Broken Sword: Shadow of the Templar

Publisher: THQ
Developer: Revolution Software Ltd.
Platform: PC · Genre: Adventure
Release Date: 02/28/98 · Origin: Europe

review: The first game in the series was released in 1996, published by Virgin Interactive Entertainment world wide. George Stobbart is an American tourist on holiday in Paris in the autumn. The story opens with George’s quiet coffee at a cafe rudely interrupted by the explosion of a bomb planted by a man dressed up as a clown. He sets off investigating the explosion and, gradually, he and photo-journalist Nicole “Nico” Collard are drawn into a globe-trotting adventure involving conspiracies, cults and murder, all revolving around the Knights Templar. Despite the death and cults the game is a lighthearted and fun game, with high-quality hand-drawn animation and graphics. The game features a musical score composed by Barrington Pheloung, and a cast of voice actors led by Rolf Saxon as George Stobbart. The game was a critical and commercial success, and is often today cited as the best game in the Broken Sword series. The game was released as Circle of Blood in the United States, Baphomets Fluch (Baphomet’s Curse) in Germany, Les Chevaliers de Baphomet (Knights of Baphomet) in France and La leyenda de los Templarios (Legend of the Templars) in rapidshare megaupload sendspace torrent oxyshare megashares uploadport badongo ftp

Haze (preview)

click to full view

Mantel Corp.: healing minds and quashing
insurrection worldwide.

Haze begs you to question your conscience
every time you pull the trigger.
PUBLISHER: Ubisoft DEVELOPER: Free Radical GENRE: Shooter RELEASE DATE: Spring 2007
War II grunts and biomechanical alienin vaders, sometimes all it takes is a mysterious plot device to stand out in the FPS crowd. It worked for F.E.A.R., so why not Haze, developer Free Radical’s shrouded-ininscrutability shooter? Haze drops you into the head of Jake Carpenter, a soldier in the world-dominating Mantel drug conglomerate’s private army, hopped up on the company’s famous (and fun!) supersoldier drug so you can kick ass against freedom-hating enemy insurgents in a steamy South American jungle. Haze seeks to push the glowy-effects processor in your graphics card to 11, bathing the fertile tropical scenery in a strangely soothing hyperreal glare. Pause for a moment, and a radiant white butterfl y alights on your superheated
gun barrel. Obviously, all is not what it seems in this rose-colored corporatocracy.

Soon, the computer voice inside your ear issues an “administration error.” The world drains in color, and time seems to freeze stock-still as your companions callously shoot what appears to be an innocent civilian desperately trying to surrender. When asked what it all means, the Free Radical folks shift, shrug, and smile—but we can safely speculate that Mantel’s miracle drug cocktail does a wee bit more than initially advertised.

Whether or not your variable internal reality actually has some sort of gameplay repercussions—at this point, only omniscient superbeings know. This isn’t the fi rst time Free Radical has tried to guide us up Jacob’s Ladder with an arsenal on our back. 2004’s Second Sight bounced between protagonist John Vattic’s time as an amnesia patient with latent psychic powers and his stint a few months earlier as a covert op investigating Russian science gone mad. And fragging monkeys
and gingerbread men in the developer’s signature TimeSplitters series? That’s just f***ed
up right there.

Gran Turismo 4

Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Developer: Polyphony Digital
Platform: PlayStation 2 · Genre: Racing
Release Date: 02/22/05 · Origin: Japan

Review: The fourth installment in Polyphony Digital’s extravagant PlayStation racing franchise features even more cars, courses and race modes than ever before. Gran Turismo 4 uses an all-new physics engine coupled with revolutionary technology to deliver enhanced game physics and graphics providing a near-realistic automotive racing simulation. New and enhanced racing modes include: GT Director Mode/B-spec, GT Photo Mode, GT Career Simulation Mode and GT Arcade Mode encompassing more than 200 championship races, highly detailed car customization and many other innovative options to set the bar as the most complete racing game available. Though initially promised online options were removed from the title, the final features list clocks in with a whopping 700+ cars, more than 100 courses and plenty of unique surprises for automotive enthusiasts.

Original Rating - the rating the source gave this game as originally published on their site and/or publication. Adjusted Rating - the rating the source gave this game, adjusted for the GameStats rating scale. (0.0 to 10.0). 08/31/2005 6.5 /10 6.5
GMR-Source 06/07/2005 9.5 /10 9.5
Ace Gamez 06/03/2005 9 /10 9.0
PC Magazine 06/01/2005 4.5 /5 9.0
Gaming Nexus 05/09/2005 9 /10 9.0 05/07/2005 8.7 /10 8.7
GamerDad 05/04/2005 3.5 /5 7.0
GameBiz [AU] {2001-2005 archive} 04/25/2005 85 /100 8.5
NTSC-UK 04/12/2005 7 /10 7.0

Average Press Score:


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CivCity: Rome

Publisher: 2K Games
Developer: FireFly Studios
Platform: PC · Genre: Simulation
Release Date: 07/24/06 · Origin: U.S.

review: In CivCity: Rome, gamers will recreate the glory of Rome by building a small settlement into a mighty imperial city. Features hundreds of buildings including gladiatorial schools, amphitheatres, the circus maximus, legionnaire forts, weapons workshops and much more.

Original Rating - the rating the source gave this game as originally published on their site and/or publication. Adjusted Rating - the rating the source gave this game, adjusted for the GameStats rating scale. (0.0 to 10.0).
GameSpot 07/28/2006 6.6 /10 6.6 07/27/2006 5 /10 5.0
Yahoo! Video Games 07/27/2006 3.5 /5 7.0 07/25/2006 8.2 /10 8.2 07/25/2006 3.5 /5 7.0

Average Press Score:


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Blood Omen 2: Legacy of Kain

Publisher: Eidos Interactive
Developer: Crystal Dynamics
Platform: PC · Genre: Action Adventure
Release Date: 03/28/02 · Origin: U.S.

review: Blood Omen 2, the latest installment in the Legacy of Kain Series is a 3rd person 3D action/combat game in which you assume the role of the vampire Kain. A compelling story drives you through huge lushly detailed 3D environments and challenges game play skills in combat, puzzle solving, stealth and exploration.

Original Rating - the rating the source gave this game as originally published on their site and/or publication. Adjusted Rating - the rating the source gave this game, adjusted for the GameStats rating scale. (0.0 to 10.0).
Computer Gaming World 01/07/2004 3.5 /5 7.0 04/03/2002 7.1 /10 7.1

Average Press Score:
based on 2 reviews

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War Lust


GIRLS GAME FOR THE THROAT—WE’VE gotten used to it. Now ubiquitous, the Ubisoft-sponsored Frag Dolls started spreading their message of equal-opportunity deathmatching with a foxy face in ’04. Others share similar stories, including the international all-female team girlz 0f destruction and Les Seules, the so-called Swedish Girls of Gaming who use pro coaching and Olympic-like training regimens to triumph in Counter-Strike and other red-toothed shooters. So, what’s yet another gal group to do to get attention? Challenge the rest and rise to the top. Or, if you’re the Girls of CS (an offshoot of the LANFusion network), simply take the top off.
“We’re coding our website for community, with custom user profiles, blogs, message boards, and everything else you’d expect,” says Dan Matthews, co-owner of the adults-only GirlsofCS .com. “Premium members get access to a private voice-over-IP (VoIP) channel and CS server to Nixing the network’s original reason for being interact with models outside of the site. They also (to thwart the assumption that formidable gal have first access to physical events, LAN parties, gamers have to be homely ones), Matthews now and such.” To wit: pay, ogle, yap, play—more or less in line with the other taut trigger-pullers’ has an easier-to-buy explanation: It is what it is. “By charging a membership fee,” he says, “we homepages, plus pinups. To answer your second can cover overhead costs and afford to pay mod-question first: Yes, Hillary, Mousie, Princess, and els for their participation in the community.” And Girls of CS’ other models know team flashers make something for himself—or so it stands to from blockers from mic spammers. Partial to map reason. For her part, Hillary cites “the community Dust2 and her AK-47, Hillary says she plays daily. and competition” as personal motivation, adding:


click to full view

Adds Matthews: “We set certain requirements with regards to how often models play and how active they need to be in the community.” Of course, female players need neither pose “Of course, the money is also a nice perk.” As for specifics on the site’s cheesecake content, Matthews says: “We might incorporate playful Counter-Strike themes into some of the nor look the part to participate, and according to shoots, but one of the site’s points is that the Hillary, “The Girls of CS tag just identifies models; models are normal people. So with that in mind, anyone can apply for admin privileges and com- we try to tie the photo shoots into their personali pete. Last weekend, for example, we got together ties. The girls have creative control of settings for a LAN party, and five or so other women gamand overall feel. One of the sets, for instance, is ers who don’t model showed up to participate.” of Hillary walking around her apartment and then As for your first question…well, one second. playing CS.” Scandalous./Shawn Elliott

Reflexive Arcade LEGO.Builder Bots v1.3

Catch falling LEGO bricks and power-ups to create robots that build classic LEGO towers, characters, animals and more! Watch for power-ups and learn to recognize and avoid hazards. Always pay attention and keep on catching to maintain a steady supply of robots working for you. Brick by brick, level by level, the robots you create will build classic LEGO structures for you!
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FarCry War Zone

Publisher: Ubisoft
Developer: Crytek Studios
Platform: PC · Genre: First-Person Shooter
Release Date: 03/23/04 · Origin: Europe

review: The game begins under mysterious circumstances where main character John Carver finds himself tied to a chair in the empty, rusted belly of a decrepit cargo ship. Thanks to the help of an unseen stranger, John’s restraints are loosened and he sets out to escape his captors. From this point on you are in control of John’s destiny. Far Cry offers a variety of ways to approach each challenging situation, where players can choose to rely on firepower, strategy and stealth. An amazing new game engine (the CryENGINE) features breathtaking graphics, highly intelligent computer AI, and a host of other visual effects and technological advancements.

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Icame from Kentia Hall

Field report FIVE HOURS! SOME PEOPLE SPENT HALF THE flippin’ day waiting to lay hands upon Nintendo’s Wii (the new console) during the 2006 Electronic Entertainment Expo. I, on the other hand, spent that time casually strolling through gamingdom’s undiscovered country—the infamous Kentia Hall. It’s where small developers with big dreams start. It’s where nations of the world come together. It’s where I learned that Tai Chi is “The only Kung Fu Which kills in Space [sic].” Yes, when I think of the gateway to China, I think of Asian women in space-suits striking martial arts poses. Don’t ask; just accept it when walking past the Hong Kong pavilion—the Ultra Dimension of Digital Entertainment.

It’d be far too easy to dwell on lost-in-translation beauties like the Ultraman Happy Fun Unicorn Princess [ Study 3 (in case you hadn’t already guessed, no, that’s not real). Instead, how about the games you might actually want to install on your PC at some point?
Dead Island ( I’m vocal in my love for all things zombie. But when Techland stranded me on a digitized desert island, the developer had me at “Braaaaaains!” Dead Island looks like a tropical Romero flick…but with box-lifting puzzles. It promises a fully interactive environment to use against the zombie hordes, but one thing that already works for me is the setting. While walking through the tall grass, tension ratchets up since you’re unsure where a zombie might lurk. And I can’t fault the game for any bad A.I., since g the enemies are—after all—the bumbling undead.
Elveon ( It’s medieval Earth with elves. Honestly, this game caught me by surprise—I mean, a high-fantasy sword-and-sorcery action-RPG using Unreal Engine 3? Hell yeah! Though you start Elveon as an elite archer, this isn’t a fantasy FPS. The game emphasizes swordplay through group combat and Soul Calibur-esque 1-on-1 dueling. As your skills improve, you learn new combat styles with multiple weapons (will you use a polearm or dual-wield a dagger and short sword?). Definitely one to watch.
Death to Spies ( Not since Snakes on a Plane have I seen a more self-explanatory title. However, 1C’s new stealth game is more than just squashing spies—it’s based on real events. The Soviet army’s SMERSH department had a dirty job during World War II: detect and deal with German spies. DTS tells the same tale, taking you behind enemy lines to eliminate the bad guys (and wear i their uniforms, and then booby- trap their bodies). Eidos: This is what Commandos Strike Force should’ve been.

Kentia is also where gadget-loving gamers step ! into tomorrow. Or go to die. If you want to hear more about actual, useful, and innovative hardware, turn to this issue’s Hard News report (pg. k 102). If you want potentially embarrassing, nookie-repelling products, read on. CGW editor Shawn Elliott practically bought the R2 Mark II gaming mouse ( on the spot for ^ all his fragging needs…but the superfluous Fragpedals (sold separately) look ridiculous. An , extra $80 for what amounts to foot-pedal mouse buttons? Who am I, Def Leppard’s one-armed drummer? The people behind the BodyPad ( have a different approach—they assume you actually want to get off your ass. Strap the sensors onto your limbs and, once you calibrate the thing, real-world kicks translate into game-world moves. The upshot: You’ll be in great shape to beat up all your hecklers.
Me? I’d rather just shed my humanity and strap a TV to my face. Yes, $600 is a small price to pay for turning yourself into a cybernetic death-dealer from Dimension Awesome. 3001 AD’s Trimersion ( is a wireless, head-mounted display and gun controller guaranteed to make even the nerdi-est of the nerdy run screaming from the room. I don’t know what made my head spin more: the less-than-optimal 320×240 resolution or the heave-worthy head-motion-based aiming system. It’s an…interesting…idea, but I’m more impressed that 3001 AD managed to talk the pictured booth babes into wearing fashion-forward silver unitards to enter the Matrix. Indeed, the future is now./Darren Gladstone

Starcraft Series

Publisher: Blizzard
Developer: Blizzard
Platform: PC · Genre: Real-Time Strategy
Release Date: 12/01/97 · Origin: U.S.

review: Ground-breaking real-time strategy game that pioneered the concept of dramatically different races in one game. Players choose to control one of three races — one human and two alien — in single-player or multiplayer. The human Terrans have the latest in combat technology, including tanks and nukes. The Zerg are vicious slimy organic entities with teeth and carapaces, controlled by a hive mind. The Protoss are ruthless interdimensional robotic entities with powerful shields and energy weapons. Their Carriers and Reavers can unleash swarms of attack drones to complement their smaller numbers of juiced up units. Combine that with a smattering of maps and memorably sound bytes, StarCraft remains the high point of ’90s RTS gaming.