BLINX THE TIME SWEEPER (Microsoft £39.99)


Novelty should be rewarded. So rarely is anything new attempted in big budget games these days that the slightest hint at experimentation should be applauded. And initially, Blinx promises to offer just that. To help the heroic feline in his platform battle against evil, powerups allow him to alter time. Collect the appropriate trinkets and time can be stopped. reversed. slowed or. most inventively, recorded so Blinx can go back and help himself through a task. Clever and initially exciting. the painful reality is that these time- altering moves are simply uncomplicated solutions to rigid platform puzzles. They must only be used at the right time and at the correct location. reducing the freeform possibilities of temporal tinkering to a fancy lock and key. Add in a pointlessly irritating time limit on each level and Blinx completely undoes all the good work done by graphics. level design

and characterisation. Disappointingly, Blinx is neither novel nor rewarding.


RATCHET AND CLANK (Sony £39.99) 0..

Platform purists those nimble-fingered freakos who instinctively judge distance in pixels know full well that guns and platforms do not mix well. Increase the number of one and the other should drop right off. The human brain can only cope with so much. Which is why Ratchet and Clank. with its many platforms and many, many guns. fails to truly engage.

As a platform game this would have been a solid title. rivalling its brother-in-engine Jak and Daxter. The dynamic duo. a surf dude and his robot pal. are amusing and enjoyably guide you through all manner of jumps. swings and falls. Then there are the myriad of ridiculous weapons that again could have been so much fun to wield. But the two together conspire to irritate as completing a series of difficult leaps only to die

in combat or killing a boss only to fall over a hidden ledge feels downright unfair. As always. less really would have been a lot more.


GTA VICE CITY (Rockstar £39.99) .0000

Having destroyed all sales records over the last year. it came as no surprise when GTA /// got its very own sequel. And what a sequel it is. Vice City. as you may have gathered. is a whole new city to rule over as big bad gangster boy. And as you may have guessed. it is bigger. better and looks so much nicer than its predecessor. Pleasingly it also allows a little more freedom than GTA //l with so much more going on around y0ur character and so much more to distract from yOur eVIl goals.

Everything is just. well. more. With sales topping 200.000 in its first week of release it looks like Vice City will break those records all over again. inevitably leading to further titles. And if they continue to improve along the lines of Vice City then every Christmas will be a glorious GTA Christmas.



LORD OF THE RINGS: TWO TOWERS iElectronic AFIS 5:44.99) ....

For those who cannot wait for the second part of Tolkien and Jackson's cinematic trilogy. Two Towers gives you a sneak peak at what's to come. Mind you. there are all the battles from Fellowship to wade through first but it is well worth the effort.

This is a combat game focusing on all those sword-s\.'.iinging. axe~ biting. arrow-flying set pieces that all< boys to enjoy fantasy too. Choose your character and off you go. 8'8) :ng orcs. gobllns and that hilarious cave troll ‘.‘.’lH‘. abandon. As the bodies stack up. so do yetir special moves. and while the combat eventually becomes samey. it is fun while it lasts.

And best of all for a meme tie-in. the veice acting is by the proper

Auto magic for the people

actors. not some lame bunch of hams. resulting in a consistent extenSIOn of the franchise. So go on. take a break from all those dOCumentaries on the Fe/lowship DVD and spill some black blood.


iCodemasters $339.99)

It may seem like such a small thing but the co- (ttl‘."}l' directions on C/‘i/IR It rock. Specifically iecoi'ded for each stage by Nicky Grist. Colin McRae's former partner. they are accurate and clear. something never successfully Zt(2(2()'l‘l)il8tl(}(l before. A sn‘all thing indeed but what a difference it makes to the game.

Sure the graphics have been improved. have the handling n'iechanics. creating a much more realistic rallyzng experiei‘.<:e. And the pi'esei‘itation is stunning: fron‘ the pleasing sen/ice area pat steps. through the bumps and scrapes on the bodywork to the auto—sa\./e that stops you going back to re-do a stage. everything si ‘acks of class.

But those co-driyer (lil'QCthllS make the real difference. allowing the accelerator to s ay depressed that split second longer and the back end to slide out that little bit further: that little bit l‘.‘(>l‘(} is what rally sport is all about. ilain Dayidsoni

I XBox Bundle tGa/ne store 5 .799. 99/ Console and four great {James including Halo and Sega GT.

The gaming bund e of chOIce that“ last long into the New Year.

I Dance Dance Revolution and Dance Mat tVarious stores 5 ‘35). 95); What could be better for

he ping the fan‘in work off that turkey than a boogie :n the front room? The best party game by far.

I Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets IP82 EA £89.99i The game of the film of the book. The speccy sorcerer y‘all rule this Christn‘as so give in and treat some Potterian to this surprisingly decent gan‘e.

I Age of Mythology (PC t'i/i'icresott 5‘25). 95); Keep that dull uncle from bringing holiday slideshoy-x boredon‘ to Boxing Day Give him this and you'll not see bin“ until Faster.

I Mario Party 4

i 7(1‘.’77(.‘Cllt)(3 Nintendo 5334.99; For that little niece nepht-Bw cousm sibling. Guaranteet’i to make you the bestest big uncle aunt cousm sibling ll‘ the \‘JOrld. until you wnup their asses playing it.

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