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Mutalisk

Mutalisk
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Member since: 25.02.2009

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      11.06.2011 18:30
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      It's not perfect but for the money, it'll certainly do.

      The Pickboy Plectrum Holder is a simple plectrum pocket which one can attach to the head of acoustic or electric guitars. It's available in a few different colours, but the most subtle and stylish one in my opinion has got to the be the classic silver. It doesn't look in the least bit tacky and is a useful, if somewhat extravagant and unnecessary piece of kit.

      Picks often get lost. I don't actually have a carpet in my room, it's just a tapestry of thousands of misplaced plectrums. So this is definitely a useful invention and a well-implemented idea. One good thing about the pickboy however, is that it's spring loaded, meaning that there's none of that fiddling about trying to tease the plecs out of their position once you've put them in. Putting them in is remarkably simple and they always remain in place no matter how much the neck shakes or moves.

      The holder has a very adhesive sticky back which, although not being replaceable, doesn't tend to come off, so although it's reliable, you'd better make your mind up on which guitar to stick it on. Then again, it's still only around two to four pounds from most online retailers and dedicated guitar shops, can store up to around twelve plectrums depending on size and thickness and definitely scores points for coming in multiple colours.

      However, thicker plectrums, especially dunlops are difficult to fit in, despite being easy to get out. This is a tech issue to do with the spring loader and isn't the case with other holders. Also, the larger Sharkfin holders often simply do not fit properly and can prove a bit of a nightmare. So despite a few technical flaws and it's single-use nature, it's definitely one of the better pick holders and is without a doubt, still very good value for money. Unlike some, it actually enhanced the aesthetic of the instrument, which can only be a good thing.
      Recommended. =]

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        09.06.2011 15:22
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        D'Addario all the way =]

        D'Addario are generally known among guitar players (especially in the UK) as being the best and most reasonably priced strings readily and commercially available in most stores. They are renowned for having a very clean and pronounced timbre which is absolutely ideal for playing rock, blues and jazz on acoustic and electric guitars and offers a very pronounced and distinctive sound without being tinny in the slightest. There are a wide range of D'Addario strings available and I have never known these strings to fray or perish as they appear to be made of much stronger stuff than that.

        The strings are of good quality and are exceptionally durable. Personally I'd go for gauge 14 strings as that model of D'Addario are particularly good for playing rock and blues fusion as well as power chords, and give out a nice ring than with other strings I haven't quite been able to match. Classical pieces also sound really good on D'Addario strings, especially those with lots of bends and arpeggios. Personally, and especially for classical acoustic pieces I would recommend the phosphor bronze range as these are not only the most aesthetically pleasing, but are also ideally tough and responsive, and trills and hammer-ons won't hurt your fingers too much.

        These will run you in the market of around eight pounds a set in the UK, as opposed to the cheaper sets of 6 strings which will be more in the region of about five pounds. Nonetheless, I'd have to say that it is well worth paying the extra few quid, as these are one of the cheapest but most celebrated brands of strings which are widely available as well as being of a reasonable price range. I've always gone with D'Addario strings and will continue to until I find something better. Wholeheartedly recommended.

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        09.06.2011 13:40
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        Wholeheartedly recommended. Definitely the best capo available on the market.

        At first I was sceptical about the mechanism for the Jim Dunlop Trigger Capo, but after I realized how simple, accurate and easy to use the clip on function was, I came to the conclusion that this was the best capo I had ever owned. It does not require messing around with screws which easily become lost, fabrics or elastics which easily snap or any of that other faff generally associated with cheapers models.

        The capo clips down perfectly well on the strings, and the mechanism means that the position of the capo on the fretboard can be switched in a fraction of a second. The leather on the hook is of very good quality and would take quite possibly decades to begin to perish. The 'handle' part of the trigger also has a number of raised metal bumps on it, which means it is easy to hold and won't slip out of your hand. I've known it to sound perfect, even when poorly positioned due to my own laziness.

        It presses down hard on the strings of both acoustic and electric guitars and is sturdy enough to not fly off the fretboard some some capo models I could name. Also, the pressure is such that I am yet to hear a lemon note sound on my guitar. The price of this capo is a few pounds higher than what one might expect to pay, but its wide availability and critical response are a testament to its excellent design. It is well worth paying an extra couple of quid for, as this is a capo that will likely last a lifetime without letting you down. -- It's certainly better than an elastic band wrapped around a HB pencil anyhow. It's also aesthetically pleasing and very simple to use.

        This is as an excellent product and I would consider it an essential part of any guitarist's inventory. Brilliant for electric and acoustic alike and not, as it might initially appear, a rip-off.

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        • Philosophy of Mind / Discussion / 42 Readings / 40 Ratings
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          11.10.2010 17:57
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          There's a lot to think about.

          Exactly what are the differing views on the nature, and existence of the soul throughout the World?

          Well, Global views on the nature and existence of the soul are varied and numerous. The majority of such schools of thought are split into two categories, namely Monism and Dualism. Put simply, Monism is the belief that humans are one single entity. - This belief can be set into two sub-categories; Materialist Monists claim that humans consist of a living physical body, and that the concept of a soul, or a conscious entity is merely an illusion. A well-known advocate of this belief is the prominent author and evolutionary biologist Professor Richard Dawkins. Materialist Monists, by very definition, believe that when the body dies, we cease to exist. They deny the existence of a soul, because it is impossible to empirically prove.

          Idealist Monism, on the other hand, dictates that the true reality is the spiritual World of Forms, (Plato) and that in turn, the physical world is an illusion created by the mind or spirit. Plato considered the soul to be the true identity of a person, something which belonged also to the unchanging world of forms, the directing force of the body, ideas, and reality. The Platonic soul is comprised of three parts, the logos, (mind, nous or reason,) the thymos, (emotion, spiritedness) and the eros (desire.) This is largely compatible with the views of Materialist philosopher Gilbert Ryle, who argued that to postulate the idea of a soul as being something separate from the body is to make a categorical mistake, because he considers the soul to be the result of several neurological and physiological processes and argues that, like departments comprising a University, the origin of the soul cannot be attributed to just mind or body.

          Perhaps the most prominent of monist notions, however, is found in Judaeo-Christian theology. In Genesis 2 v 7, The Bible states that human beings are a living unity of body and spirit, ('nephesh', or 'living being') and that this combination is fundamentally inseparable, even after death. It is unclear as to how such an entity could be recreated as a whole in the afterlife ('resurrection') as it must be the case that some form of separation would need to occur at the point of death.

          But the dualist idea of a separate body and soul, at least one of which moves to an afterlife after the death of a person is by no means a modern idea. Evidence of highly ritualistic Neanderthal burials as early as 70,000 B.C. would seem to suggest that such doctrines are far more ancient than many hold them to be.


          In contemporary philosophy though, Richard Dawkins, a hard-materialist monist, argues that life is merely bytes of digital information, and that consciousness is just a product of evolution, as is conscience, which enables us to adopt the best means of survival and reproduction. Similarly, Behaviourist Psychologist B.F. Skinner argued that there is no such state as a mind, or soul, or will, and they are just a series of causes and effects dictated by the environment of the individual, which results in humans possessing no free will, although this does raise a few questions pertaining to the apparent illusion of choice we all seem to experience.

          In 'De Anima,' Aristotle concludes that the soul is the life-giving force that exists within the human body, that is to say, that the soul is what makes the distinction between a machine and conscious organism. Uncharacteristically pantheistic in his approach, he believes -for example- that all humans have a human soul and that all dogs have dog soul. For Aristotle, the soul is the item that allows humans to develop and flourish ('eudemonia') but it is not something that can survive the death of the body. While acknowledging the generally-accepted idea that only human beings have a rational soul (again, the Platonic 'nous,') he agreed that they both worked in close tandem with each other, sharing and causing feelings and experiences, albeit in different ways.

          Jesuit-educated and highly influential French thinker Rene Descartes on the other hand, took a far more epistemological approach to understanding the nature and existence of the soul. His method specifically involved the rejection of any assumptions that can be in any way doubted empirically. He settled with the maxim 'Cogito ergo sum' meaning 'I think, therefore I am.' which is to say that the only thing which cannot be doubted is that there is doubting going on, and hence, the soul\mind (terminology which Descartes considered interchangeable) definitely exists in some capacity, even though he assumed it to be non-physical, occupying no space. Rather, he considered the mind, not unlike Aristotle's ideas in De Anima, to work with the body, in the regard that the mind has the capacity to form consciousness, and the body has a material form. He later considered the relationship between the two to be symbiotic, on the grounds that the body can cause effects in the mind and vice versa. (screaming because of a nightmare, or experiencing a drug-trip.)
          So in a very real respect, Descartes was a dualist, (someone who believes that the mind and body are entirely separate entities) who believed that the mind made contact with the body in the brain's pineal gland.

          Hinduism holds a dualist attitude toward to the idea of the soul, stating that the soul comes from one ultimate reality which is the source of all things in the universe. Hindus believe that Brahman is in all things, and that it is the true self of all beings. Hindus argue that the soul is a spark from the fire of Brahman, and is hence, holy, and will be reborn and united with Brahman in a way which body won't, after many instances of reincarnation into different earthly living forms, provided that the soul has collected sufficient positive energy (Karma.)

          Contrastingly, Buddhism takes a monist perspective of the soul, on the grounds that because the world is in infinite flux,(Annica) there can be no discernible permanent state of existence, meaning that the sense of self humans appear to exhibit is non-permanent, and indefinable. Therefore, self-referential phrases like "I" or "Me" are impossible, and in Buddhism, are seen as mere illusory signposts. The idea of such selflessness is referred to as 'Anatta.' This is not to say that Buddhism necessarily always denies the existence of material states, but rather, distinguishes physical states from mental ones. But this does not mean that Buddhism refutes the concept of the existence of a soul, but rather, refuses to accept it as a permanent entity which remains constant, either materially, or spiritually.

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          • Resident Evil: Afterlife (DVD) / DVD / 35 Readings / 32 Ratings
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            04.10.2010 17:52
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            Worth a look.

            Since the resurgence of 3D cinema, it's hardy surprising to find that in action heroes, the use of ninja throwing stars, high-gauge shotgun shells and roundhouse kicks has significantly increased. Resident Evil: Afterlife is no exception to this.

            Mostly abandoning the sci-fi themes explored at the end of the previous movie, the film is essentially an action-heavy, zombie-fuelled gore-fest, with all manner of innovative action sequences. Milla Jovovich demonstrates her superb gymnastic ability, and pretty much carries the film, detracting from the generally poor acting quality of the supporting cast.

            But despite all of the hammy dialogue, derivative characterization of supporting cast, and the fact that it's obviously just a cash-in, it's a fairly solid action movie and fans of the series are sure to enjoy it, although fans of the games are less likely to, since the story arcs are completely different as is the entire plot of the film.

            As a fan of the games, I wasn't impressed when I saw some of the typical fan-favourite enemies thrown into the mix just for the sake of it. There are G-virus and Las Plagas zombies a-plenty, (a la Resident Evil 4 and 5) and given that such outbreaks are never explained in the film canon, a lot of the more observant fans will likely find this a little patronizing.

            It runs just shy of an hour and a half, which is pretty much as long as it needs to be. The script and plot move quite slowly, but have occasionally clever twists and turns. The direction is pretty good, with some interesting angles and often claustrophobic ambient lighting. Despite the plot, the film takes place a very immersive and believable Universe.

            The best thing about the movie, in my opinion, was definitely the score. Resident Evil: Afterlife has a superb, pumping industrial rock soundtrack composed mostly by Maynard James Keenan of Tool and A Perfect Circle fame, that has you gently tapping your foot as you witness the highly visceral action sequences with some very impressive special effects, captured by the cameras invented specially for the movie Avatar.

            In essence, the film knows what it is. A cheap cash-in that's fairly entertaining, and somewhat little in keeping with the essence of the franchise. The viewer isn't urged to take it too seriously, because the film isn't at all self-insistent, and doesn't take itself too seriously either.

            Overall I'm giving Afterlife a generous 4/5.

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            26.06.2010 15:50
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            A superb addition to the franchise.

            Resident Evil: Code Veronica X is the re-release of the original Dreamcast title; Code:Veronica. Like the rest of the series, it's a survival horror puzzle adventure shooter. It follows the same format as the previous games in the franchise, item-collection, puzzle-solving and zombie shooting with Claire and Chris Redfield.

            After the Raccoon City Incident, Claire Redfield is continuing her search for her brother, infiltrating Umbrella labs and facilities, until finally she becomes caught by the zombifying T-virus outputting corporation, and ends up imprisoned on a remote island of unknown location. Teaming up with teenage inmate Steve Burnside, she continues to battle her way through hordes of undead and mutants to find out what's happened to her brother.

            This is definitely the longest and most challenging game in the series, with many vast locations and myriad puzzles to solve, and there's definitely no shortage of targets, either. The plot is fantastic and features the survivors of a once highly-decorated family from the Umbrella corporation mad with power, torturing Claire and Steve at every term with their armies of zombies and traps. Many of the diverse environments are based on early 20th century Russian palaces and courtyards. The graphics are fantastic, as is the animation, and the character interaction is also entertaining and engaging, despite the obligatory bad voice acting.

            The combat is great, as is the classic control and aiming system. Dual-wield weapons are very cool, and the gunplay is especially visceral in this one. Boss fights are refreshingly simplistic, as are the puzzles. Although the game doesn't really suffer fools gladly, it's rare to find yourself stuck for ages on some ridiculous obtuse puzzle. Rather, lateral thinking and pausing for thought is encouraged.

            The game is unfathomably long and whilst some sequences may drag a little, the payoff is always worth it. There are plenty of thoroughly entertaining cut-scenes and shocking sequences, as well as lots of shifts in focus and changes of playable characters (3 in total.)

            The unlockable features are pretty standard, new weapons and costumes etc, but there is one new mode that particularly stands out from the rest. - First person shooter mode is surprisingly playable and entertaining. It definitely adds to longevity and is fun to play, without going on for too long.

            The PS2 version Veronica X is definitely worth buying over the original PS2 release, or Dreamcast version, since it features longer cutscenes and sequences, as well as the aforementioned first-person mode, without the clunky DC controls.

            The setting and atmosphere is great, with lots of expositional and shocking documents to be discovered. The musical score and sounds effects are deeply atmospheric and set the scene and tone brilliantly.

            The game looks great and plays really well with no noticeable bugs or glitches, and the controls are very intuitive too and the gameplay and plot is superb. There's really nothing to dislike about this title, and although playing the previous games is not a prerequisite to enjoying this one, you'd definitely get more out of it if you have. This is probably the best of its generation of Resident Evil games, and is thoroughly atmospheric and entertaining. Wholeheartedly recommended.

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              20.06.2010 12:55
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              A decent take on zombie horror and action.

              Resident Evil: Extinction is the third film in the series of zombie action horror film adaptations by Paul W.S. Anderson.
              In a move detracting from the game series itself, the T-Virus has lain waste to the entire planet, destroying cities, countries, continents and forests, zombifying every other human along the way.

              Naturally it stars Milla Jovovich as a survivor who meets up with Claire Redfield and Carlos Oliviera from the second and third games, who have developed a small surviving community in the Nevada Desert. It's a bold step to take the series in, and one that actually works surprisingly well. The Universe is believabl and the plot is promising and certainly well executed. The omnipresent, evil pharmaceutical corporation Umbrella are tracking virally-enhanced super-human Alice through the desert, as she's trying to save innocent folk from hordes of undead. Along the way, she starts to get pretty damn tough.

              Apart from Milla Jovovich as Alice, the casting is all pretty poor. I remember lead antagonist Albert Wesker as a very imposing, threatening evil genius, not a fat faced, bum chinned American moron who attempts to maintain his presence by just being a little bit rude to his staff. Also, fans have raised a few questions about the ethnicity Spanish-named Carlos Olivera, who is stated actually be of Native American descent in Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles, and here, is being played by Israeli actor Oded Fehr. Where on earth is this man supposed to be from?

              Either way, although things are becoming a little far fetched, messing around with ideas of telekinesis, pyrokinesis, it's good to see them messing around with something new. Paul W.S. Anderson is clearly quite a big fan of the games, as is Milla Jovovich, and this series is definitely not a cash-in. It's nice to see them messing around with ideas of virally shifting consciousnesses too, a concept which the franchise hasn't played with since the release of Capcom's rare Japanese 20 minute short film Biohazard 4D Executor. I'm sure they'll follow it through in the next film, scheduled for release this September.

              The special effects are great, and the action sequences use very minimal CGI, which is also great. You can tell when they're using real people made up to look like zombies, as opposed to CGI hordes that look flat and weightless. Direction is impressive, as are some of the performances. It's incredibly violent and many scenes are extremely visceral, intense and engaging, with an awful lot of gore.

              The DVD itself is pretty good, with some aesthetically pleasing artwork, a behind-the-scenes look at the film, and myriad subtitle tracks for foreign folk and the hearing impaired. The sound and video quality are also very high.

              I would recommend this film only to fans of the franchise, since the only place you could get any real context would be by playing some of the earlier games and seeing the previous two films. OVerall, this is a fun and exciting zombie-action movie that plays with some interesting themes, but doesn't work as a stand-alone film at all. You definitely need to at least watch the previous two films.

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              • Super Cap Gun / Fancy Dress / 38 Readings / 36 Ratings
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                19.06.2010 13:15
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                The best economy capgun money can buy.

                I want to start by saying that this sort of thing doesn't make people serial killers. You can't blame society's ills on children's toys. It's just silly.

                The Super Cap Gun is pretty much the old standard of children's cap guns. Made of a heavy plastic / metal compound, it's fires caps off at a surprisingly loud, and surprisingly irritating rate. Because of its monochrome nature it has a lot of imaginative applications because it could belong to a policeman or a soldier or whomever your child wants it too.

                The firing rate is very fast and very loud and satisfying. The handle is ergonomic so it won't hurt your child's fingers or give them blisters, and the toy is completely safe for a number of reasons. Firstly, it's great that you can't hold up a bank with it because of the painted red part of the barrel, and the caps will definitely not burn the fingers of the user, owing the the heaviness of the (probably treated) metal compound in which the loader of the gun is encased.

                Nonetheless, although it doesn't give off too much of a spark, it's still a satisfying sound and feel, and caps are easy to load with no mechanisms that might chop the ends of your fingers off. The back of the gun can also but hit precisely with the palm of your hand, to give of an awesome western automatic effect which although wastes caps, looks really cool.

                It takes standard six-shooter caps which are available all over the place, and are the most popular kind, so you definitely won't need to worry about that, but it doesn't actually come with any caps equipped or packaged, so you'll have to buy them seperately. It also makes an excellent last-minute gift for a child, (although be warned it lasts a long time, so if you're easily irritated, perhaps this is not for you or your child.)

                At only a couple of quid, not including the very cheap caps which can be bought in bulk for practically nothing, it's great value in terms of the ratio of pounds to hours of entertainment your child will get out of it.

                It's a great little toy that's a very generic and reliable model with no silly bells and whistles that's great fun for kids, although try not to let them loose in public places with it. It tends to spread panic. Recommended.

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                • Logic3 Sports Gun / Game Controller / 14 Readings / 13 Ratings
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                  19.06.2010 13:01
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                  Undoubtedly one of the best lightguns out there.

                  This is a fairly unheard of Light-Gun for the Wii. The design of the Logic 3 Sports Gun is clearly based upon that of the Heckler and Koch MP5K, and is available in black, which personally, I would opt for, simply for the realism factor that it brings.

                  The barrel is very thick and heavy, which adds a sense of realism and desperation, but also has the result of a dip in accuracy. The trigger function is pretty cool too, although doesn't quite feel like a real gun. Whilst the design of the weapon is fairly ergonomic, it doesn't really hold that well, and the plastic compound of the back handle is a little bit bubbly, which means that as you sweat, it starts to get slippy.

                  It's not too heavy and is easy to hold, although sadly it is not compatible with Wiimotion plus, at least that's what it says on the box, but I've found that if you jam the input device into the bottom of the remote before you put it in the gun itself, you can fit WiiMotion plus in quite comfortably, though I wouldn't recommend this as it might void the warranty of both items!

                  The dual-trigger system is particularly intuitive and has a very natural feel. Because it switches the A and B functions, time attack modes and quicktime events in games are made particularly simpler and will give a definite advantage. Access to the face buttons of the Wii remote is also perfectly fine, and there's absolutely no awkward covers or sharp edges to get in your way.

                  You can use the nunchuk with it by simply threading it through the gun, and then you can attach it to the back of the gun, like the classic Wii Zapper, or just hold it in your hand. It's reliable, simplistic and won't turn off halfway through. The response time and speed is also great, and the dual-trigger function definitely puts it above the mediocre pound shop ones. If you enjoy Wii rail shooters like HOTD: Overkill, Resident Evil or Ghost Squad, this is definitely a gun I'd recommend. A cut above the rest that is really well priced for a Wii peripheral, and if you can manage to pick it up new for under a tenner, I'd definitely recommend it. The dualshock function is also better than any other wii peripheral I've ever seen, and the plastic compound it's made of definitely won't snap, perish or fall apart. A must-have for aficianados of Wii shooters.

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                  • Resident Evil 4 (PC) / PC Game / 23 Readings / 19 Ratings
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                    19.06.2010 12:31
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                    A great third person shooter overall.

                    Resident Evil 4 is a survival horror third person shooter from Capcom. A zombie horror title, It follows the actions of Raccoon City survivor Leon S. Kennedy, who is infiltrating a small rural village in Spain in order to rescue the President's daughter, who has been captured by unknown terrorists. The villagers are quickly revealed to be extremely hostile and under the zombifying thrall of a cult known as 'Los Illuminados' - The Englightened Ones.

                    The game was the first to employ an over the shoulder viewpoint, making it play much differently from the earlier four games. Inventory screens, weapon customization and, let's face it; genre in general has had a complete overhaul, which serves to create a really solid and entertaining third person shooter, but a less familiar Resident Evil experience.

                    The game is really long, with many new playable characters and a lot of plot twists and turns which are engaging and immersive. if a little bit silly in place. Dialogue is hammy and endearing as ever, and it's great to see Leon reunited with Resident Evil 2's Ada Wong, early on in the game. There's been a lot more emphasis on character interaction and relationships than in previous games, as well as cinematics;

                    Resident Evil 4 was one of the first to popularize Quick Time Events, which, for the unenlightened, are button bashing interactive cutscenes where you're prompted to press certain buttons in particular times and orders to survive. Although many found this to be a new and exciting innovation, it led to some massive control problems with the PC port, mostly because the folks who ported it were incredibly lazy. - The quicktime events were designed for console gaming, and all of the control screens emphasized joypad controls, which of course, I didn't have. Resident Evil was designed to be played on a console, and it very much feels that way throughout. I had to sit and create a diagram for my mouse and keyboard to remind me which buttons I had to press during the quicktime events, because the keys are so very, very uncustomizable. You really need a controller to play this game properly, and with modern PCs, you'll probably want a few patches too.

                    Resident Evil 4 is a very visceral game with a huge array of enemies and impressive death animations and customizable and upgradable weaponry, as well as all kinds of different grenades and ammo types. Graphically, the game is pretty impressive and has a large modding community which have released all kinds of excellent high definition texture packs and new levels and such which are exclusive to PC, so perhaps this port does have its good points, although the better the game looks while you're playing, the worse the cinematics appear, because for some reason they're all made up of low quality .mpeg files which take up about 4gb of space on their own.

                    It's not at all glitchy, and mouse support is fine, although everything else about the PC version is very lacklustre. As a shooter, it still holds up very well to this day, and certainly has a lot more to it than the recently released Resident Evil 5. Graphically great, with immersive combat, intuitive movement controls and hours of replayability, in all of its bonus and downloadable modes, it still holds up brilliantly to this day, and is a very good shooter of a great franchise. Definitely recommended to fans of Resident Evil and shooters alike.

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                  • Vauxhall Corsa (pre 2000) / Car / 26 Readings / 23 Ratings
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                    18.06.2010 14:30
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                    A fast, reliable, and above all economic vehicle.

                    The pre-2000 Vauxhaull Corsa is a superb car. It's quick, light and pretty reliable, as well as being surprisingly robust and resilient in harsh weather and treacherous road conditions. Although the pre-2000 models are somewhat heavier and chunker than the later models, they are certainly not without their charm and boast electric windows and power steering.

                    At a pretty impressive acceleration rate, 0-60 in just under 14 seconds, the speed is definitely not something to be sniffed at, nor is the surprising amount of modern features like a very ergonomic steering wheel, comfortable seats and a CD player on the later 2000 models.

                    The car has a very fluid handling, particularly when dealing with sharp turns and corners. On top of this, the pre 2000 Corsas don't actually take a great deal of looking after, and I've never known a first hand model to fail its MOT, even after considerable age.

                    The shape, arguably, is a little bit goofy, but the frameworks are very logically thought out and aerodynamic. They come in a surprising variety of colours and the paintwork is usually great, and not at all prone to chipping.

                    The windows are electric and never jut or rattle during the arguably otherwise loud drive, and the car is safe and not prone to flipping in crashes owing to its light weight.

                    The upholstery is not particularly stylish, but rather it's functional and comfortable. There's plenty of space in the boot to move a few large suitcases around, but if you're going on long trips with lots of luggage, the necessity for the back seat passengers to carry their luggage on the laps, no doubt propped up by the sadly short back roof, becomes particularly irksome. You can open the sunroof though, which makes a pleasant change in the Summer, (some of the the post-2000 models don't actually come with sunrooves) and this can sometimes make up for the lack of proper air conditioning, but not when the weather is unpleasant.

                    It looks particularly dated now I'm afraid, though, and the whilst the engine will never let you let you down, this is not a flash car, although if you really aren't bothered about driving round town in a status symbol, this is a highly recommendable car, since few improvements have been made in the post-2000 models, and these are subsequently priced much cheaper, and aren't particular inferior cars.

                    If it breaks, it's cheap and easy to fix (It's designed that way) and is actually pretty cheap to buy, although fuel consumption is a little on the weak side, this is a great model of car that I would wholeheartedly recommend for people who don't mind owning a dated model and are trying to get around on a budget. Definitely recommended.

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                  • More +
                    17.06.2010 19:57
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                    The best operating system money can buy.

                    Microsoft Windows XP Professional Edition has always been the superior package. It has myriad features, and incredibly intuitive and simplistic graphical user interface, and many, many features to get the best out of your hardware.

                    It is naturally the most compatible item on the market, with the vast majority of games and software still aiming themselves at Windows XP. Windows 7 has made no major improvements upon it apart from clunkiness, and Windows Vista has made no improvements upon it whatsoever.

                    It's definitely well worth the money, expensive as it is, because it's the best operating system money can buy. I was astounded to find it can even run on Apple Macs! It's extremely user-friendly and rarely crashes or breaks down, and when it does, it's usually your fault. It's easy to install and uninstall, not that you'd want to do the latter, and this version can be used as many times as you wish.

                    It also has extremely high net safety and has its own strong security system, firewall, file manager and device manager. The control panel is highly intuitive and well worth paying for. It comes in 32 and 64 bit but can always take advantage of all your RAM and it doesn't need to be run from a disk or flash drive like some versions of Linux or Ubuntu.

                    This operating system is extremely functional and looks pretty good while it's doing its job, with its myriad security and multimedia functions to challenge Apple, and Apple are all about multimedia. True, there are more viruses for Windows than there are for Macs, but that's because nobody writes viruses for Macs, because they're rubbish.

                    It all just makes life easier and if something won't run there's always a way around it. It even comes with its own virtual DOS prompt for running ancient programs with. Absolutely any computer game currently on the market will work perfectly on this too. No game requires a better operating system, simply because there isn't one out there. I strongly recommend this OS.

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                  • Nokia 3410 / Mobile Phone / 13 Readings / 13 Ratings
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                    17.06.2010 19:44
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                    A great device. Strongly recommended

                    Absolutely everyone had one of these things back in the day, and everyone who did misses them. These chunky, charming little phones were incredibly robust, reliable and cool.

                    There's no camera, flashlight, photo messaging, bluetooth, or apps, but it does have a non-polyphonic ringtone composer, which offers endless hours of unbearable entertainment. You can also send tiny little ASCII picture messages to your friends to represent your mood, and you can play everyone's favourite outdated Java tech game, Snake, which is still really entertaining and has held up surprisingly well. Faschias are changeable too (bet you'd forgotten about that!) and also there's some really cool ones out there that make fantastic gifts for friends and family.

                    This thing never, ever breaks and always seems to pick up great signal. The cute noises it makes are really distinctive too, as are the myriad interesting ringtones. Speaker volume and quality are also excellent, and you can always hear what people are saying to you.

                    It won't crack in your pocket, and it can even be used easily without the case. It has some great animated screensavers, a stop-watch and an alarm clock and it also doubles as a calculator and currency converter. It's also got a WAP 1.1 converter, which is rubbish, but at least they were trying! the 96x64 resolution makes for the potential for lots of cool downloadable sequences and there's a great SMS chat function that's a lot of fun, if a little expensive.

                    It's higher resolution than the 3310 and has more, better games and is just a better piece of technology. As hopelessly old as it may be now though, it's ideal for old people or technophobes, and also is incredibly charming and easy to navigate.

                    The only reason I don't still use this phone is that people would take the mickey. This brick is definitely the best phones I've ever had. It makes calls and it sends texts and it stores your numbers. and it's as simple as that. It has no bonus features, no pointless little bells and whistles that make it break down under its own weight. I love the style, I love the the functionality, and I love the simplicity. It really is a superb phone, as dated and laughable as it might be now. It's 2010, and I'm seriously considering another one.

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                    • Peugeot 406 TDi Saloon / Car / 12 Readings / 10 Ratings
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                      17.06.2010 19:07
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                      A lovely motor.

                      The Peugeot 406 tdi Saloon is an exceptionally good car. It is reliable, dependable and has a very reasonable diesel consumption rate. It's extremely roomy and has space for four passengers as well as plenty of gear, suitcases and luggage and larger items they may be carrying, all of which can be comfortably accounted for.

                      It's a brilliant family car and is cheap to maintain as well as being one of the top cars for taxi firms to use. The air conditioning is superb, some of the best I've ever seen, and the CD player, radio and driver seat interface is highly intuitive and useful.

                      The seats are very comfortable and the windows, wheel-arches and matte-black or marble interior finishes (I've seen both) look incredibly stylish and would not look out of place in a car of much higher price. The boot of the car is extremely large and is great for transporting lots of luggage and goods in. This can be particularly helpful if say, your kids are heading off to university or something, or you're planning a number of family holidays.

                      The engine is great. It's really reliable and very easily accessable. It's exceptionally quiet too. The more-or-less silent running of the vehicle even at top speeds is very impressive even after considerable age. About the only thing that feels like it's deteriorating is the throttle response and sticky acceleration rates.

                      These cars are very robust too and although the throttle response can sometimes be a little bit tricky to get going, it's something that one can get used to pretty quickly, it's just one of those quirks. Overall it handles fantastically and goes really smooth all the time. Although it may be a problem for folk with small driveways, it's generally got great manouevrability and is overall a reliable and robust vehicle. Recommended.

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                    • Dualit Bar Blender / Blender / 8 Readings / 7 Ratings
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                      17.06.2010 18:47
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                      A cheap, but inferior model.

                      The Dualit Bar Blender is a well priced beginners tool for the world of blending. This thing is of course best used for smoothies and margueritas, and mixing liquers and cocktails, but isn't really up to scratch when it comes to mixing fresh fruit.

                      For the price it's pretty impressive, a 2 speed worktop item that holds 42.27 oz. but if you want it for cooking, it's just no good at all. I've made 7 or 8 fresh fruit smoothies with it now, and already I can hear and smell the motor beginning to give up. It's really not that robust and will only last for so long I'm sure.

                      Nonetheless it's stylish and thin and looks pretty cool in your kitchen, as well as having slim wires, so this blender really won't take up too much space on your worksurface, and it always stands up straight and proud and expensive-looking, despite how horribly unreliable it is.

                      The pyrex jug looks cool and shiny and certainly isn't prone to scratches but, along with the top if the blender, is incredibly difficult to keep clean and really irksome to wash up, and what's worse is that you have to wash up after every use or the thing you make will taste like the last thing you made. Blugh... Because of this, among other reasons, The Dualit Bar Blender is best used only occasionally. Yes, this is definitely for the casual blending aficianado, but is unfortunately at the lower and of the spectrum. It's a cheap model and should be treated as such.

                      This kind of blender should only really be cracked out at the beginning of parties to start mixing margueritas and such with. It knows what it is and while it just can't handle much fruit or thick milk, it's fast and effective and mixing thinner liquids, although most people would happily just settle for a spoon. As cheap as I was able to pick this thing up, in retrospect I wish I'd settled for a spoon myself.

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