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Skylanders Spyro's Adventure Starter Pack - Xbox 360
Skylanders Spyro's Adventure Starter Pack - Xbox 360
Offered by BASCO GAMES (USA)
Price: $59.00
39 used & new from $19.50

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This game has every right to be a hit., October 17, 2011
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
I was expecting this game to be an excuse to sell little figurines. And you know what? That's exactly correct. But it turns out to be a _really good_ excuse to sell little figurines.

At its heart, this is a pretty basic platforming-and-brawling game. (If you have some history with videogames, think of this as about 50% Gauntlet, 50% Ratchet & Clank.) But it's anything but your typical licensed-property game that feels like it's been thrown together; it's really solid. The levels are well-designed. There's lots of variety in the gameplay and the settings. And the writing is top-notch; it's accessible to kids while still engaging for the grownups as well.

There are only two reasons why I haven't given this game five stars (and I was really tempted to). One is that it is, quite definitely, an excuse to sell little figurines... and when you play it, you will see that that's quite definitely built into the game's design. In particular, the fact that the figures fall into eight "elemental types" -- and that each area of the game gives an advantage to one elemental type -- means that there's an obvious advantage to having one figure of each type, so that you'll have a character in the game that matches every type advantage. Since the game comes with three figures, that means that you'll have five types left to cover. So you can expect your little ones to plead until you buy at least five more figures. So you'll want to budget accordingly, and that makes the game rather expensive.

The other is that you have to understand that the Portal -- the platform that plugs into the console, that you set the figures on -- is as much a part of the control scheme as the controller. When you decide that it's time to switch characters, you don't do it by just pushing a few buttons; you do that by physically switching figures -- taking the old one off the Portal and putting the new one on. And if you want to play the game well, you'll be switching characters a lot. That means that you'd better have a table nearby, so that you can have the Portal and all your figures lined up in easy reach while you play. If your game room doesn't allow for this, or if it just sounds annoying to you, you may not want to buy.

But personally, I'm finding this game extremely enjoyable... and I'm at least a couple of decades outside the target demographic.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 18, 2011 3:14 PM PDT


Peerless 76950 2-in-1 Shower System, Chrome
Peerless 76950 2-in-1 Shower System, Chrome
3 used & new from $34.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great, if it works with your shower, December 14, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I ordered this when my old Shower Massage finally started leaking like a sieve. I've never used any Peerless shower products, but I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to install and how clear the instructions were. The spray pattern is nice and has good pressure, and the handheld spray nozzle is easy to use and adjust.

A couple of cautions. First, make sure that this will work with your height and your shower. Figure that the bottom of the shower head will hang about five or six inches lower than a typical shower head would hang when attached to the same shower. If you're tall and your shower head is low, that may be a problem. If you're in this situation, you should look at a more traditional shower massager, like the Waterpik SM-453CG Original 4-Mode Massage Handheld Shower, Chrome/Crystal , that only use a handheld sprayer (without the fixed shower head that this Peerless also has); the clip on these traditional shower massagers allows the sprayer to be positioned higher in the shower.

Second, since this uses plastic threads in some places, be careful about overtightening. You're going to want to use some thread sealant tape, like the Stanley-Bostitch Thread Sealant Tape THREADTAPE. It fills in the gaps between the threads, allowing you to get a nice tight waterproof seal without having to overtighten the connections and risk stripping the threads.


Mad Catz R.A.T.7 Gaming Mouse for PC and MAC
Mad Catz R.A.T.7 Gaming Mouse for PC and MAC
Offered by AV House
Price: $107.94
7 used & new from $57.94

5.0 out of 5 stars Really Adjustable Technology, December 11, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I have to admit that I was skeptical as to whether this mouse would be worth the cost. The reviews seemed great, but would all those adjustable features really work out in practice? For me, at least, the answer was definitely yes.

I have large hands with long fingers and relatively short thumbs. I have never gotten any use out of the side-mounted thumb buttons on gaming mice, because they're always awkward or impossible to reach when my hand is in a comfortable position. But with the RAT, I was able to adjust the side buttons all the way down to where my thumb is. That alone probably made the RAT a great purchase for me.

But there are lots of other adjustable features as well. I like the surface of a mouse to have a little grip to it, so I popped off the smooth palm rest and pinky rest and installed the provided textured ones. It seemed a teensy bit heavy, so I popped out one of the weights and it was fine. Now everything's comfortable and in reach. And it performs splendidly.

My only criticism would be that the friction in the scroll wheels isn't adjustable. I know that some people like scroll wheels to turn very smoothly, and others like a lot of resistance. The wheels on this mouse have relatively low resistance and not much clickiness, so you may be a bit disappointed if you want more tactile feedback.

But all in all, I'm thrilled with this mouse, and I'm probably going to buy a second one for work -- even though I have no need for the gaming features there, it's just that comfortable.


Thief Eyes
Thief Eyes
by Janni Lee Simner
Edition: Hardcover
61 used & new from $0.01

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful, moving, and mature, March 20, 2010
This review is from: Thief Eyes (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
"Young adult fiction" covers a lot of ground. At one end of the scale, it can be a simple children's story, with a little sex and violence thrown in to make it "mature" and "edgy". Thief Eyes is at the other end of the scale: it's a sophisticated, extremely well-crafted novel, which just so happens to be written in a way that teenagers will find approachable and enjoyable. I had planned to read it a few chapters at a time, but wound up going cover to cover in one sitting.

I won't describe the plot in detail, because it seems like that might spoil it. But it works on two levels -- as an adventure based on the building blocks of Norse mythology, and as a relationship story about family and about the awkward places in between friendship and romance. The Norse elements are handled very nicely -- there's enough detail to intrigue the reader, but not so much that it would bog down the story (though the author's note thoughtfully provides a reading list for those left wanting to know more). And the climax is emotionally wrenching, especially because the reader can empathize with nearly everyone involved on both sides of the conflict.

Highly recommended.


Kensington 64068F MicroSaver Notebook Lock and Security Cable (PC/Mac)
Kensington 64068F MicroSaver Notebook Lock and Security Cable (PC/Mac)
Offered by Technogeek Distributing LLC
Price: $14.89
130 used & new from $12.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Works fine; watch out for the size of the lock mechanism, November 10, 2009
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I'm using this lock with a relatively new HP Pavilion laptop, and it seems to be a very nice product for what it's intended to do -- protect your computer in reasonably secure areas. As others have said, it won't stop a bolt cutter, and it could probably be picked given enough time. But in an environment like an office or restaurant, it should be fine.

The cable is flexible, and nicely coated so that it doesn't scuff surfaces. The lock mechanism itself works smoothly and seems quite sturdy, and it hasn't scuffed or scratched the laptop even after numerous uses. The only real concern I see: the lock mechanism is significantly bigger in diameter than older locks I've used; so if there's some other connector very close to the security slot on your laptop, you may not be able to use the lock and the connector at the same time.


sabrent USB 2.0 TO SATA/IDE 2.5/3.5/-INCH Hard Drive Converter With Power Supply & LED Activity Lights (USB-DSC5
sabrent USB 2.0 TO SATA/IDE 2.5/3.5/-INCH Hard Drive Converter With Power Supply & LED Activity Lights (USB-DSC5
Offered by Store4PC
Price: $19.99
12 used & new from $6.50

5.0 out of 5 stars A great little rescue device, November 6, 2009
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I agree with those who have said that this isn't a device you'd want to use on a regular basis -- it's a rescue device. But it's a _nice_ rescue device.

If a computer (especially a notebook computer) fails and you need to extract the information from the hard drive, you can use this device to temporarily mount the hard drive on another computer, without having to open the working computer's case or muck with its configuration. I bought it to salvage a few key files from my dead notebook, and it worked like a charm. It's definitely going in the toolbox.


Sony BCG-34HRMF4 Battery Charger with LCD Display and 4 AA Ni-MH Rechargeable Batteries (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
Sony BCG-34HRMF4 Battery Charger with LCD Display and 4 AA Ni-MH Rechargeable Batteries (Discontinued by Manufacturer)

153 of 161 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent., October 12, 2004
I've found this to be an excellent charger, as long as you only need to charge AA and AAA batteries. The charge cycle is quite fast, the design is good-looking and functional, and the refresh feature has restored quite a bit of lost capacity to some of my older batteries.

By the way, to answer an issue raised in a previous review, you know that a battery is fully charged when the LCD display stops flashing for that battery.


Wheel Of Fortune Handheld Electronic Game
Wheel Of Fortune Handheld Electronic Game
Offered by atouchofclass2000
Price: $79.00
33 used & new from $11.50

53 of 56 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A fairly good version of the real game., February 15, 2003
= Durability:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:3.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:4.0 out of 5 stars 
I received this as a gift yesterday. There seems to be some sort of curse on home versions of Wheel of Fortune; they're nearly all badly flawed in one way or another. But this seems reasonably good.
Four AAA batteries are required. The battery doors screw on; this has the advantage of making them nearly impossible to lose, but it does mean that you'll need a small Phillips-head screwdriver to install the batteries in the first place.
The game can be played by 1 to 3 players. In the one- or two-player game, you're playing against a single computer opponent; in the three-player game, the computer does not take part.
The game contains around 400 puzzles. Theoretically, cartridges can be purchased that have several hundred additional puzzles apiece; but I haven't seen the cartridges on sale in quite a while, so don't count on this.
The keyboard is well-designed, with clearly-marked buttons for spinning, solving, buying vowels, and reminding you of the puzzle category and the player's scores.
The screen is small, but quite clear, requiring only moderate light to be playable. The screen does show the "used letter board" as well as the puzzle, but the used-letter-board area is quite small, so you may need better light (or squinting) to see it.
The lack of a volume control is a problem. The sound can be turned on and off, but when it's on, it's quite loud; this is compounded by the fact that the speaker is on the back of the unit, so it's substantially louder for the potentially-irritated bystanders than it is for the person actually playing the game. However, as with many handheld toys, this can be corrected with a little creativity--just tape index cards or other sturdy paper over the speaker grille until the sound is muffled to an acceptable level.
The game itself is well-implemented. The rules of Wheel of Fortune are all there and correct, though the game only lasts for three rounds instead of the TV show's "whatever we can fit into about fifteen minutes". The bonus round is there as well, and it plays just the way it does on the show (you're given TNRSLE for free, allowed to choose three consonants and a vowel, and given a limited amount of time to solve the puzzle). The game keeps track of the highest score you've reached.
My only complaint with the actual gameplay is the computer opponent, which has done a poor job in the seven or eight games I've played; it seems to pick letters pretty much at random (guessing letters like "J" or "W" instead of "T" or "N" or some other letter more likely to appear), and it's prone to solving puzzles when it has very little money (even solving two puzzles when it had $0--though the game does award the 'house minimum' of $500 for solving a puzzle with no money).
So if you don't mind the high sound volume and the potential lack of cartridges, and you can put up with a slightly-ditzy computer opponent (perhaps a good simulation of some of the folks who actually make it onto the show...), this is a fun little toy.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 19, 2010 2:14 PM PST


Animorphs
Animorphs
Offered by SHARPEY MEDIA
Price: $49.89
26 used & new from $0.02

37 of 44 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not awful, but truly disappointing., November 16, 2000
This review is from: Animorphs (Video Game)
As a die-hard Animorphs fan, I really, really wanted to like this game. Unfortunately, the game just has too many flaws to make it worthwhile.
First, and perhaps most importantly considering the license, this game just doesn't feel or play like an Animorphs game; it plays like a fairly bad Pokemon clone that had the Animorphs license grafted onto it at a late stage of development. If you want to acquire an animal morph, do you do it by sneaking up on it in human form and touching it? No; you do it by beating the tar out of it in morph form, just like you would a Taxxon or Hork-Bajir. If you get the tar beaten out of you while in morphed form, do you die? No; you revert to human form (and must immediately morph into something else to continue the fight), and you lose the ability to ever use that morph form again, unless you can find and beat up a different animal of the same species. If you lose all of your morph forms in this way, the game is over. This isn't Animorphs, Ubi Soft; this is Pokemon--only the Pokemon games got the mechanics much, much better.
The plot isn't actively bad, but it's certainly uninspired. The graphics and sound are at least passable for a Game Boy game. But the game contains one simply unforgivable technical flaw; there's no battery backup system--instead, you must write down and re-enter sixteen-character passwords to save your progress. Hello, Ubi Soft? The 1980s are over. Please join us in the 2000s at your earliest convenience. Thank you for your cooperation.
Animorphs fans will find this game to be a major letdown, and non-Animorphs fans will probably find it simply pointless. You'd be much better served buying Pokemon Gold or Silver along with a few Animorphs books.


Sonic Shuffle
Sonic Shuffle
Offered by You Name the Game
Price: $89.99
23 used & new from $15.99

42 of 46 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great game; just don't take it seriously., November 16, 2000
This review is from: Sonic Shuffle (Video Game)
Sonic Shuffle is Sega's attempt to enter the "party game" genre, along with Nintendo's Mario Party series and Sony's Crash Bash. And it's a very worthy entry indeed.
In terms of game flow, Sonic Shuffle is very similar to Mario Party, though with enough differences to allow it to narrowly escape the "rip-off" label. Each player controls one of the Sonic characters. As in Mario Party, players take turns moving their characters around a game board, choosing which of many branching paths to take. Depending on which space you land on, you may gain or lose rings, enter into battle with a monster, or trigger a mini-game in which all players battle for rings. The players race to pick up "Precioustones" which appear in various locations on the game board. When all the Precioustones have been collected, a final mini-game is played, and the winner of the game is determined by who has collected the most. So far, Mario Party players have seen all of this before.
But the most critical difference between Sonic Shuffle and Mario Party is hinted at by the name of the game. Instead of rolling dice to move around the board, Sonic Shuffle players must play cards. Each player has a hand full of cards, numbered 1 through 6, along with the occasional "Special" (allowing characters extra movement or special attacks) and "Eggman" (disaster) cards. When it's your turn to move, you must play a card; playing a 3, for example, allows you to move 3 spaces. Likewise, battles with monsters are settled by card play; in order to defeat a monster, you must play a card at least as high as the monster's number. Importantly, you are not required to play a card out of your own hand; you can pick a card from another player's instead--but you won't be able to see which card you're choosing, and you must play whatever card you picked.
This card-play mechanic sets up some very interesting decisions. You might be tempted to play your high-numbered cards for movement as soon as you can, to race to the Precioustone before anyone else--but if you do, you likely won't have a card high enough to defeat the monster that guards the stone. You might be tempted to draw cards from others' hands in order to conserve your own; but in doing so, you run the risk of drawing a low-numbered card that forces you to move to a poor space--or worse, drawing the Eggman card which dumps a random calamity on your head!
(One important note here: If you're going to play multi-player, you should have a VMU for each player. If a player's controller has a VMU installed, then that player's cards will only be shown on the VMU screen, preventing other players from seeing them. If you don't have a VMU in your controller, you will be at a disadvantage, as your cards will be visible to all.)
Movement around the board is complicated by the fact that the characters aren't identical. Tails, Amy and Knuckles each have special spaces on the board that only they can cross; for example, Tails can fly across some gaps that block other players. Sonic has no special spaces, but his "Spin Dash" ability allows him to move at double or triple speed if he plays cards with the same number on several turns in a row.
The mini-games are very similar to Mario Party's. In most of these games, it's every hedgehog (or fox or echidna) for himself; but some games divide the characters into teams of two, or pit three characters against one. Most of the games require skill, but a few are sheer luck (for example, picking a can from a soda machine, avoiding the pre-shaken can that will explode in your face). These mini-games allow the characters to collect rings, that can either be saved or spent to purchase Forcejewels--special gems that allow a character to briefly break the rules of the game (for example, by playing several cards instead of one when moving, or by placing a forcefield around a space so that other characters can't pass).
Unfortunately, these mini-games are where Sonic Shuffle's one major flaw kicks in: load times. Games like this work best when the action is kept fast and furious; Sonic Shuffle has to pause for about 15 seconds while it loads each mini-game from the disc, and pause again when it returns to the main game board after each mini-game. This breaks the flow of the action, a problem which Mario Party's cartridge format allows it to avoid.
A single-player Story Mode makes Sonic Shuffle a reasonable one-player experience, but as with Mario Party, the real fun comes when three or four players compete. Just make sure that none of your friends take the game too seriously; there's a large amount of luck involved. As with Mario Party, a skillful player will win more than his or her share of games, but the outcome of any one individual game is anybody's guess.
In summary, Sonic Shuffle is a great way to kill time with friends; if you liked Mario Party, you'll like this at least as much. And if you play me, remember, I get to be Tails. :)
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 30, 2011 5:45 PM PDT


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