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Ixos Fully Wired 3M Scart To Scart Cable
The first thing you'll notice over using a standard cable is the sound quality. I had both attached to the TV and watched Sky, flicking between the two you instantly saw the difference in both vision and, more noticeably, the sound quality. It was like going from mono to stereo and watching a music channel, I could hear a lot more of the sound than ever before, it delivered a much warmer, richer and more rounded sound with much less interference which I hadn't really noticed on the old cable before I switched to this scart lead. The Gold plating, as well as the shielding etc, really do make a difference and now I have got gold plated HDMI cables as well and that makes a difference yet again.
The cable is quick thick but there is a lot going on in the shielding, if you go on their website you can see exactly what this is made of and for those in the know I would recommend it as then you know exactly what you are getting. This feels like a good quality lead, I've seen cables which are very thin and therefore probably don't have any shielding around the different wires and which could lead to interference from other cables etc.
There isn't much more to say other than you can spend lots of money buying cables and I would always say don't buy the cheapest or the most expensive but somewhere in the middle, at the end of the day for most normal people there isn't much between them, it is only the hardcore few who can tell the difference.
Time Crisis 2
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Time Crisis is every bit as good and addictive to play as the original and ups the anti in graphics, story and gameplay. This is also one of the best conversations of an arcade game I've played with the graphics being just as good if not better than the arcade.
The sequel sees you fighting along side your colleague, but the way the game unfold is very clever as in certain parts of the game you will separate for your colleague only to find them within range of your guns, therefore you have to aim carefully otherwise you will hit him and loose points. One area in particular sees you facing opposite each other with enemies coming out of all angels trying to get you. They appear from doorway, behind barrels and dropping down from ropes. This makes for a very exciting and adrenaline pumping experience and is one of my favourite aspects of the game.
Also, for the first time in Time Crisis, you have the ability to wield two light guns at the same time. It is one of the best features of any game I've played and adds lots to the overall gameplay. There is also the feature to play two player cooperative or against each other.
Finally there is the alternative story mode which didn't feature on the arcade version which adds yet again to the gameplay and gives a little more longevity. This is every bit as challenging and good if you get bored with the main game.
Be warned though, if you have an LCD or Plasma screen light gun games just won't work and this is something that I've been caught out with. You can still play the game albeit using the analogue stick as well which works well but doesn't match the speed and accuracy of using a light gun.
Overall if you have a light gun then get this game you won't be disappointed. If you've got two light guns, what are you waiting for....buy it.
Big Beach Sports
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I will admit I was very dubious when I first played this game and would have agreed with the many people's previous reviews in it not being that good. But for some reason I started to enjoy it and i think the reason was because it plays better when you are against human opponents. It isn't the best game in the world but it does offer enough of a challenge to make it worth while buying especially as Play.com are offering it at half price. Therefore if you are wanting to have an entertaining game for a group of friends to play it is worth the money.
There are 6 games in total. Boules seems very basic but once you start playing trying to get the points to win can be very tricky and requires a certain amount of skill. Often the match comes down the last ball and its this changeability that makes it more fun.
One of the most enjoyable games is Disc golf which requires you to do a throwing motion with the wii remote to throw a Frisbee and try and get it into the basket in as fewer shots as possible. Like golf there is a set limit of throws to complete the course in (ie par 3, 4 or 5). This is fairly easy to get the hang of and can be a bit of fun especially when the wind takes hold of it or you give the throw a bit too much and it sails of into the sunset (and out of bounds).
The volley ball is great fun although a little basic, but it is still fun to play. Cricket again can be fun as it requires you to take turns bowling and bating. You will need a bit of space for this one but it gives a good level of interaction trying to bowl out the other team, or hitting a six and making a run. If the other team is making a run and you pick up the ball you can try and throw them out which can be great.
American football was a little more difficult to understand and this is probably the most difficult to get to grips with. Normal Football which again requires a little more effort to get to grips with is OK after you sort out the controls. I scored a cracking header with this game so I do kind of like it even though it is a bit basic.
The ability to customise your characters, earn more points and even create a face using a DS is a great feature and keeps your interest that little bit longer. If you are having some friends around give this game a go, you might be pleasantly surprised.
Mario & Sonic At The Olympic Games
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The first thing you will notice about this game on the DS is the brilliant graphics, they really have done a good job of converting this to the hand held console and looks almost as good as the wii version (please see my review). I was quite surprised at how much they have managed to cramp onto the small cartridge and, like the wii version, it is one of the most comprehensive games for the DS. Although this isn't quite as good as the wii game as some of the games are slightly easier to lay and complete, they are still good fun and a very good challenge.
The best thing about the game though is the more you play it, the more you unlock and there are some brilliant additions to the game in there. These include more events which will add so much more to the gameplay and will require different skills to master. In fact I would say this is one of the biggest games on the DS because there is so much to do and unlock. For example getting silver medals may unlock emblems or getting gold's may unlock other events. Sometimes all you need to do is take part in an event a few times and something will be unlocked which can be very rewarding and makes you want to play it more.
Archery is really good fun and brilliantly done on the DS as it requires quick reactions and a steady hand. pulling back with the stylus will give you a target to hit and you must try and line this up with another target to shoot it straight. Sounds complicated but it works really well and when you factor in the wind it can be a little bit more tricky to score higher points.
The track events require different skills again and will have you moving the stylus from side to side to build speed in the running events, but in the long jump you will also then need to draw a diagonal line at the right time to make the jump.
All in all this is well worth buying as it is fun, challenging and has brilliant graphics and gameplay. Not quite as good as the wii version but gets an honorary gold medal.
Wii Play (Includes Wii Remote)
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Basically for the price this is an absolute bargain. Not only do you get a game but also an official Nintendo controller and the best part is it is actually cheaper than buying a controller separately. Don't be fooled into getting it from a high street shop though as they are charging ridiculous prices for this. I've seen it advertised in Game for £42.99 instead of £29.99, how they justify that I just don't know.
So what about the games themselves, well they are all fun to play and require different skills. Even though they are specifically designed to make the most out of your controller they are still fun games in their own right. Some are more difficult than others and therefore their level of enjoyment will also differ. The best part of these games though is getting someone to play along with you and try to beat them. My favourite games are shooting, table tennis which is really good fun (and can be quite tricky) and the game where you have to find different characters in different situations, a bit like where's Wally.
Overall if you want a controller just buy this package instead, you get more for your money, pay less and if you don't like the game, give it to someone else.
Rush Hour 3 (2 Disc)
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6 years since the last film and the undynamic duo are back, but gone are the slick action set pieces, the witty repartee and the decent plot lines and in are some very bad judgements of both direction, script and acting.
This is a very lazy film all round, the plot is very thin and flimsy, Chris Tucker who played the annoying cop well in the other films is far too annoying in this and has some terrible dialogue. The worst of this also sees him singing on several occasions so it was like watching sing a long with Rush Hour, he has not got a good voice which I think is the point, but it gives the film some of its worst moments.
Jackie Chan is starting to look to old and doesn't have the zip and energy he had in earlier films. Whether this is down to choice or just the poorly executed action sequences I don't know, but I also got the feeling he didn't do all of his own stunts and anyone who knows Jackie Chan knows that he does his own. In fact this is the biggest disappointment for me as that is my reason for watching the Rush Hour films, the perfect balance of Jackie's martial artistry with the funny one liners from Chris Tucker. There partnership this time just doesn't work and it is both the script and unfortunately the director that are too blame.
Brett Ratner really should have done a better job with the film. The action sequences aren't a patch on earlier films and there are hardly any. This means that Jackie never gets to show us what he can do properly and what action sequences there are aren't shot very well in that you can't appreciate the chorography properly.
It also features some terrible French accents especially from Marks & Spencer model Noemie Lenoir who makes her screen debut here. The bad guys are also some of the worst you will see and neither look that menacing or that evil. Finally I noticed some scenes that look far too familiar, one in particular sees Jackie Chan perform a stunt that he did in the previous films, at this point I completely lost interest. If they couldn't be bothered to make the effort thinking of new stuff why should the audience make the effort to pay attention.
The previous films are not classics in any way, but they delivered good solid entertainment and I have watched them a few time, in fact they are in my DVD collection. The reality with Rush Hour 3 is I will neither be watching it again or buying it.
The Time Machine
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The Time Machine is a classic and brilliant book by one of the best authors of the genre, HG Wells. His book was written years before Einstein's theory of relativity which makes his description and concept of time travel all the more amazing. The Time Traveller, whose name is never revealed, is an extremely likeable man whom you can connect with straight away. The futuristic world that Wells creates is both amazing and disturbing at the same time. But what is really clever about the book is that it symbolised the class division of the time which is captured perfectly by the two different 'species' within the book. The chilling truth when it is revealed is both shocking and unforgettable.
What is also hard to believe that for all the descriptions and ideas contained in the book, it is only 144 pages long. However what it manages to achieve in those few pages many books struggle to achieve in an entire series. This is without doubt one of the finest examples of Sci-Fi writing and I would whole heartedly recommend any SF fan to have this in their collection.
Wells style of writing is also so descriptive and the language he uses conveys his vision so accurately, you feel like you are imagining what he must have done when thinking of the story. From his own time to that of the distant future, the landscapes, colours and sensations are all these to be enjoyed and you would believe that he has experienced them himself. In fact at no time do you question the possibility of time travel as you are so engrossed with the story.
This is one of my all time favourite books and one which I have read over and over again. So if you like Sci-Fi what are you waiting for, you need this book.
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Ghost ship is, surprisingly, a fairly enjoyable film that, although doesn't add much to the genre, it still manages to entertain and give horror fans what they want. I must admit I was expecting the film to be rubbish and I was pleasantly surprised when I actually enjoyed it. That is not to say that the whole film is good and that it is without its bad moments, but generally this is perfect to watch if you just want to watch a bit horror and aren't too bothered about what it is.
Although it feels a little similar to films that have been made before, particularly 'Virus' (similar settings and some similar story lines), like 'Virus' it feeds horror fans with a bit of suspense, terror, a few shocks and a few bloody moments thrown in for good measure. This film is by no means a classic but it does tick some of the right boxes.
The setting is perfect, especially in the earlier stages of the film where the director really gets over the sense of a ghost ship across. The film haunts you as you watch it, you get a real feel that this boat is alive and that at any moment things could start going horribly wrong, which all too soon they do.
The only thing that lets it down the silly plot twists towards the end which I can't really mention without spoiling the ending, but needless to say it contradicts itself and you'll be left thinking 'how could that happen'. I did also figure out within 5 minutes one of the key elements to the film which made it a little predictable, but saying that there is enough content in the film to satisfy regardless.
Still this does the job and if you're looking for a good Friday night film to scare you, this should do the trick.
The Fly (1986)
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The Fly was made in 1986 by one of the true masters of the genre at the height of his creativity, David Cronenberg, and is a perfect example of 80's horror. A remake of the 1958 original, staring Vincent Price, it is a simple film but one that is made very well. A scientist, whom is dabbling in a teleportation experiment, accidentally gets 'fused' with a common house fly when he tries to teleport himself, causing him to start transforming into a human fly.
What is interesting is Seth's (Jeff Goldblum) transformation from passive nice guy into a paranoid, aggressive character who will stop at nothing to get what he wants. It symbolises society's greed in the modern world and plays on stereotypes of power and corruption. It is this that gives The Fly its greatest angle, how this affects his relationship with Gena Davis and how ultimately that power leads him to the tragic finale. You feel both sympathy and disgust at Seth's character, it is unusually to have to conflicting emotions portrayed in a leading character and it is left for the viewer to decide whether he is good or bad.
The story moves at a good pace but not too quick as to make the film feel rushed. You start to see Seth's transformation into brundlefly gradually in all its stomach churning glory. Of course with David Cronenberg in the director's chair you would expect some level of body horror from the master of the genre with the final twist of the genetically spliced knife one of the goriest scenes you'll see (those without a strong stomach look away).
A film that is as gory as it is glorious, this is a must for those who like there horror visceral. One of the best horror remakes yet.
David Cronenberg's remake of the 1956 version (starting Vincent Price)
Return Of The Living Dead 3 - Uncut
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Return of the Living Dead 3 (ROTLD3) has too many things wrong with it to name. For a start the direction is amateurish and it looks like a straight to DVD movie, the special effects aren't that special and the story, which started off promising, wastes its good ideas and focuses too much on some of the worst aspects of the story.It is unfortunate that the worst aspect of the film are the actual zombies themselves. Don't expect this to be a Romero or Fulici style film as the zombies look and act like rejects from the university of the undead, and the acting all-round is pretty atrocious.
Is there anything good about the film? Well frankly not much! One of the few things of any note (in an actors z list) is the early appearance of The O.C.'s Julie Cooper (Melinda Clarke). She is the only beautiful thing in an otherwise ugly film. Her character is bitten by a zombie and the only way she can contain her blood lust is to inflict damage on herself. However towards the end of the film this is taken to the extreme and then things just get a little bit too silly.
This is one to avoid especially if you are a zombie film fan, it will leave you wishing you were dead yourself.