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GAMES; Mob violence.

Byline: BOB LOW

GANGSTERS 2 PC CD ROM

THE first version of this caused a bit of a stir and not a few imitators - the latest being the appalling Heist - so wiseguys Hothouse Creation decided to put their boys back on da street.

The original, despite the interest, had an interface and micro-management system that nearly fitted it out with a concrete overcoat.

However, Hothouse are now goodfellas, fresh from the recent chart hit Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? and able to be the Al Capones of game design and do what they like.

The story concerns anti-hero Joey Bane, who returns to the state of Temperance after serving a term overseas with the US army.

While he is struggling to fit back into society, his father is rubbed-out in a mob hit passed down by boss Frankie Constantine.

So starts Joey's mission to bring down the mobster, by rising to become head of the top crime syndicate.

So far, so B-movie. George Raft could have starred in this - probably did - back in the Forties, but it is the gameplay that makes the difference.

One of the most interesting features in Gangsters 2 - in fact, the only really new feature - is the day and night situations that you find yourself in.

If you want to rob a bank in broad daylight, then you send in a team of guys to force the money out in a stick-up,

Do it at night and you can send a team to break in, nice and quiet.

Members of your gang will have a bar that allows you to set their aggression rating to high, medium and low.

A high aggression will mean that when faced with the police, they will start shooting, bringing the Elliot Ness lot down to sort out the trouble.

Set it at low and you can have a reign of terror over them with a balloon on a stick.

So, do we have the same game as before? Hothouse claim Gangsters 2 will offer a whopping 85 hours of extortionate pleasure as people's mobster fantasies are realised.

But nothing dramatic has been added to the original idea and, after a long, hard look I have to say that Hothouse, riding on the crest of the Millionaire wave, have taken the mobster idea a bit too far - this is almost fraud.

If you never bought the original, this new one is improved and therefore a better buy.

If you got the original, all you will find here is that the headlights on your car become essential. RATING 6/10

X-rated squirrel

CONKER'S BAD FUR DAY Nintendo N64

IT'S almost as bad as finding Mickey Mouse is a secret flasher - is nothing sacred? Nintendo, creator of Mario, has turned out a game that's definitely not for kids.

This is hugely rude stuff from Rare, a squirrel-based swear-fest, full of raunchy double-entendres of which "Conker's nuts" is the least offensive.

If this was a movie, it would star Babs Windsor and Sid James. It would also be given an 18 certificate, which is exactly what has happened to the game.

By rights, I should dismiss this as a gratuitous collection of smut held together by cut-scenes - but I can't. Trouble is, this is good.

It is the Nintendo equivalent of South Park, laugh-out-loud fun, full of exploding cows, an obsession with the word "poo" and constant profanity as well as truly witty references to all sorts of things, including the movies.

Here, special mention has to go to the slo-mo bullets spoof taken from Matrix and the wonderfully recreated rip-off of the opening segment of Saving Private Ryan.

There are, however, two big disappointments with Conker. One is that any sensible gamer can finish it in about 12 hours or so - the problems are often pedestrian, involving carrying three chunks of cheese to feed a large rat.

Part of the problem is the "context sensitive" game system, which is fancy name for a cop-out. When the going gets tough, Rare simply give you what you need rather than let you find it out for yourself.

Secondly, as a game it's not terribly original. In essence, it is a 3D platform game and there's nothing here to beat Donkey Kong or Banjo Tooie, gamewise. Technically, though, this is stunning and the action hardly slows down.

The animations and range of expressions are simply incredible and the sheer number of multiplayer games available is astonishing.

This is better than anything Mario or Zelda could come up with - unless they can hire Conker's Scouse dung beetles. RATING 8/10

WINBACK

PlayStation 2 RATING 6/10

IN development since 1996, Koei's WinBack: Covert Operations has been around for quite some time and had mixed reviews when first released on the Nintendo 64 back in 1999.

Koei touted WinBack as the N64's Metal Gear Solid, but it was more like Time Crisis - and bombed anyway. Now it's back, this time for the new PS2 and the plot concerns a special gung-ho team, called SCAT, trying to "win back" a powerful satellite weapon from a terrorist group, who scatter the team as it heads out to the mission.

The story, WinBack's strongest trait, often changes depending upon hero Jean-Luc's performance.

The control scheme is innovative and annoying in equal parts - a case-sensitive action button. The enemy AI is a complete joke, but if the enemies were smart, the control scheme would make the game impossible.

Still, this a good time-waster until a new Metal Gear Solid arrives.

RATING 6/10

THE SIMPSONS WRESTLING

PlayStation

YOU thought wrestling couldn't get any stranger than WWF, or RAW? Wrong. Activision dips into Fox Television and delivers a no-holds-barred slam-dunk that stars all your favourite characters from The Simpsons.

Compared with traditional wrestling titles, this is a lightweight bout. There are three single-player championships to earn, 10 arenas and only 12 playable characters - Apu, Barney, Krusty, Willie, Homer, Lisa, Bart and Marge are available from the start. Later, you can pick up Bumblebee Man, Ned Flanders, Professor Frink and Moe.

The biggest fault is the gameplay - three-buttons, three-attacks. It means the Homers of this world can master it, but it also means variety and skill have left the building.

However, who cares when you can have Scots gardener Willie beating up Ned Flanders? RATING 7/10

CHEATS CHEATS CHEATS CHEATS CHEATS

SIMPSONS WRESTLING

PC CD ROM

CHEAT MODE: Win the New Challenger, Defender, and Champion circuits to unlock options that allows you to play as Itchy and Scratchy, Kodos and Kang, or Burns and Smithers, as well as an arena select option.

STAR WARS: EPISODE 1 - BATTLE FOR NABOO

Nintendo N64

EXPERT MODE: Enter the code NASTYMDE at the options menu.

PINK SPACESHIP: Enter the code RUAGIRL? at the options menu.

ADVANCED SHIELDS: Enter the code DROIDEKA at the options menu. Alternatively, advanced shields can be found in Level 1, behind an arch that, in turn, lies behind an AAT.

ALL UPGRADES: Enter OVERLOAD at the options menu.

UNLIMITED LIVES: Enter PATHETIC at the options menu.

DEVELOPER COMMENTARY: Enter TALKTOME at the options menu. Developer commentary, lasting about three minutes, can be heard in each level.

BLACK AND WHITE

PC CD ROM

CUSTOMISE VILLAGER NAMES: This involves editing a game file, so create a back-up copy of the file before proceeding. Use a text editor to edit the "names.txt" file in the game folder. You can change the names found in the file as desired, for example use friends or family. However, the number of names in the file must match the number listed in the first line.

UNLIMITED FOOD AND WOOD: Activate a Food or Wood Miracle. Then hold the Hand over the door of the village store or workshop and quickly and repeatedly press the Right Mouse Button. A large amount of food or wood will be created for very little mana.

STAR TREK: AWAY TEAM

PC CD ROM

TYPE cheater during the game to enable cheat mode. Then, type one of these codes.

Heal team - medic.

Complete current mission - iwin.

COSSACKS: EUROPEAN WARS

PC CD ROM

PRESS Enter, then type one of these codes to activate that cheat.

Toggle fog of war - supervizor.

Additional resources - money.

Press [Keypad 1-9] to change players - izmena.

Press P to access all units - multitvar.

Activate all codes except for resources - www.

SONIC SHUFFLE

Dreamcast

E-102 GAMMA - Buy the last picture of Amy in Sonic's room to unlock E-102 Gamma in versus mode.

SUPER SONIC - Buy all pictures of Sonic in Sonic's room to unlock Super Sonic in versus mode.

NIGHTS - Set the Dreamcast system date to December 24 to replace Lumina with NiGHTS. All characters may need to be unlocked first.

SIMON & SCHUSTER have announced Pearl Harbor: Zero Hour, a budget-priced flight game tied to the release of the Pearl Harbor movie. The game, for the PC will allow you to fly air missions against the Japanese in arcade-style battles including Midway and Guadalcanal. It will have 10 missions - including bombing and dogfighting - and include planes such as the P-51, the B-25 and the Corsair.
COPYRIGHT 2001 Scottish Daily Record & Sunday
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2001 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Apr 20, 2001
Words:1514
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