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Long read: The beauty and drama of video games and their clouds

"It's a little bit hard to work out without knowing the altitude of that dragon..."

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On the surface, this week could be considered an embarrassment of riches, but the truth is that we're in that lull now between the end-of-summer onslaught and the Christmas "season". That means that although there are some top games to be had, generally speaking things are a bit thin on the ground. We start with the PlayStation 2. Eight titles, four of them budget, one an age-old port. Dino Stalker, Gumball 3000 and The Thing will capture most people's interest. Dino Stalker is a lightgun game with a difference, allowing you to trundle around free of rails using the lightgun directional pad and stalk the aforementioned dinos into extinction. Unfortunately it's a bit on the short side, but other than that you might find it quite agreeable. The jury is still out on The Thing, however, after rumours of heavy duty bugs and glitches emerged, although one hopes the console versions are sound. Meanwhile, the Xbox and GameCube are fighting it out over the scraps. The GameCube welcomes FreekStyle to the party this week, as evidenced by the copy resting on my desk - it's very much the same as the PS2 version of course, but the PS2 version was quite a good SSX-alike with an excellent multiplayer mode, so it could be worth considering. Doshin The Giant, on the other hand, is one of those classic UK-before-US moments. If you fancy a Japanese version of Black & White featuring a gigantic cuddly Tango man equivalent then this could be your tonic. Little brother handheld picks up the long overdue GBA port of Duke Nukem Advance today, and judging from a quick run through it, it's every bit as contemptuous as its Daddy. Which is no bad thing! Xbox suffers in comparison. Although its port of The Thing will doubtless accumulate a few sales - expect improved visuals over the PS2 to mean something here - but Chase has been the subject of much critical disdain, and Crazy Taxi 3: High Roller is very much the same game as its predecessors. No bad thing, you might say, but if you've played either of the others this isn't worth the asking price. CT virgins should pick it up immediately. PC fans will be pleased to discover that Battlefield 1942 has finally emerged this morning. Our copy arrived with the postman, who had to be beaten with the thick end of a service revolver in order to retrieve it. And while we're on a war trip, Frontline Attack - War Over Europe arrives from Eidos, with a playable demo available if you want to try before you buy. And of course, how could we forget? The Thing emerges from hibernation and spreads its seed indiscriminately. New Releases - Cube Official GameCube Memory Card 251 Doshin The Giant FreekStyle Ultimate Fighting Championship - Throwdown GBADuke Nukem Advance Wizardy Summoner PCBattlefield 1942 Chessmaster 9000 Disney's Lilo & Stitch Action Game Dune Emperor - EA Classic Frontline Attack - War Over Europe Rugrats All Growed Up - Older & Bolder Sim City 3000 WE - EA Classic The Thing Total Club Manager 2003 PSX None. PS2 Army Men: Sarge's Heroes - Midas Touch Dino StalkerGumball 3000 Heroes of Might and Magic - Midas Touch International Cue Club - Midas Touch Super Bust-A-Move 2 The Thing Warriors of Might and Magic - Midas Touch XboxChaseCrazy Taxi 3: High RollerTetris WorldsThe ThingRelated Feature - UK Release Date List