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The multi award-winning MULTIFORMAT games magazine

4 w w w. g a m e s t m . c o . u k

I M
Xbox I PC IGBAIPSPIDSI Arcade I Retro

- r

' : ! ' *

BLOOD RUNS COLD


12.G1.07

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O F F I C I A L X B O X 3 6 0 M A G A Z I N E " L O S T P L A N E T I S H O L LY W O O D B L O C K B U S T E R B I G G A M E S M A S T E R " W H I T E H O T S T U F F " X 3 B 0 " S I M P LY S T U N N I N G "


360 GAMER "EXPLOSIVE"

^ - Jump in.

<

MULTIPLAYER DEMO ON XBOX LIVE MARKETPLACE

0X60X360. i

Yoshi stars in a totally new platform adventure! Use the touch screen to fire eggs. Explore the n^assive duat screen landscape.

\ Tweh.'

Use new powers like siiength and magnetism plus the classic Y oshi flutter-Jump. Rescue Baby Mario anc his baby friends from nasty bosses that ll both screens. Use your brain. Use both screens. Use strength, magnetism and utter-jumps.
Whatever you use, don't come back without the babies.

touch to play

N I N T E N D O
a

lite

Competition: an event or contest (l/W/ Sports) in


wlnich people compete; ttie word talces its origin

from early Century late Latin competitio(n-) 'rivalry', from competere 'strive for'. Being a multiformat videogame magazine, we naturally partake in healthy inter-ofce rivalry
with the other videogame magazines in Imagine's

portfolio, even more so lately with sister magazine


n'Revolution who had the foolish notion that,

being a publication dedicated to Nintendo Wii (and DS), they would ultimately be the superior Wii Sports athletes. How very foolish. This could
not, and would not, be tolerated. When the Wii

arrived at games Towers, inter-team banter


escalated into a full-blown contest in the form of

the Wii Sports World Series Tournament between magazines n'Revolution, Next3, X-360 and of
course our heroic selves.

With three members of games^" - myself. Rick,


and Ash (now known as iMash, but that's another

story) - competing in golf, boxing, bowling, tennis and baseball for bragging rights, the games sporting legends took rst place in golf (myself) and bowling (Rick), followed by second place in tennis and third place positions in boxing and
baseball. The results proved enough to secure

the spectacularly inexpensive Championship Belt (see below) much to the dismay of n-Revolution
who nished a paltry second. X-360 were content with third while Next3 languished in last

place - apparently the PlayStation 3 boys were


unused to a motion-sensitive controller that was

innovatively designed and not thrown together at


the last minute.

Have a very happy New Year. Enjoy the issue.,.

Paul Morgan
Editor

games'" 005

www. gamestm. co. uk

52107

CON
F E AT U R E S
Out Of Stock 26
With the release of the Sony PlayStation 3 in the United States and Japan, games^" takes a look at how the long-awaited console fared last month

PREVIEWS
Halo 3/Halo Wars GTAIV
36 41 42 44 45 46 48 51 52 54 56 57 58 G2 64 66

Heavenly Sword
Burnout 5 BioShock

Super Mario Galaxy / Smash Bros Brawl


The Darkness

Ones To Watch 35
With the new year comes new expectations, new innovations and new videogames as games
reveals the titles to look out for in 2007

Fahle2 Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns Of The Patriots


Resident Evil 5

Metroid Prime 3: Corruption


Mass Effect Left 4 Dead Overlord

Interview: Tim Schafer 70


The former LucasArts mastermind responsible for such greats as Grim Fandango and Monkey Island reveals all exclusively to games

Sonic And The Secret Rings Command & Conquer 3: Tiherlum Wars

REVIEWS
Lost Planet Extreme Condition 86 90
91 92 94 95 96 98 99 100

Trauma Center Second Opinion Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney -

Higher Learning 74 We talk to university professors both in the UK


and US and explore how videogames could be
utilised to be a more effective educational tool

Justice For All

Viva Piiiata

Call Of Duty 3
Medal Of Honor Heroes Resistance: Fall Of Man

Nevenwinter Nights 2

The Players:
Anton Bolshakov 80
Following on from our hands on with GSC Game
World's S.T.A.L.K.E.R. last month, we chat to the

Sonic Rivals Thrillville Touch Detective Mobile Suit Gundam: Crossre Yoshl's Island DS

102
103 106 108 109 11 0 11 2 11 3 11 4 11 5 11 6 11 6

project leader about the long-delayed PC title

Rayman Raving Rabhids Ridge Racer 7


Dead Or Alive: Xtreme 2 WarioWare: Smooth Moves

Recruitment 167
Be a part of the next generation of videogame creators. From page 167, nd university courses, and jobs at Rare and Free Radical Design

Sid Meiers Railroads!

Tony Hawk's Downhill Jam Elite Beat Agents


Star Wats: Lethal Alliance Rafa Nadal Tennis

REGULARS
Subscriptions 82
Essentials 158 Next Month 162 Contact 164 Recruitment 167
008 games"'

RETRO
Retro News 130 134 140 146 132 133 156

Feature: Making Of NIGHTS Into Dreams Feature: 8-Blt-'Em-Ups


Feature: Elbow Room Review: Lode Runner

Review: EA Replay Buyers' Guide

Over 100 games included in our massive 2007 preview

NEWS
NEWS I INDUSTRY GOSSIP OPINION

CONTENTS
FIND OUT WHERE TO GET THE ESSENTIAL STORIES WITH OUR QUICK GUIDE TO THE NEWS

12 SUMMIT TO
THINK ABOUT
Reggie gets all over-excited
about Wii at the Montreal International Games Summit.

Well, perhaps he has good


reason. Plus, nd out what the director of NYU media labs

had to say in his somewhat


more subdued but no less

captivating speech on believeability in games.

14 THEM'S THE
RULES
Another game is forced out of the UK release list,
this time due to its sexual undertones. Rule Of Rose has

hit controversy at every turn and its fate in this country has been decided. Yes, The.Daily Mail had something to say.

M U S I C TO O U
THE UK'S FIRST ORCHESTRAL GAMES CONCERT STA

16titilating
TIMES
The female-focused Dead Or Alive series is embroiled in scandal at the moment as the

A n o t h e rm o n t h ,a n o t h e re u p h o r c ic e e lb r a o t i no fg a m n ig
stops off at England's capital. On 25 November,

know a damn thing about videogames to come here and


be blown away by the power and emotion of the score." Cleariy enthusiastic about the music itself, Tallarico was

game's creator is involved in


a sexual harassment case.

videogame fans from across the continent descended upon London's Hammersmith Apollo to take in two hours of live videogame music as performed by the National Ballet Symphony Orchestra. Video Games Live was created in 2005 by veteran game
composers Tommy Tallarico {Earthworm Jim, Metroid

also keen to poirtt out the industry's need for shows like Video Games Live. "This is a very important night for the future of videogames as an artistic and culturally signicant
medium," he reected. "Because of concerts like this, non-

Perhaps we should be a little more surprised.

Prime) and Jack Wall (Myst III, Jade Empire) with the aim
to tour the world and play live orchestral game themes,

gamers out there will start to realise [...] as they walk away from our show with blank looks on their faces, saying 'what
the hell, that was videogame music?' They have no idea."

18 NINTENDO
TO W I N ?
A 'teardown analysis' report reveals the major differences
between Nintendo's nancial

accompanied by digitally edited games footage. Speaking on the night of the London performance. Tommy Tallarico said: "We designed the show so that you don't have to

Also in attendance, British composer Richard Jacques {Metropolis Street Racer, OutRun 2) agreed that the popular perception of game culture needs to change. "There was an article in The Times yesterday relating to the concert," he recalled. "They reviewed lots of game music and gave Mario four out of ten even though it's
one of the most iconic themes ever. And that was written

strategy and that of Sony. Will Nintendo be sitting pretty


come the end of Wii's rst year on sale? Or will it see

by a classical composer so it just shows the mainstream


perception of games music."

losses in the face of its highpriced competitors? Miyamoto


seems condent.

If The 77meshad its doubts about game music however, all such negativity was washed away by the enthusiastic
reception that Video Games Live received when doors

opened at 6pm. Kick-started by a triumphant pre-show event, gamers and non-gamers alike were enthralled by a

NEWS I GAME SUMMIT GAMES ROOM 101

LINER NOTES
THE BEST errs of VIDEO GAMES UVE 2006

PRE-SHOW EVENTS
Before the main show itself. Video Games Live kicked off with a 90-minute pre-show event

that lovingly embraced the fun side of gaming. Undoubtedly the biggest crowd pleaser was an opportunity to try out Wii Sports, which saw a constant throng of eager gamers jostling for a look at Nintendo's new technology. A Guitar Hero //competition also drew a large crowd, but it was the boundless energy and general good
AVGLfan dressed as Manny Calaverafrom GrimFandanga

spirit of the gamers themselves that made the event worthwhile. At least 20 people were spotted

engaging in wireless DS and PSP gaming, with a


crowd of seven linking up to play Bomberman DS. Better still, several fans appeared in fancy dress as characters from Final Fantasy and Monkey Island and received a positive reaction from all who saw them. By the show's end, the fans were repaid for
their enthusiasm when several games composers took to the venue oor for a meet and greet.

One of the best costumes we've

ever seen.

WE DESIGNED THE.SHOW SO THAT YOU DON'T HAVE TO KNOW A DAMN THING ABOUT VIDEOGAMES TO COME HERE AND BE BLOWN AWAY"

AUDIENCE INTERACTION
Testament to the success of Video Games Live is

just how well the host and conductor interacted


with an audience mostly made up of teenage

games players. Tommy Tallarico's rapport with

REARS
RTS WITH A BANG
\ /On

the audience showed a deep understanding of what makes gamers tick, as he deftly managed
to enthuse and entertain with knowing jokes

and references, even going as far as to roam the stage in a cardboard box during the Metal
An audience member

Gear Solid theme. Further audience interaction,

plays Space Invaders on the big screen as the orchestra provides sound effects in
real-time.

like Space Invaders and Frogger competitions, brought the stage and stalls together as no other show seems capable. The knowledge,

passion and endless enthusiasm from all

involved put much more high-prole videogame


events to shame and showed that there are

plenty of people within the industry who are much more capable of convincingly addressing a gaming audience. Move over Vernon Kaye.

THE VIDEOGAME PIANIST


Although the National Ballet's Symphonic Orchestra put in perfect performances of several
fan-favourite scores, none raised as many cheers as internet sensation, Martin Leung. Better

/I

.....

> 11

known as The Videogame Pianist, Martin shot to fame in 2003 when 40 million people downloaded a video of him playing the Mario theme, on piano, blindfolded. As the 20-year-old classically trained pianist took the stage, to play ten songs from Final Fantasy, the cheers almost drowned
out the music itself until the crowd settled down

spectacular live performance that started with the bleeps and bloops of Pong, moved Maitin Leung,Tlie through fan-favourites like Sonic, Zelda and Beyond Good & Evil, then climaxed with a rousing excerpt from the forthcoming Halo 3 score. Bolstered by masterfully edited intemetage? game footage and a cheerful dose of audience interaction, the two-hour show ew
by, leaving all in attendance wanting more. Thankfully, the show's world tour should see it return to the UK some time next

and absorbed the spellbinding recital. Retuming to the stage a few minutes later, Leung delivered his signature blindfold party-piece followed by a speed-play through the Super Mario World music and a jovial handclap-supported dash through the
7etris theme. And if audience reaction is anything

year And anyone's who's remotely interested in hearing live performances of some of the world's best games music, nay, some of the world's best music of any kind
should start looking out for tickets right now.

to go by, Mr Leung is destined to become bigger than any of the composers showcased at Video Games Live, games certainly hopes so.

Oil

I
NEWS I GAME SUMMIT I GAMES ROOM 101

DATA STREAM
BITE-SIZED STORIES FROM AROUND THE WORLD OF GAMING

T H E G R E AT E S T
tfs a puzzler: will the bite-sized

mini-games - seemingly what the console was designed for


- of Wii Sports and WarioWare,

be enough to keep the average


gamer occupied. Wilson Rothman, a joumalist for Time magazine has declared that Wii

Sports, "might be the greatest


videogame ever made." Either he only played it for 20 minutes,

or Nintendo has genuinely


managed to strike a chord with non-gamers - supposedly its intended target audience. The only thing we know is this: Wii Sports denitely isn't the greatest game ever made. Fact.

TRUE CRIME
With PS3 still months fn)m

QT etsuyaMizuguchi
discussed his inuences, which ranged from die wot1<s of Kandinsky to die video for
A-Ha's Take On Me.

launch, Microsoft deaily expects


to capitalise on Sony's absence

BODY LANGUAGE
SUPPORT WHILE PERUN GETS PHYSICAL N n it e n d o s ' Reggie r e s d ie n t m o t o r mouth, Fils-Aime,
did his best to dominate the Montreal International Games is.

FILS-AIME PRAISES THIRD-PARTY

and further exploit the European


market However, the pubis's thirst for consoles has been more sinister with 1 million worth

Inter-company attacks
have become a common

of 360s stolen in two separate


robberies in the Midlands. In a matter of days, two trucks carrying shipments of the console were hijacked. Peter Stevens of Staffordshire Police commented: "We are appealing for information from anyone offered them in suspicious circumstances, such as in a pub, at a car boot sale or off the back of a lony." How's that for logical thinking?

occurrence, though Fils-Aime


has been the author of more

Summit with another display of chest-thumping bravado L regarding the importance

than his fair share recently.


He continued, "The central

ft of the Wii. Referencing

dynamic of this industry [...] was becoming consumed by intensifying the game experience along a very
narrow path. We believe that

^ the seismic shift

B introduced by Mario

H 64, Fils-Aime feels that H Wii has the potential to

^ achieve an equivalent
reaction. "A similar

narrow path was alienating a lot of potential consumers during that time." With the future of the industry safe
again, Fils-Aime took time

EH ^ ' 99^ Ris-Aime praised

change can happen, and it'll happen the week


after next with the launch of the Wii," he claimed,

the support of Ihird-party publishers, despite a distinct lack of qualhy third-party tftles.

to thank people who didn't work for his company. "We've


had a tremendous amount of

k "We don't believe you ft can expand the market A by using a traditional

third-party support as we've


prepared for launch. The

^ multi-button mashef of ^ a c o n t r o l l e r. "


012 games"'

shift that's been reported in


developer focus from those

GAME BAN Wii LAUNCH

NO. 52: SEX. WHY NOT?

T h e e m b a r a s s n i gc o n t r o v e r s yc a u s e d bv Rule Of Rose has underlined a major


problem in the game industry's progress toward maturity - its juvenile attitude toward sex. Excessive brutality is rife in games of all genres, and yet the merest suggestion of an erotic undertone - even, god forbid, a lesbian one - is still enough to set alarm
bells ringing.

Sex is more marginalised in videogames than any other art form, and when it does appear it is embodied in the highly sexualised, immature worlds of Lula 3D, Leisure Suit Larry or the buxom bimbos of Dead Or Alive. If the next step for videogames is emotional sophistication,
then we must recognise sex as an enormous

and essential part of that progression.


Mainstream lmmakers are now using real

sex to communicate powerful emotional messages, yet we are stuck with adolescent titillation. Sex is not a dirty word. Time to grow up wethinks.

other consoles to Wii is truly happening [...] we recognise the


tremendous contribution that

[they] have made to the launch


of the Wii." Evidently he's never

played Red Steel.


Ken Perlin, director of NYU's media lab, whose talk on 'the illusion of life' was refreshingly

free of product plugs and selfcongratulation, gave by far the most interesting speech. An Oscar-winner with a background in digital effects - his work appearing in projects as diverse
as movie Tron and the character

modelling in Half-Life 2-PerWn gave an impassioned lecture on the folly of searching for realism
to the detriment of believability.

Using a simple ve-polygon character called Polly, Perlin


illustrated how emotional

games'"

NEWS I GAME BAN I Wii LAUNCH

DATA STREAM
BITE-SIZED STORIES FROM AROUND THE WORLD OF GAMING

LAUNCH JOY
N i n t e n d o

Nintendo's Wii saw eiglit days of phenomenal sales upon


launching in North America. More than 600,000 consoles sold in just over a week -

demand still exceeding supply.


"We've shipped retailers several times the amount of hardware [Sony] was able to deliver for its launch around the same time," said Reggie Fils-Aime, "and we still sold out," in tnith, PS3 sold out in a matter of hours,
and would have continued to sell had the consoles been

available, but Nintendo now expects to sell 4 million units by the end of the year.
CDnboveisy, but despite being

far more explicit was passed


uncut and enjoyed success.

PUBLIC ENEMY
RULE OF ROSE WITHDRAWN IN A FLURRY OF CONTROVERSY

n IOrange 1 9 7 3 ,S a tn e lreleased yK u b c r ik s 'A C o lc k w o r k was to acclaim and


controversy in equal amounts. Featuring scenes of rape, torture and motiveless

The game was published in America by Atlas, but controversy re-surfaced last month when 505 Games attempted to
nalise its UK release date. Both The Times

MASTER PLAN
Yannis Mallat, head of Ubisoft Montreal, has revealed that it has the aim to be the second largest third-party publisher (after

brutality, the lm was nevertheless a potent work of art. However, following an outcry
from the press, the church and swathes

and The Daily Mail spun tales of explicit


sex, sadomasochistic violence and a young girl being buried alive, all of which was at odds with the report issued by the Video Standards Council (VSC), who issued a PEGI16 rating. A VSC spokesperson said: "I have

EA) by 2012. The companies'


Montreal branches locked horns recently over suspnious staff appointments, but Mallat was

Games ate only allowed


to deal with sex in an

of concerned citizens, Kubrick voluntarily withdrew the lm from the UK. Blind panic had caused us to overlook creativity, and
Kubrick meted out a suitable punishment. Japanese developer Punchline, on the
other hand, doesn't have the clout that

no idea where the suggestion of in-game


sadomasochism has come from, nor children

infantile way. when diey


freat Ft seriously they are answered with prejudice.

quick to play down suggestions of Ijad blood. "I wouldn't say we


had problems," he claimed, "we had differences." The success of

Kubrick did, and its controversial new game


Rule Of Rose is no masterpiece. However,
it looks set to suffer the same fate as A

being buried underground. These are things that have been completely made up." As the
hype spread to the Italian press even Walter Veltroni, the mayor of Rome, took notice, condemning the game's use of "massive

Splinter Cell and TOP put Ubisoft Montreal on the map, and the
upcoming Assassin's Creedis one to watch. "We're going to

Clockwork Orange, after a long campaign of shameful bullying by the British press and
various politicians forced its publisher to postpone the UK release date indenitely.

doses of hon-or" to entertain children. Initially 505 Games issued a statement inviting
joumalists, politk:ians and other concerned

keep to our winning strategy - to


put creativity and innovation at the heart of our creatkins."

The rst signs of trouble emerged when Sony, which had published the game in
Japan, decided against doing so in America. Citing the game's sexual undertones, which involve pre-pubescent girls, as the reason, Sony producer Yuya Takayama said, "When

parties to judge for themselves, stating:


"IRule Of Rose] does not in any way incite
minors to commit violent acts and does not promote acts of violence towards minors."

Sadly, the action proved fmitless, and

Sony looked at the game, they felt it wasn't really in sync with their corporate image.
Their personal pride wanted it to be a little tamer." The game's director, Shuji Ishikawa, argued that any eroticism was only by suggestion. "It isn't the main theme," he

505 Games announced it would no longer publish Rule Of Rose in the UK. Despite being rated PEGI-16, thereby assuring no child should legally be allowed to play it,
the fortunes of a game and its creators have been trampled in the blind righteousness of a moral panic. In truth, its greatest crime was probably being a sub-standard horror game, but that shouldn't make us any less
outraged at its fate.

claimed. "There are denitely erotic parts to it, and some things might make people
uncomfortable, but it's not the focus."

014 games"

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NEWS I DOA SCANDAL

DATA STREAM
Jtiit i It itH.tiitt i

i'lniTri'i

BITE-SIZED STORIES FROM AROUND THE WORLD OF GAMING

Q
<aX36(

HARD SELL
Microsoft has announced another new feature for its excellent online service. The

Xbox Uve Video Marketplace will provide high and standardd e n i ti o n TV a n d l m fr o m the likes of Wamer Bros and

Paramount Pkrtures, and will

rival a similar service that Sony


is looking to provkle for PS3, Sony has criticised the idea on the grounds that as 360 doesnt have a hard drive as standard, it will force customers to buy one. There's also concern over the

relatively small 13GB of storage,


with the purchase of a spare hard drive the only solution.

The fact

features unlockable poledancing scenes is unlikely to


help Itagakis cause.

SEXIST? MOI?
NOBODY SURPRISED AS DOA CREATOR ACCUSED OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT

F o ra nn id u s r t ya e tm p n i tg o ts h e d t i patriarchal image and open up to s female


consumers and professionals, games lil<e

unfairly dismissing her following an internal investigation. The woman is now suing
Itagaki for around 50,000 in damages.

THE NEW BIG


It seems that whenever a platfonn hokler innovates, ifs not long before the other two catch up. Folk)wing Mkrosoffs XIMA Studio Express, whrch will alk5w gamers to create their own 360 games, Phil Harrison has revealed, on Sony's ThreeSpeech blog, that he's very excited. He

T ecmo's Dead Or Alive senes has long been


a stumbling block. Seemingly existing to

showcase the buttock-rendering powers of modern consoles, the fact that they're fairly
decent games is often lost beneath the veneer

Tecmo defends both itself and Itagaki, releasing a statement that reads: "The alleged
sexual harassment of the former employee by Itagaki never took place, and Tecmo did not issue an unjustied notice of dismissal. [Tecmo] determined that the allegations
in question were a result of the former employee's desire to vent frustration over

of jiggling bosoms. Xtreme Volleyball took this tendency to a new level, basing a whole game around scantily clad females jumping
gaming icons like Lara

sakl: "I have to be very careful


not to give the game away.

Croft are, in reality, highly


sexualised male fantasies.

up and down in exchange for skimpy outts. Given the context, the news that DOA creator Tomonobu Itagaki has been accused of sexual

her own personal affair, and not indicative of sexual harassment." Itagaki admits to the relationship but claims it was mutual, and is considering a counter-suit. Tecmo, has condemned the pair for, "mingling personal

[...] We've got two things


in development: one in this buikling and one with an external

developer" Davkl Jaffe recently


announced Criminal Crackdown, whk* points to a slew of smaller games made for download by established developers.

harassment raised few eyebrows. A cursory glance at the situation conjures the image of a fat child caught with his hand in the cookie jar, chocolate smeared greedily around his lips.
A former colleague of the Japanese

affairs with their corporate responsibilities."


It'd be easy to assume Itagaki's guilt based on the content of his games, but thafs far from proof. Conversely, it makes sense that Tecmo

developer claimed that Itagaki forcibly kissed


and groped her in a cab after a dinner with some of Tecmo's business associates in 2003. The accusations detailed several other

would defend a star employee over a relatively


insignicant one whether he's guilty or not. That Tecmo demoted Itagaki despite taking his side is hugely suggestive. The treatment of women in Japanese society is seen as archaic

attacks, including multiple instances of Itagaki locking her in a conference before making
The industry's most sophisticated solution to attracting female gamers has
been to release consoles in

unwelcome sexual advances, and an incident that allegedly took place at E3 '05. The

by much of the Western world, the differing


standards also a possible contributing factor.

woman has also accused Tecmo of handling her complaint inappropriately and essentially
telling her to deal with it herself, before

One thing is certain, as long as games that


objectify women exist, this is precisely the kind of publicity the industry could do without.

pink. Clever.

THE ALLEGED SEXUAL HARASSMENT OF THE FORMER EMPLOYEE BY ITAGAKI NEVER TOOK PLACE"

gEarsofwar.cDm

J - " J: <W ' i Jiij^

t i >"

THEftP^ A RbsON nightmare* HAPPEH^MSFHE BARK.


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Mankind has no ona else to turn ta. Nowhere e'se to i-un. Ihe planst is falling apart. Its pEopIs ccniEred within the only safe ares rernalning.

T h eL o c u s tH o r d eh a sr i s e na n dt h e yw o n t 's t o pc o m i n g .T h e yw o n t 's t o pk i ln g .T h eg o v e r n m E n tt u r n st ow h o e v e rt h e yh a v el e f tT h es i c k ,t h e

w o u n d e d ,t h em ip r s io n e d .A nn im e t en a m e dM a r c u sF e m x .O n c ee lf tt od e i .h es in o wh u m a n t iy sa ls th o p e .H ec a nt a k ec o m f o r tn ib u to n ef a c t .
Ihe human race isn't extinct. Yet.

*The best 0am% wd'y^wer seet^


^arhe^^jstei;

S Microson xeqx ^ gamejT^dios LfvE.

Jump in.

XBOX360.

NEWS I NINTENDO I SECOND LIFE

DATA STREAM

BITE-SIZED STORIES FROM AROUND THE WORLD OF GAMING

L'iFE

V I R T U A L LY LOADED
Several articles in the mainstream media have

enlightened the wider world to the existence of Second Life,


and 26 November mar1<ed the

passing of another benchmark by the virtual online society


- the creation of its rst

millionaire. Property tycoon Anshe Chung (real name: Ailin Graef) is a Chinese woman living in Germany, who started a business selling real estate online. Her company now owns shopping malls, chain stores and virtual brands, with a tumover equal to millions in real money.
ApartfromZe/iJ3,Wirs

launch lin&4ip is largely


disappointing with few exciting games before Easter.

GOING FOR GOLD


NINTENDO AIMS FOR TOP OF THE FINANCIAL TREE

T h e of g Nintendo u f lb e t w e and e nSony t h e n have a n c a ibeen ls t r a t e laid g e is


bare after a report from electronics supply chain iSuppli estimated that PS3 Is making
an unprecedented loss on every unit sold.

console was thought to cost $130 more than its price point, but the drop in the cost of hard drive production could allow Microsoft

to keep $75 on every sale. With the deepest


pockets of all the platform holders, Microsoft is likely to use lower costs to drop the price point and content itself with rising sales. Nintendo, meanwhile, has proted from day one. In an interview with Gamesindustry. biz, Pien^Paul Trepanier, a Nintendo Canada executive, boasted that the company had 4 million units ready to ship, half of which are destined for North America, with more aniving every week. "We make a prot on
the system itself," he claimed. "Unlike our competitors, we don't have ulterior motives.

The company performs a 'teardown analysis'

EXTRA! EXTRA!
Perhaps the most startling facet of the next-gen war is the huge
cost involved. With Sony and

of new gaming hardware, assessing the cost of parts and production to come up with an estimate. With US price points of $499
and $599, the 20GB and 60GB models are
In terms of software,

Microsoft making huge losses


producing pricey consoles, never has more money been spent by the platform holders. On 17 November Microsoft

thought to cost $800 and $850 respectively a massive $300 loss on every 20GB console.

360 has just begun to hh its stride, witli several key


games emerging.

The cost may be high, but senior analyst Andrew Rassweiler insists the price is fully
justied by the design. "If someone had
shown me the motherboard from afar

went further buying nearly 500,000 worth of advertising in free London newspaper,
Metro. With huge ads for Gears, Viva Pihata and At?, as well as several competitions, Microsoft
accounted for most of the ad

[...] I would have assumed it was for a network switch or an enterprise server," says Rassweiler "In the entire history of the iSuppli teardown analysis team, we have seen only three semiconductors with 1,200 or more pins. The PS3 has three all by itself. There is nothing cheap about the design." Be that as it may, Sony is still making a huge loss and stmggling to meet demand

space. It seems excessive, but with a readership of 2 million Metro reaches a huge audience of young, afuent Londoners.

We're in the gaming business and we have to make money on everything we sell." This was corroborated by Miyamoto who revealed he wanted Wii production costs to be as low as $100. Had they not used NAND ash memory they might have reached that target. Now all Nintendo needs is the games.

while its rivals go from strength to strength.


iSuppli also estimates that the cost of manufacturing the 360 has dropped low enough for Microsoft to make a prot for the rst time since its release. Initially the

NINTENDO-"UNLIKE

OUR COMPETITORS,
WE DONT HAVE ULTERIOR MOTIVES"

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RELEASE UST
M U LT I -

CALM YOUR FEVERISH ANTICIPATION WITH OUR COMPREHENSIVE UST OF FORTHCOMING RELEASES
VIEWPOINT

_ _ F O R M AT
CHART

THIS MONTH - JANUARY


IDate
12 Jan 12 Jan Title Bionicle Heroes Format DS 360 PSP
P O P : R I VA L S W O R D S
Format: PSP Publisher: Ubisoft

1 FIFA 07
Format: Multi

Publisher; Electronic Arts

Lost Planet: Extreme Condition Prince Of Persia: Rival Swords

112 Jan
12 Jan 15 Jan

World Snooker Channpionship 2007 360, PS2, PS3


Blitzkrieg 2: Fall Of The Reich City Life; World Edition
Dead Head Fred PC PC PSP PC PC PC

A port of Two Thrones With extra


levels, Rival Swords could be PSPs

most essential game this month.

2 NEED FOR
SPEED CARBON Format: Multi Publisher; Electronic Arts

15 Jan 16 Jan

VIEWPOINT '

116 Jan
19 Jan 19 Jan

World Of Warcraft: The Burnina Crusade


757 Professional

Mosquito

3 CALL OF DUTY 3
Format: Multi

19 Jan 19 Jan 19 Jan 19 Jan 22 Jan

Puzzle Quest: Challenge Of The Warlords


Rainbow Six Vegas Runaway 2: The Dream Of The Turtle
Te n n i s D S

DS, PSP
PSP PC DS PC PC DS DS PS2 PSP DS GBA
IMPOSSIBLE MISSION
Format: DS, Wii
Publisher Nintendo WORLD OF W A R C R A F T:

Publisher Activislon

THE BURNING CRUSADE


Format: PC Publisher: Blizzard

Alien Shooter; Vengeance


Europa Universalis III Actionloop
Actua Pool

Too cold to go oirt? Stay in and live a virtual life In Blizzard's time sink. ,

4 PRO EVOLUTION Z SOCCER 6 ^ Format: Multi |Publisher: Konami

23 Jan 26 Jan 26 Jan 26 Jan 26 Jan 26 Jan

VIEWPOINT

Beverly Hills Cop

5 THE SIMS 2;
PETS Format; Multi Publisher: Electronic Arts

Dungeon Siege II: Throne Of Agony Freedom Wings


Hot Wheels Ail Out Impossible Mission
Maelstrom

26 Jan

126 Jan
26 Jan 26 Jan 26 Jan 26 Jan

DS.Wii
PC PS2 DS

A throwback to the days of C64, now with touch-sensitive puzzles and much shorter loading times.

Power Volleyball
Pro Evolution Soccer 6

VIEWPOINT

6 GEARS OF WAR
Format: 360

Sega Mega Drive Collection


Star Fox Command Toca Race Driver 3

PS2, PSP
DS PSP p
WA R I O WA R E :

26 Jan 26 Jan TBC

Publisher: Microsoft

Beer Tycoon Jade Empire: Special Edition


WarioWare: Smooth Moves

2 LEGO STAR
WA R S I I Format; Multi Publisher: LucasArts

TBC TBC TBC

Charlotte's Web DS, GBA, PC


PC Wii

FC

SMOOTH MOVES
Format: Wii Publisher Nintendo

Multiplayer may be disappointing,


but this is one of the most

inventive WarioWares yet. .

8 WWE
SMACKDOWN VS
RAW 2007 Format Multi Publisher; THQ

BARGAIN BASEMENT
TO N Y H AW K ' S PROJECTS
Format 360 Publisher: Activision

The best deals this month

9 CARS
Format: PC

Where; play-asia.com
Price: 23.76

Publisher; THQ

Play-Asia strikes again with yet another stunningly cheap Xbox 360 game. It may be

10 RAINBOW
SIX VEGAS Format: Multi Publisher: Ubisoft

an ^ian game, but it's


region free and half price. Now there's no reason not to pick up
what has to be the best
To n v H a w k ' < ! \ / P t ^mc >. lu i c u e i m y

f U J I TA H h e r o I I
Format PS2 Publisher Artivision

HALF-LIFE 2
Format: Xbox Publisher: Electronic Arts

Where: www.play.com Price: 17.99

Where: Woolworths Price: 10


biures.

forGuifarHero//byitselfisqurteabar9ain. for one of the greatest games of all time.

Assuming you already have ithe guitar, 18 i>puiicu n

Recently spotted in 10 is nothing l i ustores. is nomine

Check out the bargains thread at www .gamestm co.uWfonjm for bang-up-to-date deals. Y our nd could wdl feature on these hallowed pages.

- FORWARD THINKING...

games I m p o r t
W A T C H
TA I TO M E M O R I E S 2. VOL 1
Format: PS2
P u b l i s h e r : Ta i t o

FORWARD THINKING...

- FORWARD THINKING...

F I N A L FA N TA S Y X I I
Format: PS2

METEOS: DISNEY MAGIC


Format: DS Publisher Buena Vista Games

Although it features a few of the games that were on the UK's Taito Legends 2, Japan's
latest retro pack still has

Publisher: Square-Enix Finally out (ngers crossed) in February. The wait for this epic RPG should have been worth it. I 23 February

BRIAN LARA I N T E R N AT I O N A L Format: 360, PC, PS2


Publisher: Codemasters

CRICKET

Meteos retums with a Disney theme and 'turn your DS sideways' mode. Shame there's still no Wi-Fi. 05 April e

Ifs great that Codemasters is still doing its thing.


March

plenty of other Taito classics


t o o f f e r. 06 Feb 09 Feb 09 Feb 09feb 09 Feb 09 Feb 15 Feb 16 Feb

Capcom Puzzle World


Battlezone

PSP PSP PSP PS2 GBA PC

A P R I L 01 Apr
05 Apr 06 Apr

FORWARD THINKING...
Duke Nukem Forever PC DS

Meteos: Disney Magic Avatar The Last Airbender

Everv Extend Extra


Okami Postman Pat

DS, GBA,GC,PS2, PSP,Wii

06 Apr
27 Apr
TBC TBC

My Froqqer Toy Trials


Steel Horizon

DS DS

UFO Afterlight
Lumines Plus

PS^
DS, PS2
PS2

Man/el Trading Card Game DS, PC, PSP


God Of War II Overclocked PS2 PC

Cartoon Network Racing


God Hand

SADNESS
Format: Wli Publisher: Nibris

HOTEL DUSK: ROOM 215


Format; DS Publisher; Nintendo

16 Feb 16 Feb 23 Feb 23 Feb 23 Feb 25 Feb TBC TBC TBC TBC

Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened PC

This noir thriller could turn out to be Wii's greatest

Final Fantasy XII


Sid Meier's Pirates! Uno 52 Hot PXL Brain Buster Puzzle Pak

PS2 PSP

The spiritual sequel to Another


Code? Another inventive and

T B C ' 0 7 TTBC Alone In The Dark 3W,PC, P^


TBC TBC TBC Assassin's Creed

sleeper hit if its gameplay matches its style.


TBC 2007 -

DS, GBA
PSP DS PS2

3^'PS3
DS

stylish point-and-click evolution graces DS, fast becoming the


adventurer's platform of choice.

Chibi-Robo: Park Patrol


Colin McRae DIRT Crvsis Dawn Of Mana

FORWARD THINKING...

360, PS3
PC PS2 PS3 DS DS PS3

Dancing Stage SuperNOVA


Te s t D r i v e U n l i m i t e d

TBC ,.
TBC TBC TBC

Ghost Rider GBA, PS2, PSP PS2, PSP

Devil May Cry 4


Elite Beat Agents

M A R C H
09 Mar 09 Mar 09 Mar Another World Bullet Witch G B A 360

TBC TBC TBC TBC DS TBC TBC TBC TBC

Final Fantasy III


G r a n Tu r i s m o 5 Half-Life 2 Halo 3 H a l o Wa r s Heroes Of Mana

I V "
S PA C E G I R A F F E
Format: 360 Live Arcade Publisher: Microsoft

360, PS3
360 360 DS

Mario Vs Donkey Kong 2:


March Of The Minis

K A I T O U WA R I O
THE SEVEN
Format: DS

16 Mar 16 Mar 23 Mar 23 Mar 30 Mar TBC

Phoenix Wright: Justice For All DS DS Rayman Raving Rabbids PSP Dungeons & Dragons Tactics
TrackMania United PC PSP

Those lamenting the death of Jeff Minter's Unitycan


look forward to this downloadable HD shoot-a-thon.
TBC

Kane & Lynch: Dead Men The Legend Of Zelda:


Phantom Hourglass

360, PC
DS DS

Publisher: Nintendo

TBC TBC TBC

Taking a rest from mini-games,


Wario returns to platforming.

Ratchet & Clank; Size Matters


Brian Lara

TBC TBC

Lunar Knights
Metal Gear Solid 4; Sons Of The Patriots

Space Giraffe Stranglehold


Super Mario Galaxy

360

S.TA.L.K.E.R. Shadow Of Chemobyl PC 360, PS3


Wii Wii PS3 PS2

Transforming from a thief to Space Wario, Grafti Wario


and even Dinosaur Wario makes as this wacky as ever.

International Cricket 360, PC, PS2


TBC TBC TBC TBC TBC TBC TBC Full Auto 2 PS3 PS3 PS3 PS3 PS3 PS3 PS3

PS3

TBC TBC TBC TBC

TBC_^
TBC TBC TBC TBC TBC TBC

Metal Gear Solid Portable Ops PSP Metroid Prime 3: Corruption


Necro-Nesia Sadness Wii Wii Wli PS2 PS2 Wii

Genji Days Of The Blade


MotorStorm

Super Smash Bros Brawl Virtua Fighter 5


Ya k u z a 2

Need For Speed Carbon


Rainbow Six Vegas
Resistance: Fall Of Man

Shining Force EXA Shining Wind


Sonic And The Secret Rings

PLEASE NOTE- While every effort has been made to ensure tiiese dates are correct at the time of going to press. are liable to change at short notice. Which is completely beyond our control, so don't go
giving us evils.

Sonic The Hedgehog

PA R O D I U S P O RTA B L E
Format: PSP Publisher Konami

ESSENTIAL PURCHASE You'll denitely be wanting these


L O S T P L A N E T; EXTREME CONDITION
Format: 360

Denitely the best of Konami's


three PSP shoot-'em-up packs, Parodius Portable is long

overdue. These parodies of Gradius (get it?) are some of


t h e f u n n i e s t s h o o t e r s e v e r.

Publisher: Capcom Capcom's ice-cold boss rush should be just the thing to get you through the post-Christmas lull.
An inventive health

S TA R F O X C O M M A N D
F o r m a t : D S P u b l i s h e r. N i n t e n d o

SEGA MEGA DRIVE COLLECTION


Format: PS2, PSP Publisher: Sega

system and a plethora of giant mech suits


make this another

For anyone who didn't get Star Fox on import months ago, now's the time

360 killer app. But be


warned, ifs damn hard.

J to pick up this brilliant shooter for


Nintendo DS.

the best retro compilation of all time, and is well worth the meagre 20 asking price.

Mega Drive Collectiori is, without doubt,

games"'021

-J

' T; : r

Lfms
i

i:
K TTiere's no shame in piaytng
PocketBike Rac&s in front of the
restteworid... Is there?

LETTER FROM AMERICA


EXILED BRITON, GRAY THE SHAPE' NICHOLSON

"SNEAK KING COMBINED THE SINISTER AND THE RIDICULOUS.

GARBAGE, WAIT FOR HER TO PASS BY UNAWARE, THEN JUMP

R a t h e rt h a na d d n ig am i lt i e d a v a a l ib t i l ys a n d w c ih , containing turkey and/or cranberry sauce to the menu,


or cutting a boardroom deal to put Happy Feet imagery on the cups and boxes, fast food empire Burger King did something a little bit out of the ordinary to mark
the holiday season this year. BK commissioned three videogames from developer Blitz Games, to be sold with value meals at the chain's restaurants across the
United States.

Earth (the closest was a mile south into the badlands), haunted by predictions of a sell-out. Breathlessly enquiring with the sole clerk as to whether they still had any games left elicited laughter - laughterl - followed by a Chandleresque afrmative that at once conrmed to me that they still had thousands upon thousands in boxes, and were not haemorrhaging them at any great rate. A TenderCrisp

Chicken Sandwich meal for myself, and one for my good


lady, netted us Sneak King and PocketBike Racer. I avoided

A wave of cult support grew up around the

series' most iconic title. Sneak King, in the weeks leading up to release because it combined,
in just the right measures, the sinister
and the ridiculous. You could hide in a

the third game in the set. Big Bumpin', because I've had an

Irrational fear of bumper cars ever since I saw someone get


knocked out of one at a carnival when I was little. Besides, I
couldn't have eaten another bite.

woman's garbage, wait for her to pass by unaware, then jump out and give her a burger, all the while grinning
with the King's unsettling permanent porcelain grin. Novelty, collectabillty, and price - these were Xbox 360 games for
$3.99, after all. Demand was set.

Surprisingly, these little holiday crackers provided hours of contentment in the weeks that followed. The games overdeliver: too big to be described as mini-games, smooth as silk, easy enough to be Instantly gratifying, and the Xbox
360 versions run in HD widescreen. Each disc contains one

version of the game for 360, and one for the original Xbox.

Sneak King grabs you with the absurdity of delivering fast


food by stealth, but actually has a rudimentary combo system that keeps you coming back to improve your ranking. PocketBike Racer is essentially IVIario Kart on two wheels,
complete with projectiles and powerslides, and features

The games launched, of all days, on a Sunday, and I missed them. Upon realising my error the next day, I
tore off to the second closest

branch of Burger King as revealed by Google

online multiplayer and even ranked matches. Both games yield 200 GamerPoints. Joy Except, simultaneously, I was
ghting a battle of validity.

PLEASE STOP
Hello Ubisoft

I enjoy all your dark, serious shooty games


with the clip-lock straps and the ballistic

nylon and the "Enemy Contact" kind of


talk. But please would you stop using a

worse game engine and/or team to make


the multiplayer bits? You started this with

Splinter Cell Pandora Tomorrow, continued


it with GHAW, and recently wreaked similar injustice on Rainbow Six Vegas, a game

I'd eagerly awaited until actually playing


the online demo with its hilariously whack

graphics and animation. Have you seen


GearsOfWaror Call Of Duty 3 onWnel
A l l t h e b e s t f o r G R AW 2 ,

Gray

YOU COULD HIDE IN A WOMAN'S OUT AND GIVE HER A BURGER"


One friend messaged me only to say: "what the hell

SB O U G H TM E

is wrong with you?" Though I concede this question might be perpetually applicable, I feel certain in this case
it was down to playing PocketBike Racer visibly over the Live network. After showing another friend my jolly new

THREAD
t JIPPED BY THE SYSTEM
; [

burger-ware, this man, a fellow writer whom I hold in high regard, atly asserted that these products "demean gaming." This led to a heated discussion about the ability of a single work to damage the perception of its entire medium, my position being that a Burger King television
commercial does not damage good will toward television

' "So I'm playing my third online game of i PES6, my opponent as Chelsea and me as

US MULTIFORMAT TOP TEN j Lyon. 0-0 after normal time, I go one up


Title 1 2 3 4 5 6 Gears Of War Publisher Microsoft Fomiat 360 PS2 DS DS

at the end of the rst period of extra time - a deserved goal as I've been all over him Half time in extra time comes, and I make a

in general. The Burger King games are interactive


advertisements. Cynical, calculating and purposeful, okay, but fun, and under no delusions of grandeur. At this or

couple of changes, press go and wait And


Final Fantasy XII
Yoshi's Island

Square-Enix
Nintendo Nintendo

wait And wait. The time limit mns out and

any other value, an overt, undisguised commercial agenda


does not matter as much as whether you enjoy what

you're playing. And it's good to be the King.

Pokemon Ranger

The Sims 2; Pets Expansion


Call Of Duty 3 Hnal Fantasy III
Madden NFL'07

Electronics Arts PC
Activision 360 DS

Many thanks

7 8 9 10

Square-Enix

nothing happens. The game hasn't crashed, my 360 is ne This berk has just opted out of pressing anything to get the game restarted I message a simple: "what's going on?" To receive no response So, simply because this guy is the host he has this power over the game to stop it completely if he's losing, yet stop it in a way that if I quit out I'll go down
as a loser? I call bullshit on this system. Well, ifs been on the haK-time screen for three hours now I'm not turning it off till I get my

Electronic Arts 360 Microsoft PC PC

Microsoft Flight Simulator X


Medieval II: Total War

Sega

victory. I worked hard for it"


lanos. The Society

(Updated 6 December 2006)

games 023

KONGETSU*
WITH JAPANESE CORRESPONDENT TIM ROGERS
Entertainment for questions.
A fair excliange, no? We wonder wtiat our friend Snake thinks.

JAPAN WOULD HAVE LINES AROUND THE BLOCK THE DAY REGISTRATION TRAIN TURNSTILES OPENED, SO LONG AS THE EYEBALL MASCOT

throw something in? It took me three days to tother to download


what I later discovered is the greatest commercial of all time. Mainichi

K n o w n igh ta th te U S P S 3c a m e w h tiit'a B u lr a ym o v e i, Io fu n d h te Japanese PS3 a little lacking. Sure, s cheaper, but couldn' t they
/ss/)o- T ogether Every Da/ - stars T oro the cat, SCE Japan's mascot You might not know T oro. Since the PlayStation era, he's standi in traditional adventure games that make use of real photography.

gets drinks from the refrigerator, rolls around on the oor, and sleeps. Outside his window, if ifs night wrere you are, ifs night where T oro is. If ifs raining where you are, ifs raining where T oro is. The game's
integration of internet elements is seamless and interfaceless.

Sometimes he investigates mysteries, other times he does things like


going to xhool. The games have stories, and appeal to adults.
As with traditional Japanese family animation, one of Toro's

friends is a gay, French, alcoholic dog. I'm not making it up - his name is Pierre. Mainichi Issho doesnt have a story so much as it has a framework. T oro has just moved into his rst apartment - a rundovm Japanese place presented in realistk; 1080p HD. He has a neighbour, Kuro the black cat, in whom he condes his deepest
wish: to be a human. Kuro tells him that rfs possible to become a

human if you get a human job and humans accept you as a human. Kuro suggests that the two of them do a news show together, and if ifs good enough he'll become a human. T oro agrees, and Kuro heads off whispering that he'll claim both paycheques from Sony for his own. This is a 67MB download, and ifs kind of a game yet not really. You watch T oro in his room. You cant move the camera angle. He goes through a few hundred animations in random sequences for random lengths of time. He talks on the phone, draws pictures.

In the news programmes themselves - updated daily - T oro and Kuro talk about cun-ent events, weather, movies, and things unconnected to SCE. Photos pop up. Sometimes, they link you to websites: a winning sumo wrestler's blog, for example. One day, T oro did a top ten of his favourite hot steamed dumplings on sale at Japanese convenient stores, showing applause-worthy preference for no chain over another. It was through that programme that I was made aware of Family Marfs Philadelphia Cream Cheese dumpling. I bought one on a cold day, it was great. When there's a new game out they'll discuss it For Gundam they even ask trivia questions about previous Gundam shows, or sometimes trivia questions about really obscure things. Each question you get right wins you a chance to spin a wheel to win a prize at the end of the show. Y ou can get food to feed to T oro if you want to watch him eat Apparently you can win fumiture
and things as well, though I guess they haven't rolled that feature out yet (my Toro still sleeps bare on the oor). And when the whole show is done they ask you to rate it on a scale of one to three stars. This 'game' is a blog, an intemet journal delivered via cute

characters and adorable graphics on expensive TVs. When they ask


which games I bought with my PS3 (my answer none) someone at

F E AT U R E P R E V I E W S

TEACH YOURSELF J A PA N E S E
LESSON #52: GETTING FREE MUSIC AT A
PUNK ROCK SHOW WHEN YOU LIKE A BAND T H O U G H N O T E N O U G H T O PAY F O R T H E I R 500 DEMO

t o
n
OEARS m

So the decree is laki forth here: Mainichi Issho

is the Kongetsu Game Of Tlie Year 2006. Ossu. Omaera kanari yokattajan. Ore dakara
wakarusa.

M '

Yo. You guys were pretty good. Trust me, I know what I'm saying. 0, doumou arigatou gozacchatta. Omae dare? Nande nihongo wakanno?

Runner-up would be Dead Rising, and then Mothers, Blue Dragon (whfch, in all fairness, isnt out yet and I shouki probably waK until my next column to pass judgement on it) and then GearsOfWar Gears Of Warisnt Japanese though, is it? Oh, damn. Well, ifs what I'm playing, anyway. Every day. Do you realise that Gears Of War, which I nd quite excellent was released in every country of the worid that carries Xbox

Hey. Thanks, or somethin'. Who the hell are you?


Why do you speak Japanese?

A, jitsu wa ROORINGU SUTOON to lu zasshi no


kisha nandesukeredomo.

360 systems and software except Japan?


Remarkable, isn't it? Maytje Mkaosoft Japan held it back because they recognised its

Oh. Actually. I'm a reporter for Rolling Stone magazine.


Nihon no PANKU SHUN wo saikin

quality, and though they couW give it a proper


shirabetemasu ga... I was just doing some research for an article on the Japanese punk scene... Coo. Nara orera no demo mottekaereyo konyarou. Hal, meishi desu. Renraku saki wa
kaitearu kara douzo.

sales push with a clever ad campaign (push it like they woukJ a Hollywood movie -1 hear those are quite popular around here) and full Japanese vofce-overs. Well, much as I'd tove to know if my favourite voice actor Akk) Otsuka is vokang the hero - he shouk); he does SoKd Snake -1 just couHnt wait for Mfcrosoft to get on the ball and cortmi the

Then you should take our f**kin' demo, man. Hell, here's my business card; you can get in contact
with me if you like.

Japanese release. So I wertt to Play-Asia.com, aking with the revolting citizens of every online Japanese Xbox 360 community, and purchased
the Chinese verskjn of the game whtch is half

O. Ainiku ore wa meishi nakunacchatterun desuga,

goshinpainaku. Renraku wa kocchi kara shimasu yo.

F O R R E T I N A L - S C A N - A C T I VAT E D WORE A CUTE ENOUGH HAT"


some analysis rm is mal<ing two lick mate; one for 'twught no

What system do you think you'll make your next masterpiece on? Zettai ni Uiiiiiiiiiiiii janaissuyo. Oh. I seem to be out of business cards unfortunately. Never fear - I'll be sure to contact you.

te price of ttie American one anyway. It has full English voreeovers if the 360 is set to "English',
and an awesome Chinese tide on the box. Score

games' and another for 'lil<es downloading free stuff.' They're using
my responses for their own purposes. And I don't care so long as it results in their talented bloggers releasing fresh content and taking viewer feedback seriously. I say, entertainment for personal information is a fair trade. I'd gladly tell them my waist size (32 inches) if asked straight after saying I bought FFXIII and MGS4, just because I'd nd the question so adorable coming from a cartoon cat I guess I've lived here too long; I swear Japan would have lines around the block the day registration for retinal-scan-activated train turnstiles opened, so long as the eyeball mascot wore a cute hat I was once so infatuated with Japanese print advertising that I stole a hanging paper ad out of a train. It was a picture of a cute girl named Aya Matsuura drinking a glass of iced tea with both hands. As photography goes, it was brilliant Many ads were good enough to inspire petty theft, and though I've had room-mates who stole whatever they could get their hands on, I abstained. Eventually I did steal a few political posters because the framing of the politician's face and the position of his clenched st in relation to the microphone was captivating.
Kind regards

FamilvHart
JAPANESE MULTIFORMAT
TOP TEN
Title Publisher Fonnat i

THE GAME THAT KEEPS ON GIVING


Thanks to that Toro's Mainnhi Issho news

update, I was able to enjoy this kikitkally


delKKUs Philadelphia Cream Cheese steamed

Oshare Majo Love and Berry Sega Jump! Ultimate Stats Nintendo Winning Eleven 10 Europe League Konami
Common Sense Training Pokemon Diamond
Pokemon Pearl Nintendo Nintendo Nintendo Nintendo Te c m o SCEi Nintendo

P S 2I
DS ;
PS2 DS DS

dumpling, for only 100 at my kxal Family Mart


convenience store. Toro's review included the word Interesting.' Normally, Hiese steamed

dumplings contain some kind of beef or poilt A cheese^jnly dumpling? CoukI it wori<? Well,
it does work. It worits amazingly. You know

DS '
DS

another thing that works? The internet That was my exact tliougfrt when, after watching
Toro's news broadcast I stepped out of my house, crossed the street to the convenient store, peered into the dumpling warmer, and saw that the Philadelphia Cream Cheese steamed dumpling really dkl exist It just about knocked the wind out of me. Never has a

Kirby Squeak Squad


DOA; Xtreme 2 Jeanne D'Arc

DS ;
PSP DS

New Super Mario Bros


(Updated weel< ending 25 November 2006)

vkleogame actually fed me before. Cokxir me 70


shades of impressed

games"' 025

NEWS FEATURE I OUT OF STOCK

o
WtTH THE DUST NOW SETTLED ON THE LAUNCH OF PLAYSTATION 3, GAMES ASKS ITS
JAPANESE AND AMERICAN CORRESPONDENTS WHAT REALLY HAPPENED...
approach to the European launch of PlayStation 3 elicited cries of consternation from the British gaming public. After a series of unsettling revelations regarding the console's

S O N S Y 'S U S P C O IU S L YL A C K A D A S C IA L

Sony's super-console. The next-generation battle just entered phase two.

TO K Y O S TO RY
BY TIM ROGERS

on and so on), a hard rain began to fall out of a dead-clear sky over every unwashed man who needed to have the PlayStation 3, a veritable relic

price and software, and the growing popularity of

So, they launched PlayStation 3 in electronics


stores across Japan. Three minutes before Ken

IX b o x3 6 0 ,s u c hag r o s sm i s j u d g e m e n tp r o m i s e d to be the nal nail in Sony's cofn. How, after all,


! disregard for the customer? The world simply
wouldn't stand for it.

from the future, in their living room. Had Sony put the unit on sale an hour earlier, we could say in this report that 'Kutaragi made it rain that day.'
However, technicalities being what they are, we can't say that. Instead, history goes as history goes, and instead, we say, 'The rain made it Kutaragi that day.'
PlayStation 3 is a wonderful console. It's fast and

could anyone be allowed to get away with such

Kutaragi gave a short speech (Thank you very


much for waiting out here all night... I remember when the PlayStation rst went on sale... and so

j Unfortunately, the world didn't really mind,

slick and shiny-too shiny; ngerprints become a pain quite quickly It can browse the internet, and lOSOp on a large enough television - like those on

j Even with the Lik-Sang debacle added to an


; already potent mixture, Japanese and American ! gamers could rest easy knowing that they would have no problems getting their hands on a

display at all Japanese retailers - is the smuggest


bastard in the world, grinning because it knows it's right and you do, too. Copying videos and photos to the unit is beautifully simple. It supports USB 2.0 external hard drives and the Memory Stick

i PlayStation 3 before Christmas. If there is a silver


lining to this cloud, and a way to rid ourselves of

: the feeling that Sony views Europe as the irritating


younger brother of the games market, it is that
I we can capitalise on several months of advance

Pro port makes Memory Sticks seem like a good


The worid gets in line with dreams of going home with die prized PS3.

! warning on the ups, downs, highs and lows of

idea. Blu-ray looks nice whether you like the idea

of it or not, and the OS is packed full of amazing

026 games'"

**/<**

Only In America...
THE INSIDE JOB
little touches: the background on the Cross Media Bar navigation screen, for example, is brightly coloured during the day, and dead black at night. If you have the PS3 turned on all night, you can see the colour bleeding up from the bottom, like a sunrise, just as the sun is rising outside. Once there are some worthwhile games on this thing,
no bachelor in the world will be complete without

monstrously busy area, too many people crowding around were a problem, so the police and hired security were out in force, keeping people away.
"You must not form a line," they told loiterers

W h t io two n y l youths h o u r s-o tone g o Hispanic, b e o fr eh tone eo African fc a ila lu n c h ,


American, both over six feet tall - walked into GameStop in Elk Grove, California, and demanded that staff hand over four PlayStation 3 consoles. What at rst seemed a clear case of robbery has since
turned into an accusation of fraud aimed at two of the

one in his slick living room. In the meantime, is it something worth waiting in a line for? Really?
BUYERS WERE CROWDING around the intensely foot-trafcked Yodobashi store in Shinjuku

adamantly. "There will be no lining up until 10pm." So it was that the hundreds of young men, then, were merely waiting in line to wait in line. By 8.30pm, Yodobashi had conrmed that more than a thousand people were lined up, which was more than enough to sell every PS3 unit they had. They performed a quick head count and threw everyone into a line. They blocked the line off, and let them
sit out there in the cold. Of course, crowds are

store's employees. Gerald Anthony Keys and Tauryn Robert Hodge, who reported the crime, were arrested a few days later after inconsistencies were found
between their stories.

from about noon on Friday. As Shinjuku is a

known to get rowdy, so they kept store security posted all around in ve times their usual number. And store employees stood outside to keep their
eyes on the storeroom door.

Only In Annerica...
THE SHOOTING
n Putnam, a small Connecticut town with just

For the most part, those lined up in Shinjuku played nice. In Ginza, however, it was a different story. More than two thousand people were
assembled at the Bic Camera there, and it was

I19,000 residents, the anticipation of the arrival of


PlayStation 3 turned to horror. At 3am, two armed youths confronted the small handful of people lined up outside the town's Wal-Mart, demanding money
Michael Penkala, 21, intervened, and was shot in the chest and shoulder. At the time of writing, police were

apparent that not all of them would be getting a PlayStation 3. Fights broke out; some people were arrested. The police got involved. Restlessly, the
T o hold the shiny console in their hands is what these people yearned for.

people waited until morning. The rain cloud that swept over Ginza reached Shinjuku just minutes

still searching for the suspects, though Penkala was in


a stable and 'non-life-threatening' condition.

^mes

027

NEWS FEATURE I OUT OF STOCK "SOME OF THE RRST COUPLE OF HUNDRED LINE-WAITERS WERE HOMELESS MEN. A CHINESE WOMAN APPROACHED EACH OF THEM ONE AT A TIME AND GAVE THEM AN

ENVELOPE FULL OF 63,000 TO PURCHASE A CONSOLE"


l a t e r. T h e r e s t l e s s n e s s t u r n e d I n t o r e c k l e s s n e s s . O n e

or two boisterous souls were given a talklng-to.

headed to the airport, and eventually to Hong Kong, where PS3 would actually be released just six days
later. Some people just couldn't wait, I guess.

We managed to get our PS3s at just before ten


in the morning, after waiting 14 hours. 14 hours for

"It's not our place to judge who's worthy of


buying a system and who's not," a YodobashI

what? If they'd already determined all over Japan that the demand was stabbing the supply In the head, why not organise some form of action to get the units out more quickly? Why not start moving the line at, say, ve In the morning, just as the rst trains start to run, so the people can get home and get some reasonable sleep on Saturday morning? WHEN KUTARAGI GAVE his speech. It was full of
pride, and before a crowd of men who were, even

employee explained, eerily echoing the comments


of another employee of the same YodobashI two years earlier, when the rst thousand in line to buy

the PSP were foul-smelling, mud-caked homeless men, "I mean, we can't just demand that all of our
customers wear a suit and a tie." Weeks before,

I tried a fun experiment. I asked an employee at


every YodobashI or Bic Camera I came to: "Are you taking reservations for PS3?" The answer was
' N o . ' " Yo u m e a n t h e r e s e n / a t l o n s a r e s o l d o u t ? "

as he spoke, punching and clawing at one another's faces. The rst person to buy the system ignored Kutaragl's praise, thanks, and questioning, and instead took the system after paying, walked away, and gave it to a Chinese woman in exchange for around 50. Some of the first couple of hundred line-waiters were, to put it bluntly, homeless men. A fur-coated Chinese woman approached them one at a time and gave each of them an envelope full of 63,000 to use to purchase a console. Once the console was in their hands, they waddled off, exchanged It for money, and continued about their business. The truck full of consoles then, apparently.

"No. I mean we're not taking reservations." "Why not?" "Because it's our policy." "Do you have an explanation for the policy?" "No." "May I speak to a manager?" "I'm sorry. He's in a meeting." Every manager at every store I went Into was in a meeting. I suppose that's what managers do. Why not restrict console sales to pre-purchasers
willing to spend 60,000 months in advance, then?

/ V a

Surely that would cut down on the resellers and maa dealings. Let each person buy the system,
show a picture ID, and then receive a ticket. Even

If they lose the ticket, all they'll have to do is show

Shouldn't brag too much about your lovely new purchase; you may end up getting shot

At

028 games""

J#**-,
^;.,#v

J i t

f f ^
Only In America...
THE FARCE

their logic. One enterprising assistant store manager,


however, decided to tal<e action. Seeing 50 customers outside the store, with only ten consoles to go

C h a o sc a u s e db yo fr c n igp e o p e lo tq u e u eo fr

hours in the cold made many retailers question

around, he offered a game of musical chairs to decide who got a console and avoid unnecessary violence.
In the mad scramble for a vacant seat, however,

there was one casualty - an over-zealous 19 year old


who, in the heat of the moment, ran straight into a

telephone pole, knocking himself unconscious.

Only In America
THE FAKE

T a k e them h o r d too e sfew o fg PlayStation a m e h u n g r y 3s A m and e c r ia somebody n sa n dg is v ie


probably going to get shot. That became a harsh reality for Michael Penkala of Connecticut, and many feared that customers in Lexington, Kentucky had
suffered the same fate. A car raced by the line of

waiting customers and opened re, hitting several civilians and a journalist reporting for a local news station. Fortunately they were only BB pellets, leaving no serious injuries but a lot of frightened gamers.

Should we perhaps be prepared to set up camp outside Asda, Cunys and T oys R Us? Probably not Or should we? Nah. Actually, better nd that tent

games 029

NEWS FEATURE I OUT OF STOCK

\ v

"ANY TIME A CAR WOULD PASS BY OR A STRAGGLER WOULD NAIVELY MAKE THEIR WAY TO THE BACK OF THE

LINE, THEY WOULD BE ASSAULTED BY YELUNG, NAMECALLING, AND EVEN A FEW LOOSE INANIMATE OBJECTS"
Japan right now, because it appeals to anyone. The systems would have sold out most denitely before
the next shipment, whenever that would have been.

The short explanation for why stores aren't accepting pre-orders, then, we will have to assume is down to the fact that they don't let people reserve a hot new electronics item because then they wouldn't have moronically long queues snaking

around the stores. They certainly wouldn't get on television that way. They wouldn't have something to grin about at the New Years' parties, that way. The whole idea of queuing is kind of shameful.
Especially when you look at the new Famitsu,

and see a ten-page spread of people waiting in lines at all of the PS3 retailers around the country. Delighted that Famitsu's photographers were photographing them, a couple of gamers happy to have survived the night proudly posed for pictures with their PlayStation 3s, purchased without games. Not a single photo shows a homeless man. The photographers had to be pretty tricky to work out those angles.
That afternoon, on a whim, the rst website we loaded up on my PlayStation 3's internet browser

was auctions.yahoo.co.jp. I typed in 'PlayStation 3'.

030 games'

NEWS FEATURE I OUT OF STOCK


t t h '

-r

There were around 1,500 results. What a weird,

the Gardena Wal-Mart. She had been there since

weird world. All this negativity aside, despite all the weirdness surrounding its launch, PS3 is a brilliant piece of equipment. Now it's time to start waiting for those games... any day now... I'll just keep watching the Casino Roya/e trailer
in 1080p.

Tuesday afternoon, and brought little more than some warm clothes, a chair, and a surprisingly kind attitude. "I just want one," Jenny laughed. She also revealed she didn't have enough money to buy any games for the $600 system, and simply planned to play PlayStation 2 games on it
for the meanwhile.

Call Of Duty 3
Genji: Days Of
The Blade Madden NFL 07
Marvel

Amped 3

AMERICAN BEAUTY
BY WILLIAM HALEY

Despite the area being what some would refer to as 'ghetto', the 50 or so campers had developed a sort of community, where strangers were now friends and everyone was laughing and keeping each other company. At a city over at a local Target, there was a different sort of community, where a small group of campers had formed what felt much more like a gang. Any time a car would pass by or a straggler would naively make their way to the back of the line, they would be assaulted by yelling, name-calling,
and even a few loose inanimate objects. There

"CaiT of Duty 2
Condemned FIFA Soccer 06

It takes a true gamer to get shot while waiting for a PlayStation 3 and still not give up their place in the line, but that's exactly what happened in Lexington, Kentucky. In fact, three others were also gunned down but didn't stick around, meaning the fourth probably even moved up a few spots for his troubles. However,
aside from the increased violence and robberies

Ultimate Alliance
Mobile Suit Gundam:

G u n
Kameo Madden NFL 06

Target In Sight
NBA 07

NBA 2K6 ^
NBA LIVE 06
Need For Speed

NBA 2K7
Need For Speed Carbon
NHL2K7 Resistance:

over last year's Xbox 360 launch, a few spots


in southern California were more about just

Most Wanted
NHL2K6 Perfect Dark Zero

hanging out with other gamers and waiting for


the next big thing.

While the Xbox 360 shortages had gamers pulling an all-nighter in front of their local game store, the PlayStation 3's ridiculously limited supply and equally ridiculous asking price on eBay had gamers and scalpers alike practically living outside their stores for almost an entire
week in some cases. One such camper, Jenny from Carson, California, was the rst in line at

was even a pit bull in the mix. And at the front of the line? Another girl gamer, this time dragged there by her younger brother in an attempt to get an extra PlayStation 3 to sell. When asked what
she had told her boss in order to take several

_^all Of Man
Ridge Racer 7 Tiger Woods
PGA Tour 07

King Kong
PGR 3 Quake 4

days off, she confessed she had lied and said she was going to Vegas. But the most interesting site had to be the Best Buy in Torrance, where, despite a large sign on the front doors bluntly stating only
34 PS3s would be available, over three times

Tony Hawk's Project 8 Untold Legends:

Ridge Racer 6 Tiger Woods 06 Tony Hawk's


American Wasteland

Dark Kingdom

as many people spent the better half of their week camped out in the parking lot. Inevitably,
most of them were turned away come Friday

THE VERDICT Sony has lost some big hitters to delays - games like F.E.A.R., Fight Night Round 3 and Oblivion may all be available on Xbox 360, but they would also be excellent reasons to buy any console. The PS3 crop is noticeably light on exclusives, and what there is - namely Resistance, Ridge Racer 7 and Genji-are hardly masterworks. The Xbox 360 list certainly has more on it, even if many are simply franchise updates. The much anticipated Perfect Dark: Zero was a poor effort, but King Kong, Kameo: Elements Of Power and Condemned: Criminal Origins were highly commendable. The jewel in the crown, however, and the factor that surely sets the Xbox 360 list a step ahead, is the presence of Project Gotham Racing 3 - one of the best games of its kind, and the sort of classic title PlayStation 3 still lacks.

morning. One camper, Mark from Redondo Beach, appeared to be a one-man-army of gadgets, complete with a PSP, DS, iPod, laptop, and portable PS2. "Last year I got stuck in line for 14 hours with nothing but a bag of Doritos
and a smile, this year I came prepared."

And so did many others as a walk down the line of campers revealed tents, portable
barbecues, full-sized beds, and even a TV and Xbox 360. Gabriel from Carson was the rst in

line at this Best Buy, and at Sam he paid for his PS3, put it in the car, then got back in line for the Wii. When messaged a few days later to see if all his waiting for the PS3 had been worth it,
a Some had a sense of community; others had a sense of gang warfare.

Gabriel said, "I don't know; mine's broken..."

games- 031

. ^;:^' .'<> - ?. f ri:- _ S i ... - '5.. ^ ., \->'i mT", '

t.-vv-: <.^i: . .. 'iB

^'-l

CLASSfcs new for the Wii


"THE ULTIMATE IN PINBALL WIZARDRY"
"ULTRA REALISTIC FLIPPER AND NUDGE ACTIONS USING THE Wii INNOVATIVE HAND CONTROLLERS"
v

"DESERVES TO BE EXPERIENCED"
"THE MOST ACCURATE SIMULATION OF ALL T ME"

/ ) / i r O t P i o A i r a C Y ^ T P M . ' i 9 - 1 0 G R A F TO N S T R E E T M AY FA I R L O N D O N W 1 S uyottaet La. Gottlieb S Y s T t M 3 j.^oi 491 4441 e; iNFO@SYSTEiv13.coM

4EN

2007 PREVIEWS I HALO 3

^E x p e c tt h ep o w e ro f3 6 0t o

^d e l i v e rg r a n d e rl e v e ld e s i g n sa n d
^ improved vehicle behaviour.

With Master Chief available m several colours

over Xbox Uve, arguments are bound to ensue over who ends up being Mr Brown.

1^(1^.

It,'

HALO 3 IS ALREADY ONE OF THE M O S T A N T I C I PAT E D V I D E O G A M E S OF ALL TIME - THE TRIUMPHANT E3 TRAILER SET MANY A SPINE TINGLING A N D M A N Y A FA N B O Y D R O O L I N G "

F O R M AT: X b o x 3 6 0 P U B L I S H E R : M i c r o s o f t

DEVELOPER: Bungie ETA: 02

THE CHIEF IS BACK


There's a reason why Halo 2 is still the most played game on Xbox Live,

and it's nothing to do with people's love of


vile-mouthed American teens. Quite simply, it's the benchmark for online shooters: fast, incredibly deep and dressed up in the most

functional and intelligently implemented lobby system yet seen. And while the
single-player may have disappointed those

expecting the Second Coming, few could deny its superiority over the myriad FPS
efforts that punctuated the Xbox's career. So, understandably. Halo 3 is already one

of THE most anticipated videogames of all


time-the triumphant E3 trailer set many a

spine tingling and many a fanboy drooling. The promise that the cut-scene shown uses the in-game engine - a claim that now
TTie^ry should be much better
this time around. Who knows? We

seems all the more feasible in a universe still

might even get a proper ending.

reeling after Gears Of War- is a frighteningly exciting prospect. It may be wrong to get excited about graphics, but when a game looks that good it's very hard not to. As with its predecessor, Halo 3's details are being kept rmly under wraps by Bungie,
but it takes no more than a cursory glance at Halo 2's nale to realise we're going to

be nishing the ght here on earth. The


Covenant has uncovered a "massive and ancient artefact" under African soil, which could well be the huge dome-like structure that The Chief stares at intently during the trailer. So, in order for the Covenant to make use of this artefact, it has to annihilate

everyone and everything on earth. It just wouldn't be sci- any other way. So, the
urban combat that Halo 2teased briey in

its early stages could well be fully realised - imagine a GRAW-style environment littered with Covenant. And plasma grenades. We
can only hope.
Who knows what this is, but old

As is always the way with a game of


this stature, the rumour mill has been fully

Chiefy's pointing a gun at it so it's probably not on our side.

games'" 037

"Y//,
/ ' ' X

2007 PREVIEWS I HALO WARS


Online multiplayer skimii^es are looking to be as visually spectactular as ever

>

Jrit

b i h e
FORMAT: Xbox 360, PC PUBUSHER: Microsoft DEVELOPER: Ensemble Studios/Bungie ETA: Q4

HALD WARS
Expanding the ring world
n The semi-surprise announcement at tliis year's

X06 was this joint project from Bungie, and Age Of Empires developer Ensemble. Halo Wars is real-time strategy
set in the Halo universe, so we'll see the eternal Covenantversus-human struggle retold but on a scale in line with

the genre. Early trailers have been frustrating - heavy in


atmosphere and Halo lore while sorely lacking in gameplay

- but the remit is clean Halo Wars will play out the series' great battles from above, with all the Banshees, Warthogs and
Needlers one would expect.

Considering Halo was originally created as an RTS before undergoing its many (and eventually successful) changes, it is tting that the series has returned to its roots. And with the team at Ensemble behind it the pedigree cannot be disputed. Perhaps the most exciting of Halo IVars'prospects however,
is its online potential. The console world has never had a

truly great RTS to play over the internet, but Bungie's Xbox Live distinction - earned through Halo 2-could be the key to Wars'ultimate success. While we remain intrigued, if a little sceptical, the next batch of footage and screens will enlighten
everyone to Halo Wars'true worth. operational for months now, with titbits

leaking from unreliable sources almost daily. The most likely? Well, the strong rumour of an online co-op that supports more than two players seems feasible. Gears has proved itself the pinnacle of online co-op so far so it makes sense that Microsoft would push its agship title to have a similar, or indeed better, equivalent mode. Another strong rumour suggests players will be able to save movies of in-game action,
Console owners have been crying outfor a decent real-time
^rategy for ages. Will Hah Wars answer the call?

X Will we ever get to see te man beneath the suit or will

^B u n g i ed e c i d et ok e e ph i st m ei d e n t iy a m y s t e r y ?

presumably to upload them to Xbox Live

a la Burnout Revenge. Certainly, the recent '17.25 seconds' of gameplay footage shown to the US media was cobbled together using a feature Bungie referred to as 'Saved Film'. Certainly, the thought of reliving a particularly juicy headshot or long-range grenade is thoroughly appealing. On the subject of these 17.25 seconds, the footage shown revealed an Earthy
setting (no surprises there), a new Ghost

if the Flood are involved - hopefully on a scale that completely eclipses everything seen in the rst two Ha/os. Bungie's nest
is at its best when the Al creates its own set pieces on the y, and with more enemies, more races and more vehicles, the scope for drama increases exponentially.

In many ways. Halo 3's single-player needs to deliver. It will sell regardless, but
if the trilogy is to be revered in the same
breath as Zelda and Half-Life then it needs

like vehicle, and most importantly, a Brute driving it. The hairy ones are back, meaning we can expect three-way battles - four-way

to reclaim that sense of awe that the original


delivered in spades. Recent criticism of the sequel is harsh, but even the most ardent

IF THE TRILOGY IS TO BE REVERED IN T H E S A M E B R E AT H A S Z E L D A A N D HALF-LIFE THEN IT NEEDS TO RECLAIM T H AT S E N S E O F A W E T H AT T H E O R I G I N A L D E L I V E R E D I N S PA D E S "

A $1 million script and


an unknown director - the tumultuous tale

Sh project's chaotic production.^"


After Alex Garland accepted

There's no escaping the 5^

$1 million to write the script, fans


were concerned when Universal

asked D B Weiss to cast an eye over

rls

Garland's words. After being turned down by Blade 2's Guiliernno Del
Toro, Peter Jackson acquired the

feis

fanboy must have felt slightly underwhelmed

Microsoft announced that

by Halo 2's slightly lacklustre set pieces. If this third episode can recapture the essence of
Combat Evolved-the triumph, the heroism,

spring will see a multiplayer demo

hitting Marketplace, but whether


this is an indication of its exact

the feeling that you're playing a game that's simply a cut above everything else out
there - then it will be a resounding success,

release is still sadly unknown. Gates and co may choose to


launch in March to combat the

and the trilogy will receive the nal act it


deserves. If indeed it is Halo's nal act. On Bungle's own site it is suggested that Halo 3 is simply "the conclusion to this story arc." Read into that what you will, but it wouldn't

European PS3 release, or hold


Halo 3 back until Christmas

2007. Either way, Bungle /


won't let the Chief out of its

surprise anyone if Chief made another appearance some time in the future.

sight until he's ready. The biggest game of next year? Certainly in our eyes.

2007 PREVIEWS IVIRTUA FIGHTER 51 SPORE

VIRTUA FIGHTER 5
EHZaiB
FORMAT: Arcade, PlayStation 3 PUBUSHER: Sega
DEVELOPER: AM2 E TA : 02

a
.0 4

t
>

M M

TORMAT: Xbox 350, PC, PlayStation 3


E TA : Q 1

Hollywood's hijacking of our most


beloved culture continues with

F I V E TO T H E POWER OF THREE I yt Of all Sega's most important franchises, Virtua


Fighter is perhaps the one that has fared better Lion is meant to be the youngest of the Virtua Fighteis, but this snapshot of his
.wrinkly old-man hands says differently. What's going on, Sega?

John Woo's slo-mo gun-ballet


extravaganza, but will it take Max

Payne's crown as the king of bullet


time shooters?

than any other in the developer's messy metamorphosis from console manufacturer to third-party publisher. The leap from Dreamcast to PlayStation did nothing to dent Virtua Fighter's reputation as the king of the 3D beat'em-ups. In fact, it's arguable that PlayStation 2's Virtua Fighter 4 was the best in the series to date. Now, with the long-awaited VF5 on the way for PlayStation 3, the eyes of both Sega and Sony fans have

i
IBA TTIERELD: BAD COMP ANY
Format: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
ETA:Q2

turned toward AM2's majestic brawler to see if it can live

Console-based Battleeld always


suffers next to its PC cousins so DICE has made this one console exclusive.

up to its reputation while also proving that PS3 can handle complex arcade conversions. The good news is that an early hands-on proves that neither fan should worry. Unless something goes horribly wrong, Virtua Fighter 5 will be the next generation's rst essential beat-'em-up.

Expect the usual intense team action,


and a time-sucking Live mode.

SPDRE
F O R I V f A T: P C P U B L I S H E R : E l e c t r o n i c A r t s D E V E L O P E R : M a x i s E TA : Q 3

CUVE BARKER'S JERICHO.


Format: Xbox 360, PC, PlayStation 3 E TA : Q 2 I I I I I M i m i l I H H I I I I

W I L L W R I G H T E V O LV E S THE GOD GAME

Jericho's mix of squad-based FPS and survival-horror is a fresh concept that's a bit crazy but just might work. Now, let's hope that Clive Barker's story is just as inventive.

11UJ From SimCityXo The Sims,

Liia everything that Wil Wright has


ever worked on has been leading up to
this moment-to Spore. The ultimate God

game. Spore is designed to give players total control over their digital world with
every part of it user dened down to the genetic level.

Much more than the sum of its highly


customised parts, however, Spore is most

remarkable for its future-facing network components. Even/ creature, plant, building
and vehicle is uploaded to a central server

MARVEL UNIVERSE ONUNE


Format: Xbox 360, PC
E TA : Q 3

and automatically downloaded to populate remote users' own worlds - as long as they match that user's environment and experience level. The resulting game should be like no other, a title that evolves in a way
that is as much in the player's control as out of it. Spore is one of the most ambitious

Lately, Marvel games have failed to


live up to the name, but this MMO

from the maker of City Of Heroes has the perfect balance of fanboy appeal and developer integrity.

videogames of all time, but if there's anyone who can pull it off, it's Will Wright and his
experienced team at Maxis.

FORMAT: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 PUBLISHER:


U b i s o f t D E V E L O P E R : I n - H o u s e E TA : 0 3

T H E S T E A LT H G E N R E GOES PERIOD
From the maker of Prince Of Persia:

Sands Of Time, Assassin's Creed

has a very big pair of shoes to ll. Yet, from


what we've seen so far, it looks like those
shoes will be so full that the laces tear and

the leather bursts. Ubisoft's period stealth platformer is one of the most original
concepts in recent memory. Set during

the relatively un-mined period of the Holy Crusades, Assassin's Creed puts the player in control of a disgraced professional killer who must stab and slice his way back to respect.
While that story may not be spectacularly

original, the gameplay certainly is. Unlike Metai Gear or Splinter Cell, Assassin's Creed takes place in public places, adding a
whole new dynamic to the genre. Alarming

innocent citizens by killing someone in the open can lead to very bad things as they alert
the local authorities or even gang up on our

'hero'. Exciting stuff.

FORMAT: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 PUBUSHER: Rockstar DEVELOPER: Rockstar North ETA: Q4

A CHRISTMAS NUMBER ONE IN THE MAKING

IJCT Rockst ar North may have kept a tight lid on all GT A /l/info (you'l no doubt notice the distinct lack of screenshots), but that's not going to stop the series' rst next-gen outing
being one of the most anticipated releases of the next 12 months. Without any real details, it's hard even to predict what Rockstar will deliver to our shelves this time next year, but we do
have a few strong suspicions.

What's certain is that the leap from III to IV should be much more signicant than the thematic differences between cities Liberty, Vice and San Andreas. The power of the new hardware should mean that the new region is bigger and more realistically populated than ever, and that Al sees a massive improvement. Story is another area ripe for expansion, and our ngers are crossed for a plot that evolves with the player's actions. We're also keen to see a greater emphasis on character and quality voice acting.

2007 PREVIEWS I CRYSISI HEAVENLY SWORD

CRYSIS
PROVING THE PC IS STILL T H E P L A C E TO B E F O R F P S
FORMAT: Electronic Arts PUBUSHER: Crylek
D E V E L O P E R : P C E TA : Q 3 F O R M AT; X b o x 3 6 0 E TA : Q 1

With all this talk of Halo 3 and Resistance: Fall Of Man

Real Time Worlds' delayed urban roamer Is now set to arrive early

of late, it's easy to forget where the FPS feels most comfortable. The PC's mix of high-precision control and highspec power has always been perfectly suited to the demands

2007, hopefully with a lick of paint and a layer of polish applied. Could be revolutionary. Could be an
unfocused mess. We'll soon know.

of the genre. Good job too, as CryTek's spiritual successor to the almighty FarCry \s as processor hungry as anything out there. The lush jungle environments feature incredible physics, lighting and particle effects; it's as if FarCryv/as forced through a next-gen mangle and came out looking even more beautiful. Of course, that wouldn't matter a jot if it played poorly, but with the team behind FarCry's emergent set pieces in charge, Crysis should be a balanced shooter with a focus on excellent enemy Al. And if all that fails, there's always a huge robot to ght. Could
be a challenger to Half-Life 2's PC crown.

INDIMU0NES20D7J
Format: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
E TA : Q 3

Indiana Jones 2007 is based around

NaturalWIotion's 'euphoria' system, which allows for reactionary physics that bring characters to life. So you can whip them more realistically.

HEA VENL Y SWDRD


A V E R Y B R I T I S H A F FA I R
D E TA I L S :

FORMAT; PlayStation 3 PUBUSHER: Sony


DEVELOPER; Ninja Theory ETA; Q1

nw Ninja Theory, the mind behind PS3's

,L O R DO FT H ER I N G SO N U N E
Format: PC E TA ; Q1 i

forthcoming Heavenly Sword, hails from the moderate climes of Cambridge - a far cry from the Eastern dojos that gave birth to this style of action game. Yes, Heavenly Sword is a stylish hack-andslash rmly in the Devil May Cry mould, and it's a rather pretty looking one at that. It has even been referred to as 'Goddess Of War' in the pages of this very magazine, and that's not an unfair comparison.
Heroine Nariko has much in common with the brutal Kratos, from his uidity of movement to the

Codemasters' assault on the MMO

brutality of his attacks. Heavenly Sword makes

good use of tl^ clever QTE close combat system

^rdiat made ^dOfWarso engaging, and shrouds iu


in SBfiimation engine that puts anything on PS2 to shame. Ninja Theory's slick action game won'y
change the world, but sometimes an evolution ol an entertaining theme is all we need. *

Format: PlayStation 3
E TA : Q 4

Rockstar has recently snapped up this Australian-developed crime


thriller which, if the trailers are

anything to go by, will be entirely in


black and white. A hardboiled GTAl

Controlling the next generation


CONTROL
For

CENTER
Xbox 360'

r t H

i;;-V.

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Kick start the Next

of

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Generation

gaming in style with the revolutionary


Control Center 540C. Connect your Xbox 360^^" and up to FIVE additional c o n s o l e s o r AV s o u r c e s t o j u s t o n e

through just one cable. Four fully HD compatible Component Video inputs provide the ideal connections for PlayStation3 and Nintendo Wii^"
and are joined by ve S-Video,

t h e y l o o k . Wa n t m o r e ? H o w a b o u t
the on-board 6 Port Ethernet LAN Hub that shares your broadband connection with your PC, Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii^"? Programmable Display allows you to change names

input on your TV and HI-FI, Proprietary Xbox 360^" input carries


all visual and audio information from

your console to Control Center

Composite Video and Stereo Phono inputs. We've even included four Digital Optical inputs so that your next generation games sound as good as

to suit your setup and the Remote


Control makes input surng a breeze.

Organize, stylize, revolutionize.

w &
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AVA I L A B L E

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c www.toysrus.co.uk

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^gameplay-

and you're done."

2007 PREVIEWS I BURNOUT 51T00 HUMAN

BURNOUT 5
THE BEST IS BACKAND BIGGER THAN EVER
FORMAT: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 PUBLISHER: Electronic Arts
D E V E L O P E R : C r i t e r i o n E TA : O c t o b e r

breathe. After Revenge's appearance just 12 months after Takedown, many were concerned that
the EA machine had turned Burnout mto its latest

I u J Mercifully, Burnout has been allowed to

money-harvesting franchise. So 2006's lack of all things


Burnout came as a relief; no one wants this series to

be sullied by overexposure. Next year sees Criterion's nest making its return,
and Alex Ward is as excitable as ever. "Burnout 5 is a complete reinvention of the series, built from the

ground up for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360," he tells the world. "To create truly next-generation gameplay, we needed to create a truly next-generation game from top to bottom." This means the rst open-world Burnout, with

Crash Junctions littered across a city full of racing


opportunity. It's a big idea for a big game, and certainly has the potential to both revolutionise and destroy the series. But we're keeping the faith - Criterion hasn't let us down yet, and the rst 'truly next-gen' Surnouf will almost certainly be fantastic. And if all else fails, you can rip other cars clean in half during the more violent crashes, which will comfortably sate our lust for carnage.

TDD HUMAN
SILICON KNIGHTS' OPUS
F I N A L LY N E A R S C O M P L E T I O N
' FORMAT Xbox 360 PUBUSHER: Microsoft

DEVELOPER: Silicon Knights ETA: March

I jg AlMi ong with Al nW ake and Forza 2, T oo compl tes is ia crosoft' sa pre-Hal o assaul t; a tril ogy ofHuman titles desi gnede to
distract the gaming public from the pretty PS3 lights just long enough
for the Chief to arrive. Easily the most action-orientated of the three,

Too Human follows the template of Devil May Dy and Ninja Gaiden to the letter, meaning Xbox 360 has its rst 'dojo' action game, and
what a spectacular one it is. tfs a light show of epic proportions as protagonist Baldur hurls

himself around the environments, slicing robot foes with the grace and poise of a matador. This is not an exercise in originality, more an
evolution of an already successful theme, and produced with such

slickness as to automatically demand attention. The most exciting part of the Too Human package though, is its co-op. Supporting up to
four players over Live, ifs as if someone married Gaunf/ef with DMC and drowned it in moody lighting and plasma burns. Whether it will be enough to parry Dante's inevitable PS3-bound attack is yet to be seen, but there's certainly room for another stylish action hero in the
videogaming world.

/ / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / A

} caught a weird Imie girt the oilier day and she was this big, htmast."

FRDNTLINES;FUELaFWAR
FOMAT: PlayStation 3, PC, Xbox 360
E TA : Q 3

Another attractive shooter to whet

E I N D E E P W AT E R N O W D E T A I L S

;k
revolves around 'Adam', its mostjjrecious resource. As you progress through the story, it
becomes abundantly clear just how important this Adam is. All of Rapture's inhabitants

your appetite, this has futuristic weaponry, dozens of vehicles and a strong focus on team play. Will
it trouble Halo 3? Nah, but it may

provide a decent alternative.

F ^ M A T ;X b o x3 6 0 ,P CP U B L I S H E R :2 KG a m e s
[ l E V E L O P E R : I r r a t i o n a l G a m e s E TA ; 0 2

UW Potential. It's what this entire feature is

"B* about. What fantastic gaming does 2007


have in store for us? Will each title live up to its

own hype? What will be the surprise hit of the year? Will anything truly reshape the gaming landscape? Irrational Games may hold all the
answers. Potential? 6/oS/70c/soverowing with the stuff.

The spiritual sequel to System Shock is not your typical FPS fare - this is a mature piece of work, dealing with morality, dread and most of all, isolation. Speaking to games in a
recent interview. Ken Levlne, BioShock's lead

focus on the harvesting of the vital resource, sometimes working together to extract it from dead bodies. Interrupt them, kill them, work with them, ignore them... all choices that will have a signicant impact on your time in BioShock's otherworldly realm.
2K Games had a fantastic 2006 with Pre/and

the mighty Oblivion, and 2007 is set to follow suit. With The Darkness looking tremendously promising, and BioShock potentially groundbreaking, 2007 could be the year of 2K.

designer, gave us an insight into the game's


ethos, "There's two kinds of isolation," he

explained, "one is being alone, and the other is, well... have you ever gone to a party where you don't know anyone other than maybe your ex-girlfriend?" That's how BioShock makes you feel. Like we said, not your typical FPS fare. Taking place in the ruined paradise of Rapture, a man-made haven created to house the world's intelligentsia and aristocracy, BioShock places you in a world that happily exists on its own. Everything in Rapture

m
^ e f o r e y o ue r e a d t h e c a p t i o n a b o v e t h i se o n e ,g p e a s ep r e t e n d ^B t h a t s h e r m n a n d d i v e r s a r e t h e s a m t h i n .l

WDRLD DF W ARCRAFT : BURNING CRUSADE


D E T A I L S
F O R M AT: P C P U B L I S H E R : V U G a m e s

DEVELOPER: Blizzard ETA: 16 January

Not long to wait now. The global phenomenon that is World Of Warcraft receives its long-awaited expansion

FORMAT: PlayStation 3, PC, Xbox 360


E TA : Q 1

pack next month, meaning millions of teenagers will have


another excuse to avoid sunlight. Burning Crusade allows
seasoned Warcrafters to raise their character up to level 70

The future of survival-horror begins with a new Alone In The DarkXhal

- "unlocking a world of power and possibility on the way"


- and introduces two new races to the Warcraft universe, the

Blood Elves and the Draenei. Expect Burning Crusade to devour MMO fans by the thousands upon release - Blizzard will not let
its fan base down.

promises QTEs, episodic structure (aka levels), and stunning visuals. Could surprise a few people.

2007 PREVIEWS I SUPER MARIO GALAXY

SUPER MARID LAXY


I FELL IN LOVE WITH A S TA R S H I P K O O PA
FORMAT: Nintendo Wii PUBLISHER: Nintendo|
D E V E L O P E R : I n - H o u s e E TA : M a r c h

||Ui It's been too long since the last Mario game. We
were baited by the superb-looking Super Paper Mario, but now thafs been moved to Wii (along with most planned GameCube titles), ifs just another game we'll have to wait patiently for And wait we shall... In typical Nintendo style, the biggest games are likely to be staggered throughout the next year. Twilight Princess will keep fans happy for a while, but the next 'meat/ offering will have to show fairly early
in the year as WarioWare and the various other mini-

game-led titles won't satisfy existing gamers for long. Mario Galaxy is likely to be one of the rst triple-A titles
we see appearing next year, and with the levels we've

already played being so close to nished, we're betting


that Nintendo's promise of March is fairly accurate.

Galaxy is shaping up to be a Mario game with far


more potential than Sunshir}e ever had. Whereas each

key instalment has featured a new genre-improving


element. Sunshine was just too similar to Mario 64 to achieve similar status. Galaxy has the Wii Remote and

various anti-gravity twists at its disposal, so things are


likely to get very interesting. Opting to leave the world-exploration elements of

Mario 64 and Sunshine behind, Ga/axy takes place


over many planetoids that differ in size, shape and

environment: re, ice, water, pirate ship... you know the drill. The gameplay though, is now being torn in
two - perhaps the perfect way to inject some life into

the platform formula. Mario Galaxy \s using traditional platformer elements mixed with Wii Remote 'pointer' action to create a fresh Mar/o that, judging from what we've been lucky enough to play, is going to appeal to
pretty much everyone.

Any concerns that new dimensions may cause the

game to become too complicated can be shrugged off immediately. The design has been so well thought
out that the game remains completely accessible
: We re not sure, but doesn't Mario

- something that's essential to a decent platformer, especially one prepared to have such mass appeal. The controls that many once questioned as being useful for little more than gimmicky titles seem to have
proven themselves once again.

; famously make silly noises and


lose heaMi when in lava?
*

Wow. Chain Chomps (sans chain) have never looked so scary - or A X O /too
massive for that matter.

' / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / .

SUPER SMASH BRDS BRA WL


F I G H T F O R Y O U R R I G H T T O PA R T Y

EHZaiE
F O R M AT; N i n t e n d o W i i P U B L I S H E R : N i n t e n d o D E V E L O P E R : I n - H o u s e E TA : I V l a r c h

||Ul Announced at E3 '06to a very

fcaaJ excitable crowd, Smash Bros Brawl is


set to be one of Nintendo's biggest releases
come 2007. Although he's no longer working at HAL Laboratory, series director Masahiro
Sakurai has been coaxed back to work on

this latest instalment, and according to the


various interviews that he's done with

Japanese publications - and his own


column in Famitsu- work on the title

is going very well.


Due to a comment made

by Sakurai at E3, it's rumoured


that Brawlw'tW make use of the GameCube controller rather than the Wii Remote or Classic Controller, but

it's likely to be a few months before we get conrmation of the exact control method, Until then we'll just have to speculate as to which new characters will be joining Pit, Wario, Meta Knight and Metal
Gear's Snake on the roster.

2007 PREVIEWS i THE DARKNESS ( PROJECT HEROES IFFXIII


' / / / / / / / / / ,

THE DARKNESS
S TA R B R E E Z E ' S N E W I P SPRINGS FROM THE SHADOWS
D E T A I L S

MEDAL DFHDNDR; AIRBORNE


F O R M AT: M u l t i E TA ; 0 1

FORMAT: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 PUBUSHER: Starbreeze


D E V E L O P E R : 2 K G a m e s E TA : 0 2

Parachuting onto all fonnats after an unusually protracted development, /4/rfaome could put EA's agging series back on track. Fingers crossed, then, that the new airdrop gameplay
can revitalise a once great FPS.

1 1 u J Three years ago, nobody would have expected anything liaJ from unknown Swedish developer Starbreeze. But
that was before The Chronicles Of Riddick came along and shocked everyone - us included - with its innovative rst-person stealthery. Now a proven quantity, Starbreeze is storming back
with another promising adaptation. The Darkness. Based on the independent comic of the same name, and written by the same author. The Darkness looks set to smash

Riding the tube makes games"^ want to go on a murderous rampage too.

into tiny pieces the stereotype of terrible licensed games. With its inventive spin on the stealth genre - the player must stick to the shadows in order to replenish his demonic powers - The Darkness is denitely a hot property in the making.

ZElfPHANllMHnjRGLASS
Format Nintendo DS

A return to the eel-shaded seas of Wind Water should refresh after the

PRDdECT HERDB^
HISTORY'S MOST 'MARMITF . ^
D E T A I L S FORMAT; Nintendo Wii PUBLISHER:

dark and moody Twilight Princess. And the stylus could make Phantom
Hourglass the most unusual Zelda.

GAME GETS A FOLLOWrUP


D E V E L O P E R : G r a s s h o p p e r E TA : Q 3 ^
fm Love it or loathe it, there's no denying that killer?was a

startlingly unique title that dared to challenge the recogni


conventions of gaming - something the medium needs much r

of if it is to avoid becoming stale. With its spiritual successor, Pr Heroes, Grasshopper is looking to expand on what made everyone sit up and take notice of killer?. That means more eel-shaded graphics, more over-exaggerated voice acting and, we imagine,^ twisted story
Format: PlayStation 3
E TA : Q 3

that repels gamers as much as it attracts them. Even for those without

unconventional tastes however, we're betting Project Heroes will be a must-play Wii game for one reason: motion-controlled Lightsabers.

After Namco's return to form with

Tekken 5, all eyes are on Tekken 6to take on Sega's latest Virtua Fighter. Talk of an online matching service may swing things Namco's way.

HNAL FANT ASY XIII


UNLUCKY FOR SOME? NOT LIKELY
FORMAT: PlayStation 3, Mobile PUBUSHER: SquareEnix DEVELOPER: SquareEnix ETA: Q4

Following similar experiments with Final Fantasy VII and

I C H I B I R D B O :P A R KP A T R O L
Format: Nintendo

XII, SquareEnix has set about creating its most ambitious


'i

E TA :

Q42

RPG yet, or should that be three RPGs? Final Fantasy XIII is being developed as three different games with separate stories
and characters, linked by one overarching myth. Final Fantasy XIII and Final Fantasy Versus XIII w\\\ be

Skip's cute adventure may have


come too late to save GameCube,

but its sequel has arrived in OS's prime. Let's hope the portable can handle the scope of Chibi's adventure in the great outdoors.

released simultaneously for PlayStation 3 while Final Fantasy Agito X///will appear on mobile phones. Nothing is yet known about what are sure to be the most complex games in the
series to date, but one thing is for certain: of all the titles in

games's 2007 preview, this is the one (or three) most likely to
slip into 2008's line up.

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P L ^ S T A T I O I M

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V \ \

lOO^^o uQpfiidl PlayStation 3 magazine

PLA YST A TION 3 UBNCH SP^L

RESISTANCE
FALL OF MAN
ReVtaVED CAN THE PLAYSTATION 3-5 BEST L A U N C H C A M E TA K E ON HALO?

IMTHIS PS3 0NLINC PLAYSTATIONIN 3 EXCLUSIVE nZ ' irrt c tested AND LAUNCHES GAMES HP ISSUE REVIEWED US81APAN 0NPS3! ES

LAUNCH GAME ON SALE - REVIEWED 04.01.06


"100% unofcial PlayStation 3 magazine

2007 PREVIEWS I DEVIL MAY CRY 41 BANJO THREEIE


y / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / A

DEVIL MA Y CRY
H A S D A N T E M E T H I S M AT C H ?
D E T A I L S FORMAT: PlayStation 3, PUBUSHER: Capcom DEVELOPER: In-House ETA: July

tin Capcom's had a good few years. Aside from a RBim few slip-ups that came in shapes like Final Fight: Streetwise and Beat Down, only quality has spewed from the publisher's various studio's. Even with Clover
closed we can still expect greatness from 2007. In

fact, of all the games promised for PS3, ifs Capcom's Devil May Cry 4 thafs sharing a place with Metal Gear Solid 4 at the top of our growing wish list.
Of course, we all know now that Dante, won't
be centre of attention this time around. Instead

we have the mysterious Nero. Although at


present Capcom hasn't revealed this character's

full story, there's been a lot of guesswork as to


his connection to Dante. We're sure answers will present themselves with time, but for now thanks to a playable version at TGS '06 - there's plenty we do know about DMCA.

Nero's Devil Arm abilities will take the place of Dante's various 'styles' that featured in DMC3, and
the combat has been made more accessible so that

everyone (not just the hardcore among the hardcore) can enjoy the full range of abilities that the character has been blessed with rather than just dying for the nth time when a too-big boss stamps on them. It's a good move as the games have been criticised for being too tough when it's usually down to a player's reluctance to power-up and perform the more complex manoeuvres
that's to blame for failure. Though even with all that was revealed

at the show, there are still a few questions


hanging over the title. The 'acceleration

system' that was promised still hasn't ^


been witnessed and there's still no

conrmation as to whether or ^
not Dante will be playable at

all. As we said, time will ySy


reveal all. h

^b e e t rt h a nh ed d io nN 6 4 .h s i ^ nose stil seems to be square.

^ Although Banjo now looks far

THE FURTHER ADVENTURES


OF BEAR AND BIRD

FORMAT: Xbox 360 PUBUSHER: Microsoft DEVELOPER: Rare ETA: March

There's been much debate as to whether the new-look Banjo looks


great or just 'a bit weird', but there's no questioning whether we're

looking forward to the third Banjo game arriving on Xbox 360. We spent much time bumbling around the variously themed world in the N64 game,
and the rather amusing trailer that was shown at X06 has conrmed in our

minds that when Banjo Threeie nally arrives it could well end up being Rare's nest moment in a long time. Mad witchdoctors that turn you into a washing machine, birds with attitude, and disgruntled witches certainly a
good game make.

SUPREME COMMANDER I FABLE 212007 PREVIEWS

SUPREME COMMANDER
T H E F U T U R E ' S B R I G H T. . .
F O R M AT: P C P U B U S H E R : T H Q

DEVELOPER: Gas Powered Games ETA: July

I jm There are pl ent y of decent RTS titles on i. a'l the market at present, and you can be sure
that 2007 will bring another batch of reasonable offerings - but for a game of this type to stand out is a rarity. The C&Cseries has managed to retain

huge popularity over the years, but you really need


to display greatness to impress in such a tired market. Huge, sprawling maps and big, stomping laser robots could well do it, though. Supreme Commander \s offering everything

you've seen before but scaled up. A heavy focus


on tactics, as per usual in games of this type,
combined with sublime visuals should see it FORMAT: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC : .
E TA ; Q 1

perform well - but don't forget it's going head-tohead with Command & Conquer 3.

Use tactical shooting to play through Operation Market-Garden, the

largest airborne operation of WWII.


Shooting dragons in the mouth with pistols is not recommended.

Developer Gearbox looks to have gone all-out with this third outing.

WE'RE IN TWO MIND


ABOUT THIS ONE
D E T A I L S

FORMAT: Xbox 360 PUBUSHER: Microsof


DEVELOPER: Lionhead ETA: Q4

Despite not really living up to the immense hype that it was unfortunate enough to be
burdened with. Fable delivered one of the nest action

decisions you make and how they affect your adventure.


In addition to this, several other bold ideas are planned

lUNREAL TDURNAMENTZDD?
FORMAT: PlayStation 3, PC
ETA: July

RPG experiences on Xbox. The selection of alignment, although working well, didn't impress in as grand a way as perhaps it should, and rather hinted that, should a sequel emerge, that's where we'd nd the fully honed experience. Well, that sequel's on its way. Announced at X06, Fable 2 is set to deliver everything the original did and more, with particular focus placed on the 'good/bad'

for the title. Dynamic locations - that either ourish or deteriorate depending on your actions - marriage, children, and a sense of ownership are all on the cards. There are a lot of ideas going into this title - according
to Mr Molyneux himself - and if everything goes

With Gears Of War being such a triumph for Epic, we can't wait to
see the success continue, and start

fragging all over again with one of


the most hardcore FPS multiplayer series available.

according to plan this could well turn out to be one of


the nest single-player RPGs ever. Better than the mighty
Oblivion7 Well, we'll just have to wait and see...

2007 PREVIEWS I METAL GEA


RAISING THE AGE OF RETIREMENT WITH EVERY BULLET
D E T A I L S FORMAT: PlayStation 3 PUBLISHER: Konatni DEVELOPER: Kojima Productions ETA: Q4

^TRIOTS

nJl Although it was first announced


promotional videos, it's a fair bet that

over 18 months ago, and has been

followed by a deluge of screenshots and we still don't really know anything about Solid Snake's nal adventure. Okay, so Kojima Productions has thrown a few teasing nuggets of info our way. We've seen the cast of returning characters, the
biomechanical Metal Gears and Snake's

new and improved repertoire of sneaking skills. But based on past experience, we'd be incredibly foolish to ignore the fact that Kojima might be holding a few big secrets back for the game's full release.

If anything, the l^st trailers only raise more question^Dout the game's story
which, unlike most franchises, holds as

much importance to Metal Sesrfans as


the gameplay. Is Snake really dying? Will

the love interest between Snake and Meryl


be reignited despite our hero's apparent ageing? Who, or what, is the young Snake seen at the end of the Tokyo Game Show trailer? All these questions and more, like ' the seemingly trivial matter of whether Snake's appearance in a bandana means
he'll have innite ammo, are sure to be

j answered by this time next year.


Perhaps of greater importance, is the role Metalear Solid4\m\\ play in the

future of PlayStation 3. Although the console's launch line-up is solid enough

a set of rst-generati onthat titles - it's '^for becoming Increasingly clear gamers
are gravitating toward the greater

selection of killer apps on the cheaper


Xbox 360. Sony iteeds Metal Gear. It is the

manufacturer's^reat white hope, a sequel with fan anticfpation to rival Halo 3, and
the most likely contender for the one game that will persuade gamers to part with their
weighty 425 worth of disposable income. In addition, the currently un-revealed online mode prototyped in Metal Gear

Solid 3: Subsistence is sure to be the game


that proves Sony's PlayStation Network can
compete with Xbox Live.

Hardware concerns aside, the real


reason to look forward to MGS4 will of

course be the game itself and its impact

on the stealth genre. The abilities to play


dead or roll around in oil drums look set to become some of the most iconic moves of 2007 while the story, if up to the standard

of previous entries, will keep internet


message boards in business well into 2008.

Fans of Hideo Kojttna may recognise this little robot from the cult adventure game, Snatcher. Although Kojima claims tere's no stoiy connection.

Snakes situation appears to be grounded in a semi-realism this time around. Whether or not real-world politics will play a part is yet to be seen.

2007 PREVIEWS IMETROID PRIME 3: CORRUPTION I HALF-LIFE 2: EPISO


/ ^ / y / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / ,

METRDID PRIME 3; CDRRUPTIDN


SAMUS FIGHTS FOR HER LIFE
D E T A I L S

FORMAT: Nintendo Wii PUBLISHER: Nintendo DEVELOPER: Retro Studios ETA: IVIarch

| bj When March rolls around, it's reckoned by Nintendo that Samus wil KM reappear and lose all her abilities once again in a new adventure. This
pleases us greatly. As you may well be aware, the rst Metroid Prime title

deservedly received the first ever games perfect ten score - and the sequel.
Echoes, didn't fail to impress either. With this in mind, ifs hard not to
get really excited about this third game.

Not much has been shown really, with the majority of levels open for play being made available to prove that the

Wii controller can be used successfully - but that's not to say


that these demos haven't baited us further. Somehow, it seems

Nintendo has implemented the Remote effortlessly to the point where it's soon forgotten that you're not using a GameCube pad
to play. Maybe this is more to do with the game's refusal to be a proper FPS - preferring to be more of a rst-person platfonner than anything else - but the battle with Ridley that's been shown off is certainly dazzling. Of course, whether this will actually show in March as promised is questionable. It wasn't long ago when we were expecting to see Metroid Prime 3: Corruption at the Wii launch, and with Mario Galaxy and Super Smash Bros Brawl all expected at roughly the same time there's a chance that

Nintendo could stagger the triple-A titles to keep fans of its bigger franchises happy throughout the yean Y ou never know, though...

YOU KNEW IT WOULD CROWBAR ITS WAY IN SOMEWHERE


II I I 11 ^
FORMAT: PC PUBUSHER: Electronic Arts DEVELOPER: Valve ETA: February

HALF-UFE 2 EHSODE 2

\ I There's simply no disputing the


popularity of Half-Life. Mr Freeman and his crowbar-waving antics have been

impressing the gaming masses for a long


while now, and the episodic content that is now being released to make the Half Life 2 experience that little bit sweeter is certainly doing its job. The rst instalment has already arrived, but Episode 2 (and

probably Episode 3) will be making an


appearance in 2007 giving us plenty more

Gravity Gun action and probably some mind-melting portal usage if everything goes according to plan. PC gamers really
have a great year ahead of them.
protnises to

coniiise adequately.

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2007 PRWIEWSIRESIDENTEVIL5IG0D OF WAR II


v / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / - / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / ^

RESIDENT EVIL 5
THE DEAD RISE ONCE MORE
FORMAT: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 PUBLISHER: Capcom
DEVELOPER: In-House ETA: Q4

After the complete reinvention of the survivalhorror genre with Resident Evil 4, expectations

for the next-generation sequel are dangerously


high. But if anyone can meet those expectations

it's Capcom. With Lost Planet and Dead Rising, the


veteran developer has already proved it can handle

the new technologies, and, if anything, the quality of


those games has only fuelled the interest in Resident

Evil 5 even more. Now, if Capcom can once again redene the genre while also linking the new story arc back into the original, we'll have another must-play
Resident Evil or\ our hands.

Chris Redfteld returns on Xbox 360 and PS3.

PLAYSTATION 2'S LAST HURRAH D E TA I L S \

FORMA T : PlavStatilfS^BUSHER: In-House


DEVELOPER: Sony ETA: April

ny Asits the march of technology shufes toward 425 HD destiny, it's easy to forget that
the current generation still has plenty to offer Final Fantasy XII, Okamiand GodHandaW prove that the
UK PlayStation 2 scene is still a force to be reckoned with, but it's perhaps Sony's own God Of War //that

is most exciting. Although its graphics are unlikely to hold a candle to the uid animation of Heavenly
Sword, it's a fair bet that God Of War // will make more use of its host hardware. After all, with David Jaffe and company unrestrained from the burdens of next-

gen development, the GodOfWarteam is in a prime


position to push the console to its limits.

ilrt

The rst game's strength lay in its awe-inspiring, giant bosses and deceptively complex combat system, which the sequel is sure to expand upon. Many of
Greek legend's most famous creatures are set to appear, including grifns and Pegasus who Kratos rides in on during the game's opening. Enormous

boss battles are set to return, too, with a Cyclops scrap


already conrmed, while there's little doubt that a beast ^ New moves, same
, old console.

huge enough to rival the rst game's Hydra will crop


up at some point.

The ne balance between custom combos and prescripted quick-time moves should also be well worth

be even more bloody .%


Format: PlayStation 3
E TA : M a r c h

GodOfWarffhoksto

Factor 5, the developer behind

looking forward to. Although it's uncertain just how the combo system can be improved, early play tests already show that Kratos' pre-scripted moves will be just
as spectacular as before. Now able to snatch weapons

Rogue Squadron, jumps ship from


GameCube to PS3 in an effort to

prove that Sony's Sixaxis controller is more than just a gimmick.

from the hands of his adversaries before slaying them, or pluck eyes from the head of a boss, Kratos' repertoire
of moves could well make God Of War //the most visually spectacular game of 2007.

'

1 'BASED ON PAST EXPERIENCE, WE'D BE INCREDIBLY FOOLISH TO IGNORE THE FACT THAT KOJIMA MIGHT BE HOLDING A FEW BIG SECRETS BACK FOR THE GAME'S FULL RELEASE"

r n m ^
GOODBYE CARDS,
HELLO WORLD D E TA I L S
FORMAT: PlayStation Portable PUBLISHER: Konami DEVELOPER: Kojima Productions ETA: 03

rm Following two decent but ultimately "OBB unsatisfying forays into the realm of the

strategy card game, Solid Snake is set to return to PSP in spectacular fashion. Except, of course, it isn't Solid
Snake. It's Naked Snake, or Big Boss as he's more

commonly known. Set just after the end of Metal Gear


Solid 3, Portable Ops looks as though it will nally ll in the blanks of the Metal Gear saga by linking the Metal Gear Solid series back into the original 2D Metal Gear games, like a digital uroboros.

The intriguing online mode, in which players battle


and trade their custom Foxhound squad, should make for one of the most compelling action-strategy games

on PlayStation Portable, but what really excites is the story. The chance to nd out just what tips Naked
Snake over the edge toward evil is one that no serious
Metal Gearfan can afford to miss.

: PortaWe 0/b won t be a a wtiolly ttaditionai Metal ecargame. The main

^ emphasis wil be on team buildinj, and isolated missions.

^ Snake's new eyepatch draws a


Early screens hint that you'll be able to disarm hostaged foes. One thing's for sure however, the level of interaction will be much greater than before.

visual link to his father'. Big Boss, but is there a greater signicance?

TABULA RASA I MASS EFFECT 12007 PREVIEWS

TABUIARASA
NOW, P1_AY NICE EVERYBODY
D E T A I L S FORMAT: PC PUft-ISHeifc, NCsoft

DEVELOPER: Destination Q^es ET A: Q3


n The MMORPG has bfecome hugely
F O R M AT: P C

"BA popular over the last few years, but


the market is largely being dominated by the
immense World Of Warcraft and NCsoft's

E TA :

March

Tactical shooting against big groups


of other tactical shooters is a very

own Guild Wars. The company's attempts


to introduce other MMO titles - such as the

ill-fated Auto Assault and the City Of Heroes/ Villains games - just haven't worked as well as hoped, and instead, lessons have been
learned.

rewarding gaming experience, and Quake Wars promises more of the same in a prettier way. Can that really be considered a bad thing?

Tabula Rasa is a title that seems to be the result of these learned lessons. Legend

Richard Garriott is in the driving seat with big ideas and a whole lot of experience with the genre in question. The game's still a little way off, but the team - and Garriott himself - are already very excited going by how much they want to talk to us on the phone - great

I W A R H A W M
FORMAT: PlayStation 3,
E TA : Q 3

things are expected when the game arrives. L_

PlayStation 3's ying hope could well be ready by the time the console launches in this country. But will the shaky tilt controls on show at E3 2006 have been sorted by then?

PERFECT FOR THE

S M O O T H TA L K E R S
FORMAT: Xbox 360 PUBLISHER: Microsoft DEVELOPER: BioWare ETA; Q3

It does seem that we've been talking

about this game forever. BioWare has been putting time into this action RPG
for a fair while now, and from what was

on show at E3 this year, it's certainly time that's not gone to waste. A promising mix of tactics, exploration and role-playing elements complement the stunning visuals,
and the conversation feature that's been

implemented - essentially allowing you to make reactionary replies to keep speech owing - is especially impressive. Although there's no set date for the title as yet, it's obvious that neither Microsoft nor BioWare are going to rush Mass Effect. This is a great sign as we really don't mind
waiting for quality.

2007 PREVIEWS ILEFTA DEAD1THE OUTSIDER

LEFT ADEAO
FOUR IS THE MAGIC NUMBER
D E TA I L S
FORMAT: PC PUBUSHER: Valve DEVELOPER: Turtle Rock ETA: Q3

K s t 'i a w la y sao jy o u so c c a s o i nw h e nV a v le

announces a new game, especially if it comes

completely out of the blue and has nothing to do with

Gordon Freeman - not that there's anything wrong with the bespectacled one you understand, it's just that
games^" does love a good new IR So, imagine our happiness levels when the Left 4 Dead press release

burst into email inboxes across the industry. They were dangerously high - some people even had to play Crusty
Demons just to balance themselves out. After the initial burst of exaltation calmed to a fervent

^ Who it thatwoul thought a fa t guy on the f ar left ofwas the screen d make a good promo shot?

simmer, it became apparent just what we were all getting excited about. Valve has created a four-player co-operative survival-horror game - a survival-horror lled with 28 Days
/.afer-style rabid zombies. And it uses the latest version of

the now fabled Source Engine. Where's that copy of Crusty


Demons again? This is too much.

Essentially, Left 4 Dead is an MMO horror game. All four


protagonists are controlled by humans, of course, but the zombies can also be controlled by real people. The rest Is

left up to the Al, and what's left is an emergent warfare of


blood, guts, bile and unadulterated ten-or.

As opposed to a more traditional story-driven game. Left 4 Dead is open ended. Players will travel together in
their bid to survive and rid the city of infected undead, and

the game's Al will create set-pieces by cleverly assigning


zombie packs to certain areas at certain times. It all sounds

fantastically clever, and most importantly, different. The result is a series of Ha/oesque battles of humans against

Al, with the advanced physics of the Source Engjje


making for some incredibly memorable moments. Sufce

to say, Left 4 Dead is a tremendously excitipg prospect.

THE OUTSIDER
YAKUZA2
Format:
ETA: Q2

B R A B E N ' S B R AV E NEW WORLD

E S H B
FORMAT: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
PUBUSHER: Electronic Arts

DEVELOPER: Frontier Developments ETA: Q4

IJCT There's before stil a loanyone ng devel opment LisJ process gets their
hands on David Braben's astoundingly ambitious The Outsider, but if it can live up to its lofty claims, then we could be looking at one the most progressive and inventive games of not only next year, but of all time. Details are still thin on the ground but the story involves media corruption and manipulation, government oppression and a level of non-linearity usually reserved for MMOs. Players take control of a CIA agent on the hunt for 'the truth'... and that's pretty much all thafs known. Could be something
very special indeed.

PlayStation

A surprise hit last year, Yakuza had the sequel treatment in Japan. The mix of casual adventuring and brutal
combat appealed to us, but will the

follow-up be able to pull it off again?

ALAN WAKE I KANE & LYNCH: DEAD MEN 12007 PREVIEWS

T H E F I R S T T R U LY N E X T- G E N S U R V I VA L - H O R R O R ?

ALAN W AKE

FORMAT: Xbox 360 PUBLISHER: Microsoft DEVELOPER; Remedy Entertainment ETA: 02

recent X06 blowout nally revealed both its premise and promise. This is the world's rst free-roaming survival-horror game, and is as ambitious as it is terrifying. Alan, a successful horror writer, is stuck in a rut after the mysterious disappearance of his girlfriend. In an attempt to regain his creative thrust, he journeys to the north west of America (Bright Falls, Washington, to be exact) to a remote log cabin, where he can concentrate. Unsurprisingly, things just get worse. Alan can't sleep, and he begins to lose the distinction between reality and the dream world. And he isn't having particularly pleasant dreams. Alan Wake delivers a staggeringly beautiful environment to explore, with truly wonderful weather and lighting effects which help to pile on the oppressive and dread-inducing atmosphere. Especially at night. Wake will have to use light as a weapon as his enemies grow in strength considerably in the dark - not the best of news as Bright Falls plunges into the depths of winter. Not too bad for a game called Alan, is it?

I u i Alan Wake has been doing the rounds since before Xbox 360 was announced, but the

D E A DM E N
MICHAEL MANN:
THE VIDEOGAME
FORMAT: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC PUBLISHER: Eidos
D E V E L O P E R : l o I n t e r a c t i v e E TA : Q 2

riw Drenched in style and atmosphere, Kane & Lynch

SSw is a morally dubious evolution of the Hitman


theme: a co-op action movie where you play the lead roles. After being broken out of prison - it's fast becoming the mainstay of next-gen action titles - the eponymous Kane and Lynch set about retrieving a large sum of gold for a maa organisation. If they fail, they die. The game is about teamwork. Obviously, when it
comes to a shootout the anti-heroes have each other's

backs, but at times you will also be in control of small


teams, and it's up to you to keep them in order. Don't

expect a Rainbow Six level of intricacy and tactical awareness though - this is an action game at heart, and it's as bloodthirsty as it is morally ambiguous. Kane and Lynch are, quite simply, not nice people, and the wanton slaughter of innocents can be justied if it leads to the greater good. It's more violent and controversial than even
GTA, but if Jack Thompson even notices its existence,

we'll be amazed. Just goes to show how imsy the whole


videogames violence debate really is.
There are only two things scarier
than this - both of them are that laser disco in the other screenshot.

2007 PREVIEWS I THE BEST OFTHE REST


/////////^y///////////7777777/x////77777777777777777777777777777777777777777777777777777777777777,

M BEST OF M REST
OF COURSE, THAT'S NOT ALL. WITH ALL THREE NEW CONSOLES BEING MADE
AVA I L A B L E , T H E N U M B E R O F G A M E S W E H AV E TO L O O K F O RWA R D TO I S I M M E N S E . H E R E ' S J U S T A Q U I C K G L I M P S E AT W H AT O T H E R J O Y S W I L L B E P R E S E N T I N G T H E M S E LV E S O V E R T H E N E X T 1 2 M O N T H S . . .

NINTENDO Wii
It seems that everybody's favourite Christmas present will be amusing far beyond Boxing Day with a new Cooking Mama title and the rather interesting-looking survival-horror Necro-Nesia planned for release mid-2007. While it's true that there's very little information about these particular titles just yet, games from better-known franchises such as Rre Emblem Wii, Battalion Wars II (playfully shortened to BWii), Pokemon: Battle Revolution and Mario Strikers Charged will also be making an appearance to test your ability to wave a Remote. Also, column-inch eater Excite Truck, and the cute-looking hide-and-seekfest Elebits will both be dropping in early next year. Oh, and if a Pikmin title doesn't show up we'll be very surprised - the Wii couldn't be more perfect for the next instalment. Handheld-wise, the DS line-up - including Chibi-Robo: Park Patrol, Castlevania: Portrait Of Ruin, Elite Beat Agents and Hotel Dusk - is also looking more than grand.

The end of 2006 seems to have allowed 360 to shine very brightly indeed, but there's still plenty more to look forward to. Obviously Project Gotham Racing 4 is something to start getting very excited about and the publisher-switching TImeShlft has been looking promising for some time. Not quite as high prole, but anticipated nevertheless are 100 Bullets, Age Of Pirates: Captain Blood (we do love our pirates) and Armored Core 4. Also on the way is Killer Instinct 3 which, considering Rare seems to have picked up the ball recently after a somewhat disappointing 360 launch performance, is likely to be as great - and combo heavy - as we could hope.

PLAYSTATIONS
In this territory, there's going to be plenty arriving for PlayStation 3
when it arrives in March, but even when avoiding the launch titles that are already available on other shores there's quality on the way A few promises in the form of a new Prince Of Persia title and a sequel to Yakuza have already arrived, while super-tough Ninja Gaiden Sigma will be arriving soon after the machine launches - to really put the durability of the controllers to the test. There's also the enigmatic Afrika to look forward to, as well as Fatal Inertia, and arcade zombie-fest House Of The Dead 4 will be joining the party in the near future. PSP even has Earthworm Jim on the way and that certainly can't be a bad thing.

There are also a number of big-name titles that'll be spreading themselves over many formats to maximise exposure, Sega's The
Club is one such title, but with next to nothing revealed since the unveiling at E3 2006, it's tough to know what to expect. Licence wise,

Hellboy, Indiana Jones 2007, Dirty Harry and the rumoured Lego
Batman look set to deliver while the new CG form the Turtles have

taken for new game and lm Teenage Mutant IMInja Turtles should help revitalise the old favourite. Dancing fans should warm their feet

up for Dance Revolution Universe while the PC will be offering greats such as action-RPG Silverfall, Europa Universalis III, and, with any luck,
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Better start saving those pennies, eh?

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PREVIEW I OVERLORD I PC/MULTIFORMAT

characters comes as a breath of fresh air. As

the title suggests, players take control of an


evil overlord who himself has control over an

As you progress through missions, eliminating races and their heroes, you'll eam upgrades to your Tower, which lets you cast new spells, train new types of minion and generally bask in your evilness. At its cun-ent pre-Alpha stage, Over/ord displays potential, but its linearity could ultimately be its downfall. Despite being allowed to carry out each task at will - through a platfomier-styled hub worid - the actual
compactness of the levels shown so far do

anny of Gollum-like minions who'll happily do his bidding. So, you stroll through the
environments with a band of small monsters

to send out on any number of errands, be it

v.

slicing up a stray sheep for life force - which the game converts into more minions - collecting treasure, or simply setting re to a eld of crops. As Lennart Sas, the director of Triumph Studios, explains, the use of minions takes away some of the more 'humdmm' aspects often associated with the genre. "Instead of doing the typical menial tasks found in many RPGs, like scurrying for loot," he enthuses, "as the Overiord, you simply send a minion to trash an um, open a chest and kill enemies. Or you can send the whole crowd to pillage an entire building or village. The minions are pretty smart, so when sent out the/ll try and do their best for you, say kill a peasant and return with his life savings." They wori< similar to Pikmin. Intelligent yet
autonomous, they can be directed to kill a

not lend themselves to tactical options. Where


Oblivion offers the worid. Overlord deals in corridors and meadows. It would be a shame

for such a clever idea to not be realised fully. Still, for a pre-Alpha, the build was surprisingly strong. Smooth, pretty and brimming with humour. Overlord is the type of game Xbox 360 needs to broaden its catalogue. The identical PC version certainly feels like a more comfortable home for Triumph's hard work; it will be interesting to see if it can
make itself heard above 360's mortar

LIKE PIKMIN. BUT VIOLENT

As wonderful as this Christmas has


F O R M AT:

PC,Xbox360 0RK3IN: Netherlands


PUBUSHER: Codemasters DEVELOPER:

been for Xbox 360, the line-up of (stellar) games has been less than varied. Viva Pinata aside, there has been a lot of guns, gore and grunt Of course, there's nothing wrong with that, but 360 is crying out for thematic originality. Step up Overlord, an amusingly malevolent action-RPG. it may just have the remedy to Xbox 360's post-Gears hangover. With its bright blue skies, luscious green landscapes and wicked sense of humour. Overlord immediately sets itseif away from the pack. That it has been co-penned by Terry Pratchetfs daughter comes as no surprise; the menacing in-everence abundant in all of its

shells and gunre.

RGB
With a selection of brightly coloured gremlins, there are myriad tactical possibilities in Overiord. The ; aggressive brown minions do your dirty work. The greens can be used ? as assassins programmed to out
ank enemies and kill from behind.

Triumph Studios
RELEASE: June GENRE:

Haling with a jab of the right trigger, or swept around the environment with the right stick. You can carry up to 50 of the critters with you at any time should you harvest enough life force, and the key is managing the resources
available in the environments to create more

Role-Playing Game
P L AY E R S : 12

minions, defeat the other races dwelling in the Tolkien-esque land, and add parts to your increasingly impressive Overiord Tower. The Tower is effectively Overlord's feedback system; a visual manifestation of your success.

Reds are re-chucking demons, impervious to ames. And the blues? Well, they're not good at anything , except hanging back and healing. You can switch between unit types, and send the appropriate troops into battle. This is where the multiplayer games will be won and kist.

A Pratchett-

inspired take on the action-RPG, with a smattering of Pikmin


to boot.

'OVERLORD MAY JUST HAVE THE REMEDY TO


XBOX 360'S POST-GEARS HANGOVER"
r fc '

r"--

Sending your minions r a killing mission a satisfying experienc

OVERLORD
P C / M U LT V O R M AT

DEVELOPER PROFILE
I Triumph Studios is a forward-thinking place. Based in an old Dutch hospital in the picturesque town

H I S TO RY
AGE OF WONDERS: SHADOW MAGIC 2003 [PC] AGE OF WONDERS II 2002 [PC] AGE OF WONDERS 1999 [PC]

I of De^, wrth walls covered in psychedelic art and concept drawings, the team's commitment to the

cause is tangible. There's even a bar in the demo room. A forward-thinking ofce if ever there was one.

As with Fable, vour level of evil affects how your Overlord looks. The

worse you are, the cooler he appears. '

viefil

i'i

ril

WA R L O R D

PIKMIN

FABLE

P R AT C H E T T

OVERLORD

* H the litle critefs nd anything of interest I


on their excursions, don't be surprised to nd "
them wearing it on their heads.

PREVIEW I SONIC AND THE SECRET RINGS I NINTENDO Wii

at this screenshot and it's almost k 4like ' Squint that bit from the original T omb Raider. T| lik Except with a hedgehog in it of course.

I Even when Sonic's racing down the

Ir a p i d so nt h eb a c ko fal o g .y o u l' n e e d Ik e e pat g ih te la s ho nh s im o v

'"3^

064 games'"

SONIC AND THE SECRET RINGS


NINTENDO Wii

DEVELOPER PROFILE
I^^^SONIC One of the most important dev teams internal in Segateams, Japan,the Sonic Team has seen turbulent times who of AMlate. Having survived Sega's internal decision to merge studio then lost top man Yuji Naka
left to explore other avenues. Still, the team continues to thrive under the leadership of Yojiro Ogawa.

H I S TO RY
P H A N TA S Y S TA R U N I V E R S E 2 0 0 6 [ M u K i f o r m a t ] SONIC THE HEDGEHOG 2006 [Xbox 360] THE RUB RABBITS 2006 [Nintendo DS]

hs not all Arabian Nights, you know;


one of the levels seen so far is set in a

WHO NEEDS FRIENDS WHEN YOU'VE GOT A PILE OF GOLDEN RINGS?


There was a time, way back at the i beginning of the Nineties, when
F O R M AT: Nintendo Wii

valley lled with extinct dinosaurs.

Sonic was quite content to be on his own.

He'd race through Green Hill Zone, grabbing rings and smashing robot enemies without
a care in the world, not worried whether he had anyone to talk to along the way.

ORIGIN: Japan PUBUSHER: Sega


DEVELOPER: S o n i c Te a m

"IF WE COULD TA K E A L L T H E

RELEASE: February
GENRE: Platform P L AY E R S : 14

CHARACTERS WHO

Unfortunately, that wasn't the case for long: Sonic Team saw t to give him 'friends', and soon the Sonic family grew from the addition of a two-tailed fox called Miles Prower (get
it?) to all manner of creatures who wanted in on the act. We should make it perfectly clear

ARENT SONIC, AND


F I R E T H E M AT T H E

SUN, WE WOULD"
doesn't take its cues from the classic tale

Sonic goes back to


basics with a semi on-

the remote left and right is also rather intuitive, although ifs fair to say that some sections where Sonic rushes through tight corridors at high speed feel more on-rails than we'd like thankfully, these parts are few and far between leaving you plenty of room to dodge obstacles
and smash into enemies with your patented (and now lock-on-based) spin attack

right now - we hate everyone but Sonic. If


we could take all the E-102s, Amy Roses,

Arabian Nights, it pretty much IS Arabian Nights-a\be\t with added Sonic. As he explores the world of the book, looking for the missing pages that have been mysteriously
stolen, the action is frenetic to say the least

rails experience that's as close to the original 2D games in 3D as you're likely to get.

Shadows and Big The Cats of this world, put them in a rocket and re them into the
sun, we would; Sonic games are meant to

be about high-speed running, gold rings and platforms, so having to hit, shoot, sh and generally do anything else is frankly rubbish. Praise the lord, then, that Sega has given
Sonic his own game again - his rst solo

- mainly because, while ifs possible to slow Sonic down and speed him up by tipping the Wii Remote forward or back as you hold it on its side, he never actually stops running. This puts much more of an emphasis on reactions when exploring levels, because you can miss
obvious shortcuts and other side paths rather

Certainly, Sonic And The Secret Rings is going to cause some consternation among Sonic fans, but given the low quality of the
recent 3D efforts, an attempt to go back to

appearance since Sonic CD in fact, and one that puts his super-sonic abilities to good use. That it's Wii exclusive is Interesting, not least because it suggests if II avoid the pitfalls the 360 game fell into, but also as it shows that Sega is keen to put Nintendo's new controls to good use. Of course, the fact that the game is a decidedly back-to-basics adventure - offering an experience that's as close to being 2D in a 3D environment as you're likely to get - could be a double-edged sword as it may also be a sign that Sega sees Wii as a
console that requires a simpler approach. Still, the experience on offer with Secret

what made Sonic great in the rst place can only be a good thing. We just hope that the whole game lives up to what
we've played so far.

than having the luxury of going back to nd


them - replayability is denitely a factor here.

Being able to guide Sonic's course by tilting

THEY'RE BAA-AACK
While the single-player is a decidedly family-free affair, we're sad to say that Sonic's
extended circle of hangers-on do make appearances elsewhere in the game

- specically in muKlplayer. With everyone from Tails, Amy and Knuckles to everyone's most hated hedgehog. Shadow, being selectable as a playable character, there's no getting away from them, but at least ifs only in the context of a variety of mini-games. Yes, mini-games - the things Nintendo insists aren't the only thing Wii can do, and yet they crop up in every game released so far. As it stands, Sega's being tight-lipped
about what will be available to play, saying only that there'll be "over 30 games in the nal version", so whether that's enough to get you excited is obviously up to you.

Rings is certainly a return to old-school form


for the blue wonder Essentially, the game

games"' 065

PREVIEW COMMAND & CONQUER 3: TIBERIUM WARS i PC/MULTIFORMAT

COMMAND & CONQUER 3:

066 games"'

COMMAND & CONQUER 3: TIBERIUM WARS


P C / n U LT I F O R M AT

Since the series emerged. Command & Conquer has been at the forefront of the RTS genre. AKhough those eariy Instalments may now have been bettered, there's no denying that ?t was the C&C games that lured in many of the fans that champion the genre today.

SERIES PROFILE

H I S TO RY
COMMAND & CONQUER: GENERALS 2003 [PC] m COMMAND & CONQUER: RENEGADE 2002 [PC] COMMAND & CONQUER: TIBERIAN SUN 1999 [PC]

W E A L L K N O W T H AT T U R T L I N G ISN'T GOING TO WORK


' Sometimes it's better when things . don't change with the times. There have been some dire remakes and sequels
over the last year, where tried-and-tested

F O R M AT:

PC, Xbox 360


ORIGIN: US PUBLISHER: Electronic Arts DEVELOPER: In-House RELEASE: TBA GENRE:

formulas that have already proven their ability to appeal have been overhauled with gameplay elements that supposedly complement today's machines - as previously mentioned, it usually doesn't
go according to plan. There are a few

Real-Time Strategy
P L AY E R S :

1 (2-8 Online)

exceptions - games like Ninja Gaiden really


showed what could be achieved when a

decent franchise is handled correctly - but


I W I
Wage war once again asTiberium
becomes even more valuable than it

generally a fresh lick of paint is all that's needed, and this is something Command & Conquer manages to prove. There was very little wrong with the C&C formula, so the fact that Tiberium Wars opts not to change gameplay from the norm too greatly should be considered a good thing. The obvious perk with this is players
who have seen anything of the series

was in the previous


Command &

Conquer tiles.

before will feel right at home. Bald bad guy


Kane is back with his nasty Brotherhood

Of Nod, while an equally cheesy acting troupe portray famously blue good guys the GDI. The nostalgia doesn't end there however; both groups have more or less the
same strengths, weaknesses, and tactical advantages as they did back in 1996. The

GDI have a huge supply of aircraft and basic


tanks that they can simply rush with once their superior communications and radar

abilities have been exploited fully, while The Brotherhood have stealth technology and
all manner of quirky vehicles with which to perform their now famous hit-and-run tactics - it's a very similar affair. What wasn't expected when we ventured

'LOVED AMONG YOUR HARDCORE PLAYERS,


BUT EQUALLY REGARDED BY THOSE WHO FIND M O R E A B S O R B I N G T I T L E S TO O D A U N T I N G "
Tiberium that now renders some 30 per cent of the planet's surface uninhabitable. Blessed

off to play the game was the revelation


of a new faction: aliens. Known to The
Brotherhood as The Visitors' and GDI as The

get excited about. The real beauty of the title is its accessibility. Like all the C&Cgames
before it, it's a casual RTS experience that is

with all sorts of hi-tech weaponry, the alien


threat/friend should make an interesting

Invaders', exactly what role these aliens will take in the story overall remains a mystery, but they are obviously after the ever-valuable

addition to the now routine proceedings


- but will they be as good as Yuri's psychic army in Red Alert 2? Probably not... Of course, there have been notable improvements in other areas, however. The visuals are superb - even at this early

I F Y O U B U I L D I T.
The development team has focused on unit combination, and it's paid off. Customisable mechs that can make use of other vehicles by rst destroying them, then reaping their turrets and abilities for extra attack power now feature, and the alien force can even attach deadly spore clouds - which also serve as the faction's standard infantry unit - can be combined with vehicles to provide extra shielding. It should help make the inevitable online battles very interesting.

widely loved among your hardcore players due to the rewards gained from mastery, but equally regarded by those who nd the more absorbing titles the genre has to offer too daunting. There are sure to be those
who consider this a negative, but the need to appeal to the casual gamer is something

stage - and all other cosmetics are of equal standard, but it's the tweaking of features
such as the control panel - which now

that's greatly underestimated by many PC developers, and it's something that EA


has done well across all its titles, on every format, for some time - it's really no

allows you to build and manage units from


anywhere on the battleeld at any time -that make Tiberium Warsar] RTS to really

surprise that Tiberium IVarsts into


the same category.

games'" 067

WORDS

.A L E X A N D E RG A M B O T T O B -U R K E
a book, that would be cut things

'Vv'':

game it's this huge mo otheiwise

r T b w r 'u n W d n g o fg a m e sr u n s
^h his dad - and favounte skfc:

Utowhatseemste^ it ends up feeling rea/ lo a ^ j^st


important in an _ you have to compact

don't want to sit arou . ^ou have to give a

information: m one ine ^ ^ character histoiY ,

. programming and wttog- Full Throttle's

hint about a P^' ^ ,5 part of the skil.'

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bizarre level design a games.

a n d t e lfavouri o ik e . G ^ ^ ^ B t ;deogame characters Hi sa te tig pJ for vi


h s it o r c ia . lP a r to ft h er e a s o n ^
b e o fr eh teg a m e ^Y o un
are so genenc, he characters

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h a v e a r p a s e tr ^ a a Y o u ^ e ^ ,^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ Or at least he used to. obsessive-

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compulsiv&disorder t an standard of

r e a V l w e , la n dt h a tn iv o W e s ^
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were their lives ^^gually never entirely

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Chinese cafe front for he 3,3^5. "People


last facet of the now whereas in

value real composers ^ ^jomg everything; one by one, peo^e ^^^g, they go
by dedicated craftspeop ^

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r e s t .A n dt h a tc o o lu r se vr N r t

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gcope, to which he coyly ^gn't

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In Moptey Island aft y .,^g their

070 sanies'"

Ever wondered why Schafer left the Wookie Factory (his term) and formed DoubleFine? Let him explain
"I formed DoubleFine in 2000 because on Grim

force

Fandango I felt we had a team that was like a I'rttle company. We wanted to control things like how we treated the employees, and really we just wanted to be on our own. The time was right. LucasArts was changing and going in a different direction, and a lot of people I'd worked with, like Ron Gilbert and Dave Grossman, were leaving LucasArts was also entering sort of a dark period... but I think they're on the up now."

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W.w.^'^l Learning R,p^ ,._A

1 VIIE DON'T ^ need


I

FUNDAMENTAL TO THE
I success of any company
or industry is the ability to

to fall into that latter category, a feeling echoed by ESA president


Doug Lowenstein. "Everywhere we turn we hear more about visionary

and simpler to facilitate learning


- thafs often what schools do - but

NO thought
COHTROL
MaK9

no, designers keep making the games longer and more challenging, and still
manage to get them learned.

change. Advancements in
technology, production and public

perception demand that, in any


marlcetplace, you move or you die. Evolving practices benets both

people recognising how games can help train rst responders, how they can help prepare surgeons, how they can help kids manage pain, how they can help prepare air trafc
controllers," he observes. "Does it make any sense to you that we can acknowledge all of this, but we

ONE GOOD WAY to make peopte _ look stupid," Gee continues, "is to
ask them to learn and think in terms

the consumer and the producer, increasing quality and efciency while usually lowering costs - in this way
capitalism can be a force for the better.

of words and abstractions that they


cannot connect in any useful way... Imagine a textbook that contained all the facts and rules about basketball

ARDEN; THE WORLD OF SHAKESPEARE


Produced with a $240,000 grant from the MacArthur Foundation, Edward
Castronova's Arden is an MIVlOG that

However, in this country at least, education remains a public service, and while that is unquestionably a
good thing, it has resulted in our

can't acknowledge that games can


help kids learn about the American

read by students who never played


or watched the game. How well do you think they would understand this textbook? How motivated to

Revolution, the Middle Ages, that


they can help kids learn about

school system - along with the vast


majority of those in the Western world - remaining essentially the same for

biology, physics or economics?" James Paul Gee, professor of reading at the University Of Wisconsin
. and author of the book What Video Games Have To Teach Us About

understand it do you think they would be? But we do this sort of thing all
the time in school areas like maths

the best part of a century.


The established method is 'tell and test', also known as 'skill and drill', where students read from a

aims to give participants an education ^


in the plays o< Shal(espeare. The game will take place in England around the time of Richard III - a time of great political upheaval and intrigue, and it.,

and science. We even have politicians


and educators who condemn .

textbook before answering questions and completing exercises based


on what they can remember. At

also the subject of a Shakespeare


play. Players will need to collect

Learning And Literacy, became a strong advocate for the increased use of ICT in the classroom after seeing his infant son playing Pikmin. "When 1 played the game," Gee recalls, "I was quite surprised to nd out it was fairly long and pretty challenging, even for an adult Yet a four year old
was willing to put in his time and face

doing maths and science instead of . 'skilling and drilling' on the facts." Videogames create what is known as a psychological moratorium - a learning environment free from realworld consequences, where you can move at your own pace, to a specied difculty, and reap great rewards for relatively little risk of failure. Asking
children to read abstract facts then

its origin this was almost the most Shakespeare's words to make progress, I, . efcient system available, but as trading the text for magical powers. . technology has progressed and Castronova comments: "We have a ; . Information and Communication somewhat different goal than that of \ .. Technology (ICT) becomes a the commercial sector. We'd like our feature in every classroom, more players to learn something valuable, so and more dissenting voices are that's why it's about Shakespeare." . making themselves heard. The .. Summit On Educational Games,

this challenge, and enjoy it to boot 1 thought, "Wouldn't it be great if kids were willing to put in this much time on task on such challenging material in school?'" Trying his hand at 'adulf games like Deus Ex, Gee found himself stumped. "This game," he remembers, "required the player to team and think in ways that I'm not adept. Suddenly, all of my baby-boomer ways of learning and thinking, for which 1 had
received ample rewards, didn't work..,

answer questions on them will only discourage them from engaging with the subject. Rather than learning through discovery and experience,
most lessons are tantamount to comprehension tests, where the lines

UNCHARTED
DEPTHS
In the words of Filament Games, the project's creator: "Uncharted Depths is a game about scientic reasoning and literacy. By integrating the teacher in a capacity akin to a Dungeon Master in role-playing games, the game aims
to turn the classroom into a miniature

.which was recently held in America


between representatives from the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) and the National

Science Foundation (NFSL presented data suggesting that students remetnber just 10% of what they read; 20% of what they hear; 30% if they learn with visual aids; 50% if _
they witness a demonstration; but

between right and wrong or pass and fail are dispiritingly denite. Gee sets out three goals for
good learning in videogames; rst

I soon discovered that good games sell millions of copies. So here we have something that is long, hard and chaltenging. However, you cannot play a .game if you can't leam it. If notxxly plays, it doesn't sell, and the company that made it goes broke. Designers could keep making games shorter

is the creation of a psychological


moratorium; the second is that the virtual world must be coherent

scientic community. In the game,

players are sent to an alien planet to

unlock the scientic mysteries of a vast, \ unexplored ocean. A complex ecology 1


awaits exploration, and players must

nearly 90% if they actually do the task


. themselves. The freedom that comes

and compelling, thereby provoking the desire to explore; last is the 'amplication of input' - where the game rewards the learner constantly,^
repaying any effort made and

with computer simulation could allow


a much larger chunk of education

076 games-

5titk'- - L

ry>^^9e t 9^ therv>
. reminding them that there are greater rewards ahead. Nearly every successful videogame will have these elements in place, and encourages a method
of learning common among experts in science, maths, law and medicine

Adults are getting used to the fact that they are immigrants in many a domain
where their own children are natives. The domain in which people claim to know and understand things as

WE oqtt'T
^lay videogames
percentage
of 11-15

- 'reective practice'. Gamers will,


almost unconsciously, probe the virtual

'everyday' people and not specialists


is shrinking," Adults are quick to

bemoan falling standards of literacy,


but this is only the literacy they are familiar with. They are just as snappy to complain about exams getting

world, form a hypothesis, test it, and


re-evaluate their idea based on the

result. Gee explains; "It is how children learn, even very young children, when they aren't learning at school. It is how children initially build their minds and learn cultures as they develop early in
life. In other words, [reective practice! is central to learning when learning

easier, but rising marks are indicative only of the efciency of schools to equip students with little more than the
ability to pass tests. "The argument

p e r c e n a tg eo f6 1 0y e a ro d lsh ta t
plav videogames

is not that what people are learning


when they play videogames is always

is essential to surviving and thriving in the world. Good videogames offer players ample opportunity to practice their skills, and they also build in many opportunities for learners to operate at the edge of their regime of competence, causing them to rethink
and move to a new level. Sadly, in

good," Gee states, "but what they do


when they play is often good learning.

It is a plea to build schooling on better principles of learning. If we have to learn this from videogames and not from a eld with as boring a name as 'cognitive science', then so be it 1 know that many people will nd this idea absurd... Unfortunately, if human learning works best in a certain way, it isn't going to work in another way just because educators, policymakers and
politicians want it to." THE DEBATE OVER the use of

I Vwc l a s s r o o m sm1 9 9 7 , n o in sf o r e c a s t e dt ob es p e n to n
ICT in 2007

m i n i o ns p e n to nI C Tf o r

Adesktop computers per primary ^1 school mtiie UK

school many so-called advantaged learners rarely get to operate at the edge of their abilities as they coast along in a curriculum that makes few
real demands of them. At the same time, less advantaged learners are

2 f ^ school in the UK

^^p e r c e n t a g eo T u Ks c h o o s lt h a t

^0 0h a v ea c c e s so tc o m p u e tr s
education

repeatedly asked to operate outside of their regime of competence," With a videogame as the learning tool, each
member of the class would be able to customise the experience to best

c o m p u t e r sp e rc h d l in ip r m ia r y
computers per
education

videogames as educational tools has intensied in the last year, with the UScentric Summit On Educational Games,

child in secondary

and a separate report, commissioned by ELSPA for the UK, titled 'Unlimited Learning'. It is heartening to note that both reports adopt a positive
stance from the very rst page - not

suit their abilities, nobody would be neglected, and the method would feel
more natural than anything 'tell and test' could hope to offer, In the modern, media-sawy world,

3.6

0 ^ A p e percentage rceiiiaa - -

of schools with

3^9 internet access

the sanctity of the bock as a tool for learning must be questioned. Never before have so many diverse forms of
communication been at our ngertips,

discussing whether games are effective in learning as much as how effective. Both accept that the use of games
would necessitate an overhaul of the

100

"

entire educational system, from the length of lessons to the role of the
teacher, but the benets are obvious

and yet we continue with an archaic system of education. "Today, images, symbols, graphs, diagrams and
other visual symbols are particularly

and too great to overlook. Speaking to ELSPA, Professor Stephen Heppell


claimed that, "To succeed in even

signicant," explains Gee. "In newspapers and magazines as well as in textbooks, images take up more and more of the space alongside words. Literacy, then, even as traditionally conceived to involve only print, is not a unitary thing but a multiple matter...

the simplest platform game, children


have to lock their problem-solving

to a tight cycle of observe, question, hypothesise, test. Curiously, this exactly


matches the scientic method that

education has been trying to embed

games- 077

propose research agendas and acquire funding to gain access to new, exciting
tools, wliich in turn allow them to delve

Sen
HARNING

deeper into the system and story of the alien ecosystem."

on.-'
requires is government funding as the commercial games industry, the Summit suggested, would be unlikely to make the rst move. The report
states; "There is little incentive to induce the private sector to invest in

GLOBAL

. In young scientist^since the birth of


. science" - a sentitnent echoed.by Henry Kelly, president of the FAS,
^_who claimed that the demands of

COUNTDOWM
Funded by Telenor, Norway's main communications provider. Global Countdown is a technology-based role-playing game for use in highschool classrooms. The game is played in four teams, each representing the north, south, east and west regions of the country, and each with its own hierarchical structure, ie President,
advisors, and so on. The teams

explained: "What we really need is knowledge convergence, where. two skill sets are put together. Game designers understand keeping an audience engaged and how to deliver
critical information for mission

Jc n o d e r ne m p o ly e r sc a no n y lb em e t _ by increasing the use of videogames


in the classroom. The Summit.

concluded that "Videogames can _ teach high-order thinl<ing skills, such as strategic thinking, interpretive
analysis, problem solving, plan

the needed research and development, Like any industry where the costs are rising and prices are stable, the game industry has become more selective in choosing the types of games they would develop and market... Classroom materials that support use of commercial, off-the-shelf computer
and videogames for education

objectives. Educators are losing their


audience to entertainment media,

but they understand the principles of learning that game designers don't. Both are necessary." By dedicating even the smallest team to developing
educational software, commercial game companies could open up a revenue stream that is Jow in cost

formulation and adaptation to rapid change. Today's students, who have grown up with digital technology and videogames are especially poised
to take advantage of the features of

interact in a story surrounding a research ship in the North Sea, with an overall goal to save the planet from a nuclear disaster through
e ff e c t i v e c o m m u n i c a t i o n w i t h t h e

educational games." OF ALL THE threats to the adoption of videogames for learning, it is still the stigma that surrounds the medium
that will be hardest to deal with. No

" MaxirY^Wir>g y+te pofsrsft^

other teams. The game is relevant to several curriculum staples - history, geography, science and media studies.

cdHabw^fvOirs befweeTN
and training purposes should be
developed. This should include

Ouf\noir'if'iss Or\d cormwcWaj 'a\dustry "


and effort, but with a market worth almost $8 billion worldwide. Indeed,

SCIENCE
As an educational game about city planning, Urban Science owes a debt to SimCity. Players receive a project from the mayor - for example, the detailed redesign of a local pedestrian

teacher will want to incorporate a tool that virtually guarantees that their job will be made harder by concerned parents. The furore surrounding Canis Canem Edit proved beyond all doubt that the wider public's negative view of videogames is, if anything, becoming even more pronounced. - Fortunately, neither report seems preoccupied with this, conceding that . educators and parents would need to , be instruaed on the benets of using
. games, but would not necessarily be ^ able to block an initiative.

developing a learning component on top of entertainment games." Many schools already use games like
SimCity, Civilization and Roilercoaster

Lanning sees education becoming a


graveyard for redundant commercial

gaming properties, where specially


developed console titles are lent to students like textbooks. "We spend millions of dollars

Tycoon to teach subjects as diverse as maths, science, geography, languages and history, though many teachers have expressed concerns over adopting anything not specically designed to educate. rr WAS ROUNDLY agreed, however, that for engaging games that maximised the potential for learning to be made, it would take unprecedented collaboration
between the education authorities

mall. They then receive a budget plan,


along with a number of letters from concerned citizens over the possible effects of the project, whether it be on crime, employment, waste, trafc or house prices. Like a professional cityplanner, players must make important choices in an attempt to deliver the most effective and equitable solution.

on game engines," Lanning claims, "and if the game isn't a hit we typically just throw it out maybe try to salvage a few pieces of code
and algorithms. These are massive

The larger problem is a simple one - that of money. Educational


. games are still largely untested, and

development budgets and powerful pieces of software. The secondary market potential is, in my opinion, huge, and could probably get bargain rates from game publishers and
developers to buy that software and

. with school budgets already tight , convincing head teachers to spend


on software over textbooks will

and the commercial industry. Lome Lanning, of Oddworld Inhabitants,

be difcult What the programme

adapt it to applications that would


teach people how to lead, read, how

ioV^ rS'to do physics, how to learn maths, things of


that nature... The videogane console is the

above, but with an emnho * "'entioned a business. ^'a^ing and running 'NSTlTUriOW:
^ w v. s A g . g f ) / /

p r o f e s s o in a s l.T h eE n t e r p r s iet " lc 7 course teaclies manv nt. "'^'""PWer Games

highest powered, highest durability, lowest


maintenance super computer in the world

'wsTirurioN.

today. You don't need a tech-op. You just put


in the disk and it works. 50 to 100 million of

these are going to wind up in a landll in


the next few years. My belief is that they're

perfect for the classrooms."


As Lanning describes, the next-generation

presents a unique opportunity for access to


an abundance of redundant hardware and

game engines that are relatively cheap and easy to develop for. With broadband now more or less ubiquitous and downloadable game services beginning to take root, there are great opportunities for creating episodic gaming content that could be updated
each term. Given that the UK already has one of the world's most forward thinking

policies on videogames in education, and


the market success of commercial releases like Dr Kawashima's Brain Training and 7a//c Man has proved that there is money to be

for their companies. " recruit

G ^ n 'e e A r t . C o p e tn ? f o r m rs a l u m n im o f t e n r e t u r nt o t T '? ,

accreditation from Skillset ri^ the only college in the count currently Skillset ticks for both Ani^,' ""o

s u c c e s sn i n d n i gg r a d u a L T w ^ " ? n 'd u s t r yr e s u t l e dn iG a lm o r g a nr e

associated vvith ^ "-any areas M a p p n i go rI KR S ig T r ^ '^ ^ established for over ten! """" "e"

programmi n g' " L^g""" and Computer Ani m ati o n "'San sSame Animation

depaftment that covers production and design Of m ''vanf to game

^ t 'h Q a n t mC o e lg e iA u 7 27 . "

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t O o s ep u r s u n i gac a r e e ri1 1 '

a sg a m ed e s g in e r s ,a r t w o r k e r s o lr " "
even writers. Programmers and

a r ed e s i g n e dt op r e ps t u d e n t / f " " '^ ''

to work on larger nroiert^ II opportunity

" C.VSn Programn^ng wrthL!r " '^

'NSTirOTIOM

I1STITUTI0N

made, the pertinent question isn't so much


'if we'll have games in the classroom, as

'when'. You may feel, however, that none of this applies to you. That you're out of school and it's none of your business. Well, think on this: videogames in classrooms would be a government-stamped validation of every second you spent levelling up or mastering your aim while parents and peers sneered before vegetating before the Eastenders
omnibus. If the industry is looking

alern to the games and In student


providing an after-service 0

p r o v d i et r a n in i gf o r3 Da n d3 D level of support runs fm ^ software, but the and hardware they use to ""e software

f i g i f a ic r e M , J " E s 7 a p l T t u ^ ^" 's W u t i o n st o ""ere students a "b e n e tn ie g u 7 m e a" 3X ? /

with postoraduatP . "ames Design

A-" Visualisation, and CoT'' - ' '""""9

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" a k n gu ph tem a o jy t r io fh te n a lJ a r '


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o lo k sa tt h ee n t r ie p r o d u c t o i no r ^ ^ ' a d v a n c e d3 Da n m ia t o i nw t ih a nn iT V " ^ '" " " 8 '

<n the rst year. The next iwn Physics

design, basic modelling oamp "" '''el

t h e o r e t i c a ls i d eo fp r o d u c t " * ^ " " ^

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for a way to legitimise its image, * there may be no better way to do it.

studio's first dedicated "

opportunities for graduates Nb''T '""'""enf


institution.

aspects of Maya with dirpr, industry partners. ""e studio's

C o m p r e h e n s v ieF o rG a m e T w U " ; '. " '

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artificial intelligence. ' *Ploring

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le nayers
KIEV-BASED GSC MADE fTS MARK WITH THE COSSACKS AND HEROES OF

ANNIHILATED EMPIRES SERIES. ITS LATEST GAME, STALKER. SHADOW OF CHERNOBYU HAS HAD ONE OF THE MOST PROTBACTtD DEVELOPMENT TIMES IN HISTORY. WE SPOKE TO THE PROJECT lAD. AINTTON BOLSHAKOV

GSC GAME WORLD

ANTON BOLSHAKOV
T h e exists r e s 'n o and wis aalmost m o u n t complete: a n io ft a n g the b ie l backing p r o o ft h a of tt a i
major publishing company, hundreds of screenshots and

On a global level, the A-Life controls the relations between Stalker factions, the monster population, one faction attacking another, the monster population migrating and conicting with Stalker groups. In total, the
game controls over a thousand monsters and characters." Indeed, the demonstration of A-Life that we were shown

videos, and the word of the tens of journalists - including us - who've played it. But it wasn't so long ago that rumours were beginning to circulate that S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Shadow Of Chernobyl was nothing more than an urban myth, a concept never realised, or vaporware, much lil<e Duke Nukem Forever. The numerous slippages from its intended 2003 release to Q1 '07 and long silence from the GSC camp can be blamed for fuelling these rumours, but at last there seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel. The Stall<er Team project lead, Anton Bolshal(ov, doesn't appear to possess the tough and assertive exterior of your typical Ukrainian, but he spoke condently of S.T.A.LK.E.R., the Stalker Team's work and the development of the game from its initial concept. "The original idea was to make a totally randomised game," he begins, "but it took us time to realise that this was just impossible to do. So there were two options: either make a totally scripted game, or still try to preserve this life simulation, and we actually found a solution to combine the two elements in the right way to wori( with each other and in an interesting way" The November 2001 announcement describing S.TA.LK.ER as a free-roaming, unscripted FPS based in the 30km exclusion zone sun-ounding the remains of Chernobyl's
Reactor Four was met with much excitement. But when the

was impressive, but S.T.A.LK.E.R. is being released at the same time as the Half-Life 2: Episode 2 and Portal bundle, so we asked Bolshakov whether he thought that smart terrain and A-Life were enough of a feature to compete with Valve's apogee series and the ingenious Portal which has had the gaming community bouncing off the walls of late. "Basically, yes, we really count on this as the key feature and interesting element. But on top of that there
are other features: RPG elements, communication and up to eight different endings as far as I remember. So

depending on how you play, you will reach a different ending - it's a pretty open-ended game." The subject turned to GSC's relationship with THQ and its importance to the developer's survival. "The times when development here cost, well, very cheap have now gone, and our budget for development is now comparable with European and American development budgets," he informs us. "So, for any developer, of course it's very important for them to have a big and well-established
partner like THQ to work with."

Some carefully chosen words no doubt, especially considering Bolshakov was under the watchful eye of Guy Cunis, THQ's global PR manager at the time. When asked how it felt when THQ got more involved with hands-on production, Bolshakov deftly avoided the question with a Blair-esque response, "Well, all the developers are dreamers by default, so having our publishers look and do the same helps a lot to speed things up, to move property along the schedule and development, and it's important to have this co-operation, especially for S.T.A.L.K.E.R. [laughs]." A note of resentment, periiaps? Creativity being stied by the money men is a story played out in every development studio the worid over, and we usually advocate the art, but S.T.A.L.K.E.R.'s been in development for more than six years now. We reckon THQ can be justied in pulling the purse strings and putting its foot dowm this time.
S.TALK.E.R. Shactow Of Chernobyl was previewed in issue 51 and is
due for release in Q1 '07.

game slipped to 2003, that anticipation began to wane, and the release of Half-Life 2 saw its thunder stolen. The hype machine is denitely back in action though, and once again there's a buzz sun^unding S.TA.L.K.E.R. Bolshakov explained one of the highlights, an Al module called A-Life: "I'd like to introduce you to the concept of the A-Life Life Simulation System, as we call it," he explains. "This is a unique feature of our game. This is the Al module that controls the entire life within the entire game, including individual Stalkers and the entire monster life within this zone. So we're talking about details of how this works with respect to individual creatures within the zone. When speaking about Stalkers,
the life simulation would onder and take care of them to

lead their normal lives, like going around collecting artefacts, going on missions, communicating with each other, taking food and taking rest. This would also be the cycle of life for monsters: they would take rest, go hunting, eat dead bodies
and whatever monsters would need to do.

080 games'''

1" T H ET I M E SW H E ND E V E L O P M E N TH E R E
COSTS, WELL, VERY CHEAP HAVE NOW GONE,

/ ' AND OUR BUDGET FOR DEVELOPMENT IS


AMERICAN DEVELOPMENT BUDGETS"
ANTON BOLSHAKOV

i NOW COMPARABLE WITH EUROPEAN AND

games"' 081

Subscribe and
IKI i-.

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EDSTSL AM)

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INTRODUCTION REVIEWS

REVIEWS
Lost Planet Extreme Condition 360
T r a u m a C e n t e r.

86 90 91 92 94 95 96 98 99 100 102

Second Opinion Wii Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney


-Justice For All DS Viva Piiiata 360

Call Of Duty 3 Multi


Medal Of Honor Heroes PSP Resistance: Fall Of Man PS3

Neverwinter Nights 2 PC
Sonic Rivals PSP Thrillville Multi Touch Detective DS Mobile Suit Gundam: Crossre PS3 Yoshi's Island DS DS

103 106 108 109 110 112 113 114 115 116 116

Rayman Raving Rabbids Wii


Ridge Racer 7 PS3
Dead Or Alive: Xtreme 2 360 WarioWare: Smooth Moves Wii Sid Meier's Railroads! PC

Tony Hawk's Downhill Jam Multi

Elite Beat Agents DS


StarWars; Lethal Alliance PSP
RafaNadal Tennis DS

REFERENCE KIT
All the PC content for the magazine is tested on the iiber-specced Alienware Area-51 7500 extreme performance desktop PC. For information on Alienware products, point your
browsers to www.alienware.ca.uk or call them freephone on 0800 279 9751.

A U E N W A R E f

084 sanies'"

REVIEW 1 LOST PLANET ; EXTREME CONDITION I XBOX 360

L O S T P L A N E T: EXTREME CONDITION
CAPCOM WELCOMES US IN FROM THE COLD
pplauding Capcom has become a frequent gesture around these
parts - almost to the point where

a console to date, it seems all too worthy of the praise that was awarded prematurely.

ifs become a little predictable. The company has had its fair share of low points, but it has to be said that when a good Capcom game is made, it's made exceptionally well. And here we
have Lost Planet: Extreme Condition to raise the

D- seems a moot point at this time. With many


developers pushing new hardware as far as they're capable, and barely formed boundaries being crossed with each new title that arrives, it takes a far wider gaze to see where the commendable
quality lies. Lost Planet exce\s in the creation of

Celebrating visuals - no matter how stunning

[FORMAT REVIEWED 1
Xbox 360

[ORIGIN
Japan
PUBUSHER

"

Capcom

Japanese publisher's already soaring prole. Again, this is predictable. The hype that has surrounded Lost Planet for the last year or so has been immense to the point where - in an overly familiar fashion - there was no real way the game could ever deliver all that was hoped of it. At E3 this year, when speaking to Lost Planet's
producer Jun Takeuchi, it was made clear that

atmosphere and emotion - an area that, Takeuchi


was keen to point out, has seen a lot of the team's

Ideveloper"
In-House

focus. The awkwardly named protagonist, Wayne,


is a character with limited memory and a selection of possibly deceitful companions - it's a bleak but well represented situation. Being stranded in an
uninhabitable, barren world where even the most

i PRICE
49.99

I RELEASE 12 January I P L AY E R S 1 <2-16 Online)

pressure was building, and when points were raised about the stunning visuals on show in the game, he felt obliged to point out that Gears Of War was currently a better looking game - an attempt to quell the rising hype? Perhaps, but modesty isn't really well placed in this instance as Lost Planet does indeed look gorgeous. Crisp whiteness doesn't offer a huge potential for aunting visuals, but when the environment delivers regardless and is punctuated with

basic of missions are carried out alone, creates


levels of panic and solitude that aid the deliverance

of the exact experience needed to make this form of title appealing. Not an easy task when you nd that, at the game's core, ifs actually regressing to a
far earlier time.

"THE ENVIRONMENT IS PUNCTUATED WITH THE MOST DAZZLING EXPLOSIONS SEEN


ON A CONSOLE TO DATE"

Ifs useful that Wayne is sbting enough to lug around VR weapons with ease.

arguably the most dazzling explosions seen on

Ya c i

REVIEW I LOST PLANET : EXTREME CONDITION | XBOX 360

LOST PLANET: EXTREME CONOmON


CAPCOM WELCOMES US IN FROM THE COLD
pplauding Capcom has become a frequent gesture around these parts - almost to the point where ifs become a little predictable. The company has had its fair share of low points, but a console to date, it seems all too worthy of the praise that was awarded prematurely.

[H- seems a moot point at this time. With many


developers pushing new hardware as far as they're
capable, and barely formed boundaries being crossed with each new title that arrives, it takes a far wider gaze to see where the commendable
quality lies, Lost Planet exce\s in the creation of

Celebrating visuals - no matter how stunning

it has to be said that when a good Capcom game


1 FORMAT REVIEWED
Xbox 360

is made, it's made exceptionally well. And here we


have Lost Planet: Extreme Condition to raise the

i ORIGIN Japan
PUBUSHER

Capcom
DEVELOPER In-House

Japanese publisher's already soaring prole. Again, this is predictable. The hype that has surrounded Lost Planet iot the last year or so has been immense to the point where - in an

atmosphere and emotion - an area that, Takeuchi


was keen to point out, has seen a lot of the team's

overly familiar fashion - there was no real way


the game could ever deliver all that was hoped of it. At E3 this year, when speaking to Lost Planet's
producer Jun Takeuchi, it was made clear that

focus. The awkwardly named protagonist, Wayne,


is a character with limited memory and a selection of possibly deceitful companions - it's a bleak but well represented situation. Being stranded in an
uninhabitable, barren world where even the most

fPRICE
49.99

[RELEASE
12 January ! PLAYERS 1 {2-16 Online)

pressure was building, and when points were raised about the stunning visuals on show in the game, he felt obliged to point out that Gears Of War was currently a better looking game - an attempt to quell the rising hype? Perhaps, but modesty isn't really well placed in this instance as Lost Planet does indeed look gorgeous. Crisp whiteness doesn't offer a huge potential for aunting visuals, but when the environment delivers regardless and is punctuated with

basic of missions are carried out alone, creates levels of panic and solitude that aid the deliverance of the exact experience needed to make this form of title appealing. Not an easy task when you nd that, at the game's core, it's actually regressing to a
far earlier time.

"THE ENVIRONMENT IS PUNCTUATED WITH THE MOST DAZZLING EXPLOSIONS SEEN


ON A CONSOLE TO DATE"

Ifs useful that Wayne is


strong enough to tug around VR

arguably the most dazzling explosions seen on

SUITS YOU
VR suits play a huge role in Lost Planet, and there are plenty of variously attributed VRs dotted throughout the game. Each suit has Its own unique ability such as jumping, hovering, or transforming into a laser-ring drill tank, but neariy all can be customised with whichever weapons you nd lying around the levels. Ifs this element that adds meat to the gameplay as setting out to face a boss with the wrong weapons attached could cost you a fair amount of play time. You don't need a VR to take advantage of these weapons, however, Wayne is mighty strong and can lug a single VR weapon around with him on foot.

HSH'I

5b '

The explosions in lostP/anetare certaintv some of the greatest we've ever seen in a videogame.

I Tliese enemies here are actually exactly the same as the rst boss - yes. that's how hard the game becomes.

I This is just one of rr

>us moments that the game has

I Big horribly angry womts diat try to eat you are a ccmimon problem

I The ever-persistant Snow Pirates may not be all that bright hut they're
certainly numerous.

to offer those blessed with the sense of sight

when trying to traipse across snowy plains - for some reason.

For all the fancy cosmetics necessary for an


Xbox 360 title to be considered as such, the actual

gameplay featured in Lost Planet \s extraordinarily primitive. It's not the rst time that a bacl<-to-basics approach has proven successful for Capcom. The cheers that greeted Viewtiful Joe and its return to two-dimensional brawling were unexpected, but it was a relief to see that gameplay of a high standard could be delivered using such a
worn formula - the same is true for Lost Planet.

simply no need. Sublime environments provide suitable topography at every turn, but these structures seem in place only to build upon the atmosphere and believability of your surroundings rather than any kind of tactical leverage. Snow Pirates and Nevec Forces - your only
Q . W H AT ' S T H E M A I N BAD GUY LIKE? We're not allowed to

Dhumanoid foes - aren't equipped with stunning


Al; most will stand in line while you take out

say, but the second in


command looks a lot like Jester from DMC3. Q . W H AT ' S T H E BEST BOSS?

Thoughts of anking and cover usage couldn't be


further from the mind while playing this; there's

their comrades with superior weaponry. A single soldier will happily take you and your sizable VR suit on without ever standing a chance of victory,
and in most cases it's the sheer number of bullet-

Again, we've been sworn to secrecy when it comes


to all the best ones. Rest

absorbing foes that leads to progression troubles. In near every instance, it's a case of keeping yourself stocked with enough ammo for the right weapons, and knowing exactly when to retreat. Really, the most threatening enemy the game has to offer is the passing of time itself. With each

assured, there are some great baddies in there.


Q. IS IT JUST SNOW? Not at all. There are

W H AT

Wayne

plenty of caverns and a


bit of volcano action to

mix it up.

games'*' 087

REVIEW I LOST PLANET : EXTREME CONDITION i XBOX 360


"CAPCOM HAS A HABIT OF CREATING TITLES THAT MAY CEASE TO APPEAL AFTER THE SECOND LARGE BOSS

HAS TRUMPED YOU FOR A SEVENTH TIME. REALLY,


THIS DIFFICULTY IS NECESSARY TO MAINTAIN APPEAL"

THE BEST BITS IN THE GAME AND WHEN YOU CAN EXPECT TO SEE THEM

O You've probably
reached the end of

the reasonably short


rst level and have

Im s is n ign ilk
SnI this title
second that rolls by, your thermal energy level drops. This needs to be replenished constantly as any damage taken, any VR piloted, and even some weapons drain this valuable supply further. Enemies drop pools of the energy when defeated, and supply tanks and top-up points (that also allow you access to a map of the area via your PDA) are scattered throughout each level, but this simple element effectively makes
each mission a form of time trial with the full

Big machines with hig guns - everyone should own a VR suit

been trounced by the boss a couple of times already. Curse yoa Capcom.

you continuously until the pattern and correct weapon requirement is fully learned and understood. Lost Planet is a game that's waded though rather than skimmed over, and this
is where it may suffer at the hands of those

O The story is beginning to unravel bit by bit, and by now you have probably fought
some of the most

unwilling to persist. So, as you may have come to realise by now,

vti'

impressive insects you've ever seen.

Cthis is a fairly difcult game. Capcom has a


habit of creating titles that may cease to appeal after the second large boss has trumped you
for a seventh time - take Viewtiful Joe and Devil

0 If you're persistent you'll probably be preparing to face the nal boss by this point. Now to go through (ton the harder difculty setting...

loss of thermal energy seeing your life bar drain and your ability to take advantage of the frankly essential VR suits removed. This is yet another feature that adds to the panic and intensity of the game - and certainly another example of tough love from Capcom.
At the end of each of the hectic missions await colossal bosses - which alternate

May Cry to name but two examples of such frustration - but at least frequent checkpoints feature in Lost Planet, minimising mission
repetition to when you want to head back to nd

hidden items and achieve greater ranks. Really, this difculty is necessary to maintain appeal. Without an adequate challenge, the entire game would become merely a case of running through unchallenging levels, and the cries complaining of high difculty would soon be replaced by

between giant, insectoid Akrid threat and VRsuit-covered war veteran - that will overpower
I Ifs not all snow and ice, there are plenty of re-based environments on offer also - well, once you reach the volcano stages, that is.

We have no idea why little men would tiy to ght such a huge piece of gun-wielding metal. You just wouldn't would you?

BUG BOY
The Akrid are a nasty bunch of insects that vary in size, shape and general vidousness, but each one - no matter how colossal, how much ice it can spit

at you, or how many boulders it can drop - has its


own weak spot. Fortunately for you, the weak spot is always coloured bright yellow, just so you cant miss it, and will usually drop precious thennal energy when struck hard enough. Be warned though, this fact doesnt make them that easy to kill, you're still in for a very rough tide.

nnti ??

I Tlie problem witii these transforming tanks Is deciding wtiether to be a


tank or hovering spider-mobile. Spider It is, then. Once you master the controlls

complaints of inadequate content. So this is where


Lost Planet's main downfall lies: it's a hyped 360 title that's turned out to be nowhere near as casual as it should be in order to achieve the mass appeal

well-established favourites by the time the game nally launches. It all comes down to the fact that Lost Planet lacks westernisation - something that we are very

CHROMEHOUNDS

of the various VR suits, Lost Plata becomes a far simpler game.

of, say, Gears Of War. Mind you, we'd be willing to bet that at no point was this what Capcom
Intended anyway.

The multlplayer that has been added is a


welcome touch, and is bound to lure in a few

happy about. Capcom's previous efforts to appeal specically in this territory haven't ended well in any instance, and Lost Planet delivers exactly what you'd expect of a quality Capcom title - a challenging, atmospheric, well thought out
videogame experience.

BETTER

THAN

WORSE

THAN

more fans of Capcom's second original IP of the year, but no matter how well it's worked in the demos that have recently been made available over Live, you can't help but feel it's going to get lost among the charms of Gears Of \Nar
and Rainbow S/xthat will both undoubtedly be

verdict8/jjq
CAPCOM DELIVERS YET AGAIN

G E A R S O F WA R

games"' 089

REVIEW I TRAUMA CENTER: SECOND OPINION I NINTENDO Wii

I The usually simple task of saving a life with various injections is


made more difcult by the Remote. jigsaw. It's predictable yet enjoyable.

TRAUMA CENTER: SECOND OPINION


NURSE, COULD YOU REMOVE THE SCREENS P L E A S E "
he beauty of the Wii and its Remote

rating, while syringes need only be in the general


area of infected tissue to be effective. It seems a

is that all those DS games that have become so popular can be easily dragged from their original
format to this new one. Trauma Center: Second

little cheap that it's been addressed in this manner


at times, but with few other routes available it's

{FORMAT REVIEWED
Nintendo Wli

Opinion Is such a title. While it never enjoyed the commercial success of Brain Training and Nintendogs, Under The Knife was a ne example of the DS being used to its fullest, and despite the superbly subtitled Second Opinion being the
same game with a visual overhaul and a small

acceptable, and a tweak of the difculty level can 'x' the problem if it truly offends. The other means the game uses to keep up the speed of operations is the use of the
Nunchukto select instruments. It's now a

i ORIGIN Japan
P U 8 U S H E R Nintendo

simple case of nudging the analogue stick in a


direction to select a tool - a feature that allows

IDEVELOPER
Atlus

^tCE
39.99

batch of extra mission/operations, we were more than pleased to see the title take the leap. We're sure any player of the DS game
would agree that Under The Knife was a tough game. Once the GUILT virus had been

multitasking to become a real possibility and ultimately makes those oh-so tricky later levels a little more manageable. It's unfortunate but, despite high quality,

IRELEASE
February (Japan/US: Out Now) i P L AY E R S

properly introduced, the pace and accuracy of any player was stretched - important for what
was essentially a fairly short game - and this was always to be the test of the Wii version's

D Trauma Center: Second Opinion was outdone


by itself earlier in the year. The Wii control method, however adequate, can't live up to what was achieved with the DS game. The extra/ enhanced operations that present fresh abilities and challenges make this a must for existing fans as well as new players, but we'd still rather see a brand new Nintendo DS title - you can't help but feel that it's where this particular series belongs.

competence. Could the accuracy and speed


necessary be achieved with a somewhat

unwieldy Remote? Put simply, no, it can't - but it's


not as bleak as it sounds.

While the machine does a commendable

n job of coping, the accuracy simply isn't there


- something thafs compensated for in a number of ways. First, the margin allowed for error has swollen dramatically. Missing a 'cut-line' by a few centimetres is still capable of achieving a 'Cool'

VERDICT 7/10
FA I L S T O B E T T E R F T S E L F

TRAUMA

GEf^R;

UNDER THE KNIFE

090 games'''

REVIEW I PHOENIX WRIGHT; ACE ATTORNEY - JUSTICE FOR ALL I NINTENDO DS

EINgerprimt
Maya's role is much more cnicial this time.

Some characters push the boundaries of the absurd.

P H O E N I X W R I G H T: A C E AT T O R N E Y - J U S T I C E F O R A L L
C A P C O M ' S L AW Y E R - A D V E N T U R E TA K E S T H E S TA N D O N C E A G A I N
ore of the same. It's all that really thinking. Each mini-victory, whether in court or

'"tertexualilyabou^. pathos and

M
F O R M AT Nintendo REVIEWED DS

needs to be said about Phoenix

at the crime scene, requires careful examination of dialogue, clues and characters' behaviour
and, when solved, can lead to some of the most

Wright 2. Those four words perfectly


summarise what is essentially

a rehash of last year's cult-hit lawyer sim.


But what a rehash it is. Those who scoffed at

satisfying triumphs in gaming. In many ways the quality of Justice For All
far exceeds that of the rst Phoenix Wright. The
standard of humour is much better thanks to a

! ORIGIN
Japan
PUBUSHER

Phoenix Wright's endless text conversations and backwards-looking point-and-click mechanics will

nd nothing to love second time out, but Justice


For4//wasn't made for them; it was clearly put

pun-lled script and a courthouse full of popculture references. The quality of the localisation

Capcom
DEVELOPER In-House

together with fans of the previous game in mind. Though the return of several of the series'
core characters treads a thin line between 'lazy

is let down however, by the odd spelling mistake, which should hopefully be xed by the game's European release. A more unforgivable aw though, is that, unlike the rst game, Capcom has chosen not to add a fth DS-specic mission that
makes further use of the handheld's touch screen

[PRICE
3,554 (about 16)
RELEASE 16 March

sprite re-use' and 'gratifying cameo', the overall


effect is welcome. The narrative is focused much

(Japan: Out Now)


PLAYERS

more on the lives of Phoenix and his personal


friends rather than the individual defendants of

each separate trial. Major characters Maya and

Edgeworth both become entangled in plots that


blanket the game, making Justice For All as much a digital soap opera as it is a graphic adventure. In terms of the sleuthing itself, not much has changed. The new 'Psyche Locks' are used to make some investigative conversations play out similarly to the trials, and offer an involving

and 3D capabilities. The loss can obviously be attributed to Capcom's work on the upcoming DS-exclusive sequel, but it's a loss that still hurts
in light of the previous game's inclusion.

In spite of its aws though. Justice For All remains a compelling, fullling experience. Once again. Phoenix M/r/ghf transcends its GBA roots
to nd a natural home on DS, cementing

BETTER THAN AS GOOD AS

the handheld's reputation as the adventure gamer's console of choice in the process,

way to use evidence outside of the courtroom.


The puzzles remain as well constructed as ever,

and even though several are difcult to solve,


each one can be unravelled with a spot of lateral

LESS MEAT ON TWE BONE, BUT SOMEHOW FTS TASTIER

VERDICT 7/10

games''' 091

REVIEW I VIVA PINATA I XBOX 360

V I VA P I N ATA
RARE REDISCOVERS ITS FORM IN GRAND STYLE
n the days of the N64, Rare established a reputation as one of

because after playing you are left with nothing but admiration for the quality of Rare's nest
work in years.

Q . D O TO E P I N ATA S A L L H AV E S W E E T N A M E S ? Most of them.

the most relentlessly innovative


development studios in the

world. Banjo Kazooie, Blast Corps, Perfect Dark, GoldenEye: some of the nest games of that, or any other era were made not in Japan, but In premises near the English town of Twycross. We have no great tendency toward national pride, but when the games were of such a high standard that they surpassed even Nintendo's stellar output, it couldn't help but make you feel a small tingle of appreciation for the fact that Rare was British. In retrospect, however, it was a run of form that simply couldn't last. The games that followed were far from awful, but they came nowhere near the dizzy heights of Rare's peak. For those that have been awaiting another masterpiece. Viva Pinata held promise. The title gives away precisely nothing about the game beyond the fact that it inexplicably centres on a group of Mexican puppets, but it was precisely this ambiguously eccentric air that suggested a
return to form. However, with a television series

Buzzlegum for a bee, Mothdrop for a moth,

Essentially, this is a God game ltered through


the cutesy aesthetics of Harvest Moon and

Pretztail for a fox. Q. AND THE OTHERS?

I FORMAT REVIEWED
Xbox 360

Animal Crossing. You start with a square of ugly, overgrown land that, with the help of your eln guide Leafos, you must cultivate and expand into a beautiful haven for the various species
resident on Pinata Island. The rst two hours are

There are sour pinatas


that will attack the others or make them sick. Q . W H AT C A N I D O ABOUT IT?

I ORIGIN
U K PUBUSHER Microsoft

Kill them, or give them what they want and they'll change colour and become good.

I DEVELOPER
Rare IPRICE 49.99

spent learning the gardening principles - using a shovel to break the sun-baked topsoll, and using a seed packet to plant some grass. These tools, and various others that you will acquire
as you progress through the game, are found on a menu opened with the X-button, with the

[RELEASE
Out Now

HARVEST MOON

I PLAYERS

petals of the ower Icon in the screen's top left-hand corner informing you of each tool's
context-sensitive uses. Indeed, it takes a matter

of minutes to pick up the game's fundamental controls, but don't let that fool you: Viva PiUata is a surprisingly deep and complex experience due to the sheer volume of ways that the commands
can be applied.

of the licence on the air weeks before the game's


release date, there was a sense that Viva Pinata

might be little more than an exercise in market exploitation, resurrecting the spirit of Pol<emontor a new generation of children. Fortunately, whether or not the latter is true is entirely beside the point

Once you have enough of your plot covered with grass and soil, the rst of the pihatas, the Whirim, will be attracted to your garden. Each variety of pinata is attracted to certain things in
your garden, whether it is a species of ower, a
THE SIMS

Sour pinatas are bad news, but if you feed them well thev can take a
turn for the good.

I Your pinatas will often get into ghts. When one dies, they send a shower of sweets spilling onto the oor.

I You can look inside each pinata's house and observe their homelives. Not too interesting, unfortunately.

092 games"*

type of fruit, a percentage of grass or pond cover, or the presence of another pinata species. Full one requirement and it will appear beyond the boundaries of your garden, carry out another and it might wander in to explore, full a third and it will change from black and white to brightly coloured, becoming a resident. Each species has its own specic requirements, which
can be found in the encyclopaedia located in

of play, keeping your garden in order while also developing it, breeding from existing pinatas, attracting new ones, and keeping unwanted species out takes up a remarkable amount of time, effort, and importantly, brain power. In one ve-minute period we were bombarded with dozens of warnings about sick pinatas, ghts, deaths, births and any number of other matters, as well as being introduced to ten new pinata varieties. The sheer variety of choice can make your head swim, and you are well advised to
understand, for the want of a better term, the

FOR LOCAL PEOPLE

A LOCAL VILLAGE

To aid you in building the best garden is Willy Builder, who will help construct homes for your

piatas. Then there's Costalofs, the store selling everything from seeds to fencing, which will also buy your produce and pinatas in return for chocolate
coins, the game's currency. Eventually you can hire people to heal your piiiatas, keep them from hurting each other, water plants and a range of other tasks. Best of all is the Post Ofce, which lets you send items from your garden to other online players.

the game's menu. Whirlm's are very easy to please needing little more than some soil to
mal<e them want to stay, allowing you to then move on to the business of breeding. The only

politics at play between the different species.


Viva Pinata can be almost irritatingly jolly and

things Whirlms require in order to feel amorous is a partner and a home, so once the house is built a small heart will appear above the head of each one indicating they are ready to mate. This launches a coin-collection mini-game tasking you with guiding the piiiata through a maze to reach its partner within a certain time limit. Needless to say, as the game progresses the
pinatas become harder to convince to appear,

colourful, but the game has a dark side. Very few species can live side by side, and introducing the wrong kind can upset any delicate balance you might have struck. Indeed, the game will surely sail high over the heads of young children and even teenagers, but for the rest this is an RTS experience without compare. We could tell you more about the intricacies of growing plants, hiring staff and which pinatas to breed, but that would defeat the game's chief pleasure - that breathless sense of imagination, and discovering
all the ways that a garden can succeed and, Your pinatas will sometimes get sick, leaving you to cho
death and a doctor's bill.

visit, take residence and mate - also increasing the difculty of the mating mini-game - and it's
here that Viva Pinata takes on a new lease of life.

The plethora of cute characters won't appeal to everyone, but after six or seven hours

indeed, fail. With Viva Pinata, Microsoft nally has the kind of property it has always sorely
lacked - a game with a truly cross-generational

SlFII\|GER^/|\j7
""like most other MicroLt

appeal and striking originality. Buy it for the


kids, and then don't let them get near it.

IF YOU CAN STOMACH THE VISUALS, FTS A DEUGKT

VERDICT 8/10

Costolot's is the most valuable shop in the game. You can buy anvthing here, but you can also sell things for prot

1 Tlie journal is a treasure trove of information, and includes an encyclopaedia describing the pinatas and teir needs. I Tlie character in the background is Seedos. When he enteis your gaitlen he can be asked for free seeds.

games"* 093

REVIEW I CALL OF DUTY 3 I NINTENDO Wii


Wii COULD BE HEROES

CALL OF DUTY 3
he godfather of modern
videogaming, Nintendo is revered

I missing link

M Jll sameplay then that hasn't h e"''Ven/ng

^ "^'Vsantecan, orshou,"

come to pass, and the hardcore will certainly expect more depth than has been suggested by Wii's imsy launch line-up. The question is can Nintendo's motion control work in a game that isn't designed to use it?
On this evidence the answer is no. For an hour

by gamers lil<e no other industry


player. That no one else has

innovated quite so consistently over the years mal<es this statement justiable. Looking at the
I FORMAT REVIEWED
Nintendo Wii

I OTHER FORMATS PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, Xbox 360, Xbox [ORIGIN


U S PUBLISHER Activision

astounding success of the DS during the last 12 months reafrms the company's reputation as the game industry's key thinker. Now we have the Wii, however, the future again appears uncertain. A common concern is that the company has produced a console with a potential that only Nintendo itself could ever harness. With a deluge of party games raining down from day one, hardcore gamers may have to be satised with impatiently waiting for the new Ze/da, the next Metroid and the latest exploits of Mario. Rising
costs have made developers anxious to release

the aiming was maddeningly erratic. On a level


where we dispatched scores of enemies with

the Xbox 360 control pad we killed perhaps ten, simply happy to have stumbled our way to the nish. Even the slightest tremble of your hand can
translate to a centimetre of movement on screen,

IDEVELOPER
Treyarch
PRICE

and in a game where deadly accuracy is essential that isn't good enough. Our aim improved greatly with time, but never so much that you could go for a long-distance headshot, forcing us to adopt the fun but dangerous tactic of close-range combat. The Wii handles the scale admirably, with only
minor differences in the size of the levels and

RELEASE Out Now

PLAYERS T B A

their products on as many formats as possible, but more than any console before it, the Wii demands that games be designed specically to suit its requirements. And so we come to Call Of Duty 3, the Xbox

number of enemies. The graphics are, of course,


poor by next-generation standards, and while

that may not affect the stylised universes of Mario and Zelda, it blunts the power of an experience that thrives on realism. None of this stops Call Of Duty 3 being enjoyable, but it does turn a good game into an average one, and raises
questions over how democratic Wii will really turn out to be.

BETTER

THAN

D360 version of which received eight out of ten


last issue. Mindless action isn't something that
Nintendo has ever concerned itself with, but it is

WORSE

THAN

unquestionably popular and Nintendo will need such games to ensure the success of its machine. That Wii is intended for parents, females and families is an untested hypothesis that may never

VERDICT 6/10
A GOOD GAME LET DOWN BY POOR COISTTKOLS

CALL OF DUTY 3 [360]

iLiJ

P
I Wii handles the scale of combat very well, with every level remaining
basically the same as the Xbox 360 version.

Tlie red indicator appears when you throw a grenade, h allows

you to time your throw for when die grenade will explode.

REVIEW I MEDAL OF HONOR: HEROES I PLAYSTATION PORTABLE

MEDAL OF HONOR: HEROES


EA'S LATEST PSP FPS EARNS A MEDAL
f there's one genre that PSP excels
at, ifs rst-person shooters. Any

objectives, while ghting Nazis using a variety of weapons and standard FPS methods of ducking
and covering. Heroes falls down on a number of small but

other piece of portable hardware


just cannot compete with the
I F O R M AT R E V I E W E D

raw graphical and processing muscle required


to power this genre, which would explain the numerous PSP FPS titles - and the distinct lack of them on other portables. What does surprise us though, is just how accomplished a shooter can

PlayStation Portable ; ORIGIN


Canada PUBUSHER Electronic Arts ! DEVELOPER In-House

n annoying points. The Al can't be expected to


meet the same standards of home systems, but

it's quite frustrating when your comrades insist on lobbing grenades into the middle of your reght. And despite the analogue sensitivity set to full, turning and movement in general is still quite sluggish - perhaps a deliberate ploy to stop frame rates from dropping too low? The worst offender is the control system: despite being offered a variety of control styles - Commando, Sniper, Specialist-with different button mapping on each, they still don't feel very intuitive, highlighting the game's need for manual button mapping or even a second PSP analogue nub.
Medal Of Honor: Heroes'single-player missions won't take more than ten hours or so to complete on Veteran (Normal) difculty, but the unlockable extras, numerous rank and kill achievement incentives to be had, as well as the multiplayer

be on PSP considering the only comparisons to be drawn are with PC and the big three consoles.
Medal Of Honor: Heroes, an exclusive to

[PRICE
34.99

IRELEASE
Out Now

PSP, takes the series across ve campaigns with a handful of missions on each, through four
countries and on to the nale. Each mission

IPLAYERS
1-32

consists of a series of primary and secondary

objectives, which consist mostly of blowing vital Nazi constructions up, capturing strategic areas and collecting sensitive documents and items.
Heroes made an immediate impression

CODED ARMS

upon us: sure, we're losing something in the graphical detail and overall nesse, but this is distinctive Medal Of Honor. Right off the bat, we
were thrust into the action and were surprised at

should extend its lifetime well beyond this, especially for MOHfans. Despite its faults. Heroes makes a decent showcase for PlayStation Portable's power and does justice to the
Medal Of Honor series.

how tactile ring each weapon and killing Nazi's


felt on a PSP title. It's incredibly accessible, too, as there's no

need to think about any longterm strategy. You simply lead a squad of soldiers, powered
by a (barely) adequate Al and follow the arrows to your

I
MEDAL OF HONOUR; E U R O P E A N A S S A U LT

A WORTHY ADOmON TO THE MEDAL OF HONOR FAMILY

VERDICtTzi

Set the charge and let her rip. Ifs not a good idea to still be hanging around at this point

Primary Objective: steal the Enigma machine. Then it's off Bletchiey Park to spend a year cracking it

I Despite the red crosses, these guys will hurt not heal you.

games"' 095

REVIEW I RESISTANCE: FALL OF MAN I PLAYSTATION 3

R E S I S TA N C E : FA L L O F M A N
FPS: PAINT BY NUMBERS
o here it is. After Epic and IVIicrosoft
exceeded the hype last month in delivering the immense Gears Of

as tight as a ventilation shaft, and any concept of tactical warfare is lost in favour of straight shooting. Combat devolved, you could say. Thankfully, the shooting itself is handled well.

7 1 \ * f Q. HOW ARE THE GRAPHICS?

\m
i FORMAT REVIEWED i
PlayStation 3

War, ifs Sony's turn to present the


other great action hope for 2006. What should

They vary from lovely to


downright PS2 ugly.
Q. ENEMY Al?

have been a heavyweight title ght to kick-start the so-called next generation has turned out to be
something of a mismatch. Klitschko versus Bruno,

DThe guns feel meaty despite the lack of rumble,


and the engine is reassuringly smooth, never creaking despite the large numbers of Chimera on screen. It lends the game a speed and immediacy
more in line with a balls-to-the wall action shooter - a Quake or Unreal. So when the rst few hours

Decent, but not on a par with Halo, Half-Life or


REAR.. Q. DO THE PHYSICS AID G A M E P L AY ?

lORIGIN
U S

i PUBLISHER Sony
DEVELOPER Insomniac

perhaps. In fact, comparing Res/stance to Epic's monster is unfair. The two are quite different; Fall Of Man's a very traditional shooter. The immediate point of reference is Call Of Duty 3-both feature standard FPS mechanics, both are heavy on action, both cram as many soldiers on screen as possible, and both are inescapably linear. But where C0D3 thrilled with its set pieces and terrifying atmosphere. Resistance ia\is noticeably short. All that punctuates its brighter moments are tunnels. Long, dark, never-ending tunnels. In telling the story of man's struggle against the
alien Chimera threat. Insomniac had the chance to stage some epic battles, and at times it atters to

have you charging headlong into hundreds of reasonably intelligent Chimera, blasting holes and hurling grenades, it's thoroughly enjoyable, in an almost retrogressive way. Then you hit the tunnels. Unfortunately, Fall Of Man shows its hand far too early. The most memorable set pieces occur during the rst half, leaving a game that tails off into a land of overpowered enemies and generic level design. The 90 minutes spent in subterranean pipes that resemble the London Underground are dreadful,
and when you hit the Capital itself, ifs clear that the

No, the/re just eye candy. Good though.

I PRICE $59.99
RELEASE March

(JapanAJS: Out Now)

i P L AY E R S
1-4 (2-40 Online)

decent stoiv, but it never


comes to fniitition.

deceive. At rst glance, the Manchester and Bristol levels play host to skimnishes of Halo proportions, but upon closer inspection, the sense of scale is a mere trick. Res/sfance forces the player down corridors, be they as wide as a battleeld or

developer had mn the ideas fountain dry. Battling upon a frozen Thames may sound arresting, but it could just as easily have been a patch of ice in Kent, such is its banality. Instead of innovation, we simply have more enemies. Tall ones, fat ones.

-I

096 games'"

LCX:K AND LOAD


Resistance's innovation is in its weapon set. From the Bull's eye's comer-tuming bullets to the Auger's cover-piercing plasmas charge (complete with stylish 'wall-bleed' delay), the arsenal is impressive. Less so is the staggered manner in which you receive it. No grabbing weapons from fallen foes - Resistance structures its gameplay around each new gun, further compounding its restrictive linearity. Still, the thrill of experimenting with each new weapon is the solo campaign's greatest strength. If only the likes of the Hailstorm's self-powered gun turret or
the Laark's rocket-freeze could be used in a more

engaging game. Still, they're excellent in multiplayer.

Tlie interior lighting is undoubtedly atmospheric. robotic ones... Resistance throws as much at you

The occasional vehicle-based levels feel tacked on and inconsistent

sequences, are worryingly angular - reminiscent of


the rst two TimeSplitters games. Even the enemy

as the engine can handle, and asks if you have the patience to stand up to it. On IVIedium difculty, chances are you won't. This is not fun tough - Legendary tough - this is simply unfair tough. The unerring accuracy of even the most basic

design lacks charm - the standard Chimeran Hybrids are decent bipedal foes, but the larger
Chimera wouldn't look out of place in a PSone game, especially considering it only takes a touch

Dground troops, the unrelenting pace, and


relatively ineffectual cover (enemy bullets can bend around or pass straight through it) mean that constant movement, intelligent use of weaponry and pixel-perfect accuracy are a must. Yet the Sixaxis' dead zones mean that snapping off headshots is frustratingly tricky, the ammunition for
better weapons is sorely lacking and the distance

of determined circle strang to defeat them. Resistance's saving grace comes in its multiplayer modes. Co-op, as always, is an entertaining aside, but the monstrous 20-vs-20
deathmatches are where Fall Of Man leaves its
mark. The frantic and smooth combat translates

to multiplayer far better than the plodding solo

campaign, and ultimately save Insomniac's effort


from irrelevance.

between checkpoints hasn't been acceptable for years. If Resistance is here to hail a new generation of PlayStation, we'll stick with the last.
Of course, to tar an entire console with one

One salient fact remains, however: Resistance:


Fall Of Man - a PS3 launch title with a thunderous

hype machine behind it - is vastly inferior to a ve-year-old Xbox game. It really speaks volumes, doesn't it?

game's brush would be unfair - ifs obvious that Resistance is not taking full advantage of the power at its ngertips. Even the visuals, while perfectly pleasant during the game's sporadic open-air battle

P L AYA B L B U T U LT I M AT E LY U N I N S P I R I N G

VERDICT 6/10

CALL0FDIJTY3

I It wouldn't be an PS without horties of critters gunning for your face.

I Certain levels look lovely, but still lack the genuine scale of a Hah.

I Tunnels. Tunnels, tunnels, tunnels. They're bloody everywhere.

games"" 097

REVIEW NEVERWINTER NIGHTS 2 1 PC

NEVERWINTER NIGHTS 2
CAN THE K0T0R2 CREATOR FILL BIOWARE'S S H O E S ?
everwinter Nights was one of those games we liked to set aside quality time for: brew a strong cup of tea, tell the missus not to

g enhanced
make gaining experience and levelling-up more

3 ORIGIMAL

rewarding than any other single-player RPG. Get past the character creation, and you will encounter a game steeped in role-playing ambience coupled with rich dialogue and wonderfully realised visuals. Voice acting of
some NPCs is a little hammy at times, but the diversity of social otsam you'll gather as you

R 0 ^
iFORMAT REVIEWED
PC

disturb us for the next couple of hours, close the


bedroom door and immerse ourselves in a world

of deep Dungeons & Dragons fantasy. When we previewed Neverwinter Nights 2 In issue 50
however, we were concerned not so much with

lOBIGIN
U S

IPUBUSHER ~
Atari

the bugs it was riddled with, but rather the lacl< of the characteristic atmosphere that compelled us to play the long line of NWN2's predecessors,
back to the days of S/acfc Isle and Baldur's Gate.

progress, including Khelgar the dwarf ghter,


Elanee the wood-elf druid and Neeshka the

tieing rogue sound convincingly stereotyped


and their verbal Interaction is almost seamless.

|DEVELOPER~
Obsidian Entertainment

jPRICE ~
34.99

So allay any fears you might have had, because Obsidian has obviously been putting in the
overtime to deliver the same quality that made Neverwinter Nights a resounding success. Never has this series tried to cater for anyone

Our worries about monotonous dungeoncrawling have proved unfounded as Obsidian has given this integral part of the game a good
shake up, ploughing surprises and intrigue into every dark cave and ancient ruin.
FA L L O U T 2

I RELEASE ~
Out Now

iPLAYERS
I MINIMUM SPEC I 2.4GHz, 512MB RAM, 128MB Graphics,
16-bit Sound

who was not either a fan or willing to put in some hard graft to discover the gem within, and the
same applies here. NWN2's character-creation

What W1/MV2 still lacks is polish. Unfortunately version 1.0 is still buggy enough to frustrate us:
there was the occasional crash, the keyboard frequently locked out and, worst of all, Elanee Inexplicably refused to follow the rest of the group. Sure - these could be easily xed with a patch, but they were enough to detract

screen is Intimidating, even for those who have played Oblivion. The range of races, classes and
skills is just as extensive, but it's the intrinsic ties to other attributes and the long-term implications

of your choices that could put a newbie off before the/ve even set foot in the world of Aventla. It's well worth spending time here though, as the skill, feat, multi-class and, eventually, prestige classes that are made available to you

from our experience of Wl/W\/2 and,


unfortunately, affect our nal score too.
S TA R W A R S : K N I G H T S OFTHEOLDREPUBUCII -THESTTH LORDS

vebdictTzid
A CHEST OF UNPOUSHED JEWELS

098 games""

REVIEW 1 SONIC RIVALS I PLAYSTATION PORTABLE

That is indeed a giant robot turtle trying to kill Sonic. What's a hedgehog to do?

S O N I C R I VA L S
THERE'S A LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL
t never just rains Sonic- it pouis.

It seems to be a growing trend for the blue hedgehog to appear in


numerous games at once rather [FORMAT REVIEWED j
PlayStation Portable
ORIGIN America

than dedicate himself to a solitary title. After the decidedly average next-generation Sonic The Hedgehog, you'd think he wouldn't want to show his face again for a while. You'd be wrong. The most startling aspect about Sonic Rivals is that it does actually return to the platformer's roots. Considering this is what fans of the series have been calling out for, it's strange that Sega
hasn't made a bigger deal about it. Although the

progress. Ironically, this weakness is exposed by the game itself. There are moments during later courses where you have to attack a series of platforms at maximum speed without making a single mistake. They're exhilarating to attempt, and if you manage to overcome them on the rst try you'll feel genuinely quite proud of yourself. It's then that you'll start to realise that these sections don't feature anywhere near enough, souring your opinion of the segments that don't promote this sensation. It's almost as if Sega didn't realise what it was on to. Sadly, among the glimpses of genius and mediocrity are some truly uninspired ideas, namely the boss ghts that bring levels to a close. The racing dynamic is continued here, but trying to kill a boss before your opponent does feels dull mainly due to the bosses themselves being particularly unimaginative. Rivals isn't necessarily a bad game, far from it in fact. It's just unfortunate that its moments of
brilliance aren't featured more as they undermine

[PUBLISHER Sega
DEVELOPER Backbone

Entertainment/
S o n i c Te a m

1 PRICE

in-game environments and character models are all beautifully rendered in 3D, the gameplay
itself remains true to the two-dimensional classics

RELEASE Out Now

SONIC THE HEDGEHOG

1PLAYERS

of the past; you can run left, you can run right or jump, and that's about it. However, don't be fooled into thinking that it follows the same
thought process as the originals. At its heart. Rivals is, of all things, a racing

[360/PS31

game. You pick a member of the Sonic cast,


a course and then challenge another character - Shadow, Knuckles or Silver - to see who can

the parts that don't offer as much. You could do far worse than invest in a copy of Sonic Rivals,
and a nice foundation has been laid for a sequel

get to the end of the level rst. It's essentially the same as trying to complete a platfomer as fast as you can. Unfortunately, the level design just isn't good enough for Rivals to successfully achieve what it sets out to; the majority of stages are far too simple to ever pose a serious threat to your

to eradicate the cracks present here. If that does indeed happen, then Son/c could well and truly be back on form.

VERDICT 6/10
HAD POTENTIAL, BUT FAILS TO EXECUTE FTS OWN IDEAS

games' 099

REVIEW THRILLVILLE I PLAYSTATION 2/MULTIFORMAT

Great Scoti! Uncle Mortimer has clearly been taking fashion tips from

Christopher Lloyd. Sadly, he doesn't have a time-travelling De Lorean.

A successful park in action - happy customers and terrifying roller coasters mean money, money, money

lliere are three themes wtdiin each park - and where exactly do these
rather riiythmic cheer leaders t in?

T H R I L LV I L L E
THRILLS, SPILLS AND BELLYACHES...
magine being given a free pass
to Alton Towers, but instead of

a
F O R M AT REVIEWED

just getting to go on all the roller coasters, you have unlimited access

maker of the RollerCoaster Tycoon games, but via a more console-friendly mission system. So, instead of just choosing to train your employees by setting a slider to a certain level, you take a far more hands-on approach - controlling a cleaner to clear up vomit stains, completing a simple electronic puzzle for maintenance staff, or performing a fun rhythm-action mini-game to train your entertainers. It's a refreshing way of doing things, and makes fairly mundane tasks much more enjoyable, and Frontier Developments should be applauded for such an effective design choice, even if those looking for something more akin to PC park-management sims will be disappointed. On top of this and the fairly intuitive and exible ride-building system, you're tasked with keeping visitors happy by catering to their various needs. This can be done by simply building the right kind of stalls or conveniences, but there are also a number of challenges which form missions of their own - beating someone at a certain arcade game or on the go-karts, or even match-making by choosing the right dialogue options to irt effectively. Most of the mini-games are fairly brief and provide an interesting diversion from the main game-they Include rudimentary racing games, simple platform arcade games, and the like. Some, like the Wild West shooting gallery, are more detailed; this particular example handling

O. TUTORIALS?

Mercifully short, but actually very helpful -especially the coaster design one.
Q. IT AND HOW DOES

to every single ride, stall and arcade in the place. Sounds fun, right? After a while though, you're going to feel spoilt for choice, and wind up doing too many different things in too short a time and not really getting the fullest enjoyment from the experience. And so it is with Thrillville, a game that almost tries too hard to impress you - with such a wealth of things to do, it's difcult to decide what
to approach next.

SOUND?

The music soon gets old, but there are some neat spot effects, and the dialogue's not bad.
Q. IS IT FUNNY?

PlayStation 2
OTHER F O R M AT S

PlayStation Portable,
X b o x ORIGIN U K PUBUSHER LucasArts DEVELOPER Frontier

We found it amusing that someone thought Anakin Skywalker was


the coolest Star Wars c h a r a c t e r.

It starts out with an amusing cinematic featuring


Emmet Brown-alike Uncle IVlortimer. He leaves

Developments
PRICE 29.99 RELEASE Out Now

you in charge of his Thrillville chain of theme parks, which you have to try and maintain or improve in order to stay one step ahead of a erce rival intent on pilfering your ideas. It's a threadbare plot included purely to provide motivation behind which to build up your empire of parks, but the
cut-scenes are well made with a nice line in humour and bizarre comments from the frazzled

MARIO PARTY 7

PLAYERS 1-4

inventor to keep you interested. At rst you only own one park, but a total

Dof ve differently themed locations can be


unlocked, each with three distinct sections.

Progress is accomplished not by the sort of building, destroying, training and nancial balancing methods you might expect from the

ROLLERCOASTER TYCOONS

100 games"'

PA R T Y H A R D
The abilitY to play all of the mini-games unlocl<ed in the main game straight from the menu is a most welcome inclusion, and indeed many of the games actually work better out of context and in multiplayer. It's easy to waste a couple of hours attempting to better your high scores in the racing games or the few arcade-based titles - including a top-down vertical scrolling shooter
What game worth its salt would be complete without a section where you throw bombs at robot pirates? One of the better mini-games, this.

that very closely resembles a certain old Capcom


title. The best of the bunch is RC Cars - a four-

very much like a traditional rst-person shooter.


It's a nice touch to nd that the enemies behave

player demolition derby that's incredibly addictive though some of the rst-person-shooter-lrte games are well worth a look, too.

much as you'd expect from the genre: popping


in and out of cover, while headshots are much more effective than hitting the robot outlaws on have meant more - you're never short of things to do, but

their metal bodies. It's hardly Rainbow Six, but it's effective enough. You're graded at the end of each game, with a cash injection for your park handed out depending on how you performed.
The initially low difculty level adds credence to the theory that Thrillville is targeted more at a

Frontier should have polished up a


few of the mission tasks and given others the

chop. As it is, you'll return to a handful of them and forget the rest after one play. The length of some of the games detracts from the task in hand, too; it's all too easy to be blasting away in the arcade and ignoring the work that needs to
be done in the park.

younger audience, but as you get onto the fourth and fth parks, things get a little trickier than you might think. Eventually, however, Thrillville's limitations

It's hard to dislike a game that displays such

begin to tell - chatting to customers is fun

breezy charm, and it would be harsh to dismiss Thrillville as a kids' RollerCoaster Tycoon as it's
streets ahead of much of the licensed tat out

at rst, but it soon becomes repetitive, and the

jokes in the dialogue crop up all too frequently. The initially pleasing contemporary soundtrack
also loops quite regularly while some of the

there - and besides, it's much more reminiscent of the PC's Theme Park World. But there's not

much more than a fairly solid family-orientated game here - it's pleasant enough fare, but the Thrill' in the title might well
contravene the Trade Descriptions Act.

tasks vary only from a cosmetic viewpoint and nothing more. It's not much of a looker either:
while the simplistic style seems to suit the

game, the character models are barely above


PSone quality, but at least that means you can

have a packed park with no slowdown. And


there's denitely an argument that less could

M O R E G U L U V E R ' S K I N G D O M T H A N A LT O N T O W E R S

VERDICT 6/10

A rather vomit-inducing rst-person view from the frort of a coaster - it's a good laugh to try and create the wildest ride you can.

games" 101

REVIEW 1 TOUCH DETECTIVE I NINTENDO DS

New areas become available as you work your way through episodes, expanding the range of places to investigate.

It might have been translated into English, but the game still retains a high level of Japanese bizarreness.

I You can only examine items at a very supercial level, which isn't exactly telling of a good detective.

TOUCH DETECTIVE
YOU GOTTHE TOUCH, BUT NOT MUCH ELSE
hile ifs become something of a

w
F O R i y i AT R ^ I E W E D
Nintendo ORIGIN DS

tradition to declare point-and-clicl<


adventuring dead, the truth of the
matter is that it's alive and well.

game's short-lived action has as many moments of brilliance

Or breathing on its own without a ventilator, at least. From the likes of Bone, A Vampire Story and Sam & Max to the re-release of past classics
(trust LucasArts to cash in on the revival of a

Japan
PUBUSHER Atlus DEVELOPER

series it kicked to the curb), the genre's pretty solid on PC but, somewhat satisfyingly, it's also
found a comfortable handheld home on DS.

and well thought-out puzzles as it does logic that can only be described as being FUBAR. Not surprisingly, it's only these chunks of sheer anger-inducing stupidness that prevent the game being over quicker as you'll wander around not only trying every item you're holding with every other item in the world, but also touching everything with the stylus in the hope that it might actually be something worth touching. The problem is there's no visual
distinction between what is and isn't interactive

""Wluted, obv/ """ys to solve n

Success/Beeworks

$39.99
RELEASE

True, something like Phoenix Wright \s less conventional for the genre, but then if you're looking for a more obvious game you couldn't
feel more at home than with Touch Detective. At least that's the idea.

April {Japan/US: Out Now)


PLAYERS

- and the fact that some items are ridiculously small and innocuous brings much gritting of
teeth. Trust us, those moments aren't fun, and, sadly, there are more than a few of them. That

BONE; OUTOFBONEVILLE

Touch Detective certainly looks special; not only does it employ the traditional point-and-click elements, but also it's incredibly pretty to boot. That the wonderfully animated cartoon stylings t the premise of the game so well is great-the idea of a young girl trying her best to run a psychic detective agency while surrounded by ditzy friends is so Japanese it hurts - but sadly
they're not representative of Touch Detective's

there's only one correct path makes things worse still, as missing something obscure can leave you wandering cluelessly for hours. The thing is we seem to remember several 'classic' point-and-click games suffering from exactly the same problem and yet they're still
considered classics. So does that mean that Touch Detective WtW be seen in the same

gameplay. Think the cutesy graphics and simple interface make for a game that's easy to enjoy and not in the least bit frustrating? Think again. There are only four cases plus a mini bonus

light in ten years? Maybe, but for now


we'd suggest you leave it on the shelf.

L case to play through so sufce to say the

FA R TO O C L E V E R ' F O R I T S O W N G O O D

VERDICT 5/10

P H O E N I X W R I G H T: A C E AT T O R N E YJUSTICE FOR ALL

102 games"'

REVIEW 1 MOBILE SUIT GUNDAM: CROSSFIRE I PLAYSTATION 3


SOME MECH GAMES ARE GREAT, SOME ARE UTTERLY RUBBISH

MOBILE SUIT GUNDAM: CROSSFIRE


a
F O R M AT REVIEWED

here to begin? With Mobile Suit Gundam: Crossre's pixellated


main screen? No, that would

Control is awkward and clunky even when the frame rate reaches its upper limits; at the lower end Gundam: Crossre brings a whole new meaning to the term 'robot dancing'. Collision detection, too, is comically poor. Take a swipe with a sabre and you can inict damage on another mobile suit simply by cutting the air between you both. There's no need to actually, say, make a connection. Of course, the advantage with most mech

be too obvious. How about with

its opening movie that runs like a slideshow?


Or with its audio that sounds like it's been

PlayStation 3
ORIGIN

processed by a broken Dictaphone? Or perhaps with our disappointment upon realising that a 4.5GB install had done nothing to remedy this game's catalogue of problems? There's a game beneath this mess, and its
format makes sense, but the debris of a broken

Japan
PUBUSHER NamcoBandai

I DEVELOPED
PRICE

developer is strewn everywhere so it's difcult


to make out. Look hard enough however,

games is their multiplayer possibilities; Mobile Suit Gundam: Crossre sadly can't lay claim to such a strength. A split-screen two-player mode
is available, but this is awed for the same

and you'll nd an Earth-wide battle between


Zeon and Earth forces, each side equipped

reasons - outlined above, in case you missed them - as the main game. The lack of an online multiplayer mode, however, is not something that we're mourning.
The fact that Gundam: Crossre is a

5,800
RELEASE

FRAME GRIDE [DC]

April (Japan/US: Out Now)


PLAYERS

with mobile suit technology. Missions can be


tackled from the overview of a world map and

in any order you wish, while new assignments become available on a day-to-day basis. Players can pilot, upgrade and maintain mobile suits, and can ght for either side. Cash rewards for missions completed give you currency with which to buy better suits. In theory, that's how
Gundam works.

PlayStation 3 title only serves to highlight the game's technical shortcomings. And, as is often
the case, severe deciencies such as these

prove detrimental to the gameplay. PS3 owners, please take our advice and save your money for Armored Core 4.

In practice, Gundam: Crossre is barely

n playable. We blame the game's frame rate,


which we reckon must run as low as lOfps and

only as high as what looks like about 20fps.

AN EMBARRASSMEISTTTO ALL INVOLVED

VFRniCT2/10

CHROMEHOUI\H)S

games''' 103

c a m m R r i D E R

REVIEW I YOSHI'S ISLAND DS I NINTENDO DS

YOSHI'S ISLAND DS
IF IT AINT BROKE, WELL, YOU CAN AT LEAST MAKE A FEW CHANGES
magine the scene: you're a relatively small Japanese developer with a
couple of minor hits {Blinx The Time Sweeper and... er, Blinx 21 and at
F O R M AT Nintendo ORIGIN REVIEWED DS

least one absolute atrocity (Yoshi's Universal Gravitation) under your belt. Suddenly, the phone rings. What's that? Why, it's Mr Nintendo. "You'd liice us to make the sequel to what many consider to be the best 2D platform game of all time? Even though we screwed up the last time you gave us a Yoshi title?" That's some pretty intense pressure. After all, the eyes of the gaming world - or at least those people sporting rose-coloured glasses, who love to criticise when things made today aren't as good as things they played over a decade ago - are going to be focused on whatever you end up delivering to Nintendo's doorstep, hoping and praying that it's at least as good as it used to be, if not better. So, how do you make sure you don't incur the wrath of ever/one who's just dying for you to fail? Work hard? Come up with some kind of revolutionary new gameplay element that makes
everyone sit up and take notice?

fair, this isn't always a bad thing so long as you don't take it to extremes - and yet that's exactly what Artoon has done with the DS sequel to Yoshi's Island. Or so it seems. You turn the game on and skip through the requisite story (about how Kamek the evil wizard Koopa has come along and kidnapped all the babies-including Baby Luigi - exactly as he did in the last game), then you see the rotating image of Yoshi's Island (just as you did in the last game - seriously, it's a perfect replica, albeit one done in eel-shaded 3D), you then start the game as a Yoshi carrying Baby Mario on his back (ho ho, just as you did in the last game). Yes, it goes on like this for a while. You still collect hidden owers that offer chances at life-giving bonus games, hunt for secret red coins scattered among the regular yellow ones, grab stars that add vital seconds to the time limit you have if you happen to drop Baby Mario along the way - if we didn't know any better, and sometimes we don't, we'd suggest that this might be the same game we played some 11 years ago. Some ve or six levels in though, you start to realise that it's not. Parts of levels go unexplored as you fruitlessly try to access them to no avail; newly created golden coins go uncollected simply because they exist only as dotted silhouettes and then, most importantly. Peach shows up. As a baby. With an umbrella. It's here, not even halfway through the game's rst world, that Artoon applies the biggest - and, admittedly, only

TMIS

PLAYED ALREADY?

You'd think so, but no -despite looking virtually identical, this is actually a completely new game. Really, it is.
Q. IT DOESNT L O O K r r

Japan
PUBUSHER Nintendo DEVELOPER Artoon PRICE

Thafs the idea; it retains the proven mechanics and then adds tiny
touches that make the o l d f o r m u l a e v e n b e t t e r, Q. BEST BABY?

RELEASE Out Now

We'd go with Peach


because she can hover

PLAYERS

and y up to out-of-reach places-against her, Mario's so Eighties.

Well, no. What you do is fairly obvious - you take the original game, see what made it great, and then copy it, changing enough to ensure that the result can still be categorised as a new game rather than a rip-off or, more in keeping with Nintendo's own past handheld exploits, a direct port of something you've already released. To be

Die lir^ boss, essendally a giant bogey, needs to have all his
coloured balls licked off before

he'll go down. Yes, really.

If you spot a fan, chances are you'll need to come back with

Peach in tow and use her umbrella to reach higher ground.

While die action takes place primarily on die screen you're on, you need to watch for bonuses appearing eidier above or below you.

106 games""

MINI-GAME, MAXI-FUN?
One of the more throwaway elements that Artoon has added to the mix are the all-new mini-games - a selection of short-lived antics, available in Easy or Hard, that can be unlocked by simply stumbling

across them during the main adventure. Unlocking mini-games isn't hard, so long as you explore every
nook and cranny of each level, but any that you do unlock become selectable from a menu at the start of the game, and from there you can play them over and over to earn better medals. Why you'd want to

is anyone's guess because they're not exactly the best thing. Seeing how far you can hover? Oh, perlease - still, at least they're there if you want them.

So. Yoshi carries the babies around and die kangaroo carries Yoshl...?

God knows why, but hey, rt wot1<s so we can't complain.

Only on DS. Y ou wouldn't get a boss diat stretches over two scieens on any other handheld. Though diat's fairly obvious...

I enhanced
|jT OU P ,T H R E Ed o w nout n stretch IW aeon look

-twist: introducing multiple abilities. By carrying


different babies on Yoshl's back - Mario Initially,

somewhat scattershot throughout all the levels - or as scattershot as organised level design can be anyway - means that you have to swap out babies at designated Stork Stops along your travels, leading to much experimentation as to who you need to access which secret areas and even some semblance of backtracking through previous explored stages to capture those missing owers, red coins and big gold coins. Hey, It's a Mario-based platform game. The anally retentive collecting of Items Is a must. Not surprisingly. It's this rather Integral shift away from simple 'how the hell do I get up there?' puzzle solving to a more cerebral method of plotting your course through each level that raises the game somewhat. True, more obvious tweaks - such as having the action spread across both screens, with the option to switch
between them and look up and down at your

Peach a little way In and then, eventually. Donkey Kong - Yoshl earns new abilities such as being
able to run fast a la Mario in, well, every 2D Mario

game; perform longer oating jumps and even ride on air currents to reach higher ground, like Super Princess Peach; and climb vines Donkey Kong Jr style. That these abilities are spread

YOSHI'S STORY

BETTER THAN JUST LIKE

leisure - might seem impressive, but It's merely window dressing used to cover up a lazy way of hiding items and other secrets just out of reach by comparison. And yes, there'll be people who complain that Yoshi's Island DS is incredibly familiar despite these few tweaks, but that's hardly an issue. Not only is the percentage of people who'll have played through both games relatively small, but also a little familiarity never hurt anyone. Two thumbs way up for Artoon then, which can only be a good thing, especially if those thumbs help us forget that Yoshi's
Universal Gravitation ever existed.

YOSHI'S ISLAND

J
affair than usual - get diose Slinking caps on.

(<:^

Hie route you take dirough the game needs to be a more considered

PROOF THAT THE OLD IDEAS ARE OFTEN THE BEST

VERDICT 8/10

I Shiny, happy people with giant spiky heads. Run, Y oshi.

games"" 107

REVIEW I RAYMAN RAVING RABBIDS I NINTENDO Wii


RAVING ABOUT RAYMAN ON Wii

8 X generation
" rarely touch t/Tiote treatment. analogue or D-pad

R AY M A N R AV I N G RABBIDS
I t stands in the shadow of the hype and anticipation of Twilight
Princess and Red Steel, so its

juice, drawing circles around farmyard animals,


slamming toilet doors - there are some wild imaginations down in that continental studio. And

T1
FORMAT REVIEWED
Nintendo Wii ORIGIN France

conceivable that Rayman Raving Rabbids might not be considered a viable purchase for games readers, especially as the series has been developed with children in mind. But Ubisoft's latest Rayman game doesn't conform to the model of its platform predecessors; it's been designed entirely around the Wii and its motion-sensing peripherals. Ubisoft's Montpellier studio could be accused

kudos to the genius that thought that slapping


choristers would make a good mini-game, we were still chuckling about that one hours after we
nished with it.

Thoroughly exploiting the Wii control system, Rayman Raving Rabbids acts almost like a showcase for the diverse range of actions the
remote and nunchuk controller can be used for

PUBLISHER ^ ^
Ubisoft

i DEVELOPER
In-House PRICE 39.99

of being short-sighted in its obvious application of the new technology for mini-games, though this
can be forgiven as not only is it a launch title, but also it's irreverent, entertaining and funny enough to make us laugh consistently throughout the time we played it. Despite the shallow storyline and obvious bent toward a younger generation of gamers, it's effortlessly charming for all. In this episode, Rayman has been captured

They've even been categorised in the score mode in the Start menu, from precision movements to Workout mode - and that's no joke either You usually get one workout challenge per day in
SUPER MONKEY BALL ADVENTURE

RELEASE
8 December

the story mode, which is enough when you're


pumping your arms like an Olympic sprinter, even if it is for only 20 seconds or so. Rayman Raving Rabbids is a fun-size Wii title with universal appeal. It can't be considered a serious gamer's game by any stretch, though it will make you laugh a lot, and even has some staying power with the multiplayer challenges and extra modes to unlock. A compulsory purchase

P L AY E R S
1-4

BETTER THAN

n by the Raving Rabbids and forced to take part


in a series of challenges in a gladiatorial arena
complete with Rabbid audience. The moods of

WORSE

THAN

for children, but our readers should only

the challenges range from quirky to madder than a bag of frogs, facilitated by the Rayman series' signature animation, a choice classical musical score and comic sound effects. Pulling worms from teeth, lling scuba goggles with carrot

consider Raving Rabbids if you have some f (C


spare cash after Zelda.

VERDinT7/in
PLAYING FOR LONG PERIODS MAY CAUSE INSANFTY

Complete mini-games, gain more and more respect and even^ally


you'll get treated like rovalty.

Rayman Raving Rabbids is denitely a far cry from any of te little legless dude's platform predecessors.

REVIEW I RIDGE RACER 7 I PLAYSTATION 3 NAMCO RELEASES ITS TRADITIONAL PLAYSTATION LAUNCH RACER. AGAIN. SAME OLD?

RIDGE RACER 7
t wouldn't be a PlayStation
console launch without a Ridge

8 GLOBAL
bafes are ,

colourful palette use. Everything here is 'maxed out'. There is no subtlety in Ridge State. And it follows, naturally, that there is no real learning curve in Ridge Racer 7 You'll gure out how to drive well and then you'll improve your own game. It's all about cutting corners as quickly as possible, nitro-boosting at the right time, and not losing your nerve. That's why the music runs at such a high BPM. There is a lot of game here. You begin by forging relationships with low-end car manufacturers and, through series of races and trials, eventually come to prestigious championships and sign deals with the fake Ferraris of Ridge State. The incentive to continue
is multifaceted: unlockable courses, motors, and audio tracks, as well as vehicle upgrades
RIDGE RACER 6

Racer release. And yet Ridge

P
[forwiat reviewed I
PlayStation 3

Racer 7 on PlayStation 3 isn't quite as ludicrous as it sounds; in fact, it's a perfect match. /?/?7delivers on PS3's promise of 1080p visuals - 60fps, all the way - and at the same time provides online modes over PlayStation
Network. It even makes use of PSS's hard disk,

[ORIGIN
Japan

Ipublisher"
Namco d e v e l o p e r In-House PRICE

featuring an optional 5GB install that cuts loading times to almost zero. It's a showcase title demonstrating what the console can do, but is there much to Ridge Racer 7 beyond pretty graphics and solid net play? The answer is yes, it also comes with sound gameplay. Cars handle wonderfully, drifting and powersliding around corners that have obviously been designed for that purpose.
There are no real-world courses or cars here;

5,800

1 RELEASE
April {Japan/US: Out Now)
PLAYERS 1-14

the whole thing is a racing fantasy The reward for effective drifting is nitrous turbo boosts that can be used in any of three levels of strength. As with every R/dge title since the series' PSP debut, tactical use of these nitro charges is the key to success. There is also now a slipstream

and modications. Perhaps the most sustained


incentive however, is to be found online. It's

there, in the game's global rankings, that friends


are made and fame discovered.

Essentially, what we have here is a further

improved and expanded version of Xbox 360's


Ridge Racer 6. And that in itself makes Ridge Racer 7 notable as a great sequel. What prevents this from receiving a higher score is simply that we've already played it six
times over before even booting it up.

BETTER THAN

gauge indicating the aerodynamic effects of


your driving line - get directly behind the car in front and you'll benet from a hike in speed, Namco hasn't neglected Ridge Racer's arcade

WORSE

THAN

Dorigins. Ridge 7's soundtrack-a collection of


40 tracks including techno, house, and Nineties relics such as happy hardcore and trance - is perfectly in sync with the game's unrealistically

VERDICT 7/10
A THOROUGHLY DECENT SPOT OF RIDGE RACING

The blue ame of RKT s high-level nhro (other ame types are red and yellow) tears the peripheiy of the screen. Very impressive in motion.

Although jaggies are visible no matter what resolution it's played at die game's scale and smoodiness of movement soon make you forget

Drifting in Ridge Racer 7 is the quickest way to turn comeis. It's also great hrn.

games"' 109

REVIEW I DEAD OR ALIVE: XTREME 2 I XBOX 360

DEAD OR ALIVE: XTREME 2


BUYING IT FOR THE VOLLEYBALL? YEAH, RIGHT
ike it or not, all discussion of Dead

Q. HOW CAN YOU


T E L L W H AT T H E GIRLS LIKE?

Trial and error mostly.


There are a few clues in the manual, but not too many.
Q. HOW DO YOU KNOW WHEN THEY LIKE SOMETHING?

Or Alive Xtreme 2 will be tinged by the situation Tomonobu Itagaki,


its creator, now nds himself in.

short on brains, and while this sequel is even more glossy, it's also every bit as vacuous. For all the new features on show, there is little sense you're getting a signicantly different
game, and much of what's here starts to feel

They'll send it back if they don't, but even

when they keep it there's


no guarantee of success.
Q. SOUNDS COMPLICATED?

I FORMAT REVIEWED
Xbox 360

[ORIGIN Japan ; PUBLISHER


Te c m o

Whether he is indeed guilty of sexual harassment Is still unclear, though his persecutors will no doubt delight in the release of his latest work, in which the voyeuristic and borderline sexist tendencies that are synonymous with the Dead
Or Alive series are taken to new extremes. To the casual observer, the content - or lack thereof - on

Not in general terms, but


probably more than it
should be.

repetitive a little too rapidly. The gameplay is not so heavily focused on the volleyball this time, with several new mini-games providing a modicum of depth. Purchase a ticket from the in-game sports store and you car gain access to a water slide, a deceptively simple looking task controlled using the left thumbstick. Tug Of War sees you and another girl standing on unstable

show here suggests some fairly damning things


about Itagaki's character. Of course, we're here to review a game, not its creator, but even with all the goodwill in the world we would struggle to nd much praise for DOA: Xtreme 2. Despite the addition of some new mini-games and girls to fawn over, this will be very familiar to anybody who has played its predecessor, and it inherits all of the game's aws. Dead Or Alive: Xtreme Volleyball was big on polish but

I DEVELOPER
Team Ninja

XTBEME BEACH VOLLEYBAa

^ICE
49.99

oating platforms, attempting to pull or fool your


opponent into the water. It is more tactical than

! RELEASE
Out Now

1PLAYERS
1 (1-4 Online)

it sounds - canny use of feinting is as essential to winning as brute force - but not challenging enough to draw you in for long. Similar is the dubious Butt Battle where you and an opponent go cheek-to-cheek on a large oating disc as you attempt to bump each other into the water. With both soft and hard attacks and a sidestep function

this has a little more depth than it rst appears, but like Tug Of War it's not signicant enough to
impress. Beach Flags is easily the weakest of the distractions on offer, showing little invention and

boiling the task down to frenzied button bashing.

DEAD0RAUVE4

The water slide takes the foini of a racing game, with Hie le slick used
to keep you on the tack.

If you can nd a quiet spot on the island, you'll be presented with a provocative a

nee. Bring a camera.

The camera angle on the volleyball is pooHy chosen and can often
result in unnecessarily lost points.

no

games'

Volleyball, the Casino and Pool Hopping all make their return though little has been added to freshen the experience. Pool Hopping - a race across the pool over a series of differently spaced oating platforms - is too simple a concept to add much to, and like the Water
Slide it's a lot more difcult than it rst appears.

some perverse analogy for chaos theory, even the tiniest footstep can lead to an eruption of movement topside, and for many this will have enough hypnotic power to keep you returning. We, however, are not among them. The game's underlying goal is to befriend the buxom women of the island by buying them presents. The various activities may take up all of your time, but they're little more than moneymaking ventures to nance extravagant gifts. Ultimately, this means that unless you buy
into DOA: Xtreme 2's dubious central conceit, it is little more than a collection of fair to middling

WAVE RACE
Dead Or Alive: Xtreme 2's most promising new

addition is its jet-ski races. Using the A-button to accelerate, left and right triggers to banl< and X for
a turtjo boost, ifs a cut above every mini-game but

The casino has blackjack, poker, roulette and slot machines, and is the only activity available after each day's four time slots have been used, though that's unlikely to be enough to make you want to visit too regularly. Despite the relative abundance of other distractions, volleyball remains the game's most engaging pursuit. After nding a partner - the game will immediately put you with Lisa, though a well-chosen present can win the affections of others - you can take on two of the other girls at any time of day in
several of the island's locations. Controls are shared between the A and X-buttons, making

tlie volleyball. However, where the other activities are challenging at rst the jet-ski is surprisingly simple to master, and as long as you have enough money to upgrade your craft when required it is no great hassle to win every race you participate in. For a game in desperate need of depth and variety this
is a real missed opportunity.

mini-games. Each girl has her own distinctive tastes, style and favourite colours, which does provide a tactical element to giving a gift, but when the reward is a 30-second snippet of animated ladies grappling on a beach, the risk really doesn't seem to be worth your time. Of course, this is purely a matter of personal preference. Pretending that there isn't a market for animated glamour girls is wilful ignorance, and simply because some people nd it tasteless doesn't mean that others won't nd it titillating. Cheap thrills, however, are the only real reason to give 50 and your precious time over to a game like this. Anybody who suggests that the volleyball in DOA: Xtreme 2 is a good enough simulation to justify the expense either earns far more money than we do or is simply too proud
to admit that animated bosoms oat their

the game very simple to play, with decent Al making amends for the brevity of each match. Of all the activities here, volleyball is the only one that actually becomes more entertaining as you improve, the lightning-quick, frenzied rallies standing out as a high point in the gameplay. Singling out DOA: Xtreme 2 as a imsy piece of entertainment is far from a great critical insight. Indeed, it could be argued that the game is lightweight by design. The real
reason for its existence is to showcase Xbox

The Butt Battle really has to be seen to be believed, hut is little more
than a passing distraction.

boat. Just as Mr Itagaki intended.

360's power to realistically simulate jiggling breasts, and whether that's your idea of a good time or not, the amount of attention paid
is so exhaustive it's almost disturbing. Like

verdictJ5/io

ALL BEAUTY AND NO BRAINS

Certain locations allow you to 'be friendly' with your partner, tfs not nearly as interesting as it sounds.

Any photos you take will be kept for posterity in a photo album. Just
don't let your mum see it

I The jet ski is the most impressive new addition, but it does little to add any real value.

g a m e s * * 111

REVIEW I WARIOWARE: SMOOTH MOVES I NINTENDO Wii

This is exactly as dificult as it sounds. Just scribble with the Remote. 9-V olt of fers up a far amount of not-so-retro gaming this time around.Animal Crossing, for instance.

WARIOWARE; SMOOTH MOVES


METHOD THAT'S PACKED FULL OF MADNESS
he Nintendo Wii console is certainly
not going to be short of titles that promise fun in the form of 'mini-

characters - plus a couple


of new additions - feature with their own brand of

this title

game madness.' We've already seen known franchises like Tony Hawk's and
F O R M AT REVIEWED

Nintendo Wii

Rayman being overhauled and adapted to t the Wii philosophy, but WarioWare is a series that was ready for the WII some time ago.
The problem is that on the one occasion It

micro-game, and the variety available easily ensures that this Is among the best the
series has ever offered.

'ORIGIN Japan [PUBUSHER


Nintendo

The extreme variety is, unsurprisingly, down to the WII Remote. Being prompted at the start

i DEVELOPER
In-House PRICE 39.99

ventured away from portable platforms, some of the charm that WarioWare provided died. Still, it did have a superb range of multlplayer games, and that's what we were expecting with the WII
version. Nintendo, on the other hand, doesn't

of each micro-game to take on one of many different Remote-waving 'Forms' slows the game
a little In comparison to some of the chaotic speeds achieved by Its forerunners, but having a mere three seconds or so to place the Remote on your nose to assume the 'Elephant' position adds far more to the experience than it perhaps should
- as previously stated: WarioWare has been

[RELEASE
I PLAYERS

seem to have thought It necessary, opting instead to concentrate on the single-player experience primarily, leaving the multlplayer games that

become available after a solid two hours of play


feeling a little tagged-on. This Isn't necessarily a bad thing; the multlplayer options are adequate and provide an entertaining enough experience. The trouble arises because they're rarely more Inventive than simple elimination games, and this makes It hard not to see the glaring potential that the singleplayer campaign (If you can call It a campaign)
takes advantage of so well.

waiting for WII to arrive. So a superb solo experience that can be shared with ease is what's really on offer. Whereas the addition of better multiplayer
options would have seen the title become essential, what's featured Is more than

enough and better than most of the many alternatives that have appeared.

It may not have turned out the way many

[Hhad expected, but as a game played alone or


by taking turns. Smooth Moves excels. All the

VERDICT
AS MAD AS YOU'D EXPECT

11 2 g a m e s ' "

REVIEW I SID MEIER'S RAILROADS! 1 PC

As each in-game year passes, newer technology and trains will


become available.

I Yes, we think it is. Nothing feels better than a well-deseived pat on the back. No siree.

I After a while, your landscape will be buzzing with


nwnstrous trains headed toward their destination.

SID MEIER'S RAILROADS!


"OH, I'VE BEEN WORKING ON THE RAILROAD"
here's nothing better than feeling completely at ease on a Sunday
afternoon. You've had a good weekend, the sun's shining and you For those who so desire, there's the choice

while making the right steps forward without the


need for too much uff in the middle.

F O R M AT P C ORIGIN U S

REVIEWED

PUBUSHER 2K Games

just want to sit back and relax - Railroads! may be the perfect complement for this mood. Charming and addictive, it manages to tweak the basic fundamentals of a train simulator and in doing so offer an accessible experience for anyone willing to spend some time with it. The spiritual successor to Railroad Tycoon III, it concentrates on making the game fun rather than overly involved. Granted, anyone who was enticed by the economics and complexity of the third instalment may be disappointed, but for those who want to enjoy the thrills of constructing their own railway empire
n e e d l o o k n o f u r t h e r.

to dabble with the economic side of things though it's not as complex as before - and you'll have plenty of occasions to improve upon your existing technology. Fans of the series may nd it slightly upsetting that these do not feature more heavily, but they're still present in some form. The fun increases when going head-to-head with another train mogul, be it human or Al. The true capitalist beast will have to be called upon as the winner is the rst to buy their competitor out of business. This will require setting up the most efcient routes and supplying the various cities on the map with supplies before your opponent. It's a fast, simple, intuitive form of pleasure. This is not to say that Railroads! is without
its faults. It does offer less content than some

DEVELOPER Firaxis Games PRICE 29,99 RELEASE Out Now

RAILROAD TYCOON III

PLAYERS

1 (2-4 Online)
MINIMUM SPEC

Pentium/Athlon 1.4GHz, 512MB RAM, 64MB Graphics, DirectX 7 compatible sound card, 1.7GB HDD space

The genius behind Railroads! is its ability to suck you in. All it takes to start any of the 15 scenarios is a single track between two major cities. As soon as your earnings begin to increase and your productivity swells, you'll nd it difcult to pull yourself away. As you have a giant landscape to build upon, nding the optimum route to deliver your goods is a real treat. There's always the option to make a direct path, but that
doesn't necessarily mean it's the best; it may

of its predecessors, and there's little point in playing unless you have well over the minimum requirements needed and have downloaded the latest patch from 2K Games' website. Still, Railroads! offers a relaxing, engrossing experience that is bound to attract those
who have the mindset and patience.
A subtle work of art.

result in intersecting trains requiring you to nd a way to ensure they don't block one another.
It's this continuous theme that makes Railroads! stand out - keeping an eye on what you've done

WILL WIN YOU OVER WITH ITS MILD-MANNERED CHARM

VERDICT 8/10

RAILROAD TYCOON II

g a m e s " " 11 3

REVIEW i TONY HAWK'S DOWNHILL JAM I NINTENDO Wii


A NEW STYLE FOR TONY, BUT THE FEELING'S BEEN PRESERVED

TO N Y H AW K ' S DOWNHILL JAM


(though Wii has only been on our shelves for a couple of weeks, the
stmggle to make effective use of

LMISSING link
16^^ *V_I L.l/\il\

THIS TITLE

;^rrn
F O R M AT Nintendo OTHER

a g
m
REVIEWED Wii F O R M AT S

shockingly excels in. Tilting the horizontally held remote is analogous to the shifting of the skater's weight from one side to the other, and
works well both on a at surface or on a rail. New

muttiformat releases is already apparent. Shoehorning a 360 game onto such incompatible hardware was always asking for trouble. So it's great to see Toys For Bob create a Tony Hawk's that ignores its trick-nailing brethren in favour of a more arcade-like experience that's tailored to the technology and its audience. Nintendophiles may equate it with 1080 but DownhillJam most obviously recalls EA's
SSX. Each event throws four skaters down a hill

Nintendo DS, Game Boy Advance


ORIGIN U S PUBUSHER Activision DEVELOPER

players will need a period of adjustment to get accustomed to the controls, but it'll only be a few seconds before they nd themselves weaving between the San Fran trafc like a seasoned pro. That Toys For Bob has managed to master Wii's controls so quickly is nothing short of a triumph.
Ifs such a shame, then, that certain elements of

- rst to the bottom being the winner. Boosts may be activated by performing mid-jump tricks, and short cuts are placed liberally around each location. It's not a revolutionary system for the
extreme sports racer by any stretch, but it does

the more traditional game design let the side down. Multiplayer modes, for example, suffer for not allowing human players to compete against CPU skaters. The biggest aw however, is less forgivable: each short cut is signposted with a huge and needless red arrow - a slap in the face to anyone who ever played a videogame. Half the fun of DownhillJam cou\d have been in hunting down every last secret route, but Toys For Bob has thrown away what would have been the most compelling part of the game. Still, despite its condescending moments. Downhill Jam remains an impressive extreme racer
that's difcult to not recommend.

DOWNHia BIKERS

Toys For Bob


PRICE 39.99 RELEASE Out Now

PLAYERS 1-4

work. Races exhilarate from start to nish, taking on an almost Sonic The Hedgehog fee\, as each skater smoothly grinds and ollies from one part of the scenery to another. As such, nding the shortest racing line becomes of secondary importance to guring out exactly which parts of the track offer the best trick opportunities. The fast pace of the action demands precise

D analogue control, an area that DownhillJam

BETTER THAN EXPECTED BUT NOT QUFTE BRILLIANT

VERDICT 7/10

SSX ON TOUR

REVIEW ELITE BEAT AGENTS 1 NINTENDO DS

ELITE BEAT AGENTS


IT'S READY, STEADY GO FOR THE WESTERN OUENDAN
e m e m b e r O s s u ! Ta t a k a e ! O u e n d a n reviewed back in issue 37?

uplifting, funny and emotional. The


soundtrack - a mix of recognisable

F O R M AT Nintendo ORIGIN U S

REVIEWED DS

That was a niche Japanese release that became a genuine word-ofmouth phenomenon and was a real signier of the power of the Internet. Gaming forums buzzed excitedly with discussion about this Idiosyncratic
and massively addictive rhythm-actloner Among

oldies with a few recent US punk-pop hits - Isn't as Impressive, but you'll likely end up enjoying stages with songs you'd ordinarily hate. That's the beauty of this patented magic formula - when you nd yourself humming SkSrBoior Destiny's Child's Su/v;Vorduring the day, you know you've been playing something special; It's no coincidence that these songs have two of the best stories In the game. Top marks, however, go to the INIS trademark ballad - an Over The D/sfance-rlvallIng moment that'll have you In tears - and the last stage, which beats
even Ouendan's Incredible nale for making your
hair stand on end.

PUBLISHER Nintendo DEVELOPER iNiS PRICE

$39.99
RELEASE

Its strengths were Its remarkably Inventive and sometimes downright weird stories, not to mention Its catchy J-Pop soundtrack, so hopes weren't high for a Western translation given that Its Innate 'Japanese-ness' seemed key to its appeal.
Fast-forward 15 months and we have what Is

TBA (US: Out Now)


PLAYERS 1-4

essentially a sequel - while EBA wisely retains the same mechanics, the stories and songs have all changed - and, amazingly. It's every bit as good as
the original.

Add to this the new song-specic dance moves, three bonus stages, and enhanced multiplayer options, and you have yourself a sequel that ticks all the right boxes. All the original's most Important
facets - its charm. Its unforced wackiness. Its

RHYTHM TENGOKU

Replacing the male cheer squad of Ouendan, the titular agents - their Blues Brothers cool dented somewhat by their camp dance routines - are sent to help various people In distress. They appear on the scene to save the day by swaying and singing along to a series of songs, which Is accomplished via the same numerically sequenced tap, drag and circle manoeuvres as the rst game, Nintendo and INIS must have had their work cut out matching the quirkiness that
characterised Ouendan, but they've managed

perfectly judged difculty curve, and that feel good factor - remain intact. Elite Beat Agents can't match Its predecessor for freshness or tunes, but
with more intuitive beat placement and some later

stages that will test the reexes of even veteran Ouendan-'ites, Ifs just as essential
a purchase.

It with a series of stories presented In a very similar style, but which are by turns surprising.

VERDICT 8/10
A CULT CLASStC BECOMES... ER, ANOTHER CULT CLASSIC

O S S U ! TATA K A E ! OUENDAN

A Hallywood director struggles to make his latest love-and-giant-cats blockbuster, 'Romancing Meowzllla'. Told you it was strange.

A deserted island witfiout a liatch, a smoke monster, and polar bears? These material giris look like they're being attacked by a psychotic Pertiaps we've been watching too much Lost raccoon, but apparently he's just keeping them wami.

g a m e s ' " 11 5

REVIEWS ROUND-UP

m
FORMAT REVIEWED: PlayStation Portable OTHER FORMATS: Nintendo DS ORIGIN: Canada PUBUSHER; Ubisoft DEVELOPER: In-House PRICE; 49.99
R E L E A S E : 8 D e c e m b e r P L AY E R S : 1 - 2

FORMAT REVIEWED: Nintendo DS ORIGIN: Canada PUBLISHER: Codemasters DEVELOPER: In-House PRICE: 29.99 RELEASE: 1 December PLAYERS: 1-2

R A FA N A D A L TENNIS
VIRTUA TENNIS DS, ANYONE?
lagiarism In games Is
Virtua Tennis done with a decent

j rife - the borrowing I of a mechanic like

selection of shots, and great


animation, but a clone that reveals its weaknesses over time. The lob, for

. -- Halo's energy bar, or

the rip off of a concept (stand up. Saints ow) - ifs frowned upon
but RNTgets away with it. This is
a s u n a s h a m e d a f a c s i m i l e o f Vi r t u a

The combat Is nothing more than perfunctoiy. h wofks, thafs about it

Tennis, but it feels more like a cheeky


scamp than a cynical cash-in.

example, is near unusable against Al foes, being too slow and high to catch anyone out. Also, your player will often ignore easy volleys and ground strokes despite you hitting the shot button. Frustrating in a tense rally. Still, RNT'is a pleasant surprise; a procient DS tennis game, and another excellent use of the single cart download system - two-player videogame tennis will never get old. And, if nothing else, it's evidence
that Sega should unleash VTon Nintendo's handheld, else

S TA R WA R S : LETHAL ALLIANCE
IN A GENERIC UNIVERSE FAR, FAR AWAY...
hristmas is here again,
and the licences are

Perhaps it's the novelty of tennis


on DS, or the fact that W isn't available on the machine, but Rafa's

very likeable. There's an option for


touch-screen control, and while it's

largely useless, the effort that's gone


into its execution is clear. When controlled with the touch screen, it

her robot can activate. These range from wall scaling, Metroid Prime-sl^\e
magnet walking and a few bullet

plays like a clumsy 'Wii Tennis'.


Played with the face buttons

Rafa may steal its crown. ^3/

out in full 'force'. It


wouldn't be the festive

season without a sub-par Star Wars game, and 2006 is no exception. The Lethal Alliance suhtitte may conjure images of Vader working with Luke in an Ingenious Head Over Heels-sty\e empire builder, but this bland romp is about a girl and her pet robot Within minutes of the opening level, it's clear you're in familiar territory. Corridors, lock-on, grey walls and lasers - stop us if you've
heard it before. Yes, Lethal Alliance

dodges. They do break up the onebutton shooting, but the huge blue
arrows that tell you when and where to use these abilities detract from their

though, this becomes a competent

VERDICT 5/10
AN UNABASHED VIRTUA TENNIS CLONE

inventiveness. This is gaming for the masses; completely undemanding and uninspired, but solid enough to appease the cerebrally challenged. Lethal Alliance is certainly not the
worst videogame hitting shelves this Christmas, but its blandness almost makes it offensive. There are

Its Advantage Rafa Nadal as DS moves in on the Virtua Tenn/s-style action.

Nadal Tennis also supports doubles, always the


most frantic form of tennis.

far ner PSP action games out there


- leave the licences to the

is as generic as they come, with contrived level design, dull gameplay


and only a tenuous Star Wars link.

uninformed and the elderly.


You know it makes sense.

The one saving grace is the tagteam manoeuvres that Rianna and

VERDICT 4/10

AS BLAND AS IHEV COME

Occasionally, you can team up with Zeeo to


move through on-rails boredom sections.

Hands up if you've done this s in a videogame.

The different surfaces make little change to the ight or bounce of the ball.

11 6 g a m e s " *

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I M AC I N E

PUBLISHING

hXBOX 360 LIVE TEST

ONLINE ALL THE TIME - THAT'S THE XBOX 360 WAY. BUT THEN, ARE THE GAMES YOU CAN PLAY WORTH THE

TRIED & TESTED

T h eg a m e s X b o x v L e iT e s th a s^
t ended to feel like something of an
t

afterthought: a cursory mention of the previous few months' biggest and best
titles, and the online modes therein. But as we move into 2007, with six

current videogame platforms capable of providing broadband-fuelled gaming, it's high time the concept of an online review was discussed and explained. As we all know, the online space has a number of unmanageable factors that, although outside of the development teams' control, are still integral to the experience. Community, competition and connectivity must be taken into
account alongside the standard areas

of (^ticism - the game itself, its modes


and match types. So with this in mind.

Halo 2's onslaught of teenage-American hatred would impact on its score if it


w e r e r e v i e w e d t o d a y. L i k e w i s e , O u t R u n 2, while basic in the extreme, is made all

the more pleasurable by the mature and friendly community it enjoys.


The scores should be treated with the

same weight that our traditional reviews enjoy, and as we sail into next year the section will expand to encompass all spheres of online gaming, from PC to DS, and from Wii to PS3. As always,
y o u r f e e d b a c k i s w e l c o m e , a n d w w w.

gamestm.co.uk/forum is the place to air


your views. So, with that in mind, here is the nal

Xbox Live Test, and the template to the future of our magazine's treatment of the online review. Enjoy...

G E A R S O F WA R
DOES HALO'S CHALLENGER HAVE THE FIREPOWER?

A sh a flo fh teg a m e s e ta ma s r e is s ti

Gears Of War, you'll need seven like-minded


individuals and a private lobby. And this is where the game begins to shine. Matches are tense, tactical affairs with the focus

collectively groggy head for another mid week working day, it's abundantly clear

that Gears Of War fever has taken hold. The

symptoms? Obsession, tension, mood swings, disturbing dreams - usually involving exploding
heads or the sound of revving power tools. And

on teamwork, and generally the side with the


best communication skills will prevail. There are

no respawns here so should you bite the bullet, you will be taken to the 'dead lobby' - a place to watch CCTV footage of the map - or follow a still-living team-mate. The living cannot hear the dead, and vice versa, so expect to be caught shouting orders that fall on deaf ears as your hapless team-mate is outanked by a marauding group of locusts. And should you manage the winning kill, the roar that greets your return to
the lobby is pure videogame elation. After time, the ranked games become

a red cog permanently burned into the retina. The cure? Just keep on playing. Gears'single-player campaign and ofine co-op and multiplayer wowed last month, but no one was prepared for how quite deep its
deathmatch would sink its claws. A four-on-

Unsurprisingly, as you can only enter a game alone, the groups of strangers barely talk to each other. So, you have to look out for your own back. Fantastic when you nail an unsuspecting Frenchman with a brain-popping sniper shot; horrendous when the disgustingly cheap grenade tags cause you to explode into many, many pieces. If ever a game needed a
ranked clan match, it was this. Epic, we pray

four exercise in close-range tactical combat, the game relies on the judicious use of the headset, a keen eye and a steady hand. The cover system that underpins the whole experience is revelatory, instantly erasing any thought of 'Gears Of Halo' and lending the game a Clancy feel, albeit a brutal, visceral and surprisingly
cerebral one. The basic deathmatch, Warzone, will be most

you are listening. The community is generally decent, with a good mix of stoned Americans and hyperactive teenagers, lacking the hatred of Halo 2 but also
the enthusiasm of F.E.A.R. A comms bug that

less threatening, and most players will have


evolved into the Execution match type. Here,

you have to nish 'downed' opponents with a shogun or boot to the head, or a chainsaw. It encourages teams to pair up so they can
revive one another, and is far more rewarding t h a n Wa r z o n e . A s s a s s i n a t i o n , a m i x t u r e o f

players' rst port of call, but jumping straight into a ranked game will yield terrifying results.
After the connection issues are bypassed - at rst it seems impossible to get a game so

affects latecomers is a pain, as is the inability to alter game types and maps from the lobby, and the occasional mild lag can make games against the US tough, but this is an online triumph. The next big Live thing? Oh, you'd
better believe it.

Saints Row's Protect The Pimp and Halo 2's Juggernaut, is a fun aside, but cannot compare with the might of Execution. So, stepping back into the ranked eld with
renewed condence leads to mixed feelings.

join one with a low number of players - the overwhelming difculty of 'ranked' takes over. You will die, and die quickly. In order to 'learn'

9/10
IF EPIC FIXES Th IT WILL BE NEAR PERFECT

g a m e s ' " 11 9

RAINBOW SIX VEGAS


THERE'S NO 'I' IN TEAM SHARPSHOOTER'

A e t frw n tie s s n igau r itm p h a n tr e u tr no t


form for the Montreal Studio's tactical online component.

shooter last issue, we spent the better

part of the weekend of its release trying out the most important aspect to any Rainbow title: the As highlighted by our gun-toting American columnist the most disappointing element in R6V\s Ubisoft's continuing decision to have two separate teams working on each component of the title, with the single-player module looking vastly more polished than its online relation, a la GRAW and Splinter Cell Double Agent. This decision, according to Ubisoft, is in the best interest of the consumer and their experience online. As such, a reduction in graphical quality, such as lighting effects, has been made in an effort to improve online frame rates. With some levels looking less rened than others - though this is more a passing thought than a lingering problem - the online experience is, for the most part, lag free. Lag only becomes an issue if a player with a poor connection is in your lobby so it would appear that Ubisoft's decision has proven successful - the many hours we've pumped into this are testament to that. However, given that Epic managed to
produce Gears Of War's online combat without

really be acceptable, especially with both powered by the Unreal Engine. Disappointment aside. Rainbow Six Vegas has managed to capture the online spirit that made Black Arrow so successful. Spread over
ten maps, the game modes haven't differed

As with Battleeld 2, R6Vfeatures a status

system whereby rising through the military ranks, by way of experience points, unlocks various headgear, body armour and weaponry. Points are earned depending on your nishing position in the game, and your team's performance. Thankfully, points can be gained in ranked and unranked (player) matches so you're not punished for opting to play private matches
over public. The match customisations for the host is

greatly from Black Arrow - Attack & Defend,


Survival, Sharpshooter, Team Survival, Team

Sharpshooter, Retrieval, Co-op Terrorist Hunt and Co-op Story - with the latter incorporating all the missions from the single-player game and allowing up to four people to play. Better
yet, this online element features the full visuals

varied: you can set your 360 as a dedicated


server, employ various item restrictions, set

of the single-player and is all the better for it. One of Rainbow 6 Vegas' USPs is the face
mapping achieved via the Xbox Vision Camera, something most Rainbow fans have been

map cycles, select ranked/player matches, and limit the number of players within the lobby - up to 14 players only. In fact, the set-up feels comfortably familiar to Black Arrow in almost every characteristic, both in game and out. While less visually next gen in online appearance. Rainbow Six Vegas is a thoroughly entertaining game offering the best modes of the series, a healthy selection of maps - Ubisoft will ofcially conrm downloadable content next year - and a great community of players. The bitter memory of Lockdown has
been rmly banished.

drooling over - the anticipation of placing a headshot between the eyes of one of your mates (or, more realistically, a screaming American teenager) is a satisfying prospect. While the quality of the face mapping is visually good, this selling point quickly loses its appeal as anyone who has his or her face mapped will hilariously receive the bald-on-top 'Patrick
Stewart' effect. You can use the tactical helmet to cover your shiny dome, but the custom face

is severely limited in options and is ignored by


most gamers.

any visual sacrice, this 'explanation' shouldn't

9/10
SET TO REPEAT THE ONLINE PERFORMANCE OF BLACK ARROW

CALL OF DUTY 3
ONCE MORE UNTO THE BREACH

C a lO fD u y t 2o nX b o xL v iew a sap h e n o m e n a l
success - at least, once the lobby system had

That said, when you venture out into the massive onslaught of public battles, the map sizes come into intended effect, offering a large battle experience unlike anything seen or felt in Call Of Duty 2.
Deathmatch battles are ferocious and frantic, but

SPUNTER CELL DOUBLE AGENT


DOUBLE YOUR PLEASURE THIS IS NOT

been implemented some months after its initial release - and proved to be one of the most played Xbox Live games of 2006, coming second only to the uninching Halo 2, which itself only recently succumbed to Gears Of War. Picking up where C0D2 left off. Call Of Duty 3 expands the multiplayer arenas
to accommodate the increase from 16 to 24 players online. While 12-on-12 team battles are reassuringly immense and thoroughly enjoyable - akin to the

most importantly lag free - something few games can claim, as most suffer the multiplayer migraine in
some small way or another.

Surely inspired by Battleeld 2: Modern Combat's Conquest mode, Activision has designed its own reimagining of it with War. This new mode - the only
new addition over C0D2 - is in a similar vein, but

large-scale battles experienced in Battleeld 2:


Modern Combat-ihe decision to create maps

designed for a minimum of 12 players is perhaps its


only aw. One of the reasons its predecessor proved

rather than beginning with neutral zones, and both teams ghting over control, the Allies must take each Axis-controlled zone in a xed sequence, with the goal to secure all Axis-occupied zones within a set
time. While a fun diversion from the bread-and-butter

W h e n was P a released, n d o r aT o its m o online ro w


functions proved a success employing the stealth tactics of the spy versus the rst-person brutality of the meres - only without Sam Fisher. Two sequels on and the online component
is further aeld of the core

so popular was because a group of between four and eight friends could get together for continuous, none-public player carnage on appropriately designed maps. Now, the same smallish group of friends can spend an eternity trying to nd their next kill - hardly
a recipe for sustained success.

team battles and popular Headquarters mode, it fails


to work as well as the aforementioned, or indeed the classic Capture The Flag.

GREAT FUN, BUT NEEDS SMALL-SCALE DLC MAPS ASAP

1/10

attraction. Developed by a different team from the singleplayer, the Live multiplayer is a watered-down affair. Featuring various co-op and single-player challenges split into three skill levels and straight up spy versus Upsilon Force meres (up to threeon-three), the online experience is a shadow of the game itself, feeling more like a Splinter Cell
tribute than an extension of it.

Suffering from lag even with the simplied visuals, the biggest differences are the weapons and functionaPity of both sides, while the proxy alarm (a closerange movement radar for nercs) has annoyed many spies

|who prefer breaking necks to


npleting objectives. Also, i online complaints over unnished ' games due to unsporting hosts Iquitting when dying early has J sparked calls for a patch to x this ; and the stat system. Not Sam's
n e s t h o u r.

5/10
N O T N E A R LY A S E N G A G I N G A S PA N D O R A T O M O R R O W

121

ONLINE ALL THE TIME - THAT'S THE XBOX 360 WAY. BUT THEN, ARE THE GAMES YOU CAN PLAY WORTH THE

Xbox360 LIVE TEST

P H A N TA S Y S TA R UNIVERSE
PUTTING AN END TO F I N A L P H A N TA S I E S

A f t e rputs t h ew d li faith m s i r ebee-murdering t h a tw a sF n ia lF a n t a s yX I ,ag a m et h t b n ild y l its in than it did hand-holding, ita was
always going to take one hell of an MMORPG to bring the curious back into the fold. That's exactly what Phantasy Star Universe does. It has the accessibility and the fun without losing sight of the genre's need for
player growth, and drama.

More importantly. Phantasy Star Universe also acknowledges the social side of MMORPGs, allowing you to drop in and out of parties with minimum fuss and automatically setting up new voice chat channels within your group. With a slim class system cutting down on inter-party politics as everyone decides who does what, it means nding people to play with - the main reason anyone picks up an MMORPG - is incredibly simple. With a mission-based structure keeping the gameplay tight without losing its freedom and streamlined controls, this is a lesson in
how console MMORPGs should be done.

TONY HAWK'S PROJECT 8


WHY ON EARTH IS THERE NO HORSE?
Comparing combo scores with chums, and, if you're good enough, the world, is the natural evolution of the series' numerical one-upmanship. Which leaves the actual online play feeling a little empty. When you can beat your friends ofine, why challenge them in person? This is not to say Project 8's Live modes are particularly lacking,
merely uninspired. The usual combo mambo, trick and score attacks are

I fe v e rag a m ew a sc r y n i go u tf o ro n n ilee la d e rb o a r d s ,s t 'i T o n y .

joined by bizarre Tron/Snake hybrid 'Walls', and the lack of lag makes for a diverting online experience, but it all lacks permanence. Your greatest ever combo is far more likely to come during a comfortable solitary session in the skaters' paradise of Pro/ecf 8 than a quick-re online challenge, and as such, online is best left as an arena for casual play and conversation rather than competitive skating. Also, the lack of 'Horse' is borderline criminal, presumably left out so impatient teenagers wouldn't
have to wait for their turn.

9/10
T H E O N LY C O N S O L E M M O R P G Y O U N E E D

SOLID STUFF, BUT HARDLY ENTHRALLING

E/10

Although not radi cally different from last year's

TIGER WOODS PGA TOUR '07


"GET IN THE HOLE..."

F I FA ' 0 7
EA SHOWS KONAMI HOW IT SHOULD BE DONE

effort, NBA 2K7 plays an extremely good game of online hoops, with a multitude of options, decent connectivity and a largely lagless net code. The ability to create your own highlight reel and upload it, a la Burnout, is inspired, and in the end, it's only the loudmouths in your ear that let it down, but this is not a game that truly requires a headset. Another ne example of Xbox Live sporting competition from 2K Sports.

the gentleman's sport is probably the best It has ever been - even if it is visually disappointing given
the similarities to the previous incarnation. Online,

G o f ls iv e r yn io f e n s v ie ,a n dE A s 'a lt e s tc a p t u r n i go f
Tiger '06 proved a relaxing, so-so experience, if mired

T h e effort m a t c EA he has n g n ie gone m a to yb in eensuring a v e r a g eaa tstellar b e s t ,b game u tt h eof


online football cannot be ignored. From the synching
with TalkSport radio to the myriad tournament, league

and co-op options to the lag-free matches themselves,


FIFA '07 serves as a painful reminder of just how behind the online times PES really is. And because of this, FIFA '07 becomes far more enjoyable as a Live game. With both players suffering

with terrible lag that spoiled the experience. Now smoother online. Tiger '07 instead suffers another problem: that of missed putts... putts that, according to the commentary, were holed on your screen. The game seems to reverse that conclusion and instead continues as though you missed the putt. This happened on more than one occasion while

5/10

the inadequacies of the engine (bizarre shooting, ropey ball physics), the challenge simply comes through besting your opponent at a videogame, rather than a
football match. And, as PES shows, scoring against

NHL 2K7

playing online, and we'd be lying if we said it wasn't incredibly upsetting, especially when money and personal banter with a friend are riding on holing out.
Aside from this odd and somewhat rare occurrence.

an unknown foreigner is scarily exciting, almost as if you're doing your patriotic duty by guiding a digital sphere into a polygonal net. This is how online sport should be played. Obviously, the FIFA engine becomes its own undoing causing frustration with its awful
nishing and defending, but as a glimpse of the future of football, you couldn't ask for more.

Tiger '07 is a very pleasant game both ofine and


online, and, when played with friends over Live, offers an enjoyable and more sombre online competition to
that of Gears Of War and PGR3.

1/10
HING TO DO ON A SUNDAY

A B R I L L I A N T O N L I N E T R E AT M E N T O F A N AV E R A G E G A M E

7/10

A g a n i ,t h e2 K S p o r t sm a c h n ie doesn't disappoint, with


a ne game of Live hockey to break up ail the shooting and maiming. Beating the Canadians at their own game is pretty tough, but with practice and
a bit of luck we can show our

transatlantic cousins a thing or two about puck control. Unfortunately, connecting to a game proves somewhat troublesome - hopefully a patch will appear soon to x it. All in all, a decent effort. _

7/10
games"' 123

ONLINE ALL THE TIME - THAT'S THE XBOX 360 WAY. BUT THEN. ARE THE GAMES YOU CAN PLAY WORTH THE

Xbx360 UVE TEST

PRO EVOLUTION SOCCER 6


TEETERING ON THE BRINK OF DISASTER

tIw a ss oo c ls e .fI h s tie r e v iwh a db e e n

written just a week earlier. Pro Evolution

The basic divisional structure adds spice to the ranked proceedings, and the allure of overtaking your friends proves PES's greatest draw, but in truth, reviewing this online must be a cautionary
tale. Avoid anyone offering a ve-minute match,

Soccer 6 online would be staring down the barrel of a 3. Before Konami's life-saving patch, it was impossible to enter a custom game, and nearly impossible to receive a challenge. And if you actually managed to get a match, the button-lag was absolutely crippling. PES, a game as reliant on split-second timing as Street
Fighter, became a broken mess - a to-me-to-

as they'll attempt to go one-nil up then pass


the ball between their back four until full time

- not fun. Also, avoid the top-ranked players: not because you might be heavily beaten, the prospect of a giant killing is more than enough reason to risk that. No, unfortunately, most of the top-ranked players will be using the pausecheat to gain their results. We won't advertise how to do it, but there's

you challenge in running toward goal and pre empting when to press shoot. Horrible. Then, a month after the game's retail release, Konami released the fabled patch. The game was playable and, in fact, thoroughly enjoyable again. Does it excuse the bare-bones options or the mysterious disappearance of online co-op? Certainly not, but at least it gives the world
what it has always wanted, PES online.

online, and this is where the game shines. As with the ofine multiplayer, the joy at scoring
a wondergoal or landing a last-ditch tackle hasn't diminished in a decade of PES, and if it comes against an anonymous foe, it is amplied

a bug that freezes the game. So, if you're onenil up with 88 minutes gone and your game locks up, you know what has happened. As you may know, disconnecting results in a 3-0 loss, so these 'freezers' try to cheat the system to improve their ranks. Disgusting. If Konami hasn't patched this ridiculous bug
by the time this review is published, then it

further. It may be drowning in faults and foibles,


but it's unavoidably compelling.

One recommendation for any PES onliners


o u t t h e r e : d o n ' t l o o k a t F I FA . W h i l e E A ' s m a t c h

engine still pales in comparison, its Xbox Live efforts make PES look like a heroin-addled tramp.
Next year, be it on PS3 or otherwise. Pro Evo needs a minimum of two-on-two, it needs tournaments, it

is inexcusable. A good game ruined by a bug that should have surely been ushed out way
before release. Even if it is xed, it will not

needs leagues and H needs to work properly straight


out of the box. Or the devout Pro Evo followers may begin to look elsewhere.

stop the rather repugnant community using


every cheap trick and tactic known to man to grind out a victory. Be it the overuse of man-

tank Adriano or the agrant hacking down of

6/10
RIDDLED WITH PROBLEMS, BUT HIGHLY ADDICTIVE

IK O N A M I

E F F O R T ? W E ' V E S P E N T P L E N T Y O F T I M E W I T H E A C H O F T H E M S O Y O U D O N T H AV E T O W A S T E T H AT C A S H .

Arcade Perfect
THE NEXT BIG XBOX UVE HAPPENINGS...

SMALL ARMS
Playing like an explosive tribute to Super Smash Bros Melee, online play nds itself at the

F E A R .
D E L I C I O U S LY O L D - S C H O O L
SHOOTING THRILLS

NEED FOR SPEED CARBON


CAUGHT BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE

mercy of crude character balance as the fun is exhausted by the same two characters always cropping up. Ifs passable but without a strong ofine mode feels like a missed opportunity.

W t h ia lt h ef o c u so nG e a r s ,R a n ib o wa n dC a lO f
Duty of late, it's sometimes good to remember

W h e n e v e rt h es e r e i sh a sv e n t u r e do n n il es t i 'b e e n
exactly what was expected of it In a relatively smooth

an acceptable yet mediocre affair that's delivered

the online shooter's past. The Quafre-style arena


battle that felt less like urban warfare, and more like a gladiatorial combat/every man for himself, where

manner that's typical of EA and its effective lobby


systems. No surprises, then, that this latest instalment
varies little from this now well known routine.

DEFENDER
Enhanced mode colours in the mountains while Retro is as

speed, accuracy and reaction time mean the difference between life and death. It's almost become a sport in itself, and F.E.A.R. stays faithful to the genre's roots. At heart, this is as retro as online shooting can get.

As you'd expect, the main race types from the singleplayer are available online with the actual process of nding and launching games being relatively painless.
However, boosting the regular online package is the

faithful a tribute you'll get, but both suffer from 0-pad problems.
Achievements are well balanced

T h ew h o e lt h n i gm o v e sw t i hr e e ln t e ls sp a c e

- you're never more than a few seconds away

inclusion of Pursuit Tag and Pursuit Knockout modes


that both see some players (all except one in Tag and

and Live play isn't bad, but sadly you have to get around that D-pad
to draw Defender out of its shell.

from combat, and the weapon set allows players to carve out their own niche, be it a shotgun master or a nail-gun machine. The slow motion battles - a mixture

the last in each lap in Knockout) assuming the role of


cops, effectively allowing the superb pursuit aspects of the game available online. It's not the most essential online title, but with the game likely to do very well in the Christmas charts

between Halo's Juggernaut and The Matrix - help to


freshen up a slightly tired theme, but it's the out-andout bloody ghting that will keep you coming back for more. F.E.A.R. is not for everyone, but for the Quakers of this world. It's like a dream.

- as usual - there's guaranteed to be plenty of decent


online action over the next few months.

ROBOBLITZ

A FA S T PA C E D . R E T R O - F U E L L E D S H O O T E R

7/10

7/10
AS GOOD AS YOU'D EXPECT

A cutesy platformer that shows


the future of new IP on Xbox Live Arcade to be in rude health. RoboBlitz combines resource

management shooting at other robotic enemies, puzzle solving and, of course, a healthy amount of jumping onto moving platforms to good effect.

games"' 125

Violence and technology... not good bedfellows Prehistoric Isle 2, Arcade [SNK] 1999

REMEMBER IHE DAYS BEFORE

MOimiAGES, OVERDRAFTS AND KIDSP


THE ESSENTIRL GUIDE TO CLSSC GRmES
^THE UK'S ONLY MAGAZINE DEDICATED TO THE HALCYON DAYS OF GAMING ^ HUGE GUIDE TO CLASSIC HARDWARE AND GAMES
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^ EXCLUSIVE IN-DEPTH FEATURES ON THE RETRO CLASSICS YOU LOVE ^THE ONLY MAGAZINE THAT SPEAKS TO THE LEGENDS OF GAMES DEVELOPMENT ^ THE TRUE VOICE OF THE RETROGAMING COMMUNITY ^YOUR HOME WILL NOT BE AT RISK IF YOU BUY THIS MAGAZINE TO SUBSCRIBE OR JOIN OUR FORUM GO TO:

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ions, the USA or UK?


a discusises his

8 - B I T- ' E M - U P S
TTie best ghters on Speccy & C64

HBOW ROOM
e rise and fall of the

tiplayer arcade game

v, v

evwst-HVtoftt!

S^i'nE! 7.45g- ; m^rn ft C^aaova-r-set .aa Way ia isL';

Wait# Way fof |

i m e i s

Find out what's going on in the here and now of retro gaming

Y e s .C h s m i r ta s
is upon us the time you

once again. By

read this, my Nintendo

Wii should be rmly


entrenched beneath

NEW DREAMCAST SHOOTER FOR '07


TRIGGER HEART EXELICA PORTED FROM NAOMI
N o v e m b e r, t h e u n b e l i e v a b l e news of yet another new Dreamcast

the TV set, ready for


a hardcore But session chances on are Zelda.

that I won't be spending


that much time on any
new consoles around

R e p o e t r d n iJ a p a n e s ea c r a d e
magazine Arcadia in late

Extention, especially as most other Naomi ports have been identical to their arcade counterparts. Having

t h e C h r i s t m a s h o l i d a y. Yo u s e e , i t ' s b e c o m e

game reaches us this month. Trigger Heart Exelica was originally developed by Warashi for Sega's
Naomi arcade system in May 2006 and will, according to Arcadia, be released on Dreamcast in February

said that, the slightly altered title does suggest some kind of bonus
content or remix. Nevertheless, the very fact that another new Dreamcast game is on its way can

something of a tradition
that every December I have to dust off the Sega Saturn and play Christmas NiGHTS to completion, unlocking all the presents

only be extremely good news for


fans of the machine. Sega's last home console recently celebrated and the indie shooter Last Hope

next year under the new name of Trigger Heart Extention. The vertical scrolling shooter received average
reviews following its arcade debut
so we're not too excited about

both on the way to Dreamcast in 2007, it looks as though the old


console still has some life left in it. Now, if only someone would release a game that isn't a shoot-'em-up.

its eighth birthday, over ve years


after Sega abandoned the hardware to pursue third-party development.

before the year is out.


There's something magical about NiGHTS
and even if i didn't

Yet with Trigger Heart Extention

have a festively themed version I'd probably still be playing it around


Christmas as it is that

LEMMINGS 2 FOR P L AY S TAT I O N 3


BRAND NEW D O W N L O A D - O N LY SEQUEL
HD for Microsoft's Xbox Live Arcade.

special. With that in mind, I'm especially proud to present this month's lead

Retro feature, a four-page


behind at the scenes Into look NiGHTS Dreams.

F o lo w i n gT e a m1 7 s 'h u g e l y
successful reinvention of the

Lemmings 2 at a reasonable price;

it's a shame that such a high-prole


title won't be available for those

With such a killer app conrmed for


Microsoft's service it seems that

I can condentially say


that there's never been

Lemmings brand on PSP and PlayStation 2, the Yorkshire-based development team is now busily working away on a sequel. Rather
than create a jazzed-up remake of 1993's Lemmings 2: The Tribes h o w e v e r, t h e t e a m h a s c h o s e n t o create a completely original sequel with fresh new puzzle possibilities including machines that will

without broadband. A more pressing

Sony has a tough battle ahead to persuade gamers that its service offers a superior line up.

matter for Sony however, is that Team 17 is also working on Worms

an interview in which Yuji


Naka about reveals NiGHTS as as much he has

here. Enjoy the article and


be sure to let me know

what you think. Happy


Christmas.

teleport or clone the Lemmings,


and at least 40 brand new levels.

The game will also take advantage of PlayStation 3's power with a full widescreen, 1080p HD display. That Lemmings 2 will only be available online is both a good and a bad thing. It's great that onlineenabled PS3 owners will get to buy
K m XX LLi l. .u Ui I. .i i U U J l U i U U J L t i ,

Ashley Day
retrt^magine
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KetxoD I A R Y
'07
S A L A M A N D E R P O R TA B L E Date: 25 January Publisher: Konami Price: 4,679 Format: PSP Konami's three separate collections of classic shoot-'em-ups all arrive on the same day in January. Parodius Collection is mentioned in the release list on page 20, but what of Salamander? The
collection includes Salamander, Life Force and Salamander2, which

> a s

1 0

!a.0 I3L3C

DOUBLE DRAGON GOES LIVE


CLASSIC BRAWLER COMING TO 360

Olilschool gaming is on the up, so games dedicates itself to keeping you up to date with what's going down in the world of retro
JANUARY

F e L e il i n vg e t A h e rca c d u e r r e n gt al u ml e i n s? X b Fo ex ar
not, there are more just around t h e c o r n e r s t a r t i n g w i t h Te c h n o s ' classic side-scrolling ghter Double Dragon. Although few details are currently known about the game (it hasn't even been ofcially announced as we type this) we do
know that it will be available in both

an arcade-perfect mode and a full high-denition mode. As can be seen in the screenshots,
there's a marked difference between

each version. We prefer the pixel look of the original ourselves, but it's great that the publisher. Empire, has

offered players a choice. Expect more


info as soon as we have it.

are all excellent little shooters that play in the Gradius style. As a bonus the disc also includes Xexex, an R-Type-style shooter that has
never been ported to consoles before.

T W I N B E E P O R TA B L E Date: 25 January Publisher: Konami Price: 4,679 Format: PSP Also out on the 25th Is Twinbee Portable, a collection featuring Konami's vertical-scrolling shooter. Included on this disc Is Twinbee, Detana Twinbee, Twinbee Yahho and Pop'n Twinbee. Although the
Twinbee series isn't as well loved as Gradius or Salamander, it's

still a very decent shooter that plays like a parody of Xevious. The
The high-res version of Double Dragon (arcade version, left).

cartoony ships are able to shoot, throw bombs and even grab a
team-mate's ship and throw it at enemies.

VIRTUAL MSX FOR WINDOWS PCS


W O O M B . N E T F I N A L LY L A U N C H E S

IMPOSSIBLE MISSION Date: 26 January Publisher: System 3 Price: TBA Format: DS, Wii
Due to be re-released on DS and Virtual Console on the same day,

the classic C64 platform game Impossible Mission is back. The DS version makes great use of the bottom screen to include a full map and a touch-controlled puzzle section while the Wii version is expected to be more traditional as with the upcoming PSP version. We've played both and can conrm that fans of the vintage Epyx game will not be disappointed.

F r is ta n n o u n c e ds e v e r a lm o n t h s

historical information and trivia, and in some cases, scans of the freebies that were originally given away with the games. More impressive is
the fact that some of the titles on Woomb have never been available in

ago in games, woomb.net,

the service that allows IVISX games to be played on a PC, has nally launched. We spent an afternoon getting to grips with the service and
are pleased to reveal that it doesn't disappoint. Each game is bought and paid for on the website then downloaded from a secure program that sits on the PC desktop. The p r o g r a m , c a l l e d M S X P I a y e r, r u n s like a simplied emulator that allows minimal tinkering but is incredibly easy to run. The service currently has 15 games available at less than ten euros each with more planned for 2007. That ten euros might seem quite expensive, but the developer has put a lot of effort into each download. Every game comes

the UK before. Compile's Golvellius2, for example, is an RPG that was only ever released in Japan but has been translated into English especially for
the Woomb release.

NEXT

MONTH

IN

An excellent service all round then; if anyone is even remotely interested i n M S X g a m e s t h e n w w w. w o o m b . net should be their next port of call.

retro
GAMER
issue: 33

V" o

On Sale: 04 January
Price: 4.99

Highlights: The well-rounded Retro Gamer 33 features a healthy mix of Japanese, American and British games. The American classics Earthworm Jim and Alter Ego get the 'Making Of treatment. Policenauts and Street Fighter III keep up the Japanese end, while a 'Company Prole' on Sensible Software celebrates one of the best British developers. Oh and there's a six-page feature on the CD32, written by games's own retro writer. Don't miss it.

with a full digital manual, a le of

"lit

uattrruia

Ipve .for fCaterina was now was now

He reluctantly abandoned

on with the radar The greatest use of


Nintendo's DS however, is the touch-

controlled level designer, which works just as you would expect. All of the elements that make up your
standard Lode Runner level can be

picked from an icon bar that runs along the bottom and then, using the stylus, positioned wherever you like within the level itself. It's perfectly intuitive and will take only moments to get to grips with although it can take several minutes to gure
out how to save a level due to the

Japanese menu. Once that's done,


custom levels can even be whizzed

Format: Nintendo DS

across to someone eise's DS using the magic of Wi-Fi.


As a retro re-release. Lode Runner

DS BEARS THE 'LODE'

Publisher: Hudson Soft

Developer: In-House

X^Price: 3,550 (16)

is a terric little DS game. That Hudson has opted not to mess with
the formula too much, works in the

s 't I y n l a lh a p p e n e d .A e t r fn e y a lr
two years of shoddy collections
and butchered rennakes,

anyone who grew up with the game in the early-Eighties. The aim, as
always, is to collect the mounds of

game's favour - especially as the


- so we wouldn't have a problem

original was so good to begin with recommending this to any long

Nintendo DS has been graced with a retro game that's as good as the original classic and makes good use of the console's capabilities. Lode Runner is essentially the
same game that has been around

gold that are scattered throughout the level while avoiding the enemies
that relentlessly home in on the player The real trick comes from

time Lode Runner fan. Newcomers

may want to think twice however,

for the last 13 years since its debut on Commodore 64. Although it started life as a Br0derbund game, the classic platformer has worked its way through numerous formats and developers over the years
and now rests with Hudson Soft

the main character's ability to dig a hole either to the left or the right so that an enemy momentarily fails in. Time the digging right and it's even possible to kill an enemy when the pit magically rells and traps the enemy. As levels progress, the difculty soon ramps up as the gold mounds are placed in positions that, at rst, seem impossible to get to but
can actually be located with some

as this may be a bit too retro for them. The difculty curve is the one thing that's likely to put most
The level-design mode works a treat Nice one, dianks a lot Hudson.

often considered to be more of a

puzzle game than a platformer For the sake of comparison, it's almost like a sideways Mr Driller. As noted. Lode Runner DS hardly differs at all from previous iterations, but then that's not such a bad thing.
Classic re-releases have far too

people off as after about ve levels things become incredibly tricky. A huge time investment and a lot of lateral thinking will be needed, which
may be too much for those who are

in Japan. Aside from the fact that enemies have been replaced with
Bombermen, Hudson's Lode Runner

very clever digging. It's because of


this element that Lode Runner is

looking for a pick-up-and-play title. Those who are willing to put the effort in, though, will nd that when a levei is conquered, it's one of the most satisf/ing feelings in games.

should be instantly recognisable to


Trap enemies by digging a hole in front ol them. Like so...

often suffered from unnecessary tinkering, so it's great to see that


Hudson sticks to what it does best.

sa.

A
E; W A

This is an unashamedly old-school Lode Runner that won't disappoint


seasoned fans. That said, Hudson

has made a couple of additions


based on the DS capabilities, but

they're all extras that improve the experience without affecting the core gameplay. During the main game, the only real addition is that the top screen constantly displays a detailed radar that shows where all the gold is as well as the positions of the player
and enemies. As the bottom screen

The enemies are relentless; dawdling lor a second


can mean dead).

OVERALL SCORE

shows a zoomed-in view of the

i;

a;

'Ai

action, it's tremendously helpful to keep track of everything that's going

79%

l 3 2 " G A M E S ' " R E T R O

pack. For those who've never played it. Haunting puts the player in control of a teenage poltergeist whose task is to chase an entire family out of their home by possessing objects around the house and causing them to perform all manner of creepy deeds. It's a startlingly inventive game, even 13 years after its original release.
Old favourites like Road Rash and

AND NOT A F I FA 9 5 I N S I G H T
being left behind, especially if the quality of the games isn't up to the
same standard. So does Electronic Arts have

Format; PlayStation Portable


Publisher: Electronic Arts

Developer; In-House

Desert Strike are just as much fun

Price;

34.99

as we remember but are let down

more conspicuous by their absence.

by the inclusion of their sequels, which really aren't different enough to bother with. And this is yet another problem with EA Replay, when the
identikit sequels to Road Rash, Desert Strike and Wing Commander are

Perhaps EA assumed that such


games were too graphically crude

for PlayStation Portable owners, or


perhaps there were legal reasons

enough brilliant titles in its back catalogue to warrant a full-price retro


collection? The short answer is that

why they couldn't be included.


Nevertheless, their absence will

it undoubtedly does, the problem is


If you've never played Hauftdaglhea you'll never know what you're missing out on.

come as a particularly hard blow


to anyone who remembers how

that half of those games are nowhere to be seen in EA Replay. What has been included here is essentially a collection of EA's 16-bit games, most
of which are emulations of their Mega Drive ports. So although this
means that some all-time classics

subtracted there are only actually ten original games here. In short, EA Replay isn't a particularly bad set of games, it just isn't tremendously good value for money and is let down by the fact that it could have
been much, much more.

special the Electronic Arts games of


the Eighties were.

the handheld's monthly releases these days, it was only a matter of time before EA (or Electronic

W h ti P S Pr e r o t

compilations accounting for a liealthy portion of

There's no hiding the fact that we're pretty disappointed by EA


Replay, but that's not to suggest that there aren't some decent games h e r e . O n t h e c o n t r a r y, t h e r e a r e
one or two titles that stand out as

THE FULL LINE-UP


B.O.B. Budokan Desert Strike

such as Syndicate and Desert Strike are included, it also means that its
well-remembered Commodore 64

some of our favourite games of all


time. Haunting Starring Polterguy is

Arts as it was known before lazy


abbreviations became fashionable) released a collection of hits from its own back catalogue. And here it is: EA ffep/ay throws together 14

games, like Racing Destruction Set a n d R e a l m O f I m p o s s i b i l i t y, a r e


ffoadffas/risstilljustassatisfyingasever

denitely the standout game of the

Jungle Strike Haunting Starring Polterguy Mutant League Football


Road Rash Road Rash II Road Rash III

of the mega-publisher's best games on a single disc. But is the collection worth the 35 asking price?
Well, that really depends on how much you like the games that have been bundled. Still, there's

Syndicate Ultima: The Black Gate


Virtual Pinball

Wing Commander

no getting around the fact that 14


games simply isn't all that many when you consider that Sega's

Wing Commander: Secret Missions

Mega Drive Collection offers over 30 titles for only 20. It may seem
like an unfair comparison, but Sega,
whose collection scored 94% in its

OVERAU SCORE

games review last month, has

raised the bar so high that anyone


who fails to jump over it will end up

60%
GAMES RETRO 133

IN AN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW, YUJI


N A K A TA K E S S O M E T I M E A W AY F R O M H I S TO P - S E C R E T P R O J E C T S

AT PROPE TO CHAT WITH GAMES


A B O U T O N E O F T H E G R E AT E S T SEGA GAMES OF ALL TIME: THE

WONDERFUL NiGHTS INTO DREAMS

Yuji Naka: die man behind NiGHTS, Sonic and so many other classics.

but over the years the veteran game designer has


been responsible for so many more signicant

Y u ij N a k a ,a n dh s io fm re rd e v e o lp m e n t
studio, Sonic Team, may well be most famous for creating Sonic The Hedgehog, Samba De Amigo. Naka has been responsible

with which the main character could glide through the air, diving, looping and pirouetting at will,
was at odds with the controller's stubbom digital

D-pad. A custom controller, specically designed


for the acrobatic needs of NiGHTS was just what Sonic Team needed. "The analogue pad was a must-have item in terms of having the players

videogames than the 'hedgehog with attitude'. You

name it, Phantasy Star Online, Burning Rangers,


for a list of classics so long it could rival the work of even Nintendo's Shigeru Miyamoto. Of all his games however, there is one that stands head
and shoulders above the rest. It is still one of the

experience the great feeling of ying in the air.


Also, this might be a secret but the rst person who touched the trial version of the analogue pad was actually Steven Spielberg. When he

visited Sega, I did a presentation of NiGHTS, and


that is when he touched the pad," recalls Naka

most inventive and original games of all time and is dearest to the heart of almost every long
time Sega fan. We are of course referring to the
wondrous NiGHTS into Dreams.

with some pride for the innovative controller that launched alongside the game just 12 days after Super Mario 64 debuted with its own specially designed controller. The impact of Nintendo's pad quickly resonated throughout the industry with
other companies soon redesigning their own pads to match. In some ways this was a shame as the

1996 was a landmark year for 3D platformers, with every major console playing host to a game that revolutionised the genre. N64 launched with Super Mario 64, and the multiformat Tomb

Raiderfound its natural home on PlayStation. The


Saturn, meanwhile, was bestowed with IViGHTS, a platform game so unique, so completely unconventional that it's hard to call it a platformer

limelight could so easily have shone on Sega's


controller had release schedules been different.

As with Nintendo's own landmark, Sega's controller brought the player closer to the game,

at all. And while Mario and Lara leapt into the history books, NiGHTS was somehow forgotten by all but the hardcore. Those who do remember
it however, know that NiGHTS was a sublime experience. Its goal - to y a oating jester-like creature through the dreams of two children, collecting orbs and comboing 'links' between checkpoints - was unlike that of any other game, yet it was typical of just how different Sega was to its competitors in the mid-Nineties.

involving them in the action as no other had done before. It was a feeling that Sonic Team had persevered long and hard to achieve. "Expressing the feeling of ying in the air and the creation of
a totally new system was very challenging and

required trial and error," says

Pinpointing NiGHTS' inspiration is not easy. Though its speed and motion vaguely recall the
uid movements of Sonic, there really isn't a

L*

game like it, so it's unsurprising that Naka found


inspiration from outside the television screen. "NiGHTS has been inspired by various titles and characters," he says, "I personally think that it was

inspired by my very favourite. Cirque du Soleil's


Mystere". A brief look at the Las Vegas stage show, in which graceful masquerade characters bounce and soar through a dream-like landscape lled with mesmerising patterns that shift with the action, certainly throws up a few similarities. The visual likeness between performance and game Released: 1996 Format: Saturn shows exactly where NiGHTS' uid movements originated, but how did Naka intend to transfer those movements into the hands of the player? Of course, NiGHTS could function normally with a standard Saturn control pad, but the ease

*\w'' S '
GAMES'" RETRO 135

Publisher: Sega Developer: Sonic Team

Naka. "The intention was to have the players feel

out

and

the

main

character

W I U K }
Of all the games without a full sequel, l\JiGHTS Into Dreams is perhaps the one single game that most often receives requests for a follow-up.
Naka himself has often stated that he's reluctant

synchronised and reect itself to the playing character. This is the reason why we tested quite a lot of different patterns. I remember having to narrow them down." The relationship between the player and the gameworld was obviously of the utmost importance to Sonic Team, who strove to inject as much emotion into the game as possible, so much so that the results often
surprised Naka himself. "Since NiGHTS was created to

would transform back into a human and plummet to earth

ready for the player to guide them back to the start before a rampaging alarm clock caught up and awoke them. It was a slightly nightmarish scenario but one that technically pushed the Satum further than anyone knew possible as the children could roam the 3D landscape with full
analogue control. Later games like Tomb Raider and

to create a sequel because he feels that the original is far too special to risk tarnishing with an inferior successor, but the truth is that an ofcial sequel was once in the works. The truth lies in the Saturn's analogue pad and its mysterious detachable cable. "With the cable part of the analogue pad

affect as many people as possible, we researched a lot of colours and meanings of things by using different methods including dream diagnosis. I remember crying when checking the in-game movies. I have actually
developed many games, but this was the rst and last

Burning Rangers would push Saturn's 3D capabilities even further, but back in July 1996, NiGHTS proved just how much everyone had underestimated Sega's
underdog console.

\ / *jf Zf disconnect, we
^ had been testing
a controller with an

time I was moved by my own game," he unexpectedly admits. Continuing on the subject of emotion, he reveals that: "The part I feel most proud of is that we succeeded In affecting people without using words. In
recent games, characters speak words and I feel that

Innovations followed in Al too. Sonic Team began


experimenting with what would become the A-Life

system: a feature that would reappear in Dreamcast's


Sonic Adventure but would remain an under

appreciated addition among most players. "The A-Life


was developed with the team's desire to show the

k ^ to experience a 3D ying action


' ' Naka. "However, with sensor-related

the

inclination
users

would

sensor,
be

able

so

worldwide, people are less likely to play by sharing the same emotions and feelings. Many people wrote to us
saying that NiGHTS had affected them very much, and

life of living creatures in a very realistic environment throughout the game. The characters performed much better than I had imagined so I enjoyed it very much,"
explains Naka. The A-Life creatures took the form of cherub-like beings, called Nightopians, which hatched

* game named Aero NiGHTS," reveals


issues, the project had to be cancelled at the experimental stage."
The cancellation of Aero NiGHTS

our staff were also very ovenwhelmed by it." Where NiGHTS impressed on an emotional level, it equally made waves in the technological department. Although utilising full 3D polygonal graphics, most of NiGHTS had originally been designed to play on a 2D plane with xed camera angles determining the course of the action. Yet the power of the Satum, which was
predominantly designed as a 2D console, allowed Sonic

from eggs, roamed the game's landscape and evolved differently depending on their experiences. Some
would learn to play musical instruments, some would breed with the indigenous enemies to create new life

was a shame as Sega's motion-sensitive controller could have further improved the connection between player and

\ character that allowed for such

forms and others could even die tragically if the player

% smooth, intuitive ight. With the i| launch of Wii, motion control has
a become a proven t e c h n o l o g y.

X Perhaps Aero NiGHTS will see the light of day after all.
Cirque Du Soleil's Mystere: the visual inspiration for NiGHTS.

Team to do much more with the game than they had anticipated. "At the start we thought that developing in full 3D would be very difcult so we created a 2D/3D system for NiGHTS, however, in the midstream we started to think that it might be possible and started to experiment. The result was great and that is what

ew too close to them. In reality, the Nightopians had


zero effect on gameplay, but they were one of the

many fascinating incidental parts of NiGHTS that kept dedicated players returning to explore the gameworld.
Upon release, NiGHTS scored well in most specialist

magazines, but failed to have any signicant impact


on the charts thanks to the Saturn's poor sales in the

<

came to be Claris and Elliofs on-foot section." The

section he refers to happens when the time would run

West. Still, the game was adored by well-informed


Satum owners encouraged to play it by Machines and Computer & Video Games. Those who put the time into NiGHTS were rewarded with a quite unexpected

m
136 GAMES RETRO

e w c e v i k s n r h e a i s t o h I f u e M s in lte a n

experience. Though some thought the game too easy because levels could be completed by merely collecting enough

orbs and swiftly moving on to the next


level, they had mostly missed the point. NiGHTSwas a game that asked its players to replay every level, perfecting their route around the twisting courses so that they could combo 'links' together by moving through every on-screen ring as quickly as possible without missing any. In essence, it was the only platformer of the time that could be truly played as a score-attack

game, and would go on to inuence many

playing this unique videogame. So how did


Christmas NiGHTS come about?
"NiGHTS was the last title I contributed to

forthcoming videogames including several rhythm-action


titles and even the

as a main programmer and also the time that a position as a producer started to become clear," explains Naka. "In order to introduce
the title to as many people as possible, I

created promotional assets such as vWeos


and pamphlets. However, most of all, by creating Christmas NiGHTS I was able to plan services for fans - it was a good

Tony Hawk's series, though few realise it.


This would be

the point at which


most behind-the-scenes

challenge for me. The creation of Christmas NiGHTS had two purposes. [It] was to create
a wonderful game and let as many people as

features come to an end, but for Sega fans there's

something about NiGHTS


that is even more precious

possible know, and it was also a Christmas present for the fans from us. To tell the truth, I am a fan of [Lemmings], and at the time I was developing Sonic 2 I was in the United States. One day, when I went to the store, I found
A design document sftowing some
of NiGHTS" acrobatic moves.

than the game itself and


we couldn't resist asking Naka about it. Christmas NiGHTS was a

HV a product called Christmas Lemmings and


that felt like a Christmas present from the creator of Lemmings. I wanted the fans to feel that same happiness through the game
that I created."

two-level demo of NiGHTS given to


Satum owners as a Christmas present ~ in

Japan in December 1996, and in the UK the


following December The disc was more than just

a simple demo however; the Saturn's intemal clock


knew when it was being played, and changed the

So there you have it. Although Naka


admits that Christmas NiGHTS was intended as a

game accordingly. It would play like an ordinary demo


until Christmas time when the setting and characters

marketing tool, it's heart-warming to see how much he considered the happiness of Sega fans. In fact, NiGHTS is one of the last Sega games we can remember that felt so special. It was a magical experience that bewildered the uninitiated but permanently endeared itself to any who gave it a whiri. If you've never played NiGHTS Into Dreams then we implore you to hunt down a Saturn and give the game a try. But then, we're sure that our
readers know a truly special Sega game when they

Sonic Team may not have produced a true sequel to NiGHTS, but that hasn't stopped them sneaking references to it into some of their other games. Here are a few that obsessive fans should try out: characters from NiGHTS make cameo appearances in Burning Rangers, Sonic Shufe, Billy Hatcher and Sonic iders. NiGHTS pinball tables appear in both Sonic Pinball Party and Sonic Adventure. A short Game Boy Advance
version of NiGHTS can be downloaded from

would magically go all festive with tinsel, presents


and Christmas trees everywhere. Rnishing the demo

rewarded the player with a random 'gift', some of which were very simple illustration galleries while others were
incredibly special such as the Karaoke mode or even

the level that changed the main character into Sonic the Hedgehog, and the level's boss into Dr Robotnik.
Due to its inventive twist on the NiGHTS formula and

see it. After all, it was voted the twelfth best game of
all time in issue 42, a fact we felt compelled to relay to

GameCube games Phantasy Star Online and Billy Hatcher. Finally, the PlayStation 2 EyeToy game Sega Superstars features a NiGHTS minigame in which players must outstretch their arms to actually y through NiGHTS' levels.

the fact that the game was completely free, Christmas NiGHTS is as well loved as the game itself. To this
day, many Satum owners will habitually dust off the decade-old classic every Christmas to re-live the joy of

Naka. And his response? "I am very happy to see this. I am also a big fan of NiGHTS so I am overwhelmed that
it is loved. Thank you very much."

A Nightopian: the rst incarnation of Naka's A-Ufe system.

NiGHTS ies into action on PlayStation 2.

GAMES'"

RETRO

137

Retro Opinion...

H O WA R D S C O T T WA R S H AW
In 1982, Atari's ET: The Extra-Terrestrial failed to sell the millions of units that were produced, and inadvertently led to the videog[ame crash of 1983. In subsequent years, an urban legend emerged that all the unsold cartridges were buried in the Nevada Desert. But were the rumours true? After 24 years, ET's developer, Howard Scott Warshaw, unearths the truth...
and anyone who's seen The Sopranos will know how expensive it can be to bury things in cement. So what's wrong with this picture?
This was merchandise Atari had deemed trouble. You have a warehouse full of unusable

F o ro v e r w tod e c a d e s
I've been hearing
rumour this

Inventory - that's a lot of recyclable cardboard,


m e t a l s a n d r e u s a b l e p l a s t i c c a s e s . Yo u c a n

that

Atari trucked millions o f u n s o l d E T: T h e E x t r a -

either spend a lot more money destroying this


inventory or you can cannibalise it and reduce

Terrestrial game carts out


into the desert of New

Mexico, crushed them up and buried them in cement. Even Snopes.com - arbiter of urban myths - claims the rumour is true in its article 'Five Million ET Pieces'.

totally worthless, yet it felt the need to spend extra money to ensure it wouldn't get looted. I mean, the whole point is nobody wanted this stuff in the rst place. It's like buying a security system for an outhouse to keep people from
stealing the contents. It sounds kind of absurd. People have even done music videos about

the cost of making new inventory. Hiring trucks,


steamrollers and a whole lot of cement is a

major expense for a company drowning in red


ink. Which would you choose? And then, of course, there's the Atari

nding this gaming cache, and some have

grapevine. If all this had actually happened, someone would have had the irresistible urge
t o t e l l m e , ' h e y, y o u r g a m e s u c k s s o b a d they're burying them in the desert." And the

UNLESS YOU'RE DAVID COPPERFIELD,


E L I M I N AT I N G M I L L I O N S O F C A R T S WITHOUT TRACE IS PRETTY IMPRESSIVE'
The article states: "When distributor returns
were added to the 5 million unsold Pac-Man

moment they did, I would have grabbed a photographer, own us both out to the site, and taken some pictures of me standing on top
of the concrete mountain of buried carts. How
could I not do that?

used satellite imagery to try and validate it, but the fact remains that not a single person has
ever come up with one square inch of plastic

cartridges and another 5 million useless ET cartridges, Atari found themselves with tons

of unsellable merchandise to dispose of. [Atari


then] sent 14 truckloads of merchandise from

or ROM or any credible physical evidence. No one's ever heard from any of the truck drivers,
steam roller operators or cement contractors.

I've given this a lot of thought having been asked the same question for so many years: 'Is it true they buried millions of ET: The
Extra-Terrestrial carts in the desert?' And the conclusion I came to is the same as that which most people came to about the ET game in the

their plant in El Paso, Texas, to be dumped in a city landll in Alamogordo, New Mexico in late September 1983." It goes on to say: "In order to keep the site from being looted, steamrollers crushed and attened the games,
and a concrete slab was poured over the remains." Now that's a lot of extra effort to

It's all smoke. Think about it, unless you're David Coppereld, eliminating millions of carts without any trace is a pretty impressive feat.
Can you imagine the size of the mound?

rst place: I just don't buy it.


[Howard Scott Warsttaw now works as an

Even after crushing them it'd be more of a


monument than a dump. Then there's the common sense factor. So,

independent immaker. His latest lm, a documentary about the history of Atari, can be ordered from www.onceuponatari.com]

dispose of something that isn't a biohazard.

your company nds itself in serious nancial

l 3 8 "

GAMES

RETRO

O M
GAME GEAR: Functional but unimpressive. Game Gear Klax does the job but nothing more. But then a puzzle game doesn't really need to have

K L A X
s gaining inttrated the home market a new breed of gamer evolved. Dubbed the 'fanboy',
he associated himself with a certain genre, machine or even developer or publisher, and then ridiculed all that opposed him.

First recorded in playgrounds in the early-

Eighties, typical arguments revolved around who had


the better machine, or which game looked best on what

format. We aim to put a stop to years of squabbling by

nding the denitive versions of some classic titles. This


month, the 8-bit handheld versions of Tengen's Klax.

RDUnO 1: UI5URL5
end result, when combined with Game Boy's blurry display, is a confusing, barely visible mess.

amazing graphics, it only needs to be clearly dened so that players can concentrate on what really matters: the puzzling. There's nothing really worth
criticising here, lefs move on. GAME BOY: Oh, the shame. As a puzzle game

LYNX: Although the graphical quality here is on a par with Game Gear, the Lynx version of Klax stands
out thanks to its vertical orientation which requires the handheld to be turned on its side. The extra

screen space brings the game closer to the arcade original. Easily the most impressive of the three. W I N N E R : LY N X

that asks players to line up like-coloured tiles, Klax was never going to work properly on Game Boy. Nevertheless, Tengen made a valiant effort by applying individual markings to each tile, but the

RUNNER UP: GAME GEAR

RDUnO

E:

RUDID
still, they can't even be switched off. Thank God
for that volume dial.

: i!: ;;: Not bad. The sound effects create a sense of realism as the tiles ip and drop into the well, and the theme tune is quite pleasing despite

looping a little too often. As with its graphics.


Game Gear's sound is fairly unremarkable, but at the same time it's not really anything worth complaining about. - V Yuck. This has to be some of the worst sound we've ever heard emitted from the

From the moment you rst hear the brilliant

title mush; and the full speech between levels, it's clear that Tengen pulled out all the stops for the Lynx sound effects. There's a high quality of sound throughout, including an audible groan or applause depending on whether you win or lose. Excellent. W I N N E R : LY N X

humble Game Boy in a really long time. Eugh, There's no music to speak of and the sound effects are fuzzy, irritating and just plain awful. Worse

RUNNER UP: GAME GEAR

RDUnO

3:

EnmEPLRV
on the original handheld's fuzzy, blurred screen this
is completely hopeless. LYNX: On a technical level, ifs difcult to distinguish

GAME GEAR: Despite its distinctly average

presentation. Game Gear Klax holds up rmly in the gameplay department. Everything works exactly
like the arcade game, ensuring that this particular

portable Wax is just as fun and addictive as it should be. If you only have a Game Gear, you'd be perfectly
happy with this conversion. GAME BOY: Although it handles and controls

Lynx's gameplay from that of the Game Gear, but there's something about the outstanding presentation that makes the gameplay that little bit better The longer playing eld allows more preparation time and
the brilliant sounds encourage extended play

well enough. Game Boy Klax is rendered virtually unplayable by its indistinguishable tiles. It is possible to work out which tiles are which if you play the game on a Game Boy Color or GBA, but W I N N E R : LY N X

RUNNER UP: GAME GEAR

GAMES

RETRO

Ml

39

THE BEAT-'EM-UP GENRE WAS, IT SEEMS, A LITTLE TOO BURLY FOR THE

LIGHTWEIGHT MACHINES THAT FACED IT IN THE HOME COMPUTING RING, BUT


AS THE LITTLE DRAGON SAID: "OBEY THE PRINCIPLE WITHOUT BEING BOUND BY IT" OVER THE YEARS, MORE THAN A FEW SOFTWARE DEVELOPERS HAVE

FOLLOWED THIS DOCTRINE AND PROVED THAT , DESPITE THEIR SIZE, 8-BIT HOME COMPUTERS WERE MORE THAN A MATCH FOR THE FIGHTING GAME; IT WAS
SIMPLY A MATTER OF STYLE...
animated graphics initially appeared losing any speed or memory. We were still learning. Our real difculties were with equipment - all we had was two Spectrums, without even microdrives. That was our greatest challenge," continues Muraja. "We wanted to make large characters because that had never been seen on ZX Spectrum before. While

one seminal title. And 1984 saw the

B e a m 'tu -p sa e ru n q iu e n i

that they developed quite


organically from several
sources at once rather than

to be vector drawn, while the terric

backdrop gave a level of depth and colour rarely seen on Spectrum. But all was not as it seemed, as Dimitrijevic explains; "It appears to be vectors, but it was actually 'normal' bitmapped
graphics so it could look better without

WAY O F T H E

reinvention of button-pounding delight. Looking at the development times required to produce new software, it seems that of the three ghting games made that year, none had any idea of
the existence of the other two. But while

WA R R I O R
In 1979, Cinematronics - of Dragon's Lair fame - released the arcade game Warrior

which used its highly unstable


Vectorbeam circuitry to draw a

bird's-eye view of two knights


battling it out with swords.

Kung-Fu Master and Karate Champ made use of dedicated arcade hardware, Bug-Byte's Kung Fu required little more than a 48K Spectrum to redene what we thought of computer game violence. Croatian programmers Damir Muraja and Dusko Dimitrijevic told us how it all came about. "I hadn't seen any other martial arts games at the time," begins Dimitrijevic. "I thought it'd be fun to do.
I really liked Bruce Lee movies at the

Due to the unreliability of the Vectorbeam technology,


combined with thefact that the game required two players.
Warrior never received that

much attention despite being the rst game to attempt the


one-on-one ghting scenario. For the next ve years, the

idea lay dormant, suggesting that Warrior didn't provide


much, if any, inspiration for the games that followed.

time and it just seemed fun to beat up opponents in a computer game, martial arts style." Muraja shared Dimitrijevic's vision while unaware of Dimitrijevic's interest in martial arts. "I got involved in the project after the whole concept stage of the game was nished," he explains. Kung Fu was remarkable for many reasons other than its strange new method of gameplay. The large, well-

CRL's Ninja Hafnsteritom 1987 was one of the more surreal one-on-one

ghters to attempt to refresh the genre. It didn't really work, though.

140a

GAMES

RETRO

style enough for Fist to stand with its head held high in the beat-'em-up annals. Just like Kung Fu, the initial concept of
F/st was born from a love of Eastern lms. Barnett knew he had a hit ve minutes

Not wanting to miss the boat. Imagine Software (newly acquired by Ocean) quickly licensed Konami's surreal but

popular Yie Ar Kung Fu arcade title - the


rst licence of its kind. This was also

after he rst set the game off compiling


while he went to make a coffee. When he returned to his desk, his co-workers were

the rst title to pit the player against a


cast of different characters, each with

their own individual techniques. Its cartoony sprites and energetic action proved arcade ghting games could be translated faithfully to home machines. A year later and every last original idea was being squeezed from the genre, though it seems they were still building from the original template. 1986 was also the year for sequels, as Fist II: The Legend Continues was released, and Yie Ar Kung Fu II was hurriedly turned out. This was part of a package of licences Damir Muraja - one of the founding Imagine bought from Konami, and was fathers of the beat-'em-up indus^Y. a conversion of an MSX game not an arcade title. Regardless of its origins, the potentially great franchise stopped dead when the sequel failed to impress. Clearly inspired by Exploding Fist, Gremlin Graphics' Way Of The Tiger could easily be considered a superior
continuation to Melbourne House's

queuing out of his ofce door trying to sample those incredible Exploding Fists. By 1985, developers had decided that beat-'em-ups weren't just a passing fad, and set about turning their code into kung fu. Dogged by initial development difculties, veteran programming guru Archer Maclean was brought in to help System 3 join the fray. "Around August 1985 I started working on a whole new karate game structure, and adapted it into my proven Dropzone game shell," Maclean recalls. "I set about drawing and re-drawing backdrops and animations, and wrote simple tools to allow me to animate frames together and time sound effects to trigger at exactly the right frame time. I also remember watching loads
of Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan lms. I'd

A decent game starring the man who inspired all the early games. Shame it wasn't an actual beat-'em-up.

doing it we had to learn about program synchronisation with screen refresh. We


were excited when we accomplished smooth movement of the characters." Hot on the heels of the trailblazing

Yugoslavian code warriors was a game


that would mark a seminal moment in 8-

lived in Hong Kong in the Seventies and even saw a Bruce Lee lm being made
once, so I had an interest in the genre

premier title than its own sequel proved.


The nicely animated characters, threelevel scrolling, and the introduction of weapons raised the bar higher than any other beat-'em-ups of the year could
reach. The home market may have

bit computing. Melbourne House's The Way Of The Exploding F/sfwas designed and built by Australian Gregg Barnett, and although Fist also started out as an independent vision, Barnett admits that once work had begun and he saw Karate Champ in arcades, he was profoundly inspired by the slick gameplay, and
reinvented some of the ideas he'd seen.

from very early on." Intemational Karate was a huge success - especially on C64, although the Spectrum version was a bit lame - despite much of its thunder being stolen by arriving after Exploding Fist "I remember fondly playing Fist over and over, with friends from university,"
continues Maclean without a hint of remorse. "On more than one occasion

stagnated for a few months, but it was all happening in the arcades, and that

coin-op investment was ready to pay off


in the home market. Variations on the same theme trickled

Even so, when playing F/s( there isn't any immediate sense of it being a Karate Champ clone. Barnett's unique designs permeate the gameplay and ghting

we played right through till the sun came up next day. It was seriously addictive and I take my hat off to Gregg Barnett for making it such a huge fun game."

out, serving only to water down the already limited appeal of the one-on-one, but patient fans were rewarded in 1987 by two ground breaking games. Ocean's

"The music in Kung ft/was random,

h used pentatonic scale and oriental


sounding rhythm, but the notes are
random. Damir coded tiiat"

- Dusko 'Duke' Dimitrijevic

"I'D LIVED IN HONG


KONG IN THE

SEVENTIES AND EVEN SAW A BRUCE LEE FILM BEING

MADE ONCE, SO I
HAD AN INTEREST IN THE GENRE FROM
V E RY E A R LY O N "
ARCHER MACLEAN ON THE ORIGINS OF INTERNAVONAL KARATE

next thing in the pipeline," says Lamb. "Ocean got the arcade game and it was very popular with all the programmers and artists. In fact, it was so popular the management had to put a lock on it to stop people skiving off work to play it." Though it slipped under the radar for
most arcade goers, once the conversion

memory. There were a number of tricks I

used. We split the body into head, torso and legs. I think everybody got the same legs. It worked pretty well, except the
hookers looked much better in shnets."

hit shelves. Renegade became an

overnight success. With its limited playing


eld and smaller sprites, conversions onto 8-bit machines were extremely faithful, and so began a new age in beat'em-ups. Slick programming and clean graphics ensured that Renegade played beautifully while retaining a hundred per cent of the arcade's dynamic gameplay. It didn't go unnoticed by Bracey... head of development Gary Bracey and veteran programmer and designer Mike Lamb told us oftheir chart-topping, street "Playing Renegade, we quickly realised that we had something special knowing it would be a hit," Bracey continues. "All the developers involved on Renegade, on all formats, put a lot of heart into it and it shows. They were all very talented people." It's a view shared by Lamb. "The home computers weren't particularly powerful and I think Renegade played to the strengths of the Spectrum and Amstrad in particular," continues Lamb. "A lot of arcade conversions ran very slowly on home computers. However, Renegade had relatively few sprites, and scrolling backgrounds weren't essential to the gameplay, so the frame-rate was
never a problem. The main issue was

Which brings us nicely back to Archer Maclean - we're talking about the additional characters not the shnets, of course - whose earlier work designing International Karate put him in good
stead to add a nal twist to the one-on-

one karate simulator: a third computercontrolled opponent, who shunted IK's sequel to immediate success.

"IK+ was a ash of inspiration while trying to solve the problem of a game design where opponents would be seated around the dojo," explains Maclean. "I wanted the next player to get up and walk into the ght as the other went and sat down, or got carried off in pieces. Then I just decided to make it a three-player simultaneous game instead
of one-on-one as with International Karate. As soon as I had the idea, I knew it was

Ke ^/(i//7g /proved extremely


popular on 8-bit systems, with skilled

players able to repeatedly clock it

ghting, ball-crunching, skull-splitting


coin-op conversion of Renegade.
"We sourced the licences ourselves

due to the strong relationships we enjoyed with the major coin-op companies," explains Bracey, "However, Renegade was a bit of an exception as the coin-op itself was comparatively unknown, and Ocean made a great job
of the conversion, to such an extent that it was an enormous success," With the

good, and couldn't work fast enough to make it happen, yet at the same time was trying desperately not to tell anyone because it just seemed so simple to do." The beat-'em-up had become the industry's primary genre, but keeping fans interested was proving hard for developers. Then, in 1988, just before the
failure of the home versions of Double

licence snapped up. Lamb soon found himself working on the new project, "I just nished work on Arkanoid, and Renegade just happened to be the

trying to squeeze all the animations into

Dragon, Lamb stepped back into the ring with an '8-bit only' sequel to Renegade.

BUG-BYTE

LU
a dening moment for arcade ghters,

KUNG FU

proving diey could be ported by skilled developers.

<

The original still holds its own against the greats that followed, which adds to its

T H E WAY O F T H E
This was the yardstick by which all the other 8-bit beat-'em-ups - and beyond - found themselves measured. Exploding F/sf still plays terrically today with its large characters and easily adopted gameplay. Plenty of moves with varying difculty of application - except, perhaps, for the
dreaded shin kick which never fails - meant

achievements when you consider that they had no basis on which to actually work. Standing in the colourful and clearly drawn
dojo, the two hefty combatants are armed

EXPLODING FIST

IK had a difcult childhood. Developments


fell apart, new designers had to start from

I N T E R N AT I O N A L K A R AT E

scratch, and there was hot litigation ying


around the place like roundhouses and reverse punches. The end result was that

with a small selection of your standard karate techniques including chops, high kicks and sweeps. What is of particular note
here is the necessary use of defence and retreat. Although blocking was a common

System 3's excellent one-on-one ghter lost


in a photo nish with Fist and has lived in its shadow ever since. With its thunder stolen,

feature, a mastery of these aspects has


rarely been required in even the most renowned beat-'em-ups. Don't be fooled Kung Fu dened the ghting
genre on 8-bit systems.

that unlike today's beat-'em-ups, button


mashers always fell foul of the well trained.

IK's list of improvements - like sampled


speech, bonus rounds, extra moves and

by its looks though, Kung Fu is well worth


a cursory play through.
72%

With the skull-splitting, gut-busting sound effects, you can't help but 'kiai' to yourself every time a difcult move lands. Forget
Karate Champ and play Fist instead,
88%

wicked music - couldn't quite persuade


punters to buy another one-on-one. We recommend trying it and re-evaluating your opinion - you may just be surprised.
86%

I142H

GAMES'"

RETRO

THE STYLE OF
NO STYLE
When Epyx licensed International
Karate and released it as World Karate Championship in the US, Data East proclaimed it infringed its copyright of Karate Champ, and sued. The District Court forbade Epyx from selling further copies of World Karate Championship and also ordered

the company to issue a recall. Epyx took the ght to the Ninth
Circuit Court, which reversed
the decision of the District

Court, stating that "karate is not

susceptible of a wholly fanciful


presentation", and that "a 17.5year-old boy would not regard the works as substantially similar." The case has had longreaching repercussions as it set the legal precedent for creating martial-arts-based games. In 1994, the tables were turned when Capcom sued Data East
for the similarities between

B In Japan, Kung Fu Masterwas called Spartan X, capitalising on the 1984 Jackie Chan lm.

The one-on-one beat-'em-up has come a long way from its humble beginnings...

"People always want something new or better with videogames. Unless beat-'em-ups were going to continually improve it was inevitable that they
would die out," observes Lamb.

Target Renegade, with its rough urban inection and vigorous two-player co operative gameplay, marked the zenith of 8-bit beat-'em-ups. Better yet, it had everything the highly anticipated home versions of Double Dragon failed to deliver a few months later. Although several other games oated on by, including impressive conversions of Street Fighter and Final Fight, the 16-bit machines were rapidly being established.

and the rst genre to be usurped by


consoles - that boasted more than one re button - was the beat-'em-up.

Street Fighter II and Fighter's

"Looking back, I can't think of anything we could have done to get more out of the Spectrum than Target Renegade. It may sound a little conceited, but I think with Renegade and Target Renegade we did the best for the Spectrum. Those games were very successful for Ocean. I don't think anything that came
out since then outdid us technically and

Although 8-bit home computers won't History. Due to the case Data immediately be remembered for their East had brought against Epyx, ghting games, a few titles did push t h e c o u r t w a s f o r c e d t o r u l e i n
the boundaries of the machines further
i t s f a v o u r.

than any other. 8-bit beat-'em-ups must be acknowledged for establishing that most underrated and enjoyable form of computer-generated violence.

"LOOKING BACK, I CAN'T THINK OF ANYTHING WE


COULD HAVE DONE TO GET MORE OUT OF THE SPECTRUM THAN TARGET RENEGADE" mike IAMB

nobody came up with any gameplay


i n n o v a t i o n s e i t h e r. "

iiAC i.H\y oi'

icn iiVrttrv fOWi II- IW (S B

IP**

"i=0SQ08Q

YIE AR KUNG FU
We were never a big fan of the arcade machine, but playing Yie Ar alongside all the other 8-bit-'em-ups revealed it to be something of an unsung hero. It made us realise that 99% of early beat-'em-ups were based on Japanese systems, while this little

WAY O F T H E T I G E R R E N E G A D E
As part of a tie-in with the 'choose your
own adventure' books of the same name.

Having since played both of the arcade


versions - Eastern and Western - we must

Gremlin took the newly established standards for the ghting game and reproduced them as well as anybody else had done previously - if perhaps a
little slower due to the detailed animation i n v o l v e d . W h a t s t a n d s o u t h o w e v e r, a r e

say that we prefer Renegade's scenario to that of Kunio (as it is known in Japan). The seediness and permeating malice of gangland street brawling gives the

YOUR KUNG
FU IS GOOD
Special thanks go to the following for their help
with this article (lest they kick our head in with their

delight really captured the essence of the


cheesy Chinese B-movie. The strange kung fu styles, wildly different characters ranging from ying fat men to fan-dancing femmes fatales, and fast-paced, tongue-in-cheek continuous gameplay has helped this title age better than any other of the time. The comical 'whoosh' noises that accompany your jumps only add to the title's innate
charm. Essential. 91%

game a more tempered edge than Kunio's


playground skirmishes. Ocean's conversion is probably better remembered than the

the ways in which that basic gameplay has been applied. With its dynamic playing eld shifting from scrolling action, through a m u l t i - e n e m y, s i n g l e - s c r e e n a r e n a t o an 'end of level boss' scenario, this was essentially three games cleverly woven into one. Great value for money, and triple the longevity.
75%

original coin-op - and for good reason. Renegade achieved that most prestigious goal of nally bringing the arcade into our
homes, regardless of which format you owned. The Speccy version was the best of the bunch though - seems only tting as Clive's baby was a bit of a rebel itself
90%

8-bit kung fu):


Gary Bracey Dusko Dimitrijevic
Bill Harbison Mike Lamb Archer Maclean

Damir Muraja
Lao Tzu GAMES'" RETRO 143

attoj

ii

The two-player, blob-rotating puzzle game Puyo Puyo

celebrates its fteenth anniversary this December after appearing on almost every console, computer and
look at some of the most notable releases to date
games: How did Sega become . involved in the Puyo Puyo puzzle

the past, present and future of the franchise, and takes a

handhelciknown to man. To celebrate, games^"^ interviews Sega's Akinori Nishivama and Mizuki Hosoyamada about
g: What changes (if any) were made after the series was acquired from Compile? S: We developed a new system called Fever mode, which allows the game to drop Chain Seeds in Puyo Puyo Fever and after. Beginners can enjoy making easy chains, while advanced users can enjoy match strategy. Also, we changed the character design completely. g: Which version do you consider to be the denitive Puyo Puyo, to date?
S: We believe each version has its own

TTIFO 1 ^ f p u y S ? la h y n ^ i
i| AI The new Nintendo DS game features eight-player local
Wi-Fi and four-player online.

However, once you get used to it you


get obsessed. We believe the series is supported by these fans. Another reason

k game franchise? B Sega: Puyo Puyo was rst released


for the MSX2 and Famicom Disc

there may be less recognition for the game


in the West is that the title is character-

W System on 25 October 1991, and we then released arcade and Mega

orientated and the pop-art design is directed at Japanese fans. g: What are the challenges of developing
a puzzle game?

^ Drive versions later on. These releases were the beginning of


the game's drive to become a

|(p representative title of the puzzle game genre equivalent to Tetris.


Subsequently, Puyo Puyo Tsu, Puyo Puyo Sun, and Puyo Puyo~n were r elea released, and many derivatives such as Nazo Puyo also came out. The initial development was done at Compile, but later we acquired the publishing rights. Sonic Team developed Minna De Puyo Puyo, Puyo Puyo Fever, and Puyo Puyo Fever2{Chw\), and Puyo Puyo.

S: We have to develop an engrossing and short-period game with easy controls. If we consider too much, the game becomes too difcult; while on the contrary If the game is too easy, users soon get bored. In the case of Puyo Puyo it was difcult
because we had to add on new ideas to a completed game.

uniqueness and taste. It totally depends on individual gamers. g: How do you feel about Puyo Puyo not getting as much recognition as Tetris and
Puzzle Bobble?

S: It's because it's difcult to understand

the way to build up chains and strategies.

g: How do you manage to keep Puyo Pufo feeling fresh with each new game?

Puyo Puyo [1991]


The original MSX game lacked the versus

Puyo Puyo Sun [1997]


Update number three featured 'sun' pieces, . *' !tr "-1 . '
which could be used to deal massive

CPU play that would later make Puyo Puyo


such a unique experience. This has more of an endless quality like Tetris.

damage to opponents if you worked them


into a combo.

HEXT

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block

Puyo Puyo Tsu [1994]

'0.'^

til

This was the rst to feature the series'

hallmarks and was ported to 13 formats. 'Tsu' means 'master', but is also the way the Japanese pronounce the English word 'two'.

If S MSSfe, 5:^,

tiy

144

GAMES

RETRO

Puyo Puyo Box [2000]


The franchise went full circle as this PSone

exclusive included an RPG-based quest mode


in which all the battles take the form of Puyo

Puyo matches.

I A r H sf J (s^Siwo1f"

ffe^l

'

l-'...

HSsb.

Puyo Puyo-n [1999]


The fourth main game featured some superb
hi-res visuals and a brilliant four-player mode. The Dreamcast version is thought to
be the best.

'mi - - T
mzz?}^-- f ! !

Puyo Puyo Fever [2004]


New character designs were the least radical changes of this update, which included larger
formations of blobs and the massive combo potential of Fever mode.

S: We always focus on match strategy through the whole series. Also, we adjust the game

Connection on the DS version. Classroom mode,

which teaches you how to build chains, and Story mode, which includes comedy dialogue,
will be included as well.

balance reecting users' feedback. g: How does Saga plan to celebrate the
fteenth anniversary?

Most of the Puya character came from Compile s Madau Monogalari RPGs.

9: And where do you see Puyo Puyo heading


in the future?

S: In Japan, we will release Puyo Puyo on NDS,


PSP, and PS2. In addition to the rst Puyo Puyo,

S: We cannot tell you in detail right now, but it

Puyo Puyo Tsu, and Puyo Puyo Fever we will add impressive new rules such as Suichu (under water), Dai Kaiten (large rotation), and Kori Zuke (glacier). You can enjoy 12 kinds of Puyo Battles with your opponents. The character in the rst Puyo Puyo will be included, and a total of 22 characters appear in the game. A maximum of four players can have a match via Nintendo Wi-Fi

will denitely live up to users' expectations. g: Will Puyo Puyo be appearing on any online
services like Xbox Live Arcade or Microsoft's
Virtual Console?

S: We cannot tell you this either, but we'd like

Puyo Puyo to appear in various situations. Thank


you always for your support. \k^ ro V ^ivTB 4-.

Puyo Puyo variations crop up in the strangest of places including this Lion King game.

SA1

x,'

A n d s h c i t o c i n is y m b o lo fam s p ie n ty o h u t
ten-pence pieces - has never been tested

- a monolithic repositot7 for unwanted

to the limits of functionality as it has in

Here's where cabinet designs were really put to the test. Fitting an extra couple of paddles to the control board was easy; making those paddles accessible to four players while still allowing them to view the small screen was not. All manner of new designs were put together in order to try and give games like Pong Doubles or Quadrapong the space they needed to ensure games didn't
descend into scufes between

multiplayer gaming, so here we take a look at the multitude of deviant methods arcade operators have used to cram as many bodies around one machine
as possible. There's been success and failure, but

always the boundless thrill of multiplayer gaming. In some respects, the human gure dictates the basic requirements of an arcade cabinet's design, and from the outset - with Nutting Associates' breglass Computer Space beast - the commercial game machine has been an angular, synthetic silhouette of our physical form. Once developers began demanding three or more gamers crowd around a single screen however, elbow room became a valuable commodity and it took a skilled engineer to keep knuckles and jagged bone from connecting in all the wrong places. The technology of the time limited gameplay to derivatives of the 'bat and ball' variety, but developers' initial emphasis wasn't on new and dynamic types of game. The natural evolution of the arcade machine was the addition of more players.

lashed up joystick jockeys. i

It was here that the cocktail j,


cabinet

Stil, it was the most ergonomic [I


way for four drinkers to play Pong J

necessity than aesthetic value. |


i i

was

bom

more

out

of

with somewhere to put their beer. V


Games were built into oW tables, ' ban-els and a plethora of custom

b e n c h e sa st h ed ie a ls h a p ew a ss o u g h t .A f t e rt h s i|
cabinet was forced to continue, moulding itself to new requirements as increasingly advanced titles demanded more controls and more players. A pioneer of the multiplayer cabinet was one of the earliest driving games to

brief period of incubation, the quest for the ideal '

I146B

GAMES

RETRO

" T H E F O U R - P L AY E R M O N S T E R

GAUNTLET MADE NO ATTEMPT TO TOY WITH SPATIAL EFnCIENCY"


I players - each needing a joystick, two buttons

I and enough room to bounce around like lunatics I in accordance with the gameplay. The addictive

resist the temptation to encumber the screen wrth


human-controlled characters.

I d u n g e o n e x p l o r a t i o nthan e p i cearni t o o k t h e i d e o g a m e I worl d by storm, more ng its v hefty ground


' rent, and the rst multiplayer machine in almost
a decade kick-started a new wave of games with
manifold coin slots.

The Double Dragon creator set its good reputation on the road to ruin with the a pair of three-player stinkers: the laughable The Combatribes and the unforgivable, proteering atrocity that was Double
Dragon 3: The Rosetta Stone, which drove a fatal

Equally poignant was the return of Sprint m 1986. We'd already had one, two, four and eight-players, so the aptly named Super Sprint lled a small gap in the series by catering to three simultaneous speedsters. The cab design went right back to basics, reecting the grandfather of the franchise. Sprint 2, with the colourful addition of an extra steering wheel.
incorporate realistic controls; Kee Games'

dagger of despair through the hearts of the original's fans. But not all multiplayer ghters at the beginning of the Nineties were bad. Two games of particular note - both featuring four simultaneous players and both under the respected Konami banner successfully capitalised on the success of their TV shows. While it was no surprise that 1989's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was adapted into a spifng four-player ghter, the other was something of an unexpected visitor to the beat-'em-up world. 1991's TTieS/mpsonsfeatured everything a ghting
game fan and an avid viewer of the then new cartoon

inuential 1976 racing title, Indy 800. The obscure cabinet design was a crossbreed of cocktail and upright, requiring players to stand at a mid-height table with a horizontally mounted 25-inch colour monitor at the centre. The eight simultaneous players (yes, eight) gave the appearance of farmhands staring down a well at young Timmy in a Lassie movie. The massive 16-foot square footprint of the monstrous cabinet took up a signicant portion of the arcade operator's oor space, but assuming all positions were regularly lled by coin-heavy punters, the revenue per square foot was probably qurte
competitive. Indy 800 is without doubt one of the

Although the series saw more incarnations including the two-player Championship Sprint'm 1986 and the post-apocalyptic Badlands update in 1989, the only game that came close to topping Super Sprint
was Leiand's 1989 done, Ironman Ivan Stewarfs

could want. A huge machine with plenty of precious


T Remember when Maivel Comics-haseA games weren't consistentlY terrible? Konami certainly does.

Super Off Road. Another three-player cabinet with far more dynamic tracks and the introduction of the
magnicent 'nitro' function. The overboard number of animation frames on the cars

came the closest to 3D that a hand-drawn 1


Before the racing genre took an alternative

character could ever hope to achieve. I ^


multiplayer direction that would eventually put an end to players crowding around a single cab, a new game appeared in 1987 and

most ambitious, unique and ultimately successful multiplayer cabinet designs ever attempted. The Indy games may have come rst, but one of the most popular and long-running racing franchises - also from within Atari - was Sprint. Just to clarify the legacy of this enduring series. Sprint 2 came rst in 1976, followed closely by Sprint 8 a year later, then came Sprint 4 also in 1977 and eventually Sprint 1
which wasn't released until 1978.

reinvented digital gang ghting. '

Double Dragon, from scrolling-ghter |

pioneer Technos, took the arcade world by J


storm with its two-player co-op gameplay, sending developers crazy for this new form ( 1 1 1 of ui
I - the the videogame violence. It was hard to hear

few decent multiplayer beat-'em-ups of the late-Eighties/early-Nineties singing their sweet ghting songs through

Once the onslaught of Pong derivatives caused the industry to slow to within spitting distance of a market crash, the expensive, difcult-to-convert multiplayer arcade machines were rst up against the wall. It

the screaming white noise *


of trite, uninspired junk that 9 littered the arcade floor. ' Unplayable multiplayer experiments like Atari's
forerunner to the Mortal

ilBBSS

i. _

would take the home computer revolution and a heap


of work from some dedicated Japanese visionaries to rebirth the videogame fad, and for the better part of a decade the multiplayer arcade concept lay dormant. Itwasn'tuntil 1985when Atarionceagainattempted to double the number of elbows jostling their way around an arcade monitor with Ed Logg's incredible creation. Gauntlet This new four-player monster made no attempt to toy with spatial efciency. It
took the now standard model for arcade cabinets and simply increased its size to accommodate four

Kombat craze, Pit-Fighter, ^


made use of badly digitised graphics in its three-player

one-on-one (on one). ^


Axe clone. Alien Storm, did nothing to maintain

The sluggish, stilted Golden "


its w

predecessor's good name, and ^ [


e v e n Te c h n o s i t s e l f c o u l d n ' t

ita.Rm

DCTDn

It was only for two players, but surely this is the greatest versus arcade game of all time... Atari's Sprint Advances in multiplayer arcade games go back further than you might think.

Namco's Final Lap. Racing games are an obvious candidate for increased participation.

A Atari's Pit-Fighter. Sadly, not all multiplayer games are guaranteed to be any good.

elbow room and a game packed to the top of its spiky liaircut with action, jokes, button-bashing
bonus bouts and multiplayer mayhem. Although

enough to land a jumbo jet on means there's no shortage of space for trackballs, joysticks, buttons, spinners and kitchen sinks. It's a ridiculous machine,
but who wouldn't love to have one?

the game was ported to C64 and DOS, there is yet


to be a home version due to Konami never owning

As the once majestic arcade now lies in ruin - a victim of its own avarice, populated by row upon row of insipid linked driving machines - it seems the arduous life of the multiplayer cabinet has nally come to an end. There is some hope for this wonderful, struggling species however, in the shape
of the home arcade enthusiast.

The beginning of the end for the traditional multiplayer cabinet was quietly marked in 1987 by the appearance of a fairly average driving game from Namco. Final Lap played very much in the
same vein as Atari's 1982 Pole Position with very

the console licence rights. Saddening as it is, this brilliant game will never appear on a PS2 or Xbox compilation. It makes you want to have a cow. Although very difcult to nd, two other well renowned beat-'em-ups were also capable of running on a three-armed machine: Capcom's chopsockey classic Final Fight, and its 1994 re-imagining. Aliens Vs Predator. Since both games were JAMMA compatible, it was very rare to actually see the three-player machines. Unfortunately, the threeplayer Final Fight has never been emulated by the magical MAME project. AVP, which was intended for release alongside the stillborn movie based on the superb graphic novel, can be emulated in its full multiplayer glory, but for some inexplicable reason has never been ported to home machines. AVP was not the only comic connection to nd its way into a multiplayer beat-'em-up cabinet, with a host of
Man/el Universe characters showing up on multiple

few gameplay improvements made during the ve-year interval. It was the cabinet however, that
made all the difference; up until now, multiplayer

With the advent of MAME, kindly game buffs have been granting loving homes to these old warhorses for quite a few years, and these voluptuous multiplayer beauties have become the
cabinet of choice for the family-friendly arcade

machines required gamers to share a screen. Final Lap gave them one each. This made a huge
difference to the players using the twin-seat cabinet. For the rst time, they had the feeling of being in their own car while still racing against a human

emulator. A tting end for a unique genus which has seen 30 years of hardship and exile in the commercial sector, to nally nd the love and respect such ambitious entities deserve in the homes of those who ignored them in the arcades. May they keep our elbows in close proximity for a
long time to come.

opponent. Coupled with the fact that four of these


twin-seat machines could be linked together, an

eight player race took on a whole new dimension of multiplayer gaming. The popularity of 'linked' gaming was immense, and as regimented armies of these machines took up more and more arcade space, the larger single-screen multiplayer cabinets were pushed out of the door and have yet to return
in any real form. In 1998, Atari Games once again attempted a

the worst
,n the long run ^ere w The
muttiplaver graced with that shoot-'em-up was ^ pja^co's mavXK
many multiplaye ' Galaxian 3 is
-theatre system The six-

joystick machines. Spidey and Captain America


both lent their names to four-player machines, and

special mention has to go to the 1992 six-player XMen behemoth.

revival of the four-player cabinet with the poorly received yet terric reincarnation of Gauntlet Legends. The dungeon explorer went 3D and the
monster cabinet was briey reintroduced to the

Featuring a specially made widescreen display, the giant of a machine was far too cumbersome and expensive for arcade operators to justify, but has
since become something of a collector's piece simply due to the impressive girth of the monster cabinet. Collectors love the sheer scale, with tons of room

anything to 9 "V- s ,3^^ disks for


.nd

player ''~9;"V ackdrops, but all attention g a m e p a ly .S u c ha^ a ^ e ^

arcades. Other multiplayer games of yesteryear


have also been revived in an attempt to get those

elbows knocking around one monitor, such as 1997's graphically superior yet identical in gameplay. Rampage World Tour, and the post-apocalyptic nal episode in the Sprint franchise. Badlands in 1989.

inside for kitting it out with all manner of emulation


devices, built to take a modern widescreen display

the obvious ^'JJ\arnament Edition^

with ease and incorporating a control board big

"FINAL LAP HAD THE FEE

UeiNU A CAR WHILE STILL RACING


AGAINST A HUMAN OPPONENT'

GAMES

RETRO

149

Selecting just one classic LucasArts game to prole is like picking a favourite child, but we think we've chosen wisely. Read on to nd out why, but beware for spoilers lie within
THE SEQUEL OF MONKEY ISLAND
Although players were shocked by the ending to LeChuck's Release: 1991

Format: Amiga, Mac, PC


Publisher: LucasArts

Developer: In-House

Revenge, it was nothing


compared to the surprise that came with the follow-up The Curse Of Monkey Island. The

twist had been completely


ignored because Gilbert left
LucasArts in 1992 to form

T h eS e c e rtO fM o n k e ya s I ln d
some of the wackiest, most convoluted as this month's Greatest Retro Game?

had it all; a terrically humorous and compelling story as well as

Astandout moment from the M>n<reylsfanifseries.

A How many other games feature a spitdng contest, eh?

Humongous Entertainment. The series was then taken over

puzzles in the genre. It was an instant hit... so why have we picked its sequel Well, quite simply. Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge was a better game in terms of both story and puzzles, and to this day it's still the most heavily discussed of the four Monkey Island titles. One year on from the release of the original game, anticipation levels for Monkey Island 2 were through the roof. The specialist press had run several previews detailing the fact that it would be a staggering four times bigger than its predecessor and that the graphics
and sound would be better than ever,

Although, aesthetically speaking there were several more technically


impressive releases in 1991, it's hard to

by Jonathan Ackley and Larry


Ahern who had no idea what Gilbert's original intentions for the series were. Gilbert has gone on record to say that none of the sequels reveal the real secret of Monkey Island as hinted at in the rst game, and with LucasArts giving up on adventures, we'll probably never know.

Island 2 were signicantly harder than in the rst game but altogether more fun to hammer through thanks
to the excellent standard of humour Everything from Bambi to Bond is

nd another with such a high quality of hand-drawn 2D art. Every background and sprite in Monkey Island 2 cou\d be used in a pixel-art master class, such is the level of detail, especially in the realistic lighting which adds a much greater sense of time and place than the original game. Scale and perspective also saw signicant improvements as objects in the foreground would appear to be blurred, and sprites
would increase and decrease in size as they moved from the front to the back

lampooned throughout the course of LeChuck's Revenge with references to past LucasArts games and Lucas lms in between. Trying to buy a Bloody Stump cocktail, for example, will result in the bartender replying: "I can't, the chainsaw is out of gas", a well-loved
quote from LucasArts' rst adventure game. Maniac Mansion. Steve Purcell's

but nothing could prepare the players for the completely unexpected curveball of a story that Gilbert had up his sleeve... but we'll get on to that later. For those who didn't manage to see
A /Mo/iAieK's'sm'Jwas great but ignored the
previous game's ending.

of the screen. The music was similarly improved with LucasArts' patented
IMUSE (interactive MUsic and Sound

Sam & Max characters also appear in a costume shop even though Monkey Island 2 was made two years before Hit The Road. The game also featured plenty of jokes that didn't require an intimate knowledge of videogames however, and is to th is day remembered
as one of the funniest adventures of

Effects) system providing music that adapted to suit the mood of the game
as it changed.

Guybrush's second adventure all the way to the end, LeChuck's Revenge still
endures as one of the best adventure games of all time.

Although beneting from an improved parser system and a selectable difculty level, the puzzles in Monkey

all time. A particular favourite, here at Retro, takes place toward the end of the game when Guybmsh, dangling

11 S O B G A M E S R E T R O

I HIGHLIGHTS I I OF 1391
ON THE RADIO
With their fth album, released in 1991,
Metallica made a concerted effort to aim

O T H E R

for commercial success... and got it. The lead single Enter Sandman was catchier than previous releases, but lost none of the power or darkness of their classic
sound. It tiecame the thirteenth most

requested song on American radio that year, a massive achievement for metal.

AT T H E M O V I E S
Released at the height of Billy Crystal's popularity, 1991's City Slickers told the amusing tale of a group of friends who decided to spend a holiday herding cattle
in order to combat their collective mid

Few games are as genuinely funny as Monkey Island.


i t

life crises. Things quickly spiral out of control of course, and hilarity ensues as the group realise they're not exactly
'builf for rural life.

EVERYTHING FROM BAMBI TO BOND IS LAMPOONED


the zombie-pirate, he unmasks him
to reveal his own brother. Chuckle, underneath. At this point, the game takes a further unexpected turn as a

ON THE TELEVISION
1991 also saw the beginning of the BBC's The Brittas Empire series staning Red Dwarfs Chris Barrie as incompetent leisure centre manager Gordon Brittas. The programme was both a showcase for Barrie's comedy talents and a classic example of the British comedy archetype: overambitious. Ignorant and petty. Which of course all makes for great comedy. Plus it was lmed just up the road from the games offices.

above a pit of acid, is asked by LeChucl< if Ine lias any last questions and replies, in typically witty fashion, "Where do
babies come from?"

Hilarious jokes, mind-bending puzzles and outstanding presentation aside, where Monkey Island 2 really stands out, and qualies itself as superior to both the original game and every other adventure in LucasArts' back catalogue, is in the outrageously off-the-wall ending thafs divided both
fans and the LucasArts developers themselves for the last 15 years. In

man appears and tells the pair that they're 'not allowed down here' before escorting them out of the lair and into a theme park named Big Whoop. As they leave the park, both Guybrush and LeChuck/Chuckie appear as young
children and it seems that the whole of Monkey Island 1 and 2 was nothing more than a childhood fantasy thought

up by two brothers... at least until


Chuckle turns to the screen as his eyes

an underground lair, at the climax of


the adventure, Guybrush manages to defeat LeChuck with the aid of a

ash green for a second, casting a


cloud of uncertainty over the whole

voodoo doll and, at the request of

shocking scenario.

A Subtle references to the ist game crop up here and there.

GAMES'"

RETRO

151

TODAY'S GAMERS ARE USED TO LOCALISATION, BUT THE C64'S WORLDWIDE POPULARITY IN THE EIGHTIES SAW DISTINCT ARCADE CONVERSIONS BEING CREATED ON BOTH SIDES OF THE ATLANTIC. THESE WEREN'T NTSC OR PAL FIXES, BUT ENTIRELY DIFFERENT GAMES. SO WILL WE BE SINGING 'USA! USA!' OR A ROUSING RENDITION OF RULE BRITANNIA BEFORE THE DAY IS DONE? READ ON, DEAR READER, READ ON AND FIND OUT..
720 DEGREES
Atari's fondly remembered skateboarding title would feel at
home in the modern era of 'extreme

sports' titles. The game nds you performing tricks for money that is then used to buy kit and to enter yourself into tournaments.
'][:iii;r 1I1I1

HfXI

lll.KII

111

llliMllill

UK VERSION
us Gold's UK release of 720 Degrees was left in Chris Butler's more than capable hands, and he rose to the occasion, squeezing this playable, responsive conversion into one single load. Sure, the graphics are rather blocky, but they manage to resemble the arcade game more than the cartoon-like US version; most importantly, the board's 'feel' and weight is spot-on, and although
the arcade version's 'rotate and kick' control

US VERSION
More advanced loading systems don't always result in superior games: this disk-based effort has a painful multi-load, even requiring a separate load to access the map. We have no idea where the extra memory is used - outside of competitions, this version is almost silent, and although the sprites are more cheery than their UK counterparts, the game's scrolling is often so wobbly that it makes you want to vomit. Still, keeping down your lunch adds a much-needed challenge to the easy gameplay.

method has been dispensed with, the game's still very tough. A great start for the UK.

UK VERSION
Here's what the UK conversion of After Burner

US VERSION
Feeling a little like 'After Burrjer Lite', the US

has in common with its arcade parent: you y a plane, and you shoot other planes. With this being the original version's core gameplay element, 'so far, so good', right? Unfortunately, the 3D effect and other graphics (such as the wildly ickering main sprite) are so laughably bad that it's nigh-on impossible to tell what's going on at any given moment. This is just the type of game that gets sent to the 'bad place' when it dies and deservedly so, it really is utter garbage.
11 5 2 I G A M E S ' " R E T R O

version sacrices terrain detail and enemy


numbers in favour of speed. But this is not in vain because the result is the closest the C64

comes to matching the arcade game - even


Elite's graphically superior First Strike lacks this

game's frantic, non-stop gameplay. As with the


European version, the multi-load makes for a

slightly fragmented game, but at least Blum and Stubbington's effort plays like its arcade parent, even including the refuelling and canyon levels.

I K A R I WA R R I O R S
Akin to a thinking-man's Commando, this vertical-scrolling shoot-'em-up requires a considered, stealthy approach. Neat touches include a simultaneous two-player mode, various weapons upgrades and the ability to drive tanks.

UK VERSION
The astonishing (for the time) 18-month gestation
of the UK version of Ikari Warriors meant the

US VERSION
From a game that took 18 months to one that looks like it was cobbled together in 18 minutes - in SEUCK. Ignore the weedy tune, sparse spot effects and ineffectual push-scrolling, and you'll still wonder why half the original's features and maps are missing (along with the simultaneous two-player mode), why enemies and projectiles disappear at random, why the graphics are so terrible, why the mission takes so little time to complete, and, ultimately, why you loaded the game in the rst place.

game was initially met with derision, especially upon seeing the decidedly workmanlike graphics. However, it took little time playing the game
to realise that this was a top-notch conversion,

perhaps even surpassing the arcade original in terms of playability. With the original's features present and correct, including swarms of soldiers, a simultaneous two-player option and drivable tanks,
this is the denitive 8-bit Commando-style shooter.

STREET FIGHTER
The rst in the popular series of oneon-one ghting games. A combination of well-dened, unique characters and 'hidden' special moves elevated Street Fighter above the competition, and provided the blueprint for many subsequent games in the genre. g g g j g m j m i u

UK VERSION
Based upon your rst impressions of this game, you might be forgiven for thinking that you'd loaded Lego Street Fighter by mistake, such is the chunkiness of the sprites. The gameplay here is sorely lacking, too, suffering from 'unbeatable move syndrome' (rapid leg sweeps to win every round, fact fans). Most of the challenge comes from trying to stop the searing pain in your eyeballs as you try to keep tabs on the ghters, who suffer from 'the judders' and a distinct lack
of animation frames.

US VERSION
Although this doesn't actually look very much like its arcade parent, the American Street Fighter conversion at least avoids any chunk-o-vision problems, instead aping a console game. The neatly dened sprites and colourful backgrounds work well, although there's no scrolling, and the 'bouncing' of the ghters as they move looks extremely comical. Controls are a little unresponsive, but the game is playable enough, and as it didn't blow up our computer, it pretty much beats the UK version by default.

AN INTERVIEW WITH STE RUDDY


Stephen 'Ste' Ruddy programmed the UK conversion of Bionic Commando and
worked on both sides of the US/UK arcade conversions phenomenon. "Software

Creations cultivated a good relationship with Taito of America following on from them publishing the Software Creations conversion of Bubble Bobble in the USA," he says, adding that this led to plenty of NES work for the company. As for multiple C64 versions of the same game, Ste reckons this was partly down
to hardware issues: "The extra frame-time you got on PAL gave you a chance to do more, and the UK was cassette focused, so some US imports were butchered

in the UK to get them on tape." Rather than wreck existing games, it often made
sense to create something new. The Commodore 64's reliance on cassettes in the UK played a part in Ste's work on Bionic Commando: "After playing the arcade machine, it was obvious

the game had to be a multi-load," he recalls. "Because tape-loading was slow, we kept the number of loads to a minimum, putting two levels in each, apart from the standalone third level, which was large and had big animating robots in the background." The biggest challenge was implementing the bionic arm: "That was the dening component of the arcade machine. A big line of spites extending
from the main character - without ickering - was not C64 friendly, but we nonetheless handled it using a software sprite system."

GAMES'"

RETRO

RISSI

i
m m .

rvrif^r^'rs

BIONIC COMMANDO
Capcom's tricky but addictive platformer would be long forgotten if
it wasn't for the blonic-arm element

c s Q i s a a a

JfWi

that enables your character to swing around the levels like Spider-Man (if Spider-Man used an extendable metal arm instead of webbing, that is...)

UK VERSION
Perhaps this doesn't match the arcade game in visual accomplishment, but this Bionic Commando conversion sounds great, thanks to the musical talents of Tim Follin, and is a joy to play. The 'feel' of the bionic arm is right on the money, and you can use inertia to catapult your character across divides. Sure, the game is hard going at times, but although you may come close to smashing your joystick to pieces upon failing to complete Level 4 yet again, you'll likely come back for just 'one more go'.

US VERSION
Unfortunately, the team behind this conversion must have had a thinking process that went
something like this: 1) note down all the important elements of the arcade version 2) wreck the unique feature - the extendable metal

arm - by making it far too short thereby making it very awkward to use 3) wreck everything else. The graphics are poor, the tune is weak, and many of the arcade game's features are missing. On the plus side, well, it's marginally better than
Bionic Granny.

CABAL
A pseudo-3D mix of Space Invaders and Operation Wolf, Cafaa/nds you controlling a lone commando fending off enemy attacks. Power-ups provide additional repower for destroying enemies and scenery, and walls offer
temporary protection.

UK VERSION
Although it lacks the coin-op's simultaneous
two-player mode and the bizarre little dance-

US VERSION
At a glance, this looks like a pretty tasty recreation of the arcade game, with well-dened characters and colourful backgrounds. Playing the game is a different story, though. The irritating gunre sound effect (strangely reminiscent of a 3:4 drum rhythm), annoying 'invisible bullet syndrome', and a lack of frenetic gameplay (due to a general shortage of on-screen foes) result in the realisation that the game is mostly gloss, and is actually rather nasty underneath, like a tasty looking chocolate bar lled with lard.

cum-victory-run that the commando does upon completing each level, everything else has been crammed into this conversion. It's not perfect - the sound effects are sparse, and the backgrounds are occasionally iffy - but the game is great fun and becomes frantic on later levels. And although the gunre sounds like a mad bongo player, this is a
major improvement over the sound effect used for
the American version.

AN INTERVIEW WITH

DARRIN STUBBINGTON
Oarrin Stubbington is well known in the game industry, having worked for the likes of Midway and Acclaim, but his career began on C64 converting Sega
coin-ops. "I came to the US to do PAL-NTSC conversions, but when we came

to After Burner, the existing version was dire so we redid it," says Stubbington.
"At the time, the capabilities of coin-ops were beyond what the C64 could handle so we had to compromise, retaining the most important essence of the games and recreating this as best as possible with what the C64 had to offer."

Stubbington remembers the After Burner coin-op being particularly graphically


intense, with many craft ying at you at once: "For the C64, we had to reduce
the number of enemies and the amount of terrain detail."

of the Atlantic largely due to different perceptions of what made a great game, and from his perspective there wasn't a belief that results were superior in the US or Europe: "Let's face it: a great game is a great game, but a stinker can
be recognised by anybody. Generally, multiple versions also depended on a willingness to invest by publishers. Furthermore, games in the USA at the time were all disk based, but cassette-based games were still required in the UK, and this made for some natural differences." v '
154 GAMES RETRO

Stubbington reckons different coin-op conversions appeared on both sides

R A M PA G E
This appropriately named Bally Midway game nds you taking control of a trio of unfortunate people
who'd been mutated into monsters. Your aim is to wreak havoc, demolish

buildings, eat people, and avoid the army's onslaught.

UK VERSION
Surprisingly regarded a classic, we've always thought Rampage's immediacy was but a thin veil camouaging a game of abject tedium. Sadly, this conversion makes the going even more wretched, offering nicky controls, sluggish gameplay and a bunch of annoying bugs such as 'eating people doesn't replenish your energy' The computer
controls the other monsters when human players

US VERSION
Poor or George the giant monkey looks like he's been repeatedly smashed in the face with an ugly stick, and the levels loop too rapidly, but this version of Rarrtpage gets one thing right: it's actually fun, which is largely down to the game being much faster than the sluggish European version. Also, eating people actually replenishes your energy, as it should, thereby providing a reason for munching on the populace - other than out of spite for their hatred of hyperactive
o v e r s i z e d m o n s t e r s . A d e s e r v e d w i n n e r.

aren't present - a nice touch, until you realise the computer players are idiots, rarely smashing buildings, but all too fond of smashing you.

JACKAL
Supercially similar to Ikari Warriors, Jackal fmds you commanding a vehicle - an armed-to-the-teeth jeep
- rather than a lone soldier. In each

level, you rescue POWs, transfer them to helicopter dust-off locations and
battle an end-of-level boss.

. T R r i f & r

UK VERSION
One of the more forgetable arcade games out
there led to - and this'll come as a shock - a

US VERSION
It would take a very special effort for the US
version of Jackal to be as bad as the European

thoroughly forgetable home conversion. The game's slightly preferable to repeatedly smashing yourself in the face with a C64, but only just. For every good element, such as dispensing with the arcade game's upwards-only main weapon for true multi-directional repower, there's a really bad one, say, the maddening difculty level - preserving the arcade game's belief that a single bullet can cause a jeep to explode. In short: avoid.

one; thankfully, creator Mike Hutchinson avoids a similarly catastrophic conversion, largely by toning down the difculty. The game's not without problems - this version retains its arcade counterpart's annoying vertically orientated main weapon, and bullets have a nasty tendency to appear and disappear at random - but the game at least verges on 'fun' and won't make you hurl your C64 out of the window. Phew.

CONCLUSION
And so we reach the end of our battle of while the US has to make do with a decent

the titans, with both sides putting in a good showing. In terms of sheer quality, the UK arguably wins out with two classic entries
{ I k a r i Wa r r i o r s a n d B i o n i c C o m m a n d o ) ,

conversion of After Burner and the knowledge


that most of its victories occurred due to the

UK conversions being so utterly disastrous. Still, totting up the points using our entirely just and fair one-point-per-win system, we nd that it's four-all, and so everyone's a winner.

(Note: anyone who paid for the US version of Ikari Warriors or the European conversion of After Burner clearly isn't a winner). There's a moral to this story somewhere and games hopes you've all learned something from this encouraging and lifeafrming conclusion. Now, however, we're off for another game of Ikari Warriors-the European version, naturally.

C*L'A'S'S'hC C'O'N'S'O'L'E
BUYERS' GUIDE QUICK REFERENCE

tm Ig h itb ee a s y o ta p y l o r e r tg a m e s

through emulation, but there's nothing quite like owning the original system that musty smell of ancient electronics can

COMMODORE
Commodore Vic20 Commodore 64
10-30 10-30

never really be replicated with a PC. Of course,

Commodore Amiga
Commodore CDTV C64 GS

20+ (depending on model)


20-50 30-50 25-50

there's always a price to pay and unscrupulous dealers out to make a quick buck, but you really don't have to pay through the nose if you look in the right places. Charity shops, car boot sales and eBay are all good places to start, but before you do, use our guide to see how much you should be paying...

Commodore CD32

NINTENDO Game & Watch 1-200 (depending on model) Nintendo Entertainment System 15-20 Game Boy/Game Boy Pocl<et 5-10 Game Boy Color 10-15 Super Nintendo Virtual Boy
Nintendo 64 20-40 80-100 10-25

[3D0
Panasonic 3D0 Goldstar 3D0

]
40-60 45-60

[ACORN COMPUTERS
BBC Micro 15-25 10-25

Acorn Electron

Master System 10-30 (depending on model)


Mega Drive
Game Gear 10-20 15-25

[AMSTRAD
Amstrad CPC 464 Amstrad CPC 664 Amstrad CPC 6128 Amstrad GX4000
10-25 20-25 25-50 20-60

Mega CD Sega 32X Sega Nomad


Saturn Dreamcast

40-70 (depending on model)


35 70-140

30+ (depending on model) 25+ (depending on model)

SINCLAIR
ZX-81 40-70 20-50 30 40 35 40

GCE Vectrex (General Consumer Electronics)


60-200

ZX Spectrum 48K
ZX Spectrum +

M B Ve c t r e x ( M i l t o n B r a d l e y ) 1 5 0 - 2 0 0 JAMMA Compatible cabinets 100-350 (depending on model) Super Gun 120-400 (depending on model)

ZX Spectrum 128K
ZX Spectrum +2 ZX SPECTRUM +3

PC Engine
Atari VCS 2600 Atari ST 20-35 Turbo Grafx-16 Turbo Duo

55-70 30-50 120-180 70-150

Neo Geo MVS Single Slot (arcade system) 70+ (depending on model) Neo Geo AES (home System) 150+
Neo Neo Neo Geo Geo Geo Pocket CD CDZ Color 100+ 80+ 35

Atari Lynx
Atari Jaguar

20+ (depending on model) 15+ (depending on model)


20

PC Engine GT Super Grafx

80 (prices can fluctuate)

156H GAMES RETRO

games to play on it. The only problem is, you're not too sure what to buy. Hopefully we can help. This month, inspired by EA Replay, we take a look at some of Electronic Arts' best Commodore 64 games...

R g ih th te n ,y o u v 'eu js tp c ik e du pas e c o n d h a n dc o m p u e tra n da r eo lo k n igo frs o m ec a ls s c i

Archon
Estimated Price: 5-10 Publisher: Electronic Arts Ye a r o f P r o d u c t i o n : 1 9 8 3

T h e B a r d ' s Ta l e
Estimated Price: 5 Publisher Electronic Arts Ye a r o f P r o d u c t i o n : 1 9 8 5

Legacy Of The
Ancients
Estimated Price: 15 Publisher: Electronic Arts Ye a r o f P r o d u c t i o n : 1 9 8 7

Neuromancer
Estimated Price: 5 Publisher: Electronic Arts Ye a r o f P r o d u c t i o n : 1 9 8 8

Imagine the ancient game of chess crossed with the style and logic of Dungeons & Dragons and you would end up with something resembling Archon. This classic strategy title was a two-player sensation on Commodore 64, but despite console ports and a couple of sequels, it soon faded into obscurity, which is a crying shame. Archon remains one of the best strategy games of all time and is simply begging for a modernday remake.

T h e B a r d ' s Ta l e w a s o n e o f t h e r s t

Nine years after Game Boy, Nintendo Ta k i n g p l a c e i n a n museum. Legacy Of was an original RPG accessed through the otherworldly The Ancients with dungeons museum's own nally released a colour version of the handheld. Sadly, despite having a vastly improved screen - It was in
colour after all - it lacked the back-lit screen that didn't surface until 1998's

computer role-playing games to be presented from a rst-person perspective, but its remarkable innovations didn't stop there. Being able to explore an enormous city and battle through expansive dungeons made this one of the deepest adventures on any home system. Although others had preceded it, this was the rst epic Western RPG to really capture the public's imagination. The road to Oblivion began here.

exhibitions. It stood out at the time for

its multiple viewpoints depending on location, and the wealth of mini-games and puzzles that had to be conquered in order to enter new areas or improve skills. Nearly two decades on and Legacy Of The Ancients remains one of the most original RPGs of all time.

Game Boy Light, The biggest issue with Game Boy Color though, was that many of its early games were simple ports of Game Boy originals and it was little more than a stopgap
till the eventual arrival of the Game

Boy Advance.

TE6^#ANags

NEUROMANCER

iiiAf ':

y
Ultimate Wizard
Estimated Price: 5 Publisher: Electronic Arts Ye a r o f P r o d u c t i o n : 1 9 8 6

The Seven Cities Of Gold


Estimated Price: 5 Publisher: Electronic Arts Ye a r o f P r o d u c t i o n : 1 9 8 4

Realm Of

Impossibility
Estimated Price: 15 Publisher: Electronic Arts Ye a r o f P r o d u c t i o n : 1 9 8 4

Racing

Destruction Set
Estimated Price: 5 Publisher: Electronic Arts Ye a r o f P r o d u c t i o n : 1 9 8 5

Essentially a variation on Jumpman and Lode Runner, Ultimate Wizard was a decent single-screen platformer that outclassed its predecessors thanks to the wizard's spell-casting abilities which added extra depth to the gameplay,
and the self-referential humour that

A bit like Sid Meier's Pirates!, this one. S e t i n t h e C e n t u r y, p l a y e r s t o o k control of Christopher Columbus and sailed around the world discovering new lands, just like real life. Except, this being an interactive game, players weren't bound to historical accuracy
and were free to send Columbus

Although the graphically rudimentary Realm Of Impossibility was populated solely by stick gures, this action RPG was one of the best on the system.
The aim was to run to one end of a

Racing games with track designers were ten-a-penny on C64, but none of them quite had the polish and imagination of EA's Racing Destruction Set. The track designer featured all of
the usual tile sets but excelled thanks to its more ludicrous features such

even took pot shots at Mario. Now, here's a piece of trivia for you: Ultimate Wizard was an expansion of Wizard, with extra levels by Paul Reiche III who worked on Archon and, later, the
awesome Star Control.

dungeon, collect a treasure and then leg it back to the exit, all while avoiding the relentless enemies. Doing so was accomplished terrain as well were collected found scattered by clever use of the as magic spells, which from single-use scrolls throughout the levels.

as ice patches, dirt tracks and even varying levels of gravity. If that wasn't enough, every custom track could be raced on in the game's superb twoplayer mode.

anywhere they liked. As well as exploring uncharted waters, CC could


trade with natives and even kill them if he felt like it.

GAMES RETRO 157

PS2 I PSP I XBOX I XBOX 360 I GAMECUBE I DS I GBA I PC

ESSENTIALS
TOO MANY GAMES, NOT ENOUGH MONEY. THANKFULLY NOT ALL OF THEM ARE WORTH SPENDING YOUR HARDEARNED CASH ON. IF YOU WANT TO TASTE THE CREAM OF THE CROP, YOU'VE COME TO THE RIGHT PLACE

NLNTEMD

y
GAMECUBE TEN MUST-HAVE GAMES METROID PRIME
Publisher: Genre: Price: Nintendo Adventure 19.99

Developer: In-House

As the rst game of only three to ever earn full marks in games, Metroid Prime's position as
the most essential GameCube purchase was never in doubt. Talcing all the conventions of

the adventure-game genre and transplanting them into a rstperson perspective certainly

fooled those expecting a brainless


shooter, but the innovation

>'

mi

secured its reputation as perhaps the standout product of its generation. Essentially a platform game, Metroid Prime was equally
as concerned with malting you think as it was with destruction, and covered all of its brilliance

with an impeccable level of


polish. You can buy a GameCube together with Metroid for almost

the same price as a single Xbox


360 game - if you ask us that's an
absolute steal.

ISSUE: 2 SCORE: 10

158

RESIDENT EVIL 4

<
Genre; Adventure

THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: THE WIND WAKER

Publisher: Nintendo Developer; In-Hoi


Price; 19.99

Resident Evil 4 came as close to full marks as It's

The Wind Wal(er is essentially the same as every


other 3D Zelda but with the added bonus of some

possible for a game to get, but don't let the 'nine' fool you, this is still streets ahead of most games since. Brilliantly conceived, it revived the fortunes of an ailing franchise and provided one of the few compelling reasons to buy Nintendo's console.

truly astounding art direction. The eel-shaded visuals rubbed some people up the wrong way,
though we suspect that they have hearts of solid,

Could this be the fastest racing game ever made? Burnout pushes it close, but we feel this takes the crown. The greatness of F-Zero GX, however, is
that it never lets the incredible speed compensate for weakness - the quality of the track design and

black rock and souls of poisonous gas.

number of opponents still astounds today.

ETERNAL DARKNESS: SANITY'S REQUIEM


Publisher: Nintendo Developer: Silicon Knights
Genre; Survival-Horror Price: 9.99

VIEWTIFULJOE

Publisher; Capcom Developer: In-Houi Genre; Beat-'Em-Up Price: 9.99

Xbox had the power, PlayStation had the


popularity, but if GameCube is remembered for one thing it will be as the most unique console of the three, and W//er7 is arguably its most

Fright is an emotion that games can elicit with

greater efciency than even cinema, but few games have done so in quite the way that Eternal Darkness did. Frequently breaking through the 'fourth wall' to toy with the player as well as the protagonist, this is unsettling in the most potent way.
ISSUE: N/A SCORE: 8

It may not be the longest game you'll ever play, but by God Viewtiful Joe makes you work every single second. The 2D graphics and rock-hard
difculty led some to criticise it as a throwback;

distinctive game. The gameplay can frustrate, but


the visuals and story are superb.

others saw it as a timeless slice of gaming - as at home today as it would have been a decade ago.

IKARUGA

ANIMAL CROSSING

ill

ALIEN HOMINID

Publisher: Treasure Developer: In-House Genre; Shoot-'Em-Up. Price: 12.99

Publisher: Nintendo Developer; In-House


Genre: Sim Price; 29.99

By giving the enemy two different types of bullets (black and white) and the player two

Sim C/f/smashed the notion that games needed

Of all the games on this list. Alien Hominid has


the most aws, however, that doesn't stop it

an ending; Animal Crossing suggested that they barely even need a point, and came a whisker away from greatness in the process. The joy of the game is merely to exist within its lovable community. Rewarding, except there's no reward.

different types of ship - each of which was


impervious to one of the bullet types - /fcsruga offered a shooter with tactical depth. Not for the

from being a curiously involving experience


with excellent animation and a wicked sense of

humour. Certainly not to everyone's tastes, but it


surely can't hurt to try.

faint hearted, this is notoriously difcult.

games 159

PS2 PSP I XBOX I XBOX 360 I GAMECUBE I DS I GBA I PC

ESSENTIALS
TOO MANY GAMES, NOT ENOUGH MONEY THANKFULLY NOT ALL OF THEM ARE WORTH SPENDING YOUR HA
RE.A.R. Nearly a year has passed since F.E.A.R crept into the public consciousness, and we've all had time to sneak a go with the atmospheric shooter. For those who haven't, one of the best-conceived action games in years has arrived on Xbox 360.
The Elder Scrolls IV; Oblivion

Burnout Revenge Call Of Duty 3

Electronic Arts Activision

Criterion

Innity Ward
In-House

Capcoin
2K Games

Gears Of War

Microsoft Microsoft Ubisoft Ubisoft

Epic
Bizarre Creations In-House In-House

Project Gotham Racing 3 Rainbow Six Vegas

T om Clancy's Ghost Recon: Advanced Warghter


Tony Hawk's Project 8

Xbox

Te n

Must-Have

Games Electronic Arts Electronic Arts Microsoft DICE Criterion 38 23 26 8

Battleeld 2: Modem Combat

1 Burnout 3
Halo 2

10 1
9 8 8 9 8 8 8 8

Bungie
Smilebit Te c m o Oddworld Inhabitants

TO N Y H AW K ' S P R O J E C T 8 With its superb 'nail the trick' function - slow down the action mid-jump and move each leg

Jet Set Radio Future

Sega
Microsoft Electronic Arts

N/A
18 28 24 22

Ninja Gaiden Black Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath


OutRun 2 Rainbow Six 3; Black Arrow

independently to spin the board - Project 8 is


a return to innovation after several lacklustre

Sega
Ubisoft

Sumo Digital
In-House In-House Free Radical

Instalments. It sounds suspect, but it really works.

Street Rghter Anniversary Collection TimeSplitters: Future Perfect

Capcom
Electronic Arts

N/A
29

I
Amplitude

PfayStation2
Beyond Good & Evil Devil May Cry Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories
God Of War

Te n
Sony
Ubisoft

Must-Have
Hamionix In-House In-House

Games
8 12 30 48 32 5 1 8 8 8 9 9 9 9 8 9 8

Capcom
Koei

Nippon Ichi Software


In-House Harmonix In-House

Sony
RedOctane

I Guitar Hero II
Ico

Sony Sega Sony Sega

N/A
N/A 39 5

BURNOUT3

Rez Shadow Of The Colossus

Uga
In-House In-House

Atop-scoring game, Surnouf 5 is the pinnacle of arcade racing, and one of the most exciting titles. Even the next-gen-powered Burnout
ffevenge couldn't overtake its immaculate predecessor. We'd choose Burnout 3 every time.

Virtua Rghter 4: Evolution

1 Sony PSP Ten Must-Have Games


Burnout Legends Every Extend Extra Football Manager 2007 Grand Theft Auto: Liberty Crty Stories
Electronic Arts NamcoBandai Criterion Q Entertainment In-House In-House 37 49


9 8 8 8

Sega
Rockstar

N/A
39

ON THE HORIZON

THEY MAY NOT BE HERE JUST YET, BUT WE FEEL THAT

SUPREME COMMANDER
Along with Relic's recent WWII epic Company Of Heroes, Supreme Commander \s gearing up to revitalise the FiTS. Managing your
force from the broadest stroke to the tiniest

Format; PC Publisher. THQ Devi

r:

Gas

Powered

Games

GUrTAR HERO II

If a sequel can be criticised for offering more of


the same, then 6H//could be the worst sequel ever. It isn't, of course, it's bloody brilliant. After

all, when 'the same' involves frantically picking the solo to Free Bird, we can take all you've got.

detail, whether land, sea or air. Supreme


Commander's most obvious asset is its sense of scale. The models are inventive,

and access to nukes promises a level of


devastation to suit the enormity of the

combat. The most exciting FiTS in years?

160 games'"

TEN ESSENTIAL MUST-HAVE GAMES

EARNED CASH ON. IF YOU WANT TO TASTE THE CREAM OF THE CROP, YOU'VE COME TO THE RIGHT PLACE

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories


LocoRoco

Rockstar

In-House In-House Q Entertainment In-House Namco In-House

51 46 51 49 28 31

Sony
Ubisoft

LUMINES II
9 8 8 8 8

Not to damn Mizuguchi's work with faint praise, this is the best block puzzler since Tetris. The fusion of gameplay and music makes it a hypnotic experience, and the bigger track list with the ability to rearrange the song order really set it apart

1 Lximinesll
Power Stone Collecton

Capcom Sony Sony

Ridge Race WipEojtPure

Nintendo
Animal Crossing: Wild World Daigassol Band Brothers Kirby: Power Paintbrush
Mario KartDS Meteos Ossu! Tatakael Ouendan

DS

Te n
Nintendo Nintendo Nintendo Nintendo Nintendo Nintendo Nintendo Nintendo Nintendo

Must-Have
In-House In-House HAL Labs In-House Q Entertainment Inis

Games
40 29 31 39 31 37 23 48 39 8 8 8 7 9 8 8 8 8

Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney


StarFox Command Trauma Center Under The Knrfe

Capcom
Q-Games Atlus

Zoo

Keeper

Ignition

Entertainment

Success

30

MARIO KARTDS In retrospect our score of seven was perhaps a bit

Game

Boy

Advance

Te n
Nintendo Konami Nintendo Nintendo Nintendo Nintendo Nintendo

Must

Have
Intelligent Systems
In-House In-House

Games
8 6 25 14 17 47 11 1

:
9 8 9 9 8 8 8 8 8

harsh as this handheld update of the evergreen franchise still keeps us busy at lunchtime. It may seem slow at rst, but persevere and you'll make it

Advance Wars 2: Black Hole Rising


Castlevania: Aria Of Sorrow

The Legend Of Zelda: The Minish Cap Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga
Metroid: Zero Mission Mothers

to higher race classes, where the real fun begins.

AlphaDream
In-House In-House In-House Crawsh In-House In-House

Pokemon Pinball: Ruby & Sapphire Street Rghter Alpha 3 Upper Super Mario Advance 3: Yoshi's Island

Capcom
Nintendo Nintendo

N/A
31

8 . 1

PC
Battleeld 2 Defcon

Te n

Must-Have
Electronic Arts Introversion Software DICE In-House

Games
34 49 9 9 9 8 9 9 9 9

WARIOWARE: TWISTED! With Smooth Moves postponed till 2007, we'll have to turn to our neglected GBAs for our x

Football Manager2006 Grim Fandango


Half-Life 2 The Movies Naked War Sam & Max Hit The Road

Sega
LucasAns Vivendi Activision Zee-3 Activision Atari Vivendi

Sports Interactive
In-House Valve Software Lionhead Studios The Pickford Brothers LucasArts

N/A N/A N/A


39 50

of bite-sized insanity. When played non-stop for long periods, you emerge dazed as if from a
malarial dream, by tums confused and elated,

N/A
18 30

1 Unreal Tournament 2004


Worid Of Warcraft

Digital Extremes
Blizzard

8 \
9

T H E S E T I T L E S C O U L D B E A P P E A R I N G I N T H E S E L I S T S I N T H E N O T- T O O - D I S TA N T F U T U R E . . .

THE OUTSIDER
The scheduled release for The Outsider is so far in

Format: PS3, X360, Wii Publisher: TBA Developer Frontier

the future it's depressing, but this is already one of the nnost exciting games of next year. A hugely ambitious project that promises to simulate human emotion rather than just thrills and spills - as well as being made in conjunction with a feature lm - with David Braben at the helm, we

UNREAL TOURNAMENT 2004 The superb Gears Of War has prompted us to turn to Epic's previous triumphs - more specically the brash multiplayer thrills of Unreal Tournament. An update - with hoverboards - is due in 2007; till then this is your best bet.

have high hopes that The Outsider can live up to


its lofty promises. At the very least we expect an admirable failure. Braben, don't let us down.

games'" 161

MORE... REVIEWS
Sadly, with the new year comes another brief gaming lull, so the reviews section may feel slightly malnourished in comparison to
recent times. But have no fear, dear readers, because with the second batch of PS3 launch software, as

Yoshiki Okamoto's Genji 2 gets the games review


treatment next month.

well as a smattering of Wii and 360 efforts to get through, there'll still be plenty for you to get your teeth into.

''WHAT WAS ONCE THE FUTURE IS VERY MUCH THE NOW. PS3 HAS ARRIVED'' MORE... PREVIEWS
This issue, games has told the world about all of the games we should be getting excited about in 2007, so next month is going to be all about playing them. We'll be going hands-on with the new Sega Rally, Microsoft's stunning RPG Lost Odyssey, and a host of the year's other spring releases. It's going to be another busy month.

Lost Odysse/could be the game that nally sets


Xbox 360 in motion in Japan.

CAN SEGA'S ONCE PROUD RACER FIND THE RIGHT PATH ONCE AGAIN?" M O R E . . . F E AT U R E S
We'll be sitting down with Nick Burton to discuss all things Rare, plus reporting on how the Nintendo Wii
launched in all three territories. And, as

if that wasn't enough, we'll be back to the games'^'*" bible, ready to dissect the always-inventive rhythm-action genre. And for the retro-heads among you,
Next month the entire retro section will feature

the entire section will be dedicated to

classic titles such as Speedball 2: Deluxe Edition.

the glorious Amiga.

PAGES OF T O E - TA P H N G GOODNESS

ON SALE 25 JAN '07


games'" 163

C O N TA C T ILLUMINATING THE WORLD OF gaiKS


Enough of what we think - now you get to show off your rapier wit to praise, criticise or mocl< the game industry. Or not...
I RECENTLY STARTED subscribing to
your excellent magazine. However, in

I WAS JUST wondering if you'll be doing an article on the closure of Lik-Sang by Sony? I think other gamers would like to know what Sony has been up to. Many online petitions have sprung up in favour of LikSang. This is a massive error on Sony's part,
especially at a time when its nancial results

issue 49 you gave Ridge Racer 2 on the PSP 6/10.1 believe you gave the original Ridge
Racer 8/10, yet your review said it was not

much of an improvement on the original. Question: if I don't yet have either game, which one should I buy? If your answer is Ridge Racer 2, you need to change the score of that game. I don't have time to play all games, nor money to buy them. Not everyone is in the privileged position of being a game reviewer with access to every game. If 'Some Game 2007' is only
slightly better than 'Some Game 2006', then for

for the year are worse than expected. Of course, there are other sites to import from, but how long before Sony goes after those? Why didn't Sony go for eBay? I wasn't planning to get a PS3 and certainly won't buy any other Sony product. This is how strongly I
feel about this situation. Dave Keryk

heaven's sake don't give it a lower score. How on earth am I supposed to know what to buy?
Roger Wemersson

games; We covered the controversy

games: Thanks for your question, Roger. The Ridge Racer review you are referring to actually states quite clearly that if you
I ff%e/?acer2maynotbemuclidifferenttoits

surrounding Lik-Sang's closure, in the News section last issue, and it's clear that Sony's conduct has raised a few eyebrows. We'd be
mad to make any denitive statements about either side, lest a lawsuit be our reward, but it

predecessor, but to avoid confusion let's say its better.

already own Ridge Racer the sequel is repetitive. It also says that if you don't own the original then the sequel is one of the best racers on PSP. Take a look: paragraph three, line six - it's all there. It is impossible
to treat a sequel - which, in the case of most

seems there is certainly more to the situation than meets the eye. One thing must be made clear though: Sony did not close Lik-Sang it sued them. That Lik-Sang shut down as a result was not necessarily Sony's intention. eBay protects itself by claiming no legal
responsibility for the transactions that take

i International sales of the PSP prompted a lawsuit


from Sony and the subsequent collapse of Lik-Sang.

driving or sports games are basically just updates - in Isolation from its predecessors. If a sequel does nothing more than trot out the same experience then the fact that it's of a similar quality becomes completely irrelevant when scoring. We know that there
are people out there who don't have the rst

place on the site. Lik-Sang enjoys no such


luxury. What we can't understand however, is

why something that hasn't been a problem in the past, and still isn't for the other platform holders, suddenly became such an issue for
Sony. We may never know, but the law is

Making Contant
There are many wonderful ways to get in touch with games, The traditional postal method is
perfectly acceptable using this address

game, and that's why the review specically addressed them. Unfortunately, you have to realise that there are people who do
have the original, and we need to consider

clearly on Sony's side.


I READ MARK Mullins' letter in issue 50

- the one about about coming up with a new term for all those free-roaming games like Grand Theft Auto - and decided to adapt

them too. The short answer for you though, Roger, is buy Ridge Racer 2.

games^", Imagine Publishing Ltd, Richmond House,


33 Richmond Hill, Bournemouth, Dorset BH2 6EZ

However, there are quicker ways to reach us


thanks to the technological marvel that is the
internet. Email us at this address

gamestm@imagin&-pub}ishing.co.uk

1WASNT PLANNING TO GET A PS3 AND CEFHAINLY WONT BUY ANY OTHER SONY PRODUCT. THIS IS HOW STRONGLY I FEEL ABOUT THIS SITUATION"

164 sames

33 Richmond Hill, Bournemouth, Dorset BH2 6BZ


Te l : +44 1202 586200

W e b s i t e w w w. g a m e s t m . c o . u k MAGAZINE TEAM

Editor Paut Morgan


+44 (0) 1202 586257

paul.morgan@imagine-pub!ishing.co.uk Editor in Chief Simon Phillips


Deputy Editor Rick Porter Games Editor Jon Denton

Staff Writers Ashley Day, Matthew Handrahan


Art Editor Duncart Crook

Assistant Designer Rebecca Jldman


Sub Editor Helen Laidlaw

Contributors Ben Biggs, Alexander Gambotto-Burke John Francis, William Haley, Ryan King
M a r t i n M a t h e r s , S i m o n M i l l e r, G r a e m e N i c h o l s o n

Tim Rogers, Chris Schilling, Dave Shaw Spanner Spencer


Cover: Halo 3 2007 Microsoft Game Studios and

Bungie Studios. Ail rights reserved


ADVERTISING

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are available on request

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+44 (0)1202 586444

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james.hatey@imagine'pubitshing.co.uk Is Saints ffowFree To Roam or a Free-Roaming Adventure? The pesky open-world conundrum continues. Games like O/ra/n/suggestthat perhaps we hadn't yet drained the best from the last generation before pushing forward.
I N T E R N AT I O N A L

his idea of Free To Roam (FTR) a little. The

suggestion I came up with was Free Roaming Adventure or FRA. What do you think?
Mark Robinson

generation hype - created by the platform holders in the rst place - and have since spent every day criticising games for not living up to a non-existent standard.
You should remember that we may never

games is available for licensing. Please contact the International Department now to discuss partnership opportunities International Manager Cathy Bfackman
Tel:+44 (0)1202 586401

Email: licensing@imagine-publishing.co.uk
SUBSCRIPTIONS Tel: +44 (0) 870 442 1097

games; it's certainly not without its charm, and it does roll off the tongue. We may have
a winner. Well done, Mark. DOES ANYONE ELSE feel slightly

actually see a game as revolutionary as


Mario 64 or Grand Theft Auto III ever again,

Email gamestm@serviceheipline,co.uk 13 issues subscription (UK)- 41.60 13 issues subscription (Europe) - 60.00 13 issues subscription (ROW) - 70.00 CIRCULATION Circulation & Export Manager Darren Pearce
Tel: +44 (0) 1202 586200 PRODUCTION Production Director Jane Hawkins Tel: +44 (0) 1202 586200

and yet many seem unwilling to show any


love to the new consoles until something similar comes along. Who's to say that the

underwhelmed by Xbox 360? I've had


mine since February now, and I'm still trying

to nd a truly next-generation game. I've played The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, and yes, it is shiny and it is huge, but talk about pop up. I thought such things were going to be a thing of the past, but I played Test Drive Unlimited, and again graphical glitches hamper the experience. The best thing about
Xbox 360 is Live; it's a fantastic service and should always be way out in front of other

next generation isn't just the same games but bigger and shinier, and with all the usual aws. It hasn't stopped games being brilliant
In the past and it shouldn't prevent them

FOUNDERS Managing Director Damian Butt


Creative Director Mark Kendrick Finance Director Steven Boyd PRINTED BY

from receiving accolades now. We pray to the gaming gods every night for the arrival of a new age, but until then it's only fair to take
each release on its own terms, and not those created by hype. I CAN REMEMBER a time when a game machine's life was only over when you

St Ives Andover, West Protway, Andover SP10 3SF


Tel: +44(0) 1264 387000

games"^*^ Is distributed by Seymour Distribution Ltd, 2 East Poultry Avenue, London EC1A 9PT
DISCLAIMER
The publisher cannot acc^ responsibility for any unsolicited material

competitors. Let's just hope we start seeing some genuinely next-gen titles very soon because I'm getting pretty tired of the lack of quality in the games I play.
mrBeatz

tost or damaged in the post. All text and (ayout is the copyright of Imagine Publishing Ltd. Nothing in this magazine may be reproduced

could no longer get anything more from it. And now today I witness the slow, fade-away
demise of the old Xbox simply because

availability may change. This magazine is folly independent and not afliated in any way with the companies mentioned herein.

Microsoft was determined to beat Sony to


the crunch in the next round of the console

2006 Imagine Publishing Ltd


ISSN: 1478*5889

games; Temperamental graphics are one thing, a lack of quality is something quite different. Flawless graphics are not a prerequisite for quality and they never will
be. Too many people have bought into next-

war. This seems strange because Xbox hadn't


been truly pushed to its limits: Halo still looks excellent, PGR2tracks still amaze. So, what

do you think of the attitude toward the next generation of consoles. Are they necessary?

games 165

C O N TA C T
I L L U M I N AT I N G T H E WORLD OF samesr
Enough of what we think, this is where you lot

For all your games forum needs, point your


browsers to...

w w w. g a m e s t m . c o . u k
/forum

ResuK from games team


versus readers at Gears Of

M/ar (30 Nov 06): games won 15 games to 1 (or something, we lost count).

get to show off your rapier wit to praise, criticise


or mocl< the game industry. Or not...

FROM THE FORUM


W H AT I S f T A B O U T V I D E O G A M E S ? Si 51

Am I missing the point of the new consoles?

and face of Germany that won't ever fade, and though it's not wrong to teach of such

Okay, as gamers the typical response we give to non-gamers who question why we play games is because we want to escape reality
and become immersed in a virtual world at least for a few moments. Immersion and the creation of it seems to be the fundamental

Am I just a whining old fuddy duddy?


Trebow

historical facts, I believe it's wrong to exploit it by offering up such terrible times as a palate for making games that are merely meant for killing. Don't understand what I mean? Play Call Of Duty for an hour or two then watch Schindler's List. Can the exploitation be any
more obvious... and tasteless?

games: Trust us, you're none of these

things. This industry is dragged along by technology, and will keep moving whether we need it or not. Given two more years we may
have seen some of the most inventive and

aspect of creating a successful, if not classic, game. However, there is an increasing trend of current games that seem to encourage a
detachment from the game world. Nintendo Wii's control system never allows the user

to forget that they are playing a game. The


need to move the remote In pre-set directions
in order to initiate attacks and moves

brilliant games of the last generation, but as


you say, market competition forced the next-

gen push. The more distressing development,


as evidenced in the letter from MrBeatz above,

games: This is rather more philosophical than Contact usually gets, but we're happy to
help. In our opinion, the important distinction to remember is that in WWII games, you are

paradoxically distances the user from the game rather than immerees them in it as they are constantly aware of what is in their hands. S c o t s Wa h e y 1 don't agree with your feelings on the Wiimote. If you are looking at the screen then that's what your focus is on. The natural movement of your body is far more

is that many think that the new technology still isn't powerful enough. What kind of world do we live in where GRAW's graphics don't feel like a step forward - it's absurd, baseless criticism. We all crow on about there being no
good games, but how can anyone develop to

killing Nazis not Germans, and the citizens of contemporary Germany acknowledge that. The Call Of Duty and Medal Of Honor
franchises sell as well in Germany as anywhere else, and that's because Germans
have distanced themselves from what

immersive than twiddling your thumbs on a


joypad. Wii may let you feel more Involved with the game and therefore more Immersed

a console's full capacity when their toolkit is being changed every ve years? I'VE RECENTLY DEVOTED many hours of my life to killing Germans via Call
Of Duty and Medal Of Honor. After endless

happened, leaving them free to analyse the events without feeling guilt. They need not apologise for It, but as
the single biggest event of the modern age

It doesn't apply to something like Pac-Man. There's no real immersion to speak of. It's abstracted enough that detachment wouldn't be relevant. It applies more to modern games. I just wanted to make the distinction that Immersion isn't relevant in alt games. Personally, I play games that test my reexes and skill so I'm not really seeking escapism.

it's only natural for entertainment media to


explore it. Videogames don't currently have

hours of frantic gunplay, I realised that these


games are not designed or intended to teach

the qualities necessary to produce a truly thoughtful and respectful study of the conict, though they are getting closer Schindler's
List is about the holocaust, which historians agree should be considered separate from the

us of the brutality of WWII and what the Nazis accomplished. They instead turn the events of that time into a fun experience that you can
switch on or off any time you please with utter emotional detachment. If only the Jews and

9 The Last Ginga I nd that in games like Robotron, Tempest and many other old-school games, you hit
the zone and are immersed in It. Recent

soldiers of that day had the same choice. So I wonder, then, if the point of these
games is only about the thrill of killing, are we not doing it at contemporary Germany's expense? I wonder how typical German

war, but even so, comparing one of the nest lms ever made to a videogame is a trie unfair. There are plenty of war lms that show
little or no respect to those that died, and if such an approach makes you uncomfortable the solution is simple; don't watch or play anything that chooses that path. Besides, the 'fun' in the game is your reaction to it - ifs

games that have done it for me are few and far between, but Geometry Wars Is a prime example. Then, on the other hand, storybased games draw you in and you "become" the character you are playing, and time ies without realising, again immersed. Shaolin.Monkey Okay, a game can be immersive, it can be abstract, it can be virtual reality, however, for most blokes, If it doesn't satisfy the need to hunt and gather Ifs unplayable. We haven't got anything left to hunt. The male

gamers today feel about popular videogame franchises pumping out best-selling games based around the idea of killing their
countrymen? No doubt the choices of their

not inherent in the code. That shooting


Nazis is fun says more about the

fathers' fathers have left a stain on the pride

player than it does the programmer.

social structure is no longer based around


who supplies the tribe with the most food,

'CALL OF DUTY AND MEDAL OF HONOR ARE NOT


DESIGNED TO TEACH US OF THE BRUTAUTY OF WWII'

but rather who licks corporate ass. If you're not a bit 'metro' these days women aren't interested, so if you have any bodily hair, a lumpy forehead and smell a bit too much of BO and male pheromones, you can forget it.

166 games'''

Recruitment ^

01202 586433

^
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FREE

RADICAL

Si. 5?.

W0ut0u n U U L U l T U U LIKEtl U l f V CO f I ^i W H UORKl K r V Vi Y vTXH UJl M A , ' %'

D E V E W P E RW H O X R E A T E DSO F ^ T H E ^
TOP RANKING FIRST PERSON SHOOTERS?^
fr %

WOULD YOU LIKE TO WORK WITH A DEVELOPER WHO IS CURRENTLY


W ^" V*^

PARTNERING WITH UBISOFT AND LUCASARTS?


'5^aaiK.

W EA R F C O T k I N GF O R !
GRAPHICS I RENDERING PROGRAMMERS SENIOR Al IGAMEPLAY PROGRAMMERS
SENIOR PROGRAMMERS-^ '

- " * T ? ^ i -

TOOLS PROGRAMMERS PROGRAMMERS ENVIRONMENT ARTISTS ANIMATORS

irii^

VISIT www.frd.co.uk for more details

Applications should be addressed to:


Personnel Dept., Free Radical Design, Unit 1, Interchange 25, Bostocks Lane, Sandiacre, Nottingham NG10 5QG
or emailed to jobs@frd.co.uk

Direct applications are always given prior consideration over agencies. Do not rely on an agency to supply your details to us.

Recruitmeiit

g a m c y
EAST MEETS WEST GLOBAL MMOG

01202 586433

Due to our on-going success in signing a number of major new titles, across all platforms. Atomic Ranet is actively looking to recruit candidates to ll the followng positions....

P r o d u c e r s
Experienced individuals with a proven track record of twinging quality games to market on time and on budget

Programmers
To o l s a n d Te c h n o l o g y p r o g r a m m e r s f o r n e x t g e n e r a t i o n consoles, Cameplay programmers, A.I. programmers. Previous published games is rxjt a necessity, tHJtyou must be able to VAXk as part of a team.

3D Artists / Animators
3D Environment Character Artists, Animators. Experience

Real Time Worldl


CUTTING-EDGE TECHNOLOGY | Unreal Engine 3 AND REVOLUTIONARY
IN-HOUSE TOOLS

jjsing Max is preferable and must have a good knowledge


and as part of a team.

of Photoshop. You must be able to work well independently

PROFESSIONAL WORKING ENVIRONMENT | EXCELLENT QUALITY OF LIFE

W E A R E E X PA N D I N G O U R T E A M S
LEAD SOFTWARE ENGINEERS SOFTWARE ENGINEERS WEBSITE PROGRAMMER LEAD ARTISTS 3 D D I G I TA L A R T I S T S UI/FX ARTISTS

- Talented and imagnative Came Concept Designers and

f Games Designers
essential.

^^Level Designers. Previous experience is r>ref^able but not

SENIOR DESIGNER (MMOG)


A S S I S TA N T P R O D U C E R OA MANAGER SMiWurCva HROwwl w n c w ilticenMiiialB I MUdhnkmitK OawiM. TS MF

OUTSOURCE
W t a t t o :

MANAGER

o,

w w w. r e a l t i m e w o r l d s . c o m

VENOM GAMES are looking or talented and passionate people

Newcastle studios bringing exciting

0 join the experienced team at their

mes to a new generation of consoles

We are currently seeking:

PROGRAMMERS & ANIMATORS

www.venomgames.co.uk

Recruitment

g a m e s " "

01202 586433

feW-7-

Where are you headini


CHARACTER ARTISTS
A N I M AT O R S

Applicants hoping to make their way into this role should


have the ability to create high and low-poly meshes along with a good understanding of Maya, Zbrush and Photoshop. A successful Character Artist will be required to model, sculpt and texture some of the industry's most recognisable characters using high-level shaders and normal maps, Showreels should contain examples of 20 concept artwork and excellent 3D character modelling, demonstrating great texturing and an equally good grasp of lighting.

Hopefuls for an Animator position will need experience and understanding of the basics of traditional animation

including the importance of strong posing and precise timing. A clear vision of how characters should move
act and behave is also crucial along with the ability to

work with passion and initiative as part of a team


Showreels should contain examples of both realistic and cartoon-style animation, making it clear which parts

of the reel applicants are personally responsible for.

Microsoft'^
g a d # 0 s For more information about

^ ;'4:
# 'A,

these roles please visit: R E " w w w. r a r e w a r e . c o m

Wanted: Industry Hot Shots*


The Stainless Games team has been based on the Isle of Wight for 12 years, and in that time we've been responsible for a number of innovative titles on a variety of platforms. Right now we have TEN Xbox 360 Live Arcade titles either released or in production, with several more in the pipeline.
We are always looking to augment our already strong team, and currently have the following vacancies to ll: projects to completion, and be able to work as part of a team.

Lead Programmer: You must be a strong all-rounder with industry experience, have the proven ability to nish Programmers: Have you just graduated, and want the best start you can get on Live projects? Then we want to hear
from you.

Experienced Artists: If you have a show reel, we'd like to see it - with a view to improving it for you.

Experienced Testers: Get to thrash the living daylights out of our titles before anyone else does. *Pool-playing skills are also an advantage (although not essential),as our team's league position is currently perilous.

If you're interested, and would like to know more about why the Island is such a great place to work,
please send your CV to;

jobs@stainlessgames.com

111 - ^ o t a l n l e s s g a m e s
www.stainlessgames.com T i ^ a member

Recruitment/Course Guide

01202 586433

Do you have ambition

to go beyond just playing?

Degrees in Games Technology at Kingston University

2004 Mario 2005 Metroid 2000

Did you know that the UK is now not only the third largest market for video games, it is also the third largest producer of games in the world? Huge growth in the computer and video games industry, and a worldwide shortage of high-quality computer programmers, means graduates in games technology can nd work not only in games development but in many related industries, such as virtual reality and
computer simulation.

Now you can study for a degree in this exciting area at Kingston, a
university highly respected for its teaching quality

At Kingston University this Joint Honours degree is offered in ve

combinations, so you can combine your interest in computer games im. . development with a wide selection of topic areas to study for a degree " g matched to your aspirations. I

wanted:

Games Technology and Media Technology (BSc) Games Technology and Mathematics (BSc) Games Technology and Statistics (BSc) Games Technology with Business (BSc) Games Technology with Entrepreneurship
and Management (BSc)
To nd out more about our Games Technology degrees visit
www.kingston.ac.uk/games or contact our Admissions Coordinator on

p r o g r www.fusegames.com ammers
Mario and Metroid are trademarks of Ni

020 8547 8234 or cism@kingston.ac.uk i

Kingston University London Faculty of Computing, Information Systems and Mathematics

Are You Ready to


Create the Future?
Then take a look at the exciting portfolio of challenging and stimulating courses offered within
our Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries.
The Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries at the University of Portsmouth is at the heart of the booming creative and cultural industry in the South East of England, itself one of the most successful and dynamic regional economies
in the world. Our highly knowledgeable and enthusiastic staff, drawn from

academia and industry, target programmes towards the real worid by

BA (Hons) Animation BA (Hons) Computer and Video Games

maintaining close links with International companies.

Our students participate in a range of technical and creative activities, whilst having access to a large-scale immersive 3D virtual reality suite, games research laboratories. Digital and Analogue sound studios and a Foley studio,
as well as an extensive range of multimedia, video-editing and post-production
hardware and software.

BSc (Hons) Computer Games Development


Whether you're interested in developing games through software engineering or want to work in the industry as ^ an artist or designer, we've got the right course for you. / Click your way to wvvw.solent.ac.uk, give us a call
or send us an e-mail. T: 0 8 4 5 6 7 6 7 0 0 0

Undergraduate courses include:

Animation Computer Animation Computer Games Technology Creative Computing T echnologies FdSc Creative T echnologies and Enterprise Design for Interactive Media Digital Media Digital Video Technologies Entertainment Technology Enterprise in Entertainment Technology
Music and Sound Technology Postgraduate courses include:

Computer Animation Computer Games T echnology Creative and Computational Sound Creative T echnologies and Enterprise
Design for Digital Media Digital Media Real-Time Media Communications We are here to equip you to work prafessionally within the creative industries. For further information contact:

E: enquiries@solent.ac.uk

Southampton w w w. s o l e n t . a c . u k

SOLENT
University

t 023 9284 2421 (Ret: GT11) e create.admissions@port.ac.uk w www.port.ac.uk/cci

Course Guide

g a m e s "

01202 586433

jrthompsonl@uclan.ac.uk
w w w . u c l a n . a c . u k

r
B.A. (Hons) Animation B.Sc. (Hons) Computer Games Development B.A. (Hons) Games Design

uclan
M.A. Animation

M.A. Games Design

I I

4'

^9

H N D / B A
Animation &

f ^ a n n w g

skillsi^t

Connputer
A n i m a t i o n

Bsa
Skillset B A F TA

GLAMORGAN
school of animation

Accredited

T h e o n l y c o u r s e i n t h e U K Tr i p l e - A c c r e d i t e d a s a To p T r a i n i n g P r o v i d e r I n A n i m a t i o n a n d G a m e s A r t by the skills & training watchdog Skillset

Nominated

One of the few student-produced animated lms


t o e v e r b e n o m i n a t e d f o r a We l s h B A F TA

Industry Endorsed
increasingly being recognised as a premier training

ground by the animation and games, industry, with large numbers of graduates established in major
studios in both the UK and the US

our mission is to provide quality education and training in the community

Course Guide

g a m e s ^

01202 586433

Education with a Reputation


Real Education in Games,

INNOVATION NORTH CREATIVE GAMING


Innovative Courses at Foundation, Degree or Postgraduate Levels
Sound & Music for Interactive Games

Computer Science and Software Development BSc, MEng, MSc and PhD Your rst step to a job as a games programmer

Games Design Computer Animation


Our exible project-based approach mirrors the creative Industry model preparing you for a number of exciting career opportunities.

"The course is rigorous and demanding, but in the end worth the hard work. I got two job offers from leading companies in the games industry within a month of completing my course." Hussain Sheikh,

Graduate 2006 - Core Technology Programmer, Climax Racing. "I applied for loads of games jobs before coming to Hull University and got nowhere. Prior to completing the MSc at Hull I received a job offer from Codemasters". Phillipa Leighton, Graduate 2005 - Games Programmer.
For more quotes from ex-students, examples of student work and syllabus information please visit: www.dcshull.ac.uk For infomiation on our open days please
email: admissions@dcs-hull.ac.uk
image courtesy of Codemastefs All rights reserved i

Innovation north
leeds metropolitan university

Tel: 0113 283 7421/7595

Image created by Martin Wan, Multimedia Technology Graduate

email: innadmissionsraieedsmet.ac.uk
THE UNIVERSITY OF HULL

visit: wwv\/.leedsmet.ac.uk/inn

GET YOUR GAME ON!


Interactive Entertainment Diploma

Train for a career In the games industry

qantm

Major in Games Programming or 3D Animation courses also available in Audio Engineering - Digital Film - Web Design + Development
I N S T

Course Guide

g a m c s ^

01202 586433

4 Ti
S TA F F O R D S H I R E UNIVERSITYH

are you
If you're going to be one of the next generation of games designers then Staffordshire University, with their state of the art technology and carefully tailored courses, have exactly what you need:
Computer Games Design

Computer Games Programming


CGI and Animatronics

Computing Science: Graphics Computing Science: Al


Plus MSc Awards in Computer Games

Developed with Industry for Industry For full information on all the courses on offer please contact
Staffs Uni on t: 01785 353370

e: games@staffs.ac.uk
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2006 Bdos Interacfive Ud. Pubfehed by Bdos intefactive L, 200a Developed by Bttos Hungary KFT . BatUestations: Mtdwap, Ekke and Ihe B(fc^ 1^ M resmed NSoTfSOft, JQwx, Xbw 360, Wwx y\, a* Xbo* logos, aid the XIxjx Uve logo are either registefBd traJemarte or trattemafte of Mbo^ US. a*i/or other countries. Game^ and Ihe "Powered by Game^" are trademarts of Gamespy Industrie he. AS ghts tBseived.

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