Total Reviews: 5
Average Overall Score Given: 7.48000 / 10
Total Forum Posts: 2670

Spy Hunter 2

Jump in and buckle your seatbelt. You're in for one wild ride after another in Spyhunter 2, the sequel to Spyhunter. You're the driver of a ultra powerful counterintelligence vehicle code named the G-8155 Interceptor. As you battle through more than 15 missions and 4 level bosses, use your new weaponry such auto-tracking turrets and energy shields and other advanced weaponry to uncover Nostra's mad plans to dominate the world, all while uncovering the secrets of a mysterious female agent.

Game play is pretty straight forward arcade like. Most missions give you a set of objectives you need to complete within a certain amount of time, or before something like an airplane or large boat get destroyed. One thing that is seriously lacking is an auto save of some sort between submissions. You can play through a three part mission, get to the very end and then get destroyed. Frustrating to say the least. It does save between main missions, but there is no option anywhere to save your own games which would seem logical considering we have a hard drive available. Physics play a part up to a point but you'll rarely ever find yourself worrying about controlling your car. Most of the time you'll need to spend all your focus and energy in not getting blown to bits by the countless number of Nostra enemies shooting you with missiles, chain guns or trying to blow you up by dropping land mines in front of you as you speed through the huge maps. While the game proclaims multiple ways to get through a mission, this might only mean taking a slight detour while still getting to your destination in exactly the same way, every single time you play. One thing that may bug you is regarding the power of your car. As your driving and shooting enemies, it doesn't seem to take long to take those baddies out. But watch out, one or 2 solid hits on your vehicle and you'll loose your outer shell, and another couple of solid hits and your done. And the farther you get in the game, the more bad guys there are. You do get stronger weapons as you progress, but the increase in the number of enemies basically eliminates any usefulness that these weapons would have provided. One other drawback is the difficulty level. It can be insanely difficult and without those mid mission saves, it can get down right infuriating. Finally getting past one spot after 15 or 20 tries, getting to the very end and then either running out of time or dieing can get very old, very quickly.

Visually, the game isn't really anything special. Graphics a reminiscent of games from a few years ago instead of something that came out in the last month or so. Your main car, the G-8115 Interceptor does have a decent poly count and looks pretty good. Transitions from one vehicle form to another are done smoothly without causing any framerate issues. On the other hand, enemy vehicles tend to be rather bland in comparison. They do have detail, just not to the extent as your vehicle. One thing that really bugged me, was the placement of text messages in the middle of your screen. You could be coming up on some enemy vehicles and your on-board AI would display some wonderfully useful tidbits of information right smack in the middle of your TV, exactly where you need to look to shoot those bad guys. Another thing that bugged me was the fact that when you destroyed a vehicle, it basically sunk into the ground. Pretty cheap way to get rid of junked cars in this writers opinion. It almost seems like your running on quicksand, but you don't sink unless you get blown up. The one good thing I can mention about visuals are the special affects. Explosions look very well done, even though the cars sink as I mentioned earlier. Particle affects from kicked up dirt and weapons fire are well done also. And each weapon has a distinctly different particle affect when it fires and not just a generic affect. So that was a big plus.

Sound-wise, the game is an average contender. Every weapon sounds different if not fantastic, and your car sounds pretty shallow when accelerating. Enemy fire sounds basically the same, you have a rocket sound, a chain gun (or bullet projectile) sound and a explosion sound for land mines. Not much variety. Of course, you don't really have time to sit back and listen to the sound because once you do that, you die. You have to be on your toes the entire game.

Suggestions: I would suggest that anything you decide to work on in the future have online play. This type of game is made for online play, its just sad that that wasn't an option this time around.

Overall Score: 8.2 / 10 XIII

XIII brings together first person shooter action and cellshading technology to create a unique game that otherwise would just be a standard fair shooter. As you are probably aware of, you don't see cellshaded games everyday, or if you do see one, its not guaranteed that it will be done effectively. Thankfully, it turns out that XIII happens to fall into the "better" category in the cellshading department. It combines cellshading, a comic book look and feel that comic book fans are sure to enjoy, and an intriguing story line that will keep you itching to play just so you can find out the true story about what happened to you. The name of the game, XIII, or rather, "Thirteen" is actually a big part of the mystery surrounding this game as you will come to find out during your venture.

When the game first begins, you get to see a short cut scene that gives you a little pre story into why you happen to be in the situation you start the game in. You start off on a beach where a lifeguard finds you. You get taken to the lifeguard station where you suddenly get thrown right into the action and get your first weapons.

Game play modes range from your normal run and gun to missions that make you sneak around without setting off alarms or being spotted. This means when you kill somebody, you gotta go hide the bodies. Sound familiar? This does help break up the same old shoot, kill, shoot, kill, and put in some basic strategy. Do you run up behind that enemy soldier and knock him out, or do you pull out your trust crossbow and take him out from far away? You choice really, you can do it either way, at the game, you will see smaller screens pop up in the middle of your TV. When you see these, take note. You'll be meeting up with the people displayed in those screens soon enough. This is one of the "skills" that you have called your six sense skill. You actually have a variety of skills ranging from sniper skills which let you zoom in and not have to steady your aim to medic skills which causes each med-kit to double in effectiveness. To find these skills you have to find "important documents" hidden throughout the maps. Most of the time, they are laying in plain view, so you should not have much difficulty locating them.

Also, as you progress through the missions, you will have a comic book style story unfold from the main menus before you enter a game. You will get a short story board of what you have discovered so far. You will also uncover hidden identities that you can browse outside of the actual game. So in general, this game is a solid shooter and has some good game play elements to keep you hooked at least until you beat the game, which shouldn't take the normal first person gamer a great deal of time.

Also included in the game is the ability to play on-line. Nothing overly special in that department, but still its a good sign when you see games that actually are able to be played on-line, and are not just "on-line aware". Props to Ubisoft for making this happen.

Visually the game turns out a solid performance. While cell shading may not agree with everybody out there, it is used very effectively in the game. If you like comic books you'll definitely enjoy the in-game visuals. None of the character models are overly complex, but you do tend to see the same models over and over again throughout the game.

The developers went out of their way to try and help the gamer feel like he's really in the game. When its raining outside, you actually see water drops on your "view". This has been done in other games, but its not everyday you see cell shaded games do this. In general, the colors are bright, except in some cases where you have drab colors, but those are mostly when you running around in military camps.

Blood looks pretty good. Although when you kill somebody, you don't actually see bullet wounds, but you do get to see a small bloodstain on the ground that will stay around even if the body disappears, and yes, all bodies will eventually disappear. I was slightly disappointed about that, but its just a small annoyance.

The back of the box listed Dolby digital for the in game sound. I'm not sure If the disk I received was defective or not, but I didn't hear any "Dolby digital" sounds.

My main gripe was the delayed sounds from gunshots or explosions. I can't be sure if its the game or my disk that was messed up, but it got very annoying, very quickly. I could hold my trigger down and fire, and a second later sound would start. I'm hoping it was just a defective disk, because this ruins an otherwise good gaming experience.

In game voice-overs that told the story and helped you along with the missions were entertaining. While they could have probably been better, it didn't detract from the game-play overall.

Suggestions: My only suggestions would be to make a sequel to XIII. It was a fun game that deserves a followup.

Overall Score: 9.0 / 10 Starsky and Hutch

Starsky and Hutch puts you into the roll of the 2 cops from the 1970's TV show of the same name. Fans of the TV show should enjoy the game, maybe. Remember the old saying, "you get what you pay for"? Well, this is one of those games. For $20 you can buy a relatively fun game that will hold your interest for a few days during which you can most likely beat it. There's not alot of replay value besides collecting all the collectibles and driving the free roam mode.

In general, the gameplay is very simple and easy to get accustomed to. You have to do two things during a given mission. Drive your car and shoot at the bad guys. Thats it. Your missions range from taking out some bank thieves to escorting somebody to a safe-house. In either case, all you have to do is make sure you take the bad guys out without letting your viewer rating fall to 0. You can increase your viewer rating by driving excitingly, performing stunts such as driving on two wheels or jumping off of car carriers, shooting bad guys, and by collecting view rating icons throughout the game along with other ways to improve your rating. In total though, the gameplay is very shallow and offers little replay value. While it is fun to drive around in your car, it does get old. One thing I have a gripe with is the free roam modes. They are not really free, you have to keep your viewer rating up or your free ride is over. There are 4 maps that you can do the free roam thing on. They require you get a set amount of gold "badges" before you can unlock a given map. The badges are earned for each mission depending on how high your view rating is at the end of it. You can get gold, silver, or bronze badges (think 1st, 2nd, and 3rd). As I mentioned earlier, replay value is lacking, unless you go for the collectibles. Free roam mode also lets you unlock additional cars that you can drive around, but those are only unlocked if you get keys to these vehicles. These keys can be found throughout the levels and the good thing about this game is that even if you fail the mission, you get to keep any items that you collected during the mission. This makes the game even easier than it already is though. If you happen to have a friend over, you can also play this game with 2 players. One player can drive while the other shoots the baddies. This may actually lead to a more joyful gaming experience in the short term, especially if you create "games" out of it.

Visually S&H is probably where the game shows it's best stuff. While the graphics and visuals are not what you would expect from a two year old system, they are tolerable. Cut scenes between missions are done with comic book like stills with voice overs. Explosions do look quite good and are fairly well detailed texture wise. Up close, many of the textures do look a bit blocky and even farther out they aren't what I would expect on a system this mature. But overall, it doesn't look that bad. Nice to look at but nothing fancy. Some of th e interesting graphical effects are when you shoot the bad guys car and their car starts to take on some damage. To begin with smoke starts billowing up from the car and as the car takes on more damage, you begin to see flames. Those effects look decent. The explosion that shows the car being destroyed does not look anything close to good, its actaully pretty plain and unexciting.

Sound is decent, but nothing extraordinary. Explosions sound good, as do the sounds your car makes when it peels out or slides around a corner. Collision sounds and gun shots dont really sound realistic. You just hear tiny pops and loud clunks that represent these activities. Voice-overs were done well and add some depth to the sound department, but not much. In all reality, your car and your gunshots are about all the sounds you will hear, unless you crash into another car. Some of the more humourous sounds you hear are when one of your guys gets shot. He will start saying something along the lines of "I've been shot" with very little emotion.

Suggestions: If I were going to suggest something it would be to add a bit more gameplay depth. Just driving around and constantly shooting your gun really doesn't cut it these days.

Overall Score: 6.4 / 10 Voodoo Vince

Beep Industries first title, Voodoo Vince, takes you into the back-streets of New Orleans and through the bayous of Louisiana in the biggest action-adventure platformer to grace the Xbox. When the game first starts your treated to a cut-scene that starts the story off and explains how you, a small middle of the road voodoo doll came to life.

Your owner Madame Charmaine has been kidnapped and its up to you to rescue her from Kosmo the Inscrutable, and during the kidnapping, Kosmo's thugs spilled a fair amount of Madame Charmaine's zombie dust which has cause the world around you to transform and spring monsters and mutations into New Orleans.

Your overall goal is to reach Madame Charmaine and rescue her from Kosmo and his thugs. Along the way you get the occasional help via a telepathic link from Charmaine. This is usually in the form of telling you what you need to do to accomplish a goal or task in a given level, although how to do that is up to you to figure out.

Gameplay is reminiscent of other platformers. You have your standard jump, along with a double jump, a head-butt and a spin kick. One move that I found useful on many occasions was the ability to slow your decent. This comes in handy when you're trying to land on a moving platform in the middle of bottomless pit. It can get down right tedious at times though, especially later on in the game when you have to jump onto amusement park rides to make it to where Kosmo is hiding out. This is one place your ability to slow your fall can save you.

While your main goal is to rescue Madame Charmaine, there are a few other things that you can do during your quest. One is to collect as many of the special voodoo powers that you can. These can be used to destroy all enemies in a certain area. When you get enough voodoo power from killing monsters, you then have the option of using a voodoo power. These range from sitting in a bathtub with a shark in it to getting smashed by a large cow. Why do you want to kill yourself you ask? Well, you are a voodoo doll for starters and bad things that happen to a voodoo doll normally happen to its target as well. Your first opportunity to practice killing yourself happens at the very start of the game when you can turn on a large blender and jump into it to kill some monsters on the floor below you.

Running around and smacking monsters isn't the only thing you get to do. Other activities involve flying a plane through a maze of hazards to riding a rat like a cowboy during one of your boss battles.

Boss battles are not really difficult at all. The bosses come in a variety of flavors, from a giant T-Rex, to a demented doll, to a much bigger version of yourself. Most of the time you just have to look around your environment to find something you can hurt yourself on. The more you hurt yourself, the more damage the bosses take.

The game doesn't lack in the visual aspect either. Level designs are unique and pleasing to the eye, character models are well done and object textures look amazing. Special effects like setting yourself on fire are something you have to see for yourself.

The draw distance is high. You can always see everything within your line of sight, even on the largest levels where it takes minutes to reach the point you first saw off in the distance.

There were a few glitches. A few times I got stuck on the environment and was unable to free myself. I had to either restart or let myself be killed to get out of the situation. Luckily, these types of occurances didnt' happen to often though. There was the obligatory clipping where items dissapear into a wall as you carry them, But that was a minor distraction.

The sound was actually pretty good. The in-game soundtrack which was heavily influenced by the New Orleans jazz scene was actually quite good and I didn't mind listening to the same songs over and over again as I repeatedly restarted a level. Environment sounds were well done also. Shooting yourself from a cannon and smacking into a wall made realistic sounds. Even the voice-overs and commentary were well done. Some of the things that Voodoo Vince says are hilarious. All in all it was the small bits of sound that were included into the game that made the sound as good as it is. Without them, it would have been quite bland.

Suggestions: I would suggest that a sequal should be created. Voodoo Vince has the potential to become as big as any other big name platformer. I personally would love to have another Voodoo Vince to occupy my time.

Overall Score: 8.8 / 10 Minority Report: Everybody Runs

I began playing this game with some doubt in my mind as to how well it would be pulled off. I've never played a quality game that has been based on movies or tv shows. Sadly, that trend has continued with this game. If you've never watched the movie or read the book its based on, heres a quick run down of whats happening. You are part of a Precrime division dedicated to stopping murders before they happen. But then your suddenly accused of committing a future murder and you must fight other Precrime officers and thugs to set the record straight. If your a huge minority report fanatic, you may enjoy this game. Maybe.

Gameplay is brought to you via the 3rd person perspective. If you want to compare the gameplay to other games on the market, think of Hunter: The Reckoning. Hunter was a button masher, although a fun button masher. Minority Report is a button masher as well, although a terribly created button masher. Yes, you do recieve weapons throughout the game, but there is so little ammo to find and use that you spend 95% of the time pushing your X,B, and A buttons to perform combos, sometimes overly impressive combos. There's nothing like doing a power throw and watching the bad guy bounce of the floor and hit the ceiling. Hilarious actually.

The we get to the load screens. You play a little bit, load, play a cut scene, sometimes it quick saves, load, then some actual gameplay. You're sitting at load screens nearly as long as you play and that is very irritating to say the least.

There are some serious issues with the AI in the game as well. AI conrolled characters readily shoot their coworkers and at times just run straight into walls and keep trying to run even though they cant go anywhere. Even the collision detection needs work. One instance of this is when I knocked out a officer while he was on the other side of a wall. Interesting.

The graphics were probably the only good thing about this game. I found myself having more fun breaking windows, desks, soda machines, and electronic displays than I actually had actually playing the game. The textures in the game aren't to terribly bad. Sometimes a little bland or repetitive, especially when it comes to NPC's throughout the game. There seems to be two or three different Precrime officer's, a few different thugs, and a few different mall security. You see these same guys over and over again throughout the game and it gets monotonous. The actual character models seem to be designed fairly well. Although at this stage of the Xbox's life, that should be a given. The lighting in the game is either bright are dark. Theres really no use of lighting effects like you would find in games like Splinter Cell, at least that I could find. There was a few areas that had smoke/fog which actually looked fairly decent, but other than that... Poof!

Sound? Well, there was sound in the game. The sound of smashing glass and breaking tables was probably the best aspect of the sound in the game. All the guns had a small, shallow sound that didn't really sound like a gun at all. You hear an occasional grunt every now and then when your fighting, but even those are barely noticeable. You do get to see your character wretch when he gets shocked with the shock weapon some of the Precrime officers carry. They actually did a good job on that sound effect. Dont expect quality sound, you won't get it.

Suggestions: The concept of the game is a good one. Perhaps you should convert any sequels into a first person shooter. I personally think this game would have been much better that way. Work on the sound affects and give us a bigger variety of baddies to fight. Thats about all I can think of to suggest right now. Good luck on future endevours.

Overall Score: 5.0 / 10

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