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Long read: The beauty and drama of video games and their clouds

"It's a little bit hard to work out without knowing the altitude of that dragon..."

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ECTS - Rage round-up

Rocky gets Rolling

Liverpool-based Rage has had its fair share of problems in the last couple of years, with boss Paul Finnegan admitting earlier this year that the company needs "a big winner" to turn things around. Luckily then their line-up for the next few months includes a few potential hits, most notably Rocky, which is coming to all next-generation consoles as well as the GameBoy Advance. The idea of basing a game on Sylvester Stallone's series of boxing movies might seem a bit odd considering that many younger gamers don't have a clue who Rocky and Apollo Creed are, but we're happy to report that the resulting game is a lot of fun in two player mode. There's a wide range of nicely animated characters from the films to control, some evil looking facial deformation technology to bruise and bloody your opponent's ugly mug, and plenty of scope for ducking and diving once you get to grips with the controls. Inline skating game Rolling is also looking promising, although it now has to scale up to the lofty heights achieved by the genre-defining Aggressive Inline if it's to truly win our hearts. Elsewhere things were a bit more patchy. Lamborghini (on PS2 and Xbox) certainly looks suitably pretty in motion, but the handling and physics felt a bit odd and we never quite connected with it. Presumably it's still being tweaked though, and if Rage can make the gameplay match the graphics we should be in for a treat. The big disappointment though was Twin Caliber, an on-rails shooter whose major innovation is that you control two guns separately using the two analogue pads and a pair of shoulder buttons. It's a nice idea, but actually mastering the system takes some time, and the whole gory atmosphere of the game is let down by your character, who looks like an extra from The Village People and frantically jerks his arms around as you aim his guns. While this was quite amusing, we can only hope that the animations in the final game will look somewhat better.