Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Thursday, February 07, 2008




Game Review

By Sadman Alvi

One thing that is quite prevalent in most of the next generation titles that have currently flooded the market is a griping and intense storyline; and on that front Kane & Lynch: Dead Men certainly delivers quite a punch. In the game you play as an ex-mercenary convict named Kane who has just been sentenced to death. And along comes Lynch, a psychopathic homicidal maniac to break Kane out of prison. Lynch is sent by a criminal organization named “The 7”, apparently Kane used to work for them. Later as the game progresses you find out that The 7 believes Kane betrayed and stole from them, so they force Kane to retrieve the money and send along Lynch as a watchdog to make sure that Kane stays on course. But Lynch soon realizes that he is in the predicament just as much as Kane is. Now that is as much as I can say without giving the story away, which is undoubtedly the best aspect of the game. It has enough swearing, violence, disembowelments, betrayals, and obscene dialogues to make you feel as though you are controlling a neurotic character in a Quentin Tarantino flick, which is definitely a cool thing.

Graphically the game is truly next gen. The cut-scenes though very cinematic aren't rendered separately and use the in game graphics; you can even move the mouse around for a better angle in many of them. So what you see is what you get. The locations in the game are really beautifully rendered. For instance the busy Tokyo nightclub scene where you have to kidnap a hostage. As you walk through a crowd of dancers with the music playing in the background it really does feel awesome.

The gameplay can be simply described as third person cover & shoot'em up with co-op. Kane automatically takes cover as you move close to an object, from there you can blind fire(though I don't see why anyone would ever do that, all it does is waste ammo), or take aim and fire. The frustrating thing about this covering system is that Kane will often not take cover when you want him to, and often he will jump to cover when you just want to run past a wall. From the start you have Lynch fighting beside you in co-op mode, which means you can order him around. Later in the game you find more characters that fight by your side. You can issue three commands attack, defend and follow. Unfortunately, unlike games like Rainbow six and Ghost recon these commands have some bugs and can be quite frustrating. To some level this can be attributed to the poor AI of the game. For example if you issue a defend command somewhere on the terrain they will stay in that exact position and try to defend themselves even if it is right in the open in the middle of a battle field. They won't even follow you unless you issue another command. And more frustratingly the attack command is completely useless, as soon as you tell your teammates to attack someone for some reason they forget that they have ranged weapons and can shoot from distance, instead they rush in straight into the face of the enemy. The lack of a “move to” command is also not a sign of good thinking.

For a big budget game like this it has some bugs like these that are quit conspicuous, sometimes the bullets will simply just go through a character and such. But even if you somehow managed to ignore these bugs the big let down of the game for me is the lack of variety in the gameplay. The gameplay is far too linear, be it a bank heist, a hostage capture situation or a civil war in Havana, basically you have to the same thing- shoot and kill a bunch of people, over and over again. The only thing that changes are the locations and the people you kill. The repetitive gameplay soon got quite boring for me. Anyone looking for innovation or even variety in gameplay will not find this game very rewarding. It was very disappointing, especially since with all the extensive PR efforts by the publishers and many of the intriguing previews this was one of the games I was really looking forward to.

All in all it's not really a bad game. The story and graphics though not quite phenomenal and groundbreaking, is enough to keep you interested.

To put it simply the game is fun while it lasts, the mindless killing is bound to get boring at some point. So if innovation, role playing elements and variety is what you seek in next gen games, then this is not for you. But if you like mindless shooting games you will enjoy this.

Bo Bice proved that American Idol could have a rocker as a finalist, but the bold and bald Chris Daughtry proved that the show could generate a successful rocker outside the context of the show. Christopher Adam "Chris" Daughtry, best known as the fourth-place finalist on the highly publicized fifth season of American Idol, who is forming a band known as Daughtry is considered to be the most successful new rock & roll singer of 2006.

Like any AmIdol finalist, Daughtry had a long run as an amateur musician. Born in Roanoke Rapids, he lived in Charlottesville, VA, before establishing himself in the Greensboro area. The North Carolina native began singing in local rock bands when he was 16 years old. He continued to play locally after his high-school graduation in 1998, marrying his girlfriend Deanna in 2000, a few months after the January 2000 birth of their son Griffin (he adopted Deanna's daughter from a previous marriage). Family man he may have been, but Daughtry didn't let his rock & roll dream die, as he continued to play guitar and sing in a band called Absent Element. He auditioned for Rock Star: INXS in 2005 but was rejected -- a rejection that turned out to be rather fortunate since it freed him to audition for the far more popular televised singing competition American Idol.

Daughtry was featured heavily during the show's seemingly never-ending audition rounds for two reasons: he was telegenic and he capitalized on the rocker promise of Bo Bice and Constantine Maroulis from the previous season. He was bald and handsome, he possessed a terrific smile, and his devotion to his family made for great TV. He sailed through to Hollywood and made it into the final 12, where he was hailed as a standout early on and soon seemed to be a favourite to win. Daughtry mania began to peak in March when his rendition of Fuel's "Hemorrhage (In My Hands)" caused such a sensation that rumours began to fly that Fuel wanted to hire him as their lead singer, something that proved no rumour. He continued to be one of the top draws in the season, even courting some controversy when his moody reinterpretation of Johnny Cash's "I Walk the Line" was misinterpreted as a Daughtry original, and on the results show he had to clarify where he learned this version. Still, this controversy paled to when he was voted off the show in May: Daughtry was one of the final four and Katharine McPhee just narrowly beat him, a result that visibly shocked the rocker. Daughtry would soon have the last laugh.

After he was kicked off of Idol, he turned down Fuel's standing offer of replacing their lead singer and set off on his own career, signing with Idol's 19 Entertainment group and RCA Records in July of 2006. By the time the album materialized in November, it had turned into a project by a band called DAUGHTRY (spelled all in capital letters) -- the band featured guitarist Jeremy Brady, guitarist Josh Steely, bassist Josh Paul, and drummer Joey Barnes, but they did not play as a band on the finished album; Brady was replaced after the album's release by Brian Craddock -- a matter of semantics overlooked by most, especially in light of the album's blockbuster success. Like many hotly anticipated albums of the SoundScan era, it debuted high on the charts but it didn't drop down quickly: it stayed in the Top Ten for month after month, as did the first single, "It's Not Over." This meant that DAUGHTRY was not only a huge hit by Idol standards, it was one of the few hit rock albums -- period -- in 2006. DAUGHTRY didn't debut at number one, but it climbed to the top in January 2007 (granted, it only sold about 65,000 copies the week it was at number one, but that's still an impressive feat) and stayed in the Top Ten well into the new year, as did the single "It's Not Over." By February, it was evident that his popularity eclipsed those of his American Idol rivals Taylor Hicks and Katharine McPhee. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide

Chris Daughtry is 5'8" tall. He shaves his head because he is going bald.

Chris' parents are Pete and Sandra Daughtry, and they reside in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The alternative rocker's roots are steeped in Southern church music. He learned guitar by listening to his dad, Peter, and his grandfather, Calvin, playing.

Chris made his first public appearance singing "Achy Breaky Heart" at his grandfather's bar.

Chris graduated in 1998 at Fluvanna County High School in Palmyra, Virginia.

He says when he was a teenager, he wanted to be a martial arts film star.

Former American Idol runner up, Bo Bice, was the reason Chris Daughtry auditioned for American Idol.

Chris Daughtry was the 3rd runner-up on American Idol. He lost to Elliott Yamin, Katherine McPhee and the winner, Taylor Hicks, getting eliminated from the show on May 10, 2006. He remains good friends with fellow American Idol contestant, Ace Young.

Chris has proved quite successful since Idol. For the week of June 10, 2006, Daughtry charted #43 on the Billboard Hot 100, being named the Hot Shot Debut of the week.

On December 4, 2006, Chris Daughtry, along with Katharine McPhee, presented an award for "Best Rock Album" to Nickelback at the 2006 Billboard Music Awards. Chris' favourite band is Live, and his favourite performer is Rob Thomas, the lead singer of Matchbox 20.

Married since the age of 20, Daughtry says that his toughest obstacle in life has been fatherhood, adding that his wife is his hero and his lucky charm. Chris thinks that his biggest accomplishment is that he taught his son how to ride a bike.

His definition of an "American Idol" is someone who works hard and is a good entertainer.

"Mad Money" is a comedy about the trio of women bored with their thankless jobs and deciding to take on the world. Or rather a small par tof the world. A wealthy part at that.

The plot:
Keaton plays Bridget Cardigan, an energetic woman whose big shot corporate husband hasn't worked in over a year. They're in deep debt. He can't find a job, so she takes one as a janitor at the bank. On Bridget's first day, she's given a tour of the facility and is shocked to see the shredding room where bins and bins of out-of-circulation bills are pulverized.

Being around all that money does a number on her. She blithely whips up a blueprint of the bank and proceeds to recruit accomplices on the payroll. She gets Nina from shredding (Latifah) first by stalking her, then by pulling on her heartstrings. Nina is a single mother of two in the projects but wants to send her boys to a private school. Both women go after Jackie (Holmes), a sweet-natured dipstick who runs the bins down to the shredding room and lives in a trailer (Bridget and Nina think she's a junkie). The scheme they hatch seems so simple it's unbelievable that no one else has tried it. Over the course of three years, they skim a little of the discarded cash every now and then until it piles up. This plan just requires a lot of nerve. And it's fun watching these three keep theirs.

The verdict:
It's a bit of an "Ocean's" movie with unlikely protagonists. While a crime caper movie is usually about cool attitudes, mean streaks and snappy moves, this one is more based on a light and cute approach. But the dialogue is nonetheless snappy, witty and sharp. The focus of this movie is to see how the crime will work out because there are numerous glitches as all well laid plans are subject to.

There is no real cause behind why the women want money other than the fact that it is oh-so-desirable. But that's just a minor glitch. While the movie occasionally wanders about aimlessly, it is fast paced and has enough suspense to keep you hooked to the end. Outlandish as the idea seems it's a fun premise and well executed.

With A-list actors this churns out great performances by all. Latifah is at her best when facing down any opposition. She just mows them down with a verbal assault. Holmes proves to be surprisingly funny with great comic timing with her dialogue delivery.

While the movie is great fun it can be a bit too sweet. But it is nonetheless fun. If only they cut down on the sugarcoating a bit.


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