PLAYSTATION Grandia (Ubisoft) £34.99 it t a: *
Japanese gamers love two things above all else - childhood and role playing games. Whether this is to do with life in a historically repressed social culture, on an island that is too small for its population, breeding a burning desire for escapism, with childhood the epitome of freedom is an argument best left to the experts. What it means for us is a constant stream of quality RPGs filled with large-headed, big-eyed characters and meandering stories. And so it is with Grandia. Justin is an enthusiastic, naive daydreaming teenager whose ambition is to become an adventurer to rival his father. Helped, to begin with at least, by orphan girl Sue, Justin soon finds himself in a whole heap of trouble as his wanderlust gets him involved with an archaeological dig, a secret plot hatched by their ruler and a quest for lost civilisations. Along the way, Justin learns more about his family history as well as his own destiny. Melodramatic enough for you? Viewed in an isometric top-down
style, the backgrounds are detailed and gloriously coloured. Unfortunately the camera swings about from time to time, and keeping your bearings on some huge maps can be quite a task. To help, the view can be spun at any time using the shoulder buttons but this takes a lot of practice to grow accustomed to. Unlike the Final Fantasy series, which Grandia most resembles, random battles can be avoided by simply dodging the wandering monsters. This speeds up the game a lot and, because combat can be a little irritating at times, brightens up the gameplay.
There are the usual experience points, magic items and weapons to collect, constantly upgrading Justin and his pal’s skills. But it’s the story- telling that truly makes Grandia a joy to play. The innocent Justin is strangely likeable and his perils and victories soon grow in importance. Grandia is another top-notch RPG from the land of the rising sun. Nobody does it better, and they rarely do it better than this. (lain Davidson)
Family history, archaeology and wandering monsters combine in a story-telling game that's a joy to play
strengths and weaknesses demanding more exploration than on the PlayStation.
Naturally the graphics, although impressive on the grey box, are stunning when rendered on a good machine and claw you still further into the world of Squall and his buddies. Final Fantasy VIII is a must by for all PC owners. Just make Sure you have a comfy chair to Sit on because you'll be on the edge of it for a very long time. (ID)
Nox (Electronic Arts) £29.99 at t 1k 1k
At first glance, Nox appears to be yet another run-of-the-mill RPG. A piece of trailer trash is pulled into another dimenSion and battles all manner of beasts, baddies and maniacal magic- users to get back home. As you might imagine from Westwood, those of Command And Conquer fame, the gameplay is acceSSible, flurd and a great deal of fun With little imaginative details, like Conjurer’s ability to lay traps, often raiSing a smile.
But what sets Nox apart from the
majority of adventures is its multiplayer capabilities. Rather than creating a huge world to adventure, a la U/ti'ma, Nox is a celebration of stift and bloody death-match. Plonking your player in a deep dark dungeon With nothing to defend himself against 30 other human players, finding weapons, armour and magic is paramount. If you surVive long enough to get tooled up, it becomes a seek and destroy mission, best man wms.
The graphics are detailed, With the line of Sight affecting what is shown on your monitor, and the sounds are horrifically exaggerated. With a great solo game and an even better multiplayer, Nox is ideal for those RPG fans looking for something a little different. (ID)
REVIEWER THIS ISSUE: lain DaVidson
it it t it 1* Unmissable
* t * it Very ood
* it 1'! Wort a shot
it * Below average
it You've been warned
The world of t e Web.
We are standing on the threshold of a technological revolution, which is already being compared to the industrial one. It’s funny then that some technologies never die, they Just get reinvented. This is Teletext With a major facelift, With one of the best TV guides online.
AS we're told, the mowe format of the post-DVD future may well eXist on the internet. This Site, based in Bristol, is trying to encourage amateur filmmakers to
swap from analogue film to digital, and produce films solely for the net. Maybe a taste of things to come, albeit very experimental.
Universal Currency Converter
www.xe.net/ucc As summer crawls (slowly, very slowly) nearer, we'll have more need to use this site. Convert between almost 200 CurrenCies (including the Euror, but there is a
full verSion that features even more! And With the exchange rate being altered as necessary every minute, you can expect pretty aCCurate information,
lf you haven’t seen this already, you’ll be shocked at how much tack yOu can fit in a web browser. Faithful to the feel of the TV show, With news from its TV counterpart updated frequently. There's even a fitting tribute to Lolo Ferrari who died at the beginning of March. I find it all a bit lewd personally.
One of the pre-eminent Sites for Scottish indie bands. Full of news, reViews, and gig guides. A great band index eXists With fairly exhaustive discographies. One of the best features is the Webradio where you can listen to a huge play list of unsigned bands.
The 13th Note
http://www. l 3thnote.com/
This recently re-launched site looks pretty stylish, and contains all the up-and- coming events at one of Glasgow's most popular cafeS/clubs. There's informaIIOn about all the reSident clubs, a forum in which you can chat to others, and a 'Do it yerself’ page promised that will eventually act as a gUide to diverse SUbJE’CIS Such as releaSing yOur own Singles to making your own clothes.
Not another cartoon Site? But this interactive kind is what the web excels at. Granted, they take a few minutes to load, but being able to play tunes on a SpeCial fart waffle is something most of us don’t get the chance to do every day. The Declaration is a hysterical take on American Independence of which Terry Gilliam wOuld have been pr0ud.
'6—33 ZCCC THE lIST115