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Published: Saturday, 7/19/2003

Game reviews: Pirates of the Caribbean *** 1/2

Critic's rating: ***1/2 (Out of 5)

Xbox, PC (MSRP $49.99)

Sailing the frothy seas, building a reputation based on your actions sums up the plotline for the new swashbuckling movie spinoff title. Exploring vivid tropical landscapes in the 17th century and interacting with the inhabitants takes up most of your time during gameplay - the high point being a successful raid of a rival vessel. Walk the plank! Your crew members in Pirates are out to make names for themselves - ruthless or fair - and it's your decision to make as ship captain. The title has a very “PC” feel to it, and control is a bit clunky on the XBox. Overall, Pirates is a fun title with stunning “stormy sea” graphic sequences and lots of room to get out and explore. Now if I could just get that darn parrot off my shoulder.

Critic's rating: ** (Out of 5)

PS2 (MSRP $29.99)

Is there room for one more scantily clad beach bimbo volleyball title on the shelves? Didn't we already do (and get over) this? Granted, there's a lot more actual volleyball going on in this title than in DOA Xtreme Beach Volleyball, which featured an all-female player lineup, but this release seems to be filling a genre void on the PS2 and that's about it.

There are minor improvements in this title, such as better camera usage during gameplay and greater ball control for increased accuracy and a more fluid, fast-paced game. But even with its extras (and low price), Heat still gets spiked in my book for over-simplified gameplay without much replay value.


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