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Monk: Season 6 (4 Discs)
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This DVD set is Monk perfection. I've never watched a drama series where I loved every single episode, but in this DVD every episode is as funny as the next.
In this series, there is an epic double part episode called "Mr Monk on the Run" which was absolutely brilliant. Mr Monk is framed for murder and has to escape. The fact that he has to survive in the outside world, keep a low profile and try to solve the mystery all at once of 'whodunnit' makes this one of my favourite Monk episodes since the series began.
Other titles, including "Mr Monk and the Naked Man" (which sounds as funny as it was) are highly entertaining. I cannot recommend Mr. Monk enough to fans of murder mystery and comedy. I usually wait for the DVDs to come out rather than watching the show on TV, because I know if I start watching it on TV I won't be able to wait for the next episode to come out!
I really like the side characters, well, they're all like main characters really. I have grown to like Natalie Teeger more than Sharona, because rather than mothering him, she works with him and has her own strengths and abilites that no one else has. Even Natalie's daughter, Julie, who is also excellent at acting, gets a couple of episodes based around her this season, which are hilarious.
Mr Monk is one of the best shows out there of this genre. Unless I'm wrong, which- you know- I'm not.
Alien Quadrilogy Box Set (9 Discs) (5.1/DTS)
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I've always been put off watching these movies because deep down I am a big girl's blowse. That's okay though, since I am a girl. Aliens ripping out of people didn't appeal to me. Fortunately, that's not all there is in these movies, or I would have no more nails left.
What I like about the movies are the characters. The witty marines and the sleazy company men. The brave ones and the backstabbers, the robots and most importantly, RIPLEY, who is amazing.I was worried that the graphics and make-up wouldn't be realistic enough because the film is 20 years old, but they're brilliant. Minus a few forgivable space-craft scenes which are positively Star Trek like (and by that I mean models floating around). This appealed to the classic sci-fi fan in me definitely.
These films are more action thriller than horror. I was lucky enough to come to that conclusion after watching the second film first on the advice of a friend who understands how cowardly I am. And I really enjoyed it. I got past the insecurities about being shocked and being taken into an alien hive and was screaming at the marine's useless commander. Then I forgave him later.
So what I'm trying to say is, if someone like me can find this film so amazing- I think it's worth anyone's money. It's definitely a film all film-boffins should watch (you know who you are). Oh, and it helps if you hate face-suckers. D=
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A dead Captain, a pirate map split into three pieces, and an evil adversary- all spell out a swashbuckling tale of fun and danger! All that's missing... is a twist. And you couldn't get a bigger twist (in my opinion) than the Captain and hero of the story... being a heroIN.
They couldn't have picked a better actress to play the lead in this film. Tall, wild red hair and a commanding voice, it was the prospect of a female Captain that cannonballed me through this film- not that I needed persuading. The story is simple, but has never been done before to my knowledge. The female lead takes on the responsibilites of Captain, fighting to find her father's treasure and win the hearts of the crew- all the while fighting off her ambitious caniving Uncle.
I particually liked the costumes in this film, and the sceneries of the pirate ships were brilliant. The supporting characters all added to the enjoyment of this unique pirate adventure experience. If you like pirate movies, you should watch this film! I'd recommend watching before buying, because though I find it hard to believe, this film might not be to everyone's tastes.
Monk: Season 3 Box Set (4 Discs)
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This is a fantastic TV series for many reasons. First and foremost, it appeals to fans of the comedy + murder mystery genre. The show is- simply put- HILARIOUS. In most of the episodes you can only guess who might be guilty and wait for Mr. Monk to work his 'magic' through those outstretched fingertips of his.
What I like about Adrian Monk is that he's not your steriotypical hero. He is more like an anti hero- or the last person you would think capable of being a hero. I also approve heartily of any TV series which puts heavy emphasis on the other characters as well as the lead. They are all as funny and likable as the next- and they all have their issues- from being quick to anger, or over-protective, and sometimes just plain silly and naive. Because the cast works so well together, it makes Monk doubly enjoyable.
In this series Sharona (Monk's nurse since series 1) leaves the show. I was bitterly disappointed, until I watched the rest of the series with the new female lead. Natalie Teeger is brilliant as Monk's assistant. I don't think she replaces Sharona, only brings a fresh new character to the series. She is hilarious and instantly clicks with the rest of the crew. In her words "I am not Sharona. I am an individual."
My favourite episode on this series is "Mr. Monk and the Kid" which had me rolling about in my chair in hysterics. I also really like the ending credits to that episode, which fits the cute, adorable and sweet tone of the episode in dealing with Monk's maternal instincts and difficulties which I think we all face.
I really want to see Monk catch his wife's killer, but the prospect of that being the end of the show leaves me divided in that respect. I don't want the show to end! The dialogue is clever, no two mysteries are ever the same- unless they are in the same episode, and even the background music is brilliant. I would always recommend Monk to fans of this genre, and those up for a great laugh. I'm 21 and my whole family loves this show. So buy it!
Star Ocean: The Last Hope - Limited Collector's Edition
This is a review of the product only. I will review the game on the item page for the normal/regular version of Star Ocean 4 - The Last Hope. This is a quality Limited Edition version of Star Ocean 4. It has looks and content, and is worth getting if you like the Star Ocean series (or the RPG sci-fi/fantasy genre of game).
The slip packaging is so snug and the case it holds is completely black on the outside with the game logo on. The case opens up with two flaps, one which folds inwards. At the front of the inside there's an individual plastic page for each disk. The two pockets on the flaps hold the manual, miniguide and character cards. Along the inside of the case and on the pockets is a great SO4 backdrop picture of space. It's epic- very aesthetic.
The miniguide isn't much to talk about really. It contains extra character profiles that the game manual does not have and also the opening walkthrough for when you start the game.
The Best Sounds CD contains great tracks from SO1-4 chosen by fans and the SO4 soundtrack composer, Matoi Sakuraba. It is stored with the game disks in it's own casing.
In my opinion, the best thing about the LE version are the character cards. One sided only, the crisp cardboard cards have beautiful colour pictures on them are very special indeed. I must find dust jackets for them immediantly. The artwork of the characters is in the manga style of the Japanese version.
The whole product is presented very nicely, and will make a perfect gift for yourself or anyone who loves Star Ocean (or JRPGs). And of course, it's not all about the beautiful packaging and extras. You get the game as well, which should be more than enough in the first place. ^-^
Star Ocean: Second Evolution
Rena's Story: Rena is an Expellian saved by a strange man one day in the forest just outside her village. Rena suspects that this powerful young man is in fact the Legendary Warrior of Light!Claude's Story: Claude is an Earthling and is the son of Ronixis J Kenny (from Star Ocean 1). On an expedition to a planet with his father, Claude is accidently transported to a world where he is mistaken for a legendary warrior sent by the Gods.Claude agrees to go with Rena to investigate the 'Sorcery Globe', which has been the source of many problems and natural disasters on Expel.
In Star Ocean 1 you can play the game as Claude of Rena. Depending on whom you pick the scenes during the game and endings will change. In the game, Private Actions will give you a chance to talk to the party members in towns and villages. Choosing different responses as you talk to the characters will either gain or lose you Emotion Points which help get you the many different endings. There are some characters you can only recruit if you have Claude in your party- the same for Rena. Because of this the replay values are high. Some characters, however, aren't compatible with one another- and will not join your party if you have a certain party member already.
The original Star Ocean 2 game was released on the PS1. It was the first Star Ocean game to make it to a western audience. In the remake of this game, a few things have been added to make this game even more pleasing. The new Animated Cut Scenes are gorgeous. The Event Face Graphics show anime profiles of the characters in the bottom corners of the screen as they speak. The Event Face Graphics change with the character's emotions- so if the main character is annoyed- it will show on the picture of him.
The in game graphics have not changed since the Playstation 1 version. They remade Star Ocean 1 with graphics to match those of Star Ocean 2 because the sprites were so cute. Also, the surrounding towns and villages have a charming 3D-anime-like quality to them.
The battle system is awesome. The encounters are random, but when the battle screen appears, you will be able to run around freely and switch from character to character quickly. Pressing the triangle button will open a rotating menu from where you can select items and magic to use. Before battle, you should select battle skills to assign to the R1 and L1 buttons of your PSP. Then, during battle, you can attack normally with the X button, and then use a special attack in a chain of sorts. It's not a very complicated battle system, but it is heaps of fun. When the menu is open the battle is paused, which is great because then you can step back and decide what to do next- particularly good if you're in one of those last boss fights getting pawned. Other than a few tricky boss fights though, this game is pretty average difficulty wise.
The music of Star Ocean is a mixture of many styles of music- focusing mainly on classical meets techno. A wonderful composed soundtrack.
The best part about Star Ocean is the skills and inventing side of things. Each character has a list of skills which you can level up with skill points. There are skills for battle and skills for inventing. With the inventing menu, you can create your own items. Crafting accessories, cooking food to heal party members, making and synthesising strong weapons and armour. There are hours of fun and entertainment in the inventing system of Star Ocean.
Star Ocean 2 is a mixture of sci-fi and fantasy. If you enjoyed Star Ocean 1 you WILL enjoy this game. If you wished Star Ocean 1 was longer, this won't fail to please. This is a game all RPG fans should at least try, because it such a great game. One of my favourites.
In PoPoLoCrois, you play 10yr old Pietro on a quest to save his mother's soul, and keep his kingdom safe. The story is narrated like a children's story book and there are many pretty animated scenes. I'd say that PoPoLoCrois should be aimed at a younger audience, but that won't stop adults from enjoying it too. The game is split into 4 story arcs, each with about 3/5 chapters. There are two types of animated cut scenes. The first show beautiful pictures with the narrator or a character talking to further the story. But most are cartoon / anime style cut scenes which are adorable. The cut scenes are spread out nicely between each story arc, which along with the variety of areas and exciting plots, keep you entertained. Each time a new animated scene appears it is truly captivating and makes you want to see more.
The gameplay is typical of many RPGs, and quite linear. You can't go exploring all over the place for a long while, so there's a lot of travelling on foot involved, but the places you go are always new and fun. During the last story arc you will receive an item which will allow you to travel to all of the towns and villages, and most of the places you have explored during the game.
There are random battles and each character has health + magic points. When fighting, you must take heed of distance and position. The game is like a very simple version of Disgaea, only without constructed battle screens. Also, you will have a menu and you still choose which attacks to use. You just have to move closer to the enemy to execute an attack. The enemies usually appear very close to where you are, so it's less like a slow chess board and thus the battles are quite quick. The battle takes place in the area you are travelling through. As you plan to attack, you can move your character to different spots in order to hit more enemies, and trap enemies in narrow passes. However, this also means that the reverse can happen too, so you have to be careful. At times it can be annoying when your character isn't in the right position to use an attack, especially if they could if only another character wasn't in the way!!! But with good planning, this can be avoided.
You level up characters with experience, and you also level up their techniques, so they cause more damage. You can also collect many fun items, some that appear useless, and some which summon espers onto the battle field (little monsters who can help you fight). Blue esper stones will disappear after one use. Red esper stones can be used again by using MP. The main characters will stay in your party for most of the story, but during the story your party will gain or lose a few of them. Most of the time you have 4 members. It's only at the end of the game where you can travel the world and take whoever you want with . I'd say that the main characters are cute and fun. Most of the characters have simple back stories. But each one is lovable.
Each story arc is long, and the chapters are nicely spaced out. For young children this is ideal because it means they could complete one chapter per day and not spend all their time on their computer games. For older children and adults, they will want to keep playing. The difficulty level is set and to be honest it's very simple, but I think what makes this game great is the story-telling, the stellar animation and the wide range of places you visit during the story.
When you finish you can save your game and get a gallery of all the cut scenes- to watch over and over again. A heart warming and sweet RPG that romantics and children will enjoy. The chances of me replaying now I have the gallery are high because I love PoPoLoCrois.
The characters grow, and so does the game. A++!
Final Fantasy IV (4)
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Final Fantasy IV is the compelling story of a man who has to betray his king to do the right thing. As Cecil the Dark Knight struggles to find redemption for the sins he has committed under the command of King Baron, he reveals to all the light hidden within him. There are more secrets for Cecil to discover about the world he lives in- and himself. The other characters add fun, humour, and real emotion to this Final Fantasy epic. In my mind, it's still the best storyline out of all the classics (FF1-6).
As for the DS remake...The DS remake keeps all the classic Final Fantasy elements whilst giving you something new and exciting. For one thing there's the adorable character graphics. The new 3D characters make every thing seem bigger- especially during the cut scenes. Cecil's "transformation" scene was awesome. And though the voices are grainy- I think that's fine considering all the other improvements.
The best thing they've added to this game is "Whyt", Rydia's new Eidolon. Not him specifically- but the way you level up his attributes. The DS game takes advantage of the touch screen capabilities with enormously fun mini games. Depending on who you have in your party, the mini games change. You can play "Cecil's Goblin Gauntlet" or "Rosa's Time Challenge" and many others. They're all fun games testing your reaction times and your maths- but it's not too difficult that children couldn't do it too.
Whyt can be 'decorated' in different ways using the touch screen too. There's a lot more to do besides the main story now. One thing I find funny about this game are the dancers. If you talk to all the dancers in different towns and watch them perform, and then go back to the town near Baron- Cecil will dance with the girl near the river. It's hilarious!
The music is still top notch- as are the battles. I like the victory dance after every win even more now. I like that when you go into a shop, characters pose in their own relaxed manner and then wave, put up their hands or jump to let you know they can use that piece of armour.
Namingway also has a bigger role in the remake. He changes his own name this time, as he struggles to find his perfect career. Each "career" gives you something great to do. When he decides he wants to try something new, he hands the task down to his friend- Fat Chocobo. You can access all the music from the game to listen to; play Whyt's mini-games and view all the major cut scenes again. In order to activate these additions and extra features, you must make sure you keep looking for and talking to Namingway in every town and village you go to. He's even in a couple of castles and dungeons too.
Basically, Final Fantasy IV was an epic game before the DS remake. And it's been made even better! I didn't think that was possible! Buy it if you love RPGs!
"Star Ocean: First Departure" Official Strategy Guide
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The only reason I wouldn't buy this guide is if I was only interested in the main ending. If I wanted to skip half the Private Actions and not learn any of the best battle skills. If I didn't want any of those hard to obtain special characters- or if I didn't want to know where any of the special items were. If I didn't want to know how to customize the best weapons- I wouldn't get this guide either.
Basically, this guide really steps up for the person looking to complete more of the game than just the main story.
The guide goes through over ALL of the private actions, letting you know which option to choose and whether or not this loses you affection points with any of the characters. And where it's best to lose affection points, the guide will warn you of that too (in case you want other characters to have affection points for each other in order to get their ending). The only downside I can think of to the Private Action lists in this is that there's no real way to know which private action you are currently on. In the guide they number the private actions and try to put them in chronological order- but they don't always occur in that order. When the guide says 'private action occurs before you've obtained item X', sometimes it will happen after. The only way to get around this is to initiate Private Actions as frequently as possible after every major event. When they do occur, the guide will describe the PA, where it happens and with who- then you can figure it out. The guide will then tell you if you need to answer a certain way to get the desired outcome.
The guide gives a full list of all the items in the game, where to buy them, how much they sell for- and most importantly- how to MAKE them. The most handy of these being weapon customisation. The guide will show you all the weapons for a character, which ones can be made and how to make them. It will also let you know (in some cases) what level you have to be on or age you have to be to make an item. For example- you can't create alcohol, if you use a character under the age of 21.
This guide tells you how to recruit EVERY character- including the two secret characters (Welch and Erys). This can be confusing otherwise. You can't recruit Cuis and Marvel in the same party if you don't have Joshua, for example. And you can't recruit Erys if you don't have Ashlay and Joshua in your party. The guide tells you how to recruit these characters and what 'not' to say so they don't get put off and leave.
The super techniques of every character can only be learnt if you have an SFT. There are several SFTs to collect during the game: Feline SFT, Omega SFT, Bagura SFT, Four Beasts SFT- and many more. The guide tells you where they are. Once you start using Skill Points to level up in the SFT technique, it tells you which battle techniques to equip to learn the Super Techniques as you fight.
Character endings, Private Actions, Items, Maps, Tips and Advice. This guide has it all. And the character images and screenshots inside are pretty too. I think it's well worth the money for any Star Ocean gamer/fan- even if you're an expert and already know how to do all those things mentioned above.
Star Ocean: First Departure
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Before being introduced to Star Ocean games, I thought Final Fantasy were the best RPG games on offer. I've played many RPGs since then, and for me Star Ocean is the best. Why do I like it so much? For starters, you can actually move around in battle. If you're a virgin to this concept and are more used to turn taking, get this game and revel in the pleasures of ass kicking and attack combos. During battle, you open the circulating menu to use symbology (magic), items, change party member tactics, or to run away like a coward (which hardly ever happens because the concept of button bashing usually works in defeating normal enemies). The good thing about opening the menu is that the rest of the battle is paused, and you can 'um and ah' over what to do next.
I also love that you can change the character you control during battle. For example- if the party healer is sitting on their thumbs doing nothing, you can quickly change over to them and heal the whole party. Then you can change back to a fighter and pummel your opponents. Mwahaha. This also works well if you want a magic user to use specific attacks. That, or you can use the option to choose which spells a magic user can use before the battle starts in the main menu.
To give you an idea of the level of grinding required... I played the game through in Japanese months before it was released into the UK- and as long as I was near a save point, most boss battles can be managed as long as you can handle the normal level monsters in the surrounding areas.
The innovative thing about Star Ocean are the Private Actions- where you can choose to enter a town or village and split up from your main party. There upon you can talk to different characters and initiate events that you control the outcome of. If you choose to be sensitive and further your relationships with the other characters- you are likely to get extra 'couple' endings when you finish the game (or even items and battle skills). If you choose to be an insensitive ass- you are likely to get a slap in the face.
The second thing that sets Star Ocean apart from the rest is the item creation. There are over 30 skills you buy at certain shops- and when you level up you gain skill points to level up these skills. There are skills to help you in battle, skills to give you extra stats when you level up, and skills to help you learn 'item creation' abilities, such as cooking, pick-pocketing and even contraband (illegal documents for more EXP and Fol/Cash!). I could sit for hours levelling up, learning skills, creating different dishes that can be used as healing items, or making my own jewelry and battle equipment.
The characters are fantastic- and cover a wide variety. You have 4 main characters (which I won't attempt to remember the English versions) Iria, Ratix, Ronixis and Milly. And after that you can choose 4 other characters to join your party. Some you literally run into, others are a little harder to recruit as certain events must be completed in a certain order. The storyline itself is shorter than more modern Star Ocean games, but the extra side quests, item creation and multiple characters, endings and secret dungeons mean that this game has hours of gameplay and is REALLY addictive. But in a good way, so just say YES to Star Ocean. You'll want to play it again and again to get different characters and play through slightly different events and to get different items and endings- and even different cut scenes.
The music is great- the English voices are funny- and the cut scenes are absolutely beautiful in anime.I think any RPG fan would LOVE this game.