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December 3, 2003
NRL Rugby League - Preview
Release Date Publisher Developer Anticipation Players Price
12/12/2003HES InteractiveSidhe1-8$99.95

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Broncos Vs Bulldogs.
Never been a rugby fan, and I likely never will. Be it Union or League it's all the same to me (althoguh yes, I understand the differences). Still, that doesn't mean that Rugby League doesn't have a massive following in Australia, or that I'm not interested in looking at this title upon release. Indeed the demand for this title prior to release is releasing epidemic proportions. This is one of the few games where Electronics Boutique have stopped pre-orders Australia wide, now that's something. After the massive disappointment of EA's Rugby 2004 (I know that's Union) this game looks set to make people very, very happy again.

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Time for a gang tackle.
The list of inclusions in this title are impressive. NRL Rugby League includes the official licenses for 35 teams including those from Australia (all the NRL teams are there), New Zealand and the UK Super League. The matches are played on 25 realistic stadiums from around the globe. Competitions in the game include the 2003 National Rugby League, State of Origin, City versus Country, UK Super League and International challenges. It will even be possible to create your own teams, players and even competitions. Naturally official NRL statistics will be used throughout the game. The game will also support up to 8 players at a time which should provide some thrills. Injuries and send-offs are also present in the game, as well as 5 difficulty levels to keep novice to expert players challenged.

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Tackle him!!.
Graphically NRL Rugby League is shaping up quite nicely indeed. The players looks detailed enough and from video footage that I have seen the animations look solid. Indeed Sidhe, the developers have included over 700 animations making for a very wide range of moves including tackles, but also kicks (such as grubbers, bombs, chips and field goals), cut-out passes, fend-offs, offloads and (what I consider to be the most pointless thing in any sport) scrums. The game will also be played in day and night conditions while the weather is also variable from sunny to rain.

As well as commentary from Channel 9's Andrew Voss the game will include referee speech from Steve Clark while crowd effects have been recorded to remain faithful to the real experience.

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Kicking the ball.
NRL Rugby League is a rugby game that certainly looks nice, much better then EA's recent title. The only spanner in the works is that Acclaim have just announced details of World Championship Rugby for release in March 2004 from Swordfish Studios (I'm hoping to get a preview of this up soon), the developers of the classic Jonah Lomu Rugby. Are you better holding off for that title? That really is unknown, but NRL Rugby League certainly looks good enough to keep you entertained over Christmas, and then you can buy Acclaim's title in a few months time.