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The first one stunned, impressed and left with a feeling of disorientation. The second does the same job of serving up brutality and fun on the same plate. God of War was one of those games that entered the arena with a ruthless determination to impress and it beat its audience into admitting that it was on a whole different level of badass.

Kratos, the psychotic protagonist of the first game impressed upon us that bald people should be respected. In God of War 2 he is Ares' successor and pulls of an impressive display of godhood, conquering cities and unleashing his madness upon the country. It seems however that politics existed even in the Utopia of Olympus. The other gods don't like Kratos having all the fun of bashing cities and creating havoc. So they go and complain to Daddy Zeus. Zeus being the big man he is takes away his godly powers and Kratos is once again a mortal. Being the vengeful son of **tch Kratos vows revenge, only this time against all gods. To accomplish this feat he launches into an epic quest (what is it with Greeks and epic quests?) to find the Sisters of Fate and change his fate (flashes from Warrior Within come to mind). The story is still just as crazy as the first. The game stuffs (or tries to) almost every character in Greek mythology into the game and greatest thing about this is that you get to kick them around too. The break neck pace keeps throughout the game and you'll hardly find yourself bored.

The game familiarizes quickly and easily with anyone, even more so if you've played the first. The insane button bashing is still there and that might be a bit of a put off. There are always enough creatures around to slice, pound and mince. The fact that there are more techniques and combinations to mutilate the nearest Minotaur makes this game infinitely more brutal than the first and obviously more enjoyable. The Blades are still arguably the best weapon on offer but that doesn't mean that you don't have a choice of other weapons. In the first game the secondary weapons were cool but useless in general. Here they actually amount to something more than just a cool piece of metal.

With the next-generation of consoles out and flexing their muscles the PS2 seems like an old warhorse that's past its prime but is still trying to hold on. God of War 2 does a great job of snatching the attention away from the new consoles. The graphics of the game is jaw dropping when you take into consideration the PS2. The beautifully animated characters, the gigantic set pieces and the stunning cut scenes propel this game into the ranks of the best on the PS2. Don't get fooled though, this game brings the PS2 down on its knees screaming in agony. There are screen tears and glitches but that is immaterial compared to the brilliance of the game.

The set pieces are another cause for amazement. They are simply massive and there's no other way to describe them. You come across huge and varied set pieces that will not only enhance the experience of the game but by the time you get used to one the scene changes and a new enormous piece of scenery smashes into your senses. The sheer sense of size is insane as you will find out when you fight the Statue of Colossus at the start of the game.

The game has developed in other areas as well. There are more boss battles that are infinitely more difficult to win and yet more satisfying nonetheless. The game offers more unique mini-bosses to keep the insanity level in check and these aren't the generic hit-the-weak-spots type either. You actually have to break a sweat to pass through them. One example is the encounter with Icarus and the ensuing mid flight tussle. Also the game offers whole different types of levels that you have master that keeps you on your toes. The Pegasus and Griffon flight levels are such that they have whole new game play systems that you have to master. This may sound annoying but believe it isn't. Puzzle solving and the button pressing mini-games make a comeback and in the case of the latter you don't just encounter them to brutally finish of an enemy but even to get around the places.

The music score is awesome and is just as good as and even better at times than Hollywood movies. The exciting orchestral sound track intensely engages you into the whole atmosphere of ancient Greece. The sound effects are just as good. The sound of metal slicing through flesh, the crack of skulls smashing, snap of bones breaking are real enough to increase the already high level of violence.

In conclusion of all that I have yapped about, you have here a game that is a lot like the first God of War only this one is on steroids. If you played the first one, believe me this is even better.

Reviewed by Ksajid

The Plot
300 is based on Frank Miller's graphic novel of the same name, which is itself based on another movie, The 300 Spartans. The plot is a fictionalized account of the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 BC. However, don't let the 'fictionalized' part throw you off, the movie is way more loyal to history than Troy, Alexander or Kingdom of Heaven.

A group of Persian messengers arrive at Sparta and demands their submission to King Xerxes. Outraged at their behavior, King Leonidas of Sparta kicks them into a pit. He goes to the Oracle, but is suggested not to go to war.

Despite being warned otherwise, he gathers 300 of his best men (who have already sired children). As they make their way to battle other Greeks join them. Arriving at the narrow cliffs of Thermopylae (or "Hot Gates"), in sight of the Persian army, they build a wall to halt the Persians' advance.

Before the first battle starts, the Persians ask that the 300 drop their arms. King Leonidas responds, "Come and take them!" setting off the most beautiful battle scenes, in probably all of recorded film making history.

The Verdict
The film has little or no character development, the dialogues are hollow and short of being completely cheesy, the monologues are monotonous, the narration often irritates, and the plot leaves much to be desired. But that should not bother anyone!

The film succeeds in its visual innovation. One cannot possibly watch the entire film without using the word 'beautiful' at least once. Visually the film dropped me off my feet and I only saw an accursed 'hall-print'. I'm sure the original will have double the impact on anyone. The mix of live action and CGI creates beautiful landscapes (copied directly from the graphic novel), gorgeous backgrounds (again, copied directly from the graphic novel); and an amazing dimension to the characters that the screenplay fails to create.

Personally, I think 300 has a faster pace than the Lord Of The Rings trilogy, is more historically accurate than Troy, more compelling than Tristan and Isolde, and much more violent than Gladiator. However, I cannot claim that it is better than any of the aforementioned movies.

The film is hailed by critics as being innovative in its visual accomplishment. However it also garnered many a negative criticism for portraying the Persians as bloodthirsty zombies while the Greek are portrayed as noble and honourable men; most see this as a West versus East situation. I suggest you don't listen to the critics. They have complained about Sin City, they have complained about Borat, it's about time we make our own decisions.

By Ahmed Ahsiful Haque Niloy

Dull Men's Club
The Dull Men's club is for people who're boring, and are proud of being so. Over here, these boring folk gather from all over the globe to chat over and discuss non-thrilling activities, mostly topics like “battery-charge monitoring.” These dudes even have a recipe for boiling water. Worst/weirdest/saddest/vaguely-interesting/laughable-in-a-very-very-sad-and-weird-way thing is that these folk are actually serious about this.

Core77 Design Blog
If you're the artsy type, or is interested in design and anything like that, you should check out the Core77 website, especially the blog telling you about the latest ideas and coolest products of the design world and more. These guys have been in industrial-design for more than 10 years, so you can count on them to know what they're talking about.

(Even if you're not the artsy type, you might want to pay the site a visit. It's good to know what different people are so obsessed and interested about. Like the way I check out all the posts about advertising on GapingVoid.com. It's just nice to know, about different worlds of different people.)

Akihabara News
This is a blog featuring the latest technologies and coolest products introduced in Japan: stuff so advanced that it makes you realize just how far behind even the US and the rest of the western world is when it comes to technology for the masses.

Now and Then
Now and Then is a flickr group showing how the world around us changes with time. This gallery shows photos of places and buildings from around the world, one taken in the past and another taken in the near future, side by side to show just how much the passage of time affects our world. It's interesting to see, the contrast between the times… and often, when we stumble across a place that has hardly changed throughout the ages… and that feels nice, relieving, in an odd way. You'll see.

This one is a search-engine, for sounds. Upon your command it'll scour the web for the sounds you're looking for and provide a nice list, complete with speaker icons that let you sample the sound before downloading it. This thing would have been immensely helpful if I knew about this during my game-developing days. Finding good bits of usable sounds is immensely difficult. Plus, if you ever wanted to hear rare bits of noise that you never got to hear, now might be the time. Do you know really how a Kangaroo barks?

Patently Silly
A website dedicated to little inventions we never hear about, maybe rightfully so. Not many people would find much use for the "Battery-Powered Illuminated Ice Cube", would they? But still, they're interesting, no matter how silly. An electric candle that works on solar power isn't practical by any degree, but it does sound cool, in a way. And all these are real patented stuff, issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Should more of these inventions be available from the stores?

Tricks of the Trade
This site offers expert advice on all sorts of weird crap. From peeling onions to bungee jumping to dealing with angry customers, this site's got a wide range of topics, and always an expert in the field is brought in to share their expertise.

This one's a gallery of photos of teddy bears. Only, these once perfectly nice teddies have been cut open, emptied out, pushed inside-out, re-stuffed and stitched back. Nothing special, just a bunch of cute and cuddly teddy bears inside-out. Would you say this is inhuman?
Any emails and complements you've got send them to niloy.me@gmail.com


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