When Tomb Raider first hit in 1996, it was nothing short of groundbreaking. When the game industry was experiencing a sea change from predominately sprite-based 2D graphics to polygonal 3D graphics, Tomb Raider was a shining example of the sort of immersive atmosphere and exploration-based gameplay that was possible. While years of sequels that ranged from unremarkable to borderline offensive did a lot to tarnish the Tomb Raider name, developer Crystal Dynamics undid a lot of damage with last year's Tomb Raider: Legend, which focused on the strengths of the series--exotic locales, thoughtful puzzles, and incredible acrobatics--while modernizing the gameplay and streamlining the whole experience. Crystal D continues its good work with Tomb Raider: Anniversary, which effectively goes back to the original Tomb Raider and rebuilds it from scratch. Tomb Raider: Anniversary isn't as groundbreaking as the original Tomb Raider, but it's undeniably more playable.
Lots of places to go
Like the original, Tomb Raider: Anniversary follows the tale of Lara's hunt for the Scion of Atlantis as she does battle with conniving businesswoman Jacqueline Natlas and her various henchmen. You'll explore ancient tombs and forgotten cities in Peru, Greece, Egypt, and more, performing plenty of death-defying acrobatics as you work your way through massive, ancient, and often deadly puzzles. The environments are larger and more detailed, and existing puzzles have been elaborated upon, to an incredible degree. The experience just feels bigger, and there's so much new content that it honestly feels less like a remake and more like its own game.
Smarter, sleeker, hotter Lara
A big part of that feeling comes from how much more talented Lara has become since the original Tomb Raider. Aside from a few, nominal differences, she's basically got the same abilities here as she had in Tomb Raider: Legend, which made her one of the most nimble action adventure heroes this side of the Prince of Persia.
As good as Lara is, though, she's got her limits, which is a big part of what makes the action feel dangerous. If your timing is off just a little bit when jumping for a ledge, Lara might only catch it with one hand, which will have you furiously mashing a button to help her recover. Miss the ledge completely, though, and Lara's likely to expire, or at least incur a serious amount of damage.
Player needs smarts too
She'll need to exercise each and every one of these abilities to their absolute limit in Tomb Raider: Anniversary, which features no shortage of ridiculous acrobatics. The game is essentially made up of a series of gigantic, unique set-piece puzzles. Sometimes the puzzles are traditional find-the-key, flip-the-switch-type affairs, but more often than not, the real puzzle is figuring out how to use Lara's ability to get from point A to point B. What's more, the puzzles are often nested several layers deep. While your overall goal may be to find four keys to open a door, you'll first have to figure out how to get to the bottom of a gigantic, crumbling tower, after which you'll have to figure out how to access four different doors, after which you'll have to figure out how to actually open those doors--and, of course, behind each of those doors lies a series of tricks and traps that you'll have to traverse before you'll get to the keys. Solving one of these overarching puzzles can be an involved process, with some of them taking well over an hour to complete.
The environments are your biggest adversaries most of the time in Anniversary, though through your exploration you'll regularly run into some antagonistic fauna like rats, bats, wolves, bears, tigers, gorillas, raptors, and the occasional Tyrannosaurus Rex. Combat is limited to gunplay, which operates with a simple lock-on system, and Lara can also tumble and flip through the air while keeping a bead on an enemy. New to Anniversary is the adrenaline dodge, which at specific moments allows Lara to dodge a charging enemy in slow motion. When time slows, a target will also slowly move toward the enemy, and if you fire the weapon right at the moment it locks on, it'll produce an instant kill, usually when the ferocious beast is just inches away from your face.
What keeps Tomb Raider: Anniversary engaging throughout is the strength of the gameplay, as well as the quality of the presentation. Even though you're basically just going from one tomb to another, they feature enough individual detail to make them unique. It's the little touches that bring the whole thing together: the way water glistens on Lara's skin when she gets out of the water, the way light refracts differently when she's underwater, or the tangible difference in atmosphere between different locales.
Sounds good too
It's also a really great-sounding game. You'll hear plenty of small ambient effects like animal calls and dripping water, and Lara's grunts and yelps as she scales these incredible antiquities will resonate differently depending on the size of the room. Music is generally used sparingly, but it always swells to a flourish at all the right moments.
Tomb Raider: Legend did a lot to make Lara Croft feel relevant again, and Tomb Raider: Anniversary is another step in the right direction. The acrobatic action is consistently exciting and challenging throughout, and despite being a remake, the experience feels new and fresh. This is the best Tomb Raider game in years, and for the first time in a long time, that actually means something.
Pentium 3 1.4GHz or Athlon XP 1500+
RAM: 256MB (for Windows 2000/XP)
512MB (for Windows Vista)
GRAPHICS: 100% DirectX 9.0c compatible 64MB 3D Accelerated Card with TnL (GeForce 3Ti/Radeon 9 series)
4GB free disk space
Herry Darling and Stuntman Mike are just two of dozens of memorable characters who show up in "Grindhouse," the slam-bang, blood-spattered, hell-of-a-good-time double feature of schlock and awe from Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino.
These movies look like junk on purpose, and that's what makes them so beautiful. You get the shaky projection, the cracks and pops in the audio, the hairs and tears in the film, even a few cases of entire reels "gone missing," just as if you were in a rundown grindhouse theatre circa 1973. Rodriguez and Tarantino have lovingly, obsessively re-created the look and the feel of the low-budget exploitation films of the 1960s and 1970s -- the movies they loved as kids, the movies that influenced modern B-movie classics such as Rodriguez's "From Dusk Till Dawn" and Tarantino's "Kill Bill" films.
If you loved films like "Don't Look in the Basement," "The Hills Have Eyes" (original version), "Vanishing Point," "Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry" (the poster said Peter Fonda was "Drivin' Hard" and Susan George was "Ridin' Easy"), "Deathdream" and "Werewolves on Wheels," have a seat.
The running time for "Grindhouse" goes past three hours, but this ain't no art house epic. What you get here is a drive-in double feature of two 90-minute films, along with trailers for exploitation whoppers with titles such as "Machete" ("They f----- with the wrong Mexican!") and "Werewolf Women of the S.S." Those trailers alone, with cameos by veteran B-actors and one Oscar winner, are worth the price of admission.
The two complete movies are "Planet Terror," directed by Rodriguez, followed by Tarantino's "Death Proof." Don't show up late, lest you miss the first trailer, and don't go to the bathroom between films or you'll miss all sorts of campy fun.
"Planet Terror" has the classic zombie-movie setup, pitting a rag-tag band of survivors in an isolated town fending off a seemingly endless army of cannibalistic walking corpses who have been contaminated by a noxious chemical gas that makes their skin bubble with hideous boils and swells their heads to elephantine proportions.
This movie is all about the body count -- mutant and human. Don't get too attached to any character, cuz you never know when he or she might become unattached to a limb or a head or some vital organs. (When a doctor looks down at a bloodied corpse and says, "This one's a no-brainer," it's meant literally.)
In the performance of her life, McGowan throws herself into the juicy, sexy, funny, comic book hero role of Cherry Darling, a noir-ish femme fatale whose dreams of becoming a stand-up comic collapse when she loses her limb in a mutant-caused car accident and literally doesn't have a leg to stand on.
But Cherry doesn't have time for self-pity, because even as she's hooked to an IV, the hospital is being overrun by the aforementioned puss-dripping undead. Soon she's part of an ad hoc team of zombie-killing anti-heroes, which includes (among others) the local sheriff (a teeth-gritting Michael Biehn from "The Terminator"); a scientist (Naveen Andrews from "Lost") who's trying to find an antidote to the poisonous gas; a high-heeled, needle-wielding doctor named Dakota Block (Marley Shelton); foul-mouthed, hot-tempered twin babysitters, and Cherry's ex-boyfriend Wray (Freddy Rodriguez), a veritable killing machine who never met a zombie he couldn't kill.
Also watch for fun cameos from Bruce Willis; the singer Fergie (Black Eyed Peas), and Tarantino, who plays "Rapist No. 2," and a more gruesome death to a villain you have never seen.
Rodriguez is a ridiculously talented writer, director, editor, composer, cinematographer, sound designer, etc., etc., and he absolutely nails the tone of the classic zombie gore-fest. Even through all the winks and blood and decapitations, he gives us twisted little subplots and a handful of three-dimensional characters. The cast is strong, though it's a bit tough to buy the slight (albeit talented) Freddy Rodriguez as the baddest man on the planet. The sole reason I'm giving "Planet Terror" only three stars is I've never been a zombie-movie guy; I've always found this particular strain of undead, with their limited brainpower and their halting gaits and their dopey groaning, to be among the least interesting horror-movie monsters. But for fans of the genre, "Planet Terror" is just about perfect.
Stuntman Mike: Kurt Russell
Cherry: Rose McGowan
Wray: Freddy Rodriguez
Sheriff Hague: Michael Biehn
Abby: Naveen Andrews
Earl: Michael Parks
By Sabhanaz Rashid Diya
Molla Sagor doesn't strike you as someone more than a student. Young and spirited, what lies behind the simple face and dreamy eyes is a honeycomb of unusual creativity. With the making of three documentaries that have just hit the market, Sagor is definitely on his way to making some subtle differences in our widely provoking media industry.
While the documentaries obviously aren't your day-to-day popcorn entertainment, it's something that will perhaps, make you think twice about people around us. An eye-opener and somewhat, 'philosophical' and humorous in its many approaches, Sagor's work is doubtlessly, commendable.
Dudh-Koyla (Coal Milk) is 25-minutes documentary on the struggle of indigenous Saantals to protect their 'home' from turning into an open-pit mine yard of coal. The setting is at Bucchigram, a village under Phoolbari upazilla of Dinajpur where the Saantal community have lived on natural agriculture, befriending cattle, local games, trees and birds. Their simple, peaceful lives are suddenly disrupted by the alarming news of the government approving a foreign company to make a coalmine out of their habitat. They are offered compensation for the damages, but could money ever buy the peaceful abode they've lived on for years? It is their motherland, and to protect it, uproars of protest are raised. The police and BDR raided the area, taking lives and leaving the locals in fear. This documentary is a depiction of the tug of fear and courage of the indigenous.
Sagor's other works include Cholo Mon Natok Dekhte Jai (Let's Go, Watch a Play) and Shironamhiin 23 July (Untitled 23 July), both of which illustrate stories and struggles of people around us. Personally, I felt the documentaries would have been more effective in conveying its message if background voice narration was used; and many features of his work make it perceivable only to a small audience. Perhaps, they would catch attention in larger scale than predicted and Molla Sagor will continue producing such moving pieces in the future.
By Shehtaz Huq
It is very popular in Greece especially during summer but also found in other countries. The instant coffee found in other countries such as the USA is usually freeze-dried, which is in general more flavorful, but whose higher oil content impedes foam formation.
The six outlets of Coffee World in Dhaka will tell you something about coffee culturewe Bangladeshis are catching up to this global phenomena. While our parents and grandparents sip their afternoon tea, we hip and happening (?) youngsters sip coffee. Yes, it's true that Bangladesh does not have a whole variety of coffee, with most coffee houses selling cappuccinos and lattes (that taste almost the same). But it's a big world out there, and out there we have lots of kinds of coffee.
Café Mocha is a variant of a cafe latte. Like a latte it is typically one third espresso and two thirds steamed milk, but a shot of chocolate is added. Typically the chocolate is in the form of an Italian syrup, although less sophisticated vending systems use instant chocolate powder. Whipped cream, dustings of cocoa and marshmallows may also be added on top for flavor and decoration.
Contrary to cappuccinos, cafe mochas do not contain the well known milk froth on top, usually whipped cream and a dusting of either cinnamon or cocoa powder.
Cappuccino is an Italian coffee-based drink prepared with espresso, hot milk, and milk foam. A cappuccino differs from a caffè latte which is mostly milk with only a little foam, and a small part of espresso. A cappuccino is traditionally served in a ceramic cup, which has far better heat retention characteristics than glass or paper. The foam on top of the cappuccino acts as an insulator and helps retain the heat of the liquid, allowing it to stay hotter longer.
Greek frappé or Nescafé frappé is a foam-covered drink derived from spray-dried instant coffee that is consumed cold. It is very popular in Greece especially during summer but also found in other countries. The instant coffee found in other countries such as the USA is usually freeze-dried, which is in general more flavorful, but whose higher oil content impedes foam formation.
What in English-speaking countries is now called a latte, or even more incorrectly a latté, would be referred to in Italy as "caffè e latte", literally "coffee and milk", similar to the French "café au lait" and the Spanish "café con leche" . Caffèllatte is today part of the defined international coffee menu, besides cappuccino and espresso. The Italian origin is still the inspiration, but the US and European ways of serving may differ (bean roast/amount of milk). In Europe, it is also common to use the French term "Café au lait", while in the US this is defined as regular coffee with warm milk.
Caffè macchiato an Italian beverage, is espresso with a tiny dollop of foamed milk on top. "Macchiato" simply means "marked" or "stained," and in the case of caffè macchiato, this means literally "espresso stained/marked with milk." Traditionally it is made with one shot of espresso, and the "mark" or "stain" of milk was traditionally put there to indicate the beverage has a little milk in it (usually about a teaspoon).
Turkish coffee, also known as Greek, Arabic or Armenian coffee in their respective countries, is coffee prepared by boiling finely powdered roast coffee beans in a pot, possibly with sugar, and serving it into a cup, where the dregs settle. It is common throughout the Middle East, North Africa, Caucasus, and the Balkans, and in their expatriate communities and restaurants in the rest of the world.
At the end of the day, we're stuck at home drinking Nescafe instant mix coffee. But it never hurts to dream, right? Ah, I can see a café macchiato right now…