a man who needs to hock up some gob. while the Spiky. rocking outro of the title track is our only glimpse of ever- fading past glories. (David Pollock)
The Very Best Of . . . (Warner Bros) 000
It‘s hard to think of Cher as a recording artist rather than a miracle of modern surgery. but she‘s had some huge hits. 'Believe‘ was one of the biggest selling singles . . . ever. You have to look beyond the over-produced 80s trash Of ‘If I COuld Turn Back Time' or the woeful
CUT N PASTE VARIOUS
(Ninja Tune) 0.... Zen RMX
(Ninja Tune) 0...
Clockwise from right Coldcut, Blockhead and Mr Scruff
‘Shoop Shoop Song (It's in His Kiss)‘. The earliest tracks on here were recorded in 1965. and over almost 40 years you have to rack up a few killer tunes to stay in this game. Admittedly it's the older stuff that shines: ‘Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)‘. 'The Beat Goes On'. ‘I Got You Babe'. Sometimes you gotta take the rough with the smooth.
SYNTHROCK TRANS AM
Liberation (Thrill Jockey) 000
If this is the future. then it‘s bloody depressing. Washington DC trio Trans Am can already consider themselves ahead of the pack in that they've been making dirty electro rock for years now. but it seems they’re trying to get one up on themselves yet
again by soundtracking the martial law-governed police state which they expect America to become before long.
On ‘Uninvited Guest'. George Dubya booms out soundbite proclamations to the peeple like he's going for a part in Death Race 2000. while the likes of 'Outmoder' and ‘Spike in Chatter' bear all the foreboding minimalism of Gary Numan or John Carpenter. Although this might be a bit gothic for some. Liberation is satisfyineg bleak — and miles better than the Cooper Temple Clause. (David Pollock)
The singular contribution Ninja Tune has made to British music invites, perhaps, too much reverence. You start with what Coldcut has given to the establishment of creative dance music with their early singles. That they continued to make challenging electronic music themselves as well as providing a home for talents as diverse as Amon Tobin, Luke When and Funki Porcini deserves even greater applause, particularly when you consider the short shrift it was given by the music press and wider industry
in the early 90$.
Retrospectives prompt reappraisals, however, and Ninja Tune have been accused of becoming too cerebral down the years. The joyful yaWp of Coldcut’s ‘Beats and Pieces’ as it bashed into the chart, has given way to the stoned nod of the incorriginy jazzy Cinematic Orchestra. But this is grossly oversimplified as the forthcoming Blockhead album attests. It is also disproved by the tracks on this compilation which share wry humour and a catholic approach to sampling.
The compilation of remixes by a younger generation of artists such as Four Tet, Cornelius and Manitoba is cooler both in terms of its emotional temperature and its fashionable appeal, providing the label with a sense of historical importance that is only going to grow with age. (Tim Abrahams)
XBOX CROUCHING TIGER HIDDEN DRAGON
(Ubi 80le £39.99
It looks great. Just like the mowe. The Kung Fu is spectacular if a little staggered and unreal. Just like the movie. It is as dull as a week in the jail. Just like the moVie. Yup. this is pOSSibly the most accurate mOVie tie- in game of all time. The game slavishly follows the plot of the movie. removmg any surprise or enCOuragement to complete. though does allow some lovely animation sequences. Which means that the only draw to play longer than half an hour is the combat itself. Unfortunately this is as shaky as Ralph Macoo on a seaside log. The controls feel rather random. best described by the blocking system that demands you press the correct button when a light flashes. So you must look away from the action all the time. slowing your response. and should yOu face more than one opponent at a time then the whole thing falls on its face. Combat veterans will avoid this but fans of the movie should enjoy it. and they deserve everything they get.
GAMECUBE THE HOBBIT (Sierra) £39.99 .0
From small acorns grow blah blah. Putting tree- hugging. "Oooh I love the Elves". Hippy dippy phrases to the side for the moment. it is amazing to think that from the creation of Bilbo Baggins. an entire industry has grown over 80 years, culminating in the moVie events of the past 3 years and a
gazillion ba/illion bucks. And you would be hard pushed to figure out why. if your only reference was this game. Like its hero The Hobbit is a slow. bumbling. ponderous game. What is a mighty voyage in the book. filled With danger and wonder. becomes a bunch of logs to jump over and under and onto. There are some nice set pieces. nice because they are lifted exactly out the book. and the graphic deSIgn very nearly puts a neat tWist on the well worn fantasy genre. But at its heart The Hobbit is a platform adventure that. incredibly. is heavy on the platform. light on the adventure. But then again. perhaps Sierra couldn't see the wood for the blah blah.
MAX PAYNE 2: THE FALL OF MAX PAYNE (Rockstarl £29.99 .0.
Everyone loved the Violence in the first Max Payne. With much of the drooling inspired by the fantastic use of Bullet Time. Surrounding this gloriously t_)loodtliirsty ballet of brutality was a story that actually meant something. of a man wracked With grief and warped by vengeance. which kind of made the excessive yiciousness acceptable. Unfortunately. that delicate balance has been lost in this follow up. Oh sure. the Violence is still deeply enjoyable. and with such a lovely upgrade job on the graphics. it looks better than ever. Not to mention the excellent phySics engine that cranks up the realism. But the story is a bit of a mess now. The weird bits still catch you out and the
Overworked and under-Payne
mishmash of comic book styling works a lot of the time. but the simpliCity of the story is lost. Which makes the death and destruction a little less excusable. a little less worthwhile. Not quite a fall but certainly a hand- slip-on-ledge less than the original.
F382 MANHUNT (Rockstarl £39.99 0...
Another Rockstar game. another cavalcade of uberviolence. And what violence there is in anhunt! This is skulls- pop-like-melons. guts- spill-on-shoes B Movie stuff that excuses itself by being so over the top it becomes slapstick. thOugh not so much slapstick as inashbaseballbat. The baddies. faceless thugs called Hunters. look like the gangsters in The Warriors that hit the cutting room floor for being too scary. And though bashing through them can seem repetitive. because it is. the linearity and restrictive structure of the game is sufficiently explained by an imaginative story. told by the ubiquitous Brian Cox. Weirdly for a game of such bloodletting. stealth plays a large part in your success and must be mastered. and experimented with, if there is to be any brains on the concrete other than yours. So. a thinking game for gore fans. Manhunt hides its subtlety behind a cracked. leering. ichor- splattered hockey mask. (lain DaVidsonl
f) 15) F (El) 900-1 THE LIST 109