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The best game of the year so far, and friends

This week in gaming is a bit like the Oscars. There are lots of nominees, but only two real winners - Metroid Prime and Panzer Dragoon Orta. Both are fantastic games, well worthy of the scores we've given them, and both make a worthy swap for that wad of scrounged, bequeathed, purloined, fenced, laundered or perhaps even hard-earned cash.

They are by no means the only attractions this week though, with all sorts of other hopefuls, with games like Dr Muto, Shenmue 2 and Raven Shield vying for contention. Muto is an eccentric, derivative, but ultimately enjoyable platformer available in flavours for every platform, whilst Shenmue 2 is the long-overdue Xbox port, and the preposterously titled Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six 3: Raven Shield is a bit like what we wanted from Counter-Strike: Condition Zero, which is after Team Fortress 2's vapourware crown these days.

Also out this week are a number of lower profiles ports, which we'll rattle through here. MX Superfly, on the Xbox, is an extreme sports title potentially worthy of your interest; Pac-Man World 2 is not worthy of anybody's, really; The Sum Of All Fears likewise; and the PC version of Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc will never live up to its console brethren judging by the demo, but if you absolutely must play platform games and don't own a console (which would be a bit daft), then it's about the only thing for you - and a very good game.

Oh, and for those of you wondering about State of Emergency on the Xbox, it's slipped until April 11th. And you shouldn't buy it anyway because SOE is a load of old toss. Unless Rockstar decided to change it almost entirely we can't think of a scenario to recommend it.

Anyway, it's Prime Time, so get out there.

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