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Southport Reporter®

Edition No. 91

Date:- 21 March 2003

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(Microsoft game studios)
NO matter what has been said in the gaming media about Freelancer, the only thing that can be said about it is that it is an awesome game. Indeed from the beginning, the loading screens seduce you in to its world during installation, no matter what the rules of advertisement are at present. This is the ultimate in autosuggestion, and will compel any one to buy this game.

Freelancer carries a history of 800 years in which conflict, adventure and civilization in which societies battle for territory, commerce and ultimately dominance over rivals portrayed in the game. Despite its comparisons to a storyline to a game released early last year – Anachronox, it remains compelling. 

Graphics are a high feature of Freelancer and it is clear that Microsoft have taken great care in developing the environment, realism and modeling sculpture as it remains very smooth, even though interaction has taken a fall for the adventure genre, in which the mouse driven culture is dominant in this game. 

Space combat sounds like it is going to be awkward, but the developers have taken care of this by giving easy access controls for combat and flight. And the iconic on screen keyboard controls for movement and commands add to durability.

Completing missions and trading or just to focus on one or the other entices the warm plot and Freelancers control features simply as it takes a step by step approach for play – as some time is needed to gain skill and mastery of the environment.

But if this is the Elite for the gaming future of good game play, graphics and controls and trading and the verge of MMORPG gaming tickles your fancy. It simply is a must. Microsoft appears to be learning from past mistakes with recent releases and it is a pity that there are not more games of this quality on the market at present. 
5 out of 5
Masters of Orion 3 (Codemasters)
AFTER watching the intro sequence of this game, it leaves the deceptive impression of the promise of MO3 with a mouth watering experience. Sadly, it only succeeds to leave a bitter after taste. 
The success of previous releases of the series appears to have bloated the confidence of the game designers to unparalleled heights of delusion. As the emphasis for complexity, and down right ignorance for this release, colludes to drive away from its original purpose.

Complaints of an uninspiring manual seem justified as the flow of instruction, detail and endless guides stuff the belly 
of information overload – guaranteed to send any gamer packing to days gone by. 
Master of Orion 3 may have much to offer from an illustrative point of view that adds basic flight control or computer assisted flight RTS game type, but the complicated game play will turn most away from it, even if some hardened gamers will be enticed by the challenge. 

Presentation seems to be the key with MO3 with detailed system maps and high information are superb. But frankly it’s just a little too much for most and needs the most battle hardened civilization 3 players to withstand the level of dedication required to get any level of enjoyment from it. Too detailed and complex to gain instant appeal and very poor game play adds to the lack of enjoyment.
2 out of 5
Review by Eric Lion Taylor.

Eternal Flame:- Shadows of Light

QUAKE and Unreal tournament may have set the standards for First person shooter games, but often the question on the arrival of a new release in the genre what else is new?, Arouses many provoking thoughts.

Put simply, this is a fairly standard FPS with very little emphasis on plot, storyline or for that matter - challenge. But don’t be dismayed, what this tiny game lacks is easily regained by the slick game play that may not have the best graphical approach for our day; it has a certain joi de vivre – especially with the added array of ungainly weaponry Eternal flame. Yet answers the original question about what this approach can bring to an already tired genre. 

Basically, and lets not make any bones about it, this release is an excuse to let shoot up
everything that moves, without guilt being a concern. The weaponry features crossbows and spells, obviously requiring differing tactics from its Quake counterpart. And the monsters and enemies are well rendered and smooth even when activity becomes hectic towards the ending. Eternal flame is high on appeal for mindless violence and drama, but low on ideas for an already overstated genre.

3 out of 5.
Review by Eric Lion Taylor.

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