Cardinal Syn

(Sony Entertainment) PlayStation


Tekken 1, 2, and now 3 have dominated the PlayStation fighting genre for a long time, and this, unfortunately, doesn't look set to change. Cardinal Syn is another of Sony's new releases, boasting nice graphics and cool moves, but it is merely a pretender to Tekken's throne.

The game is based on a mythical tournament from medieval times. If you have already played Tekken (as most of the world has), then the similarities between it and Cardinal Syn are easily spotted. At first sight, the graphics could be identical: a 3D fighting sim with neat backdrops and fast-moving action. There is, however, a difference: in Cardinal Syn, the developers have added new interactive backgrounds, and in some cases, there are objects which fly out and hit you, or spikes you can bump into, features Tekken did not have.

As far as the gameplay goes, there is enough here to entertain you for a fair while - there are the usual multiplayer modes, practice mode and championship mode, as well as a survival mode, where you have to fight against all the characters with only one life. You can also pull off the same type of combos available in Tekken, with fast-flowing action and a range of characters with different weapons, power and pace. However, if you're a fan of Tekken, it's probably worth waiting for the release of Tekken 3 for real satisfaction.

Although this is a decent game, and it does give a lot of entertainment, Tekken has always been the best and may never be bettered.

On release, pounds 34.99


Commandos: BEL

(Eidos Interactive) PC CD-Rom


Cannon Fodder was the Sensible Soccer of war games, with simple graphics and great playability. So what happens when superb graphics, more, and better, weapons, and a host of new characters are added to an idea that captured the nation? We get Commandos: Behind Enemy Lines (BEL).

It's the Second World War, and England is under the threat of invasion. With a task force of highly trained soldiers, you have to take out the enemy in a furious tactical war. Each mission has to be carried out perfectly, and the death of just one man can spell failure for everyone.

This is one of the best games you're likely to see this year. The graphics are excellent, and each building, vehicle and soldier looks authentic for the period, but its gameplay is probably the strongest aspect of the title. There are different soldiers for each task, and you can choose to play the missions, or play against some friends on the Internet, or even choose the tutorials and learn how to get the best out of each man. If there is a flaw, it's that the missions can be a little too hard. But with a little training and a lot of planning, you'll be able to master them.

Place cameras all over the enemy's base, have your soldier take out a guard with the long distance rifle, or jump into a tank and destroy everything in your path - the choice is yours. Commandos: Behind Enemy Lines will go further than GI Joe ever could.

On release, pounds 39.99