DEVIL MAY CRY 2, Format: PS2, Publisher: Capcom

UNREAL II: THE AWAKENING, Format: PC, Publisher: Atari.

DEVIL May Cry and Unreal were smash hits on the PS2 and PC. Gamers simply couldn't get enough of them. The danger in doing a sequel is the risk of tarnishing the original's reputation.

Movies are a prime example. How many people remember that the original Rocky won the Oscar for best picture in 1976? The first film's reputation was irreparably damaged by the increasingly stupid sequels it begat.

So can these sequels avoid the inevitable perils? Do they strike out in new directions or merely rehash what has gone before?

Devil May Cry 2 has arrived on the PS2 with what seems like indecent haste. Unless a team was already working on the follow-up while the original was in post-production, it looks as though this game has been rushed.

First impressions tend to lend credence to that view. The cut-scenes are still impressive but there aren't so many as the first game and they lack the epic feel.

Still folk complained that the original Devil had a few too many cut scenes and not enough game play so perhaps Capcom is just responding to its millions of fans.

Another sign of Capcom's determination to make the sequel a longer game is the addition of a new character. Lucia is faster and more manoeuvrable than Dante, able to wield her sword to devastating effect.

She plays through the same in-game locations as Dante but her story is sufficiently different to avoid the boredom factor associated with doing everything twice.

The first game left players wondering if they were enjoying a survival horror tale or a beat 'em up. This sequel is even more action-packed. Capcom's guys are to be congratulated on the range of attacks at your disposal; some of the moves make The Matrix look positively pedestrian.

The game camera plays fair most of the time and the locales look suitably impressive.

Devil May Cry 2 does nothing new but it does answer some criticisms of its predecessor. Fans will find plenty to enjoy here.

Unreal II: The Awakening is a great game provided you have a PC that's up to the job.

First person shooters are well known as resource hogs but Unreal II sets a new benchmark. To truly enjoy this title in all its splendour you need a computer every bit as monstrous as the creatures you come across in the game.

But set it loose on a decent PC and you won't believe your eyes. Zoom in using a sniper rifle and the enemy doesn't disappear into a mass of pixellated rubbish - instead you can literally see the whites of their eyes. Fantastic.

Created by a different development team from the original, fans will be mildly surprised to find little continuity between this game and its predecessor.

In fact, it reminded me of another popular FPS - Halo on the Xbox - in the way your character is a space marine who does battle with some seriously scary monsters. Interestingly most of the missions are fairly solitary - something that ramps up the suspense - although the in-game characters you meet are tremendously well crafted (apart from the unfeasibly pneumatic women who all look as though they have the same plastic surgeon as Pamela Anderson).

If you enjoyed Starship Troopers at the cinema then Unreal II will certainly ring your bell - just don't expect anything earth-shaking.

VIDEO DELUXE 2.0 PLUS,Platform: PC, Publisher: Magix, Price: £60.

Editing video footage on the PC isn't for the faint-hearted. As with image retouching, the software that enables you to do it comes in two very different varieties.

Cheaper programs tend to hold your hand every step of the way. This may be helpful to start with but can become tiresome. The biggest criticism of this sort of software is the way it doesn't grow with you; when you become more confident it's time to visit the shop again for another editor.

Alternatively, the big guns in the world of non-linear editing - exemplified by Adobe's Premiere - are frighteningly difficult for a complete beginning to get to grips with and no one wants to spend £500 on software they may never master.

Enter Video Deluxe 2.0 Plus - a program that offers the best of both worlds.

First up it's cheap, only £60 for a full-fledged editing program is excellent value. Not only that but Magix also throws in a CD label designer, a music editor and an image retoucher - software that would be good enough to command a £60 price on its own.

The software can hold your hand if you need the extra reassurance or switch into advanced mode and all the editing tools are at your disposal.

It works really well and the video encoding engine is top notch. If you don't want all the complexity, Magix also sells Movies on CD and DVD, a cut-down package, for a remarkable £29.

Video Deluxe has the capability to become to Premiere what Paint Shop Pro is to Photoshop - a similar package available for a fraction of the cost. If you fancy a dabble at home movie editing on your PC then this is the way to go.