Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Thursday, March 27, 2008




Game review

(PS3, Xbox 360 and high end PC)

By Monty Python

CPU: 2.6 Pentium 4 at least
Memory: 1 GB
Graphics: any card that has at least 256 MB memory and Pixel Shader 3.

This is probably one of the most talked about game releases of the year, with Gamespot and other gaming sites keeping you up-to-dated about it almost the whole of last year. Now that it is finally here, lets see what's so special. First of all, this game has a HUGE system requirement. I boast a middle range PC and it just ran, though not smoothly. In order to enjoy all of it, the bustling cities of Damascus, Acre and Jerusalem with the thousands of inhabitants and the true to real buildings and towers, you need to have at least Vista (for DirectX 10 of course) with 2 GB of ram and hopefully a Geforce 8800 Ultra graphics board. I will just assume at this point that you didn't have a heart attack!

If you have played Thief, Splinter Cell, Grand Theft Auto and Prince of Persia series, then you are on familiar ground with this game. The developers have infused the concept of these ground breaking games to come up with the concept of Assassin's Creed (AC). Here you play as Altair, a master assassin in the 1191 AD at the time of the Crusades. But interestingly, you are not exactly Altair, but you control his memories from his descendant at the present time using a system called Animus. Animus allows you to control the movement of Altair as well as his head, hands and feet using memories that are left deep within the DNA of his descendant, a boy named Desmond. Yeah, yeah, I know sounds a bit complicated. But the main theme is that, you play with Altair, who was ripped off his rank and honor as a an assassin and must do some killings in order to climb up the ranks.

Like I said, you use the keyboard (or the controller) to control head, arms and feet of Altair. But the controls are much more fluid than that. Similar to Splinter cell or Thief, you have an alertness level called High Profile and Low Profile. Maintaining low profile will enable you to be discreet and undetected, while High Profile will enable you to run fast, climb and fight. The cool thing is how easily you can scale almost any wall, do Prince of Persia like jumps and fights with your sword. A few simple key stroke can unleash great combinations of moves to counter even five or six enemies surrounding you at a time. There is a sync gauge at the top left which measures how synced you are with the memory of Altair and when you have reached full sync you get the option of having an Eagle eye, which shows the instinct of Altair as to who are the friends and who are the enemies, all colour coded. The act of assassinating itself is very cool. Altair possess a secret knife hidden in his arm, which you sneak in behind your unsuspecting target and plunge it in his neck, in true assassination style. Of course you can also dwell your target to his death or simply throw a knife at him, but that is boring. Other than the side missions, it has plenty of Grand Theft Auto like side missions like killing all of the Templers or collecting all the flags of King John. You don't have cars or bikes, but you get to ride on Horses!

Graphics and sound
I just cant wait to talk about Graphics, the cities are so well built, so alive and so detailed that you will want to wander through for hours. All the buildings, temples, towers look so authentic, it really made me want to go to crusade if I had a chance (no kidding). But this is also the system hog. There is detail shadows every where ( ran it in full graphics in my PC for a few minutes), even shadows of your nose on your neck! And just the right amount of light bloom to create that classical movie like effect. Not only that the location is richly detailed, but the inhabitants are also highly detailed and they go about their own business, talking, chatting, shopping as if it's a real life city. And you can listen to the ruffling of the leaves, the sound of the wind flowing and beating against the high walls of the towers and the birds chirping to blend amazingly with the visuals. But of course if you want to enjoy it all, you might as well have a PS3, X box or a filthily powerful PC with Core 2 Duo and Geforce 8800 GT.

Al these complicated details may make you think that the game is unbeatable. Actually it's the other way round. It is extremely easy to play and all movements are fluid, including battles. The visuals are great if you have the right hardware and game play fun and rewarding. So I would say go and lose a few nights sleep

She is famous as much a part of the Tomb Raider gaming culture as the computer character she portrayed at trade shows. Rhona Mitra can be seen in awesome pictorials inside many men's magazines. She now appears in hit flicks like Doomsday, The Boy In The Box, The Number 23, and Underworld: Rise of the Lycans.

At home in Britain, Rhona Mitra made a name for herself with sordid performances in movies like The Man Who Made Husbands Jealous. Initially relying on her live action role as Lara Croft to gain fame on a global scale while the Tomb Raider video game became a top-seller, she landed bit parts on the popular FOX show Party of Five and on the short-lived medical drama Gideon's Crossing.

Her move to film involved a bit part in Hollow Man, starring Kevin Bacon, as well one with Sylvester Stallone in Get Carter. It seemed she served as eye candy to reel in audiences.

A truly notable performance came with her portrayal of "Kate," the attractive secretary in popular UK personality Sacha Baron Cohen's film, Ali G Indahouse. Another notable role arrived in 2002, where Rhona Mitra portrayed Reese Witherspoon's best friend in the romantic comedy, Sweet Home Alabama.

Although Rhona Mitra was long considered for the lead role in the film adaptation of Tomb Raider, that idea fizzled, and she parted ways with the game's creator and publisher, Eidos Interactive. However, her impersonation of the sexiest virtual superwoman will never be forgotten, along with her singing debut on the Tomb Raider game's soundtrack.

"It's a confusing heritage. I never know if I want to be running across the fields with no clothes on or sitting in the pub drinking Guinness."

- Rhona Mitra, on her Indo-Irish background.
Born in Paddington, London, England on August 9, 1976, Rhona Mitra is the daughter of Nora and Anthony Mitra. In 1984, Rhona Mitra's parents got divorced and, as part of an overall lifestyle change, 8-year-old Rhona Mitra was sent off to boarding school. Several years passed at two different all-girls schools, but Rhona Mitra and her energetic spirit were not fit for the discipline those English establishments offered, and she was subsequently expelled from both of them.

A teenager back in London, Rhona Mitra lacked direction and became involved with the wrong crowd. She was enveloped in the club scene and developed a drug habit that tied into the all-night and day raves she attended. Four years passed before she finally realized that her yearning to act and be in the public eye could not be ignored. Turning her life around, she attended drama school for one year.

Rhona Mitra's first major leading role post-Croft came in 1999's Beowulf, alongside Christopher Lambert. In 2003, Rhona Mitra had roles in The Life of David Gale, starring Kevin Spacey, and Highwaymen, starring James Caviezel. Then, in '06, she was in the Canadian horror-action film Skinwalkers.

Finally, in 2007, Rhona Mitra began appearing in some blockbuster hits alongside some of Hollywood's most accomplished actors. She was in the flick The Number 23 with Jim Carrey and Shooter starring Mark Wahlberg.

Her next flick is Underworld: Rise of the Lycans, the third installment of the Underworld series.

Reviewed by Gokhra

End of the world apocalyptic scenarios make for great stories as long as the storyteller is great. Or if the movie has a hot female protagonist. Or if there are amazing chase scenes. Doomsday has a bit of all but does it make the cut?

The plot:
In 2035, a city is struck by something called the "Reaper" virus. People are dying, killing and generally creating havoc. The place is quarantined and the government is desperate for a cure. So they send off a special team into the midst of the infected populace to gather information. And it's led by the chillingly lethal Eden Sinclair (Rhona Mitra).

Sounds a bit familiar but you'd be mistaken in thinking this is a sequel or a spin-off.

Doomsday is a brilliant and fun zombie film except these are not quite zombies either. They are more like fans of hard rock who like to eat people but only after they are cooked. They are just evil cannibals who surprisingly have some human characteristics. The leader of the cannibal gang, Sol (Craig Conway) even has a female partner whom he loves. Gives a whole new meaning to love bites.

And then there is Sol's father dad, Kane, who might know something about the cure. The son and his anarchist friends hate him. And our heroine enters the fray shooting, kicking and doing some more kicking.

The verdict:
Doomsday is fast paced with plenty of glittery gritty effects. And it has a relatively decent story to boot for an action movie. And best of all, Rhona Mitra really kicks butt very convincingly. It's smart and it's a lot of fun.


“The Bank Job” has a very generic title that seems to say it all. But I can't help it because I have a soft spot for heist movies. It's a formulaic flick involving the wily hero, a sassy female lead, witty one-liners and of course the heist intermingled with lots of plot twists. And that in itself isn't a bad formula

The plot:
“The Bank Job” begins somewhere in the 70's in the Caribbean from where we see obligatory beach scenes. There a revolutionary figure takes incriminating photos of a Princess.

And then we are off to London involving hoodlums trying to mess with car shop dealer Terry Leather (Jason Statham). We know it's not a good thing to mess with him. We've seen Transporter. And then there is some more time shift.

The movie being a period piece features walkie-talkies a lot and you can't help but stifle a laugh at such an outmoded form of communication. The movie takes inspiration from a real life robbery known as "Walkie-Talkie Robbery".

The aforementioned photos lie hidden in a bank vault and British intelligence plans a robbery scheme to get those photos back and save national dignity. They bring in Terry who brings in a crew to carry out what seems like a straight money job. But he doesn't know the true objective of the mission.

The verdict:
The Bank Job does lay it on a little thick at times like in Ocean's 13 where the audience has to think a little. There is a lot going on what with double-crossings, counters, murders, chases and so on. Which is okay at times. The movie has a lot going for it despite its over simplified title name. Statham especially gives a solid, smart performance without resorting to wire fight antics.

And like I said, there has to be a sassy female lead and Saffron Burrows plays it up perfectly as Terry's old flame.


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