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Weekend: Game Check.

NBA Street 3, Xbox, pounds 39. 99 PREVIOUS incarnations of the NBA Street series have managed to capture the essence of end-to-end `ballin' mayhem, with a humorous 'street' angle to the gameplay.

The third instalment refines everything we've already seen and improves upon it, providing an enjoyable pick-up-and-play sports title that will also satisfy gamers who are in it for the long run. It also provides an excellent alternative to EA's official NBA Live title, which is much more serious.

Rating: 4/5 Slam dunking.

Ace Combat: Squadron Leader, PS2, pounds 39. 99

While flight simulation games might offer up the realism of cockpit knobs twisting and button pushing, they can be a bit dull. Thank goodness the Ace Combat series has put the emphasis on gameplay, seeking to engage you in hi-tech, highs peed dog-fights at every opportunity.

And, if you thought Ace Combat 4 was good, you'd better fasten that seat belt a little bit tighter for this baby. Beautiful graphics, excellent sound, a great story and some unbelievable cinematics make this the perfect aerial experience.

4/5 Rocking and rolling

LNER Pacifics, PC, pounds 14. 99 Now train sets are one thing a highly collect able toy, and probably something you'll keep in the loft for pure nostalgic reasons. A train simulator on the PC now that's just getting weird.

But some people out there must like it as, hot on the heels of Train Simulator, comes the LNER Pacifics addon, a collection of the finest and most technically accurate models of the Gresley and Thompson Express Pacifics engines period.

To be honest, it's not the most exciting of titles, but for those who prefer their graphics to be realistic rather than fast-paced fantasy, this is just the ticket.

3/5 Not a fat controller in sight

Banjo Pilot, GBA, pounds 24. 99 Fans of Mariokart will know the drill here, and they won't be dazzled by the different array of cartoon characters or the fact that these races take place in the air rather than on the asphalt.

Banjo Pilot is a cutesy racer pure and simple, boasting a number of nicely designed tracks, numerous power-ups and customised aircraft. It's by no means original, but it certainly delivers in terms of addictive qualities.

4/5 Take the high road
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Copyright 2005 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Feb 22, 2005
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