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Shadow Hearts - PlayStation 2
Shadow Hearts - PlayStation 2
10 used & new from CDN$ 69.85

2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A poor man's Final Fantasy X that will please many RPG fans., July 7 2004
Look! Up in the sky! It's a bird, it's a plane, no, it's a Final Fantasy clone! This may be the first thing that pops in your head after playing Shadow Hearts. As a matter of fact, the developer of Shadow Hearts is a company founded by several ex-Final Fantasy designers and they aren't shy about borrowing many of Final Fantasy's famous RPG trademarks. That's good, though, because if there is one series worth copying, it's Final Fantasy and while Shadow Hearts doesn't have the same classic touch that its PS2 peer Final Fantasy X does, it will be an enjoyable playing experience for many PS2 RPG fans.
Set in early 20th century China, Shadow Hearts begins with the introductions of an atypical hero, Yuri, the damsel in distress, Alice, and the notorious sorcerer, Roger Bacon. Forced to obey mysterious voices in his head, the game opens with a cut scene of Yuri following these same voices by saving Alice from her captor, Roger Bacon. We discover that Bacon has killed Alice's father and seeks to use her for some unknown purpose. After a lucky rescue, Yuri and Alice flee from the powerful Roger Bacon and escape via the Chinese countryside. From here, the adventure continues as Yuri and Alice meet several friends and enemies along the way which all combine for an intriguing RPG storyline.
The action system in Shadow Hearts is truly a unique invention. All combat and game essential actions are decided by the "Judgment Ring." After choosing which magic or attack you will use, a sphere-shaped object appears on your screen and a small hand quickly revolves around it. Your goal is to click your controller when this hand reaches vital green areas of the sphere. You can also increase your damage or positive magic traits by timing it just right and hitting the button as soon as the the hand reaches a smaller red area. Throughout the game, you will encounter many items and creatures that can adjust your Judgment Ring during combat by slowing it down, increasing the green hit area or even penalizing you by speeding it up or shrinking it. In its entirety, the Judgment Ring adds an element of randomness in all actions and gamers with quick reflexes will especially be rewarded. Don't let this scare you away, though, because Shadow Hearts still requires strategy. Certain attacks will inflict more damage on specific enemies. Final Fantasy fans will recognize the elemental combat system, although it's been slightly altered.
A long story and an involved turn-based combat system make for plenty of hours of gaming and Shadow Hearts isn't recommended for gamers who enjoy fast-paced games. Even for an RPG, Shadow Hearts moves at an incredibly slow pace and admittedly can be boring at times. All dialog is text based, not voiced over, so if you don't like heavy reading games, this title is definitely not for you. The game opens with an exciting opening cut scene and also some impressive CGI cut scenes near the finale but in between, it doesn't put much effort into its cinematics. There are a few short cut scenes with unimpressive pictures and average voice actors that attempt to enhance the story, but they don't do a very good job. It has its shortcomings at times, but overall, it's still a grand story and one of the better RPG tales this reviewer has played on a console.
The graphics in Shadow Hearts are not spectacular. It looks like more effort was put into the story and gameplay than graphics which isn't always a bad thing. The sound is average. The music does a good job of setting the mood of the game's dark atmosphere but sometimes the creepy tunes can get too repetitive and annoying. If you're thinking about allowing children or younger siblings to play this game, there are plenty of jokes that reference adult sexual humor so you may want to check it out first before allowing young ones a go at it.
Shadow Hearts is not a bad RPG at all. It's probably one of the premiere turn-based RPGs on the PlayStation2. Already, a sequel has been released in Japan and an English version is being prepared for a North American release. It's a slightly different slant on the JRPG genre and a satisfying game that will keep gamers hooked until the end as long as they can handle a slow-paced game. There are several copies of Shadow Hearts available for trade at GTZ so it's an easy game to find which is a good thing because this game takes many hours to complete and won't be finished with a weekend rental. It's also not as highly valued as some of the PS2's newer and more popular releases so you might be able to find a bargain on it. If you're someone who enjoys playing Japanese role-playing games or in-depth stories, my recommendation is to give this game a try. After the experience, you may find yourself eagerly awaiting the sequel. I know I am.

ESPN NFL Football - Xbox
ESPN NFL Football - Xbox
7 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars The only football series that can compare to Madden., July 3 2004
If game sales were indicative of their quality, Madden would be head and shoulders above all football games. Every year, the famous Madden football series outsells its competition by huge margins. But don't let that fool you, because there is a competitor worth playing in the football video game market and its name is ESPN NFL Football. Sega's football product continues to be the only football game that can compare to the behemoth known as Madden and in the opinions of many of its fans, it is the superior game.
Madden 2004 may be the equivalent of a curse word for die-hard ESPN Football fans, but it's important that we clear up a few differences between the current Madden and ESPN versions. In a perfect world, a gamer would be able to frequently switch between Madden and ESPN and not lose anything, but the hard facts are that both of these games play differently and you'll need to spend most of your playing time on one particular title if you want to be one of the best ballers out there.
The first obvious difference someone will notice when switching from Madden to ESPN is the running game. The running game in ESPN NFL Football is much easier than in its counterpart, Madden. ESPN doesn't have the same realistic movement as the Madden series, and players can turn on a dime. Calling the wrong defense or missing a tackle can mean instant doom for your team as most running backs will make you pay. Power backs who excel at knocking off tackles will resemble Earl Campbell more often than not with the infamous "shoulder charge button." Only playing on the most difficult level in ESPN (legendary level) will tone down the running game. This also applies for the return game. Field position can be a frustrating issue in ESPN NFL Football. When playing a human opponent, its fairly common for your opponent to return kicks to the thirty or forty yard line. The plain and simple truth is if you are good at the running game in Madden, you will dominate the running game in ESPN. It's important to get that out of the way first, because the running game is one of the few elements of gameplay that may turn off fans of Madden or other football games.
Never fear, though, because while the running game isn't the best trait of ESPN Football, the passing game is. Ever get frustrated with the way poor quarterbacks can play like Brett Favre in Madden? If the running game is too easy in ESPN's product, the passing game is Madden's achilles heel. Too often, the vertical passing game will eat up huge yardage in Madden, but in ESPN, players can't get away with bombing their opponent to death. Slants and other short gains that are more realistic to the actual sport are what prevail in ESPN NFL Football. Hitting your receiver in stride and watching him run for good YAC (yards after catch) is much more common in ESPN than it is in Madden. If you've ever become frustrated with the antics of Randy Moss or Terrell Owens in Madden, ESPN is the game for you.
Now that we've got two important gameplay differences out of the way, it's time to focus on ESPN's polish. Frankly, Madden could learn a lot from ESPN NFL Football, and if you look at the upcoming Madden 2005 features, you'll notice that they did rip-off some of the interesting features in the 2004 version of ESPN NFL Football. (This review is on ESPN's 2004 version. There is also a 2005 version planned for a 2004 fall release.) One of those "borrowed" ideas is using a real sports celebrity to cover the activities of your game and franchise. In this current version of ESPN, Sportscenter's Chris Berman provides halftime coverage of all games and if you play in franchise mode, you can even get a weekly highlights reel. While this can get old after too many viewings, it is a fun and novel approach to football gaming. Berman must have spent at least a week voicing the different names and numbers to enable this feature.
Two more features in ESPN NFL Football that set it apart from its competitors are "The Crib" and First-Person Football. If you know how Madden Cards work, you already know the idea behind The Crib. Basically, as you achieve certain stats and highlights, you will be awarded with prizes to place in your Crib. After a while, your virtual Crib will be pimped out with trophies, big screen televisions, bobble heads and other awards. First-Person Football is another new feature that allows a gamer to play football as if they were looking through the helmet of a real player. You can now see the defensive linemen running full speed at you and wanna-be NFL players will feel the same pressure a quarterback does in the NFL. While both of these features are unique, honestly, they lose their appeal after the first few days. They add polish to the game but they're not critical gameplay elements. It will depend on the individual gamer as to how much they matter.
If you have Xbox Live, ESPN NFL Football has its own online match-up system that allows you to find a game 24/7. Unfortunately, the game doesn't have the biggest online community. If you play Madden online on the PS2 or PC, you'll notice a definite size reduction, but don't let it worry you because it's still easy to find a game. Online players are ranked, and you can also view the amount of quits and disconnects players have in case you would like to avoid that kind of player. This reviewer also found that ESPN's online service contains less "cheesers" and other griefers than the Madden community. Players are better about punting on 4th and 5 (instead of going for it!) and other common sense gameplay issues that you would hope all opponents abide by. One problem, though, is several gamers have purchased controllers with "turbo buttons" since your player's speed depends on how fast you can tap your X button. Playing someone who uses this can be frustrating because they are given an advantage that you won't have if you play with the regular Xbox Controller S. The graphics in ESPN NFL Football are top notch and possibly an improvement over Madden. The sound is average for a football game. The audio sensations aren't worth hooking your Xbox up to a home theater system, and you'd be better off leaving it to the television speakers.
If you're tired of Madden, or maybe looking for a new football game, ESPN NFL Football is a good place to start. I'm a big fan of the Madden and NCAA series but I also enjoy spending time with this game. It's the only football series besides Madden that I've enjoyed playing for months at a time. There is also a PlayStation 2 version of ESPN NFL Football available, but my advice would be to stick with the Xbox version. Madden is designed primarily for the PS2, and ESPN is designed for the Xbox. This will be even more apparent in next year's version (ESPN NFL Football 2005) which will be the first football console title to have online franchises. Right now, Madden and ESPN are probably on equal ground, but if ESPN continues to add new features that Madden has to copy, we might see the balance of power shift to ESPN NFL Football. ESPN continues to be a favorite among game reviewers but still lags behind in sales compared to Madden. It's not as easy to find this game as it is Madden on the Game Trading Zone, but there are a few copies out there. Go ahead and grab one if you're interested, because you may find a new series that keeps you playing for years.

Super Mario Advance - Game Boy Advance
Super Mario Advance - Game Boy Advance
17 used & new from CDN$ 9.94

3.0 out of 5 stars Can't compete with current GBA hits., July 3 2004
There are two generations of video gamers: those who grew up on Atari, and those who grew up on Nintendo. As it is, not many videogame companies have a library of old school characters and games such as Nintendo does. So when Nintendo decided to republish its classic Super Mario Brothers games on the Game Boy Advance, you can bet there were droves of fans waiting to relive their favorite gaming moments.
Super Mario Advance is the first republished Mario title in the series. It's a faithful GBA port of the NES game, Super Mario Brothers 2, and is also included with a bonus port of the original Mario Brothers. The story in Super Mario Brothers 2 is pretty basic. The Princess hasn't been captured this time, but Mario does have to defeat another warped world full of colorful bad guys. This particular sequel was also the first game to allow gamers to choose between Mario, Luigi, Toad, and Princess, all of whom have their own special traits. Hopping, throwing, and speed running your way through platforming fun, you'll get a chance to pass 20 separate levels with plenty of bosses at the end of each level.
If you're not someone who enjoys replaying levels, the good news is that the game does allow you to save it at each level so you won't find yourself grinding through the same areas over and over. However, this does make the game fairly easy and before you know it, you will find yourself completing the game. If you do get bored with the Super Mario Brothers 2 portion of the game, you can always switch back over to Mario Brothers and play through some classic arcade stomping fun. Unfortunately, Mario Brothers just doesn't seem to be as much fun as it was in the 80's arcades.
Perhaps the best way to enjoy Super Mario Advance is to link your Game Boy Advance with other gamers so that you can play through Super Mario Brothers 2 or Mario Brothers in multiplayer mode. This especially enlivens Mario Brothers, but whichever game you choose, you'll probably have more fun playing with friends than playing solo.
While Super Mario Advance can be a fun play, it's over quickly and doesn't offer a lot of levels. This reviewer found it fun to relive memories of classic Mario games, but it was over too fast. Frankly, the game just doesn't compare to some of the other longer classics on the GBA such as Final Fantasy Tactics, Advance Wars, and Fire Emblem. Also, Super Mario Brothers 2 was probably the worst of the famous Mario games and you may be better off trying to find remakes of Super Mario World or Super Mario Brothers 3 which have been given their own Super Mario Advance sequels. Super Mario Advance is a fairly easy game to find on the Game Trading Zone and it also sells for a low price, so you should be able to complete a trade without giving up much. However you choose to replay magical Mario Brothers moments, this is one title that will bring back the classic NES memories, but it won't be in your Game Boy Advance for that long.

Arc the Lad: Twilight of the Spirits - PlayStation 2
Arc the Lad: Twilight of the Spirits - PlayStation 2
9 used & new from CDN$ 12.43

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Possibly the best RPG on the PS2 after Final Fantasy X., July 3 2004
Through two generations of consoles, the PlayStation has become synonymous with classic role-playing games. One such RPG is the notable Arc the Lad series which saw a few versions published on the Playstation 1. Now, Playstation 2 owners can get a chance to play an updated version of the Arc the Lad series and RPG fans will be delighted to hear that the latest version is not a disappointment and is probably one of the top three RPGs on the PS2.
Arc the Lad: Twilight of the Spirits is played in two parts. Gamers will get a chance to follow two destinies and both character's stories will alternate. One path is the tale of Kharg, a young man in a small rural town who is the likely candidate to inherit the position of Captain in the town guard. Kharg's mother was actually a monarch but she refuted the title and instead chose to allow the town to decide its government via democracy. Because of this, Kharg still possesses a formal place in society as some of the villagers still have a hard time believing that the monarchy no longer holds any power. Fiercely loyal and protective over his town, Kharg has sworn to defend it from outside evils including the monsterous Deimos race that approaches human territory.
In another region of the world, gamers will play the story of Darc, a half-human half-deimos character who has been forced into slavery. Darc is different from the other Deimos. His heart is purer and he has a hard time relating to the savage power hungry ways of the Deimos. Darc knows little about his past other than his father helped him escape from a distant Deimos camp long ago and died in the process. Both Kharg and Darc have destinies that will eventually meet but you'll need to play the game for several hours before you start to see how their fates are intertwined.
The gameplay in Arc the Lad: Twilight of the Spirits is fairly easy to pick up. It borrows a few concepts such as elemental damage and turn-based combat from its JRPG peers but it also uses a movement system that not many current JRPGs employ. When moving a character, a zone is displayed showing you where your character can move. After making your move (to perhaps flank the enemy), you then select a number of special moves or magic attacks from your menu. You can also use items at any time. Depending on how much experience you have built up, your special attacks will increase in magnitude and by the end of the game all of your companions will have a nice assortment of lethal attacks in their repertoire. The game also allows you to upgrade your weapons and armor. During the course of the game, you will find treasures or come across vendors who sell necessary items. The key ingredient throughout all of this, though, are spirit stones. Spirit stones are the life forces that drive the world in Arc the Lad. Without them, magic and special abilities are null and void. One of the biggest tricks in the game is spending spirit stones when needed. If you spend too many, you'll run out of them and lose necessary energy for later battles, but if you conserve too wisely you may have problems defeating earlier opponents. It's a give and take system that requires some strategy to master.
The characters and story in Arc the Lad: Twilight of the Spirits are all top notch. Not since Final Fantasy X has this reviewer played such a quality role-playing game on the PlayStation 2. If you're only into voice acting, you may be disappointed because most of the drama plays out in text and the game does require a lot of reading so keep that in mind if you're not someone who enjoys heavy reading games. The voice acting that is used is extremely poor and sometimes makes the game feel a little fake.
The graphics are pretty good in Arc the Lad, especially when you consider its genre. The sounds aren't that impressive and some of the music can get old fast. Many scenes use the same theme and it sometimes doesn't fit the mood of the moment. This game can also be long with as many as 50 hours of gameplay so it will definitely take a dedicated gamer to finish it. The game allows you unlimited saves at several in-game save points so it avoids some of the frustrations of long JRPGs that have limited saves. The save game slots also take up little memory so you'll be fine if your memory card is starting to get full.
Arc the Lad: Twilight of the Spirits is fairly easy to find on the Game Trading Zone. It still has moderate supply and moderate demand so you should be able to work out a deal with someone. This is a game that you'll want to trade for because of its length. Arc the Lad won't be completed over a weekend rental. If you're into Japanese RPGs and have been meaning to find a new one to occupy your time, I'd highly recommend this game. In this reviewer's opinion, it is one of the top three RPGs on the PlayStation 2 and a memorable experience for most gamers.

Mech Assault - Xbox
Mech Assault - Xbox
18 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars You're really missing out if you don't play on Xbox Live..., July 3 2004
This review is from: Mech Assault - Xbox (Video Game)
When gamers are asked about the best Xbox titles, they probably think of newer games such as The Chronicles of Riddick or Ninja Gaiden. One game, however, was released early in the Xbox's run and still continues to be a favorite among gamers. I'm talking about MechAssault, which has the distinction of being the second most played game on Xbox Live. Borrowing on the famous pen and paper RPG, MechAssault brings gamers a new version of the famous MechWarrior series on the PC. This new game is more action-packed and less simulation-based which may disappoint some of the MechWarrior fans but it's also helped MechAssault grab a new playerbase on the Xbox.
The singleplayer campaign in MechAssault begins on a strange planet. With your character's drop ship shot down from space and yourself equipped with only a light armored mech, you find yourself stuck on a strange planet where devotional fanatics of a strange faction maintain their stronghold. Forced to deal with this tyrannical force which has been killing local civilians as of late, you slowly make your way through the game as a one-man army and steal more powerful Mechs along the way until you can find out who is responsible for the enemy's actions and also repair your drop ship and escape back to the secure confines of outer space.
The gameplay in MechAssault should be no problem for first-person shooter fans. It isn't exactly an FPS, but it plays like it only in a third-person view. Depending on which Mech you choose at the beginning of a mission or multiplayer match, your Mech is already set with certain weapons. As you explore the map and kill other Mechs, you are allowed to pick up salvage and upgrade the weapons and armor on your Mech. The more you play, the better you get. Often time, Mech battles become hide and seek matches with Mechs quickly diving for cover once they launch off a salvo of missiles or lethal PPC cannons. Whichever environment you fight in, the game does a nice job of displaying the size of your Mechs. Skyscrapers and cars are quickly leveled as you fight for dominance in urban areas.
While the singleplayer campaign can be fun (but sometimes frustrating), the best way to enjoy MechAssault is to connect to Xbox Live. MechAssault still enjoys a reputation as one of the busiest Xbox Live games and it's never a problem to find a quick match. Servers can hold up to 8 players and the types of games vary. Everything from a popular "Capture the Flag" match to a common "Deathmatch" (better known as "Destruction" in-game) inhabit the servers. There are several types of games and while the previous two are the most popular, it's easy to find another type of game. Xbox Live can be loads of fun but it's important not to get frustrated in your first attempts to play the game. Right now, many of the MechAssault gamers are vets who have been playing the game for months, if not years, so it will take some practice to become one of the elite players. Xbox Live conveniently tracks the stats for all players.
The graphics in MechAssault are pretty darn impressive. When buildings blow, or briges collapse, the game does a nice job of portraying it. The Mechs are decked out in full detail as well. The sounds of the game rely more on your damage and combat instead of heavy background music. Also, another perk of the game is that MechAssault has a vast library of downloadable content including new Mechs, maps and game types. The game also has an optional $5.00 pay-per-download content pack but I wouldn't recommend it as most gamers still play with the free content.
If you're looking for a new intense action-based game and love competing online against other players, MechAssault may be the game for you. It's an easy game to find on the Game Trading Zone and is also in Xbox's "Greatest Hits" collection so you won't have to trade much for it. If you don't have Xbox Live, I'd probably recommend that you leave this one to a rental and trade for it later if you immensely enjoyed the singleplayer campaign, otherwise, Xbox Live gamers should definitely try and trade for it first. This game is one of the few titles that truly shows how Xbox Live can give extended life to a game.

The Eye of the World: Book One of 'The Wheel of Time'
The Eye of the World: Book One of 'The Wheel of Time'
by Robert Jordan
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 9.49
130 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars This is it! I'm finally going to read the entire series!, May 16 2004
If you're not familiar with Robert Jordan and his famous Wheel of Time series, you're missing one of the best fantasy series since J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. In my opinion, there are maybe three or four fantasy series that I would recommend for anyone, and Jordan's is one of them. The big catch of course is that the Wheel of Time has never stopped turning. Jordan is on book ten now and the reviews for his novels keep falling. Fans seem disenchanted with Jordan and aren't sure he will ever provide a satisfactory ending to the series. Jordan frustrated his fans even more this year by publishing a prequel to the ten book series. Everyone has an opinion on which book starts the decline of the series but one thing is for sure, the first book is still a classic fantasy read and recommended for anyone who wishes to experience the same thrill he or she felt when reading The Hobbit. The Eye of the World, book one in the Wheel of Time series, follows the escapades of a few young adventurers in the small farming village of Edmond's Field whose lives are forever changed when the sorceress, Moraine, and her guardian, Lan, convince them to flee their village. The crew set off to escape the dark forces which mysteriously follow them and by the end of the first novel, we discover that these humble young men and women who once thought they were only destined for a life of farming, are indeed more than meets the eye. I'm reading the first book for the second time and enjoying the adventures of Rand, Egwene, Mat and others just as much as I did the first read. I'm determined to go further than book five (which was where I stopped last time) this go-around and maybe try and wrap up the series. Do yourself a favor and pick up Jordan's first Wheel of Time novel because you'll be treated to some of the best fantasy writing in years.

Memory Sorrow And Thorn Series #1 Dragonbone Chair
Memory Sorrow And Thorn Series #1 Dragonbone Chair
by Tad Williams
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 9.89
88 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I Really Wanted to Like This Book, April 29 2004
A few months ago, I read an interview with George R.R. Martin on Amazon. Martin is the author of the famous Song of Ice and Fire series which is one of my favorite fantasy reads of all-time so you can bet that I will avidly follow any recommendations he makes. In this same interview, Martin mentioned the Memory, Sorrow, and Thorne series as one of his inspirations before writing his own series. After reading this, I jumped at the chance to buy "The Dragonbone Chair" and even purchased the second book because I just knew that I would love the series. Sadly, I now regret that decision. I've run into fantasy books before that get off to S-L-O-W starts and this appears to be one of them. I'm at page 150 and honestly, I don't know if I can bear to continue anymore. I think my main problem is that the main characters, Simon, is about as interesting as cardboard, and the history of the land is not much of an improvement. The supporting characters are dull, the author goes into far too much detail to describe every minute detail, and I still have no idea where any of this is leading. I might try to endure it and continue on because after reading many reviews at Amazon, it appears most readers were bored to tears in the beginning as well. But this is one title I've been trying to read for months now and I don't know if I'll ever find the inspiration to continue.

Xbox Video Game System with Controller S
Xbox Video Game System with Controller S
13 used & new from CDN$ 54.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Solid console but explore all 3 before making a decision...., March 21 2004
I own all three consoles (Xbox, Playstation 2 and Gamecube) and also play many games on my computer so if there is anyone who can give you a fair opinion of each console, it's me. What you have to understand is that all 3 majors consoles are fun but they all have advantages and disadvantages.
*** XBOX ***
PRICE: 2nd most expensive system behind the PS2 and Microsoft is losing tons of money by selling a console with that much power for so cheap.
GAMES: Maybe the worst selection of all the consoles but also several PC ports which aren't available on the other consoles. The most ambitious system hog games are on the Xbox. Exclusive home of the popular console shooter Halo. Best selection coming out in 2004.
GRAPHICS: Best graphics of all the consoles.
MEMORY: Built-in hard drive which will story everything and no need for optional memory cards to save games. Can also store music CDs on hard drive and play them during games.
CONTROLLER: Probably the second best controller now that the smaller Controller S has become the standard gamepad.
DVD: Built-in but you have to buy optional remote control to make it work.
ACCESSORIES: Built-in ethernet card for online play. Optional dance pad.
ONLINE: Only for broadband modems but probably the best selection of online games on all consoles. Xbox Live costs monthly fee. Optional headset to talk to players online.
BACKWARDS COMPATIBLE: No, first Microsoft console ever.
*** PLAYSTATION 2 ***
PRICE: Most expensive. Same price as the Xbox but doesn't come with as many built-in accessories on the system.
GAMES: Biggest selection of all 3 consoles. Also, the premiere system for Japanese style RPGs such as Final Fantasy. Also the system which has exclusive premiere rights for Grand Theft Auto titles. Decent but not spectacular selection coming out in 2004.
GRAPHICS: Probably the worst of all 3 but still adequate.
MEMORY: You need to buy separate memory cards to save your games.
CONTROLLER: The best gamepad of any console. Small and easy to use.
DVD: Can play DVDs right out of the box but remote is optional.
ACCESSORIES: Online adaptor and the hard drive all need to be purchased separately. Has some clever optional accessories such as a keyboard controller, dancepad and karaoke.
ONLINE: Not a very big selection of great online games but is the exclusive console for online EA Sports titles such as Madden. Broadband or dial-up modem accessible. Optional headset to talk to players while online.
BACKWARDS COMPATIBLE: Yes, can play Playstation 1 games.
*** GAMECUBE ***
PRICE: Cheapest system by far.
GAMES: Probably has the best list of exclusive titles with Nintendo trademarks such as Metroid, Zelda and Mario. Also has plenty of new exclusive titles you won't find on the other consoles such as Viewtiful Joe, Eternal Darkness and Star Wars Rogue Leader. Poor selection coming out in 2004.
GRAPHICS: Probably the 2nd best console, behind the Xbox.
MEMORY: You need to buy separate memory cards to save your games.
CONTROLLER: In my opinion, it has the worst controller. Small but awkward design.
DVD: No DVD compatibility.
ACCESSORIES: Optional online adaptor and ability to hook-up the GC up to the handheld Gameboy Advance are probably the most popular accessories.
ONLINE: Only has a dialup modem (56k) and has very poor selection of online games which makes it not worth it.
BACKWARDS COMPATIBLE: No, can't play Nintendo 64 games.

Sony PlayStation 2
Sony PlayStation 2
17 used & new from CDN$ 61.49

5.0 out of 5 stars Solid console but explore all 3 before making a decision...., March 21 2004
This review is from: Sony PlayStation 2 (Electronics)
I own all three consoles (Playstation 2, Gamecube and Xbox) and also play many games on my computer so if there is anyone who can give you a fair opinion of each console, it's me. What you have to understand is that all 3 majors consoles are fun but they all have advantages and disadvantages.
*** PLAYSTATION 2 ***
PRICE: Most expensive. Same price as the Xbox but doesn't come with as many built-in accessories on the system.
GAMES: Biggest selection of all 3 consoles. Also, the premiere system for Japanese style RPGs such as Final Fantasy. Also the system which has exclusive premiere rights for Grand Theft Auto titles. Decent but not spectacular selection coming out in 2004.
GRAPHICS: Probably the worst of all 3 but still adequate.
MEMORY: You need to buy separate memory cards to save your games.
CONTROLLER: The best gamepad of any console. Small and easy to use.
DVD: Can play DVDs right out of the box but remote is optional.
ACCESSORIES: Online adaptor and the hard drive all need to be purchased separately. Has some clever optional accessories such as a keyboard controller, dancepad and karaoke.
ONLINE: Not a very big selection of great online games but is the exclusive console for online EA Sports titles such as Madden. Broadband or dial-up modem accessible. Optional headset to talk to players while online.
BACKWARDS COMPATIBLE: Yes, can play Playstation 1 games.
*** GAMECUBE ***
PRICE: Cheapest system by far.
GAMES: Probably has the best list of exclusive titles with Nintendo trademarks such as Metroid, Zelda and Mario. Also has plenty of new exclusive titles you won't find on the other consoles such as Viewtiful Joe, Eternal Darkness and Star Wars Rogue Leader. Poor selection coming out in 2004.
GRAPHICS: Probably the 2nd best console, behind the Xbox.
MEMORY: You need to buy separate memory cards to save your games.
CONTROLLER: In my opinion, it has the worst controller. Small but awkward design.
DVD: No DVD compatibility.
ACCESSORIES: Optional online adaptor and ability to hook-up the GC up to the handheld Gameboy Advance are probably the most popular accessories.
ONLINE: Only has a dialup modem (56k) and has very poor selection of online games which makes it not worth it.
BACKWARDS COMPATIBLE: No, can't play Nintendo 64 games.
*** XBOX ***
PRICE: 2nd most expensive system behind the PS2 and Microsoft is losing tons of money by selling a console with that much power for so cheap.
GAMES: Maybe the worst selection of all the consoles but also several PC ports which aren't available on the other consoles. The most ambitious system hog games are on the Xbox. Exclusive home of the popular console shooter Halo. Best selection coming out in 2004.
GRAPHICS: Best graphics of all the consoles.
MEMORY: Built-in hard drive which will story everything and no need for optional memory cards to save games. Can also store music CDs on hard drive and play them during games.
CONTROLLER: Probably the second best controller now that the smaller Controller S has become the standard gamepad.
DVD: Built-in but you have to buy optional remote control to make it work.
ACCESSORIES: Built-in ethernet card for online play. Optional dance pad.
ONLINE: Only for broadband modems but probably the best selection of online games on all consoles. Xbox Live costs monthly fee. Optional headset to talk to players online.
BACKWARDS COMPATIBLE: No, first Microsoft console ever.

Stone of Tears: A Sword of Truth Novel
Stone of Tears: A Sword of Truth Novel
by Terry Goodkind
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 9.89
148 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

3.0 out of 5 stars Well.... At Least I Made it to Book Two...., March 13 2004
Many people that read Terry Goodkind's first book in The Sword of Truth Series give up in the beginning. Goodkind is a decent writer but honestly, I think declaring him one of the best fantasy writers today speaks words about how bereft the fantasy genre is of talented authors. I almost gave up on book one myself and I'm glad I didn't because in the end, I enjoyed the book and had a merry time reading about the adventures of Richard, Kahlan, Zed, Chase and others. I purchased book two the day after completing the first book and initially, I zipped through it like I did book one but something happened along the way. Stone of Tears isn't a bad read but it just didn't pull me in like the first book. I think the biggest point of tension in book one was Richard and Kahlan's relationship and now that they're together (sort of) and know each other so well, their characters don't have the same zip they used to. I don't mind long reads but I feel like Goodkind could shorten all his books by AT LEAST a hundred pages. In book two, I started feeling like I was slowly churning along and I stopped reading about midway through after reading Ada's (Is that her name?) background story. I won't ruin it for any potential readers but the story about her split from her ex-lover smacks hard of that typical Goodkind nonsense that he sometimes uses as origins or motivation for his characters. If you enjoyed the first novel, I'd give the second one a try. After all, enough people have enjoyed this series to allow it to continue to book eight, nine or whatever it's on now; but in my opinion, if you want a new fantasy series, check out George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire Series or Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time Series first if you haven't already. Jordan's series gets slow in the end but the first few books are much better than The Sword of Truth Series. Overall, Stone of Tears is a decent read but not everyone will enjoy it.

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