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PC Shogun Total War (Electronic Arts) £34.99 * it it t it

Thanks to the housewife’s favourite Richard Chamberlain, everyone knows about the Shogun. The series of the same name introduced the Samurai, the Ninja and the paper-wall, flip-flop shuffling, sleep-on-the-floor lifestyle of Feudal Japan to millions of eager Westerners. The very same Westerners who are now weeping with joy at the prospect of becoming a legendary Shogun, albeit through the medium of

the PC.

For that is what Shogun Total War offers. From humble beginnings in the bottom corner of the Japanese map, only intelligent management, subtle diplomacy, insidious subterfuge and outright

war will unite the clans and honour you with the title Emperor. Those who have played Civilisation, any of its clones or even the board game Risk will be familiar with Shogun's structure. A huge map of Japan is split into regions, a small proportion of which are owned by you. By managing the meagre resources your wealth and power grows, allowing development of farming, mines, ports, emissaries and importantly, weapons and soldiers. Though slightly simpler than Civilisation the management section of Shogun is detailed, well- balanced and deeply engrossing. However, it is when army meets army that Shogun truly comes into its


Each battle is depicted in full, played out on one of many beautifully created 3D landscapes. And when

Army meets army in beautiful 30

you consider that each army can number up to 900, yes 900, individually represented units, whether they be foot soldiers or horsemen, you get some idea of the scale of these battles. Impressive doesn’t cover it. Yet the control method is farcically easy, allowing precise manoeuvres like planting ambushing bowmen in forests or the wholesale movement of a dozen groups into a defensive formation to be achieved with a few mouse clicks. Tactics are infinite and with weather and terrain all playing their part, every battle is unique. And the multiplayer is something else again.

Shogun Total War is as complete as a strategy

wargame gets, yet constantly takes the breath away

with its beauty. It's time to say sayonara to your social life. (lain Davidson)


Diablo 2 (Blizzard) £34.99 * it * lr

The original Diablo has sold by the shovel-full Since its release in 1996 so to say that Diablo 2 is eagerly-awaited is something of an understatement Its mix of involvmg solo play and hugely popular on-line adventuring was something that Blizzard was keen to retain for the sequel, and for the most part it has succeeded. From a chOice of five character classes, a Whole world of


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magic, combat and her0ic deedery is available presented in intricately detailed two dimensions a la Ba/dur’s Gate. The new run feature speeds the whole thing up immensely and combat is colourful and often exploswe. Yet, there is little new here for the hardened adventurer. The eight player on-line adventures are fun, if limited next to the U/tima series, While the solo game never drags you in completely. RPG fans Will buy, and enjoy Diablo 2, others may feel a little underwhelmed.

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122 THE “ST 20 Jul—3 Aug 2000

DREAMCAST Fur Fighters (Acclaim) £39.99 t t +. it

Who says the Summer is a lean time for gamers? Fur Fighters is as good a game as you’ll get at any time of the year. The eponymous stars of Acclaim's new release are a group of good guy dogs, cats and other hairy heroes, sworn to protect the world from the eVil General Viggo Part adventure, part third-persOn shoot-em-up, this is big, bold, barkineg stupid fun that hides a very enjoyable game behind a ridiculous sense of humour. Controlling the Fur Fighters is eaSy, if a little inaccurate during combat, while the large levels often require some thought to complete. Those With friends Will love the riotous split screen four person multiplayer. Any game that features a character like Roofus, ’raised in the inner City kennels Of Glasgow’, is always gomg to be worth a look.


Perfect Dark (Rare) £49.99 * it it ‘k

Though now reaching the final days of its troubled life, the N64 still has the ability to produce the goods Perfect Dark is a slice of gaming heaven, merging the creeping, sniping, secret agent gaineplay of Go/de/ieye With the


cyberpunk feel of mowes like Blade Runner. As you may have gathered from the million pound advertismg campaign, agent Joanna Dark is hired to find a inissmg SCientist and soon becomes involved in a whole world of hurt, involvmg multinational corporations and extraterrestrial life With over forty weapons, a bagful of gadgets and a body to kill for, Joanna seems up to the Job. Perfect Dark features the fantastic multiplayer capabilities of Go/deneye as well as the possibility of playing the solo game With a friend, either as a team or head- to-head. Yet, for all its glitz and glamour, Perfect Dark somehow still falls short of the perfect Go/deneye.

PLAYSTATION Colin McRae Rally 2.0 (Codemasters) £34.99 + + r ~~ vs.

Who would have thought that rally car racing would create a gaming genre all of its own? Yet the title of Best Rally Game is one of the most fiercely competitive and, until now, has remained unclaimed. Colin McRae Rally 20 has finally settled the argument. With a fine selection of the best off-road saloons, some spectacular trans-global locations and a tuning section that makes all the difference, this has everything you c0uld want frOm a racer. The cars handle mtuatively, kicking up dust, snow or gravel Wit'n gay abandon, while bumps and crashes result in realistic damage to the bodywork. Even the Quick-start arcade mode, pitting you against five cunningly intelligent opponents, begs to be played over and over again. It's hard to imagine anyone getting more Out of the PlayStat;0n’s innards. Four wheeled dynamite

Need For Speed Porsche 2000 (Electronic Arts) £29.99 1* iv

A driVing game that concentrates on one make of car seems like rather a strange deCision. Then agan, when that make .5 Porsche and the choice 0‘ cars numbers 74 a lot can be forgw'en Ra"g ".g from 1948 classics to Llp-IO-Il‘O-f‘l "ute 91 l turbos, Porsche 2000 has a ca" for everyone, though not eteiyone WI” want to play long enough to unlock the biggest and best Graphically, Porsche 2000 is a little rough around the edges and the cars, though initially exhibitng a decent variety of t0uch and llal‘dllf‘g, soon begin to drive a little samey, wt". the older models feeling a mite sluggish That said, theie are a good few tracks to master and the Evolution mode where yOu fight to become a Porsche test driver holds the interest for a while Porsche 2000 is another adequate addition to the NFS stable. (Iain DaVIdson)


«i a t v: * unmissable

w it at * Very OOd

* s * Wort T a shot

a * Below average

it YOLi've been warned