UFC: Tapout Overview

Featuring the world’s top Mixed Martial Arts athletes, the Ultimate Fighting Championship advanced from a single pay-per-view episode in 1993 to an annual event with multiple competitions. Xbox owners can experience this distinctive sport in UFC: Tapout, which embraces such diverse fighting styles as boxing, wrestling, kickboxing, karate, and more as athletes compete within an eight-sided arena appropriately entitled “The Octagon.” Twenty-seven authentic UFC fighters are represented in two divisions: Heavyweight and Light Heavyweight.

Success involves implementing a variety of realistic fighting positions, each with its own advantages and disadvantages, to gain control over the opponent. Each fighter begins in a standing position, but as the match progresses, a number of different submissions can be attempted, such as upper and lower guards, lower and upper full mounts, and lower and upper back mounts. Standard attacks include left and right punches, left and right kicks, and an assortment of counter attacks to avoid a takedown.

Arcade mode involves choosing a fighter and then challenging the remaining athletes in the same weight class, one after another, until the player is crowned champion. Exhibition is a single match between two fighters from any weight class, while Tournament supports up to eight players in a single-elimination format spanning three fights. The UFC Mode follows the same format as Tournament but is only open to single players. The final mode, Create Fighter, lets players choose from 120 different faces, 50 different clothing styles, 8 voices, and one of 11 fighting disciplines. Up to 480 points can be assigned to four areas: life, stamina, punch skill, and kick skill.

Detailed 3D fighters sport tattoos, different clothing styles, and facial animations
Announcements and fighter introductions voiced by Bruce Buffer
Set controls to specific buttons using the key configuration option
Adjust the amount of blood seen during a fight using a slider bar
Three levels of difficulty help customize the challenge

WWE Raw Review and System Requirements

“Poor wrestling game by consol standards, good for PC though.”

This is the same exact game that came out 18 months ago for the X-Box. To prove it, the game still uses WWF and not WWE. The roster was not updated, so its still the roster from late 2001. There is no story mode (Road to Wrestlemania), instead there are championship modes where you need to go through 12 wrestlers to get a title shot. The Raw arena is the ONLY arena and there are no backstage areas. Nor is there any real hardcore action, because even though there are 100s of weapons, these weapons are helmets, tables, jack-o-lanterns, chairs, bandanas and so on. The wrestlers do not bleed at all, not even with a code! There is a pretty deep create-a-wrestler feature, however you can only create 16 wrestlers even though this is a PC game!

There is no RVD, Mysterio, Booker T and so on, however there is Rhyno, Spike, X-Pac, Credible and Haku. There are very few modes, exhibition and the king of the ring tournament. There are no table matches, ironman matches, or 6 man tag matches (even though the game lets 6 wrestlers in the ring at the same time). At least all of the titles are in the game that were in the WWF in 2001, Hardcore, Heavyweight, Light-Heavyweight, European, Women’s, and Intercontinental. The play is very unbalanced, such as the Rock and the Undertaker can undoubtedly beat up K-Kwik and Taka, so there is no chance raising a new star! Another detail to the game is the new stamina bar, where your wrestler will get *winded* the more he runs and does power moves. So Rhyno cannot do gore after gore, because he would get tired. With there being a stamina bar, there is also a *voltage* bar, which is basically one long bar that determines who is winning and when you can do finishing maneuvers. The controls are unique, where you have an attack, grapple, block and action button. The attack button is capable of several attacks, such as hold up and press the attack button will do a dropkick, hold down and press the attack it will be a kick or a punch. It?s the same with the grapple button. The action button can do anything from perform a taunt, pin an opponent, pick up weapons, put on clothes and climb the turnbuckle. The graphics and sound are amazing, but what fun is the game if there are no modes to keep you interested in?

Verdict: 40/100

Minimum System Requirements

OS: Windows 98/ME/2000/XP
Processor: Intel Pentium 3 @ 500 MHz
Memory: 128 Mb
Video Memory: 8 Mb
Video Card: nVidia TNT2
Sound Card: DirectX Compatible
DirectX: 8.0
DVD Rom Drive

Recommended System Requirements

OS: Windows 98/ME/2000/XP
Processor: Intel Pentium 3 @ 800 MHz
Memory: 256 Mb
Video Memory: 16 Mb
Video Card: nVidia GeForce 2 / ATI Radeon 7500
Sound Card: DirectX Compatible
DirectX: 8.0
DVD Rom Drive

MLB SlugFest 20-03 Review

Leave it to Midway – the developer behind games like Mortal Kombat, NBA Jam, NFL Blitz, and Hydro Thunder – to take the game of baseball and transmute it into something completely different. MLB SlugFest 20-03 is one of the silliest baseball games ever and is one of few to have such a balanced combination of style, humor, and gameplay. Those looking for a baseball simulation best look elsewhere and are well warned: even the back cover has the statement “We call it SlugFest for a reason!” The reason: baseball it ain’t. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, because people who find real baseball too slow or boring will absolutely love this game.

The basics of baseball — three strikes and you’re out, nine innings of play (although the game defaults to seven to speed it up), etc. – remain mostly intact. The biggest changes to the game are simplified pitching and hitting, a “Turbo” meter, sanctioned use of violence, and a seemingly magnetic ball being pulled outside the park. Gamers who underestimate how much significance these changes have on MLB SlugFest 20-03 will lose quickly and often.

The classic Midway gimmick, the turbo meter, is the key to victory. Using it nets quicker and crazier pitches, faster running and throwing, and harder swings at bat. Turbo depletes quickly however and strategically managing your reserves is important. As the game progresses, onscreen players burst into flames (their hands, feet, or both) gaining them infinite turbo until they’re tagged out or strike out, making them extremely powerful.

The graphics are outstanding, perhaps the best yet in a baseball game. The realistic elements — the stadiums, the players, and the fans — are well animated and thoroughly detailed. The sillier elements, such as the fist emitting flames, the turbo pitches, and the fighting are hypnotizing to behold. Everything in the game shines with a graphical polish not often seen in sports games and the whimsical elements somehow seem to fit right in.

All the sounds of the field have been faithfully reproduced and, for once, the announcers are actually funny. Some may find the comments and witty asides to be annoying, but they really do add to the whole lighthearted arcade feel. There is a large library of remarks, but as in any game with random comments, they will repeat themselves after about a dozen games or so.

Technically, the game does not fail to impress at every opportunity. The gameplay, however, does have a few (albeit small) problems. The biggest complaint to be made about MLB SlugFest 20-03 is the fielding — the game favors the batter over everyone else on the field, making most defensive strategies unlikely to succeed. Runs and home runs are scored fast and repeatedly, which is most of the fun, but can also makes fielding a rather frustrating and impatient experience. There are also a couple of cheap strategies that can be used to make scores soar, which takes away from the fun. These two factors can be agitating, but are somewhat expected in this type of game.

Overall, MLB SlugFest 20-03 excels at providing two people a couple hours of laughs and feel-good homers. Those looking for RBI’s, player lineups, or a high level of customization best look elsewhere. Remember, Midway says right on the box “We call it SlugFest for a reason!”


One of the best parts of the game is just watching it. Everything is colorful, well detailed, and pleasing to the eye.


The announcers are the highlight aurally — the other sound effects and music are good but not spectacular.


This game is a lot fun, even for those who aren’t big baseball fans. The fielding and general silliness may irritate some players, however.

Replay Value

While not as infinitely replayable as a few other Midway games, MLB SlugFest 20-03 will undoubtedly still be found in dorm rooms, parties, and frat houses a year from now.


The manual covers everything you need to know, including how to access cheats using the obligatory Midway code system.

The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind PC Review

The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind provides an astonishing array of options ranging from character creation and gameplay preferences to the ability to create and share new mods, items, and quests online. The depth and attention to detail extends to the surrounding world and the many NPCs populating the world of Vvardenfell. Morrowind is a role-player’s dream come true: an exotic world filled with fascinating creatures and villains, an engaging story, and the absolute freedom to role-play your character any way you choose. Unfortunately, even on high-end computer systems, the game stutters along and pauses frequently. The technical issues diminish the fun, which is a pity since in most other respects the game is outstanding.

With so much to do, playing Morrowind can be a bewildering experience. The never ending procession of side quests can be overwhelming, with multiple guilds, temples, or factions to join, money to make, and even undocumented tasks like diving for pearls or exploring shipwrecks. A journal keeps track of the various quests your character has undertaken (and even some he turns down), but unfortunately they’re not removed or marked when completed. Having too many things to do is hardly a complaint, though, and devoted role-playing gamers will be happy for months. After the main quest is completed, the included editor allows unlimited creation of new quests and other modifications to the land of Vvardenfell.

You begin as a slave held captive on a prison ship, but an edict from the Emperor releases you into the world of Vvardenfell. Initially, the circumstances of your release are cloudy but Morrowind’s plot gradually discloses your character’s history and what the Emperor wants you to do. Completing the main mission is surprisingly low key, however, as the emphasis is really on exploring the world.

Morrowind’s character creation process resembles the Ultima series with its question-and-answer methodology, and the freedom given players is welcome. It’s certainly possible to make stupid decisions and end up with an ineffective, if interesting, character, but creating a “tank” capable of slashing through scores of enemies is equally viable. For many gamers, half the fun is making new characters, and Morrowind makes the process more interesting than most.

Exploring Vvardenfell is fascinating. The developers obviously put a great deal of work into the world, and it shows. The environment changes from area to area, but a certain dark brooding atmosphere pervades the various landscapes. Vvardenfell is full of lakes, mountains, rivers, towns, trees, mushrooms, rocks, dungeons, tombs, caves, and characters, and everything manages to be eerily alien but also familiar, especially to players of The Elder Scrolls: Chapter 2 — Daggerfall and The Elder Scrolls: Arena. The full effect of the impressive graphics and world will depend primarily on how much your computer can handle. With all the settings maximized, the environment is gorgeous. Most players, however, will have to settle for intermediate settings to minimize the continual pauses and low framerate.

Gameplay issues include difficulty in keeping track of the quests, since you’ll have literally hundreds of pages of your journal to constantly sift through, and though combat is not a big focus of the game, it’s also unavoidable and not particularly well done. Enemies charge into battle without thinking, and fighting them off is a tiring, repetitive business.

The biggest problem, though, is the character development process. Players will be dismayed to find that improving their character’s abilities stems mainly from finding powerful items. Of course, this is a big facet of any RPG, but most, like Diablo II, manage to balance the powerful items with the necessity of gaining experience. In Morrowind, any skill your character lacks can be purchased — power leveling entails getting lots of gold and buying experience. It’s a shame that a game with such an excellent character creation system would then undermine everything with questionable character development. Finally, the absence of a meaningful ending after such an involved main quest is disappointing.

Morrowind is worth buying just to explore the world of Vvardenfell. Players with high-end systems will enjoy the scenery and gameplay more, but the pauses and stuttering framerate will annoy everyone. However, Morrowind offers plenty to offset these problems and any role-player will be satisfied, though probably not ecstatic with the Vvardenfell experience.


Vvardenfell is gorgeous, but players will need a powerful system to fully appreciate it.


The soundtrack is decent and functional sound effects accompany gameplay.


If exploration is your forte, you won’t do better than Morrowind. Four separate travel systems (walking, boat, mage transport, and Silt-Strider), surprise encounters, a huge main quest plus literally hundreds of side quests and more will keep RPGers occupied for months.

Replay Value

The included editor makes creating new quests and modifying the world possible, increasing the already considerable replay value with exchanges via the Internet.


Detailed and very useful but without much of a background story.

Virtua Tennis (2002)

Virtua Tennis (Power Smash in Japan) is a 1999 tennis arcade game created by Sega-AM3. The player competes through tennis tournaments in an arcade mode. For the home console market the game was expanded with the introduction of the campaign mode. It was later ported to Dreamcast in 2000, and for Microsoft Windows in 2002. A Game Boy Advance version was also released in 2002.

Yu-Gi-Oh! Dark Duel Stories Review

In 2000, Japanese television began airing an anime series entitled Yu-Gi-Oh! about a boy named Yugi whose grandfather gives him a “Millennium Puzzle” artifact that ultimately opens up his power to duel monsters. The show was first aired in the United States in 2001, and the associated collectible card game has spawned a huge following worldwide.

Being aware of the TV show isn’t particularly important in terms of the Game Boy Color title, but knowledge of and access to cards from the card game can be beneficial in the long run. When you begin your first campaign, you’re given less than 40 cards out of the 800 available, and that includes multiples of the same type. Building up your chest (stash of cards) involves winning cards in duels against the computer players, real players (linked by cable), trading, or importing cards from the collectible card set by inputting eight-digit password codes.

The game allows you to store up to 1000 cards, including 200 “original” cards you can create utilizing the construction mode of the game. The construction process involves combining the top and bottom halves of various card-parts (2 upper body, 2 lower body sections) with each type consisting of 70 different parts! According to the documentation, this offers the chance to create over 10,000 unique cards for dueling or trading. In reality, coming up with cards more powerful than the 800 initially available is a hit-and-miss proposition, and finding a really useful one is difficult, not to mention a whole heap of hard, detailed work.

If you’re not familiar with the concept, the first time you read through the manual can be very confusing when assaulted with the many options, especially in terms of the varied types of cards, their properties, and purposes. Monster cards, special cards, alignment, class, terrain effects, relationships, levels, sacrifice, special monsters, fusion, magic cards, terrain cards, trap cards, ritual cards, special ritual cards, and more tend to overwhelm the unsuspecting gamer. At first glance, the idea of meshing all the elements into a cohesive, understandable, easy-to-use entity seems daunting, if not impossible.

In practice, though, the learning curve isn’t nearly as tough as first appearances would seem to dictate. With a bit of patience and attention to the short but fairly detailed manual, you can be battling on the virtual battlefield very quickly, though understanding the nuances and the interrelationships between the dueling monster cards takes a while. More time is probably spent trying to figure out how to fill in the blank cards on the list of 800, until you happen to notice the short blurb near the end of the manual that explains how to obtain passwords from the corner of Yu-Gi-Oh! card game cards.

Cards are displayed effectively on the Game Boy Color screen with clear wording, nice portraits, good color, and easy-to-read text. Monster cards show the name, level, card number, deck cost, attack and defense factors, class and alignment, and any pertinent notes about the action (e.g., “highest-level magic user”). Special cards are simpler and display card name, number and deck cost, type, and notes. Menus are easy to navigate, and the Chest and Deck displays offer critical information in nicely designed formats, especially after a quick study of the various field explanations.

Actual combat between monsters is fairly straightforward with players giving specific commands, like attack, defend, discard, skip a turn, sacrifice cards to bring special monsters into play, or use special powers. You can equip magic cards to raise or lower specific factors or monster levels, change terrain conditions, fuse two cards by placing one on top of the other to create a new card with different properties, set traps or perform rituals. With the enormous number of cards and combinations available, gameplay is rarely stale and can be very entertaining as you try and lower your opponents starting Life Points from 8000 to zero.

As in most collectible card-based games, building a balanced deck is the key to success, but one that can elude the novice player. Only through practice and gained knowledge of the variety of cards will gameplay speed up, since beginners will need to focus on what each type of card does and learn the advisability of playing certain special cards or the nuances of relational situations. While the victory conditions are simplistic (reduce your opponent’s life force to zero), a few unusual circumstances, such as collecting all Exodia cards (number 17-21) in one hand, will result in instant victory.

Exception rules like one-per-deck card limitations, terrain effects that provide advantages or disadvantages to specific monsters, and superiority or inferiority of relationships based on alignment keep Yu-Gi-Oh! Dark Duel Stories’ gameplay fun and unpredictable. Despite the slow process of building decks, which is due in large part to the small screen that requires viewing details about each card separately, and the potentially frustrating process of finding passwords from external sources, Dark Duel Stories is well suited for the Game Boy Color system.


Detailed cards, easy-to-read text, and a clearly formatted menu system translate the card game nicely to the handheld system.


Background music is repetitive, although a variety of short tunes play at various screens, and can easily be voided by turning the sound off. The sounds consist of standard blips and beeps.


Learning to play effectively can be challenging, but getting into the game is easy enough. Having to get additional cards from external sources is disappointing, but the password system seems fair to those who have invested in the card game, though purchasers of the video game may feel differently.

Replay Value

With literally thousands of combinations and cards possible, no two games need ever be the same. Collecting, trading, and creating cards allows expansion of the basic game. Multiplayer link cable offers unlimited play.


The manual can be confusing when initially read from cover to cover, but players will find it helpful when used in conjunction with gameplay. Some elements need expanded explanations.

Battlefield 1942 Review

Battlefield 1942 has seen extroardinary growth in its short time on the PC. Already, it’s online numbers have passed up other popular WWII first-person shooters such as Medal of Honor. While it’s nowhere close to Half-Life’s online population yet, it probably resembles Half-Life’s early life more so than other shooters. The game is quickly building a large custom mod community just like Half-Life did and popular themes such as modern desert combat that were never part of the original WWII theme have already built a life of their own. Before you get too excited, there is one important thing to know about this game – it’s really only meant for online multiplayer. You can play the game offline by yourself but it’s boring with a capital B. And if you truly want to experience the best maps and servers in BF1942, you’ll need a high-speed connection such as DSL or cable. If you don’t have this connection, don’t even bother buying the game because it’s not worth it. It doesn’t have a typical single player campaign like most shooters, it’s basically a platform for large maps and epic WWII shoot ’em outs. Epic as in 64+ player maps, all-out vehicle combat including fighter planes, battleships, submarines, infantry, tanks and jeeps ALL in the SAME battle! The game has never flowed as smooth as other online shooters for me, and I found more lag issues with BF1942 than other recent games, but I hear EA has been busy patching up most of the frequent problems. One unfortunate selling practice with EA though is that they tend to release plenty of expansions for any popular title. Honestly though, I don’t know if you really miss that much sticking with the original BF1942. As I stated earlier, there is already a huge custom mod community for this game so even those with only the game itself can experience new maps and game formats. There are already plans for official Vietnam and Star Wars themed games that use the BF1942 engine. This game will be around for a while and if you enjoy the system of play, you’ll definitely get your money’s worth.

Verdict: 80/100

Industry Giant II Synopsis and Features

Industry Giant II expands the levels of corporate management of the original title by offering a wider range of resources and products (more than 150), diplomatic interaction, and an improved, more intuitive, menu system. Changing weather can now affect production and shipping, as many consumables are seasonal and require a deeper sense of managerial planning. Major facets of controlling an industrial conglomerate include gathering and processing raw materials, establishing optimum sites for your factories, planning effective shipping transportation (more than 50 methods are available), and marketing your goods.

Three tutorial missions cover basic game concepts, production of a complex production chain, and elements of transportation (routes, methods, and timing). Gameplay modes include three mission-based campaigns or an “endless” scenario that gives you 80-years (1900-1980) to meet one of three winning conditions, but play can continue to the year 9000. Play at beginner or professional skill levels in Skirmish mode against the computer, or indulge in multiplayer action via LAN or the Internet with up to three other players.

Shops, storage facilities, production facilities, transportation, maintenance and repair, vehicles, and special buildings are topics of discussion in the glossy manual, each with a full array of tips and suggestions to help ease the learning curve. Industry Giant II offers improved zoom functions and a dynamic mouse-click menu system to replace the static menus of the original, opening up the full screen for management of your industrial projects and layouts.

Improved graphics and menu system
More than 150 products to manufacture and 50 methods of transportation
Three mission-based campaigns or a new “endless” scenario gameplay mode
LAN or Internet multiplay for up to four competitors