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FreeLoader for Feb 5th, AR for Feb 12th

Date confusion

"It's here!" beams Action Replay/FreeLoader Datel's announcement. "No it isn't!" we scream back, ever mindful that this mythical piece of software has yet to grace our desks. Still, the pandemonium surrounding this particular version of "It's here!" is more tangible and believable than previous attempts to drum up interest.

FreeLoader is due out on February 5th as previously announced, says Datel. Action Replay for GameCube is due out on February 12th.

In all honesty, we couldn't care less about the Action Replay part of the equation. We don't need cheat codes to beat Nintendo games (aren't they all for kids anyway?) and lord knows we wouldn't want to spoil them. But as with all previous ARs, you can buy infinite health, max ammo, all weapons, secret characters and hidden levels for just £29.99 - because Action Replay is, as ever, capable of weeding that sort of bonus item out of a game through a peculiar string of characters.

The bit we care about is FreeLoader, which ships together with AR and aside from it in a special £19.99 standalone pack. FreeLoader will, it has always been claimed, let you enjoy Japanese and American NTSC games on your European PAL GameCube, something which no master chipsmith has so far managed to achieve.

This is even more exciting for Cube owners because Nintendo is completely incapable of giving PAL gamers anything on time, and regularly fails to release things at all, or hides them away until winter (THE Games' handling of 1080 Snowboarding springs to mind). With FreeLoader, we can all just potter down to our local importer (as long as Nintendo hasn't "done a CEX" and forced them not to carry anything) and pick up the likes of Animal Crossing, Metroid Prime, Zelda and F-Zero months before anybody in Europe will even acknowledge them. Or so the legend goes.

Not long to wait now. And if you're scheming, Nintendo, please don't. It's your fault this thing exists at all.