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Hi everyone, I just wanted to wish all a very Merry Christmas and New Year. I sincerely hope that Santa fulfilled all you gaming desires. The next year should be exciting for a number of reasons. Second Generation PS2 software will hit the shelves. The Dreamcast will settle it's online gaming worldwide (except Australia - probably) and the XBox will be released in America and Japan (Not Europe however - see news below). It's an exciting time and Future Gamez will be there all the way.
I have added a review to Electronic Arts' impressive X Squad. Check it out. It's impressive.
Activision has announced that they will be releasing Spider-Man on the Dreamcast in Q'2 2001. The game, which includes a massive 34 levels, will include villans such as Dr. Octopus and Mysterio to defeat.
Sega has announced that the sequel to ShenMue will be called ShenMue II.
The XBox has been delayed in Europe, and therefor Australia, until early 2002. The official reason for the delay is to ensure that there is ample stock in each territory when the system launches. That means the Dreamcast will get another Christmast with only the PS2 as competition. The Gamecube isn't expeted until 2002 either.
As you may be aware Shen Mue hit the stores today. Unfortunately I have had a couple of reports that a percentage of the stock has broken cases and possibly CD's. I can't verify this for myself yet as no stores on the Gold Coast had received stock. If anyone has any news please let me know at the usual address.
I have added a review to Acclaim's excellent Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX. Check this game out immediatly.
As you can probably tell I am back online. Moving house has resulted in a couple of unexpected problems. Firstly my computer managed to die during transport and now for some reason my modem will only operate at 28.8k instead of 56k. I have no idea why but I am looking into it as we speak. Still, the updates should resume pretty much as normal from now on.
Namco have confirmed that they are working on Ace Combat 4 for the Playstation 2. The game, which is expected to be released in mid 2001 in Japan, will include greatly improved graphics as well as more realism. There will also be several different viewpoints for the games player to choose from. Expect an Australian release in late 2001.
I have added a review to Koei's excellent action-strategy game Dynasty Warriors 2.
Is Game Arts already working on Grandia III? It's possible. Ubisoft have already registered the domain name Grandia3.com on the internet. Hopefully this is more then just hope for a sequel from Ubisoft.
Rumours from Japan are that Genki have actually been doing the port of Daytona USA Online and not Sega. Genki are the company responsible for porting titles such as Virtua Fighter 3tb and Virtua Striker 2 to the Dreamcast.
Ubisoft have confirmed that Arcatera: The Dark Brotherhood will not be released outside Europe. Unfortunately no reason has been given for the games cancellation in America/Japan and it seems like a strange move considering the title will still be completed for Europe.
Those of you looking forward to Ubisoft's Ultimate Fighting Championship will be pleased to hear that the game is now on the shelves. Only a couple of weeks ago Ubisoft told me it would be January but it looks like they have given us an early Christmas present.
Rumours are beginning to surface that Soul Calibur 2 will not only appear on the Playstation 2, but will be a PS2 exclusive. Only time will tell if this turns out to be true but Namco aren't shy about releasing a game on one system only, see the original Soul Calibur for proof of that.
JF Cecillon, the president to Sega Europe has resigned. As of December 31 he will move on from teh company after he met all the first year targets for the Dreamcast in Europe (namely 1 million hardware units, 3 million pieces of software and 400,000 internet subscribers). Isao Okawa from Sega of Japan will be resuming control of European operations effective from January. Perhaps he would like to take a visit Down Under on his way to Europe?
I have added a review to Acclaim's RC Revenge Pro.
I finally move into my new house this weekend (well it's only been 3 weeks since signing the contract actually) so I may not be able to update the site for a couple of days depending on the phone connection.
Sony has confirmed a release date for Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec in Japan. The date: February 15th. Expect Australia to release sometime in March.
Majesco have announced that they are developing the PS2 version of the hit PC game, Soldier of Fortune. The best news is that they are planning to include a 4-player mode. Don't look for it soon however with a release not expected until Q'4 2001.
I have added a review to the highly anticipated Jet Set Radio which hit the shelves this week.
Dreamcast games are getting cheap in the USA. The following games have all had their RRP dropped to $US9.95 (that’s about $AU25); Chu Chu Rocket, Dynamite Cop, Flag to Flag, Maken X, Rippin' Riders, Seaman, Sega Rally 2, Space Channel 5, Time Stalkers, Toy Commander, Virtua Fighter 3TB, Virtua Striker 2, Zombie Revenge. For god's sake why are we, in an almost dead market still paying $AU99.95 for all these titles!!!
We finally have a winner for the Summoner competition. The winner is Alan Hombos who was actually notified on his Birthday of all days. Congratulations.
In the coming days THQ and Future Gamez will be running another competition so keep your eyes on the site for your chance to win.
There has been a couple of people asking me about DVD playback on the Playstation 2 and there have been a couple of problems. However I may have a solution to you problems. I spoke to Sony today who said that they have received 78 calls relating to DVD playback problems. In every case the reason for the problems was that they are running their Playstation 2 through their VCR. If you are having problems with DVD playback please ensure that your PS2 is hooked up directly to your TV set. This is not a fault with the Playstation 2 but is a common problem with the video signal passing through a VCR. Also note that if you are passing the signal through the VCR and everything is fine you will also be getting some slight video signal degradation and hooking the system directly into your TV would result in a better picture anyway. I hope this helps.
Those of you looking for a multi-tap on the Playstation 2 should keep an eye on the stores as Sony has advised me that they units (which allow up to 4 controllers per port on the system) were shipped late last week to retailers. The system retails for $79.95.
Acclaim has confirmed that their 2 Playstation 2 games expected this month, namely Super Bust-A-Move and Top Gear Daredevil have both slipped into January 2001.
A couple of days ago I broke the news that Ferrari F355 Challenge was coming to Australia. This is still the case and I have a few more details. Apparently the shipment from the UK was confirmed today and should arrive here on our shores next week. The bad news is that this will make a pre-Christmas release extremely unlikely and Acclaim believe the title should now be available the first week in 2001. Still Santa has been known to give IOU's at times so perhaps you might want to ask him to reserve you a copy of this awesome game.
I thought I might mention that Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX is now available on Dreamcast. I have had the game for a while now and can't put it down. It's a lot of fun and I would highly recommend it. I will get a review up soon but have a glut of other PS2 and DC games to look at first.
Sales figures for the Playstation 2 have finally been released. The first week sales are reportedly at around 30,000 units (hay thats almost the total for the Dreamcast!) with another 35,000 units confirmed to be available by Christmas. In fact more systems are shipping to stores this week.
Michael Ephraim, Managing Director, SCE Australia, said: "Awareness and consumer anticipation for PlayStation2 has been unprecedented. We have witnessed consumers going to extraordinary lengths to ensure that they are the first to get a PlayStation 2. Approximately 5000 people queued at midnight store opening across Australia last week and several stores actually sold out. Our retailers are delighted with sales to date and we are continuing to support them by replenishing stocks up to Christmas to a total of 65,000 units."
Mr Ephraim continues: "We are delighted PlayStation®2 has had the most efficient and orderly role out to market here in Australia. In just one week of sales, we have sold over four times the quantity the original PlayStation® sold in a four month period from launch on November15th 1995 to end March 1996"
Favourite launch titles include Tekken Tag Tournament, SSX, Fifa 2001, Ridge Racer V and Smugglers Run, which are all selling well across Australia. New titles including Dead or Alive 2 will be hitting the shelves every week up to Christmas.
3DO has announced that three of their titles will be delayed until early 2001. Army Men: Air Attack 2 and Army Men: Sarge's Heroes 2 as well as Warriors of Might and Magic have all been delayed to fine tune the games further.
I have added another Playstation 2 review on the site, this time for Sony's excellent puzzle game, Fantavision.
I spoke to Acclaim the other day and at last there appears to be some good news on the Dreamcast front. Apparently Acclaim Europe have confirmed that Ferrari F355 Challenge will be coming to Australia. The best news is that the game may be available as early as next week. Expect more details, and an exact release date, soon.
AM2 has confirmed that they will be releasing Shenmue: The Movie to cinemas in Japan in January 2001. The screenings will be limited to 100 people at five different locations. Unfortunately no one knows what form the movie will take. Be it footage from the recently released game, a new CGI movie or a live action movie like Street Fighter (but hopefully a lot better). The movie is expected to run for around 90 minutes. No word if the movie will be seen outside Japan, but we can certainly hope so.
Several major Dreamcast titles have hit the shelves this week. First up is Bizarre Creations often delayed Metropolis: Street Racer. This game has been in development for several years now and is one of the best looking racers ever. Two other key titles have been released which are the music/dace game Space Channel 5 and the RPG Time Stalkers.
More bad news for online gaming in Australia. Ozisoft have delayed the release of Quake III Arena until January/February 2001. It looks like online gaming will have to wait a few more months here.
Because Ubisoft will now be publishing all of Crave's titles in Europe and Australia most games have been pushed back until 2001. This means we won't be seeing Evergrace or Eternal Ring until February or so and Dreamcast titles such as Ultimate Fighting Championship have been delayed until January. All the new dates can be found on the Previews & Schedule Page.
Microsoft have announced a cheaper licensing fee for developers. While most developers on the PS2 and Dolphin will be paying between $US9 or $US10 per game sold, Microsoft have announced that the fee for games on the XBox will be a lower $US8. Sure it's only a dollar but if you are talking sales of 1 million units that's a lot of money for small developers.
Can Ozisoft do no right? Not only is the Dreamcast almost a dead system in Australia but they are having problems with their Playstation 2 software as well. One of the most wanted titles this year TimeSplitters never appeared at launch and now stores are stating that the title will not be available until the 15th. Oh and if you think it's a development delay think again. The game is already available across Europe.
I have had a couple of interesting reports about the playback of DVD's on the Playstation. Good or bad, couple people let me know what they think and if they've had any problems. E-mail me to the usual address; email@example.com. Thanks.
I have added a review for Namco's fighting game, Tekken Tag Tournament.
Well the online gaming situation is looking even grimmer. The latest release schedule from Ozisoft now has Chu Chu Rocket listed as TBA. This doesn't bode too well for a game that has been delayed since March 2000. Unfortunately it has always been touted as the first online game in all territories.
I have totally updated the release schedules today. I have received the release schedules from all the major publishers, which now includes release dates into 2001. Check it out by clicking here.
In case you don't ever look at the main page you may want to have a quick look at the new POLL on the main page. This month I am asking, "Which title are you most looking forward to in December?"
I got a copy of Dead Or Alive 2 on Playstation 2 the other day (it hits retail in about 2 weeks before you ask) but there is one interesting thing which I haven't seen in any other PS2 games yet. The game has an option to output in either 50Hz or 60Hz mode. It works well so there is now no doubt that the PS2 can include 60Hz in games like the Dreamcast, as long as the developers want it. Excellent.
Expect some PS2 reviews in the coming days. It's just bloody hard to team myself away from the awesome Fantavision.
In case you never look at the main page I have added a review to UbiSoft's much better then expected Disney's Dinosaur.
It's launch day in a couple of hour's guys and if you aren't at the stores at midnight I would suggest you get up early. Anyway I have created a list of launch titles for you to help you decide which games are best. Check it out by clicking here.
The latest sales charts have been released for the UK (not all of Europe). The sales figures for games were as follows;
1. Tekken Tag Tournament (Namco, SCEE) - 15,575
2. TimeSplitters (Eidos) - 10,795
3. SSX (EA) - 9,226
4. FIFA 2001 (EA) - 9,172
5. Ridge Racer V (Namco, SCEE) - 6,795
6. Silent Scope (Konami) - 5, 863
7. ISS (Konami) - 4,080
8. Smuggler's Run (Take Two) - 3,511
9. Ready 2 Rumble Boxing Round 2 (Midway) - 2,720
10. Orphen (Activision) - 1,848
11. Dynasty Warriros 2 (Midas) - 1,236
12. Wild Wild Racing (Rage) - 1,210
13. Fantavision (SCEE) - 826
14. NHL 2001 (EA) - 698
15. AquaAqua (SCi) - 688
16. Gradius III & IV (Konami) - 95
17. Midnight Club (Take Two) - 18? (is supposed to be released next week)
Looking at the list there is very few surprises except that for an EA title NHL 2001 seems quite low down on the charts.
Apparently Sony may have short-shipped America. While they announced that they shipped 900,000 to 1 million units reports are surfacing that the actual number may have been between 600,000 and 700,000 units. Who is lying?
Don't forget about the competition to win a copy of Summoner which is running until 5pm November 30 AEST. If you don't have your entry in now make sure you do it immediately. Any entries after that time will not be taken into consideration.
There is some bad Playstation 2 news regarding release dates. I have update that Previews & Release Schedule page with the latest changes. Some of the big news is that some of Ubisoft's titles including Rayman Revolution and Donald Duck: Quack Attack may be pushed back as far as January. Also now that Ubisoft have picked up the Crave titles for distribution here games such as Eternal Ring and Evergrace will not be available until late December at the earliest.
Several more titles have hit the shelves in Australia. Three of Electronic Arts' titles are available at Electronics Boutique. These title are the highly anticipated SSX, the impressive NHL 2001 and the world's number one soccer title, FIFA 2001. Each title is selling for $99.95 at EB's although if you use a coupon in their booklet any G rated game will get $5 off.
I've been getting quite a few e-mail's asking what your chance is of picking up a Playstation 2 if you haven't ordered. Well, the chances are quite good. Most major retailers aren't taking pre-orders so as long as you get in early you should be OK. Most retailers, from what I can gather are getting sizable quantities. For instance BIG W Runaway Bay is expecting 50-60 units while Myer at Pacific Fair said that they have 98 units expected for launch. Electronics Boutique at Pacific Fair are expecting around 100 units but due to their pre-ordering will be sold out to the public. Shop around Thursday morning and you should be fine, especially if you stick with major retailers.
The other commonly asked question is where is the cheapest place to buy the system. Well in somewhat a surprise Target have the system cheapest with the system selling for $AU729. Most other retailers are around the $748-$749 mark. BIG W, who usually have the cheapest price have the system listed for $744 in the computer but as my girlfriend said they have already marked down the price to beat Target by a dollar or so. Fortunately she can also get me an extra 5% off so if you know someone who has a discount card at Coles Myer or Woolworths (and that's a lot of people) you can get a system for well under $AU700.
Best prices for games. Well Target also seems the best for prices with many games priced at $89.95. Have a look at the Electronics Boutique catalogue where they have coupons for $10 off many games including Super Bust-A-Move, Fantavision, Ridge Racer V and several others.
Peripherals will also play a vital part in your purchasing this Thursday. No doubt the most essential item (apart from the system of course) is the memory card. This card holds 8MB of data which, while it may sound a lot, may be filled up with only a handful of games. The memory card runs 250 times faster then the original PSX memory card but will set you back around $69.96 which seems to be a pretty standard price. The Dual Shock 2 controller is another item that you may wish to invest in for multi-player fun. The controller, which includes analogue buttons all over (except start and select), will set you back about $59.95. Other optional accessories include the vertical stand for just over $20 to stand the system up for a really cool look or the horizontal stand which, to be honest, is a waste of $20. One other item, which is great if you have a few friends with their own controllers is the multi-tap. This allows you to connect 4 controllers per port on the machine effectively giving you 8 player games, with 2 multi-taps and 8 controllers. Other items include RF adapters, leads for hooking the PS2 to a decoder for DVD surround sound, and of course remote controls for the DVD playback so you don't need the Dual Shock 2 controller. Electronics Boutique have 2 DVD remotes for sale with a price of $39.95 for one and $59.95 for the other.
Don't forget about the competition to win a copy of Summoner, which is running for another 2 days. Even if you don't want the game you could trade it in for another one or give it away for a Christmas present. To enter; answer a couple of pretty easy questions.