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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater Osg (Official Strategy Guides (Bradygames))
Publisher: Bradygames
Authors: Dan Birlew, Doug Walsh
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
an extremely helpful guide for a challenging game

Bradygames brings us this strategy guide for Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater for the Playstation 2. This is a fairly large paperback edition and is filled with details about the game and color screenshots from the game. The most important thing to note about this guide is that it only covers the walkthrough of the game on the "Normal" difficulty setting. While the maps would be the same on "Easy" or "Hard", the number of enemies and their locations would change on the more challenging difficulties. The location of certain items may also change, but this guide does not cover any other difficulty but "Normal". Since I played through the game on "Normal" mode, I can speak for how helpful it was for that difficulty.

The first thing to note is that this guide is packed with information. The guide begins by covering all of the items, weapons, camouflage, and different fighting techniques. Everything is listed at the start of the guide. This is very nice, but I didn't find myself flipping back to check out the techniques or items. I just used whatever basic moves that I could remember and worked my way through the game and took whatever came my way.

The real reason to buy a guide, however, is the walkthrough of the game. Before every section of the game, this guide includes a map of the area and small diagrams of where the enemies are and what sort of patrol pattern that they walk. This is helpful, but not nearly as much as it was in the guide for Metal Gear Solid 2. The problem here is simply that instead of being inside a building the entire game, the player is mostly outside in a forest or swamp. So, while the guards may walk a particular pattern it was difficult to determine just where you are on the map. What the map truly helped with was to give a general idea of where the enemies are, how many, and a general idea of where the items are. The text walkthrough (with some screenshots) is where the true value of this guide is. The text is clear in where you are, where you are going, and what you have to face. I've been playing video games for at least fifteen years, but Metal Gear Solid 3 is a challenging game without a walkthrough. The boss strategies are also quite helpful and helped me to beat them (as well as helped me defeat a couple of bosses with only the tranquilizer dart).

There is also a section which covers little "Easter Eggs", like hidden posters and figurines which reference previous Metal Gear games. It isn't terribly important, but it does add a little extra flavor. There is also a walkthrough of the Snake Vs Monkey mini-game (which I didn't bother playing).

Without this guide I would have missed many items (I have no doubt about that), been spotted by guards more often than I was (which was often), been killed many more times than I was (very few times), and spent quite a bit more time than the 24 hours that it took me to conquer the game. While this guide could have been more clear and helpful with maps and enemy locations, it was invaluable in getting me through this game. The guide is probably not essential to get the player through this game, but I have to say that it helps a lot.

-Joe Sherry

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Outlook 2003 for Dummies
Publisher: For Dummies
Authors: Bill Dyszel
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Best Outlook Book Out There!

This book really helped me get my email under control. There's even a section on filtering junk mail. Definitely a must-have for anyone who wants to be able to use Outlook as quickly and painlessly as possible.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Information Security Policies and Procedures: A Practitioner's Reference, Second Edition
Publisher: Auerbach Publications
Authors: Thomas R. Peltier
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
A true practitioner's reference

This is one of the best books available for information systems security polices. The book covers tier 1 and tier 2 policies. This book looks at policies as a business enabler where policies support management's organizational goals. Great samples!

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Programming Microsoft .NET
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: Jeff Prosise
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Made me see .NET clearly

I've bought several .NET programming books since the first WROX edition of the WROX PROFESSIONAL ASP.NET book came out,so I wasn't sure I needed a book that was a survey (FCL, Winforms, web forms, web controls, ADO.NET, multithreading, Remoting, Security, XML Web Services, et al.), but I took a leap based on the author's previous books. Mr. Prosise has crafted such an amazing book that I now feel like I see the big picture of programming .NET for the first time. This book covers a lot of ground in 800 pages, and while there are things that he could have covered more deeply, in the end I didn't care a lick because he tied all pieces together perfectly so that it wasn't a mess anymore--a MAJOR achievement. I wish more computer book authors wrote half so beautifully. A great book!!!