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December 01, 2004 - Image 8

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2004-12-01

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Wednesday
December 1, 2004
arts. michigandaily.com
artspage@michigandaily.com

the Iidntgau aUq
A RTS

8

. . . ... ........... . . ..... . . . ... .. .......................

0

TOP 50 ALBUMS OF THE NEW MILLENNIUM

Daily Music's list of the millenni-
um's top 50 albums continues today,
moving into the top 30. Here, we
start to see some bigger names: Jay-
Z and The White Stripes make their
first appearance, D'Angelo chimes
in with his art-soul and indie-rock
godfathers Sonic Youth sneak in. The
year's brightest young rock bands -
The Walkmen and Franz Ferdinand
- enjoy the esteemed company,
their albums not even a year old. The
list will take a short break tomorrow
before revealing the top 20 on Fri-
day. Enjoy the selections, debate the
omissions and check back tomorrow
for the next installment. If you missed
31-50, check out wwwmichigandaily

Stop being so sneaky.
'Kilizone' offers PS2
owners fierce action

30

29

By Jason Roberts
Daily Arts Editor
ViDEOGAME REVIEW * * *
Little things have a habit of either mak-
ing or breaking a videogame. Whether it's
the remarkable life like reflections cast off
of a shimmering pool of water at sunset
or the obnoxious technical malfunctions

Ken Jennings is still No. 1 on our list of the Top 50 "Jeopardy" contestants ...

3 Sonic Youth - Murray Street
Throughout Murray Street, Sonic Youth
did the nearly unthinkable: They took the rela-
tively avant-garde, unstructured rock song and
molded it into something buzzing with appeal-
ing melody. This is the beauty of the nine-track
offering from one of the most notorious experi-
mental indie bands of our generation. Thurston
Moore had the chops to take his music-geekdom
and almost flawlessly translate it to his own
musical endeavors. Trademark dizzying feed-
back solos and intricately laced guitar work
show Moore's appreciation of influences like
Television and Iggy Pop. Murray Street repre-
se.nts a fine slice of Sonic Youth's submissions
to the convoluted noise-rock scene, but at the
same time captures the melodic sensibility of
Moore's impressive vinyl collection. - Aaron
Kaczander
29 Franz Ferdinand - SIT
When my housemate played "The Dark
of the Matinee" during an evening of Beirut, my
first reaction was "His voice is really Europe-
an," followed by "He sure says 'Matinee' a lot."
But then, "That's a great melody, I really like
that guitar against the bass before the chorus."
By the time the quartet found the song's coda,
this Phishhead was nearly into dance-punk.
Franz Ferdinand fuses the genre with a flavor
of European nationalism in a debut album that
every Scot can be proud of. - Jared Newman
28JayZ - The Blueprint
Hard Knock Life, Life and Times of S.
Carter, and The Dynasty. Each album was a
gradual step into the abyss of vacuousness and
mediocrity and an ascertation into the cosmetic
glamour of MTV stardom. In September 2001,
The Blueprint dropped out of nowhere. With
the help of unknown producers Just Blaze and
Kanye West, Jay-Z made a classic record. Some
of Hova's most thoughtful, clever and cutting
lyrics are featured on this album. From the pen-
sive reflections of "Blueprint (Momma Loves
Me)" to the pulverizing blows of "The Take-
over," the Ruler was definitely back. - Cyril
Cordor

2 7The Streets - Original Pirate Material
British rap was a joke until a recent influx of
standout artists. Leading the wave is Dizzee Rascal
and more prominently The Streets. The garage beats
and Mike Skinner's impeccable yet avant-garde lyri-
cal approach gives The Streets a wholly new sound
that's changing how rap is viewed. Original Pirate
Material was The Streets' first full-length attempt at
this style and is one of the most influential albums in
the past five years. - Chris Gaerig
D'Angelo - Voodoo
It may have been an impeccable carnal perfor-
mance that brought D'Angelo and his abs on to the
public's radar in his video for "Untitled (How Does it
Feel?)," but it was his heart-wrenching and soul-filled
vocal chops that mesmerized listeners. "Untitled"
became the "Let's Get it On" of this generation and
D'Angelo our Marvin Gaye. Showing obvious influ-
ence from R&B greats Al Green, Stevie Wonder and
Gaye, Voodoo accomplishes a difficult feat, musically
standing among the classic soul albums while stylisti-
cally pushing the envelope with his unique meld of
hip-hop and R&B. However raw Voodoo may have
initially seemed, given time, the depth and intricacy
of D'Angelo's work will shift from under your sheets
and into your head. - Mary Catherine Finney
2 5White Stripes - De Stijl
This, the White Stripes' second LP, is what
brought the band out of Detroit. From the raucous
"Hello Operator" to the simple ballad "Apple Blos-
som," the Stripes cover multiple genres within rock to
make an album far more dynamic and thorough than
their spotty debut. If this list named the top albums ref-
erencing Dutch art movements, De Stijl would be at the
top. - Punit Mattoo
.And You Will Know Us by the Trail of
21'Dead - Source Tags and Codes
"There are things that can only be accomplished
by violence. Physical love is unthinkable without
violence."- MilanKundera
Source Tags and Codes is a work of violent beauty.
Brutal guitars juxtapose luscious strings to create
a more consistent and cohesive work than even the
most diehard Trail of Dead fans could have expect-
ed. Like Kundera's masterpiece, "The Unbearable

Lightness of Being," Source Tags is an e
capable of uplifting your psyche or cru
spirit. - Lloyd Cargo
23 Songs: Ohia - Magnolia Eect,
When my judgement day comes a
implores me to sing for my wretched so
ing Songs: Ohia frontman Jason Molina to
stead. It's not that I'm unwilling, it's just1
Neil Young cum Van Morrison voice an
wordly Americana of his lyrics is just the s
ing testimonial I'll need to make it to th
land. I'll call on Molina, remembering the
religion of "Almost Was Good Enough,'
mysticism of "I've Been Riding with the
the reverential shimmer of "Hold on Ma
watch St. Pete quiver under the ballsy, got]
"John Henry Split My Heart." Mostly thou
on Molina because I know that with everytl
moon, Wrigley's lights, and my soul - on t
bringing his A-game. - Andrew M. Gaer
22 Prefuse 73 - One Word Exting
Wait, the best breakup albu
generation sounds like what would
you poured a glass of water on yourc
Glitches sound beautiful as electroni
Scott Herrin smashes musical conv
warps sound like melting plastic. Th
One Word Extinguisher are tonal,s
utterly convincing. The looping beep
raps and electronic rivulets form th
foundation of a sound so amazing tha
me want to toss my laptop into thec
record the aftermath. - Evan McGa
2 The Walkmen - Bows + Arrow
IContinuing and improving upoi
tion of their first album, Everybody
tended to Like Me is Gone, Bows +.
a powerful statement by The Walkm
equal parts of anger, hope, sadnes
isfaction, lead vocalist HamiltonI
makes the music on the album incred
ing and dynamic. The instrumentatio
and nicely assembled, with raunchy g
and noisy drums highlighting somei
well-placed piano. - Jacob Nathan

pic equally
ishing your

caused by buggy
ric Co. code, minor things '
nd St. Peter often set apart the Kilizone
ul, I'm ask- good games from PS2
sing in my the great. SCEA
that J-Mo's In that respect,
d the other- SCEA's "Killzone"
ort of arrest- is a bit of an oddball. Taking place in a
e promised war-torn future, the game pits the player
Midwestern and his small squad of fighters against
the errant the invading forces of the Helghast, a fac-
Ghost" and tion of human colonists that split away
gnolia." I'll from Earth to establish a civilization
hic churn of on a neighboring planet. With its fairly
ugh, I'll call straightforward, first-person-shooter plot,
thing - the it has a generous amount of room to turn
he line, he's the genre on its ear. Instead "Killzone"
rig focuses on the smaller bits of gameplay,
creating an entirely different feel to an
uisher overworked genre.
m of our One of the paramount examples is in
happen if the weapon-reload system. Even with the
computer? default machine gun, reloading requires
c producer patience, as it can take nearly five sec-
ention and onds before the gamer's weapon is once
e shifts in again ready for action. It may seem insig-
subtle and nificant, but fans of trigger-happy shooters
s, warped such as "Unreal Tournament" know that
he viscous even this slight pause can mean the differ-
at it makes ence between life and death in the heat of
ocean and a tense firefight. With this slight modifica-
arvev tion, the gamer is forced at all times to be
conscious of his ammunition supply and
s seek cover rather than frantically strafe to
n the tradi- avoid enemy fire.
Who Pre- The overall atmosphere of the game is
Arrows is a welcome departure as well. Again, the
en. Fusing small details come to matter the most in
s and sat- this regard. As the gamer ascends a lad-
Leithauser der, he is forced to temporarily put away
libly invit- their weapon as the camera jostles back
n is sharp and forth in rhythm with his climb. It's
uitar work that type of interaction that puts players
incredibly that much further into the action, mak-
ing them feel less like a camera on a stick
moving through these, spaces and more
features few eni

like an individual experiencing them.
Even exceptional shooters such as "Half-
Life" seem to ignore the possibilities of
interactivity these small opportunities
provide.
The gorgeous environments - espe-
cially those that take place outdoors - all
have an intricate craft as well. The grainy
and smoke-filled urban wasteland of one
mission is nicely juxtaposed against the
bitterly cold, Siberian-esque surroundings
of another. The game is also split in half,
offering a single player the opportunity
to fight along a story-driven "Campaign"
mode or participate in a multi-player "Bat-
tlefield" mode. This option can be used
against other opponents via a split-screen
or online or against computer controlled
bots. The action in the "Battlefield" play is
similar to that in the "Campaign" - care-
ful and deliberate, as opposed to frenzied
and aggressive.
Ironically, the small things that
separate "Killzone" from many of the
similar games in the genre are also
what bring it down. Technical issues,
such as graphics "popping" up in the
distance long after they should or char-
acter models that lack full high-resolu-
tion textures, appear far too often. At
times, when nonplayer characters are
speaking to the gamer, they appear
as though they've been pulled straight
from a badly dubbed Japanese film.
In addition, the "Campaign" levels can
be very difficult, which wouldn't be a
problem if checkpoints were more reason-
ably spaced. A player's game can only be
saved at these points, so much more time
is spent replaying parts of a mission than
progressing through the game. The game
would also benefit from "Battlefield" lev-
els tailored to fit specific modes of play.
While a few of the levels are designed
to fit the team-based alternatives such as
"Assault,"they become much too large for
a simple free-for-all deathmatch.
Despite its minor flaws, its minor
accomplishments are enough to get
"Killzone" noticed and make a wel-
comed addition to the genre. It certain-
ly can't compete with some of the more
established shooters on the market,
but, with what SCEA has developed
thus far, "Killzone 2" certainly looks
promising for the future.
ancements

6

6
I

iS
me - - ~ - 0 0-
II/uEChddNew 'Smackdown'
Friday,2JAN2By Adam Rottenberg
a a a a A aam Daily Arts Editor

Professional wrestling has always been about spec-
tacle. From the bombastic entrance pyrotechnics to the
high-flying action, WWE strives to entertain in an eas-
ily consumable package. Its videogames always seem

to bridge the gap between spec-
tacle and sport even better than
the actual product. With "WWE
Smackdown vs. Raw," developer
THQ refines its established series
by adding further polishing to an
already strong game engine.
However, "Smackdown vs.

WWE
Smackdown
vs. Raw
PS2
THQ

Couresy f TH

the Parking Lot Brawl becomes repetitive and doesn't
offer the drastic game-altering changes that previous
new match types had.
Another limiting factor is the decreased roster.
Fans hoping that last year's disappointingly small
list of wrestlers would increase will actually be
surprised to find even fewer grapplers. Each wrestler that
did make the cut is incredibly detailed and captures the
personality of their real-life counterpart well. To allevi-
ate the depleted modern-day wrestler set, Yukes included
Legends, unlockable superstars from the WWF's past.
Old school wrestling fans will be elated to find Andre
the Giant, Bret Hart and Roddy Piper, among others. The
legends also feature full entrances, with music and pyro,
addressing a big complaint from "Shut Your Mouth."
Matches play out in almost the same manner as
"Shut Your Mouth." The tight controls remain rela-
tively unchanged which is both a plus and a minus
for "Smackdown vs. Raw." The few changes include
mini-game type stare-downs and shoving battles
before the bell as well as the ability to make the
wrestler a good guy or bad guy in the middle of the
fight. These nuances add to the ambiance of actually
playing a WWE match, but the basic gameplay is still
the same as last year.
"Smackdown vs. Raw" took baby steps forward from
"Shut Your Mouth." By playing it safe, Yukes produced
an enjoyable game, but one that doesn't offer much to
entice players to replace last year's edition.

Bret screwed Bret.

Raw" is not the next great wres-
tling title many gamers hoped for. While it offers
improvements upon its exemplary predecessors, there
are few major structural changes. Players can still
choose from a seemingly endless list of customizable
match types, compete in a storyline-propelled season
mode or create their own superstar.
The new additions don't add up to much. Though
online play was included, it is limited to just single
matches - a travesty considering the strength of its
multiplayer mode lies in its incredibly varied options.
Fans hoping to play Elimination Chamber or Hell in

the Cell matches online will find nothing but disap-
pointment.
The streamlined storyline mode eliminates all of
the backstage roaming that led to the branching story
paths in the previous "Smackdowns." To compensate,
the developers added voiceovers for the wrestlers' dia-
logue, but even this addition falls flat with recordings
that vary in quality.
"Smackdown vs. Raw" only adds one match type to
the game: Parking Lot Brawl. Cars become interactive
weapons, each reacting differently when one player
throws the other into a vehicle. Yet, after a few bouts,

Queen Latifah's singing attempt falters WEA.,

By Deepa Pendse
Daily Arts Writer

such as Herbie Hancock, James
Moody and Al Greene are featured,
but even these legends fail to rescue

used to.
Most people are surprised that
Oueen Latifah can sing. Even though

i

A -- --- A% - - 1 A &a nnnr_

I

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