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After playing and enjoying this games predecessors (Soul Blade on the the Playstation and Soul Calibur on Gamecube) I awaited this game with anticipation, this soon came crashing down and disappointment reigned.
Differing from the other games where you play one on one versus battles, the main focus on this game is the storymode where you primarily take control of Siegfried in his quest to find the shards of soul edge. Initially you only start the quest with this one character and then you are joined by further characters from the series including Ivy, Taki and Sophitia.
I felt that the game was very limited due to the characters you play as, also I felt that the dialogue was a bit excessive especially the scrolling text you get before the mission. I agree it is useful to have the information but a lot of what happens in this text is not really relevant.
Personally I find the gameplay very repetitive and it can get boring very quickly especially as you have to play through the same stages several times. They have tried to add a few puzzles into the stages but they are not really that challenging, also the traps in the game are very annoying taking off quite a large percentage of your life.
Every so often in the stage you are attacked by enemies, these are the same enemies in each different stage so again can get very repetitive. There are also bosses which are difficut to beat, especially when your health is low from battling through the stage. I think it is safe to refer to the gameplay as a light role playing game.
This is one area of the game that I did like. When looking through the manual I thought that the controls would be difficult as it uses both the Wii Remote and the Nunchuk. You move your character round with the Nunchuk and you use your weapon with the Wii Remote, a slash that you make with the Wii Remote will make your character perform the move on screen.
However one thing I have to say about the controls is that it can make your arm ache after a while. Also it is difficult to change the view of your character.
Graphically I found the game to be reasonable, could be better but then again could be worse. I found the characters to be quite detailed, however I felt the environments to be quite bland. The scrolling text scenes are done in an almost anime style.
There is some minor voice acting in this game which is again reasonable and not too irritating. The music fits in well with the games old world setting, however like everything else in this game gets very repetitive.
I don't own a second nunchuk therefore I don't feel I am in the position to comment on the multiplayer mode.
Based on my previous comments I don't think I will replay through this game again, there is nothing to keep me coming back for more.
Retails on Play.com for £19.99
Being a long time Pokemon fan I naturally wanted this game to add to my collection and hopefully enjoy as much as the other pokemon games. I felt after playing this game it is merely a weak extension to Diamond and Pearl for the DS and is very poor in comparision to Pokemon Colosseum and Pokemon XD for the Gamecube.
The synopsis of the game is simply this: you are in a place called poketopia where you choose a trainer card to battle with (You unlock six cards plus you can customise your own) and you battle your way through the different Colosseums....yes that is pretty much it!
As I said above the gameplay is very basic; you choose the colosseum, select pokemon and then battle. Most of the colosseums consist of 6 trainers you have to beat before you fight the colosseum leader. You can battle with either a rental pass or a custom pass which can be made with pokemon uploaded to the Wii from Diamond and Pearl via the DS which is very straightforward to do and I highly recommend this as the rental pokemon are not that great. You can also customise your character in terms of what he/she is wearing and expressions they use.
For me I felt the gameplay was lacking a little something and I was looking for more progression (and more pokemon) There is absolutely no storyline to the game either which is a big let down.
The pokemon you get in game on the rental passes don't gain any new moves and do not evolve.
The background music during the Colosseum battles is quite pleasant however the cries that the pokemon make have not improved since the DS version and the commentator is extremely annoying with repetitive phrases (this can be turned off however - I highly recommend this)
Point and click, simple really. Could've been better and used more of the functions of the Wii-Mote
The background is very detailed and very colourful and the pokemon seem to be quite detailed, until you get close up that is and then you can see the blocky flaws, not great really.
The single player game is not very good for replayability, however the online multiplayer is what saves this game. You can play online with your custom team pitching them against players from around the world, the only disadvantage I have seen with this so far is that it can be a little bit slow while you wait for the other player to make their move.
This game is clearly great for battling people online however if you haven't got Pearl or Diamond so you can customise battle passes then you have got no chance of beating online players with the rental passes you get in game.
I think I accidentally stumbled upon Hinder when browsing through YouTube and finding their song Lips of an Angel. I did some reading up on the band and found some universally negative reviews comparing them to the likes of Nickleback and Creed, but not one to take all reviews as gospel I thought I'd give the album a try.
The only single that charted in the UK was Get Stoned at position 138.
Hinder comprises of:
Austin Winkler - Vocals
Joe Garvey - Guitar
Mark King - Guitar
Mike Rodden - Bass
Cody Hanson - Drums
So what songs are on the cd:
1. Get Stoned
2. How Long
3. By The Way
4. Nothin' Good About Goodbye
5. Bliss (I Don't Wanna Know)
6. Better Than Me
7. Room 21 (Explicit)
8. Lips of an Angel
9. Homecoming Queen
11. Lips of an Angel (Acoustic)
12. Room 21
Now for the important part, what did I think of the album:
Generally it is quite good, although not completely flawless. I have to say my personal favourites are Lips of an Angel and Better Than Me, but I think that is because they are quite soft and sentimental songs with meaningful lyrics (I'm a softie at heart)
1. Get Stoned
Starts off quite softly and progresses to a middle ground in terms of rock. The vocals on this song are quite gravelly, I don't think they truly show off Austins voice very well, however it is quite a catchy song with some interesting lyrics. Also has a great guitar solo.
2. How Long
More upbeat than the previous song, but still very catchy. Think this shows off Austins voice more and again has some interesting lyrics.
3. By The Way
This track really reminds me of 3 Doors Down more than anything, using similar styles and sounds. What I like about this track is that the combination of instruments and vocals don't overpower each other.
4. Nothin' Good About Goodbye
Lyrically this track isn't brilliant, but still just as catchy as the others. The song has a good meaning to it and my favourite line is "Every story has two sides, over he-said-she-said fights"
5. Bliss (I Don't Wanna Know)
I really love this song, for me it is about how hard it is to let go of all the things you hold the closest and how people hide away from the truth "I don't wanna know its over, cause ignorance is bliss" Through this song it shows how good that Hinder can be, Austins vocals on this song are superb and sang with such passion.
6. Better Than Me
This is my ultimate favourite song on the album, it is a slower song compared to the others I have mentioned so far. The song has a beautiful melody and the lyrics have a sweet honesty to them. Austins vocals on this song are almost haunting "...and I think you should know this, you deserve much better than me"
This song showcases Austins voice more than the rest of the bands skills. Simply beautiful
7. Room 21
A stark contrast to the previous song, much more up tempo. However, I feel that Austin is almost trying to hard on this song and I agree with the original comments that were made about the band, this has very much a Nickleback sound to it.
8. Lips of an Angel
My second favourite song on the album, very passionate and romantic but also sad at the same time. It is basically about two people who are passionate about each other, but are in a relationship with other people. My favourite lyrics on this song "its really good to hear your voice saying my name it sounds so sweet, coming from the lips of an angel, hearing those words just make me weak"
Also this song has got a great guitar solo on.
9. Homecoming Queen
Again, this is another up tempo song. I think this track really showcases the guitar skills. The lyrics are ok, but the vocals are nothing special on this one.
I love this song, it is about telling someone you love them and when they don't say it back to you. The lyrics and vocals are again not brilliant, but still makes for a catchy song.
Overall, a great album to listen to and a semi-decent band, if your not sure have a listen to a couple of the tracks on their website or on youtube, I think also on Play.com you can listen to a sample of the songs.
Cost: £7.99 from Play
Director: David Slade (30 Days of Night)
Starring: Patrick Wilson, Ellen Page
Hayley (Ellen Page), an honours student, and Jeff (Patrick Wilson) meet in an online chatroom...Hayley is 14 and Jeff is 32, every parents worst nightmare. Jeff may or may not be a paedophile, but Hayley is planning a little action of her own.
After flirting online they meet in a coffee shop where the two get along well, we learn that Jeff is a photographer and he impresses Hayley with his musical knowledge. Hayley wants to go back to Jeffs house as he has a bootleg MP3 of the Goldfrapp concert.
Back at his house she breaks out the alcohol and starts mixing drinks, asking Jeff to take her photo. Jeff starts to feel faint and passes out....playtime is over.
We quickly get into a cat and mouse game and this movie heats up, daring to go where most movies won't. Hayley isn't what she seems and that's going to mean a world of hurt for Jeff. An engrossing film ensues.
I loved this film as it depends on its two leads for 90% of the time and it limits itself to a few stark sets.
Hard Candy is a psychological horror that doesn't need to depend on blood and guts because the subject matter contained within is rather unsettling. There's no attempt at sudden shock tactics and nothing too gory, this film works off a simple concept that twists and turns right until the end.
Slade keeps a lot of this movie very up close and personal, he has a brilliant way of capturing the movement of time by using fast still frames, he also focuses in on facial expresses and body language.
Without giving too much away this film makes you debate the plot points such as: Is Jeff really a paedophile? What makes a 14 year old go to these extremes?
Slade doesn't leave any plot holes in this film, he relies on audience participation and manipulates the audience as the story unfolds. You will need to listen to the conversations to get some key background details.
The surgical scene in this film is fascinating, Slade handles the whole scene with a great deal of maturity and doesn't need to rely on gore, instead everything is suggested, the conversation once again becomes key to this scene.
I love the use of colour in the film, especially as it shows Hayley wearing a red hooded top, therefore depicting her almost as Little Red Riding Hood, whilst Jeff is intended to be the wolf. I like how the film also deals with the issue of you never know who you're talking to on the internet.
In my opinion both the main actors in this film were superb and really created the mood of the film. At stages throughout I felt both hatred and sympathy towards Jeff (Patrick Wilson) his facial expressions and body language show that Patrick Wilson is delivering on all aspects in this film.
Personally for me the star of this film was Ellen Page, her character is so complex yet she has all angles covered.
Music wise, there is a very minimalist score in this film. I think the intention is to have this film more dialogue driven which works very well.
I think I could watch this film several times and pick up on new things each time.
This film is very controversial and deals with some shocking ideas (paedophilia)
I apologise for not covering too much of the script or visuals in detail, but I don't want to give too much of the plot away.
Running time: 1 hour and 40 minutes (approx)
Price: 4.99 (based on Play.com prices)
I didn't watch the extras on this DVD but I believe there are audio commentaries from David Slade and Ellen Page, and also deleted scenes.
This film may not be to everyones taste, but it is worth a watch.
When I first played this game I was impressed, it was nice to play the sideshow games that you see at fairs or theme parks without spending a single penny. However, the game gets very tedious very quickly, unless you are playing with a group of friends.
The animation on this game is very choppy, the characters are very blocky and the game lacks detail. It does not use the full graphic capabilities of the Wii.
This is mainly composed of bells and whistles, which after a while can get mildy irritating. The sound effects are ok but nothing special, while the voices are good although some of the phrases can get annoying after they have been said so many times.
At the start of the game you can create your own character, however I feel they could have made better use of this by allowing you to use your Mii in the game. The things you get to create your character are very limited, however you can unlock items as you play throw the carnival games.
When you get into the game you will notice that there is a huge variety of games, however I personally feel this is more quantity instead of quality. Some of the games are ridiculously easy, whilst others are much more challenging, however it does give you the opportunity to make use of the Wii Remote capabilities. My favourite game is Test Your Strength, although it does make my wrist ache.
Other games include: ring toss, dunk tank, alley ball, lucky cups, shooting gallery, hole in one, nerves of steel etc.
There are other activities in the game such as fortune teller and love testing machine which are pretty pointless.
The game lacks replay value, it will keep you interested for about 20 to 30 minutes.
If you think you might be interested in this game, rent it first at least that way you won't be wasting too much money if you don't enjoy it.
Guitar Hero: On Tour is based on the Guitar Hero franchise which appears on the major consoles (Nintendo Wii, Playstation, X Box 360)
It is a bold move by Activision to bring the game to the small screen, introducing a four button fret board which slots into the GBA (Game Boy Advance) cartridge slot and a plectrum to use on the touch screen.
The question is....did this move pay off? Lets find out
This is the question on everyones lips, won't the sound be terrible on the DS speakers? My answer on this would be no it actually sounds pretty good. It uses the full power of the speakers to ensure quality is not compromised, however the volume is quite low, this can be remedied by using earphones.
The graphics on this game are not too bad, they serve their purpose. The scrolling notes are colourful and easy to see. The background and the band are very much static and the only moving things on the screen are the notes and the lead guitarist (which you can choose from 6 different guitarists)
Although the small fret board may make your hand cramp up, it is quite comfortable if you take frequent breaks.
The basic gameplay is that on the main screen are the notes you need to play on the fret board and on the touch screen is where you need to strum. There are in game tutorials which will show you all the basics.
As you play through the game it gradually gets harder and by the 5th tier there will likely be one song you have failed on. The game offers four difficulty levels: Easy, Medium, Hard and Expert.
As for strumming, the touch screen is actually quite sensitive and picks up notes quite easily. Also as a note it took me a while to activate star power, there is a choice of tapping on the star power bar on screen or the easier method of shouting into the microphone.
There is a game duel mode on this game as well, in this mode you play against a computer guitarist and all the star power segments in the song are changed to battle notes. Hit all of them to gain a power up attack. These power ups are things like difficulty up, pyrotechnic setting the guitar on fire.
There is also a multiplayer mode where you can play against friends using the DS Local Wireless Connection.
If you're anything like me you'll be going back through the songs and trying to perfect them.
The tracklist on this game is very small (25 songs + 1 bonus) which are unlocked as you play through the career mode.
Some of my favourite songs on the game are:
Nirvana - Breed
Rick Springfield - Jessie's Girl
Twister Sister - We're Not Gonna Take It
Pat Benatar - Hit Me With Your Best Shot
Daughtry - What I Want
The game works with both the DS Lite and the Original DS, there is an adapter in the box to fit to the fret board before plugging it in (depending which DS you are using)
If you are a Guitar Hero fan and own a DS, this will give you the same fun and excitement as the other games.
Having borrowed this game off a friend and it never really appealing to me, I had not played it up until a few nights ago. I had a few friends round and we got playing it and since then I have been addicted.
I have heard that the game is a remake of the Nintendo DS version, however as I have not played that version I can't really comment on similarities or differences.
The game takes place in the Year 2018. You play as Doctor Derek Stiles who has just finished an Internship at Hope Hospital, you are about to embark on your surgical career as a fully fledged doctor, assisted by many characters in the hospital but mainly Nurse Angie. The extra characters talk to you during the operations which give you an indication of what you need to do next during the procedure.
During the game there is also a sub plot where you play as Dr Nozomi Weaver. She works in Santa Balboa. She is on a transfer year from Japan and finishing off her first year in America.
During the course of the game you come across a disease called GUILT (Gangliated Utrophin Immuno Latency Toxin) which is being spread by a terrorist organisation called Delphi. The main objectives of the latter part of the game is to treat this condition and rid the world of it.
Some of the storyline and dialogue can be a bit drawn out and slightly cheesy, but I think that is part of what makes the game addictive, to find out how the story unfolds.
I think this game would also work well if you could "choose your destiny" and take different routes through the story rather than the main linear route.
Whilst not visually stunning or 100% accurate, the graphics are done in an Anime style. It may be a little "cartoony" for some people, but for me this game was visually fine.
For me, this was the best part of the game! This game makes full use of the infrared sensors on the Wii remote and also the nunchuk attachment, which you use to select the tools you need during the operations.
During the actual operating you keep your patient alive by healing all wounds and abnormalities. Across the top left of the screen you are given the vitals of the patient, therefore you need to act quickly sometimes with the Wii remote and the Nunchuk.
Most of the items you need to use during operation are utilised with the simply A or B buttons.
The game has three difficulty levels, I am basing this review on the easy level as I have only played this level so far. Even on this level some of the operations can be a bit difficult and take a few goes at figuring out, sometimes as well I found the remotes to be not very responsive at certain things, it took me a while to figure out how to use the Defibrillator.
I think what keeps the gameplay addictive is the ranking that you get for each operation (from Rookie Doctor (C) through to Medical Prodigy (XS)) It is a challenge to continually try to better yourself.
I think this is either a love or hate game, its personally your choice. I'd say if you wanted to give this game a try perhaps rent it first. Although it is a one player game, we had great fun playing it as a group, motivating each other during operations.
I became a member of Lovefilm in April of this year after spotting a 14 day free trial on a cashback site. Initially I only put 10 DVDs on my list, with the full intention of cancelling the package, however due to an interest in movies I kept my package running, initially starting off by paying £3.99 a month but quickly upgraded to £9.99 a month.
Lovefilm caters for all genres of DVD from Comedy to Horror and beyond, they also supply Blu-Ray Discs and if desired you can opt in to their Video Games Rental packages as well.
Lovefilm rental packages are:
£3.99 for 2 rentals per month
£5.99 for 3 rentals per month
£7.99 for 4 rentals per month
£9.99 for unlimited, which is my current package
They also supply other packages which allow you to have more than one DVD at home at a time.
The basic principle runs as so: you search the website, which I find easy to navigate, and fill up your rental list with DVDs you would like to see. Currently my rental list is up to 100.
You can then mark your rental list as high priority, medium priority and low priority. Lovefilm then randomly choose a film off your list and post it out to you. After you have watched the film you put it back in the freepost envelope and send it back to them.
So far, so good. I have had no problems with Lovefilm, the discs have always arrived promptly and all in good quality. I have even taken a payment holiday (which you can do twice a year) during this period no further DVDs are sent out to you.
I also got a free rental as I gave a poor rating to one of the films we watched.
I understand from reading around the Internet that a few people have had problems cancelling their packages, as I have not yet done this I am not in the position to comment on this process.
I have been a member of the Roller Coaster Club of Great Britain for over 4 years now and it has been a very enjoyable experience, I wanted to share my experiences with everybody.
I originally heard about the Roller Coaster Club of Great Britain (RCCGB) back in February 2004 on a television programme called Daredevils which was aired on ITV. I had always enjoyed theme parks and rollercoasters so decided to view the club website to view how I could join.
I think at the time the joining fee was £22. I printed the form off the website and sent my cheque off and was very promptly sent my membership card for the year and also copies of the last 2 Yearbooks for viewing to see what fun I had to look forward to. During the year you are sent a quarterly magazine, trip invites and a yearbook.
My first trip with the Rollercoaster Club was their annual Oakwood trip, I went alone which was very daunting and camped on the Camp Oakwood Site which was organised by club members. Although I was on my own I got welcomed by many members of the club including the club chairman Andy Hine MBE.
I think what made it easier was being a member of the message board, it allowed me to make friends before I attended a trip and get a good idea what to expect.
On my first club trip I met my now husband and some fantastic friends.
One thing I love about the club is the Exclusive Ride Sessions we get on the trips we go to. This includes an hour in the morning or evening (or both) with no general public present.
Throughout my time in the club I have been on many of their trips including:
Blackpool Bash - This is a combination of a social trip and rollercoaster trip which spans over Friday Night entertainment, Saturday daytime riding, Saturday night themed entertainment and optional Sunday riding. This trip usually takes place in April.
Summar Bash - Takes place at smaller parks like Hayling Island, Great Yarmouth Pleasurebeach etc. This is usually held around June/July time
Oakwood Trip - Usually takes place in August for the late night opening and has an optional bowling and crystal maze challenge.
Loopathon - A visit to both Alton Towers and Drayton Manor on consequetive days. This is usually held in October.
There is also an annual trip to America, which I have not yet been on, and a skiing trip that is run in January.
The general atmosphere on club trips is fantastic and I will be looking forward to my 5th year in the club.
There is a new look club website that has recently been launched at www.rccgb.co.uk which includes links to the message board and facebook group.
I always remember Drayton Manor Park (Tamworth, Staffordshire) from when I was young, with my parents not being into thrill rides this is where we had our days out as opposed to Alton Towers. However I was long overdue a trip and so decided to go on Sunday 5th October.
After looking online I noticed that there is a considerable saving if you book online (about £5 off the £23 gate price) this is not very well advertised on the website so you may need to look deeply into this.
We arrived at the main entrance at the 9:30am advertised opening time, parked on the main carpark as this was not yet full. There is also an overspill carpark in the form of a grass field. The automatic ticket machine was out of order so we had to claim our pre-booked tickets at the main booth. I was a little confused as on production of my booking confirmation and my card I booked with the person on the booth wanted further identification, to which I had to explain I take the minimum amount of items into a theme park to prevent me losing them, I questioned why they wanted further ID and she said it was in case I had stolen the card!
On the day we visited the park closed at 5pm, sometimes it can close at 6pm but it is best to check on the website before you go. It will also advise of any ride closures.
Drayton Manor Park is different to what I have been used to with Alton Towers that I have visited in more recent years, Drayton Manor isn't split down into different zones or areas, apart from Thomas Land. However you are provided with a park map, although it wasn't really needed.
This was the first area we visited as it was left of the park entrance. We marvelled at how well themed this area was and how family oriented it is. We loved the Troublesome Trucks rollercoaster, it is very smooth and loads of fun to ride, perfect for children. We also went on Diesels Locomotion Mayhem which is a difficult ride to describe, it is kind of like a teacups ride with little engines that cross over platforms, this again is a lot of fun to ride. The other ride we went on in this area was Crankys Drop Tower, a small tower where you sit round the outside and are raised up and bounced down, again another fun ride we had a giggle on. The rides in this area are more fun as opposed to thrilling.
As we wanted to explore the rest of the park we left the other rides, however for review purposes these include:
Jeremy Jet - A flying ride where you press a button to make your plane move up and down
Crazy Bertie Bus - A bus that is rotated round, similar to a magic carpet type ride
Harold's Helicopter Tours - Helicopters that go round in a circle and get taken up in the air
Rockin Bulstrode - A rockin' tug type ride that rocks similar to a pirate ship but also turns around 360 degrees
Sodor Classic Cars - I think this a retheme of the cars I remember as a child
Ladys Carousel - A gentle carousel ride
There is also a train that takes you to the zoo, we rode this later on in the day and got taken to the zoo by Thomas and bought back by Percy.
We also saw the Fat Controller (I think he is called Sir Topham Hatt now though) and his wife in the area, Sir Topham Hatt told us a story about the Troublesome Trucks and we had a picture with him. There is a Thomas themed shop, but I thought the items in here were quite expensive.
After all the fun of Thomas Land we headed out to enjoy the rest of the park.
I thought this was the scariest ride, especially on the floorless side. I only managed one go on this as it really made my stomach churn. Apocalypse is a drop tower manufactured by Intamin AG and it stands at a whopping 180 foot high. When you join the queue you can choose to do sit down or stand up, later in the queue the stand up side gives you the option to go floorless. Both the stand up and floorless side tilt forward slightly as you are taken up, I was not expecting this at all and think it made the ride scarier. My husband had a bit of discomfort on the floorless side as it is quite harsh on the drop when the car slows through the magnetic brakes, he came off speaking a little higher than normal.
This is your usual pirate ship, I love these rides especially to watch other peoples faces, as this is a ride people either love or hate. We enjoyed two goes on this.
I really was unimpressed with this rollercoaster, especially after having queued an hour to ride it. The coaster train has like a lap bar restraint that comes down quite tightly and a lift hill that goes through a loop. As the train went over the camelback hill my lapbar locked down one more notch and this squashed my pelvis leaving me in great discomfort for the rest of the ride, I heard a few people complaining about this too.
My favourite ride of the park, I could happily spend most of my day on this, I think in total I had around 4 goes. Due to its high capacity, the queues were not too bad for it either. This ride is a Gyroswing, also manufactured by Intamin AG. All the seats on the ride are in a circle and face outwards. The ride swings and also rotates, but only very slowly.
A stand up rollercoaster that is based over the rapids. I had a few problems with the restraint on this ride, the seats are adjustable and as I am only quite short I had a few problems getting the seat down to the height I needed and the ride operator had to assist me. This is not a smooth ride either. This rollercoaster has a loop, a zero g roll and 2 corkscrews.
A boat ride that takes you through almost a Pirates of the Caribbean themed area. I was a little disappointed as a lot of the animatronics were not working, although apparently it will be undergoing a refurbishment in the close season.
This is a shooting ride, four people sit in a small mine train car that goes round an indoor track. Each person has a gun to shoot targets. Again another one I was disappointed with as a lot of the targets were not working and also some of the guns were broken. Otherwise I can imagine this being quite a fun ride.
One I remember from my childhood, but I never remembered it being rough! This is a powered rollercoaster which travels over the lake.
Waltzers in the dark that spin very fast, I loved this ride although came off feeling a bit green.
Other rides we didn't go on include:
Excalibur - A boat ride themed around dragons.
Drunken barrels - A teacups style ride.
Pandemonium - Like a pirate ship, but goes upside down.
Stormforce 10 - It was quite a cold and wet day so didn't fancy getting soaked.
The Rapids - Again, didn't fancy getting soaked.
The Haunting - Didn't appeal and had quite a large queue
We also enjoyed a walk around the zoo, I especially like the meercats and the penguins, it is a shame though because some of the enclosures are quite small and the animals are pacing.
Generally the queues were not too bad, apart from G Force. Thomas Land was very busy but I think everyone heads in there first as it is next to the main entrance. I also experienced quite a lot of queue jumping on the day we were there. There is a distinct shortage of queueing times signs.
There are not many food outlets around the park, the ones that are there are expensive for the quality and quantity of food you get. We opted for jacket potatoes in the Rainforest Cafe which were a bit tough and not very warm. Next time I go I will take a picnic, as I saw a lot of families being handstamped out of the park and coming back in.
The car parking facilities are ample and a very short walking distance from the main entrance. There are no hotel facilities as of yet, but there is a nearby campsite which I understand is families only.
There are plenty of toilet facilities, although none of these were in great condition, a bit dirty and smelly.
Drayton Manor Park was a good day out, however I think I do prefer Alton Towers for the better choice in rides. I think it is ok value for money, but I would never go in peak season as I imagine you would only get on a few rides.
If you live nearby and have young children who would enjoy Thomas Land then I would definitely recommend it, however for thrill seekers I would say Alton Towers would be your best option.
I recently visited Chessington World of Adventure for only the second time and felt I wanted to comment on what a fantastic day I had.
Chessington World of Adventure is a Merlin owned theme park and zoo located in South West London, off junction 9 of the M25 (well signposted) The theme park is open from March through to October and entrance is £32 for adults and £21 for children. However, I fully recommend using a 'buy one get one free voucher'.
When we arrived we parked our car on a grass car park and headed for the entrance which comes into the park next to Dragons Fury and nearby to Beanoland. Similar to the likes of Alton Towers, Chessington is split into zones and you are provided with a free map allowing you to navigate around the park.
I know Chessington Zoo and Sealife Centre are available, however I unfortunately did not visit on this occasion so not really able to comment on this area of the park.
We started off in the Land of the Dragons area and headed for Dragons Fury. This is a ride manufactured by Maurer Sohne and is similar to Spinball Whizzer at Alton Towers, however Chessingtons version is extended. Also in this area are many childrens activities and rides including an indoor and outdoor play area.
Following our ride on Dragons Fury we headed into Beanoland, this is themed similar to the Beano Comics and the rides are named after the characters like Billy's Whizzer (Wave Swinger) and Roger the Dodgers Dodgems. As a general note, if you want to stay dry stay on the inside of Billy's Whizzer as you generally avoid the fountains of water.
The next zone, Mystic East, is an oriental themed area and contains the Dragon Falls log flume which has two drops. It also contains a Ferris Wheel which was relocated here from Thorpe Park.
Forbidden Kingdom is home to Tomb Blaster and Rameses Revenge. On Tomb Blaster you sit on a large train which is taken into the tomb, each rider is armed with a laser gun and the idea is to shoot the lit up targets around you. Rameses Revenge is a Huss Top Spin (similer to Ripsaw at Alton Towers) you are secured onto the ride by over the shoulder restraints and a lap bar. This ride is spun round by two arms and at the end of the ride you are lowered face first into jets of water, if you don't fancy getting wet then it is probably best to sit right at the end of the row.
Mexicana is themed on a far west environment and is home to two rollercoasters which are the Rattlesnake and the Runaway Train. The Rattlesnake is a steel wild mouse featuring sharp unbanked turns, sudden drops and rigid brakes, I think this is one of a few rides on the park that has a height restriction of 1.4 metres. The Runaway Train is a powered rollercoaster aimed at the whole family.
We also ate in Mexicana in a restaurant next to the Runaway Train, having one of the chicken fajita meals which was lovely and came with a drink and potato wedges, my only complaint was that the tables outside were a bit sticky.
Pirates Cove is home to the Black Buccaneer pirate ship which is larger than usual pirate ships you see at theme parks. It is also home to Seastorm, a circular ride where riders sit in small boats that bob up and down as they are rotated round, the boats also go round backwards during part of the ride.
Transylvania is home to two rides, the Vampire and the Bubbleworks. The Bubbleworks is an indoor rapids ride, however you don't get wet, you get taken on a tour of the soap factory. Vampire is a rollercoaster that has suspended swinging cars as it glides around the track.
On most of the rides around the park there is quite a low height restriction, however as a note for tall people there is a upper height restriction on the rides of 1.96metres.
One thing I noticed more than anything around Chessington was how friendly the staff were and also how clean the park was. I would definitely recommend this day out for families. This park is one to watch for future developments.
I have been a regular visitor of Oakwood Leisure Park for the past four years, it has kept me coming back again and again due to the experience, although it is quite a drive for me.
Oakwood Leisure Park is situated in Pembrokeshire, just off the A40 at Canaston Bridge and is next to CC2000 Bowling Alley and Entertainment Centre. The park has seasonal opening times and usually opens in March through to September. During the 6 week summer holidays they open for late nights and a firework spectacular.
Oakwood is home to Megafobia which is a CCI wooden rollercoaster. It was built in 1996 and is often ranked in the top 10 wooden rollercoasters in the world.
Other main rides include:
Bounce - A 'shot and drop' tower manufactured by Huss, it is one of the tallest rides in the park standing at 160ft. You get shot up the air and then gradually bounced back down to the bottom (hence the name)
Speed - A Gerstlauer Eurofighter rollercoaster which boasts a 97 degree drop and includes a vertical loop, sharp overbank, heartline roll and helix.
Hydro - Oakwoods biggest (and wettest) water ride standing at over 100ft and almost a vertical drop into a pool of water creating a 40ft wave of water
Vertigo - Riders must pay a total of £33 to ride Vertigo (holds upto 3 passengers) This is described as a free fall experience without the parachute. Having done it twice now I can say it is worth the experience for the adrenaline rush.
Plane Crazy - A flying scooters ride themed as aeroplanes
Waterfall - A two lane waterslide
Bobsleigh - Toboggan Ride
Treetops - A steal rollercoaster that takes you into the trees (tall people mind their heads)
Snake River Falls - A water chute ride
Pirate Ship - offers half swing on the hour.
There are also a selection of rides in a childrens area located at the top end of the park in a small area next to Speed. Also in this area is a Techno Quest.
The rides do have height restrictions, so would probably be best to check on the boards before heading into the queuelines.
The main disadvantage is the quality of the food, although if you dine in the main restaurant it is quite good quality (but a little overpriced) also this year I found near Speed there is a food area that serves very tasty bacon baguettes for reasonable price.
When visiting I usually like to ride Megafobia several times, I find this to be a fun ride and definitely re-rideable. I also enjoy riding Speed however it can be a bit intense coming through the helix. Also both rides are very painful in the rain (which Wales seems to get a lot of). Hydro is one to be done on a hot day as you get completely soaked, although there is a dryer and changing rooms next to the ride. Usually I'm not keen on shot towers but I enjoy Bounce, I don't find it as intense as most tower rides.
This is a park to be enjoyed by adults and children alike.
Having been a HUGE fan of all the previous Final Fantasy games I couldn't wait to try this one out, especially as it was the first Final Fantasy game to be released for the Playstation 2, I certainly was not disappointed.
This game was released in 2001 and is set in the fantasy world of Spira, a world devastated by the rampaging force of Sin. This Final Fantasy is the first in the series to feature voice over actors for the main characters.
Final Fantasy 10 introduces the CTB battle system (Conditional Turn Based) This system pauses the game during the players turn and takes the pressure off selecting an action. Limit breaks appear in this game as Overdrive moves with each character having a unique Overdrive based around their ability.
During battle you can only control 3 players at once, however you can swap characters out based upon the skills you need in battle. Each character has a specialised ability:
Yuna - White Magic and Summoner
Rikku - Using and stealing items
Tidus - Uses time altering magic and is accurate
Wakka - Inflicts negative status and strikes flying monsters
Auron - Pierces enemies defences and has greatest strength
Kimarhi - Uses enemy skills
Lulu - Casts Black Magic
Final Fantasy 10 also intoduces both a basic and advanced sphere grid allowing you to customise your characters skills, however this is fully explained in game.
The summons in this game are known as Aeons which arrive and entirely replace the party, fighting in their place until the enemy has been slain or until you dismiss it. Aeons have their own stats, spells and overdrive moves. The player acquires a minimum of 5 aeons during the game and 3 aeons can be unlocked during sidequests.
As well as the main game there are many sidequests you can do including a monster arena.
My recommendation is play the game and see for yourself
Having played the previous games in the pokemon series and following pokemon from my childhood I was very interested to see what new styles the DS game would present and I wasn't disappointed.
Pokemon Diamond boasts new Fourth Generation pokemon with the new starting Pokemon in this game being Turtwig (leaf) Chimchar (fire) and Piplup (water). There are also a few more legendary Pokemon in this game. The new game introduces a total of 107 new Pokemon.
Pokemon Diamond makes use of the DS's many functions including touch screen and WIFI.
Diamond is set in the farr off land of Sinnoh where you play as a rookie trainer going through Sinnoh to beat the gyms and master the Elite Four. Throughout your travels you meet Team Galactic.
Diamond has over 400 obtainable pokemon making it the biggest pokemon game to date. There are many methods of obtaining pokemon in the game. Diamond also brings in a new way of online battling and trading through the WIFI connection.
All of these attributes are explained in game.
The game is suitable for all ages but think would provide most enjoyment for younger teenagers or older fans of the pokemon series.
Alton Towers is located within the grounds of a former stately home in Staffordshire, England. On the same site is two hotels, The Alton Towers Hotel and Splash Landings Hotel.
One of my recommendations before visiting Alton Towers is to get a money off voucher or a two for one voucher as the entry price could prove to be very expensive.
The park is split into many themed areas with the cable cars linking them. The cable cars are currently undergoing a revamp, upon my recent visit one was completely decorated in daisies.
Guests also start their day on the monorail, which transports them from the car park to the park entrance. The monorail has also undergone a refurbishment with trains now decorated in different themes such as a cow or jelly beans.
The areas are split as follows:
This is the entrance pavillion and the first area the guests will encounter. It contains several shops and the new Your Day booth, where you can get a wristband to wear for the day and it records your moments on the rides.
This is a new themed area for 2008 and it includes Battle Galleons, Heave Ho (a pirate boat ride) and Marauders Mayhem (a teacup ride)
Congo River Rapids, Runaway Train and The Flume: Unplugged
Duel: The Haunted House Strikes Back
AIR, The Blade, Nemesis, Ripsaw
The Corkscrew (which is sadly closing on 9th November) RITA: Queen of Speed, Ug Swinger
Bouncing Bugs, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Frog Hopper, Gallopers Carousel
Enterprise, Oblivion, Submission
The Beastie, Spinball Whizzer, Squirrel Nutty
Old MacDonalds Farmyard
Doodle Doo Derby, Old Macdonalds Tractor Ride, Riverbank Eye Spy
I'd recommend experimenting with food around the park, however it does have something to suit every taste. My personal favourite is the stand by Spinball Whizzer that serves very tasty paninis.
Don't forget to save money for the car park, it costs £4 and you will need to buy a token.
I personally enjoy Alton Towers for the thrill aspect, with rides such as Nemesis, Oblivion and RITA. I think that the park is ideal for families with older children as there is more for them to go on, quite a few of the rides have a height restriction of 1.4metres.
On a nice day be prepared to queue!! I visited on 4th October and the queues were not so bad because it was a rainy day. The longest queue was for AIR which was 45 minutes. As a general note some of the bigger rides operate a single rider queue system so as long as you don't mind not riding with your friends/family then this might be of benefit.
One of the things I also like about Alton Towers is that they provide notice boards giving you an estimated queue time of the rides, this is a good idea as it saves a lot of unnecessary walking. Be prepared to walk around Alton Towers, I always suffer with a sore knee at the end of the day due to the amount of walking.
The one ride I personally avoid is Submission, I find it a bit painful on the shoulders, however it might be to others taste so don't be disuaded by my comments.
From the start of the day I headed for Spinball Whizzer, which can accumulate quite a large queue, for me this is quite a fun ride and not as intense as some of the other rides on the park. Next I went into X Sector for a couple of rides on Oblivion, and then a relaxing ride on Enterprise, however as I said above I usually avoid Submission.
From there I then headed off into Ug Land via the towers to ride Hex, mainly to see if all the special effects are working. Then for a few goes on RITA, Ug Swingers, Corkscrew and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. One thing I did note on my recent visit is that the Ug Swingers were not operating to the usual standard, they were quite slow and did not swing out as much.
After these rides I headed off to Forbidden Valley on the cable cars for a few rides on my favourite Nemesis and then AIR, which is good but not as intense. Not fancying on getting wet I avoided Ripsaw and had a couple of goes on Blade instead, before going to Duel and having a few goes.
From Duel I then walked round for a few goes on the rapids and the runaway train and got convinced to go on the log flume. As a side note, don't sit right at the front of a heavy boat, you will get VERY wet. We did a few more rides around the park and then decided to head back to the car and home to dry off.
Overall it is a good day out, but plan your day well to avoid the queues.