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The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (Widescreen Edition) (2002)
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (Widescreen Edition) (2002)
DVD ~ Elijah Wood
Price: $3.99
387 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece of "wow", August 28, 2003
Wow! This is the only expression that can escape my lips as I stare awestruck at the ending credits...
See, I didn't have the opportunity to watch this in the theaters, but knowing how great "Fellowship" was, I couldn't wait to see this DVD. A couple points to highlight here...
1)It's an absolute work of art! Every scene has the perfect amount of lighting and color, and the locations should all grace the front of postcards. Just watching the likes of Frodo, Aragorn, Pippen, etc. in these fantastic places will make you feel as if you're there with them, enjoying some sites, and dreading others. Amazing!
2)The acting is simply phenomenal! Every word spoken and every implied gesture shows the dedication the entire cast had in the making of this epic. The passion in the voice, actions, and eyes found in every actor, in every scene, cannot be found at this level in even many "high profile" films. Outstanding!
3)Music to the world's ears! The music is exceptional in every scene. Music can make or break even the greatest of movies, but every piece here is made exclusively to portray just the right emotion for each scene. It never overpowers, but perfectly compliments the performance of the actors and visual effects team. Beautiful!
4)Special effects make the heart grow fonder! Well, they do in this case. An incredible amount of time has been spent on the likes of Gollum, the orcs and masses of creatures and characters, random spell and lighting effects, and the color scheming of each and every frame of this movie. The effects become a part of the world, and never overshadow the world they are in. Superb!
5)Little things mean a lot! All of the other details, such as direction, staging, camera angles, choreography(wait until you see the awesome action sequences, along with my boy Legolas in action!), costumes, miniatures, etc. Making a book trilogy as legend as Lord of the Rings into these epic films is a project not to be taken lightly. The books are of such a grandiose scale that not every minute detail could make it onto the screen. Picking and choosing the direction and flow of the sequences, as well as the sequences themselves, in such a way as to do service to this epic is a daunting task indeed. The success of this film, along with it's predecesor(and I'm sure "Return of the Kings" as well...we'll soon see!), could only happen with a massive group effort and incredible dedication to this project. The long hours and effort really shows! The end result is a cherished film adaptation that all can enjoy. Note that these films serve to compliment the masterful work of Mr. Tolkien, and not to replace his epic. So enjoy the visual greatness of the films, and enjoy the minute details of the books in this complimentary fashion. From all perspectives, this is a tale that will invite your very heart to a warm place that you'll want to venture again and again.
As for the DVD, yes the extended version will be the cream of the crop, as was the case last year with "Fellowship of the Ring"'s extended version. If you just want to get your fix before the November release date, then renting this version until that time may suffice. I have an ownership problem(I hate renting), so like last year, I'm getting both versions. This is just my complex though; if you do consider getting one version of this movie, get the extended version. If you don't want to wait, then sure...get this theatrical version. In any case, at least rent it...you will not be disappointed. So go ahead, experience for yourself this masterpiece of "wow"!


TimeSplitters 2
TimeSplitters 2
Offered by Pixel Perfect Video Games
Price: $40.00
91 used & new from $2.48

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars nostalgia improved, November 3, 2002
This review is from: TimeSplitters 2 (Video Game)
how many of us remember playing bond for the first time...on that ol' n64? ...gives a lot of us warm and fuzzy feelings plugging the mean, nasty, couldn't possibly have a family that loves them nazis full of all the punishment we saw fit. a whole revolution spawned off of that game, and all the clones came in...and two games from the developers: perfect dark and time splitters.
enter time splitters 2. see, perfect dark was better than the first time splitters...it had a cool story, and the multiplayer edged out ahead, so for ts2, the developers had to make some improvements.
did they succeed? i'll start with the bad first.
the story is a nonsensical journey into confusion. you have no idea who your character is at that moment, let alone why you are where you are. when you choose your mission, the camera operator takes a dive into a portal and you're whisked away to what is, in a sense, a mini movie. you take on a role, whether it be a cyber punk from neo-tokyo, a cowboy in the wild west, a robot...and many others, and play lead until you find a time crystal which furthers your confusion. it's very much like quantum leap, but if you give in to the fun had at doing this, you'll find the huge variety of the stages.
with all that said, the good...
all games do not have to have a major motion picture story...the idea is to have fun, and should you have friends, invite them over and fun you shall have! the multiplayer is phenomenal! it keeps stats on all players, and the options will keep you coming back to improve them. there are more than 120 characters for the choosing, and going through all the tasks to unlock them is a game in itself...and each character has his/her own individual stats. some are crazy...some are right on target...it's fun experimenting with them all, and the different and varied modes to unlock will have you doing just that. you will find all the options from the bond/pd/ts games, and a hugely intricate mapmaker that allows you to make your own story stage, or use it as a fragfest funhouse. the replayability is where ts2 shines.
graphics are awesome, and all the effects and animation will further plaster the smile on your face.
music and sound are amazing...music gets a hats off for all of the work setting moods. the wild west has the whistling guitar sounds you'd expect, the notre dame cathedral has a gregorian chant goin' on...very well done. and the sounds effects are inspired to say the least. the robots sound like the guys that stole r2d2's oil money, and monkeys taunt with gleeful chimp sounds...and of course the guns scream and hollar, and there are a lot of em'
playability can depend on the system. while i play it on the xbox, i've heard that the ps2 controls very well and the gc can take a little getting used to, but not too shabby. that said, the xbox version handles like a dream. you can set it up anyway you want, so if you want a halo style, it's very easy to do. the play engine is very reminiscent of bond/pd/ts, full of animations and awesome collision detection, and the interactivity of the environments is amazing! depending on the accuracy of your weapon, targeting is dead on too...if you're pushing daisies, it's your own fault.
so, if you've read this far, you at least have an interest...try it out! it has more options for this genre than you'll find. and with the only drawback being that you can't play it online (just play unreal or halflife, etc. for that), you won't believe how much fun you can have with this...unless you've played the bond/pd/ts games before. and if you have, well...get ready for some nostalgia...improved.


Super Mario Sunshine
Super Mario Sunshine
Offered by Legendary Games
Price: $87.49
139 used & new from $22.99

5.0 out of 5 stars expectedly surprising, September 3, 2002
This review is from: Super Mario Sunshine (Video Game)
there have actually been times when the thought of a new mario game has made me yawn. zippedy-do-da, it's a new mario game, methinks! he's been given more jobs than the mob, and has appeared and in more games than mega man and lara croft together. so i ask myself, "what is there to get excited about?"
and i don't know why, because every time that mario finds himself in the brouhaha that is his virtual life, i find myself enjoying every minute of it! the graphics are good, but aren't the best you'll see these days, and the story is ho-hum, but these things are expected for mario...as is exceptional gameplay.
besides the beginning of the game, you'll have a choice to embark on many different adventures in the order you see fit. along these adventures, mario will collect "shines", which brighten the island, and be able to open other locations on the island. the play control feels a lot like super mario 64, which is a good thing since super mario 64 was the epitome of what a good 3-d game should be, but it doesn't play exactly like it's daddy. right away mario gains a talking waterhose(surprise) that adds a whole new factor in how objectives are met.
one very pleasing surprise was the difficulty...some things are easy, and others are incredibly hard. the learning curve is pretty good, depending on what order you do everything in, so this game has something for everyone. the end duel wasn't as challenging as i would have liked, but the road to perdition getting there more than makes up for it! getting all the shines is the equivalent of fighting off muggers - you're beat up and weary, but stand proudly...and have the proof to back it up!
yes, this game is very challenging at times, but there is something for everyone to enjoy in mario's vacation hijinks. besides some comic mischief and animated violence(saturday morning style), mom and pop can relax and the older crowd is sure to love yet another mario game...a very good thing!


Resident Evil - Gamecube
Resident Evil - Gamecube
Offered by tax-free
Price: $55.00
182 used & new from $10.30

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars eeriely familiar, May 31, 2002
once upon a time, i heard word of a little game called "Resident Evil" on the original psx. having absolutely NO clue what the game was about, i bought it and began to play. judging from the original box cover, i expected an experience similar to that of a castlevania temperment...instead i received an experience in trouser-wetting. it became one of my all-time favorite games as it completely created a new genre of gaming in Capcom's aptly-named "survival horror" breed(atari's "haunted house" didn't quite cut it). it's revelutionary graphics(for the time), tense-pacing, and control scheme helped deliver a fright induced heart-attack to millions of victims world-wide.
when word got out that a remake was coming to the next generation of game systems, i couldn't believe the stupidity i was hearing, so naturally i read an article about it. better graphics were a given(they better be, at least), but "new locations and scares", "new enemies", and a completely redone puzzle and item scheme sure erased the stupidity aspect in my mind. this had real potential...if they didn't change TOO much about it!
after playing it, i couldn't believe how many times i said "wow"! these graphics HAVE to be seen in action(wait till you see the lightning through the windows, the jaw-dropping lighting effects throughout, the haunting outdoors, etc.)...they COMPLETELY set the mood for the eerieness and spooky atmosphere. the sound is just as impressive...the effects are great(although they sound a bit forced in a couple areas), and the music is perfectly ominous. puzzles weren't necessarily harder than the first by any means, but more interesting for sure(although i will miss my "young-to-old" crowfest...<sniff>), and movies and voice acting are better, although not quite perfect(again, i will miss finding out who the "master of unlocking" is, and who was almost a "jill-sandwich").
now for a few controversial issues, namely the control scheme, pacing relative to the genre, and camera angles. first, the control scheme hasn't changed from the original, and it definitely takes a little getting used to, but really fits the tone perfectly. getting away from the monsters really is tense, as it should be. this feeling of tension is also brought about by the terrific pacing of the game. in this genre, you will NOT find a hero using both arms to carry gatling guns screaming out thousands of shells as the barrels are aimed jedi-style at swarms of sea monkeys with bats and tennis rackets, oh no...how scary would that be? instead you'll find yourself limping around with three rounds left in your pistol and a butter-knife, praying to GOD that there's an herb or ammo around that corner and not a giant set of teeth. it's a trademark that capcom started, and it's perfected in this game. fixed camera angles also only heighten the tension...no glitch-peeking through walls or around corners here.
as such, this game is gory and scary, so it's not for everyone, especially the mickey mouse clubbers...and the difficulty can be steep(this IS a good thing ;) ), but for those that dare challenge it, turn out the lights and get ready...you just may need those clean spiderman boxers.


Devil May Cry
Devil May Cry
Offered by DealTavern
Price: $10.34
302 used & new from $0.50

25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars simply well made...one of the true greats., August 29, 2001
This review is from: Devil May Cry (Video Game)
"they don't make 'em like they used to"...wait! devil
may cry is the industry's answer to that challenge.
"but how do you know that? the game isn't out yet!"
for the few that don't know this already, it's out
in japan, and about 90 percent of japanese games are
in english, with japanese subtitles, of course. rest
assured...this review is based on the full game.
you have to hand it to capcom...making engaging games
is in their genes! take a look at some of the finer
points:
PROS
-graphics- you know, we hear way too much about
graphics these days. back in the day graphics sold
games, but not so anymore. we gamers have "grown
up" we're smarter now...gameplay makes a game. so
why mention graphics? well, the fact of the matter is
graphics do matter. they help devolop atmosphere.
now, many times i've been guilty of taking graphics for
granted, but wait until you get a load of this game in
action! it's as if the ps2 were made for this game
alone. and the graphics do not tax the gameplay one
bit. you'll fight off as many enemies as the game
feels it's capable of cramming onto the screen at any
given time, all high poly with no slowdown...awesome.
-music- i'm a stickler for the audio department, but
capcom seldom lets me down. resident evil-esque music
haunts you, until enemies pop up. the music gets
intense and sets the mood perfectly. the sound effects
and general ambience are outstanding as well. the
atmosphere permeates from this one as grass ruffles and
guns scream out their blasts. superb!
-gameplay- "okay, so it looks and sounds great...so do
so many flops now-a-days." true, so what's to get
all excited about? what makes it unique and stand out?
the gameplay! one of the first combo's you'll be
bustin' out has you using a sword and twin pistols
together. something i haven't read about yet(because not
many have played the full version, yet) is how many
"toys" you can use. believe me, the sword and twin
pistols are the bottom of the barrel...and guns come
with unlimited ammo. think onimusha, another capcom
great, for some of the feel of the combat system. also,
collecting orbs from your defeated foes to "level up"
of sorts, and learn new techniques comes intact. plus,
the silky smooth controls truly consider what gamers
have been complaining about since the time when the term
"3-D" actually impressed. the gameplay makes this game
fun, and that's what playing a game is about, right?
right!
okay, so what could be bad?
well...not much. nothing, really. here are some
nitpicks!
CONS(nitpicking)
-jumping-my nitpick with this is that it's realistic.
crazy, huh? it uses the system from the first
castlevania where you can't change directions in mid-
air. there is nothing wrong with this until you include
platform jumping in your exercise routine. in defense,
the game does help you along in the few platform jumping
moments...
-respect the glass- how many of you gamers
have wasted a bullet or two just to see if the mirror
or glass would break in resident evil, dino crisis,
onimusha, etc.? it didn't work, did it? not here,
either! i can take down the mightiest spider, fend
off the most hideous minion of evil, heck...even give
a t-rex a run for his money, but break glass? huh-uh!
no way! if capcom keeps this up, it could just be
as tradition as a dove in a john woo film!
oh, well. i can't nitpick anymore. this game is a
masterpiece! wait 'til you fight the bosses! face
legions of enemies that fill rooms gauntlet style!
clear your first room of baddies and think you must
be a god! all the detail, all the atmosphere, all
the items, enemies, weapons, secret missions and
attitude! all the time i could have been playing
while typing this! it's violent, so if you're a
concerned parent, keep this in mind, but if you've
played capcom's latest games then you know what to
expect in this department. trust me, get this game...
it's that good!
-ctr3 patrick m. shields iv
(naval crypto-intelligence)


The 10th Kingdom
The 10th Kingdom
DVD ~ Kimberly Williams-Paisley
23 used & new from $5.65

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars an absolute masterpiece!, June 1, 2001
This review is from: The 10th Kingdom (DVD)
living in japan, i had not even heard of this movie. when i saw the cover and the price for 7 and a half hours, and had the longing to see a good fantasy movie, i decided to try it out. little did i know that this would become one of my all-time favorite movies! why?
...well, a few good reasons...
-the writing is brilliant! taking many folk lore legends and integrating them seemlessly appears to be a simple deed for these writers. simply amazing...
-the incredible cast...something on the package that caught my attention happened to be the cast. john larroquette! ed o'neill! al bundy is in this film! i had to get it, i was hooked on the star power alone.
-the settings...ah, the settings. i was awestruck that some of these places exist on this earth. since so much of this movie was filmed outdoors, the crew needed to find places that would be fantastical; something out of a fairy tale. and find these places they did. right on!
-the special effects. is this a mini-series?! a made for television event?! really?! one is hard- pressed to find effects on "the big screen" with this level of believability. the idea was to have all the eye-candy happen on the screen, but not to over= shadow the cast and plot. this movie is saturated with awe-inspiring special effects, but these effects never take the place of the terrific acting. they are timed with precision accuracy. phenomenal!
-the length. after watching this movie i was left longing for a sequel. i wanted more! how could one watch for so long but still want more? like so many good stories, there is so much more to tell! the plot is so diverse that this movie had to be long. having a great story to tell, the producers(robert halmi sr. and jr.) did not want to rush it. they wanted the whole story. they got the whole story they wanted, but sparked a gigantic world with myriad stories.
as the viewers, we are brought into this magical world with a guy(john larroquette), and a girl(kimberly williams). any viewer can relate to, and be put in the place of, these "normal everyday joes". when the "real" world and the fantasy world are connected by a hapistance event, our chauffeurs are introduced to this amazing world, and the story unfolds.
the story is vast and the journey is whimsical, so make time for this epic...it is more than worth it!
...by the way, (spoiler alert!)to get to the "hidden" 10th kingdom on the dvd special features, simply access the map(the one with details of all the kingdoms), then highlight the main kingdom and press left...ta-dah!


Gran Turismo 3 A-spec
Gran Turismo 3 A-spec
Offered by Media-Recovery
Price: $14.99
945 used & new from $0.01

97 of 115 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars not quite five..., May 31, 2001
This review is from: Gran Turismo 3 A-spec (Video Game)
i love this game but, with that said, i want to get the bad stuff out of the way...
LESS CARS-many less...a lot of my favorites have gone the way of the dodo. 126 cars to start with, with a few more added later, is a lot, but when compared to four to five times that in gt2, it pales in comparison...
DUMB A.I.-sure the computer cars are a little more "intelligent" than before, but when a random car that had never been touched slams its brakes, effectively taking it out of the race, just to stop the player, then their is work to be done... besides this, all cars still follow a racing line, albeit not as religiously as before. a.i. could be better...
NO DAMAGE-understandably, the manufacturers will not allow the gt producers to portray their perfect cars as anything less than that(i.e. no scratches or dents in these work machines), but slamming a wall at 200km/h plus,(i have japanese version) will have repurcussions. i will gripe and gripe until this is corrected!
NO WORKING HEADLIGHTS-i will give my right eye for a left one that can see the road! why turn on the headlights at all? the street lights obviously do an adequate job! the headlights look pretty, but do nothing! yes this is a minor gripe, but simple physics is not too much to ask for! argh...
ok...with that out of the way, time for the good...
GRAPHICS-obviously being the first thing one will notice, the graphics are phenomonal! sure, the audience remains a cardboard cut-out and the rear- view mirror does not present all the fixins(very generic), but with these being the only flaws, this game is truly a sight to behold. the lighting is extremely impressive(i was actually blinded by the sun) and the textures are right on. i have read of texture lighting problems, but have yet to experience any. all the touches are in the right places. and the replays...beautiful!
MUSIC-again, sony got different bands for the soundtrack...like lenny kravitz, feeder, grand theft audio, overseer...it really keeps you motivated. although i do like the music in gt2 a bit better(one of the best video game soundtracks ever), this music was still right on!
MORE RACES-even more races including the gt2 rally races and some f-1 racing this time, the race options are amazing!
IMPROVED PHYSICS-not a very noticeable change, as gt2 had great physics, but a significant one at that. rear and mid engine cars do not flair as wildly out of control as in the past, and the new wet ground physics are great. the pinball action off the side rails remains, however...
running out of space, i realize there is a lot to say about this game, and it is an extremely enjoyable experience. granted, the time to make each car model limited the selection this time around, but there are still more cars than any other ps2 racer. try it out and see...especially if you have never played a gran turismo game...you are sure to enjoy!


Chrono Cross - PlayStation
Chrono Cross - PlayStation
Price: $9.99
138 used & new from $4.00

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars five simple reasons for five well-earned stars, December 28, 2000
1: the long awaited sequel to chrono trigger.
fact: although even if you haven't played the original, chrono cross is still a very enjoyable game.
2: an absolutely gorgeous soundtrack
fact: my wife would listen to the 2nd owenverworld track while i was working.
3: the best graphics you're likely to see on playstation.
fact: the in-game and computer graphics are extremely close... also, the game has a bright feel to it...very catchy.
4: the best original rpg battle system implemented for years.
fact: every single fight was actually fun. seriously...even though it could be annoying engaging in the fight some- times(after repeated fights in a few instances), the battle itself is still exciting.
5: a very engrossing story.
fact: although it does mention events from the first game, it is in a way like a harry potter novel...go to book four find a story, including back story, that is engrossing and still bears some of the weight of the original.
-much like a good book on a snowy sunday, this game will take you out of your home and to a far off place like no game has for a long while(sorry final fantasy vii and viii). besides final fantasy ix, which has redeemed the series for this sailor, this game is a must have for any fan of rpg's or fantasy novels.
...ctr3 patrick m. shields iv (usn)-cryptotech(intel-decryption)


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