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by
published Friday, Oct 03rd

WipEout HD

In this day and age of downloadable games it’s not surprising that many classic games have been chosen to either show their age or show how timeless they are. Some of these revivals are in their original formats and  others have been given cosmetic makeovers and/or received additional content. Of course not all attempts capture people’s hearts as the originals did but some do re-establish themselves for the modern gaming audience. So how does the ambitious WipEout HD fare against the record of hit and miss remakes? Is it truly High Definition or Highly Disappointing?


Full Auto by
published Thursday, Feb 16th

Full Auto Review

“The most destructive racing game ever” claims the box art for Sega’s ‘Full Auto’ and as any gamer would know blowing stuff up is fun, creating havoc is brilliant, and generally causing destruction in any videogame usually gets a thumbs up, so with Full Auto strapping guns to cars were could it go wrong?

The Full Auto format originated from US based developer Pseudo Interactive who introduced the game to PC gamers back in 1999, and now Xbox 360 gamers have the chance to get to grips with this interesting take on the racing genre. Microsoft’s Xbox 360 is currently not short of racers, with the likes of PGR3 and ‘Need for Speed’ already on the shelves, so can Full Auto really offer a fresh experience worthy of your cash, especially when Criterion’s critically acclaimed Burnout is mere weeks away?

On starting up, you are quickly reminded that in this game, things go off with a bang; this presents a great way of getting you psyched to really get involved and start destroying, so upon tearing through a few ‘Burnout’ style menu screens you find yourself participating in a race, and within seconds you’re speeding through the streets causing general mayhem, and there is plenty of mayhem to be had.

Full Auto will last any gamer a considerable amount of time, with several various game modes, including Arcade, Xbox Live, Head To Head and of course the main Career route, which is were the main mode lies. Career mode features over 120 unique races spread out over 17 racing series, and they all present there very own unique objectives and playing style, which will initially leave you on a gaming high, left working out which way you will complete your next race, and with what weapons. Figuring out the best combination of car and weapon to complete your task is not always a simple one, especially when the game provides you with such a grand roster of racing machines, twenty one in fact, ranging from jeeps, trucks, and cars all of which are customizable, not only in appearance but in choice of weapons, with mines, smoke screens, rockets, cannons and more available.

Multiplayer gaming is catered for well, with both offline and online modes available, up to eight players can play online, and the ability to gain ranks from nought to ten, offers an added incentive to tear it up online.

When a race begins you are left at the back, and as you race forward through the competition you gain ‘Wreck’ points which is obtained depending on how destructive you are to the surroundings and competitors. Gaining ‘Wreck’ points is primarily stacks of fun, and in the first handful of races the devastation caused is highly impressive. Boost is also provide for jumping ahead of the pack, and the ability to ‘Unwreck’, which is a cheeky new feature which gives you the ability to go back in time by a few seconds if you make any fatal mistakes. The ‘Unwreck’ feature seems poorly executed, not only by being to generous in its quantity, but additionally by making the cars feel indestructible upon most damage and error encountered.

Unfortunately, despite the fact that the sheer scale of destruction is at first outstanding, the thrill provided from the demolition soon does were thin, and after an hour or two of solid play time the ability to ‘Wreck’ begins to lack in appeal.

Graphically Full Auto impresses when on screen explosions or high quality replays are involved, but the car models and tracks lack any great quantity of inspiration and could have easily have been accomplished on the original Xbox; the odd frame rate issue also occurs which really does interfere with the experience.

On the audio side of things, generic car sounds are to be expected, but the range of audio for the weapons is highly impressive with each bullet, or rocket truly packing a punch. The games soundtrack features a fairly even mix of dance and rock tracks, so no doubt something will appeal.

If gaining G’s is your thing then Full Auto is king, the game offers a huge fifty achievements, and several can be obtained early on, with a great deal saved for genuine veteran players, truly adding to the lifespan of this already packed title.

If you really need a racing game fix and cannot wait for Burnout, then Full Auto may provide a weekend of fun with its unique take on the genre, the destruction provides a superb twist on standard ‘A to B’ racers, and although the novelty does narrow the shear amount of races available, multiplayer options and achievements will keep you hooked for some time.

Overall Burnout still holds the crown of racing destruction, and Full Auto just falls short of being anything overly special, and ends up feeling like a poor mans Burnout. Fun at first, but falls short of anything grand, rent it.


Mario Kart DS by
published Thursday, Nov 24th

Mario Kart DS Review

Mario Kart DS hits European stores this week, and we here at EuroFusion have now had enough time to sit down with the final game and deliver our verdict.

The Mario Kart series is something any Nintendo fan should be familiar with, the series is now over a decade old and has enjoyed great success with it’s sequels on previous Nintendo systems. But how have Nintendo adapted the series to work with the DS hardware, does it use the system capabilities, is this version such as radical departure form the series roots as was Double Dash, and most importantly is toad still the most annoying racer within the roster? All these questions are answered below, so sit tight, get bananas at the ready, Mario Kart DS is here.

The Mario Kart formula was originally mocked as being a risky tactic for Nintendo, but fortunately for us gamers, they pulled it of, and now as we prepare to enjoy the 5 th in the series it’s safe to say that the Mario Kart that we know and love is back and it plays like a dream.

Several Grand-Prix options, as per usual are open to begin with, and in typical fashion you work your way through the cups, unlocking new one’s as you progress. In total you will end up with an impressive roster of 32 tracks, including new tracks and classic old ones from previous titles including the likes of Choco Mountain , Moo Moo Farm, and Baby Park . The Grand Prix yet again, is split down into three different classes consisting of 50, 100 and 150cc, with each class providing a greater sense of difficulty, and a more intelligent AI from your opponents. Grand Prix is where the main single player mode lies, but several other modes are included such as Time Trial, Battle , and a new Mission variant, but more on that later.

So what can you expect from the main gameplay offered? The usual suspects are available to choose from, including Mario, Luigi, Peach, Bowser and more, and again, as you progress, you will unlock more secret characters, and karts to match. In game, items (weapons) have seen a little tweak, they no longer are based on your character duo, like they were in Double Dash and now each character has an item statistic, and those with higher stats get better items for example. The handling is refined and is beautifully tight while simple, cornering is easy to execute, as is power sliding. All the classic items return including two new items, one being a large Bullet Bill, which shoots you towards the front of the pack taking out anybody or anything along the way, the other being a squid which squirts oil over the screens of any players in front of you, damaging there vision, requiring the player to glance at the bottom screen and use the track map. The track map can also be used to see upcoming weapons, or those red shells coming right at you! These new weapons along with the old classics offer a superb range and variety when it comes to taking out your opponents and will no doubt put a smile on your face.

As mentioned earlier, this version of Mario Kart has a new mode which goes by the name of ‘ Mission ‘, this features several objective based mini games in which you must reach a certain goal, for example drive through gates in order, collect coins in a time limit and so on. These are split into groups separated by a boss battle. These Missions, while a large departure from anything seen before in the series, offer a nice enjoyable alternative to racing or battling, and can improve your driving skills, while giving you a break from the main heat of the game, but be warned they get tough!

The multiplayer is where the lifespan lies, what with the classic battle mode returning. In this version while playing a Balloon Battle each character has 5 balloons, and they are kept in an on screen inventory, to get them out on the back of your kart, blow on your mic, and they inflate! Balloon Battle is addictive as ever, and the inclusion of Block Fort makes me all the merrier. Another new mode to the game is the battle variant named, Shine Runners, in which you have to collect the most number of shines within a given time. This plays somewhat similar to the Shine mode in Double Dash, but time plays a more important role. Online although limited provides a way for you to always have real people to play with, which is always more enjoyable than the games AI, the WiFi Connection is effortlessly done, and incredibly simple.

The new modes along with the new tracks, characters items, and online play, make this one of the most engaging games of Mario Kart yet, which is incredibly balanced, a joy to play, and will become an instant hit on the DS. Nintendo have made the series fresh again, without tweaking the core that made the original so awesome.

An instant classic, which cannot be missed, and will keep you coming back for more time and time again.


Juiced by
published Sunday, Oct 02nd

Juiced Review

Juiced, which was originally slated for a release last year, is now in stores thanks to publisher THQ who picked up the title after the troubles had over at the now defunct Acclaim. With these publisher troubles aside, what can the game offer you, the player; and is it worth your hard earned pennies?

Juiced at first seems like a fairly standard racer offering an arcade like mix of gameplay styles which fall somewhere in-between those of Forza Motorsport (lack of on road traffic) on the Xbox and the popular multiformat Need For Speed (customizable options) series, and although this is no major bad thing, this tends to leave a bitter taste of ‘me to’ type structure to this title. On that point it is fair to point out that genre issues do not stop this game from having a certain degree of appeal, especially if the high recent sales are to be considered; as Juiced has several gameplay elements which although are not overly fresh, do add to the gaming experience. These elements for example are mostly seen in the career mode (where the main build of the game lies) which seems to combine the earlier two intellectual properties mentioned well by offering a slew of customizable options, and various vehicles along with one expansive ‘world’ to cruise around.

Within this world you will come across various characters that will either be your friend or foe, and in a nice touch you will earn or lose ‘respect’ from these folks, in order to open up new levels, or obtain new vehicles, this offers a new twist on the standard monetary requirements or point based systems usually found in racers, and actually does require more than placing in the pole position in order to earn this respect from your fellow racing chums. The only annoying feature of the respect system is the tedious video conversations with the other NPC’s which eventually become quite irritating. Of course ultimately though the respect marks you earn do infact result in money, which can then buy you a slew of racing vehicles which you could expect to find in the Underground games.

Another noteworthy element of Juiced gameplay structure is the ability to create your own racing team, and although at first this may seem like an interesting prospect of hiring people to join your ever expanding racing team, the appeal is soon lost after the tiresome fact of having to watch their CPU controlled races, which is in all honesty is rather boring.

From here the game doesn’t offer any more surprises, with a handful more modes offering gameplay which can be found in similar superior titles and although the campaign within Juiced can offer a lengthy challenge to those willing to see it through; the end reward is mediocre at best with minimal feel of accomplishment.

Graphically Juiced scores an average, with nice looking car models but lacking environments on the tracks. Also the menu systems are at times somewhat difficult to navigate. Audio within Juiced is somewhat standard offering generic car noises and the above mentioned crew trash talking video conversations, the soundtrack fairs better with actual licensed music featuring the likes of Paul Oakenfold, Kasabian, and everybody’s favourite Xzibit, but don’t worry only you can Pimp your ride. If the soundtrack featured in game doesn’t take your fancy you can always use the Xbox’s awesome custom soundtrack feature so you can ride around to your own tunes.

Juiced is certainty a ‘me to’ type game trying (successfully) to ride off the back of other popular racing series like NFSU and Burnout. However, even though the game offers a lengthy challenge with a healthy dose of options and customizable tinkering the mediocrity of the races and lack of any major exciting moments makes this title somewhat lacking in mass appeal.