Games and Internet

PC X Beyond The Frontier (THO) £34.99 * a. t .t

X Beyond The Frontier is Elite With knobs on. The hypnotic spinning vector graphics and calming ’Blue Danube’ soundtrack may be gone, replaced by spinning polygon graphics and calming deep house s0undtrack, but there's no disguising your basic space exploration and commerce game.

As well as the immediately familiar trading, piracy and diplomacy, X Beyond The Frontier has huge management opportunities for the budding entrepreneur, with factories, power stations and refineries all available for purchase. Initially the game feels a tad slow but soon the burning desire for profit takes its VlClOUS hold and the dauntingly large universe begins to feel like home.

There is an underlying storyline to the game but, when exploration is this engaging, frankly who cares? Ship upgrades are plentiful, alien races are full of character and the degree of freedom allowed is without parallel X Beyond The Frontier will suffer from a deficit of flash bang wallop, and though it lacks the Elite heritage, will also bring pleasure to many wannabe Ferengi. Remember Law No 97: Enough . . is never enough. (ID)

Darkstone (EA) £34.99 '- r Heroes flex their thongs, an eVIl stalks the land, hack and slash aplenty, damsels in distress, yadda yadcla yadda, Darkstone is an RPG adventure for those who have never played a fantasy game, read a fantasy novel or watched Clash Of The Titans. Choosing two of the eight pre-set characters, yOur guest consists of much dungeon-bashing and spell- slinging, eventually collecting the pieces of some crystal which Will defeat the big scary baddie. Although the graphics look lovely, With 360 degree camera movement and zoom available at the touch of a button, they are often invasive, complicating what



UEFA Striker

(Infogrames) £40

Tired of football yet? No? Well lnfogrames have just the thing for you. UEFA Striker promises to be one of the top footie titles to be released this year and the whisper is, it may even challenge the approaching [55 Pro Evolution in the gameplaying stakes. Not to mention that it will be the first soccer game from the new Dreamcast machine. Yup, UEFA Striker might just be one to watch. As you may have guessed from the name, UEFA Striker is based on European football. There are 130 clubs to choose from and all the European competitions are present, as well as a multitude of user-definable contests. One clever little addition is the certification

feature which allows the player to pit his ball skills against a series of tests, completion of which will open up new teams and competitions. Even the loading screen has a spot-the-ball challenge that can open up more secrets. Boredom is not allowed. The game is beautiful to look at, particularly on the Dreamcast, and the control system is simple yet flexible. However, what makes UEFA a mouth- watering prospect is the revolutionary AI. Each player is assigned his own intelligence, and because the game runs in real time the effect is subtle but important. For example, take a quick free-kick and you may catch the defence off guard. However, wait a few seconds and your tail defenders will have time to join in with the attack, eager for a lofted ball into the box. Obviously,

Field of dreams: UEFA Striker

this constantly affects the game, creating a more realistic environment.

For the flashier out there, worry not. UEFA Striker has its fair share of fancy moves. However, if you are expecting a simple kick and rush experience, think again. Creating space, dragging defences out of position and clever passing will produce better results than any amount of long range howitzer shots.

As a first footie title on the Dreamcast, UEFA Striker may very well set a standard many will struggle to better. On the PlayStation it might fall short of ISS Pro Evolution's heights but definitely warrants keeping an eye on. (lain Davidson)

iii UEFA Striker is released on Fri 22 Oct.

should be the most basic part of an RPG. Character development is sWift but never really provrdes the sense of achievement that gaining skills and attributes should.

However, what makes Darkstone such a disappointment is the lack of imagination. RPG’s are about Wickedly tWIsting plots of intrigue and deception which drag you kicking and screaming through each challenge. This has a story Goosebumps would TGJGCI as immature. Superficially

Sham of Iran: Prince Of Persia

enjoyable, Darkstone is an adventure written by people who have no Idea what adventuring is all about. (ID)


(Acclaim) £29.99 it t »* wt

From the £10 rollover kiddies’ racers to the precrsion scale models which cost a few hundred qwd everybody loves remote controlled cars. No surprise then, that after the success of the lvlicromachine games, these little motorised speedsters finally get their own title.

Re-Volt is essentially another racmg game, but such is the infectious cheekiness of the toy cars, it brings something a little new to your PC. The cars look great and each track, from the ObVlOUS neighbourhood cul-de-sac to the outrageous museum circuit, inVites you to try something different on every lap, but it is the physics of the cars which make Re-Vo/t SUCh fun.

The ridiculous acceleration, millisecond response and dainty delicacy of RC cars comes across beautifully, demanding a whole new

driving style to be mastered. And,

because the machines are so light, weapons become even more effective With firecrackers, water bombs and bowling balls all being lobbed at

opponents to spectacular effect. Re- Vo/t is a JOYOUS break from the norm, demanding you go back to it time and time again. And With the inclusion of a track editor, the aerial-wobbling nonsense need never stop. (lD)

Prince Of Persna 30

(Red Orb) £34.99 * it *

What a crying, wailing, beat-y0ur-fists- against-a-wall shame Prince Of Persia 30 is. That one of the cleverest, best- loved series in gaming history should be dishonoured With such an average third release is sacrilegious. Red Orb have taken the idea of the Prince games and tried their hardest to arse it up.

Essentially, the game play remains intact run, jump and fight your way to Victory through level after level of tricky obstacles. However, by creating a 3D world for a turban warrior to traverse, Red Orb have missed the point entirely.

Prince Of Persia was about Judging all those leaps to perfection, counting out the steps to a ledge to endure a preCISlOn take-off. Here, the freedom of movement makes that skill impOSSible as the character can start and finish

anywhere in the environment. The

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7—21 Oct 1999 THE llST107