MEMBER PROFILE FOR Stardog

Total Reviews: 8
Average Overall Score Given: 7.25000 / 10
Total Forum Posts: 14

Reviews
Triple Play 2002

Overall: While better than All-Star Baseball, tihs game still has its quirks. I had 19 Home Runs in my second league game playing the Mariners against the Tigers. 19 HR's in one game, where I win 32-3? I don't think so.... It is better than All Star Baseball by Acclaim, but my review of the latter has been pulled by XBA so there is no way to compare the two. Still, this is not a great baseball game, although it's better than All Star Baseball.

Gameplay: Overall, this game is better than the previous baseball outing by Acclaim. The graphics are much better (except for the batters), and the gameplay is better and announcing is better than Acclaim's, albeit only by a small margin. With Bob Costas at the helm of commentator, and the faster pace of the game, it's much better than All Star Baseball. Games are easy to jump into, and the ability to alter the length of the season (in Season mode) and the length of games (from 1 to 9 innnings) is a plus, this game still has its drawbacks. Batting is easy and sometimes unfair (i.e 19 homers in my second game). Fielding is a no-brainer, too, although some player are slow to throw to the bases which means no double plays. This is better than All Star Baseball by Acclaim, but my review of that game was removed by/from XBA for unknown reasons.

Graphics: The graphics, except for the batters, is better than All Star Baseball by far. There is much more detail in the stadiums and player movement than in previous outings. Cutting to the pitcher after a strikeout and better fielding graphics help bring this game to a level slightly above All Star Baseball. There are no really bad graphic glitches that make you think you are playing a computer game and not an actual game. And there's dust when players slide into bases! As mentioned in my review of All Star Baseball (which, again, was removed by XBA for unknown reasons except that it had a lower than average score), plays around the infield have nice dust effects. The baseball itself could generate dust (which it doesn't) but at least the players do.

Audio: Good 5.1 surround sound. The stadium announcer calling out the players, lost children, and winners of keychains is nice. I generally hate play-by-play announcers at any sporting events make me want to turn Bob Costas and Harold Reynolds off, but unfortunately turning them off turn off the stadium announcer, too (why?). And the commentary can get repetative and, at times, incorrect. 2 Examples: 1) Having hit a second home run off my pitcher, Bob announces that it's the first homer given up in the game; 2) a swing-and-a-miss strike has Bob saying things like "Caught the corner for a strike." I swung! Who cares if the pitch would have been a called strike! The bat being dropped to the ground is cool, as is the gunshot when you rip a homer. Overall, though, the sound is adequate.

Suggestions: Improve the commentary. The player models look like overgrown children. XBA might not want you to like this game. They removed my review of All Star Baseball, probably due to an upcoming promotion by Acclaim. This game is not great, but better than Acclaim's game nevertheless. Oh, and I've archived this review on my own machine lest it be removed like my previous review of All-Star Baseball, and thus lost for gamers present and future.

Overall Score: 7.0 / 10 Spy Hunter

Overall: This could have been a cool arcade game. But it's too fricking dark! And what's up with multiplayer?

Gameplay: It's a sort-of-fun arcade type game, taking the old '83 arcade game to 3D (semi)-realism. But why is it so dark? To hide lame textures?!? A friend with an HDTV literally turned up the brightness on his TV to play this game. Without doing that, you'll run into corners and other cars 'cuz you can't see. And limiting the multiplayer to tracks you've completed 100% (all primary and secondary objectives) is ridiculous. Unlock the "secret" on the first level, and you get a really lame music video. Come on! This is 2002! Give me a better "che
at"!


Graphics: Too dark! If you don't want us to see your crappy textures, make them better! At least give us a Gamma Correction option in the Options....

Audio: It has Dolby 5.1, but the sound EFX are lame at best. Use the budget for better, brighter graphics! Very minimal sound effects in this one. The 5.1 helps only a tad in this one.

Suggestions: Make a better game: brighter, livelier, soundlier, and include multiplayer for all levels regardless of if you've completed them!!!

Overall Score: 3.0 / 10 Rallisport Challenge

Overall: This is a very fun game. There are several events in which to comptete, either as a time trial or a circuit race. If you are a fan of racing games, or liked PGR, then you will love this game. Racing games for me, though, begin get boring after you've played through it a number of times. Multiplayer is one sure way to improve replayability, but without utilizing the System Link cable, you're stuck with split-screen modes only.

Gameplay: As I said, if you like racing games or PGR, you'll love this game. What more needs to be said? I ask you to jusge for yourself: www.jamesyou
ngp
roduc
tions.
com/xbox_r
allisp
ort_030920
02.mpg (14.5 Mb mpg file of actual in-game action by yours truly; remove spaces in URL if necessary)

Graphics: The visuals are outstanding. If you clicked the link above and saw the movie of in-game footage, you'll agree. On your TV, though, it looks 10x better. Here's the link to game footage again if you missed it: www.jamesyoungproductio
ns.com/xbo
x_rall
isport_030
92002.mpg (remove spaces if necessary)


Audio: The sound is pretty good in this game. It's a nice 5.1 mix with squeeling tires and engine noise. The music is decent, too, IMO. There is an option to use your own soundtrack, too. All the sounds in the in-game action movie are straight from the game. Check it out if you haven't heard it het: www.jamesyoungproductio
ns.com/xbo
x_rall
isport_030
92002.mpg (remove spaces if necessary)


Suggestions: Allow for System Link multiplayer. Have rally races with more than 1 car at a time. Have more than 4 comptetors at a time (8 or 16 cars on the really long tracks would be fun).

Overall Score: 9.0 / 10 ESPN International Winter Sports 2002

Overall: My fingers hurt! Those of us (un)fortunate enough to remember the old button-mashing sports games of the past will remember this game. I've played this game for one day, and I cannot play anymore due to carpel tunnel syndrome in my fingers. Although this title does bring some new, and often-times exciting, events to the winter sports arena on the Xbox, the PAIN in my hand and the lack of customization lead this title "downhill" (pun intended).

Gameplay: This game brings forth 10 events in which to compete as either USA, Canada, Japan, Great Britain, Germany, Italy, France, or Austria. ALthough this is not the Olympics, more variety would be expected. At least a way to create your own athlete and select from numerous countries (how much memory does a flag take?). Regardless, you can select a man or a woman (their labels) as an athlete. As long as you don't compete in the Trial Mode (aka Practice Mode), you'll compete in 8 of 10 events spaced over 3 Days of competition to decide the new King/Queen of the Ice! Most events are the same, but a few are only gender specific (no male figure skating - darn!). After selecting your fairly detailed athlete, it's off to the competition. On the first day, you are faced with 3 events. For this example, they are Downhill, K90 Longjump, and Speed Skating. In the Downhill, you race your skier in 3rd-person perspective down a course, making sure you go through the gates. If you miss one, you're disqualified (DQ'd) and you end your event there. At this point, and any other time you DQ, after sitting through multiple screens with no exit, you might as well restart the competition. Make a flawless run, get a medal, and make a stand in the overall rankings, since that what this is all about: final rankings over all events. Next up, K90 Longjump. Fairly simple: Hold the triggers to start the run, release to jump at the end of the ramp, and pull them slightly (but continuously) to float down the mountain. This is my best event. Finally, Speed Skating. The button mashing ensues. Basically, the faster you hit the A and B buttons successively, the faster you go. Thankfully, you have to slow down around the corners or you slow down and lose all hope of getting a medal. If you can pound those buttons fast enough to win, please share what deranged contortion you put your arm into to make it any easier. Whew. Next Day. Day 2. The events are K120 Longjump, Halfpipe, and Bobsleigh. Cool, another longjump competition, you think. Wrong! It's a button masher like the Speed Skating. Hit A and B as fast as you can, pull a trigger to jump, keep hitting A and B to float downhill, pull trigger to land. If you're playing this game for the first time, no problem. But after about 4 rounds, your fingers cannot pound the buttons anymore! Poor scores! Next up, Halfpipe. Cool, snowboarding! But it's not not anything you've seen. You have to hit a button when a meter gets into a certain zone, then follow the movement comments on screen to pull off the trick. You're too busy watching the screen to enjoy the boarder. Bobsleigh is by far the best event. Hauling down the ice pipe is quite fun and relaxing, considering the other events. Final Day: Moguls and Slalom. Moguls simply involves hitting the R or L trigger at the appropriate times during the run, then moving the sticks around to perform tricks on the jumps. Interesting concept, but frustrating. Finally, the Slalom. I loathe the slalom.

Graphics: The graphics are good. The menus are lively, the characters are a bit generic but decent, and the courses and effects are nicely rendered. But I want to return to the gameplay for a minute. The other 2 events (for women only) are Curling and Figure Skating. Curling is like shuffleboard on ice, and it's actually quite fun. I enjoyed the strategy and slow pace of this event. Finally, Figure Skating. Like the snowboarding, this event has you looking away from the actual skater all of the time, thus you cannot appreciate what she's doing. You have to push the controller in the appropriate direction at the right time and then hit the buttons in the correct sequence in order to perform jumps. I really don't think this is what figure skating is really like. Although, if I was sitting on the couch watching someone else play, maybe it would be good. Regarding further issues with the gameplay, seriously, I cannot play it anymore. On the events that involve button mashing, I simply cannot hit the buttons nearly as fast as I used to. I lose every time! There should be a warning on this game that it causes muscle disorders your hand. I've only had the game a few days, but it's become a painful nightmare. I would rather watch someone else play it, frankly. In fact, that's why I give it a 3.5. The graphics are quite good, but if you're playing, you don't really have the time to appreciate them on most the events. Torture your friend and inist on watching them play instead.

Audio: The sound is Stereo only. No Dolby Prologic surround, no Digial 5.1 surround. Sure, the sound effects are realistic, but this game deserves 5.1 for sound effects. The music has a somewhat enticing disco feel to it. This makes you understand the hatred of disco after your hands start to cramp up, though. No way to rip your own soundtrack, either.

Suggestions: Improve the sound effects. Make a create-an-athlete with a lot more countries. Allow us to pick the events we want to compete in for the championship. I would have liked to play Curling for men.... No More Button Mashing! There has to be a better way.

Overall Score: 4.0 / 10 ESPN Winter X Games Snowboading 2002

Overall: Take 2 parts Amped and add 1 part SSX Tricky. What do you get? A game that doesn't quite live up to either. As my friend put it, "Why am I sitting here playing this when I could be playing Amped?"

Gameplay: This game attempts to use the real-world physics and realism of Amped and the racing aspects of SSX Tricky in varying events that will (hopefully) lead you to the X Games winner's circle.

You start out as a no-name kid in a small town, with only 1000 G's (no, not thousands of dollars.... it's the in-game monetary system) to buy upgraded equipment. By entering Events, which can be free or not, depending on the level you enter, and placing in the top 3, you can earn more G's, and enter more contests, buy better gear, etc.

The events are varied. Some have you competing in Slopestyle to earn the most points. Others have you racing to the finish line to get the best score. While others still allow you to earn passes to travel to other locations for more events.

The goal is to win events, gain sponsers, and end up in the X Games competing for the Gold.

Tricks are fairly easy to pull. Using a combination of A to ollie, Y to Grind, and in-air combos or all the buttons and triggers, along with the stick to rotate and flip, you pull off moves in a very similar fashion to that of Amped. This game does not go for the SSX Tricky over-the-top style of gameplay. And, for added "realism", you have a health meter that, when it reaches Zero, requires you to go to the "hospital" for treatment (bleeding you of your hard-earned G's). So, make sure you pull off your tricks!

The multiplayer also has you competing in slopestyle and racing events. Good vertical split-screen competition allows for 2 boarders to play at the same time, whether it's a race or a slopestyle event.

All these interesting twists on a familiar genre, though, still does not bring the game up to par with the current competition. The graphics are sub-par, and the interest in continuing in career mode is weak, at best. It's annoying to have to "Sign Up" for each even that you want to compete in. Also, to practise a course takes 1 Day, and events happen on scheduled days so that you have to compete in them or lose the opportunity. While this, and the injuries, add realism, it makes it too mundane (like real life) to be any fun.

Graphics: The graphics try to be realistic like in Amped, but they fall a little short. The textures are just plain, with no real detail. I've misjudged a few jumps due to not being able to see where the ground was in relation to my boarder. The boarders are plain (but can have a variety of clothing) and when they fall, look like a manakin being pushed down a hill. Clipping issues exist in a few instances, too. Looking at this game makes you wish you were looking at Amped instead.

Audio: The sound is decent, but not great. Sounds like a snowboarding game. I was not able to discern if the Dolby Digital 5.1 was really working, or if it was just a Prologic mix. The music is OK, your standard snowboarder type music, all by bands I've probably never heard of. No way I've seen to rip your own soundtrack.

Suggestions: If you're going to combine elements of the 2 top snowboarding games (Amped and SSX Tricky), make sure you encorporate ALL the best elements, not just some. Beef up the graphics. Make the career mode less tedious.

Overall Score: 6.0 / 10 Wreckless: The Yakuza Mission

Overall: This game is for anyone who has ever wanted to race through a crowded city and destroy a majority of the environment. The missions are fast-paced, yet easy once you know where to go, who to ram, etc. The graphics are outstanding and is definitely a "show off" title.

Gameplay: It's your basic city racer with a few twists (the twists being that you don't always have to race or just destroy cars). Those who like to drive and crash into things and have them break will love this game. The only drawbacks to me are the length of the game (20 missions) and no multiplayer support. Now that I've finished the game and unlocked all the secret cars, there is not much reason for me to go back and play it again, unless I want to show the game to someone else.

Graphics: The graphics are outstanding, and the destruction possible is only rivalled by MS's Midtown Madness series on the PC. However, unlike MM, your car cannot be destroyed. Te damage your car takes is fun to watch, especially when your doors fall off and you can see the driver feverishly turning the steering wheel in response to your movements. The destructable parts of the city are cool, but my only complaints in this department are to have more destructability of the buildings (cracking support columns, etc) and to have the damage remain on the screen. This would probably result in lower framerates, but it's difficult to watch the damage simply ot; after it's been done. Lasting effects would be better. Overall, though, the graphics and destruction are fantastic.

Audio: While a little repetative, the sound fits well. What more could you have than an engine sound (which does differ from car to car) and screaching tires? The comments from pedestrians can be a little repetative, too. And how come when you are playing the police officers, you hear "Stop! Police! You are under arrest!"? Don't they recognize you?

Suggestions: I think this might be one of the first games to have an expansion pack, or at least a series of sequals in the near future. Since it is called "The Yakuza Missions" it only seems logical that there will be "other" missions as well. Don't take your time in releasing other missions! Also, add multiplayer and possibly online play (when available). Keep the damage on the screen, and have the damage littering the streets cause a reaction to the car when driving over it (instead of just going right through it like it's not even there). One thing that might add to replayability is a random mission generator. Can't wait for the first sequal!

Overall Score: 9.0 / 10

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