Tuesday 31 May 2011

X-Men: First Class

X-Men: First Class
Starring: Rose Byrne, Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy
Director: Matthew Vaughn
20th Century Fox

In Cinemas from Wednesday 1st June
Review by Charlotte Barnes

X-Men: First Class charts the epic beginning of the X-Men saga, and reveals a secret history of famous global events. Before mutants had revealed themselves to the world, and before Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr took the names Professor X and Magneto, they were two young men discovering their powers for the first time. Not archenemies, they were instead at first the closest of friends, working together with other Mutants (some familiar, some new), to stop Armageddon. In the process, a grave rift between them opened, which began the eternal war between Magneto’s Brotherhood and Professor X’s X-Men.

Before I even entered the cinema to watch this release I had this burning question: is this a reboot or a prequel? Is it going to be like the new James Bond or Batman series? Is it going to be radically different or is it going to be an extension of the first two movies and the Wolverine spin-off (I refuse to acknowledge the abomination of the third X-Men film as having anything to do with the franchise)? After two hours in the cinema I still could not tell you the answer to the question. There are a lot of call backs to the other films, such as the repeat of the sequence where Magneto discovers his powers for the first time or the cameo of Rebecca Romijn as an older Mystique. There were, however, too many discrepancies for it to be a prequel, such as the orgin of Magneto’s helmet, the invention of Cerebro, a new female version of Angel with butterfly wings (does not exist in the comics) and, last but not least, Michael Fassbender’s emulation of Sir Ian McKellen needs work, especially the accent.

As a standalone film, it is excellent. The casting is fantastic, the acting is outstanding and the special effects are brilliant. There was a fantastic variation in mutant powers, (some I was incredibly jealous of). The addition of Nicholas Hoult was a welcome surprise as he just keeps getting better and better (handsomer and handsomer). Finally, the combination of comics and Kevin Bacon (a lifelong crush of mine and on my “Allowed to Do” list if I ever meet him) made me nearly wet my knickers. You do not need to have seen these films or read the comics to understand what it is about, which makes this a very approachable film to watch. The problem is this is not a standalone film, it is too close to be ever seen as a re-boot but too far away to be considered a prequel.

This is the first time I have come across Michael Fassbender in a film and although I can see he is very talented, to be able to speak several languages with such prowess is commendable. All I have to say is Michael, choose an accent and stick with it, for god sakes. Magneto maybe a German with an English accent, but at no point should he slip from German, English and then into Irish within a sentence.

The Emotionally Fourteen Rating
Fully action packed; some amazing mutant heavy fighting as well as your usual gun based murder.
Sex/Nudity: Some, nothing to write home about...the skirts were fairly short in this movie.
Swearing: None of note.
Summary: An interesting addition to the X-Men franchise, fantastic acting and brilliant special effects (I am really glad it was not made in 3D). However, you have to judge whether you feel it stands up as a reboot or prequel to the series. 7/10


Dungeons & Dragons: Daggerdale centres on the desperate struggle to defeat the evil Rezlus and his Zhentarim in their attempt to invade and conquer the Dalelands. Dungeons & Dragons: Daggerdale is an engaging multi-player experience that introduces a riveting narrative and treacherous new characters. Players are charged with the task of restoring order to Nentir Vale by unlocking the secrets of the Mines of Tethyamar, defeating the evil within the treacherous Tower of the Void, leading to the final confrontation with Rezlus himself.

Action-packed RPG gameplay allows for solo and co-op play for up to four players. Gamers use intuitive pick-up-and-play combat combined with a wide assortment of weapons, feats and powers to defeat a wide range of deadly enemies. Dungeons & Dragons: Daggerdale boasts an array of stunning levels and exploration opportunities set in the richly detailed environments

To celebrate the release of Dungeons & Dragons: Daggerdale, our friends at Atari have given us two copies of the awesome Dungeons & Dragons: Castle Ravenloft board game to give away! For your chance of winning, send your name to emotionally14@hotmail.co.uk before midday on Tuesday 7th June, making sure to put "Daggerdale" as the subject. The first two entries out of the electronic hat after the competition closes will receive a free copy of Dungeons & Dragons: Castle Ravenloft!

The master of Ravenloft is having guests for dinner—and you are invited!

Evil lurks in the towers and dungeons of Castle Ravenloft, and only heroes of exceptional bravery can survive the horrors within. Designed for 1–5 players, this boardgame features multiple scenarios, challenging quests, and cooperative game play.

Castle Ravenloft includes the following components:
•40 plastic heroes and monsters
•13 sheets of interlocking cardstock dungeon tiles
•200 encounter and treasure cards
•Scenario book

Don't forget to put "Daggerdale" in the subject line. Incorrectly labelled or blank entries will be discarded.

Dungeons & Dragons: Daggerdale is available now on Xbox Live, and will appear on PC and PS3 this summer.

Entries limited to one per household. Offer open only to postal addresses in the UK and Ireland.

Monday 30 May 2011

What Do You Mean You've Never Seen...Equilibrium

2002's Equilibrium is a science fiction action movie set in a dystopian future. Mankind has identified emotion and feeling as the source of all true aggression, and has developed a drug named Prozium to suppress emotion. The result is a society free of war, at the expense of the ability to feel anything. However, there are people who fight the new war-free system, and as a result agents known as Grammaton Clerics are dispatched to combat them. Clerics are cold, calculating killing machines trained in a special discipline of gunfighting which makes them nigh-on unstoppable. However, when John Preston (Christian Bale, a guy you might have heard of) misses a dose of his Prozium, he begins to find his priorities shifting, and begins to question where, in fact, his allegiances lie.

A sad fact that Brad and myself realised the other day is that a lot of the people studying things like Film and Media nowadays are unlikely to have seen films older than five years. For them, Inception represents what The Matrix meant to the older E14ies growing up. However, as much as I enjoy the more contemporary films, my heart will always belong to the movies that shaped my adolescence, and one that gets overlooked often amongst that list is Equilibrium. The movie contains a "who's who" of awesome acting talent, with Christian Bale, Sean Bean, Sean Pertwee and even Brian Conley all making an appearance in this movie. Sure, the movie subscribes to Bean's Law (in that Sean Bean won't be a fixture of a high percentage of his movies for whatever reason), but for the period he appears he's as awesome as ever, and sets the movie in motion.

One of the great things about the movie is simply how clinically it's done. The gun training is explained early on as statistically calculated, indicating that the successful knowledge of the training allows a Cleric to avoid the most likely return fire. All the way through, the movie deals with clinical natures and conformity in a way that makes you identify with Bale as his transformation continues through the film. The transformation, too, is handled really well, with initially very subtle gestures like Preston beginning to dream, but before long Preston is having to deal with his overwhelming newly-discovered emotion while at the same time present the same cold and calculating front of obedience and conformity, sneaking off to listen to Beethoven's 9th Symphony in a hidey-hole and hiding Prozium behind his bathroom mirror.

Particularly of note is that Preston's newly-appointed apprentice (played excellently by Taye Diggs) always seems to catch him in some sort of compromising position, which can be as straightforward as moving his desk in order to "optimise" on the face of things while in reality representing his attempt at non-comformity. Diggs plays an excellent lackey to both Bale and the system, intelligent while at the same time displaying the same level of coldness that Bale starts the film with. When Bale finally begins to fight the system, it's done with more subtle tones, preferring to dispatch a small squad secretly rather than go after the system in one massive coup attempt.

As a more obscure positive point, those who have become burned out on the more angry Christian Bale (and in my opinion, have wrongly pigeon-holed him as always using "the Batman voice" as opposed to simply "his angry voice") will find a completely different side to Bale in this movie. For a good portion, he is either cold and calculating or pretending to be so, and gradually becomes more angry (though not quite to Batman Begins levels) and then runs the entire scope of human emotions, seemingly at a very quickened pace.

The story, too, is really well done. With Bale trying to find out as much as he can about the underground Resistance to human emotion, he is under the guise of a Cleric trying to destroy the Resistance from within. All the while, the strength of the plot is such that Preston has to even hide his new emotions from his own children, who are still under the Prozium dosage. His son, in particular, is being groomed for the Cleric program and comes off as suspicious of his father at times (and at times, a bit of a douchebag, such is the nature of an emotionless freak).

On the face of it, Equilibrium could look from the poster like a rip-off of The Matrix (and in fact, a Google search doing research for this post showed me a user of the Internet who felt exactly like this and even went as far as a side-by-side comparison of the two movies' posters). However, I hope that people who initially wrote it off have gone on to watch the movie, because those who do will not be disappointed. Though there are elements of influence which can be plainly seen in the presentation (particularly the gunfights), the movie also would interest fans of 1984, Blade Runner/Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? and basically any dystopian fiction. Equilibrium possesses style and substance in absolute bucketloads, and is well worth checking out.

As if all that wasn't enough, swords FTW.


Cross of Iron is the only war film directed by master filmmaker Sam Peckinpah. With the same tenacity and style he brought to such classics as The Wild Bunch, Straw Dogs and The Getaway, Peckinpah delivers a riveting and violent tale of men on the front lines of battle.

Set in 1943, this explosive epic centers on Corporal Steiner (James Coburn), an accomplished but war-weary combat veteran leading a group of German soldiers on the Russian front. Steiner´s authority comes under attack when Captain Stransky (Maximilian Schell) takes over the command of his troops.

A Prussian aristocrat, Stransky has one goal in mind: to win the coveted Iron Cross, Germany´s highest medal, at any cost. The two military aces soon face off in an intense and deadly battle of wills. Highlighted by Peckinpah´s trademark balletic violence, ultra-realistic battle scenes and a top cast that also includes David Warner and James Mason.

Thanks to our friends at Optimum Home Entertainment, we've got three copies of Cross of Iron on Blu-ray to give away! For your chance of winning, send your name to emotionally14@hotmail.co.uk before midday on Monday 6th June, making sure to put "Cross of Iron" as the subject. The first three entries out of the electronic hat after the competition closes will receive a free copy!

Don't forget to put "Cross of Iron" in the subject line. Incorrectly labelled or blank entries will be discarded.

Cross of Iron is available from Monday 6th June.

Entries limited to one per household. Offer open only to postal addresses in the UK and Ireland.

Saturday 28 May 2011

Fading of the Cries Giveaway

Jacob, a young man armed with a deadly sword, saves Sarah, a teenage girl, from Mathias (Brad Dourif), while in search of an ancient necklace that had belonged to Sarah's uncle. Jacob sets out to get Sarah home safely, running through streets, fields, churches and underground tunnels, while being pursued by hordes of demonic creatures.

Along the way, both come to terms with the demons within themselves -Sarah begins to understand her hatred towards her mother and sister may be unjustified and Jacob discovers the secrets of his past, realizing the only way to truly defeat the demons is to return to the very place his family was murdered.

Thanks to our friends at Lions Gate, we've got three copies of Fading of the Criesto give away! For your chance of winning, send your name to emotionally14@hotmail.co.uk before midday on Saturday 4th June, making sure to put "Fading of the Cries" as the subject. The first three entries out of the electronic hat after the competition closes will receive a free copy!

Don't forget to put "Fading of the Cries" in the subject line. Incorrectly labelled or blank entries will be discarded.

Fading of the Cries is available from Monday 30th May, priced £7.49.

Entries limited to one per household. Offer open only to postal addresses in the UK and Ireland.

Friday 27 May 2011

Dickass DM

Remember good, old-fashioned gamebooks? They promised all the fun of a role-playing game, with none of the social interaction - what more could a teenage boy desire? The thing is, that while the gamebook became a great gaming experience in its own right, the only RPG it could possibly have simulated was one being GM'd by Satan himself. 90% of decisions led to certain death, and combat was often fatal.

Satan wasn't available, so Brad will be GMing Rob through an RPG based on the classic Tom Sheldon gamebook Big Match Manager. Brad is the DM, and Rob plays his character, Terry Braggables.

Catch up with previous Dickass DM installments here!
Brad: Your midfielders are in position around the centre circle, and they begin passing the ball around in your half of the field. Within seconds, a poorly timed pass back to your goalkeeper leaves the ball dangerously unattended and it is charged down by a Bridgford centre-forward. The Bridgford player is in plenty of space and makes a beeline for goal. Two Hardwick defenders are racing towards him for all they're worth, but it's too late and your keeper knows it. He rushes of his line to close the angle and meet the attacker head on.
Rob: Oh, I have this bad feeling about this...
Brad: Your goalie flings himself at the feet of the forward as he brings back his boot to kick the ball.
Rob: Yeah, here it comes...
Brad: It is smothered before he can connect, and his momentum takes him harmlessly over the top of your prone goalkeeper who is hugging the ball close. Brave keeping, and he's saved some red faces after that defensive error.
Rob: Oh.
McSpindle: Shutout, bitch!
Second Half
Bridgford City score!
Hardwick City 4 - Bridgford City 4
Rob: Damn it!

Hardwick City score!
Hardwick City 5 - Bridgford City 4
Hardwick City score!
Hardwick City 6 - Bridgford City 4
Terry Braggables: Come on you fuckers, don't throw this away!
Full time!
Hardwick City 6 - Bridgford City 4
Brad: Another day, another match notched up. You stick around to thank your players for their hard work today and to make sure the place is in order.
Terry Braggables: Yeah, cheers for that.
McSpindle: Yeah, it's not like it's your jobs or anything.
Brad: The rest of the staff are away and all the executives seem to have long gone. You're alone in your own club - just the way you like it.
McSpindle: A-hem!
Brad: You return to your office before locking up and heading home for the rest of the weekend.
===Monday 14th===
You awake brightly after a peaceful weekend, ready for the start of the sixth week of the league. You are first to arrive at the club, but your players soon begin filling the place with their usual noisy enthusiasm. You can hear them in the dressing room from your office, and you smile to yourself as you consider how best to channel your football expertise into their brains and boots. What do you intend to do during the build up towards your weekend fixture against Gunthorpe?
Rob: I think we should build upon tackling, containment and pressing manoeuvres.
McSpindle: There I was, thinking I'd get a time to shine while you were off playing Sherlock Holmes. Cock.

Brad: Your players are all ears and you address them in a loud voice.
Terry Braggables: Right boys, your opponents have taken a setback...to the arse. Rest assured, they'll be fully cocked by the time they meet us.
Will Frost: We can have 'em!
Salvatore Duce: For every goal they get, I get due goal!
Terry Braggables: They'll be expecting that...
McSpindle: I like you Sal, but you've got mutton heads where your cod and chips should be. This is an away game, so you can expect Gunthorpe to be playing at how's-your-father like Stephen Fry in a particularly venomous hedge. They're not going to be selling copies of White Dwarf from a tray around their necks, and no mistake. They're going to be out, loud, proud, up front and personal with a weasel teaching algebra to the French - and I want you guys ready with the hoover, you got me?
Brad: As the training week progresses, you watch as your defensive unit really tightens up. Your focus on defence should really pay off in an away fixture.
===Friday 18th===
Brad: It's the day before your next away fixture. You don't want to risk injuring any of your players, so you instruct your training staff to give them a day of light fitness work and a long warm-down. While they're working, you spend the afternoon in your office catching up with the latest moves in the transfer markets and getting some paperwork out of the way. Your phone rings and you answer absent-mindedly, assuming it's your secretary telling you they players have finished. It's not.
Pete Stoneman [on phone]: It's Pete, boss. Something's happened you ought to know about.
Brad: Pete Stoneman is your best talent scout, and is responsible for having found many of your youth players in the first place.

Pete Stoneman [on phone - guarded voice]: I've been down the Woodborough ground to have a look at Jose Torrego's men, see if there's anyone we could use if they came on the market.
Terry Braggables: Right...
Pete Stoneman [on phone]: Thing is, there's no-one there - not training anyway. Place is swarming with cop cars - bomb squad mainly, there was a tip-off this morning.
Terry Braggables: Right....So who's good in their squad?
Pete Stoneman [on phone]: Apparently some of the players got letters telling them to stay away today and not play tomorrow either. There are loads of rumours going around but one of the hacks was pretty sure Torrego's been threatened too. He's going to find it hard to get a team together for their match tomorrow.
Brad: A chill that started at the bottom of your spine has spread to your neck.
Terry Braggables: Shut that fucking door!
All right, cheers Pete. I'll catch you at the lap dancing club, and this time I'll try to micromanage the dancers less.
Brad: Danny Knox might have been at the start of this terror campaign, but he certainly wasn't their only target. Poor Jose - you know exactly how he feels.
McSpindle: Warm, spongy and Spanish.
Brad: If you ever had reason to suspect him in Danny's abduction before, you can be pretty sure now he isn't involved.
McSpindle: Yes, because there is no such thing as a double-bluff.
Brad: You lock up securely for the night.
===Saturday 19th===
Brad: Early on the morning of your match you drive to the club, where the team will soon be congregating.
McSpindle: I fucking hope so, anyway. Remember that one time?
Terry Braggables: That was knackering.

Brad: You always like to travel to these away fixtures in the official bus with the players themselves, to create a feeling of solidarity. Your chairman, however - when he goes at all, that is - prefers the comfortable isolation of his Jaguar. He's just leaving as you arrive, and your cars pass in the wide gateway of the club grounds.
Terry Braggables: Victor, you off to the game?
Victor: Not today. I'm away for the weekend.
Terry Braggables: They don't just play when you feel like it you know...
Brad: Typical to be skipping a match - he generally prefers a long game of golf followed by an even longer gin and tonic. But odd that he tried to slip away without telling you.
Terry Braggables: Drunks and golf are a dangerous mix...
McSpindle: He makes my Scooby-Doo sense tingle.
Brad: You turn to wish him a safe journey, but his dark window is already up, and anyway the players are starting to arrive.
Terry Braggables: Fine, fuck you then.
Rob Rose: Beautiful morning, chief!
Ian Leslie: All right, boss?
Terry Braggables: One at a time!
Brad: The players all file on the bus, and when the kit bags and McSpindle have been stowed, you board and begin the two hour commute to Gunthorpe. On the way you study the form of the opposition.
Gunthorpe United FC
Gunthorpe have won three out of five this season, and with Jake Tapper preaching from the front the team is in fearless mood. But technically they are an average side, and if your players keep their heads and combine well together, the better team should win on the day.
Bobak - Fitzgerald - Fry.
Bostock - Frost - Duval - Hoggart
Wood - Suda

Radio: Welcome to another feast of football. We're live at Gunthorpe, where title hopefuls Hardwick City are about to get us underway at what promises to be a thrilling fixture.
First Half
Gunthorpe United have been awarded a corner.
They fail to capitalise on it.
Gunthorpe United score!
Gunthorpe United 1 - Hardwick City 0
Hardwick City score!
Gunthorpe United 1 - Hardwick City 1
Gunthorpe United score!
Gunthorpe United 2 - Hardwick City 1
Gunthorpe United score!
Gunthorpe United 3 - Hardwick City 1
Half time
Gunthorpe United 3 - Hardwick City 1
Second Half
Gunthorpe United score!
Gunthorpe United 4 - Hardwick City 1
Rob: For fuck's sake!

Brad: It's the 76th minute and the game is running smoothly after a period of calm.
But Gunthorpe have been fighting hard for territory, and Hoggart loses a midfield tussle with the Gunthorpe centre-back - who slots through a clever little pass to their attacking midfielder. The home crowd are on their feet and for a moment Gunthorpe look to be in with a chance as their players press forward in numbers. But the roar suddenly dies away as the ball is expertly collected in the box by Antek Bobak, who darts forward and whips a cross out wide to John Hoggart on the right wing. Gunthorpe left gaping holes in their defence when they powered forward for their last attack, and Toby Wood is quick to capitalise as he makes a single-minded run down the centre of the pitch.
Terry Braggables: Score three, somehow!
Brad: A sole defender is useless when a counter-measure like this is employed correctly, and Hoggart and Wood are stride for stride now. Hoggart cuts in from the right and the two have the Gunthorpe defender in a pincer. He stands his ground to head off John Hoggart, but your midfield has his wits about him. A perfectly well-timed pass sees the ball at the feet of Toby Wood who is in the box with only the keeper to beat.
Terry Braggables: Give him Wood!
Brad: Woody's been here a million times before - like every night when he falls asleep - and he wastes no time in drilling the ball past the shipwrecked keeper and into the waiting goal.
McSpindle: What a goal!
Brad: That was worth the season-ticket price alone.
Gunthorpe United 4 - Hardwick City 2
Brad: The three men at the source of the attack run to the visitor's stand to celebrate in front of 2000 admirers. Has that clinched the match for you?
Or was it too little too late? Either way, there's some time left on the clock...
Gunthorpe United score!
Gunthorpe United 5 - Hardwick City 2
Full Time

Terry Braggables: God-damn it!
Brad: You might not be out of the woods just yet, but you're still in the hat for a chance of winning this league. Keep your eyes focused on the job ahead, because there's still work to do - there's the small matter of trying to get Danny Knox back safe and sound for a start! Now get back on the coach and talk over the match with your players as you make your way back to Hardwick City FC. On the journey home the team bus gets stuck in traffic. You've finished going through the notes you made onyour player performances, and the players are dozing and chatting quietly to each other behind you.
You stare out of the window at that large houses, and realise you've been here once before - when you were offered the job, Victor had invited you round to his house for dinner. Wasn't that round here somewhere? Do you have a good reason to go there again?
Rob: Not really.
Brad: You decide to spend the rest of your weekend at home.
McSpindle: Yeah, lounging around at home, solving the case from your armchair. I bet that's what all the great detectives do.
Terry Braggables: Well, maybe I'll be struck by inspiration, like House.
McSpindle: You'll get struck by something, young man.
Terry Braggables: Stop calling your penis 'Something'.
McSpindle: Well, I've got to call it...something.
Brad: Unfortunately, there was information hidden at Victor's house that you need; without it, Danny will never make it out alive and his body will be found floating in the river a month from now. You adventure is over.
Rob: Goddamnit.
Brad: That is the fucking darkest ending to one of these ever.
Dickass DM returns on Friday 10th June, as we rejoin Brag Phoenix and MCSPINDLE in Freeway Warrior!


Supers! is a game all about playing costumed heroes - the kinds of hero you see in good, old-fashioned comic books.

These heroes are larger-than-life; they have high ideals and they know right from wrong. Their world is black-and-white; they are good and the villains are bad. There are no real grey areas. Their cause is justice, liberty and freedom. They seek to protect the weak and defend the common man. Most are loved by all; some are misunderstood and don't get the adoration they feel they deserve. But regardless, they strive to do the right thing and aim to make a difference.

This is a straightforward but fun role-playing game, with quick character generation and easy-to-understand rules. You can pick up a few dice and be playing Supers! within minutes.

Thanks to our friends at Cubicle 7, we've got a copy of Supers!to give away! For your chance of winning, send your name to emotionally14@hotmail.co.uk before midday on Friday 3rd June, making sure to put "Supers!" as the subject. The first entry out of the electronic hat after the competition closes will receive a free copy!

Don't forget to put "Supers!" in the subject line. Incorrectly labelled or blank entries will be discarded.

Supers! is available now, priced £16.99.

Entries limited to one per household. Offer open only to postal addresses in the UK and Ireland.

Thursday 26 May 2011

Gaming Reviews

Lego Pirates of the Caribbean
Disney Interactive/Travellers’ Tales
Available now - RRP - £49.99 (Xbox 360 (Version Tested), PS3), £34.99 (Wii, DS, PSP), £39.99 (3DS)
Review by Rob Wade

LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean is an action-adventure game that brings the Pirates of the Caribbean world and all its colourful characters to life in LEGO Brick form. Players will experience all the memorable scenes from the first three films, as well as those in the new fourth film, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides in the humorous and quirky LEGO Video Games style.

It’s a fairly safe bet that at some point, most gamers regardless of console have had a go
at one of the LEGO video games. From Star Wars to Batman to Harry Potter to Indiana Jones, it can certainly be argued that Travellers’ Tales have always been effective at choosing the most beloved and deep franchises to develop game versions, and LEGO POTC is no exception. Spanning all four of the films, including the most recent release still in cinemas everywhere now, the game brings together key events and battles from the films into one package, as well as throwing in some extra bits and pieces to keep die-hard LEGO fans happy. How awesome, incidentally, would LEGO Die Hard be?

Players take on the role of iconic characters from all four films, and particular attention has been paid to balancing character abilities, as well as even little things like making Captain Jack Sparrow run and walk as he does in the movies. One thing that this series has always done well is fan service, and it is certainly evident in this case that they have kept this run going.

If you like the LEGO games, then you will be pleased to know that they have not dropped the ball on this one. The graphics are the sharpest I’ve seen in any of the series, and the original music has been retained for use in the game, which if nothing else serves as a reminder of how awesome the music for the franchise is. Gameplay is much like you’d expect from LEGO games, and in fact, in terms of fun and replayability, I would go as far as to say that this is probably the most accessible and enjoyable of all the LEGO games I have ever played (which is to say all of them except Lego Indiana Jones 2). The characters are done well enough to be endearing, and the stages have sufficient variety to keep you engaged while at the same time not suffering from staleness.

On the downside, this game doesn’t do anything different in terms of style and substance from the previous games in the series, so if you didn’t enjoy the games before there’s not going to be much that’s going to do it for you in terms of making you want to play this one unless you’re an absolute Pirates of the Caribbean maniac, and even then you’re unlikely to play the game to 100% completion (which in true LEGO fashion, there is an achievement for doing).

The Emotionally Fourteen Games Rating
Graphics : Really nice looking, with the edges getting shinier every time they make a new game.
Sound/Music : All the authentic music from the films, which is to say awesomesauce. Sound effects are good as you’d expect.
Gameplay : Remember every other LEGO game? It’s like that, but with Pirates of the Caribbean. It’s a great formula which makes for an enjoyable game.
Lasting Appeal : Plenty of secret characters and levels to unlock once you’ve finished the main story. 30-40 hours is probably about right.
Summary : A really enjoyable LEGO game. If you didn’t like them before, there’s very little that has changed. However, if you like LEGO games and POTC, this is an absolutely essential purchase. 9/10

Alter Ego
Iceberg Interactive
Available now - RRP £19.99 (PC only)
Review by Rob Wade

Plymouth, England. As the 19th century draws to a close, after a strange aristocrat dies and his body goes missing, a series of gruesome murders shake a small town. Rumours of a supernatural monster abound, and this latest atrocity has the entire town shaking in fear. The local police are beside themselves and have made no headway in solving these crimes. Detective Bristol, a man of logic and principle, and Timothy Moor, a petty thief, become unlikely partners in solving the grisly murders. Alternating between these roles, players will investigate the strange events and gradually reveal a dark secret…

Alter Ego represents a return to the traditional point and click method of adventure gaming, with players manipulating objects and environments in order to solve puzzles. What the quality of these games hinges upon is often the quality of the puzzles, and the difficulty in solving them combined with, simply put, how much rational sense they make. Granted, there are games like Grim Fandango which defy rationale, but they do it in a way that makes you know this to be the case. Anyway, since Alter Ego is much more grounded in reality, it’s necessary to make the puzzles follow suit.

In this regard, the game is very successful. Puzzles require a certain degree of lateral thinking at times, but for the most part you will generally find yourself saying “oh, that makes sense actually” after solving a particularly taxing puzzle. Refreshingly (and this is something that all point and click games could really do with), the game employs the use of F1 as an indicator button. Pressing and holding it lights up all the locales and objects that you can interact with, without going so far as to actually show you what to do. It’s a refreshing system, which has worked well in previous games and is used to great effect here.

The tone of the game, macabre and sinister from almost the word go, is really well done, and you will find yourself drawn in by the narrative as you go through the game unravelling the story. However, one of the downsides of a game like this is that the replay value just isn’t there, which means that at a RRP of £19.99, the game doesn’t represent the best value for money out there. However, if you can get it cheap or as part of a multibuy in a GAME or something, then definitely check this one out if you’re a fan of the genre.

The Emotionally Fourteen Games Rating
Graphics : Nice rounded character models, although a little rough around the edges.
Sound/Music : Nice atmospheric music and sound, voice acting is shonky but not insultingly bad.
Gameplay : Strong point and click gaming, with some clever puzzles.
Lasting Appeal : Once you’ve solved it, you’re unlikely to play through again.
Summary : A really strong point and click adventure game. If you like them, get it at some point though! 7/10


The true story of Howard Winstone is both remarkable and compelling. As a young man he was one of the biggest rising talents in amateur boxing until a factory accident crushed his fingers, the tips of three were amputated meaning that hand could no longer make a proper fist!

His father wouldnt let him gripe and he was soon punching a coal bag to keep his spirits up. Under a new trainer, Eddie Thomas, he started to learn a new style and once again rise up victoriously through the amateur ranks. He had completely changed the way he boxed and from there remarkably went on to become Champion of Britain and Champion of Europe.

Thanks to our friends at Scanbox Entertainment, we've got three copies of Risento give away! For your chance of winning, send your name to emotionally14@hotmail.co.uk before midday on Thursday 2nd June, making sure to put "Risen" as the subject. The first two entries out of the electronic hat after the competition closes will receive a free copy!

Don't forget to put "Risen" in the subject line. Incorrectly labelled or blank entries will be discarded.

Risen is available from Monday 30th May.

Entries limited to one per household. Offer open only to postal addresses in the UK and Ireland.

Tuesday 24 May 2011

Book Reviews

Dan Abnett
Angry Robot

Available Now - £4.48 (Digital Download) & £10.99 (Trade Paperback)
Review by Brad Harmer

Lex Falk, a journalist, gets himself to the front line by being chipped into the brain of a combat soldier. However, when that soldier is seriously injured in an ambush, he has to take over the body and get himself back home again, broadcasting live on an open feed...

Dan Abnett does damn good military sci-fi – that much we know already, right? This is the guy who almost single-handedly forged the Warhammer 40,000 fiction line as it stands today; in fact he’s probably the best military sci-fi writer since David Drake. And Embedded is another success.

Falk is an excellent protagonist, starting out as something of a ‘grizzled reporter’ cliché, it soon becomes apparent that there’s more of a good guy there than the reader – or even Falk himself – realises. The supporting cast, also, start out as rather cookie-cutter clichés, before their real personalities (for both good and bad) are revealed.

The pacing is excellent, with plenty of action scenes and scary moments along the way. The tension during the night fighting and house-clearing sequences is so tight you could throttle a badger with it. The combat scenes (of which there are more than a few) are terrifyingly realistic; intentionally jumbled and confusing as though you are a war journalist, or watching it through a hand-held camera. The ending is highly satisfying, and all in all...yeah, this is definitely a good read.

The Emotionally Fourteen Rating
Dan Abnett writing a novel set in a warzone? Yeah, there’s a fair bit. Explosions, gunfire, bullet wounds, stab wounds, gore, blood – the lot.
Sex/Nudity: Full nudity, one “curtains blowing in the wind” sex scene.
Swearing: Frequent and strong – censorship of swearing satirised.
Summary: A highly enjoyable sci-fi action-fest. Makes some nice points about war journalism without cramming them down your throat. 8/10

The Demon Collector
Jon Mayhew
Bloomsbury Publishing UK

Available Now - RRP £8.99 (Hardback)
Review by Rob Wade

In the time before time, Satan ruled the molten Earth, worshipped by his demons. One demon turned against him and imprisoned Satan deep in the bowels of the earth. When Satan escaped, as punishment, the demon's heart was torn from his chest and his body hidden deep in the polar ice. Only Satan knows where he lies. The heart is hidden elsewhere. If the two are brought together, the demon will be reborn and darkness will reign. Edgy Taylor sees demons when nobody else can. He is a prime collector, wandering the streets of London collecting dog muck for the tannery. The only thing Edgy is good at is setting and solving riddles, and evading his brutal and abusive master. One night, when his master seems genuinely intent on killing Edgy, Professor Janus intervenes, and takes him to the Royal Society of Daemonology where Edgy will now live. It is here, though, that Edgy discovers chance had nothing to do with their meeting, and that he holds the key to a deadly demon prophecy…

The Demon Collector is a book that reads slightly like Harry Potter in the sense that it deals with the story of a boy from a lowly lifestyle who finds out that he has a cooler and more noble calling in life. It’s also similar to Harry Potter in the sense that it’s made of win. This book blends elements of Van Helsing, Harry Potter and the like in order to bring forward a really strong book with a strong openness for future instalments should Mr Mayhew wish to do so.

As a personal rule, I generally find that the best books to read (or at least the easiest and most accessible) read so well that you can see a film of it playing out in your head. This is one of the many things that The Demon Collector does well. Reading through it, I found myself very easily able to picture characters and set pieces, through the good use of descriptive language and effective characterisation. The book reads effortlessly, to the point that I could pick it up and read it all in the same evening. The story itself, in terms of plot and exposition, is done pretty well. However, at times there were elements that turned out slightly predictable in that I was piecing it together ahead of the reveal. However, the story more than makes up for that by throwing a number of intriguing sub-plots, false hooks and tricks your way as you read. It’s not just riddles in this story which make up the brain-hurting elements (though the riddles themselves are awesome).

Having said all these positive things, Edgy Taylor is possibly one of the worst names I have come across in literature. I realise that it’s got storyline reasons for why the first name is the way it is, but come on! That said, the book itself is excellent, and well worth picking up if demons are your bag.

The Emotionally Fourteen Rating
: Demon fights, but no gore or anything like that.
Sex/Nudity : None.
Swearing : None.
Summary: An enjoyable read for fans of Mayhew’s work as well as those interested in these sorts of stories. 8/10


Known as 'The Little Dragon' to legions of adoring fans, Bruce Lee is regarded by many as the greatest martial arts legend who ever lived. Now, discover his amazing untold story in this stunning biopic from the studio that brought you Jet Li's Warlords and the acclaimed Infernal Affairs Trilogy.

From his birth on November 27th 1940 to his departure for San Francisco in 1959, discover how Bruce Lee lived through war and persecution and survived the brutal street-gangs of 1950's Hong Kong before going on to live his dreams.

Produced by Robert Lee, Bruce Lee's younger brother, and based on his own first-hand experience, Young Bruce Lee is a breathtaking and evocative homage to the man who, uniquely, brought the power and majesty of Chinese Kung Fu to millions around the world.

Showcasing an incredible hi-impact tribute to the celebrated Coliseum fight from Way of the Dragon, Young Bruce Lee is an inspirational motion picture event that is not to be missed!

Thanks to our friends at Cine Asia, we've got two copies of Young Bruce Leeto give away! For your chance of winning, send your name to emotionally14@hotmail.co.uk before midday on Tuesday 31st May, making sure to put "Young Bruce Lee" as the subject. The first two entries out of the electronic hat after the competition closes will receive a free copy!

Don't forget to put "Young Bruce Lee" in the subject line. Incorrectly labelled or blank entries will be discarded.

Young Bruce Lee is available from Monday 30th May.

Entries limited to one per household. Offer open only to postal addresses in the UK and Ireland.

Monday 23 May 2011

Top 5 Survival Horror Games

Scary games. They have the power to terrify in a completely different way to movies and books. With an interactivity that's unrivalled by any other media, you *are* the person experiencing the horror. When a game is particularly well done, it creates a whole new level of scare. Here, then, are five of my personal favourites (though, to be fair, there are a number that could find their way onto that list without too much trouble, so much so that I may have to do another 5 later in the year.

Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem

Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem is a third-person action game released for Nintendo GameCube. Developed by Silicon Knights, it was first released and published by Nintendo in 2002, it was the first video game published directly by Nintendo, rather than a third-party developer, to be rated M by the ESRB. The game's setting is centered around a mansion in Rhode Island, the home of the protagonist Alexandra Roivas' grandfather and the mysterious book known as 'The Tome of Eternal Darkness' that Alexandra finds there.

With elements of Cthulhu mythos, as well as nods to horror masters like Poe just from the introductory blurbs, it was clear from where Eternal Darkness drew its influences. Coming into it, I was nonplussed initially. Here was a girl who vaguely resembled Sarah Michelle Gellar running around an abandoned mansion looking for clues to take her into chapters where the player would then experience things from the point of view of other characters throughout history. It wasn't, in my eyes, doing anything particularly ground-breaking.

Then something out of the ordinary happened. The character I was playing as went insane. This, I thought, was more interesting, but the game wasn't finished. The screen went completely black and the little standby icon appeared in the corner of my TV. Swearing (probably), I searched for the remote, before realising it was across the room. How could I have touched any buttons from where I was? Then the screen re-lit, and I understood.

Eternal Darkness earns its place on this list because it was the first (and to this date only) game that I had played which played tricks on the player in such a way. Sure, I've had things happen in games which have turned out to be ruses and so on, but not once had I played a game where I had actually been under the impression that something had gone wrong with my TV, memory card etc. It was something new, and something fresh. Sure, the game played scare tricks on you in the usual ways, having stuff jump out at you and such, but the game's draw was the external stuff it did. Add to that the game playing well, and you had a classic that gets overlooked a fair bit in the annals of history.

Silent Hill

This one occupies a special place in my heart, as it is the first game that I played in the survival horror genre, and what a way to start! Silent Hill was another third-person game, this time released for the Playstation in 1999 (That's right, Silent Hill is coming up on 12 years old - terrifying eh?). The game placed you in the shoes of Harry Mason, who travels to the town with his daughter for holidays only for shit to go sideways within a very short space of time.

You guide Harry through the town, all the while meeting a colourful cast of characters (most of whom got brought back in for the movie). In fact, for the most part, the movie follows the game pretty reasonably. Sure, they brought in Pyramid Head, who wasn't in the games until the second of the series, and they brought the cult to the forefront and made them just bible-bashers, but the ultimate spirit of the game didn't change. Plus they added Sean Bean, which is awesome, because in my head he's Harry Mason anyway!

One incident stands out for me as the reason that this game makes its way into the list. I was exploring the town's school, and the iconic siren sounds turning the area into the 'Otherworld' responsible for most of the game's scares. I explore the 'other' school, and come across the locker room. In the normal world, the locker was banging and banging away, and when you open it a cat jumps out and escapes the room, only to get eaten outside the door. This is marked as the point in the game where you first meet monsters inside the school. In the 'Otherworld', the locker is banging and banging, and I went to open it. The sequence of events, which I will not spoil, made me pause the game for ten full minutes in order to get my heart rate down sufficiently that I felt I could carry on. That, E14ies, is why it's on this list.

What the game also did really well was dread, and this is in no small part down to the quality of the soundtrack, exhibited by the fact that Akira Yamaoka was brought in to do a large number of soundtracks after that by the studio. Also, the game came with multiple endings depending on how you played through the game, something that hadn't really been done so much at the time, also including a UFO ending which was pretty funny, if abrupt.

Sony, I've been very patient with you, but I really can't keep it in anymore. Make Silent Hill downloadable as a PS1 classic on the UK Playstation Network store, or I will flip my shit.

Resident Evil

One of the video game plots which has undergone the most additions and re-jiggings, the original Resident Evil saw a team of special law enforcement agents, including Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine, investigating the disappearance of a team of operatives sent to Raccoon City to look into some bizarre murders. Along the way, you find yourself ambushed by craaaaaaazy zombie dogs, and are forced into a spooky old mansion. Exploring the mansion, you find yourself learning that all is by no means as it seems...

No Top 5 of this kind would be complete without the addition of Capcom's magnum opus, a stunning game for its time both visually and in terms of gameplay. The story, as well, was amazing for its time, even if the voice acting for the original version sucked balls. With characters appearing throughout suffering at the hands of beasties that you would go on to meet later on, all the way to betrayal and super-secret corporate experimentation, the game was chock full of storyline and intrigue, which gave the game a great sense of pace. This was a great thing, especially as the game's controls were pretty sluggish, although excellent for the time.

Players looking for a great version of this game would do well to check out the Nintendo Gamecube remake, which not only remade the visuals completely (making Jill Valentine an animated hottie as they did), but they also tweaked the gameplay without detracting from it. From defensive weapons like knives which allowed you a one-hit kill for emergencies to altering the appearance times of the iconic zombie dogs during the game, it was clear that they were fans of the original first and game developers second.

Condemned: Criminal Origins

Originally released as a Microsoft exclusive on Xbox 360 and PC, the Condemned series sees the player in the role of FBI agent Ethan Thomas, who becomes framed for a double murder while chasing a serial killer, named Serial Killer X in the 'Most Underwhelming Nickname' annals of history. Serial Killer X, however, is a really strong character, killing serials in Thomas' database by their own methods. However, as well as the serial killer plot, there is absolutely fucktons of supernatural stuff going on.

There are many things that rock the boobies about Condemned. The game's first-person, which immerses you right away. The character you play as is established early on as an FBI investigator of particularly high ability, and this is reflected in the investigation elements of the game. Most frustrating of all in games is when you hear all these things about characters, only to see none of it reflected in what you play, and so it's nice to see them say "He's a shit-hot CSI" and then find yourself being a shit-hot CSI. The game did tension really well as well, while at the same time not making the elements of supernatural stuff over the top and unbelievable.

Probably the best thing about this game is that the game is primarily a melee combat game, with guns in short supply. Now, this would be a complete failure if the melee combat sucked, or the guns were too freely available, but the game does a great job of balancing the gun availability as well as making the melee combat work effectively, and when you find yourself in a department store with crazies hidden amongst the mannequins, you'll be grateful for every weapon you've got.

Dead Space

No Top 5 would be complete without Dead Space. Playing as Isaac Clarke, the game sees you exploring the derelict wreckage of the Ishimura, a mining ship which has sent out a distress signal during an operation on planet Aegis VII. The atmosphere when you arrive is already tense, and you find yourself seeing a lot of quick flashes of movement while exploring the initial parts of the ship. All the while, you're having to re-establish power systems and so on, as the ship is in a decaying orbit around the planet.

What this game does really, really well is the atmosphere of dread. Much like the movie Event Horizon, which sets up a tremendous atmosphere through a plot which I like to refer to as "Alien without the Alien", the game does a great job of making the player go "fuckfuckfuckfuckfuck" as they're walking through simply through the effective tactics of making the enemies reasonably unpredictable as well as making weapons scarce enough that you find yourself having to conserve your ammo. As with Condemned, the weapon and ammo balancing is excellent in the game.

The use of "Strategic Dismemberment" in the game adds an element of strategy as well. Players have to make sure that they remove all the limbs from the monsters that they face (which draw heavy influences from movies such as The Thing) for fear that those monsters will later get back up after you've walked away and go back into the vents. Don't think, either, that you have that entirely figured out, as after a while this becomes only part of the method that you need to employ.

Also of note in this game is the effective use of audio and video notes, with just the right amount of information being given to get you through the game while at the same time giving you only just enough to get the info you need rather than knowing what's going on ultimately. And to round off, here's a picture of Isaac Clarke facing off against yours truly. Enjoy.


Bestselling romance editor Trisha Telep brings an exciting new element to the fast-growing sub-genre of steampunk, which bends and blends the old and the new in increasingly popular dark urban fantasies. Young heroes and heroines battle evil, in various forms with the help of super-technological or supernatural powers, while falling in and out of love.

The contributors include: Ann Aguirre a bestselling author who writes urban fantasy (the Corine Solomon series from Roc), romantic science fiction (the Jax series from Ace), apocalyptic paranormal romance (as Ellen Connor, writing with Carrie Lofty, from Penguin), paranormal romantic suspense (as Ava Gray from Berkley), and post-apocalyptic dystopian young adult fiction (Razorland and Wireville coming in 2011 from Feiwel & Friends). Tessa Gratton, her debut novel Blood Magic arrives in 2011 from Random House Children's Books, followed by the companion Crow Magic in 2012.

Jaclyn Dolamore is the debut author of Magic Under Glass from Bloomsbury USA. Lesley Livingston is the award-winning author of Wondrous Strange and Darklight, the first two books in the bestselling trilogy from HarperCollins. Frewin Jones is the bestselling author of the Faerie Path series and the Warrior Princess books, among many others.

Caitlin Kittredge is the author of the Iron Codex trilogy, a Lovecraftian steampunk adventure. Dru Pagliassotti's first novel Clockwork Heart was one of the first in the rising new genre of steampunk romance and was named by Library Journal as one of the five steampunk novels to read in 2009. Dia Reeves is the debut author of the critically acclaimed YA Bleeding Violet. Michael Scott is the Irish-born, New York Times bestselling author of the six part epic fantasy series, The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel.

Maria V. Snyder is the New York Times bestselling author of the Study series (Poison Study, Magic Study, and Fire Study) about a young woman forced to become a poison taster. Tiffany Trent the author of the acclaimed dark fantasy series Hallowmere, which was an IndieBound Children's Pick and a New York Public Library Book of the Teen Age 2008. Kiersten White is the debut author of Paranormalacy, the first book in a new trilogy, which was published by HarperTeen in August of 2010.

Adrienne Kress, is the author of Alex and the Ironic Gentleman and Timothy and the Dragon's Gate.

Thanks to our friends at Constable and Robinson, we've got five copies of Corsets & Clockwork to give away! For your chance of winning, send your name to emotionally14@hotmail.co.uk before midday on Monday 30th May, making sure to put "Corsets & Clockwork" as the subject. The first five entries out of the electronic hat after the competition closes will receive a free copy!

Don't forget to put "Corsets & Clockwork" in the subject line. Incorrectly labelled or blank entries will be discarded.

Corsets & Clockwork is available from Thursday 26th May, priced £6.99.

Entries limited to one per household. Offer open only to postal addresses in the UK and Ireland.

Sunday 22 May 2011

Dickass DM

Remember good, old-fashioned gamebooks? They promised all the fun of a role-playing game, with none of the social interaction - what more could a teenage boy desire? The thing is, that while the gamebook became a great gaming experience in its own right, the only RPG it could possibly have simulated was one being GM'd by Satan himself. 90% of decisions led to certain death, and combat was often fatal.

Satan wasn't available, so Brad will be GMing Rob through an RPG based on the classic Tom Sheldon gamebook Big Match Manager. Brad is the DM, and Rob plays his character, Terry Braggables.

Catch up with previous Dickass DM installments here!
===Saturday 5th===
Brad: It's the day of your away match against Gonalston City, and you spend the early morning selecting your team.
As the players climb aboard the team bus, you notice that Will Frost and Ian Leslie are deeply engaged in a discussion.
Terry Braggables: What's up boys, thinking of becoming a double act?
Brad: They are last to board, and their whispering continues as the bus moves away.
Terry Braggables: Something you want to share with the rest of the class?
Will Frost: [quickly] Nothing, chief.
Brad: The players look at each other.
Ian Leslie: [hissing, to Will Frost] You've got to...
Wil Frost: [nervoustly] It's just - I've been getting these phone calls at home, about four of them now, in the night mostly. This muffled voice, telling me to play badly.
Terry Braggables: Do they ask you what you're wearing? If so, I'll have a word with the chairman.
Will Frost: Last time he said Danny was first, and I could be next.
Terry Braggables: I wouldn't worry about it..probably some dickass.
McSpindle: Should we inform the police, though? I think we should hire more security in any case.
Terry Braggables: They're probably busy asking people in the phonebook if they kidnapped Danny.
Ian Leslie: Any word on Danny?
Terry Braggables: Nope, though they've ruled out A and B.
McSpindle: [to you] I think the police are as fucked as we are.

Brad: On the way to the Gonalston City stadium you study the form of the opposition.
Rob: Human, I'd hope,.
Gonalston City FC
Gonalston have enjoyed a windfall of new talent this season, and with two big wins under their belts already they're looking to be a force to be reckoned with. Jules Torrence will be looking to crush Hardwick at home in this match, and you'll have to play at ful tilt if you're going to deny him.
Brad: Bostock, Parker and Leslie have all recovered and can play as normal. You have no injured players. Pick your starting team.
Fitzgerald - Fry - Bobak - Carvalho - Neville
Frost - Wehnert - Bostock
Suda - Wood

First Half
Hardwick City Scores!
Rob: Wa-hey!
Gonalston City 0 - Hardwick City 1
Gonalston City Score!
Gonalston City 1 - Hardwick City 1
Hardwick City Score!
Gonalston City 1 - Hardwick City 2
Gonalston City Score!
Gonalston City 2 - Hardwick City 2
Hardwick City Score!
Gonalston City 2 - Hardwick City 3
Half time
Second Half
Gonalston City's #7 Shirt is given a yellow card.
Gonalston City are awarded a corner.
They fail to score.
McSpindle: They'll sleep tonight.

Gonalston City Score!
Gonalston City 3 - Hardwick City 3
Gonalston City Score!
Gonalston City 4 - Hardwick City 3
Full time!
Rob: What the hell?!
Brad: The atmosphere in the bus on the way back to Hardwick is rowdy as ever, but you're not in the mood this time. It's been weeks now since Danny's disappearance and neither the police nor you seem to be any closer to getting him back safely.
McSpindle: You may right. The police have officially listed him as "Missing - Presumed Raped".
Terry Braggables: Raped? I hope not for his anus.
Brad: You recline your seat, and stare out through rain-spattered windows as the featureless motorway races past. It's hypnotic, and you begin to doze off when you are woken by the sudden vibration...
McSpindle: Wa-hey!
Brad: ...of your mobile.
You look at the display:
Danny Knox
Answer it?
Rob: Of course!
Brad: Your hands are shaking as you press 'answer'.
Terry Braggables: Is this who I think it is?
Brad: An unfamiliar voice replies in a flat monotone, making the hair on the back of your neck stand up.
Voice: Don't get involved. You know we're watching you. Back off. Or you're next.
Terry Braggables: So...it's not who I think it is?
Brad: They hang up.
McSpindle: Try calling back!
Terry Braggables: How would I know what number to call?
McSpindle: It came up as Danny Knox? Surely it's in your phonebook? Ass.
Brad: You try calling back but a computerised voice tell you 'the mobile you are calling is switched off'. You resume your journey in uneasy silence.
The bus eventually pulls up in the club car park.
You sit and wait whilst your players file past you and down the steps.

McSpindle: What are we waiting for?
Terry Braggables: A sign...
Driver: We're back, guv. Long day, was it?
Terry Braggables: One of the longest.
Brad: He starts telling you about some useless mechanic not being able to fix the carburettor, but you're only half-listening as you've spotted club chairman Victor Sinkowski leaving the building and heading towards his car. He hasn't seen you.
Terry Braggables: Yeah, yeah, yeah...I'm not listening about your carbonator.
Rob: Follow him.
McSpindle: Breakin' the law, breakin the law! Woah-woah!
Terry Braggables: How are we breaking the law?
McSpindle: Sorry, I was miles away. What are we doing?
Brad: You dash to your car and jump inside, just as Victor's dark green Jaguar growls past the security gate and sweeps up the road to the left. You follow cautiously through the exit and onto the one-way system. You are queuing at lights...
McSpindle: So...this is what a high speed chase is like...
Terry Braggables: Yeah, in reality.
Brad: ... and you can just make out his sausage fingers drumming on the steering-wheel two cars ahead.
McSpindle: Wow. You have eyes of a hawk.
Terry Braggables: I know! It's incredible really.
McSpindle: One of those hawks that can see through solid objects. Or, at the very least, around corners.
Brad: Your heart is thumping in your chest as you pray your car can keep pace with the powerful engine under Sinkowski's bonnet.
McSpindle: This...this is a Fiat, isnt' it?
Terry Braggables: It came very high in reliability reviews online!
Brad: After an age, the lights turn to green.
Rob: I hang back to make sure he doesn't see.
Brad: As the traffic begins to creep forward, you try to maintain a safe distance.
You can still see Victor's car up ahead, and wherever he's going he doesn't seem to be in much of a hurry to get there. You pick up speed to match his, but just as you begin to feel you've got the hang of these covert operations you see another set of lights just ahead changing to amber. Sinkowski's Jaguar sails through them, and you will the cars between you to keep going. The tail lights of the car in front of you flare red as the driver slows to a stop, and you slam on the brakes.

Terry Braggables: I have a bad feeling about this.
Brad: A gaggle of school-children is crossing in front of you, and beyond them you see Victor disappearing into the distance. Sitting there tapping your foot won't help.
Rob: A group of school children is a gaggle?
Brad: I've always wanted the collective noun for websites to be "a google".
Rob: I stay in pursuit.
Brad: Eventually the amber light begins to flash and the car in front pulls away.
You floor the accelerator and overtake, wishing you'd had that eye test as you scan the distance for any sign of Victor Sinkowski.
McSpindle: I really think he's the bad guy, and I have proof.
Terry Braggables: ...Really?
McSpindle: Yup. His name's Victor. I can't think of any Victor who isn't a bad guy.
Terry Braggables: ...
McSpindle: You think we'll need more for a conviction?
Terry Braggables: Almost certainly.
Brad: There's a roundabout up ahead, but still no sign of him as you reach it.
Rob: He would be unlikely to be parked at a roundabout.
Brad: Take the exit on the left, take the exit straight ahead, or take the exit on the right?
McSpindle: Toss a three headed coin! They exist in this universe, right?
Terry Braggables: Why not?
Rob: Go straight ahead.
Brad: The car lurches as it speeds over the roundabout. After three or four miles of furious driving there's still no sign of him.
Rob: I went straight over it?
Brad: Either he's way ahead of you by now or you made a wrong turn. Best cut your losses and head back to the club.
You're back in your office after a tiring afternoon. Topflight Sportswear has turned out to be a very successful and popular brand, and this sponsorship deal has worked out even better for the team than the last one!
Rob: Hurrah!
Brad: Budget has increased to £5mill. Not bad for one phonecall!
Rob: Indeed.
Brad: You've got a game coming up against Bridgford City this Saturday. This could be a good time to work on some individual skills. Alternatively you may wish to concentrate on overall Morale and Fitness in the team.
Rob: Individual skills.
Brad: Think about where your weaknesses are: is the key to Hardwick's success getting more goals in or keeping more goals out?

McSpindle: Both!
Rob: Train on shot-stopping.
Brad: Choose one of your goalkeepers.
Rob: Rose.
Brad: Rose responds well in training.
Rob: Good lad.
Brad: What skill do you want to train next?
Rob: Free kicks.
Wehnert responds especially well in training. For the rest of the season, he receives a bonus when taking a free kick.
Rob: That's an incredibly effective training session!
===Saturday 12th===
Brad: You wake early on Saturday morning feeling confident in the ability of your team to go out in front of the home fans and get a result today.
Rob: I am as well! I will be interested to see if the chairman makes it.
Brad: Today's needle match is against your local rivals Bridgford City, and the visitors' stand is sure to be packed as this is always one of the more raucous games of the season.
McSpindle: "Needle match"?
Terry Braggables: I have no idea. Maybe it's a gimmick, like ladders.
Brad: For years the home team has always won this fixture. Will you manage to follow tradition?
Bridgford City FC
Dave Curtis is a no-nonsense type of manager, and Bridgford aren't a team for fancy tactics.But their showing so far has been average at best, and defensively they have appeared frail. An opposition with a strong attacking presence should be able to capitalise on this.
Brad: Pick your starting team.
Carvalho - Bobak - Fitzgerald - Fry.
Wehnert - Bostock - Frost.
Parker - Wood - Suda

Brad: The whistle to signal start of play is accompanied by the usual rise in volume from the huge body of support that has turned up for this fixture. In the first five minutes it is clear that the Bridgford defence is particularly shaky, and the attacks are all coming from your side.
Your strength up front is leaving Bridgford's defenders in disarray. Your attackers are breaking forward at every opportunity and their goalie is having a nightmare as shots come in from all sides.
Rob: In the first five minutes?

First Half
Bridford City are awarded a free kick.
They fail to score.
Rob: ...My team must be fucking wasteful.
Hardwick City are awarded a free kick.
Rob: Oooooooh...
Wehnert scores!
Rob: Yay!
Hardwick City 1 - Brigdford City 0
Hardwick City score!
Hardwick City 2 - Bridgford City 0
Bridgford City score!
Rob: S.O.B's.
McSpindle: I was going to say "fuckbastards".
Terry Braggables: I like yours better.
Hardwick City 2 - Bridford City 1
Hardwick City score!
Hardwick City 3 - Bridgford City 1
McSpindle: It's like hockey! Awesome!
Bridgford City score!
Hardwick City 3 - Bridgford City 2
Hardwick City score!
Hardwick City 4 - Bridgford City 2
Rob: Kick ass!
Bridgford City score!
Hardwick City 4 - Bridgford City 3
The referee is showing Klaus Wehnert a card...
Rob: ...

It's red! Klaus Wehnert has been sent off!
Terry Braggables: That wouldn't even have injured my crippled grandmother!
Half time.
Brad: I'll tell you something...I've seen entire matches that weren't as interesting as the last fifteen minutes of that half.
Rob: That's most of them in fact.
Brad: Your players come off for half-time, and you walk with them up the tunnel to the dressing room. Half-time over and the fans are back at their seats with pies and cups of tea.
Rob: Only in football would that be a combination that people would enjoy.



To celebrate the 40th anniversary of Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece, A Clockwork Orange, Warner Home Video will release the Stanley Kubrick: Limited Edition Collection on Blu-ray™ on 23rd May. Three lucky readers could be in with the chance of winning a copy of the Limited Edition Blu-ray collection by entering this competition!

The collection features the film and bonus content from A Clockwork Orange 40th Anniversary Edition, the Blu-ray debuts of Lolita and Barry Lyndon, as well as the feature films 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Shining, Full Metal Jacket, and Eyes Wide Shut. The Blu-ray collection will be boxed in new book-style premium packaging and will include a 40-page hard-cover book that explores the breadth of genres and themes in Kubrick’s work.

Stanley Kubrick: Limited Edition Collection on Blu-ray will be released on 23rd May 2011 and is available to pre-order online now.

To be in with the chance of winning a copy of this Limited Edition collection, please just answer the following question.

Who played the character Alex in A Clockwork Orange?
a. Malcolm McDowell
b. Stanley Kubrick
c. Barry Lyndon

For your chance of winning, send your answer, name and full postal address to emotionally14@hotmail.co.uk before midday on Sunday 29th May, making sure to put "Stanley Kubrick" as the subject. The first three entries out of the electronic hat after the competition closes will receive a free copy!

Don't forget to put "Stanley Kubrick" in the subject line. Incorrectly labelled or blank entries will be discarded.

Entries limited to one per household. Offer open only to postal addresses in the UK and Ireland. ©2011 Warner Bros. Entertainment. All Rights Reserved.