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     " I can rant for hours on just how stupid this game is, but I think I'll just wrap it up with a rating and let you move onto the other quality reviews on this site. "

      Title: Circus Maximus by Encore

      Format: Roman style racing for the X-Box

      Reviewing Monkey: Chimpan-A

      The Hype: Okay, we've all seen Ben Hur…or at least a parody thereof. The next logical step? A game about chariot racing. Strap yourself to the horses and get ready to romp through what ancient Rome would look like if it happened to have been designed like a racecourse.

      What This Monkey Thought...

      Graphics: Once you get into the actual game, the graphics are pretty good. The interface screens before the game are about as lovely as the hairy guy in a speedo on the beach. The characters look pretty good and the chariots are fine. The backgrounds in game are relatively grainy (relative to some of the other stuff X-box is frontin'), but passable. The environments are a decent grasp of Roman era architecture and landscape. The game ranges from the Britons to Egypt and does a decent job capturing the various areas. 4 out of 5

      Sound: I have only one request. My request is that I be given 5 minutes alone with the guy who wrote the "witty" commentary and taunts. I wouldn't be nearly so insulted if his asinine insults even made sense half the time. Moreover the sounds are played at completely inappropriate times. While driving down a straight road, you'll suddenly hear "Done like a true champion". Apparently true champions are the ones capable of staying in the chariot, even while it's moving! (Ooh and aah, appropriately) The majority of the idiotic commentary happens during training missions, but every quip is like a boot to my ear. Never choose the female warrior by the way. There were four "I'm a naughty girl" taunt related suicides in the monkey office. Otherwise the sounds are fine. The chariots rumble nicely, the background music won't get in your way. The weapons and other appropriate sounds are all fine. 2.5 out of 5

      Playability: In a normal racing game making a turn requires, at most, two buttons. The steering device and possibly the hard turn device. Apparently that just didn't sound like enough for Encore. After all, why deal with two buttons, when you can deal with four? For anybody interested in playing this game, you may wish to grow an extra digit right now. Successfully driving your chariot will require you to simultaneously use analog sticks, the buttons and the shoulder triggers. It's a system that's overly complicated at its best. Add to that a horrible balancing system in which there is a clear choice of chariot (sure they give you options to take… if you're an idiot). I suppose the other chariots are there for "added challenge". Playing a controllable chariot just not enough challenge for you? Take one that tips over at the slightest brush! Of course, then you've got a computer that somehow manages to accelerate like a Ferrari and you've got fun, fun and more fun. Essentially, I don't think there is one design decision in this game that I can stand behind. I can rant for hours on just how stupid this game is, but I think I'll just wrap it up with a rating and let you move onto the other quality reviews on this site. 1 out of 5

      Multiplayer and Replayability: All right, having read the above paragraph, I temper it by saying: Multiplayer isn't that bad. Essentially, one of you drives the cart, the other one worries about the warrior. When done this way, the game can at least be played with human hands. Although it does take exceptionally high levels of communication. No more will simple shouts of "Move it, you ass face!" cut it; you'll actually have to communicate like a team. As far as replayability goes… All right, the only reason half the people bought this game is because of the big Minotaur driving the chariot on the front. I'm sorry to say that most of the characters in this game are not that interesting. Not only that, but because unlocking the minotaur requires you to beat the game in advanced difficulty, which in turn requires a third thumb, most people will give up long before unlocking him. And once this game is out of your system, the likelihood of it making its way back in is proportional to just how drunk you are. 2.5 out of 5

      Story/Dramatics: Once upon a time, there was a magical fairyland called "Rome". Now in that pretty land, there were these people who drove carts on wheels called: "Wheeliemabobs!" Then they decided that wheeliemabob was a stupid name and called them "Chariots" instead. Then they started racing them. That's about it. Seriously, go watch "Ben Hur"; that's about as close as this game gets to having a story. 1 out of 5

      The Verdict:

       If I were a freakish mutant of a monkey, maybe I would have the required hardware to play this game. As it stands however, I'm just a mutant of a monkey and not properly equipped to play the setup these boys envisioned. This game is not worth the time it takes to buy it at the register, to say nothing of the money. Just save your money and rent "Spartacus" a couple of dozen times.

      The Good: Decent in game graphics. It won't permanently damage you.

      The Bad: The temporary mental scars on the other hand…

      The Overall Ugly: When decent ideas go bad.

      What it's Worth: A swift kick to the groinal area of the guy who wrote the "dialog"

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