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Saw – Xbox 360 Review

Intro page

I’m something of a latecomer to the Saw film franchise and was only introduced to the world of Jigsaw last week when I watched the 1st and 2nd films back to back; I enjoyed them both so much that I also spent this Saturday totally engrossed in the 3rd, 4th and 5th installments. Nice one for the recommendation Ang!

For me the films aren’t JUST about the gore or the traps for which they are infamously known, personally I enjoyed witnessing the transition of John Kramer from terminal cancer patient to becoming the films lead protagonist and a serial ‘killer’; Jigsaw.

A terminal diagnosis and losing an unborn son result in Kramer eventually attempting to take his own life on two occasions, both are unsuccessful and result in a life-changing epiphany; Kramers rebirth is complete and Jigsaw is born. Kramer decides to dedicate the remainder of his life by capturing and testing the immoral and those he feels have devalued their own lives into playing deadly games which ultimately offer retribution; but at a high price.

The xbox 360 game puts you in the place of Homicide Detective Tapp (Danny Glover’s character from the first film) whose obsession into catching Jigsaw becomes his own undoing; as the introduction kicks in you immediately know that the game means business because you awake to find that you are wearing the same reverse beartrap device which is seen in the first film. You are given 60 seconds to remove the helmet, or your face explodes.

The controls of the game are very intuitive, from the reaction button prompts which you have to hit in sequence in order to remove the reverse beartrap to the overal control of the character from when you escape it’s clutches.

The look of the game is also quite brilliant, totally recapturing the dirty, macabre and dilapidated industrial surroundings that are synonymous with the films; the lighting, colours and mood of the game are absolutely spot on; I loved how atmospheric the lighting becomes when you use a zippo lighter to illuminate certain areas in the game.

I would have no hesitation in drawing a comparison to ‘Silent Hill’ in the way the game oozes atmosphere, but in many ways ‘Saw’ is far more disturbing because it attacks your senses straight from the beginning; no sooner are you out of the initial bathroom you’re then confronted by the distant cries of a man screaming for help before being thrust into another ‘game’.

Puzzles that I encountered within the first 30 minutes or so were nicely thought out, not too easy, not too hard; I expect the games difficulty will increase as you go. I also really enjoy the way in which Jigsaw ensures that other ‘players’ will seek you out when you find that he has implanted a key into your body which is required for the others to escape.

The combat in the game nice and simple too which is refreshing; although I loved the ‘Silent Hill’ games, I often felt the combat could have been a bit better sometimes within the franchise.

I expect that I’ll be spending a few evenings helping Detective Tapp search the abandoned hospital for Jigsaw with the aid of his flickering zippo lighter and a trusty bit of pipe; I’ve embedded a bit of footage below which will give you a brief glimpse at the game. Try not to laugh where I had problems getting the doors to close on the toilets!

Fucking doors!

HINT – The 1 in the combination is actually a 7!

Street fighter 4 – Review


Fucking yes!  I was lucky enough to get hold of a Japanese copy of Street Fighter 4 which is due out in the UK on the 20th February 2009; suffice to say that I am extremely chuffed.  Oh yes.

My love affair with the Street Fighter series goes back right to my Commodore 64 days with the first game which was nigh on impossible to beat, and then Street Fighter 2 which I became totally obsessed with at around 11 years old thanks to the MASSIVE arcade cabinets down in Selsey Bill.  As my parents threw wild BBQ’s for hundreds of cockneys, I smashed the utter shit out of whoever I could at SF2 (It still makes me cringe to think how determined I was to totally decimate a really mouthy Korean kid in an arcade located in Kansas, he was about 11 and I was 20.  Still beat him like a punk bitch).  As you can see, it brings out the competitive streak in me.

Oh how I remember bunking off of school and going up into the prototype arcade machine halls in Warren Street, London with a friend of mine and living on the edge.  “Hey mate, you got 50p?”.  “No, fuck off!”.  How I avoided getting stabbed by the usual scum that lurk around arcades I’l never know?  You could say that It was fate that I survived and mastered my Dragon Punch technique.  Sho-Ryu-Ken-Slag!

The much maligned third game was also a favourite of mine on the Sega Dreamcast (my favourite console of all time), it was pretty innovative with the parry and blocking system  and I’m glad to see so much of it’s influence went into the guts of Street Fighter 4.  I honestly never thought Capcom would make the game to be honest; and certainly not with the sheer class and utterly fantastic gameplay that they have relaunched the franchise with.

So how does it play?  It’s amazingly fluid, responsive, technical to a degree I’ve never experienced in a fighting game before and has such a familiar feel to it that you’d be forgiven for thinking it was the good old days again.  That is to say that it’s the first time i’ve probably grinned to the point my face hurts whilst playing a game (Resident Evil 5 came close…but) for at least a decade.  The designers seem to have also rolled back the years with the design of the characters and overall look, the animation is phenomenal and I love the manga look of the game.  Very lush.

I played the game on the ‘medium’ difficulty setting and quickly settled in playing with Ken, my chosen character.  Here’s a snippet of me beating up the Mexican Wrestler El Fuerte one handed, the other was holding the camera I assure you 🙂


There are the usual power bars, revenge bars, SUPER bars, all of which allow you to trigger nasty counter moves and special attacks; usually followed with some funky animation.  As mentioned earlier the parry and block system responds instinctively, you won’t just be able to bash buttons and beat someone with your eyes closed on this game that’s for sure.  Overall, I’d have to say it’s the best fighting game I’ve ever played and that’s by a long way.  I can’t wait to try it out over the xbox live servers!

It wasn’t all plain sailing though I must admit.  I struggled a little against Guile with his flat top haircut and poxy Sonic Boom attacks, Sagat was an utter tosspot as usual with Tiger Uppercuts flailing all over the place, and when I finally reached the Boss character Seth, he spanked me all over the place which was great fun!  I was lucky enough to perfect him in the first round, he then regenerates and starts teleporting over the screen kicking ten bells out of you; probably why he’s the boss character?

I really loved his design though (he has a spinning ying/yang in his midrift), he reminded me so much of Street Fighter 3’s boss, Gill, and also the character Urien from that game too.  The SUPER move that Seth performs on you involves sucking you into his ying/yang, you going around like a washing machine and then spat out at speed right up onto the screen face first – see pic in the gallery).

The end fight was such a struggle that I couldn’t help but take some video as I completed the game; I was then greeted with the longest offensive list of credits you’ve probably ever seen (along with me sticking my fingers up at a couple of characters that pop up, and also a bit of obscene gesturing to the female characters).  So yes, I finished it.  Woohooo!!!


So, if you see me on xbox live, bring it on bitches!