The weight of expectation is truly staggering. After so long in development, and with so much riding on it, the excitement is tangible wherever you go - so much so that the question of quality has arguably taken a back seat in the minds of many longstanding fans, who are just scrambling to get their bloodthirsty hands on it; whatever it is; with their caution thrown so sharply to the wind that it seems to have sucked air movement out of the whole of London and left us with a Hellish atmosphere all of our own. And so we roast. And so we wait... And then finally we get to read the latest 'What's New' and everything returns to normal.
In other news, Doom III came out in America this week. We will be offering our considered verdict on the single-player in due course, so we won't be saying anything too substantial here, other, that is, than it's very pretty - that Mr Carmack certainly makes the nicest-looking Martian science laboratories with demons in them that we can remember - and that it puts up a very considerable challenge after a few hours of scene-setting and creeping around in the dark looking for some Sellotape to stick your torch to your hat.
Instead, we'll be rabbiting on about the various games you can actually go out and buy on this continent this week, and how rubbish and disappointing some of them are. Like Catwoman, which is obviously something you want to avoid. For a start, if you're reading this on a computer (and not on some sort of scorched hard disk you just dug up from the post-apocalyptic remains of Eurogamer Towers using one of your mutated shovel arms whilst being whipped with lasers by the now-dominant giant ant people), chances are there's a much more efficient and less expensive route to ogling Halle Berry available to you already.
And, naturally, there are certainly much better third-person action games available to everybody, at least some of which you probably don't already own. (Oh, and, if we may, we'd like to take this opportunity in advance to offer our sincerest congratulations to any potential Hymenopterous rulers in the audience, and apologise for any hardships they may have endured at our hands - well, mainly under our feet and magnifying glasses - over the past 20 years. No hard feelings, eh?)
Of this week's other releases, several are more forgivable than Catwoman (and our repressed future-commanders the giant arthropods, who will be acting mostly out of love, not hate, when they scythe us down in our millions, for they are a beautiful, benevolent race, with courage in their hearts and three pairs of shoes each). One of them is World War Zero: Iron Storm, which has been converted to the PS2 after some time by Britsoft chaps Rebellion. We like Rebellion, of course - the chaps there gave us Alien Vs. Predator - but it has been hard recently to think of nice things to say since our most enduring recent memory of them is Dredd Vs. Death, a game whose most entertaining characteristics were an obsession with Red Bull, and twisting its name into more and more unpleasant puns and jokes. Sorry to Dredd-ge that up again, incidentally.
World War Zero is better than Dredd, fortunately, so by all rights Rebellion's next game could finally rival AVP on the old CV, but it's not so good that you'd want to run out and buy it with the money you could be setting aside for Doom III (and reparations for the ant people). What it is, is a sort of World War II shooter which is actually about World War I because World War I apparently never ended, but is nevertheless called World War Zero. And it's probably enjoyable enough for a rental if you're bored and like killing things with guns using analogue sticks.
From a very old war to a very new one, then, and on to America's 10 Most Wanted, a game in which you go around capturing people on the aforementioned list whilst listening to commentary from CBS' Dan Rathner, watching CNN news footage and being rapped at by members of So Solid Crew. Genre? Length? We have no idea. We reckon it's probably a Mah-jong game though, with Pin The Dialysis Machine On The Elusive Terrorist Figurehead sub-missions.
Chaos League, meanwhile, is a game we do know things about - it's a bit like Blood Bowl, that old Games Workshop death sport thing - and by most accounts it's quite accomplished, and even features the work of ever-so-occasional EG contributor Kieron Gillen if that makes any difference to anything. Joining it on the PC shelves this week, meanwhile (approximately, that is - we're not saying they're mates or anything), will be Combat Mission Anthology, which consists of all three Combat Mission war games at a bargain price. It's the one that looks a bit like the Fight Club DVD box and an odd little stamp proclaiming, "This package contains over 150 missions!" as if the number of missions in a game is now some sort of measure of anything at all when it's presented with absolutely no context whatsoever.
Finally this week, Malice makes an extremely belated and low-key debut on Xbox, and gets an extremely belated and low-key write-up in this column: hammers and sloppy platforms. Moving on, as lunchtime approaches, we're forced to turn rather haphazardly back to Doom III (which contains over 150 demons - can we get away with that?) and remind you all - as if you needed reminding - that next Friday is the day we all get to Go To Hell. In the meantime, go out and enjoy the sun - because it's best to work up a base tan to impress all the foxy she-devils. All hail the ants.
- PAL Releases
- America's 10 Most Wanted (PS2)
- Catwoman (PS2, Xbox, Cube, PC, GBA)
- Chaos League (PC)
- Combat Mission Anthology (PC)
- Formula Challenge (PS2)
- Malice (Xbox)
- World War Zero: Iron Storm (PS2)
- Zoo Empire (PC)
- Key US Releases
- Doom III (PC)
- Rainbow Six 3: Black Arrow (Xbox)