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Get Ready For


Feel that prickly sensation on the back of your neck? It must be your spider sense telling you the year's hottest sequel is arriving sooner than expected.

"Spider-Man 2" will hit theaters June 30, two days earlier than scheduled, said Jeff Blake, vice chairman of Sony Studios.

That gives the movie a two-day head start on the Fourth of July weekend, one of the busiest times of the year at theaters.

More good news: A third installment in the "Spider-Man" franchise, based on the Marvel Comics superhero, is due out May 4, 2007.

Starring Tobey Maguire as the masked do-gooder, "Spider-Man" had a record $114.8 million opening weekend and was the top-grossing movie of 2002 with a $403.7 million domestic haul.

Even in a summer packed with such likely blockbusters as "Shrek 2" and "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban," "Spider-Man 2" is the season's most-awaited adventure and stands the best chance of passing $300 million megahit "The Passion of the Christ" to become this year's biggest moneymaker.

"We obviously had enormous success with the first one, which we couldn't have predicted," Maguire, appearing alongside co-star Kirsten Dunst, told theater owners at ShoWest.

"And we think we're going to do it again."

That seems a safe bet, based on theater owners' hearty cheers and applause for footage of "Spider-Man 2" that Sony previewed Wednesday. The studio showed off the final theatrical trailer, which debuts in theaters April 9, plus an extended action sequence in which Spider-Man battles multi-tentacled villain Doc Ock (Alfred Molina) on a speeding mass-transit train.

"We really put everything we had into the second `Spider-Man,'" said Sam Raimi, who directed the original and the sequel. "We think it's a great family picture and a great love story."

The new trailer shows Maguire's Peter Parker trash-canning his Spider-Man suit and rejecting the superhero life so he can woo his sweetheart, Mary Jane Watson (Dunst). But the threat of Doc Ock forces Spider-Man back on the job.

Even with many of the visual effects unfinished, the action sequence wowed the crowd. Shooting dozens of sinewy web strands, Spider-Man uses himself as a living brake pad to slow the train before it plummets off a steep drop at the end of the rail tracks.

Fainting from the exertion, Spider-Man begins toppling off the edge himself, when the hands of commuters he's saved reach out from inside the train to pull him to safety, passing his limp body overhead and setting him down tenderly.

When our hero regains consciousness, a boy on the train tells him, "It's good to have you back, Spider-Man.

The Amphibian Car

By Niloy

The Independence Day just passed by us and we had a clear insight about freedom. Ah, freedom! What one cannot do for achieving the freedom he desires; freedom he dreams about? Imagine yourself experiencing a freedom you hardly ever even dreamt of. Check out the following incident.

You see your car, a beautiful one. You run and hop into it. You feel a bit queasy as you see the car has three seats and no doors. Nevertheless, you jump onboard and switch the ignition. The car starts off with an excellent acceleration and you drive by a beautiful riverside road. After a while, you drive straight into the river. Disaster? Nope. Automatically, your car transforms into a speedy stylish speedboat. Then you start cruising along the river.

Sounds like a Bond movie? Not really. That is just and ordinary experience of any owner of the Gibbs Aquada. Available for the price of a Ferrari or a Porsche, the Aquada will give you all the freedom you've ever dreamt of getting form a car. Unlike many others of its kind, the Aquada can "swim". It's an amphibian, meaning that it can travel on water.

About 75 percent of the Earth's surface is covered by water. A vehicle that could travel on land and water could potentially change current transportation models. For an amphibian to work, it must be able to float, prevent leakage and corrosion, and successfully convert from land to sea and back.

Gibbs Technologies has developed High Speed Amphibian (HSA) technology that could transform cars into amphibians. To display this new technology, the company built the Aquada, an amphibian vehicle that debuted in late 2003. The Aquada is an exclusive vehicle and is aimed at a niche market.

Nevertheless, it is a good average sports car. In developing the vehicle, performance has not been compromised for either mode of travel, and the vehicle will spurt out equal performance on both land and water. Powering the vehicle is a 175-horsepower, V6, 2.5-liter, 24-valve engine. On land, this engine enables the Aquada to reach 100 miles per hour (161 kilometers per hour) and accelerate from zero to 60 mph in less than 10 seconds. This engine also powers the jet used to move the vehicle on water. The jet's thrust and the low power-to-weight ratio of the engine allow the amphibian to travel up to a maximum of 34.7 mph (55.8 kph) and accelerate to a plane in five seconds.

The Aquada has no doors, which helps prevent leaks. The basic structure is an aluminum-bonded space frame. To address the issue of corrosion, the company has tested its materials under extreme conditions. Every component has undergone a 2,000-hour salt-spray test, which is about four times longer than a standard automobile is tested. According to Neil Jenkins, Managing Director of Gibbs Technologies, the company has gone to extra lengths to ensure safety.

The 1.3-ton (1,350 kg) car will not sink unless it is pulled downwards. The car boasts having residual buoyancy. Even if it is chained to the bottom of the English Channel for a week it would pop to the surface when released"

Yet this exquisite car lacks in certain aspects. The most obvious is its astronomical price tag. The car is sold at $271,318.90 (16,279,134 Tk). With this amount of money, a Lamborghini, an Aston Martin, or even a Ferrari could be bought. And the 10 second long 0-60 acceleration and the 161 kph speed doesn't really allow anyone do race championship races. Still the company honestly claims, "We're not out to compete with Porsche or Ferrari, because you can have more fun with the Aquada on a bit of water than you can in a 40-acre car park with a Ferrari." And their claim is agreeably quite reasonable. Check out Aquada's official website www.aquada.co.uk

Yes, the Aquada is something to be excited about. The prospect of driving on water as well as on land is amiably pleasurable. And those who really want to drive their cars on water on a more sensible price can settle for these "Amphicars". They are lower priced than the Aquada and the price ranges around $3000. Check out www.amphicar.com

Gamespot score: 7.8. Publisher: XS Games. Developer: Microids. Genre: Adventure. Release Date: Mar 29.

Syberia was a magical game that got just about everything right. Above all, it captured a real spirit of adventure that many adventure games ironically lack. Syberia featured an unusually well-rounded, strong heroine, Kate Walker. She began the story as a New York attorney sent to a small European town to close a business deal. By the end of the game, she had made the decision of a lifetime: to leave her promising career and thorny personal life behind to help a strange old man, Hans Voralberg, pursue his lifelong dream of finding a lost land of living mammoths. In Syberia II, you lead Kate on her further adventures with Hans toward the legendary realm of Syberia, hidden somewhere in the distant East. While this sequel doesn't quite capture the ineffable magic of the original game, it's still a strong follow-up that easily surpasses many recent adventures.

In Syberia II, you continue your journey into the unknown aboard Hans' streamlined clockwork train, with the timid and sometimes peevish automaton, Oscar, again at the controls. The game opens in the run-down Russian town of Romansburg, a tiny little frontier outpost overlooked by an imposing old monastery on a nearby mountaintop. From there, you head into the snowy Russian wilderness where you'll encounter some ferocious wildlife and an old friend from the first game who makes a dramatic entrance. Your travels eventually take you to a remote cave complex that houses a village of vaguely Eskimo-like people known as the Youkol. Eventually, you'll help the ailing Hans travel into the great unknown to see if you can reach the fabled land of Syberia at last.

Other than some second-act tedium, Syberia II is fairly well paced, with an ever-greater sense of expectancy as you near your final goal. Then again, the journey as a whole isn't as enticing this time around. The first game let you travel on an exciting journey while also unraveling an intriguing, emotionally captivating mystery. Here you're only doing more traveling on the same train, with the same characters, hoping for some big payoff at the end. All along the way you'll have to coddle Oscar, who again hides in the train, worries, or complains most of the time, as well as Hans, who is subject to delusional fits and manages to get himself in serious trouble repeatedly. Plus, the game does little to make the idea of reaching Syberia enticing in and of itself, beyond its symbolic value as a land of childhood dreams made manifest. Unless you're a particularly big fan of mammoths, the whole notion is likely to leave you unmoved.

While Syberia II isn't all that fans might have hoped for, it's still a very fine game and likely to provide you with hours of enjoyment.

Game Preview

By Niloy (niloy@yours.com)

Lately, Maxis has been releasing new expansion packs of its widely popular game "The Sims". There were exciting expansion packs introducing trendy parties, dating, shopping, vacations, pets, and a lot more other stuff. And the most recent expansion pack brought magic in the life of the Sims. All these expansions make playing the game an amazing experience. Yet, it seems that the ingenious people at Maxis won't run out of creativity any time soon. They are soon releasing a brand new Sims game, named the Sims 2, which promises even better gameplay experience than that of the previous Sims game.

The Sims is one of the most popular games in Bangladesh and a completely new Sims game will be a rare treat for Bangladeshi gamers. The official website is quite wrong when they claim, "Rounding out the experience, The Sims 2 delivers dozens of features requested from fans over the past four years." According to numerous game websites and beta testers, the game delivers hundreds of requested features, not mere dozens. Well, the game is said to be released in summer this year. It isn't summer yet, so let's focus on the information we have about the game and find out what we can actually expect form the game.

Firstly, you will need to create a few Sim before you can begin directing their lives. The new "Create a Sim" feature will allow you to easily make unique and detailed character faces with a variety of hairstyles, facial hair, make-up, and accessories. You'll also be able to choose from a wide selection of casual, formal, cool and crazy clothing styles. Then decide the personality of your Sim and choose his astral sign. Also, you will get to choose the Sim's age group. Anyway, the maximum number of Sims per household is eight, to keep things manageable for the players.

The most important addition in the game is the aging of the Sims. When a baby is born, the Sims will start off as a baby. Then he will gradually grow to become toddlers, teens, adults and finally seniors. Every age group has distinct aspects. They have different social options and then they can do different actions. The baby, for example, needs to be taught to walk and talk by an adult. They also have special toys for them. The toddlers will be much like the little devils (little younger brother/sister) many of us live with. Mostly, toddlers will simply be trouble. As they become teens, they will have the rare ability of partying to the extreme. Still, "good" teenagers can also do jobs to earn a little something. After teen years, they will turn into adults, doing professional jobs. The adults are the heart of the game and they will be able to enjoy their life. Then they will age into seniors, doing almost nothing and talking about the good old days. They can also do certain jobs. Through out these times, the direction of their life will be shaped by different memorable events that take place.

The Sims of the Sims 2 will choose a job form an exceptionally wide career selection. The adults will have the standard jobs, with weekends off and harder to achieve promotions. Anyway, those harder promotions will worth a lot, and apart form higher salaries, the Sims will be able to buy special clothes related their promotion. After they reach the peak of any career, a special object related with the job will be available. Apart for the adults, the teenagers and the seniors will have their own share of different jobs. Nevertheless, they can always choose to stay home slacking away the time.

The neighbourhood in the game won't necessarily be a pre-fixed one. Gamers have the choice to add in the neighbourhood of their choice from any SimCity 4000 city. There will also be some community areas in the neighbourhood. Their Sims can get together and can do clothing and grocery shopping. On a small note, the old familiar families the Goths and the Newbies will be present in the neighbourhood. The people at Maxis are particularly in love with these families and states that no Sims game will be a proper Sims game without those families.

While designing the house for your Sims, you unleash the interior designer deep within you. The game has so much amazing home designing tools that nothing can stop you from building the house of your dreams. You are able to build a three-storied house, and you can also build on the rooftop floor. You can place windows and doors on diagonal walls. When building, you can add decks, veranda, balconies, chimneys and even attics. There will also be new plantations to plant.

When talking about a game, especially criticising one, the critic puts a significant focus on the game's graphics and sound because the graphics and the sounds are very important to any good game. However, the Sims 2 is an exception. The gameplay is a work of art, and there were no necessity of excellent graphics and sounds. Yet the game's graphics is of such a high quality that no word in my domain can express the gorgeousness. A picture is worth a thousand words, so take a look on the screenshots. You'll be able to zoom in close to see every detail of Sim life, from the food in the refrigerator to the expression of moods and feelings on your Sims' faces. As for the sound, just think what quality could be expected from developers of the original Sims.

The Sims 2 is an awesome game, one that keeps us longing for paying and enjoying it. It will come out in summer 2004, but it seems to be a long wait. The game's excellence is surely worth the wait. Anyway, check out the official Sims 2 website in the meantime. www.thesims2.ea.com

Uranus, Neptune
Share Magnetic Secrets

ABC Science

Uranus and Neptune's weird magnetic fields are unlike Earth's, and now US researchers have explained why.

Instead of having magnetic fields like bar magnets through the poles, the magnetic fields of these outer planets have no poles and are inclined at a crazy angle.

The researchers used a mathematical model that showed the circulating layer that creates these magnetic field is actually in the planets' thin crusts, rather than next to the core, like it is in the Earth.

Sabine Stanley and Jeremy Bloxham from Harvard University published their results today in the journal Nature.

Most planets have a dipolar magnetic field, with a north and south pole, that centers on an imaginary line or axis between the poles.

Earth's magnetic field is inclined at 11 degrees to the pole, which is why the magnetic north is at a slightly different place to the geographical North Pole.

Many other planets are similar, including the giant planets Jupiter and Saturn, as well as Jupiter's moon Ganymede. Jupiter, for example, has a magnetic field inclined at 10 degrees, similar to Earth's.

But Neptune and Uranus have magnetic fields that are way off, inclined at 47 and 59 degrees, respectively.

Scientists 10 years ago suggested that this could be because there were circulating currents in the planets' thin crusts. The crusts are electrically charged fluid "ice" made of water, methane, ammonia and hydrogen sulfide.

Now Stanley and Bloxham have tested this theory and shown that the circulation or convection in the thin icy crust is indeed the cause of the planets' bizarre magnetic fields, because this is the part of the planets that is fluid and in motion.

The researchers said that the magnetic fields were generated by complex fluid motions in electrically conducting regions of the planets, a process known as dynamo action.

The researchers' model produced a planet with a magnetic field highly inclined to the poles, just like Voyager 2 had first observed in Neptune and Uranus.

Not All Poles are Equal
Australian geomagnetism expert Ted Lilley from the Australian National University in Canberra said the research was significant but not surprising.

"The more remarkable is that the Earth's magnetic field is dipolar from where we stand on the surface and approximately axially symmetric. That's why we expect that on other planets," said Lilley.

In the Earth, the motion of the liquid outer core creates the magnetic field.

"In Earth, it happens to be the outer core. These other two planets might have no fluid, or they might be fully fluid. But they both seem to have a layer that is fluid, is a good conductor of electricity, and is being driven in motion by something or other. And this is what you need to exhibit dynamo action."


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