December 8, 2004
arts. michigandaily. corn
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THE HOTTEST PICKS IN ENTERTAINMENT
FROM A DAILY ARTS WRITER
John Navarre, NFL starting quarterback - Anyone else find
themselves rooting for Johnny Ballgame last Sunday? How many
quarterbacks can you possibly go through in a year? In related news,
e I am now No. 2 on the Arizona Cardinals QB depth chart. They are
physically running out of players who can throw a football, people.
S"Die Hard" - Most people enjoy the holidays because of the gifts,
the family, the parties. I like it mostly because when I fall asleep pre-
tending to be John McClain, it just feels more authentic. Best. Holiday.
Movie. Ever. Wait - make that Best Movie Ever.
"De Capo Best Music Writing 2004" - Annual collection of the
best music criticism, journalism and humor. In which a review of the
new Lester Bangs book actually eclipses much of Bangs's own writ-
ing. In which we learn of Lauryn Hill's spooky spiritual advisor. In
:. which we hear the justification for R. Kelly's child pornography habit.
As a bonus, we get to watch William Bowers bloom into America's
most interesting rock critic.
Courtesy of EA
BOND FRANCHISE RESCUSCITATED TO DISAPPOINTING RESULTS
By Forest Casey
Daily Arts Writer
Pistols, License to Kill, the Stack. Many gamers
still fondly remember their favorite multiplayer set-
tings for the venerable Nintendo 64 classic "Golden-
Eye 007." It is unlikely that a true successor will ever
arise, with the original "Golden-
Eye" team parceled out between
startup company Free Radical
and the original parent compa-
ny, Rare. Rare, now owned by
Microsoft, doesn't even own the
license to create James Bond-
themed games any longer, sell-
Xbox, PS2 and
story centers on a secret agent deemed too violent for
MI-6 who leaves to work for evil mastermind Auric
Goldfinger. The plot is farfetched, even for a James
Bond game. Fighting techno-villians with bioen-
hancements could make gainers long for the realistic
beauty of Bond as a Cold War hero.
The actual gameplay is just as lacking. EA seems
to think that the success of games like "Halo" and
the original "GoldenEye" comes with some break-
through technological advancement - like dual
wielding of weapons or online multiplayer matches.
What EA failed to realize is that "Halo," "Golden-
Eye" and even popular games like the "Tony Hawk"
series are popular because of their perfect control.
It seems as if this level of connection between the
player and the on-screen agent wasn't even attempt-
ed, and the result in "Rogue Agent" is a loose game
that resembles a screen saver more than a first-person
"Rogue Agent" sports flashy special powers and
cinematic cut scenes so good that they are able to
pull gainers in despite the lacking in-game play. The
character models in these cut scenes are impres-
sive, from Goldfinger's tweed jacket and jowels to
M's cropped haircut. It makes one wonder what the
original "GoldenEye" would be with a similar kind
of artistic direction.
The bioenhancements, on the other hand, are ill-
implemented. Garners have too many buttons and
features to worry about already, they don't need four
extra semi-useful functions (MRI imaging? Please.).
When it comes to the centerpiece of the original
- the multiplayer gameplay that consumed so many
hours back in the late '90s - "Rogue Agent" also
disappoints. While it does include an astonishing 22
maps, they are not nearly as complex or inovative as
those found in the current multiplayer king, "Halo 2."
And though "Rogue Agent" does feature online play
on Xbox Live, most online FPS garners have already
created clans and profiles for "Halo 2." The online
feature of "Rogue Agent" would have been a major
draw in the three years between the two "Halos;"
now it just seems like a moot point.
For those gamers nostalgic for the time when
the only console first-player shooter worth playing
bore the epic title of "GoldenEye," EA's new effort
just cannot compare. Dusting off the old N64 and
popping in the old "GoldenEye" cartridge would
be a better move than purchasing the new "Rogue
Chuck Klosterman - If Bowers is America's most interesting rock
critic, then Klosterman is the funniest. His latest article, printed this
month in "Spin" magazine, is the type of putty-brained nonsense he's
been writing for years. The best part: He knows virtually nothing
about underground rock. He's getting better.
"National Treasure" - Story-
line revolving around a family of
treasure hunters? Check. PG rat-
ing? Check. Map on the back of
the Declaration of Independence?
Check. Three weeks as box office
No. I? Check. Gun-toting, ste-
reotypical European bad guys
and a heartwarming kiss?
Check and check. Not to
spoil the ending, but
anyone worried that
our "national treasure"
is something lame like
liberty or democracy
should stop fretting: It's
a big-ass room of treasure,
full of gold bullion, ancient
scrolls and shit.
ing it to videogame behemoth
Electronic Arts purchased it years ago. "GoldenEye:
Rogue Agent" is EA's first direct attempt at climbing
the mountain left empty after the demise of the N64
- creating a sequel to "GoldenEye."
For the most part, "Rogue Agent" follows the EA
ethos of James Bond games - impressive cut scenes,
an over-the-top storyline and a loud soundtrack. The
Courtesy of Miramax
Bishop ffies solo on LP
Teemo's classic fighter bounces back
Daily Arts Editor
By Lloyd Cargo
Daily Arts Writer
Few guitarists in the world can play
as effortlessly and as gracefully as Sir
Richard Bishop. A member of the Sun
City Girls and a participant in Locust
Music's acclaimed Wooden Guitar col-
lection - as well as a collector and
dealer of rare books - Bishop's playing
reflects his worldliness. On Improvika,
he blends Eastern and Western influ-
ences to create a work that, while free-
flowing, is a consistently fascinating
listen. It's hard to make an instrumen-
tal solo guitar album enjoyable, but Sir
The unique meld of lush graphics,
solid fighting gameplay and sexed-up
vixens makes Tecmo's "Dead or Alive
Ultimate" a fighting fan's dream - at
Richard Bishop pulls it off with flair.
"Gnostic Gem," the second track,
is a great introduction to Sir Richard's
least the more per-
The "Dead or
Alive" series has
always been about
the jiggle factor,
in favor of bounc-
Dead or Alive
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rSn u- .ThaMiAnr kan il nt 410 Mnnnrd
style. A dirge with1
sounds like he's
an old Western
shootout and an
Indian raga. The
track is a lengthy
seven minutes, butI
Bishop never loses
focus. Another fascinating track is
"Cryptonymus" a somewhat atonal
stylistic divergence from the rest of
Improvika. While it's an interesting
track, Sir Richard was wise to keep it
to a scant two minutes, as any more
dissonance would have been almost
Bishop succeeds with Improvika
because of his ability to build tension
by not sticking to one musical idea
for too long. He uses inventive chords
and unusual melodies while avoiding
the self-indulgence that so many other
similarly proficient guitarists fall prey
to. He never tries to do too much, mak-
ing Improvika accessible even for non-
guitarists, yet impressive to the most
advanced players. It deserves to be stud-
ied, dissected, but most of all, enjoyed.
ing breasts, exemplified best by the
smut-peddling "Dead or Alive Beach
Volley Ball," which was little more
than an excuse to put the female fight-
ers into bikinis. "Ultimate" resurrects
the first two "DOA" games on a two-
disc set: one disc with the first "Dead
or Alive" and one disc with a suped-up
version of "DOA 2."
Critics often derided the original
"Dead or Alive" for its rudimentary
three-button control scheme, but it still
provided some solid fighting action.
The version of "Dead or Alive" includ-
ed on disc one is a pixel-perfect, albeit
unchanged, port. The one addition the
developers included is Xbox Live play-
ability for the fighter, but it's unnecces-
sary for gainers who will likely spend
the bulk of their time with the vastly
superior sequel included in this package.
"DOA" has not been updated signifi-
cantly, and its age shows through. After
a couple of nostalgic bouts - and ludi-
crously well-endowed female bouncing
- players will grow weary of "DOA."
Though the first "Dead or Alive" fails
Wait! Time out. I broke a nail.
to excite a second time around, develop-
er Team Ninja has enhanced an already
excellent version of "Dead or Alive"
on disc two. Gainers familiar with the
additions to the PS2 "Dead or Alive 2:
Hardcore" will find all of the same fea-
tures perfectly intact. Further improving
an already solid game is the inclusion of
unlockable costumes and characters -
making this edition of "DOA" even bet-
ter than its sequel "Dead or Alive 3."
The "Ultimate" version of "DOA
2" still features the limited fighting
scheme, but it is improved upon from
the original "DOA." The number of
combinations pales in comparison to
the deep and nuanced gameplay of
"Virtua Fighter 4" or "Soul- Calibur
2," but "DOA 2" beats its competition
with its graphics. The new version of
"DOA 2" has newly polished visuals
that take full advantage of the Xbox's
power. The graphics of both the char-
acter models and the vast, multi-tiered
fighting stages rival the best available
on Microsoft's console.
The biggest addition and selling point
of the set, beyond its buxom characters,
is Xbox Live fighting. Players can duke
it out online, recreating the bygone days
of the arcade era. Why Tecmo decided
to improve upon "Dead or Alive 2"
for its foray online instead of "Dead
or Alive 3" makes little sense, but with
all of the improvements, "DOA" runs
smoothly on Live.
Fans often overrate "DOA" because
of its representation of female fighters,
which explains the mature rating, but at
the same time it shouldn't be completely
disregarded because of it. "Ultimate" is
a surprisingly enjoyable fighting experi-
ence, although not the deepest, and is
the best fighter available for Xbox Live.
R&B sound of 'Aromatic' leaves listeners in agony
By Cyril Cordor
Daily Arts Writer
DJ Hi-Tek and underrated producer DJ Khalil of
Self Scientific, Aromatic had real potential to be
great. Instead, it is another disappointing addition
to the wastebasket.
lesser known Spontaneous. The incessant strings
and the melodic, filtered guitar in the background
are a fitting complement to the head-nodding drums.
Phil the Agony and Planet Asia just rip it. They feed