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Pre-E3: Xbox delivers

Dead or Alive Volleyball is clearly the killer app to breast them all. Panzer Dragoon ORTA looks nice, too

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

: Multi-platform, PS2, Cube, Xbox Undoubtedly, it was Microsoft Xbox which stole my heart yesterday. Pouring over the list of games due out on this thing is like looking at my gaming wish list. Further to the announcements we told you about yesterday, the company has announced an absolute raft of games and some of them have actually been seen in action. It's always nice when a name on a press release is more than just that. And Microsoft is keen not to conjure rubbish out of the air to try and woo punters. We know about Star Wars: Galaxies, Jedi Knight II, The Matrix, Blinx, Psychonauts, Counter-Strike, Halo 2, and all that stuff. The games you might not know about include Capcom's Steel Battallion (mechs, explosions, oh yes) and Marvel Vs. Capcom 2 (about their only multi-console game for now, shockingly), the inevitable and highly desirable Deus Ex 2 and on the "we already knew but let's wet ourselves anyway" front, Panzer Dragoon ORTA. Now, we've seen footage of this, and it would be safe to say that it renders the PS2's Drakan, and indeed any other third person flight/action game completely redundant. Not really content to stop there, we've had Tecmo's two major announcements. Ninja Gaiden we knew about (and based on the footage so far will be buying as soon as humanly possible), but Dead or Alive Volleyball we did not. Beach volleyball. The Dead or Alive girls. In bikinis. On the Xbox. Now if that's not a killer app, then it's a Channel 5 style "sex sells" approach to gaming which we have absolutely no problem with. Bring it on! The footage of this doing the rounds is a must-see. You might imagine that after such an excited reaction to Ninja Gaiden the prospect of a cartoon Kung Fu game - Kung Fu Chaos - would be unappealing, but it appears that in the oldest traditions of gaming with a hint of contemporary design, this is a shot from the side 3D forced-scrolling beat 'em up with a cute dinky main character holding a wooden stick. If this has any depth it could be a winner, but we're slightly wary. One ninja game is surely enough? Rounding off our love affair with the Xbox at E3 are two games. Unreal Championship and Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic. The former looks very much like Unreal Tournament 2003 on the PC if you ask this writer, but that's no bad thing to be sure, and the prospect of massive multiplayer battles is quite intriguing, if only because it's the first major mp-only first person shooter for the system. But stealing the show was video footage of Knights of the Old Republic. The saber clashes. The rolling countryside. The chases through space. The Millennium Falcon's forerunner. This just looks stunning, and we have no doubt it will help Xboxen to fly off the shelves later this year. A lot of people feel Microsoft's desire to dominate online gaming will be its downfall, but based on the display so far it's easy to see that they have their bases covered.

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