Everything from mech frenzy to Jedi Knights...
[Update 09:49: Nobody respects the sanctity of the release calendar any more. We believe Metroid Fusion (GBA) has also appeared on store shelves this week, despite protestations from Nintendo that it's out next week. Hey ho, if you're a Metroid fan you'd be a fool not to buy it!]
This week is embarrassingly low on tip-top products, but if we had to pick a format to be most excited about, we'd ditch the PS2 and call it a win for Xbox. Microsoft's growing format welcomes a slew of new titles this week, in a list topped by two mech releases; the Live-enabled and simply fantastic MechAssault and Phantagram's surprisingly good Phantom Crash. Elsewhere, Morrowind finally gets its release after months of nothing, and Tiger Woods PGA Tour makes its Xbox debut - it's the best golf game on any system at the moment, so snap it up if you haven't already.
Tiger Woods is also out on PC this week, but won't club PS2, Cube or any of the myriad other formats (C64, Amiga) that EA is targeting until next Friday, November 29th.
Meanwhile the GameCube also arguably pips PS2 to the post this week, but it's not a software thing. The strongest arguments on Nintendo's shelves this week are all ports, with Starfox Adventures filling only voids left by "simple, pretty adventures" as we put it on Wednesday. The thing to get excited about on Cube is the long-awaited European release of WaveBird, the wirelessRF controller which breathes so much life into the system that you wouldn't believe it. Your humble correspondent has had one from the US since before the Japanese release of Super Mario Sunshine, and it's an absolute godsend. Imagine having a pad with no wires which can operate from virtually anywhere in the house and only lacks the (unneeded) rumble function? That's it. Throw in a battery life which has so far exceeded my expectations (I've had to replace them once, and you can imagine how long I spend with a Cube turned on...) and you have a pretty serious peripheral. Buy one. Buy four. Heck, buy 16, they'll all work in the same room thanks to their frequency juggling abilities.
Moving onto the PS2, this week is anything but exciting. Games in all flavours of okay smear their collective spread all over the current rows of Vice City boxes, including Grand Prix Challenge (is there any chance this is good?), Haven - Call of the King (8/10, a very decent platformer), Premier Manager 2002/2003 Season (we want to like this, but it simply isn't CM), Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4 (8/10, more of the same, but not as good as THPS3 for newcomers), Ty the Tasmanian Tiger (derivative platformer) and Wreckless (this was so bad on Xbox we couldn't bring ourselves to cover it).
Meanwhile the PC says hi to a new Everquest expansion (take the red pill!), as well as the relatively exciting prospects of Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2003 (as mentioned above) and Platoon, an interesting-looking RTS based on the famous film.
Mopping up the rest then, we have virtually nothing of interest on the GBA out of a total of 12 releases (we'd say Silent Scope and Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4 are the stand-out releases), and the PlayStation one welcomes, um, Droopy, and the first of the soon-to-be-onslaught of Yu-Gi-Oh! games, Forbidden Memories.
Next week's going to be pretty loaded, so if you're not sure whether to buy or not, perhaps you should save your pennies?
Footnote: it's worth remembering that Activision snuck out Tony Hawk 4 on Cube and Xbox last week without telling anyone. Sales were of course hurt rather dramatically by a complete lack of publicity, and nobody seems all that sure why they were released, but as the PS2 version is the only one to support the (excellent) online multiplayer mode, we suggest you get that instead. Oh, and ignore those Jedi Knight II ports - very mediocre!
New Releases - PS2 Grand Prix Challenge Haven - Call of the King ISS - Budget Knight Rider Premier Manager 2002/2003 Season Rally Fusion - Race of Champions Speed Challenge - Jacques Villeneuves Racing Vision The Scorpion King - Rise of Akkadian Tony Hawks Pro Skater 4 Ty the Tasmanian Tiger Wreckless X-Men Next Dimension Xbox Jedi Knight II - Jedi Outcast MechAssault Phantom Crash Rally Fusion - Race Of Champions Robot Wars - Extreme Destruction Tennis Masters Series The Elder Scrolls III Morrowind Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2003 Ty the Tasmanian Tiger X-Men Next Dimension Thieves World Cube Jedi Knight II - Jedi Outcast Nintendo WaveBird Controller Rocky Scooby Doo - Night of 100 Frights Starfox Adventures Ty the Tasmanian Tiger Wreckless PC Everquest New Dawn - Gold Edition Everquest New Dawn - Planes of Power Haegemonia Knight Rider Nickelodeon Party Blast Pink Panther Platoon Rhine Valley Robot Wars - Extreme Destruction Rugrats Munchin Land The Powerpuff Girls - Gamesville Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2003 Whats her face GBA Barbie Secret Agent Disneys Tarzan - Return to the Jungle Dungeons & Dragons - Eye of the Beholder Eggo Mania Medabot - Metabee Medabot - Rokusho Pink Panther Silent Scope Tennis Masters Series The Mummy - Manacle of Osiris Tony Hawks Pro Skater 4 PSX Droopy Yu-Gi-Oh! Forbidden Memories