(SCi) CD-Rom

Stuck in a boring job? Driven mad by everyday life? What you need is a good dose of fantasy. The fantasy role-playing genre has grown hugely since the days of X-Com: Terror from the Deep. Final Fantasy VII was the latest offering to take the world by storm, selling millions of copies. Now, SCi is trying to follow these successes with this release.

The player takes on the role of an Alliance officer, John Alexander. The task is to defeat the magical powers which have invaded the Earth in the form of the Forces of Darkness. With infantry, tanks and air squadrons, you will have to face some of the ugliest, most brutal opposition ever. From Orcs and demons to elves and Skeletal Warriors, each one is more bloodthirsty than the last.

There are a total of 60 missions to go through, all in turn-based style, and the game also includes a very helpful tutorial. There are also more than 70 combat units for the Alliance and the Forces of Darkness, including tanks, Orcs and the Undead. As for strategy, not only can you place your units in certain formations, you can even assign a leader to each group. Unlike most turn-based games, the action is very quick, though the graphics are not the most polished ever seen and the sound effects are far from brilliant. However, this is one of the smoothest and most detailed game of its kind that I have seen so far.

With so many units to play with on so many different missions, Spellcross is likely to be a success. Although it will not match up to the likes of Final Fantasy, it is well worth taking a look at.

Released 4 Sept, pounds 24.99


Point Blank

(Sony Entertainment) PlayStation

It all began at the fairground: picking up those heavy rifles, taking aim, and knocking down as many ducks as you could. As time progressed, we moved on to the arcade. Now, in-home entertainment has finally caught up with our fascination for guns, and so the wonderfully manic arcade classic, Point Blank, is released on the PlayStation.

If you have never played Point Blank, then you have missed out on some of the craziest and most furious action to be seen in an arcade. The PlayStation version of the game is even better than its predecessor. Besides the ever-popular Arcade mode, in which two players can compete in 48 stages of target-shooting mayhem, there are now the special stages, which are exclusive to the PlayStation. Here the action is faster, the goals are harder, and it is more fun than before. For Time Crisis fans, quest mode has also been added, enabling you to travel around a small treasure island, defeating foes and completing tasks.

However, the best is yet to come. The last option, only on the PlayStation, is the party mode. With a maximum of eight players, you can take part in either the score battle, the tournament, or team play, and go wild with Namco's G-Con 45 light gun.

With more frantic action than you could pack into a Wimbledon vs Milwall football match, Point Blank will have you shooting your telly for months to come.

On release, pounds 59.99 (including G-Con 45 light gun)

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