Category Archives: Reviews

This section is for game reviews.

Review: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 7200rpm HDD

Intro:

I will state from the beginning that I am a Seagate fanboy, but I will try to give a fair review on this product. What I mean by that is I won’t glorify it anymore then I would another drive.

Price:

I got this drive on sale at BestBuy for $79.99, but the retail price is $99.99 so I guess it’s a good deal! (If you think $0.10 per gigabyte is a good price)

Packaging:

Seagate did a really good job when it came to packaging this product! There was no bubble rap, but they did put the drive in foam end caps so at no time did the drive ever touch the box. The drive came in an anti-static bag which was good for placing the drive on while I routed the SATA cable for the new drive.

Contents of Box:

The box came with a few things in it…

-          Seagate Barracuda 3.5in internal drive (of course :/)

-          SATA interface cable

-          SATA power cable

-          CD with DiskWizard software and manual

-          Quick start guide

-          Mounting screws

-          5 year limited warranty

Performance:

Well, for a storage drive this is amazingly fast. I have the 250GB version of this drive for my boot drive. It was a big difference from the old IDE hdd I had. I boot a lot of Virtual Machines from this drive and it is amazingly fast (besides Windows Vista), For the average user I say that a 5400rpm hard drve (for storage) will do the job, but if you need speed, just go for the faster drive.

Overview:

This drive is amazing! It is very sturdy and quiet. My case fans (on low) are louder than the drive at full speed! I give this hard drive a 5 out of 5! I definitely recommend it to anyone.

Original Post: http://www.nickmiller.co.cc/2010/review-seagate-barracuda-1tb-7200rpm-hdd/

EasyBCD 2.0 Makes Dual-Booting Easier, Now Supports Windows 7

EasyBCD 2.0 Makes Dual-Booting Easier, Now Supports Windows 7

Windows only: Bootloader tweaking utility EasyBCD makes dual booting between Windows, Linux, and even OS X an easy task, and the latest version updates with support for Windows 7 and newer Ubuntu versions with grub2.

Once you’ve installed the application, you can easily edit, rename, reorder, add entries, and customize just about anything in the bootloader sequence for any number of installed operating systems. You can access a set of tools that will let you backup, restore, and repair your bootloader, and even change your boot drive.

The new 2.0 release of the application comes with a slew of changes, the most notable including Windows 7 support, bootable ISO images, and adding bootable USB drives to the bootloader. It’s well worth a look if you’re setting up a dual-boot configuration.

Article Written by Nick Miller of www.nickmiller.co.cc

The 92nd Review of – Ski Air Mix

Hi, before I start this review I would like to say that I’m thinking of doing these type of reviews as a “regular” feature. Anyway back to the game review…

The video game I am about to review today is called Ski Air Mix, (sounds thrilling doesn’t it) for the PlayStation one. I don’t really know how I got this game but I think it was in a bundle of some sort with many of my other cheap PS1 games which will most likely gain there own spots on this blog, you can tell the type of games that will cost less than the CD that they are printed on when you see the words Pocket Price on the label (I’m guessing this is a company because all my bad PS1 games have this little label on but I am too lazy to check)

So as I vaguely remembered this game I know what I was going to be in for, and started up the game once again. Man I love the that old sound of the PS1 boot. Oh and If your wondering why It looks like I am trying to fill up space in this review, its because I am the game is really that dull. There is not much too it all you do in the game is slide down a snow covered hill and that’s it.

Graphics:

I have now found the lead for my camera so you no longer have to take my word on it. The graphics are terrible sure they may look okay on viddler but that little video player is not exactly a decent 32” TV. Zooming past badly texturized rocks and trees at around three frames a second makes you want to accidentally leave the disc in a microwave if you get what I mean.

You can’t even see where the track sides are half of the time, you can however choose the course track and costume before playing but its utterly pointless, the tracks seem almost identical only with different corners to throw you off course and a different colored house now and then. And the costumes are just to change the colour of the block that sort of resembles a man figure. For this abomination the graphics are only going to get a 2/10.

Sound:

If you haven’t watched the gameplay clip I suggest you do so now before reading the rest of this review. Saw it? Good. The sound is even worse than the graphics with a “boo” every time you jump on a high point and a “cuhuh” every time you hit the side of the track (unfortunately not heard in the youtube video). I will give the sound guy some credit though because he made it possible to play your disc in a normal CD player and listen to the same repetitive tracks over and over again no mater how far away you are from the PlayStation. And because repetition makes everything more fun I am going to give the sound a 4/10 just because I can. PS that’s not my camera making that horrid white noise its the game.

Gameplay:

You may have thought this game couldn’t be any worse and you would be wrong the controls are very simple you have your left and right buttons on the D-pad, the X button to jump and the up button to crouch (although this is never needed). Seems simple enough but only the game decides when you actually press the buttons not you so you spend most of your time shouting “turn, turn!, %[email protected]*$&! TURN!” at the screen hoping that the game would hear you and actually make use of the buttons you press (or at this point smashing). Because of the game never paying attention to you you can actually play levels without ever touching the controller, as you are always on a hill your character will eventually make its way down to the bottom and to the end of the level. Its even worse with split-screen because its the exact same single player experience but only doubled, which means its guaranteed your eyes and ears will hate you for the rest of the day. Only 1/10 for the gameplay because I am not going to give any game minus points.

One thing I found amusing:

I don’t know if you noticed but the circle button is actually to select (which confused me twice trying to play this game) but unlike nearly every other game made in the world the controls say the circle button is to decide not to confirm of select, just decide.

Final score:

I would recommend buying this game just to destroy it so no one else has to suffer but other than that Ski Air Mix gets a final score of 2.5/10.

So thanks for reading this review and don’t forget to post a comment below or in the forums, the more you comment the more I will review and you may even get me on my old dance mat again in the future.

Review: Bioshock 2

Holy mother of Jesus, I loved Bioshock. A game with a brilliantly crafted story, guns and quite possibly the most demented horrifying setting found in any game. It had atmosphere and was a brilliant game to play, the graphics were stunning, I don’t have a single complaint. So how does the sequel hold up?

To put it bluntly, fantastic. Sure it could never surpass the utter brilliance of the first game, but that is a near impossible task.  Seriously. It has the beautifully deranged atmosphere, the great first person gameplay. Essentially it’s the Bioshock package. It will become immediately evident that this game is extremely similar to the original. And to state that this is a fault would be a complete lie, I’ve heard countless reviewers complaining about how the game is too “much of the same stuff” yes it is. Why change what already worked perfectly?

Whilst it is a game that has very little changes from the first game there has been a view changes. Such as the ability to dual wield plasmids (Genetic weapons such as Thunder bolts or Telekinesis) and normal weaponry, this is a brilliant new addition to the game.  Whilst something so small may seem not worth a mention. I beg to differ, it makes the gameplay much more fast paced and can really help in the more intense of battles. Another addition is to participate in a protection sequence whilst your Little Sister harvests splicers. One of the biggest changes is the fact that you play as a Big Daddy, these are the enemies that constantly terrorise you throughout the first game (They still do so in the second game too :D) and to be honest this change isn’t noticeable aside from of-course the fact that you wield a giant drill (It only is really noticeable when story is being told)

One major factors that contributed to the first game in the series’s eerie atmosphere was the music, In this game isn’t an exception the music is very relevant. I personally do not actually like the music as it is old 1940′s styled music, yet is definitely not bad. Songs that are usually unbearable become oddly acceptable. Whilst there is something disturbed about listening to a song about a little Doggie as you shoot the hell out of splicers.

As mentioned before one of the resoundingly brilliant factors of the first game was the story. In the second game the story is brilliant, but don’t expect an even more epic tale than the first as surpassing such a great story would be difficult. And in the second game, it’s well just got a worse story. In typical Bioshock fashion the game is not told through cutscenes but through the scenery of levels and various audio diaries found throughout rapture. This in my opinion is a much more sophisticated and interesting way of telling a story, many games rely on cutscenes or text to tell a story, Bioshock relies on the player to explore and listen to all of the audio diaries to tell the story. It’s generally a much more realistic way to tell a story as investigation is required, and if the player decides that they don’t care about the story they can simply avoid the audio logs.

And now for the graphics. Meh is a suitable way to describe them, the original game had brilliant graphics and this game has good graphics. This is probably partially due to the change of the people who made the game, whilst the graphics are by no means bad, it annoys me that the first game had genuinely better graphics. Whilst it is a slight downgrade it is noticeable and is probably one of the worst things about this game.

You may notice I have made no mention of the multiplayer. That is because I have not properly played it and therefore can not pass fair judgement on it, all I can say is that is looks pretty cool!

To conclude this review I’m simply going to state that this game is brilliant. It may not be as good as it predecessor yet it still is an astonishing game, any first person shooter fan should definitely check the game out. Just remember to embrace yourself for one surreal adventure that wont ever leave your mind, Embrace yourself for a masterpiece as a game and an experience.

iPod Nano 5th Generation

The new iPod Nano from Apple is amazing and revolutionary! All of it’s new features makes it worth upgrading from previous model. I had a 1st Gen iPod Nano and this was an awesome upgrade for the price. I payed $162 total and I got an iPod with a large screen, video camera, FM tuner, pedometer and much, much more. I am very happy with my purchase.I bought 2 of them, the black one and the orange one and I am very happy with both.

A quick scroll through the menu takes you to the video camera. Then you’re ready to record video in portrait or landscape mode (480p). perfect for emailing or posting on YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo or any other video host. A built-in mic lets you capture audio, too. And when you play back your video on iPod nano, you’ll hear the recorded audio with it.

Say you have one song you really love and want to hear other tracks that go great with it. A few clicks on iPod nano, and Genius uses that song to find other songs in your library and makes a Genius playlist for you. You can listen to the playlist right away, save it for later, or even refresh and give it another go. Count on Genius to create combinations you wouldn’t have thought of yourself.

There’s always something great on the FM dial. And now the FM tuner lets you hear your favorite morning shows on your commute and discover new music while you work out. It even shows you what and who you’re listening to.
Say you need to take a quick break from listening to your favorite radio station. iPod nano lets you pause it with a click. Another click and you’re listening to your station again. You can even rewind as far back as 15 minutes, then fast-forward to catch up to the live broadcast.

You take your iPod nano with you everywhere. Why not use it to stay fit? iPod nano now doubles as a Pedometer. It uses the built-in accelerometer to keep track of your steps and help you meet your fitness goals. You can create a daily step goal or set it to Always On so it counts all the steps you take, all the time. Which makes iPod nano the ideal exercise partner.

Source: http://www.nickmiller.co.cc/2010/04/ipod-nano-5th-gen/

mflow – a revolution or a gimmick?

As some of you may already know I’m a music guy, I just love anything about technology music especially if its something new and totally different… oh and a bit weird. So when I heard about this program called mflow from a friend, I just had to try it out…

screen-shot of mflow

okay what is it already? Good question, its (to my understanding) a whole new concept of music stores such as the one built into the popular iTunes and the likes of amazon. Instead of having a section where people/the store can recommend other songs and albums you may like and instead of having a “what other people who liked this bought” there is nothing. It replaces this rather boring feature of these stores with something called flows, I will explain in a moment.

I have had access to the beta for around a day now, as the full program comes out on the 15-4-2010, and its a great concept that could be built into existing stores (with some sort of licence I guess). The easiest way I can describe it is that it is like twitter and the iTunes store bundled into one, you search for tracks and when you find a one you like and think the people who are following you will like you click the “flow” button and it sends that track to there flows inbox with a full preview of that track that they can listen to and buy if they want. if they do deicide to buy the track (for 79p or some certain tracks are 99p) then 20% of the money that bought that track goes to you, which basically means you get paid to say “hey look at this cool song I just found” to all your mates.

if you are just wanting to buy the track you can have the usual 30 second preview of the song, but you can choose which part of the song to play that 30 seconds and you can play it as many times as you like. for instance if you listened to 30 seconds of the verse and are still unsure you can just click to when the chorus kicks in and play 30 seconds from there. Also if you do deicide to buy the song it will download as a DRM-free format (which means you can put it on whatever you want, not just your Zune)

flows

you can follow whoever you want and anyone can follow you, so if someone likes the type of music im into and want to hear more, some that they may not have ever heard before they can simply follow me and get the latest songs im “flowing” straight to there flow inbox and vice-versa. unfortunately it is only available in the UK at the moment but hopefully it will arrive in other contries like other programs have done such as the great Spotify.

The official website is at http://www.mflow.com/ where you can request an invite into the beta, also if any of you want to follow me to see what type of music I enjoy my user name is chrisw92, the same as it is here on blazebyte.

Obscure Game Review: Maestro- Jump in Music!

Welcome to gaming obscurity, these are games that will fade into the abyss due to the fact that they did not obtain decent hype or due to the fact they are terrible. Either way they are bound to mentioned once in every blue moon. Most of the games I will review on this feature are here for a good reason; Meaning that I want them to be recognised!

In this instance the game is for the Nintendo DS and in called ‘Maestro: Jump in Music’. To the common observer it should be immediately evident that this title has something to do with music, thankfully it isn’t quite as repetitious as the famed ‘Guitar Hero’ series. This game is a rhythm game at heart, but it uses a platforming gimmick to keep things interesting. This platforming gimmick is actually pretty innovative, It requires you to do different forms of rubbing (Not that kind you pervert!) with the stylus to execute simple movement and create sounds. The actual system is hard to define as it is completely innovative yet still has a very short learning curve.

Initially I was very pessimistic towards this game, It lacked any kind of brutal violence that gamers have became accustomed to, it also had vibrant childish visuals. Then it grew on me, the visuals began to look very cute and the gameplay was addictive as hell. This game is essentially Guitar Hero dressed up as a platform game, the gameplay flows exceptionally well with the music and is certainly an original rhythm game.

As stated before, I originally disliked the graphics. They are actually very nice and are subtitle for the type of gameplay — The various different worlds in the game are all clichéd themes, all of the different places look fantastic there is the typical space, underwater and jungle themed levels and they all look exceptionally beautiful. The character design is very wacky but once again is relevant to the game and adds to the humour found in the game.

It’s a rhythm game, Right? So it must have a decent selection of songs, Right? My answer to that question would simply be: ‘Kinda…’ This is probably the games biggest flaw the music. Why? Well because it has many classics like ‘House of the Rising Sun’ or ‘Our House’ and even some classic music from Mozart. The problem being that EVERY one of these songs are remixed, and this is probably due to the fact that some of the sounds in the song are activated corresponding to gameplay. Another problem being that these remixes for the most part are terrible, Honestly they are pretty bad!

Aside from that slight problem the game is fantastic and is worth some of your time. It is a simplistic and easy to pick up and play game therefore will be brilliant for simple bus journeys. Over-all it is just a really good game, that sadly is one of the ‘Underdogs’ of the rhythm genre. What are you waiting for BUY the game!

Fenix Developers Preview

Hey guys,
I would like to take this moment to let everyone know Fenix is not dead.
I worked on Fenix last week and managed to work on a new build (29), devs might remember it as beta 9.
I fixed some bugs, added some more features, worked on a spreadsheet, fixed multitasking and such.
The video below demonstrates how Fenix works/looks like, it still has some glitches, but try not to mention them.

As a lot of people requested, I changed it’s GUI back to the old one, hope you guys like it. Please comment.

Yes Man

HP Slate, iPad killer?

This is how the HP Slate looks like.
This is how the HP Slate looks like.

Well it looks a lot smaller than the iPad which looks quite huge to me. The HP Slate runs a custom Windows 7 version which makes it capable of running all your favorite PC apps (well, don’t expect to play games like Crysis and such). Let’s take a look at it’s features.

The iPad has the most storage, cheap 3G, the time-tested iPhone OS and its mountain of apps, and a serious amount of Apple marketing juice behind it. But it’s also famously lacking features common to the other tablets, such as webcam and multitasking (only first party apps like music and email can multitask).

Comparing iPad – HP Slate (VS)
OS: Windows 7 VS iPhone OS
Browser: Whichever you want VS Safari
Adobe Flash: Yes VS No
Multitasking: Yes VS No
Camera: Yes VS No
Processor: Intel Atom 1.86Ghz VS 1Ghz ARM
Storage: 32-64GB VS Same, but doesn’t really matter anyway
Wireless: WiFi, Bluetooth VS Same, however the new iPad comes with 3G

See yourself, demonstration (YouTube)

What do you think about the HP Slate? Is it really an iPad killer?

Eliminate – The Online FPS for the iPhone

Presentation & Graphics

Eliminate is actually very easy on the eyes, from the very beginning it shows a nice loading image will the music starts and it connects to Plus+ and all.

Then we get to the main menu, from here, you have a nice UI that you can easily figure out what to do, but still a few things can confuse you at first. The main things I’m talking about are the WTF button, that is actually there to help you figure out what to do, and what the energy is for. We’ll get to that later though.

Audio

Overall, I think the audio is pretty good, I really find the in-game music good and quality unlike some other games (ROCK BAND), The only part I don’t like is the Menus have a horribly annoying background music.

Gameplay & Controls

Gameplay

The gameplay is great, you can versus your friends only in a private match, practice against bots, or even play against people from all over the world.

The concept behind the gameplay is that you are a employee working for Aresenal Megacorp testing there different machines and weapons, the better you do, the higher you rank and the more you can use.

Also, there is another thing that ties into the gameplay, Energy. Energy pretty much is the most important part on leveling, to earn credits, you have to have energy. You can still play, and rack up wins and kills, but you will not receive the credits you collect.

Controls

The controls are the same as any other shooter on the iPhone OS. They have a virtual joystick and such, but it is really insensitive unless you turn the sensitivity all the way up. It takes a while to get used to, but you get the hang of it.

Replay Value

Eliminate has unlimited replay value, you can always pick up your iDevice, launch Eliminate and expect something new, every game is a challenge.

Final Thoughts

It’s free, yes, you can pay for energy, but its not required, it automatically refreshes the energy. But this so far is one of the best iPhone games. NGMOCO has also said they have tons of updates they are already working on, like options for CTF(Capture the Flag) and TDM(Team Death Match), so even if this seems like a game that might even not be too interesting, pick it up and try it out.

Overall


4.0: Great

  • This app is very fun/useful. It is most likely worth buying, and has an abundance of good features. There may be few minor setbacks, but the overall good features outweigh them.