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jro

jro
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Member since: 03.05.2009

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    • Subbuteo / Board Game / 14 Readings / 14 Ratings
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      26.06.2009 17:11
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      Don't spend a lot on this, but if you find a set for cheap, grab it

      Subbuteo is the table top football alternative to bar football. For those that don't know, it is played on a large mat (which really needs to be nailed down onto wood chip) and miniature players which all stand on semi spherical bases. The game is played with a miniature football which you move around by flicking players, in order to 'kick' the ball.

      There are both advantages and disadvantages to the game. Starting with the positives, the game flows very well. It is strictly speaking turn based, but there is no waiting time and this means that the game plays very freely and can appear as if it is not turn based at all. This means that there is no shear chaos with miniature figures flying all over the place whilst also it is not very slow.

      Next, it can be quite energetic which is good if you are not a board game type person. It requires you to actually move about which in turn prevents it from being boring. Finally, it is really original and can become very competitive which again ensures that not much boredom kicks in.

      As for the negatives, they are not too major, but there are one or two. Firstly, the game can be frustrating when you first start since it requires a reasonable amount of skill. Secondly, unfortunately the little players break rather easily. Finally the mat does really need to be perfectly flat, and it can be hard to achieve this on a kitchen table for instance, resuslting in large bumps on your playing field.

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      • Goodfellas (DVD) / DVD / 7 Readings / 6 Ratings
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        26.06.2009 17:00
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        Pure brilliance

        Goodfellas is a very fine gangster flick under the supreme directing of Martin Scorsese. The film follows the life of Henry Hill (Ray Liotta) who grows from school boy to fully fledged gangster.

        Rather than go more into the plot, I will point out what I like about it. There are two things to my mind that are good about the plot. Firstly, I find that the film is better for centering on one person- it makes it easier to keep track of what is happening and I feel that it allows you to understand the character better and sympathise with him to an extent.

        Secondly, the plot is clever because it does not follow the gangsters at the very top of the 'food chain' but rather those slightly lower down, who don't have life quite so easy.

        An important touch I think to this film is that it does not portray the gangsters as glamorous or as good people in any way, (in a way in which the godfather does in some instances). On the other hand it does not try to make you think of them as anything other than fellow human beings.

        The plot feels very strong throughout and this is reinforced by very good performances from both Pesci and De Niro. The dialogue that is provided is top notch and provides a very well known sequence, 'You think I'm Funny?' which is stupendous.

        Finally, the quality of this film is confirmed from the outset when the music kicks in, since Scorsese just gets it exactly right all the way through this film.

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        • Deluxe Tri Ominoes / Board Game / 4 Readings / 3 Ratings
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          26.06.2009 16:49
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          Very good

          Triominoes is a variant of dominoes in which tiles are triangular and thus have three sides, with each side having a number. At this point you might wonder two questions, firstly is this a cheap rip-off and second is there any point in adding extra sides to a domino. The answer in my opinion to these questions is no and yes respectively.

          Tackling the first question, triominoes are not a recent idea, and as pointed out by other reviewers, they have been around for an alarmingly long time given that not that many know of them.

          As for the second question, there is certainly a point in having an extra side since I think that it adds two extra things to the game. Firstly one thing that it adds is that different shapes are formed- if you thing about it, there are many more interesting shapes that can be formed with triangles than can be with oblongs. And instance of this is a hexagon, which incidentally you score extra points for in the game.

          The other advantage of adding an extra side is that it adds a lot more options and things to think about. for instance whenever you place a tile two numbers must match with the tile already on the board that you are placing it adjacent to. This means that a lot more thought is required.

          This game is very good I think and certainly deserves more recognition generally. A great family game.

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        • Ravensburger Labyrinth / Board Game / 9 Readings / 7 Ratings
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          26.06.2009 16:38
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          Well worth tyring this one out

          This is a very original game, which requires a great deal of thought when playing. I have a re release of this game, and although it looks exactly the same as the picture, it seems apparent that they have changed the winning conditions since the way I play is different to the description.

          The most important thing to understanding how this game works is understanding how the board works. The board has 16 fixed squares on it with the rest of the squares made up by tiles that are free to move. Each square/tile has a path on it, which can run in different directions, for example it could be a bend, a straight path or a t-junction. When all the squares are on the board then there is a labyrinth formed with lots of paths and dead ends alike.

          Onto each square is put a numbered tile, these run from 1-20 and then there is a 25 tile. All players compete to collect these tiles, which must be collected in numerical order. This is where the beauty of the game comes in- on your turn, you get to alter the maze by pushing the one spare tile along a file- thus pushing out a tile at the other end of the board. This requires a lot of visualisation to work out what new paths are going to be formed and whether they will help you.

          I personally find that a lot of satisfaction can be got from really thinking about smart moves, especially moves that stop oppenents getting a tile if you cannot get it youself.

          All in all, this is a fantastic game which requires a lot of thought, but has enough luck in it to allow younger players to have a chance of winning without having to think very hard. A fantastic game.

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        • Rollercoaster Tycoon (PC) / PC Game / 7 Readings / 7 Ratings
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          26.06.2009 16:25
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          Fantastic

          This is a game which I think for one reason or another I have bought at least twice. This implies that I thew it away which is not right because this is a fantastic- I think what is most likely is that I lent it to a friend and never got it back.

          The object of roller coaster tycoon is to build the best theme park possible. You have complete control of the theme park which means that you can hire and fire staff, build rides, change admission prices and build food stalls. You can even change the price of umbrellas. This begins to touch on one of the great things about theme park world which is the depth. There is a huge variety of rides that can be built, and for the big roller coasters you can choose to design your own track if you wish.

          You also have control over the landscape, so you can create hills, tunnels and all sorts. This does all lead to one thing however which is that you are in control of the money as well which is one of the things that adds the challenge to the game.

          There are some very fine touches to this game which I have found make me like it all the more and makes it a game that I will always turn to now and again. Things such as when it rains, seeing all the people in your theme park pulling out umbrellas that you have sold them is something that is really fun. Also, you can click on any person in your park and get their opinion of your work.

          This is a really fine game which is now available all over the Internet at very low prices, if you have never played this game I strongly recommend that you do.

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          • Leon (DVD) / DVD / 19 Readings / 19 Ratings
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            15.06.2009 20:20
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            Fantastic film

            I watched this film after having put it on my lovefilm list quite a while ago (I think after seeing it in a list of best films or the like). I knew it was about an assassin but knew very little else and wow I was very surprised to find this film to be the best film I have watched in quite some time.

            The story of this film centers around two characters. The main character is an assassin named Leon (Jean Reno) and the second character is a very young Natalie Portman who gets adopted by Leon. Part of the film is Leon teaching this girl how to be an assassin, whilst the other part explores their individual characters and the relationships they have between each other.

            For me, there were several things that made this film as good as it was. I found the film quite quirky which is something I like in a film. Leon was very uncharismatic, living in a tiny, scruffy apartment and not really having actually much power. This makes for a very interesting character to explore.

            The explorations into the relationship between the two are in depth and very touching at points. Aside from this however there is also a fair amount of action which is a means to prevent your eyes ever straying from the screen.

            The film is fantastic in all ways and I cannot see how someone could not like this since it will please people who are looking for pretty much anything in a film. The cast is fantastic and provide moments ranging from bizarre humour to full out action. Do not miss out on this stunning film.

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              15.06.2009 13:24

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              Just brilliant, would love to go back

              I went here recently for four nights on a family trip away. We booked this on lastminute.com and so weren't really sure what to expect- we hadn't specifically target Athens, it just came up as a destination when we entered Newcastle as a starting destination.

              I was very happy to find that Athens was a fantastic place to be and whilst different to what expected (I am not quite sure what I expected) it was amazing. There are few things in particular that I thought were great about Athens. Firstly and rather obviously, the weather was pretty fantastic- even in Easter it was hitting the high 20's which meant both that -shirts and shorts were the order of the day, but also that I came back a very nice colour.

              The next great thing was the sheer amount of ancient things around. All around the city, wherever you walk you see evidence of the civilisations that made this place so famous. There is such an abundance of this that it is not closely monitored so you can just walk up to things and have a look.

              Finally the city boasts the most amazing landmark I have ever seen- the Acropolis. You can see this in the picture and it provides stunning views of the city from all directions. It is quite a walk to get up to which means that it takes the good part of a day, but I can't think of a better way to spend a day.

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              15.06.2009 13:07
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              Fantastic, not one to miss out on

              I studied this book for my GCSE English exam a couple of years back and despite analysing it to the brink of death, I still really like this book and it is a book that has always stayed in my mind. The book is about a boy, who is experiencing a slow and drawn out form of a breakdown. He is depressed and does not seem to be able to get along with many people who feature in his life. At the start of the book, the boy (Holden) is kicked out of an expensive boarding school a few days from the end of term (this not the first school he has been kicked out of). Feeling he cannot go home a few days early, Holden decides to go to back to New York (where he lives) but spend some time in the city for a few days instead.

              These days are the basis of the book and although they sound quite innocent, it quickly becomes apparent that they are not as Holden does things that are quite out of the ordinary.

              The book provides a fantastic account of a boy in trouble with himself and the world around him. It cleverly builds suspense throughout as it becomes clear that he could lose any sense that he still has remaining at any point.

              This is a really fantastic book, which I plan to read again and would strongly recommend it as a good and short read that will really get inside your head and make you think.

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            • Theme Hospital (PC) / PC Game / 7 Readings / 6 Ratings
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              15.06.2009 12:57
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              Fantastic game!

              Theme Hospital is a classic game where you take control of Hospitals and it is your job to make sure that they run well and make money (these are private hospitals).

              Thinking that this seemed like a really original idea for a game and also being aware of its longstanding reputation of a classic game for the PC, I bought this game as a budget £5 game from Virgin. I was very impressed initially with the game and could very quickly realise why it was considered a classic.

              Although it is designed for youngish kids, I still venture back to this game every now and again and not only enjoy playing it but laugh at the humour that is intended for younger people. It really is a very well done game.

              There is a single mode and this is whee you are given a hospital and must meet certain targets. When you meet these targets you are then given a bigger hospital and tougher targets to complete. This continues over a very good number of levels, which despite playing this game for many more hours than I care to count, I have never managed to complete the game.

              Your job is to do pretty much everything. Starting from scratch, you have the walls of the hospital but nothing else. You have to build rooms for GPs, Psychiatrists, operating theatres et al. You have to hire all sorts of staff and even build radiators, vending machines and put plants around the hospital to make t more attractive.

              This is a game with fantastic depth and fortunately although it gets too difficult for me, I still enjoy it and has provided me with a plug to stop numerous hours of boredom.

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              15.06.2009 12:47
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              Well worth buying

              This is the second album from the much acclaimed Franz Ferdinand. The band play indie music of a sort and were instrumental in causing the not so recent now resurgence of this type of music which has been rather criticised by some.

              This album is both similar and something of a contrast to the first album that they released. Again this album displays their catchy riffs which are nearly always backed up with very astute bass lines and pounding but interesting drums. The singing style is very much the same, a sort of punch macho-ness. However, this album is also something of a contrast. Where the first album was pop-like this album is definitely more rock in parts and this is neither a bad thing or a good thing.

              Basically, I think if you really liked their first album then though you will still like this album you might be slightly disappointed. On the other hand if you liked the first album but though perhaps that it was a bit tame then like me, I would imagine that you will really like this album. They deliberately pay less attention to everything fitting together perfectly which gives songs a more natural feel and provides more varied rhythms to listen to.

              All in all I would imagine most people would like this music, it may be a bit too catchy for some but it is not the sort of music that you can hate. Well worth listening to.

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            • Madden NFL 2005 (GC) / Archive Game / 3 Readings / 3 Ratings
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              15.06.2009 12:37

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              Well worth buying either this or a later installment

              This game is the outing for 2005 of the most successful, well known and popular game series for American Football. I bought this game pretty much on a whim. I had never had an American Football game before nor had I really watched it. Like most people I had an idea of what it was, and I guess had something of an affinity towards it given that I am a fan of rugby.

              I was very surprised by this game, finding it to be fantastic fun to play, either with friends or on my own. As I mentioned this is an American Football game and so this is basically all you do in the game. There is a single player mode where you go through a season or there is a quick match mode where you can play either a computer opponent or another player. There is also a very neat training mode where you can aim to improve on particular aspects of your game- unlike most training modes found on games, I found this both very useful and great fun.

              I mainly played quick matches however the one player season mode was also very good. There were a few things that really made this game for me, firstly being able to create my own team and secondly, the ability to change things a bit. For instance you can pit yourself against a very good computer for a very competitive game, or you can put yourself against a poor opposition so that you can pull off all sorts of ridiculous moves.

              A great game that doesnt require any previous knowledge (you quickly pick it up).

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              11.06.2009 23:01
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              Well worth the extra pence

              I bought these blank DVDs after reading a suggestion on some forum that they were one of the best makes around. I haven't used enough brands to be able to confirm this but I did find them very good and had absolutely no problems with them at all. At the time of buying these WHSmiths had a very good offer on them, though this was some time ago and I don't think they have the offer any more- they are very cheap on Amazon also I seem to recall.

              I used these DVDs for three main uses and they worked great every time. I used them to make my own DVD films, as storage and as backups for the more scratched of my PlayStation discs. I think the most noticeable thing for me was that whatever drive I put these in there never seemed to be any problems. There was no bad sounds, no very long reading times nor the sound of the disc moving back and forward a lot.

              Like another reviewer I did not find a single DVD that was a duff and there weren't even any marks to be seen on any of them. They may be slightly more expensive than some brands but paying the little bit extras certainly pays off in this case.

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              11.06.2009 19:53
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              Amazing

              I got these a long time ago when I bought ViaVoice which is a voice recognition piece of software. This makes the model I have around 6 or 7 years old and the quality still amazes me when I am using them. I never really used the voice recognition software in the end because it was too clumsy but I have continued to use these headphones whenever I want to listen to something on the computer (and I don't want to use speakers).

              Although the microphone used to be OK- not amazing by any means, it is pretty awful now, its probably had a couple of knocks and eaten up too much dust. The sound quality on the other hand is astounding and it is great to listen to. In my opinion this is the best sound quality I have ever got from any of my earphones- in other words this makes this headset better than a £30 sony pair of earphones in my opinion.

              There are two slight downsides to this headset. Firstly it would be great if it looked better. It loos fine if you are using it, sat next to a computer but I would love to be able to use this to listen to my ipod- unfortunately it would just look too ridiculous. Secondly, it is difficult to hear surrounding sounds when you are listening through these. I guess that this is a trade off with amazing sound quality however.

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              10.06.2009 18:23
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              Not worth anything more than £10

              I was disappointed when I bought this game to find that it was not nearly as good as it was hyped up to be or how I expected it to be. The game is based around the Lord of the Rings trilogy and there are two main modes available in the game: conquest and multiplayer.

              Starting with the conquest mode, this is a mission based mode which can be done either in single player or multiplayer. In the missions you do not control specific characters but you do get control over what type of character you control (archer, magician, warrior or scout). I like this touch because each type of person has different attacks, weapons and fighting style which means that you can mix up the gems when you want to. Unfortunately there is not much else positive about this mode- the difficulty is far too easy, since you can die a number of times before failing a level, the graphics are very poor for a recent generation game also.

              The online multiplayer is a mixed bag which again does not come off too well. The first thing I found was that you can only do the online play with one player which is annoying and I can't see why they couldn't let you have two players. Secondly, I found that the standard of players was absurdly high and found that I was dying all the time. The difficulty was so hard that I have found this mode impenetrable and have never got good enough to really hold my own in these online games.

              Overall, this is a game I would not advise buying- it isn't terrible but certainly not great and there are plenty of better games out there.

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              08.06.2009 12:32
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              I would pick these over the originals given thei price

              Sainsbury's Ginger Snaps are just a re branded form of ginger nuts and if you like those then you should like these. These Ginger snaps are a bit less wide than the originals however they have roughly the same depth.

              First off, these biscuits are in the Sainsbury's basics range which means two things. Firstly they are very cheap which is always handy, especially in these times. Secondly unfortunately, I think that they do not have the same quality of ingredients as the originals.

              The taste o these biscuits is nice enough however I do find they differ from the originals. There can be no complaint over whether there is enough ginger taste to them but really there is almost too much ginger in them. The ginger taste is anything but subtle and to me seems to be a bit overpowering. This means that I never want to eat too many of them in a row- however in my case I find that this is actually a great feature in biscuits.

              They taste nice enough and at their price I would personally always opt to buy these instead of the more expensive originals. Although the taste is not the same as the originals, it is not awful and it simply lacks a bit of the class of the originals.

              At the price, a fantastic pack of biscuits.

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