Total Reviews: 4
Average Overall Score Given: 7.00000 / 10
Total Forum Posts: 1172

Links 2004

Overall: Links has always been one of the top PC golf games and thankfully it made a great transition to the Xbox. A truly addictive game, I find myself constantly wanting to play just one more round.

Gameplay: Imagine Outlaw Golf without strippers pole dancing on the flag stick or bikers beating up dominatrices. The golf "simulation" is superb and the controls are very similar to those in OG (i.e., left stick controls the swing). Unlike Outlaw Golf where you had a pretty good idea of where your shot would go, in this game, you really have to take into consideration things like elevation and wind and the lie when slecting your club. Thus far, my only complaint is one dirty disc error. However, all of that being said, this game has one thing OG definitely does not have and that is online play. There is just something about going online talking trash over a game of golf. Just make sure your opponent doesn't mind a few "distractions" (read me screaming in his ear) during his back swing or on a particularly important putt. :)

Graphics: Very good graphics with only minor flaws. The courses and fly-by's are excellent. I just love the "bullet-time" effect when you hit a good shot. They use a variety of camera angles after the ball is hit keeping the presentation fresh.

Audio: Great sound effect and the commentary is decent. However, I have noticed that many times the commentary won't play for a shot or two, but then it comes back. This can be a problem when you want to hear the description of the hole on the fly-by. That being said, the game definitely gets credit for allowing us to use custom soundtracks.

Suggestions: I would have liked to see a more in-depth career mode. Possibly letting you play for multiple years, going from tournament to tournament trying to get wins.

Overall Score: 10.0 / 10 The Haunted Mansion

Overall: After getting burned on the buginess of Pirates of the Caribbean, I was a bit skeptical when I picked up a copy of The Haunted Mansion. However, Mrs. Skoal thought it looked "cute." Thinking that my current Xbox library was lacking in the platformer department, I decided to give it a shot.

One thing to remember is that while there is an upcoming movie of the same name starring Eddy Murphy, the only thing I could tell that the two have in common is that they are both based on the Disney Ride of the same name.

The game is set in post-Civil War Louisiana. Players assume the role of one Zeke Halloway. The gawky looking Zeke answers an ad to become the caretaker of a dilapidated mansion outside of New Orleans. Zeke quickly learns that he has been summoned by the ghosts to free the 999 captured souls within the mansion from the forces of evil.

Those looking for scares and chills may be a bit disappointed as the game is primarily geared for kids. However, anyone that loves a good platformer or is a big Disney freak should give this game a shot. The game is priced at $39.99 and includes a free pass to the movie, making this a great value.

Gameplay: While the gameplay includes your typical platformer fare (jumping puzzles and collecting items), there are a multitude of other puzzle varieties to keep it fresh throughout. There are also numerous monsters and haunts to battle with your tricked out lantern.

Graphics: While no one will ever claim the graphics push the the Xbox hardware to its limits, the developers did an excellent job of using the graphics to translate the mood of the ride into the game. The dim lit and dull look of a haunted room stands in stark contrast to the same room that has been rid of its netherworld inhabitants. The cutscenes are excellent and not overused.

Audio: Just like the graphics, the developers utilized the sound to translate the mood of the ride into the game. Voice acting is very well done and the creaking and moaning to be heard throughtout the mansion adds to the atmosphere. Of course it all sounds great in Dolby Digital.

Suggestions: Can anyone say "It's a Small World"??? Just kidding, but I would definitely like to see the developers build upon this excellent title with more quality platformers.

Overall Score: 8.0 / 10 James Bond 007: Agent Under Fire

Overall: It is said that over 50% of the world's population has heard of James Bond. With over 15 movies in the series, there is alot of potential with this license. However, this game doesn't realize that potential. Goldeneye for the N64 was a much more appealing game. One of my favorite features of Goldeneye was the use of sniping. There is just something about seeing a foe collapse from a well-placed bullet right behind the ear. Unfortunately, AUF didn't give me the same giddy feeling on the few occasions where the sniper rifle was of any use. This was a definite oversight of the developers.

Gameplay: I guess I have played too much Halo. I had a very difficult time getting used to reversing the sticks for strafing and looking side-to-side. Unfortunately, by the time I completed the game and went back to Halo, it took me a few minutes to get back to what feels right. I did like the combo of FPS/driving/riding. However, I would have preferred more and larger driving areas in which to free roam.

Graphics: The graphics weren't spectacular, but they were adequate. The developers could have taken more advantage of the power of the XBox. I do feel they did an excellent job with the vehicles. However, the faces and bodies were blocky. In addition, nothing about the scenery really made me want to replay the game again just to admire the scenery (i.e., Halo)

Audio: While the Bond movies have given us some classic musical scores, they weren't taken advantage of in this game. Due to the repetiveness, you will definitely want to set the music low in the options screen. The sound effects were adequate. However, the voice acting could use some work. Bond's voice was adequate, but I think they could have used better actors for the sub-characters as well as writing better dialogue.

Suggestions: Go play Goldeneye
More Sniping
More Bond Music
Free Roam
More Sniping (Yes I said it again)

Overall Score: 4.0 / 10 Wreckless: The Yakuza Mission

Overall: The saying "don't judge a book buy its cover" can be applied to video games by changing it to "don't judge a game by its trailer." I almost purchased this game without renting it first. I'm glad I didn't make that mistake. The game has alot of eye-candy but it basically stops there. If it doesn't have the gameplay, I don't care how good it looks. On a side note, I thought the title was a nice little pun. I'd like to see someone clear a level &;. Bottomline: If for nothing else, I think you should rent this game just to see the graphical capabilities that can be generated in a first-generation game.

Gameplay: Not much to appeal here. The levels were either way to easy or painfully hard. The controls were releatively simple, but I just never felt like I was in total control of the car. Better power-sliding would have made the game much more enjoyable. I think the game could have greatly benefited from a tour mode as well as multiplayer or online play.

Graphics: The game's one saving grace. The level of detail here is astounding. Graphically, this is the best game I have seen on the Xbox and that includes Halo and DOA3. Be sure to check out the replays so you can truly admire the graphics without stressing to complete a mission.

Audio: The techno soundtrack fits the concept of the game, but the sound effects were way to repetitive. I would have liked to play my own music. Voice acting got real old real quick.

Suggestions: Tour mode, custom-soundtrack, multi-player (if not online).

Overall Score: 6.0 / 10

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