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By Emil

System requirements
CPU: 2.0 GHz
RAM: 512MB for XP, 1GB for Vista
Graphics: Radeon X800/GeForce 6800 or better

It was fascination at first sight as I saw the trailer of Trine sometime last year. The fluid gameplay, the awesome graphics, and the utilization of real-time physics and what not- it seemed like a complete package, and was one game that I had my eyes for some time now.

There are three aspects of the game that really shines out. Trine doesn't offer an engaging story that keeps you hooked from the very start. It isn't something that's given a lot of attention. The three characters- Wizard, Thief and the Knight- enter an abandoned academy, one after the other and coming upon a strange glowing artifact. They all touch the artifact, and their souls become bound together. The wizard surmises the object is one of three ancient articles, and that they must go to the Tomb of the Guardians for answers.

And so the game begins.

The gameplay is a side-scrolling action platformer puzzle. You have to make use of the different characters abilities to cross obstacles and progress to the end of the stage. Experiences are earned by killing enemies and finding green potion bottles. Each 50 experience gives the characters 1 point to purchase skills.

The wizard has the ability to conjure objects as well as move objects with telekinesis. A box first, then a plank and a triangular object, aptly called a triangle which floats where the wizard wants it to float. Boxes, for example, are used to reach higher platforms, the plank for laying a bridge between a wide gap and the triangle for provided a ground to stand on over a pit of hot flames. Most often times, a combination of all these is required to teach your destinations.

The thief uses a bow and arrow for combat and carries a grappling hook that can latch on to any wooden surface, allowing her to swing to places. She's almost like Spider-man. Initially, she can shoot one arrow, but as you level up, she shoots three, and with the aid of an item, up to 4 arrows. Alternatively, she can shoot fire arrows for more damage or for lighting torches. Not to mention that she's a hawtie, which is always an added bonus.

The other is a bulky knight who is always hungry. He carries a sword and shield, and after obtaining an item can pick up objects to throw them at enemies or at places. Upgrades allow his sword to become aflame which means more damage and ability to light torches. If you want to pound your way through the ranks of undead skeleton and annoying little bats, this is your guy. The storm hammer you get later on in the game is nifty for saying things like, “It's clobbering time!”

The game goes on so long as one of your characters alive and kicking. When all of your characters die, you are returned to a previous checkpoint at which everyone's resurrected. Checkpoints are in the form of white orbs on pedestals, and restores you to half your health if you're below that level, and raises any dead characters. Enemies come in the form of skeleton warriors and archers, and the infernally annoying bats. Obstacles include chasms, and pitfalls, moving and rotating platforms, etc.

The characters are interchangeable at any time during the game, since their souls are bound together, and you have to use their abilities to progress through the stages. There's an option for co-op play, and players can join in any time with different characters. I imagine that this can be a very fun experience, and would very much like to try it out.

Trine's graphics are beautiful. A cleverly crafted fantasy world that makes you want to live it for real. At very high settings, the graphics are simply mesmerizing and it's one of those games that let you appreciate more than just a scantily clad box-art character. Trine uses Nvidia's PhysX physics engine for the physics interaction, and it's fun to watch your tower of boxes topple into the chasm, with you on top, jumping off to reach the other side just in time! The same can be said about the soundtrack. I mean, that it's very beautiful too. Composed by Ari Pulkkinen (who, we believe is better than John Lennon) you can listen to the main theme by going here: http://tinyurl.com/q2e7da - it really is very beautiful. Go ahead, give it a shot.

Trine is one of the better games I've played, and very easily tops many AAA games. The game, though not very long, will have you hooked and wanting for more- a whole lot more.


By The Anarchist Kitten

Sony decided to adapt Angels & Demons, the book that introduces world-renowned symbologist Robert Langdon, after The Da Vinci Code for an arguably simple reason (this reason is only a hypothesis on the part of the reviewer). Angels & Demons does not strike at the core of the Christian faith like The Da Vinci Code does, and thus causes a less of a stir and sensation (even the Vatican calls it a friendly film).

This movie is not like the book, and it doesn't pretend to be. It's also much more subtle than its precursor, which is saying something given the fact that this movie is also about nothing but the action. With a cast of award winning actors such as Tom Hanks and Ewan McGregor, Ron Howard does a good job of directing a story that is easy to follow and even easier to accept. The Da Vinci Code threw millions of angles at the viewer in such a short time that even a short break would leave him a bit confused upon return. Angels and Demons, however, toned this down to a minimal; the plot is straightforward and the action constant, keeping the interest level peaked throughout. Like already mentioned, the movie is not like the book and does not pretend to be, but it works better as a movie than The Da Vinci Code did.

Cardinal Strauss is easily a favourite character in the movie through his portrayal of the elitist, yet misunderstood rank of the Catholic Church combined with the victim of his treatment Camerlengo Patrick McKenna, possibly the best reason to see this film. There isn't a great amount of Tom Hanks as the film focuses more on story than character development (a rarity for Hanks films); this is however a good move in the part of Ron Howard, as there already has been enough introduction of the characters with the first movie and the books.

Ayelet Zurer's character Vittoria Vetra, however, feels like an unnecessary female assistant in the quest since her lines are a bit limited and serves only the purpose of diluting testosterone. In the book Vetra only served as the character Robert Langdon could educate, enabling Dan Brown to talk about all the history and myth he talks about, but since the movie cuts all of it out leaving only the action, this character, arguably playing a key role in the beginning, is unnecessary in this movie.

The music (composed by Hans Zimmer who may not be any John Lennon but still pretty damn good) stays relevant and the cinematography beautiful. What really works about Angels and Demons, though, is its conclusion. For a person that has read the book before already, the film caught this reviewer impressively off-guard.

By Ahsan Sajid

There's the obvious red light of 'Hipster Alert!' when band names like The Smiths and Echo and the Bunnymen and Belle & Sebastian get thrown around too much. And while mainstream crossroads like High Fidelity amounts for a huge part of Echo and the Bunnymen fanbase as Juno does to the Belle & Sebastian fan base, The Smiths have been good, solid, rock band from the early 80s. At a time when most people were not listening to anything unless it was classic rock or hair metal, The Smiths came out with their album The Queen Is Dead, considered a must have for entry-level hipsterdom. The best place to start off with The Smiths, The Queen Is Dead doesn't have a single dull track.

The Queen Is Dead (Take Me Back to Dear Old Blighty) [Medley] - 8/10 Morrissey's wonderful fluidity is covered for by Marr's crazy rockabilly, so as not to make the introductory song melodic, soothing garbage. Sometimes you just need to be kept on your toes at first.

Frankly, Mr. Shankly - 9/10 the follow up has such a catchy hook that you won't be able to stop humming it for a while. And what delicious lyrics “Oh, I didn't realise that you wrote poetry, I didn't realise you wrote such bloody awful poetry, Mr. Shankly.”

I Know It's Over - 8/10 the quality doesn't slack but the pace does, and The Smiths take you on one of their somewhat soft lullabies. One majorly depressing song, sung with a sad bastard's voice.

Never Had No One Ever - 8/10 continuing in the same vain as the previous track, here's more to add to your sad bastard roster for when you're depressed and just want to relate. Musically- nothing too special.

Cemetry Gates - 7/10 the lyric to this song relates most directly to Morrissey according to citations, and he sings it with the proper eloquence. However, it's not exactly the shining star of the record.

Bigmouth Strikes Again - 9/10 very upbeat, very rock n' roll, very Smiths. This one's one of the best singles from what appears to solely be a collection of singles rather than an album.

The Boy With The Thorn In His Side - 6/10 It takes a growing curve (at least, it did to this reviewer). However, the music is worth listening to for being one of the most popular tracks in the record.

Vicar In A Tutu - 6/10 possibly the weakest link in the album; the song has virtually nothing going for it, and the worst thing is it never makes up its mind on whether it's silly or serious.

There Is A Light That Never Goes Out - 10/10 there is a certain emotional sweep; a certain tug achieved through the lyrics; a certain pull from the orchestra; in this reviewer's opinion as well as most music critics', one of the best singles The Smiths have made.

Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others - 7/10 One would expect an end track to trail of, and be subtle, but this one's a bit tedious. And as with track eight, this song never makes up its mind whether to be serious or not.

This album is essential for fans of… music, basically. Those who like the Beatles might find this album a rejuvenating experience. Each song is close to being a masterpiece and the record is completely void of frustrating filler one generally has to sift through even in the best of albums. The Queen Is Dead is more than just a collection of songs, one song flows to the other creating a masterly landscape. It's all about preference.


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