Grand Theft Auto III Review and System Requirements

Grand Theft Auto III is unlike any computer game I’ve ever played. I
can’t tell you how amazing it is to get to

do what you want, when you
want in a game. Feel like playing just the main missions? No problem.
Want to make a little extra cash between missions by putting out fires,
busting other criminals or driving a cab? No problem. Want to just
drive around the massive city wreaking havoc and seeing how long you can
get by with it? No problem. It’s games like this that show the
possibility of what gamemakers can do when they think “outside the box.”

There
are hundreds of hours of gameplay in Grand Theft Auto III. And chances
are, you’ll want to go back and play various missions through again
because many missions can be done in different ways.
The voice
acting is superb and the overall sound is also excellent. The radio
stations that every car plays are hilarious. The PC version allows you
to place MP3 and/or WAV files into the game, so that you can have your
own radio station to listen to as you drive around.
Graphically,
the game is nothing special. It looks good, but it’s not going to win
any awards. It’s hard to complain, however, when the game world is so
large. Liberty City, where you play, is broken up into three distinct
parts. The developers had to draw the line somewhere! But, I’ll take
amazing gameplay over amazing graphics any day.

A couple notes of
caution, however. First, this isn’t a game for the children in your
house. There’s something about drive-by shootings, hooking up with
prostitutes and lobbing Molotav cocktails into city parks that isn’t
really appropriate for younger kids. Frankly, I’m not sure a lot of
adults would like that either, HOWEVER, the game does it in an
over-the-top comical way, so while it can be a bit graphic at times,
it’s not realistically graphic.

System requirements can be quite
steep, too. The required and recommended specs won’t get things running
with all the bells and whistles turned up, though that may not bother
you. I’m running an Athlon XP 2000+ CPU. That works wonders on loads,
but my GeForce 2 MX 400 card is going to need to be upgraded to get this
game running without really choppy framerates in some parts of the city
at 800×600 resolution.
Bottom line….If you have the ability to run the game, you’ll enjoy it if for no other reason than the incredible gameplay.

Verdict: 90/100

Minimum System Requirements:

Pentium III 450 CPU
96MB RAM
16MB Direct3D Video Card
Fully DirectX compatible Sound Card
8X CD-Rom
500MB free hard disk space
Win 98/ME/2000/XP
Direct X 8.1

Recommended System Requirements

700 mhz CPU
128MB RAM
32MB Direct3D Video Card
Fully DirectX compatible Sound Card
8X CD-Rom
500MB free hard disk space
Win 98/ME/2000/XP
Direct X 8.1
Windows NT (any version)

  

Duke Nukem: Manhattan Project Review (Classic Duke Revisited)

If you’ve ever played Duke Nukem I & II, you will probably love this game. This side scroller incorporates a lot of the themes (think cameras and helicopters among others) from the classic games into a 3D environment with good results. Lots of running, jumping, ledges, you know the drill. Lots of funny “Duke-Speak” and a few buxom babes. See how many secret areas you can find, it isn’t so easy. The downside of the game is the somewhat repetative nature of the levels and the lack of freedom of movement that comes from a side scroller. Still, it’s cheap and fun and will tide you over until Duke Nukem Forever sees the light of day.

Verdict: 80/100

James Bond 007: Nightfire PC Review

Someone once said that there is a far greater difference between “good” and “great” than “good” and “bad”. Nightfire fits squarely in this definition. Some parts are good or at least tolerable, others are inexcusably bad. All together they made a decent, but not note worthy game.
The first thing the player will see is a neat little intro movie that evokes the colorful Bond openings. I actually think this is one of the better parts of the game, which isn’t saying much about the game. Once you actually get in to the levels its first flaw is the engine.
Nightfire uses the Half life engine, which is in it self a rebuilt Quake II engine. The HL engine was in its prime six years ago. To their credit the developers squeeze all they can from it. The characters and world objects are well defined with lots of polygons and generally look fairly good. Each level’s detail is on par with the most other games out now. The water effects, shiny surfaces, and crisp textures are well done. However the tell tail signs of age are evident. The game lacks many of the modern bells and whistles players have come to expect. Character animations aren’t smooth enough and no rag doll physics to speak of. The lighting, shadow, and weapon effects still look like they did in 1998. Clearly the devs polished up the engine but its undoubtly underpowered by today’s standards. Obsolete may be another word.
What will make or break any game is the gameplay. Nightfire does not stray from the standard FPS model, but it doesn’t bring much to it. It’s fairly standard shoot, pick up armor/health, and shoot more FPS fodder. That really is it. The core gameplay isn’t anything to rave about. What it does add are the “Bond” touches. In addition to weapons the player has access to a number of gadgets inspired by the films. These had a lot of potentional, but more of a distraction than an integral component. Every once in a while you will have to use one to progress in the game. However they are each serve a single use. The watch laser cuts locks for example. You can’t use it as any kind of weapon and has no effect on the enemies. There simply isn’t much else to do with them. The music and story are inspired by the Bond films, and done better there too. Neither is used to any great extent and you won’t get to know much of the characters either. On an occasion there is a moment that evokes the movies. An early part has you take pictures of gorgeous women with a camera hidden in a cigarette lighter. The “night vision goggles” are slick sunglasses that Bond slips on. There is a good selection of exotic high tech weapons that have a high rate of fire. However it’s usual stable of FPS guns (pistol, SMG, sniper, rocket launcher, grenades, etc.) that are available in any other game. Still the “Bond” components aren’t enough or used to best effect.
There is some irritating level design in Nightfire. The game helpfully includes a list of objectives. But how you get to them is often too vague. For example one level has crippling a computer network as an objective. But what is this? Do I hit a switch or shoot a power generator, what? This is not made clear. I ran around shooting every computer in sight hoping to accomplish this. It was not until I got to the level after it that I did take out this computer network. Why was I told to do this in the previous level when I could not in fact do so? Often the levels are hard simply because it’s unclear how you are supposed to advance to the next part.
Everything aside the biggest flaw is the AI. It’s rock stupid. It doesn’t qualify as “intelligence” at all really. Enemies will come running in to your fire, ignore loud sounds like grenades exploding, shoot in to walls, slow to react, and generally make Forest Gump look like Garry Kasparov. In one instance I aimed the sniper rifle at one bad guy’s head but missed by a hair. Despite the thundering gun shot sound and bullet hole just behind his head, he failed to notice anything. He stood there as if nothing had happened. There are many more instances of incredible incompetence though out the game, suffice to say its just plain bad. Considering that AI in Half Life was one of the best ever its baffling why six years later Nightfire features some of the worst possible.
The end result is a game that is entertaining on a basic level but fails to impress or generate much excitement. It’s doesn’t overtly fail and follows tried and true conventional design. This could actually be very entertaining to someone not familiar with currently FPS games. However it’s AI is terrible and the overall average quality doesn’t stand out.

Verdict: 75/100

US Open 2002 PC Review

The player control is horrible. You swing and miss far too often. Sometimes your player takes off running in the opposite direction when you were trying to aim your shot. The tennis season is just 4 tournaments long. It appears that the only players you will be playing in your career are the few pros who stuck their name in the box.

Hold out for Tennis Masters Series 2002 or whatever theyre going to call it (maybe 2003), due out soon. While it may not be perfect either, it should definitely be better than this.