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October 27, 2004 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2004-10-27

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8 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, October 27, 2004

ARTS

'Spy Fiction' doesn't advance genre
By Shaun Nurrenbern
For the Daily

With the success of a handful of
stealth-based action games such as
"Metal Gear Solid," "Splinter Cell"
and even the insanely violent killing
spree known as "Manhunt," many

game makers have
begun to rush pro-
duction of their
own offerings to
the genre.
"Spy Fiction" is
Sammy Studios's

Spy Fiction
PS2
Sammy Studios

9

latest attempt at just that. Mix a few
parts "Metal Gear Solid's" Solid
Snake with an equal amount of Tom
Clancy; add a couple drops of "Mis-
sion Impossible," and top it all of with
a healthy dose of Homeland Security
and you'll get something close to that
of "Spy Fiction."
The game begins near the end of a
storyline in which the Phantom agent
parachutes into a castle to stop an
international terrorist from releasing
a biological weapon upon the world.
At the end of this first mission, the
game jumps back in time to where
the plot begins and slowly unveils
how the events in the first mission
came to be.
The one fairly original and inter-
esting aspect of this game is the dis-
guise system. With a good enough
photograph of a character within the
game, players can perfectly disguise

coutesyICof I SammIy .JLuUiIJ

My spider-sense is tingling...
themselves and fool almost any guard
they come into contact with.
For the most part, the game is easy
to the point of being uninteresting.
Firing at an enemy guard has no con-
sequence other than that he might
make noise and call for backup on
the radio. Other than that, they usu-
ally fall without any sound and dis-
appear shortly thereafter, negating
any need to hide the body from the
other guards.
Even if the guard does happen to
call for backup, gamers can knock-
out or kill off the backup with just as
little effort. And if trouble does arise,

it takes over a dozen shots to finally
take the player down, resulting in a
far-too-easy combat scenario.
Overall, "Spy Fiction" turns out
merely a mediocre performance; there
is nothing new or particularly special
about it. It has its moments, but these
are overshadowed by the mundane.
After about one mission, gamers are
likely to get tired of using the exact
same moves over and over to progress
through the level. Though the game
is entertaining, it still feels repeti-
tive and unadvanced. Gainers would
be wise to stick with splinter cell to
quench their thirst for the genre.

I don't drive a BMW. My mom picks me up at the bus stop.

Super-producer can't create gold
with hip -hop debut '1st Infantruy'

By Cyril Cordor
Daily Arts Writer

r1

Pop-rockers keep it simple on 'Fate'

By Jerry Gordinier
Daily Arts Writer
"If anyone sees a bag with $470 in
it, I seem to have lost it. Just let me
know." Standing on the well-worn
stage at the Blind Pig early last Tues-

day night, this
quiet request came
from The Reputa-
tion frontwoman,
Elizabeth Elmore.
With a timid
smile on her face
and electric guitar

The
Reputation
To Force a Fate
LookOut! Records

former band Sarge in 1999 to attend
Northwestern Law School, she con-
tinued to play independently, releas-
ing a single with Hey Mercedes' Bob
Nanna. Eventually, with her studies
under control, Elizabeth decided it
was once again time to be a rock star.
With the help of Joel Root (bass),
Sean Hulet (guitar) and Kent Stewert
(drums), her power pop rock band The
Reputation, was born.
To Force a Fate proves the old
adage of beauty in simplicity. Yet, like
a Milk Dud, there is something haunt-
ingly dark underneath the smooth,
sweet surface: something to chew
on.The album's opening track, "Let
This Rest," starts with quiet, falling,
guitar riffs and basic 4/4 drum beats.
Yet the moment the listener begins to
get wary, a rising electric lick catch-
es him and holds on tight. Elizabeth
comes in, subdued, candy-sweet:
"You're always so sick of me / Yeah
you tell me all the time / Well I'm self-
ish and hateful, you're lazy ungrate-
ful." She cries out, "If we could just let

this rest / It would get better in time
I promise." Between the calm, addict-
ing guitar lines and the hushed power
of Elizabeth's voice lies a message.
The album's main focus is Eliza-
beth's relationship struggles, and as
the album progresses the shell slowly
dissolves away. "The Ugliness Kick-
ing Around," the ninth track, reaches
the core, as, against the background
of strings and piano, Elizabeth hope-
fully cries out: "Yeah it must be get-
ting better." It becomes apparent the
song is itself a struggle: as it pro-
gresses, the sweet tone in Elizabeth's
becomes heart-wrenching as she
cries, "And I wish you'd bend the
truth / When you said you'd never lay
a hand on me / And god will damn
you / For all the ugliness kicking
around inside of me."
And that's the story of the album:
simple complekity. Three chord pro-
gressions, syncopated, incessant
rhythms and the undeniable charm of
Elmore. There is a brutal honesty, a
deeper level, in this album that may be
overlooked on first listen. That's OK
though. It's still good to drive to.

arguably one of the top five produc-
ers in hip-hop right now, but yet as his
first rhyming debut, 1st Infantry, sug-
gests, he's only been coming around
lately and is new in town.
1st Infantry is more like a very
dope mixtape of The Alchemist's
material. He barely rhymes at all on

Although The Alchemist has produced for a long laun-
dry list of artists ranging from underground notables like
Dilated Peoples, Bumpy Knuckles and Royce Da 5'9"
to mainstream stars like Nas, Jadakiss and Mobb Deep,
many do not know this beatsmith extraordinaire. He's

The
Alchemist
1st infantry
Koch Records

in hand, she apologetically stated, "I
just took my bar exam." Exuding bub-
bly blondness and an honest humility,
the audience couldn't help but forgive
her. She then tore into the pure, arrest-
ing, 6pening riff of "Botie Rocket
Battles," a track from The Reputation's
latest release on LookOut! Records,
To Force a Fate.
When Elizabeth Elmore left her

the album, but it features a whole slate of the industry's
top artists. Unfortunately, he serves hot beats for the likes
of Lloyd Banks and G-Unit affiliates like The G.A.M.E.
In this respect, the album is not very cohesive. Nonethe-
less, the humorous skits in between the tracks about "Our
Boy Al" attempt to make this mixtape come together like
an autobiography.
Of course, the beats are the highlight of this album.
People will still want to hear what The Alchemist has
cooked up for this diverse roster. Members from both the
Lox's D-Block crew and Mobb Deep's Infamous clique
collaiorate on the dark orchestration "'11-Block to QB."
The haunting strings and murky bassline accompanied
with hand claps and drum taps help depict the grim land-
scape and lyrics. The song "Stop the Show," featuring
M.O.P. and Stat Quo, brings back the Mafioso days of
Raekwon's Only Built 4 Cuban Linx with its grinding
guitar and hyped-up lyrics.

The best track on the album is the last song; "Differ-
ent Worlds" and is one of the few songs that fit the theme
of his skits. He and Twin Gambino of Infamous Mobb
go back and forth rhyming about their different lives:
The Alchemist, who is white and came from an affluent
family in California, and Twin Gambino, who is black
and grew up on the streets of New York. Although this
song is conceptually on point, The Alchemist should just
stay behind the boards and not bother trying to grab the
microphone.
There's no doubt that The Alchemist serves us with
top- quality production on 1st Infantry. Once he finds the
right emcee, hip-hop can expect a classic offering.

U -

REC
SPOR

Please join the Department of Recreational Sports In our Intramural
Sports Building Renovation Celebration! In addition to the events
highlighted below, there will be a Renovation Ribbon Cutting
Ceremony on Wednesday, October 27th at 5:00 PM In the lobby of the
Intramural Sports Building. We look forward to celebrating with youl

New classically-inspired novel finds 'Strange' magic

Feature Renovations
-Hew expanded weight room and equipment
Two floors of cardio equipment
*+Completely remodeled women's locker room
"M-Rock" Climbing Wall
Grand Re-Openng Specials
-The Intramural Building will be opening early !
yam on Monday, Otober 25th AND 7am on Tuesday, October 26th
*Free towel and locker rentals all four days!
-You do NOT need to be a member to use the facilities or take advantage of our Renovation
Celebration events,(Pcture Identification is required for entrance to the facility and a events)
"M Rodk"-. Climbing Wall
*"Tuesday, October26 -free Starter packages available at 5:00 PM & 7:004PMI
'Wednesday, October 27-Free Starter packages available at 5:00 PM & 700 PM!
*Thursday, October28-Freeclmbing for certified climbers (participate in a starter session on
Tuesday or Wednesday to be certified!)
"eettigg to know the IM1tittFdjn "To
Participate In our self-guided tour of the new features of the IM Building
and win prizes and great discounts!!

By Jordan Henry
For the Daily

141:
H.": __ntx
%,A t4C)r+~

U-Move Fitness
" Spinning classes Monday and Thursday at 6:00 PM
" Plates class Wednesday at 6:00 PM
" information and coupons available
M-it Program
" StabilityBailSeminar
Monday, October 25th 5:00-5:30pm - Mat Room
" Ask the Personal Trainer - Question and Answer Session
Monday, October 2514 11:00am - 3:00pm
Wednesday, October 27th 6:00-7:3pm,
* M-Fit staff members will be available for questions in the cardo and
weight rooms

Susanna Clarke's premiere novel,
"Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell,"
is a groundbreaking fantasy that
intertwines magic and history into a
remarkably plau-_
sible legend. This
behemoth work, Jonathan
with 10 years of Strange &
preparation and Mr. Norrell
800 pages to its By Susanna Clarke
name, is a thor- Bloomsbury
ough submersion
into a world where
magic is real, myth is alive and con-
sciousness is what Clarke dictates.
Though its premise is exotic, the
reader is quickly enchanted with the
novel's quirky charm. Combining
mysticism and science with legend
and history, Clarke artfully merges the
elitist worlds of Dickens, Austen and
Byron with English folklore in this
fantastic story of two magicians who
strive to restore magic to London.

The novel describes how magic
was once a thriving aspect of histori-
cal England, instituted by the legend-
ary Raven King. But in the novel's
haughty early 19th century era, magic
has been diluted to a pedantic study
reserved for upper-class gentlemen
scholars. Eventually the demands to
reinstate practical magic soon weigh
heavy on scholars. The reticent book-
worm Mr. Norrell emerges into the
limelight from a reserved life of soli-
tude, and through a series of marvel-
ous events, his astounding skill is
publicly exposed to London's most
notable acclaim.
Simultaneously, the young and dash-
ing Jonathan Strange surfaces with his
newfound magical powers and even
becomes Norrell's first pupil. The Brit-
ish government, at the height of the
Napoleonic Wars, calls upon the two
magicians to enlist their services to
combat the emperor; in these collisions
of history with mysticism, Clarke illus-
trates some of her most imaginative and
compelling scenes. Despite his appren-
ticeship with Norrell, Strange grows
restless under the restraints placed on

his art. Driven by anxiety and determi-
nation, he sets out to show England his
magical prowess, but fails by danger-
ously overstepping his bounds.
This sensational novel will quench
the thirst of any reader. For the histo-
rian, Clarke offers tedious detail of his-
torical Great Britain ornamented with
mysticism. The charming plot, inevi-
tably compared to the "Harry Potter"
or "The Lord of the Rings" series, will
tickle the minds of any child with an
ounce of imagination, while every avid
reader will appreciate the clever and
poignant writing Clarke has created.
The only disappointment of the novel
is that it ends - the reader can't help
but want more after living in Clark's
vibrant world. Finally, here is a fantasy
novel that has writing and imagination
as magical as its characters and story.
For a novel of this length and stat-
ure, though, it falls short of becoming
more than just a fantasy. Though it is
a comprehensive submersion into his-
torical England twisted with the spice
of magic and myth, it hardly tran-
scends genuine entertainment. The
reader is left wanting more, perhaps,

because there is so much untapped
potential in a work as ingenious and
amiable as this. But if amusement is
all the reader is craving, he will have
his fill with "Jonathan Strange & Mr.
Norrell."

*For day-to-day schedules please contact *
The intramua Sports BuIlding Main Office (7m34) .3562 or
www.resports.umlcbhedu

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