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JULY 2003 NEWS
July 30, 2003

    Games
    The latest Tomb Raider, Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness, has easily failed to meet expectations on both a commercial and critical level. Eidos, the games publisher, is so concerned that their flagship franchise is failing that they have taken development duties away from Core Design, who first developed the series, and handed it to Crystal Dynamics in America. The next game in the series still isn't due for a couple more years.

    Sony has confirmed that they have sold 250,000 units of Eye Toy: Play in Europe after shipping 500,000 units. This makes the peripheral one of the most purchased for a specific title ever. Oh yar, my review is coming, I'm just having too much fun playing the damn thing with my mates. In summary - get it. You may also wish to note that Sony are apparently working on Eye Toy: Groove for release late this year and Eye Toy: Sports for release at a later date.

    Producer Yasumi Matsuno has confirmed that Final Fantasy XII will be quite different to other games in the series. The game will first be shown in September 2003 at the Tokyo Game Show.

    PSP
    Sony has confirmed some more details about the PlayStaion Portable. According to The Magic Box "the PSP will consist of two 32-bit MIPS R4000 processors, both run at 10 times the clock speed of PSone, and a 4.5" TFT LCD display in 16:9 ratio. PSP will have a GPU which can process 3D graphics and surface drawing with numerous effects, such as morphing and tessellation. In addition, the machine will have USB 2.0, 802.11 wireless LAN and infrared communication supports."

July 28, 2003

    Games
    Sony has announced that the April - June shipments of Playstation 2 for 2003 was 2.65 million units down 1.94 million units from the numbers in 2002. On a more positive note the shipments of software increased 14% to 31 million units.

    I haven't had much time over the weekend to write reviews, but I have had tremendous fun playing with Sony's Eye Toy: Play which I got last week. If you have a lot of friends over, and even if they're not into gaming at all, then this is one hell of a title. We were up until 3am Friday night playing it, and then my parents even got in on the act on Saturday. So much for my uni assignment due last week!

    Letters
    Just a reminder that I have a letters page on this site. If you have anything at all to ask send me an e-mail to the usual address. You can check out the letters page here.

    Preview
    SSX3 is the sequel we have all been waiting for on the Playstation 2. The first game was a massive launch title on the system, the second redefined the snowboarding and extreme sports experience. SSX3 just another sequel? Not on your life. EA Sports BIG have redesigned the entire experience and with 2 years development this is one stunning looking title.

July 23, 2003

    Games
    Well that damn bird came back, with some very exciting news for Playstation 2 owners. Fortunately rather then just a whisper he also brought back a a press release which should only strengthen even further the lead that the Playstation 2 enjoys around the world. (At last - some revenge for the wait on Splinter Cell).

      PLAYSTATION 2 REMAINS SYSTEM OF CHOICE FOR WORLD'S TOP GAME DEVELOPERS

      Ubi Soft® confirms two exclusive games for Christmas 2003

      July 23rd, 2003 - Ubi Soft® Entertainment, one of the world's largest video game publishers, today announced that the highly anticipated titles Prince of Persia The Sands of Time(tm) and Beyond Good & Evil(tm) will be published exclusively for the PlayStation*2 console during 2003 in Australia.

      The brand new Prince of Persia game: Prince of Persia The Sands of Time(tm) is currently under development at Ubi Soft's Montreal Studio, home to the Splinter Cell® franchise. Players take the role of the Prince in the exotic, mysterious world of ancient Persia. Using groundbreaking animations and innovative time-control powers to recapture the Sands of Time, their role is to restore peace to the land.

      Beyond Good & Evil(tm) is being developed by Michel Ancel - creator of the critically acclaimed and highly successful Rayman® series - and his teams. The game features Jade, an intrepid and attractive journalist who uncovers a web of conspiracy. Beyond Good & Evil(tm) will transport the player into a deep story of truth and deception set in a fantastical world, a world with literally no bounds.

      "Both these games uniquely showcase the continued evolution of PlayStation 2 gaming," commented Darren Macbeth, Managing Director for Ubi Soft Australia and New Zealand. "After their showing at E3, both of these games have shot to the top of gamer's wish lists. With the talent and experience of two of Ubi Soft's most renowned studios behind them, these games will be the must-have titles for Christmas this year."

      Michael Ephraim, Vice President of SCE Europe and Managing Director of SCE Aust/NZ commented "Voted best PlayStation 2 game at E3 this year, we welcome Ubi Soft's decision to publish Prince of Persia, together with Beyond Good and Evil, exclusively on PlayStation 2 during 2003. PlayStation 2 continues to be the system of choice for the world's top game developers and for their latest games."

      Ubi Soft® Entertainment Australia/New Zealand are planning to spend in excess of $1.5 million dollars marketing both these titles, re-inforcing their status as Christmas PlayStation*2 blockbuster titles for 2003.

    Preview
    Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time has just been announced by Sony Australia and UbiSoft Australia as a PS2 exclusive for consoles in 2003. That's right, if you want to play this game on a console this year you'll need a Playstation 2. The game received many accolades at the E3 show and was voted among the top titles on display. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time looks like an absolute winner.

July 22, 2003

    Preview
    EA Sports Rugby 2004 has certainly been one of the most requested sporting titles on the Playstation 2. With the World Cup beginning in October this year there was little doubt that the timing was right for another Rugby game. After waiting for over 2 years the wait certainly looks justified.

July 20, 2003

    Games
    According to PS2.IGN there may be a possibility of Gran Turismo 4 being released before the end of the year. Take ti with a grain of salt however as Polyphony Digital have never rushed out a product if they can improve it before release, and most people still anticipate a 2004 release.

    Atari have announced plans to develop and release a game based on the Transformers universe. Titled Transformers Armada: Prelude to Energon the game is expected to be release around mid 2004.

    Sony has confirmed that Mojib-Ribbon, the sequel to the PSOne game Vib Ribbon will be release in Japan this Spring. Given poor sales of the original outside Japan it's unlikely this game will be released in other territories, but I'd like to be proven wrong.

    Preview
    Medal of Honor Rising Sun looks set to be yet another great title in Electronic Arts' WWII series of games. This time the action is based in the Pacific. Exactly how were EA going to top the Omaha Beach landing from the previous game. Well, how about Pearl Harbour. This game is going to blow your socks off. Latest screens and info inside.

July 17, 2003

    Damn that Bird!
    Remember that bird that was coming by occasionally earlier this year with some information, well he landed on my Window again today. There was no cryptic clues, but he did mention that a bombshell was heading our way regarding two AAA titles on Playstation 2. What is it? Well the cat scared him away before I got an answer, but he said he'd be back sometime next week with the details. Go to this link in the forums to take a guess!

    Games
    Midway have pushed the release date of their game ESPionage until May 2004. The action title allows you to use Psychic powers against enemies. Expect more news at a later date.

    UbiSoft has annoucned that David Duchovny and Adam West will provide voice talent in their upcoming shooter XIII. David Duchovney, who starred in the X-Files TV show, will provide the voice of secret agent XIII. Adam West is best known as Batman in the 1960's and will lend his voice to a character named General Carrington. XIII is currently slated for release in October.

    Preview
    Dance Stage MegaMix is about to be released in Australia and will be the first time that the legendary Konami arcade dancing game has being released on the Playstation 2. With over 65 songs, including many commercial hits, this is one party game you must add to your collection. Here's the latest screens and info prior to a late August release.

July 15, 2003

    Games
    Midway has confirmed they are working on a game based on the Justice League DC Comics characters. The game is expected to be released in 2004 but as yet no other details are available.

    Soul Calibur II has finally been given a definite release date in the UK. Gamers will finally be able to get thier hands on the title on September 26th while the Australian release is still scheduled for September 29th.

    Preview
    Aliens Vs Predator: Extinction is finally heading to Playstation 2. However, rather then a conversion of the similarily named PC game this game, developed by Zono Inc., is actually a strategy game. With only a month to release the screenshots look nice enough but it will all come down to the gameplay. Here's a full preview.

    Forums
    Click here to go to the forums and post a message. Why? Because it's the easiest way to ask a question and get answers, be it about release dates, gameplay, or anything else. It's been pretty quiet of late but if you select "Show all Topics" in top drop down box you will see that most games are covered.

July 13, 2003

    Games
    Konami have confirmed that Pro Evolution Soccer 3 is in development. But this isn't just a small update as developers KCET have apparently reworked 80% of the games animations with a new graphics engine, redone the AI and added in some new moves. The only disappointment is a lack of online gameplay - something which FIFA 2004 will include. Expect a release in late 2003.

    Preview
    Need For Speed Undergroud is almost certain to be a winner - truse me. Many people say that the Gran Turismo series looks wonderful. I defy you to look at this game and tell me that this isn't better - at least in terms of lighting and textures. This is possibly the best looking racing game ever. Check it out.

July 11, 2003

    Games
    Midway has confirmed sales of 2 million units of their hit fighting game, Mortal Kombat Deadly Alliance since release in America in November 2002, and PAL territories in early 2003. This figure includes sales freom all four platforms the game was released on, but PS2 makes up the majority of the sales.

    Electronic Arts has announced plans to release NFL Street in early 2004. The game will have a similar style as NBA Street Vol. 2 with the game to be publiished under the EA Sports BIG label. One of the biggest changes from the real NFL is the 7-on-7 gameplay and once again the rules are certain to be minimised. No word yet if the game will be released outside America, but let's hope so.

    Electronic Arts have also confirmed that Need for Speed Underground will be released in America in late 2003 rather then early 2004 as originally announced. The game will be released on all formats but will only have online gameplay in the PC and PS2 versions of the game.

    Koei has confirmed that their Dynasty Warriors series of games has shipped more then 5 million units worldwide. Dynasty Warriors 4 has just been released in Australia but has sold over a million units in Japan alone.

    Preview
    XGRA is the sequel to Extreme G3 from Acclaim. With much improved graphics, wider tracks and improved gameplay this game looks like a winner. This is one game that racing fans will want to check out in late August.

July 9, 2003

    Games
    Criterion has announced details on their next two title. The first is called Black and is a First Person Shooter while the second game, Dust Storm, is a racing game. As yet no platofrms or release dates have been mentioned.

    According to reports surfacing in America UbiSoft's Charlie's Angels may not be released on PS2 following a poor showing at the E3 show. Indeed I have seen screens and movies from the game and my anticipation dropped from moderate to nothing.

    Online Gaming
    Well, I've been getting several e-mails about SOCOM which will be available in Australia with the microphone headset for $AU129.95. The question, however, is what about the online gameplay? Well, that won't be starting on Friday but people who purchase the game will be able to register to become a beta tester for Sony Australia. You will need to meet some requirements but the good news is those who become a tester will receive the broadband adapter for free. If you miss out online gaming is expected to start in Australia in Spring 2003. For more details hit this link.

    Preview
    AFL Live 2004 is shaping up a a great title on Playstation 2 (and the other formats too). Australia's most popular sport is back for a second outing and the developers have taken the criticisms of the first title and made many improvements to this years version. Latest screens and info are available in this preview.

July 6, 2003

    Preview
    Unlimited Saga has finally been given a release outside Japan with America receiving the game in June and PAL territories including Australia set to receive this Square-Enix title sometime in September. Here's the latest info and screens for this impressive looking title.

July 5, 2003

    Games
    Activision have launched a lawsuit against Viacom regarding their 10-year Star Trek license obtained in 1998. Activision are claiming that Viacom (through Paramount Pictures) have run the Star Trek franchise into the groud. Since the contract started both Insurrection and Nemesis movies ahve under-performed while moderate rating shows Voyager and Deeps Space Nine ended and low rating show Enterprise has failed to earn a large audience. Obviously this means no more Star Trek titles for some time.

    Konami have confirmed that Castlevania: Lament of Innocence will be released in Japan this November. No word yet on an American or PAL release date.

    Review
    Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis has been out in Australia for some time now, but the lack of a review doesn't indicate a bad game, far from it. Jurassic Park is still regarded as one of the best movies of all time, but the games haven't lived up to the movie. Operation Genesis is a (very good) theme park game that comes close to being great.

July 2, 2003

    Games
    Eidos have finally confirmed that Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness will ship in the UK on July 4th with the rest of Europe, including Australia to see the title on July 11th. At last the wait is almost over (hopefully). Let's just hope the game lives up to the hype and promises.

    Electronic Arts have confirmed that their next James Bond game, titled James Bond 007: Everything or Nothing will include the voice talent of all the major actors in the movies. Naturally Pierce Brosnan will voice the legendary James Bond. Returning along with Mr. Brosnan in their film roles are John Cleese as “Q”, Dame Judi Dench as “M”, and Richard Kiel as legendary henchman Jaws. In the role of Bond’s new nemesis Nikolai Diavolo is Willem Dafoe, joined by Shannon Elizabeth as new cyber Bond girl Serena St. Germaine and Heidi Klum as the malevolent Katya Nadanova. All cast members will contribute voiceover for their roles as well as accurate likenesses provided through EA’s electronic “cyberscanning” process.

    Electronic Arts have confirmed that Freedom Battle for Libery Island which was renamed to Freedom Soldiers of Liberty has once again undergone a name change to Freedom Fighters. The game, developed by IO Interactive who developed the Hitman titles, should be release by years end.

    Review
    The Hulk is one of the most anticipated movie titles this year. With the Ang Lee movie smashing cinemas accross the globe there was little doubt a game would follow. The developers, however, have developed an all-new storyline rather then follow the plot of the movie. Here's the review of this surprisingly refreshing title.


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