Thursday, 28 January 2010

Gaming Reviews

Bad Moon Rising
Judge Dredd Campaign
Mongoose Publishing

Available Now - £15.58 (Paperback) and £11.07 (PDF)
Review by Brad Harmer

It’s a bad day in Sector 13...

Mob War and Block War are brewing. Innocent people are being murdered in Synthi-Caff bars. Mo-pad piracy is on the rise. Someone said they spotted a monster on the roof of Dotty Parker block, and, to cap it all, a dead guy at the wheel of a slabster just tried to ram-raid the main foyer of Sector House 13.

Just what the Grudd is going on? Sector 13 used to be such a nice neighbourhood.

Bad Moon Rising, the latest scenario release for the latest incarnation of the Judge Dredd RPG – sadly now just a Traveller campaign setting – is interesting, complex and downright funny, which is everything that your average Judge Dredd Story should be. What most Judge Dredd RPGs miss is the humour, and this campaign – with its hilarious set-pieces, pop-culture references and parodies of The Sopranos, is the welcome exception.

You’re getting a serious bang for your buck here – most of the material here won’t be used in any one play of the story, so there’ll be plenty of “leftovers” for one-shots to keep any group happy for a significant amount of time.

My only criticism really is that with a plot this complicated, it would have been nice to have some kind of overview, plot-summary or flow-chart available, as keeping track of the many possible permutations in this would prove to be a headache for some GMs.

Summary: An excellent campaign, that really retains the feel of the setting, and gives plenty of replay potential. 9/10

The 80s
The Squared Circle Sourcebook
Day Dreamer Interactive

Available Now - £6.49 (PDF)
Review by Brad Harmer

The Golden Age of wrestling, the 80's saw the rise of modern styled professional wrestling. In this the third sourcebook for The Squared Circle there are rules for wrestler gimmicks, jobbers, advanced tag-team matches, and an enhanced version of the “Run Your Own Promotion” game. As is usual, it also features a fictional wrestling circuit – in this instance, Global Assault Wrestling – for you to play in.

The Squared Circle is a great RPG, and this sourcebook has been highly anticipated amongst its fans. Can it cut it, though?

The setting itself is fantastic, and really calls to mind all those evenings as a kid watching Bret “The Hitman” Hart, “Rowdy” Roddy Piper and The Ultimate “Bat Shit Insane” Warrior. The colourful, over-the-top characters that would never be taken seriously in a modern day wrestling circuit are able to shine again.

An interesting idea was that of making your character/wrestler pick a gimmick from “All American Hero” through to “Supervillain”, with all the oddities from the eighties inbetween. If your gaming group is one of those with a good sense of humour (and, let’s face it, if you’re playing an RPG about pro-wrestling, it probably is), then you’ll have a whale of time – and no doubt someone will knock up a bootleg Gobbledy-Gooker.

There are also rules here for creating jobbers – those useless, white leggings clad guys who would be annihilated in the opening matches of fight cards to make the big guys look unstoppable. If you’re planning on setting your campaign in the 80s or earlier, then these are essential.

Far and away the best part of this sourcebook, however, are the new enhanced tag-matches. The original tag-team rules in the core rulebook are the best I’ve ever seen for the purpose, but now they’re even better, as there’s now stuff for the inactive wrestler to do, whether it’s working the crowd, or sneakily bending the rules.

On the down side, this feels by far the clunkiest of The Squared Circle books so far. There are far too many charts to reference and formulas to calculate – even just to determine if your character is skinny, buff or overweight. Some may like the realism it gives – but wrestling doesn’t need to be realistic. Too many other great sports games have been bogged down and crippled by the maths A-Level required to play them, and it would be a travesty if The Squared Circle were to go in the same direction.

The “Run Your Own Promotion” suffers from a similar flaw – it looks a lot of fun, but with the amount of book-keeping required – Jesus, you could probably just up and set up a real wrestling promotion for all the effort it would take.

Summary: A mixed bag of a sourcebook. Some overcomplications taint what could have been an essential purchase. 7/10

Hah-hah! It's finally on its way!

The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, one of the most magical, intensely spectacular epic adventures in motion picture history, can now be seen as never before when all three of Peter Jackson’s visual masterpieces explode onto Blu-ray on April 6th! The nine-disc set will reawaken the awesome connection that fans have to these films through rich, robust colours and crisp sound that home audiences can only experience on Blu-ray.

The Lord of the Rings, the highest grossing adventure film franchise to ever be created, was born with the release of The Fellowship of the Ring, followed by The Two Towers and The Return of the King. The multi-billion dollar franchise is expected to grow significantly as The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy brings together all three treasured films on Blu-ray Disc for the very first time, capturing the enduring Fellowship and ultimate sacrifice while enhancing the chaos and destruction of Middle-earth, delivering a visual feast that will not soon, if ever, find its equal. Of the 30 total Academy Award nominations the three The Lord of the Rings movies received, they won a record 17 Academy Awards®, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay and 8 others for the third film. Based on the best-selling novels by J.R.R. Tolkien, Jackson’s movie trilogy is an epic journey of men, hobbits, elves, dwarves and the rest of Middle-earth’s creatures and cultures.

The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy contains the original theatrical versions of the three films on Blu-ray Disc, with more than seven hours of special features. The Trilogy will be packaged in multi-disc elite packaging inside a premium rigid slipcase and will retail for £74.99.

Extended versions of the films will be released at a later date on Blu-ray Disc.

For Mack McKinley and his team of GhostWalker killing machines, urban warfare is an art. Danger is just another part of the game - but now Mack's come face-to-face with a woman who can play just as tough.

She's Jaimie, a woman with a sapphire stare so potent it can destroy a man. Years ago she and Mack had a history - volatile, erotic and electric. Then she vanished - but now she's walked back into Mack's life again. Against all odds, she's hooking up with him one more time to take on an enemy that could destroy them both - or bring them back together in one hot, no-holds barred adrenaline rush.

Thanks to our friends at Piatkus Books, we've got five copies of Street Game to give away! For your chance of winning one, send us an e-mail to streetgamegiveaway@rocketmail.com with your name and postal address before midday on Thursday 4th February (UK time). The first five names drawn out of the electronic hat will win free copy!

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