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By Emil

There aren't really lots of games based on Greek Mythology, or ANY mythology for that matter. God of War was kick-ass, literally. Age of Mythology was mediocre. Titan Quest was… a Diablo-clone for the most part. And that pretty much sums it up. Rise of Argonauts rises to take a spotlight among the few Greek Myth games. But, it does that only for a few moment before fading into obscurity- or perhaps obtaining a position of notoriety for its god-awful optimization and glitches.

It is pretty cool and spiffy to take control of mythical heroes in heroic quests braving unknown lands and insurmountable odds, but some major flaws of the game makes it a poor experience to remember.

You play the role of Jason, King of Iolcus, on an epic quest to find the Golden Fleece- the only thing that can bring back his wife Alceme from the dead, ruthlessly assassinated by the Hecate worshipping Blacktongues. Jason is joined by an entourage of heroes and heroines, on an extraordinary ship called the Argo sailing the seas, and backed up by four powerful gods- Ares, Apollo, Athena and Hermes.

Deceptions, intrigues and conspiracies are a big part of the game until the game decides to make known to you everything that's going on the other side of the world. As far as stories go it's pretty nifty, and gives you the feeling that there's something more going on here than just bringing the wife back from the dead.

RotA does not live up to its generation's standards. The models are sloppy, with odd body joints and angles, animations are only half-decent, and everything seems really stiff and unyielding, almost like the characters are being moved by the hands of someone who has some experience in puppeteering but not a lot on how everyone's supposed to act. Overall, the unmoving animations and all the sloppiness are mediocrity.

The voice casting can be a little ear-wrenching; everyone decides to enunciate and pronounce everything extremely clearly and extremely slowly. Mostly everyone. Simon Templeman (from the Legacy of Kain series) does, like always, excellent work as the voice of Pelias Jason's uncle. There are good dialogues here and there, but a lot of times it feels like amateur script reading, which can be a put off. Thank god, it's not consistent. The soundtrack isn't half bad, though. But, not really redemptive.

RotA is supposed to be an action Action RPG. What it actually is a little of both, and a whole lot of nothing else. It gives you hope about long epic battles, hacking and slashing through scores of enemy ranks to reach your goal, bloody triumphant and victorious. It gives you an idea of role-playing through the game via dialogue-choices. What you actually get is battles about 5 to 10 minutes long at a maximum after an hour of walking around talking to one person at one end of the city, then running off to the other to talk to someone else, only to go back again to confirm whatever you just talked about. No, it's not fun. And the dialogue choices don't mean a whole lot, either. You can choose out of 4 options (each aligned to the one of the four mentioned gods) and regardless of what you choose, you get the same outcome.

The character development system is pretty nifty, though. With aspects and god powers you can buy and upgrade with favors to your god. It's pretty extensive with some really cool powers. But, the sad thing is that you can't really try them out much, and most enemies are mostly useless, so the few battles become even shorter, and just only very slightly funner. No gain there.

It's a good game. Or would have been a good game, if you didn't have to spend sooooo much time just running and talking to people. I mean. Shit. What's the use of awesome super cool highly destructive and visually satisfying god powers if you can only see them for 5 to 10 seconds? Because that's how long the actions last. Meh. Not to mention the infernal amount of crashes… Oh. Yeah. You can't save any where you like. There are checkpoints. A crash in between means replaying and re-listening to dialogues over and over again.

I went pretty far, but the increasing number of crashes (and my exams) has put a stop to the playing. It's not a bad game, really… It's just... full of flaws. Meh.

Artist Spotlight

By Osama Rahman

Say what you must, but rap is here to stay. Many may not be fans and many may find it to be a bad influence, but rap is thriving and not only because the other genres just can't match the genius of the spoken word. Rap makes a lot of sense and when you take away the meaningless violence and just dwell in the music, the flavor or the lyrics, real gems are uncovered. 2008 gave us a lot of gems and here's just a three of them.

'I got summer hatin' on me cause I'm hotter than the sun,
Spring hatin' on me cause I ain't never sprung.
Winter hatin' on me cause I'm colder than ya'll

And I would never, I would never, I Would never fall…'---- Mr. Carter, Lil' Wayne

If you are caught asking 'Who is Lil' Wayne?', then we will inform you that you, my friend, don't belong in this universe. From hip-hoppers to pop-lovers to Elvis Presley fans, everyone has been looking for Mr. Carter and he is HERE. Whether he's crooning in Lollipop or electronically changing his voice to make an instant impact in 'A Millie', Lil' Wayne is one of the most talked about artists in the industry today. Sure, purists disregard his credibility due to the way he 'electronically' modifies his voice, but his productions cannot be doubted. Sure, he isn't your regular preacher, sure he isn't always gangster, sure he is too much of a braggart, but that's all his right. Tha Carter (2004) was well appreciated and did well, Tha Carter II (2005) reached Billboards number 2 largely due to the part of the track 'Fireman' and then Tha Carter III (2008) shot Mr. Carter all the way to prominence. Along with numerous guest spots, notably with The Game in 'My Life', Lil' Wayne soon was getting major radio play and deservingly so. The albums first single 'Lollipop' peaked quickly at number 1 in the Hot 100 Bill Boards and could practically be heard everywhere. Lil' Wayne may not be something for hardcore hip-hop lovers but he does provide a respite, adds fun and thus has succeeded in garnering so much commercial acclaim. Check out T.I (Whatever You Like) and Chamillionaire ('Not a Criminal' fame) as well if you are in the mood for some more Braggadocio kicks.

'Take me away from the hood like a state penitentiary
Take me away from the hood in the casket or a Bentley
Take me away
Like I overdosed on cocaine
Or take me away like a bullet from Kurt Cobain'---- My Life, The Game

Ever since The Game's beef with 50 Cent surface, the media seemed bent on destroying his reputation as a solo artist. But they kept failing miserably and 50's clout seemed to fade. Of course it would, since 50 couldn't rap his way out of a paper bag and The Game was loaded with skills. 300 Bars proceeded to bury 50 and just when we thought The Game had nothing more to say, out he came with 'L.A.X'. Numerous controversies, beefs and scandals, yet the Game has a lot left to say. Claiming this to be his last album, The Game constantly reflects on his past, asks for his place and then shows us a good time in songs like Dope Boys. With a rich guest list since forever, The Game always manages to create a few hits here and there. 'My life' stands out as an excellent track and so does 'Never Can Say Goodbye', 'Dope Boys' and 'Money', to name a few. Ever since the Documentary in 2005, The Game has almost single-handedly brought the West Coast back to life and it can now proudly compete with its once-more superior East Coast rappers. Some wonder if 'Pac would have been proud and Game is one of them, though he shows love to both the West Coast and B.I.G, the East Coast legend. The Game has traces of the youthfulness and energy of Pac and also shows similar understanding, yet the two can never be compared. He is undoubtedly the West's savior and one of the purest rappers still rappin' in the gangster rap genre. Pure to the bone, with little commercialism, lots of name dropping and references to his Impala, The Game manages to stand out as one of the rappers of 2008. With The Documentary, Doctor's Advocate (2006) and L.A.X (2008) to his credit, with this being his 'last' album, The Game has fulfilled his wish of being remembered among the legends, if not always for his rhymes then surely for all his fights with other rappers. Of course newbies if you think The Game is any good wait till you hear some 2pac, some Biggie, some Talib, some Nas and some Jadakiss.

'In the night, I hear them talk.
The coldest story ever told,
Somewhere far along this road,
he lost his soul,
To a woman so heartless...'--- Heartless, Kanye West

Everyone has heard of Kanye West, the most literate rapper in the game. 10 time Grammy award winning rapper, an official college drop out who wanted to get an education, brings something different every time he gets on the mic or goes to the studio.808s & Heartbreak is Kanye's latest album and it already has most of us drooling. With the billboards now boasting two of Kanye's single, its pretty clear that Kanye can rap like a rapper and pop like a popper. Singing through his songs this time around, Kanye is one of the best in the business now. 'Heartless' just serves to prove that point and with T.I's support Kanye does do great. If that isn't enough for now also check out his 1st single from the album 'Love Lockdown'. Kanye is surely eyeing some awards right about now and we can't say that he doesn't deserve it. Check out T.I if you like Kanye and also see his counterpart Jay-Z.

Hopefully after checking out these rappers, many of you will start feeling differently about hip-hop. This is one genre where the love is real and everything else is real, because if it ain't real it wouldn't have made the cut. That's the truth!

Movie Review

Reviewed by Sadia

Award winning movies are often the perfect solution for people who cannot sleep. And yet, one of the more entertaining movies this year won big at Sunday's Golden Globes, taking four awards including best drama and director for Danny Boyle.

"Slumdog Millionaire" is the story of a Mumbai orphan with incredible intelligence who rises from rags to riches.

Jamal (the teen version played by Dev Patel) defies the worst that society and fate has thrown at him. Jamal and his brother Salim lose their mother at an early age to the anti-Muslim riots of 1992-93. They wander the streets where they team up with an urchin girl Latika. They take shelter with one of the villains of the show who runs a Oliver Twist-esque school for child beggars. The three of them grow up into a criminal existence and soon the brother choose their respective paths. One trying to better his life and the other making do with what he gets.

Life is tough for the kid who has to resort to various means just to get through a day. Jamal takes refuge as a small time thief, a conman, an imposter and from all these he gleans a little bit of knowledge that he uses in a fantastic manner.

At one stage of his 'career', he pretends to be a guide at the Taj Mahal which he had no prior knowledge of till he was thrown off a train. He makes up facts, advises the visitors to remove their shoes and promptly steals them for a much desired meal. And through it all he manages to find love.

The movie starts off with Jamal about to win 20 million rupees on the Indian "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire". The show's host played by Anil Kapoor, believes the boy is cheating and gets the police to scare the boy into confessing. Everybody wonders how this kid with no education is able to answer everything. He must be cheating.

As the police lieutenant (Irrfan Khan) tortures him for an answer, the boy narrates a tale in flashbacks describing his life so far and the lessons he learned along the way.

It's a poignant story merging love, copious doses of humour and heart rending insights into the tough life on the streets. The narration is gripping and will keep you glued to your seat till the end as the flashbacks merge seamlessly with the present storyline. The scenes are fast paced and when it finally ends, it's satisfying tale. Bollywood has finally caught up with Hollywood. But don't just take my word for it.


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