Four way view controL Independent auto-fire, and much more! With help from software, email saves to other gamers, download saves from the web and transfer saves to memory cards! Intelligent reload. Special reload knob. Set mode. Florida Please indude: Your name, return address, telephone number, product and type of game system.
As one would expect, it is the exact same game but with dramatically enhanced graphics and frame rate. After all, when it comes to rendering and pushing polygons, a Voodoo 2 machine goes well beyond the PlayStation. Without harping on a relatively meaning- less point for too long, it is perhaps more appropriate to talk about the fact that the third installment is definitely more of the same, which in this case is a good thing, but contains many new subtleties that differ enough to warrant its consideration by any gamer.
Even those who have been with the series from the start will find it refreshing enough. New settings, moves, vehicles, ene- mies, and weapons were all expected, but what about varying weather conditions, smoking guns, rippling water, or a trail of footsteps left in the snow?
These may seem to be rather simple enhancements, but at best, they are effective in making the envi- ronments and atmosphere of Tomb Raider 3 seem more alive than ever before. Remembering the magic of the original Tomb Raider brings about a revelation: Keeping the changes to the TR series subtle in nature is perhaps an act to preserve the adventuresome soul of Lara Croft. While we know what to expect from a technical view- point the engine employed is essentially a slightly enhanced version of the originalit holds true that each sequel that Core creates will rely more on its production than its tech- nology.
There used to be a housekeeper too, but she kept insisting on hoovering the lo Commandments out of the Ark. So 1 had to let her go GR: When you leave the mansion, you tend to end up travelling a lot.
Where did you do most of your adventuring this time around? GR: How did it compare to previous quests? LC: The tombs seemed to be lit more subtly, the baddies were more intelligent and calcu- lating, the terrain more diverse, the maps more open, the weather more uncompromis- ing, and lots more.
It was tough, though my guns looked and sounded a lot better, so that helped. GR: Just who pays for this sort of thing? Are you lecturing at universities to pay the bills?
LC: I funded my own expedition to India by auctioning those Victorian bedsheets, then the research company who subsequently employed me covered the rest of my expens- es. Of particular use has been my sprint training which has saved me a few times. GR: How do you stay in such great shape? LC: 1 keep fit for travelling by basically doing just that.
But when 1 am at home, 1 just amuse myself on my assault course. My training is fairly loose and based strictly on having fun; shooting, swimming, vaulting Who designs your adventuring and formal wear? Any favorite designers? They do the best line in adventure clothing, while my more formal wear is generally seen to by Matt Charlesworth and Mark Hazelton. LC: Go on Any comment on the rumored breast reduction? And 1 imagine I would be the first person to notice GR: What music are you listening to now?
To be hon- est, it takes a bit of a while to retune from the sound of gunfire anyhow. GR: We heard a rumor of a movie To be honest. LC: 1 hope you manage to get through my third adventure in one piece! GR: Thank you for your kind hospitality. We wish you every success in this adventure! We recently journeyed deep into the English Countryside fora meeting with Lara herself. LC Lara Croft : Yes, 1 had the painters and decorators in for a full revamp recently as the decor had taken a bit of a battering at the end of my last adventure I also got some new bedsheets; the last ones were Victorian.
Very impractical. Particularly the hedging Earl Grey. How long have you been in the service of Miss Croft, Winston? Then he forts and shuf- fles away. Lara offers a translation;] LC: Winston sort of comes with the house. Although Kingdoms uses the same basic engine as Total Annihilation, it improves the detail courtesy of a i6-bit color palette, allow- ing players to exactly determine where their troops are standing.
These troops include not only the usual fan- tasy fare of skeleton archers and dragon riding knights, but also the wandering monsters and appearing characters that add a sense of uniqueness to each confrontation. Unlike previous stabs at the RTS genre, there are no materials to mine in Kingdoms, as you start with a township that already gener- ates enough money. To expand, you must gain control of magical stones placed in areas of great strategic importanceand then receive the monetary benefits while fending off enemy incursions.
This is made possi- ble by the strengthening of your main base so that it can withstand all basic attacks and even fire upon its enemies with arrows. This is a unique volume by an extraordinary artist. The first time gamers are likely to see this game anywhere near completion is by playing a sanitized i.
We tore through the demo and present our findings note that all the screenshots are taken from the actual game demo in progress below. The results may surprise you. Forgetting the lack of blood for a moment gushes of crimson gore actually does add immeasurably to a gaming experience of this naturewe find Adon waiting patiently for Joshua Fireseed to tumble through a warp gate before briefing him on his ensu- ing mission: to wander the port of Adia, res- cuing trapped little girls, switching on dis- tress beacons, and, of course, murdering numerous reptilian dinosoids with two- dozen different weapons, some sacred, some familiar, some futuristic, and all deadly in the right hands.
Which brings us neatly into the game. Opting for the fantastic Turok-styie control which takes half an hour to perfect, but then provides marvelous movement over the alternative Goldeneye setup, 1 started my infiltration of the port.
From the very beginning, 1 experienced the single most annoying problem of the entire game: slowdown. The sail boat exploding, with shards flying everywhere, would be excel- lent to watch had the game not slowed to 10 frames per second when 1 turned slight- ly to the right. Diving into a beautifully rustic outhouse, complete with axes racked up and tropical plants draped over the walls, 1 ran into the path of two green and scaly dinosoids armed with grenades.
The game stalled, literally, for a second, before juddering back to life, with the rest of the fight resembling a series of J stunning engine with one mejer m The sheer number of weapons makes loading one up time consuming. However, the effects are worth it; check the arrows piercing the sides of the toppling beast belowand the burning fire of the excellent flame thrower below far right.
This severe frame-rate loss only happened a couple of times, but it was enough to snuff out the believ- ability of the game. I pray that the finished version of the game loses this terrible affliction. Motion on the monsters, although mostly impressive, also suffers from loss of frames, with the Raptors lolloping towards you without the smoothness of those in the original game.
There are some genuinely cunning areas to negotiate, with particular weapons suited to particular envi- ronments, and a whole load of levers to pull before subsequent areas are entered - exactly the level layouts I was expecting. The weapons are a stunning collection of beautifully animated killing pieces, with the Tek Bow impressing me the most. The sniper capability of the Tek Bow still needed a little work, as there was a couple of occasions where I aimed at a dinosoid up on a parapet in deep mist, zoomed in and the mist was still as thick.
Still fun to use, though. More glitches are to be addressed before the final game appears. Certainly, the criticism leveled here is harsh, but it is fair and war- ranted, and needs to be addressed before the game is rushed out, especially on a title of this caliber.
This adds immeasurably to the plinth trek of some levels. As a sequel, TM2 pro- vided the basics: A new engine, characters, and vehi- cles, new play mechanics, and a fresh theme, it was the pinnacle of vehicular combat on the PS. Eventually though, the competition arrived. Rogue Trip, is a competent addition to the genre.
Now, Studios, minus 77 W's original developers Singletrac, attempt to secure the coveted number one spot once again. Twisted Metal 3 will arrive just before the hol- iday season decked-out in a set of jolly new threads, bearing violent gifts for the good little boys and girls anxiously awaiting a sequel. The same goes for long-time favorite Sweet Tooth, who now digs deep into turns as he delivers manic, flaming death to all the world. The handling seems to be going in the right direction the lamest of puns not intendedoffering a good balance between real- ism and twitch requirements.
The brand-new engine is looking great right now. Twisted Metal 3 is the only game designed in the same scope as Vigilante 8 big vehicles and environment modelsand the characters and weapons have huge potential.
I hope can turn this one into another PS classic! The reasons have less to do with their ability to create great games and more to do with the difficult task of migrating such an intricate genre from the familiar world of 2D to the complex and taxing world of 3D. But what the relatively tiny company learned from their original pioneering effort has now proved to work for them: Uprising 2: Lead and Destroy is looking very impressive. Just after the overthrow of the Imperium in Uprising 1, a somewhat disorganized alliance was formed to ensure a secure future for mankind.
But a time of reorganization and planning is also a time of instability and vulnerability. From the shadows, a fearless race of alien beings that feed on the DNA of other species, the Trich, were watching with anticipation, waiting for the right moment to strike. Without warning, they broke their silence and invaded the alliance.
It is you who are chosen to lead a squadron deep into enemy territory and relinquish the enemy spawning ground, thus eradicat- ing their species and saving your own.
While the theme sounds familiar. Cyclone are focusing on delivering a campaign that is submerged in a highly dra- matic unfurling of events which should heighten the over- all experience. But it is not just the story that will grip players who par- j take in the game, it is the gameplay: fine-tuned, intense, volatile, explosive, cataclysmic action strategy. The sort of action that keeps you on the edge of your seat and causes you to lose track of time.
The sort of strategy that requires cunning maneu- vers and quick thinking. And, as a generous response to many user requests. It looks like they are on the right track. JBpSf Combining excellent technology with a deep story and intense action.
Uprising 2 raises the bar that it first created in To stop them, you will have to use every trick in the book, and M is little room for error. Being a fan of the original except for the jumping and limited hori- zonI was expecting a little less in the Nintendo game. However, I was overjoyed to see a faster frame rate, smooth non-warping, pixel-free textures on the build- ings, floors and walkways, and all the gore of the origi- nal.
Other changes are the option to remove the adrenaline bar, and the fact that some items only affect certain beast- ies. Most impressive. Vigilante 8 is the top console vehicular com- bat game. With awesome play mechanics and realistic yet arcade-like controls, V8 blazed onto the scene and immediately seized the spotlight from Twisted Metal 2.
The game will also use the 4-meg pack for high-res display. Now about that low frame rate This shock- ingly impressive conversion took our resident Quake II clan members by surprise, as did the lack of pixelly wall and floor textures up close, the smooth frame rate and the two-player Deathmatch aspect, which was fully implemented in the one-level sample build we played for around an hour. Expect PlayStation-exclusive levels and half-a-dozen Deathmatch-specific levels when the game finally gets a release.
Take on a triad of evil gods in Akolyte, another stab at the 3D action adventure made popular by the bouncing Croft woman. This time, howev- er, skin-tight vest tops are discarded in favor of flow- ing pantaloons and mas- sive two-handed weapon- ry, sort of a cross between Prince of Persia and Heretic 2.
In the increasingly crowded genre, Akolyte offers over 50 monsters and non-player characters populating over 25 mystical zones of questing. Four different adventurers are available, and a full complement of spells and sharp, pointy melee weapons are promised.
Overall, extremely promising. Players will get to choose from one of two characters. Truly an amalgam of the aforementioned titles, the view in Assault: Retribution switches from your standard side view to more dynamic overhead and isometric perspectives.
In true Contra fashion, your characters can aim up or down while running to take out nasties above and below. For either one or two players, AR does its best to keep the action moving along, and it is indeed truly mindless.
In our preview copy, you basically never stop shooting. But in the attempt S to differentiate their latest g release from the competition, S players can expect the online S quest to be accompanied by a S strong single-player mode as S well - which the PlayStation version will surely be based on.
This non-linear action adventure revolves around Cutter Slade, a covert ops commander. Cutter must prevent the destruction of Earth by an out- of-control scientific experiment. Outcast features six unique worlds, a degree camera, over 20 character types, and is completely non-linear, giv- ing near-limitless exploration of the stunning environments. Now Activision, after granting PlayStation owners their very own collection of Atari classics, has attempted an updated version of Asteroids.
The name remains the same as does the gameplay, still one screen bigbut the graphics certainly do not, changing to detailed polygon models of icebergs float- ing in space and rocks of granite gracefully spinning through the cosmos. After twenty or so levels of this old-school action, one becomes dazed, entering a period of intense gaming so prevalent back in the day. A few new touches such as resolidifying aster- oids and those pesky aliens round off the this heady vintage.
This time around, The Soil Idea - Dawn Of The Replicants - Wrong Town Wrong Planet Three Hours Late (CDr, the seminal Centipede receives the polyg- onal infusion. Two modes of play will be on tap for would-be extermi- nators: Arcade and Adventure. You can jump and collect powerups, just like in a 3D platformer, but the action remains very much tied to the first game.
But I doubt that the PS incarnation suffer even the face an accelera- tor a game on platform. As you can see, the scenery is pure Ridge Racer, as is the gaming. Finally, the Republic is thankful that the intense techno is back, allowing the maximum racing speeds to be reached with frenetic dance- beats ideally suited to the RR senes. It does not, however, share the license, or any license for that matter. Roadsters fea- tures a bevy of convincing look-alikes, which promotes the sense of a partic- ular car without Titus having to deal with a load of legal wrangling and licens- ing fees.
The all-important courses were looking pretty good as well, with nice weather effects and often-vibrant scenery. Draw-in was kept to a respectable minimum with fog leading the charge in this regard. Unfortunately, the control was not yet up to spec and gauging the poten- tial for greatness proved difficult.
Mainly, the cars were way too responsive with regards to control-stick movements and it was all too easy to get crossed up in the corners. Also, reverse was in a ridiculous position - the D-pad - but we were assured that this and other small problems would be rectified. A good spit and polish is all it needs. This said, it will be interesting to see how the content of the N64 version stands up to that of the more relaxed attitude of Sony and the PC market.
And judging by the animated intro, the wry and self-referential sense of humor that is such a hallmark of the series has been kept intact. For example, gutters can be turned off and replaced by bumpers, so no more embarrassing gutter balls for the little ones.
It can drive a well-balanced mind to the fringes of lunacy, make a murderer of a saint, or stain the purest of souls. But what happens when a char- acter of wicked predisposition - a sleuthing trick- ster, battle-worn gladiator, or powerful sorcerer - falls under such a chaotic state of mind?
As pioneers. The Havoc engine rendered realized through its dimly lit environs game answers that question in full, and perhaps its real-time world entirely of 3D polygons. It and foreboding ambience. For its time, these features were on the bleeding edge, and the product to this day has sold over one million units worldwide.
But the development of Havoc was under time con- straints, and thus, rushed in the end. Reality Bytes were not quite satisfied. Early encouragement came naturally as the company showed off their 3D prowess to the press and various publishers, and such an altered state might have on our own mind.
But before we discuss the game further, a dip into the his- tory of its purveyors is necessary. By incorporating three completely unique character types - the trick- ster, sorcerer, and gladiator - with completely unique weapons and abilities, and a physics model that properly differentiates objects based on mass, they have managed to accom- plish their goals in theory; execution, however, is another matter. As an experiment in gaming from the third person. Tomb Raider easily managed to make believers of us all, even with its now-glaring faults.
But perhaps what had us turning away from TR's low points was its pace: intentionally slow-moving, the game exuded more moments of drama and exploration than it did action.
However, the discovery of items, solving of puzzles and climbing of obstacles are all sec- ondary to the slaying of enemies in Dark Vengeance. Thus, with an unavoidable resem- blance to the likes of Heretic 2, issues such as line of sight and aiming both become key. Reality Bytes have devised an auto-targeting system that takes care of this potential threat to its playability. A cursor that normally depicts your line of sight will lock onto enemies when within proper proximity, and any projectile, spell, or slash will greet your foe with accuracy.
But, depending on which character you play as, there are significant variances in the experi- ence. With three distinctive characters to select from. The trick- ster is a tough wench, armed with stealth and a cunning arsenal of blades and bizarre weapon- ry. The Gladiator is a hulking mass, fast and durable and ever so experienced at slicing and dicing those who impede his progress.
The sor- cerer is frail and slow, and thus must rely on the conjuring of various spells to defeat his ene- mies from long range. And as he runs away, leaving a few stun runes in his wake will keep A horde of vicious goblins and orc-like beasts are your first adversaries.
Use your skills wisely - their IQ is a bit higher than that of your average Quake thug. For deathmatch purposes.
Reality Bytes have created a collage of weapons and items that can be used in combination to provide for some awe- some, entertaining strategies. The Gladiator can use the Stomp Unique to stun opponents while his team- mates hack them to pieces! Truly satisfying, and well thought out, this type of play is tough to pull off, but worth the effort. The preview version of Dark Vengeance is but a small sampling of what is to come, but it already has a very solid engine that emanates some exceptional lighting and particle effects and never loses a single frame in the process.
However, the game controls are a bit stiff, partic- ularly because of the omission of mouse-driven controls, but this issue is definitely being addressed. The goal herein was to differentiate the characters enough to warrant replay value, to cause play- ers to wonder how they might solve a puzzle or get through an area with a different charac- ter. Some enemies fly, which would be tougher for the hand-to-hand combat. Some are fast and very tough to avoid.
Some even use crates or barrels to block long range attacks. Others, like the highly imaginative stained-glass-win- dow knights, surprise you as they piece together in front of your very eyes, leaving you no choice but to fight. But while all. In addition, each has his own back story, his own reason for journeying through the game. All have the same goal of finding the evil menace that caused the eclipse that now plagues their homeland.
Incendiary mist spews from rigged walls, enemies catch fire and burn to death before they reach you. The evil that awaits this newest Castlevania is the limited artistic scope imposed by current 3D console technology. If, like me, you are one of the skeptics, prepare for a pleasant surprise: Castlevania 64 is not only a great game in the making but, even in Its extremely early condition, remarkably true to the soaring spirit of the series.
From the moment the opening cinema of the game - a distant shot of the castle grounds shrouded in a blanket of mist - dissolves to the young female character, Carrie, passionately playing a beautiful piece on a viola, an evocative Castlevania atmosphere is awakened. This setup to the game is in fact quite telling: There Is an immediate sense of uncompromising style and poignancy, the technically impressive music and polygonal character and backdrop a strong indication of a compelling journey to come.
The setting is a marvelous fusion of bleak artistic style and technical prowess: detailed textures form sheer cliffs and crumbling bridges and tombs, the stormy sky flashes with lightning dancing between multiple layers of clouds and fog.
Soon the scene moves inside a capacious, antiquated building and eventually back outside into the yard of a mansion located on the rim of the castle yards. As each setting changes and we move deeper toward the dwellings of Dracula, there remains a unifying, decadent quality to the solemn visuals: impressive Album) art- work adorns the cracked, weathered walls; statues rest on grand.
Intricate iron fences and elegant fountains. Credit part of this to the great visual presence, but also to the inventive level design. Each area requires deep exploration and backtracking, and there are many points that are interconnected; the feeling of actually navigating an enormous castle estate is compelling. To dispose of them, the familiar long- and short-range attacks can be made with a basic snap of a whip - when using Schneider - or magical projectile - when using Carrie, and when in close proximity, both characters employ a quick swipe of a sharp weapon.
This dispels the frustration inherent in a 3D combat stage, making the disposal of a foe fairly smooth and intuitive. In what is obligatory in a Castlevania adventure, destroying torches reveals various objects to aid in the quest; here, gems replace the hearts, and items and other weapons such as knives, crosses and spears are gathered and stockpiled in an items menu.
Belying the inauspicious sound trend established by so many Nintendo 64 games, Castlevania 64 is gen- erating ambient touches and background music that, like its predecessors, is invaluable to the rich atmos- phere of the game. Sounds of thunder, howling dogs and swirling winds bring an eerie force to the already piercing presence of gloom in the opening stages of the game, and matched with a cold, distant layer of music, the chilling mood moves in and settles over the game like a thick, lingering fog.
They feature the very best in visu- al presentation, and are excellent in both initial and long term playability. Example: Medievil [ [A- to B] Games in this bracket are excellent, solid and highly playable pieces of software, although they lack minor polish to become truly outstanding.
Slight graphical glitching coupled with a marginally dis- appointing ending may mar an otherwise exalted release. Very good to average entertainment. Although a game of this caliber may have had a great initial concept, it was never fully realized in the final stages of design.
Example: Mission Impossible h [D- to F] Very rarely will you come across a game of this lack of quality. Games marked in BLUE should be avoided completely. Games scoring a low D or F should be microwaved for three seconds and returned. Experience Vie sege of Vie Breve Fencer I find myself in an awkward posi- tion, having to siphon through a dubious dub to expose the true genius behind a game I've been waiting many years for Square to make.
And just as I thought. Square have immense skills in this area. Musashi is one of the coolest charac- ters ever save the Saturday morning charm and the game is sculpted masterfully, building constantly and consistently in intensity and playa- bility. After a brief tryst with the import version, I knew that waiting for the U.
So it is with much angst that I approach this review. I must confess that initial- ly, hearing the play-on-Shakespeare-meets-Valley-Girl dialogue - "Little turd, calmeth down. We doth have a request for thee! The game is obviously poised for mainstream suc- cess, with dialogue fit for a kid, and game- play fit for a king.
Either way you slice it, BFM is an inspired, multi faceted game wil ample doses of tradition- al Square magic. Square place little emphasis.
Collision detection, for instance, is minimally adhered to by Square. Musashi grows sleepy as well, but rather than checking into the Inn he can sleep any- where, anytime. Another praiseworthy gameplay trait is the Assimilation technique, which plays a key role in the game.
Launching the Fusion blade into any enemy allows Musashi to absorb their special power. Most often, if you find yourself stuck.
Assimilation is the key. And finally, well not really, 1 could write a novel about this game I must loudly sing praise to The Soil Idea - Dawn Of The Replicants - Wrong Town Wrong Planet Three Hours Late (CDr of the best- ever Square soundtracks. In the end. Square have shown beyond the shadow of a doubt that they possess legendary skills in all walks of gaming, f more momentous and challenging. One of the many elements that elevates BFM to "A" level status is the real-time aspects of the gameplay.
Multiple attacks require skill and wits to overcome. Old-school pattern fighting and skilled weapon deployment merge into play. EPO R. Its fantastic weapon-based combat system is currently unmatched across all for- mats, and the characters and their accompanying sto- ryline continue to have a solid appeal. This U. Each of the six weapons performs exactly as it should. The collision too is a painstakingly accurate marvel to behold.
On the other hand, many characters are able to wield two weapons simultaneously-an incredible offensive onslaught. Bushido Blade 2 Immediately receives a passing grade because of its dedicated weapons combat, and thanks to its relatively simple, responsive control system, it goes much, much further. One hit kills have never felt so legit. Other pluses include the Story mode, which offers several paths and hidden characters everywhere you go.
The English dubbing during the real-time cut scenes is mostly bad, but the plotline is still very cool. Also, the characters look great, the music is very good, and the many play modes keep up the interest-alone or with friends. A warning to BB veterans, though: There are only two attack buttons now and a stance change, and the free-roaming levels are all enclosed. I miss the huge loading environments, but the gameplay is so much faster and accurate that I must accept it.
Pay in US funds only. Please allow weeks for delivery. Please allow weeks for deSvery. Make all checks payable to Gamers' Republic. Please allow weeks for deNvery. Make aU checks payable to Gamers' Republic. With record-breaking sales, it has been a tremendous success since its inception. But experimenting with a widely accepted formula was evidently a bit too risky an experiment for Sony. Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped is the third, and perhaps final, episode in the series, and it Is still by far one of the best looking games to ever grace the PlayStation beaten only by its closest of kin.
Crash 2. Crash soars through a sun-struck sky in a bi-plane, disintegrates chickens with an apple-slinging bazooka, torpedoes sharks while scuba-diving through a ferocious coral reef, hops across mummy- infested Egyptian catacombs, and traverses a hazardous, futuristic city, dancing with neon lights and searing laser beams. His sister. Coco, crashes waves on a Jet Ski, skims the Great Wall of China while mounted upon a tiger cub, and wages battle against a Goliath mech boss that launches into space and transforms into a huge dreadnought; the battle that ensues is a blatant, but successful, rip-off of StarFox Crash 3 remains a strong trib- ute to its origins.
Crash will surely be i back someday. I was immedi- ately blown away by the explosive gameplay, and it became my game of the month by the next day. Weeks of versus battle ensued. Destrega is a shockingly fun game. Indeed, Omega Force and Koei have taken a bold step forward. Destrega marks a new era in free-roaming 3D fighters, and possibly the birth- place of a sub-genre.
The sages taught the simple folk how to improve their land with metallurgy and agriculture, and they imbued objects with the magical powers of Strega. They had no Idea that the people who had been bestowed such gifts would use the objects, called Relics, for greedy purposes. Eventually the power turned upon itself, and the con- tinent was left in ruin. A millennium passed, and memories faded.
Visions of conquest fill his sinister mind, and he builds an army equipped with weapons forged from the Strega-powered Relics. The Story Mode chronicles the rest, In lovely real- time 3D. Host N This is your primary method of defense. It eats up the Strega meter very quickly. Carefully decide whether to use the Charge Guard, evade, or attempt a deflection by tapping block just as the projectile hits you.
Learn how different combinations of Fast, Power, and Span can be linked together, and J develop a keen sense of timing. Always check your Strega gauge to determine the strength of each forthcoming attack. Destrega clearly emphasizes long- range Strega attacks as the primary offensive weapon, but clever surges of hand-to-hand blows can put your opponents away just as easily.
Doyle, for example, has an incredibly power- ful dash elbow that knocks away almost half of the life bar! Also, many character are able to juggle foes after the final hit of a combo - a stunning sequence.
At its core, this game is deceptively simple. Destrega has three magic buttons: a jump button, a block button, and a dash. Look at these controls as if they were a network of gameplay - a totally coherent, self-contained collective of commands. Block combined with any Strega button creates a shield, or merely blocks hand- to-hand blows when used alone. Dash propels your character quickly in a chosen direction, but combined with a Strega button it becomes a Power Dash.
The Strega powers can be combined with each other too. No problem. Tap Fast once or twice as usual, then add an extra tap with Span. There are loads of cool combinations just like this, so be sure to experiment every time you play or feel free to e-mail me. Destrega was heavily play-tested by OF and Koei.
It lives up to its concept in every way as a result. Check it out. Not only does the dash automatically home in on oppo- nents for hand to handit also completely deflects Strega attacks when y properly timed. Wholesome and pure it is not. It can be entertaining to hear the uncouth Duke make his coarse observations inspired by his gritty world. The levels, which range from labyrinthine castles to Western towns and the mines running beneath, are expansive and open with lots of climbing, swimming, jumping, and hanging in the midst of energetic action sequences between period-dressed pigs and aliens.
Unfortunately, space constraints permitted but a cursory glance at this highly playable 2D fighter. Now, with the game coming to the U. This is quite an accomplishment considering that its mish mash of features could have produced a disjointed and awkward play experience.
Counters, double jumps, instant kills, and cap- ture moves in the wrong hands could have been simple overkill. Rather, these features and more have all been implemented with emphasis placed squarely on speed and action. The result is a fighter that keeps your mind busy and your thumbs pounding madly. On top of the fast, combo friendly gameplay, you get inspired hand-drawn visuals with anima- tion that would be impressive on any bit hard- ware, much less the sD-optimized PlayStation.
Like any good fighter, the selection of charac- ters is wonderfully diverse, as an eclectic cast of faintly SNK-ish brawlers come together in this melee. All of the characters have devastating supers and one-move kills, many of them truly bizarre. The spry, scythe-toting Dr. Baldhead will throw his victim onto an operating table and per- form an impromptu disembowelment, while the shadowy Zato squeezes prey with a giant phantom hand.
Crazy stuff indeed. Virtually unchanged from the import version. Guilty Gear deserves a look from anyone who appreciates a good 2D fighter of the frenetic Japanese variety. With a weaving and intricate plot more intense than many actual movie scripts, a terror- ist attack on a remote Alaskan island provides the backdrop to a cinematic action title that almost deliv- ers the perfect game-playing experience.
Simply wading in with ordinance, strong-arm tactics, or other uncouth methods of foe disposal results in a loss of ranking and usually death. It must not take its eyes off me. The absurdity of it. She was afraid of me. But she was the fearless mas- ter of that four-ton jungle critter with vast jaws and knife-blade teeth.
In fact, she would have been quite happy if it had chopped my wings in two and turned my body into growser cud — which it had barely failed to do, owing to the fact that I was quick on the jump. But it was obvious that she was mor- tally afraid of me. If she had only known me — My thoughts whirled back to Magis- trate Bendetti. The magistrate had been right, of course. He would not have spent day after day pounding a principle into my head if he had not been sure I would need it.
All strangers, he had told me, were bound to look upon me with fear and suspicion. I must make up my mind to endure it. I must be terribly careful never to intimidate anyone. But above all, I must never cross the path of any girl or woman.
That, Bendetti had said, must be my first rule of conduct — always — always. What was it? What was it that Stone Jaw had said about the vultures? They kill men. They steal women. Why did you come here? I mean, he was a man that I hated. He was the man who caused me to be made this way. Do you know what science is? Why are you looking at me so strangely?
His manner was incredulous. She had leaped to the back of the growser during our conversation, as if to guarantee her safety from any further dealings with me. Then some sounds in the distance had attracted her attention. As the heavy hoofs of a second growser sounded along the hillside she began waving her hand in an excited greeting.
His intent manner was foreboding. Now that he could see me, he and I were both different. His stony manner made him seem a stranger. Why, he asked, did my owner bring me here. Then, had I never flown be- fore? And why had I determined to break away? Why should I choose this moon, of all places, to be my new home? The gravity — do you understand?
I am freer. I have more power. But then I had no choice about coming. They forced me to do that. My choice was to break away from them. My heart pounded with a hope that our friend- ship still held. It was not vultures that flew over us, it was the Karloora space ship.
I was fight- ing off a passion to drop down and seize Stone Jaw by the throat and shake him until he swallowed the word. All right. The slate is clean. I glanced back to see Breath of Clover persuading him to get on the growser, and together they rode to the bend of the stream a short distance away. The other growser had stopped for water, and one of its two riders was beckoning to Breath of Clover to come meet him.
What did I care if the girl and her young warrior friend were about to meet? What did I care if she told him she had narrowly escaped being seized by me? Did it make any difference to me that his name was Flint Fingers and that he was an expert killer of vultures? Why should it? I cared nothing for men. My bitter vow was to break clean from them. The sunlight was good up here — and the air — and the free- dom!
This was my world, and it felt right to my wings. Was I not the most lordly creature of this planet? What had I to do.
I could despise them, ignore them. Or could I? My human curiosity pulled me back down toward the line of trees that banked the stream. I skimmed over them almost silently; I was getting cleverer at this art of flying. I alighted on a dead limb. The two parties of growser riders were coming together down there below me, at a point where the trail narrowed between the river and the cliff.
As long as I was not seen this limb was a box seat from which to watch the show. Though still a trifle nerv- ous from her recent shock, she evidently felt secure, now that there were two growsers to keep watch for any return of danger. Neither could they smell me, appar- ently, though my hiding place was so close to the trail that I could have dropped a leaf on the second growser as it passed under me.
It was as handsome a beast as the first. Its fierce brutal head rode high and gleamed with bluish tints as the sunshine struck it. Its arched neck was a brilliant red, shifting in hues as it turned in the light. He and the dragon had the same appeal for me. The other occupant of this beast was almost hidden from sight. She was a muddy unkempt urchin of fourteen or fifteen, as nearly as I could guess.
Obviously she had been dragged in the dust. Breath of Clover did not appear to notice her at first. So you found your father at last. She leaned to one side to gaze at the second passenger. Meanwhile Flint Fingers and Stone Jaw exchanged blunt greet- ings, and the young warrior began to admonish the older man over the trouble had caused. All of this search- ing could have been avoided, Flint Fin- gers said, if Stone Jaw had simply climbed to a high hill and started a fire signal.
She waggled her head from side to side and swung her arms in teasing gestures. The sharpest eyes in the valley! Flint Fingers reddened. What are you doing here? I ought to jerk the tangled hair off your head. He was evidently the sort of proud young hothead who would jump at any challenge, and the wail of Breath of Clover only fanned the flames of his temper. Her young warrior bounded, to the ground and started chasing the.
Her dirty bare feet were nimble. He followed, muttering darkly that he would teach her to play such tricks. Flint Fin- gers was boiling mad. He chased her along the rocks, back and forth under perch. Suddenly he had her trapped on a bit of cliff above him and he picked up a club. He started to climb up. She kicked at him. He drew himself up only far enough to swing the club at her. He began beating her feet. She tried kick- ing, but her feet were taking a drubbing.
It was Breath of Clover who screamed, trying to stop it. But no cries from Breath of Clover or Stone Jaw had any control over the young warrior. His pride had been injured. That dirty faced little practi- cal joker called Tangles was going to pay for what she had done. Before I thought, I swooped down. Breath of Clover screamed, but that meant nothing to him.
I was almost on him before his eyes jerked up at me. The color went out of his pinkish- bronzed face. My right talon dug into his hair and kicked backward in the split second that I hovered over him. A slight kick, but enough. Flint Fingers went rolling down the stony cliff. I arched back into the air and settled proudly on my perch.
Neither was I surprised that the beautiful Breath of Clover ran to her father, crying like the terrified child she was, and that they mounted their growser, who was now looking hungrily in my direction.
But I confess that I was surprised by the words of that tangle-haired impish girl on the ledge, after what I had done to befriend her. If anything, there was a hint of admira- tion in her look of breathless amaze- ment. Flint Fingers, I observed, had re- gained his bravado, had remounted his charger, and was now in the process of fishing some weapons out of a supply sack. But Flint Fingers was a law unto himself, as I have noted before.
He began shooting arrows for me. I gave a squawkish laugh and sprang into the air to circle high into the morning sky. I had had enough of men, whether from Karloora or this moon. It was time for me to go my own way. But one thing drew me back. As I looked down from the clouds and saw that the surly young warrior refused to let the dirty-face girl ride back to the village — as I watched her limping along on her sore feet, unable to keep up with the procession — I spiralled back toward the ground.
Now they were on out of sight and she was alone. She was a pitiful thing, limping along the dusty rocky trail, crying and swear- ing and calling down the wrath of the Clankolite spirits on Flint Fingers and all his kinfolks.
I followed along after. I was sure she would fall by the wayside. But she tottered on until she came to a small brook. She dropped down into the sluggish waters and drank and bathed at the same time. That bed of wet sand might have been a pallet of feathers, the way she relaxed in it. Like Breath of Clover, she was dressed in a tight-fitting garment that appeared to be endless wrappings of coarse ribbons.
But what a con- trast. Her hair, too, was in sad disarray. As she wallowed in the stream and the water oozed around the back of her head, her unkempt tresses became a mop rag.
But as I swooped across to a tree that cast a shadow be- side her, she scrambled to her knees and reached for a stone. Her lips and eyes were tight with suspicion. She was watching my every move. With her, belligerence was plainly a habit. She lived in a world full of enemies. Her arms jerked with surprise. She hardly knew whether to believe her own ears.
But I went on talking. Who are you? So I answered myself. I heard them call you that. Do your feet hurt? Again she was hard with suspicion. And no wonder. She was certain I was intent on plunging down to capture her, and was only killing time. No one can hurt me now. What about your village? No village. Nobody cares. I go where I please. Then I go on to another. Besides, I can hunt. Sometimes I fol- low the boys when they go hunting. Everybody hates me. You can hardly walk. The darkness will catch you be- fore you can get anywhere.
But I could help you. You could be back to the closest village right away. As she watched me, perched comfortably at the top of the tree, her scowl deepened. She was lying on her stomach, her elbows in the sand, her bruised feet in the glassy water. The stone — her weapon — lay within reach. You talk better. But you talk as well as a Clankolite. Yes, even better. And I know vultures. They flew away with my mother. I was just old enough to remember.
I was made there. Someone decided to create a freak. But nobody believes me. She drew a kerchief out of her clothes and untied a knot in the corner. My head bent forward and turned from side to side. I was too far away to be sure the coin was genuine, but my eagle eyes were almost convinced. It looked like a Karloora coin. But you never will. Stay where you are! She was alert to danger, all right. She grabbed the rock with one hand, thrusting the treasure of her kerchief into the breast of the ragged garment with the other.
But my sudden leap had nothing to do with her. I was winging full speed away. The Soil Idea - Dawn Of The Replicants - Wrong Town Wrong Planet Three Hours Late (CDr a wide patch of blue shadow floated over her. She turned sharply and saw the passing space ship.
It was the Labazoff convertible. Less than a hundred yards beyond the stream it floated down to a landing. I had flown at the first sight of it. My wings were a stroke ahead of my wits.
But in a flash I swept down and sped back toward Tangles. She was in a panic. She hurled rocks at me so fast I had to dodge in flight.
But I fluttered to a stop and squawked at her with a sharp tongue. There was no time to say more, and no use. The girl was a fool. It was all chance, but I had played my luck too far, and chance could be my undoing. I glanced back at the perch I had occupied. Yes, I had been perfectly silhouetted against the north- ern sky. Some of the men were piling out of the parked ship, racing over to- ward the stream, waving their disint guns.
Let them come. I was already half a mile out of their range, gaining alti- tude with every stroke. Did they think they could capture me?
I had wings. Those poor silly humans had to run around on the ground. It was a farce, their trying to threaten me into subjection with guns. I would be worth nothing to them dead. And I was just as determined never to be taken alive by them as Tangles was not to be taken alive by me. But in that moment something hap- pened that tied my heart into knots. The Labazoff convertible, slid off the ground and took to the air, making a graceful turn. It turned toward me.
I was being pursued by the ship! What would the odds be now? It skimmed along like a light cloud in a swift current of air. I raced to- ward the distant cliffs. But I saw I would never reach them. This race called for new tactics. I nose dived for the ground as hard and fast as I could go. If only the gravity were stronger! It was so light it seemed no help at all. I shot down and the space ship skimmed over me.
I darted back. The ship began to turn. I headed straight down. Twice more I switched directions as the big clumsy pursuer sought to keep sight of me. The low levels were my way out. I sped for the trees, and shot back to- ward the stream where I had left the tangle-haired girl.
A mile upstream from where I had left her I knew it was time to. For if the ship succeeded in flying over me at this low elevation, I could be trapped in a shower bath of disint fire. A of the water. But a backward glance showed me that I was concealed from view, at the moment. Before the ship showed over the tree tops there was time to act. I thought of Tangles and her rocks. I swooped to the bank of the lazy brook, hovered for an instant while my right talon closed over a stone, then hurled it with precision.
It skimmed over the mud, cutting a sharp line, and plunged into the mirror of water. And a moment later I was bounding along on my talons with my wings folded close behind me. This was perilous, deserting my wings for my feet. But these tree trunks were my friends. I was in far less danger of being seen if I contracted to my wingless size.
I crept along like a wild animal eluding a hunter. Now I froze behind the trunk of a tree. The space ship was following as closely over the stream as it dared, al- most brushing the tree tops. It op- proached the point where the water had been roiled by the rock, then it suddenly swerved toward a clearing and landed.
Now there were shouts of directions back and forth between the men who had been unloaded farther downstream and those who poured out of the ship. At last they thought they had me cor- nered.
I was hiding in the stream, they said. Almost immediately the space ship lifted again, as if anticipating that I would hear and take to the air. But I kept my wings folded, and hiked doggedly upstream, slowly but surely, keeping in the shelter of the thicket, and they never saw me. I chuckled, satisfied with my discovery.
From a well concealed observation post two miles beyond, I watched the men spend the rest of the day searching, plying back and forth in the big ship, trying in vain to pick up my trail. Many times they returned to the place where I seemed to have dragged a talon in the mud while plunging for the stream.
Was Flanger with them? At no time during the chase had I seen anyone who remotely resembled him. And when the ship finally floated away in the evening, I could only won- der whether all of its men were aboard or whether some had been left hiding by the brook to trap me.
Indeed, it looked very much like a trap. Tangles was still nearby, stationed on a promontory a short distance above the wooded brook. I flew closer and circled within a hundred yards of her. She was watching me, calling to me, beckoning me to come. Would I fly back to her, only to find myself suddenly surrounded? The answer to my questions came in a double-dose of decisive actions.
As I was gazing toward Tangles silhouet- ted against the triangle of suns, the space ship shot across the horizon at high speed and rocketed off into the sky bound for Karloora.
I drew a deep breath. The chase was over. I looked back to Tangles. Against the bright western sky she might have been a tree stump, her waving arm a broken limb. The sight of the space ship rocketing away had momentarily hypnotized her. Then came the real violence. It slacked its speed as it approached her. As it swept down upon her it reached out — with a pair of arms! It snatched her up and flew off with her. Never had my eagle instincts carried me into action with a swifter overriding of my human will.
From now on, it seemed, my wings would think for me, and I could ponder their decision while flying. I was overtaking it. Here was a race of wings against wings. Nor was she crying as I almost caught up with her. She was simply scared sick. The fading sunlight showed her face to be chalk-white beneath the dirt streaks. I swallowed hard. It would be the easiest thing in the world for that vul- ture to drop her.
The word stuck in my throat. He was no more nor less than an eagle man — exactly like me. I was within a few yards of him, now, and he looked back to see me coming. His arms clutched the scared girl like heavy vines stiffening around a willowy tree.
His wings flapped hard against the air and he surged away from me. The advantage was all mine. I had no burden. I could see anger and dismay in the tightening of his beak and the flash of his eyes The Soil Idea - Dawn Of The Replicants - Wrong Town Wrong Planet Three Hours Late (CDr he looked back at me.
I glared at him with a fighting smile. My talons itched to get at him. Tangles was watching me now. She nodded to me eagerly as I came closer. That was a thrill. That look of confidence from her fright- ened eyes was fresh power to my mus- cles. Her captor put on one hard burst of speed after another. How far would he go? And where? Maybe my boast that I would fly clear around the moon for her was going to be put to the test.
Where were we now? I glanced back and saw the whole wide valley spreading back of me. On the horizon, miles to the north, the distant fires of Clankolite villages: wavered in the twi- light like a row of tiny stars.
Ahead of our chase were the jagged purple mountains that I had seen on the day of my arrival. But not to the crea- ture I pursued. Again I was within a few yards of overtaking him. The safest thing would have been to follow along until he alighted and placed Tangles on the ground. If I tried to tackle him in the air, there was no telling what might happen to Tan- gles. But the daylight was passing.
Much less, an air fight. He was flagging. My time was at hand. I plunged forward, turning myself in the air so that I was flying on my back. From that moment it was a fight of talons. I locked my wings behind me and be- came dead weight, the same as Tangles. He was gasp- ing for breath. Tangles rolled forward, throwing her weight against my shoulders and press- ing her knees against my right side. Luckily she was out of the way of the kicking talons; her bruised feet would have been torn to shreds.
Down — down — down we went. As we fell we began to turn. The massive black shadows of the foothills were gyrating beneath us. We were dead- locked, and neither of us would spread his wings to catch our fall. But now my adversary was getting the worst of the vicious kicking battle. Suddenly I dared a strategy that was too much for him. Clinging to Tangles with only one arm I thrust my fingers at his feathered throat.
My clutch tight- ened with the power of a machine. He gulped. I fought harder. His arms began to slip. The shadows were swirling up at us swiftly with their promise of sudden death. Tangles saw, and I heard the slight gurgle of her voice as she re- pressed a cry. We arched up into the air, and as he fell away from us I saw that his eyes were closed.
My vise on his throat had done it. Whether he was dead or only half- dead as he plummeted down I do not know. But a moment later his body crashed against the rocks below us. He lay still. We flew past him three times to make sure there was no life left in him.
If there had been — Well, now that I was living by my wings I had a new, special feeling about such things. I was sure that if he had been only half-dead, lying there with broken wings, he would have preferred a death of mercy.
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