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November 27, 2000 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2000-11-27

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michigandaily.com /arts

NOVEMBER 27, 2000



Hit the slopes with latest SSX Snowboarding

By Matt Grandstaff
LBaiy Arts Writer
In the past few years, snowboarding
games have become an important part of
the gaming industry, as seen from the
wildly popular snowboarding classics,

For Playstation 2
EA Sports

"Cool Boarders"
and "1080
While both games
were fun, they can-
not hold a candle to
EA Sports futuris-
tic boardercross
game for the
Playstation 2,

tricks. These modes of play will have
gamers glued to their screen for hours as
they try to get better boards, new charac-
ters and fantastic new levels.
Speaking of levels, they are simply
breathtaking. The Playstation 2's graphic
capabilities are at their finest in "SSX," as
gamers are taken through mountain
ranges, cities and an insane level that
places you inside a pinball machine.
Aside from the setting of the levels, many
other things will grab your attention.
Throughout levels you 'can jump on and
through various fences, rails, glass signs
and more. The levels seem absolutely
endless, as you can turn anything into the
next object you will make a move off.
To go along with the fantastic levels,
EA Sports have outdone themselves in
putting a soundtrack together for "SSX."
The soundtrack is done by Beastie Boys'
DJ, Mix Master Mike, along with Rahzel

of the Roots. Together these two artists
have created amazing tracks for the game,
which amazingly interact with how well
you are playing. When you pull of amaz-
ing moves and increase your adrenaline
meter, the music speeds up to your per-
While nearly every element of "SSX"
deserves praise, the gameplay is far and
away the most impressive aspect. The
simple controls make you feel like you
are a professional snowboader. This is
most obvious when attempting tricks in
showoff or freeride mode. When hitting
jumps, players can then do an endless
variety of tricks based on a combination
of buttons and movements with the digi-
tal or analog pad. After only a few hours
of playing, gamers will be yelling, "Holy
Cow!" after being able to pull off incred-
ible flips, grabs, rail tricks and more in
the best game so far for the Playstation 2.

"SSX" screams perfection in so many
ways. For starters, there are three enter-
taining modes of gameplay: Race, show
off and free ride. With race mode, the

object is to cross the checkered flag first
while pushing and shoving your oppo-
nents. In show off and free ride, garners
try to rack up points doing arnazing

New Stone DVD
fails to deliver good

Quake III quality maintained
on Dreamcast; still a best seller

By Matt Grandstaff
Daily Arts Writer
Parents beware: The ultimate deathmatch is now on
teamcast. "Quake III Arena," the best selling PC game
om the makers of"Wolfenstein" and "Doom," has been
ported almost perfectly to Sega's 128-bit system.
The premise of "Quake III" is quite simple: Through
a first person perspective you must hunt down your
opponents and destroy them with
kick ass artillery. In "Quake I11"
Quake IlIl this can be done in single player,
Arena multiplayer and online modes. In
the single player mode, gamers
Grade: A- select a player and go through a
For Sega tournament of fighting opponents
Dreamcast in various arenas. In multiplayer
Sega and online modes, up to four play-
ers can play at a time, in various
games such as capture the flag,
deathmatch and team deathmatch.
While all the different modes in "Quake Ill" will have

fans of first person shooters on the edge of their seat, the
online option separates this game from other console
games of the genre, such as "Perfect Dark" and
"Goldeneye." With its simple and easy to use online
setup (not nearly as frustrating as connecting "NFL2K I"
online), garners have access to hundreds of deathmatch-
es in various modes. One of the most impressive aspects
of this online play is that Dreamcast users not only can
play online against other Sega owners, but also against
owners of the PC version of the game. Also in similar
fashion to the to Sega's online success, "NFL2K1," play-
ers with a keyboard will be able trash talk opponents as
they blow them to smithereens. Fortunately, "Quake III"
does not suffer as much from slowdown and lag that
"NFL2Kl" users experienced. This is key as "Quake
Ill's" gameplay thrives on fast and furious action.
The only downside to "Quake III Arena" is learning
the game's complicated controls. In the standard setup,
garners use the Dreamcast controllers' four action but-
tons to move forward, back, left and right, while using
the analog pad to look around (very similar to the setup
of "Turok" series on Nintendo 64). This setup serves as

a problem, for in frantic moments of the game, these
controls make it difficult to aim and fire at opponents.
On a plus side, those familiar with the PC controls can
use the Dreamcast mouse and keyboard in their quest to
be deathmatch champion. For those who choose to stick
with the Dreamcast controller, it will take time to get
used to, but in the end does not stop "Quake III Arena"
from being one of the best shooters available on any sys-

By Andy Taylor-Fabe
Daily Arts Writer
"Born on the Fourth of July," one of
Oliver Stone's most powerful films,
deserves a more
3 thorough and
Born on the more careful
4th of July transfer to DVD.
However, the
Grade: C+ 1989 film, based
New on DVD on the experi-
ences of Vietnam
veteran . Ron
Universal Kovic, still pre-
sents a unique
picture of war and its effect on a man's
life, and it remains one most thoughtful
entries in this genre.
Beginning in the early 1960's, the film
follows Kovic (Tom Cruise), an idealistic
young man who joins the Marines out of
love of his country and is shipped off to
Vietnam. While he is fighting, his
notions of glory and heroism are shat-
tered as he sees what the war is really like
and is forced to commit atrocities against
civilians. During an attack, he is wound-
ed, and as he recovers, he is told that he is
paralyzed from the mid-chest down and
will never walk again.
When Kovic returns home in the late
'60s after his time in a severely under-
funded veteran's hospital, he is shocked
to see the anti-war protests that have
started to surface, and he is constantly
tortured by memories of his actions and
experiences during the war. Unable to
reconcile his "love it or leave it" attitude
with his feelings of anger and regret, he
falls into a deep depression, which only
serves to further alienate him from every-
one around him.
After a long withdrawal from his life
and family, he is finally able to realize his
feelings about how the government lied

to him and betrayed him, and he develo-
the courage to confront his disability a.
its effect on his life. He eventually ga
involved in anti-war, pro-human rigl
activism and goes on to become a voi.
for his fellow disillusioned and wound.
The film is done in a realistic and s
cere style that is true to the subject wi:
out seeming preachy or melodramat
Oliver Stone does a surprisingly sub
job of presenting the plight of f
Vietnam veterans, including the juxtaf
sition of a flashback of an Independer
Day parade from Kovic's youth with t
one in which Ron participates'(where
is yelled at and spat on).
Tom Cruise is the key to the success
this movie. He does an incredible job
conveying Kovic's conflict between 1
patriotism and his belief that what he vm
told to do by his government was wro'
The expressions on Cruise's face :
heart wrenching when he begins to qua
tion why he and so many others were s(
across the world to fight.
This is definitely one of Cruise's m
difficult roles, because in the course
the film, he has to play a naive. 17 y'a
old small town wrestler, a sad, scars:-
and confused middle aged man, a.,
everything that comes in-between.
The DVD release of the movie
lacking in many ways. The picture qu:
ity is surprisingly grainy (and not
that artistic, low-light, gritty sort
way). It isn't very different from wi
would be expected from a VHS copy
the film.
The only other notable feature on I
DVD is a commentary track by Oli
Stone, which is interesting but d
Considering the possibilities that s
available for DVD releases (interviei
extra scenes, etc.), "Born on the Fou
of July" is disappointing,

Wizards can't conjure up good, solid role playing

Jim Schiff
ly Arts Writer
Until two years ago, a quality role-play-
ing game came around about as often as
the Presidential election. The phenomenal
success of "Baldur's Gate" in 1998, how-

Wizards and
*Grade: C-
For PC

ever, raised the
expectations of
future RPGs and
spurred a huge
influx of them on
the market. This
year, it seems, has
been a fantastic
year for this genre.
Unfortunately, the
long awaited

are extremely pixeled, and, in most cases,
display unusually jagged edges. The
sophisticated lighting schemes character-
istic of today's RPGs is also notably
absent. It's almost as if the designers
decided to keep the same graphics engine
from the game's conception.
Though some of the in-game sound-
track is adequate, the poor voice acting
becomes a distraction. The game tries to
coordinate the characters' facial and hand
movements with his speech but falls short..
This wouldn't nearly be so problematic if
the speeches weren't so long winded.
There should be a skip button or some
way to weed out the irrelevant small talk
the player is subjected to.
The game's severe shortcomings in
graphics and sound are somewhat made
up by the impressive storyline and charac-

ter classes. An evil pharaoh has risen from
the dead and the player attempts to locate
the Maven Sword, an ancient artifact that
has the power to defeat him. Through
graphically some inventive new character
types are also a welcome addition to this
Besides the traditional elves, humans,
and dwarves, the game features the ele-
phantine Oomphaz (with lots of Oomph!),
Pixies, Lizzors, Gourks, Ratlings and the
tiger-like Whiskas. Each gives "Wizards
and Warriors" a bit more variety than your
average RPG.
If the designers implemented these nice
aspects with more refined gameplay, they
might have had a winner. The party of six
characters moves as a group: The right
mouse button changes your view and
moves you in any direction, while the left

button activates menus and spells. This
becomes a burden when trying to retrace
your steps or turn around. To target a non-
ster, the player has to hold down the con-
trol key and press the left mouse button.
But since the monsters are constantly
moving around, it's hard to attack them.
And when faced with multiple monsters,
it becomes overwhelming to manage six
characters and a faulty combat system.
Luckily, the game doesn't skimp on
documentation. The manual clearly lays
out the descriptions of the character class-
es and goes into some of the finer details
of gameplay. The colored map is a useful
bonus as well. But for however many nice
touches "Wizards and Warriors" has, it
has an equal number of major flaws that
prevent it from being an enjoyable role-
playing experience.

"Wizards and Warriors" has fallen behind
the times.
Four years in the making. "Wizards and
Warriors" visibly shows its age. The color
ltte is restricted to a dull series of
wns, dark reds and greens. More of a
problem is the dated graphics, which
remind one of the earlier games in the

O ".:'d:A >Y:A v ntrn. "."n auca
Ado 2am1



. . . . . . . . .. .


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Assistant Professor of
U of M
For an informal
discussion of
tonics including:

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