Matt Hoffman’s Pro BMX 2

Gamestyle Archive Intro: well I never, here’s another review from the Marquis De Sade himself. Dating from around August 2002, here he relives his childhood bike fantasty.

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Pity me. In my youth, I spent many an hour learning to ride a bike the hard way. Not that I was performing handstands whilst steering the bike, I hasten to add – that’s for Wave Race afficionados. Instead, my parents sadistically bought me a Raleigh Chopper. The bike that when you fell off, you required two firemen and a blanket to catch your fall. The bike that had all of the turning cicle prowess of a juggernaut, and the bike that, most worryingly, was mocked at by many a schoolkid, as they’d upgraded to BMX’s, whilst I had painfully remained in the 70’s. But thanks to the wonders of videogame entertainment, I can now forget about the past, and make up for that lost time, courtesy of Matt Hoffman’s Pro BMX 2.

From the stable of Activisions’ O2 series, Matt Hoffman’s Pro BMX 2 (MHPB2) is insantly recognisable to those who have played other ‘extreme’ games such as the eponymous Dave Mirra or Tony Hawks. Sadly, the game offers nothing new, as if content to offer more of the same. After a lengthy FMV opening (you know the drill; ‘dudes’ performing ‘zany’ stunts) accompanied by the dulcet tones of Iggy Pop, the main menu is presented with the usual options: Road Trip (the story mode), Session (an imposed time limit to rack up as much points as possible), Free Ride and Multiplayer. A park editor is included too, and it won’t take long for any budding creators out there to conjure up a decent park. Road Trip is the core of the game, and from here, you choose from one of the ten ‘real’ BMX’ers (though more can be unlocked), as you make you way across the ‘States, demonstrating your prowess.

Predictably, only one area is unlocked at the beginning, and in order to move to other locations, you have to amass ‘trip points’, which are gained via completing objectives on each level, as well as fancy combos. One each level is cleared, its onto the Hoffman’s tour bus, and a brief, documentary-style FMV clip is shown, highlighting the man himself, along with his friends commenting on the scene etc, and these are actually quite interesting. And it’s here that the lack of imagination is severley evident. Chanllenges range from attaining so many points, to collecting gas cans, or hitting switches etc. Many of the challenges are therefore simply a memory test, and lack any zest. As is usual with many of the ‘extreme’ games, a time limit of two minutes is imposed for each run, so there’s not much time to get used to the levels intricacies (though this is alleviated by the Free Ride option).

MHPB2 is playable enough, although biking feels more inflexible compared to skateboarding, and it does take a while before any decent combos can be racked up. Graphically, it’s a mixed bag. The bikers themselves are detailed, and instantly recognisable for the enthusiasts out there, and the bikes move with convincing grace, and for a game that requires a lot of precision, the frame rate is thankfully very fluid. But the levels are drab, and lacking in real detail. Colours are washed out, and textures are simplistic. There’s no doubting that Microsoft’s console could handle far more than what is thrown at it here. If the game had been designed with the Xbox solely in mind, one would’ve expect prettier visuals.

As for the music, well you can expect the usual smattering of nu-metal, angst-ridden tunes, but if it’s not to your taste, tracks from your hard disk can be used instead.(which oddly, cannot be selected from the main menu, but from pasuing in-game). The sound effect are convincing, though hardly outstanding. And therein lies the problem with MHPB2. It reeks of mediocrity. There’s nothing inherently wrong with it, nor is there anything that’s going to grab your attention. Whilst there is always a curiosity as the next levels design, you know that you’ll be still trying to complete the same challenges, and it’s all a bit tedious. Designing your own park offers a little more longevity, but the game remains rather sterile.

It goes without saying that if you enjoy your ‘extreme’ games, then enjoyment will be gained for those who like to rack up high-scoring combos and manuals, but for anyone about take their first plunge in the genre, the best bet looks likely to be Tony Hawks Pro Skateboarding 4.

Gamestyle Score: 6/10

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Rocky

Gamestyle Archive Intro: one of the most memorable reviews on Gamestyle was a one-off review from a forum character known as the Marquis De Sade. After all these years I’ve forgotten his real name (maybe Steven?) however he was one of the hardcore supporters of Gamestyle and its forum, which was a great place to engage with. This unique review dates from November 2002.

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“Laaaadies and Gentlemeeeeen, welcome to the clash of the titans. Tonight, we proudly present the contention for the heavyweight championship of the woooorld!!!!!!!” In the red corner, hailing from the northeast of England, and from the corridors of Rage Newcastle, wearing the blue shorts with red and white trim, is Roooccccckkkkkkyyyyy!!!!!!!!”

Crowd politely clap

“And in the brown/yellow corner, currently residing from the Bastille prison in France, and clearly needing a wash, is none other than the sick, the twisted, the boy-ass buyer, the Marrrrrrquis De Sade!!!!!!!!” Rapturous applause from the crowd

ROUND ONE

Ding-ding

De Sade is initailly impressed by the opening sequnce of moves by the contender, displaying clips from the movie, with THAT music, and perfectly getting the gamer into the spirit of the proceedings. After a flurry of jabs and hooks from Rocky, De Sade delivers a strong uppercut when at the end of the intro, a shameless plug for the DVD boxset appears.

Ding-ding

ROUND TWO

Ding-ding

Seconds out, and the user is given the option for Exhibition, Sparring, Tournament (which has to be unlocked), and the ubiquitous Movie Mode, which is the meat and potatoes for the single player. Decent rendered cut-scenes permeate the action, with the sound sampled from the actual movies, which perfectly recreate the mood of the celluloid outings. A series of quick punches to the ribs, causes concern to the debauched one’s trainers.

Ding-ding

ROUND THREE

Ding-ding

Round three then, and the first impressions are good. The graphics are superbly realised, with each fighter looking as you’d expect them to be (special mention of course, to Clubber Lang’s infamous mohican), replete with sweat-soaked skin and bulging muscles. Each punch delivers a convincing connection, and you’ll wince as blood and sweat spray from the pores of the receiving face. The depiction of the boxers grow more bloody as the fight wears on, and you’ll often find blood strewn around the canvas. The arenas too, are worthy of mention, and grow as you move from backstreet gyms, to fully-fledged halls. Unlike most other sporting games, the crowds are polygonal, and far more realistic looking than the usual cardboard cutouts. De Sade is surprised at the movement of the ‘Italian Stallion’, as he ducks and weaves, pounding the libertine with blows to the side of his head.

ROUND FOUR

Ding-ding

As soon as the bell sounds, De Sade is straight out, with nothing to lose. He has been impressed by this young American, but having tried the game on default (Contender), and finding the game frustratingly difficult, he leads in with a barrage of punches to the ‘Stallions midriff. Initially, the game is found to be very unforgiving. These boxers are tough, and show no mercy. Furthermore, it helps to learn some combos to rattle in, but further play reveals quite a strategic game. Training (should you ignore the standard points added to speed, stamina etc, and gamble to try manually) is tough too, and you’ll stumble on each lesson until you’ve had a fair few goes. Unfortunately, you can’t practice any of these training lessons from the main menu. The bell sounds, and Rocky retreats to his corner, surprised at the deftness from De Sade, but wondering why his breeches should be undone.

FINAL ROUND

Ding-ding

Both fighters, eye-balling for the last time, meet once again. After a few hours play, it really clicks in. The buttons are mapped to your brain, and fighting each boxer reveals their weakness. And you exploit it. You see the opening, and try to lure your oppenent into the corner. And you get him there. And you realise that this is your chance. The uppercuts rain in, his mouth spurting blood, as you rain in a few combos. His energy bar rapidly dropping, as you unleash a volley of superbly timed punches. And in a spasmodic twist, his body impacts upon the canvas. The sensation is incredible, and in the Rocky context, you’ll want to topple the arrogant Creed, the ox-like Lang, the towering Drago, the upstart Gunn, alongside the other 20+ opponents.

In slow motion, De Sade, now tiring badly, swings with all his might to Rocky’s face. But his opponent is more powerful and agile than any other boxing game he has saw before, and he dodges. Dodges well enough to reply with a stunning counter-punch that sends De Sade reeling on his heels, and onto his stinking back. The crowd rise, and instead of jeering, they chant the new heir to the throne “ROCKY, ROCKY, ROCKY!!!!!” Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the best boxing game in the world.

Gamestyle Score: 8/10

Sega Soccer Slam

Gamestyle Archive Intro: way back in the early days of the Xbox, I enjoyed Soccer Slam as it was something different to all the Pro Evo versus FIFA chat that dominated the pitch. Perhaps over scored slightly now but hindsight is a wonderful thing! This dates from October 2002. 

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We’ve been playing this one for a while now, and seeing as it’s been around on the shelves of importers for far too long we thought it was about time for a review. Sega Soccer Slam is an incredibly over-the-top representation of what we like to call football – it’s 3 a side (plus goalie) Midway-style madness, in fact developers Black Box are responsible for the recent Midway branded NHL Hitz 20-02, and Soccer Slam plays (and to some extent, looks) very similar.

Of course, that’s meant in the lightest possible sense, as nothing around at the moment is anywhere near as outrageous as this game – it really is complete mayhem from start to finish, and manages to incorporate the best bits from the likes of Red Card, Virtua Striker and oddly enough, The Matrix all into one game. Each team is based around a particular stereotype (without being too offensive) and each player is entirely individual with their own appearance, playing style, special moves and voices – and we don’t just mean a different face texture either – these players really are as different from each other as they could be without actually leaving the team colours.

Once you’ve picked a team and a game mode, and set up the sides depending on how many friends you’ve got over, it’s into the match. You’ve got the obvious pass and shoot buttons, but there’s also a deke move and a defensive block too, plus power-ups and turbos assigned to the triggers, and skillful use of all these is often the way to succeed. The pitches seem tiny to begin with, and it’s possible to get from one end to another in less than 3 seconds, but once you start to appreciate the moves and get used to the pace of the game it’s much more manageable. There’s not just one-off exhibition matches either, Soccer Slam comes complete with a full compliment of leagues and cups, and success in these events unlocks the usual array of extra teams, player statistics, additional (equally-mad) stadiums and other nice treats, which seriously helps the one player life-time as you’ll find yourself playing Soccer Slam alone just as much as you would with mates just to unlock more features for the next multi-player evening!

Unique on-the-pitch moves include holding down shoot for far longer than you need to which results in a spectacular volley, bicycle kick or header combo, and best of all if you manage to keep possession for a few seconds a spotlight in your teams colours will appear and randomly circle the pitch for a while. Get your player in that area and tap the shoot button to pull off the bullet-time feature which enables you to carefully pin-point the exact area to shoot at whilst everyone else is frozen for a second or so – a superb touch and one that fits the whole theme of the game. Surprisingly, graphically Soccer Slam is the best looking football game around, on any format – the players are drawn from massive amounts of polygons that give each of them their own unique appearance, and are equally expertly textured and shaded.

The same brilliant presentation extends to the rest of the pitch, and even the hundreds of people in the crowds are all fully 3 dimensional, and all this at a rock solid 60 frames a second – a sight that really has to be seen to be believed. The sound department is equally impressive, with laugh-out-loud funny commentary, excellent spot-effects and some cheesy but perfectly placed music snippets whenever you pull something off – it’s all very arcadey yet consistently entertaining and never annoying, a feat that must have took some serious play-testing from Black Box. If you’re looking for something more exciting than the usual dull ‘simulations’ out there, or just want a quick blast with a few mates, Sega Soccer Slam is unbeatable, and highly recommended.

Gamestyle Score: 8/10

Crazy Taxi 3: High Roller

Gamestyle Archive Intro: great game, well the first was. Certainly one of those franchises gamers without a Dreamcast wanted to experience on their own machine. The 2nd release was bigger and better with more challenges and games. By the time the third came around, well, the taxi was in need of an overhaul.

This review is from Alex and will date from 2002. As you can see it ends abruptly and is technically incomplete although I suspect we know how that last few words went…

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Despite being a big fan of the first game on Dreamcast I didn’t feel the need to play the exact same game again on Playstation 2. And then it arrived on Gamecube, and although it’s still fun, it was exactly the same, with nothing new. And guess what, now that the franchise has made it to the Xbox, it’s still basically an identical experience.

Split into 4 sections, High Roller presents eager gamers with the original West Coast course, the Little Apple level from Crazy Taxi 2 (slightly remixed, and at night), a brand new night-time course called Glitter Oasis, and, surprise surprise, some more crazy box minigames, this time arranged in the shape of an X. The Original and Around Apple levels are also completely absent…

The game plays just as it always has – pick up passengers and dash around the level until you get to their destination and collect the fare. Repeat until you’re out of time. In Crazy Taxi 3 you get all the ‘additions’ from the 2nd game, such as the Crazy Jump and multiple passengers (even on the West Coast course) and some pretty fire effects every time you do something crazy. There are a few new bits on the earlier levels, usually reached with the jump. The multiple passengers offers a new twist on the gameplay but the repetitive yapping from the back-seat drivers is irritating enough to make you drive past them most of the time, and the crazy jump only serves to confuse the perfect level design from the first in the series and make the others more maze-like, which is a shame as the 2 harder levels really aren’t as playable and as fun as the first ever was, and is.

Shockingly, there’s still no multiplayer. Even on a machine as powerful as Microsoft’s Sega still haven’t managed to get in a split screen mode. Even more disturbing is the fact that there’s still horrendous pop-up and slowdown all over the place, although the textures and polygon counts have been upped slightly. Load-times are also longer than the Gamecube’s, seemingly making no practical use of the Xbox hard disk. And although Sega have added a few new songs to the tracklist, you can’t use your own soundtracks, so if you’re not a fan of The Offspring et al, it’s tough.

A disappointing release, for sure. If Hitmaker can rectify some of these problems for the PAL release we’ll take another look, but in the meantime don’t waste your

Gamestyle Score: 3/10

Gamestyle Wikipedia Page

Thanks to Rogue Soul for the heads up on the Gamestyle Wikipedia page. This was a useful resource to track the history of the website and the team involved – especially the early days. Technically its gone from Wikipedia for whatever reason they want to quote (they’ve lost my pending donation)  and any future support.

However we do have the images of the page and I’ll copy the text beneath as well. That’s what an archive is all about.

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Gamestyle is a UK-based independent computer and video gaming website that was launched in 1999 by Dean Swain, under the name Dreamers128.

Gamestyle covers video game software reviews, previews, news, and other information. After starting out on its own, Gamestyle was linked with a small American media network called FanGen. Later, Gamestyle broke free of FanGen and merged with fellow independent site GameHub.

To date, Gamestyle remains independently operated.

History

Launched in 1999 by Dean Swain, the site focused exclusively on Dreamcast games, under the guise Dreamers128. Approximately a month after launch, the site rebranded to Gamestyle.co.uk, became a multi-format site, and began to cover all console systems – though coverage of other consoles was restricted to previews alone.

With sites of this stature somewhat of a rarity, Gamestyle was quickly tied to a small American media network named FanGen who covered running costs of the website. Under FanGen, Gamestyle turned to become a more humorous, ‘punky’ website which displayed images of semi-nude women on the front page.

The FanGen link remained until Gamestyle merged with another UK independent, GameHub. This merger saw an increase in visitors to the site, due to the popularity of GameHub. With each newer build of the website, Gamestyle progressively lost its attitude and tamed the humour in written articles.

To date, the site runs primarily on gamestyle.com and is now funded by Dean Swain, Dave Carlson, Matthew Cox and Jason Julier.

Main site

Gamestyle’s main page displays the latest news, reviews, previews, and links to areas for the following platforms: Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, Nintendo DS, PlayStation Portable, Xbox, Nintendo GameCube and Game Boy Advance. Visiting each console section shows a list of the latest articles, the most popular games on that console, and an index method for users to track down games of interest as quickly as possible.

The new version of Gamestyle launched on 11 April 2010. The main page was launched a few days earlier but the final release updated the review and preview hubs, allowing further searches and the highlighting of top scoring articles and random pieces from the archives.

Reviews and rating system

Gamestyle has a strict review policy and they themselves believe their reviews to be trustworthy and unbiased, granting a fair review score. While none of the writing team are professionals, Gamestyle delivers new content daily on weekdays and also at weekends.

Though in articles, Gamestyle refers itself in third person, staff writers are also credited. Reviews are also listed on GameRankings,[2] Metacritic,[3] Rotten Tomatoes,[4] andMobyGames.

Their reviews were considered highly enough to be included alongside IGN and Electronic Gaming Monthly on Nintendo‘s UK marketing print campaign for Metroid Prime. These adverts were printed in numerous gaming magazines, on advertising hoardings across UK towns and cities and also online.[citation needed]

Developments

Gamestyle is constantly looking to evolve and improve the site. In March 2007 a new feature was launched that connected any posted news story, with a related topic in the forum. This allowed users to discuss events and offer opinions on breaking news in the world of videogames.

2008 version

January 2 saw the launch of the latest version of the Gamestyle site. Then new modern, white look was a dramatic change from its predecessor.

Blog

On June 22, 2008 Gamestyle introduced its own blog. The aim of this extension was to attract new regulars to the site and provide an outlet for the whole team to provide extra comments on their reviews or gaming news. The blog is an open forum for staff members to post about anything from films to their latest review.

2010 Version

Arguably the best version of Gamestyle so far. The 2010 edition incorporated comment functions for the first time in years, allowing users of Facebook & Twitter to give their opinions on articles.

2010 Upgrade

As of 1 November 2010, Gamestyle started coverage of mobile phone releases with Fruit Ninja being the first review. This date also marked its arrival on the Opera portal. The front end and forum were matched under the same banner design, allowing greater ease of navigation.

Retro Gamer Magazine Website Of The Month

In issue 60 of the popular Retro Gamer magazine, Gamestyle received their website of the month award.

“Gamestyle has been around now for a staggering ten years and remains one of the most entertaining non-corporate gaming websites around. Featuring a thriving community, Gamestyle prides itself on its well-written and non-biased reviews and covers everything from the latest 360 and PS3 releases to the classics like Metroid and Football Manager.

Indeed, one of Gamestyle’s greatest strengths is that it’s able to offer something for everyone and as a result is a true gamer’s website, with polite and enthusiastic forum members and a small core team of talented writers. Oh and if you fancy a giggle then look for the Project Zero/Fatal Frame review in their massive archive.”

2012 Hack and Rebuild

In 2012 Gamestyle was the victim of an attack and had to rebuild from the very bottom again. Despite losing everything, the current team has pushed on to keep the Gamestyle name running. The focus has shifted somewhat with more reviews based around ‘Indie’ titles and has seen the site build up a solid relationship with indie developers over the months. The team is much smaller now, but by no means any less dedicated.

The reviews are still coming and the site has undergone another redesign.

2013 Back To Social Media

In 2013 Gamestyle decided to get back into the social media space. The Facebook page has become active again along with our Twitter account. All articles will be found on both and the team encourage users to interact.

Gamestyle Offline

Gamestyle also creates and hosts a downloadable PDF magazine. Now published on an infrequent basis, Gamestyle Offline[5] is intended for the visitor to print their own copy for ‘on-the-go’. Gamestyle maintains that download figures of each issue are promising, and are known to have worked with video game publishers such as Vivendi Universal to create special editions.

At the close of 2006 there are eleven issues of the magazine, three of which are special editions. Each issue contained content that one may not typically find on the main site, such as interviews with developers and features on specific subjects. Gamestyle has been known to publish reviews of various titles in Gamestyle Offline, before publishing them online, as a selling point of the PDF magazine.

As of January 9, 2008, Gamestyle began a five-part series called ‘Gamestyle Offline: The Missing Issue’. This brought together the five remaining unpublished features that were intended for Issue 10 which was put together at the end of 2005 with the intention of releasing a new issue in early 2006. Number 10 was meant to represent a new start for the series, with a new look and a new issue editor but unfortunately the project never saw the light of day.

Gamestyle Live podcast

The spirit of the Offline magazine has been carried onto a new format, the podcast. The show covers all the latest news, site developments, reviews, releases and some opinions. It is available via the website or one can subscribe with iTunes.

Community

The Gamestyle forum now has over 1000 members, many who are regular visitors. While this number is smaller than other communities, it enables a more personal level of interaction between members, many of whom take part in meet ups to share their love of video games.

Staff

Owner: Dean Swain

Development: Matthew Cox (design) and Dave Carlson (implementation)

Editor: Jason Julier

PR Contact: Bradley Marsh

Writers: Bradley Marsh, Ben Gleisner-Cooke, Mark Ford, Gareth Chappell, Stef Snell, Adam Gulliver, Simon Farrow

Previous Staff: Andrew Revell, Andy Lucas, Anna Ghislaine, Colin Whiteside, Dan Gill, Daniel James, Gareth Chappell, Garry Webber, Gopinath Chandran, Hanley, Tom Knowles, Usman Zia, Richard Meerman, Drew Middlemas

Other previous staff writers for Gamestyle have gone onto further their career, include Garnett Lee of 1UP.com,[6] Ollie Barder of The Guardian and Darren Jones, retro editor ofgamesTM and Retro Gamer.

Webarchive: http://web.archive.org/web/20151218121356/https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gamestyle

Blinx: The Time Sweeper

Gamestyle Archive Intro:  even after all this time I recall Blinx. A much hyped game for the newly arrived Xbox it really couldn’t meet the expectations levelled at it by the press and PR machine.

Thinking back I probably just played the demo and left it there. When piecing together this review from 2002 and Alex, I’ve just found out there was a sequel in 2004!

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Blinx, then. According to some it’s the single most important game since Halo – the Xbox equivalent of Super Mario Sunshine, or Jak and Daxter – a genre-defining time-shifting adventure of epic preportions. But behind the hype, the glossy magazine adverts and carefully-selected screenshots is Blinx really just another lifeless platformer, soon to be completely forgotten by everyone except the publisher’s accountant?

Well, yes. Blinx, sadly, is the most recent case of over-hyping a sub-standard game, the likes of which we haven’t seen since ET on the Atari, and we all know what famously happened to the thousands of copies of that, don’t we? Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure that Blinx will fly off the shelves at your local EB, but that’s more due to some ‘favourable’ reviews in the gaming press and a lack of viable alternatives for your cash than actual merit. However, the very fact that you’re reading Gamestyle means you’re a discerning gamer who’s not easily convinced by a 100 page review, 20 large screenshots and a 90% mark, and hopefully you’ll come away from this particular review with a more balanced opinion of the game. Microsoft need a marketable mascot – there’s no secret there – the mere sight of Mario and his proud purple point-of-sale is enough to sell the game, never mind the console to play it on, but without this identity the Redmond crew are struggling to penetrate the mass-market.

Blinx is the first real attempt to do this – the game itself is little more than a vehicle for the eponymous feline’s debut on the console, but unfortunately it’s just not a good enough game to make people take notice, and any further title with the same lead character is going to face the same problems, regardless of improvements down the line. At it’s heart, Blinx is a simple platform/adventure but the unique feature is the cat’s ability to make use of various time controls along the way. The story’s not entirely relevant, displaying a disappointing lack of invention with the usual save-the-world pretext, and the way the game flows is along the same elementary lines.

With 8 differently themed areas (each with 4 sub-levels inside) the process is both linear and tired – dispatch each enemy (by sucking up trash and firing it back out at them) to move onto the next sub-level, and then defeat the boss in the 4th to move onto the next area. Repeat, ad infinitum. Not only is this an insult to gamers used to a more open path through a game, it’s also totally void of any replayability, such is the banal level design and laughable monsters, which almost entirely resemble blobs of jelly. The time manipulation aspect, however, is novel, if nothing else. It’s based around the collection of little gems – collect 4 and the game sees if you’ve got 3 of the same – if you have you get one use of the relevant time morphing ability, collect 4 of the same and you get two goes.

It’s worth mentioning that these time-powers are the single positive aspect of the entire package, and even then they grow tiresome very quickly and do little to alleviate the boredom of troughing through the game. You need to know which powers will be needed at any particular moment (the events you use them in are scripted, for the most part, and often only one time power will be of any use) but they work very much like a tape-recorder. Use a Pause power and the game temorarally slows to allow you to move, Matrix-like, undisturbed past the stationary monsters (not that you won’t still have to return and kill them anyway later), use the Record to do one thing, then play it back allowing two Blinx’s on the screen at once, and so on. Whilst undoubtedly original in concept, they don’t ever make enough of an impact to warrant the developers patenting the ideas – I seriously doubt Miyamoto’s got anything to worry about here in terms of innovation.

Technically, Blinx is also somewhat of a non-starter. Whilst those screenshots look impressive, in motion the game sloths about at a shockingly low frame rate given the pathetic AI and the not-exactly high polygon counts the Xbox has to deal with. Whilst the textures are passable, the poor level design and enemy characterisation means that the art never really comes through, and the often claustrophobic corridors and basic outdoor areas suggests the developers never really got to grips with the development kits at all. Worst of all, though, is the camera – not since Resident Evil have I been forced to battle so many enemies without actually being able to see them on screen, such is the totally amateurish camera mechanics. Sonically it’s a little better – the music is fine and the sound effects are well placed and superbly engineered within the 5.1 soundscape.

Under the surface probably lies some excellent ideas and concepts but all too often the best ideas are scrapped by the publishers as they try to work a game into something more ‘sellable’ and mass-market. Thankfully, some developers are left to make their own decisions and in some cases (Ico, Project Eden, Super Monkey Ball) a simple idea becomes something beautiful, and I can only wonder what Blinx would have played like had some of those brainstorming sessions been committed to DVD. As it is, Blinx is unrewarding, derivative, insulting and just plain dull, and worse of all, shamefully ignorant of the huge leaps forward in level design, characterisation and game structure and in the last decade, and as such is best avoided.

Gamestyle Score: 4/10