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Ok, so you're proabably thinking that I'm just a shoot em up fan, games where very little thinking is required (as isnt the case with this game). Well, if the truth be known you're right. But i TRIED I tell you! I really did! The hype behind this game was rather huge and it has brought about a massive following with its addons, online gameplay and sequels, yet for me, I cannot see why. When I picked it up in the shop, H&D looked fun, it seemed it had a great depth of play, great scenarios and graphics and a gameplay that set it apart from most other games of its time. Trouble is, when I got it loaded and started playing it, the fun factor dropped somewhat sharply! I like a challenging game as much as the next man but this really takes the biscuit. As far as I can tell it takes about a dozen times of repplaying each map to fulfill the task, whilst you are battling more with the oversensitive controls and fiddly contol layout than with the enemy. Commanding a team of special forces units with glitchy AI against an enemy with a stupidly weighted advantage at once was not meant for computer games (unless you play the far superior Operation Flashpoint!). H&D opens up a new realm of anticlimax and frustration in its buggy/glitchy gameplay, in which other game can you lead your teamembers onto a bridge only to find that they have all been led by their A.I. into the nearest deep part of running water they could find; or shoot each other in the head by mistakebeofre running into heavily guarded enemy areas - this is supposed to be a game based on stealth! The graphics are impressive considered how old it is, but I wouldnt recommend this to anyone unless you want to stare in wonder at such sloppy programming or a hardcore team-based single player fanatic. In this genre ONLY consider Operation Flashpoint. Although I was impressed by the team selection, weapon selection and strategy behind putting a squad togethe
r for a certain job, the meat of the game just didnt live up to expectations -I did not have fun whilst playing it. H
I was a bit cautious about buying RAM online at first seeing as I didnt know how to fit it or what all the different choices were all for, but sure enough Crucial got me through it. Their UK website has avery useful feature which allows you to choose from a range of RAM modules that are specifically compatible with your system - who wants to go blindly into it without knowing if anything will work? After a flip through the manuals that came with the cmputer I knew enough to complete the memory wizard before choosing the RAM. You can enter in what you know about your compute's insides (model or make of the main components) which will allow the vast database at Crucial to give you the best choices - Easy! Once through, you will be presented with the shortlist. There are still stumbling blocks here as I found out though, but help is on hand with Crucial's very comprehensive and useful help section which will explain all the jargon (ECC, parity, CAS latency....!) that you may encounter. Once through to the order section, you'll find that all web orders have 10% off their normal value! Entering your details is also very self explanatory and, of course, as safe as houses. Correspondance from the guys at Crucial support is freindly and helpful and their service is generally flawless, receiving the RAM in record time in a well packaged container. Due to being overzealous with my choice, the RAM wasnt exaclty what I needed - I just made the wrong decision about a few features of the RAM which I didnt need - I decided that I would've preferred a different module. I explained thisgingerly to the supoort team who handled it well, reimbursing my account instantly with the price difference and seding me a different model out via sepcial delivery 24hr (no extra cost) after i sent the original back. I am extremely happy with the service and help Crucial gave and would buy from them again if they sold more than jus
t RAM! H
I had been wanting to watch Enemy at the Gates for some time seeing as it has an appealing and relatively distinguished cast (Fiennes & Law along with Bob Hoskins as General Kruschev!) and had an interesting premise for a war drama, namely the Soviet struggle - and subsequent victory - in the flasgship and vital city, Stalingrad. As a fan of war films in genereal I had been waiting for a modern film to be relased chronicling the brave and bitter Soviet struggle against the hun during the closing stages of WW2 seeing as it was such a crucial part of the war. However, I must say that this film just didnt deliver as much as I had hoped. Although the plot had pace and punch, it all to easily droppped to lifeless lows and contrived climaxes. I had to grit my teeth listening to Jude Law speak about his Russian upbringing and life in the Urals with an almost cockney but certainly unnatural English accent (yes, I know he's British!). Joseph Fiennes acted rather well, giving a standard performance protraying his characters weaknesses and strengths with clarity, but there seemed to be - and this goes for most of the film - and insensitive, 'Hollywoodised' overtone to dialogue and editing where many typical devices such as the schmaltzy/tearjerking scene or well-rehearsed punchline/powerline cropped up and makes you groan. Or at least get distracted from the drama and setting. The set design and vast exteriors were well made and added an earthiness to the film, yet, as with the dialogue many things felt as if they had been rushed by the editing team or post production in that the director felt that he must convey a sense of realism and genuineness resulting in the audience being bombarded with bombs exploding in every conceivable place, English speaking Russians being 'overauthentically' brutish and ruthless, soundbytes of officers giving orders etc etc. This may sound as if I'm nitpicking but believe me, you won't believe
this film. After watching this film, although I had been through tense and gripping action and the regular Hollywood emotional rollercoaster procedure I felt somewhat short-changed, having not actually learnt anything much about WW2 in general - This film just didnt make me think outside of the rather wooden characters. H
Well, what can I say about this “gem”? *Ahem* This site works humorously by totally mocking the ‘trailer trash’ culture of groups of people in America’s deep south in a very crude way! The author uses bastardised English to emphasise the low IQs of his parodied subject with such pleasant phrases as “once yur don, go vist ma frinds at zgeek.com they ar ma frinds” Quite… The ‘author’, Gregg talks about his life on the trailer park and the interesting folk he meets. I doubt that most people would find this site funny, but it does serve as quite a radically refreshing change! As you’d expect, the site has gathered quite a cult following, retaining its EXTREME low-budget appearance, and offering trailer trash merchandise. Yes, you too can buy your very own mug sporting the crude, unpleasant pictures featured on the site. It seems that our friend Gregg is moving up in the world… I’d recommend this site for anyone with quite a wide sense of humour or just tired of the old, worn out jokes that flit around the Internet. Prepare yourself!
Whether you're a novice computer user or an experienced one who doesn't want to enter into the world of home computer assembly then I can highly recommend the services offered by MESH. I began the long, hard selection process by wading through various computer publications looking at their reviews and analysing the manufacturer adverts. One of the things these ads nearly all have in common is the relentless blinding facts, offers and deals. These detract the prospective buyer from the full item specifications that will always contain a furiating combination of great sounding gear with a couple lacklustre components What you need in this situation is the kind of service offered from the MESH website (http://www.meshcomputers.co.uk/). When you log on, you will notice a function called ‘shop@MESH’. I encourage EVERY prospective computer buyer to use this function to choose their dream system or to just use as a useful comparison for other companies. The function lets you choose a computer from their already comprehensive range and customise it to your heart’s content. What you will be left with, with some careful chopping and changing is a super computer for a damn reasonable price, believe me! No other computer manufacturer I know allows this kind of flexibility in practically building your own system. The up/downgrade prices are clearly marked and the final price including VAT and shipping is instantly calculated. After choosing my desired beast, I compared the spec to various other manufacturer’s models and was amazed at the difference in price. The service was second-to-none; you can order online, by fax, phone or post in a number of different ways: cheque, credit/debit card or wire transfer. There was help every step of the way and not a glitch at all. Once ordered, correspondence was regular to help track the order and questions and alteration were efficiently dealt with. I have hea
rd many stories about customer service being dreadful through MESH but my experience at least was a breeze. The product was tip-top and I haven’t had to contact any helpdesks with problems at all (touch wood!!). Shipping was fast and efficient and was handled by their chosen courier well. Packaging was, as I expected very safe and bulky. The documentation was the best that I had received so far from a computer firm as it was intuitively laid out and explained everything from plugging in the correct cables to general usage. All relevant manuals were there, an A3 technical and set-up guide and contact details were all included in an easily accessible way. The computer has not had one glitch after 5 month’s heavy usage and I can put this down to the wide selection of superior components offered by MESH. I have dealt with many computer firms before, and will confess to know my onions when it comes to computer experience so I can safely say MESH have been the best people I have bought with so far. Even if you’re only considering a new computer, make shop@MESH the first port of call!
Good, in fact very good. Wesley Snipes plays a half human, half vampire creature that is out to seek revenge. Cheesy I know but this is quickly dismissed when watching the film. The film starts with a woman being rushed to hospital with a serious neck wound. The teeth of a blood hungry vampire have caused this. However, to add a twist this early in the play, she is pregnant and would you believe it going into labour!!! So she gives birth to a young child. Thirty years on this child is fighting for revenge against every vampire for the death of his mother. With the knowledgeable help of his sidekick and friend Whistler, Blade (Snipes) uses technology and his formidable combat skills to defeat many a vampire. Attention has to be drawn to the sound track. Some hard dance tunes help the producers create some extremely powerful action scenes. Generally not a movie for the jelly legged breed as many scenes include shots of somewhat gruesome material. A film that would appeal to anyone who is willing to open their eyes to the violence and humour of the situations involved. Good supporting roles give it an extra bit of credibility in a somewhat unrealistic scenario. Rated an 18 for all the right reasons. I would give it a reliable and not at all biased (!) rating of 4 out of 5. ****
The fourth instalment of the Alien saga is an incredibly shallow film, marred by poor acting performances, surprisingly, even Weaver does not put in a decent performance, as she resembles Keanu Reeves in her woodenness. Again, the plot is simple - kill the aliens - and again, there is a traitor in the mix who is conducting sick experiments, not only creating a clone of Ripley with the Alien inside her (as was the case at the end of Alien 3), but then conducting experiments mutating humans with the Alien. A mad race to escape the ship they are on ensues, with only a few smugglers to help her, including Call (Wynona Ryder), who has a surprise of her own up her sleeve. The film is reasonably exciting, with excellent special effects, and a number of heart stopping or really gory moments. If Aliens wasn't for the feint of heart, then this certainly isn't, with many a vile, disgusting death scene included. Unfortunately, the effects don’t entirely make up for the acting, which ensues in a very mild recommendation to rent.
For anyone with an interest in the natural world, wishing for a refreshing and absorbing insight into the latest news, breakthroughs, updates and research in the world of natural studies, this is easily the best place to start. The design of the magazine makes it easily accessible for all people, using appropriate and interesting diagrams and beautiful photographs to capture your attention and imagination. There is a comprehensive list of different regular sections, including New Moon that gives a fascinating run through the natural events, patterns and changes you can expect to see in the countryside and of wildlife in Britain such as new flowering plants, bird visitors, animal behaviour, the cycle of the seasons and the lunar cycle: all relevant to the month of the edition. There are shorts, detailing scientific research into biological sciences and interesting snippets of breakthroughs in the field of wildlife research. The main articles are superbly written and edited by some of the most experienced and knowledgeable people in their field, imparting information in a very engaging and ‘easily absorbed’ way. No scientific knowledge is needed to get full enjoyment out of this magazine - even though much of the content deals with scientific research – as the writing style is easily understandable and approachable for everyone. The diversity of the content is the magazine’s greatest asset as there is sure to be much inside to please all readers whether it be under the sea, in the air or on the ground, flora or fauna. There are also good guides on the latest events and conventions, book releases, videos and television programmes, with many features coinciding with new BBC documentaries such as the excellent Blue Planet coverage. Many writings of the magazine lean towards examining the earth’s environmental condition and our impact on it. Conservation and ecology are major themes throughout
the magazine, which I think is important if we, as a species are to act on the changes we have made on the world. BBC Wildlife magazine is a highly informative and enjoyable read, excellently assembled with a wealth of interesting and relevant articles and fantastic illustrations and photography (from the BBCs comprehensive library) for anyone with an interest in the living world that surrounds us.
We all know that adding more RAM to your computer is an effective, fast way of speeding it up and putting some extra kick into an ageing machine. It is also common knowledge in the techie world that memory prices are at an all-time low and now's the best time to go out and get some. Now that you're raring to go and spend your hard-earned cash, where do you begin? There are so many places to choose from, high-street stores, mail-order, internet, magazines, it could all be a bit baffling and that’s before you even nail what spec you need. The simple answer to this is to go to http://www.crucial.com/uk and have a browse. Crucial are world-renowned for making the best memory in the business and because of this they can afford the great prices they offer. Once logged on, you can tell that security is assured by the gold Verisign Site Security crest, taking good care of all your details. The choices to be made about your memory can become quite complicated as certain computer motherboards (the area inside your computer that allows all the components to talk to each other) will only accept certain types of memory with certain specifications. The correct choices can be made with a click of a button using the site's ingenious, foolproof Memory Selector. You'll need to get out the computer manual to check the motherboard model for it, and then you're away. You can also enter in the make and model of the computer. The function then lists the exact types of memory compatible with your system! All you have to do is add the correct modules and quantities to your shopping basket and head for the checkout. Ordering is then very simple and, of course as safe as houses. If its your first time, they'll ask you to make an account which will only store your name, address and phone number. After that, entering payment details is simple and there's help along the way if needed. On top of the great price
s compared to other manufactures, special delivery is FREE. This means the package will arrive by 12noon in the next two business days. When you order online, you also receive a 15% discount on the standard price! There are plenty of payment options to choose from; cheque, debit card, credit card or even wire transfer. AND, if for any reason at all that the memory isn't compatible with your computer, they'll exchange it for a different module, refunding the difference. This is exactly what I had to do after selecting the wrong memory, I was put on to a sales assistant and given a returns code to send with the package and the new RAM came 2 days later! There couldn't be a more easy online transaction to deal with and you don't need ANY technical know-how to do it, only the skill of clicking the mouse!
I've tried a few auction sites in my time such as Yahoo or Amazon, but nothing compares to the selling power that is eBay.co.uk. When I first logged on I was struck by the clean, minimal look of the site which immediately gave me the impression that it was badly maintained and bug-ridden, but I learnt that you shouldn't be influenced by first impressions! I had a few old things I wanted to sell; a vintage camera, a few videos and a couple of games and I was surprised at just how comprehensive the selling process was. Firstly, you have selling options where you can show the bidder/browser exactly how you'd like to be paid, whether postage is involved etc. Pictures can be added to your item description, and HTML (internet website languange) can be used to give the item page a professional feel. Don't feel overwhlemed by the sheer amount of options and functions you can use if your are a newcomer to auctions as there are comprehensive help guides, answers and tutorials on hand. The sheer size of the international eBay community brings about one of the sites greates virtues. Choice. Chances are, if you are looking for something, one or more of them will be listed on eBay, wherever it is in the world. This also means that your are higly likely to find a great bargain! Beware, though as a certain amount of caution must be used in order to make sure you are securing a real deal. Make sure the seller has included enough information in the description for you to see what condition it is in and what the exact cost including shipping will be. Another great function - the feedback - comes into play here, as after each transaction, the two parties are invited to leave feedback on their buying/selling experience with each other awarding you with a score that increases with praise and decreases with complaints. When you sign up to eBay, you should realise that you will encounter some charges if you choos
e to sell using eBay. For a less expensive item ~£20 or less, 15p is charged for listing, as well as other small charges for functions such as gallery listing or professional layouts. There is also an end auction fee. These charges may not seem like much, but if you are a reasonably regualr seller, then they really do mount up and you can find yourself writing a monthly cheque in double figures. But this may well be worth it if it the easiest way for yout to sell your wares. All in all a comprehensive and friendly way to shop and sell for all ages!
I haven't been reading New Scientist for long, but I can easily say that it has opened my mind to an furthered my knowledge of the world around us. The great virtue of this magazine is the rich and diverse content, covering all three main areas of science (Biology, Physics and Chemistry) in a easily accessible manner. You certainly don't have to be a nerd or a boffin to understand what is written! I get a lot of enjoyment out of reading this magazine as I enjoy learning about new breakthroughs and discoveries and expanding my understanding of science. As a student of Biology, as with any other subject, a lot of background reading in your won time has to be done. For me, my weekly digest of the magazine is essential, especially at such a good price for a thick magazine (£2.20). New Scientist is incredibly versatile, containing shorts, breaking news, in-depth articles and information, along with reviews of events, books, programmes and videos. On the editorial panel many well-known and resected people make appearances, along with experts in their fields selected not only for their wealth of knowledge but for the clear, consise and engaging way in which they write. New Scientist is a highly recommended magazine for anyone with an interest in scientific developments looking for a refreshing, comprehensive and accessible read.
Okay, so I'm writing about a toothbrush. For the best, most long-lasting clean you'll have in a long while, choose this brush. For a relatively small price when compared to other fancy or specialised toothbrushes, this offers all the bells and whistles culminating in a very comprehensive, satisfying and comfortable brush. Seriously! There's the nice and soft rubber ball at the base of the head which bends to stay in total contact with the teeth and move to deeper, darker areas of the mouth. There's the multi-length filaments which, on first inspection, look like another pointless addition but really do clean in, out and between your teeth. Also there's the bendy neck which absorbs excessive pressure to ensure a comfortable brushing. The handles is annoyingly thin though and tends to slip, but the head is nice and big and gives the gums as well as the teeth a scrub, gently of course. It is generally very well designed and is a comprehensive package for the price.
When I first played the original Driver game, I must say I was dissapointed; many glitches, garish graphics, difficult handling and a threadbare storyline. As you can imagine, I was wary of Driver 2, but nevertheless I rented it out from my local video store. By God was I suprised at what I was playing! There was the customary loading time which then exploded in to the most jaw-droppingly gorgeous and slick FMV that I had seen. I was hooked. You play Tanner, the dinner jacketed car-crunching guy who has been mixed up in the thick plot that permeates the gaming keeping progression from types of missions and locales almost seamless. From Chicago to Havanna to Vegas and Rio; from car-tailing, car-wrecking, time hases and time trials, it looks, sounds and feels lovely. The controlling is good and responsive giving you many options as to what to do when careening round a corner and shaking off a tail. One thing I was impressed by was the sheer variety and freedom there is in the game. To combat the memorising of your opponent's route there are many different routes that they can take which creates lots of variation between the levels and keeps you attentive and on your toes. The AI (artificial intelligence) of your cops and opponents has been notably worked on, adding to the variation and randomness of the game so that no two plays of a level will be the same. There are many notable additions made to the AI so that the cops and your 'prey' seem much more intelligent than in the first game: cops employ many tactics on chasing and other enemies have a huge array of nifty dodges and tactics they can use when being chased. All adding to the enjoyment of the game. This is one of those great games who's levels are increasingly hard and frustrating but require a little perseverance to succeed, not so much that you'll end up snapping the CD, but it has been expertly tweaked and written so you will get a maximum sense of acieveme
nt and enjoyment out of each level. There are glitches however that crop up occaisionally and remind you that it's all just a game. Thing like the slow-down which reduces your games to a jolting 4frames per second for a couple of seconds and the occaisional sparseness of graphics on the intitial levels but this disappears further on. Also, the navigation of the menus and saving gets annoyong as it creates an unwelcome gap between each stage of gangster-life. Beside the things that get you frustrated in a game such as this like the annoying crashes into trees that don't even buckle, there is little else to expect that will make you want to flush the controller down the toilet. Despite the unqualified and untrue criticisms that Driver 2 has been receiving, like the fact that most reviews dwell much to heavily on the minor glitches than on what makes this game so great, I have to give this game a resounding 5 stars because the awesome playability of this game and the sheer love and copious amounts of attention lavished on the game outweigh the bad points tenfold. Harry
Not everyone it seems has heard of download Acellerator - http://www.downloadacellerator.net It is the best download manager I have found as It really can (CAN) increase your download sppeds by 300%! One thing: to get the most out of Download Acellerator, you need to be pretty handy with a comp, there are some tricky configuration methods to be used and you need to be aware or menus and options and what they mean. But if you're not a computer nerdy nerd nerd, just stick it on, click 'yes' and it'll be fine. ish. DA has a habit of being temperamental, a trait which is common with all D.load managers I've found. The whole buisness of downloading something and offering features more than the standard MS downloader is quite a job. Once configuration is perfect and you know how to work it well, it will not really fail by its own faults. The net may cause it some problems of course. DA works by connecting to the site where the file is stored multiple times and managing these simultaneous downloads. After each segment is done, it pieces the information together seamlessly. There are option when a download commences, of 'regular' or 'acellerated' - as acellerated d.loads usually take up your connection speed, you may want to do little esle on the internet at the same time. A handy feature. There is also the ping screen that pops up before you download. This searches for other servers on the net which hold the same file. The fastest servers are displayed and DA connects to them. How nice. There is little in the way of support by DA's makers and may feel a little skimpy, but it will serve you well. and it DOESN'T send a list of d.loaded files back to the maker's servers like RealDownload does! You want faster downloads? THIS will be better than the ones you've tried. Harry
Of course! Everybody likes to get something for free... Freeguide.co.uk is a site devoted to giving you a constant, endless stream of links to free stuff avaliable on the web. Freguide.co.uk is run by British people for british people. The site is divided up into numerous sections of freebies such as coupons, money, catalogues, CD-Roms and downloads. Esch one is updated pretty regularly, obviously some more than others. Each section is packed with links to places where you can obtain free things. Some may require you to do a little on their site though. For example, a site may want you to register with them before allowing you to claim the gift, or a competition may require you to look around the site bfore entering, or sometimes, and best of all, there is a link straight to the freebie itself. There are downfalls to the idea though; as there are many other sites offering this serveice, the freebie will often run out quickly due to high demand and so you are left with a dead link. This is most infuriating when the freebie is something that you really could do with. The sie also aloows you to add a link to freebies that you have uncovered and also gives you statistics for the most clicked on freebies. This is a very warm, welcoming and professional looking site which, like www.allfreeuk.co.uk will make you come back again and agian to check for free stuff. The little niggles are that when you click a link, you remain in the frames of freeguide; that is, there's always a banner at the top of the clicked site displaying info about freeguide - pretty sneaky. Also, quite a few of the free things are for freebies that are irrelevant to most people and are ultimately pointless and useless, nevertheless, keep trying!