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LEGO Lord of the Rings - Xbox 360
LEGO Lord of the Rings - Xbox 360
Offered by NYC Electronics
Price: $19.87
208 used & new from $5.05

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow! LEGO outdoes themselves with this release!, April 9, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Having played most (but not all) of the LEGO video games, from the very first LEGO Star Wars clear through LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean, I've seen how these games have changed since the first release.

LEGO and Traveler's Tales team up again on this release, and the tandem really outdid themselves. I can tell that a lot of the mechanics of this game were based on the LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean release from the previous year. The split-screen (which has been a multiplayer feature since the first iteration of LEGO Harry Potter, I believe) is still around, and the use of prolonged cinematic scenes, which harken from LEGO PotC, are another staple of this release, though the main difference between the cinematic scenes of LEGO PotC and LEGO LotR is the inclusion of dialogue from the movies. For instance, Galadriel (one of the elves) narrates the story of the creation of the One Ring and therefore lays out some of the history of the franchise. Players get to play through the "prologue" too, based on her narration. The back-and-forth between Gimli the dwarf and Legolas the elf is also still included; during the "Battle of Pelennor Fields" level in "Return of the King," we hear some of the wisecracks between the two that we also heard during the movie.

There are several things that LEGO has done right with their video games - the fact that when your character dies, for instance, there is no major penalty: instead, you lose a bit of in-game money, fall apart, and then respawn where you left off.

The replay value of these games is high as well. Scattered throughout each level in areas that appear (at first) inaccessible are numerous treasures and in some cases "secret areas," and if players want to complete the game, they'll have to go back through each stage in "free play" mode and reach the areas. Luckily, the game affords players the ability to purchase characters for use in free play mode.

Similar to previous releases, different characters in the game have different abilities; for instance elves have the best jumping ability in the game, and there are also several characters who have more strength (physically) than others.

Continuing the tradition from the first LEGO Indiana Jones release, there are several hints (usually along the bottom of the screen) that help you along as you go. With LEGO LotR, there is an inclusion of an invisible trail of blue pieces that lead players on the correct path toward the next stage (for instance, from the village of Bree to Mount Weathertop). Players can, however, "journey off the beaten path" and collect coins and stuff.

LEGO LotR adds to the experience by allowing users to set various points on the map as "destinations," and the "blue trail" will lead the way to whatever stage players have set as the destination. (This is handy when unlocking characters, which must be done at various stages, as there is no "in-game" area where unlockable characters walk around as in the previous releases).

A previous reviewer also mentioned the bonus level, wherein players get to control (and, at the end, unlock) Sauron. This is a very fun bonus level, because the goal is to collect coins... the "traditional" LEGO way - by smashing the level to pieces. And there is no shortage of stuff to smash to bits in this bonus level, which recreates Tolkien's Middle-Earth. Smashing it with Sauron is particularly enjoyable, as is visiting prior levels in "free play" mode with Sauron.

Some of the downsides of this game - the in-game hints can, at times, get annoying, but not to the point where they detract from the overall gameplay experience. The fact that characters must be "hunted down" before unlocking them is a bit of a downside too, though the upside is that it allows players to explore areas where they may not have collected all the hidden treasures.

Bottom line - if you've played any of the previous LEGO releases, this one definitely will not disappoint. Even if you haven't played any of them, but are a fan of Lord of the Rings, this game will still be a pleasant surprise. This game is awesome, and deservedly so. I recommend it to people of all ages - not just kids, but people in general. Anyone and everyone can have fun with this game.

How the Universe Works
How the Universe Works
DVD ~ Mike Rowe
Offered by MightySilver
Price: $11.25
27 used & new from $7.21

23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Learn a bit about how the universe works with this DVD series, November 25, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: How the Universe Works (DVD)
A series of eight well-constructed episodes, each about 45 minutes long, "How the Universe Works" explains, in language that won't make you feel like you've bitten off more than you could chew, a bit about the cosmos: what holds it together, how the various components (from matter and energy to stars, planets and nebulae) interact, and how it all works. The visuals are stunning, the musical score only further enhances this series, and the interviews with physicists, astronomers and other scientists in the field help to break down a bit about what science knows about space, what the scientists theorize, and their rationale behind the theories. As other reviewers have stated, this series is very intriguing but doesn't use a lot of technical jargon; it's explained very clearly and very concisely, so that "Average Joe and Jane" at home can follow along with the eight very gripping and very interesting episodes.

One can't argue with the price either - very agreeable. It seems like is almost giving this series away, considering how packed it is with information.

Bottom line: Extremely highly recommended, whether astronomy/cosmology is a genuine interest of yours, or whether you've ever looked up on a starry night and wondered, "How does it all work?"

Chuck Nerd Herd Logo Black Adult T-Shirt Tee
Chuck Nerd Herd Logo Black Adult T-Shirt Tee
Offered by TV Store Online
Price: $17.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome T-shirt!, October 20, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This shirt is awesome. I caught "Chuck" fever about two years ago, when someone recommended it to me, and I haven't looked back since. This T-shirt is awesome, made out of heavy cotton, and won't shrink or lose its shape after multiple washes.

Chuck Nerd Herd T-Shirt
Chuck Nerd Herd T-Shirt

5.0 out of 5 stars Look like one of "the Herd", June 16, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Chuck Nerd Herd T-Shirt
Now you can look like someone in the Nerd Herd, "Chuck"'s more fun version of Best Buy's "Geek Squad". A great item made of lightweight material that won't shrink and retains its shape and composition very well, even after multiple washes.

The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep (Two-Disc Special Edition)
The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep (Two-Disc Special Edition)
DVD ~ Alex Etel
Offered by Media Favorites
Price: $5.49
220 used & new from $0.01

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More Than Meets the Eye, May 16, 2011
When I first saw the commercials and previews for this movie, I wrote it off as "another of those kids' movies" and had no interest in seeing it.

However, recently my fiancee and I stumbled upon it and (for some reason) decided to give it a chance - I was glad we did! This movie has got something for everyone in it, and everyone can watch it: there is no swearing or sex in it, just a story (told from the perspective of an older gentleman in a bar) about Angus (who I would say is between 5 and 6 years old) who is struggling with loneliness after his father left to go fight in World War II. Angus also is terribly frightened of water, but one day he happens to find a big, mysterious stone-like object (later revealed to be an egg) on the shores of Loch Ness. Angus hurries home with the egg and hides it from his family in his dad's workshop. Angus lingers behind in the workshop for several minutes, prying off a layer of crust, scaling and what appear to be barnacles, only to find out that the item is, in fact, an egg, and it's breaking open.

The hatchling emerges and begins to ransack the workshop, and Angus is worried that it will make too much noise and be discovered. Around this time, a handyman (later seen to be a former British Navy sailor) shows up to do some work around Angus's mom's estate. At first Angus doesn't like the new stranger - perhaps because he feels that the new man will try to take his dad's place, or feels that the handyman will discover (and dispose of) Angus's new friend (named "Crusoe" after a book Angus sees on his dad's shelf). These feelings are quickly resolved, however, as Angus's new friend begins to grow quickly.

Crusoe is discovered in the bathtub (as Angus had recently discovered that the rapidly-growing creature loves water) by the handyman, but to Angus's surprise he embraces the creature and tells Angus some of the legend associated with it (that there can only be one "water horse" in the world at a time).

By this point, a garrison of British soldiers was staying in the estate as well, since they believed that German subs could ambush Scotland via the "loch", and had devised a system for ensnaring - and destroying - the submarines if any did show up in the loch.

Lewis (the handyman) and Angus take the enormous (by my guess, the size of an average house) Crusoe to the loch and slip him into the water. A British soldier spots the creature's head and neck (about the same shape as a periscope) and alerts his commander, who thinks that the Germans are coming. Angus and Lewis fight to convince the British otherwise, but is it too late? You'll have to see this movie for yourself to find out!

Very, very highly recommended - there's something in this movie for everyone, even though, on the surface, it appears to be aimed at a younger audience.

The Men's Health Big Book of Exercises: Four Weeks to a Leaner, Stronger, More Muscular YOU!
The Men's Health Big Book of Exercises: Four Weeks to a Leaner, Stronger, More Muscular YOU!
by Adam Campbell
Edition: Paperback
Price: $15.13
194 used & new from $4.09

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book has it all., February 15, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This book shows exercises for every major muscle category, and also shows alternates (like example, a series of "pullup" variations, for those like me who can't be bothered to hoist our bodies up that high) that have a similar effect. Also included is a meal plan, so that one can eat to develop muscle, and something known as "the fastest cardio workout ever", which I have yet to try, but I'll get there.

Overall a great book, and a handy companion to those of us who don't only work out at the gym, but also get some supplemental working out at home.

Chuck: Season 3
Chuck: Season 3
DVD ~ Zachary Levi
Offered by twilightmedia
Price: $13.68
20 used & new from $7.64

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chuck Gets Out of the Car, October 11, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Chuck: Season 3 (DVD)
Chuck, Season 3 picks up right where Season 2 left off, only Chuck isn't told to "wait in the car" anymore. Viewers can expect to see the same high-octane action and bit of humor that they saw in previous episodes, with a few more interesting plot twists and turns. A definite must-have for any fan of "Chuck"!

Price: $5.50
124 used & new from $0.69

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All I want is to have my peace of mind, May 20, 2010
This review is from: Boston (Audio CD)
Boston's debut album was one of the fastest-selling albums in the history of the US, selling (to my understanding) multiple millions of copies in its first week. That's an incredible feat, but it's made especially mind-boggling when you consider that this album was a debut album.

From the fade-in effect of "More Than a Feeling" to the final warbling note of "Let Me Take You Home Tonight", Boston's opener really delivers. Tom Scholz's mastery on "More Than A Feeling" is evident, with a guitar hook that is instantly recognizable. "More Than A Feeling" also allows vocalist Brad Delp (RIP) to show us his vocal range. "More Than A Feeling" is a lament about Marianne, sung from the point of view of someone who "closed my eyes and she slipped away." Definitely a well-known (and perhaps slightly overplayed) classic rock tune.

My personal favorite from this album, "Peace Of Mind," reminds us to take it easy, because in the grand scheme of things, life's achievements really don't matter. And all I want is to have my peace of mind, after all; to heck with indecision and falling behind.

"Foreplay/Long Time" is one of the better-known tracks on this album, and the third of the "triumvirate" (if you will) of songs that really boosted this album's sales. Clocking in at 7 minutes, 45 seconds, it is the longest track on this album, with the first two minutes, 45 seconds - called, in this case, "foreplay" - being what kick the song off. A very instrumental jam that I often find myself nodding my head to (and sometimes air-drumming or air-guitaring to). Then, master that he is, Tom Scholz takes the song in a completely other direction, as "Long Time" is a tune about another lost lady.

"Rock And Roll Band," a fairly up-tempo, infectious jam, clocks in at just three minutes - the album's shortest song. It seems to be a brief biography of what Boston went through ("Just another band out of Boston...") in their early days. Delp shows off his incredible vocal range on this song as well. Great guitar on this feel-good tune.

"Smokin'" is another feel-good rocker about the nearly drug-like effects of the music of that time.

The album's pace slows down a bit with "Hitch A Ride", a beautiful, slower tune about leaving everything behind and "heading for the other side"... being free from what's holding you back. Great guitar soloing in this one.

"Something About You" is another personal favorite of mine - a catchy hook leads into this up-tempo song about a lady that catches someone's eye. More catchy guitar, more good singing. All around great song.

"Let Me Take You Home Tonight" is another song about a special lady, who the singer wants to "get high" on love. Good harmonies in this one and more great guitar work from Scholz.

It's easy to see why this debut album is among the greatest of all time. "More Than A Feeling" can be found on any "Greatest Classic Rock Ever!" compilations, but as for the rest of these songs (especially the last four), the best place to find them is on Boston's debut album.

Fool For The City
Fool For The City
Price: $7.53

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Underrated band's breakthrough, May 16, 2010
This review is from: Fool For The City (MP3 Music)
I'm relatively new to Foghat (and was born in 1988) so my review may not be as comprehensive as others - and my understanding of Foghat's appreciation in the United States may be a little skewed as well - but here goes:

"Fool For the City" was Foghat's fifth album and the first one that garnered them a substantial amount of international recognition, owing to "Slow Ride". I had found (the short version of) "Slow Ride" on some "Classic Rock Staples of the 1970s!" CDs (which can be bought at any retailer - Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy, etc. - for $5-$7) and decided to do a little investigating. I was glad I did! This is a great album from one of the lesser-known (at least, in the US) bands from the 1970s.

From the first song, "Fool For the City", to the last number, "Take It or Leave It", this album is full of old-fashioned feel-good rock - great guitar hooks, courtesy of Rod Price; a nice rhythm section, with Nick Jameson laying down the bass while Roger Earl provides the drum beats; and crisp, recognizable vocals, delivered by "Lonesome" Dave Peverett.

It's easy to find yourself playing the air-guitar, head-bobbing, or playing the air-drums to any number of these songs: "Slow Ride", "Fool For the City" and "Drive Me Home" are personal cases in point. There really isn't a bad song on this album, but standouts for me are the title track, "Slow Ride," "Drive Me Home" and "Save Your Loving (For Me)."

This album does not disappoint and is a staple for any comprehensive collection of classic rock. I'm glad I looked into it, now it's your turn!
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 18, 2012 8:15 PM PDT

Hanging On By A Thread
Hanging On By A Thread
Price: $7.99

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great debut album, May 10, 2010
This review is from: Hanging On By A Thread (MP3 Music)
I had the chance to see The Letter Black (along with RED) in support of Skillet's "Awake and Alive" tour. I saw them live about a week before this album came out.

I have to say I'm impressed with this debut album's vocal style and crunching riffs. The opening track is a face-pounding aggressor that comes firing out of both barrels and will leave the listener gasping for breath as the song segues into track 2. It's along a similar vein as Flyleaf or Fireflight (a powerful rock band fronted by a female vocalist), though The Letter Black has their own style which sets them apart from either of those bands.

There really isn't a weak track on this album. Each song complements all the others and adds to the album in its own way.

The use of strings is comparable to Skillet or RED, and the range on this album is worth mentioning as well; while the album is anchored by aggressive rockers such as "All I Want", there are a couple relatively lighter songs like "There'll Come a Day" or "More to This." (The guitar work on "More to This" also deserves a nod.)

Standouts (for me) are "Believe," "Moving On," "All I Want" and the title track, "Hanging On By a Thread" - though as previously mentioned, the whole album is great. "Hanging On By a Thread" is a great song, a plea for God to help keep the speaker hanging on and keep the speaker from losing themselves, "All I Want" is a great pounding song about how all God wants is for us to keep believing in Him - whether things are going our way or the world is crashing around us. Sarah Armstrong's vocal range on "Believe" is quite diverse, and in a sense rivals Dawn Richardson's from Fireflight on the song "Unbreakable".

If there is a weakness on this first effort, some of the songs are a tad redundant (I don't know how many times they sing the chorus on "Fire with Fire", and the last minute or so of "Invisible" is essentially the chorus repeated over and over) but it's not redundant to the point of being annoying.

I look forward to hearing more from this talented young band in the future. A solid debut such as this is usually the mark of a strong band and a successful career - case in point, Led Zeppelin and Boston: both bands had incredible debut albums, and remarkably solid careers.

The album closes just like it begins - a growling rocker that instantly sucks the listener in. When the last song ends, the only disappointment is that there aren't any more songs.

I definitely recommend this album to fans of Skillet, RED, Flyleaf, Fireflight, or just fans of music.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 17, 2016 11:17 AM PST

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