made some real, what I would classify as ‘friends’. We drive the site – we make the sales, we discuss the games, play the games and then go to bed at obscene hours. And it’s all good – thanks Special Reserve. One point I’d like to make, the people here may get on your nerves – try not to take everything to heart – I really thought Meka_Dragon was an idiot, then I spoke to him – not at him – and he’s a great person, not hostile at all, and he may have helped me win a PS2 – big it up to Ben. So, basically I can really honestly tell you that there is a great community feel to the place. I recommend you join and discuss. So many new faces – all from the forums, a place to chat discuss, review and cheat (enter cheats) and nowhere else is as good, in my belief. I was on the Gameplay forums, got abused by some know it all who went by the name of Otaku2000 – what an idiot, didn’t like the atmosphere, came back to SR, and hopefully have helped people out, provided many, many words in the right order for the Goat like one (a member called goatboy), and have raised a few interesting discussions. Many people can open up to the forums – if you’ve been bullied, or have something to say, just come along and have a discussion – there are some really great people there. Yeah, we can all take a break from there, we can stop buying altogether – but I’ve won many games from Special reserve, which is something that I wouldn’t have done if I’d not signed up. As a business, it’s good – Big Tony is chief, NEVER email him with suggestions - just start up your own business! We are R&D we’re the best at R&D, and who really cares if the competitions are basically bribery, ahem, let’s make SR even better!!! So, its more than just a games site – an online place to buy software, it’s a haven for those who like to talk a lot, and that’s me! Well, in terms of services available, they even have their own ISP – Freeola, I think I contributed to the slogan, if they use it yet “The best things in life are freeola” and well, there’s so much more – just visit the site, you’ll find it such a great place – look on the left scroll bar – so many different sub sites, it’s incredible. Many thanks Dan
Ok, now you'll laugh at this team, but I usually think it's best if the players can understand what they're being told by their team mates, hence, I'll give you 11 of the best English players whom I feel are world class. "Avant sur la line! Vite! Mon dieu..." "You wah mate?" See? By the way, I will not play a 4-4-2, I'll confuse things and use a 3-4-1-2, just to be awkward. Goalkeeper: There are many fantastic keepers in England, but then most of them are foreign, so I'll have to select a keeper based on his form at one of the most improved clubs in the country, and in fact the world - Paul Robinson would be my choice. He kept his cool for Leeds when they were several players down through injury and he proved that he's one of the best young keepers in the world, and will almost certainly become an England regular. Move over Nigel, Mr Robinson is the man. Right centre back: As we have three defenders here, I'm going to have to select a player that many of you may or may not have heard of, he's young, incredibly fast and is a great buy on Championship Manager... Dean Keates is a super star. In real life he's one of the freshest young talents in the business (yep, football is now a business) and I can for see him being an England player within the next few years. Plays for Walsall, I think, I'd put him in this England 11. Centre Centre back: There're many superb central defenders in England, many as strong as an ox (probably a very small ox), and some who have superb precision when tackling (Jaap Stam), great shooting skills and a goal scoring ability (i.e. Matt Elliot) and some who can combine a vast range of skills and attributes making them the obvious choice. I'll have to pick Sol Campbell as I agree with Bandy - he's one of the best in the world, he knows it - hence £20million in four years, and there isn 39;t a striker alive that doesn't fear him when playing. Top defender, hope he settles in for Arsenal well. Left Centre back: The well known fact that there are less left handed people compared to right handed people is also true when it comes to football, in terms of which side you are - right footed or left, or both, but I'm again going to have to select an Arsenal player, someone who performed the most amazing sliding challenge I have ever witnessed in my life, and that player is Ashley Cole. He'll be a regular England full team international and he's already shown he can score, run and make sublime tackles. Fresh talent from Arsenal, there isn't a better English left back. Right midfield: I could tell you in two words: David Beckham. But I'll explain why as well. Despite having a limited vocabulary he's one of our finest sports people in the world - an astounding set piece taker, Beckham is also one of the best play makers in the country, he's a superb asset for our national squad and he'll make a great captain, as he has shown so far. With the new signings at Old Trafford, I can only see his game being improved with Veron and Van Nistlerooy joining the Champions for the 2001/2002 season. No one can take better free kicks - he's consistent, accurate and you wouldn't want to be marking him! Centre midfield: When it comes down to English central midfielders it takes a while to think of who would actually play there, who have we got? In my honest view I would say Steven Gerard should play in this position, if he doesn't already, as he's one of the country's best young stars with tremendous ability, strength and speed - at Liverpool he has one of the best clubs to play and develop at, a superb youth academy and a squad of naturally gifted stars. Michael Owen and Gerard in the same team? Unstoppable... Centre midfield: Although he's mo re of an attacking player, I would include Paul Scholes in every single world 11, so hew should be in the England 11 for sure. I believe Scholes is the best all round England player, he's got incredible shooting skills, determination, link up play and he can actually think. You rarely see him talking to the press at the end of the game, he keeps a low profile, but Scholes is one of our best, and I mean that. So what if he's ginger! Brilliant player, he'd fit in well with this team. Left midfield: Yikes, who's a left sided English midfielder? Other than Chris Powell! Ok, you won't like me for this, I don't really care though - I'd put Darren Huckerby in this position, I don't really care what he thinks about it - I know he'd make an excellent left midfielder. He's got blistering pace, superbly slick footwork and can cross the ball well. He's been moved around a lot, was incredible at Coventry, but now his status has dropped. Bring him back to the Premiership - Huckerby had a unique flare and style of play. Attacking midfielder - central: I'm playing a crazy formation here anyway, so I may as well just put someone like...Nick Barmby! Wah! Yep, that's right I'd play Nick Barmby there every time, simply because he's a superb footballer. He has experience, a proven goal scoring record and would support the two strikers admirably, so no one else deserves this spot more than him. Striker: I'm tempted to put Michael Owen in this position because of his astonishing speed, finishing and age - he's young, bright and always delivers for his Merseyside club. Yes Michael Owen is every bit as good as they said he was back in 1998 - remember that goal against Argentina in the Quarterfinal? No? Well you should because it was stunning. Owen practically single handily won Liverpool the FA Cup scoring 2 late goals, outpacing the entire Arsenal defence, the awake o nes anyway. Owen is still young and already has a wealth of experience behind him. Top player. Striker: Perhaps not an obvious choice, but being a Blackburn devotee I would put the brilliant Matt Jansen in the other striker position, ahead of players like Fowler, Heskey, Cole and Alan Smith. Why? Because it's my team and my decision! No really, Matt Jansen vowed to play in the Premiership this forthcoming season, and he's made it possible with a promotion with Blackburn. He can score from every angle, again is very fast indeed, and has one of the best volleys in the game. There you go! That's my World 11 with English players only - cheers. Dan
If there was only one game I could have for the Game Boy Advance, it would have to be Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2, simply because it’s one of the best console games around thanks to intuitive and original gameplay, stunning graphics and it’s such an addictively playable title. So, I ended up selecting the world’s greatest extreme sports game around, and it’s fantastic. At around £30 - £35 per game, be sure to buy something that’ll last more than an hour of play. Tony Hawk’s in one such game that is worth every penny. It is ‘different’ to the PlayStation/Dreamcast and PC versions, but it’s undeniably impressive. Tony Hawk’s 2 is the world’s first 3D handheld skating game, obviously, and remains just as addictive as the console versions. Controlling your mini skateboard person isn’t sophisticatedly complex, and just like the home console games, the controls are easy to learn, and you’ll be discovering and performing new tricks every time you switch it on! B acts as the jump button – hold it down for longer to release into a higher jump; A performs the switch as well as grind where you can find a rail or edge; L and R are the main tricks – use a combination when in mid-flight to gain higher points and pull off even more spectacular stunts. Anyway – you’ll learn how to play very easily, with the D-pad in use for changing direction of course. Seeing as the GBA is about the size of a standard control pad, you won’t have any trouble reaching the buttons. It’s all very good indeed. Unfortunately there is no link up mode in the game, so it remains a single player experience throughout, but it’s not such a great loss – the game is one of the best one player classics ever. You’ve got 3 modes of play and an options menu, so you can either partake in the Career mode, Free-skate or Single session. Free skate would be the best cou rse of action if you’ve never played before, just allowing you to get to grips with the game engine without the pressure of time limits. Single session allows you to play in any of the unlocked skate-parks (unlocked in the Career mode) – your score will be saved in the high-scores table. Career mode is the main goal in Tony Hawk’s – select a skater from 13 of the brilliant pro-riders, take the tutorial if you want some guidance, then get ready to unleash your skills in as many levels as you can unlock. Your career will start off in the hanger level, with further levels and competition stages being unlocked as you complete enough mini tasks on the level goal check list. Each level, that I’ve encountered so far, has been almost identical to the Dreamcast levels, and so they should be, although there are few differences – fewer new sections to unlock per level (the helicopter on the first stage doesn’t seem to want to take off) and there is less detail, but this doesn’t really deter from the gameplay. Every time you play through a stage, you can always go back and try again – get that hidden tape, find the ‘S’ to complete the word SKATE, or simply go back and try some new tricks. In each non-competition stage you have 2minutes to do as well as possible – look at the level goals and see which you’re going to attempt in that go. The competition levels, the first being Marseille, gives you just 1minute to impress the judges and work up a top score out of 100 in order to gain a medal (from Bronze, Silver and Gold etc). The competitions aren’t usually that hard, but they’re great fun anyway. Whenever you achieve something in a stage you’ll be treated to cash! Spend it on new stats, tricks or head to the skate shop for improved boards etc. What? No create a skate park? One of the main plus points in the console versions was the inclusion of a ‘create your own park’ feature whereby you could do exactly that. It may not sound overly exciting now, but at the time this was a great idea – using trees, half-pipes, rails and all sorts to create your very own unique park. Aside from that there was a ‘create a skateboarder’ mode as well! This was again superb, allowing you to customise and name your very own player. Neither of these additions made it to the Game Boy Advance version, but it doesn’t really matter – it’d be too fiddly to do and saving them would take up too much memory (stored on the card). I wouldn’t have minded a link up 2 or 4 player mode, but it was not to be…Sigh… Graphically Tony Hawk’s 2 is not on a par with the Dreamcast version, but then it wouldn’t be. Instead, the isometric viewpoint and true 3D levels and animated characters are highly impressive and look a lot clearer than the PlayStation grainy version. Everything is so teeny that you won’t really notice the lack of detail, but it’s highly colourful, no pop up in sight and it’s very fast indeed. Slick, smooth and supremely stylish, this is one of the most visually impressive games on the system, making use of its 32bit handheld technology to a treat. Even when Tony/other skater falls over you can see those little red polygons. Sounds good, with some great little lyric free tunes in a carefree papa roach style. The music does get a little boring, but you can always adjust the sound levels. The skaters make noises when they fall over, and that slick sound occurs whenever you perform a perfect trick! Superb! It’s not bad, it’s acceptable, but games will have better sound in the future. Tony Hawk’s 2 is an essential GBA game, and everyone who played the console versions simply has to get this, and even if you’re new to the whole THPS2 experience, you should give it a try, thank Activision and co. and get some tri ple A handheld class gaming in.
Ah, it arrived without fail and not a pre-order fiasco in sight. Yes Nintendo have gotten it right again, a mere 10 years on from the original Game Boy arrives one of the hottest pieces of gaming hardware money can buy. The Game Boy Advance has arrived. I never bothered with the original handheld superstar console, although it seems as though well over 120million of you did! Home to thousands of games the GB and Game Boy Colour showed us that you don’t need millions of polygons to make superb games. Many a time I would pick up a friend Game Boy with Tetris in and stay contented for a good few hours, possibly days. The fact that the least complicated games sold so well shows that they’re nearly always the greatest, perhaps. The Pokemon rainbow of titles sold hysterically well, as did the classics of Mario and Tetris and alike. Anyway, Nintendo decided to change things, and so 8bit became 32. As I sit here writing this, drinking an ice cool glass of lemonade I know that life is good. And the GBA can only enrich your gaming delights, make you realise that you don’t need a £200 graphics card to experience the forefront of technology. In this mini world you will find many magical moments, let me tell you more. At around £90, despite Nintendo’s SRP of around £80, the latest gaming device to hit our merry shore isn’t as cheap as in Japan (£58) or as in the USA (£75) but in my view it’s worth every penny. Why should you get a Game Boy Advance? Because! No that isn’t the reason, although you really shouldn’t waste your time reading this – you cannot afford to wait! Go get one now! Actually, you should read. The GBA is Nintendo’s little spoiled baby. The Game Boy has dominated the handheld market after fighting off the battery thirsty Game Gear from Sega and the excellent Neo Geo Pocket Colour, which out surpassed the Game Boy in everyway except sales, and so fell to the ground and sunk. Loads of people own one, and now they’re all likely to be considering the advance in gaming. Size matters… At just 144mm wide, 82mm in height and 25mm in depth (as just measured) the GBA is roughly the same size as the Game Boy, only on its side and the screen is 50% larger on the GBA. It’s a wide screen! Probably the cheapest and smallest wide-screen you can get – 43mm by 63mm. Anyway, its large enough in my belief. Us Europeans get the same model as the Japanese and so it will seem smaller to us, as the Japanese people are generally smaller than us with smaller hands, with the exception of Sumo wrestlers. It’s easy to hold though, brilliantly designed with 2 shoulder buttons (L and R), an A and B, D-pad (not analogue – very relieving) and a start, select and power button. It is a lot smaller than I depicted, but that’s not a bad thing, in fact it makes Nintendo seem even more impressive for such compactness – all that technology! IT’S IN COLOUR! Well obviously, but you can get the GBA in four different colours – the shell/body colour. Select from “Arctic”: a pure white (not a good idea for grubby fingered people), “Glacier”: a light blue see through colour, my personal favourite and so this is what I have, “Indigo”: a solid purple colour, probably the most popular at the moment, and finally “Clear Red” which looks more pink than red, but it’s the other see through machine. So make you choice wisely, this’ll be with you for a good ten years hopefully. As for the screen, well it’s not backlit, but then if it was you’d be forever recharging the batteries, so the only way you’re going to be able to see what you’re playing is by sitting or standing where a strong light source (i.e. near a window in daylight) is behind you. Graphically? It’s so much better than the Game Boy and weR 17;ve now got special 3D effects and isometric 3D gaming, ala Tony Hawk’s 2. I have just the one game at the moment with Super Mario Advance set to join the empty box of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 on my shelves (the cartridge is in the GBA), and I’m extremely impressed. I keep reading people’s thoughts that the GBA is basically a portable SNES, with old technology, 2D games and nothing new about it, but how could that be a bad thing! A portable Super Nintendo the size of a Casio Calculator. Superb. Ah, but the GBA can perform full 3D gaming, although there is absolutely nothing wrong with 2D games. The simpler the better in my view! Just pick one up – test one, it’s fantastically fast and will give you quite a surprise. Be sceptical by all means, you’ll just be even more amazed. Vibrant, colourful and fluid! The launch line up was particularly good but you should expect visuals to improve immensely over the next few years. Sound wise! As I say I have only Tony Hawk’s 2 at the moment, but already it’s clear to tell that the sound has evolved from simple beeps and dings of the original GB. Turn it on without the game and you’ll be treated to a relatively simple start up as the words ‘Game’ and ‘Boy’ bounce onto the screen along with lively sound! Tony Hawk’s music differs to the Dreamcast and PS versions, but you still get that Papa Roach style of rhythm and sound, but there’re no actual words (i.e. song lyrics), but it’s still something. Very clear – one front mounted speaker just below the A and B buttons. Good, good! Ah so the games, here’s a list of what you could be getting in the next few weeks. No delays, no supply problems, well done Nintendo! The magic list (launch titles): Army Men Advance. Chu Chu Rocket! F-Zero: Maximum Velocity GT Advance Iridion 3D Kuru Kurur Kururin Rayman Advance Read y2Rumble 2 Super Mario Advance Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 Top Gear GT · Pretty impressive! ChuChu Rocket is the first game to make use of the link up play – up to four of you can connect and partake in one of the best puzzle games around -mouse mania! · I’ve never played any of the Army Men games, nor do I want to, so I’d stay away from that if I were you. Although it might be good, stranger things have happened. · F-Zero is supposedly one of the best games around I’ll have to get it! It’s meant to be one of the fastest racing games available on any format. Futuristic and fun! · GT advance looks to be the better of the two car racers here, but don’t quote me. · I have no idea what Iridion 3D is, but hey it’s got three-dimensional graphics! · Kuru Kuru Kururin is a suitably named Japanese insane puzzler of some sort, check the screen shots, read the individual reviews and make you mind up. One special feature of the game is that you can play a 2player game, using the link up cable and only one of you needs the cartridge. · Rayman Advance takes a 2D stance in an attempt to be the better of the two ‘adventure’ style games, of itself and Mario. Worldwide acclaim for the Dreamcast, PlayStation and PlayStation 2 versions, this is bound to be good. · Ready 2 Rumble 2 should be funny. Secrets to unlock, hilarious characters and easy to get into. Not overly serious. · Super Mario Advance! This’ll arrive Monday hopefully, so expect a review soon. It’s Mario! If it’s anything like the NES and SNES versions I’ll be delighted. Welcome back Mario! · Tony Hawk’s 2. An essential purchase. One of the best selling extreme sports games, Tony Hawk and friends make it onto the tiniest 32bit machine available in style. Brilliant! Sites for more information: Nintendo only: www.Nintendo.com So, with future titles including Super Mario Kart Advance, Sonic The Hedgehog, Silent Hill, Bomberman, Castlevania and many, many more (check the Nintendo homepage) the future is luminous for everything Nintendo! I imagine over 2million GBA consoles will have been sold worldwide by the end of the week. Expect the Tomb Raider, Fifa, Resident Evil and Tekken franchises to jump on board within the not too distant future. Games cost around £30, so they are slightly more than Game Boy games, but they’re worth more. Just make your decisions carefully. You can get a wide range of quirky and innovative accessories too, and the GBA will even be able to act as a control pad for the Game Cube – Nintendo’s future console, so get one now! Right, you can get mains adaptors, worm lights, link cables, carry-cases and so forth. There’ll be 3rd party and official, so have a look around. Advice? Keep the screen clean! Fingerprints will always be a pain, so have a tissue or duster nearby at all times. Batteries will not last forever, so it is advisable to get a pair of rechargeable ones, the GBA does come with 2AA Panasonics, but they aren’t rechargeable. So what about the box? (Who cares about the box!?) Only teasing. It’s a nice box, you get instructions but I won’t bore you with a 300word description of the box. That’s it for the moment! Look after it, enjoy Game Boy Advance 24:7. Dan ----- Oh yeah - you can play all of your old GB games on it! Not bad! If the PS2 was a handheld, it'd get flattened ;)
I love watching films, they can make you cry, laugh, get angry, go insane, but most importantly they entertain. That was not supposed to rhyme, please excuse me! I have an Encore Dv450, which is a nice multi region machine, it's sleek, silver and has a superb range of features, excellent sound and wonderful clarity on the picture so combining this with a 'dodgy' (as in faulty, but the fault that is apparent, Empire Direct cannot accept responsibility for, grrr) Hitachi 24inch wide screen (not bragging, just setting the scene) with 3DS surround sound, I am able to watch DVD movies at a high quality, which is how they should be viewed. I suppose I have about 15 DVD movies, but for me, the extras, the film trailers and special features aren't really the reason I prefer DVD to VHS, and in many cases I haven't bothered looking at them because somehow it might spoil the film for me, but I can understand why this does add appeal. I want to recapture the cinema experience, with that good old 'Universal Studios' or 'Spyglass' start up sequence on my TV with perfect sound all around me, it's superb. So far my top five DVD movies (of all time, can I say of all time?) are the following. At number 5: Alien. At the time of release, I was too young to go and see Alien at the big screen but I know how it turned into a classic, and with the following 3 making it a superb series, and the prolonged endearment that people have to this film I’m able to realise how such a film could be considered the greatest Science Fiction film of all time, and I was able to watch and think 'yeah, not bad at all'! The suspense is incredible - the silences in the film, the whole atmosphere is something that I have never witnessed before, and although it's a very long film, it manages to captivate the audience throughout. A perfect film that still entertains today, sparking off one of the greatest ever sequels (games firms take note) in the supreme 'Aliens'. I really should see that film again now I have it on DVD - it's not in my top 5, because Alien, in my view was more groundbreaking and a better film in general. Most will disagree. Sigourney Weaver and the rest were impeccable, with some real moments that made me shudder and jump! Superb film. I'd recommend to anyone. At number 4: Toy Story 2. I was quite pleased to win ‘a DVD of my choice’ in a competition about two months ago, actually, I was delighted with winning (jumping up and down and dancing round the room - in mind at least) and so I thought I'd get Toy Story 2 after seeing the original and being totally amazed! At first viewing I didn't think the storyline was as good as the first, but after many times watching it I have to say that it excels and is possibly a better film, especially after watching the hilarious and informative special features - the end of the movie 'the retakes' or something were funnier than the actual film, but overall it was, as Tom Hanks nicely puts it 'optical poptitude'! The 'effects' are astounding, with everything completely computer generated, but the voice acting really makes Toy Story 2 come alive. Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Kelsey Grammer and more, keeping it an all-star cast. An enchanting movie, with great music, acting and lovable characters, so yet again a brilliant DVD encounter! At the bronze medal spot: The Exorcist. Oh my word. 28 years on and this is still something of a 5 star quality movie. At just £12.99 you can't really go wrong, no matter how much of the film was made up, the fact remains it can shock, disturb, but also make you think about life in a new, more positive light - it really can, and has done. Which is nice! If you want to read my full review on the film then just look around my profile pages – it still hasn’t got a crown despite other member’s nominations!! The quality is very impressive, great engrossing story and something that can make you think - especially after the film. Some classic lines in the movie, that I just had to note down... “Turn down the lights, turn up the sound & enjoy the digitally re-mastered version of The Exorcist’! “The attack is psychological & powerful – do not listen, do not listen!” “Have you ever heard of exorcism?” I noted these down for some reason, so they must be significant in the film, and the process, although at times does get a bit tiresome, will definitely stir you up big time. Best music in a film without a doubt. Tubular Bells. Brilliant. Number 2: Blade. Ah yes. Wesley Snipes and Steven Dorff in their element. One of the most action filled thrillers you'll ever see, and something that you simply must watch again and again. Blade is a film that turns the ridiculous into something sublime. Vampires. Half Vampire, half human. All sounds daft doesn't it? Well, forget Buffy, Blade is everything and more. Astounding special effects, from blood and gore to lightning and so forth... I shan't go into too much, but it's an edge of your seat roller coaster of a ride that has the best opening to a film I have seen, and definitely the best ending. Roll on Blade 2! Blade rules, and is simply one of the greatest movies of all time, that you really must be mad not to want to watch this! Number 1: Gladiator. The best film I have ever seen, and the most impressive picture quality yet from a DVD. The movie is packaged in a 2 disc edition set, 1 with the film, and one with the extra features, however I haven't yet watched those as this is one film that I don't want to know about how they made it! It's a wonderful production, deservedly winning many awards and high critical acclaim. I didn't manage to watch it at the big screen, but mine's big enou gh to appreciate how amazing it really is. RUSSELL CROWE, JOAQUIN PHOENIX, OLIVER REED, RICHARD HARRIS, DEREK JACOBI, CONNIE NIELSEN, DAVID SCHOFIELD, TOMAS ARANA are all superb and a real delight to watch, excellent acting. Really moving performances, with characters that you'll love and hate. RIDLEY SCOTT, a superb director (Also brilliant for Hannibal) making it a flawless movie. It's just so well done, with incredible costumes and with special effects that enrich, not hinder, the brilliant storyline. All the films are amazing, there are some absolutely fantastic DVDs to get, and for the few remaining sceptics - you really should get into DVD now. Thanks for reading my review! Dan
"Ladies and Gentlemen start your engines!" Well, after the Sega Saturn's demise they're selling at next to nothing prices second hand nowadays, and you could easily pick up a Saturn and both versions of Daytona - CCE and the classic original Daytona USA for less than the price of this version, the screeching Daytona USA 2001! But you shouldn't oh no, well you could, just so long as you get this one as well. Forget the fact that the Dreamcast production has ceased - already this year we've had a few classics and Daytona USA 2001 is no exception! Now read on and pay attention! Daytona USA is every bit as impressive as the arcade classic which for it's time was far more entertaining than Sega Rally and Ridge Racer in your local, or not so local place of arcade gaming. It stood out for it's incredible graphics, stunning gameplay and more notably, the size of the seats that you sat in! Oh yes you got a full car to ride in, obviously it didn't move, aside from the earthquake simulating seats! Ouch! Anyway, if you ever get the chance I do recommend it, but be careful of back injury. So the good news is, with Sega as a leading software firm, now you can enjoy it from the comfort of your own home! The game features all your favourite cars and tracks - the Hornet, Lightning and more with a brilliant car colour custom design option! The graphics are wonderfully colourful, with no pop-up what so ever and astonishing lighting effects and frame rate. The handling takes a while to get used to, but Daytona is a credit to the game developers - the difficulty curve is just right, with the level of AI for the computer cars being adjustable, for the better or worse human player. The fact that you can race up-to 40 other cars makes Daytona not only stand out, but trample the competition! The lack of online play isn't a problem, you'll thank Sega for it in the long term, financially at l east, and with a 4 player option - yes the full four control ports can be used, with a similarly impressive draw distance making it great fun and highly competitive, a single player championship mode with a dubious, but fair enough point system, versus mode, & arcade and time attacks all included. It's a brilliant game with superb music and you just have to get it! All I can say is 'roooaaarrriiinggg start!' Which is Japanese for 'Rolling Start'! Oh and losing isn't such a problem as you're treated to a rather nice Game Over song :) It’s very different to the likes of Metropolis Street Racer, - far more fun to play and easier to get into (no ‘warning’ every time you hit a barrier) it’s not as serious as F355 or Le Mans 24, and is probably the only racing game, apart from the hybrid that is Crazy Taxi, that truly deserves to be attached to the word ‘fun’. Daytona is pure genius, with more than just a lick of paint. Top stuff Sega - keep it up.