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Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein
Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein
DVD ~ Bud Abbott
Price: $8.49
50 used & new from $3.45

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious, even after 60 years, November 4, 2010
Bud Abbot and Lou Costello Meet Frankenstein, filmed in 1948, is a horror-comedy parody of classic monster movie clichés and constructs. Directed by Charles Barton and released by Universal, it has the explicit use of popular "monsters", Dracula, the Frankenstein monster, and the Wolf Man. As its title dictates, the film stars Bud Abbot and Lou Costello, as well as Bela Lugosi and Lon Chaney Jr. as Dracula and the Wolf Man respectively.

Chick Young (Bud Abbott) and Wilbur Grey (Lou Costello) are two baggage clerks that while tending to two packages, get caught up in the mess of Dracula and the Frankenstein monster. A Mr. McDougal, the owners of the packages and a "McDougal's House of Horrors museum", demands that Young and Grey both tend to the packages until his insurance man arrives. While they wait, both the monsters escape their cells and Dracula initiates a plan to transfer Grey's brain with that of the aggressive and uncontrollable Frankenstein.

The film, shot in '48 and in black and white, makes impressive use of the visual effects available at the time. The Dracula and Wolf Man transformation in particular look great for a film over 50 years old. Dracula changes from a humanoid form to a large bat using a form of cell animation, while the Wolf Man transformation is handled with time lapse photography, both of which yield great results. Other aspects of the movie do not fair so well, however. The jungle scene in particular has low visibility and detail thanks to the night setting, the black and white footage, and the dense jungle set.

The plot is far from magnificent, but it's not meant to win any awards, the film is a comedy first and foremost, and in that front, it succeeds. Situational comedy is plentiful, as is some slapstick humor, and combined with often outrageous scenarios, Bud Abbot and Lou Costello Meet Frankenstein is highly recommended.


Sin and Punishment: Star Successor - Nintendo Wii
Sin and Punishment: Star Successor - Nintendo Wii
Offered by newfiregaming
Price: $14.99
81 used & new from $6.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Simple, mindless old school fun, July 6, 2010
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Sin and Punishment: Star Successor is the sequel to the cult classic "Sin and Punishment" released only on the Nintendo 64, and only in Japan, in 2000. The original game earned much praise and a hardcore cult following, but despite it launching with an English voice track, the game never saw the light of day outside of the land of the rising sun. In 2008 Nintendo, in an effort to return to "classic" franchises and play styles, resurrected the series, and two years later Star Successor was born.

Star Successor is very much like other treasure games, including its prequel; hair-trigger shooting with arcade replay and insane bosses. Star Successor doesn't stray from the formula. A truly horrible story (both in plot and presentation) weaves together incredible stage after stage. Boss battles aren't limited to the end of a level, as you'll often find yourself fighting 2-3 within each stage. Bullets crowd the screen, and the game in general has a noticeable aura of insanity.

At first the dozens upon dozens of enemies and bullets on screen make the game feel as though too much is going on at any one time. "Bullet Hell" doesn't begin to describe the chaos one finds in the latter stages. To remedy this, Treasure created a very well done difficulty curve and system. Newer players will want to start on the Easy mode, and the games difficulty ramps up with each stage in a very linear fashion.

The game is as creative as they come; music, creature, pacing, and level design are genius and truly deserving of the name "Nintendo". Boss battles especially are some of the most memorable you ll ever see, simply because nothing like them has graced a console in so many years. Star Successor is the definition of "old-school shooter", and although its hard as nails, it will never make you want to tear your hair out. The game runs at a solid 60fps despite the plethora of action on screen. Online leader boards contribute to the arcade replay value, and local co-op screams "Wii fun".

Graphics, on the other hand, don't fair as well. There are rumors that Star Successor started its life as a GameCube game, and if its true it shows. Character models and environments have low level detail, and although there are some nice effects, it ultimately fails to pass or even reach the graphical fidelity of games like Metroid Prime 3 or Red Steel 2, both of which also had a locked 60fps. Keep in mind, however, that Star Successor almost always has upward of 30 enemies on screen at any time.

As far as replayability goes, S&PSS benefits from the same simple and mindless fun that most Wii rail shooters have, and its that fun that brings most players back, replaying a single level over and over again. What differentiates S&P from many other Wii rail shooters is the inclusion of online leaderboards (a few games, like Darkside Chronicles and Ghost Squad, already have leaderboards), and wholly different style of gameplay (your finger may not release the trigger for minutes on end), and not a single branching path. Just about every rail shooter on Wii features branching paths in some form or another, but S&P does not. In a way, it fits the gameplay better, as S&P is more about speed and frantic shooting than precision or building suspense. To further exemplify this, several enemies go down in a single shot, and come in hoards instead of waves.

Probably the most noticeable difference that separates S&P from the rest of the its kind is that the game is a 3rd person rail shooter. Instead of "viewing" the game from 1st person, your character is always visible on screen, and must be maneuvered out of harms way. Its this feature that allows the intensity of S&P to build and work. having to constantly evade bullets (oh so many bullets), enemies, and obstacles all the while trying to deal damage yourself is where S&P really shines. In fact, the game is only a rail shooters for lack of a better term. A much better comparison than House of the Dead to S&P would be Star Fox to S&P.

For $50, buyers get one of the best Wii games this year, and definitely one of the most unique games this generation. Its a different game style that unfortunately is getting harder and harder to find. Online leaderboards and local co-op play add to the games inherent replay value, as do various difficulty modes and multiple characters with different abilities (charge shot vs. lock on). Those thatve made up there mind about rail shooters may be surprised, as S&P is far from what you've come to expect from the genre, but all the while fans of the genre will enjoy the same simple, mindless fun.


Pokemon Trading Card Game:  HeartGold and SoulSilver Theme Deck - Mind Flood
Pokemon Trading Card Game: HeartGold and SoulSilver Theme Deck - Mind Flood
4 used & new from $20.11

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very good prearranged deck, June 16, 2010
= Durability:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:3.0 out of 5 stars 
The "Mind Flood" theme deck is one of the first decks to be released with the new expansion pack; HeartGold SoulSilver (as of mid May, a newer expansion, HGSS Unleashed has been released). The new expansion includes new Pokemon Prime cards (to replace EX and LV.X cards) and a whole new gameplay mechanic; the Legend cards. Legend cards are two cards that can only be played together, and form to become a super strong PKMN.

The "Mind Flood" deck doesn't include any PKMN Prime or Legend cards, but i still consider it worth getting. Included in the theme deck are
-13 Water Energy
-11 Psychic Energy
-2 Pokeball (trainer)
-1 Full Heal (trainer)
-2 Moomoo Milk (trainer)
-2 Bill (trainer)
-2 Pro. Elm's Training Method (supporter)
-2 Pro. Oak's New Method (supporter)
-2 Jynx
-4 Slowpoke
-2 Slowbro
-4 Drowzee
-1 Hypno *
-4 Exeggute
-1 Exeggutor *
-4 Totodile
-2 Croconaw
-1 Feraligatr * (foil)

The "Mind Flood" deck includes 3 "star" pokemon, or rare cards. The obvious foil Feraligatr, regular Hypno and regular Exeggutor. All of these cards are exclusive to the deck, as Feraligatr can only be found as a regular non-foil card in boosters, and both Exeggutor and Hypno can only be found as foil cards in the boosters.

The deck box also includes a playing mat (with directions for novice players), a play manual and card list, a coin, and damage counters. In other words, like most other PKMN theme decks, this one is great for collectors and new players alike, as it includes everything needed to start playing Pokemon.


Pokemon Legends Card Game HeartGold & SoulSilver Theme Deck Feraligatr
Pokemon Legends Card Game HeartGold & SoulSilver Theme Deck Feraligatr
Offered by The Gaming Broker (US Seller)
Price: $9.00
2 used & new from $9.00

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very good prearranged deck, June 16, 2010
= Durability:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:3.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The "Mind Flood" theme deck is one of the first decks to be released with the new expansion pack; HeartGold SoulSilver (as of mid May, a newer expansion, HGSS Unleashed has been released). The new expansion includes new Pokemon Prime cards (to replace EX and LV.X cards) and a whole new gameplay mechanic; the Legend cards. Legend cards are two cards that can only be played together, and form to become a super strong PKMN.

The "Mind Flood" deck doesn't include any PKMN Prime or Legend cards, but i still consider it worth getting. Included in the theme deck are
-13 Water Energy
-11 Psychic Energy
-2 Pokeball (trainer)
-1 Full Heal (trainer)
-2 Moomoo Milk (trainer)
-2 Bill (trainer)
-2 Pro. Elm's Training Method (supporter)
-2 Pro. Oak's New Method (supporter)
-2 Jynx
-4 Slowpoke
-2 Slowbro
-4 Drowzee
-1 Hypno *
-4 Exeggute
-1 Exeggutor *
-4 Totodile
-2 Croconaw
-1 Feraligatr * (foil)

The "Mind Flood" deck includes 3 "star" pokemon, or rare cards. The obvious foil Feraligatr, regular Hypno and regular Exeggutor. All of these cards are exclusive to the deck, as Feraligatr can only be found as a regular non-foil card in boosters, and both Exeggutor and Hypno can only be found as foil cards in the boosters.

The deck box also includes a playing mat (with directions for novice players), a play manual and card list, a coin, and damage counters. In other words, like most other PKMN theme decks, this one is great for collectors and new players alike, as it includes everything needed to start playing Pokemon.


Sandisk 2GB Secure Digital SD Card (SDSDB-2048) & BlueProton USB 2.0 Card Reader Writer
Sandisk 2GB Secure Digital SD Card (SDSDB-2048) & BlueProton USB 2.0 Card Reader Writer

5.0 out of 5 stars Just what you'd expect, June 5, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The package comes with a SanDisk 2GB SD and BlueProtons USB SD reader and writer. What it means is that you get a single 2GB SD card and a USB adapter for easy access to the materials saved onto any Sd card. The adapter works with both regular Sd and SDHC cards. Since most computers do not have a native SD card port, you'll find the included adapter very useful.

The adapter feels light, and the plastic doesnt feel as sturdy as id have liked, but its cheap and works, so its hard to complain. When its plugged in to any USB port, the adapter will light up using a red LED, which is a neat litle feature. Its plug in and play easy, there no required software or anything like that.

The memory card does what all other do, it holds well over 1000 pictures (that will vary with each camera though), and at least 20 WiiWare and Virtual Console games on my Wii. The speed is fine, but since is inst an SDHC, that really isnt a problem.


Monster Hunter Tri - Classic Controller Pro Bundle - Nintendo Wii
Monster Hunter Tri - Classic Controller Pro Bundle - Nintendo Wii
Offered by DealTavern
Price: $64.98
14 used & new from $23.61

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Difficult, complex, and long, but oh so satisfing, June 4, 2010
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Monster Hunter is a franchise of limited popularity in the Western world, it demands a great deal of time, perseverance, and devotion. Ill say this right off the bat, Monster Hunter tri is an incredible game, but beware, it is not a game for folks that want to play for a few minutes then leave. It has an incredibly difficult learning curve (but much less so than previous MH titles), and its that difficulty that makes MH3 so rewarding and frustrating at the same time.

For the first few hours, gamers won't find much in terms of action and adventure. MH3 is a VERY deep game, it has strategies with branching strategies that can only be achieved by using OTHER strategies. The first few hours will be spent going through text box after text box, collecting remedial items, and learning the aforementioned strategies. This game is as complex as they come, and i will openly refuse to recommend it to those who want a simple type of fun, as this game will not deliver it.

After the initial slosh through the long tutorial (which is cleverly disguised in a plan story mode), you'll be set out into the world to fight monsters, collect bounties, and simply harvest necessary items. Eventually you gain the ability to create your own armor and weapons based from the items you've collected. Defeating monsters grants you the ability to "carve" them, IE collect items from the monster. Items are unique to specific monsters, and several are necessary to complete a piece of armor/weapon. Its a chore at times, but the brilliant system replaces the archaic leveling up of ancient RPGs. As you progress in the game, you'll gain access to new lands, deadly monsters, and different items, all of which can be used to build newer, stronger weapons/armor.

Everything you build has a distinct appearance or similarity to the monster it originated from. Much more than color is used to identify a weapon/armor to its original monster. Physical traits, edges, fangs, textures, and in game attributes are all often used to bring a weapon together with its original source. For example, a monster has a heavy poison attack, the weapon created from its materials will have its own poison attacks, or the armor may be resistant to poisonous attacks.

It the weapon/armor crafting/upgrading system that grants MH3 such an addictive quality. As soon as you find a new monster, you start to wonder how its weapon will look or handle, or how the armor will be. Although it takes a long time to amass the required materials or money to craft a certain weapon, the ending feels so worth it.

There are several "large monsters" (18 in total), each with its own style, attack patterns, weaknesses, strengths, materials, and appearance. Since each one is unique and different, and there are so many different monsters, it hard to get bored.

Which brings me to my next topic, the actual battle system. The core combat in MH3 is very much like a simple 3D brawler. There is no camera lock on, several combos, full camera control, and dodging. A good deal of criticism directed toward this game was about the camera system. At first it was difficult and frustrating to use and handle, since constant movement of the camera was necessary to fight and kill a monster. After practice, the game rubs off on you, and you begin to handle the camera before certain events, such as evading or running away. Items are an absolute must, since the enemies are strong, and have much, much more hit points than any warrior. Items to raise attack/def, health, stamina, efficiency, and weapon sharpness (after repeated use, a blade weapon looses sharpness and deals less damage). Most of these items can be made by combining materials found in worlds, others can be bought, or other given to you.

Monster Hunter Tri has some of the very best graphics and art design found on Wii. It's right up there with Red Steel 2, Super Mario Galaxy, Metroid Prime 3, and Dead Space Extraction in terms of graphical fidelity. Everything from character models to armor and monsters is incredibly detailed (so much so that some of the details are "clustered" together in the Wii's limited 480p presentation), locations are beautifully redendered, designed, and animated in such as way that each area is it own unique and living world. Monsters are given an incredible amount of polish, from design to animation as well.

Monster Hunter Tri is one of the few MH games to include online play, and Capcom has done an incredible job with the online infrastructure in the game. Like everything else about it, Monster Hunter Tri has a complex online system that links servers to lobbies to "cities" of only 4 players. After the hard learning curve, youll find buddies, shops, exclusive quests, and items that can only be gained in the online mode. Players can join and play with any group of people without friend codes, gameplay is almost always lag free, and keyboard and WiiSpeak chat is included. To use the keyboard, the game provides a simple on screen variation if you don't have a USB keyboard; otherwise it's as easy as typing and posting. To use WiiSpeak, at least 2 people must have the devise, and have it enabled, and then each must be a "friend". Keep in mind this is not Nintendo's infamous "friend codes", instead its merely sending a friend request, and having the recipient accept it.

--------On Wii Speak--------

Having played Monster Hunter Tri online, ive found (on several occasions) that those using WiiSpeak MUST turn down music and SFX volume in order to use it effectivly. See, the music/SFX are easily consumed by the "echo cycle" described below, so turning down the in-game volume yields great results. If BOTH parties have said settings, WiiSpeak works well enough. The voice quality is still low, there is still the second lag, and you still can't communicate with more than 1 person at a time without your voice turning into a confusion of random bable, but it works.

The microphone is intended to receive the voices of several people, and in that effect it attempts to receive a wide range of noises, including those from your TV speakers. What this does is create long echoes. Noise sent from one Wii Speak is received by the other, is produced by the others TV set, and is received by Wii Speak 2 and set back to Wii Speak 1. This vicious cycle never ends.
--------------------------

The bundled Classic Controller Pro is Nintendo's upgrade to its existing Classic Controller. It was developed with the help and insight of the actual MH3 development team, and is sold for $10 more in this box set. The new additions include nice grips, redesigned shoulder buttons, control sticks, and cord. The new extras do help round out the controller, but obvious problems persist.

The controller is still wired to a Wii remote in order to function. In a generation where wireless is standard, it is a nuisance and shame that Nintendo, once a pioneer in wireless controller, has limited its controller to a wire. Its not a huge deal as it doesn't affect gameplay or control in any way, but it is something worth considering for those interesting in "re-buying" a CC.

The Classic Controller launched without a rumble feature, and now the CC Pro has done the same. Since the CC is tethered to a WiiMote, and gathers its power from it, a lack of rumble is sure to safe battery life. It does take away from some of the experience however. Although it is true that Sony launched the Play Station 3 without a rumble controller, they have since released the DualShock 3 to remedy it.
Since it has no battery source of its own, or any internal mechanics to support a rumble feature, the CC Pro is very light. The plastic used is sturdy, so it doesn't feel cheap or breakable, but it does feel flimsy.

The CC Pro has a gloss on top of the controller, similar to the Wii remote, but the entire bottom of it lacks any of the gloss, OR a matte finish like the newer Wiimotes of Xbox 360 controllers.

The CC Pro is being sold standalone for $20, and it becomes obvious why it lacks a sense of luxury, but it's disappointing that Nintendo would go through all the trouble of redesigning a controller only to do it poorly. The low price means that it isn't a serious investment, but the additions don't really warrant another purchase for those already stock full of original CCs. New comers are very welcome though.

I find that the Wii Mote control scheme may turn off players, but it is responsive and works great. There are no awkward gestures of button holdings, and since most of the game doesn't offer you full 360 degree camera control (horizontal yes, but vertical control is limited to set intervals), an analog stick is really not required.

Monster Hunter Tri is a difficult game, one that takes a great length of time to understand, and an even greater time to master. It's a game that demands time, attention, and focus; casual gamers beware, this is NOT a pick up and play title. It is, however, very satisfying to spend hours to forge a weapon, or finally defeat a monster after an hour long battle. Despite its faults, it manages to go on beyond its pieces and become a masterpiece.


Wii Classic Controller Pro - Black
Wii Classic Controller Pro - Black
Offered by RAREWAVES-IMPORTS
Price: $40.32
38 used & new from $22.50

48 of 65 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A decent upgrade, but not a must buy, June 4, 2010
= Fun:3.0 out of 5 stars 
The Classic Controller Pro is Nintendo's upgrade to its existing Classic Controller. The new additions include nice grips, redesigned shoulder buttons, control sticks, and cord. The new extras do help round out the controller, but obvious problems persist.

The controller is still wired to a Wii remote in order to function. In a generation where wireless is standard, it is a nuisance and shame that Nintendo, once a pioneer in wireless controller, has limited its controller to a wire. Its not a huge deal as it doesn't affect gameplay or control in any way, but it is something worth considering for those interesting in "re-buying" a CC.

The Classic Controller launched without a rumble feature, and now the CC Pro has done the same. Since the CC is tethered to a WiiMote, and gathers its power from it, a lack of rumble is sure to safe battery life. It does take away from some of the experience however. Although it is true that Sony launched the Play Station 3 without a rumble controller, they have since released the DualShock 3 to remedy it.
Since it has no battery source of its own, or any internal mechanics to support a rumble feature, the CC Pro is very light. The plastic used is sturdy, so it doesn't feel cheap or breakable, but it does feel flimsy.

The CC Pro has a gloss on top of the controller, similar to the Wii remote, but the entire bottom of it lacks any of the gloss, OR a matte finish like the newer Wiimotes of Xbox 360 controllers.

At a cheap price of $20, it becomes obvious why the CC Pro lacks a sense of luxury, but it's disappointing that Nintendo would go through all the trouble of redesigning a controller only to do it poorly. The low price means that it isn't a serious investment, but the additions don't really warrant another purchase for those already stock full of original CCs. New comers are very welcome though.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 14, 2013 1:51 AM PDT


Monster Hunter Tri - Standard
Monster Hunter Tri - Standard
Offered by DealTavern
Price: $15.98
84 used & new from $4.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly deep, satisfing, and difficult, June 4, 2010
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Monster Hunter is a franchise of limited popularity in the Western world, it demands a great deal of time, perseverance, and devotion. Ill say this right off the bat, Monster Hunter tri is an incredible game, but beware, it is not a game for folks that want to play for a few minutes then leave. It has an incredibly difficult learning curve (but much less so than previous MH titles), and its that difficulty that makes MH3 so rewarding and frustrating at the same time.

For the first few hours, gamers won't find much in terms of action and adventure. MH3 is a VERY deep game, it has strategies with branching strategies that can only be achieved by using OTHER strategies. The first few hours will be spent going through text box after text box, collecting remedial items, and learning the aforementioned strategies. This game is as complex as they come, and i will openly refuse to recommend it to those who want a simple type of fun, as this game will not deliver it.

After the initial slosh through the long tutorial (which is cleverly disguised in a plan story mode), you'll be set out into the world to fight monsters, collect bounties, and simply harvest necessary items. Eventually you gain the ability to create your own armor and weapons based from the items you've collected. Defeating monsters grants you the ability to "carve" them, IE collect items from the monster. Items are unique to specific monsters, and several are necessary to complete a piece of armor/weapon. Its a chore at times, but the brilliant system replaces the archaic leveling up of ancient RPGs. As you progress in the game, you'll gain access to new lands, deadly monsters, and different items, all of which can be used to build newer, stronger weapons/armor.

Everything you build has a distinct appearance or similarity to the monster it originated from. Much more than color is used to identify a weapon/armor to its original monster. Physical traits, edges, fangs, textures, and in game attributes are all often used to bring a weapon together with its original source. For example, a monster has a heavy poison attack, the weapon created from its materials will have its own poison attacks, or the armor may be resistant to poisonous attacks.
It the weapon/armor crafting/upgrading system that grants MH3 such an addictive quality. As soon as you find a new monster, you start to wonder how its weapon will look or handle, or how the armor will be. Although it takes a long time to amass the required materials or money to craft a certain weapon, the ending feels so worth it.

There are several "large monsters" (18 in total), each with its own style, attack patterns, weaknesses, strengths, materials, and appearance. Since each one is unique and different, and there are so many different monsters, it hard to get bored.

Which brings me to my next topic, the actual battle system. The core combat in MH3 is very much like a simple 3D brawler. There is no camera lock on, several combos, full camera control, and dodging. A good deal of criticism directed toward this game was about the camera system. At first it was difficult and frustrating to use and handle, since constant movement of the camera was necessary to fight and kill a monster. After practice, the game rubs off on you, and you begin to handle the camera before certain events, such as evading or running away. Items are an absolute must, since the enemies are strong, and have much, much more hit points than any warrior. Items to raise attack/def, health, stamina, efficiency, and weapon sharpness (after repeated use, a blade weapon looses sharpness and deals less damage). Most of these items can be made by combining materials found in worlds, others can be bought, or other given to you.

Monster Hunter Tri has some of the very best graphics and art design found on Wii. It's right up there with Red Steel 2, Super Mario Galaxy, Metroid Prime 3, and Dead Space Extraction in terms of graphical fidelity. Everything from character models to armor and monsters is incredibly detailed (so much so that some of the details are "clustered" together in the Wii's limited 480p presentation), locations are beautifully redendered, designed, and animated in such as way that each area is it own unique and living world. Monsters are given an incredible amount of polish, from design to animation as well.

Monster Hunter Tri is one of the few MH games to include online play, and Capcom has done an incredible job with the online infrastructure in the game. Like everything else about it, Monster Hunter Tri has a complex online system that links servers to lobbies to "cities" of only 4 players. After the hard learning curve, youll find buddies, shops, exclusive quests, and items that can only be gained in the online mode. Players can join and play with any group of people without friend codes, gameplay is almost always lag free, and keyboard and WiiSpeak chat is included. To use the keyboard, the game provides a simple on screen variation if you don't have a USB keyboard; otherwise it's as easy as typing and posting. To use WiiSpeak, at least 2 people must have the devise, and have it enabled, and then each must be a "friend". Keep in mind this is not Nintendo's infamous "friend codes", instead its merely sending a friend request, and having the recipient accept it.

--------On Wii Speak--------

Having played Monster Hunter Tri online, ive found (on several occasions) that those using WiiSpeak MUST turn down music and SFX volume in order to use it effectivly. See, the music/SFX are easily consumed by the "echo cycle" described below, so turning down the in-game volume yields great results. If BOTH parties have said settings, WiiSpeak works well enough. The voice quality is still low, there is still the second lag, and you still can't communicate with more than 1 person at a time without your voice turning into a confusion of random bable, but it works.
The microphone is intended to receive the voices of several people, and in that effect it attempts to receive a wide range of noises, including those from your TV speakers. What this does is create long echoes. Noise sent from one Wii Speak is received by the other, is produced by the others TV set, and is received by Wii Speak 2 and set back to Wii Speak 1. This vicious cycle never ends.

-----------------

Monster Hunter Tri is a difficult game, one that takes a great length of time to understand, and an even greater time to master. It's a game that demands time, attention, and focus; casual gamers beware, this is NOT a pick up and play title. It is, however, very satisfying to spend hours to forge a weapon, or finally defeat a monster after an hour long battle. Despite its faults, it manages to go on beyond its pieces and become a masterpiece.


Pokemon HeartGold Version
Pokemon HeartGold Version
Offered by good_ideas
Price: $119.99
172 used & new from $43.02

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 15 years later and still going strong, June 2, 2010
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
Back in the late 90's, there wasn't a single place in the US or Japan where you couldn't find something or someone related to Pokemon. The franchise was huge, penetrated popular culture and selling to millions of kiddos around the world things like plush dolls, card games, clothing, accessories, TV shows, spin-offs, and of course the actual games. After a few years, Pokemon mania died off a bit, but 15 years later the series is still popular, still interesting, and still great. Pokemon HeartGold is no exception.

Based on the sequels to the original Pokemon(PKMN) games, HeartGold and SoulSilver are remakes of past, similarly named, games, Gold and Silver. The DS games retain all of the originals features, such as real time events, certain PKMN, and characters and regions. The region in these games, Johto, hasn't been seen in about 10 years, and pleasant nostalgia comes along with it. New comers to the games wont find memories, but they will discover a very well polished and designed PKMN adventure.

The core game is similar to previous PKMN games, only this time players find themselves in Jotho AND Kanto. Both lands get design, graphical, and contextual upgrades from the original games (or the GBA remakes). Cities now have water fountains or brick roads or more flowers, etc. While these are hardly important in the grand scheme or things, it does provide a more pleasant viewing experience.

HeartGold and SoulSilver have many of the same multiplayer features as Platinum, but still retains basic compatibility with all of the DS PKMN games. If a friend has Diamond version, you can still communicate, trade, and battle said friend if your game is HG/SS. More advanced features such as WiFi Plaza and variations to existing minigames and options are locked to HG/SS and Platinum. A select few are only playable if both parties have HG/SS. The games come with a neat booklet including a list of compatible games and how they are compatible.

The adventure itself is just as well crafted as were the originals, Gold and Silver. The Johto region earned a graphical face lift, new PKMN are integrated into the older infrastructure, and new features make the adventure feel new and fresh, yet still keep the original's soul (no pun intended). Instead of the traditional 8 Gym Leaders, HG/SS spans 16 Gyms, in two different regions, providing potentially hundereds of hours of enjoyment. Unfortunately, as veterans of the orginals Gold/Silver may remeber, the Kanto region is no where near as interesting as Johto in the games. I dont mean this from a design prospective, but in terms of content. Yes, both regions contain 8 Gyms each, but Johto has many more side quests and plot points than does Kanto. One example of this would be the fact that Team Rocket and their activities are almost exclusive to Johto. This results in the playthrough of Kanto being much faster than that of Johto.

For better or for worse, the battle system and overall design is identical to the previous DS games. 2D sprites "battle" each other on a 2D plane, certain attack moves use 3D effects, more geometry is employed on the over world than the actual battle screen, and PKMN still "screech" with outdated 8-bit sounds. Your still fighting through Gyms to reach the Elite Four, and you still trying to "catch 'em all". The overall PKMN system is just as polished as its ever been, but the similarity to previous games may ward off veteran players.

Those looking for the next evolution of PKMN games will be sorely disappointed. Those willing to overlook the repeated design, or new comers to the series will find much enjoyment out of the game. Being a PKMN game, its accessible and entertaining to all ages, kiddos will be glued to their DS system for hours, yet older folks will find the surprising depth and customization enjoyable.

Despite being very similar to past games, the classic PKMN formula proves itself yet again, and provides a very lengthy and great adventure. The lack of any substantial change and outdated design keeps HeartGold and SoulSilver from reaching "must-have" status, but fans of the franchise will find much to like.


Belkin USB 2.0 4-Port Ultra-Mini Hub
Belkin USB 2.0 4-Port Ultra-Mini Hub
Price: $9.80
45 used & new from $2.98

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inexpensive, plug and play ease, June 1, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The Belkin 4 Ultra mini hub is a simple, cheap, and well crafted piece of hardware. Its plug and play, works well and doesn't feel cheap of flimsy.

The hub has a single USB 2.0 port on every side of its square frame, with a short wire coming out of an angled side. The short wire can either be a great deal or a horrible design flaw, depending on what your using it for. I used the hub mainly with my Wii laying flat, connecting a WiiSpeak and keyboard. The short wire is the perfect length to place the hub directly on top on my Wii (in the downward position).

On another device, however, the hub would simply hang, and could become a nuisance or help tangle wires. If placed on the back of a desktop tower, for example, the hanging hub, with its extending wires and connected usb devices, could very easily tangle with other wires. The hub does have a small red LED, so locating it in the dark is no problem.

The construction is small, yet sturdy and well designed. I've had this product for several months now, and it hasn't overheated, fried, or simply died. A great deal at the current price.


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