Best Books of the Month Shop Costumes Learn more nav_sap_SWP_6M_fly_beacon $5 Albums All-New Fire TV Stick with Voice Remote Introducing Handmade New Kitchen Scale from AmazonBasics Amazon Gift Card Offer hog hog hog  Amazon Echo Starting at $49.99 Kindle Voyage  McCartney Fall Arrivals in Amazon Outdoor Clothing Retro Toys Deal
Profile for Amazon Customer > Reviews


Amazon Customer's Profile

Customer Reviews: 83
Top Reviewer Ranking: 20,290,310
Helpful Votes: 632

Community Features
Review Discussion Boards
Top Reviewers

Guidelines: Learn more about the ins and outs of Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Amazon Customer "video geek #1" RSS Feed (Garland, TX United States)

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9
Man of the House
Man of the House
DVD ~ Christina Milian
Offered by coolfamilystuff
Price: $30.00
121 used & new from $0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Great popcorn flick, October 31, 2005
This review is from: Man of the House (DVD)
This movie is a strictly by-the-numbers action flick with all the depth of a mud puddle, but it is surprisingly enjoyable nevertheless. The formulaic plot is as follows: A group of Texas Longhorn cheerleaders witness the mob execution of a witness wanted by the Texas Rangers, and thus they need protection in order to avoid becoming victims themselves. Enter Tommy Lee Jones, who is forced to move into the girls' house on campus and babysit them for protection. Predictable hilarity ensues, with plenty of culture clashes between the college girls and the crusty Jones.

This movie is about as formulaic as you can get. The plot holds no surprises whatsoever, the identity of the bad guy is obvious from the beginning, and the action scenes are workable but nothing spectacular. Nevertheless Tommy Lee Jones manages to take an average movie and lift it up to the level of a great popcorn flick that will appeal to pretty much everyone. Cedric the Entertainer also appears in the film as an ex-con minister who is also a former UT cheerleader, and his scenes are a lot of fun to watch. Anne Archer appears in the film as a UT professor who becomes Tommy Lee's love interest, but her role is pretty minimal.

All in all, this one is worth watching, if not exactly a blockbuster. If you like Tommy Lee Jones, you will like this movie.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - PlayStation 2
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - PlayStation 2
Offered by Bargain Buyers Software
Price: $19.27
85 used & new from $0.99

8 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Is it bad? Not really. Is it good? Not really., October 12, 2005
= Fun:2.0 out of 5 stars 
As anyone reading this review is doubtless aware, this game is based on the third installment in the Harry Potter movie franchise, which is in turn based off the third book in the Harry Potter series. This one concerns the third year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry for Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, and Ron Weasley as they attend class, learn new spells, fight various enemies, and - by the way - deal with the fact that the notorious wizard criminal, Sirius Black, has escaped from Azkaban prison with the intent to murder young Mr. Potter, and he is being pursued by Dementors, which are Ringwraith-like creatures that act as prison guards and they are intent on recapturing Sirius Black, and woe to anyone who gets in their way.

This is my second foray into the world of Harry Potter gaming. About a year ago I played Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, which was a great (though not perfect) game with a well-realized, immersive Hogwarts, lots of challenging combat, fun sidequests and mini-games, Quidditch matches, good-looking graphics, and engaging puzzles. I went in to Prisoner of Azkaban expecting more of the same. I was rudely shocked, to say the least.

But before I get into the negative, let's talk about the positive. In this game, you control Harry, Ron, and Hermione at various times, and each of the three has different strengths and abilities. Harry has access to the Marauder's Map, which allows you to see mini-maps or the levels, complete with secret passageways and locations of other characters and enemies. Harry is also able to jump gaps, climb ropes, and is generally the most acrobatic of the trio. Ron can find secret doors and items. Hermione can access tight spaces that the others can't. In addition, though this game offers many spells to be learned and used, most of them can only be used by one or another of the three characters (though the basic spells are common to all three). All of this does make for a more varied gameplay experience, and adds a certain amount of depth to the (still too easy) puzzle-solving. Another positive thing about the game is the Expecto Patronus spell, which allows Harry to conjure up a Patronus to use against the Dementors. This is very well done and is the most enjoyable thing in the game, although controlling the Patronus effectively will take some getting used to. But that's about it as far as positives go.

Combat in this game is much easier than before. Your Expelliarmus spell for defense will almost never be used. The basic approach to any enemy is just cast Filipendo at it over and over again until it goes down. This is complicated by the fact that your lock-on targeting system in clearly flawed in this game, as many times you will attempt to target an enemy and lock on to an inanimate object instead. A couple of the enemies are slightly more challenging, but for the post part it is just point and shoot. This even applies to the several times you will encounter Draco Malfoy in the game. Malfoy is no more difficult to defeat than any other enemy in the game. This doubtless makes the game easier for young players, but it was a disappointment for me.

The puzzles in the game are very easy for the most part. They are made even easier by the fact that the characters will continuously shout out things like "I wonder what that button does, maybe you should push it!" or "Hey Ron, why don't you cast Lumos Duo on that object over there?" or other such things. So if you should ever experience some momentary hesitation about what to do next, don't worry - the game will spill the beans quickly enough.

The most annoying thing about the game is the fact that, whichever of the three characters you are playing, the other two will constantly run along behind you shouting unhelpful and annoying remarks. For example, when you have completed all the tasks assigned to you for a level, but you need to explore the castle a bit, the characters will gripe about how tired they are and how they want to go to bed approximately every 5 seconds. Or if you should ever deviate from the shortest path through a level, they will start spouting off about how you're going the wrong way. This will drive you insane in a hurry. I can't believe EA thought this was a good idea. At the least you should have an option to turn the voices off.

The mini-games in this game are dull to say the least. As I said before, there is no Quidditch, in fact you don't touch a broomstick in the game. Yes, you do get to fly Buckbeak aimlessly around the castle grounds if you desire, but this is a very poor substitute. The other mini-games are pointless and boring, and one of them, Owl Racing, was apparently deisgned as torture for your fingers, since you have to tap a button over and over again in a precise rhythm for several minutes in order to make your owl flap her wings and fly. I did it one time and never again, since I don't particularly enjoy finger cramping.

Graphically and sound-wise the game is also below par. Most of the characters look and sound nothing like their movie counterparts. The worst is Professor Snape. I don't know who did his voice acting, but they could have gotten the guy who does Spongebob Squarepants and it would have sounded better. Of course, you don't hear much of his voice anyway, since every time you encounter him outside of Potions class in the game, he will look at you and immediately go into a fit of coughing and hacking - bascially Snape has a year-long bout of emphysema in this game. What is up with that?

You spend far too much time in this game staring at loading screens. Every time you open a door, even to enter the tiniest room - loading screens. Running from outside the front door of Hogwarts to Gryffindor tower takes about 2 minutes of play time and about 90 seconds of staring at a loading screen. This is far too much, and EA really needs to fix this recurring problem in their Potter games. Other simiar games don't have this problem, why should this one? It certainly isn't the great graphics.

Outdoors is another disappointment. Yes, you can fly Buckbeak over a complete version of Hogwarts, but, except for the relocated front door, it is the exact same building and grounds layout as in the last game. In addition, in the last game, the grounds were inhabited by lots of students running around the castle, which did a lot for the immersion factor of the game. Here, there is no one outside at all. It's almost enough to make you feel lonely, running over the huge grounds all alone. Also, in previous games, exploring the grounds and castle had a purpose - there were secret items all over the place waiting to be found. Here, there is nothing beyond one or two chests with Wizard cards. Outdoor exploration was one of the best things about Chamber of Secrets, but in this game it is yet another disappointment.

Overall, this game let me down severely. It's like EA decided that, since the Harry Potter games were intended for younger players and Chamber of Secrets might have been too difficult for them, they decided to make Prisoner of Azkaban much easier and get rid of all the fun and challenge and, in the process, most of the "Hogwarts" atmosphere. (Although, young kids will probably have a lot of trouble with the Patronus spell). Unless you just have to play every game with the Potter name on it, avoid this one. Play Chamber of Secrets instead. Let's hope that Goblet of Fire is better.

The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors: The Extraordinary World War II Story of the U.S. Navy's Finest Hour
The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors: The Extraordinary World War II Story of the U.S. Navy's Finest Hour
by James D. Hornfischer
Edition: Hardcover
79 used & new from $1.68

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the US navy's finest moments, September 14, 2005
The Battle of Leyte Gulf is one of the lesser-known battles fought by the United States armed forces in World War 2, having long been outshone by names such as Normandy, Corregidor, Midway, Guadalcanal, The Bulge, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, and Pearl Harbor. But it could have become a famous battle indeed - famous for being a shocking defeat. The fact that this didn't happen is due in very large part to the courage, patriotism, and sacrifice of the men whose story is told in this book. James Hornfischer does an incredible job of bringing the men and ships of Taffy Three to life as they faced a vastly superior Japanese force and fought it in a manner that should make all Americans proud.

It was October, 1944. The Pacific War seemed to be well in hand, though no one doubted that much bloody fighting lay ahead before the Japanese would give up. But the end of the tunnel was in sight. The gloomy days of early 1942 had been redeemed by the amazing victory at Midway, the gutsy stand on Guadalcanal, and the long march across the Pacific as one Japanese bastion after another was either bypassed or conquered. The Japanese carrier fleet has been decisively defeated at the Battle of the Phillipine Sea, leaving the remaining carriers as nothing more than empty nests, with few planes and fewer qualified pilots available. The US Pacific Fleet had grown to overwhelming superiority in both quality and quantity in every respect over its Japanese opponent.

Now it was time to smash the inner defense of the Japanese Empire. After much debate, the US decided to start by attacking the Phillipines, the site of Douglas MacArthur's famous "I shall return" speech during the dark days of early 1942.

So the die was cast. The attack went in as planned. The US Navy had what seemed a solid plan to defend MacArthur's landing force as it went ashore on the island of Leyte, part of the Phillipines and stepping-stone to the more important island of Luzon to the north. The landing would be protected at close range by the Seventh Fleet, composed of support ships and a bombardment group of old battleships, mostly veterans of Pearl Harbor. Then a bit farther out, the Third Fleet under Admiral "Bull" Halsey would lie in wait, ready to smash the Japanese Fleet, whom no one doubted would oppose the invasion.

The Japanese did not disappoint. Their situation was desperate. Their carriers were neutralized due to lack of aircraft and trained pilots. Their fuel supplies were running out, starved by the relentless attrition against their tankers and merchant fleet carried out by US submarines. So this was their last real chance to strike the US fleet. It was do-or-die, all or nothing. Their desperate plan called for the powerless carrier fleet to decoy Halsey away from the landing he was supposed to protect, thus allowing the Japanese battleship fleet to slip in behind him, overwhelm the Seventh Fleet's battleships, destroy MacArthur's landing, and depart.

It almost worked. Part of the Japanese fleet, attempting to enter Leyte Gulf from the south through Surigao Strait, was wiped out by the Seventh Fleet in a classic action that included the last battleship broadside in military history. But the carrier ruse worked, and Halsey took the powerful battleships and carriers of the Third Fleet off on a wild-goose chase, and the main body of the Japanese fleet, including the Yamato, the largest battleship in the world, to slip through San Bernadino Strait unopposed and then charge for the beachhead. Only one thing stood in their way - the escort carriers, destroyers, and destroyer escorts of Taffy Three.

Hornfischer's account of the battle is riveting. As others have said, it is every bit as graphic and violent as Saving Private Ryan. The first part of the book goes into details of the personal lives of many of them men who served on these ships, and it was truly gut-wrenching to see some of these young boys meet their fates on that day.

For most of that morning, October 25, 1944, Taffy Three fought the main strength of the Imperial Japanese Navy to a standstill. They fought a heroic battle against incredible odds. But by all rights they should have been wiped out. Luckily, the Japanese were so confused by misinformation, poor reconnaissance, poor communication, and the attacks of the American planes and ships of Taffy Three that Admiral Kurita, in overall command of the force, believed that his mission was no longer possible and so broke off the attack and left the area, thus saving MacArthur's invasion force from attack. It's debatable now what would have happened had the Japanese pressed home their attack to the bitter end, but what is certain is that MacArthur's force would have certainly sustained heavy damage and high loss of life. The Japanese fleet would probably have been wiped out too, since Halsey finally realized his mistake and was charging back to the scene. The invasion would probably have postponed for months, and the war would have lasted that much longer. But that was prevented by The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors.

Personally, if it was up to me, I'd make sure every high-schooler in America read this book. I was born 25 years after the war ended, but reading this book bridges the gulf across the years . I see that some of those brave men have visited this site and read some of these reviews. I salute you all!

Lego Star Wars
Lego Star Wars
Price: $33.99
292 used & new from $0.10

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Star Wars and Lego - how can you go wrong??, September 14, 2005
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Lego Star Wars (Video Game)
This game is one of that rare group that manages to successfully appeal to young kids and older gamers alike. Young kids will enjoy the game's ease of play, the thrill of swinging a lightsaber, using the force, and the not-too-difficult puzzle solving, and adults will enjoy the Star Wars atmosphere and the sense of nostalgia that comes from messing with those Lego blocks. And everyone will enjoy the humor that is liberally spread throughout the game.

You begin the game in control of Qui-Gon Jinn and the Episode I version of Obi-Wan Kenobi in Dexter's Diner, which will serve as your "base" throughout the game. There are three doors in the diner, which lead to the Episode I, II, and III levels respectively. There is also a fourth door which leads to a bonus level which you can unlock through the course of playing the game (I won't spoil it, but it is definitely worth the effort to unlock!) You can go through the game in "Story" mode, when you play each level more or less in order of their appearance in the films, controlling characters appropriate to the level. Then, as you finish each level, you can choose to re-play it in "Free" mode, which allows you to take in any two characters you choose from your available group that you have unlocked. So you can do things such as have Jango Fett take on Darth Maul, or have Count Dooku battle armies of battle droids, or many other fun possibilities.

If you just play through the game in Story mode, you can finish the three episodes in a few hours. But the fun really starts when you start on Free mode and replay the various levels to find secret areas and items, and also to earn extra money to buy additional characters and fun options. In each level, there are 10 secret Lego canisters. As you collect each canister, you construct a Lego model of a ship from the SW universe. The models can be seen in the parking lot of Dexter's Diner. Or you can concentrate on getting all the characters in the game (there are quite a few) unlocked. Also, as you unlock the various characters, they will hang out in Dexter's Diner when you aren't using them, wandering around at random and getting into fights. You can have a lot of fun just hanging around the diner, taking control of different characters and causing mayhem. And yes, it is possible to chase Jar-Jar around and shoot him or attack him with a lightsaber. Repeatedly.

In order to get everything, it is necessary to take various characters with you to access everything. For example, Jar-Jar Binks and General Grevious can jump higher than most characters, so you need one of them to get some of the canisters. Or some levels have doors that can only be opened if you have R2-D2 or C-3P0 in your party. Or, you must squeeze through a small hole, so you need to take in young Anakin Skywalker or Boba Fett.

A nice thing in the game is the fact that the computer always makes sure that, when you play a level in Free mode, you always have access to all the characters you will need to get everything (assuming the chracters have been unlocked).

Different characters have different abilities. Jedi Knights swing lightsabers and use the Force to manipulate Lego blocks, R2-D2 has a flying ability that allows you to cross lava pits and bottomless chasms, Padme uses her blaster to take out the bad guys and her grappling hook to climb balconies, etc, etc. Every level has different requirements to get through it, so the action never gets stale. There are also a few levels in the game where you are flying a vehicle of some type and you must dodge enemies and obstacles to get to your goal (The Episode I pod race is a good example of this).

There are a few other nifty little secrets in the game, such as the Disco room that can be unlocked in one level (complete with a disco version of the Star Wars theme music).

Combat in the game is simple and intuitive. If you are a "blaster" character you can just blast away and mow down the bad guys (the game aims your gun for you so you won't miss too often). If you are a Jedi (or a Sith Lord), you can either attack enemies directly with your lightsaber or else use it to deflect the enemies' blaster bolts back at them. It sounds tricky, but it isn't hard to get the hang of at all. It is possible to die, but if you do, you instantly re-spawn at the point of death, none the worse for wear. The two-player option allows a second player to enter and exit at will, so if your young one is having difficulty with a section, you can jump in and help them out.

There really isn't anything bad to be said about this game. It looks great, it sounds great (selections from the movie sountracks can be heard in every level), it is fun to play, and it is just a blast in general. If you like the Star Wars universe at all, you will like this game. I hope they make a sequel using Episodes IV, V, and VI. Highly recommended to the young and the young at heart!

The Lord of the Rings: The Third Age
The Lord of the Rings: The Third Age
Offered by SJVIDEO
Price: $42.99
103 used & new from $1.91

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Close but not quite, September 12, 2005
= Fun:3.0 out of 5 stars 
With this game, EA set out to make an RPG set in the universe of Lord of the Rings (the movies, not the books), with a group of characters following in the footsteps of the Fellowship of the Ring through the events of the films. Did they succeed in this? Well, yes they did, with a lot of heavy borrowing from Final Fantasy X's combat system. The bigger question, though, is, should they have done it in the first place? I don't think so. You are playing an RPG where the ending is already basically known, and since you are supposed to be following and assisting the Fellowship the whole time, you really don't have the chance to do anything in the way of sidequests. You are forced into a linear game of continuous combat with minimal character development, and the end result is a game that, although it looks great and plays well, is ultimately unsatisfying.

First, some of the good things about the game. As I mentioned above, the combat system is lifted directly from Final Fantasy X. However, this is a good thing. FFX's combat system was great for strategic play and it allowed you to make the best use of your various characters' strengths and minimze their weaknesses, and The Third Age replicates that nicely. The music for the game is lifted directly from Howard Shore's soundtracks for the films, so naturally it is excellent. My only complaint would be that the music bits that accompany the end of each battle are way too repetitive. Graphically, the game looks great. As you find new armor and weapons and equip them onto your characters, their looks change appropriately. Also, there is a feature that allows you to instantly evaulate the stats of a new item and see how it will affect your character before equipping it. This allows you to avoid equipping a new item that will make your character weaker (which doesn't happen too often, but it does indeed happen). The backgrounds and environments are, again, based on the films and look excellent. As you play through the game, you will occasionally encounter characters from the films who will join your party briefly, usually for a boss battle. Having Gandalf or Aragorn in your party is a pleasure. You will not encounter any of the hobbits, however, which is strange. It would have been very easy to work in Merry and Pippin, at least.

I was able to play through the game and do everything in less than 30 hours. So the length of the game, while not exactly epic, was enough to make me feel that I got my money's worth. There are several chapters in the game and plenty of save points, so the frustration of losing hours worth of work because of one wrong move during combat should never happen in the game.

Another great thing about this game is the fact that the various members of your company each have their strengths and weaknesses, and they all have support abilities that will further assist you in combat. You start out with basic skills, and then as you progress through the game you unlock more powerful moves. Different enemies require different approaches to battle, so you can't just go through a battle on autopilot. If you just charge in with sword swinging into every fight without any thought given to buffs or support abilities, you will be looking at a "Game Over" screen in a hurry. There are a few items in the game that allow you to severaly de-buff the enemies to make them easy to kill, but such items are very rare and must be used sparingly.

Now let's talk about some of the negative parts of the game. As I mentioned above, you are locked into a straitjacket story-wise throughout most of the game. To make things worse, the characters you have aren't very interesting. Some attempt is made to give them some backstory, but it doesn't really work. Berethor, the Gondorian you start the game with, has perhaps the most backstory, but it doesn't really make any sense. I don't want to reveal too many details, though, so you can judge for yourself. At the other end of the interest spectrum is Hadhod the dwarf, who is so obviously a Gimli-clone that I kept forgetting the difference. As many RPG-players will agree, without a great story, the game just doesn't work, and that is the case here. They try to inject some story by the insertion of movie clips and narration (admirably done by Sir Ian McKellen, who played Gandalf in the films). But there are way too many of them and they are repetitive to the point of annoyance. Also the ending of the game is absolutely horrible. Again, I don't want to spoil a whole lot of details here, but rest assured that any Tolkein purist will have a stroke during the final battle of the game. Another flaw of the story is that the characters from the films use a lot of the same lines from the movies. At the very end of the game, when Aragorn claps Berethor on the shoulder and says "You bow to no one," I cringed.

Bottom line in my opinion - the mechanics of the game are excellent, the story is severely lacking. Replayability is nil, as there is no room for exploration or sidequests. The ending is abrupt and unsatisfying. All in all, worth a rental, but that's about it.

PlayStation 2 Dualshock Controller Black
PlayStation 2 Dualshock Controller Black
Offered by Simply Order
Price: $41.99
94 used & new from $6.91

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Takes a licking, keeps on ticking!, September 9, 2004
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
I got one of these when I originally got my PS2 for Christmas 2002, and it has survived nearly two years of intensive, daily use. I've had absolutely no problems whatsoever with it, and I also haven't had any problems with the second controller I got about a year ago for two-player gaming. All the buttons, including the shoulder buttons, are easily accessible, the joysticks are comfortable and easily operated, and the vibration function is noticable witout being jarring or annyoying. In brief, this controller is a success. Much more comfortable and easier to use (...) in my opinion.

City of Heroes - PC
City of Heroes - PC
43 used & new from $0.01

9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Paragon City needs you!!!, September 2, 2004
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: City of Heroes - PC (Video Game)
I've played a number of MMORPG's before I got introduced to this one, particularly Dark Age of Camelot and Everquest. This one is unlike any MMORPG (Massive Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Game, for those who don't know) that has come before. Most other MMORPGs are of two varieties - Sci/Fi and Sword/Sorcery. This one is all about becoming a superhero, straight out of the comics. It is set within Paragon City, a huge unrban area with stunning architecture, ranging from the ultra-modern and clean areas to gritty industrial zones, with everything in between.

After installing the game and starting it up, your first job is to create your character. First, you must choose an Archetype, which basically is similar to choosing a Class in other games. The basic archetypes range from the Blasters, who are all about dealing massive amounts of damage from long range, to the Tankers and Scrappers, who like to show they can deal out damage up close while taking the best shots from the bad guys, to the Controllers, who, instead of directly damaging enemies, instead perform crowd control functions and charm enemies and make them turn against their friends.

Next, one must choose the types and sorts of powers they will use through the game, with choices ranging from fire balls to ice blasts to martial-arts moves, and many more. Of course, some Archetypes are best suited for certain powers more than others, but the in-game help screens provide nice explanation of what types of powers are best.

After that, the fun really begins as you get to choose your character's appearance. Customization choices are incredibly massive, dwarfing any other game's. Skin color, costume color, accents, utility belts, big swords, armor, robot arms, ammunition belts, you name it, and it's probably there (except for capes, but I hear they come later). Once a character levels up, they will even be able to have more than one costume to choose from! Those who really go for role-playing will also have the option to write a short origin for their hero, and create a battle cry for themselves, should they be so inclined.

After doing all this, it is time to choose a server (they are all the same) and get busy! First, you are put through a tutorial level that allows you to learn how the game works with minimal risk to your character. You will gain enough experience in this to get your first level-up and see how your characters powers and abilities grow as your levels increase.

Finally, it is time to get into the main city and get to work! It is pretty easy to solo in this game, especially at the low levels. You can either roam randomly around looking for thugs to kill (they aren't hard to find), or else seek out contacts and obtain missions. Missions are basically tasks involving clearing out buildings of bad guys, looking for a particular enemy to kill, recovering vital information from an enemy-infested computer lab, etc. They are nice and straightforward. A nice feature of the game is that it makes use of "instanced" buildings for indoor missions, which basically means that you don't have to worry about sharing your mission environment with any competitors trying to kill your enemy and accomplish your goals before you do. Definitely an improvement to those who are familiar with "camp-stealing" which is so prevalent in some other MMORPGs.

Another nice change in this game is the fact that hunting for armor and other items to increase your strength is gone. Instead, you can either find or purchase a variety of "enhancements", allowing you to buff up your powers for a few levels. Enhancements are readily available for purchase, plus they drop off enemies all the time, so getting them isn't hard at all. Also, you can get ahold of "Inspirations", which also drop from enemies or can be bought. Inspirations can be saved and used as needed, and they range from self-healing, to temporary damage-increasing buffs, to accuracy increases, etc. Some Inspirations even allow you to bring yourself back to life if you should be killed in action, though you need to use caution when doing this so you don't get killed again immediately by a nearby enemy.

Death penalties in this game are not too harsh at all. You lose a little bit of experience, and that is it. If you don't have the proper Inspiration, or else no one is around to help you, you can choose to be taken to a hospital, where you can recuperate in safetly and go out to the mean streets again.

Getting around Paragon City is a breeze. The city is divided into a number of different zones of varying levels of difficulty. You can choose to travel between the different zones on foot if you want, but there is a cool system of Trams with a stop in each zone which allows for instantaneous travel from one end of town to the other. So, the days of long travel times to get where you want to go are over with.

There's a lot more to the game than what I have put here. There are in-game help screens and a pretty good manual that helps you figure things out. Of course, there are also all kinds of web sites out there where you can get questions answered as well.

Overall, this game is a great way to get on the Internet and have fun with friends, or make new friends, as you don your costume and protect Paragon City from the forces of evil. The first few months of this game have been smooth sailing, and if things keep on like they are, the future of City of Heroes is bright indeed. It is missing the Player-vs-Player element that some gamers really enjoy, but that will change once City of Villians is released in 2005. Enjoy!!

Star Trek The Original Series - The Complete First Season
Star Trek The Original Series - The Complete First Season
DVD ~ William Shatner
Offered by ClassicFlix
Price: $47.21
21 used & new from $13.41

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 stars isn't enough..., August 31, 2004
At last, at last, at last, Star Trek: The Original Series is getting a box-set DVD release as it so richly deserves. It's way overdue, to say the least. I was a bit too young to see the shows when they were first aired, but I grew up on the reruns in the 70's and bought almost the entire series on VHS when they were first released in the mid-80s (and that was expensive for a high-school kid back then, I can assure you). Since I owned so many episodes on VHS, I never picked up any of the 2-episode DVDs, despite extreme temptation. A voice in my head kept saying "Wait for the box sets, wait for the box sets..." Well, I don't usually do what the voices in my head say, but I am glad that I did this time. This series struggled in the ratings on the air and actually only lasted for three seasons before being cancelled in 1969, but the show has since taken on the stuff of legend. The show's impact on American pop culture is obvious today and shows no signs of ever going away.

The cast of the show were perfect for their roles and had a lot to do with making the show the success it was. Featured players for the first season included William Shatner as Captain James T. Kirk, Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock, DeForest Kelley as Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy, James Doohan as Chief Engineer Montgomery "Scotty" Scott, George Takei as Helmsman Sulu, Nichelle Nichols as Communications Officer Uhura, Grace Lee Whitney as Yeoman Janice Rand, and Majel Barrett as Nurse Christine Chapel (Walter Koenig did not join the show until the second season).

This box set encompasses all of the first-season episodes of the Original Star Trek TV series and were first aired on NBC in 1966-1967. Today, sci-fi is all over the TV channels, but back then, SF was very rare for an industry dominated by the Western. In fact, Gene Rodenberry, the series creator, actually helped make his case to NBC to produce the series by saying the show would be like "Wagon Train to the stars". Well, whatever it took, the series made it on the air. This first season is generally ackowledged to be overall the best of the three. Some of the more well-known episodes include:

"Where No Man Has Gone Before" - one of the two pilot episodes produced for the series, this show served to introduce Kirk, Spock, Sulu, and Scotty and features a very impressive guest-star performance from Gary Lockwood as First Officer Gary Mitchell.

"The Corbomite Manuver" - This was the first "regular" episode produced, and introduced McCoy, Uhura, and Rand, and was the first show to feature Kirk's legendary ability to bluff his way out of the most hopeless situations in the face of death itself.

"The Enemy Within" - The famous episode where a transporter malfunction spilts Kirk into two halves, one good, the other evil.

"Balance of Terror" - The episode that introduced the Romulans and gave us what is still one of the best and dramatic "space battle" episodes in TV history.

"Errand of Mercy" - Our first look at the Klingons. No more need be said.

"The City on the Edge of Forever" - A time-travel episode where Kirk, Spock, and McCoy travel back to 1930 New York City and Kirk falls in love with a social worker (played by a young Joan Collins), this love story is considered by many to be the best episode of the series overall.

There are so many other great episodes in this collection, what I wrote above barely scratches the surface. These episodes are an absolute must-have for any science-fiction fan.

Final Fantasy Chronicles: Chrono Trigger/Final Fantasy IV
Final Fantasy Chronicles: Chrono Trigger/Final Fantasy IV
Offered by VoxFan, LLC.
Price: $19.48
103 used & new from $12.67

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Two great games!, August 30, 2004
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This gem is the re-issue of two old SNES games for the Playstation, Final Fantasy IV and Chrono Trigger. I remember my old FF II SNES cartridge very fondly, though I never had the chance to play Chrono Trigger until this reissue. I enjoyed these classic RPG's very much - now for more detailed reviews of the games:

Final Fantasy IV was originally released as Final Fantasy II here in the USA, since Square chose not to release the NES games of Final Fantasy II and III here at that time, and they changed the numbering of the game to avoid confusion here. The story follows the adventures of Cecil, commander of the famed Red Wings squadron of airships and a Dark Knight in the service of the King of Baron. The King, formerly a benevolent ruler, has recently begun to exhibit changed and disturbing behavior. When he sends Cecil and the Red Wings on a mission to assault the hapless mages of Mysidia and steal their Crystal, Cecil begins to seriously question his actions. When he brings his concerns to the King, he is rewarded by being stripped of his command and sent to deliver a package to the nearby Village of Mist along with his friend, Kain the Dragoon. And so the adventure begins...

Those who have mostly played the later Final Fantasies, especially VII, VIII, and X, will find the character creation system in this game to be different. As the game progresses, you will be joined by several different characters who rotate in and out of your party, and each has his or her own unique abilities. For example, Rosa, Cecil's lady love, is strictly a White Magic user, with a small offensive capability, whereas Cecil and Kain are strictly designed around being offensive powerhouses. So, there is not a lot of room for character customization.

Final Fantasy IV also introduced the Active Time Battle (ATB) system to the series. Basically, in this game, each character has a time bar that fills up according to the character's Speed stat. When the bar fills up, the character is able to take an action. The enemies have ATB bars also, but you can't see them. So you will need to plan your strategies carefully, but yet think fast, because while you are debating on what spell to have Rosa or Rydia cast, the enemies will continue to attack.

In addition, those who had previously played this game on the SNES will be pleasantly surprised to see that the game has been completely re-translated, resulting in a storyline that makes a little more sense and is a little easier to understand (and the infamous "Spoony Bard" line is still there). Also, there are many more items and abilities in the game that were left out of the original SNES version.

As to Chrono Trigger, this game is not part of the Final Fantasy series, though it is from the same company that produced those games. Many other reviewers have commented on the long loading times for this game. I found that the load times were on the order of 5 seconds or so for most battles and menu screens. Saving the game takes a little longer. It didin't bother me too much, but I can see how others, particularly those who played the SNES version, could be annoyed.

Chrono Trigger follows the story of Chrono, a young man who is good friends with Lucca, the local inventor. One day during the local town festival, they encounter a mysterious young girl named Marle. While looking at Lucca's latest invention, Marle suddenly disappears, leaving only her pendant behind. Chrono and Lucca follow her...

CT is different from most RPGs in that instead of traversing a large world to discover new places, this world is much smaller and the new discoveries come in the form of time travel. There are several different eras that you will visit in the course of playing this game, ranging from the mists of prehistory to the far future.

As in FFIV, each character in the game has his or her own unique abilities, with certain characters being more "Tank" types and others leaning more towards magic use. However, in this game, you have a little more control over who is in your party at one time. Also, each character has certain "Tech" abilities. Different characters can create powerful Double or Triple Tech attacks when working as a team, thus allowing for many different attacking strategies, depending on the party's composition.

Another cool thing about CT is the fact that, depending on your actions in the game, you will get one of a dozen or so different endings. The different endings enhance the replayability of this game quite a bit. The Chronicles version also contains several new anime cutscenes that were created by the same person who drew the Dragonball anime series. Anyone who has ever watched any episodes of Dragonball Z will see the resemblance immediately.

Overall, this is a truly excellent game, with a lot of nice surprises and features even for those who own the original SNES cartridges. Although the load times are noticeable, they really aren't that bad and shouldn't turn someone off this game. Highly, highly recommended.

Final Fantasy Tactics
Final Fantasy Tactics
Offered by Ship and Save
Price: $85.33
130 used & new from $7.34

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good game, January 21, 2004
This review is from: Final Fantasy Tactics (Video Game)
This is most definitely a much, much different game than the other entries in the Final Fantasy series. You control the young hero, Ramza Beoulve, and a party of adventurers as they become involved in what starts out as a relatively simple case of kidnapping and politics that eventually turns into a crisis that involves a trip into the underworld to save the world from the forces of darkness. Your party starts out as Ramza and a bunch of generic characters, but as you progress through the game you will meet up with a number of friends that will join your party, all of which have their own unique abilities, ranging from forgettable, to helpful, to awesomely-overpowering.
There are a lot of good things about this game. There are a total of 20 "jobs" in the game, ranging from the usual things like Wizards, Healer-types, and sword-wielding Knights to exotic classes such as the Ninja, the Calculator, and those ever-popular Summoners. Each character starts out as one of two "generic" classes, and as they level up and learn new abilities, more and more of the other classes are unlocked and become available. Most of the battles you participate in allow you to take a party of five characters into action, although there are a few exceptions. So, the possible combinations of battle parties one can create is almost endless. The customization part of this game is probably its strongest point, because it allows for hours of fun experimentation as you learn the different jobs' strengths and weaknesses. The battles themselves are somewhat like a giant chess match, where you and the computer manuever your men around a 3-D battlefield, trying to take and hold the most advantageous positions to use to your advantage. One of the best things about all this is that you have to be careful how you use magic. The high-level magic spells in this game can be quite powerful, but the player must learn how to use it properly, or else you will kill off your own group members in addition to the enemies. There are many different types of battlefields, ranging from open prairies, to castles and dungeons, to swampland, and everything in between. The story battles are filled with drama and danger, and the random battles you get into as you move from town to town will keep your skills maxed out, since the monsters in random battles level up along with you, so you will always be challenged, even when revisiting areas near the beginning of the game. The in-game music and graphics are excellent, given that this game is several years old. The shops in the game are where you will go to purchase the vast majority of your weapons, armor, and items, and there is a very well-done "fitting room" system to ensure that you know ahead of time what you are buying and what it will do for you before you spend money on it. Once you have been through a few battles, money worries will rapidly fade. It's also easy to keep plenty of items in stock so you never run out during battle. There are also a number of sidequests, as we have come to expect from all Final Fantasy games, and they are rewarding, fun, and generally worthwhile.
There are a few flaws, though. The plot of the game is rather... convoluted. It's tough, very tough, to keep track of the dozens of cast members and who is on what side, who is betraying who, and so on. There is a feature in the game allowing you to replay key scenes in the story, and also read biographies of all characters, and I found myself going back here often. If you can keep up with everything, the plot is compelling, but it is tough. The ending of the game is very sad and haunting, and won't soon be forgotten. Another flaw is the rather poor Japanese-to-English translations that this game contains. It doesn't really detract from the enjoyment of the game, but it is very jarring.
Despite these flaws, I really think that this game takes many of the well-known traditions of the Final Fantasy series to the next level. Anyone who has played and enjoyed the other games in the series will enjoy this one. I know I did.

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9