Swords of wisdom: Final Fantasy

With Sega’s Dreamcast due to hit the shelves in September, it was always a safe bet that Sony would be releasing some hot PlayStation titles around then as well. There's less chance of gamers spending their pennies on your opponent's hardware if they are broke from buying must-have software for your machine. And if you are looking for a sought-after title, a game which guarantees record sales and universal hype, then the sequel to the biggest game in console history might just be the answer.

When it was released in 1997, Final Fantasy VII rewrote the computer game rule book. Its stunning visuals, monstrous size and sheer depth of story shook everyone who played it. Who didn't gulp back a tear when poor Aeris died? Well FFVIlI promises to be an even more involving, jaw- dropping experience altogether.

Believe it or not, Squaresoft have squeezed more out of the PlayStation. Much more. The FMV is gorgeous, with hair whipping in gale force winds and waves smashing into razor-edged rocks. Unbelievany though, there is no cut when the action starts. The FMV and real-time blend seamlessly, drawing you deeper into the story. The combat has been tweaked slightly but remains embedded in the familiar Final Fantasy magic, summon and limit break style.

Due to the success of FFVll in the West, the look of the game has been altered to appear more realistic. Out are the big heads and almond eyes, replaced by properly proportioned figures and hard-bitten faces. Despite the main character Squall Leonhart’s passing resemblance to Tom Cruise, the characterisation is nigh on perfect and, to top it all, your party is on screen at all times. There's no real clue yet about the story, but if the rest of the series are anything to go by, it will be convoluted and engaging with more twists than a Highland B-road.

Make no mistake, Final Fantasy VIII will rock the world. Whether Dreamcast can survive it is anyone’s guess. (lain Davidson)

I Final Fantasy VIII is released on Squaresoft in September, priced £39. 99

(Codemasters) £19.99 a: ‘k * at

chance to get your hands on its auld 3 enemy, Colin McRae Rally. What’s more, its price has been dropped to

3D, Virtua stadium, motion-captured, roving camera sports game on the market could learn so much from this one. Easier than chalking lines in the street, Anna Kourni'kova’s Smash Court Tennis deserves to be a smash hit. (ID)

Colin McRae Rally

Colin McRae Rally is a hard game to master as your car needs little persuasion to slip and slide. However, perseverance reaps many rewards and there’s nothing like the feeling of throwing your Subaru round a dirt track with all the elegance of a Russian ballerina. There’s a fistful of tracks with many different road conditions, all providing their own unique driving experience, and winning them all will take a good few months of play. Where else could you get a top of the range supercar for the price of an

With VRa/ly 2 roaring into view (released 25 June), this is your last

under £20, so there's no real reason MOT? (ID)

_ why you can’t have both. When it was

first released, there was a huge spit REVIEWER THIS ISSUE

among gamers about which was the ' lain Davidson

f better title. Some liked VRa/ly's arcade speed while others preferred Colin STAR RATINGS

. it t t

McRaes realism but, in reflection, they ***:* Sgg'sg‘fle were both great games and, as all * * * Wort a Shot good mothers know, spoiling the kids * * Below average often leads to pointless bickering. * YOU'VE been wa'md

Totally wired

The weird world of the Web. Star Wars - In ASCII I Seem to Ec-Lu‘i-zl it 2


Not since William Caxton invented the printing press has text looked so exciting. Using only the letter and symbol characters on your keyboard, this Site animates the original Star Wars movie (with dialogue), up to the bit when the Millennium Falcon takes off. It’s being updated to eventually show the whole ’film'. Sometimes it’s good when people have too much time on their hands.

University Of Bums On Seats http:l/

This is what a real university prospectus reads like if you look between the lines. A no-nonsense guide to courses, with the likes of Senior Academic Officer Dr Mike Shagger and Vice Chancellor Professor Alan Dubious (MAd, TOTP, DipSHiT). Legally, I’m not available for comment.

Iormeny mch Meant:

The Ultimate Taxi


Based in Aspen, Colorado, this is a site hosted by a taxi driver dedicated to showing us his celebrity passengers. From the Pope (faked I hope) to Jerry Seinfeld. Keep watch on the Taxicam to see the passengers look surprised at you watching them. For an 'ultimate’ taxi, the only downside is the call-out times from Aspen are rather longer than your local firm.

Doomsday Survrval Guide

More a site promoting a book about How To Survive Doomsday Even Better If You’ve Got The Book, this will give you pointers on how to survive Doomsday when (sic) the Millennium Bug causes world meltdown. And there was me thinking that all that would happen would be that my toaster was going to break.

Virtual Dog Shit Creator httpz/|

Who would have thought that technology would get this far? This site purports to be a scientific experiment into creating ’real' canine turds. Just supply it with ’solidity factor’ and ’evaporation rate' amongst a plethora of other factors and it will show you a personalised dog jobby to match your criteria.

Wimbledon 99 It’s that time of year again. Crack open the Pimms and the punnet of strawberries and pay a fortune to watch a ball oscillate in front of your eyes. Or just keep tabs on the action here and pin your hopes on Greg or Tim - a bit like pinning a badge on a waterfall. (Steve Blair)

Joe Cartoon

Another cartoon site, but worth it just for ’The Blender’ where you can control the speed of a blender with a frog in it. But it’s a frog with a mouth that wants a fight. Just gradually step-up the speed of the machine until he becomes a little more humble, then stick it on full power for some serious frog/blender action.

24 Jun-8 Jul I999 THE UST 115