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Windows 10 problems and how to fix them Early versions of Windows 10 looked particularly stark and disjointed. The latest version of Windows 10 looks much more coherent. There are some practical benefits to the new design direction too, such as windows being smaller due to the lack of Pokies Biggest Winquake Windows. Windows are also more customisable and some elements are clearer, thanks to the lack of translucent backgrounds. Tap on the Windows 7 Start Menu and you can quickly access the reasonably powerful search function that will quite rapidly look up matching programs and documents as you type.

Pokies Bonus $ Leisure also provides quick access to core features and your chosen programs.

Windows 10 tips and tricks Windows 7 search is effective but simple. Click on the now separate search box and it will also now include Windows Store apps and web search, with results shown in a much more organised fashion. Also, even just clicking on the search box will have it show preview information such as the latest headlines, updates from your favourite sports teams and the weather, if you choose to turn these features on. This adds two key features.

Firstly, it monitors things like your email, calendar and search to provide useful information, such as when you need to leave for your next appointment. Windows 10 greatly enhances the features of search. You can also use it to add appointments or make notes. If you have a microphone on your machine, you can also speak your commands to Cortana and it does a fine job of interpreting natural language Pokies Biggest Winquake Windows get you the answer you need.

Certain key features such as File Explorer and Settings are more clearly shown too, while pointless clutter like the Default Programs button have been removed. It may seem totally mundane, but the tools used for finding and managing your files are some of the most oft used and fundamental to a good operating system.

This one little feature summed up all that was wrong about the nonsensical path being trodden by Microsoft at the time. By any standard it was poorly designed, with wasted space and key functions hidden from view.

Well, with Windows 10 the Up button is back! And with it are a host of other improvements to File Explorer — many of which, again, first arrived in Windows 8. Transfer speed is also shown in real time and operations can also be paused, where they could only previously be cancelled.

Windows 10 vs Windows 8 Windows 10 File Explorer and copy dialogue is much more useful. Another neat new addition is Storage Spaces. This is a way to group multiple hard drives together to form a single logical drive. Windows 10, though, adds a load of new features. Most will, in all likelihood, be of limited interest to most PC gamers — the ability to access your Xbox Live account, stream games from your Xbox to your PC and have multiplayer games work with both PC and Xbox players — though they are, of course, mostly welcome.

Best Gaming Laptops Windows 10 brings access to lots of Xbox features.

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Probably the neatest feature is built-in game capture. This will constantly record your gaming sessions, allowing you to grab a snapshot of the last 30 seconds of gameplay to share with your friends. It may not be new technology, but having it baked into the OS is very useful. Also it works with every game ever — at least so Microsoft says — so if you fancy capturing a video of your Monkey Island adventures, it will happily do so.

Also, Windows 10 has exclusive access to DirectX 12, which promises to unlock performance on existing hardware thanks to it allowing programmers to better access the features of specific hardware.

Windows has long had a notifications area of sorts, in the shape of the System Tray. Best Windows Phone Round-up Windows 10 has a useful single place for all notifications. Enter the new notifications area of Windows This simple addition brings together system messages and app notifications into one place, with alerts ordered chronologically.

The notifications area also contains some useful system functions, such as being able to switch to tablet mode or access the settings screen. Getting and keeping your workspace tidy is of key importance to certain users.

It also has an early version of Snap — the tool that automatically resizes windows when you drag them to the left or right.

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Probably best to go for a Make absolutely posi- tively sure that the modem has a tick on the box to signify that it complies with Australian Telecommunications standards. A system of this nature will cost a little more than many of the store assembled systems, but this way you get known, high quality components all around. It's not the absolute top end, but a computer like this will run any game you care to mention, both for now and into the foreseeable future.

Space, space and space. A Full Tower, or at least a Midi Tower is what you want. And, of course, the phallicity of the object cannot be disregarded. Macase What to look out for: Also, if you have access to the internet, www. As always, shop around for the best price, as differ- ent retailers will vary quite a bit. At least a 17 inch, preferably larger Why: A difficult decision, this one. Most video cards these days offer some software along with the card, whether this be games or applications.

Have a look around at the different pack- ages offered and try to get one that suits you best i. An indispensable part of any serious gaming system. Shop around a little and you should be able to find one to satisfy your needs. Things to look out for: If you are thinking about DVD, then there are a few things you might like to consider. Indications are that the DVD standard is growing in popularity, but do you really need it now?

Er, not a lot really. The tiny satellite speakers take up almost no space at all, per- fect for an often cluttered computer desk. Other than that, just make sure you do some test typing before you buy to make sure it feels comfortable for you. And then take it home and remove the Windows keys with a butter knife The MS Sidewinder Gamepad is also an option, and at 8o-odd bucks is cheaper too, but the Freestyle is great. Ready your motherboard for the insertion of the CPU by lifting the lever next to the ZIF socket, pushing gently outwards and upwards.

Take a look at the underside of the chip and you will notice that one comer is short one pin. Align this comer up with the comer on the ZIF socket that is the same, and gently insert the chip into position. Next is the cooling fan, and for this you simply place the fan over the top of the chip, then click the holders into position. For Pentium 2 or Slot 1 Motherboards and chips, the process is even less painful. Inserting HAM Back in the days of SIMM slots, inserting new or more memory into your PC was a haz- I f you do choose to buy your components separately and install them yourself, you might find yourself a bit worried about the physical installation.

However, assembling your system yourself is a practice that we actively encourage, for a number of reasons. Firstly, you get to know your system better - you bond with it, if you will.

Simply touch the power section of the motherboard with any hand to do so. Then, once you have a phillips head screwdriver handy, the first thing to do is secure your motherboard to the case.

Carefully remove the screws that hold in the backboarc for the case. Standoffs are clips that secure your motherboard to the backing plate along with standard screws. Initially, you should set the chip to run in a stock standard fashion. Simply pop the standoffs through the holes and slide it gently into position, and then secure by using screws in the appropriate positions.

Evil rules - but Abe's new powers mean you're up to the task! No other game has it - no other game wants it! A full - on Exoddus requires more stealth than a ninja army Save your race All other trademarks are the property of their respective companies. You will need to insert your video card by slotting it in to either the PCI or AGP slot depending on what type of video card you have , and con- necting your monitor cable to the output port. Also, plug in your keyboard as well, you might need it.

Then connect the power to your system and turn it on. You should see the BIOS kick in, eventually it may take up to 30 seconds the first time. Now remove the power cable from the back of the case, so as to avoid any accidents whilst you install everything else. Give it power Devices ardous task. Not so now with DIMM slots, as things are much easier.

Make sure though, that the RAM is aligned properly. Each DIMM module has three interface points of different lengths, so make sure that you are trying to insert the RAM in the slot that lines up with the appro- priate length. Generally, the RAM faces in towards the Motherboard, but this is not always the case.

Next step is to secure the power cables to your Motherboard. Most modern cases will come equipped with power supplies that utilise the AT-X connector, and most motherboards will also use this. Consult the motherboard man- ual for information on what your mother- board comes with and where it should go. Basically, an AT-X power supply has a single pin block, whereas AT power uses 2 sepa- rate 5-pin connectors. First you will need to install the drives physical- ly.

Just gently slide the Hard drive into the bay on the low- ermost rung. Screw it in place securely, using two screws for each side. Next attach your floppy drive you may need to remove a slot on the front of the case for this in the same way. Time to connect them up. The first step is to attach the power cable.

Find the cable with one normal power connector, and one smaller 4-pin connector for the floppy. The red stripe on the IDE cable always goes on the same side as pin 1, so just carefully place the cable into the slot.

The other end, of course, goes into your hard drive. You will also have a floppy drive cable, which is slightly smaller than the IDE cable.

Attach the non-twisted end to the mother- board in the floppy port, and the end with a twist in it to your floppy drive. This, really, is as simple as it gets.

All you need to do is remove the back coverings for the slots you will be using and insert the cards gently but firmly into their slots.

Place the cards where you can keep as much space in between them as possible. Once this is done, you just need to con- nect the CD- Audio cable to your sound card or possibly motherboard. Your CD will have come with an audio cable often grey in colour , one end goes in to the slot on the CD, and the other into the CD-Audio slot on your sound card. This way, you should be feeling comfortable with your toy, and be beginning to understand it.

Both Sony Gold and Elite Series displays benefit from state of the art Platinum design, to give you the best combination of performance and price in their class.

Call I or visit www. Interplay also have two titles earmarked for a pre-Christmas release. Just sneaking in on Xmas day apparently is Grimoire - though I would remind you it was meant to be out October 97! The third instalment of the Gabriel Knight series has been put back until the 1st week of January and is sure to be joined by several others whose release dates were per- haps a touch optimistic.

Despite having no firm release date, Anachronox is still looking like a contender for the greatest game ever or my dream game, which I reckon is the same thing. Non-linear plot, dynamic third-person views, turn-based combat, loads of dialogue, Quake 2 engine, need I go on? All three games are quite a long way off, however. Monolith's Shogo came out ahead of schedule with little marketing hype for one and is also pretty bloody good, with smooth internet play.

Even more bizarre is the Doppelganger effect. Take Rainbow 6 and the recently announced Delta Force not to mention a stack of other mis- sion-based 3D shooters. But the weirdest clones would have to be Trespasser and Carnivores. Trespasser basically picks up where the Jurassic Park - Lost World movie left off. Carnivores, however, is set in the future where you travel to another planet populated by dinosaurs, and your sole objective is to hunt them for sport.

Before Epic have done a decent job of cleaning up the messy network code in Unreal, they have announced that there are firm plans for Unreal 2, although Epic will probably not develop the title.

They too have fallen prey to the mysterious sister-game sit- uation as their game will also have you man- age four characters on-screen at one time. Rather than requiring players to own copies of the original game, Rise of Rome will be sold as a stand alone title.

Rome, Carthage and Palmyra. With a release date of mid November, Rise of Rome will be welcomed with open arms by gamers keen to get a fix of AoE between now and the release of A0E2. At Activision, work on Civilization: Call to Power is well under way. Offensive units will also be more varied, with ecoterrorists, lawyers and televangelists accounting for some of the more terrifying not to mention amusing forces that players will have to come to grips with.

While it remains to be seen how effective this system will be, Activision assure us that the game will run smoothly in x resolution on a P90! Many strategy gamers will be disheart- ened to learn that the release dates of Heroes of Might and Magic 3, Jagged Alliance 2 and Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri have all slipped back to early Fighting Steel recreates some of the most spectacular naval gunnery battles of WWII, and players will face the challenge of commanding ships and task forces from the British, French, German, and Italian fleets with over 90 ships simulated in the game.

SSI boast that Fighting Steel has the depth of a detailed surface warfare simulation and the tactical challenges to keep naval sim fans busy for weeks.

This will be a key element in the game as it was for U-Boat commanders of the time. Reality check for a moment, and get back in the saddle! Interactive Magic have released news that they are developing iAio Warthog for a release date of May This has great pay offs for gamers because it integrates air, land and sea games by LAN and modem.

A new derivative has entered into beta testing, called GNN www. Did I miss something, or have. Anyway, on to the games. So, er, what about non-US and Canadian players? If the Major likes it, then it has to be good, in my book. Microsoft reps recently announced that the Microprose game will be available for free multiplay through the Zone www. Still with huge mega-corporation game sites, it seems that AOL is getting serious about online games, finally. Interactive Opera You will be in control of each of the four characters at different points during the game, in what is promised to be a multi-pathed non-linear story- line, with the ability to swap back and forth between the four playable char- acters at times of choosing.

Visually, the game looks great, too. It looks extremely likely that The Ring is going to be one of those ideas that works in for a perfor- mance of the opera which never came to fruition. One of the greatest prob- lems with games of this nature is that they can all too easily become a rather boring affair, just a sim- ple point and click-fest.

Ring how- ever, from what we have seen of it, is a very addictive and enjoyable game to play. You do need to move your mouse over the screen to find hotspots, but there are some nice puzzles as well as decent interaction with other game characters.

HA does just about everything else right, but they still continue to ignore what could be a strong selling point of the game. Ah well, maybe for FIFA Players move about just like real people, following the ball with their head, putting their head down when they sprint, gesticulating at the ref when he awards a penalty against them, and even headbutting opposi- tion players when things get a bit heat- ed!

The bat- tle will be fought between the Star Trek: There are now Trek games for just about every genre there is bar the Star Trek racing game, which is surely only a matter of time. Birth of the Federation for the turn based anal strategy freaks, Klingon Honor Guard for First person shooter action, a variety of adventure games like First Contact, Starfleet Academy for s- f flight fans, and even Star Trek Pinball for the really desperate and more pathetic Trekkies.

But one of the most promi- nent genres in computer games today has, until now, been neglected by the Star Trek fran- chises from both Microprose and Interplay. New Worlds is, in keep- ing with the current trend, based in a 3D world, and has a similar look and feel to many other like games.

The success of the series can be attributed almost entirely to its supreme accessibil- ity. Vividly attractive graphics, beautiful music, intuitive game design facilitated by a remark- ably pure interface, it all added up to that rare thing - deep, involving strategy that anyone could play but only few would master, of course.

Heroes have to be outfitted with their artifacts, so you can wear only one helm or wield one sword, for example. They can also be stationed in the garrison of your castles and may command up to seven different troop types in their army. This will be one of the games of the year, take my word for it.

David Wildgoose Star Wars: Rogue Squadron Category Players Publisher Available L ucasArts have rightly enough built a name for themselves as one of the most professional and talented development houses in the world. Their games are almost all of outstanding quality, with innovative touches and ground breaking ideas. Arcade action can be fun though, and Rogue Squadron really is fun to play, even if it is far removed from the X-Wing series in terms of style.

There is no better upgrade you can make. You will no longer be merely playing games. You will be living them. For more information please contact Customer Care on Well, it looks like KQ has grown up a little. The most remarkable differ- Kings Quest in 3D! But such a claim is easily knocked on the head by the inclusion of action and fighting elements in the game. It will be interesting to gauge the reaction to Mask Of Eternity when it is released. So far, though, we kinda like what we see.

David Wildgoose Mad Trax Category Players Publisher Available T here must be a huge mar- ket, or at least a huge per- ception of a market, for these kinds of games. Even so, the dri- ving model feels a bit strange because while the other cars can powerslide around corners you don't seem to be able to, which is In the future, our very lives will depend upon our driving skills. The feeling of speed is very appar- ent once you get up towards top speed, and bustling with the AI cars during comers was, as always, bigtime fun.

Now you can throw yourself into the action. Every on-screen movement is controlled with your own movement. Accurate and highly responsive, not to mention works with your favourite games. Freestyle Pro Want more? Still one of the best games ever made, and accord- ing to Microprose, still worthy of tweaks and updates. The play was com- pelling and intricate, but the interface made things a little difficult. There was so much wasted space on screen that could have been used to show you at a glance detailed infor- mation about your empire.

Microprose to the rescue, then. It still seems to be the same game, but with some impressive tweaks and enhance- ments over the original version. To begin with, they have decid- ed to add some much needed life to the environment, with animated populations, grazing buffalo and swimming fishies.

And then, rather confusingly, Microprose tell us that Civ2: Which might be kind of like opening up a portal to another world, and then moving your units into it for colonisation and exploration. It all sounds rather intriguing, and could well be a great game. Category Players Publisher Available and rind enemy tanks, then shooting them for one shot kills. We're in shoot-em-up territo- ry here.

You will be in control of a task force in a number of worldwide are- nas, with D espite the rather con- fronting name, Wargasm looks set to be a very inter- esting game. Developers DID software are known for flight sims EF, F, Total Air War , and the accuracy and realism which they bring to simulations, but Wargasm seems to be much more of an arcade styled game. Controlling a tank, for example, consists of using a joystick to manoeuvre around equip- ment such as tanks, helicopters and ground troops available for your control.

It is very pretty to look at too, with both software and hardware video modes, and with hardware acceleration you can expect some very nice graphical effects. There will be extensive support for multiplay as well dare we call it Multiple Wargasm? What a funny name for a game! Motorcross Madness brings, for the first time, daredevil stunt racing to the PC. The Age of Empires Expansion Pack extends Age of Empires addictive gameplay into the Roman era, adding more depth and challenge to the best selling strategy game.

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Combine forces or go solo. Either way any sucker that gets in your way is going to taste your ballistics! Our gaming partners are here to make sure you feel every laser blasting from your cannons. Microsoft and Where do you want to go today? It's being built, will you come? Eyst, and project leader Ben Moss, have continued to refine the look and feel of Wartorn until it has become more than just exciting, it really looks as if it will be one of the vanguard of the next generation of Real Time Strategy games.

But, really, the level of user control over the battles, resource management and financial man- agement is what we feel to be the strongest feature of the game. Any unit can be customised to your liking, from bigger cannons to stronger armour, to the amount of fuel and ammunition it carries.

There are also features like the ability to stock your fac- tories with people - the more people you assign to your tank building facility, for example, the faster tanks will get made. Because of the scope and customisability, this will require die- hard RTS fans to re-adjust their expectations - upwards! Can Eyst pull it off? Well, the indications are very good at this stage. The proprietary engine is in place and the game mechanics look to be nearing completion too.

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I t could be claimed that Raven's Heretic was the very first Doom clone, and it was certainly id's first dabble with the unusual concept of licensing its graphics engine to a potential rival. What lending the Doom engine to Raven did establish was that it took nothing away from the original game and in fact built up id's reputation even further. While many companies proved that they could design 3D engines that were just as powerful as the Doom one, it suddenly became clear that announcing to the world that you were licensing the Doom engine was nearly as impressive as coming up with it in the first place.

Everyone was more interested that Raven were taking and improving the engine and that id had welcomed Raven's improvements, than they were in how the game actually looked. Heretic allowed you to look up and down, to swim in water but you remained constantly buoyant to collect and store inventory items for later use and even to fly. It was, in short, welcome and impressive. Then Raven impressed us all again with Hexen, a sort of follow up. The RPG-style story line remained, the inventory system remained, spells were added, a choice of character classes offered, windows and other level elements were breakable and the concept of hubs created.

The hub was the centre of a world, with various levels spinning off. The new computer Al means that the enemy will be guided towards your location. The idea was that the game would appear less linear and you could tackle the levels in any order, collecting puzzle items in one level to use in another. Hexen II took this further, and used the Quake engine to great effect.

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The script continues after Heretic. Corvus, the hero of the game, has defeated D'Sparil, one of the serpent riders, but a dying curse was to keep him from returning to his home world. Fortunately Corvus finds a way, but by the time he gets there he finds that his people have been infected by a deadly virus, and he himself contracts it as he arrives. It's his own self-preservation that sends Corvus looking for a cure and the source of the virus.

Most obvious is that Corvus is now seen in the third person, Tomb Raider style, which is also why there is just the one character even though Hexen had a choice of three and Hexen II had four or five if you include the mission pack.

Corvus' animations are extremely fluid. We've been asked if we did motion capture for him. We didn't, we've just got two very talented animators. It really allows us to put a strong focus on his character. We're not going for the RPG elements. We're trying to go back to the core action we had with Heretic. The third-person perspective allows us to do the things that we couldn't do in first-person, like dive rolls, flips left and right, and hand springs.

It would obviously be confusing with a first-person camera. There's a risk that it all sounds a bit Tomb Raider- ish, though. The concept idea for a third-person Heretic actually came before the original Hexen game was started, but the technology wasn't at the point that allowed us to do what we had in mind.

It aids you with the vertical tracking, but not to the extent that Tomb Raider did. It's almost as if you had a narrow cone stretching in front of you. It locks on to whatever falls within that cone. Everything else is based on spells, so once you learn a spell you can cast it, as long as you have mana. We have shrines that are used for healing, The third-person perspective will enable you to do things you could not have done in the first-person perspective.

But some shrines can only be used once. We want the players to feel like this was a real world. Raven have included a system of hidden buoys that mark out areas that the enemy can reach, enabling him to use platforms and lifts, find his way to you and operate machinery. It should provide an unparalleled level of reality as they respond to the tactics. Heretic was popular, but never as popular as Doom. But Freed is sure that Heretic II will be a mass-market hit rather than a cult. Quake sells well because it's Quake and it has new technology and multi-player appeal.

Myst sells well to the mass market. It's easy to get into and there's a low learning curve. We're trying to appeal to both those sets. We've got all the customisability and fast-paced action of Quake and the ease and quick learning curve of Myst and Tomb Raider.

Heretic II is due out this November. It came as little surprise to learn that it was to be turned into a game also using the Quake II engine and also programmed by Raven. And while Soldier of Fortune may mean little to us other than its literal phraseology, that there is going to be another Raven-based 3D shooter is cause for some tempered celebration. More intelligent Al, gorgeous graphits and last-pared attion should ensure this title is a winner.

I t came as a bit of a shock when Microprose announced that they had taken the MechWarrior license away from Activision. The latter had achieved stunning success with MechWarrior 2 and the sequel Mercenaries, but pulled out all the stops to sign on Dream Pod 9's similar universe, known as Heavy Gear. It seemed a perfect solution. Heavy Gear is the fastest-growing role playing universe, and the Gears in the game are smaller and more agile than Mechs.

Heavy Gear satiated the demands for instant Gear action, while Heavy Gear II is the true labour of love - the game that really takes advantage of the new universe. We've given it a more photo- realistic look. More action, a more nimble , fast- paced game. It leans more towards Quake, but we have kept a lot of the old feel.

The controls are more simplified, but you must give orders to your squad, which gives extra depth. While Heavy Gear II uses a different orders system: The story involves the previously warring factions joining forces to prevent Earth taking their colony back. You lead a commando group to Caprice, a planet that is situated at one of the hyperspace gates, ready to ambush the advancing Earth force.

The story unfolds throughout the 40 missions, involving joining forces with a local guerrilla force and attempting to discover the Earth forces' weaknesses.

Speeds have increased and more animations are available to the player, like sniping from a prone position, kneeling behind low cover and so on. We have a line of sight radar instead of a 'god's eye' top down radar. This means that potential surprises lie around every blind corner. It's the muddy areas that slow you down, and if it's raining it gets muddier.

In addition, we have low, soft and hard cover to obfuscate people's line of site. This is a rarity for the genre and, indeed the market. There is a mass-warfare option, single player deathmatch, team games, capture the flag and some cooperative missions too. What is far more certain at this stage though, it's that Heavy Gear II is going to take a popular and persistent genre and completely redefine it. Dave Georgeson explains the need to start from scratch. The engine pushes 4, triangles per second on a PI 33 at 15fps.

Faster machines see much better results, but since our minimum system for these games is a PI 33, that's the base line number that we care about. Even at the base level, this is more than twice, almost three times, as many triangles as our previous engines were able to handle at that speed.

If you have a software-rendering option, the processor is clearly having to perform all the graphics functions, using up valuable cycles when it could be working on Al or physics, or even improving the graphics quality. Unless you have an almost entirely different hardware version of the game, you are just wasting the potential. By the time Heavy Gear II is released, the vast majority of games players should have 3D accelerators, resulting in a considerably better game.

While Heavy Gear II requires 3D graphit atteleration, it's believed that most PC gamers will have the netessary hardware by the time the game is released. D on't be mistaken in thinking that a concentration and strategy-heavy turn-based game has no merit or no place in today's MTV society.

Call To Power, knows exactly why. Civ II has literally millions of strategies for playing and winning. I love Starcraft, Warcraft and Red Alert, but as good as some of their missions are, they have nowhere near the amount of strategies that Civilization has.

So when we made our game, we wanted to max out the two critical broad qualities that we believe make that game so awesome.

Her first step was to take the game on a further 1, years so that you now have from BC to AD to create your civilisation. This of course adds new units and technologies and an extension into a fantasy world that we can only imagine.

Activision have also introduced new strategies. Civ CTP will have units that can do production attacks, economic attacks, happiness attacks and so on. Some units will even 'siphon' resources such as production and gold, so not only will the person who was attacked lose the resource but the person who did the attack will gain what was lost. For example, one of my favourite units is the Televangelist, a unit you get if you are a Theocracy government form.

In this government, religion reigns supreme, with your people being an obedient, peaceful lot. You get the Televangelist minister that you can send to foreign lands to convert others to your religion. If you successfully 'attack' a city and convert its residents, they will send Tithes to you. The other civilisation will lose that gold and you'll get it. An attack like this is not an act of war. A turn in Civ II could easily take close to half an hour as you checked every city in your civilisation for maximum efficiency and happiness.

While I love real-time strategy games, the buzz is 1 80 degrees different than a turn-based game such as Civ. Call To Power is a contemplative, global strategy game that encourages careful analysis and movement, a leaning that is totally at odds with a tactical, adrenaline pumped game that encourages you to move faster and think less. Naturally, when single rlayer games can easily last between 1 5 and 40 lours for a big civilisation, a new technique has to re taken for the multiplayer game.

CTP to stirk with the original formula. For it is good. Available in March 1 In the single player game, global strategy is paramount as is a thoughtful approach. Microprose, on the other hand, insisted that they held the computer game rights having already published Civilization and Civilization II. Fortunately the argument came to a mature conclusion during the summer when Activision chose to license the Civilization name from Microprose for Civilization: We're all grateful that this situation has been resolved, but the biggest surprise is that Cecilia's team were able to ignore the legal wrangling.

It's hard enough to make a game. The last thing I wanted was anyone to think twice about legal issues. And no one did. Hard as it is to believe, the legal issues had almost no bearing on our development process. We have kept our eyes, on the prize, and that's making a great game. W hen you subtitle your game The Screamin Demons Over Europe it kind of suggests that you aren't aiming for the anal, trainspotting market. In Fighter Squadron, you have to take the, urn, bull by the horns, look your enemy in the eye and shower him with bullets from a few hundred yards.

You can choose to side with the US, Britain or Germany, and then fly a series of missions, including combat air patrol, bombing, escort, fighter sweep and you can even take part in full-on invasions. But your history teacher wouldn't approve.

As Trevor Snowden, producer, would have it: We wanted to create ultra-realistic aircraft, physics and damage models in hypothetical situations so players could experience more diversity given the type of aircraft and locations. Particularly exciting in Fighter Squadron is the unique damage system applied to each aeroplane.

When a wing or half of a wing breaks off, it will actually become a separate object, with true physics, and tumble or flutter to the ground, damaging anything it hits on the way down. At that point, the plane will be missing an aerodynamic portion of its frame, and will therefore react exactly the way that a one- winged plane would in real life. This goes for every piece of the plane that can break off - wings, props, gear, tails and so on.

Planes will also take progressive damage from loss of oil, and your engine can also catch fire. For example, if your engine takes damage and catches on fire, the fire will start small, and if you don't do something to control it - such as dive or shut down the engine - the fire will grow progressively larger.

When you have a large stream of fire and smoke, the engine will eventually burn away from the aircraft. Similarly, fire will do progressive damage on ground objects - houses, barns, docks and so on - starting small, then growing, then catching nearby buildings on fire, depending upon which way the wind is blowing.

You can also create your own missions with the provided Mission Editor. It certainly looks as if Fighter Squadron will scramble the competition when it hits the market this Christmas. Hyper-realistic aircraft and physics are the order of the day. The battles have a more poetic licence. Future Shock 90 1 Spycraft: World Cup 98 45 Mechwarrior 2: Titanium 86 Tomb Raider: Waterloo 78 X Wing vs.

Balance Power 83 Howzat 2 Dungeon Keeper: Rebellion 88 Tex Murphy: Ranger Assault 84 KknD 2: Krossfire 65 Cyberstorm 2: Corporate War 68 Stratosphere: Portal of Praevus 78 Seven specially designed vehicles based on models racing from the '50s to the '90s.

Up to eight different types of terrain per track will affect the car's behaviour. Australian contact; Ubi Soft Australia Ltd: Flaws or mediocrity hold these games back from higher ratings. Not bad, not good. Boring, shamelessly unoriginal, cheap and horrible. This month is a case in point. Good games, damn good games. The folks at Valve have gone overboard with the single-player game. Speaking of Unreal, we have our very first 3rd-party game based on the Unreal engine.

All Trek-haters should put aside their prejudices and get into one hell of a fun FPS. Lucas Arts have finally shipped Grim Fandango. A lot is hanging on this game. Adventure games, as a whole, have been pretty lame recently; lame or non-existent. Grim Fandango could resurrect the genre and bring in a horde of new gamers who have been brought up on a strict diet of FPS and RTS games. Which to buy first? What to ignore completely? These are happy problems, enjoy them because the rich well of gaming will, as usual, probably dry up in a couple of months Virtually faultless, reserved for games which cause loss of sleep from thinking of nothing else.

Remember that wonderful gooey happy transcendant feeling you got in your tummy the first time you played Doom? Get ready kids, because Half-Life is going to blow you away. Proper storyline The story was masterminded by Marc Laidlaw, who wrote the screenplay for Kalifornia made into a rather excellent film star- ring Big Brad Pitt and David Duchovny. Gordon Freeman One of the first things evident about Half-Life is that it is alive with non-play- er-characters NPCs who speak with per- fect lip sync and left to their own devices will simply go about their duties.

Half Life is built on an extensively modified, licensed 74 PC PowerPlay tend to explode as they are hit during firefights which is always interesting, and again adds another level to the immersion factor. After large battles levels get really messy- looking, completely blood-soaked, scorched and unrecognisable. There are many destructible objects such as office equipment, vending machines, food in microwaves, glass windows, wooden crates and comput- ers.

These things per second with hardware accel- eration. Skeletal Animation also allows quantifi- able geographical weapon effects arms, legs and heads being sep- arately damaged , and numerous death animations, based on where the enemy was shot. More variety, more realism, more immersion - It all adds up to a seriously mind blowing experience. Everyone, not just people with 3D accelerators, is able to enjoy the advanced effects in Half-Life though you will need a fairly grunty machine without a 3D card.

Real intelligence Half-Life also includes some of the most relevant, dangerous and believable intelligence ever incorporated into a 3D environ- ment. They are adaptive to changing situations, never run- ning out of things to do and standing still, waiting to be killed.

They constantly surprise you with their tactics, and must be treated with respect! The usual John Woo offense that works against most monster AI will quickly see you sleeping with the fishes here. Even the random insects have intelligence. Walking into a dark room and flicking on the light, you often see a swarm of Cockroaches scattering toward the shadows.

In fact, the between-level transitions are almost nonexistent, yet another amazing feature dreamed up by the Valve designers. This should make sounds occur with much more locational accuracy, mak- ing it even simpler for players to tell which direction sounds are coming from, be it left, right, below, above, in front, or behind. Especially with a 3D sound card you really can tell just where creatures are lurking - on more than one occasion I was jerking my head around to see what was there Creature feature Half-Life sports more than 40 different enemies; everything ranging from lowly cockroaches and run away from larger creatures.

These little details are the things that really set Half-Life apart from the flock. Half Life also has vehicles in- game, both usable and used against you, in particular a level where a gloriously detailed Apache helicopter is strafing you as you run along a treacherous cliff-zone. Optimised software DVD acceleration I video files playback. With the Voodoo2 chipset, discover extreme 3 D graphics acceleration.

The Guillemot range is brought to Australia by: All the other trademarks are the property of their respective proprietors. Contents, designs and specifications are subject to change without prior notice and may vary in different countries. They each have their own special abilities based on their composition: At least now we have a plausible excuse for this disappearance.

Half-Life boasts 18 weapons, with some funky new ideas like the particle accelerator that fires an atom-wide stream of energy, which cooks anything you hit with it! This is pretty damn excit- ing, forever overcoming the Quake dilemma of empty mas- sive maps and ridiculously packed small ones. Mod city, baby Half-Life is another engine, like Unreal, that is heavily aimed toward being the best platform for Modification and Total Conversion authors to adapt. Valve software has already acquired the Australian geniuses behind TeamFortress, who are already at work on the second version of their international hit for the Half-Life engine.

This makes it easier for Valve to make their engine more accessible to devel- opers and level designers inter- ested in using the system. They are also carefully docu- menting their engine and devel- opment process to make all the information readily available to those people making mods.

We can probably expect a wave of add-ons to come frothing out of the Internet gaming community. Half-Life is an incredible game with the best storyline ever seen in a first-person shooter. The awesome detail of the envi- ronments, outstanding weapons and frighteningly intelligent AI make it the most exciting first- person release of the year, and easily the best.

Ed Dawson left The face hugger thingies. European Air War gives you 20 aircraft to fly from that time; from the early Spitfire to the Me - the first jet fighter. This is leading edge technology and nothing comes close.

European Air War is a trademark of MicroProse. All other trademarks are the property of their respective holders. Fighter Command EAW provides the standard features such as quick start, sin- gle mission, campaign and multi- player options that we are used to. It then randomly gen- erates a mission, so no two mis- sions are the same. My only criti- cism of this feature is that you cannot specify the target you want to attack, eg an Ammunition Train, and, as with the rest of the game, it is not enhanced by a Mission Generator to let you alter waypoints etc.

Instead, each mission is driven by Bomber and Fighter Command, so you are locked into their waypoints, even when the briefings tell you to fly around the AAA and known fighter base locations. However, the heart of the game is the three campaigns: You take on a role as a German or English pilot in the first campaign, or a German, English or American pilot in the latter two.

An extraordinary mixture, and in realistic mode each has its own flight model that is clearly dis- cernible. As you move through your career, you go from rank to rank, airfield to airfield and plane to plane.

An awesome sight, no matter which side you are flying for. Enough of the tripe; what is the game like you ask? Beautiful, beautiful cockpits bottom Note the ejected shell casings - Force Feedback friendly Plug in the Force Feedback Joystick FFJ and wind up the engines to experience a new gaming sensation.

The cockpit shakes as the engine coughs, then catches, and the FFJ trem- bles in your hand until the engine purrs soothingly. Take off and raise the gear, and the FFJ jumps lightly in your hand on both occasions. It then remains fluid until you manoeu- vre, and then you feel the oppos- ing forces. In the betas, this feature was a shocker and really made my arm ache because it was over- done. Not so in the full game where it is easy to use and adds markedly to the game. It ham- mers your hand as you fire the cannons, guns or rockets, it whips you to one side if you are hit, and makes it incredibly REVIEWS hard to pull out of a dive at speed.

You can even feel the bump as you land! It just looks real Once airborne, the world of EAW is awe-inspiring. From the green fields of England and Europe to the objects on them; trees, barns, windmills, each of which can be targeted; to the lay- ers of cloud that seem real enough to touch, and the sun that burns through the cockpit during dawn and dusk flight. Escorting a bomber force is unreal!

Fly up close and you can see the flames from the exhausts, the oil running off the wings, the gunners and their guns poking out. Use the many camera views to drool at this sight, and if you dare, stay with them during an engagement and watch each gunner systematically engage the enemy. To assist your flight you have 40 different mission parameters such as Flight and Target Information that can be project- ed on screen to assist. Optional HUD, waypoint caret and even a Even the interface has an authentic feel Target Identification feature fur- ther enhance this.

Sure, you know they are the enemy if they fire at you, but until then, you might be chasing one of your own. You can also call up land based radar to guide you to bogies. Kill pilot, kill plane This is where the game starts to really excel. Scream into a wing of bombers and watch them cover you with fire.

Hit the cockpit and blood splattered on the inside usually means only one thing! Flak looks incredible and can even take out a whole B17 with a direct hit! Sound is brilliant, from the resonating purr of dual engines, to the left to right roar of a fight- er strafing you. Cannon hits sound spectacular just as you expect them to, and splinters on the perspex show as you are hit.

MicroProse have released a game that is mature, has no bugs that I could see, provides cutting edge gaming entertain- ment and ushers in the Force Feedback Joystick as a new flight sim necessity. A graphical extrava- ganza that blows the mind away when you see the sheer size of WWII aircraft formations and the weapons that engaged them Against No Mission Generator. Highly anticipated A revolutionary multiplayer, real time, 3D Shooter - the ultimate in first person squad warfare boasting features never seen before in the world of combat games.

You're on patrol high above the trenches in WWI In the old days.! Puts you in the driver's seat of history's most famous race cars on some of the greatest tracks in the world. For further enquiries Ph: Those interstel- lar bikies from space. Filled with a lust for hunt- ing, knives, red meat, strong alco- hol, fighting and probably heavy metal music. Eating rotisseried kangaroos cooked whole on the spear that killed them.

Kirk was a pussy Playing any first-person action game as a neatly combed Starfleet officer, wielding a com- pact phaser that bore a strange resemblance to a Remington Philishave never quite got the blood going.

Klingon Honour Guard perfectly captures the simple and brutal philosophy of the Klingon ways, never complicat- ing anything. The game goes into a great amount of detail, and really fleshes out the subject mat- ter. Playing this game you really begin to understand the sometimes incomprehensible Klingon behaviour on Star Trek.

It all makes sense within the game. Pride is your blood right. Extreme arrogance natu- rally drives your every move. Enemies you flatten in equal combat will meet you in the honourable afterlife, Sto-Vo-Kor! You believe all this and more in the atmospheric world of Klingon Honour Guard.

Multiple melee weaponry The arsenal of weaponry is really something you can sink your teeth into. Simple, sharp and explosive, you can unleash all of your animal rage with this gear. Firstly the chunky sharp metal things are actually extremely useful weapons, in con- trast to the norm for the default weapon.

Basically, because the average Klingon makes Dolph Lundgren look like a milk-fed runt, wield- ing a melee weapon in your tree-trunk arms you can pretty much gut anything with skin thinner than six inches! An interesting feature to note is the stealth-kill when throwing the Dk-Tagh.

If your enemy is not aware of your presence, you can effect an instant kill by throwing this weighted little blade into their heads. Once alerted, however, you cannot do nearly as much dam- age, and should stick to slashing There's even a rather detailed and evolving storyline!

But nobody really cares about that, we just want gory killing bits! The Bat-Leth, men- tioned above, is a bit like a bull- bar cut in half with an oxy torch. A semicircular frame with four sharp bits sticking off it, it really hurts when dragged along flesh at high speed.

It is much heavier than the Dk-Tagh, hence it packs a real punch when thrown. If you manage to hit an oncoming foe with a thrown Bat-Leth, all that remains to do is pull it out of their ribcage and wipe it. The other blade weapon, the Ding- Pach, is almost an exact replica of the frisbee blade used by the Predator. Guns go bang The other weapons are a mix of energy and explo- sive stuff. There are three blaster style guns, the weakest being almost identical to the dis- persion pistol from Unreal, as in it has infinite ammo which slow- ly regenerates.

Its secondary fire is a scatter shot that does more damage although it wastes ener- gy. Secondary fire of that weapon cre- ates a miniature black hole, which sucks in everything in line of sight, then crushes it all at once.

All the weapons are very nicely done, being quite well balanced for deathmatch while being easier to use and more satisfying than the Unreal weapons. Against No shootouts with pissy human Starfleet officers, simple mission structure, small range of enemies.

N qvKSP Honor it mote intjtctiani titan life http: The range of enemies, unfor- tunately is quite limited. Most of them are variations on a Klingon theme, Klingon terrorists, sol- diers, florists, parking officers, and so on. They do however fight with at least the same ferocity as the Unreal foes, though perhaps less acrobatical- ly.

They do pick weapons for sit- uations and change tack when heavily injured, digging in and taking cover. There is one other race of generic muscular alien things, which act and die in a very similar fashion to the afore- mentioned.

There are a few giant beasts and attack pigs, which are both quite impressive, the giants especially throwing boulders pulled from the earth. Ed Dawson realistic system requirements. The one exception is the ship level where you can go external, which looks simply incredible.

Geometrically they are quite sim- ple, but very nice textures help to offset this. Klingon humour Mid-level, there are AVI brief- ings from your commander, with simple maps and objectives laid out, and footage of hostile takeovers, etc. The story is an intra-Klingon saga about political intrigue and double-crossing, which you must put right in a torrent of pink blood. The strategy game that places you right in the middle of the fearsome universe of the Vikings, their majestic legends and their mysterious beliefs.

Exclusively distributed by www. You feel that other employees are getting the best clients and so decide to take matters into your own hands by stealing one from the top salesman in the company. And that is when you discover that something is very wrong in the town of El Marrow!

Someone is steal- ing the just rewards Wonderfully bizarre, Grim Fandango is of the same calibre of all the Lucas Arts adventures of souls who would otherwise be getting a ticket on the num- ber 9, removing their records from the computer system and selling the tickets to those whose souls are less than per- fect. Your stolen client, The hell train Boy was I wrong. You see this is how it works.

When you die one of the souls from the eighth level of the afterlife come to pick you up. What they sell are travel plans for the dead souls who have to find their way to heav- en. The journey to heaven normally takes four years, the number 9 will get you there in 4 minutes.

Better clients earn more points for these salesmen and shorten their contract with the company the Department Of Death or DOD Dirty dead deeds And this is where our story begins. There would be some chicks who died young and pretty in the back seat waiting to tell me about all the great things I could do now that I was dead.

And all my favourite dead musos would be on a stage nearby performing all their best songs. Maybe all my dead former pets could be there too, as well as my dead friends and family of course.

Rather than contin- ue with the youthful tone of their earlier adventure titles Lucas have chosen to grow up a bit, along with the peo- ple who would have also played those games.

The characters in the game are well devel- oped and engaging and the storyline is more detailed and compelling than any Lucas Arts have attempted before. Lucas have also bor- rowed heavily from what was originally an Aztec mythology, now more associated with Mexico, to add Can a skeleton look erotic?

Show me that bone, baby! It is a time for families to honour their ancestors rather than fear death. Prior to the Spanish conquest, festivities overseen by the god- dess Mictecacihuatl, the Lady of the Dead, took place in the summer.

This month long cele- bration commemorated chil- dren, the deceased, and the Aztec war god Huitzilopochtli. Families spend the night min- gling in necropolis, sharing in a dusk-to-dawn delight which often includes a pyrotechnic display in the evening. Tequila toasts, corpse-like costumes, and mariachi music are also common. As the 2nd day draws near celebrants don ghoulish costumes and parade through town, scaring the spirits back to their eternal dwelling spots.

Cities who still celebrate Dia de los Muertos on a grand scale are often regions where both the Spanish and Indian cultures continue to flourish side by side. Oaxaca, Mexico is one locale where the tradition strongly survives. Graphically Grim is quite stunning, with or without an accelerator card, and the mixture of Aztec and Art Deco architecture and styling makes for some very nice eye candy.

How long it will take to finish depends on your cunning and resourcefulness. Grim Fandango does suffer from some of the usual problems with this genre: Our recommended Internet casinos above all boast dozens of classic video poker titles, including selections from Microgaming — the leading developer of real money gambling software in the world. Furthermore, each of our trusted AUD gambling websites caters for 21st-century punters with cash video poker for iPhone, iPad, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone and other popular devices.

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Posted by Wonderlane at 9: Spock buys a suit. Spock buys a suit , a photo by Wonderlane on Flickr. Posted by Wonderlane at 8: Spock upset , a photo by Wonderlane on Flickr.

Posted by Wonderlane at 6: Posted by Wonderlane at 1: Tibetan people at Kalachakra on the streets of Washington D. Nonetheless, because you persist in accepting and enduring attachments and aversions, you will continue to wander in Samsara.

Therefore, your active dharmas and your inactive ones both should be abandoned. Female bodhisattva stands her ground, flowing robes, beehive hairstyle, ornaments, lava gravel, concrete, Sakya Monastery of Tibetan Buddhism, courtyard, Seattle, Washington, USA.

Female bodhisattva stands her ground, flowing robes, beehive hairstyle, ornaments, lava gravel, concrete, Sakya Monastery of Tibetan Buddhism, courtyard, Seattle, Washington, USA , a photo by Wonderlane on Flickr.

Friday, February 22, Alaskan Debra Fitzgerald modeling a black fox fur hat, bright blue eyes, holding her glasses, black coat, black mink scarf, Anchorage, Alaska, USA. Alaskan Debra Fitzgerald modeling a black fox fur hat, bright blue eyes, holding her glasses, black coat, black mink scarf, Anchorage, Alaska, USA , a photo by Wonderlane on Flickr. Monks eagerly awaiting the Lama's arrival, So very happy! In fairness, this was a review of a first draft, and there is a rumour of Paramount hav- ing a different and hopefully better scriptwriter on the job as well.

W itch This Step The Bitmap Brothers have been around for a very long time, since back in the days of the C Much to the surprise of nobody, and the disquiet of external devel- opers, Psygnosis announced the closure of its Manchester develop- ment studio, and indicated that it will concentrate primarily, although not exclusively, on putting out PlayStation games.

It has been rumoured that this is part of a slimming-down strategy pursued by Sony in order to make the company more attractive to potential buyers.

Virgin Interactive Entertainment still soldiers on in an extremely truncated form. While there are, apparently, a few bids in for the rump end of the company, its remaining employees are hoping that a management buy-out bid will succeed. Earlier in the year, Hasbro acquired rival toy manufacturer Tiger Electronics, whose Furby talking soft-toy has become the most desirable toy for this Christmas. So does this mean we can expect a Tamagotchi-style Furby game? Those months of antler sharpen- ing were about to pay off S imon and Schuster Interactive and Cedant Software have recently announced what many have seen as an important and much needed game - an anti-Deer Hunter.

The game is the brainchild of Brian McCann, a staff writer for the always amusing Late Night with Conan O'Brien Show, and he will be injecting some of his trademark humour into the game.

Diamond representatives have also said that they expect to see a sharp upturn in their merchandise throughput during the fourth quarter i. MM 5 dune V. Jo Guest f you ever get the feeling that Australia sometimes seems like a backwater of the computer games world, you may be comforted by the fact that we get that feeling over here too.

BT Wi replay recently held an event called Quakeadelica, billed as the UK Quake II championships, which superficially appeared to be a welcome glimpse of American-style gaming razzmatazz, but left all the Brits who attended nursing nothing more pleasant than inferiority complexes. Thresh served only to highlight the inade- quacies of Wireplay and the unat- tractiveness of on-line gaming in a country which because BT refuses to relinquish its de facto monop- oly isn't lucky enough to have free local phone calls.

But the game should be in the shops by the time you read this John combat, you may never want to play a land- based RT strat- fest again. The Wheel Of Lord, here comes the flood. Homeworld This Sierra offering is actually nearly done, and it is just amazing. Developer Legend Entertainment has a lot of the detail work nailed down, such as character art, single- and multiplayer maps, and environ- ments for the citadels, the clutch places in this game.

Al to come soon. Meanwhile, Legend will have its hands full with some other hot stuff; its work on WoT led Epic Megagames to tap it to develop Unreal 2. A longer wait for the game: As with any game that slips that badly, who knows what technology will have overtaken it by then? Yes, it does offer huge storage capacity, but it also suffers from the same performance problems as CD- ROM mechanisms.

Looking at the Adaptec Threadmark test will prove this. The reported overall throughput of the drive was only. The reason being is that the Threadmark tests push a drive very hard, moving the head excessively to test the true performance.

The other test we performed was a simple one. As you can see the time was This is not too much of a problem and brings me back to days of old when 5. Then the capacity was of a disk was only KB per side. With the fastest PC graphics technology on the planet, Grand Touring is the ultimate mix of motor-racing intelligence and adrenaline. Prices are plummet- ing, and those who are set to reap the benefits are you, the customers.

And how much are you asked to pay for this deal? Obviously, the distributors will have to do some reassess- ment of their price to make the Arcade FXII a viable option. Reverb, Chorus Full Duplex: No 3D Sound Support: Xitel 02 , or xitel xitel. Why include games that you might already have, or might not want? It's cheap, it's Aureal based, and it doesn't have unnecessary extras. The AOpen 40X is such a drive, so along with a massive 40 speed peak drive, you can also transfer data using the UDMA standard, which makes for way fast communication between your devices.

The 4 ox supports all the usual CD formats as well as the new CD-RW , and data transfers can reach up to 6oookb per second, which is rather snappy. It offers bit 2D acceleration for incredible speed in 2D games and applications. Higher resolutions than any other Voodoo Banshee.

Exclusive stereoscopic eyewear support. Support for games with H3D Eyewear in stereoscopic 3D. You fork over that huge wad of cash over to a sneering sales- man, and walk out of the store with a huge big box under your arm determined to have fun. You arrive home, then realise that cer- tain bits don't fit. The wheel uses a 9 pin connector, and most game ports use 15 hole jacks. Shame on you, Guillemot. Once you get that inconvenience out of the way, you can sit yourself down to your First Force Feedback Steering Wheel!

Coupled with a two-pedal block, the Race Leader aims at being the comprehensive, all in one game control package. However, on anything but carpet, the pedal mock-up will slip and slide, so grip tape or other innovative methods will be necessary to keep it stable. Featured on the face of the wheel are io buttons, and a directional pad.

Surprising was the inclusion of a directional pad on the face of the wheel. Not a bad concept, but the positioning of the d-pad renders it almost useless - use it for longer than a few minutes and the cramps and strain will set in. The wheel only turns just under a hundred degrees both ways. As for the actual force feedback function, the Race Leader is redeemed. Force feedback is a welcome addi- tion to the game playing experience, and this wheel shakes and whirrs in a totally satisfac- tory manner.

A few games included with the pack- age to test out the wheel would also have been welcome. The throt- tle wheel is there, and there are 9 buttons and an eight-way hat switch to play around with. Using the Immersion I-Force Force Feedback technology, this stick vibrates, again, sufficiently enough. As it seems to be with Force Feedback products, success is not gauged so much by the proficiency to shake and vibrate but in the way the overall stick is put together, and how it feels.

To this end, the WingMan force does the job nicely. L ogitech have had years of experience in bringing us a tool for every gam- ing occa- sion, so we were bitterly disap- pointed to see them suffer the same lack of insight as Guillemot did with their force feed back steer- ing wheel. Within the box lies the vibrating stick of joy, and at the end of the cord is a USB connector, and a 9-pin.

Not an ever- so-handy pin plug. Oh how a simple adaptor would have been appreciated. These 2 issues are caused purely by the way that shutter glasses work, which is actu- ally quite ingenious. The game outputs the left image on the monitor onto the left lens, and the right shutter darkens ensuring that the left eye sees only the left image, and then on the next cycle the opposite occurs.

In essence it halves the refresh rate of your monitor - which with older shutter technolo- gy caused a disturbing flicker. The H3D has a maximum refresh rate of 79Hz, however, so this pretty much alleviates flicker problems. Having to process a left and right image does mean that your PC has to work twice as hard, and this is where Metabyte step in. Ultimately the H3D glasses are very usable on any Voodoo 2 board. The sense of depth perception they offer is very real, though support for games is very lacking at the moment - the only really playable games for the H3D are Quake and There's only a couple of games that support the H3D glasses so far, but they are Quake and Quake 2 Quake II, which is a bit disappointing.

Apart from that these glasses give a brilliant sense of depth percep- tion and do add tremendous atmosphere to the games that support them. Wh a td owe the Fallout series? Ores, no Elves, no Clerics.

Sure, Fallout did estab- lish that there was room for old- style classic RPGing, but things have changed in the last year. The public has become more aware of the need for change within the genre. The question is, just how far will they go to support it? RPG identity crisis The entire Role Playing Game genre is currently going through a metamorphosis, and the current and most timely phase seems to be the almighty identity crisis.

Whatever hap- pens, we the gamers will cast our vote for future of the genre this Christmas, with the power of selective spending. Even though both products come under the Black Isle division of Interplay, their development has been quite sep- arate indeed. And all other RPG developers will be keeping a close on just what happens with the two titles, because both games, while separate, together represent the more traditional approach to RPG design.

Will gamers go for stalwart safe bets such as these, or will they be dar- ing and hand their money over for a less conventional though not necessarily a less valid RPG like Thief: But for the meantime, there are games to play. Fallout 2 should very much be read as Fallout V2. While there is a new storyline and a whole assortment of new weapons and items to discover, the very heart of the game remains unchanged. The graphics are the same, as are the basic game mechanics. Bullet in the head Fallout 2 should simply be better than Fallout in almost every respect.

For example, the intelligence based skills and perks in Fallout were rather use- less. This time around, players will have the option, if playing a less action-oriented character, to use their skills to better avoid get- ting into any physical confronta- tion with other characters. A whole heap of new skills have also been introduced. The party will also behave in a more intelligent manner. Remember how Ian would keep missing his target and shoot you instead?

Fallout 2 will allow players to set more detailed strategy levels. Inventory management will be present as well, so you can give your party members those three spare combat jackets you were carrying.

The game world is also much larger. Town sizes in Fallout 2 surpass anything seen in the first game. Players will now find it much easier to get lost in the game, as well as getting lost in the overall storyline. With no imposing time limit in Fallout 2, the player is free to wander and explore the story at their own pace.

Black Isle Studios suggest though, that because the storyline is so compelling play- ers will rarely feel the need to stray too far from the plot in the first place. Then you see this product called Race Energy Blast.

Then you take a second squirt, and. Take as directed and enjoy. Energy Blast at your nearest Drug or Health Store! You be the judge The Second Age was announced a few months back, the general online role-playing pub- lic could do little else but scratch their heads in candid contempla- tion. It was described by Origin as the definitive UO expansion pack. Everyone knew though, that Ultima Online was released a little too early in the develop- ment cycle ie, still in beta , and could have easily spent another 6 months being refined and per- fected behind closed doors.

So if the game was still needing some attention, why the expansion pack? The Second Age generated some enthusiastic and quite cynical, we must add interest. Just what were those crafty Origin people up to? We were first, so ner! What with the recent trend of just about every game developer and their dog announcing their own crack at the online RPG, Origin have realised the need to reassert their position as pio- neers within this fledgling genre.

Logitech, the Logitech logo, and the Logitech product referred to herein are either he trademarks or the registered trademarks of Logitech, trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Nine programmable weapon buttons. A 1 6-bit Intercontroller chip. And customisable feedback software. Push the stick that pushes back. And feel your pain. The Second Age is primarily the result of the UO develop- ment team spending a year experiencing all that comes with running an online persis- tent virtual world, and taking notice.

The new landmass is huge, but not as large as the Britannia seen in UO. Rather than a near fifty-fifty ratio of land to sea, the Second Age is primarily made up of terra firma, bounded most- ly by mountains. Scattered throughout are several new types of terrain, with swamps and cav- erns and streams of lava flowing by being the most notable. There are several new creatures intro- duced, including giant frogs, cyclops, lava lizards, a new riding bird, and an alligator-like ice beastie.

A further collection of existing UO beasties have made the transition, though with altered stats and abilities. The most interesting addition is the introduction of two new species - the Ophidians and the Terathans.

Travel between UO and the Second Age will appar- ently be penalty free. For the game engine, enhance- ments that most expected would have been available to be downloaded for free were too large to be distributed in that way.

Hence the necessity for a whole new package. Big screen mode On the enhancement front, the most notable feature is Big Screen mode. UO can get awfully cluttered with your paper- doll on display, your spell book ready, your back- pack opened and the skill list brought up.

Sections of the gameplay window become buried, which makes it that much harder to spot sneaky thieves or player killers on screen. A new translation program will be included, which will fingers crossed break the language barrier that is so often encountered online. Other minor enhancements such as the uo.

Paper manuals, finally And the thing most missed in the original UO package? A big fat manual. This time around Origin have includ- ed one, combining both the orig- inal game as well as the new fea- tures from the Second Age into one hefty tome.

Are the new enhancements enough to give Ultima Online an extended shelf life? Like always time will tell. Beta testing is currently under way and all reports suggest that it will be a necessary purchase if any long term enjoyment is expected from the UO experience. Major improvements To reach this new land, the player must log onto Britannia first, then seek out one of several portals.

The portals will be visi- ble to regular UO players, how- ever those without the Second els and an age old feud. The potential for a new storyline is there for the taking. Ttftspgamcuses the LithTech engine and tools developed and licensed by Monolith Productions. AH other trademarks are the property of their reSpectrve.

Take bloodshed to the next level with new 3D engine and fully modelled 3D characters. Four customisable, playable characters: Caleb, Ophelia, Gabriella and Ishmael. Hi Tim, thanks for taking time out to talk with us. I actually have some of my colleagues joining me today: If you think the Planet Moon lads sound weird and silly here, just wait until you check out their web page - www.

Firstly, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what your position involves at Planet Moon Studios? This is a position that involves many things — anything from writing for our web site www. But the main thing for me is game design work — most of my time is spent concentrating on making this game absolutely original and exciting. Now that you have the incredibpfjlower of 3D acceleration at your dispbsf , do you have any technical tricks up your sleeves for Giants, in the same ground- breaking fashion?

The above statements still apply. Tliough flat shading is no longer an issue, it is still important for the artists to select when to use numbers of polygons and when to use large textures to produce the blend of performance and art. Is that exactly correct? First and foremost I see this as an Action game, but we have pur- posely not tried to completely balance this with strategy. Simply put, Giants is an action game which unashamedly steps into the tran- quil worlds of Strategy and RPG The lines between action and strategy are blurring ever more these days, recently with titles such as Uprising, Battlezone and Urban Assault, with mixed success.

Even earlier efforts like thejphcient and classic Magic Carpet hainmmersive 3D worlds with strategic components. How do you plan to merge lese genres? The root of the strategy in pur game [comes directly from The desire to keep it fast paced and exciting. As I said, Giants will allow the player to,, concentrate on having fun and playing a fast- J paced action gajhe. All this, while the strategy M and RPG elements happen around him. We really like the Sea Reapers.

The way they cast natural disasters like full-scale typhoons against their foes is very endearing. Do they have any weapons involving Fish? Tire Reapers are not natur- al sea dwellers. Forced from the land by the newly sentient Kabuto, they struggle for sur- vival against fickle sea monsters and irritated fish, not to mention a bad case of crabs. However, your natural progression through the levels will leave you with a good handful of spells capable of penetrating the egg-shel- lian minds of these very same creatures, sub- mitting their will to yours.

Will you incorporate a censorship set- ting with some well-placed rendered coconuts for the concerned old-fash- ioned parents who might be buying the game? The Rise of Rome. Test your mettle with new units like the crafty Camel Rider, powerful Scythe Chariot, fearless Slinger, and punishing Fire Galley— all on new and challenging maps.

Plus, this highly anticipated Expansion Pack features four new campaigns and production queues to carefully plan your historic civilisations growth. Both game-able, is how rich you are The whole situation has gone beyond a joke. Unreal is a slideshow on your P, and you turn to the system requirements on game boxes with fear and trepidation - and usually dis- may.

When you get to the stage where it looks feasible to buy a whole brand spanking new gaming machine, you turn to the classifieds section of your newspaper. All offering the best, promising the earth, the guar- anteed best prices, the best equipment, and everything else possible. Gradually, though, a picture begins to emerge of what you want or, more likely, what you can afford. So off you trot to a few dealers to get some advice and view the merchandise first-hand. More technical details All that matters now follow, leaving you thoroughly confused.

By the end of the whole thing, you just want to curl up in a corner and beat yourself with a stick. What do you do? Give up, go home, and forget the whole computer games thing?

What to look out for: Whichever type of motherboard you decide upon, try to get one that comes with a CPU setup program in the BIOS rather than manually set jumpers. Just make sure that you shop around for prices, as they change regularly and vary wildly between retailers. In fact, 64MB is only just enough. Also beware of worryingly cheap RAM, there are some dodgy dealers out there that will try to sell second-hand RAM as new.

Always check the maximum resolu- tions, refresh rates the high- er the better , and dot pitch smaller is better. As always, the more established brands will have better manufacturer warranties, in case something goes wrong in the future.

Creative, Sony, Acer What to look out for: As with Hard Drives, most manufacturers and salespeople will try to confuse you with talk of transfer rates, seek times, and access rates. You will want an Aureal A3D card of some variety Why: Cambridge have con- sistently taken out our Hot Hardware awards for quality and price. Most 3 piece combo kits 2 satellites and subwoofer are much more expensive than this, and the clarity has to be heard to be believed.

Prices are changing rather rapidly, the entire range has come down in price recent- ly, and it may happen again. Probably best to go for a Make absolutely posi- tively sure that the modem has a tick on the box to signify that it complies with Australian Telecommunications standards.

A system of this nature will cost a little more than many of the store assembled systems, but this way you get known, high quality components all around. It's not the absolute top end, but a computer like this will run any game you care to mention, both for now and into the foreseeable future. Space, space and space. A Full Tower, or at least a Midi Tower is what you want.

And, of course, the phallicity of the object cannot be disregarded. Macase What to look out for: Also, if you have access to the internet, www. As always, shop around for the best price, as differ- ent retailers will vary quite a bit. At least a 17 inch, preferably larger Why: A difficult decision, this one.

Most video cards these days offer some software along with the card, whether this be games or applications. Have a look around at the different pack- ages offered and try to get one that suits you best i. An indispensable part of any serious gaming system. Shop around a little and you should be able to find one to satisfy your needs. Things to look out for: If you are thinking about DVD, then there are a few things you might like to consider. Indications are that the DVD standard is growing in popularity, but do you really need it now?

Er, not a lot really. The tiny satellite speakers take up almost no space at all, per- fect for an often cluttered computer desk. Other than that, just make sure you do some test typing before you buy to make sure it feels comfortable for you.

And then take it home and remove the Windows keys with a butter knife The MS Sidewinder Gamepad is also an option, and at 8o-odd bucks is cheaper too, but the Freestyle is great. Ready your motherboard for the insertion of the CPU by lifting the lever next to the ZIF socket, pushing gently outwards and upwards. Take a look at the underside of the chip and you will notice that one comer is short one pin. Align this comer up with the comer on the ZIF socket that is the same, and gently insert the chip into position.

Next is the cooling fan, and for this you simply place the fan over the top of the chip, then click the holders into position. For Pentium 2 or Slot 1 Motherboards and chips, the process is even less painful.

Inserting HAM Back in the days of SIMM slots, inserting new or more memory into your PC was a haz- I f you do choose to buy your components separately and install them yourself, you might find yourself a bit worried about the physical installation.

However, assembling your system yourself is a practice that we actively encourage, for a number of reasons. Firstly, you get to know your system better - you bond with it, if you will. Simply touch the power section of the motherboard with any hand to do so. Then, once you have a phillips head screwdriver handy, the first thing to do is secure your motherboard to the case. Carefully remove the screws that hold in the backboarc for the case. Standoffs are clips that secure your motherboard to the backing plate along with standard screws.

Initially, you should set the chip to run in a stock standard fashion. Simply pop the standoffs through the holes and slide it gently into position, and then secure by using screws in the appropriate positions. Evil rules - but Abe's new powers mean you're up to the task! No other game has it - no other game wants it! A full - on Exoddus requires more stealth than a ninja army Save your race All other trademarks are the property of their respective companies. You will need to insert your video card by slotting it in to either the PCI or AGP slot depending on what type of video card you have , and con- necting your monitor cable to the output port.

Also, plug in your keyboard as well, you might need it. Then connect the power to your system and turn it on. You should see the BIOS kick in, eventually it may take up to 30 seconds the first time. Now remove the power cable from the back of the case, so as to avoid any accidents whilst you install everything else. Give it power Devices ardous task.

Not so now with DIMM slots, as things are much easier. Make sure though, that the RAM is aligned properly. Each DIMM module has three interface points of different lengths, so make sure that you are trying to insert the RAM in the slot that lines up with the appro- priate length. Generally, the RAM faces in towards the Motherboard, but this is not always the case.

Next step is to secure the power cables to your Motherboard. Most modern cases will come equipped with power supplies that utilise the AT-X connector, and most motherboards will also use this.

Consult the motherboard man- ual for information on what your mother- board comes with and where it should go. Basically, an AT-X power supply has a single pin block, whereas AT power uses 2 sepa- rate 5-pin connectors. First you will need to install the drives physical- ly.

Just gently slide the Hard drive into the bay on the low- ermost rung. Screw it in place securely, using two screws for each side. Next attach your floppy drive you may need to remove a slot on the front of the case for this in the same way. Time to connect them up. The first step is to attach the power cable. Find the cable with one normal power connector, and one smaller 4-pin connector for the floppy.

The red stripe on the IDE cable always goes on the same side as pin 1, so just carefully place the cable into the slot. The other end, of course, goes into your hard drive. You will also have a floppy drive cable, which is slightly smaller than the IDE cable. Attach the non-twisted end to the mother- board in the floppy port, and the end with a twist in it to your floppy drive. This, really, is as simple as it gets.

All you need to do is remove the back coverings for the slots you will be using and insert the cards gently but firmly into their slots. Place the cards where you can keep as much space in between them as possible. Once this is done, you just need to con- nect the CD- Audio cable to your sound card or possibly motherboard.

Your CD will have come with an audio cable often grey in colour , one end goes in to the slot on the CD, and the other into the CD-Audio slot on your sound card. This way, you should be feeling comfortable with your toy, and be beginning to understand it. Both Sony Gold and Elite Series displays benefit from state of the art Platinum design, to give you the best combination of performance and price in their class.

Call I or visit www. Interplay also have two titles earmarked for a pre-Christmas release. Just sneaking in on Xmas day apparently is Grimoire - though I would remind you it was meant to be out October 97!

The third instalment of the Gabriel Knight series has been put back until the 1st week of January and is sure to be joined by several others whose release dates were per- haps a touch optimistic. Despite having no firm release date, Anachronox is still looking like a contender for the greatest game ever or my dream game, which I reckon is the same thing.

Non-linear plot, dynamic third-person views, turn-based combat, loads of dialogue, Quake 2 engine, need I go on? All three games are quite a long way off, however. Monolith's Shogo came out ahead of schedule with little marketing hype for one and is also pretty bloody good, with smooth internet play.

Even more bizarre is the Doppelganger effect. Take Rainbow 6 and the recently announced Delta Force not to mention a stack of other mis- sion-based 3D shooters.

But the weirdest clones would have to be Trespasser and Carnivores. Trespasser basically picks up where the Jurassic Park - Lost World movie left off. Carnivores, however, is set in the future where you travel to another planet populated by dinosaurs, and your sole objective is to hunt them for sport. Before Epic have done a decent job of cleaning up the messy network code in Unreal, they have announced that there are firm plans for Unreal 2, although Epic will probably not develop the title.

They too have fallen prey to the mysterious sister-game sit- uation as their game will also have you man- age four characters on-screen at one time.

Rather than requiring players to own copies of the original game, Rise of Rome will be sold as a stand alone title. Rome, Carthage and Palmyra. With a release date of mid November, Rise of Rome will be welcomed with open arms by gamers keen to get a fix of AoE between now and the release of A0E2.

At Activision, work on Civilization: Call to Power is well under way. Offensive units will also be more varied, with ecoterrorists, lawyers and televangelists accounting for some of the more terrifying not to mention amusing forces that players will have to come to grips with. While it remains to be seen how effective this system will be, Activision assure us that the game will run smoothly in x resolution on a P90!

Many strategy gamers will be disheart- ened to learn that the release dates of Heroes of Might and Magic 3, Jagged Alliance 2 and Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri have all slipped back to early Fighting Steel recreates some of the most spectacular naval gunnery battles of WWII, and players will face the challenge of commanding ships and task forces from the British, French, German, and Italian fleets with over 90 ships simulated in the game. SSI boast that Fighting Steel has the depth of a detailed surface warfare simulation and the tactical challenges to keep naval sim fans busy for weeks.

This will be a key element in the game as it was for U-Boat commanders of the time. Reality check for a moment, and get back in the saddle! Interactive Magic have released news that they are developing iAio Warthog for a release date of May This has great pay offs for gamers because it integrates air, land and sea games by LAN and modem.

A new derivative has entered into beta testing, called GNN www. Did I miss something, or have. Anyway, on to the games. So, er, what about non-US and Canadian players? If the Major likes it, then it has to be good, in my book. Microsoft reps recently announced that the Microprose game will be available for free multiplay through the Zone www.

Still with huge mega-corporation game sites, it seems that AOL is getting serious about online games, finally. Interactive Opera You will be in control of each of the four characters at different points during the game, in what is promised to be a multi-pathed non-linear story- line, with the ability to swap back and forth between the four playable char- acters at times of choosing.

Visually, the game looks great, too. It looks extremely likely that The Ring is going to be one of those ideas that works in for a perfor- mance of the opera which never came to fruition.

One of the greatest prob- lems with games of this nature is that they can all too easily become a rather boring affair, just a sim- ple point and click-fest. Ring how- ever, from what we have seen of it, is a very addictive and enjoyable game to play. You do need to move your mouse over the screen to find hotspots, but there are some nice puzzles as well as decent interaction with other game characters.

HA does just about everything else right, but they still continue to ignore what could be a strong selling point of the game. Ah well, maybe for FIFA Players move about just like real people, following the ball with their head, putting their head down when they sprint, gesticulating at the ref when he awards a penalty against them, and even headbutting opposi- tion players when things get a bit heat- ed! The bat- tle will be fought between the Star Trek: There are now Trek games for just about every genre there is bar the Star Trek racing game, which is surely only a matter of time.

Birth of the Federation for the turn based anal strategy freaks, Klingon Honor Guard for First person shooter action, a variety of adventure games like First Contact, Starfleet Academy for s- f flight fans, and even Star Trek Pinball for the really desperate and more pathetic Trekkies. But one of the most promi- nent genres in computer games today has, until now, been neglected by the Star Trek fran- chises from both Microprose and Interplay.

New Worlds is, in keep- ing with the current trend, based in a 3D world, and has a similar look and feel to many other like games. The success of the series can be attributed almost entirely to its supreme accessibil- ity.

Vividly attractive graphics, beautiful music, intuitive game design facilitated by a remark- ably pure interface, it all added up to that rare thing - deep, involving strategy that anyone could play but only few would master, of course.

Heroes have to be outfitted with their artifacts, so you can wear only one helm or wield one sword, for example. This basic approach revolves around a series of rankings based on how many Deuces we are dealt first Pokies Yearly Horoscope. When deciding which cards to hold, the idea is to play whichever combination ranks highest on the corresponding list. And the beauty of playing over the Internet is that we can always keep a cheat sheet handy and refer to it whenever we need, and you can also try games first for free play to get a hang of things before you risk any of your own money.

Here, we can either stick with the four of a kind made up of two Kings and two wildsor opt to play for a wild royal flush in Hearts.

The double-up feature carries no house edge, which means in full-pay games it is actually worse value than a normal hand when sticking to simple strategy.

However, most Web-based Deuces Wild games have a theoretical return of less than per cent, so taking the gamble when playing online is a perfectly valid strategic move. All of our recommended Australian casinos offer multi-hand Deuces Wild games that allow us to play several hands at once. The Net Entertainment version featured at House of Jack gives us the option to play five, 10, 25, 50, or even hands at a time.

The selling point for this format is that if you are dealt a rubbish hand, it is quite possible to hit a stack of big winners on the draw; and if the deal happens to deliver the goods straight away, then you get up to wins for the price of one.

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Spock discovers nature , a photo by Wonderlane on Flickr. Posted by Wonderlane at 9: Spock buys a suit. Spock buys a suit , a photo by Wonderlane on Flickr. Posted by Wonderlane at 8: Spock upset , a photo by Wonderlane on Flickr. Posted by Wonderlane at 6: Posted by Wonderlane at 1: Tibetan people at Kalachakra on the streets of Washington D. Nonetheless, because you persist in accepting and enduring attachments and aversions, you will continue to wander in Samsara.

Therefore, your active dharmas and your inactive ones both should be abandoned. Female bodhisattva stands her ground, flowing robes, beehive hairstyle, ornaments, lava gravel, concrete, Sakya Monastery of Tibetan Buddhism, courtyard, Seattle, Washington, USA.

Female bodhisattva stands her ground, flowing robes, beehive hairstyle, ornaments, lava gravel, concrete, Sakya Monastery of Tibetan Buddhism, courtyard, Seattle, Washington, USA , a photo by Wonderlane on Flickr.

Friday, February 22, Alaskan Debra Fitzgerald modeling a black fox fur hat, bright blue eyes, holding her glasses, black coat, black mink scarf, Anchorage, Alaska, USA. Alaskan Debra Fitzgerald modeling a black fox fur hat, bright blue eyes, holding her glasses, black coat, black mink scarf, Anchorage, Alaska, USA , a photo by Wonderlane on Flickr. The reported overall throughput of the drive was only. The reason being is that the Threadmark tests push a drive very hard, moving the head excessively to test the true performance.

The other test we performed was a simple one. As you can see the time was This is not too much of a problem and brings me back to days of old when 5. Then the capacity was of a disk was only KB per side. With the fastest PC graphics technology on the planet, Grand Touring is the ultimate mix of motor-racing intelligence and adrenaline.

Prices are plummet- ing, and those who are set to reap the benefits are you, the customers. And how much are you asked to pay for this deal? Obviously, the distributors will have to do some reassess- ment of their price to make the Arcade FXII a viable option. Reverb, Chorus Full Duplex: No 3D Sound Support: Xitel 02 , or xitel xitel. Why include games that you might already have, or might not want? It's cheap, it's Aureal based, and it doesn't have unnecessary extras.

The AOpen 40X is such a drive, so along with a massive 40 speed peak drive, you can also transfer data using the UDMA standard, which makes for way fast communication between your devices. The 4 ox supports all the usual CD formats as well as the new CD-RW , and data transfers can reach up to 6oookb per second, which is rather snappy. It offers bit 2D acceleration for incredible speed in 2D games and applications.

Higher resolutions than any other Voodoo Banshee. Exclusive stereoscopic eyewear support. Support for games with H3D Eyewear in stereoscopic 3D. You fork over that huge wad of cash over to a sneering sales- man, and walk out of the store with a huge big box under your arm determined to have fun. You arrive home, then realise that cer- tain bits don't fit.

The wheel uses a 9 pin connector, and most game ports use 15 hole jacks. Shame on you, Guillemot. Once you get that inconvenience out of the way, you can sit yourself down to your First Force Feedback Steering Wheel! Coupled with a two-pedal block, the Race Leader aims at being the comprehensive, all in one game control package. However, on anything but carpet, the pedal mock-up will slip and slide, so grip tape or other innovative methods will be necessary to keep it stable.

Featured on the face of the wheel are io buttons, and a directional pad. Surprising was the inclusion of a directional pad on the face of the wheel. Not a bad concept, but the positioning of the d-pad renders it almost useless - use it for longer than a few minutes and the cramps and strain will set in. The wheel only turns just under a hundred degrees both ways.

As for the actual force feedback function, the Race Leader is redeemed. Force feedback is a welcome addi- tion to the game playing experience, and this wheel shakes and whirrs in a totally satisfac- tory manner. A few games included with the pack- age to test out the wheel would also have been welcome. The throt- tle wheel is there, and there are 9 buttons and an eight-way hat switch to play around with.

Using the Immersion I-Force Force Feedback technology, this stick vibrates, again, sufficiently enough. As it seems to be with Force Feedback products, success is not gauged so much by the proficiency to shake and vibrate but in the way the overall stick is put together, and how it feels. To this end, the WingMan force does the job nicely.

L ogitech have had years of experience in bringing us a tool for every gam- ing occa- sion, so we were bitterly disap- pointed to see them suffer the same lack of insight as Guillemot did with their force feed back steer- ing wheel.

Within the box lies the vibrating stick of joy, and at the end of the cord is a USB connector, and a 9-pin. Not an ever- so-handy pin plug. Oh how a simple adaptor would have been appreciated. These 2 issues are caused purely by the way that shutter glasses work, which is actu- ally quite ingenious. The game outputs the left image on the monitor onto the left lens, and the right shutter darkens ensuring that the left eye sees only the left image, and then on the next cycle the opposite occurs.

In essence it halves the refresh rate of your monitor - which with older shutter technolo- gy caused a disturbing flicker. The H3D has a maximum refresh rate of 79Hz, however, so this pretty much alleviates flicker problems. Having to process a left and right image does mean that your PC has to work twice as hard, and this is where Metabyte step in.

Ultimately the H3D glasses are very usable on any Voodoo 2 board. The sense of depth perception they offer is very real, though support for games is very lacking at the moment - the only really playable games for the H3D are Quake and There's only a couple of games that support the H3D glasses so far, but they are Quake and Quake 2 Quake II, which is a bit disappointing.

Apart from that these glasses give a brilliant sense of depth percep- tion and do add tremendous atmosphere to the games that support them. Wh a td owe the Fallout series? Ores, no Elves, no Clerics. Sure, Fallout did estab- lish that there was room for old- style classic RPGing, but things have changed in the last year.

The public has become more aware of the need for change within the genre. The question is, just how far will they go to support it? RPG identity crisis The entire Role Playing Game genre is currently going through a metamorphosis, and the current and most timely phase seems to be the almighty identity crisis. Whatever hap- pens, we the gamers will cast our vote for future of the genre this Christmas, with the power of selective spending. Even though both products come under the Black Isle division of Interplay, their development has been quite sep- arate indeed.

And all other RPG developers will be keeping a close on just what happens with the two titles, because both games, while separate, together represent the more traditional approach to RPG design. Will gamers go for stalwart safe bets such as these, or will they be dar- ing and hand their money over for a less conventional though not necessarily a less valid RPG like Thief: But for the meantime, there are games to play.

Fallout 2 should very much be read as Fallout V2. While there is a new storyline and a whole assortment of new weapons and items to discover, the very heart of the game remains unchanged. The graphics are the same, as are the basic game mechanics. Bullet in the head Fallout 2 should simply be better than Fallout in almost every respect. For example, the intelligence based skills and perks in Fallout were rather use- less.

This time around, players will have the option, if playing a less action-oriented character, to use their skills to better avoid get- ting into any physical confronta- tion with other characters. A whole heap of new skills have also been introduced. The party will also behave in a more intelligent manner. Remember how Ian would keep missing his target and shoot you instead? Fallout 2 will allow players to set more detailed strategy levels.

Inventory management will be present as well, so you can give your party members those three spare combat jackets you were carrying. The game world is also much larger. Town sizes in Fallout 2 surpass anything seen in the first game. Players will now find it much easier to get lost in the game, as well as getting lost in the overall storyline. With no imposing time limit in Fallout 2, the player is free to wander and explore the story at their own pace.

Black Isle Studios suggest though, that because the storyline is so compelling play- ers will rarely feel the need to stray too far from the plot in the first place.

Then you see this product called Race Energy Blast. Then you take a second squirt, and. Take as directed and enjoy. Energy Blast at your nearest Drug or Health Store! You be the judge The Second Age was announced a few months back, the general online role-playing pub- lic could do little else but scratch their heads in candid contempla- tion. It was described by Origin as the definitive UO expansion pack. Everyone knew though, that Ultima Online was released a little too early in the develop- ment cycle ie, still in beta , and could have easily spent another 6 months being refined and per- fected behind closed doors.

So if the game was still needing some attention, why the expansion pack? The Second Age generated some enthusiastic and quite cynical, we must add interest. Just what were those crafty Origin people up to?

We were first, so ner! What with the recent trend of just about every game developer and their dog announcing their own crack at the online RPG, Origin have realised the need to reassert their position as pio- neers within this fledgling genre.

Logitech, the Logitech logo, and the Logitech product referred to herein are either he trademarks or the registered trademarks of Logitech, trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Nine programmable weapon buttons. A 1 6-bit Intercontroller chip. And customisable feedback software.

Push the stick that pushes back. And feel your pain. The Second Age is primarily the result of the UO develop- ment team spending a year experiencing all that comes with running an online persis- tent virtual world, and taking notice.

The new landmass is huge, but not as large as the Britannia seen in UO. Rather than a near fifty-fifty ratio of land to sea, the Second Age is primarily made up of terra firma, bounded most- ly by mountains. Scattered throughout are several new types of terrain, with swamps and cav- erns and streams of lava flowing by being the most notable.

There are several new creatures intro- duced, including giant frogs, cyclops, lava lizards, a new riding bird, and an alligator-like ice beastie. A further collection of existing UO beasties have made the transition, though with altered stats and abilities. The most interesting addition is the introduction of two new species - the Ophidians and the Terathans.

Travel between UO and the Second Age will appar- ently be penalty free. For the game engine, enhance- ments that most expected would have been available to be downloaded for free were too large to be distributed in that way. Hence the necessity for a whole new package.

Big screen mode On the enhancement front, the most notable feature is Big Screen mode. UO can get awfully cluttered with your paper- doll on display, your spell book ready, your back- pack opened and the skill list brought up. Sections of the gameplay window become buried, which makes it that much harder to spot sneaky thieves or player killers on screen.

A new translation program will be included, which will fingers crossed break the language barrier that is so often encountered online. Other minor enhancements such as the uo. Paper manuals, finally And the thing most missed in the original UO package? A big fat manual. This time around Origin have includ- ed one, combining both the orig- inal game as well as the new fea- tures from the Second Age into one hefty tome.

Are the new enhancements enough to give Ultima Online an extended shelf life? Like always time will tell. Beta testing is currently under way and all reports suggest that it will be a necessary purchase if any long term enjoyment is expected from the UO experience. Major improvements To reach this new land, the player must log onto Britannia first, then seek out one of several portals.

The portals will be visi- ble to regular UO players, how- ever those without the Second els and an age old feud. The potential for a new storyline is there for the taking. Ttftspgamcuses the LithTech engine and tools developed and licensed by Monolith Productions.

AH other trademarks are the property of their reSpectrve. Take bloodshed to the next level with new 3D engine and fully modelled 3D characters. Four customisable, playable characters: Caleb, Ophelia, Gabriella and Ishmael. Hi Tim, thanks for taking time out to talk with us. I actually have some of my colleagues joining me today: If you think the Planet Moon lads sound weird and silly here, just wait until you check out their web page - www. Firstly, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what your position involves at Planet Moon Studios?

This is a position that involves many things — anything from writing for our web site www. But the main thing for me is game design work — most of my time is spent concentrating on making this game absolutely original and exciting.

Now that you have the incredibpfjlower of 3D acceleration at your dispbsf , do you have any technical tricks up your sleeves for Giants, in the same ground- breaking fashion? The above statements still apply. Tliough flat shading is no longer an issue, it is still important for the artists to select when to use numbers of polygons and when to use large textures to produce the blend of performance and art. Is that exactly correct? First and foremost I see this as an Action game, but we have pur- posely not tried to completely balance this with strategy.

Simply put, Giants is an action game which unashamedly steps into the tran- quil worlds of Strategy and RPG The lines between action and strategy are blurring ever more these days, recently with titles such as Uprising, Battlezone and Urban Assault, with mixed success. Even earlier efforts like thejphcient and classic Magic Carpet hainmmersive 3D worlds with strategic components.

How do you plan to merge lese genres? The root of the strategy in pur game [comes directly from The desire to keep it fast paced and exciting. As I said, Giants will allow the player to,, concentrate on having fun and playing a fast- J paced action gajhe. All this, while the strategy M and RPG elements happen around him.

We really like the Sea Reapers. The way they cast natural disasters like full-scale typhoons against their foes is very endearing. Do they have any weapons involving Fish? Tire Reapers are not natur- al sea dwellers. Forced from the land by the newly sentient Kabuto, they struggle for sur- vival against fickle sea monsters and irritated fish, not to mention a bad case of crabs.

However, your natural progression through the levels will leave you with a good handful of spells capable of penetrating the egg-shel- lian minds of these very same creatures, sub- mitting their will to yours. Will you incorporate a censorship set- ting with some well-placed rendered coconuts for the concerned old-fash- ioned parents who might be buying the game?

The Rise of Rome. Test your mettle with new units like the crafty Camel Rider, powerful Scythe Chariot, fearless Slinger, and punishing Fire Galley— all on new and challenging maps. Plus, this highly anticipated Expansion Pack features four new campaigns and production queues to carefully plan your historic civilisations growth.

Both game-able, is how rich you are The whole situation has gone beyond a joke. Unreal is a slideshow on your P, and you turn to the system requirements on game boxes with fear and trepidation - and usually dis- may. When you get to the stage where it looks feasible to buy a whole brand spanking new gaming machine, you turn to the classifieds section of your newspaper. All offering the best, promising the earth, the guar- anteed best prices, the best equipment, and everything else possible.

Gradually, though, a picture begins to emerge of what you want or, more likely, what you can afford. So off you trot to a few dealers to get some advice and view the merchandise first-hand. More technical details All that matters now follow, leaving you thoroughly confused.

By the end of the whole thing, you just want to curl up in a corner and beat yourself with a stick. What do you do? Give up, go home, and forget the whole computer games thing? What to look out for: Whichever type of motherboard you decide upon, try to get one that comes with a CPU setup program in the BIOS rather than manually set jumpers.

Just make sure that you shop around for prices, as they change regularly and vary wildly between retailers. In fact, 64MB is only just enough.

Also beware of worryingly cheap RAM, there are some dodgy dealers out there that will try to sell second-hand RAM as new. Always check the maximum resolu- tions, refresh rates the high- er the better , and dot pitch smaller is better. As always, the more established brands will have better manufacturer warranties, in case something goes wrong in the future.

Creative, Sony, Acer What to look out for: As with Hard Drives, most manufacturers and salespeople will try to confuse you with talk of transfer rates, seek times, and access rates. You will want an Aureal A3D card of some variety Why: Cambridge have con- sistently taken out our Hot Hardware awards for quality and price.

Most 3 piece combo kits 2 satellites and subwoofer are much more expensive than this, and the clarity has to be heard to be believed. Prices are changing rather rapidly, the entire range has come down in price recent- ly, and it may happen again. Probably best to go for a Make absolutely posi- tively sure that the modem has a tick on the box to signify that it complies with Australian Telecommunications standards.

A system of this nature will cost a little more than many of the store assembled systems, but this way you get known, high quality components all around. It's not the absolute top end, but a computer like this will run any game you care to mention, both for now and into the foreseeable future. Space, space and space. A Full Tower, or at least a Midi Tower is what you want. And, of course, the phallicity of the object cannot be disregarded.

Macase What to look out for: Also, if you have access to the internet, www. As always, shop around for the best price, as differ- ent retailers will vary quite a bit. At least a 17 inch, preferably larger Why: A difficult decision, this one. Most video cards these days offer some software along with the card, whether this be games or applications. Have a look around at the different pack- ages offered and try to get one that suits you best i.

An indispensable part of any serious gaming system. Shop around a little and you should be able to find one to satisfy your needs. Things to look out for: If you are thinking about DVD, then there are a few things you might like to consider. Indications are that the DVD standard is growing in popularity, but do you really need it now?

Er, not a lot really. The tiny satellite speakers take up almost no space at all, per- fect for an often cluttered computer desk. Other than that, just make sure you do some test typing before you buy to make sure it feels comfortable for you. And then take it home and remove the Windows keys with a butter knife The MS Sidewinder Gamepad is also an option, and at 8o-odd bucks is cheaper too, but the Freestyle is great. Ready your motherboard for the insertion of the CPU by lifting the lever next to the ZIF socket, pushing gently outwards and upwards.

Take a look at the underside of the chip and you will notice that one comer is short one pin. Align this comer up with the comer on the ZIF socket that is the same, and gently insert the chip into position. Next is the cooling fan, and for this you simply place the fan over the top of the chip, then click the holders into position. For Pentium 2 or Slot 1 Motherboards and chips, the process is even less painful. Inserting HAM Back in the days of SIMM slots, inserting new or more memory into your PC was a haz- I f you do choose to buy your components separately and install them yourself, you might find yourself a bit worried about the physical installation.

However, assembling your system yourself is a practice that we actively encourage, for a number of reasons. Firstly, you get to know your system better - you bond with it, if you will. Simply touch the power section of the motherboard with any hand to do so. Then, once you have a phillips head screwdriver handy, the first thing to do is secure your motherboard to the case. Carefully remove the screws that hold in the backboarc for the case.

Standoffs are clips that secure your motherboard to the backing plate along with standard screws. Initially, you should set the chip to run in a stock standard fashion. Simply pop the standoffs through the holes and slide it gently into position, and then secure by using screws in the appropriate positions.

Evil rules - but Abe's new powers mean you're up to the task! No other game has it - no other game wants it! A full - on Exoddus requires more stealth than a ninja army Save your race All other trademarks are the property of their respective companies.

You will need to insert your video card by slotting it in to either the PCI or AGP slot depending on what type of video card you have , and con- necting your monitor cable to the output port. Also, plug in your keyboard as well, you might need it. Then connect the power to your system and turn it on. You should see the BIOS kick in, eventually it may take up to 30 seconds the first time.

Now remove the power cable from the back of the case, so as to avoid any accidents whilst you install everything else. Give it power Devices ardous task. Not so now with DIMM slots, as things are much easier. Make sure though, that the RAM is aligned properly.

Each DIMM module has three interface points of different lengths, so make sure that you are trying to insert the RAM in the slot that lines up with the appro- priate length. Generally, the RAM faces in towards the Motherboard, but this is not always the case. Next step is to secure the power cables to your Motherboard.

Most modern cases will come equipped with power supplies that utilise the AT-X connector, and most motherboards will also use this. Consult the motherboard man- ual for information on what your mother- board comes with and where it should go. Basically, an AT-X power supply has a single pin block, whereas AT power uses 2 sepa- rate 5-pin connectors. First you will need to install the drives physical- ly.

Just gently slide the Hard drive into the bay on the low- ermost rung. Screw it in place securely, using two screws for each side. Next attach your floppy drive you may need to remove a slot on the front of the case for this in the same way.

Time to connect them up. The first step is to attach the power cable. Find the cable with one normal power connector, and one smaller 4-pin connector for the floppy. The red stripe on the IDE cable always goes on the same side as pin 1, so just carefully place the cable into the slot.

The other end, of course, goes into your hard drive. You will also have a floppy drive cable, which is slightly smaller than the IDE cable. Attach the non-twisted end to the mother- board in the floppy port, and the end with a twist in it to your floppy drive.

This, really, is as simple as it gets. All you need to do is remove the back coverings for the slots you will be using and insert the cards gently but firmly into their slots. Place the cards where you can keep as much space in between them as possible.

Once this is done, you just need to con- nect the CD- Audio cable to your sound card or possibly motherboard. Your CD will have come with an audio cable often grey in colour , one end goes in to the slot on the CD, and the other into the CD-Audio slot on your sound card. This way, you should be feeling comfortable with your toy, and be beginning to understand it. Both Sony Gold and Elite Series displays benefit from state of the art Platinum design, to give you the best combination of performance and price in their class.

Call I or visit www. Interplay also have two titles earmarked for a pre-Christmas release. Just sneaking in on Xmas day apparently is Grimoire - though I would remind you it was meant to be out October 97! The third instalment of the Gabriel Knight series has been put back until the 1st week of January and is sure to be joined by several others whose release dates were per- haps a touch optimistic.

Despite having no firm release date, Anachronox is still looking like a contender for the greatest game ever or my dream game, which I reckon is the same thing. Non-linear plot, dynamic third-person views, turn-based combat, loads of dialogue, Quake 2 engine, need I go on?

All three games are quite a long way off, however. Monolith's Shogo came out ahead of schedule with little marketing hype for one and is also pretty bloody good, with smooth internet play. Even more bizarre is the Doppelganger effect. Take Rainbow 6 and the recently announced Delta Force not to mention a stack of other mis- sion-based 3D shooters.

But the weirdest clones would have to be Trespasser and Carnivores. Trespasser basically picks up where the Jurassic Park - Lost World movie left off. Carnivores, however, is set in the future where you travel to another planet populated by dinosaurs, and your sole objective is to hunt them for sport.

Before Epic have done a decent job of cleaning up the messy network code in Unreal, they have announced that there are firm plans for Unreal 2, although Epic will probably not develop the title. They too have fallen prey to the mysterious sister-game sit- uation as their game will also have you man- age four characters on-screen at one time.

Rather than requiring players to own copies of the original game, Rise of Rome will be sold as a stand alone title. Rome, Carthage and Palmyra. With a release date of mid November, Rise of Rome will be welcomed with open arms by gamers keen to get a fix of AoE between now and the release of A0E2.

At Activision, work on Civilization: Call to Power is well under way. Offensive units will also be more varied, with ecoterrorists, lawyers and televangelists accounting for some of the more terrifying not to mention amusing forces that players will have to come to grips with.

While it remains to be seen how effective this system will be, Activision assure us that the game will run smoothly in x resolution on a P90! Many strategy gamers will be disheart- ened to learn that the release dates of Heroes of Might and Magic 3, Jagged Alliance 2 and Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri have all slipped back to early Fighting Steel recreates some of the most spectacular naval gunnery battles of WWII, and players will face the challenge of commanding ships and task forces from the British, French, German, and Italian fleets with over 90 ships simulated in the game.

SSI boast that Fighting Steel has the depth of a detailed surface warfare simulation and the tactical challenges to keep naval sim fans busy for weeks. This will be a key element in the game as it was for U-Boat commanders of the time.

Reality check for a moment, and get back in the saddle! Interactive Magic have released news that they are developing iAio Warthog for a release date of May This has great pay offs for gamers because it integrates air, land and sea games by LAN and modem. A new derivative has entered into beta testing, called GNN www.

Did I miss something, or have. Anyway, on to the games. So, er, what about non-US and Canadian players? If the Major likes it, then it has to be good, in my book.

Microsoft reps recently announced that the Microprose game will be available for free multiplay through the Zone www. Still with huge mega-corporation game sites, it seems that AOL is getting serious about online games, finally. Interactive Opera You will be in control of each of the four characters at different points during the game, in what is promised to be a multi-pathed non-linear story- line, with the ability to swap back and forth between the four playable char- acters at times of choosing.

Visually, the game looks great, too. It looks extremely likely that The Ring is going to be one of those ideas that works in for a perfor- mance of the opera which never came to fruition. One of the greatest prob- lems with games of this nature is that they can all too easily become a rather boring affair, just a sim- ple point and click-fest. Ring how- ever, from what we have seen of it, is a very addictive and enjoyable game to play. You do need to move your mouse over the screen to find hotspots, but there are some nice puzzles as well as decent interaction with other game characters.

HA does just about everything else right, but they still continue to ignore what could be a strong selling point of the game.

Ah well, maybe for FIFA Players move about just like real people, following the ball with their head, putting their head down when they sprint, gesticulating at the ref when he awards a penalty against them, and even headbutting opposi- tion players when things get a bit heat- ed! The bat- tle will be fought between the Star Trek: There are now Trek games for just about every genre there is bar the Star Trek racing game, which is surely only a matter of time.

Birth of the Federation for the turn based anal strategy freaks, Klingon Honor Guard for First person shooter action, a variety of adventure games like First Contact, Starfleet Academy for s- f flight fans, and even Star Trek Pinball for the really desperate and more pathetic Trekkies. But one of the most promi- nent genres in computer games today has, until now, been neglected by the Star Trek fran- chises from both Microprose and Interplay.

New Worlds is, in keep- ing with the current trend, based in a 3D world, and has a similar look and feel to many other like games. The success of the series can be attributed almost entirely to its supreme accessibil- ity. Vividly attractive graphics, beautiful music, intuitive game design facilitated by a remark- ably pure interface, it all added up to that rare thing - deep, involving strategy that anyone could play but only few would master, of course.

Heroes have to be outfitted with their artifacts, so you can wear only one helm or wield one sword, for example. They can also be stationed in the garrison of your castles and may command up to seven different troop types in their army. This will be one of the games of the year, take my word for it. David Wildgoose Star Wars: Rogue Squadron Category Players Publisher Available L ucasArts have rightly enough built a name for themselves as one of the most professional and talented development houses in the world.

Their games are almost all of outstanding quality, with innovative touches and ground breaking ideas. Arcade action can be fun though, and Rogue Squadron really is fun to play, even if it is far removed from the X-Wing series in terms of style. There is no better upgrade you can make. You will no longer be merely playing games.

You will be living them. For more information please contact Customer Care on Well, it looks like KQ has grown up a little. The most remarkable differ- Kings Quest in 3D! But such a claim is easily knocked on the head by the inclusion of action and fighting elements in the game. It will be interesting to gauge the reaction to Mask Of Eternity when it is released. So far, though, we kinda like what we see. David Wildgoose Mad Trax Category Players Publisher Available T here must be a huge mar- ket, or at least a huge per- ception of a market, for these kinds of games.

Even so, the dri- ving model feels a bit strange because while the other cars can powerslide around corners you don't seem to be able to, which is In the future, our very lives will depend upon our driving skills. The feeling of speed is very appar- ent once you get up towards top speed, and bustling with the AI cars during comers was, as always, bigtime fun. Now you can throw yourself into the action.

Every on-screen movement is controlled with your own movement. Accurate and highly responsive, not to mention works with your favourite games. Freestyle Pro Want more? Still one of the best games ever made, and accord- ing to Microprose, still worthy of tweaks and updates. The play was com- pelling and intricate, but the interface made things a little difficult. There was so much wasted space on screen that could have been used to show you at a glance detailed infor- mation about your empire.

Microprose to the rescue, then. It still seems to be the same game, but with some impressive tweaks and enhance- ments over the original version. As we mentioned earlier, it offers a far better theoretical return than its one-play counterpart Solid value, we say. Sign up at Slots Million read review. Sign up at Mucho Vegas read review.

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The portals will be visi- ble to regular UO players, how- ever those without the Second els and an age old feud. The potential for a new storyline is there for the taking. Ttftspgamcuses the LithTech engine and tools developed and licensed by Monolith Productions.

AH other trademarks are the property of their reSpectrve. Take bloodshed to the next level with new 3D engine and fully modelled 3D characters.

Four customisable, playable characters: Caleb, Ophelia, Gabriella and Ishmael. Hi Tim, thanks for taking time out to talk with us.

I actually have some of my colleagues joining me today: If you think the Planet Moon lads sound weird and silly here, just wait until you check out their web page - www.

Firstly, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what your position involves at Planet Moon Studios? This is a position that involves many things — anything from writing for our web site www.

But the main thing for me is game design work — most of my time is spent concentrating on making this game absolutely original and exciting. Now that you have the incredibpfjlower of 3D acceleration at your dispbsf , do you have any technical tricks up your sleeves for Giants, in the same ground- breaking fashion?

The above statements still apply. Tliough flat shading is no longer an issue, it is still important for the artists to select when to use numbers of polygons and when to use large textures to produce the blend of performance and art. Is that exactly correct? First and foremost I see this as an Action game, but we have pur- posely not tried to completely balance this with strategy.

Simply put, Giants is an action game which unashamedly steps into the tran- quil worlds of Strategy and RPG The lines between action and strategy are blurring ever more these days, recently with titles such as Uprising, Battlezone and Urban Assault, with mixed success.

Even earlier efforts like thejphcient and classic Magic Carpet hainmmersive 3D worlds with strategic components. How do you plan to merge lese genres? The root of the strategy in pur game [comes directly from The desire to keep it fast paced and exciting. As I said, Giants will allow the player to,, concentrate on having fun and playing a fast- J paced action gajhe.

All this, while the strategy M and RPG elements happen around him. We really like the Sea Reapers. The way they cast natural disasters like full-scale typhoons against their foes is very endearing. Do they have any weapons involving Fish? Tire Reapers are not natur- al sea dwellers.

Forced from the land by the newly sentient Kabuto, they struggle for sur- vival against fickle sea monsters and irritated fish, not to mention a bad case of crabs. However, your natural progression through the levels will leave you with a good handful of spells capable of penetrating the egg-shel- lian minds of these very same creatures, sub- mitting their will to yours.

Will you incorporate a censorship set- ting with some well-placed rendered coconuts for the concerned old-fash- ioned parents who might be buying the game? The Rise of Rome. Test your mettle with new units like the crafty Camel Rider, powerful Scythe Chariot, fearless Slinger, and punishing Fire Galley— all on new and challenging maps. Plus, this highly anticipated Expansion Pack features four new campaigns and production queues to carefully plan your historic civilisations growth. Both game-able, is how rich you are The whole situation has gone beyond a joke.

Unreal is a slideshow on your P, and you turn to the system requirements on game boxes with fear and trepidation - and usually dis- may. When you get to the stage where it looks feasible to buy a whole brand spanking new gaming machine, you turn to the classifieds section of your newspaper.

All offering the best, promising the earth, the guar- anteed best prices, the best equipment, and everything else possible. Gradually, though, a picture begins to emerge of what you want or, more likely, what you can afford. So off you trot to a few dealers to get some advice and view the merchandise first-hand.

More technical details All that matters now follow, leaving you thoroughly confused. By the end of the whole thing, you just want to curl up in a corner and beat yourself with a stick. What do you do? Give up, go home, and forget the whole computer games thing? What to look out for: Whichever type of motherboard you decide upon, try to get one that comes with a CPU setup program in the BIOS rather than manually set jumpers.

Just make sure that you shop around for prices, as they change regularly and vary wildly between retailers. In fact, 64MB is only just enough. Also beware of worryingly cheap RAM, there are some dodgy dealers out there that will try to sell second-hand RAM as new.

Always check the maximum resolu- tions, refresh rates the high- er the better , and dot pitch smaller is better. As always, the more established brands will have better manufacturer warranties, in case something goes wrong in the future. Creative, Sony, Acer What to look out for: As with Hard Drives, most manufacturers and salespeople will try to confuse you with talk of transfer rates, seek times, and access rates. You will want an Aureal A3D card of some variety Why: Cambridge have con- sistently taken out our Hot Hardware awards for quality and price.

Most 3 piece combo kits 2 satellites and subwoofer are much more expensive than this, and the clarity has to be heard to be believed. Prices are changing rather rapidly, the entire range has come down in price recent- ly, and it may happen again. Probably best to go for a Make absolutely posi- tively sure that the modem has a tick on the box to signify that it complies with Australian Telecommunications standards.

A system of this nature will cost a little more than many of the store assembled systems, but this way you get known, high quality components all around. It's not the absolute top end, but a computer like this will run any game you care to mention, both for now and into the foreseeable future.

Space, space and space. A Full Tower, or at least a Midi Tower is what you want. And, of course, the phallicity of the object cannot be disregarded.

Macase What to look out for: Also, if you have access to the internet, www. As always, shop around for the best price, as differ- ent retailers will vary quite a bit. At least a 17 inch, preferably larger Why: A difficult decision, this one. Most video cards these days offer some software along with the card, whether this be games or applications. Have a look around at the different pack- ages offered and try to get one that suits you best i.

An indispensable part of any serious gaming system. Shop around a little and you should be able to find one to satisfy your needs. Things to look out for: If you are thinking about DVD, then there are a few things you might like to consider. Indications are that the DVD standard is growing in popularity, but do you really need it now? Er, not a lot really. The tiny satellite speakers take up almost no space at all, per- fect for an often cluttered computer desk.

Other than that, just make sure you do some test typing before you buy to make sure it feels comfortable for you. And then take it home and remove the Windows keys with a butter knife The MS Sidewinder Gamepad is also an option, and at 8o-odd bucks is cheaper too, but the Freestyle is great.

Ready your motherboard for the insertion of the CPU by lifting the lever next to the ZIF socket, pushing gently outwards and upwards. Take a look at the underside of the chip and you will notice that one comer is short one pin. Align this comer up with the comer on the ZIF socket that is the same, and gently insert the chip into position.

Next is the cooling fan, and for this you simply place the fan over the top of the chip, then click the holders into position.

For Pentium 2 or Slot 1 Motherboards and chips, the process is even less painful. Inserting HAM Back in the days of SIMM slots, inserting new or more memory into your PC was a haz- I f you do choose to buy your components separately and install them yourself, you might find yourself a bit worried about the physical installation.

However, assembling your system yourself is a practice that we actively encourage, for a number of reasons. Firstly, you get to know your system better - you bond with it, if you will. Simply touch the power section of the motherboard with any hand to do so. Then, once you have a phillips head screwdriver handy, the first thing to do is secure your motherboard to the case.

Carefully remove the screws that hold in the backboarc for the case. Standoffs are clips that secure your motherboard to the backing plate along with standard screws. Initially, you should set the chip to run in a stock standard fashion. Simply pop the standoffs through the holes and slide it gently into position, and then secure by using screws in the appropriate positions. Evil rules - but Abe's new powers mean you're up to the task!

No other game has it - no other game wants it! A full - on Exoddus requires more stealth than a ninja army Save your race All other trademarks are the property of their respective companies. You will need to insert your video card by slotting it in to either the PCI or AGP slot depending on what type of video card you have , and con- necting your monitor cable to the output port.

Also, plug in your keyboard as well, you might need it. Then connect the power to your system and turn it on. You should see the BIOS kick in, eventually it may take up to 30 seconds the first time.

Now remove the power cable from the back of the case, so as to avoid any accidents whilst you install everything else. Give it power Devices ardous task. Not so now with DIMM slots, as things are much easier. Make sure though, that the RAM is aligned properly. Each DIMM module has three interface points of different lengths, so make sure that you are trying to insert the RAM in the slot that lines up with the appro- priate length. Generally, the RAM faces in towards the Motherboard, but this is not always the case.

Next step is to secure the power cables to your Motherboard. Most modern cases will come equipped with power supplies that utilise the AT-X connector, and most motherboards will also use this. Consult the motherboard man- ual for information on what your mother- board comes with and where it should go. Basically, an AT-X power supply has a single pin block, whereas AT power uses 2 sepa- rate 5-pin connectors.

First you will need to install the drives physical- ly. Just gently slide the Hard drive into the bay on the low- ermost rung. Screw it in place securely, using two screws for each side. Next attach your floppy drive you may need to remove a slot on the front of the case for this in the same way. Time to connect them up. The first step is to attach the power cable. Find the cable with one normal power connector, and one smaller 4-pin connector for the floppy.

The red stripe on the IDE cable always goes on the same side as pin 1, so just carefully place the cable into the slot. The other end, of course, goes into your hard drive. You will also have a floppy drive cable, which is slightly smaller than the IDE cable.

Attach the non-twisted end to the mother- board in the floppy port, and the end with a twist in it to your floppy drive.

This, really, is as simple as it gets. All you need to do is remove the back coverings for the slots you will be using and insert the cards gently but firmly into their slots. Place the cards where you can keep as much space in between them as possible.

Once this is done, you just need to con- nect the CD- Audio cable to your sound card or possibly motherboard. Your CD will have come with an audio cable often grey in colour , one end goes in to the slot on the CD, and the other into the CD-Audio slot on your sound card.

This way, you should be feeling comfortable with your toy, and be beginning to understand it. Both Sony Gold and Elite Series displays benefit from state of the art Platinum design, to give you the best combination of performance and price in their class. Call I or visit www. Interplay also have two titles earmarked for a pre-Christmas release. Just sneaking in on Xmas day apparently is Grimoire - though I would remind you it was meant to be out October 97! The third instalment of the Gabriel Knight series has been put back until the 1st week of January and is sure to be joined by several others whose release dates were per- haps a touch optimistic.

Despite having no firm release date, Anachronox is still looking like a contender for the greatest game ever or my dream game, which I reckon is the same thing.

Non-linear plot, dynamic third-person views, turn-based combat, loads of dialogue, Quake 2 engine, need I go on? All three games are quite a long way off, however.

Monolith's Shogo came out ahead of schedule with little marketing hype for one and is also pretty bloody good, with smooth internet play. Even more bizarre is the Doppelganger effect. Take Rainbow 6 and the recently announced Delta Force not to mention a stack of other mis- sion-based 3D shooters. But the weirdest clones would have to be Trespasser and Carnivores.

Trespasser basically picks up where the Jurassic Park - Lost World movie left off. Carnivores, however, is set in the future where you travel to another planet populated by dinosaurs, and your sole objective is to hunt them for sport. Before Epic have done a decent job of cleaning up the messy network code in Unreal, they have announced that there are firm plans for Unreal 2, although Epic will probably not develop the title.

They too have fallen prey to the mysterious sister-game sit- uation as their game will also have you man- age four characters on-screen at one time. Rather than requiring players to own copies of the original game, Rise of Rome will be sold as a stand alone title. Rome, Carthage and Palmyra.

With a release date of mid November, Rise of Rome will be welcomed with open arms by gamers keen to get a fix of AoE between now and the release of A0E2. At Activision, work on Civilization: Call to Power is well under way. Offensive units will also be more varied, with ecoterrorists, lawyers and televangelists accounting for some of the more terrifying not to mention amusing forces that players will have to come to grips with.

While it remains to be seen how effective this system will be, Activision assure us that the game will run smoothly in x resolution on a P90! Many strategy gamers will be disheart- ened to learn that the release dates of Heroes of Might and Magic 3, Jagged Alliance 2 and Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri have all slipped back to early Fighting Steel recreates some of the most spectacular naval gunnery battles of WWII, and players will face the challenge of commanding ships and task forces from the British, French, German, and Italian fleets with over 90 ships simulated in the game.

SSI boast that Fighting Steel has the depth of a detailed surface warfare simulation and the tactical challenges to keep naval sim fans busy for weeks. This will be a key element in the game as it was for U-Boat commanders of the time. Reality check for a moment, and get back in the saddle! Interactive Magic have released news that they are developing iAio Warthog for a release date of May This has great pay offs for gamers because it integrates air, land and sea games by LAN and modem.

A new derivative has entered into beta testing, called GNN www. Did I miss something, or have. Anyway, on to the games. So, er, what about non-US and Canadian players? If the Major likes it, then it has to be good, in my book. Microsoft reps recently announced that the Microprose game will be available for free multiplay through the Zone www.

Still with huge mega-corporation game sites, it seems that AOL is getting serious about online games, finally. Interactive Opera You will be in control of each of the four characters at different points during the game, in what is promised to be a multi-pathed non-linear story- line, with the ability to swap back and forth between the four playable char- acters at times of choosing.

Visually, the game looks great, too. It looks extremely likely that The Ring is going to be one of those ideas that works in for a perfor- mance of the opera which never came to fruition.

One of the greatest prob- lems with games of this nature is that they can all too easily become a rather boring affair, just a sim- ple point and click-fest. Ring how- ever, from what we have seen of it, is a very addictive and enjoyable game to play. You do need to move your mouse over the screen to find hotspots, but there are some nice puzzles as well as decent interaction with other game characters.

HA does just about everything else right, but they still continue to ignore what could be a strong selling point of the game. Ah well, maybe for FIFA Players move about just like real people, following the ball with their head, putting their head down when they sprint, gesticulating at the ref when he awards a penalty against them, and even headbutting opposi- tion players when things get a bit heat- ed!

The bat- tle will be fought between the Star Trek: There are now Trek games for just about every genre there is bar the Star Trek racing game, which is surely only a matter of time.

Birth of the Federation for the turn based anal strategy freaks, Klingon Honor Guard for First person shooter action, a variety of adventure games like First Contact, Starfleet Academy for s- f flight fans, and even Star Trek Pinball for the really desperate and more pathetic Trekkies.

But one of the most promi- nent genres in computer games today has, until now, been neglected by the Star Trek fran- chises from both Microprose and Interplay. New Worlds is, in keep- ing with the current trend, based in a 3D world, and has a similar look and feel to many other like games. The success of the series can be attributed almost entirely to its supreme accessibil- ity.

Vividly attractive graphics, beautiful music, intuitive game design facilitated by a remark- ably pure interface, it all added up to that rare thing - deep, involving strategy that anyone could play but only few would master, of course.

Heroes have to be outfitted with their artifacts, so you can wear only one helm or wield one sword, for example. They can also be stationed in the garrison of your castles and may command up to seven different troop types in their army. This will be one of the games of the year, take my word for it. David Wildgoose Star Wars: Rogue Squadron Category Players Publisher Available L ucasArts have rightly enough built a name for themselves as one of the most professional and talented development houses in the world.

Their games are almost all of outstanding quality, with innovative touches and ground breaking ideas. Arcade action can be fun though, and Rogue Squadron really is fun to play, even if it is far removed from the X-Wing series in terms of style. There is no better upgrade you can make. You will no longer be merely playing games. You will be living them. For more information please contact Customer Care on Well, it looks like KQ has grown up a little.

The most remarkable differ- Kings Quest in 3D! But such a claim is easily knocked on the head by the inclusion of action and fighting elements in the game. It will be interesting to gauge the reaction to Mask Of Eternity when it is released. So far, though, we kinda like what we see. David Wildgoose Mad Trax Category Players Publisher Available T here must be a huge mar- ket, or at least a huge per- ception of a market, for these kinds of games.

Even so, the dri- ving model feels a bit strange because while the other cars can powerslide around corners you don't seem to be able to, which is In the future, our very lives will depend upon our driving skills. The feeling of speed is very appar- ent once you get up towards top speed, and bustling with the AI cars during comers was, as always, bigtime fun. Now you can throw yourself into the action. Every on-screen movement is controlled with your own movement. Accurate and highly responsive, not to mention works with your favourite games.

Freestyle Pro Want more? Still one of the best games ever made, and accord- ing to Microprose, still worthy of tweaks and updates. The play was com- pelling and intricate, but the interface made things a little difficult. There was so much wasted space on screen that could have been used to show you at a glance detailed infor- mation about your empire. Microprose to the rescue, then.

It still seems to be the same game, but with some impressive tweaks and enhance- ments over the original version. To begin with, they have decid- ed to add some much needed life to the environment, with animated populations, grazing buffalo and swimming fishies. And then, rather confusingly, Microprose tell us that Civ2: Which might be kind of like opening up a portal to another world, and then moving your units into it for colonisation and exploration.

It all sounds rather intriguing, and could well be a great game. Category Players Publisher Available and rind enemy tanks, then shooting them for one shot kills. We're in shoot-em-up territo- ry here. You will be in control of a task force in a number of worldwide are- nas, with D espite the rather con- fronting name, Wargasm looks set to be a very inter- esting game. Developers DID software are known for flight sims EF, F, Total Air War , and the accuracy and realism which they bring to simulations, but Wargasm seems to be much more of an arcade styled game.

Controlling a tank, for example, consists of using a joystick to manoeuvre around equip- ment such as tanks, helicopters and ground troops available for your control. It is very pretty to look at too, with both software and hardware video modes, and with hardware acceleration you can expect some very nice graphical effects. There will be extensive support for multiplay as well dare we call it Multiple Wargasm?

What a funny name for a game! Motorcross Madness brings, for the first time, daredevil stunt racing to the PC. The Age of Empires Expansion Pack extends Age of Empires addictive gameplay into the Roman era, adding more depth and challenge to the best selling strategy game.

Sidewinder Freestyle Pro is a revolutionary, motion-sensitive game controller that responds to your body movements for the ultimate in intuitive control. The Force Feedback Pro delivers the truest sensory gaming experience by adding the element of touch. The first Force Feedback steering Wheel adds the sense of touch to racing games Feel the force of every game action in the palm of your hand.

Windows' 98 is here with support for some of the best game graphics around. Combine forces or go solo. Either way any sucker that gets in your way is going to taste your ballistics! Our gaming partners are here to make sure you feel every laser blasting from your cannons. Microsoft and Where do you want to go today?

It's being built, will you come? Eyst, and project leader Ben Moss, have continued to refine the look and feel of Wartorn until it has become more than just exciting, it really looks as if it will be one of the vanguard of the next generation of Real Time Strategy games.

But, really, the level of user control over the battles, resource management and financial man- agement is what we feel to be the strongest feature of the game. Any unit can be customised to your liking, from bigger cannons to stronger armour, to the amount of fuel and ammunition it carries. There are also features like the ability to stock your fac- tories with people - the more people you assign to your tank building facility, for example, the faster tanks will get made.

Because of the scope and customisability, this will require die- hard RTS fans to re-adjust their expectations - upwards! Can Eyst pull it off? Well, the indications are very good at this stage. The proprietary engine is in place and the game mechanics look to be nearing completion too.

When you consider that you can zoom in and out to view the game from any angle or viewpoint, and that maps are going to encompass a to scale size of around 10 square kilometres it would be unfair to want more detailed units.

This really is the kind of game that will garner attention from all over the world purely because of the quality of the engine, the innovative design, the unparalleled freedom for cus- tomisation of the way the game is played and the units them- selves, and plenty more.

I t could be claimed that Raven's Heretic was the very first Doom clone, and it was certainly id's first dabble with the unusual concept of licensing its graphics engine to a potential rival.

What lending the Doom engine to Raven did establish was that it took nothing away from the original game and in fact built up id's reputation even further. While many companies proved that they could design 3D engines that were just as powerful as the Doom one, it suddenly became clear that announcing to the world that you were licensing the Doom engine was nearly as impressive as coming up with it in the first place.

Everyone was more interested that Raven were taking and improving the engine and that id had welcomed Raven's improvements, than they were in how the game actually looked. Heretic allowed you to look up and down, to swim in water but you remained constantly buoyant to collect and store inventory items for later use and even to fly.

It was, in short, welcome and impressive. Then Raven impressed us all again with Hexen, a sort of follow up. The RPG-style story line remained, the inventory system remained, spells were added, a choice of character classes offered, windows and other level elements were breakable and the concept of hubs created.

The hub was the centre of a world, with various levels spinning off. The new computer Al means that the enemy will be guided towards your location. The idea was that the game would appear less linear and you could tackle the levels in any order, collecting puzzle items in one level to use in another.

Hexen II took this further, and used the Quake engine to great effect. Once again Raven impressed with stunning architecture and a wonderfully large catapult that fired you over castle walls.

Their stunning achievements to date have built up giddyingly crazy levels of expectation for Heretic II, and the totally original elements it will inevitably offer. The script continues after Heretic. Corvus, the hero of the game, has defeated D'Sparil, one of the serpent riders, but a dying curse was to keep him from returning to his home world. Fortunately Corvus finds a way, but by the time he gets there he finds that his people have been infected by a deadly virus, and he himself contracts it as he arrives.

It's his own self-preservation that sends Corvus looking for a cure and the source of the virus. Most obvious is that Corvus is now seen in the third person, Tomb Raider style, which is also why there is just the one character even though Hexen had a choice of three and Hexen II had four or five if you include the mission pack. Corvus' animations are extremely fluid. We've been asked if we did motion capture for him. We didn't, we've just got two very talented animators.

It really allows us to put a strong focus on his character. We're not going for the RPG elements. We're trying to go back to the core action we had with Heretic. The third-person perspective allows us to do the things that we couldn't do in first-person, like dive rolls, flips left and right, and hand springs.

It would obviously be confusing with a first-person camera. There's a risk that it all sounds a bit Tomb Raider- ish, though. The concept idea for a third-person Heretic actually came before the original Hexen game was started, but the technology wasn't at the point that allowed us to do what we had in mind. It aids you with the vertical tracking, but not to the extent that Tomb Raider did. It's almost as if you had a narrow cone stretching in front of you. It locks on to whatever falls within that cone.

Everything else is based on spells, so once you learn a spell you can cast it, as long as you have mana. We have shrines that are used for healing, The third-person perspective will enable you to do things you could not have done in the first-person perspective.

But some shrines can only be used once. We want the players to feel like this was a real world. Raven have included a system of hidden buoys that mark out areas that the enemy can reach, enabling him to use platforms and lifts, find his way to you and operate machinery. It should provide an unparalleled level of reality as they respond to the tactics. Heretic was popular, but never as popular as Doom.

But Freed is sure that Heretic II will be a mass-market hit rather than a cult. Quake sells well because it's Quake and it has new technology and multi-player appeal. Myst sells well to the mass market. It's easy to get into and there's a low learning curve. We're trying to appeal to both those sets. We've got all the customisability and fast-paced action of Quake and the ease and quick learning curve of Myst and Tomb Raider.

Heretic II is due out this November. It came as little surprise to learn that it was to be turned into a game also using the Quake II engine and also programmed by Raven. And while Soldier of Fortune may mean little to us other than its literal phraseology, that there is going to be another Raven-based 3D shooter is cause for some tempered celebration.

More intelligent Al, gorgeous graphits and last-pared attion should ensure this title is a winner. I t came as a bit of a shock when Microprose announced that they had taken the MechWarrior license away from Activision. The latter had achieved stunning success with MechWarrior 2 and the sequel Mercenaries, but pulled out all the stops to sign on Dream Pod 9's similar universe, known as Heavy Gear. It seemed a perfect solution. Heavy Gear is the fastest-growing role playing universe, and the Gears in the game are smaller and more agile than Mechs.

Heavy Gear satiated the demands for instant Gear action, while Heavy Gear II is the true labour of love - the game that really takes advantage of the new universe. We've given it a more photo- realistic look. More action, a more nimble , fast- paced game. It leans more towards Quake, but we have kept a lot of the old feel.

The controls are more simplified, but you must give orders to your squad, which gives extra depth. While Heavy Gear II uses a different orders system: The story involves the previously warring factions joining forces to prevent Earth taking their colony back.

You lead a commando group to Caprice, a planet that is situated at one of the hyperspace gates, ready to ambush the advancing Earth force. The story unfolds throughout the 40 missions, involving joining forces with a local guerrilla force and attempting to discover the Earth forces' weaknesses.

Speeds have increased and more animations are available to the player, like sniping from a prone position, kneeling behind low cover and so on. We have a line of sight radar instead of a 'god's eye' top down radar. This means that potential surprises lie around every blind corner.

It's the muddy areas that slow you down, and if it's raining it gets muddier. In addition, we have low, soft and hard cover to obfuscate people's line of site. This is a rarity for the genre and, indeed the market. There is a mass-warfare option, single player deathmatch, team games, capture the flag and some cooperative missions too.

What is far more certain at this stage though, it's that Heavy Gear II is going to take a popular and persistent genre and completely redefine it. Dave Georgeson explains the need to start from scratch. The engine pushes 4, triangles per second on a PI 33 at 15fps. Faster machines see much better results, but since our minimum system for these games is a PI 33, that's the base line number that we care about.

Even at the base level, this is more than twice, almost three times, as many triangles as our previous engines were able to handle at that speed. If you have a software-rendering option, the processor is clearly having to perform all the graphics functions, using up valuable cycles when it could be working on Al or physics, or even improving the graphics quality. Unless you have an almost entirely different hardware version of the game, you are just wasting the potential. By the time Heavy Gear II is released, the vast majority of games players should have 3D accelerators, resulting in a considerably better game.

While Heavy Gear II requires 3D graphit atteleration, it's believed that most PC gamers will have the netessary hardware by the time the game is released. D on't be mistaken in thinking that a concentration and strategy-heavy turn-based game has no merit or no place in today's MTV society.

Call To Power, knows exactly why. Civ II has literally millions of strategies for playing and winning. I love Starcraft, Warcraft and Red Alert, but as good as some of their missions are, they have nowhere near the amount of strategies that Civilization has.

So when we made our game, we wanted to max out the two critical broad qualities that we believe make that game so awesome. Her first step was to take the game on a further 1, years so that you now have from BC to AD to create your civilisation. This of course adds new units and technologies and an extension into a fantasy world that we can only imagine. Activision have also introduced new strategies. Civ CTP will have units that can do production attacks, economic attacks, happiness attacks and so on.

Some units will even 'siphon' resources such as production and gold, so not only will the person who was attacked lose the resource but the person who did the attack will gain what was lost. For example, one of my favourite units is the Televangelist, a unit you get if you are a Theocracy government form. In this government, religion reigns supreme, with your people being an obedient, peaceful lot. You get the Televangelist minister that you can send to foreign lands to convert others to your religion.

If you successfully 'attack' a city and convert its residents, they will send Tithes to you. The other civilisation will lose that gold and you'll get it. An attack like this is not an act of war.

A turn in Civ II could easily take close to half an hour as you checked every city in your civilisation for maximum efficiency and happiness. While I love real-time strategy games, the buzz is 1 80 degrees different than a turn-based game such as Civ.

Call To Power is a contemplative, global strategy game that encourages careful analysis and movement, a leaning that is totally at odds with a tactical, adrenaline pumped game that encourages you to move faster and think less.

Naturally, when single rlayer games can easily last between 1 5 and 40 lours for a big civilisation, a new technique has to re taken for the multiplayer game. CTP to stirk with the original formula. For it is good. Available in March 1 In the single player game, global strategy is paramount as is a thoughtful approach.

Microprose, on the other hand, insisted that they held the computer game rights having already published Civilization and Civilization II. Fortunately the argument came to a mature conclusion during the summer when Activision chose to license the Civilization name from Microprose for Civilization: We're all grateful that this situation has been resolved, but the biggest surprise is that Cecilia's team were able to ignore the legal wrangling.

It's hard enough to make a game. The last thing I wanted was anyone to think twice about legal issues. And no one did.

Hard as it is to believe, the legal issues had almost no bearing on our development process. We have kept our eyes, on the prize, and that's making a great game. W hen you subtitle your game The Screamin Demons Over Europe it kind of suggests that you aren't aiming for the anal, trainspotting market. In Fighter Squadron, you have to take the, urn, bull by the horns, look your enemy in the eye and shower him with bullets from a few hundred yards. You can choose to side with the US, Britain or Germany, and then fly a series of missions, including combat air patrol, bombing, escort, fighter sweep and you can even take part in full-on invasions.

But your history teacher wouldn't approve. As Trevor Snowden, producer, would have it: We wanted to create ultra-realistic aircraft, physics and damage models in hypothetical situations so players could experience more diversity given the type of aircraft and locations. Particularly exciting in Fighter Squadron is the unique damage system applied to each aeroplane. When a wing or half of a wing breaks off, it will actually become a separate object, with true physics, and tumble or flutter to the ground, damaging anything it hits on the way down.

At that point, the plane will be missing an aerodynamic portion of its frame, and will therefore react exactly the way that a one- winged plane would in real life. This goes for every piece of the plane that can break off - wings, props, gear, tails and so on. Planes will also take progressive damage from loss of oil, and your engine can also catch fire. For example, if your engine takes damage and catches on fire, the fire will start small, and if you don't do something to control it - such as dive or shut down the engine - the fire will grow progressively larger.

When you have a large stream of fire and smoke, the engine will eventually burn away from the aircraft. Similarly, fire will do progressive damage on ground objects - houses, barns, docks and so on - starting small, then growing, then catching nearby buildings on fire, depending upon which way the wind is blowing.

You can also create your own missions with the provided Mission Editor. It certainly looks as if Fighter Squadron will scramble the competition when it hits the market this Christmas. Hyper-realistic aircraft and physics are the order of the day. The battles have a more poetic licence. Future Shock 90 1 Spycraft: World Cup 98 45 Mechwarrior 2: Titanium 86 Tomb Raider: Waterloo 78 X Wing vs. Balance Power 83 Howzat 2 Dungeon Keeper: Rebellion 88 Tex Murphy: Ranger Assault 84 KknD 2: Krossfire 65 Cyberstorm 2: Corporate War 68 Stratosphere: Portal of Praevus 78 Seven specially designed vehicles based on models racing from the '50s to the '90s.

Up to eight different types of terrain per track will affect the car's behaviour. Australian contact; Ubi Soft Australia Ltd: Flaws or mediocrity hold these games back from higher ratings.

Not bad, not good. Boring, shamelessly unoriginal, cheap and horrible. This month is a case in point. Good games, damn good games. The folks at Valve have gone overboard with the single-player game. Speaking of Unreal, we have our very first 3rd-party game based on the Unreal engine. All Trek-haters should put aside their prejudices and get into one hell of a fun FPS. Lucas Arts have finally shipped Grim Fandango. A lot is hanging on this game. Adventure games, as a whole, have been pretty lame recently; lame or non-existent.

Grim Fandango could resurrect the genre and bring in a horde of new gamers who have been brought up on a strict diet of FPS and RTS games. Which to buy first? What to ignore completely? These are happy problems, enjoy them because the rich well of gaming will, as usual, probably dry up in a couple of months Virtually faultless, reserved for games which cause loss of sleep from thinking of nothing else.

Remember that wonderful gooey happy transcendant feeling you got in your tummy the first time you played Doom? Get ready kids, because Half-Life is going to blow you away.

Proper storyline The story was masterminded by Marc Laidlaw, who wrote the screenplay for Kalifornia made into a rather excellent film star- ring Big Brad Pitt and David Duchovny. Gordon Freeman One of the first things evident about Half-Life is that it is alive with non-play- er-characters NPCs who speak with per- fect lip sync and left to their own devices will simply go about their duties.

Half Life is built on an extensively modified, licensed 74 PC PowerPlay tend to explode as they are hit during firefights which is always interesting, and again adds another level to the immersion factor. After large battles levels get really messy- looking, completely blood-soaked, scorched and unrecognisable. There are many destructible objects such as office equipment, vending machines, food in microwaves, glass windows, wooden crates and comput- ers.

These things per second with hardware accel- eration. Skeletal Animation also allows quantifi- able geographical weapon effects arms, legs and heads being sep- arately damaged , and numerous death animations, based on where the enemy was shot. More variety, more realism, more immersion - It all adds up to a seriously mind blowing experience. Everyone, not just people with 3D accelerators, is able to enjoy the advanced effects in Half-Life though you will need a fairly grunty machine without a 3D card.

Real intelligence Half-Life also includes some of the most relevant, dangerous and believable intelligence ever incorporated into a 3D environ- ment. They are adaptive to changing situations, never run- ning out of things to do and standing still, waiting to be killed. They constantly surprise you with their tactics, and must be treated with respect! The usual John Woo offense that works against most monster AI will quickly see you sleeping with the fishes here.

Even the random insects have intelligence. Walking into a dark room and flicking on the light, you often see a swarm of Cockroaches scattering toward the shadows. In fact, the between-level transitions are almost nonexistent, yet another amazing feature dreamed up by the Valve designers. This should make sounds occur with much more locational accuracy, mak- ing it even simpler for players to tell which direction sounds are coming from, be it left, right, below, above, in front, or behind. Especially with a 3D sound card you really can tell just where creatures are lurking - on more than one occasion I was jerking my head around to see what was there Creature feature Half-Life sports more than 40 different enemies; everything ranging from lowly cockroaches and run away from larger creatures.

These little details are the things that really set Half-Life apart from the flock. Half Life also has vehicles in- game, both usable and used against you, in particular a level where a gloriously detailed Apache helicopter is strafing you as you run along a treacherous cliff-zone.

Optimised software DVD acceleration I video files playback. With the Voodoo2 chipset, discover extreme 3 D graphics acceleration. The Guillemot range is brought to Australia by: All the other trademarks are the property of their respective proprietors. Contents, designs and specifications are subject to change without prior notice and may vary in different countries. They each have their own special abilities based on their composition: At least now we have a plausible excuse for this disappearance.

Half-Life boasts 18 weapons, with some funky new ideas like the particle accelerator that fires an atom-wide stream of energy, which cooks anything you hit with it! This is pretty damn excit- ing, forever overcoming the Quake dilemma of empty mas- sive maps and ridiculously packed small ones. Mod city, baby Half-Life is another engine, like Unreal, that is heavily aimed toward being the best platform for Modification and Total Conversion authors to adapt.

Valve software has already acquired the Australian geniuses behind TeamFortress, who are already at work on the second version of their international hit for the Half-Life engine. This makes it easier for Valve to make their engine more accessible to devel- opers and level designers inter- ested in using the system. They are also carefully docu- menting their engine and devel- opment process to make all the information readily available to those people making mods.

We can probably expect a wave of add-ons to come frothing out of the Internet gaming community. Half-Life is an incredible game with the best storyline ever seen in a first-person shooter.

The awesome detail of the envi- ronments, outstanding weapons and frighteningly intelligent AI make it the most exciting first- person release of the year, and easily the best. Ed Dawson left The face hugger thingies. European Air War gives you 20 aircraft to fly from that time; from the early Spitfire to the Me - the first jet fighter. This is leading edge technology and nothing comes close. European Air War is a trademark of MicroProse.

All other trademarks are the property of their respective holders. Fighter Command EAW provides the standard features such as quick start, sin- gle mission, campaign and multi- player options that we are used to.

It then randomly gen- erates a mission, so no two mis- sions are the same. My only criti- cism of this feature is that you cannot specify the target you want to attack, eg an Ammunition Train, and, as with the rest of the game, it is not enhanced by a Mission Generator to let you alter waypoints etc. Instead, each mission is driven by Bomber and Fighter Command, so you are locked into their waypoints, even when the briefings tell you to fly around the AAA and known fighter base locations.

However, the heart of the game is the three campaigns: You take on a role as a German or English pilot in the first campaign, or a German, English or American pilot in the latter two. An extraordinary mixture, and in realistic mode each has its own flight model that is clearly dis- cernible.

As you move through your career, you go from rank to rank, airfield to airfield and plane to plane. An awesome sight, no matter which side you are flying for.

Enough of the tripe; what is the game like you ask? Beautiful, beautiful cockpits bottom Note the ejected shell casings - Force Feedback friendly Plug in the Force Feedback Joystick FFJ and wind up the engines to experience a new gaming sensation.

The cockpit shakes as the engine coughs, then catches, and the FFJ trem- bles in your hand until the engine purrs soothingly. Take off and raise the gear, and the FFJ jumps lightly in your hand on both occasions. It then remains fluid until you manoeu- vre, and then you feel the oppos- ing forces. In the betas, this feature was a shocker and really made my arm ache because it was over- done. Not so in the full game where it is easy to use and adds markedly to the game. It ham- mers your hand as you fire the cannons, guns or rockets, it whips you to one side if you are hit, and makes it incredibly REVIEWS hard to pull out of a dive at speed.

You can even feel the bump as you land! It just looks real Once airborne, the world of EAW is awe-inspiring. From the green fields of England and Europe to the objects on them; trees, barns, windmills, each of which can be targeted; to the lay- ers of cloud that seem real enough to touch, and the sun that burns through the cockpit during dawn and dusk flight.

Escorting a bomber force is unreal! Fly up close and you can see the flames from the exhausts, the oil running off the wings, the gunners and their guns poking out. Use the many camera views to drool at this sight, and if you dare, stay with them during an engagement and watch each gunner systematically engage the enemy.

To assist your flight you have 40 different mission parameters such as Flight and Target Information that can be project- ed on screen to assist. Optional HUD, waypoint caret and even a Even the interface has an authentic feel Target Identification feature fur- ther enhance this. Sure, you know they are the enemy if they fire at you, but until then, you might be chasing one of your own. You can also call up land based radar to guide you to bogies. Kill pilot, kill plane This is where the game starts to really excel.

Scream into a wing of bombers and watch them cover you with fire. Hit the cockpit and blood splattered on the inside usually means only one thing! Flak looks incredible and can even take out a whole B17 with a direct hit! Sound is brilliant, from the resonating purr of dual engines, to the left to right roar of a fight- er strafing you.

Cannon hits sound spectacular just as you expect them to, and splinters on the perspex show as you are hit. MicroProse have released a game that is mature, has no bugs that I could see, provides cutting edge gaming entertain- ment and ushers in the Force Feedback Joystick as a new flight sim necessity. A graphical extrava- ganza that blows the mind away when you see the sheer size of WWII aircraft formations and the weapons that engaged them Against No Mission Generator.

Highly anticipated A revolutionary multiplayer, real time, 3D Shooter - the ultimate in first person squad warfare boasting features never seen before in the world of combat games.

You're on patrol high above the trenches in WWI In the old days.! Puts you in the driver's seat of history's most famous race cars on some of the greatest tracks in the world. For further enquiries Ph: Those interstel- lar bikies from space.

Filled with a lust for hunt- ing, knives, red meat, strong alco- hol, fighting and probably heavy metal music. Eating rotisseried kangaroos cooked whole on the spear that killed them.

Kirk was a pussy Playing any first-person action game as a neatly combed Starfleet officer, wielding a com- pact phaser that bore a strange resemblance to a Remington Philishave never quite got the blood going. Klingon Honour Guard perfectly captures the simple and brutal philosophy of the Klingon ways, never complicat- ing anything. The game goes into a great amount of detail, and really fleshes out the subject mat- ter.

Playing this game you really begin to understand the sometimes incomprehensible Klingon behaviour on Star Trek. It all makes sense within the game. Pride is your blood right. Extreme arrogance natu- rally drives your every move. Enemies you flatten in equal combat will meet you in the honourable afterlife, Sto-Vo-Kor! You believe all this and more in the atmospheric world of Klingon Honour Guard. Multiple melee weaponry The arsenal of weaponry is really something you can sink your teeth into.

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