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Dredd 3D (3D & 2D Blu-ray)
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DREDD is one of the best films of 2012, and goes straight into my Top Five Sci-Fi Movies Ever.
A 2000AD reader in years past, I always enjoyed Dredd, and liked the Stallone movie too. But Karl Urban simply makes a far better Dredd - he has the gravely voice, he keeps the helmet and the scowl on, and the uniform is just great to look at. (The Judge helmets are much more authentic in this film version, which greatly adds to the appeal).
DREDD is a far more contained film than the Stallone version too, which probably tried to do too much. Confining this film to fewer locations really helps viewers to identify with the main characters more, as they are given far more screen time. Mega City One is far more like in the older 2000AD stories, with less flying traffic and the decaying old world buildings being much more evident.
I especially liked Olivia Thirlby, who looks, sounds and acts the part of Cassandra Anderson to perfection. She is a rookie in the film, assigned to Dredd for an assessment day, and like in the comics, she remains for the most part sans helmet, to extend her psychic abilities.
The film justifies its 18 certificate through graphic, bloody violence and expletives: no Drokk! Yelled here. Yet such is the nature of the world this version of Judge Dredd lives in, and this excellent film really does do the comic hero proud!
I know this film was made as the first part of a planned trilogy, and it would be rough justice indeed if parts two and three were never filmed.
Jeff Wayne's Musical Version Of The War Of The Worlds: The New Generation (2CD)
Jeff Wayne - CD
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I have been a fan of the original Jeff Wayne recording since its release over thirty years ago, so was looking forward to this re-recording with some mixed feelings.
I need not have worried though, as the music is just as great as in the original, and the extended voice over by Liam Neeson (one of my favourite actors anyway!) is as compelling as ever. Liam Neeson was a superb choice for the dialogue, and creates a commanding presence throughout the music, showing a natural succession to the originals Tim Burton.
The rest of the cast are likewise superb, particularly Ricky Wilson as the Artilleryman (my favourite role of the CD) and Gary Barlow sings Forever Autumn just as well as Justin Haywood did in the original version.
So yes, this is a thumbs up from me, one of the greatest fans of the original recording. Just listen to it expecting some of the sounds to be different - there is no use rerecording a CD if you are going to produce exactly the same thing - and enjoy the extra narration, and you may just enjoy the new recording as much as I do. Well done to all involved, creating a new version of an old classic which will, hopefully, appeal to a whole New Generation of fans!
Terry Pratchett's Going Postal
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Based on one of the latest Discworld books, GOING POSTAL is the story of how a conman, Moist Von Lipwig, is persuaded to take over Ankh-Morporks failing Post Office by Lord Vetinari, the citys ruler.
This is a very good adaptation, my favourite of all the SKY 1 Discworld films so far, and has a top rate cast. Charles Dance is brilliant as Lord Vetinari, Richard Coyle is extremely charismatic as Moist Von Lipwig, and Claire Foys Adora Belle Dearheart is both cold and beautiful in equal measure. David Suchet makes a good villain, and lots of the humour from the original book has successfully transferred to the screen.
GOING POSTAL is by far the most visually stunning of the three SKY 1 Discworld movies, and with a running time of three hours, will keep all fans and Discworld newbies suitably entertained. Highly recommended.
Fighting Fantasy 18 Appointment with F.E.A.R.
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In one of Steve Jacksons best Fighting Fantasy gamebooks, you are office worker Jean Lafayette, otherwise known as the Silver Crusader, guardian superhero of Titan City.
With one of four superpowers (picked at Character Creation) you must try to stop the leaders of the Federation of Euro-American Rebels - F.E.A.R. - from creating a weapon powerful enough to hold the world to ransom.
With 440 paragraphs, this cracking superhero yarn sees you facing a whole host of super villains like the Ice Queen, Creature of Carnage, Daddy Rich and Dr. Macabre.
Fast paced, extremely well written and with good illustrations, this excellent gamebook is a milestone for the series, and well worth playing a number of times with different super powers!
Plants Vs Zombies (PC & Mac)
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PLANTS VS ZOMBIES is a fun game appealing to all ages. Beneath the cute graphics is a highly sophisticated and addictive puzzle game. Level based, the basic idea is to grow a variety of plants to fend off a zombie attack on your home.
The undead initially attack via the garden, and you have a limited number of plots to grow plants of various types. Sunlight is required to gain enough points to purchase a plant, and some plants shoot missiles, some increase sunlight capture, and other provide various effects (such as to disperse fog, or blow up zombies around them, etc.) How effectively you can manage your resources to grow the plants you need to keep the zombies at bay is key to succeeding on every level of the game.
The gameplay is simple but very addictive, and at the end of each level a bonus plant is awarded, which can be added to your limited arsenal of plants for future levels. In this way the game is kept refreshing as you battle zombie hordes in the garden, by the swimming pool and even on the roof of the house. Different types of zombies with special abilities appear on progressive levels, and this keeps things fun, as you have to develop new strategies to overcome them.
The graphics are cute and colourful, the sounds and music used effectively to create a really spooky atmosphere. PLANTS VS ZOMBIES is simply a great game at a great price. They are coming!
Official Nintendo Wii Nunchuk - White
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The Nunchuk is a Wii accessory used in an ever increasing number of games. Extremely light, it is basically a joystick control with two buttons (marked C and Z) which sits snugly in the hand and is a joy to use. It has an extension cord which clips securely onto a Wii Controller, and in games which require Nunchuks to play, each Controller will need one attached.
An extension to the main Controller, the Nunchuk is a valuable accessory which will enhance your gameplay experience tremendously. No separate batteries are required by the Nunchuk, as it draws minimal power from the Controller it is attached to. Available in black, white, red and blue to match the colour of your Wii Console and Controllers.
White Nintendo Wii Console Bundle including Wii Sports + Wii Sports Resort (with Wii MotionPlus) + Wii Fit Plus (with Wii Balance Board)
The Nintendo Wii Console is still the champion for wireless gaming. Although not High Definition, it can still display some great graphics which are in some cases almost as detailed as in some PS3 games. The Wii has a large selection of software available, and is ideal for group gaming, due to the large proportion of its games being suited for multiple player use.
This white Wii Console comes with one white Wii Controller (which has MotionPlus as standard), a whiteNunchuck, and the excellent Wii FIT PLUS and Balance Board (in white), which uses four batteries itself (helpfully supplied in the box!) Wii SPORTS and Wii SPORTS RESORT are provided on a single disc in a cardboard sleeve, and are great games to get you started.
The Wii has its own large internal disc for storing saved game files, and SD Cards can be used to transfer saved games between systems. The Console will play both Wii games and Nintendo GameCube discs too.
Easy to set up and a pleasure to use, the Wii gaming console is a great investment for gamers hoping to keep or regain their fitness!
Official Nintendo Wii Remote Plus Control - White
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The Wii controller is a superb piece of kit. It utilises eight buttons (the A and B buttons being the two most used by games) which are well spaced and ergonomically placed for comfortable use. The controller itself is light, accurate and responsive, featuring the Wii MotionPlus built in as standard for increased wireless precision. Each controller is supplied with a rubber non-slip sleeve, wrist strap and two AA batteries, which are easy to insert. The controller and matching rubber sleeve are available in black, white, red or blue, to match the colour of your Wii console.
The Warlock of Firetop Mountain
First published in 1982, THE WARLOCK OF FIRETOP MOUNTAIN started the whole gamebook craze. The first Fighting Fantasy Gamebook, it uses a simple rules system utilising three attributes (Skill, Stamina and Luck) which are determined by dice rolls at the beginning of the book. The adventure is to fight your way through Firetop Mountain at the request of villagers from nearby Anvil, to slay the Warlock tyrant who is holding them in fear.
The game system is quick to use and exciting, and the story (basically a dungeon crawl) is well written. There are plenty of dice rolling combat situations to partake in too, and at a reasonable length of 400 paragraphs (which would become the standard for the Fighting Fantasy Gamebook series) this was a worthy initial gamebook for the series.
Two dice, a pencil and an eraser as all that is needed to play with this excellent book.
Armies of Death
A direct successor to TRIAL OF CHAMPIONS, in this ARMIES OF DEATH gamebook you hire an army of Warriors, Dwarves, Elves and Knights with your prize money, to defeat the amassing undead army of Agglax the Shadow Demon.
This gamebook by Ian Livingstone, originally published in 1988, expands the standard Fighting Fantasy rules with the inclusion of Skirmish Rules for army combat, which is quick and exciting. Beautifully illustrated by Nik Williams and with 400 paragraphs, this is a first class adventure, partially due to the fact you are leading an army rather than adventuring solo. Well written and with plenty of combat (both solo and large scale), this excellent gamebook is well worth a read!