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Reviews Written by
C. Conard "ExtremeAvalanche" (Fort Collins, CO)

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In The Zone
In The Zone
Price: CDN$ 8.00
65 used & new from CDN$ 0.38

4.0 out of 5 stars Ambitious..., Jan. 25 2004
This review is from: In The Zone (Audio CD)
Well, the queen of modern pop still can't sing, but now she's back in a bigger way than before. Britney Spears has always been a bit scandalous, but now that she is older, she has left everything behind. If you think you now Britney, think again!
I have never been a big fan of her music, but her undeniably cathcy hooks and off-the-wall songs did give her a reason to be popular. Now, for her latest album, Britney abandons those hooks and leaves her quiet bubbly-gum charms in the dust. In the Zone also hardly feels like typical pop music of today. Instead it goes for more of an early 1990s approach, similar to that of Madonna's earlier hits. Britney has some inventive production from artists such as Moby and even the Yin Yang Twins (?). But while the album is good, it is also a bit hard to follow, and it takes a few listens to get used to, unlike Oops I Did It Again. This is not the Britney that we are used to, and even her biggest fans will be scratching their heads on this one. While In The Zone is certainly not Britney's best album, it is the most ambitious. I hope to see Britney express herself just like this on her next album.

Signs (Bilingual)
Signs (Bilingual)
DVD ~ Mel Gibson
Offered by Treasure Island Emporium
Price: CDN$ 21.42
95 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars The Best of 2002..., Jan. 20 2004
This review is from: Signs (Bilingual) (DVD)
Signs was one of the best films of 2002. It captured our hearts and our minds, and it was a masterpiece that could only come from M. Night Shyalaman. The premise of Signs is simple;an alien invasion is about to take over earth. But the way that the film was made is not so simple. It grabs you by the throat and never lets go. Signs appeals to all ages, as it is a non-terrifying and non-gory thriller, fitted for both kids and adults. Some people may be mad that Mel Gibson doesn't shoot up the aliens with a 12-gauge, and this film is indeed a depart from his other work. However, Signs is also quite refreshing, and I had no idea that Touchstone could produce a film as good as Signs. The tension gradually builds in the film, from crop-circles, to shapes in the darkness, to an announcer on T.V. reporting the invasion as helpless viewers wait for the apocalypse to pass in 9/11 style! The whole movie is executed wonderfully, and I loved Signs! Please check this film out! It was one of the best movies of 2002.

2 used & new from CDN$ 25.00

5.0 out of 5 stars A Beautiful Game..., Jan. 17 2004
This review is from: Mafia (Video Game)
This game is loosely based on 2001's miracle of a game, GTA III. But if you thought that Mafia was just another GTA clone, you would be pathetically mistaken.
Mafia takes place during the Prohibition Era in the 1930s. You are merely a citizen cab driver, until you are held at gunpoint by two mafia members and drug into the underworld of corruption and death. You begin working for the mafia as just an alternative to get some more cash, but before you know it, you evolve into one of the most notorious mafia members in history. The game provides a campaign that will take you at least a week to complete, but that's not the reason to buy Mafia. There are extra quests to unlock, cars to be bought, and the most beautiful virtual city ever created to explore. The city is based on Chicago, but with three expansive islands connected by bridges, and also a mind-boggingly large countryside to explore, these new free roam modes never wear out their welcome.
With a beautiful mafia story, beautiful music and graphics, and the most fun game since GTA III, this game is definitely one of the best game that you can own.

Max Payne 2: The Fall Of Max Payne
Max Payne 2: The Fall Of Max Payne
17 used & new from CDN$ 4.62

5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful Epic of a Game..., Jan. 3 2004
Max Payne 2 is a different breed of game. it even steps away from the roots of its predecessor. Max Payne 2 is an overly violent game with everything a great story of film noir and love should have. It has blood, love, and sex. The story is really quite beautiful Of course, max Payne 2 has everything a great game should have.
Max Payne 2 starts where Max Payne ended. Of course, the story strays, and Mona Sax now plays a much larger role in the game. Max continues his struggle to find his puruers and his family's killers, all the while betraying the NYPD and following a trail of love left by the luscious Mona Sax.
Max Payne 2 updates everything that made the first game so wonderful. It still incorporates bullet time, but incorporates new control functions, new characters, and much improved graphics and sound. The graphics in Max Payne 2 are beautiful. The environments look wonderful, but the character models are simply beautiful. Of course, like any other high-end game, Max Payne 2 offers a much better experience to high-end computers. Mine is three years old, and it still functioned up to the highest standards. I put everything to the highest level and had very little slowdown.
Max Payne has been updated as a character as well. He now has better facial expressions and doesn't just look like he has severe constipation. His character is much more heartfelt and has more emotions as well.
Max Payne is dark and gritty, and plays out like a beautiful film noir story with guns and deep love. It is a beautiful game, and has very few faults. The only complaint I have is that it is terribly short, but other than that, the game is close to perfection. I advise any fan of dark, gritty, beautiful tales and games to check out this miracle of a video game.

21 used & new from CDN$ 8.62

4.0 out of 5 stars Hmmm..., Dec 28 2003
This review is from: Manhunt (Video Game)
Manhunt has always been listed as a stealth action game. Considering that the game is developed by Rockstar, the makers of Grand Theft Auto, that may come as a bit of a surprise. But the elements of this game are also a surprise, and the game is a twisted combo between Resident Evil, GTA, and Splinter Cell.
You begin the game as James Earl Cash, a dethrow inmate who is "sentenced to death". Actually, you are "saved" by the Director, and evil personality who puts you in the middle of a sadistic film. This is essentially where the game begins. You are set loose in Carcer City, a horror of a city where gangs run rampant and where the smell of death is everywhere. In each new level, you are set in a new part of town, where a particular gang patrols. These gangs become increasingly violent and harder to kill, and saying that you had a fun time patrolling these areas would be a huge lie.
There are two ways to kill these enemies. You can go on a shootfest, or you can take the tougher and more encouraged route to success. This is where you execute the victims through three different attacks of bloody degree, depending on what the Director demands. These are all executed by a series of weapons ranging from a paer bag to a sawed off shotgun. The weapon selections are as expansive as in GTA Vice City.
As in Splinter Cell, the shadows are your friends when going up against these tough enemies. You must hide to survive, and when the time is right, kill the victim, or prey. Make a slight mistake, and you could be the catch of the day for these hunters. As you can figure out, the name of the game in Manhunt is stealth.
In great Rockstar tradition, the sound is excellent. not so much the music, but the chattering of you, the director, and your enemies. A headset is also available to yell at your enemies at and confuse them. It is an interesting technique. The graphics are on par with GTA III's.
Manhunt is sick, twisted, and bloody. Much worse than Vice City, too. But as it is new territory, any fan of Vice City, or the macabre will love hunting humans in Manhunt.

Permission to Land
Permission to Land
Price: CDN$ 19.89
54 used & new from CDN$ 0.38

4.0 out of 5 stars Back To The Days..., Dec 22 2003
This review is from: Permission to Land (Audio CD)
The Darkness have released a new album, Permission to Land. But while it may look like they are an unheard of band from the 1970s. But in fact, they are a new band from England formed back in 2000. And while Permission to Land may not be the next Back in Black, in definitely gave the world a surprise with its retro attitude.
The Darkness has given this culture a kick back to the 70s, with heavy metal tunes and outrageous melodies. They are like an AC-DC clone, but they are also innovative, at least for this day. While this isn't standout material, it is an amazing album with nothing to hide.

A Rush of Blood to the Head
A Rush of Blood to the Head
Price: CDN$ 10.00
206 used & new from CDN$ 0.03

4.0 out of 5 stars Emotionally Touching..., Dec 22 2003
Coldplay was critically acclaimed across the globe with their first major album, Parachutes, released back in 2000. With their hard rock roots combined with touching, soft rock melodies, Parachutes was a modern classic. It was also known for being deleivered by a band that nobody cared about or listened to. Coldplay was one of the most surprising bands in history, and a band that nobody thought would do very well, similar to the sleeper hit band, The White Stripes.
On A Rush of Blood to the Head, Coldplay continues upon Parachutes and sticks to the formula that they have been using all along. A Rush of Blood to the Head has already turned out several great sleeper hits, including God Put a Smile Upon Your Face, and the best track that nobody listened to of 2002, Clocks. Since Coldplay stayed firmly rooted along the lines of Parachutes, it is all more the reason to buy this new album. Any fan of soft rock will enjoy it, and the original Coldplay fans will love it as well.

Parasite Eve: Official Strategy Guide
Parasite Eve: Official Strategy Guide
by David Cassady
Edition: Paperback
20 used & new from CDN$ 29.98

5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Strategy Guide Avaialable for any Game!, Dec 14 2003
I bought this strategy guide a year or so ago when I was stuck on Parasite Eve. I just needed to get past where I was, but the strategy guide gave me more than just a hint. It gave me a whole guide for this tough game, and it was very detailed and helpful! It is also just fun to look at for some Parasite Eve junkies out there. It includes boss battles, an enemy bestiary, and a guide to the EX Game and weapon enhancements. Let me say that I would have never beaten the EX Game if it wasn't for this guide! The Ex Game is also the toughest part of the game, and I don't think that it's worth fighting through. It will take weeks to complete and for only a convoluted boss battle where Aya fights Maya. But whatever the case is, this guide is great for any PE lovers out there!

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
Offered by Shopville Canada
Price: CDN$ 15.99
84 used & new from CDN$ 1.28

5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Video Game Ever Made..., Dec 7 2003
Vice City continues the grand tradition of GTA games with violence, driving, and more violence. However, as any fan will know, GTA III was the most revolutionary in the long running series with driving, piloting, and shooting while in a New-York based city called Liberty City.
Vice City is not a completely new GTA. In fact, it is more of an add-on to GTA III. However, don't expect your average expansion here. Vice City contains an entirely new city based on Miami, Florida, and it also contains hundreds of new missions, characters, and now, places to own. However, probably tyhe neatest feature is that Vice City takes place in the 1980s, and it contains the lifestyle that the '80s is so well-known for.
Let's start at the top. Vice City has created a new storyline that ties into the events of GTA III, but only fifteen years earlier, in the year 1986. You will recognize many characters from GTA III, only in a younger state of mind, including a younger, more badass Tommy Vercetti. You will encounter many missions from these characters including a rich Texan, former military man, and even a cranky old lady who is using ice cream trucks to sell all sorts of drugs. It is really quite entertaining when tied together.
The next new thing in Vice City is properties. At a later stage in the game, once you have enough money, different properties will be available for purchase, including a car store, dance club, taxi service, and a strip club. Most of these properties also have missions that you are required to do to reach the end of the game and 100% completion. Some are also now available to go in to, a new feature to Vice City.
The weapons and cars are also much more diverse in Vice City as well. Not only do you have all of the original cars from GTA III, but now you have about double the amount in Vice City! The same goes for weapons, too.
There are new people in the city too. Along with the usual array of rich people, gangs, and prostiutes, you also have Cubans, Haitans, Bums, businessman, and being in Miami, you also have girls upon girls in bikinis.
Motorcycles are a new feature to Vice City as well, and they are the most fun vehicles to drive in the whole game. They can also be used for stunts and challenge courses, needed to gain 100% completion.
There are many new boats and planes in Vice City, and you'll find plenty to like. Also, the harbors, ports, and the airport within the city are very large, giving you plenty to steal in your romp around the city.
As far as law enforcement go, the game has the standard six wanted stars, among the usual vigilantes, military, water patrols, SWAT team, and police officers. The police in Vice City are smarter, too, and now they drive around in faster, more efficient cars.
Hospitals and police departments are incorporated within Vice City as well, and as usual, when you have to visit them, you will pay a small fee, or fine in the police cases!
Now, aside from properties like strip clubs, you can buy homes, or safe houses. There is a save point there, along with garages, and in one case, a helipad, with your own personal chopper. These places can be used to change clothes too, as there are many choices in clothing in Vice City. You will find in these homes a shack, penthouse, or a gigantic mansion. (There is one mansion that can't be obtained through purchases, only through killing!)
This is the '80s, and although Vice City comes complete with neon lights and nostalgia items, you will have plenty to like in the game's soundtrack! There is a rock station, a rap station, a new wave station, and talk stations, all playing great hits from the '80s, like Michael Jackson or Luther Vandross. It is much, much better than GTA III's stations, and the talk shows such as VCPR are very humorous and are fun to listen to when you have a long drive in the city.
You will most definitely find plenty to love in Vice City, and it is undoubtedly the best game of the new millenium. And while it will be very familiar to GTA III fans or fans of films like Scarface, the game is very fresh, and will keep you entertained for several years! This is a must-buy game! My Rating:10.0!

Price: CDN$ 8.39
84 used & new from CDN$ 0.38

5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Hip-Hop Album Ever?, Dec 4 2003
This review is from: Stankonia (Audio CD)
One thing is fo' sho', OutKast knows no limitations in their music, their videos, anywhere. And Stankonia, the first major hit album for the best hip-hop duo to ever walk the earth, proves just that. It is definitely the best album ever released by OutKast, and just maybe the best rap album ever.
Stankonia doesn't have an overload of singles or hits, but maybe its the fact that it's so daring and so well-rounded that also makes it so great. For these reasons, Stankonia had an army of the awards after its release, and the videos were a gigantic success within the TRL world. This album is the Thriller of hip-hop. I don't think anyone ever really expected it to do this well, even though OutKast had made three outstanding albums before.
As you listen, you will notice that this album is far from being just hip-hop. OutKast has always incorporated many different styles of music into their albums, and there is no shortage of variety here. You will find soul, gospel, R&B, southern rock, gangsta rap, southern rap, hip-hop, jazz, funk, and others. And although I love my man Big Boi, it is Dre who really makes Stankonia stand out in the pack. Buy this album if you are looking for a fresh breed of hip-hop, or you love OutKast. Standout tracks include Bombs Over Baghdad and Ms. Jackson.

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