video game

Need for Speed Underground

Need for Speed Underground is a street racing simulation video game from Electronic Arts for PC, Sony Playstation 2, Microsoft Xbox, and Nintendo Gamecube. It features twenty licensed cars popular in the street racing scene, which can be customized both visually and for performance. Visual modifications improve your reputation multiplier which grants you additional style points; amassing certain amount of style points unlocks new upgrades. The game features drag racing, drifting, circuit racing, and a sprint mode. You can play a guided "underground" mode in which the goal is to become the best-ranked racer in all of these types of driving, play quick races, or play on the internet against others (on PC and Playstation 2 only.) This review focuses on the PC version.

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Full Spectrum Warrior (Xbox)

Full Spectrum Warrior is an excellent wargame for Microsoft Xbox and for the PC. This review covers the Xbox version. You control two squads of four U.S. Army soldiers each - by giving them orders. After completing a fairly lengthy tutorial you are shipped off to fight terrorism in the fictional nation of "Zekistan". The game is based on a training aid used by the U.S. Army for leadership training. It was developed by Pandemic Studios LLC and distributed by THQ.

Full Spectrum Warrior (hence, FSW) was first demoed at E3 2003 and immediately generated a huge amount of "buzz". The Xbox is not known for its wide variety of excellent games, but FSW is certainly one of the best. Every aspect of the game is excellently refined. War gamers will never feel robbed by this game, save perhaps when they reach the end after a fairly short total gameplay time.

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Crimson Skies

Crimson Skies is a game for PC and Xbox which is based on the classic tabletop game by FASA. This writeup covers the PC version, which was developed by Zipper Interactive and published by Microsoft. The game is a flight "simulator" with arcade-style physics - meaning that it bears little to no resemblance to actually flying an airplane. The planes in question are all prop-driven with WWII-inspired designs, including an assortment of fighter craft with and without turrets, a bomber, and even an autogyro. Each plane handles differently, with variation in lift, speed, and turning ability. Players can design their own planes both inside the single player campaign and also for the "instant action" mode in which you fly scenarios, and for network play. Net play is essentially always LAN play but Microsoft provides a matching service on the MSN Gaming Zone. The Xbox version supports Xbox Live and while (supposedly) using essentially the same engine as the PC game, is laid out quite differently, with a different story, (somewhat) different planes, different missions, and different gameplay.

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Chrono Trigger

Chrono Trigger is an excellent video roleplaying game for the Super NES from the masters of the art, Squaresoft. It features some of the best graphics and sound seen on the platform, especially in this genre. The music is fantastic, in typical Squaresoft style, but outdoes even other Square titles on the SNES. It features a somewhat unique approach to merging combat with the game in that enemies are typically either in plain sight before you reach them, or hiding behind some feature of the terrain - there are no completely random encounters, and the world map is a place of peace. Chrono Trigger is a fairly short game, representing only about 20 hours of gameplay if you play straight through, including all side quests.

Knights of the Old Republic

While the Microsoft Xbox is one of the most-maligned video game consoles on the planet, and has (let's face it) had relatively few A-rank titles, there are a few games which almost justify the purchase of equipment from the world's foremost illegal monopolist. I happen to have an Xbox around so that I can use Xbox Media Center, so I went ahead and bought a used copy of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. There are fairly few RPG titles on the Xbox at all, and this is certainly one of them.

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Oolite Commerce Worksheet

Oolite is an advanced, extended, extensible clone of a classic game called Elite.

Early advancement in the game must be done through trading, although you could be trading either legal or illegal goods. Because there are hundreds of systems in the game spread across multiple galaxies, there's a lot of information to keep track of. There's seventeen different commodities and each planet values them differently - and each planet's value for each commodity changes over time! While some people have provided printable fill-in forms to record commerce information, they do not represent any reasonable method for keeping track of all this data.

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Installing Neverwinter Nights on Ubuntu Gutsy

I wanted to play Neverwinter Nights on Linux, and didn't have it installed anywhere. Today, the easiest way to install NWN for linux (by far) is to use the current installer from Bioware; you can even download the game content from them, although you will need your own registration code. The code from the Windows version works fine. However, I'm on a modem and downloading that much data is out of the question. It could take me days to download the patch, alone (I get 26.4kbps on average - life in the country is swell.)

Microsoft Xbox

When Sega and Microsoft announced that the latter would help the former with the Dreamcast, everyone knew it would be trouble. When Microsoft announced that they would be entering the video game market, the shape of the trouble became evident. But much to the surprise of basically everyone, Microsoft actually managed to assemble a fairly compelling entry into the video game market. And to the surprise and joy of hackers and gamers everywhere, they left big wide holes in the system's security, enabling gamers to twist the unit to their own ends. The resulting hardware is worthy of being in almost every home for one reason or another, even if you never play a single game.

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Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

In film, it is common that sequels are inferior to the original, and only in certain rare situations do they ever surpass their inspiration. The constant march of technology that enables us to realize ever more complex worlds inside of the computer, however, has brought us a number of titles which have tended upwards as new titles are made. One such series is Rockstar Games' Grand Theft Auto, and one such title is Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.


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