all reviews by paul blom

6 - Volcanic
5 - Blistering
4 - Hot
3 - Smolder
2 - Room Temp.
1 - Fizzled
0 - Extinguished

A:Long Term Shelf Life
B:Deserves Another Play
C:Once Should Suffice

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Neo Contra      
    Spongebob Squarepants  
      The Incredibles
Jak X      
  EyeToy Anti-Grav  
Rolan Garros
Smashcourt Tennis
WWE vs RAW      
  Xploder V5  
    Rise To Honour  
      Crisis Zone
Sly 2      
F1 2004
      Project Zero 2
TIF 05
Shark Tale
      EyeToy Play 2
Gran Turismo 4 Prologue      
Ratchet & Clank 3
The Getaway Black Monday
Mortal Kombat Deception
 Silent Hill 4 
  Colin McRae Rally 05 
   NBA Ballers
Singstar Party   
 Dancing Stage Fusion 
   Athens 2004
Shellshock Nam   
 Evil Prophecy 
Pro Evolution Soccer 4
   Second Sight
 Onimusha 3 
  Spider-Man 2 
Syphon Filter Omega   
 MX Unleashed 
  Time Crisis 3 
Destruction Derby Arenas   
 Dark Chronicle 
  Dog's Life 
Max Payne 2    
 The Suffering  
  Hitman Contracts 
   Teen Mute Ninja Turtles 
True Crime LA   
 DJ Decks FX 
Fight Night    
 Haunted Mansion  
   Forbidden Siren 
Socom II   
   Manhunt Final Cut 
Final Fantasy X-2    
 EyeToy Groove 
   My Street
Jak II   
 Dancing Stage Fever 
  Pro Evolution Soccer 3  
   Colin McRae Rally 4 
ZONE of the ENDERS    
 RES EVIL Code V  
SOCOM Navy Seals
F1 2003

  TOMB RAIDER soundtarck 

GT Concept
  Red Card

See below for some additional reviews...

Unfortunately I only got the demo disc of this exciting shooting title. For ages the Time Crisis games have lit up arcades around the world. The two playable levels on the demo were action packed and my PSone G-Con-45 light gun worked just fine on the PS2. But, for an updated, slicker look the new PS2 light gun will get the job done just as well, just more a little sexier. In single player mode your CPU buddy helps out with blowing away the never-ending barrage of bad guys with firepower aiming right at you. Bosses, tanks and a powder keg of surprises lie ahead, as your trigger finger will need some serious exercise to keep up.

5 / A
- PB


Sounds like a B action movie title, doesn't it? It seems as though these developers tried to throw everything into one game. There's racing, high powered weapons, the ever popular snow covered excitement, stunts, the competitive edge and a range of locations to suit all tastes. Once you dive into it, it's just so hectic at first, taking a while to get a feel for the snowmobiles, try to blow up your competition and still dodge their attacks as well as the obstacles on your course. Sure Rollcage set the standard for competitive racing with explosive tricks to stuff up your opponents, but here they don't manage to surpass that standard. Still, it's pretty damn crazy and younger players will particularly love it for its sheer, noise, flash and mayhem.

3 / C
- PB


If Final Fantasy, Shadow Madness and other fantasy / quest / adventure games appeal to you, Dark Cloud will surely fit right in there. Not as vast as the Final Fantasy games, but relying on many of its mechanisms. This game however has a more controlled hand to hand fighting mode and even has swords and other retro weapons deteriorate if you don't recharge them. There are some Lord Of The Rings elements to this enjoyable trip which obviously places the fate of your mystical world in your hands - magic, potions and brute force at your disposal to overthrow the evil forces. While it gets pretty in depth, the game still maintains a relative cartoon-feel.

4 / C
- PB


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Just a plain old racing game just isn't good enough anymore, is it? By throwing in a bit of the ol' 007 you can spice it up big time. With Spy Hunter your various missions send you on your way in a great high tech car which transforms depending on the terrain you encounter. So, if you drive through a barrier and hit the water, there'll be no sinking as you transform into a powerboat. A fun take on a genre we all know too well.

4 / B
- PB


Now that the anticipated wait has finally come to an end, this is the abysmal disappointment we're dealt… Yeah, right!!! Like Tekken is the primo fighting series, so does the Gran Turismo saga improve with each leap into a new chapter, making it one of the most enthralling racing experiences in home entertainment history. It's not called the "real driving simulator" for nuthin'. The list of branding for endorsed car manufacturers, parts and sponsors have reached the overwhelming capacity of any real life racing event - I won't even start. The improvements are monumental. Vehicles are looking so realistic you might mistake it for the real thing if you wander in, not noticing the two freaks on the couch cussing and clasping their Dual Shock controls. The Arcade races are always fun and you get to race on tracks, open roads or the gravel and dust of rally racing. One of the few criticized points of GT3 is the attempt to generate a ghost image against which to clock in a better time - in this mode you need to stick to the track or it's over. So, you can't spin out or cross grass areas by too much or they stop you. That sucks. The choice of cars is crazy. From the Mini Cooper to the new VW Beetle and Audi TT you can take the varied models of Honda, Acura, Toyota, Nissan, BMW, Mecedes Benz, Ford, Citroen, Subaru and so on and so forth. Even the AC Cobra and Lotus Esprit is present and not to forget the boxy little family cars. Then there are the hardcore racing and sports models. When venturing into the (very) long term Gran Turismo portion of the game, you'll need to build up a substantial bank account to afford these fire-breathing puppies of steel, rubber and technical mastery. To get started you have to purchase a vehicle with the balance you're given - as you may know from the previous GT games, it won't be too flash. Winning, winning and then some more will be your aim for prize money to upgrade your car with turbo systems, racing tires, better shocks and every other adjustment available to you. Each time getting that extra little boost to be better and succeed, winning and raking in the dosh, building up your arsenal to beat 'em all as you cross that finish line in a souped-up son of a gear box. Racing starts off slow & basic with the Sunday Cup style events and with your bronze license you can start your rise to fame & victory. To get into the bigger leagues, you'll have to obtain those licenses - not an easy task I might add. Then it is also not much use if you get into those races but your car is up to shit. This game is as rewarding as it gets, even on the aesthetic level like gleaming paint jobs or sunbeams filtering through a treetop lane. Your car can go for a make-over and even a wash. Brilliant. With a steering wheel & pedal set, you simply can't go wrong (well, depending on your driving skills, of course). So, why endanger your life when an (almost) equally exhilarating experience can be had in front of your PS2 & TV…?

6 / A
- PB

ATV Offroad
By combining the traction of a 4-wheel racing machine and the more responsive handling of a bike, this game gives you a bit (and sometimes a lot!) of both in one zipping go. With the PS2 capabilities, the gameplay is highly enhanced when you take on the varied courses with your offroad quad bike. If you pop into the training area, the machine's handling and controls are explained in an amiable, easy to grasp manner. Here it is not merely a case of jump on and move - you'll be munching mud in no time. Special details like pitching your all terrain vehicle in the air to ensure a stable landing or techniques for taking on and getting the most out of a jump are but a few. The range of ATV's are not just there for your colour preference as the ratio between acceleration, stability, speed and handling are quite varied. Tracks can take you anywhere from indoor arenas to countryside, desert or snow covered areas. Progress will unlock more tracks on which to go wild. Racing modes can take the one or two player options but you can have up to 4 participants. While that is open for the any-time momentary thrill, the more long-term mission comes in the form of Maxxis Grand Nationals. Cross Country Enduro is a blast as you race against beating the other guy's time (by hitting specific checkpoints), trying to beat his "spook" as we like to call it around the Flamedrop HQ. Just like Gran Turismo and other games like V-Rally, a ghost image of the best-timed racer repeats the course & you have to beat his ass (or hers, as you can choose your gender and outfit!). Great fun. As if the adrenaline of the race is not enough, you get to perfect aerial moves & daring tricks, racking up freestyle points. Even if you get to a stage where you can pull off the most rad stunts, you still need to land in a decent position not to go rolling and bouncing along the track - no points awarded there. When you utilize the action camera angle it's even harder - but once you've got it down there's no stopping you. The areas are free roaming - up to a point. As you wander waaayyy off course, investigating the woods or hills, you suddenly hit an invisible border barrier that flings you far up through the clouds and over the landscape, back to your concentrated racing area - the poor driver screaming as he / she flies through the air like a helpless rag doll. With over 20 huge environments, adjustable ATV's and smooth, realistic motion, the life span of this fun racing number is far greater than that of the previous generation. Here's to the future!

5 / A
- PB


The most quick & easy way to describe this particular game would be "a cross between Syphon Filter and Resident Evil". That should be enough to get your eye twitching and thumb fingers itching! The action (and drama) unfolds as you enter a classified Arctic research facility with your Special Forces Re-Con Unit. Your supplies, ammo, medical kits and other necessities are collected from boxes (as in Syphon Filter) scattered all over the vast facility, which harbours some nasty customers in the shape of mutated creatures! In order to save, you need to use batteries at your saving points (like Resident Evil's typewriter ribbon, you don't have a lot), so you have to be careful when it comes to stupid mistakes or irresponsible ammo wastage. Your inventory system is slick and handy. Clues, instructions and story elements are all over the place in the shape of memo's, notes and letters by the missing staff - not to forget map portions. Along your way there are the usual physical obstacles, tasks and puzzles to overcome in order to propel the story-line and increase the action - which also has a gore-factor. So, get your memory card ready for a bumpy ride - and that is not a contradiction of the PS2's smooth graphics, frame rate & swift response…

4 / B
- PB


What makes the PS2 an even more awesome entertainment center (besides the DVD possibilties, future-now hard-drive option & internet integration), is the wide open possibilities for games applications other than your conventional racing / fighting / shooting extravaganzas. A marvelous little PSone game simply (and aptly) named Music, was part of the foundation for music creation on the PlayStation system. The MTV Music Generator 2 takes it a step further. Besides accessing hundreds of sounds, samples, beats, melodies and bass lines from which to construct the kind of tune you like, you get to create a video with graphics to accompany your chart-topper. Indie, House, Pop, Rock, Garage, Breakbeat, Trance, R&B - whatever your preference, the kind of sounds you like are here for you to play with and combine, construct & edit on your timeline (which, as opposed to PC based music programs run from top-to-bottom, not scrolling from left-to-right. So, at first I was a little baffled getting started, as the program wasn't scrolling to the right, having used the PC audio method for years! Keep that in mind). You can also edit your samples, add effects and basically go mad with what you're given, creating your own little masterpiece. There are also vocal samples, which, as to be expected can be a little funny (especially the cliché Rock or R&B bits) - but, then, it's how you use it effectively that will determine whether it sound dumb or not. If you have the spare cash to buy the additional sampling hardware (Sampler Kit), you can really go to town! Where this had always been a solo flight, this time round you get to hit the Jam Sessions where (with a multi-tap), you can have up to 8 passengers join in the fun when you assign up to three riffs to a button, resulting in a live party. Where some people thought they could never amount to anything musically, this could prove them wrong. (The game is also endorsed by platinum DJ David Morales - for what that's worth).

5 / A
- PB

The war had split Japan in two sections (kind of like North & South Korea). Battles are fought aided by large human operated Mech-Warrior styled (or RoboCop's ED-209 times 10!) war machines. You're a young fighter who has to go through training before launching into live battle. You have your superiors, fellow soldiers, trainers - the works. By combining a strategic type battle-plan interface with a war zone map layout, moving range, strike range and the rest, the game switches from this mode to a first person set-up where the enemy is encountered on the field. By doing this, the game producers can include a game-base who traditionally get scared off by straight strategy. The opening video of this game is goose-bump-killer. Old WWII-style black & white footage of artillery convoys & shit has monster robots added in the background, marching along - phenomenal.

3 / B
- PB

The difference between the PS2 version of this game and that of the PSone is quite apparent. The PSone version is by no means crap, it's just that the super-smooth running (on all levels) of the bigger bopper of the two holds so many consummate improvements when it comes to racing quality, it has to be experienced first hand. Covering all of the main F1 contenders (two in each team) as well as all the tracks, a mere quick race simply won't do (although that and other functions like time trial mode are always present). You have to go for the championship. Your vehicle settings cover almost every aspect as it would in real racing events: tyres, gasoline capacity, braking, gears and all the rest can be meticulously set for the type of track, weather and racing circumstances. The detail is great and what is an F1 race without Murray Walker? All manners of stats and information are available on both your vehicle and the road ahead while each view preference is a personal matter - only the brave going for the cockpit view (making the road visibility ahead that much harder). At times the game can be a bit too realistic where the different gravel densities on certain corners can have you stuck and out of the race! So, best to stick to the road and brake sooner if you're going to spin out and affect your overall points on the grid. A TV home viewer replay gives you smooth, professional playbacks. Thus far for a home console, this is the ultimate F1 game and will provide you with long time driving excitement.

5 / A
- PB

Taking the best fighting game (PSone's Tekken 3) a step further into the ultimate Tag fighting experience on the ultimate games console was the sole intention - I do believe. With 20 of your favourites from Jin, Paul, Eddy Heiachi, Gunjack & Yoshimitsu to Nina, Ling, Julia & Anna, plus 10 new ones to unlock (from boxing dinosaur babies to feocious reptilian beasts and other more human ass-kickers), the Tag in the title points at the function of picking two of your strongest fighters and tagging between them when the one gets a little weak, or when your fighting strategy requires a certain style at a certain time against a specific opponent... The Arcade, VS, Time Attack, 1-on-1, Team Battle and Survival Modes all hold equal amounts of action and intense fighting and certainly worth the buy.

5 / A
- PB

A Disney movie without a games-tie-in is not Disney at all... The pre-historic/Jurassic characters, friends & foes are now at your disposal to continue the energy of the film in your lounge (or wherever your PS den may be).
Gran Turismo's other contender, the Ridge Racer series has made quite a name for itself & if you see the digital opening, you'll be salivating even before putting hand to control...

With an evil race bent on wrecking our time, space and history, it's up to you to stop 'em.

With the tough female fighters the highlight of this ass-kickin' game's first installment, it seems like this one has more of the same - at an even better frame rate, with better speed and fluidity!