Review: November 2003 Archives

Railroad Tycoon 3 Review

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Publisher: Gathering (Take-Two Interactive)
Developer: PopTop Software


Platform: PC
Reviewed on PC
Windows System Requirements: Pentium II 400 MHz, 128 MB RAM, 16 MB video card, 1.2 GB HD space

To characterize Railroad Tycoon 3 as a railroad management sim, while technically accurate, rather understates the role of the Railroad Tycoon series as games that helped launch a genre. In any event, contextualized or not, Railroad Tycoon 3 casts you in the role of a grand industrialist aiming first and foremost to dominate the railroad industry, but also any other industry you can grab hold of all while boosting your own personal fortunes. Or you can just slap on your engineer's hat and play with trains. Up to you.

Drake of the 99 Dragons Review

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Publisher: Majesco
Developer: Idol FX


Platforms: PC, Xbox
Reviewed on Xbox

For 3,000 years, the 99 Dragons clan has guarded the Soul Portal Artifact, an object with the power to cross the boundary between the living world and the Spirit Realms. As their greatest assassin, Drake has been endowed with the Tattoo of the Undying Dragon. Thus, Drake was forced to cross into death, and return in a state of undeath, as protector of the 99 Dragons clan. Still new to his state of living death, and to the supernatural powers granted to him by that state and his tattoo, he awakens to discover every member of the 99 Dragons murdered and the artifact they guarded, stolen. The artifact could be used to perpetrate tremendous evil, leaving Drake as the only one capable of preventing this force from being unleashed upon the world, while avenging the death of his clansmen. As Drake himself says:

"Those who know my name whisper it in fear. Most people I meet, I only meet once. I am Drake – the assassin. To me, life is all about death."

Fusion Review

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Publisher: Reflexive Entertainment
Developer: InSane Play


Platform: PC
Reviewed on PC

Windows System Requirements: Pentium 500 MHz, 64 MB RAM, Windows 98 or more recent operating system

Reflexive is responsible for one of the best Arkanoid clones ever made, Ricochet. As a team of developers, Reflexive has worked on major PC titles such as Lionheart: Legacy of the Crusader and Star Trek: Away Team. Reflexive also publishes casual PC games through its online site, Reflexive Arcade. That's where you'll find games such as Ricochet Xtreme, and now, Fusion. As with most such puzzle games, Fusion is simple to learn, entertaining, and draws you in for just one more session when you intend to quit.

Magi-Nation Keeper's Quest Publisher: UIEvolution
Developer: Interactive Imagination


Platforms: Palm OS, Pocket PC, Nokia 3650, Smartphone, Ericsson P800
Reviewed on Motorola T730

Based on the world of the trading card game Magi-Nation Duel, Magi-Nation Keeper's Quest features 60 levels of block-pushing puzzles featuring the lad at right. Travel through various lands, protecting Tony from lasers and deep waters. And all in the palm of your hand.

Publisher: iGames
Developer: Idol FX


Platform: PC
Reviewed on PC
Windows System Requirements: Pentium III 733 MHz, 128 MB RAM, DirectX compatible sound card

Billed as a "shock-style horror first-person shooter," Nosferatu thrusts you into the role of vampire killer. You must wander the Romanian Castle of the Count, searching for your abducted family members armed only with your 1912 weaponry and the sorts of holy relics that really seem to bug the undead. Rescued family members repay your service with new weapons for use against the final foe. Randomized dungeons mean that no two games replay in precisely the same manner.

Blowout Review

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Publisher: Majesco
Developer: Terminal Reality


Platforms: Xbox, PlayStation 2, GameCube
Reviewed on PlayStation 2

The fringes of human space are guarded by massive battle platforms that protect Earth's colonial properties against alien Xenos invaders. To ensure that these platforms are manned by the best humanity has to offer, they are crewed by MI-2 clones – clones of top human soldiers, but with ambitions and personal desires bio-engineered out of their systems. During a recent attack on the battle platform Honor Guard, the Xenos released a virus that attacked the genetic structure of the onboard clones. One clone onboard the Honor Guard became both self-aware and psychotic. That clone discovered how to replicate itself, and began cloning itself to create an army.

That army seized control of the Honor Guard, filling the battle platform with rapidly mutating offspring of the original clone and demented versions of the insects and creatures that inhabited the battle platform. The denizens of the Honor Guard are now set to take over human space. Fortunately, battle platforms are closely monitored by a law enforcement agency known as the Jump Posse. In jump ships crewed by a pilot and six battle-hardened soldiers, the Jump Posse deals harshly with rogue clones. Marshal "Dutch" Cane is the toughest of his Jump Posse, and now must clear the Honor Guard of rogue clones and mutants, guided only guts, grit and some radio chatter from his pilot Red.

Publisher: Acclaim
Developer: Acclaim


Platforms: Xbox and PlayStation 2
Reviewed on Xbox

Emperor Trajan is dead. The usurper Arruntius has allied himself with dark gods, and is determined to transform the city of Rome into an orgy of gladiatorial combat. The citizens of Rome themselves are forced to watch and cheer as former champions face off in battles that destroy Rome's noble monuments. Invictus Thrax was chief among the late Trajan's champions, and is executed by Arruntius as a symbol of the deposed leader. Despite Arruntius's seeming grasp on power, the gods are not pleased. They have brought Thrax to Elysium to test his mettle, and should he prove worthy, to free Rome of the taint that now occupies the seat of Rome's power. Invictus Thrax is "a warrior slave, chosen by the gods to restore the glory of an empire."

PlanetSide: Core Combat Review

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Publisher: Sony Online Entertainment
Developer: Sony Online Entertainment


Platform: PC
Reviewed on PC
Windows System Requirements: PlanetSide, Pentium III 1 GHz, 256 MB RAM, 64 MB video card, additional 600 MB HD space, 4x CD ROM, internet connection

Once the wormhole collapsed between the homeworlds of the Terran Republic and the habitable world of Auraxis, the colonists split into three warring factions. Discovery of the technological remnants of the Vanu (an ancient, alien civilization) allowed the citizens of Auraxis to reconstruct their fallen soldiers from stored matrices. War on Auraxis now has no casualties, and has transformed into an eternal struggle for control over facilities and Vanu resources. The remnants of the Terran Republic have battled against the Vanu Sovereignty (which seeks to improve humanity through Vanu technology) and the New Conglomerate (who seek a new political order) in perpetual combat since the collapse of the wormhole. The ability to reconstruct fallen soldiers has kept the war in a continuing state of flux, with any victory or conquest remaining woefully temporary.

Recently, the war has been transformed. New Geowarp gates have opened on the various continents of Auraxis that lead to caverns deep beneath the surface. These caverns are rich with Vanu technology, as well as crystals that broadcast energy and have mysterious powers to heal soldiers and repair equipment. More importantly, the caverns have yielded new and powerful weaponry, vehicles to turn the tides of war, and modules that can be installed in surface complexes to enhance combat troops and improve facilities.

Publisher: Ubisoft
Developer: Infinite Interactive


Platform: PC
Reviewed on PC

Windows System Requirements: Pentium II 450 GHz, 128 MB RAM, 32 MB 3D video card, 1.0 GB HD space, 8x CD-ROM

Conquer Etheria or just battle friends in this turn-based strategy series for the PC. This installment in the series adds a new system of tactical combat and sends players on a massive campaign to save the land of Etheria by conquering it, province by province.

Port Royale Review

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Publisher: Tri Synergy
Developer: Ascaron


Platform: PC
Reviewed on PC
Windows System Requirements: Pentium III 1.2 GHz, 256 MB RAM, DirectX 7 compatible video card, 4.5 GB HD space, internet connection, Windows 98 or more recent operating system

The high seas of the Caribbean during the 16th and 17th Century: filled with traders, buccaneers, pirates, and you, a young adventurer setting out to build his fortune with only a ship and a meager sum of money. Port Royale is a trading and sea battle sim that allows you to produce and trade your own goods, hunt down pirates or other ships, and eventually become the governor of your own town.

DDRMAX 2 Review

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Publisher: Konami
Developer: Konami


Platform: PlayStation 2
Reviewed on PlayStation 2

The Dance Dance Revolution continues with the latest edition of the arcade and console dance game sensation. You'll need a dance pad to play, since the entire game is about stepping on an arrow on cue. You'll also need to set your inhibitions to one side, or at least close the curtains. Safe in your manhood, you can take a crack at a music list that is designed to appeal more to North American sensibilities than past editions.

Company: Gamester (Radica USA)
Platform: Xbox


The FPS Master controller has been designed to give Xbox gamers better control in first-person shooter games by minimizing the need to move the hand or thumb from button to button.

Call of Duty Review

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Publisher: Activision
Developer: Infinity Ward


Platform: PC
Reviewed on PC

Windows System Requirements: Pentium III 700 MHz, 128 MB RAM, 32 MB 3D video card, 2 GB HD space, 8x CD-ROM

"In war, no one fights alone." Call of Duty follows soldiers attacking Nazi Germany's Eastern and Western fronts, giving gamers control of individual soldiers – but as part of the massive forces that ultimately won the war. Participate in individual missions that run the gamut from moments before the D-Day invasion to sinking a German battleship to joining the Soviet infantry rushing machine gun nests in the Battle for Stalingrad.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries in the Review category from November 2003.

Review: October 2003 is the previous archive.

Review: December 2003 is the next archive.

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Review: November 2003: Monthly Archives