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Bitz; Award-winning guide to the top games of the week with Ewan Ross.

Byline: Ewan Ross

Alone in the Dark (ATARI, X Box 360, pounds 44.99) SURVIVAL horror can be a difficult genre to master for a developer.

If the introduction fails, the game can seem sparse and uninteresting and can't help but flavour the outlook for later levels.

This is precisely why sequels to horror games will always seem a little less interesting than their originals.

Alone In The Dark was a game that first appeared on the PSX years ago and was quickly swept under the carpet in favour of another zombie filled horror game. Although it followed the genre template to the letter, the interesting thing about Alone In The Dark was that it tried to inject a little story into it.

The new release sees our protagonist Edward Carnby (see picture) waking up from a drug-induced trance to witness the end of a ritual which has brought a creature from hell.

Carnby has to make his way out of a crumbling New York tenement block and then out of Manhattan island as the place slowly sinks into hell. But not without fighting a few terrifying things on the way.

AITD has gone a little overboard with its detail - but this isn't a negative thing. The horrors that stalk you from the shadows of Central Park have an exceedingly realistic effect on Carnby.

Furthermore, the episodic style of gaming push this immensely into the realms of a cinematic epic than that of just a game.

And rightly so, because the realism really shows in almost everything, from the world interactivity to the fights.

But this detail has also come at a price - and that becomes obvious with the control system. Granted, it works, but its fiddly nature has you making a lot more mistakes than you intended.

AITD is a good game and, despite of one or two flaws, makes a real impact due to its finest aspect ... it entertains.

Rating: 7/10 -A lone ranger Civilization Revolution (2K, X Box 360, pounds 44.99) SID MEIER is an unrecognised genius. To see him in the street you wouldn't know him from Adam, yet for an yonewho has become engaged in one of his creations it's an entirely different story.

Meier pretty much invented the strategy game along with Peter Molyneux, sculpted it and then, in a fit of 'Lynchian' perfectionism, tore it all down and began again.

His original Civilization is a classic that still rivals any modern masterpiece of the day. Revamps of the series sawthe second part hailed as one of the top 50 of all time.

A 4X game (eXplore, eXpand, eXploit and eXterminate), your job was to evolve your civilisation out of their bear skin underpants and clubs and into tanks and aegis missile cruisers.

The idea was brilliant, so I was a little puzzled to find that this new Civilization refuses to broaden the horizon of this iconic game format.

No longer can you place your civilisation in a corner of the Earth until you develop an army that would put the battalions of Mordor in to shame.

Here, in Revolution, you are placed nose to nose with your enemy and have to scrap it out from the start.

Okay, there is partial wisdom in this - 2Kwere worried about losing potential revenue from gamers who really want a quick fix - and something that lasts a little under two hours.

Although I can agree with the mentality, certainly on a console, it's almost like defacing a legend, like buying a Lamborghini and stuffing a Hillman Imp engine in it because that's what you think people want.

They really shouldn't have compromised...

Rating: 6/10 - Trivialization
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jul 18, 2008
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