(Acclaim £39.99) 0..

At the most basic level. driving games are simple. Get the relationship between controller and on-screen action correct and you're onto a winner. Graphics. vehicles. levels and sound really don't matter if the player feels comfortable with their contribution and the challenge. 80 it's a shame that Paris-Dakar Rally never quite achieves this enjoyable symbiosis.

The levels are fun. the difficulty about right and the choice of two or four-wheeled vehicles is novel. However. every track is designed to throw you into the shrubbery. A single wheel wanders off the path and into the near visually identical grass/sand/rock and you end up spinning like a rollerskater who has caught a toe in a drain. Time-checks often obscure the view and vehicles slow to a confusing, illogical crawl when off the track. WOrth a hire but will disappoint those who pay top dollar.


In stark contrast to Paris-Dakar Rally, Mario Kart has the balance of button-pushing and response concentrated into a tight bundle of sheer perfection. Essentially a handheld version of the SNES classic. this is yet another impressive chapter in the growing

Rally round Paris-Dakar

Game Boy Advance CV. The graphics are fast. colourful and effective. infused with that familiar Nintendo cheekiness. and there is never a moment when you don't know where you're going.

As a solo game Mario Kart is infectious. challenging and demands completion and. as with most Mario games. the longer you play the better you get. constantly experimenting with the controls to achieve that perfect style. This depth of play is a rare attribute in any game. However. it is the multiplayer game that boggles the mind. Up to four GBAs can be linked together for some ridiculously vicious kart combat all from one cartridge. Buy and enjoy.

PS2 DARK CLOUD @9223999323'

It is rare for an PPG title to fail at the stOry while hitting the gameplay button smack on. Normally, it's a tremendous tale interrupted by uninspired wandering and combat. Dark Cloud however has reversed this to produce a title of remarkable intelligence and engaging gameplay explained by a poorly scripted. sometimes wacky and often bland storyline.

Sure Dark Cloud featured the old dungeon exploration but this time the results of this

have a much bigger impact. People and treasures discovered are used to populate a town of your construction. like a simple Sim-City. which in turn furnishes you with new powers and items to take to the next dungeon. The cyclic gameplay is beautifully realised and mini-games and inventive touches act as pleasurable distractions. Don't be put off by preconceived ideas of Zelda or Final Fantasy. Dark Cloud forges a path all of its own.


F.A. PREMIER LEAGUE MANAGER 2002 (Electronic Arts £29.99) 0...

The following weeks will see a glut of football games hitting your local games store. F/FA, This Is Football and ISS and others will battle it out for the footie sim fan‘s money while LMA. Championship Manager et al will go for the soccer thinker's market. And first out of the tunnel is FA. PL/Vl 2002. It has 21 leagues. packed with all the players. an editor that allows the game to keep up with real life. a simple interface. some pretty game graphics and is as well presented as the Concierge at The Ritz. However. it lacks what can

only be descnbed

as ‘footballing soul'. There is still a separation between your

input and what occurs on the virtual field. Only

' Championship Manager

has been able to break this barrier but while you wait for the tenth anniversary edition of that game. F.A. PLA/l 2002 will adequately fill the gap.


WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP SNOOKER 2002 (Codemasters £39.99) .0.

Since the first snooker simulations appeared on the early home computer market in the 1980s. there has been very little change. Mind you. there is not much to change. Once you have accurate ball physics. all the rest is froth. The only real area of improvement is viewpoint. from above the table to down the cue. and has since become a bone of contention.

World Championship Snooker 2002 is a good example of this. It seems to promise all the freedom of standing before the green baize but what soon becomes clear is that you are as handcuffed as you would be with a top down view. Potting balls is far too difficult because you can't get close enough to the white to judge shots. yet when you switch on the aiming line it all becomes too easy. It is fun against friends but

with no pool option. or any of the other distractions enjoyed by Jimmy White '3 Cueba/l. it is a very lonely solo game. (lain Davidson)


Alone In The Dark IV (PS2 lnfogrames £39.99) Scary and French.

Paper Mario (N64 Nintendo £39.99) A beautiful Swan Song. This Is Football 2002 (PS2 Sony £39.99) Improved this season? Dave Mirra 2 (P82 Acclaim £39.99) More BMX trickery.

Spy Hunter (P82 Midway $39.99) Return of a classic.



LOTTERY CHECK http://www.lottery

It‘s a dangerous game. the lottery. If you use the same lucky numbers you might just win one of those days. but if you forget to put them on and they come up you're likely to feel suicidal. You've guessed it: this site will keep track of them and will mail you if you're successful. but then I'll do the same thing for a one percent share.

SLEEPING IN AIRPORTS http://www.s|eepingina

It may not be the most illustrious way to spend the night before an early flight. but sleeping in airports is a very cheap activity. This is a complete guide to the world's airports and lists the possibility of kipping therein. People are enc0uraged to contribute with their own experiences. none of them very luxurious. Also try to find the hidden TV room in Glasgow Airport: apparently it's perfect for a nap.

GLASGOW DINING http://www.g|asgow

Nowhere near as comprehensive as our famous List guide. but

Lounge around with The Lizard King in his glory

very good anyway. Marvel at the crazy spinning graphics as you read the reviews. Definitely worth a look in if you‘re on the Glasgow scene.

VIRTUAL JIM MORRISON http://www.modernhu mulatron

The Lizard King in all his glory. and you thought he died 30-odd years ago. With a simple Flash plug-in he's back to life again and you can get him to say strange things in that strange inimitable way. Absolutely worthless and pointless. but it's very funny and great to see The Doors in the background beating out psychedelic rhythms.


1 1 TH mericaresponds

This is an excellent guide to the tragic events on that fateful day fOr those who may have been living on the Moon recently. Packed full of analysis and insights. maps and guides in a very cathartic. non-ghoulish way. If information is power. then this is a very powerful site with enough information to help us all come to terms with the terrible events. (Steve Blair)

1 "'5 “57 4‘18 OC‘ 200‘ Dark Cloud forges its own path