For the fifth straight week, EA's The Sims has fought off stiff competition to claim the No.1 slot in the UK's best sellers.
Midway's Mortal Kombat, backed by a heavyweight media campaign occupied the No.2 position for the second week running, while Sony's The Getaway continued its consistent run near the top of the charts at No.3. Needless to say, Vice City again performed well, up one place to No.4, with C&C Generals slipping two places to No.5.
Splinter Cell burst back into the charts at No.6, largely thanks to the release of the long awaited PC version - expect an even better showing once the surprisingly faithful PS2 port arrives on March 28th.
Elsewhere there were new entries for Namco's Pac-Man World 2 at No.34, Eidos/Pyro's Praetorians at No.36, while Ubi's ace platformer Rayman 3 snuck in at No.40 - a major underperformance given its exclusivity on Nintendo platforms. Bullfrog classics Theme Park World and Theme Hospital made a surprise return to the listings, at No.18 and No.32 respectively, thanks to their re-release at £4.99 via Dice Multimedia. The rest of the chart bore a close resemblance to last week's as quality new releases were conspicuous by their absence.
Meanwhile this week's top three budget priced releases were as follows: Crash Bandicoot: Wrath of Cortex again at No.1 (No.10 overall), Harry Potter at No.2 (curiously No.9 overall), while Remedy's Max Payne slips one place to No.3 (No.11 overall).
Games which spectacularly failed to dent the All Formats chart this week include the sublime Racing Evoluzione from Milestone (No.5, Xbox chart), Lost Toy's Battle Engine Aquila (No.11, Xbox chart), and TDK's Mercedes Benz World Racer (No.20, Xbox chart).