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Dead or Alive 2 Dreamcast *** If you'd seen the advertising campaign for this game without knowing anything about it, you'd be somewhat confused as to its subject matter. The eye-catching adverts featured some marvellously well-endowed and scantily clad young ladies posing moodily; the last thing you would expect from the game is a martial arts beat-em-up. However, the campaign wasn't a tissue of lies, for the dames in bikinis do actually get down to a spot of Dujitsu - or similar. And it is exhausting to watch these Amazons karate-chopping the male characters who generally resemble the hairy one from the Chippendales or Hulk Hogan - it's a boys game, obviously.

Dead or Alive 2 Dreamcast *** If you'd seen the advertising campaign for this game without knowing anything about it, you'd be somewhat confused as to its subject matter. The eye-catching adverts featured some marvellously well-endowed and scantily clad young ladies posing moodily; the last thing you would expect from the game is a martial arts beat-em-up. However, the campaign wasn't a tissue of lies, for the dames in bikinis do actually get down to a spot of Dujitsu - or similar. And it is exhausting to watch these Amazons karate-chopping the male characters who generally resemble the hairy one from the Chippendales or Hulk Hogan - it's a boys game, obviously.

Most beat-em-ups are tiresomely difficult to master: complicated pre-set button sequences can leave you jabbing randomly and getting nowhere. With DOA2, though, a casual three-button tickle will usually result in some rather graceful tumbles and vicious kicks to make you wince. This initially means that you can literally pick-up and play the game; but the long-term effect is to somewhat reduce the challenge of the game and it's longevity.

To counter this, a four-player kung fu tumble does make for some frantic amusement. The dodgily attired characters look fantastic and the finely rendered arenas hold off the desire to change the disk. (Acclaim, £39.99)

Sydney 2000 All formats **** Virtua Athlete 2K Dreamcast ** Daley Thompson has a lot to answer for: that dodgy moustache, his shameful whistling of the national anthem and that Decathalon computer game which led to wrist cramp, keyboard failure and spawned generations of imitations. With the Olympics upon us, thanks to Daleys exertions, a whole host of track and field games are crowding the shops, of which Sydney 2000 is the version sponsored by the International Olympic Committee.

These are surely games for the mindless - hit a pair of buttons in sequence, as fast as possible and occasionally hit an action button to leap hurdles, do a spot of high jumping and throw a javelin. This will leave you with finger cramps, burning thumb, chafed palm and quite possibly a broken handset. Hardly my idea of fun. They hold an appeal for some, though, for Konami has been releasing its own track and field game at regular intervals over the past few decades with some degree of success.

Two such games are currently on the market and frankly there is no comparison between them. Admittedly, Sydney 2000 has the powerful backing and useful branding of the IOC, but the look of the game - even though I played it on the relatively limited PlayStation - relegates Sega's Virtua Athlete to the bottom of the medal table.

Much has been made of the time and detail which went into the production of Sydney, the game, but it paid off: the athletes move fluidly and idiosyncratically. They do their own individual warm ups and even run differently. The Virtua Athletes, however, jerk their way through their events and take their starting positions with unlikely synchronicity. Likewise, attention to the commentating paid off. In Sydney, the commentary will match your performance in each event - if you're no Fatima Whitbread with the javelin, prepare to be ridiculed. Sega's commentators sound like they're not watching the action - and all scores receive a uniform reaction.

As gameplay for athletics games is pretty identical - erm, bash the buttons - it is the detailing which makes a game more enjoyable to play. Consequently, Attention to Detail's efforts make Eidos's Sydney 2000 a magnificent Steve Redgrave to Sega's risible Eddie the Eagle. (Sydney 2000, Eidos, PC: £34.99, PlayStation and Dreamcast, £39.99) (Virtua Athlete 2K, Sega, £39.99)

Bust-a-Move 4 Dreamcast **** Be warned. Should you be so foolish as to think you can pick up one of the most addictive puzzles and then put it down again, you have obviously never chanced upon this rascal in its other incarnations. This fiendish combination of Connect Four and Tetris has made its Dreamcast début and few will escape its tyrannical pull.

To play, clear your screen of bubbles by firing other bubbles of similar hue up the screen from you and your cannon to form groups of three or more bubbles of the same colour which will then disappear. The more balls you match on your side of the screen, the more will appear on your challenger's side. And vice-versa, of course. Beware the bonkers chain reaction, though: colours flash, cartoon characters squeal and someone will end up with an awful lot of burst balloons. Once you've driven your friends to distraction and out of your house, don't worry, you can play against the computer or in puzzle mode. (Acclaim, £39.99)

s.chatterton@independent.co.uk

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