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Review by Le Chupacabra

Honour Among Thieves starts from the ending of the previous title. A harrowing battle left the bespectacled turtle Bentley wheelchair-bound. Placing the blame on his negligence, the powerhouse Murray decides to leave the trio, and his life of crime, behind and embark upon a journey of self-discovery. As timing would have it, the master thief Sly was about to pull off the heist to end all heists. How will he manage it now that the brains and brawns of the gang are out of commission?

As you can see, the story treads well-known territory. However, instead of becoming unnecessarily cliché, the plot has enough twists and quirks that ride on the feeling of familiarity and this leads to a warm, fuzzy feeling that only old Hanna-Barbera toons can evoke. The story is predictable in that you know good will prevail over evil yet fresh in that the situations and events are novel and relentlessly entertaining. When Bentley begins outlining the plan to next heist, you'll nod at each word and your eyes will grow ever wider as you realise how ingenious and compelling his ideas are. You only know that this heist is but one on the path to the big event itself and as a result you're always expecting the ante to be upped further - and that's exactly what happens!

The writing and dialogue are witty and humorous and doesn't degenerate towards slapstick or innuendo to provide the laughs. The combination of the zany situations the protagonists find themselves leads to the game encompassing humour that's subtly ingrained into the psyche of the whole experience. This leads to a level of sophistication that few can reach. The voice acting is equally engaging with the actors giving a lot of life and zest to some already compelling characters.

The graphics of Sly 3 follow the Sly tradition with vibrant locations and exaggerated edges and angles befitting of its cartoon atmosphere. The enemy come in all shapes and sizes and it's not unusual to catch yourself admiring the bizarre character designs much like those of the sublime DragonQuest VIII. The piece de resistance of the whole picture is the marvellous cel-shaded graphics that give truly unique definition to the characters. Complemented by some luxuriously smooth animation, Sly 3 looks every bit like a classic cartoon. Given the larger locales in this iteration, the game will slow down occasionally. Sometimes you can shrug it off, but sometimes it can cut in to the gameplay experience. I guess it's the price to pay for such brilliant artistry.

As it is, Sly 3 has all that it takes to create an entertaining and memorable cartoon that's perfect to sit down to when you're having lunch after a hot day at school!

However, Sly 3 is still a game. Therefore, does the gameplay match up to everything else?

Pretty much!
Sly 3 is a fusion of classic platforming and stealth-based gameplay ala Metal Gear Solid. While Sly has some mean combat tricks up his sleeve, his forte is sticking to the shadows and utilising his master thief skills. Sly is a rather athletic creature and this only adds to his formidable criminal abilities. He can balance himself on and run across narrow wires and slip into niches that his enemies can never reach. He can sneak on his tiptoes behind unwary sentries and pick their pockets dry! It's worth the extra trouble since that's the only method of getting keys and rare items. You can sell such items for coins and exchange coins to buy upgrades from ThiefNet which is essentially the Ebay of Sly's world. The fleet-footed Sly isn't the only character though! A successful heist works due to a collaboration of all the members and as a result, you get to play the parts of Bentley, Murray and other characters. Infact, Sly begins the Ocean's Eleven-esque task of enlisting the help of world class thieves so he can pull off the heist of the century. You get to use a diverse range of characters ranging from Sly's rival and love interest Carmelita Fox to the freaky Koala shaman that is Murray's spiritual mentor.

Being incapacitated has done little to dent Bentley's fervour for solving problems! He ends up inventing a wheelchair equipped with all manner of cutting-edge technology like rocket boosters, bombs and other sneaky additions. It's extremely amusing when you tap left or right and see Bentley hopping his wheelchair in the appropriate direction. While Sly and Bentley are more about evasion and tactics, Murray is all-out muscle and his levels involved you smashing around stuff. He doesn't pick pockets like his friends, no. He picks up the enemy and shakes the coins out of them! There's humour in every facet of the gameplay and as I said before, that is what makes it so brilliantly entertaining.

The multi-tiered heists of each level present some great gameplay potential. Carrying out Bentley's wacky plans is extremely fun and you never know what he'll ask you to do next! From cracking safes to donning sneaky disguises to taking part in biplane dogfights - the amusement never dies down.

Sly 3: Band of Thieves is quality gaming entertainment that's as charming as it is funny. If you're into an epic adventure of loony proportions, then you should pick this one up now!

Review by, Gokhra

Cast & Credits: Viola: Amanda Bynes; Duke:Channing Tatum; Justin: Robert Hoffman; Monique: Alex Breckenridge; Principal Gold: David Cross; Olivia: Laura Ramsey

This is a Shakespeareans tale where girl dresses up as boy and pulls off a lot of stunts. And just like the Shakespearean stuff you don't really believe that it works so well because Amanda Bynes is too cute to be a boy.

Bynes plays Viola who is the twin sister of Sebastian (James Kirk). The brother stalks off to London pretty much at the beginning of the movie without telling anybody.

Now Viola is a sports star in her school's soccer team and thinks she's good enough to play for the boy's team. Sadly boys will be boys will be sexists and her hopes are scorned. So she manages to take advantage of her brothers absence to take his place at a nearby preparatory school where she tries out for the soccer team albeit as a guy. Now THAT'S a sports fan that even has our Zulquarnain beaten.

She's not a very convincing boy but we accept it just to go along with the plot. Questions rise as to how she can get away with being a girl being a boy without getting exposed as such. She does have a few close calls but gets out of it with some fast thinking.

Now we come to the love interest section of the movie. Her/his roommate is Duke (do we smell Shakespeare somewhere?) who is attracted to Olivia (Laura Ramsey), but Olivia is attracted to Sebastian who is really Viola who likes Duke because of his sensitivity about women. Now if you didn't get that line in the first go try again because I lost it several ties writing it. Basically it's a proper love triangle that seems more like a rectangle at times.

The verdict:
It's what would be referred to in secret societies as a “chick flick”. You've got your Shakespeare (yeah, it's based on Twelfth Night), a bunch of kids who are in love with each other producing a nice confusing mess. The movie develops interlocking romantic triangles.

Amanda Bynes is a convincing preppy actress who has the part down to perfection. She's come a long way since her days in Nickelodeon. The movie is good-natured and downright silly and that's what makes it so likeable. It's got light humour and Bynes' bubbly nature makes it quite adorable. The best thing about the movie is that the laughs come naturally as opposed to having someone to tickle you.

By M Saquib Hussain

L Sony gave almost full specification and final product details to consumer in this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3). The first thing to notice, is the RAM of PS3. The PS3 would be using 256MB of system memory. Unlike traditional memories, PS3 will be going for XDR RAM. This means exceptional high speed data transfer rates between the system components.

The PS3 will be using all of its seven cores of the CPU each core running at 3.2 GHz of core clock speed, and 2 or 3 will be only used by the PS3 system, the others will be used by the games. Developers can use those cores to distribute the processing as they like. The most significant use of the extra cores, should be by the Physics Engines.

The PS3 will also feature additional 256MB of DDR3 RAM as video memory for the RSX (Reality Synthesizer) chip developed by nVidia for PS3. The chip is very similar to the GPU of 7800GTX, but clocked at higher speeds. The PS3 has full HD resolution of 1080p the highest standard of High Definition video today.

The console would ship with a built-in Blue Ray disk drive. These disks can store around 50GB of data, giving game developers full benefit of creating high-definition supported rich game contents without limits.

The most significant update that was confirmed by Sony since last E3, is the huge change in the controller design. As I had written in my PS3 review last year, the console was supposed to ship with a boomerang shaped controller. Many people around the globe criticized this installment to PS3. The original console developed by Sony back with PlayStation in their first generation, was simply a ground-breaking design. In fact, it was so good in terms of use and reliability, that it continued even in PS2. Now, the PS3 also would be taking the same design. First of all, the controller will be connected via Bluetooth to the PS3. It can also be connected through USB wire for playing games, or charging it.

A full charge gives the controller the ability to play for 24 hours. Last, but not least, the new controller is “Motion Sensitive”. Yeah, that means, you can actually control game characters or objects by just moving the controller physically to any direction up to 6 degrees. The new controller also has more responsiveness than the previous one, and is also much lighter in weight. But the fact that it's light is probably because it has no vibration functionality anymore. That's because the vibration simply creates problem for the motion sensitivity detector to understand the original movement made by the user.

The PlayStation 3 will have online playing capabilities with loads of new addition. You not only connect your PS3 to the Internet to play against others, but also download game goodies, new levels, new additions to your games. You will also have features like chat, VoIP, video conference, music sharing etc. But the best part of it all, is unlike X360, the online system will be free of charge! Thats a great news, and should dramatically increase the PS3 online memberships.

To demonstrate the possibilities, a demo of a racing game was shown, where the user was playing the game on PS3 and was using the PSP as the display for the rear view mirror! How cool is that?

In the press conference, Sony also demonstrated many playable games. This means many game developers are already finishing their titles in games. Games like, Metal Gear Solid , Devil May Cry 4, Tekken 6, Gran Turismo HD, Sonic the Hedgehog, NBA Live 2007, Need for Speed, Eight Days, Final Fantasy XIII have been confirmed for the console already. Sony also officially confirmed that the PS3 is fully compatible with each and every game that was released on PlayStation and PlayStation 2 adding one of the biggest game libraries to the next generation. The games really do look stunning, but it must be mentioned they are still not up to the best capabilities of the system.

Alright, now to the most important part of all, when do we have PS3 and how much it's going to cost us anyway? Well, the first news is, PS3 is coming out in November (17th -18th), 2006 just around the holiday season. It's heading for a “Global Launch” so, the console is coming in all regions, USA (NTSC-U/C), Japan (NTSC-J), Europe and Australia (PAL) around the same time. Many sites have said that the PS3 just like PSP will have NO region coding this means that any game bought from any region would work on PS3. This, if true, is a fantastic decision made by Sony. This should also make developers build better games for PS3 as they would be fighting against the world markets of game developers. Also, to us, this would mean, we can buy or order games from anywhere, and never have to think of compatibility issues.

The pricing strategy for PS3 is also a noticeable change. The PS3 would have two versions: Firstly, the 599US$ Unit: With all options including: HDMI output, WiFi, Sony's popular format memory cards support etc. Secondly, the 499US$ unit: Same as the higher priced unit, but will not have HDMI, Wi-Fi, Memory Stick support. The cheaper version would have upgrade options, as addition Wi-Fi hardware and Memory Card Reader units will be sold separately, however, the cheaper version can not be upgraded to have the HDMI output support.

There are 3 colors (Black, Silver & White) available for PS3, however which colors will be available during first launch is still unknown. Millions of PS3 will be shipped worldwide, but it's obvious, there will be lack of console very soon prior to the release dates. Consider yourself to be really lucky, if you get a chance to get hands on one of them within this December. The true next generation of console gaming doesn't start until PlayStation 3 is launched the difference between dreams and reality is now only a matter of time.



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