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What's New? (5th August)

A cautionary tale.

Dark blue icons of video game controllers on a light blue background
Image credit: Eurogamer

Kristan banged hard on the door. There was no reply. He tried again. "Tom? Are you in there?" he shouted.

No response. Putting his weight against the door, he found it gave easily; it was unlocked. Inside, he couldn't move.

Empty Coke cans were strewn everywhere; a few stained booklets were stacked in a neat pile next to the bathroom door - game manuals, half of them crudely annotated. He picked one up. It was damp and mouldy, but one phrase stood out on inside-cover: 'Groundbreaking AI'. Next to it was some sort of memo. 'Wall-breaking, actually. Note to self: must expense new Dual Shock.' Kristan half-grinned, but stifled it.

A pile of empty take-away boxes were littered further up the hall, swarmed by clouds of dust from the floor that clearly hadn't been Hoovered in weeks; and there was an overpowering musk emanating from the bedroom. This was ridiculous. This was inhuman.

Yep, pretty much as expected.

"Tooooooom?" he tried again, venturing toward the curtain that separated hall from lounge.

As soon as it was drawn, he saw Tom slumped on the couch, eyes closed, Xbox pad humming on his chest. His first instinct was that he'd dozed off, but then he glanced over at the TV. The screen had dimmed through lack of use and dust build-up, but if he looked hard enough he could almost make out the tall buildings, tech-demo reflections and telltale signs of...

"Oh no."

He raced over to the couch and untangled the Xbox pad cords from Tom's wrists, and kicked the nearby Xbox hard so the power cord flew out of the wall and the picture disappeared instantly.

Suddenly Tom arched up from the couch making a horrible "HUUUUUUUUUUUUURRRR!" noise as he struggled to inhale. His eyes were wide but manic, and his hands trembled as they tried to grip the armrests.

Kristan grabbed him, and held him fast. "You're going to be okay mate. It's fine. You'll be okay. Everything's all right now," he cooed soothingly. Tom's heart rate started to slow back to normal. He sat up fuller now, and surveyed his surroundings, before reaching under the couch and gingerly extracting the last remaining can of Diet Coke from a torn-apart multi-pack.

He lay back, sipped his drink and stared up at Kristan, by now back on his feet. Kristan returned his stare with a look of pity.

"But why Tom? Why would you do it?"


"Of all the irresponsible, devil-may-care things you could do!"


"How can we ever trust you on your own again?"


"How many times have I warned you about what could happen?"

"But... there was nothing else to play."

Kristan paused, as if considering this, then his pity and understanding gave way to something darker; more furious. If the curtains had been drawn you might have seen his eyes turn a shade of red. He felt his pulse quicken and he started forward, almost aggressively, as he struggled to withhold his full indignant fury.

"Yes," he started, struggling to contain his wrath, "but DRIVER BLOODY THREE!?"

24 Hours Later

You know, this week's update very nearly didn't happen. Oh, wait, you do know. Anyway, there isn't much out. I've not played most of the stuff that is. Here in the UK, there's so little to get worked up about that there's no point even specifying to the usual degree. Aurora Watching (PC) is a terrible little Metal Gear clone with more problems than most; and everything else will be buried at the back of your local games shop before the weekend's up, if they even bought any in the first place.

The news is slightly more upbeat over the pond, where BloodRayne 2's PC port joins the console versions are a long delay, but it'll be a while before we can tell you anything about that. Meanwhile Ubisoft's latest Ghost Recon 2 expansion, Summit Strike (the sort of game that only comes about when a design meeting gets lazy, e.g. "I dunno, let's call it, er, sommat Strike or summing?"), is apparently quite healthy, and should be out here in a few weeks' time.

Before then, you might want to consider turning to the games of yester-month for inspiration. God of War, Resident Evil 4, Ratchet & Clank 3, City of Heroes - there's bound to be something that you missed out on at the time and said you'd try when a quiet spell came around. Well, now's the time. Now is definitely the time.

Right, if you'll excuse me I'm going to, er, put something in my Xbox. (Don't tell Kristan.)

PAL Releases

  • Animaniacs: Lights, Camera, Action! (DS)
  • Aurora Watching (PC)
  • Flying Club (PC)
  • Herbie Fully Loaded (GBA)
  • International Cricket Caption Ashes Year 2005 (PC)
  • Steel Empire (GBA)

Key US Releases

  • BloodRayne 2 (PC)
  • Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon 2: Summit Strike (Xbox)

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