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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Security and Internet Browsers – Firefox vs. Internet Explorer


The Internet is becoming a more and more dangerous place to be, due in no small part to the inherent security risks posed by viruses and spyware. Additionally, applications that access the Internet as part of their normal operations may have errors in their code that allows hackers to launch attacks against the computer on which those applications are running. The safety and integrity of digital assets is further compromised by the fast-growing threat of cybercrooks who devise and implement large-scale hoaxes such as phishing and ID theft.

In the light of all this, it’s clear that users need a reliable and secure web browser between them and the Internet, which will be free of these problems and won’t let harmful content invade the computer.

The web browser industry continues to be dominated by the Windows-bundled Internet Explorer, with an 85% market share, but in recent years a new breed of free, more functional and resilient browsers has appeared – the most popular being Mozilla/Firefox and Opera. All have received serious security upgrades to help protect against recent scares and safeguard users online.

Internet Explorer is at version 6.0, essentially the same product that was included with Windows XP in 2001. Eighteen months ago, the release of Windows XP Service Pack 2 substantially increased IE safety; however, it did not eliminate many of the loopholes exploited by hostile program code. At present, Firefox is at version 1.5, but its very different development history (see next section) means that it can be considered at a similar level of maturity as Internet Explorer.

Currently, Microsoft is preparing its next-generation browser, Internet Explorer 7.0, which it plans to introduce sometime during the first half of 2006. The company has stated that it intends to make the browser stronger and more secure to help protect its users against the many problems that have dogged the software over the years.

We, along with Internet users everywhere, await the final results with interest. In the meantime, we decided to undertake our own security evaluation of both IE 7 (beta) and its closest rival, Firefox 1.5.

History and overview

Internet Explorer is a proprietary graphical web browser developed by Microsoft. In 1995, the company licensed the commercial version of Internet Explorer 3.0 from Spyglass Mosaic and integrated the program into its Windows 95 OSR1 edition. Later, it included IE4 as the default browser in Windows 98 – a move which continues to raise many antitrust questions.

Firefox is an open-source browser developed by the Mozilla Foundation; anyone who is proficient enough can collaborate in writing and improving its program code. Mozilla is known for its stringent approach to security, promising a bounty of several thousand dollars for any major vulnerability found in the product.

Security incidents and threat response

While no browser is perfect, major security lapses happened rather more frequently with IE than with Firefox. To be fair, Firefox has less than a 10% market share and is thus a rather less enticing target than IE; that’s probably also why security researchers focus much of their attention on the vulnerabilities of Microsoft’s browser, not Firefox’s. Some people have argued that if the market shares were reversed, bugs in Firefox would start appearing on a more frequent basis, as has recently been the case with Internet Explorer.

The open-source architecture of Firefox contributes to the overall safety of the browser; a community of skilled programmers can spot problems more quickly and correct them before a new release is available for general use. It’s been said that threat response time for Firefox averages one week, while it may take months for Microsoft engineers to fix critical bugs reported by security analysts – an unacceptable situation for users who remain unnecessarily vulnerable to exploits (hacker attacks) during that time.

>From the threat response standpoint, Firefox is clearly the winner.

Security features

Phishing safeguard

New protection against financial fraud and identity theft has been incorporated into the new IE. A so-called “phishing filter” now appears on the Internet Options menu, which is intended to protect users against unknowingly disclosing private information to unauthorized third parties. Here’s how it works:

If a user visits a spoofed site which looks exactly like a genuine one – usually as a result of clicking on a link in a fraudulent email - the browser senses a phishing attempt and compares the site against a list of known phishing sites. If the filter finds the site is a phishing culprit, it blocks access to the site and informs the user of the danger of leaving his/her personal details on sites like this. The database of known phishing sites is updated regularly, and users have an option to report a suspected phishing instant to Microsoft for evaluation.

We’re pleased to report that, even in beta, the filter appears to work quite well, correctly identifying half of the test sites we visited as phishing sites.

In Firefox, phishing protection is delivered through third-party extensions such as Google Safe Browsing (currently in beta for US-based users only (see; this can be plugged into the browser’s extension menu.

As additional protection against accidental phishing, the authors of IE have stated that they plan to make their product display the URL of every visited site. With IE 6, this capability was not available and many pop-ups appeared without displaying an address in the previously non-existent address bar. Unfortunately, in neither browser were we were able to achieve more than a fifty percent URL display ratio; we trust that this percentage will increase as the release of IE 7 approaches and Mozilla continues to work on improving its functionality in this area.

Restriction of executable Web content

In the current version of IE, suspect websites have been free to install almost any software they want on visitors’ machines. While XP SP2 has dramatically reduced this possibility, many unnecessary add-ons and toolbars can still be easily installed by inexperienced users. IE 7 should provide more protection for naïve users, as it will offer to run in protected mode, thus restricting access to the host OS files and settings and making these critical elements of the computer inaccessible to malware.

The default setting for Firefox 1.5 is to have installation of extensions and add-ons disabled; the user must manually change settings in order to enable adding extensions to the browser.

There will always be a tradeoff between security and functionality, but security experts always maintained that letting websites unrestrictedly launch executable code within the browser creates unlimited potential for exploitation. IE 7 will offer much greater flexibility in configuring which external code will be permitted to run within the browser and what impact it would have on the OS.

ActiveX restrictions

Aside from some graphics enhancement of web pages, in most cases ActiveX is more damaging than beneficial. Many sites that serve up spyware and pop-up ads use ActiveX scripting technology, and ActiveX scripting in the Windows environment can be allowed to run unrestrictedly with administrator (root) privileges. Firefox 1.5 does not support Microsoft’s proprietary ActiveX technology and so the Firefox browser is more resilient against spyware infection.

In IE6, even with SP2, ActiveX is allowed to run by default, which automatically renders IE users less protected against the threat of spyware. In the upcoming IE 7, it is not yet known whether Microsoft will continue this approach, but early indications point to this being the case. This would be unfortunate, since the current approach is a clear security vulnerability.

Of course, IE users can manually disable ActiveX scripting on a particular website and let ActiveX be started automatically on all other sites visited. Or, vice versa, they can disable ActiveX scripting on most of the sites visited and permit it to run on a particular site. All this can be configured under the Security tab in IE’s Options menu. However, it is hardly realistic to expect Internet novices, who need the most protection, to do this.

Java, JavaScript and Visual Basic components

Java and JavaScript can be enabled and disabled by both browsers. Firefox allows users to specify permissions for particular actions performed by these scripts. IE 6 allows users to create a group of trusted sites to which global limitations on these scripts will not apply. In IE 7, more flexibility will be added that will lead users toward a more customized display of web pages belonging to a particular site; it appears Firefox also plans to introduce more flexible parameters.

Internal download manager

IE 7’s download manager will be revamped, and feature an option to pause and resume downloads - a feature not available with the current version. Specific actions will be able to be defined following the completion of a download, and users can check the newly-downloaded file with their anti-virus before running it. This approach is already in place with Firefox, so Microsoft appears to be playing catch-up here.

Encryption of data on protected sites

When you submit sensitive information, such as transaction details to a bank or financial institution, it travels in an encrypted form through a secure HTTP (SHTTP) connection. The information is encrypted by your browser and decrypted at the receiving end. The new version of IE will use stronger encryption algorithms to reliably transfer your data without the risk of being intercepted and deciphered by someone in transit. A padlock icon indicating that a user is on a secure site will be placed in a more obvious place than currently, and more detailed information will be provided to help visitors check the authenticity of such sites.

Firefox currently has a better-organized display of security certificates for its users, so clearly Microsoft has a room for improvement.


Both browsers are updated automatically when new code is ready. Firefox has this update mechanism already in place, and for IE 7, it is expected that updates will be provided through Windows update technology.

Privacy enhancements

IE 7 will have the ability for users to flexibly set what private data will be saved and can be applied to different sites; users will be able to easily remove browsing history and other private details such as passwords, cookies, details submitted on web forms, download history, and temporary files. In IE 6, these files were stored all over the place and users have complained that there is no clear way to delete this information. Firefox 1.5 already provides this capability.


IE 7 promises a lot of interesting security and privacy enhancements that will help users stay more secure. With the final release users will receive a good, solid browser that, if Microsoft promises are fulfilled, will help it to compete well on the security front. As we have seen, Firefox 1.5 is already a role model, and it will be interesting to see what lies ahead for this talented challenger.

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How To Clean The Registry

In the beginning Windows' registry consisted of two files totalling around 5mb in size. Today it consists of at least 12 files with the Software file itself being 30mb or bigger in size. As the size of the registry has exploded, so has the trash and clutter in it. It may seem like a daunting task, but cleaning the registry properly can fix system problems, speed your computer up, and make it run more efficiently.

I have spent many years developing and refining thousands of procedures to do just that. I could share these methods of hunting down the trash with you and let you find them and delete them by hand, but if you were to sit down at your computer right now and work nonstop, you would still be busy with them a week from now when the next issue of Ray's Computer Tips arrives. By then your registry would have new clutter and you would have to start all over again.

To make registry cleaning easier on everyone, I wrote a program called RegVac Registry Cleaner ( to perform those procedures. It has been so successful that several companies have asked me to model their registry cleaners after RegVac and even more have copied processes that first debutted in RegVac.

The first place RegVac cleans is the HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT section (the Classes Vac in RegVac does this). This section contains settings for the classes of Windows. Think of a huge box full of snakes and you will get an idea of how complicated and interwoven it is. It is so complicated that many registry cleaners bypass it or simply perform surface scans of it. RegVac uses over a hundred processes to follow each tentacle of each class deep into this area and make sure that they abide by the rules.

Next RegVac validates the entries in 22 lists with 7 different methods (the FilesList Vac does this). This is a minor part of RegVac but the bulk of most other registry cleaners even though they usually do not clean all 22 lists.

Another part of RegVac, the Software Vac, which is unique to RegVac, finds old software sections in the registry and provides a way to remove that software's entire branch. Other registry cleaners only remove a few entries in this area often leaving huge portions of the registry that do nothing but take up space and get in the way.

Even more trash can be discovered in hundreds of stashes used to store data you will never use. Most registry cleaners do not even touch these. The Stash Vac lists these stashes and lets you go through and select which ones to empty out. Please use caution when using the Stash Vac because some of the items listed there may be important. For example, one folder in the Stash Vac lists places where data for international keyboards are stored. You probably will never use the data for Bulgarian keyboards, so you can remove it, but if you live in the US you may experience problems after removing the United States 101 keyboard. The items that you can safely remove are usually obvious.

Last but not least, when cleaning the registry, you should look for broken links to files on the computer (this is what the Bad Link Vac does). If a file is referenced in the registry but it does not exist on your hard drive, that is a good indicator that something is wrong. Many programmers start out writing a registry cleaner thinking all it has to do is check for these broken links and remove them. In fact, that is all many registry cleaners do.

Even though that is all they do, they often don't do it correctly. If you check the results of such scans, you will find out that many of the broken links are really good links. I spent several months refining this part of RegVac so that as far as I know it is 100% accurate. Despite this, please realize that some software enter broken links in the registry and require them to be there in order for them to run. RegVac skips the ones it knows about, but you still need to be careful with this part of RegVac.

RegVac has six more tools that clean even more areas: the Add/Remove Editor, the System Config Utility, the OpenWith Editor, the AutoComplete Editor, the Junk Keys Editor, and Registry Backup, Pack, and Restore.

Keep the Windows registry clean and running smoothly with RegVac Registry Cleaner.

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The Battle of the Browsers – The History and the Future of Internet Browsers

With Internet Explorer 8 now available, can Microsoft hope to retain market dominance over fierce open source rivals such as Mozilla's Firefox or the feature packed Opera web browser. Can history give us a clue to what the future of web browsers/browsing might hold? How did Netscape Navigator go from having a dominant 89.36% market share of all web browsers in 1996 and yet only 3.76% by mid 1999?

Let us take a journey that will begin long before even the intellectual conception of Internet Explorer, that will glance at its long defeated rivals, examine the current browsers available and will end with a prediction of what the future of browsing will offer us – and which browser(s) will still be around to offer it.

People often think that Internet Explorer has been the dominant web browser since the golden age of the internet began. Well for a very long time now it has indeed been the most popular browser and at times been almost totally unrivalled. This was mainly a result of it being packaged free with Microsoft Windows, in what some would later call a brutal monopolisation attempt by Microsoft. The last few years however have heralded the arrival of new, possibly superior browsers. Mozilla's Firefox has been particularly successful at chipping away at Explorers market dominance. So where did it all begin, and why were Microsoft ever allowed to have a hundred percent market dominance?


The truth is they never did have total dominance, but at times they have come very close. Microsoft actually entered the Browser Battle quite late on. Infact a man named Neil Larson is credited to be one of the originators of internet browsers, when in 1977 he created a program – The TRS-80 - that allowed browsing between “sites” via hypertext jumps. This was a DOS program and the basis of much to come. Slowly other browsers powered by DOS and inspired by the TRS 80 were developed. Unfortunately they were often constricted by the limitations of the still fairly young internet itself.

In 1988, Peter Scott and Earle Fogel created a simple, fast browser called Hytelnet, which by 1990 offered users instant logon and access to the online catalogues of over five thousand libraries around the world – an exhilarating taste of what the internet, and web browsers, would soon be able to offer.

In 1989 the original World Wide Web was born. Using a NeXTcube computer, Tim Berners-Lee created a web browser that would change how people used the internet forever. He called his browser the WorldWideWeb(http://www., which is still likely to sound familiar to internet users today. It was a windowed browser capable of displaying simple style sheet, capable of editing sites and able to download and open any file type supported by the NeXTcube.

In 1993 the first popular graphical browser was released. Its name was Mosaic and it was created by Marc Andreessen and Eric Bina. Mosaic could be run on both Unix, and very importantly, on the highly popular Microsoft Windows operating system (incidentally it could also be used on Amiga and Apple computers). It was the first browser on Windows that could display graphics/pictures on a page where there was also textual content. It is often cited as being responsible for triggering the internet boom due to it making the internet bearable for the masses. (It should be noted that the web browser Cello was the first browser to be used on Windows – but it was non graphical and made very little impact compared to Mosaic).

The Browser Wars - Netscape Navigator versus Internet Explorer

Mosaic's decline began almost as soon as Netscape Navigator was released (1994). Netscape Navigator was a browser created by Marc Andreessen, one of the men behind Mosaic and co-founder of Netscape Communications Corporation. Netscape was unrivalled in terms of features and usability at the time. For example, one major change from previous browsers was that it allowed surfers to see parts of a website before the whole site was downloaded. This meant that people did not have to wait for minutes simply to see if the site they were loading was the actual one the were after, whilst also allowing them to read information on the site as the rest of it downloaded. By 1996 Netscape had almost 90% market dominance, as shown below.

Market Share Comparisons of Netscape Navigator and Internet Explorer from 1996 to 1998

October 1998..........64%......... 32.2%
April 1998............70%......... 22.7%
October 1997..........59.67%...... 15.13%
April 1997............81.13%...... 12.13%
October 1996..........80.45%...... 12.18%
April 1996............89.36%...... 3.76%

In these two years Netscape clearly dominated the internet browser market, but a new browser named Internet Explorer was quickly gaining ground on it.

Microsoft released their own browser (ironically based on the earlier Mosaic browser which was created by one of the men now running Netscape), clearly worried about Netscape's dominance. It was not so much the worry that it would have a 100% market share of internet browsers on their Windows operating system, but more the worry that browsers would soon be capable of running all types programs on them. That would mean foregoing the need for an actual operating system, or at the most only a very basic one would be needed. This in turn would mean Netscape would soon be able to dictate terms to Microsoft, and Microsoft were not going to let that happen easily. Thus in August 1995, Internet Explorer was released.

By 1999 Internet explorer had captured an 89.03% market share, whilst Netscape was down to 10.47%. How could Internet Explorer make this much ground in just two years? Well this was down to two things really. The first, and by far the most important was that Microsoft bundled Internet Explorer in with every new copy of Windows, and as Windows was used by about 90% of the computer using population it clearly gave them a huge advantage. Internet Explorer had one other ace it held over Netscape – it was much better. Netscape Navigator was stagnant and had been for some time. The only new features it ever seemed to introduce were often perceived by the public as beneficial for Netscape's parent company rather than Netscape's user base. (i.e., features that would help it monopolise the market). Explorer, on the other hand, was given much attention by Microsoft. Regular updates and excellent usability plus a hundred million dollar investment would prove too much for Netscape Explorer.

2000 – 2005

These years were fairly quiet in the Battle of the Browsers. It seemed as if Internet Explorer had won the war and that nobody could even hope to compete with it. In 2002/2003 it had attained about 95% of the market share – about the time of IE 5/6. With over 1000 people working on it and millions of dollars being poured in, few people had the resources to compete. Then again, who wanted to compete? It was clearly a volatile market, and besides that everybody was content with Internet Explorer. Or were they? Some people saw faults with IE – security issues, incompatibility issues or simply bad programming. Not only that, it was being shoved down peoples throats. There was almost no competition to keep it in line or to turn to as an alternative. Something had to change. The only people with the ability and the power to compete with Microsoft took matters into their own hands.

Netscape was now supported by AOL. A few years prior, just after they had lost the Browser Wars to Microsoft, they had released the coding for Netscape into the public domain. This meant anybody could develop their own browser using the Netscape skeleton. And people did. Epiphany, Galeon and Camino, amongst others, were born out of Netscape's ashes. However the two most popular newcomers were called Mozilla and Firefox.

Mozilla was originally an open sourced project aimed to improve the Netscape browser. Eventually it was released as Netscape Navigator 7 and then 8. Later it was released as Mozilla 1.0.

Mozilla was almost an early version on another open source browser, Firefox. With it being an open source the public were able to contribute to it - adding in what features it needed, the programming it required and the support it deserved. The problems people saw in Internet Explorer were being fixed by members of the open sourced browser community via Firefox. For instance, the many security issues IE 6 had were almost entirely fixed in the very first release of Firefox. Microsoft had another fight on their hands.

2005 – Present

Firefox was the browser that grew and grew in these years. Every year capturing an even larger market share percentage than before. More user friendly than most of its rivals along with high security levels and arguably more intelligent programming helped its popularity. With such a large programming community behind it, updates have always been regular and add on programs/features are often released. It prides itself on being the peoples browser. It currently has a 28.38% market share.

Apple computers have had their own browser since the mid 1990's – Safari - complete with its own problems, such as (until recently) the inability to run Java scripts. However most Apple users seemed happy with it and a version capable of running on Windows has been released. It has had no major competitor on Apple Macs, and as such has largely been out of the Browser Wars. It currently holds a 2.54% market share and is slowly increasing.

Internet Explorer's market share has dropped from over 90% to around 75%, and is falling. It will be interesting to see what Microsoft will attempt to regain such a high market share.

Opera currently holds 1.07%.

Mozilla itself only has a 0.6% market share these days.

The Future of Web Browsing

Web browsers come and go. It is the nature of technology (if such a term can be used), to supplant inferior software in very short periods of time. It is almost impossible for a single company to stay ahead of the competition for long. Microsoft have the advantage of being able to release IE with any Windows using PC. That covers over 90% of the market. They also have the advantage of unprecedented resources. They can compete how they wish for as long as they wish. So there is no counting IE out of the future of web browsing.

Safari is in a similar position, being easily the most popular Mac web browser. Its long term survival is dependant upon Apple and the sale of their computers.

These are the only two browsers that are almost guaranteed another five years of life, at least. Firefox may seem like another candidate, but the public is fickle, and one bad release, or if it seriously lags behind the new Internet Explorer 8 for long, could easily see its popularity quickly descend into virtual oblivion.

However, it seems likely community driven browsers, such as Mozilla and Firefox, will be the only types of browser capable of competing with the wealthy internet arm of Microsoft in the near future.

As for web browsing itself, will it change any time soon? Well it already has for some online communities. For example, if you want to buy clothes you could try entering an online 'world' creating an online virtual You to go from 'shop to shop' with, looking at products and trying/buying what you see. Some 'worlds' allow you to recreate yourself accurately including weight and height and then try on things apparel such as jeans to give you an idea of how you would look in that particular item.

Will 'worlds' like this destroy normal web browsers such as IE ? - It seems unlikely. Traditional web browsers provide such freedom and ease of access that it is hard to see any other alternative taking over. However they are part of the new, 'thinking out of the box' wave of alternatives that some people will find attractive, and really who knows what the future will bring.

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Friday, November 28, 2008

Call of Duty: World At War (Review & Cheat)


Utilizing the Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare engine, Call of Duty: World at War throws out the rulebook of war to transform WWII combat through a new enemy, new tactics and an uncensored experience of the climatic battles that gripped a generation. As U.S. Marines and Russian soldiers, players employ new features like cooperative gameplay, and weapons such as the flamethrower in the most chaotic and cinematically intense experience to date. Call of Duty: World at War introduces co-operative play, bringing fresh meaning to the "No One Fights Alone" mantra with up to four-players online for Xbox 360, PS3 and PC, or two-player local split-screen on consoles. Nintendo Wii will also support a unique co-op mode for two players. For the first time ever players can experience harrowing single-player missions together for greater camaraderie and tactical execution. The co-op campaign allows players to rank up and unlock perks in competitive multiplayer by completing challenges and earning experience points, adding continuous re-playability and team-based gameplay. Whether playing competitively or cooperatively – if players are online with Call of Duty: World at War – they always gain experience points. Based on a player’s experience rank and rank of the player's friends, Call of Duty: World at War scales dynamically to provide a deeper level of challenge.

System Requirement :

Minimum System Requirements
OS: Windows XP/Vista
Processor: Pentium 4 @ 3 GHz/AMD 64 3200+
Memory: 512 MB (1 GB for Vista)
Hard Drive: 8 GB Free
Video Memory: 256 MB (nVidia GeForce 6600/ATI Radeon X1600)
Sound Card: DirectX Compatible
DirectX: 9.0c
Keyboard & Mouse
DVD Rom Drive

Cheat Codes

While playing the game, press ~ to display the console window. Type "devmap mak" and press [Enter] to enable cheat mode.



give all

All weapons

sf_use_bw 1

Black and White movie mode

devmap [map name]

Change maps


Disable AI


God mode

sf_use_ignoreammo 1

Infinite ammo


List maps


No clipping mode

sf_use_invert 1

Photo negative mode

sf_use_chaplin 1

Silent movie mode

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Fallout 3

Description :

A lot of games make a big deal out of player choice, but few in recent memory offer so many intricate, meaningful ways of approaching any given situation. You fulfill or dash the spiritual hopes of an idyllic society, side with slavers or their slaves, and decide the fate of more than one city over the course of your postapocalyptic journey through the Washington, DC wasteland. Your actions have far-reaching consequences that affect not just the world around you but also the way you play, and it's this freedom that makes Fallout 3 worth playing--and replaying. It's deep and mesmerizing, and though not as staggeringly broad as the developer's previous games, it's more focused and vividly realized.

This focus is obvious from the first hour of the game, in which character creation and story exposition are beautifully woven together. It's an introduction best experienced on your own rather than described in detail here, but it does set up Fallout 3's framework: It's the year 2277, and you and your father are residents of Vault 101, one of many such constructs that shelter the earth's population from the dangers of postnuclear destruction. When dad escapes the vault without so much as a goodbye, you go off in search of him, only to find yourself snagged in a political and scientific tug of war that lets you change the course of the future. As you make your way through the decaying remnants of the District and its surrounding areas (you'll visit Arlington, Chevy Chase, and other suburban locales), you encounter passive-aggressive ghouls, a bumbling scientist, and an old Fallout friend named Harold who has, well, a lot on his mind. Another highlight is a diminutive collective of Lord of the Flies-esque refugees who reluctantly welcome you into their society, assuming that you play your cards right.

The city is also one of Fallout 3's stars. It's a somber world out there, in which a crumbling Washington Monument stands watch over murky green puddles and lurching beasts called mirelurks. You'll discover new quests and characters while exploring, of course, but traversing the city is rewarding on its own, whether you decide to explore the back rooms of a cola factory or approach the heavily guarded steps of the Capitol building. In fact, though occasional silly asides and amusing dialogue provide some humorous respite, it's more serious than previous Fallout games. It even occasionally feels a bit stiff and sterile, thus diminishing the sense of emotional connection that would give some late-game decisions more poignancy. Additionally, the franchise's black humor is present but not nearly as prevalent, though Fallout 3 is still keenly aware of its roots. The haughty pseudogovernment called the Enclave and the freedom fighters known as the Brotherhood of Steel are still powerful forces, and the main story centers around concepts and objectives that Fallout purists will be familiar with.

Although some of that trademark Bethesda brittleness hangs in the air, the mature dialogue (it's a bit unnerving but wholly authentic the first time you hear 8-year-olds muttering expletives) and pockets of backstory make for a compelling trek. There are more tidbits than you could possibly discover on a single play-through. For example, a skill perk (more on these later) will enable you to extract information from a lady of the evening, information that in turn sheds new light on a few characters--and lets you complete a story quest in an unexpected way. A mission to find a self-realized android may initiate a fascinating look at a futuristic Underground Railroad, but a little side gossiping might let you lie your way to quest completion. There aren't as many quests as you may expect, but their complexity can be astonishing. Just be sure to explore them fully before pushing the story forward: Once it ends, the game is over, which means that you'll need to revert to an earlier saved game if you intend to explore once you finish the main quest.

Fallout 3 remains true to the series’ character development system, using a similar system of attributes, skills, and perks, including the S.P.E.C.I.A.L. system from previous games for your attributes, such as strength, perception, and endurance. From there, you can specialize in a number of skills, from heavy weapons and lock-picking to item repairing and terminal hacking. You will further invest in these skills each time you level, and you'll also choose an additional perk. Perks offer a number of varied enhancements that can be both incredibly helpful and a bit creepy. You could go for the ladykiller perk, which opens up dialogue options with some women and makes others easier to slay. Or the cannibal perk, which lets you feed off of fallen enemies to regain health at the risk of grossing out anyone who glimpses this particularly nasty habit. Not all of them are so dramatic, but they're important aspects of character development that can create fascinating new options.

The Good

  • Freedom to explore what you want, when you want
  • Fantastic, intricate quests can be completed in a variety of satisfying ways
  • VATS combat system results in all sorts of tense and gruesome encounters
  • Outstanding art design makes for a desolate DC
  • Rewarding mixture of excitement and atmospheric exploration.
The Bad
  • The story and characters can feel a bit sterile
  • Combat feels mildly clunky.

System Requirement :
Minimum System Requirements:
o Windows XP/Vista
o 1GB System RAM (XP) / 2GB System RAM (Vista)
o 2.4 Ghz Intel Pentium 4 or equivalent processor
o Direct X 9.0c compliant videocard with 256MB RAM (NVIDIA 6800 or better / ATI X850 or better)

Recommended System Requirements:
o Intel Core 2 Duo processor
o 2 GB System RAM
o Direct X 9.0c compliant video card with 512MB RAM (NVIDIA 8800 series, ATI 3800 series)
o Supported Video Card Chipsets:
+ NVIDIA GeForce 200 series
+ NVIDIA GeForce 9800 series
+ NVIDIA GeForce 9600 series
+ NVIDIA GeForce 8800 series
+ NVIDIA GeForce 8600 series
+ NVIDIA GeForce 8500 series
+ NVIDIA GeForce 8400 series
+ NVIDIA GeForce 7900 series
+ NVIDIA GeForce 7800 series
+ NVIDIA GeForce 7600 series
+ NVIDIA GeForce 7300 series
+ NVIDIA GeForce 6800 series
+ ATI HD 4800 series
+ ATI HD 4600 series
+ ATI HD 3800 series
+ ATI HD 3600 series
+ ATI HD 3400 series
+ ATI HD 2900 series
+ ATI HD 2600 series
+ ATI HD 2400 series
+ ATI X1900 series
+ ATI X1800 series
+ ATI X1600 series
+ ATI X1300 series
+ ATI X850 series

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Crysis Warhead Review

Description :

Take on the fight as the volatile Sergeant "Psycho" Sykes in a new parallel story taking place during the events of Crysis. Psycho's secret mission will take him to the other side of the island on a ruthless pursuit of a North Korean general hell-bent on obtaining powerful technology. With the versatile powers of his Nanosuit and an arsenal of fully customizable weapons & vehicles at his disposal, Sykes will do whatever it takes to carry out his top-secret objective. Action on the other side of the island is more intense, the battles are fierce, and the mission protocol is no longer "Adapt to Survive". As Sergeant Sykes, now you must adapt to dominate the battle. Twin SMG's blazing, seizing new vehicles, or going stealth, the action and the victory is on your terms.

All of the claims you may have heard that Crysis could only run on nuclear-powered supermachines were greatly exaggerated. But if for some reason you worry that this stand-alone companion to the ultragorgeous first-person shooter will bring your PC to its knees, you should know that it's highly scalable and ran smoothly on a number of machines during our testing. It also looks better, with clear attention given to the game's artistic sensibilities and the lusher, denser environments. But rest assured, developer Crytek has enhanced more than just the graphics engine. Vehicles are more fun to drive, firefights are more intense and focused, and aliens do more than just float around you. More emphasis on the open-ended environments would have been welcome, but a more exciting (though shorter) campaign, a new multiplayer mode, and a whole bunch of new maps make Crysis Warhead an excellent expansion to one of last year's best shooters.

The Good

  • The action is focused and intense
  • Amazing visuals that look--and run--better than before
  • Improved AI makes fighting aliens more fun
  • Team Deathmatch has been added, along with a number of great multiplayer maps.
The Bad
  • A little too linear at times
  • A few remaining AI quirks.

System Requirement :

Minimum System Requirement:
  • OS:Windows XP
  • Processor:Intel Pentium 4 2.8GHz(3.2GHz for Windows Vista)
  • RAM:1GB(Windows XP)/1.5GB (Windows Vista)
  • Video Memory:256MB
  • Graphic:NVIDIA GeForce 6800GT
  • Free Hard Disk Space:15GB
  • DirectX Version:9

Recommended System Requirement:
  • OS:Windows Vista
  • Processor:Intel Core 2 Duo 2.66GHz or higher
  • RAM:2GB
  • Video Memory:512MB
  • Graphic:NVIDIA GeForce 8800GT
  • Free Hard Disk Space:15GB
  • DirectX Version:9

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Assassin's Creed Review

Description :

Assassin's Creed is the next-gen game developed by Ubisoft Montreal that will redefine the action genre. While other games claim to be next-gen with impressive graphics and physics, Assassin's Creed merges technology, game design, theme, and emotions into a world where you instigate chaos and become a vulnerable, yet powerful, agent of change.

Assassin's Creed features one of the most unique gameworlds ever created: beautiful, memorable, and alive. Every crack and crevasse is filled with gorgeous, subtle details, from astounding visual flourishes to overheard cries for help. But it's more than just a world--it's a fun and exciting action game with a ton of stuff to do and places to explore, rounded out with a complex story that will slowly grab you the more you play. The PC version has a few more issues than its console counterparts, and the keyboard-and-mouse controls strip away some of the smooth magic of exploration. Nevertheless, if you don't mind plugging in a gamepad and have a system that exceeds the system requirements, you'll find the same free-form travels and atmospheric game world that console owners enjoyed last year.

Not enough can be said about the living, breathing universe that you'll inhabit in Assassin's Creed. As assassin extraordinaire Altair, you'll explore three major cities of the Holy Land in the 12th century: Jerusalem, Damascus, and Acre. Each city is beautifully rendered from top to bottom and features meticulously crafted towers that reach for the sky, bustling market squares, and quiet corners where citizens converse and drunks lie in wait to accost you. As you wander the streets (and rooftops), you'll push your way through crowds of women carrying jars on their heads, hear orators shout political and religious wisdom, and watch town guards harass innocent victims. Altair has a profound effect on this world, but the cities are entities all their own, with their own flows and personalities.

The visual design has a lot to do with how believably organic everything feels. The cities are absolutely huge, and though you don't get full exploration privileges in the first few chapters, they eventually open up to let you travel seamlessly from one side to another. Everything is beautifully lit with just the right amount of bloom effect, and almost everything casts a shadow, from tall pillars to Altair's cloak. In fact, sometimes the shadows get to be a bit much and may make you think for a moment that there is artifacting on your screen, when in fact it's a character's head casting a shadow on his or her own neck. Every object, from scaffolds to pottery, is textured so finely that you'll feel as if you could reach out and touch it. Animations are almost as equally well done. Altair scales walls, leaps majestically from towers, and engages in swashbuckling swordfights that would make Errol Flynn proud. And he does it all with fluid ease, generally moving from one pose to another without a hitch. Minor characters move with less aplomb, but that's easy to forgive, considering that the cities are populated with thousands and thousands of individuals.

The Good

  • Huge, gorgeous world that feels wholly alive
  • It's fun to run across city rooftops
  • Joyous mix of stealth, action, and platforming
  • Stunning sound design features fantastic voice acting and a beautiful musical score
  • Tons of small details will constantly amaze you.
The Bad
  • Confusing ending
  • Remarkably high system requirements and some small glitches
  • New mission types aren't as good as the others.
System Requirement :

Minimum System Requirements:
* Windows XP or Vista
* 2 GB RAM
* Dual core processor (Intel Pentium D or better)
* 256MB Direct3D 10 compatible video card, or Direct3D 9 card compatible with Shader Model 3.0 or higher
* DirectX compatible driver
* DVD-ROM dual-layer drive
* 16 GB free hard disk space
* DirectX libraries (included)
* Vista compatible sound card
* Keyboard, Mouse
* Microsoft Xbox 360 Controller (optional)

Recommended System Requirements:
* Intel Pentium Core 2 Duo, or better processor
* 3 GB System RAM
* ATI HD2900 series, Nvidia GeForce 8800 series, or better video card
* 5.1 sound card
* Microsoft Xbox 360 controller

*Supported Video Cards at Time of Release

DirectX10 compatible cards, recommended ATI HD2900 series, Nvidia GeForce 8800 series

Direct3D 9 card compatible with Shader Model 3.0 or higher

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Devil May Cry 4 Review

Description :

Devil May Cry 4 is the fourth installment of the Devil May Cry series. It was announced in March 2007 that the game would be released simultaneously for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC.[5]

In the game, the player controls both Nero, and Dante, the game's protagonist and the series' title character respectively and fights enemies in close combat using firearms, swords, and other weapons. The characters Lady and Trish from previous games in the series make appearances, along with new characters Nero, Kyrie, Credo, Gloria, and Agnus. The game is set after Devil May Cry and before Devil May Cry 2.

If you play Devil May Cry 4 on the PC, you should expect all of the same visceral carnage featured in the console versions, but there's a caveat: You'll need a gamepad. If you're a glutton for punishment, you can try using the game's keyboard control scheme, but it's awkward and frustrating. However, assuming that you have a decent controller, you'll find that this excellent sequel is Capcom's finest PC release in years.

It's a challenging experience, though its smoother difficulty curve makes it far more accessible than Devil May Cry 3. In this vein, you're given an excellent number of gameplay choices that help you tailor the challenge to your preferences. You can initially choose one of two difficulties (and if you want to cry like a little kid, you can unlock several more), and you can even choose whether you want the game to perform some combos for you automatically. No, you aren't apt to find Devil May Cry 4 to be excessively tough on your first play-through, although it is no walk in the park, either. Nevertheless, it is generally excessive, and that isn't a bad thing. Stylish action, terrific boss fights, and beautiful, melodramatic cutscenes will inspire you to push forward, and they serve as an appropriate reward for a well-played sequence of demon slaying.

It isn't surprising that a game featuring the charmingly insane Dante would be so over the top, though the series' famed antihero is not the real star this time around. Don't worry; you'll still get to play as Dante, and he brings with him a good selection of weapons and fighting styles, just as Devil May Cry fans would expect. But you'll spend the majority of the game as newcomer Nero, who has a selection of impressive and elegant moves of his own. Nero is an excellent character, capable of delivering a few wisecracks, a brooding glance, and a heartfelt plea of love to his beloved Kyrie in a few moments' time. He's clearly cut from the same cloth as Dante, and it's a bit disappointing that the game doesn't explore this connection in more detail. Regardless, you'll want to follow Nero's exploits as he struggles to learn the truth about his own religious organization, The Order of the Sword, and Dante's apparent murder of its leader.

The Good

  • Extraordinary action sequences
  • Nero is a great new character with some terrific new moves
  • Beautiful visuals and incredible cutscenes will constantly amaze you
  • Boss characters are designed well and fun to fight
  • A couple of fun modes that are exclusive to the PC version .
The Bad
  • You need a gamepad if you want the proper experience
  • Environments and boss fights are repeated far too often
  • Puzzles and platforming aren't much fun and chop up the pace too much.
System Requirement :

CPU: Intel Pentium 4 3GHz
RAM: 512MB (Windows XP), 1GB (Windows Vista)
VGA: GeForce 6600 with 256MB of VRAM (SM3 Required)
HDD: 8GB Free
OS: Windows XP
MONITOR: Resolution at least 640x480


CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo
RAM: 1GB (Windows XP), (2GB pre Windows Vista)
VGA: GeForce 8600 with 512MB of VRAM
HDD: 8GB Free
OS: Windows Vista
MONITOR: Resolution 1280x720

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Monday, November 24, 2008

Grand Theft Auto IV

Description :

Grand Theft Auto IV is a sandbox-style action-adventure video game developed by Rockstar North. It is the ninth title in the Grand Theft Auto series and the first in its fourth generation. The game was immediately preceded by Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Grand Theft Auto IV A Windows version of the game is to be released in North America on 2 December 2008 and in Europe one day later. Two episodic packs are being developed exclusively for the Xbox 360, the first of which entitled The Lost and Damned
The game is set in a redesigned rendition of Liberty City, a fictional city based heavily on modern day New York City. It follows Niko Bellic, a war veteran from Eastern Europe, who comes to the United States in search of the American Dream, but quickly becomes entangled in a seedy underworld of gangs, crime, and corruption. Like other games in the series, GTA IV is composed of elements from driving games and third-person shooters, and features "open-world" gameplay that gives players more control over their playing experience. GTA IV is the first console game in the series to feature an online multiplayer mode, which contains fifteen different game types.
was released for both PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in Australia, Europe and North America on 29 April 2008, and in Japan on 30 October 2008. and scheduled to be available on 17 February 2009.

System Requirement :
Recommended GTA IV PC system requirements taken from Microsoft's Games for Windows site:

OS: Windows XP SP2
Processor: Dual core processor (Intel Pentium D or better)
Hard Drive: 18GB free hard disk space
Video Card: 512MB Direct3D 10 compatible video card or Direct3D 9 card compatible with Shader
Drive: DVD-ROM dual-layer drive

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