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What exactly does "Calypso Cricket" mean? It's anything you want it to be, but for many in todays world, it's the type of cricket that comes from the West Indies. That mesmerising style, flair, aggression, swagger and panache with both bat and ball that not too many cricket teams in the world have reached. It's the term more associated with the West Indies team of the mid 70's and 80's, a team widely regarded as the best ever to grace cricket. With legendary talents such as Clive Lloyd, Viv Richards, the late Malcolm Marshall, Gordon Greenidge, Michael Holding, Andy Roberts, Desmond Haynes and Joel Garner, just to name a few, finding themselves in the team, you could imagine the glee of the director, Stevan Riley, had whilst he assembled this wonderful documentary, which mixes archive footage and interview footage.
For those who are wondering about the "Babylon" in the title, it was the term used by the black people of the Carribean islands to describe the powerful and in charge whites. Incidentally, the documentary actually begins talking about the power struggle of the blacks against the whites for independence and equality. Bunny Wailer is on hand to give some thoughtful comments, as are some random historians and journalists.
The early West Indian cricketers are also talked about. The Three W's (Sirs Everton Weekes and the late Frank Worrell and Clyde Walcott), Seymour Nurse and Sir Garfield Sobers (possibly the number one all rounder of all time) are talked as stupendous players, but were finding it difficult to get victories. Because of that, they were labelled as "Calypso Cricketers", just wanting fun and entertain the crowd without focusing on winning. The interviewees, while knowing the results weren't being produced, hailed the moment of Worrell becoming captain as a momentous occasion, as he was the Windies first black captain.
Clive Lloyd is then mentioned as having the captaincy given at a young age. His big task is to unite a team of loners as one and to become world beaters. After winning the inaugural One Day International World Cup, the tour of Australia is mentioned in great detail, with the final result being 5-1 in the Aussies favour. Dejected but not down, the infancy of the West Indies nightmare inducing fast bowlers is shown to be inspired by the lightning quick Dennis Lillee and Jeff Thomson. After his spinner failed in Australia, Lloyd decided to go with all out quicks when the Indian team toured the West Indies. The rest, as they say, is history.
The West Indies test series against England have always been electric (until recent times). Perhaps that stems from Tony Greig, England's skipper at the time, commenting on how he intended to make the tourists "grovel", the ample ammunition to fire up a black West Indian team, at a time where a white ruled South Africa were treating the blacks like scum. It was only adding fuel to the fire that Greig was South African born, educated and accented. The archive footage pulled out here is top notch stuff, as I grimaced at seeing the bouncer barrage the England batsmen were subjected to, wearing mild protection, as well as drop my jaw at the beauty of some of the shots played. On a side note, seeing the racist comments from the archive footage absolutely disgusted me. I couldn't believe there was a time in England like that. However, the legends of Viv Richards, Clive Lloyd and the speedsters had been written with this series.
Despite winning 2 World Cups as well as a fast growing reputation as world beaters, the players were not being financed properly and some decided to go to Kerry Packer's World Series Cricket to make some money, which is talked about in great detail by those involved It's rather ironic seeing current players such as Dwayne Bravo, Kieron Pollard and Chris Gayle opt to make millions from the Indian Premier League, instead of gritting it out for the sake of the country. Similar to the World Series Cricket problem, but much more taboo, was the South African rebel tours, named because of Apartheid. These tours, which England were involved in the majority of, were considered unofficial by the ICC but the political ramifications of it were the real problems. People such as Colin Croft, Ezra Moseley, Lawrence Rowe and Alvin Kallicharan joined the rebel squad, never to play for the West Indies again. Hearing Croft's excuse on why he went was understandable, but if Viv Richards, who declined to go, was offered as much money as he wanted decided to stay patriotic, then Croft's excuse is honestly flimsy. After watching his views on Sky Sports from time to time, I can't help but lose respect for him.
Even after the dent of losing players to Apartheid South Africa, it's amazing to see how there is still a dearth of talent, that conquered England in the infamous "Blackwash" tour, which is again covered superbly. After some closing comments, I was amazed to see that after the calamitous 5-1 Australia series of 1975, the next time the West Indies didn't win a series was against Imran Khan's Pakistan in 1988, which after 3 tests, ended with a 1-1 draw.
There's really no doubt in my mind that Stevan Riley has struck gold with this. It's one of those documentaries which even people who aren't interested in cricket would love. I wasn't even born at this time, but I still enjoyed every bit of it. The clear and concise interviews really are candid and passionate. Viv Richards and Gordon Greenidge are especially interesting to listen to. I really would have loved to hear from Malcolm Marshall, as many current players cite him as one of their favourite bowlers, as well as him being considered the best of the West Indies pace battery. There's also more to this than cricket and interviews, as we see a band playing some Calypso music rather early on, as well as some footage of white ruled Carribean. I certainly learnt a heck of a lot watching this.
There are some problems with "Fire in Babylon". I think the main one is that while this focuses on the West Indies team of 1975-84, I don't think it would have hurt to talk about the team of the 90's and current day. They're hardly mentioned, but comparing Darren Sammy's weak team of today against Lloyd's lions really shows the sorry state of affairs both the board and players have fallen into, even though the talents produced are still exciting. Brian Lara was the talent of 90's and Darren Bravo is today. I believe West Indies are probably the only team along with Pakistan who can produce talent like this with the ease a magician pulls a rabbit out of a hat.
Another problem was that "Fire in Babylon" ignores the ODI side of things. I can understand that back in the 70's and 80's, test matches were more common, but ignoring the Windies World Cup triumphs of 75 and 79 is hard to forgive to me. In fact, the story is that the West Indies Cricket Board were in a better financial situation of these wins. Had this fact been linked to the enclosed during the documentary, it would have certainly given sympathy towards the West Indies players who went to Packer, considering that their own board couldn't pay them well after some nice financial increases.
Seeing as this is a documentary, there's really no need for a soundtrack. We get the occasional bit of music however, we get treated to a band playing some music at different points. While it's good fun, Bob Marley it isn't. There's also some choice language. So if your offended easily by some racial slurs or some swearing, then this one is not for you. Even then, if you can't stand the sight of seeing batsman getting on practically every part of the anatomy, then again this isn't for you.
The good thing about "Fire in Babylon" is that it's available in 3 methods. DVD, Blu-Ray and digital download. I got the latter, via the Playstation Store for a penny shy of £9. I'm regretting doing so as there's no extras with that and it's cheaper to get it in the disk form. From Amazon, you can get this for £6.47 on DVD and a penny shy of £8 on Blu-Ray. On top of that, you get the bonus extra features. Amazon is by far the cheapest price on the internet, but eBay might reveal that odd bargain.
From the years 1989-2010, the WWE staged their Royal Rumble event and match every January. The mentioned years saw 30 men compete in an over the top rope battle royale, where entrants came out every 90 seconds or so. The 30 man concept was an update from the 20 man concept the WWE had done just once in 1988. Come 2011, the match is still one of the most popular the WWE promote, seeing as it's the only one they do just once a year, but with it's large roster, the WWE took the gamble to add 10 more men to the fray. The last time WWE tried to update the Royal Rumble was in 1995, where intervals were placed at 1 minute instead of 90 seconds to 2 minutes. That resulted in a messy and uninteresting match. However, the chances that 2011's match would be better were high, seeing how much star power was in this match.
In the opener, Edge defended his World Heavyweight Championship against Dolph Ziggler. Seeing how Ziggler upped his game in the previous year and how Edge was on fire in the ring at this point, I had high hopes for this match. Happily, this is a cracking opener, mixing a fast pace with some good story telling. The whole plot line of Edge not being allowed to use the Spear at the risk of losing the match and title only added to the drama. Both men deserve credit for lighting up what was a thin looking card.
The Miz, in the midst of his unflattering WWE Championship reign, was then set to defend the belt against the man he beat for it, Randy Orton. While this match was nowhere near the quality of the previous one due to the much slower pace, it isn't too bad. Watchable but not entertaining would be the best way of putting it, that is until the fun finishing sequence.
To call the Fatal 4 Way for the Divas Championship pitting the champion Natalya against Eve, Layla and Michelle McCool, a filler and worthless match is harsh, as this match was pretty much going to be the worst from the 4 presented. That's not the ladies fault involved, seeing as they got a paltry 5 minutes, but seeing how one of the entrants was a surprise, she's a darn disappointing inclusion, as the WWE had just recently had a high profile signing, as well as there being more deserving females on the roster, this match could have been a lot better.
To ask the audience to watch for over an hour, as opposed to around an hour or just a little over it, in the previous years was going to be a challenge for the wrestlers and the WWE. Thankfully, this is one of those times everybody got it right, as this was one of the most entertaining Royal Rumble match in years. The standout man of the previous year's Rumble was once again the star performer this year as CM Punk shone throughout his stay in the match. In addition to that, the first 10 or so entrants were dynamite together, with some being worthy winners in their own right. The sensational parkour skills of John Morrison have to be seen to be believed. Even the 2 surprise entrants provoked nostalgia, even if they were there for a very short amount of time. That twist right at the end of the match was classic too, but all in all, the right man prevailed. If there were any low points of this match, it had to be the lack of any Nexus vs Corre action, the rival 2 stables who went nowhere after this show. And as usual from him, John Cena managed to stink up the joint with his cartoonish comebacks. Seeing and hearing the total silence and crowd apathy to the Cena vs Randy Orton stare off was hilarious as this rivalry had been promoted for pretty much 3 quarters of 2009 and a quarter of 2007, with some of 2008 thrown into the mix.
There are 2 versions to this show. The standard DVD, which comes with 2 extras. A bland post-match interview with the winner of the Divas match, as well as a long but okay celebration from the winner of the Royal Rumble winner the next night. The second version is on Blu-Ray, so it comes in the smaller and skinnier case, but is in HD, has the 2 extras and includes an extra disc which includes the full Raw and SmackDown shows prior to the event itself. From what I remember, not too much happened on these shows, but it's well worth spending extra on the Blu-Ray for the HD.
Prices for the DVD version are anywhere from £11 on Silvervision, Amazon and Play or just under £12 from TheHut online to £20 in store from HMV. The Blu-Ray's will set you back maybe £3 or £4 extra from the same sites, except Silvervision which will take £7 extra from you. Of course, seeing as it's the only site to offer next day delivery provided you order early, you might prefer to part with the extra cash.
It seems to be a curse that some of the most successful video game series of all time somehow seem to produce the worst films of all time. Whether it be Resident Evil, Dead or Alive, Doom or Prince of Persia (all of which were great games to play), filmmakers just seem to completely blow it up in everybody's faces, much like a Chief Quimby (of Inspector Gadget) message. The director Dwight H Little really had to work his socks off just to try and break the habit. The question was could he do it armed with a $35 million budget?
For those unfamiliar with Tekken, back in 1995, a Japanese computer game developer, Namco, the geniuses behind Pac-Man, entered the fighting games market, hot off the heels of the mega popular Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter series. The Tekken series of games focuses on Heihachi Mishima, an evil kingpin and owner of Mishima Zaibatsu, who announces a fighting tournament, The King of Iron Fist. Mishima's son, Kazuya, is looking for vengeance against his father, as he dropped him to his supposed death as a young kid. Kazuya survived after having a devil gene implanted in him, which is a Mishima trait. Naturally, Heihachi fights with his son as Heihachi himself wants the devil gene, which he does not have. Add to that Jin Kazama, the son of Kazuya, who was introduced in the third game of the series, soon getting a devil gene, and it's all one big happy family fight.
(The following paragraph contains some spoilers)
As for the film, it slightly deviates from the game storyline, as you would expect. Set in 2039, Jin Kazama, played by Jon Foo, is a young kid living in a slummy city in America called The Anvil, run by Tekken (or Mishima Zaibatsu as it's known in the game). Naturally, money for everyone is tight and even the most simplest of foods are expensive to buy. Jin lives with his mother Jun, who has taught him several styles of martial arts but Jun doesn't allow Jin to fight in The King of Iron Fist, which grants fame and fortune to the winner. After Jun is killed in an airstrike, led by Kazuya Mishima, Jin's vengeance gets the better of him as he decides to fight in the tournament, believing Heihachi demanded the airstrike. After winning an open call slot in the tournament against Marshall Law (Cung Le), Jin encounters other fighters, some of whom he has to face. Jin then sets on his revenge, with a few twists and turns thrown in.
The plot itself looks like an average action movie. Seeing as this is more of a fighting movie, it's got that element thrown in. However, it at least has a plot and isn't all action. Some of the best action films such as True Lies, Bourne Identity and Terminator 2 have revolved more around the plot, but still have great action scenes. Tekken's plot isn't entirely unique and very predictable, but at least it's attempting something. In fact, I think the action scenes weren't as promising as they could be. From one of the opening scenes, which features Jin running from some bad guys, with Sick Puppies "You're Going Down" song playing, I had the feeling that while I'd seen something like this before, there wasn't anything original or new about it. Sex helps to sell films too, so Tekken is no different. 2 romps featuring Jin going at it with Kara, some random girlfriend of his, and Christie, who he meets in The King of Iron Fist Tournament as well as a menage a trois featuring Kazuya and I believe the Williams sisters find there way in here. They don't enhance the plot in anyway and I felt this short time wasted on sex could have aided the action or the plot at least. The editing and camera angles are very fast, as you would expect and it's still easy to keep up with everything, so top marks to the director Dwight H Little and the editing crew. My big gripe is that this film shows the ending of it first, then presents everything else as a flashback, which renders all but the final 15 minutes useless. In the 90 minute run time, 75 minutes have been wasted there. In fact only one thing of note happens involving Heihachi,which is further elaborated on after the ending credits roll. After seeing Jin in that end (or beginning depending on how you look at it) segment, you just knew he wasn't going to die if any peril came to him.
Looking at the cast for this film, only Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa's name is the only one that carries any weight. Happily though, these no name actors do an all round decent job. Jon Foo's portrayal as young and brash Jin Kazama is admittedly a blip. After watching the film, I just couldn't find myself warming to him and his selfish, wooden ways. Maybe that's what Little intended, seeing as everyone around Jin's age is slightly naive. Kelly Overton, who plays Christie Monteiro, who I had never heard of before, actually puts in a very good performance. While she's there as a pretty face, her acting is actually quite believable and she comes across as a very likable character. Ian Anthony Dale also does a fine job as Kazuya Mishima, being the playboy and heartless son. Just one thing about his acting though was that it wasn't menacing enough. Seems a strange thing to say for a villain but Dale's moustache and goatee combo is supposed to suggest evilness, when all it does is show how well groomed he is. Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa is absolutely faultless as Heihachi Mishima. Even his applied liver spots and wrinkly skin are faultless and similar to Heihachi in the game, so props to the make up team for that. It doesn't matter whether Tagawa is in Mortal Kombat, Licence to Kill or the new Hawaii Five-O, he is far too professional to give anything less than his best, and he achieves it yet again. For those that have seen it, think Raul Julia as M Bison in Street Fighter - head and shoulders above the rest. Luke Goss who plays Steve Fox is old and retired in this film as opposed to young and active in the games. Goss does a good job as Jin's manager, but I reckon his role is too short for full appraisal. Speaking of short roles, Jun Kazama's role, played by Tamlyn Tomita, isn't too bad for what we see, but had she been given a longer role, it probably wouldn't have been too great anyway. The sisters Williams' Nina (Candice Hillebrand) and Anna (Marian Zapico) are a complete waste of space, especially Zapico's Anna. Just there to be pretty faces, they hardly have the opportunity to do that. Total screen time for both must have been 5 minutes maximum. Darrin Dewitt Henson is lifeless as Raven, a role I felt could have been given to Westley Snipes. Equally, Gary Daniels as Bryan Fury is hapless. Seeing how amazingly violent and fun Bryan is to play as in the games, Daniels can't even match the intensity of a computer game character. How sad is that? Lateef Crowder as Eddy Gordo, Gary Ray Steams as Yoshimitsu, Roger Huerta as Rojo and Anton Kasabov as Sergei Dragunov are really all write offs, seeing as they have about 3 lines between them.
As for the choreography, I was massively disappointed in what I saw. The first two tussles with Jin against Law and Eddy against Raven promised a hell of a lot. Unfortunately, that's where the fight scenes peaked out. I guess that's because Crowder (Eddy) was able to show off his capoeira skills and Le (Law) and Foo (Jin) could show off their martial arts. The rest of the fights are basically punches and kicks. Not that i wasn't expecting any of those unbelievable moves from the games, but something besides punches and kicks could have been done, to break the monotony. At least that monotony was kept quite short.
There's a few things that are different from the game that are good and most that are bad. For example, in the games, the idea of Nina Williams being the mother of Steve Fox, although they look the same, is far fetched. In the film, there's no previous relation, which actually helped the storyline. Another thing I liked was how Jin and Kazuya had no knowledge of their relationship and how Kazuya raped Jun in the film. The games completely kills this storyline almost instantly as Jin knows who his father is, which in turn doesn't fuel their hatred as much as it does in the film. For the bad things, I could not understand why the devil gene was completely ignored. It's probably the most important thing in the games but there's no mention of it in the film. I might be a bit harsh as the ending suggested a sequel, but still, the scriptwriters squeezed a lot of aspects from the different games, so why not the devil gene? The game also tells that Eddy trained Christie in the art of capoeira. Unfortunately, the film ignores this and Christie is just a normal fisticuffs brawler. The fight scenes would have been miles better if Christie was a capoeira fighter, much like she is in the games. Finally, the inclusion of Rojo, Dragunov and Raven is a bit puzzling to me. Seeing how these guys were introduced from the 5th game of the series, putting them straight in the film wasn't a smart idea. People like Baek, Paul, King, Armour King and Julia have much better claims to be characters in the film, seeing as they've been part for over a decade. Again i might be harsh as a sequel might come out, but 3 of the newer characters is too much to have. It should have been 1 of Raven, Rojo and Dragunov.
As with any DVD, special features are always a must. Tekken hardly has anything. The inclusion of a theatrical trailer is useless, especially after we've already bought and watched the film. The only other feature is some stunts feature, which I haven't really watched properly in all honesty. From what I did see, it didn't look too good. Considering that this film only grossed around $1 million on a $35 million budget, all those subtle hints dropped in film at a possible sequel seem improbable now. The extras could have resultingly been better in quantity and quality.
This has a dirt cheap price, which seems only fair for the quality. It's going for around a fiver on Amazon, Play and eBay sealed and new, which is actually a bargain, £7 second hand from CeX, which is ridiculous and £6 in store from HMV brand new, where I picked it up from.
Shop late. Play tomorrow. Referring to their free, next day delivery service, that's ShopTo's slogan and after buying from them for a little over a year, they haven't lied to me once. ShopTo.net is a website that sells just about any video game on any games console, as well as selling the consoles themselves, console accessories, such as control pads, and gaming related goodies, such as figures, t-shirts and keychains. After years of buying from Game, HMV and Gamestation stores and shopping online from Amazon, TheHut and Zavvi, ShopTo.net, with their competitive prices, blows most out of the water.
Offering the latest games available for pre-order, as well as a bunch of cheap DVD's and Blu-Ray's, ShopTo is the only site I use to buy all my latest games, because of those little things they offer. Firstly, whether the game is for a PSP, PS3, XBox 360 or even a Nintendo 3DS, the pre-order price is always one of the cheapest found on the whole internet. A game that would be £45 in the shops and £35 pre-order from the internet sites like Amazon would be cheaper 7 times out of 10 for ShopTo. Even if it isn't, it's probably only by a pound or two more, but don't let that defer your decision to purchase something from their. While so many companies like to give pre-order codes, peaking at downloadable content (DLC) or a strategy guide, I reckon it's undoubtable ShopTo have the best pre-order bonuses. A DLC bonus is the least ShopTo will give you. Anything from busts and figurines, t-shirts, keychains, replica items, as well as those annoying small print strategy guides and DLC's are the norm for a ShopTo pre-order. I pre-ordered my L.A. Noire game from them, getting an exclusive, free t-shirt, costing slightly under £38, slightly more money than Amazon, who gave away an exclusive DLC, which is now readily available on the PS store. ShopTo, if the pre-order does not come at the estimated date, will credit some money into your account, so long as you've followed so many conditions, the main one being to use their expensive courier service. On another note, the courier delivery is default for purchasing consoles. Wouldn't want those postmen carrying them around now, would we?
Already released games are available to and there's a very high chance it's at a brilliant price. L.A. Noire, released around April/May is already under 30 quid. The recently released Call of Juarez game from July was under £37 and now under £20. Right now it's a few pounds shy of £30 on Amazon. Besides that, they have many games placed under special offer at some brilliant prices. Cleverly, the games nobody wants or released long ago are placed at the lowest prices and I must admit, I've suckered myself into buying some. As for the DVD's and Blu-Ray's, these are an okayish price, but sales are very sparse and sites like Amazon and TheHut are the premier ones for buying these.
One of the things i like about ShopTo is that they take care of their valued customers. They do this by having 3 membership brackets; Gold, Silver and Bronze. Bronze is the most tedious of the lot, as you would expect and doesn't give you anything. I guess buying less than 12 items a year isn't good enough. Sort of a waste, but the Silver, which I'm a part of, is brilliant. Silver members get slightly better deals and prices on most games than regular customers, as long as they buy over 12 and under 30 items a year. Most of these are slightly a pound less than normal price, but I've seen some £3 less. A monthly £1 voucher knocks the price down even more, so you can easily save your bus fare as a silver member. As for returning, £1.99 is credited in your ShopTo account, to cover some of the delivery price, which means even more money off future orders. An "exclusive" customer support number is given to Silver members. I have yet to use it but I'm not convinced. Finally, in the (likely) event that the Royal Mail strike, the item is sent via courier at no charge to you. It's the same one as everybody else gets in my opinion, except they probably just interact with you a little more. As for Gold members, it's pretty much the same perks as Silver members, except they receive £1.50 voucher and £2.99 credit for returns. Unfortunately, 30 products a year, the way to join Gold status, is to whopping a number to me.
The ShopTo community is huge, thanks to the forum on offer, where members can share there views on just about anything, whether it be games or life in general. Similarly, ShopTo TV is a service, completely free to even non-members, that has videos of gameplay experiences and trailers of the latest and upcoming games. I've made a few decisions on what games to buy and what to skip from this handy service. Naturally, these guys have social media services, with a Facebook and Twitter page as well as an app for mobile shopping on the go.
I've only ever had one problem with ShopTo and that was the registration process. Having to give card details up front left me a little sceptical, as only Play.com is the only other site I've been on that asks for card details during registration. The fact that they take out and instantly refund a pound really did irk me, seeing as I'm no master fraudster. After signing up, I found out I couldn't log on. After doing the whole process again, I still couldn't log on and later found out 2 of my pounds had been taken out from my bank account. Thinking I just may have been scammed, I phoned the free to phone helpline service, where the helpful staff sorted everything out for me, refunding my money and activating my account. Admittedly, a wrong foot to get off on, but the service I've received ever since has been the polar opposite of my first experience. Just a word of note that buying "instant access codes", an emailed code for the PS store or for XBox points, is impossible for 30 days, for some strange reason.
ShopTo, for a relatively unknown website, has some of the best customer service I've received from a website. I just can't believe I didn't find it earlier than I did, otherwise I could have saved a wad of cash, or at least make the numbers smaller on my statement.
It's no secret how successful the Toy Story trilogy is, both commercially and critically. There's probably no argument that the 3 films Disney Pixar have shown to us are probably the 3 best animated films ever. So when the second film came out in 1999, following the massive hit the first film was, it was understandable others were looking to cash in on the success, after a brilliant first game for the SNES. Activision, the publisher of this game worked with Travellers Tales and Disney Interactive to develop the game, based on the second Toy Story, following the strong sales of the first. This time, the game was to be released on the newer, more powerful Playstation, N64 and Dreamcast consoles.
For those of you that aren't familiar with the plot, Buzz Lightyear and Woody continue their friendship, until Woody gets kidnapped/stolen by a greedy toy store owner, who plans to sell Woody, who we find out is a rare and cherished doll for a fortune, as well as some other toys, who were friends of Woody. Buzz and the rest of the toys plan to get Woody back and go through various obstacles, such as Buzz Lightyear's nemesis, Evil Emperor Zurg and Stinky Pete, one of the compatriot's of Woody, who tries to allow Al to succeed selling them. Now naturally, the game's plot is similar. When playing, you take the role of Buzz and you have to go through various obstacles, some which are seen in the film, for example Al's Toy Barn and the airport, and others which the developers have added to add longevity to the game, such as exiting Andy's house (which isn't nowhere near a challenging obstacle for the toys in the film) and going through an alley. 15 levels are available to play. In each level are 5 challenges. One challenge involves fighting a boss, another is a race, either with someone or trying to catch something, the third is to find 5 items and return them to the owner, the fourth is to collect 50 coins for Hamm the pig and the fifth is a random task, such as mixing paint to match colours or climbing on top of structures, swing from poles, jumping on bouncy objects etc. Completion of a task rewards Buzz with a Pizza Planet token, which helps Buzz to access further levels. Every third level is just a standalone boss, which can be a plane that drops bombs, a slime man (that used to scare the pants out of me when i played this) and even primary enemies, Stinky Pete and Zurg. After completion of levels, a movie, direct from the film itself plays, which gives a link to the next level. In a nutshell, all the movies are the useful bits of the actual film. I can imagine that being a problem for those that played this first, then watched the film.
Sounds like a simple enough game, and to the credit of the companies involved, it is very simple. The gameplay is also remarkably simple. While this was made at a time when 3D cameras, a gimmick we take for granted now, were rare, you might find it a bit annoying waiting for the camera to pan behind Buzz. Alternatively, seeing as this is reviewing the Playstation version, pressing either L2 or R2 will swivel the camera, so you can adjust it behind Buzz, quicker than allowing it to happen automatically. The controls are very simple too. The X button allows Buzz to jump once. An extra push of X and Buzz will jump again and higher, provided you press while he's in mid air. The O button gives Buzz a twirl, which is required to defeat some enemies and bosses. Holding the O button will build up some force in the twirl, and when let go, Buzz will do several revolutions, until he stops and consequently gets dizzy for a short while. I prefer using this, seeing as the standalone twirl can be hit and miss towards enemies. Additionally, while jumping, pressing O will make Buzz stomp, essential for pressing buttons or to springboard off objects. The square button allows Buzz to shoot a red line from his laser, again a very useful way to defeat enemies. Much like the twirl attack, holding square will build up more power and will make Buzz shoot out a yellow laser, a handy tool for those enemies that take more than one shot to kill. The D-pad is the way to control Buzz, as this was released around the time the Analogue sticks were just about to take off. The L1 button opens first person view, with R1 allowing Buzz to lock on to enemies. This game utilises the health and lives system of old, where once Buzz's health runs out, he loses a life. Naturally, you can replenish health by finding batteries and gain lives by finding tokens with Buzz's face. Just be told, this isn't a game where you can load up on lives in the first level. That honour still remains with the Donkey Kong series.
Nearly all of the characters from the film are included in the game. Two whom you will find on every level are Hamm the pig, who wants 50 collectible coins, scattered across every level, for a Pizza Planet token and Rex the dinosaur, who offers informs you of and sometimes advises Buzz on how to do each challenge. Mr Potato Head is also seen in a handful of levels and requires you to find a missing body part, in order to use an item such as cosmic shield or grappling hook, which are imperative to complete a level. You actually play some levels where you need the item before you actually play the level Mr Potato Head is in, so you will have to exit the level and carry on playing until Mr Potato Head is seen. In that case, you have to go back to complete some levels to gain tokens. Other characters, such as Bullseye, Jessie, Bo Beep, Slinky and other minor film characters either give you a race or a item search challenge. Some of the character's are voiced, but methinks that the lines are ripped straight from the film and inserted in the game. The only thing Hamm says is "Buzzy boy". Rex is looped to say "Over here!". Potato Head only says "Come 'ere". Yet when going up to talk to them, only a text box with captions is seen.
So what is bad about this game. Nothing in all honesty. The lack of the 3D camera is hardly anyones fault as it wasn't even around at the time. Graphics, which are horrendous now, were commonplace in 1999. The soundtracks, which are very catchy and memorable, are a welcome addition. The only thing you can fault is when you fall of an obstacle and have to start all over again. Then again, why should the game be too easy? In my opinion, that's perfectly fine by the developers to frustrate the player. Otherwise, everyone would moan it's too easy. There's hardly any glitches to speak of and the controls are very responsive.
Now comes the fun part of the price. It has to be the market sellers of Play and Amazon, as well as eBay. All of which charge obscene prices, just because they are collectible and rare items, despite being unsealed. I've seen these go anywhere from £30 to £70, brand new and unsealed. The used ones are cheaper, but the Playstation discs of old would scratch so easily, they probably wouldn't even work. I've lost my original copy to this game, but thanks to the power of the Playstation store, I was able to get this, as well as Toy Story Racer, for a combined price of £4. That offer is long over and on it's own, I believe it's slightly under 6 quid. You might not get a CD case and instruction booklet, but be assured, it's a working copy. It's not going to freeze, which would probably be the case of the disc, new, collectible or used.
You really do have to love the internet, seeing as many companies like to offer a cheaper shopping experience. With thousands of sellers all offering to give you a better deal than you will find in the stores, it's tricky to know which ones are legitimate and which companies are just fronts for scam artists. Luckily, TheHut.com is amongst the majority of legitimate internet sellers out there. But what is it that separates TheHut from all the other ones like Asda Direct, Game and Amazon?
First thing is first, TheHut sells a range of items, that you will not find on most sites, without the customary big delivery charge, provided you join up free of charge. Whether it be a jar of sweets, perfumes, a rare computer game or even the latest Blu Ray, TheHut gives free delivery on every single item. You may find these items cheaper on smaller businesses websites, but when coupled with the delivery charges, it's evident that TheHut is second to none on most of their prices, including the hugely popular Amazon.
TheHut sells a medley of items. Upon visiting the site, a bar showcasing categories of items they sell is visible. The "Daily Deals" option will take you on a 1 day exclusive or sometimes weekly offer, on a bunch of selected items, ranging from electronics to clothes and even cosmetics. It's very rare to find a £2-£5 off offer, as anything up to 50% off, and even more at times, is the norm.
The "Men" category refers to attire for erm, men. Anything from clothing, sunglasses, wallets and even underwear are available, all of which are of the designer kind, not just some cheapy own brand Primark imitation. The "Women" category is likewise for them. Just remember to substitute underwear for lingerie.
The "Toys" category is for the kiddies, as TheHut stock quite a few popular toys that you can easily find at The Entertainer for a cheaper price. Of course, for those slightly older than kiddies, all the way to twenty or thirst something adults, the "Games" option is the place to look out. With games available for the current generation of consoles i.e. PS3, XBox 360, Wii etc, as well as the consoles themselves, TheHut put on some very competitive prices on all of them, which sites like Game and HMV ought to be embarrassed about. Even console accessories and strategy guides can be found.
The most extensive catalogue on TheHut is found on the "Movies, Music and Books" category. The title is pretty much self explanatory as almost everything released on DVD, Blu Ray, CD, hardback and paperback book is available. Naturally, seeing as this is what TheHut pride themselves on, the prices are ridiculously cheap and often better than Amazon.
The "Computing" and "Electronics" sections pretty much refer to PC accessories, speakers, headphones, laptops, mobile phones etc. There are better prices to be found on other sites who deal in electronics, but you just may find the odd bargain.
The "Sports" section mainly deals with sporting uniform and equipment. So whether you're looking for a cricket bat, shuttlecock, sweatbands, rugby polo or just simply a cup, TheHut will have a good price on just about anything sporty.
"Health and Beauty" is where you would find cosmetics, hair removal, skin care and all those other things for both men and women. Again, much like the "Computing" and "Electronics", you'll probably find cheaper stuff elsewhere, but you may never know, a bargain may be around the corner.
"Gifts" is another of those self explanatory categories. Treating a friend or loved one to an experience day, a fun gadget or some memorabilia has now been made possible by TheHut. I haven't really checked this section out, but seeing how expensive sites like Firebox are and in the Argos catalogue too, prices here shouldn't be too offensive.
Finally, you may notice "Clearance", which includes all the get rid of stock from the mentioned categories at dynamite prices. Naturally, it's all the stuff you don't want but which clearance store does sell desired items?
Reading that, you may say it's similar to Amazon and Play. They sell identical stuff and give free delivery and of course, try to sell you a credit card during payment. So how different is TheHut to these? When using TheHut, you may notice an absence of market sellers. You may look at this as a bad thing, but what they replace it with is something more worthy than a market seller. TheHut like to publish a hell of a lot of vouchers, mostly of the 10% off kind. For example spending £30 will allow £3 off the price with a voucher (which is 10% off) and bring the price to £27. While market sellers have stuff cheaper in the most part, TheHut does a good job matching it with the use of vouchers. And seeing how seldom Play and Amazon promote money off vouchers, it's no wonder I find myself using TheHut a lot. In fact, seeing as I've spent a chunk of dough on TheHut, they send me regular emails of VIP club vouchers, where you can get vouchers, which give more than 10% off, as well as on certain products, for example, buying 2 of something for a tenner or so, instead of paying £20, which the standard voucher TheHut promotes charges.
Customer service is excellent too. Products are clearly marked sold out, if they don't have it in stock, so there's no buying a product only to get an email the next day saying it's out of stock (a problem I've had with HMV). An email is sent out to confirm purchase and another to confirm dispatch, whether it be the next day, 5 days or a month for pre-orders. Heck if they don't dispatch it on time, they have the decency to email you to say it will be dispatched late, instead of having to log on to the account to see order status. It's incredibly simple, as well as it should be. Queries can be made in the unlikely even they don't send an email and orders can be cancelled provided they aren't dispatched. And not that I've had to do so yet, but to return you have a 2 week period to return the item sealed and unused for a full refund. Seeing how simple everything else is, I doubt this process is a hassle.
There is one thing i have to complain about, and that's the delivery time. Seeing as TheHut are based in Jersey, items can take around a week to arrive, seeing as they pass customs. Then again, to bring cheap prices, it is understandable that delivery time does take a while.
Another, albeit very minor, problem is that you can't see the item until it arrives to the front door, so you don't really know whether the item is damaged or not, until it's been opened. Only once, a DVD cover from TheHut had a slight crack, but not too noticeable from the distance. Maybe I'm just being picky, but I like to look at the condition of the item before I buy it and will switch it with another if there's a problem.
Looking at the cover to this wrestling DVD, I wouldn't blame you for thinking this is actually a high budget adult film. After all, sex sells doesn't it? It's actually the 2003 WWE Summerslam event and the lady in question is one of the WWE's former "divas", Sable, who is the wife of Brock Lesnar. Heading into this show, the red hot Goldberg was poised to take the World Heavyweight Championship and Kurt Angle and Brock Lesnar were set to have a rematch of their infamous WrestleMania XIX bout.
To kick of the show, a rendition (and a rather bad one at that) of the national anthem of USA, "The Star Spangled Banner" was sang by WWE announcer Lillian Garcia.
Summerslam's opener was a rather nonsense bout featuring D-Von and Bubba Ray, The Dudley Boys against the French-Canadian team of Sylvain Grenier and Renee Dupree, who put their World Tag Team Championships on the line. Seeing how green the French-Canadians are just shows the mistake the WWE made by almost instantaneously putting the belts on them.
The Undertaker fought against A-Train in another so-so match. It was slightly better than the opener, as both men had some experience, but it was obvious that 'Taker and A-Train weren't going to steal the show. It's at least kept mercifully short.
Instead of trying to inject some life on the show, the WWE made the error of placing the Shane McMahon versus Eric Bischoff match as the third of the night. Seeing as Shane o Mac is just someone who relies more on stunts than wrestling and Bischoff wasn't even a wrestler anyway, the match itself, which in the midst has an added Falls Count Anywhere stipulation, isn't that bad. Featuring a very surprising betrayal and some hilarious commentary (by poking fun at some of longtime commentator Jim Ross's recycled quotes) by the traitor in question, it's unfortunate that this match drew audience apathy, when it was the best thing on the show so far.
Not even the talented quartet of Rhyno, Chris Benoit, Tajiri and Eddie Guerrero could put some heat on the audience, until the closing moments of their Fatal 4 Way Match for Guerrero's United States Championship. This one was an exciting match, with the utilisation of some brilliant offense, even if the duration of the match was short, but looking at it now, it's amazing how two men are dead, one from a heart attack from steroid abuse and the other committing murder and suicide, stemming from steroid abuse.
Kurt Angle was then set the task of defending his WWE Championship against Brock Lesnar, who is now in the UFC and already a former UFC Heavyweight Champion. While their match at WresteMania XIX was a clean wrestling match, this bout was more about the entertainment, therefore relied more on overbooking, with interference, a referee getting knocked down and use of a weapon all finding their way into this match. It's still a cracking match, but the booking of Lesnar being unstoppable, only to surrender so easily, didn't help his image. On that note though, Lesnar's one legged F5 finisher was almost as reckless as his Shooting Star Press at 'Mania.
Kane and Rob Van Dam squared off under No Holds Barred rules in the penultimate match. Unfortunately, both men put on a messy display. In fact, Kane slipping off the ropes is edited out of the DVD, but the commentary making reference to it is still included. Simply put, this one was the toilet break moment of the show, providing you missed all other opportunities.
With the main event, The Elimination Chamber, set to take place, almost everybody was expecting Bill Goldberg to take the World Heavyweight Championship from the champ Triple H, who's pay-per-view matches of 2003 were insulting to the customer and horrifically ugly to watch. With Randy Orton, Kevin Nash, who you may have seen in some popular films such as TMNT II, The Punisher and The Longest Yard, Shawn Michaels and Chris Jericho making up the remaining numbers, all eyes were still on Goldberg, as this was surely just an exercise until he would take the throne, right? The Chamber isn't nowhere near as good as the previous one, the 2002 Survivor Series Elimination Chamber (which I have also reviewed), but seeing as intervals for entry were at 3 minutes instead of 5, it was perfectly understandable that these guys were in a rush to get the match complete and may have had to taken some stuff out. Goldberg's performance was easily the best he had in his 1 year WWE career, as he figuratively snaps everyone in his way. Unfortunately, the booking team screwed up, by not making him the winner, at their 3rd oldest show, where pay-per-view buyrates were high. Instead of giving the faithful the result they would have most liked to have seen, they tried to pinch a few more buyrates for their next show, a move which failed. It was certainly a disappointing end to an otherwise acceptable main event and average show.
In the extras department, we have a grand total of nada extras. No easter eggs too. What a bunch of spoilsports! They give us a badly booked show, then have the cheek to not give extras? Even more shockingly, an advertised match with the one legged Zach Gowen against Matt Hardy was cancelled, due to the scripted violent beatdown Brock Lesnar gave to Gowen a few nights before the show. The fact that the WWE promoted it for some weeks only to decide to cancel it on the last moment really did rip off the customer. Card subject to change rules only apply in legitimate circumstances, not when you feel like it.
This goes for roughly £15 minimum on the internet, brand new, on the sites like HMV, Play, Amazon, SilverVision etc. eBay and the Play and Amazon marketsellers may have it cheaper, but at least you're paying more for trustworthiness. This goes for £20 from HMV in stores but second hand from CeX, I've seen it from £6 to £10.
In a world where the media and some people accept the slim and skinny look, both on models and gadgets, more than the fat, bulky look of old, pressure is put on companies to promote the best looking product they can possibly muster. Apple have made slim Macbooks and iPad's. Nintendo have created handheld games consoles that have gone slimmer over the years. Sony though have to take the cake on the slimmest item available to buy on the market, the M2 (Memory Stick Micro) Card.
The M2 Memory Card is a flash card that's suitable to save photos, videos, documents, games, music and just about any other file in existence. Available in different sizes, from 512MB to 8GB or possibly more, this model, the 1GB, is perfect for people who like their music, photos, videos etc. but don't go overboard on them. I personally like to store games and music from my phone on it, but I also find it handy for saving a backup copy of my student work if it gets lost elsewhere.
The M2 is compatible with most Sony products, such as their phones, camcorders and cameras. The likelihood is that if your Sony product was release after 2008, then the only card it would take is the M2, as anything before 2008 made use of either the Micro SD card, which is much bigger but still slim, as well as the M2. Now that Micro SD products are becoming rarer, M2 Cards are rifer.
As for the M2 Card, it's incredibly tiny, in that James Bond gadget sense. It's height is well under 2 centimetres, it's width is probably under 1 centimetre and I'd guess it clocks in at a millimetre or 2 thickness. The fact that fingertips are made to look gigantic when you rest it on them, just shows how wonderfully compact but amazingly memory filled the M2 Cards are. Just be careful you don't drop it, otherwise those knees will take a pounding trying to find it. Standard colour is black and I haven't really seen it available in any other colour.
Prices really do vary. Seeing as I purchased mine back in 2008 from The Carphone Warehouse for a then okayish £15, it's pretty much a given that they've dropped. A fiver in store, online or on the market stalls is an incredibly fair price. Sometimes, shops may charge a pound or two more, but at least it's more trustworthy than getting it from the market stall or even online, since you see the product at the time of purchase. Practically any shop that sells electrical items, whether it be a phone shop or department store, will have this in stock
As an owner of 2 Move Controllers and 1 Navigation Controller, which I have both reviewed, the regular need for charging the Controllers gets annoying. Seeing as most of the Playstation 3 models have 2 USB ports, the chances are that if you own the Move Pack, one of those USB ports will have your Playstation Eye and the other will have the charging cable. One charging cable for 2 Move Controllers, 1 Navigation Controller and 1 standard DualShock 3 Controller simply isn't feasible as it's time consuming and electricity wasting. Instead of making PS3 models with 5 or so USB ports, Sony stepped in to solve this problem by making the official Sony Playstation Move Charging Unit, a device which plugs in to an electrical socket.
The appearance of this charger is darn impressive. The bottom and sides are a very coarse, matte black and the top of it is a wonderfully reflective glossy black, one which I'm too nervous to touch because I get the feeling fingerprints will accumulate in no time. A Sony and Playstation Move logo are also to be found at the top. Two ports are at the top, where the Controllers are to be placed. What's good about it is that 2 Controllers can be charged at the same time as well as one standalone, unlike some of the unofficial chargers by Game or Venom, which I've heard can only do one at a time. A blinking red light will appear to tell you whether the Controllers are connected properly and will stay stationary to say it's fully charged. Charging times for the Navigation Controller and Move Controller are different, as the Navigation Charger is at full battery quicker than the Move Controller.
The packaging is nothing more fancy than a standard cardboard box, with inner cardboard protecting the contents. Besides that fine print instruction booklet is the plug, which is similar to the PSP charger, in that one end is the plug and the other end is the pin which goes in the back of the charger, with a base in the middle. The wire is stupidly short, so you're better off charging it on the floor than trying to put it on a shelf or table.
As you would have gathered from the title, the Move Charging Unit is far from cheap. Then again, you can't really put a price on these things. I bought it from Game for £19.99 after seeing it was the same price in GameStation and a fiver more at HMV. Game have a couple of more cheaper Charging Units not made by Sony, including one with 4 ports, but I thought it would have been sensible to pay more for quality than quantity. I'm not sure how much these are now in the mentioned stores, but it's on for a penny shy of £18 on Amazon and Play, £19.85 on the very reliable ShopTo.net and £22.99 on the HMV website.
I'm not ashamed to admit that I still like to scoff down these kiddies sweets. In fact it's been around 5 years since Mike and Ike's, a jelly bean like sweet, have hit the shelves, so it's surprising why these haven't really caught on in the UK compared to Jawbreakers or Chewits. After all, these are widely popular in the States. Created by Just Born Inc., Mike and Ike's are available in 3 flavours here in the UK. This product, Tropical Typhoon is in a red packet. Original Fruits are seen in a green packet and the Berry Blast flavour is in a blue packet.
5 different flavours are in a Tropical Typhoon packet. The first is the "Orange Pineapple" flavour, an orange bean that tastes like neither in all honesty and is probably the worst flavour in the pack. The "Caribbean Punch" bean is a yellow bean which I have no idea what the taste is but it is quite tasty though. The "Kiwi Lime" bean is green and has a weak lime taste with a kiwi aftertaste. Still. it isn't bad. The "Passion Fruit" is a light pink bean which hardly tastes like the real thing, yet I find addictive in a chemically way. My personal favourite is the "Tropical Punch" bean, a dark pink, light red bean, in which strawberry is said to be included in. I don't have a sweet tooth, but it's a very, very sweet erm, sweet and it's usually the flavour you'll find the most in a pack, not that I'm complaining about it. The picture above is actually the older Tropical Typhoon that Mike and Ike used to make and it's been relaunched and long been replaced by the version I'm reviewing.
Here comes the tricky part though. I personally find these to be very tasty. However after dishing it out to family and friends, most don't concur. The Tropical Typhoon Mike and Ike clearly relies on flavourings (despite the packet saying "No Artificial Colours", "No Artificial Preservatives"," No Artificial Flavours" and "A Fat Free Candy") therefore making it one of those sweets you'll either love or hate, like Marmite
While before the relaunch, some small 55g packs were easy to find in stores such as Asda, Woolworths and a range of newsagents, I've only seen the new Tropical Typhoon pack available in 180g packs and only at Tesco for £1 special offer and £1.28 standard price. While they are often on special offer, when reading a 100g serving contains 364 calories, 51mg of sodium and 61.7g of carbohydrates, you just can't help but try to hold off on these, seeing as those numbers are practically doubled with the 180g bag.
The year 2000 for the WWE, then known as the WWF, will always live on in the memories of those around who watched it. By promoting the best storylines, wrestlers, characters and wrestling in decades, the WWE entered their most profitable period by putting up a solid card for the Royal Rumble 2000, their first pay-per-view event of the year.
Held in the world famous Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York, the WWE put on what looked like a fabulous card on paper. The festivities kicked off when Kurt Angle laid an open challenge to any opponent. That opponent would be none other than Tazz, a wrestler from the nearby Philadelphia based ECW promotion. The New York crowd respond with open arms, and their reaction is almost as good as the match Angle and Tazz have. The match, albeit short, serves its purpose of putting Tazz over as a dangerous and reckless individual and is actually pretty entertaining.
The infamous tag team table match, which set the tag team wrestling bar unrealistically high at the time, showcased the talent of The Hardy Boyz, the legitimate brother pairing of Jeff and Matt Hardy, against The Dudley Boyz, the storyline brother pairing of Bubba Ray and D-Von Dudley. Table destruction is seen from the get go, with some of the aerial dives, from Jeff in particular, being amazing. This match certainly has to be seen to be believed.
While it's understandable that the WWE wanted to put on an early intermission after 2 engaging matches, the manner in which they did so was disgusting, immoral and made me want some invigorating. A Miss Rumble Swimsuit Competition, featuring the women or Divas of the WWE, was held, with former wrestlers and Andy Richter acting as judges. The lovely ladies strutted their stuff, most likely to the dismay of mothers everywhere. However, to the dismay of everyone, the then septuagenarian (now octogenarian) Mae Young enters the fray and bares all her chest, which the director of the event is far too late to censor. Unfortunately, the many who watched this show are stuck with that mortifying image (not that I have any problem with old people!)
Onto some good old fashioned wrestling action as Co-champions Chris Jericho and the female Chyna defended their WWE Intercontinental Championship against Hardcore Holly, in a triple threat match, to determine the Undisputed champion. With Jericho being so darn popular with nearly every fan, the winner of this match is a given. However that doesn't stop the 2 men and 1 woman on putting on an entertaining show. At the risk of sounding sexist, this match could have been a heck of a lot better without Chyna, but it's still much better than expected.
The World Tag Team Championships were on the line as The New Age Outlaws, Billy Gunn and The Road Dogg defending against the challengers, The Acolytes, Bradshaw and Faarooq. As short as this match is (I believe it's barely 2 minutes), Billy Gunn getting turned inside out from a clothesline somehow makes this match much more watchable. Still, considering the time and effort the WWE spent putting into this, a 2 minute climax isn't what I had expected.
The Street Fight for the WWE World Championship between Triple H and Cactus Jack (Mick Foley) is arguably the best WWE Championship match of the naughties decade. With a superb build up, culminating with Foley changing his character from Mankind to the internationally known Cactus Jack, to the fantastic promos the WWE used to build up this match, everything was set for this match to steal the show. While the moves we see are hardly groundbreaking, the intensity, the drama, the emotion and the violence, which deservedly slaps the event with an 18 rating, are unparalleled. The sight of Foley being handcuffed and defenseless, the blood Triple H spills and of course, the thumbtacks Foley is slammed through twice makes this match not only a 5 star classic but an all time classic too.
Whichever match was going to follow that one was always going to have a tough time. Luckily, that match was the main event, The 30 man Royal Rumble. Unluckily, the Rumble itself wasn't as good as the previous match, but then again, could anything eclipse it? The result, in all honesty is a foregone conclusion with The Rock and The Big Show being the only 2 front runners. Considering the bad guy won the previous match, I had no doubts who was going to win this match. While a decent Rumble, the Rumble matches the WWE put on succeeding this have been far superior. Just about the most memorable thing happened when Taka Michinoku, a man not even scheduled to compete in the Rumble, interfered, got tossed out the ring and fell flat on his face. A disappointing, but not bad, end to a grand event indeed.
The DVD, seeing as it was only the 4th one the WWE released, is surprisingly generous on the extras. The inclusion of the conclusions to the 1998 and 1999 Royal Rumbles are very thoughtful on WWE's part, despite those Rumbles being even worse than this one. Promos, such as Who Won The Royal Rumble, The Rock vs The Big Show and Cactus Jack Returns, are nothing any longtime WWE fan wouldn't have seen before and are pretty much self explanatory. The Swimsuit competition is also summarised in clip form, although you have to be off your head to watch it again. The Triple H gets stitched up segment features Trips getting a gash on the back of his knee sorted. Some exclusive interviews are also in the main feature, with Tazz, Angle, Road Dogg and The Rock giving some post match comments. For the Spanish speakers, a Spanish commentary option is also available.
As their are 2 versions available on DVD, the prices will be different. The rarest one, which you will probably find only in a CeX or Cash Converters store or online from a Amazon or Play market seller as well as eBay, contains the WWF logo on the cover and can go from £8-£12 in the stores to £8-£25 online. The more readily available version is the Tagged Classics version, which comes with the 1999 Royal Rumble event. The cover makes use of the WWE logo, although the DVD itself is uncensored. I've seen this go upwards of £15, whether online or in the stores. HMV should have at least one on their shelves for £20. If not, the popular online stores such as Amazon, Play, The Hut, Zavvi etc. will always have it in stock with varying dispatch and delivery dates. It probably would be best to get the original version, as the cover is much more stylish (it's not what you see in the picture above) and it will collect good money from resale in the future if the Tagged Classics version gets deleted.
There are some of us who are respectful to those around us or like to keep to themselves by using headphones to listen to music stored on MP3 players. For everyone else, there's speakers (not Mastercard). Sony Ericsson have been making speakers for their phones for about half a decade. They haven't released too many, but that's a testament to how good they make them.
The MPS-100 speakers, much like headphones do, make the audio clearer and louder, so if you were expecting these to provide some extra bass, sorry for your disappointment. However, as these are portably designed, any additional bass would just wreck these speakers up. There are two ways these speakers can be used. As you can see in the picture above, 2 different people can hold a speaker each, giving it that mini personal stereo effect, when it is actually for 2 people or it can be used as a surround sound system, even though the speakers won't be very far from each other. Alternatively (and the way I like to use it), you can clip the 2 speakers together, as Sony Ericsson have placed some magnets on the inner part of each speaker. This method noticeably makes the audio much more louder, seeing as the speakers are in close proximity to each other. A socket is also attached on one of the speakers. I have no idea what it's exactly for and even if I did, i probably don't need it, because the main function of a speaker is to shoot out some music.
There are a few problems with this gadget. For starters, the picture makes it seem like each speaker has a separate wire. In actual fact, both speakers are only connected by one wire. As a result, it makes kind of fiddly to clip the 2 speakers together and that the wire can tangle and twist when the speakers are loose. As minor as that is, my main problem is that it can only work on Sony Ericsson phones and the slightly older ones at that too. These are such brilliant quality headphones, so it stuns me why Sony Ericsson would only make some portable speakers just for their own market, when they could have so easily stole their competitors customers.
Of course, the good stuff certainly outweighs the bad stuff. As these are for Sony Ericsson phone, there is a built in antenna, which Sony Ericsson's headphones include too, so you can use the built in FM radio on the phone. These speakers also use the phone's power to work, so there's no extra electricity bills. Naturally, it would be a wise idea to fully charge the phone before you use these. Sony have also made these speakers portable and handheld. There's nothing more annoying to me when I have to hold my phone out for the speaker to take full effect, as I worry someone just might pinch it. With these MPS-100 speakers, the phone can rest in the pocket and I can grip these speakers tighter than my phone, because of its curved (and lack of right angles) body, making it convenient.
As for the appearance of the speakers, there's nothing to ugly about them. There are 2 colours the MPS-100 speakers are available in. The ones in the picture, which is a sliver and grey combination, which would look good for the silver Sony Ericsson phones. The other colour these are available in is the black and silver combo, which I have, for those who have the black Sony Ericsson phones. I pretty sure these speakers work on all C,K and W series phones as well as the Aino and Satio. I'm not too sure about any others but chances are the latter 2 phones I mentioned are the latest 2 models the headphones work on.
The price, seeing as these are quite dated, ranges. I popped into a Carphone Warehouse for these just a few months ago for a bargain price of a fiver. I reckon that it would probably be the same on eBay, Amazon and Play, which would probably be the only sites on the internet you can purchase these on.
For those that have been following the WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) for 15 or so years, back when it was known as the WWF (World Wrestling Federation), the quote that I've used as the title to this review will always be remembered by the fans who watched this event. More famously, the match in which Jim "J.R" Ross yelled it out will always be in the upper echelons of the WWE's famous moments. The Mankind vs Undertaker feud, which dominated most of 1996, featured the debut of The Boiler Room Brawl and Buried Alive matches. Forwarding to 1998 and its King of the Ring event, they engaged war in a Hell in a Cell match, a roofed cage which had already been used 2 times prior. With one of those matches regarded as a favourite of many, the match promised a lot. Shockingly, the Hell in a Cell was just one of the attractions of this event. The (then) annual King of the Ring Tournament was contested between 8 men. While some of the earlier King of the Ring events had 8 quarter-finalists competing in matches on the night, this King of the Ring Tournament had 4 men, the semi-finalists. The main event was set as the immensely popular Stone Cold Steve Austin defended his WWE World Championship against Kane in a well built up First Blood tussle. While these matches looked good on paper, nobody expected to see what they did on this night.
Kicking of the show was the team of Mosh & Thrasher, The Headbangers with tag team partner, Taka Michinoku, taking on the Kai En Tai stable, featuring Sho Funaki, Dick Togo and Mens Teio. A fast paced, if not decent opener highlights the skill and ability of Michinoku. It certainly shows to me how the WWE wasted an exciting talent in Michinoku they had on their hands by placing him in meaningless matchess.
With Vince McMahon killing some time by cutting a promo, the first semi-final between Ken Shamrock of UFC fame and Jeff Jarrett was set to go. It's not a very long match and nothing too insulting, but considering how packed the card was, it was understandable.
The second semi saw the Rock of Hollywood fame taking on Dan "The Beast" Severn who, much like Shamrock, is of UFC fame. The problem with Severn was he never really adapted to the WWE wrestling style, unlike Shamrock, therefore creating difficulty for The Rock to make a good match with him. The short time this match gets prevents it from being a messy match, but Rocky and Severn do manage to look clueless at times.
With the finals now set, a respite was taken from tournament action as the team of Too Much (later Too Cool), Scott Taylor and Brian Christopher took on Al Snow and his mannequin head called Head. With Christopher's real life father, Jerry Lawler, acting as a biased referee, this match is very insulting. For starters, did anyone really want to see Head as a tag team partner? And shouldn't Snow have been disqualified for using a mannequin head after tagging it in, because it's a banned object and with him being in the ring, despite not being the legal man, isn't that another automatic DQ? To add to that, the finish is far fetched and not as humourous as the WWE expected it to be. Shambolic is putting this match lightly.
As the late, great Owen Hart took on X-Pac in the following match, I had high hopes as at the 1994 King of the Ring, they electrified the crowd in under 5 minutes. The start of this match pays homage to their match 4 years prior, which was a very nice touch. While they didn't really dazzle this time round, it's still a good technical matchup and with them getting longer than 5 minutes, some clever psychology was implemented too.
The World Tag Team Championships were on the line as Billy Gunn and Road Dogg, The New Age Oulaws, took on Bob Holly and Billy's "brother" Bart Gunn, The Midnight Express. Many have given this match a lot of stick, but to be honest, it isn't as bad as people make out. It's just a basic, uninteresting WWE style routine match, where the bad guys use strikes and a few big moves to subdue the good guys, but the good guy comes back. it's certainly not the worst thing on this card.
The King of the Ring Final was up next as Ken Shamrock took on The Rock. Add to that, the injured winner from last year's tournament, Hunter Hearst Helmsley, now going by Triple H, on commentary and we've got something that's very entertaining. Shamrock and Rocky feuded for much of early 1998, so this was logical booking by the WWE, and while they didn't really steal the show in their 2 pay-per-view matches at Royal Rumble and WrestleMania, they did a mighty fine job here. It's easily their best pay-per-view match from their trio of matches. A bit which had me chuckling for a while was on commentary as Triple H inadvertently called himself a bisexual. Oh Hunter!
The match this event is remembered for just may have been the worst on the show. The Hell in a Cell between Mankind (Mick Foley) and The Undertaker is remembered for those goosebump-raising, cringeworthy stunts Mankind takes off the cell, through the cell and onto the drawing pins/thumbtacks. The sight of seeing Foley almost dead on the floor twice, Foley's busted lip, Foley's shoulder dangling, a tooth sticking out of his nostril and the pins/tacks all over Foley's head, back, stomach, chest, arms, feet and buttocks do not make for pretty viewing. It actually justifies the 18 certificate slapped on by the BBFC. Despite those death defying moments, the actual wrestling is nothing to write at home about, and actually slow and boring at times.
The main event was nigh, as Stone Cold Steve Austin defended his WWE World Championship against Kane in a First Blood (first man to bleed loses) match. In an almost impossible feat, both men do well to follow the destruction seen in the previous match, thanks to the Hell in a Cell being lowered for both men to utilise. Overbooking is dominant in this match as both The Undertaker and Mankind (indestructible indeed J.R.) make their presence felt in an exciting finish to a fine main event. Some bonus footage is also included on the DVD, following the conclusion of the event, as Austin attacks the referee and Foley.
This event was never released on DVD, as DVD's were not yet introduced. The only way to find a DVD version of this is from the Tagged Classics range, as it's partnered with the disappointing 1997 King of the Ring. Prices begin at a minimum of £13 to a £20 maximum brand new and is available on sites such as Amazon, The Hut, SilverVision, Play, eBay and any other DVD stockists, as well as on a HMV shelf. CeX have it from £8-£10 preowned depending on the time of year, but not many will have it for sale, as it's not one of those events people would want to sell.
The year 2001 was a productive one for the WWE (WWF as it was called back in 2001). The early part of the year saw the conclusion of "The Attitude Era", a period lasting around 4 years, concluding at the highly regarded Wrestlemania 17 pay-per-view. The content the WWE offered in "The Attitude Era", both in terms of storylines and wrestling, was second to none. Indeed, the failing rival promotions at the time, WCW (World Championship Wrestling) and ECW (Extreme Championship Wrestling$ were bought by the WWE early in the year, simply because WCW could not match anything the WWE had to offer and ECW was in massive financial peril. Having a chance to create the rivalry of the year by pitting the WWE against The Alliance of WCW and ECW, the WWE squandered the opportunity to create something special, ironically booking it the way WCW would have. What was presented was a 5 month summer to winter squabble, where the WWE was shown to be superior in every single way. To cap off the year, the WWE had to merge the newly acquired WCW World Heavyweight Championship with their own WWE World Championship, which they did at the last pay-per-view of the year.
Calling this DVD the "Best of 2001" may have some truth, as 9 of the 10 matches this DVD includes are all top notch. Throw in a mini awards such as "Best Kisses", "Best Slaps" and "Best Putdowns" as well as some clips of some of the happenings of the year (such as the 9/11 show) and this DVD looks like a winner on paper and with everything being voted by the audience, it was essentially guaranteed that there wasn't going to be any bad thing on this DVD. Unfortunately, looking good on paper just isn't good enough. Presented by Jerry "The King" Lawler and Michael Cole in an empty arena, who talk us into the match they are about to show, this countdown show to the best match really should of been more. (I will present the matches in chronological order, instead of ranked order to avoid spoiling)
The first match in chronology is from the Royal Rumble, with a Ladder match featuring Chris Benoit (we all know what happened with him) and Chris Jericho for the Intercontinental Championship held by Benoit. While these 2 guys stole the show or contributed a fine match to a good event, in the previous year, they really hadn't been placed with a ladder before. What followed was a very good and hard hitting match, where instead of whacking each other with the ladder, they incorporated it with their moves, for example Benoit uses it to do a diving headbutt and Jericho uses it for the Walls of Jericho submission.
With longtime rivals Triple H and Stone Cold Steve Austin finally settling their score in a 3 Stages of Hell, (or 2 out of 3 Falls match) at No Way Out, the intensity and pace both men had to keep up was going to have to be believable. Here are 2 men who wanted to rip each others head off and thats exactly what they had to try and do. The match in itself very much follows that pattern as barbed wire, wood, hammers, a cage, metal steps, mini monitors, chairs and some more weapons are used with bloodshed aplenty. This 30 minute cracker is widely regarded as a 5 star classic, as both men put in brilliant performances.
The TLC II match from WrestleMania 17 featured Matt & Jeff, The Hardy Boyz, against Edge and Christian, both of whom were challenging D-Von and Bubba Ray, The Dudley Boys for their World Tag Team Championships. Stunning the audience for most of the previous year, they managed it again in 2001, without seeming to put in much effort, a testament to the way all 3 teams gelled together for putting on the perfect. Stunts and carnage are rife in this match and its another of those matches considered a 5 star classic.
On the same show, Triple H took on the Undertaker, 10 years before they would steal the show at WrestleMania 27. While not as captivating as that match, both men put on an enjoyable arena wide brawl, with an impressive fall taken by Triple H. The conclusion of the match isn't as close as their match this year, but still is gripping.
With 2 matches from WrestleMania 17 being included on this set, you can see why I called it highly regarded. The fun didn't stop as the main event from the show, The Rock (yes that Hollywood actor) defended his WWE World Championship against Stone Cold Steve Austin. Having had the best match of the 1999 WrestleMania, these 2 bettered that effort in, yes you guessed it, a 5 star classic. With high level intensity and clever psychology implemented, both men really did steal the show on this night. Add to that a memorable and shocking ending, and you can see why many call this the best WWE event of all time. My only gripe is that the superb video package to hype this up, featuring Limp Bizkit's "My Way" isn't included. Still, as I have WrestleMania 17 on DVD, it really doesn't matter to me.
With the focus finally off WrestleMania 17, a crackerjack match from Raw saw the team of Stone Cold Steve Austin and Triple H defend their World Tag Team Championships against Chris Benoit and Chris Jericho. This match is more famous for the quadriceps injury Triple H suffered towards the conclusion, but still bravely finished off the match. For free television, or not pay-per-view at least, this was a brilliant match.
The King of the Ring Street Fight with Kurt Angle taking on the boss's son Shane McMahon is easily one of the best the WWE have fed to us. Featuring some sensational stunts taken by Shane o Mac, I certainly got the feeling that he was concussed 10 times over. The infamous suplexes and toss through the glass setup of the stage are still cringeworthy, over 10 years on.
A Hardcore for the WWE Hardcore Championship saw the Alliance's hugely popular Rob Van Dam (no relation to Jean-Claude) challenge the hugely popular Jeff Hardy of Team WWF. With the crowd interested in both men and their high flying, high risk prowess, the wrestlers respond in kind, putting on the best match of the InVasion pay-per-view. The falls Hardy takes off the ladder and off the stage are mighty impressive and both men deserve the standing ovation they get in the end.
Every countdown compilation needs that undeserving feature. In this case, the Lingerie match at No Mercy featuring The Alliance's Stacy Keibler (yep, the one who is now with George Clooney) took on WWF's Torrie Wilson. There's no doubt both were and are still attractive women. When they wrestle in lingerie, some might look at it s a win-win situation. The match itself is passable, but with so many other great matches during this year, there's no doubt that this one was an undeserving blip on the countdown.
The final match of this marathon is the Traditional Survior Series Elimination Match at the Survivor Series with Team WWF (Kane, Undertaker, The Rock, Big Show and Chris Jericho) fighting for their pride and jobs, as the WWE built it up that way, against The Alliance (Shane McMahon, Rob Van Dam, Kurt Angle, Booker T and Stone Cold Steve Austin). The match itself is almost 40 minutes and isn't too bad. The thing with these Survivor Series Elimination matches is that they are watchable but really pick up towards the end. However, with this being one of the longer ones, the wait for the conclusion is dragged out.
So 10 matches that are presented on this DVD. Add to that some kisses, slaps and insults or putdowns, presented by a few of the wrestlers themselves, and you may be wondering why I'm not a fan of this DVD. Seeing as this was released in early-ish 2002, with the VHS market coming to an end, the least the WWE could have done was present the matches in full. When you consider that they are presenting their best matches of 2001 to a paying audience, the least they could do is spread the message of how proud they are of the matches in question and show them in full. When they couldn't even bother to do that, for 8 of the 10 matches, why on earth would you want to release a DVD, when you haven't even used up all the available space? The No Way Out Match begins shortly before the climax of the first fall, so you don't really miss too much and get to watch the exciting bits. What does hurt is the No Mercy match, the worst of the lot, being in full. Yes it is the shortest from the 10 on offer, but who genuinely cares about Torrie Wilson and Stacy Keibler, when you have genuine talent such as Stone Cold Steve Austin, Chris Jericho and The Rock, just to name a few, on here? What a massive blunder on the WWE's part.
Another blunder is that there are no extras. Nada? Not even some interviews with those who feature on this DVD or bonus matches? It shows how much the WWE cared for the DVD audience, who payed a lot more for this than the VHS buyers, only to get the exact same thing, with picture and sound being the only difference.
Seeing as this carries the old WWF logo, it's been deleted. Of course, Amazon and Play market sellers have this DVD from any price up to £30. You'd probably find the same on eBay and if you're lucky enough to find it in CeX, it'll probably be £8-£12, depending on the time of year. However, there's absolutely no point buying this DVD. Most of these matches, albeit with the WWF logo blurred and muted if spoken, are available on some of the compilation DVD's that WWE have released. The WrestleMania main event is on The Rock's 3 disc "Most Electifying Man in Sport's Entertainment". The No Way Out classic is on "The Legacy of Stone Cold Steve Austin" DVD. The InVasion match is on Rob Van Dam's "One of a Kind" set. Some of the other matches are even on other sets. Alternatively, you can spend a big buck buying the original DVD's, for the whole event as well as full match, or spend up to £20 buying the Tagged Classics range, which have WWF references uncensored and not blurred. Either way, you know what you're doing if you buy this DVD now.
Being a born and bred Birmingham boy, I still remember the advertising campaign of the Bullring very well. "Europe's new shopping capital isn't in central Europe itself." I couldn't stop laughing at this because at the time I thought it was a load of fudge. An older building calling itself the Bullring was just a bunch of markets. Surely this newer one was just going to be like any other shopping centre I've seen? I remember thinking of all those beautiful cities in Europe, why would Birmingham have the gall to claim that they would give you the best shopping experience. It's now been 8 years since the Bullring opened it's doors to the public and after visiting cities such as London, Manchester, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Cardiff, Rome, Paris, Normandy and Barcelona in that duration, it seemed the Bullring was on to something. No disrespect to the other shopping centres scattered around Birmingham and Europe, but I now believe the Bullring is the greatest shopping centre of Europe. Why? Because I don't have to walk a mile to go to the designer clothes shops when I'm by the restaurants. It's all there under one roof and 3 floors.
With the Bullring becoming the third shopping centre in central Birmingham, following the Pallasades and the Pavilion (both which are in close proximity to the Bullring), as well as a bunch of other streets (Corporation Street and New Street being the most popular, as well as a scene of the recent riots) housing practically every shop you can think of, what was new that the Bullring could offer? Well for starters, some of the shops located in the other 2 centres and the streets, closed their doors to move into the Bullring. But the 2 main attractions of the Bullring had to be the first Selfridges and Debenhams opening in central Birmingham. Located at opposite ends of the Bullring, one side is subsequently called the Debenhams side and the other called the Selfridges side. For those of you that have seen that large purple building with discs on the tele or newspaper, that is the Selfridges store. Selfridges is a 4 floor department store. Selling designer clothes which you won't find in JD Sports, electrical goods, jewellry, cosmetics, perfumes, make up and just about anything else you can think of. The best floor of Selfridges is the bottom floor. Naturally, this is the most busiest. Featuring several mini restaurants, such as Yo Sushi! and Krispy Kreme, as well as a deli, ice cream bar. There's even more which I can't remember, which are very highly priced. The fun on the bottom floor doesn't stop as stationery, ethnic and world foods, sweets, toys and a heck of a lot more of items are available.
For those that haven't been Debenhams, that is also a department store. Just like Selfridges, the Debenhams here is also 4 floors. It sells most stuff Selfridges have, at a fraction of the price. The bottom floor isn't as wild and fun as Selfridges, as there are no mini restaurants. What it does have is a rather empty cafe which serves poor quality food.
So what about the rest of the Bullring? There's a whole lot more than just Debenhams and Selfridges. One noticeable thing is that more people like to hang on the Debenhams side more than the Selfridges side. That's because the middle and top floor of the Selfridges side of the Bullring really doesn't have anything special. On the Debenhams side, you will find more clothes shops. To make the ladies and some gents happy are a 2 floor New Look, a 3 floor H&M, a 2 floor Forever 21, a 2 floor Topshop, Quiz, Henleys store, Miss Selfridge as well as a bunch of others are all part of the Bullring. Besides the clothes stores, a variety of shops such as Boots, Apple Store, O2 shop, Superdrugs, Game, HMV, The Entertainer, Birthdays, Disney Store, Halifax Bank, Ann Summers, Tie Rack, G Star Raw, Mamas & Papas, H Samuel and a lot more which hurt my head trying to think about are all on the Debenhams side. The less popular Selfridges side isn't too bad in what stores it holds. Next, Orange Shop, Thorntons, Republic, JD Sports, Mango, Tommy Hilfiger, Swatch, Lacoste, Armani XChange, Starbucks, Hugo Boss, Fragrance Shop, Costa and many others are a part of Selfridges side of the Bullring.
Besides that, a small tunnel offers a panoramic view of New Street Train Station and links the Pallasades shopping to the Debenhams side of the Bullring and also holds a even more shops. Is that overkill or is it handy? Shops such as TK Maxx, Supercuts, Shoezone, The Card Factory, Animal and Caffe Nero make just a few of the stores.
Toilets are also available. I believe there are 4 toilets located in the Bullring, 2 on the bottom floor, 1 on the middle and 1 on the top, with some having baby changing and disabled access available. They are always kept very clean and look posh. The sinks utilise a glass base and something resembling a shower tap, which I always get a kick out of.
You can imagine being hungry after going to shops such as the ones I just named. The 2 busiest restaurants are Pizza Hut and Nandos. Being right across each other really doesn't help when deciding to go to the other restaurant when you queue for one of them. A Greggs bakery is next to the Pizza Hut and a Burger King is right next to the Nandos. Unfortunately, these are also packed out. Far away from these 4 is the Pizza Express, Jamie's Italian, Wagamama, Del Villagio, Cafe Rouge, Baguette du Monde, Muffin Break, Druckers, Eat and a few others. Naturally, they are very expensive, but you can't argue the price over quality dining.
So how do you park in the Bullring? With so many shops in the Birmingham City Centre, there's bound to be a heck of a lot of car parks. The Edgbaston Street car park is opposite Debenhams and on top of the Bullring markets (the fish reeking building for the small businesses using stalls) and is reasonably priced. The Moor Street car park is opposite Selfridges and is very overpriced. However, if you park at the top floor, the grandest entrance to the Bullring is possible as a panoramic tunnel links the car park's roof with the top floor of Selfridges. It's not really worth losing a chunk of dough over and not for those claustrophobic, acrophobic people. Many smaller car parks are scattered around, but my personal favourite is the Moat Lane car park. It might be cramped, but their prices are fairly decent and parking is free for the disabled. Walking distance to the Bullring is barely 5 minutes, so its very practical. For those that live in the Birmingham area or not too far from it, you would know about 95% of buses go the Bullring, with the bus stops right outside the centre. For others, there's always the train. Many from the nearby cities Lichfield, Leicester, Walsall, Nottingham, Northampton and other cities use the train to stop at one of two stations. New Street Station will stop for you near the Debenhams-Pallasades tunnel, while Moor Street Station will take you right outside the Selfridges entrance. It does make it hard to move at times in the Bullring, with queues having to be made for escalators at times. However it does add to the grandeur-ness of the Bullring and seldom used lifts are always available.
There's no doubt in my mind. I genuinely believe Birmingham has something special with the Bullring. Seeing as the Bullring is just one part of the Birmingham City Centre, you barely scratch the surface visiting Birmingham. Broad Street and Hurst Street, famous for its clubs and restaurants is where the Birmingham nightlife is at. Corporation Street and New Street, as well as the Pavilions and Pallasades shopping centres have even more shops, such as Primark, Oasis, WHSmith, Bhs, Adidas and a range of others. You have to make a visit to Birmingham at least once. And if you do, you'll find not everyone speaks in that stereotypically nasally accent!