Tuesday, 24 January 2012

The Great Desktop PC Death Catastrophe! [PC]

Image "Out of Order" courtesy of Dan
Cut down in its prime, my PC has bitten the dust. It had been quite unwell for around a week, but has now lead to a nasty error message and constant crashing BEFORE Windows log-in. Oh poo. I know.

So here's how it was: I was razzing it up on Dawn of War II and having a majorly great time of it - so much so that I had about 50 screen shots ready to pack a review out with! - when things got very slow. The game reduced to a glitchy halting standstill and from then on: zip.

Obviously it goes without saying that the spate of PC game reviews I intended to write will have to be postponed until the crisis is resolved (that is: ANNO 1404, Dawn of War II & Chaos Rising, and some other Steam titles).

Now I have very little experience in the repairs/major maintenance-side of computers and so have had to read around on a few websites to find the general consensus to be "Oh bugger, you'd better save up some money". I am completely at a loss as to how to proceed.

So where do I go from here, friends and members of the public? How do I save/recover the stuff on my hard drive and what is the most cost-effective/best way to get me back up and gaming quickly?

Here are all the techy details on the PC:
  • Seagate ST3250310AS 250GB Hard Drive SATAII 7200rpm 8MB Cache
  • AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ Socket AM2 2.6GHz Energy Efficient L2 1MB (2x512KB) Cache
  • OCZ 2GB DDR2 800MHz/PC2-6400 CL 5-6-6-15 Value Series Memory
  • ASUS M3A78-CM 780V Socket AM2+ onboard graphics 8 channel audio mATX Motherboard 
  • Windows Vista Ultimate Edition
The machine will turn on - display advanced/BIOS settings pages - but will crash whenever you try to boot Windows. Safe mode etc. do not work, and nor does the memory error fix thingy that Windows tries - this just crashes in the middle of the process.

Any help you can offer would give a PC gamer back his gaming freedom, and give a reviewer access to his source materials. Please comment with any help / advice / suggestions. Thank you.

Image on this page is copyright of dan and can be found at http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/Computers_g62-Out_Of_Order_p30002.html

Monday, 2 January 2012

Burnout Crash [PS3] [QUICK&SHORT]

This titles keeps the giant car crashes and explosions from previous Burnout games, but this  is not a racer - instead it's a cunningly disguised puzzler that has enough depth to keep you playing for hours at a time - with 3 game modes across 18 maps and 270 medals to collect!

Major Points
Strategic - This game looks like a pile of explosive car wrecks and destroyed buildings, but is in fact more comparable to Tetris: lining up your pieces to make the biggest chains and destroying them at the right time so as to maximise your score. Each level has specific challenges, such as blowing up all buildings in the level, which earn you medals that allow you to progress through the game.
Gather cars on the road to cause crashes and time your explosions for the greatest destruction.
Exciting - There is of course the fun of smashing one car into another (although this doesn't quite have the impact of the previous titles in the series). This is made up for with a High Definition screen full of explosions, demolitions and "Super Features" providing spectacular finales - things like planes crashing, UFOs laser beaming down and giant mechas smashing everything.
The UFO Super Feature in action - destroying everything in sight.
Apparently Multi-player? - And this is another game that utilises the "Autolog" functionality, which displays your best scores and medals to your online friends. This feature only works, however, if you have any friends who play Burnout Crash (which I do not). It also looks for friends of friends playing Burnout Crash (again, none for me). So basically, all the online features are unavailable as this game is unpopular in my social circles - with no option to go looking for online challengers elsewhere.

Explosive thrills - crash, boom, screech, smash, bang, *sirens*, crash, boooooooom. If you like things crashing into each other and blowing up (a lot) then this will keep you happy.
Tactics, Challenges, Medals - there's a great deal of replay value to each of the levels in the game, requiring several tries to get the highest score and to beat the more awkward tasks. Much more depth here than you may initially think.
Autolog Failure - The highly addictive online features are only open to people who have friends who play Crash. Well, either I'm wildly unpopular or this game quite hasn't caught on yet - so I just get a message saying "Feature unavailable at the moment". A better matchmaking service, so that you could find other people to compete against would be of great benefit here.

Images in this review copyright of Criterion Games and taken from their website: http://www.criteriongames.com/CRASH/