UK Charts: Need for Speed races into first

Publishers brace themselves for the final stretch in the race for a Christmas No.1

Industry powerhouse Electronic Arts plays the field once again, with a number of titles in the top ten. Multi-format street racer, Need for Speed: Most Wanted, races into first place; knocking Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire down two places to third.

Thanks to the recent PSP release, Konami continues to put the boot in with Pro Evolution Soccer 5, which climbs two places to cling to second place while rival FIFA 06 from EA steps up from fifth place into fourth.

Vivendi's controversial new game, 50 Cent: Bulletproof blasts its way into the chart, debuting in fifth place, whilst the remainder of the top ten shows declining sales for Star Wars: Battlefront, WWE SmackDown! Vs Raw 2006, and PSP Giga pack bundled release, World Tour Soccer.

Activision creeps into the top ten under enemy fire with Call of Duty 2: Big Red One at number nine, and Rockstar's perpetual cash machine continues to prop up the bottom of the top ten with PSP title, Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories.

Several new releases have failed to make the grade so far, falling outside the top ten and, in some cases, sneaking onto shelves and into the lower regions of the top forty with little or no fanfare.

Wi-Fi wonder, Mario Kart DS stalls on the starting grid in thirteenth position, despite topping the GameCube charts, and True Crime: New York City gets stuck in holiday season traffic at number twenty. The bookies favourite for a Christmas number one, Buena Vista's The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe plays the perfect game of hide and seek, entering the charts in thirtieth place.

With the European launch of Microsoft's Xbox 360 just days away, there's still time for associated software sales to make a significant impact on the festive chart line up, and new releases this week include Ubisoft's official King Kong tie-in on DS and Xbox 360, multi-format versions of Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones and, of course, Digital Jesters' annoying amphibian (with odds of 25/1 for the top spot this Christmas), Crazy Frog Racer.

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Paul Loughrey

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