AUGUST 2002 NEWS

August 30, 2002

    Games
    The ECTS show is on now in London, and all the major companies are showing their games. Expecy any new announcements to appear on this site over the coming days.

    One of the biggest games on display, which pretty much confirms a PAL release at some stage, is Metal Gear Solid Substance. This game was first shown at the E3 show in America and basically provides over 200 VR styled missions in addition to Solid Snake being playable through Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty.

    As well as XBox and Gamecube ports of Medal Of Honor Frontline Electronic Arts have confirmed that a sequel is in the works. Don't expect the game anytime soon however with development just getting underway.

    Namco have confirmed that they are currently working on MotoGP 3. The game should be released in Japan late this year, or early next with a PAL release still to be confirmed however given the success of MotoGP 2 it shouldn't be too long before it makes it out here as well.

    Price Drop Europe
    Sony Europe have confired a price drop for the Playstation 2 to take effect on August 30. The system will now sell for 249 Euros or £169. No word on an Australian price drop but it seems quite unlikely following recent drops and the new V8 bundle released this week.

    Preview
    Madden NFL 2003 is yet another Madden game about to hit the shelves from Electronic Arts. Dispite being the 13th game in the series this one won't be unlicky as it includes the biggest overhaul to the series in years - online modes. Madden NFL 2003 also includes new game modes and graphical enhancements. Check out the preview now prior to a late September release in PAL territories.

August 26, 2002

    Games
    Sony have announced a list of release dates for their PS2 games until Christmas here in Australia, and it's pretty exciting. Most notable are the releases of Kingdom Hearts on November 22nd and the often delayed The Getaway on November 29. Here's the schedule:

      6 Sept - Stitch: Experiment 626
      20 Sept - Tekken 4
      27 Sept - Ferrari-355 Challenge
      27 Sept - This is Soccer 2003
      4 Oct - Ninja Assault
      18 Oct - Formula 1 2002
      8 Nov - Ratchet & Clank
      15 Nov - WRC 2 Extreme
      22 Nov - Kingdom Hearts
      29 Nov - The Getaway
      Dec - Alpine Racer

    Firstly, special mention must go to the excelleing gaming site The MagicBox for this article. I've copied it word for word due to the accuracy of translation and the dramatic impact it may have on relations between Capcom and Sony and Capcom and Square. From The Magic Box:

      Capcom's Biohazard producer Mikami criticized Sony & Square in a recent radio program interview in Japan.

      1. He mentioned that Sony makes their consoles to break to increase their installed base. He said the PS2 is selling so well because many people are buying a second one for replacement.

      2. Other than PS2, he mentioned the current PC systems, walkman and Docomo cellphones are also easy to break, he said manufacturers purposely make the systems easier to break, so that customers have to purchase a new one every one or two years.

      3. He said he has bought two PlayStation in the past, because the CD lens wore out quickly. When he played Super Robot Taisen on PS, it took one minute to load up each battle, he was so pissed off that he had to get a new PlayStation to play the game.

      4. He expressed that Square's Kingdom Hearts is selling so well because of "Aura Purchase", i.e. people buy this game because his/her friends are playing the same game, dispute whether he/she likes the game or not. He said Kingdom Hearts does not deserve the 780,000+ sales, it doesn't worth the 7800 yen price tag.

      5. At last he said "Square please forgive me", because he was so angry that Kingdom Hearts has sold a whole lot more than Biohazard on GameCube (both games released at the same time), he thinks Biohazard is a much better quality game, although Kingdom Hearts is not a bad game either.

    Review
    Freekstyle is the latest game to be released under the EA Sports BIG brand and it doesn't really stray too far away from the formula of the SSX games, except this time you are on motorbikes. Does this game live up to the excitement and thrills of the snowboarding titles? Read the review to find out.

August 22, 2002

    Games
    Sega have announced release details for Shinobi. The game will be released in Japan on December 5, but surprisingly the American release is still set for "Fall 2002" indicating a release a couple of months before Japan. As yet there is no confirmation of a PAL release, but don't panic, it will almost certainly be released here - eventually.

    Acclaim have dumped the use of Dave Mirra in Dave Mirra XXX. Apparently the game has too much risqué content for the superstar, but the developers want to keep it in there. As a result all famous bike riders will be removed from the game, but seriously how many people buy the game for the names alone. Still Dave Mirra is not lost with Dave Mirra BMX 3 is now in development for release in 2003.

    A couple of big games have gone gold in America in the last week. The first was Eidos' Commandos 2: Men of Courage while the second is Turok Evolution. Both should be out within weeks. Check the Release Schedule page to see when games are coming out.

    Confirmation from Acclaim Australia today that AFL Live 2003 has been pushed back by a couple of days from September 6th to 12th. Not all is bad however, as the game is complete and has passed testing by Sony. The reason for the delay is the lack of cargo space in the planes coming over from Austria where the game is manufactured (as with all PS2 games).

    Preview
    Minority Report was a real surprise movie this year. Some great special effects backed up a great storyline and acting rather then the special effects holding the movie together. The game, which is in development at Treyarch for Activision looks to capture the feel of the movie perfectly. With a release in late 2002 it is time to check out the progress of this impressive looking game.

August 18, 2002

    Games
    Well here is a pleasant surprise. Agetec will be releasing Zettai Zetsumei Toshi in America by the end of the year. What the hell is that you say? Well the game will be renamed to Disaster Report and sees you playing the survivor of an earthquake who must escape the city before being killed in the ruins by after shocks. The game is not only original but apparently very impressive with Edge (the best gaming magazine ever) giving it an 8/10, a very high score from them. Unfortunately Agetec aren't set up in PAL territories but hopefully another publisher/distrubitor will pick up the title.

    In voicing news THQ and Volition have announced that Lance Henriksen will provide the lead voice in Red Faction 2. His voice will be used for Commander Molov, head of the elite squadon of nonatech enhanced soldiers which you are a member of.

    He's one of the biggest action stars today and now Jet Li is getting a video game. The game will be based on his upcoming movie Rise to Honor. Most importantly Jet Li will be a part of the development process not only in motion capturing but also creative decisions. The game is being developed at Sony America's Foster City studio. The movie see Jet Li play Kit Yun, the bodyguard of a Hong Kong gang leader. When his boss is assassinated, Yun has to track down the man's daughter in America and return her safely to Hong Kong. Expect the game to be released in late 2003.

    Hardware
    Sony Australia have announced a PlayStation 2 V8 Supercar Race Driver Bundle for release on August 27th, the same date as the V8 Supercars game. The pack combines the Playstation 2 system along with the game for the reduced price of $AU459.95.

    Preview
    SHOX has been shrouded in mystery from Electronic Arts. It first appeared on EA Australia's release schedule about 6 months ago, but details about the game have only just emeged in the last couple of weeks. Imagine Sega Rally with extreme jumps and action and you're starting to get a rough idea of SHOX.

    Legion: Legend of Excalibur is a RPG from Midway set during the times of King Arthur. With plenty of action, weapons, magic and drama this game looks like keeping Playstation 2 RPG fans very happy. With a release set for late September gamers will be able to experience the magic in only a few short months. Here's a preview with the latest screens to tie you over until release.

August 15, 2002

    Games
    Well who in the hell would have ever picked this. Acclaim's stunning looking AFL Live 2003 is actually going to be released in America. This very Aussie sport is slowly taking off in the States (as it deserves to). The official US AFL web site (located here) will sell the game from September. The PC game will sell for $US45, with PS2 and XBox versions available on request. It is unclear if the console versions will be NTSC or PAL versions.

    With TimeSplitters 2 only weeks away there has been some good and bad news. Firstly the bad news. Sadly Eidos and Free Radical Design have announced that they have dropped the online gameplay for the Playstation 2 game. The good news is that the game will still be released in September but best of all the game will include 16-players through a LAN setup. The game allows up to 8 consoles to be connected together with 2-players on each system (or 4-players on 4 systems linked together). Should be terrific. Apparently the PS2 online gameplay has been removed due to a lack of online infastructure. Perhaps in a third game then.

    Preview
    Another update to the Turok Evolution preview with new screens and info for what could possibly be the best First Person Shooter released on Playstation 2 this year. Prepare for a plenty of action, and blood. With the release now less then a month away it's almost purchase decision time, but my money is on a winner.

August 13, 2002

    Games
    THQ have confirmed that Dynasty Warriors Tactics will be released in Australia in November. This is great news for fans of strategy games as Koei once again promises an engrossing game. Expect more details closer to release.

    Playstation 3
    Well it didn't take to long at all but apparently Sony, Toshiba and IBM have already completed the design of the "Cell" processor, touted as the CPU for the Playstation 3. Testing and fine tuning will likely progress for about 12-18 months with the first production possibly by very late 2004 with first commercial products appearing in 2005. Apparently the processor runs at about 100, yes one hundred, times the speed of a Pentium 4 2.5Ghz processor. This has been achieved by basically putting up to 16 processors into one single chip. While the Playstation 3 is likely to have all 16 processors the processor will be used for other devices and may only include 2 or 4 of these processors. For more details check out this great article at CNET.

    Preview
    Atari Transworld Surf could just be the game that surfers the world over have been waiting for. To date there really hasn't been a good surfing game on any system, but Infogrames look like changing that. Atari Transworld Surf has great graphics and plenty of gameplay modes to keep you happy.

August 10, 2002

    Games
    If rumours are to be believed, and in this case they are pretty strong, then the German development team, Appeal, are broke. The sad news is that they are currently working on Outcast 2 which was in development as a PS2 exclusive. It is still possible that the game may be picked up for completion by another company. More news as it comes to hand.

    Although nothing was announced about Rare developing on non Nintendo platforms at the E3 show, and all things have gone quiet of late there is still something going on. The company has just removed the preview pages for Donkey Kong Racing on Gamecube and Donkey Kong: Coconut Crackers for Gameboy Advance. Another sign of moving to other platforms? Perhaps.

    E3 2003
    Well this years E3 show has just finished but the organisers have already pencilled in the dates for next year, May 16-18. Once again the show will be held at the Los Angeles Convention Centre, the same place as this year.

    Preview
    Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc is the sequel to UbiSoft's smash hit platformer which has sold over 10 million units worldwide. This time the graphics are a little darker, but the gameplay remains. Fans of previous games won't be disappointed while newcomers to the series will see what they have been missing out on. New screens and info inside.

August 7, 2002

    Games
    It's going to be a busy last Quarter for Playstation 2 owners with the Official UK Playstation 2 Magazine confirming SCEE's release plans for the rest of the year. These are pretty much in line with what I reported a couple of weeks ago, but now have dates for titles such as Kingdom Hearts and The Getaway. While the Australian release dates should be similar they may be a couple of days out from the European dates. Anyway here we go:

      Tekken 4: September 20th
      Ferrari F-355 Challenge: September 27th
      This Is Football 2003: September 27th
      Ninja Assault: October 4th
      Formula One 2002: October 16th
      Space Channel 5.2: November 1st
      WRC 02: November 1st
      Ratchet & Clank: November 8th
      Treasure Planet: November 15th
      Kingdom Hearts: November 22nd
      The Getaway: November 29th
      Alpine Racer 3: December
      Primal: January

    Review
    Gran Turismo Concept: Tokyo-Geneva didn't look like coming out here at all when announced in Japan. After all this is only an update to Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec which includes almost 100 concept cars from manufacturers around the world and strips away a lot of the detail. This is a smaller simpler game that has been reduced at the lower price of $AU69.95. Is it worth a purchase? Read the review to find out.

August 4, 2002

    Games
    Acclaim Australia have informed me that the chance of Mortal Kombat Deadly Alliance making it to Australia before Christmas is very slim, despite the game being released in America on November 22nd. There is still hope but at this stage it's an early 2003 release down under. More news as it comes in.

    Some sad news for RPG fans today with Sega of Japan confirming the Playstation 2 port of Skies of Arcadia has been canned to concentrate on improving the Gamecube version. This was one of the highlights of the Dreamcast in its short life and a port to Playstation 2 was highly anticipated.

    Well the bad RPG news is out of the way but there may be some good news as well. According to C&VG Online Square and Sony are now expecting Kingdom Hearts to ship before Christmas. Sony have been stating that the game would ship in Summer 2002/3 which could have meant anywhere between December and February. Expect confirmation and more details later in the year, but hopefully the conversion will be better then the shambles of Final Fantasy X.

    Sega America have confirmed that NFL2K3 will ship on August 13 in America, several weeks ahead of schedule and on the same day as EA's Madden NFL 2003. Unfortunately Sega's game isn't on any schedules for PAL territories while Madden NFL 2003 is currently scheduled for release in September.

    Review
    Endgame is the latest light gun game to hit the shelves. With a formula following that of Namco's Time Crisis games, this game is an admirable attempt at cashing in on a hit. But does that make it a worthwhile game to purchase? Read the review now to find out.

    Warner DVD Disgrace
    As many of you know I love my DVD's. I've owned a DVD player for over four years now and have a substantial collection of DVD's. This year has seen one of the strangest decisions ever with Warner Home Video deciding to release Harry Potter in Australia as a full frame version only, even though the R2 (Europe) widescreen disc was already encoded in R4 (Australia) and only needed importing. For months Warner Home Video absolutely denied that the widescreen version would ever be coming out in Australia. But what a difference a couple of months makes. Warner Brothers have just announced that the widescreen version will be released here as a limited edition with the CD soundtrack for $49.95. Why do this? I understand that some people prefer full screen versions of movies, even though they lose up to 50% of the original picture, but thousands of Australians have already purchased the widescreen disc from overseas, myself included. The funny thing is that even when it does come out here it will still be cheaper to buy the disc from Europe, and sales would be harmed by those sucked into the full screen version. Are Warner Home Video trying to prove that widescreen isn't wanted by the public? It's possible. Releasing only one version of a movie on DVD saves money, but they are alienating customers and supporters. It's going to be hard to trust anything the Warner Home Video Australia says from now on, especially following this debacle with 2001's biggest movie. I'm not happy, and nor should you be.

August 2, 2002

    Games
    Codemasters have announced their line-up on show at the Playstation Experience in England, and it's bound to generate some interest. First up is Colin McRae Rally 3 which has just been delayed a couple of weeks to October 11 around the world. Next up is TOCA Race Driver which is the European name for V8 Supercars Australia. Rounding out Codemasters show will be LMA Manager 2003 a sequel to their hit football simulator.

    Well it's pretty much confirmed now that the team that made Ico (Sony R&D 3's) next game will indeed be Ico 2. As yet there are no details about the game but we can expect plenty more exciting gameplay, and stunning visuals. I can't wait.

    Activision have announced plans to distribute and publish Gungrave in PAL territories. The game, which should be released in November 2002, is a third person, all-action game featuring anime-style cel-shaded graphics, Gungrave was developed by Red Entertainment. It has certainly been receiving a lot of positive press so my suggestion is for you to keep an eye out for this one.

    One of the games which I get plenty of e-mail about is Konami's Contra Shattered Soldier. So many of you would like to know a PAL release date. Unfortunately according to Ozisoft the game is not on the PAL schedules yet. The is a chance the game may be out in time for Christmas, but to date Konami Europe haven't announced a release date. Don't worry this is one of my most wanted games so as soon as I hear a date for Contra Shattered Soldier I will report it here.

    Preview
    Based on the upcoming movie (in Australia - it's just come out in America), Reign of Fire is certainly an exciting looking game. You play as either a human or dragon, each of which has a different game style. Developed by Kuju Entertainment, and distributed in Australia by Acclaim this is one game to keep an eye on.


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