Dateline 1st February 2012


Not quite a box of chocolates, but you still don't know what you are going to get


February is a funny old month – long enough away from Christmas for it to be a fond, fuzzy memory whilst bringing you one step closer to summer. Either way, no matter what the time of year it’s always a time for games. The February Free-For-All means just that ; no set format, no set genre, no limit on games. It’s simply going to be a case of plug in, pick up and play. The whole random nature of this should be rather fun, and it’s going to an entry-a-day too, so plenty to look forward to.

Handhelds at the ready, it’s the Nintendo GameBoy Advance with two games bordering along the lines of the terrific and the turd-like…..




Classic futuristic racing series meets anime storytelling - but is it everyone's cup of tea ?


F-Zero had previously thrilled Super Nintendo owners with it’s breakneck speed races in a futuristic environment. It was therefore no surprise when this popped up on the GameBoy Advance, albeit with a a slight twist on the original game. Rather than go for a straight racing game, which you can actually opt for, the makers of the game have added a story mode. This means you can choose from different characters and take them through the racing season whilst taking part in a storyline.


You don't have to play in story mode and can simply jump in and race - which is what I prefer to do


Even with the GBA’s limitations, this moves at one heck of a speed. Graphically it’s pretty impressive with the visuals looking the part. There is also a rather cool soundtrack that bops along in the background alongside the usual and sparse sound effects. It’s a pretty good game, though there are one or two issues. If I play a racing game – that is what I want, and thus the story mode doesn’t really add anything for me. The map in the left hand corner is useful to the point of following where you are going, but you have no idea where the other cars are on the track. The fact you are up against 30 other racers and you hardly see anyone else on the track is a bit mind boggling.


It all boils down to the quality of the racing, and F-Zero GP Legend delivers


Those niggles aside this is a damn good racer and a worthy addition to the series. Whilst not as good as the original, or the GameCube F-Zero GX, GP Legend will appeal and suit all fans of fast and furious racing games.




Play this game first and if you ever get to meet Simon Cowell then by all means lay into him over how horrible this game actually is


Before X-Factor took over the world we had Pop Idol. I’m no fan of either of these “talent” shows, although there is something sadistically appealing about Simon Cowell being incredibly rude to someone who obviously cannot hold a tune in a bucket. Not wanting to miss a trick, a computer game version of Pop Idol was inevitable – this is it. It follows the format of the show, with preliminary rounds, the final cut and the live shows before the final.


At least some thought has gone into transferring a rhythmn game to a handheld


Making up for the lack of a Singstar-style game, you control your chosen contestants vocals by pressing the A or B button when prompted, turning this into a rhythm game instead. Miss a vocal and your singer will begin to sing off key until you get back in time. At the end of each song the panel will give their verdict and it’s either on the way to the next round or to the nearest bus stop. As you progress, round by round the game quickens up and your reactions need to be quicker. You can also change your costume and hairstyle, if only to satisfy your own vanity.


One would imagine this game would be a lot more fun if there was more to it than that, but there isn’t. It’s sort of Dragon’s Lair for the couch potato generation – press the button at the right time. There is no depth to the game whatsoever. The graphics range from OK to blocky, with your contestant resembling something from Legoland at times. However the biggest aspect for the failure of this game is not just the shallowness of the playability, but the poor quality of the sound. You’d have thought the music would have been a bit special but instead you either get a male or female vocal , depending on your choice of contestant, singing over a backing track of tunes such as Oops I Did It Again, Spinning Around, Living La Vida Loca and rather bizarrely, given that line-up, Suspicious Minds. All of the music, vocals and sampled speech in this game sounds scratchy and distorted as hell. Sure, it is funny when the singer goes out of tune but that smile gets wiped off your face pretty damn quickly.


This is about as exciting as it gets, which isn't saying much


Summing up, I got to the final on my first go. I didn’t win but I was so bored by that point I didn’t care. Did my choice of Suspicious Minds put the judges off, or was it the red strappy top and mini skirt I chose to wear ? I’m not sure I want to know…….or ever play this pile of poop again.