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Civilization IV The Complete Edition - Mac
Civilization IV The Complete Edition - Mac
Offered by AllDealz4U
Price: $19.62
16 used & new from $13.99

5.0 out of 5 stars The Magnum Opus of "Sid Meier's Civilization" Series Continues to Withstand the Test of Time, April 22, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Let me preface this by stating that I've been playing "Sid Meier's Civilization" in some capacity for the past 21 years. I was first introduced to the game in 1993 at age nine, and have played every major (numbered) release of " Sid Meier's Civilization" at least once since then. Likewise, I have also played the original "Sid Meier's: Colonization" that the standalone expansion pack included in this set is based on. With that in mind, I feel it's worth noting that past experience with the series is by no means a prerequisite to enjoying this game, but should note that this review will draw comparisons to prior titles.

As the title of this review implies, I consider "The Complete Edition" of "Sid Meier's Civilization IV" to be the definitive entry in the "Civilization" series. Despite the fact that "Civilization IV" was originally released almost a decade ago, the game continues to feel as modern as if it were released yesterday. More importantly though, the actual code seems incredibly stable, and on par with what I've come to expect from the "Civilization" series. Simply put, "Civilization IV: The Complete Edition" feels like it did everything right and nothing wrong, and that's why I consider it to be the magnum opus of the "Civilization" series.

IMPROVEMENTS OVER PRIOR RELEASES OF "SID MEIER'S CIVILIZATION IV:"

"Civilization IV" was first released for Windows PCs in 2005, and for Macs running OS X in 2006. The "Complete Edition" that this review focuses on was initially released in 2011. Over the course of time, there have been some subtle but important improvements over previous releases. For starters, the original releases of "Civilization IV" included draconian DRM for both the Windows and Mac OS X versions of the game. (The inclusion of said DRM is actually the reason that I refused to purchase "Civilization IV" when it was new.) Additionally, as with many games, earlier versions required patches to fix bugs that were found after the game's initial release. "Civilization IV: The Complete Edition" fixes both of these issues. The packaging for this release proudly proclaims that it's "DRM-free," and the actual disc definitely makes good on that claim; the game doesn't even require a "disc check" that's common on many games that make the claim of being "DRM-free." The only time you need the disc is when you actually install the game, and that's a process that couldn't be simpler if it tried too; simply insert the disc into your DVD drive, drag the folders with the game(s) to your hard drive, (preferably to the "Applications" folder on your Mac,) wait for the data to finish copying, and then remove the DVD and put it into storage in case you ever need to reinstall the game for some reason. As someone whose handled his original CD-ROM copy of "Civilization II" with great care, yet who still has a disc that looks like a cat used it as a scratching post, I greatly appreciate being able to play the game without having to leave the disc in the drive. Likewise, "Civilization IV: The Complete Edition" comes fully patched for OS X; there's no need to download and install all of those pesky patches that would be needed for earlier releases of the game.

At this time, a rather important caveat should be pointed out; this review is for the American DVD-ROM version of "Civilization IV: The Complete Edition," with a focus on the Mac version of the game. While one would think that every version of "Civilization IV: The Complete Edition" would be the same, one would unfortunately be mistaken. In addition to the DVD-ROM version of "Civilization IV: The Complete Edition," there is also a version of the game available through the Mac App Store, as well as a version of the game available through Steam. (Amazon sells a direct download code for the Steam version of the game.) If the game is purchased through the Mac App Store or Steam, it will come with all of the overhead those platforms bring with them. For example, the version on Steam will require the Steam client to be installed even if the game is run in offline mode. If you consider this to be a form of DRM as some people do, (myself included,) the game will technically no longer be DRM-free if purchased from such a digital distributor. Additionally, a similarly named European release of this game, "Civilization IV: Complete," is NOT DRM-free! You can tell "Civilization IV: The Complete Edition" apart from "Civilization IV: Complete" by the inclusion of "Civilization IV: Colonization" in the former and the lack of it's inclusion in the latter. If you want to be sure that you're buying a 100% DRM–free game, make sure you purchase the American DVD-ROM release of "Civilization IV: The Complete Edition."

NOTABLE GAMEPLAY CHANGES BETWEEN "CIVILIZATION IV: THE COMPLETE EDITION" AND EARLIER GAMES:

Every new entry in the "Civilization" series contains some changes to the way the game is played compared to previous releases, and "Civilization IV" is no exception. For starters, religion now plays an important role throughout the game. For example, being the first to discover certain civilization advances will allow your civilization to found certain religions. The cities that those religions are founded in become "Holy Cities" for specific religions, which can give you a tremendous amount of leverage in negotiations with other Civilizations. Additionally, missionaries can be sent to other Civilizations, allowing the use of religious influence in a manner similar to the cultural influence that was first introduced in "Civilization III" and retained for "Civilization IV."

Another notable change between "Civilization IV" and earlier versions of the game is the way that governments are handled. In the older games you would pick a style of government and that would dictate how your civilization was run. "Civilization IV" changes this by introducing a far more complex "civics system" consisting of "government," "legal," "labor," "economy," and "religion," allowing for far more control over how your civilization is run. This is not only far more realistic than the previous "governments" system, but it's far more flexible and doesn't feel as confining to me.

In addition to the major changes noted above, there are some minor changes that are also huge improvements over their counterparts in previous games. The tech tree is particularly noteworthy as it's far more streamlined than it used to be, and I personally find it to be more balanced than previous tech trees as well.

COMPATIBILITY:

At present I own multiple copies of "Civilization IV: The Complete Edition," one of which is installed on an older Mac Pro running OS X 10.9.2. "Mavericks" with 16GB RAM installed and an nVidia Quadro FX 5950 graphics card. The game runs flawlessly on my Mac Pro with the graphics cranked up to high settings, which is exactly what I'd expect given that my machine greatly exceeds the minimum system requirements. Another copy of "Civilization IV: The Complete Edition" is installed on a first-generation Intel Mac Mini with 2GB RAM. This machine is technically unsupported by the game, and despite a warning that the game won't play correctly at startup, I've yet to encounter any real errors even after hours of gameplay run everything on the lowest settings possible. The only issue I've seen at all is that zooming out too far tends to cause problems with the graphics on my Mac Mini, but this is supposedly a common issue, and others have reported similar success in running the game despite the warning that it's incompatible with this particular computer.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

Overall, I'm incredibly pleased with "Civilization IV: The Complete Edition," and would wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone, especially if you have an interest in strategy games of any kind. The gameplay is superb, the music is excellent, and most importantly, the game as a whole is just a lot of fun. "Civilization IV: The Complete Edition" not only feels like an improvement over "Civilization III: Complete," but over "Civilization II" and the original "Civilization" as well. This is in sharp contrast with previous releases which I always felt would make improvements in some areas while simultaneously taking steps backwards in other areas; "Civilization IV: The Complete Edition" just feels like one huge step forward without any of the steps backward. Likewise, "Civilization V" doesn't even feel like an entry in the "Civilization" series to me, and given that it left me with a terrible case of buyer's remorse for reasons I won't go into here, as well as the fact that I was only able to play it briefly on a friend's machine a few times, I hold "Civilization IV: The Complete Edition" in much higher regard. "Civilization IV: The Complete Edition's" unique ability to take huge steps forward without taking any steps backward is the reason why I consider it to be the definitive installment in the "Civilization" series.


Apple iPod classic 160 GB Silver (6th Generation)  (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
Apple iPod classic 160 GB Silver (6th Generation) (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
9 used & new from $214.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great iPod, despite its flaws, and despite the distinction of being "the worst selling iPod ever.", September 16, 2009
NOTICE: This review is for the OLD 2007 160GB iPod Classic, NOT the NEW 2009 160GB iPod Classic!

I admittedly was not going to purchase the 2007 160GB iPod Classic when I first saw it; my reaction was along the lines of "Apple will just release a 200GB+ model next year," so I decided to wait for a model I believed would be released in 2008; I was wrong. When Apple released their 120GB iPod Classic, I ordered it right away, but fearing that my music collection would grow faster than the space on my iPod, I picked up the 2007 160GB iPod Classic on clearance roughly two weeks after purchasing the 120GB model. (I've since purchased the new 2009 160GB Model, which is my favorite iPod to date.)

First, it's worth noting that this iPod carries the status of the "worst selling iPod ever," at least the 160GB Model does. However, the capacity of this iPod is simply unmatched. The 160GB model was two years ahead of its time capacity-wise, and if it weren't for all of the bugs that these iPods had before the firmware update, they'd easily be on par with this year's 160GB model.

In spite of all of its flaws, the 160GB iPod Classic from 2007 really is a nice iPod. Up until this year, if you wanted an iPod that was larger than 120GB, this was the only model available to you without performing unauthorized modifications to the device. What's more, the fact that this iPod doubles as an external hard drive is a major plus in my book, because it allows me to carry fewer devices on me.

As another reviewer noted, there is a firmware update that fixes many of the problems with this iPod; however, that fact that it needs a firmware update at all, and that problems were so rampant on the 160GB model make this device seem very poorly designed, and very un-Apple like, which is probably why they dropped it in the first place. This brings me to the iPod's caveats, and there are plenty of them.

First, Cover Flow is outright slow. The simple solution would be to not use Cover Flow, and to browse your iPod using another method. The second caveat is the fact that on many of these iPods, the hard drive would continue to spin even after the device was turned "off," effectively draining the battery and reducing the life of the hard drive. My solution was just to keep this constantly "docked" to my computer, which effectively kept it from running off of the battery. While the firmware update has fixed this problem on most 160GB iPod Classics from 2007, every so often I run into someone whose still wrangling with battery issues. Another problem is the semi-unresponsive Clickwheel, which was also fixed in the firmware update, although compared to the 120GB model from 2008 and the new 160GB model released this September, there's still a noticeable lag in the Clickwheel, albeit far less noticeable than before the firmware update. The last real caveat though, the one that irks me the most and caused me to purchase the 120GB model from 2008, is the lack of "Genius" functionality on this iPod. I realize that "Genius" didn't exist when this iPod was released, but I was a bit disappointed that Apple didn't issue a firmware update to add Genius support to this iPod, and to further improve the responsiveness of the Clickwheel. A short list of pros and cons can be found below:

Pros: Largest iPod Capacity-wise (sharing this honor with the new model that just came out,) longest battery life of any iPod, (the new 160GB model has a slightly shorter battery life because it uses a slightly smaller battery,) doubles as an external hard drive.

Cons: Bugs are common and may or may not be fixed via a firmware update, more expensive than newer iPods, no "Genius" feature or firmware update for said feature, and the dual-platter hard drive (160GB model) has more moving parts than the single-platter models and thus, twice as much of a chance of breaking on you.

The verdict: If 36 hours of music or 6 hours of video at a time are enough for you, go with the new 2009 160GB iPod Classic. It's less expensive than the 2007 model, more reliable, and more feature-rich overall, not to mention the fact that it has "Genius" support and is slightly smaller because it's a single-platter model. If you absolutely must have 40 hours of music or 7 hours of video on your iPod, go with the 160GB model from 2007, but be aware of the problems that you may run into, and seriously ask yourself if that battery life is worth spending an additional $350.95. Unless you spend most of your life on transcontinental flights, the new 160GB model that just came out is far superior to this iPod in every way imaginable. All in all, I give this device four out of five stars, because even with the problems that it had, up until this month, it was the only iPod that could hold many people's entire music collections, and it still has the longest battery life of any iPod, which is an honor that cancels out the "honor" of being the "worst selling iPod ever." Again, unless you need that extra battery capacity or collect iPods, go with the new 160GB model over this one and save yourself some cash.


Apple iPod classic 120 GB Silver (6th Generation)   (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
Apple iPod classic 120 GB Silver (6th Generation) (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
20 used & new from $160.65

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit of a let-down in terms of capacity., September 16, 2009
Being an iPod Collector, I've owned this iPod for about a year now, and thought I'd finally write a review of it. I'm admittedly torn on how I feel about this device, and admittedly have been since the day that I bought it. On one hand, it's far more functional that 2007's dual-platter 160GB model, but the decrease in capacity, (the iPod Classic's strong point,) is admittedly a huge let-down in my book, and one that lowers my overall rating of this device by a whole star, even if everything else in it were perfect.

As usual, the iPod Classic is about capacity, and this iPod holds more than its fair share of music, videos, and photos. What's more, unlike the 2007 160GB model, it works. I have yet to see, or hear anyone else complain about the problems that ran rampant on the "thick" 2007 iPod Classic. The only thing that still feels a little problematic is Cover Flow (the simple solution is just to not use Cover Flow,) which can lag at times.

One thing that I really like about this iPod, and the iPod Classic in general, is the ability to use it as an external hard drive, which admittedly reduces the number of devices I have to carry on me at any given time. This is what annoys me about the capacity reduction; 120GB really isn't enough space to hold all of my music, videos, and photos, and still have my iPod function as an external hard drive without fear of filling it, which is admittedly why I purchased the new 160GB model that came out earlier this month. A quick list of pros and cons pertaining to this device can be found below:

Pros: High-capacity iPod, long battery life, "Genius" feature, excellent value for your money, slimmer than 2007's 160GB model, and doubles as an external hard drive.

Cons: Hard Drive (rather than Flash memory) based storage medium,

All in all, if you need a high-capacity iPod and can't afford the new 160GB model at $249, (not to be confused with 2007's 160GB model,) this is the iPod to go with. However, if you can afford the new 160GB model that just came out, and aren't in need of a new iPod right away, go with that instead. I purchased my 120GB iPod Classic when Apple first released it last year, because I wanted to try the "Genius" feature, which really is a functional gimmick. However, a week later I wound up purchasing the 2007 160GB model on clearance, because I wasn't sure if Apple would release a larger model this year, (which they did,) and I admittedly should have just waited and purchased the 160GB model that came out on the 9th. The 120GB iPod Classic from 2008 was simply a downgrade to the iPod Classic line. There are two ways to look at this iPod: The first is as a "downgrade" from the 2007 160GB dual-platter model, and the second is as an "upgrade" from the 2007 80GB single-platter model. I think the device is actually a little bit of both, and while it's not bad, it's far from perfect in my book, which is why I'm giving it three out of five stars.


Apple iPod classic 160 GB Silver (7th Generation) NEWEST MODEL
Apple iPod classic 160 GB Silver (7th Generation) NEWEST MODEL
67 used & new from $249.99

1,751 of 1,803 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My favorite iPod to date. (A.K.A. The iPod Apple should've released in 2007.), September 16, 2009
NOTICE: This review is for the NEW 2009 160GB iPod Classic, NOT the 2007 160GB iPod Classic!

The new 160GB iPod Classic is easily Apple Inc.'s best iPod to date, and out of all of the iPods that I own, this is my favorite.

First, the capacity of this iPod is simply unbeatable. I've yet to see another portable media player that can match the iPod Classic in capacity. I have a huge music library, and it's nice to be able to carry every song that I own on my person at all times. What's more, thanks to the iPod Classic's capacity, I also have room to carry a few videos with me, and some of my photos. If you don't like having to pick which songs to load onto your portable media player, the iPod Classic is the way to go.

The second thing that I love about this iPod can be summed up in two words: it works. The 160GB iPod Classic that was introduced in 2007 was extremely buggy, had a non-responsive Clickwheel on many units, crashed frequently, and required a hit-and-miss firmware update to stop the hard drive from spinning even when the device was "off," which often lead to dead batteries. All of these problems left the 2007 160GB iPod Classic warming shelves and earning it the infamous "honor" of being the "worst selling iPod ever," according to Apple. I'm pleased to say that the new 160GB iPod Classic released earlier this month has virtually none of these problems. There's no "spinning hard drive bug," the Clickwheel is incredibly responsive, and the device isn't crash-prone. While it's true that many of these issues were fixed with last year's iPod Classic, there hasn't been a truly functional 160GB model until now. To put it bluntly, this is the iPod that Apple should've released in 2007.

Another thing that I really like about this iPod, and the iPod Classic in general, is it's ability to double as an external hard drive. While I believe that the iPod Nano is also capable of this, the only iPod that really has enough space to function as an external hard drive is the iPod Classic. The hard drive functionality admittedly reduces the number of devices I have to carry on me at any given time. If you regularly work with large files and are considering a new iPod, the iPod Classic is the way to go, plain and simple.

So what are the caveats? Well for starters, as with every other iPod Classic, this is a hard-drive (rather than flash-memory) based device. As a result, it has moving parts which make it unsuitable for running or any physical activity that exerts mechanical shock onto the iPod. Unless you exercise constantly with your iPod though, this really shouldn't be an issue. The only other caveat, which is more of personal taste than an actual flaw, that I can find, is that Apple has not made any cosmetic changes to this device since they introduced it in 2007. Now don't get me wrong, the point of an iPod "Classic," is to retain the "Classic" design, but after seeing how much better a black Clickwheel looks on the silver iPod Nano, I'd have thought that Apple would have given the silver iPod Classic a black Clickwheel as well. However, I admit that this is entirely my personal preference and not a "flaw" per se. I've put a quick list of pros and cons together, which can be seen below:

Pros: Largest iPod Capacity-wise, long battery life, "Genius" feature, excellent value for your money, well-built, doubles as an external hard drive, and improvements to Cover Flow.

Cons: Hard Drive (rather than Flash memory) based storage medium; device is cosmetically identical to the 2007 80GB model. (I still don't understand why Apple hasn't colored the Clickwheel black on the silver model to match the iPod Nano.)

Finally, I would highly recommend this product, which is why it gets five stars from me. I don't like the iPod Nano; it's too small for my hands, and the screen is too small for my eyes. While the iPod Touch may have app store access and Wi-Fi, I find it to be a really gimmicky device, that makes for a poor portable media player, (Apple was wise to position it as a handheld game system,) and is really an "iPhone without a phone." In contrast, the iPod Classic is an excellent portable media player, it has an excellent interface, and it only costs $249 dollars. To put things in perspective, the 2009 160GB iPod Classic costs $70 dollars more than a 16GB iPod Nano, and $150 dollars less than a 64GB iPod Touch. All in all, I highly recommend this product.
Comment Comments (119) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 8, 2014 10:51 AM PST


Power Rangers RPM, Vol. 1: Start Your Engines
Power Rangers RPM, Vol. 1: Start Your Engines
DVD ~ Eka Darville
13 used & new from $3.90

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent first DVD for a TV show's final season., July 9, 2009
"Power Rangers RPM Vol. 1: Start Your Engines" is must-own item for any Power Rangers fan, or any fan of the Sci-Fi/Dystopia genre. In the premiere, we're introduced to a barren and desolate Earth, one where a sentient computer virus has succeeded at taking over the entire planet with the exception of the domed city of Corinth. If the goal of every previous Power Rangers team was to prevent "the end of the world," then the goal of this team is to "survive the end of the world." RPM takes the idea behind Power Rangers and turns it on its head, creating one of the most memorable and unique seasons to date. It should be noted however, that most of the show takes place inside of Corinth's dome, rather than outside where radiation and villains rule. Dillon (portrayed by Dan Ewing) and Ziggy (portrayed by Milo Cawthorne) Grover are easily two of the shows most likable characters, and fans of all ages will quickly grow to like them.

Because Power Rangers RPM is broadcast only on ABC Kids, many people are unable to view it for a variety of reasons--it's noon time-slot on Saturdays doesn't help things either, which again, makes this a must-own for many fans.

From a technical standpoint, this disc is almost perfect. The episodes have the opening credits, "dips to black" where the commercials would be, and for most episodes, full ending credits. The reason that I say this disc is almost perfect is because the fifth and final episode on the disc, "Handshake," does not have full ending credits. Instead, the credits to "Handshake" are shown "ABC Kids style," that is, they're rolled over the end of the episode itself. Aside from this obnoxious flaw, in the fifth episode, the Disc is perfect, with excellent picture and sound quality.

All in all, this DVD is highly recommended to Power Rangers fans both young and old.


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III, The Manhattan Project
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III, The Manhattan Project
11 used & new from $32.61

5.0 out of 5 stars Cowabunga dudes: A look at "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: The Manhattan Project" for the Nintendo Entertainment System., May 27, 2009
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
There are several things that make "TMNT III: The Manhattan Project" worth a five star rating. Before I delve into the game itself though, there are some things that are worth making a note of:

1. This game is over 17 years old; it was released on December 13, 1991 in Japan and February 2, 1992 in the United States, which basically means that any copies of this game that are available will be used, and you'll need an NES, (or Famicom -- more on that in a moment,) or NES-compatible device to play this game.

2. This game is NOT available on the Nintendo Wii "Virtual Console," or on any similar system, such as XBox Live Arcade.

Also, the following are notable differences in the US and Japanese versions, as with all NES/Famicom games, Japanese games won't play in a US System and vice-versa, so if you have a Famicom, you'll need a Japanese version of the game. The following are notable differences between the two versions of the game:

1. In Japan, the game is known as "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: The Manhattan Project." ("The Arcade Game" was the first TMNT game in Japan; The original NES TMNT game wasn't released under the TMNT name in Japan, hence the different numbering system.)
2. Entering the "Konami Code" (more on that in a moment) on the Japanese version of the game simply produces a screen that reads "Thank you for purchasing this game." Aside from these two differences however, the game is virtually identical for the NES and the Famicom.

Finally, before I start my review, it's worth noting that this game should NOT be confused with the PC game of a similar title, "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: The Manhattan Missions." Although the titles are similar, these are two radically different games, and the PC game is incredibly difficult to find, supposedly because Konami has no record of its existance, despite publishing both TMNT III games.

REVIEW:
If you've played "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game" for the NES, you'll already be familiar with the style of this game. While "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game," was ported to the NES in 1990, and featured additional levels and much more primitive graphics than its arcade counterpart, "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: The Manhattan Project" was released directly to the NES, and to date this is the only system this game is available on.
Both "The Arcade Game," and "The Manhattan Project" have a similar "Beat-em-up" style of gameplay and share many graphical elements, "The Manhattan Project" has many new features not found in "The Arcade Game" as well; these features are detailed below.

GRAPHICS:
The graphics for any NES game are primitive by today's standards, and "The Manhattan Project" is no exception. However, in comparison to other games released in 1992, and to other NES games in general, the graphics for "The Manhattan Project" are ahead of their time, and in some levels, such as "Krang's Spaceship," they're almost on par with graphics in a low-quality 16-bit system's game. The real graphical comparison here though is between the NES version of "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Arcade Game," and the Super NES version of "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time." Simply put, compared to "The Arcade Game" on the NES, "The Manhattan Project's" shows a considerable improvement with graphics, including better use of color and use of a wider variety of colors throughout the game. However, when compared to the SNES game "Turtles in Time," which was nearly identical to its arcade counterpart, and released on April 12, 1992 in the USA, "The Manhattan Project" simply falls short. "The Manhattan Project" and "Turtles in Time" were released less than four months apart, but the limitations of the NES's graphical capabilities become quite apparent when the two games are viewed side-by-side. If you don't mind this, or are fond of the 8-bit era of video games, this shouldn't be a problem, and for 8-bit graphics, these simply are some of the best that there are.

SOUND:
Much like graphics, the sound/music from an NES game will seem primitive by today's standards, but for a game released on an 8-bit game console in 1992, the sound/music here simply can't be beat. An excellent rendition of the classic TMNT theme is used for the game's intro, as well as for one part of "Scene 8," which is Krang's spaceship. What's more, the song "Bridge of Danger," played on the level of a similar name is quite well composed for an NES game. The music isn't obnoxious, and you can listen to it without wanting to mute your TV, and that can't be said of many 8-bit era games. Combine the superb sound with the superb graphics for the system (and year) this game was released in and you have a game that doesn't nearly get the credit it deserves.

GAMEPLAY:
Let me put things in perspective: I own a "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" (Arcade Game) arcade cabinet, multiple copies of "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game" for the NES, and "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time" for the SNES, and I can beat all of those games in under 25 minutes. I recently purchased a second copy of "The Manhattan Project" from Amazon, and I can assure you, I cannot beat this game in 25 minutes, so there's definitely a great deal of replay value here.

Furthermore, don't let the fact that this game only has eight levels (referred to as "Scenes," like those in "The Arcade Game," and "Turtles in Time,") fool you. Almost every level has multiple parts, and while the first two levels are easy, things begin to get difficult around the third level and they don't get any easier for the rest of the game, which means that you'll have a reason to play it multiple times.

Another thing worth mentioning here is the gameplay itself. "The Manhattan Project" has a highly interactive environment. Things (e.g. lead weights,) that can (and will) fall on your head in the game create shadows that allow you to avoid them. Sound is used to warn you of enemies that are headed your way, and there are several levels (e.g. "Scene 3: Watch Your Step on the Bridge of Danger,") where it's quite possible to fall to your doom and lose a life. In some situations, your Turtle will grab onto the thing he's about to fall off of and you can pull him back up. For a game from 1992, this is pretty advanced stuff, and factors heavily into my five-star review.

Also of note is the 2-Player mode in this game. First off, it is possible to play this game in 1-Player mode, but if you want to play with a friend, or with your child, the game also features two 2-Player co-operative modes labeled "A" and "B" respectively. In one of the modes, players fight alongside each other but are unable to harm one another. In the other two-player mode, one players attacks can harm the other player as well as the enemy; this presents a significant challenge, especially for inexperienced players, and "The Manhattan Project" is the only TMNT game to have such a two-player mode.

Finally, it's worth noting that this game is incredibly difficult, even for people such as myself who have played it before. Younger players, as well as inexperienced players, will likely find this game much more manageable if they enter the "Konami Code" on the start screen by pressing "Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, A, and B" before pressing "Start." If the code is entered correctly, once you choose your turtle you'll be taken to an "Options" screen where you can change the difficulty setting from "Normal" to "Easy," change the number of lives to start with from 3 to as many as 7, choose which level you wish to start on, and even play the music that's used in the game before you begin to play the game itself.

OVERALL:
Overall "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: The Manhattan Project" is probably the second most underrated TMNT game currently in existence, with it's PC counterpart in the number one spot. There's no "Wii Virtual Console" version availabe like there is for the first NES Ninja Turtles Game, there's no "XBox Live Arcade" version of this game, and there's no 3D remake coming to XBLA (and supposedly Wiiware) like there is for "Turtles in Time." The only flaws that I can find with the gameplay are that if you lose all your lives and need to continue the game, you restart at the beginning of a level, even if you've already passed two thirds of it, and that the game is a bit on the more difficult side, but those are just my personal gripes. However, when you combine the sound, graphics, and gameplay in "The Manhattan Project," you get a game that's well done and has withstood the test of time. Over 17 years after its initial US release in 1992, this game is still enjoyable even today. If you have an NES, you should consider purchasing a copy, if you don't have an NES, used systems and NES-compatible devices, (e.g. Generation NEX,) which are capable of playing this game, can be found on Amazon. I would highly recommend this game to anyone of any and all ages.

SPECIAL INFORMATION FOR PARENTS:
If you're considering purchasing this game for your child, make sure you have an NES or NES-compatible device and all required connectors, (e.g. RF Switch or composite video cables, AC power adaptor, and at least one NES controller,) all of these items can be found on Amazon or through second hand stores. Although it's not required, a second controller is recommended in case your child wants to play the game with a sibling or a friend.

Also, given the game's difficulty level, you may wish to attempt to enter the "Konami Code" (see above) to make the game slightly easier for younger children to play. What's more, although the game has no ESRB rating, (the ESRB didn't exist when this game was released,) the game would likely receive an "E" rating meaning that it's suitable for everyone.

Finally, if you're purchasing this game for a young child, make sure that they understand that it's not going to look like a game for a modern console. As long as your child understands this, he or she should still enjoy the game. I have several younger relatives who play games such as this when they visit, and I've yet to meet a child that doesn't enjoy this game.

-END OF REVIEW-

HOW MY RATINGS WORK:
I only rate licensed games played on licensed equipment--no ROMs/emulators and no knock-offs. All reviews are for the exact version of the game that's listed for sale on Amazon.com as well, so you will never see me review an NES game based on its "Wii Virtual Console" counterpart, or anything similar to that.

"Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: The Manhattan Project" was played using a front-loading NES Control deck, genuine Nintendo controller and AC power adaptor, and composite A/V cables, and system was connected to a 19" Toshiba television from the mid-90s.

Games are judged based on three, and sometimes four criteria, which are as follows:

The first is graphics. Graphics consist of any visual element in the game ranging from the way a character looks to the way the background of a level looks.

The second is sound, which includes music, sound effects, voice acting, and anything else pertaining to audio.

The third criterion is gameplay, which covers any aspect of interactivity such as the number of players, the difficulty of the game, the ability to interact with one's environment, etc.,etc.

The optional fourth criterion is how a game compares to other games in a series, (e.g. Super Mario Bros.,) as is the case for this game. The fourth criterion is used to compare "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Manhattan Project" to the original Ninja Turtles Game, The Arcade Game, and Turtles in Time to determine if the game is a significant enhancement over previous games in the same series. It's also worth noting that this game was not compared to "Tournament Fighers" for the SNES or "Hyperstone Heist" for the SEGA Genesis, because these games were not numbered and not part of the same series. Likewise these games weren't compared to the Game Boy TMNT games, to the new TMNT games for the GameCube/PS2/XBox, or to UbiSoft's "TMNT" game based on the new movie for the same reasons.

What's more, an older game will be judged "in context," or with games released from the same time. For example, a game from 1989 will not be compared to a game from 2009. The exception to this rule is games in a series, and even then, technical limitations are factored into my reviews.

Finally, if I'm reviewing a reissue of a classic game, my review will hold the reissue to the same standards that the original games was held to, not to the standards of a modern game.


Power Rangers: Operation Overdrive, Vol. 2, Toru Diamond
Power Rangers: Operation Overdrive, Vol. 2, Toru Diamond
DVD ~ James McFay
25 used & new from $0.01

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Disney Kicks Into Overdrive by releasing the second volume of the complete 15th series-long season of Power Rangers., October 7, 2007
The second DVD in the 15th Season of Power Rangers continues to impress right where the first one left off. "Power Rangers Operation Overdrive - Volume 2: Torhu Diamond," continues with episodes 7-12 (out of 32 total,) and is on part with the first Volume. Once again, each episode contains Chapter stops placed precisely where commercial breaks were in the original Cablecast/Broadcast episodes, features full opening and ending credits for each episode, and continues to keep the theme of the extras consistent.

As with the first volume, there's a little something for everyone, fans will be happy to have 100% unaltered episodes on DVD -- there's no typos on this disc or episodes differing from their original airings either which should please older fans and collectors. Parents will be pleased to find that for $15.00 they get six episodes and two bonus features, making this disc well worth the money spent. Also continuing the theme from the first disc are the bonus features, which include a set of shorts on the Ranger Arsenal, replacing the Bios on the previous disc, and the second level of the interactive DVD Game which children will probably like, especially if they've played the first level on Volume 1. (The game makes more sense when you play it in order, although this isn't required.)

Again, the technical quality of the DVD truly shines, as the transfer from digital tape to DVD is pristine, placing the first two volumes of the show on par with each other, and with the Power Rangers S.P.D. release. The menu theme of the Operation Overdrive Command Center is retained from the first Volume providing continuity between the two discs, and fans and DVD collectors alike will appreciate the fact that Disney has accounted for its wide fan base and included promotional materials for films such as "The Jungle Book," and "National Treasure," in its extras of titles coming soon to DVD/Theaters.

What's more, as with the first volume, this disc has switchable (on/off) English Subtitles (mismarked as "Closed Captioned,") for the hearing impaired.

For those who may not be privy to the plot of the 15th Season of Power Rangers, our heroes set out to recover the "Crown of the Gods," known as the Corona Aurora, which was discovered by the Red Ranger's father, an archeologist, and accidentally used to release two evil brothers. Soon after more evil aliens start showing up at earth, all trying to claim the Corona Aurora as their own, and the five jewels that go with it. Disney was smart to use a plot involved five jewels, rather than four or six, or any other combination. The reasoning behind this statement is that the first six episodes cover the first "Jewel Quest," the second six episodes cover the second "Jewel Quest," and I'll let you figure out how the other Jewel Quests will play out. The show has also gotten smarter over the years, plots aren't resolved in 22 minutes all of the time, some aspects of a particular Jewel Quest may take three or four episodes to be truly resolved, others may be resolved within a few minutes, or by the end of the episode. This is a series that requires patience for the full enjoyment of what it has to offer, but can also be enjoyed in single episode viewings.

Again, whether you're a die-hard adult fan whose been with the show since the Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, a DVD collector looking for a first, a child looking for his or her favorite show on DVD, or a parent looking for a show to entertain your children on a long car trip or a rainy day, this disc will not disappoint. I recommend purchasing Volumes 1 & 2 together to save money via Amazon's Super Saver Shipping, and to be ready for Volumes 3-5.

Included on this disc are the following six episodes:

7. At All Cost
8. Both Sides Now
9. Follow the Ranger
10. Lights, Camera, DAX
11. Face to Face
12. Face to Face II

If you're still looking for more after buying Volumes 1 & 2 which contain the first 12 (out of 32) episodes, Amazon has Volume 3 available for pre-order which is scheduled to contain episodes 13-18, and will be followed shortly by Volumes 4 & 5 which will complete the 32 episode series.


Power Rangers: Operation Overdrive, Vol. 1
Power Rangers: Operation Overdrive, Vol. 1
DVD ~ James McFay
Offered by DeepDiscountsDeals
Price: $16.95
37 used & new from $0.01

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Almost perfect, and definitely a step in the right direction., October 7, 2007
For those of you who may not have heard yet, "Power Rangers: Operation Overdrive" will be the first Power Rangers series ever to have a full season DVD release across a total of five volumes. Many fans have written to Disney's marketing department complaining about the lack of full season releases in the past, and these complaints have been cited by Disney as a reason for doing a full season's worth of volumes.

That being said, the first (out of five) volume does not fail to deliver episodes on par with what fans and casual viewers of the show alike have come to expect. For the older fans, each episode has the original opening credits sequence, episode with chapter stops where commercials were, and end credits with no alterations to them. Okay, maybe I should say "minor alterations" to some of them to correct a typo in the "Adapted from" section, but this has also been corrected on episodes currently being broadcast. The quality of the DVD Transfer is on par with Power Rangers S.P.D. which up until now, has been considered the best set of five volumes to date, coming closest to a full DVD release.

For casual viewers and young fans there's a nice set of Ranger Bios which are a nice little extra, and the first level of an interactive DVD game which children will probably enjoy; future levels will be added to future discs.

Now for the few problems I have with this release. You'll notice I gave the disc four instead of five stars. This is because of the glaring typo on the episode title for the series premiere, "Kick Into Overdrive," which has been incorrectly marked on the packaging and menus as "Kick IT Into Overdrive," while this may seem like nothing, I would hope that an episode such as a premiere would be given extra scrutiny to avoid this type of mistake. The second pet peeve I have is that "Kick Into Overdrive" has been split into it's syndicated "parts 1 & 2" format, when it initially aired as a one-hour (45-minutes without commercials,) one-part episode special. This might not bother some fans, but to me, when I buy a DVD, I'm expecting the original airings unless otherwise marked on the package, not a potentially syndicated version of the show.

While some people may find the two-part 22-minute version(s) of "Kick Into Overdrive" acceptable, others will undoubtedly be annoyed that the original 44/45-minute version didn't receive a DVD release. However, despite this minor issue, for $15.00 dollars this disc is worth buying. Whether you're a parent, a child, a casual viewer, a die-hard fan, or just a DVD Collector, "Power Rangers Operation Overdrive" Volume 1 is well worth the money. There's a little something for everyone, and despite it's few minor flaws, none of which really detract from the overall viewing experience, it still delivers a little something for everyone. It's far superior to last years "Power Rangers Mystic Force: Volume 1" release, and it's on par with the first volume of "Power Rangers S.P.D." This is a must-own for Power Rangers fans, although casual viewers, children, and parents alike will find the first entry into the 15th Season of the show to be quite well done, and $15 well spent.

Included on the disc are the following six episodes:

1. Kick Into Overdrive
2. Kick Into Overdrive II
3. The Underwater World
4. Heart of Blue
5. Weather or Not
6. Pirate in Pink


Power Rangers SPD - Joining Forces (Vol. 1)
Power Rangers SPD - Joining Forces (Vol. 1)
DVD ~ Brandon Jay McLaren
Offered by DVDWickedness
Price: $29.95
43 used & new from $0.01

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best Power Rangers DVD to date., June 21, 2005
Let me start this review off by saying that if you've been disappointed in the past with the lack of Power Rangers DVDs, their content, and the quality, you have no need to fear any longer.

The plot: The year is 2020 and Earth is now home to humans and aliens alike. While 99% of the aliens live in peace, there's always 1% that can't. To deal with them, Earth enlists the help of a "Galactic Police Group" known as S.P.D., or "Space Patrol Delta." Early on S.P.D. is faced by an invasion force, and sends their A-Squad to the front lines, leaving only their B-Squad cadets to defend Earth.

As one would assume, the B-Squad Cadets are then given Ranger powers and the real story begins...

The show is well done from both a technical and artistic point of view, especially for a Power Rangers series. In the first episode simply titled "Beginnings" which is an hour long, we see three cadets who are still green behind the ears. These guys are not your perfect little Power Rangers the way they were in the older shows. One is fairly nervous, one is a bit ditzy, and one is naïve and obnoxiously arrogant. Likewise the final two Power Rangers aren't even your standard "goody-goody civilians" as in past years - they're street thieves! Clearly this group has its' vices, and they make the character's seem more realistic.

Following "Beginnings" (a 2-part episode) we see episode #3 which is called "Confronted." This episode is probably one of the weaker entries into the series, but it does have some high points, such as the Red and Blue Rangers' constantly locking heads. I mentioned an arrogant and naïve character before; that's Sky, the Blue Ranger. While his counterpart in Red isn't quite perfect either, he's far less obnoxious.

The next episode is called "Walls." While I find the episode interesting, and highly enjoyable, I repetitively find myself wanting to scream the words "SHUT UP SKY!" at my TV. Apparently this was the director's intent as the final scene of this episode has him scrubbing the outside of the Ranger's base with a toothbrush a la boot camp. I enjoyed that scene quite a lot, especially after Sky's constant kvetching about not being the Red Ranger.

The last episode on the disc is titled "Dogged." While it had the potential to be the worst episode of the season, it's just the opposite. It's funny, it's tragic, and it's one of the most well filmed and well-written episodes in the shows' history. The moral too the story is done in a very subtle way and looks more like a plot from "Star Trek" than from Power Rangers.

Technical Features: The menus on this DVD are better than that of past Power Rangers DVDs. Last season's menus were probably the worst I've seen in awhile. Disney owed us and they came through. The motion menus on this disc rival those of major motion pictures, including the new Star Wars Trilogy DVD Box. The average DVD Collector would be pleased.

In addition the Disc is encoded with Dolby Surround Sound. Playback on my TV through an S-Video cable using 4.1 THX Certified Speakers really pulls the surround sound to the foreground and shows how well this disc was made.

Extras: If you bought the early Power Rangers Ninja Storm DVDs, you probably scoffed at the extras, which were a bit of a joke, even for the target demographic. If you bought the Power Rangers Dino Thunder DVDs you probably felt the same way and wondered why two episodes of the previous season were deemed "extras" rather than a new disc. With Power Rangers S. P. D. however, the extras are pretty good. The first is based on those old "Join the ARMY" PSAs, and relates to joining S. P. D. - Disney includes a website URL for anyone interested. This is fairly humorous and I confess, I did enjoy it. The second extra is a "Zord Simulator," which is similar to an arcade style video game. Most people will probably complain that we still don't have deleted scenes, or "standard" extras, but given the target audience, this is probably a nice extra, and it beats the Dino Thunder virtual trading cards that couldn't be traded with anyone.

Packaging:

This is admittedly this DVDs weak spot; the packaging isn't even on par with what some fans have done for their collections. It looks like a five minute Photoshop job and for such a well-done DVD I would have expected better. In addition my first copy of this Disc (I purchased two of them.) was loose in its' case, a common problem with Buena Vista Home Entertainment DVDs. Especially Power Rangers DVDs which I've had to return on five occasions due to the disc not being pushed all the way into the center hub and being scratch upon purchase. Disney should fix this on future releases. Shake the case when you get the disc or you may find a nasty surprise when it's all scratched up as you open it. (Disney will replace the Discs for free though if you call them and pay for the shipping as well so it's not so much a loss as it is a nuisance.)

Additional notes:

When watching this DVD, long-time Power Rangers fans should be ready to look for some serious "in-jokes" - younger fans will appreciate them too if they view the Power Rangers Generations block on ABC Family. Here are a few things to watch out for:

- The A-Squad Power Rangers have the helmets from Power Rangers in Space with a slight modification made to them.

- Fans of the shows' Japanese counterpart will recognize the character of "Doggie Cruger" as a nod to his Japanese counterpart, "Doggie Kruger."

- The same man who wrote the original Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers theme song, Ron Aaron Wasserman, composed the theme song.

The Good: Five episodes on the first DVD for once. The show is excellent, and the DVD is better than I expected.

The Bad: Disney is still making "Mini-movies" rather than standard episode. The opening and ending credits have been lifted from every episode with the exception of Beginnings (opening credits) and Dogged (ending credits) having one set of credits. This is really a style issue, but it annoys me.

The Ugly: A packaging issue that has been a problem since Prelude to a Storm was release is still plaguing Power Rangers DVDs. I seriously hope Disney is trying to fix this, as it's a pretty common flaw.

Final verdict: If you're a Power Rangers fan, buy this DVD. If you're a parent, you won't be disappointed and you may find yourself enjoying this disc as well. DVD Collectors will most certainly have mixed feelings on this disc though, while young children and teenagers will most likely enjoy it. This is the best Power Rangers DVD release to date, satisfying younger and older fans alike. If you like this series, I recommend checking out Power Rangers Time Force which amazon.com also has for sale. It's only on VHS, but it's similar in style to Power Rangers S.P.D.


Power Rangers Dino Thunder, Vol. 1: Day of the Dino
Power Rangers Dino Thunder, Vol. 1: Day of the Dino
DVD ~ Kevin Duhaney
44 used & new from $2.98

19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Based on the TV Airings, an amazing DVD!, April 8, 2004
"Day of the Dino - Volume I" is named after the series premiere of the same name. This DVD includes the episodes "Day of the Dino Part I," and "Day of the Dino Part II," as well as the episodes "Wave Goodbye," "Legacy of Power," and "Back in Black," as well as two BONUS "Power Rangers Ninja Storm" Episodes. ("A Storm before the Calm Part I" and "A Storm before the Calm Part II").
In "Day of the Dino Part I" a High School science teacher, Dr. Tommy Oliver begins life anew after his work with a paleontologist Dr. Anton Mercer goes horribly wry. When a robotic T-Rex attacks Dr. Oliver and three misfit students fall into a sink-hole nearby on a trip to a museum, Dr. Oliver must recruit them to become Power Rangers. This is easily one of my favorite series premiers.
In "Day of the Dino Part II" the three Teens, Connor, Ethan, and Kira receive their Ranger powers to battle the evil Mesogog who revives his BioZords, mechanical Dinosaurs that wreck havoc on the city of Reefside, it's up to the Power Rangers to tame the BioZords and turn them good again. There's a lot of action in this episode, again one of my favorites.
"Wave Goodbye" is about Connor and his passion for Soccer vs. being a Power Ranger, when faced with a major decision, Connor questions being a Ranger. This was a rather dull episode in my opinion.
"Legacy of Power" is the show's 500th episode. Here, Dr. Tommy Oliver is abducted by Mesogog and three very worried Power Rangers return to their base, under Dr. Oliver's home where they discover a video diary of his past adventures as a Power Ranger; they also learn of every Power Ranger team before them. All this was is a glorified clip show, but a very good one at that.
"Back in Black" picks up directly where "Legacy of Power" left off. The Rangers go to save Tommy, whom they now know was a Power Ranger! As they rescue him, Tommy grabs the Black Dino gem and later, becomes the Black Dino Thunder Power Ranger. All in all an AMAZING Episode which featured the return of a very popular Power Ranger from the past.
In addition this DVD features last season's finale, "A Storm before the Calm" as Bonus episodes. If you weren't a fan of Ninja Storm, these probably won't mean too much to you but if you're a Power Rangers fan these are DEFIITLEY worth viewing.
I would whole-heartedly recommend this DVD to ANY Power Rangers or Sci-Fi fan.
Power Rangers Dino Thunder stars James Napier as Conner, Kevin Duhaney as Ethan, Emma Lahana as Kira, Jason David Frank as Dr. Tommy Oliver, Katrina Devine as Cassidy, Tom Hern as Devin, Miriama Smith as Elsa, and Lathaim Gaines as Mesogog.
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