Total Reviews: 8
Average Overall Score Given: 8.93750 / 10
Total Forum Posts: 10452

John Woo presents Stranglehold

Overall: Stranglehold is the video game continuation of John Woo's cl@!%#*!ic fast action movie: "Hard Boiled" starring Chow Yun Fat.
Stranglehold is John Woo's vision of his style of action movies converted to video game format.
John Woo has inspired many action movies like "The Matrix" and has introduced the concept of "Bullet-time" slow motion video into games such as Max Payne.
Director/Producer John Woo's style of weapon oriented action movies represent a sort of onscreen ballet of violence. Characters wielding two guns at once, very choreographed stylish movements, liberal use of slow motion and spiraling camera angles. It was only a matter of time before the full vision of John Woo's stories and his pursuit of personifying the action movie genre would be fully realized as a video game.

You play as the character Police Detective John Tequila, as portrayed by the actor Chow Yun Fat. John Tequila, much like he was in the movie "Hard Boiled" is a maverick detective. He has a strong sense of duty and honor, but he's willing to break the rules and disregard orders to get the mission done.
To best personify who John Tequila really is, there is a line in which the police superintendent admonishes John for going into a situation alone, and John merely replies "I was not alone, I had my two friends with me," as he pats his two signature Berreta 92F pistols.
Stranglehold begins with the investigation of a mission Hong Kong policeman. As the story continues, Detective Tequila takes the matters personally and the further he fights his way through the case, the deeper he goes he himself finds himself in a stranglehold between life, his family and the crime syndicate he's pursuing.

Gameplay: This is John Woo's vision of a game, therefore you are thrust into the game as if on the set of one his movies. You are expected to create as much damage as possible to everything around you right off the bat. Very little is out of bounds even if that means shooting a large sign fixture until it drops on top of one of your enemies thusly killing him, then by all means do so.

The environment around you is either partially destructible or somehow can be used by you during gameplay. Whether be by taking cover behind something or being able to easily use environmental items to do some very stylish maneuvers. I'm talking about jumping on a grocery cart and body surfing it across a room and shooting at people in slow motion with a gun in each hand.
Or how about sliding under a table and kicking the table up to use as cover? Looks familiar?
Because things like that are what made John Woo popular. You are awarded for creativity during battle. Sliding across tables shooting, jumping backwards and sliding backwards on your back while shooting, diving and shooting, kicking off of walls while shooting are just a few activities you are expected to do.

So you are awarded for destructiveness and your general ability for @!%#*! kickery. You are awarded with Tequila Bombs. These bombs are special moves that can be pulled off when you have satisfactorily maintained a special meter that measures your scale of action. In general, the more outrageous you get the more you can do and more often it can happen.

You are awarded with the ability to heal yourself partially initially. As time goes on you awarded with the other bombs such as the precision shot. Activating the precision shot stops the game play for brief second allowing you to aim exactly where you want at a distance. Once your selection is made, John pulls a snap shot and you are awarded with a camera-following-bullet view as it strikes whoever it was you aimed at. Where you aim cues certain animations, shooting somebody in the groin, in the eye and so forth.

One of my personal favorites is the "Barrage Mode." Activation the barrage treats you to a animation sequence of John Tequila with Chow Yun Fat's near signature smirk on his face, reloading his gun and for a brief moment in time the game slows down, you become immune to damage and you have unlimited ammunition and your gun fires in continuous streams of death . Use this wisely, but trust me you won't be disappointed when you get a shotgun and do a barrage with it.

Stranglehold does offer an interesting sequence that occurs when you get surrounded called "standoff". It's very similar to Army of Two's back to back mode. The game goes into slow motion and the screen rotates around giving you a few seconds to engage the closest enemy. They fire back but you can use that time to dodge the bullets with a small movement of your body like what you saw in "The Matrix." Bullet trails included.

Graphics: Though the graphics are very good and the representations of Chow Yun Fat and even John Woo who makes a cameo in the game are outstanding, there are some minor graphic flaws. There are some minor clipping issues with character protrusions going through the game map elements. Sometimes walls disappear and reappear and occasionally the mission maps seem very repetitive.
Though nothing wrong with the missions, it's just that sometimes I began to wonder if I'm ever going to look at something different than what I've been looking at for the past 10 minutes.

A nice touch is that John bleeds when he's injured. The more hurt he gets, the bloodier he gets. Which looks really cool during that infamous barrage weapon loading scene if you've been shot up a bit.

The slow motion views are represented well and done convincingly. The reddish haze over the camera sometimes obscures brightly colored elements that may be important, but you can turn off slow motion and turn it on at will with a press of a button.

Audio: You can't go wrong here. The voices are the voices of the real characters, the audio is in sync with people's mouths and of course, the guns sound like guns which is really all you need.

The sound track to this game is essentially you shooting everybody all the time with a great many bullets. All other sounds are nonessential.


Suggestions: To be honest, the multiplayer over Xbox Live could be completely avoided. Sure it could be fun, but with so many great online games like Call of Duty 4 and Gears of War, it's hard to compare. I'll be honest, I never played Stranglehold online because I never saw the need to. I absolutely love this game, but it's just one of those games that I just don't feel compelled to play because i have other great games to play online.

Since we're suggesting things here, I'd suggest a sequel but done with a co-op mode.

Overall Score: 9.2 / 10 Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Vegas 2

Overall: OK, here we go. Back to Sin City. If you think about it, this isn't really a story line sequel. It's more of a parallel story line that is occuring right before and during the previous game's story. Essentially your team is after a terror cell @!%#*!ociated with the one that Logan's team went after.

A few things get introduced to the series such as the new ACEs system in which you earn weapons, equipment and uniform upgrades with the acculumilation of points earned for performing actions @!%#*!ociated with different aspects of tactical battle. Another welcomed addition is the ability use your custom face that you create with the Vision camera accessory and have it put on your character in the normal story mode, not just online play. Also, depending on your level of completion was on the the first Vegas game, you are awarded perks and bonus points in this game.

I guess my biggest issue with this game is the actual story. Like the first one.. come on! Seriously, if over 50 bad guys with guns are running around in a building do you think in reality somebody is going to send 3 guys in after them?
But hey.. that's the beauty of a video game!

Gameplay: Not much has really changed from the last game to this one. It generally makes me feel like Ubi-Soft has followed the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" mantra. Controls are just the same with addition of a much needed "sprint" mode. Hold down a bumper button and your character will now let go of his gun and run like crazy for a short distance. The caveat to that is that your team does not sprint with you so don't go too far.

Gameplay is still tactical based, so don't expect to get into Halo'esque running firefights unless you like to die often. Success is always based on planning and having the right equipment for the job.
I did notice some little tweaks like the shotguns are a bit better this time, a bit more accurate and the killing radius is improved to a more realistic level.

There are new guns of all types in the game now but despite that the Famas and the UMP45 seem to be a constant favorite to me.

From a tactical perspective, your team is much improved. They are quicker on the draw and more accurate. However they really haven't smartened up too much. How they pick their targets is beyond me because I can watch them ignore the closest enemy to engage a distant one.

Graphics: Vegas 2 looks a lot like like the first game. You do notice that Dodge has every car in the game a model of one of their cars, much like the first time. The graphics are hit and miss. Some things are beautifully details, some things look like they got largely ignored. Character models are very detailed but walk up to something like.. say.. one of those Dodge cars and details get blocky and pixelated.

Despite the addition of civilians to avoid killing you'll notice that like the enemies, they all begin to look alike. All civilians, short of the story specific ones will look like the same basic set regardless of where they are. All enemies despite the story specific ones are of one variety or the other and it makes you wonder.. how the heck did all these bad guys get in here?

Audio: You know.. of all things about this game that goes well, it's always the audio that doesn't seem to please me. Even with the first game, the sounds of grenades are very plain and generic. It's hard to explain but the audio in this game just seems to sit there, it doesn't really stand out.
The same generic enemies all say the same generic lines every time you meet them. You get tired of every fifth bad guy saying "shoot them in the head!" or "I need back up!"

Suggestions: Well, it's a very good game. Rainbow Six never dissapoints.

Overall Score: 9.7 / 10 Conflict: Vietnam

Conflict: Vietnam is the latest offering from Pivotal Games and SCI. Their latest game is the continuation of the 4 player squad combat sleeper series Conflict: Desert Storm and Conflict: Desert Storm 2 "Back To Baghdad". Conflict: Vietnam was nearly doomed earlier this year when it's developer, Gotham Games went out of business shortly after the Conflict: Desert Storm 2 game was released. Fortunately, developer The Gathering was tapped to picked up the game and bring it to fruition. So with the continuation of a great series with a brand new development team at the wheel, Conflict Vietnam gets a fresh start and a new look since the last two games.
It seems lately there is a large flux of video games covering the Vietnam War on the market. Each game tries to stand out on it's own with some unique aspect of game play. Today, I'm going to take you into the jungle with The Gathering's Conflict: Vietnam and see what it's all about.

If you are any sort of familiar with the Conflict game line, you know that the series is built around a 4-player squad combat game. You can play the games with up to 4 people split screen cooperatively, or alone using the computer to control your teammates.
Conflict Vietnam continues where the franchise left off and makes large improvements in several categories.
As your campaign begins you begin as the role of your unit's brand new combat field medic. You are stationed with the 101st Airborne currently deployed in Vietnam. Everyone has a nickname "in country" and since you are brand new to the bush, they call you Cherry right off from the start.
Conflict Vietnam has the familiar training level in the beginning of the game but instead of the boot camp phase like the last two games, you have to run around the base camp completing storyline advancing objectives to become familiar with the control scheme. The entire introduction phase ties in with the story as soon as it gets done you're thrown into the action seamlessly.
As Cherry you control a squad of three other soldiers in your unit.
As said before, you are the medic. Your squad comprises of men named Ragman who is you close quarter combat specialist armed with a submachine gun and shotgun. Junior is your sniper, and Hoss is your M60 gunner and heavy weapons specialist.
Each skill is performed best by the specialist attached to it, so if a particular action requires to be done, you have to utilize that specialist to achieve the best results. Though you can trade weapons and actions around, if you want the best, you'd let that particular person do it.
Through different control schemes, you can arrange movement and firing orders. You can have your men fan out, move to an area, cover down, return to you, hold fire or fire at will. You can switch between any person in your squad at will and personally control them. Whoever you switch to becomes the squad leader. You have no obligation to control one man throughout the entire game. You are actually expected at some points to switch around to achieve optimum results.
Between each mission your actions of each member is tallied up into points. These points can be used to purchase statistic points used to upgrade your character's skills. Each character has several core skills and each can be upgraded as you wish. You could in theory actually change your character?s primary skill to something else through this manner.
I found that your squad does have fairly good artificial intelligence. They won't try to get themselves killed, but they won't do much beyond what you tell them to do. They will patch themselves up, they do protect themselves and they do give you tips on what you are supposed to be doing. In fact, you notice that each character has specific and noticeable personality traits as you play along. They tend not to feel like robots.
As for the Vietcong's intelligence, as far as I've gotten in the game I only have been able to detect 3 actions from your enemy. They either hide and snipe at you, they set up ambushes on you, or you hear their battle bugle sound in the distance and they come out rushing you. The enemy does put up good fights and marksmanship does apply greatly to your fight. You can blow people's heads off for the instant kill, or anything less then a center mass shot will just wound them. Be forewarned though that sometimes the fallen enemy laying on the ground is not dead. Many times an enemy wounded on the ground will pull a grenade out and throw it at your feet when you come to inspect your work.
As you get comfortable with the game, the story places you at the beginning of the Tet Offensive and the action just becomes insanely intense. From then on the game becomes a paranoid and intense fight. The jungles give a very good paranoid feeling of not seeing your enemy and the fact you can hear them sometimes but not see them adds to that factor.

The visual factor of this game takes a giant improvement from the last two games in this series. It looks familiar and it plays the same as the last, but there are many improvements in the graphics department. There are a lot more visual details in the game and a great way has been gone to maintain authenticity with the visuals.
I would hardly call it more of the same from this franchise, but it's more accurate to say that it's a very large and satisfactory improvement in the series. The only disappointment I could find in regards to the visuals is that in the split screen multiplayer mode, the outdoor settings make it very difficult to view your corner of the screen and see what the full scope of what is happening. It's hard to appreciate the game in that mode and it nearly comes off as a disappointment because the 4-player aspect is what built that game. In this game, too much of a good thing is practically true.

To be honest, I guess it wouldn't be a 1960's era game without the 60's era music. The game's original score does include several songs from that era including the classic Rolling Stone's song "Paint it Black." But, if there was anything that made this franchise noticeable was the sound in the games. The musical score for Conflict Vietnam is excellent. It builds ambience and mood, but it doesn't interfere with the game play. Conflict Vietnam also carries on the tradition of utilizing the Xbox's custom soundtrack mode and remaining one of the few action games that does that. As for the rest of the sound scheme, all sounds heard in the game are found to be authentic and realistic in all its surround sound glory. The Conflict games always had good sound environments. But this time, more emphasis has been placed on the gun battles and the first things you notice is that the guns are loud. Much louder than must games and that's the way it should be. Guns roar when fired and that's portrayed in the game.
The one thing I found extremely striking about this game is the amount of voice acting in the game. There is just an incredible amount of spoken dialogue in the game. Your squad communicates to you, characters in the game communicate to you, and it?s all very well done and very realistic.
Now, I'm no prude or anything, but I'll have to admit that it has to be at least since the Vice City videogame have I heard the amount of curse words used constantly in the game. Every curse word I can think of is used on a routine basis. Does it detract from the game? I don't think so, I think it builds the personalities and helps build the feel of the game. But a word of advice to parents or younger players is that game uses an excessive amount of foul language. But it's marked on the ESRB rating.

Suggestions: If there is anything I would like to suggest to the developers in the next game in the series is that they should implement Xbox Live for the cooperative game play. With over a million subscribers to Live, there is no excuse for a squad warfare game to not utilize the services of XBL to promote that mode. It's hard enough using split screen to enjoy the game.

Overall Score: 9.0 / 10 Conflict: Desert Storm II : Back to Baghdad

No rest for the weary. Our heroes from the first Desert Storm missions: Bradley ? Team Leader, Foley- Sniper, Connors-Heavy Weapons, Jones-Medic have been called into action once again. It?s time to head back to Iraq and get back to work.

Before there was Brute Force, last year?s Conflict Desert Storm was the first game to bring 4 player squad combat to the Xbox. A sleeper hit that didn?t bring very much attention, but still managed to sell a million copies. Conflict brought gamers into the first Gulf War and combined elements of arcade shooter with military squad tactics. The missions where based on real missions that took place during the war, and it put the gamer directly into the boots of either a US Army Delta Force squad or that of the British Special Air Service. The player took control of one character and had 3 others in his squad. Much like Brute Force, you could switch between any character at any time, and your squad would react as a team or independently, depending on the situation. Each member in your squad has a skill that is just as important as the next. The AI controlled teammates played themselves to be useful, and they where completely competent to handle combat duties while you fought alongside them. The game was touted as Xbox?s answer to the Playstation 2?s SOCOM Navy Seals. One of the main features of the Conflict series was that 4 players could play through the game as one squad. If you had less than 4 players, then the AI would control the extra man, though he would always be under command of player one for his orders.

Though in all, the first installment turned out to be a very good game, it was not without its various problems. Now that Conflict: Desert Storm 2 ? Back to Baghdad has been released, it?s time to see if the new game is worth the trip back into combat.

Within the first few seconds of playing the game, I knew immediately changes where made. Everything from the menu screens to the game?s graphics has been revamped. A new change is the introduction of the user profile. Now, you can create your own personal profile and save your settings. This is a great addition when you play this game with three other people on a regular basis. Once the game started, it felt familiar, but the changes where for the better. A new and better mission briefing cut scene has been done, and it looks great. Now it?s time to play the game, after you choose which Special Forces team you are going to play as. From the get-go, the action is fast, and it?s intense. The first mission kicks you off right, and you know for sure that this is a new improved game. You can certainly tell that this game is in the style of an arcade shooter, but that?s good right? There are already a few games that stray towards the military-sim variety, so this is a good thing if you just want to hop in and start killing everything quickly. New features to the combat system have been added, like the peek mode. Now you can peek around corners without risking getting shot first. A roll mode has been provided.

Now you can roll out of fire. Finally, a means to dodge incoming fire. The controls have been tightened up and there?s a lot more response than in the first game. I had no problem navigating my soldiers, and issuing squad orders. The squad order system remains unchanged from the first game, but at least it feels faster and more precise. So actually playing the game was a joy. It felt like a lot of things where improved over the first game. But sadly there is one flaw that carries from the first game. There had been a problem with sniping. You have a sniper with you, and it?s a vital function. But there seemed to have been a ?collision detection? problem when it came to sniping. Every now and then, if you had to make a precise shot that involved shooting near a piece of scenery, your bullet just doesn?t reach its target and it hits the environment near the target. Well, it was never fixed, and it?s very obvious. Meaning, I was trying to snipe a soldier on a rooftop from the street below. I was positioned down an alley, and my shot was clear. The trick was that I had to shoot through a crumbled hole in a wall. You could plainly see your target, and it was just a matter of flinging a bullet through a large hole. Well, it wouldn?t happen. The bullets would just hit the wall harmlessly. This problem persisted when trying to shoot over wrecked cars, or destroyed tank hulls. It was a nagging problem in the first game, and it persists in this game. What a shame, because the first game was good, and this one is so much better, but that one single problem is detrimental to a gamer who plays primarily as a sniper.

One interesting change from the first game is the introduction of the Xbox Live Service. Though not playable over Live servers, Desert Storm 2 boasts download abilities. This means in the future new missions could be acquired, maybe even new team members. It?s good to see more game companies looking to the future and incorporating Live into their product. This would actually add life to the game and open the opportunities for improvement.

The graphics of Conflict Desert Storm2 are good. They are not the best that the Xbox has ever seen, but they range from average to good throughout. It certainly looks better than the first game, but it still falls below what some hardened gamers would expect. There are some nice touches like shadows, and the explosions are very nice.

So there are some good aspects about the graphics department. But I will tell you that it?s good enough to keep you engaged. If you where a fan of the first game then you will continue to like this game. Just think about the graphics of the first game, and think that they where improved.

As always one of the greatest things about the first game was the sound. The sound was outstanding, and it does not disappoint with the new game. From the ambiance of the environment, the weapons, radios, and the background score, it?s all done very well. This game, like the last includes the custom soundtrack feature of the Xbox. Thus replacing the in game musical score with your own tunes. Like last time, I never felt the need to do that.

Even though I felt it was good that finally an action game gets the soundtrack mode, I felt that it was distracting in the game, and it took from the efforts to create the environment. Sound in very important when trying to recreate a location and trying to keep the authenticity alive. Especially when you make a series of games based on a real life event.

Suggestions: Though I like the game, I felt that a few things could be improved:

Fix the issue with sniping and bullets hitting the scenery instead of target.

Continue to improve the graphics.

Provide a squad command for ?Cover me!?

Let the players adjust the look sensitivity for their controls. I noticed that between 4 people playing, not everyone liked the how the sensitivity was.

Overall Score: 9.0 / 10 WWE Raw 2

Does THQ?s WWF Raw 2: Ruthless Aggression lay the smacketh down? Let?s get ready to rumble as we delve into the latest installment of the WWE on the Xbox.
Right off the bat, this game completely sidewalk slams the original WWE Raw game that came out for the Xbox. Every category has been revamped over last year?s installment. In this year?s game, players are treated to various modes of game play for either a single player or up to four players. A quick start match to just get into the action, a tournament mode, an exhibition mode to set up your dream match, the famous royal rumble, and finally there?s the season mode. Here you pick your favorite superstar and start at the beginning on the road to wrestlemania. This is where the game takes a turn for simulation. Now players can set their agendas for the upcoming weeks with activities such as manipulating other wrestler?s alliances, interfering with matches, resting between your own bouts, and just doing what ever you can to gain the crowd approval, and lowering it for your enemies. The best part is that four players can participate in the season mode too.

Before the show even begins, this game touts one of the most expansive ?create a superstar? modes I?ve seen yet. You can easily spend hours just making a character exactly what you want him, her or it to be. This time, the game let?s you use your songs from your custom soundtrack for your entrance theme music. Speaking of which, you could possibly spend just as long making a grand entrance, complete with custom lighting, pyro, to down right choosing the signs the fans will have in their hands.
Once you get that done, don?t forget to use the option to create a team. Everyone needs friends in this business, and now you can arrange who they are going to be. From superstars to your own created squad, or a mix of both. Give your team an entrance, and you?re set to start stomping candy ass. So right off the bat, you can tell that this game is big. Bigger than the first Raw game, and it set?s the stage for a great wrestling game.
The actual game play is fun; and the controls feel tight and responsive. Though at times the fighting doesn?t feel intuitive, and sometimes it boils down to the fastest button mashing.
As for a few other quirks: From time to time, the computer controlled characters seem to not know what to do, and they act erratically, occasionally punching or kicking at the air, or trying to grapple the last place you where standing, should you have been knocked down. A few things manage to bring this iron horse down though. I thought that THQ could have at least provided an instruction book that could be of use. I for one enjoy learning secrets in a game, and I understand that?s it no fun to have everything spelled to you. But the included booklet doesn?t even cover the season mode in the slightest bit, leaving it up to me to guess what?s happening. Learning how to tag your team mate is totally up to you, and the instruction book gives no advice or instruction on how to remove an opponent using the proper method during a royal rumble. One of the worst flaws that I?ve noticed playing the game is that the computer is extremely repetitive. I noticed that when I played against the computer alone, that regardless of whom you fight, the computer might use maybe 3 different moves against you. Then things get lopsided from there, and the computer retains all the advantage against you. One of the worst being that the computer will do is go into an endless pin loop. Occurring several times throughout the game, at one point the computer will attempt to pin you, regardless of what your health is like. Then you will kick out, and while you?re still laying there, it?ll pin you again. During one match against Spike Dudley, he got lucky and knocked me down, and proceeded to pin me no less than 8 times in a row, back to back, without letting me get up. I noticed that this occurred with all the computer controlled wrestlers. At that point I turned the game off, because I got tired of mashing the buttons to get up for no reason. At its worst you?ll have two or three computer controlled wrestlers standing around your fallen body and taking turns trying to pin you. You kick one off, and the other jumps on. This sometimes went on so long that they eventually win. I thought that was extremely cheap. I do remember that this was a problem in the first Raw game, so I guess not every quirk was resolved in this sequel. Finally, the last strange thing about game is that against three other computer characters, the fight will take an extremely long time. The computer will refuse to let you get a pin and every time, the other characters will stop what they?re doing and interfere with your pin, regardless of team affiliation or whatever they are doing at the time. There is a way around that, but at first it?s extremely frustrating and it gets annoying that you have to intentionally distract the other players to just get one simple thing done every time. Don?t get me wrong, the game is fun to play; it?s just that every so often the computer characters do things that defy all logic and turn a fun game into something entirely frustrating.

The graphical representations of the various wrestlers are outstanding. Minute details are translated into the game, from the scar that?s on Booker T?s back to the menacing scowl of Stone Cold Steve Austin. Even details to certain wrestler?s tattoos are exhibited. For proof, take a look at the work on the Undertaker, or Rey Mysterio?s back piece. THQ did a good job keeping the wrestlers totally authentic. Over 30 wrestlers in this game are represented, complete with their appropriate intros and costumes and alternate costumes. The game even captures Ric Flair?s old school strut down the ramp with impeccable detail. I could honestly say that an outstanding job was done taking the visual sense of the WWE Raw on TV and translating it to the game. Sadly though, with so much attention going this time to properly represent the way the wrestlers look and act, I don?t understand how could the wrestlers not blink as they walk? You could plainly see as the wrestlers make their way down the ramp that they do not blink what so ever. Strangely enough though, the characters exhibit emotions and they show pain on their faces well. Even then they close their eyes when they take a hit.

What can I say? It sounds like the TV show. From the sounds of hits to the mat, to the superstar?s intro music. There is an exception though with the music. Stacy Kiebler?s Kid Rock version of ?Legs? and Victoria?s ?Tatu? intro songs are not included. There is something similar being played, but it?s obvious that it?s not the original song. But, at least the game?s sound is done in 5.1 surround sound. You can use a song from your custom soundtrack added to your wrestler?s introduction. That alone is a great improvement over the first. But strangely enough, you cannot substitute your custom soundtrack for the game?s in match music. There are background songs that play during the match. The songs are nothing special, and most of the time, I just turn them down. It would have added to the coolness factor to hear my own songs. Maybe the next game in the Raw lineup would have in game commentary. Commentary is absent from this game, and it?s sort of odd to participate in a WWE event and not hear the outrageous commentary.

Suggestions: Though an outstanding game in itself, I do not see why this game does not support high definition TV?s. That should be a standard feature now in all games.

More details in the instruction book.

Where?s the commentary? You can?t have a wrestling game without Jerry ?The King? Lawler talking about someone?s puppies.

More utilization of the custom soundtrack feature in the game.

Make the wrestlers appear even more real by having them blink.

Overall Score: 9.6 / 10 Mace Griffin: Bounty Hunter

Mace Griffin is a man on a mission. A mission for revenge. At one point in Griffin's life, he was a Ranger. Part of an elite group of soldiers trained and deployed to keep the peace throughout the colonies. Then on one fateful mission, Mace's world changes forever. While adherring to his orders, he gets framed for the death of his squad during a mission. Mace Griffin get's sent to prison for 10 years. Once he get's out, you assume the role of Mace Griffin, and you will set out and seek revenge. Just like he says in the game's introduction movie: "Besides, who wants to go to hell alone?"

The gameplay of Mace Griffin pans out rather interestingly. You get an assignment from your boss, you get in your spaceship and you fly yourself to your destination. You get there, dock and then begin. You encounter hostiles and you engage in space dogfighting along the way. Sometimes, the hangar you land in will have bada guys. You can use your ships weapon system to make a safe place for you to get out. So basically we're looking at 2 games in one. Unfortunately, the space portions are rather short.
Once engaged on a mission, the missions are incredibly long. Like Halo style long, complete with in game loading zones. Through this though, you can comeback from death without having to go through someplace you've already been through. The combat system is very solid and intense. The enemy AI ranges from smart, to essentially stupid. But I think the game throws the dumb enemies at you to lead you into false confidence. A majority of the enemies essentially refuse to die and will take cover, regroup and attempt to flank you. They will keep you busy.

The graphics of this game range from average to exceptional. Some of the character models seemed kind of blucky, but the enviroments where richly detailed. Your weapons are highly detailed, and the game uses "motion blurring" quite well. The visuals will not disapoint. Also, the space graphics where outstanding.

Henry Rollins is Mace Griffin's voice. His tone, his inflection, everything. He tells the story, you hear him speak, and he does a !&%$@#* fine job. The soundtrack to the game is rather nice, but I too noticed that sometimes it didn't seem appropriate at times. But I will give massive kudos points for including the Rollins Band song: "Shine" in the intro movie.

Suggestions: First I would suggest keeping the graphics quality consistent throughout the game. It's great in most places, but sometimes it's lacking in others.
Second, I would find a better way than to interupt the game to load the next sequence. I like the ingame loading thing, but I don't like how it stips the game sometimes.
Third, I noticed that sometimes the game gets buggy, and wouldn't load a sequence properly. That's something to look into.
Please make a sequel with Henry Rollins.
I'm not so concerned about online or deathmatch play, sometimes a good FPS can be a single player game too. And this game is perfectly fine as a solo game. Not every FPS in the world needs to be Co-Op.

Overall Score: 9.0 / 10 Red Faction II

You are going to hear "It's not Halo" from certain people. It's true. Red Faction II is not Halo. There are no Warthogs, Covenants or Cortana anywhere in this game. What you do get is: A new first person shooter game that introduces a largely destructible scenery. The story line is deep and has it's twists and turns. So thankfully there is some depth to the game. There is an interesting feeling of immersion in this game. Good sound, good graphics, I pretty much felt like I was out there hunting down the Red Faction.
RFII has it's own great features like a ton of weapons, enemy AI that is fairly creative, the geomod system that let's you destroy the enviroment as you wish, and a pretty extensive multiplayer mode complete with tons of maps and programable bots.

RFII can hurl you into some quick and intense action. There can be some lulls in the game as you wander around trying to get your bearings, but once the fighting starts, it'll keep you on your toes. The game makes you get creative and you have to switch your strategy up as you go. Meaning you can't just blast your way through the game. You have to sneak, snipe, explode, and generally cause mayhem to survive. There are levels that include vehicles, you are basically rhe gunner in most cases, but it's an interesting change of pace to let someone else to the driving.
I am very pleased with this game. Though in some very few aspects Halo would technically be the father of all Xbox FPS games, RFII can stand on it's own and provide the gamer with a different experience and still be a lot of fun.

The graphics are good in this game. There is quite the spectrum of quality. Meaning, sometimes you will encounter something that you wish it would have looked better, but for the most part, everything is presented well, and easily able to recognize. Does it capture the power of the xbox? No, of course not. But then, what game truly does? For what it's worth, the graphics are good.

The sound and voice acting is done very well. One of the voice actors is actually Lance Henricksen, well known actor. If you remember, he was Bishop - the android, from Aliens and he starred in a lot of science fiction movies and TV shows. Every now and then the sound effects seem to clash with the music and one or the other seems to get drowned out, but that doesn't happen too often. The background music is quite good. Weapons sound good, and explosions on a theater system rumble convincingly.

Suggestions: Probably the most noted absent item that must be put in if there was a sequel would be a Co-op mode. I was stunned that it wasn't included. Even with such an expansive mulitplayer mode, co-op would be nice. That's my real concern.
Maybe make the sniper rifle a little faster to chamber a round. I figure in the future we wouldn't still be using a bolt action sniper rifle.
More bots in the multiplayer. Having six players is cool, but 8 would be better. Since there is no link or live, 4 humans against 4 crazy hard bots would be nice.

Overall Score: 8.0 / 10 Conflict: Desert Storm

In Gotham Game's Conflict Desert Storm, you take comand of either an Amercian or British Special Forces Team through various missions that where based on actual events during the Gulf War. Before each mission you recieve a briefing and you are given a set of orders to carry out. These missions range from located and escorting dignataries or scientists, destroying scud missle launchers, to clearing anti aircraft batteries for an impending air raid. You are the team leader of a 4 man squad. Your squad composes of a rifleman, a machine gunner, a sniper and a demolitions expert who also doubles as your medic. Each soldier has a certain specialty and you will need all of them to be successful. During the game, you can switch freely among the soldiers and control them, or you can give orders and have them carried out. The orders you give are limited to basically movement and positioning, but this is important if when you want to set up for certain task. The computer controls the other soldiers with accurancy and when it is left to the computer to engage the enemy, they are confident in a firefight and for the most part they make good decisions for themselves. The game also has a multiplayer mode where 3 of your friends can play along and set out on the various missions of the game. The multiplayer mode alone can keep you and your buddies occupied for some time.

If the thought of comanding a squad seems a little strange at first, fear not because the game has a training mode tin the style of a bootcamp. During bootcamp the game instructs you how to peform perform the tasks that are expected in the game. Training includes, movement, markmanship, driving, and commanding squad movements. It's more than enough to make you familiar with the game.

Gameplay can be intense. When you become engaged in firefight, you have to consider what you are doing and what your team is doing. You have to keep up with their health and ammo status. If you lose a team mate, you have 2 minutes to get him a first aid kit and heal his wounds. If the time expires before you get to him, he dies and you lose him. You have to carry out the mission without him and afterwards a replacement will be provided. But the replacement soldier is nowhere near as good as the guy you just lost. There are experience levels in the game and awards given for performance. The more xp points you get, the higher your skill levels get.
This game is authentic to the actual war. The hardware and the few vehicles you drive are true to life. This game combines elements of strategy to a shooting action game. You have to learn how to work as a team, or you will get killed quickly. Basically it boils down to laying cover fire for you men and chosing the right man to do the right thing, and I can't stress enough to utilize your sniper as much as possible. Not only is the sniper valuable to taking care of distant threats, but he can be used to identify targets at great distances, further helping you make choices about how to perform a certain portion of the mission.

For the most part, the graphics are good. They are not the best, but they are good. Everything looks as if it should. For the purpose of a rating scale, I would say that the graphics where overall middle of the road. But you can feel like you're really in there at some points. I have to say though, the night vision perspective is accurate and true to real life.

The overall sounds in this game are really good. From the squeaking metal on metal of a tank rolling down a street, to the sound of your rifle. It is accurate. The game throws realism in with voices and other ambiant sounds. A good thing about this game is the soundtrack support mode. It wa especially inspiring to use my own music to motivate me through the missions.

Suggestions: I only have a few things to suggest. Mainly to tighten up the graphics. Second I would suggest making more missions. On the highest difficulty the game takes a long time, but I wanted more in the long run. And third, tightenn up your team's AI. It's really good, but I hated how your team had a tendency to huddle up behind you while you where moving, making you prone to explosives wiping out your entire team all at once.

Overall Score: 8.0 / 10

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