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PC Giants: Citizen Kabuto (Interplay) £29.99

Some things in life are worth working at. Take mussels. They are a pain in the neck to eat, picking them out their shells one at a time, each one adding up to no more than a nibble. Yet, as that first delicious morsel slithers past the tongue, you know you’ve made the right choice. Or snowboarding. Lots of aching body, soaking buttock and inelegant perseverance can have you gliding majestically and leaping skilfully down any mountain. Or there's Giants: Citizen Kabuto.

Giants is an ambitious mixture of game styles set in a variety of beautifully rendered tropical islands. With a choice of three distinct races to control, you'll be running and shooting one minute, strategically building bases the next, with perhaps a little bit of jet-ski racing in between. Each and every level brings a new challenge, complete with its own rewards, and because the visual detail in the game is astounding there is never a dull moment.

To go with the spectacular eye-candy and impressively fleshed-out aural effects, Giants is packed with humour. This should not work, yet the cut scenes often incite giggling, if not outright guffawing, and deliver mission objectives while entertaining. Can you name another game where a battle-hardened mechanoid warrior calls

Amusing, diverse and stunning

someone a ’poncy git’?

Unfortunately, Giants is riddled with bugs. Levels sometimes seize up like a line-dancing pensioner, prompting irritating re-loading and traipsing over old ground. The Al is less than perfect with no small amount of shooting into space, facing the wrong way and wall-bumping. On-Iine gaming is an unstable gamble and to get the most from Giants you'll need a computer the size of a small country.

But for all these faults, Giants feels like an eccentric friend. Forgive the irritations and you are rewarded with one of the most ambitious, amusing, diverse, stunning and, above all, entertaining games money can buy. (lain Davidson)

PC horrrfrcally dark twrst and, wrth the American McGee's “9'9 0f the Quake III engrne, oozes

. malrcrousness The characters and Alice

locatrons have an eerre gualrty unlrke (Electronic Arts) £29.99 anythrng seen before, often makrng For a frctronal world that rs known to you take a deep breath before everyone and rnfused wrth werrd venturing on. If only the meat of the wackrness, rt has taken a long trme for game matched the graphrcal flare thrs Wonderland to star rrr rts own game. would have been a crackrng trtle. As rt And rn Amer/can McGee's Alice rt rs rs, even the Cheshrre Cat w0uld stop Wonderland that truly shrnes The

smrlrng. game Itself rs an often clumsy platform adventure featur'rng Alrce freerng the Mad Hatter, Dormouse et al from the evrl clutches of the Queen Of Hearts. As regards the gameplay, there rs nothrng new here, However, Wonderland has been grven a

Panzer General III Scorched Earth (ssr) £29.99

In a world of real trme strategy, rt rs easy to forget the srmple Joys

American McGee's Alice truly shines but suffers from clumsy gameplay

110 THE “ST l»-lS Feb 2001

assocrated wrth turn-based strategy games, Where RTS demands a fast and furrous method of command, somethrng akrn to speed or blrtz chess, the luxury of careful conSrderatron allows those wrth dull reflexes but sharp tactrcs to excel. And sharp tactrcs are requrred for Panzer General IN. NO srmpleton can frght hrs way from Berlrn to Moscow, or the other way rf square helmets don't surt, wrth meagre resources at hrs command. Though not as vrsually appealrng as an RTS trtle Panzer General ///'s varrety of barely anrmated troops, ZD landscapes and weather effects combrne to create an addrctrve challenge. There’s also a random battle generator and a multrplayer option to ensure the game lasts as long as you do. Panzer General /// mrght not appeal to all, but those who enjoy flexrng the old grey matter erl be more than happy.

DREAMCAST V-Rally 2 Expert Edition (Infogrames) £34.99

Most motor sports need a lrttle help when transferred to the vrrtual world. Formula 1 games get autobrake features, superbrkes are subtly gurded round corners and automatrc gears are the norm for all but the hardcore, Strange then that Infogrames feel the need to make rally drrvrng that lrttle brt harder. Each and every course rn V- Ra/ly 2 Expert Edition absolutely wrll not let you leave the road. Try and cut

the slrghtest corner and vetr'll end up on yOur roof Gullres, bar'rrers, rocks and slopes hug every edge of tarmat ready to damage your deformable car Sure the tracks look great, \xrth mud col0urrng your bumpers, gravel krtkrng rnto the arr and spectators scatter'rng rnto the trees The tars are fun to drrve, \wvrth many (ompetrtrons to take part rn, but wrth such unforgryrng condrtrons thrs rs rndeed for experts only

Samba De Amigo (Sega) £79.99

They may be thrn on the ground but the musrc —rhythm game rs always a wrnner From Parappa to Ulala, dancrng (harar ters are easy to love and fun to emulate, a srtuatton strengthened by the arrrval of Amrgo the monkey Amrgo rs the maraca- shakrng hero of Samba De Amigo and your gurde to the wonderful world of stuprd arm movements Wrth a futurrstrc marara rn each hand, hence the hrgh prrre, you (avor‘t wrldly rn yOur lrvrng room to the rnfe< trous latrn beats, wrth Amrgo ratrng your skrll from A to F Clrrrrb towards A and the screen goes happy-psyr hedelrr Slrp the other way though and poor Arnrgo slumps drsdarnfully, tears rn hrs monkey eyes. Wrth a room full of party people It rs hard to rmagrne a game that produces more fun and thOugh F79 99 seems lrke a lot of money, the enjoyment rt can produce rs endless

PLAYSTATION Knockout Kings 2001 (Electronic Arts) £29.99

Frrst of all, Knockout Krngs 2007 rs almost rndrstrngurshable from rts predecessor, It looks the same, frghts the same and has the same career structure and gurck frght optrons as before. There may be a change rn the roster of Opponents but they could all be made up by a wee guy rn Possrl for all rt matters to those wrthout an encyclopaedrc knowledge of the sport That sard, rt rs strll an enjoyable game and takrng a boxer from nobody to champ rs rnvolvrng, challengrng and, thanks to the trarnrng system, subtly rewardrng It rs also fun to slug rt out rn two player mode, though most would prefer the srllrness of Ready 2 Rumble than the authentrcrty of Knockout Kings for that slag-your-mates experrence lf yOu have the prevrous versron av0rd thrs, but for the unbloodred, Knockout Krngs 2007 wrll frll a few wrnter nrghts wrth vrolence (larn Davrdsom



Very good

Worth a shot

Below average You’ve been warned