007 reigned supreme at the top of the UK games charts for the third straight week as Everything Or Nothing did enough to prevent Codemasters from chalking up a No.1 with the latest version of its console-based football management sim LMA Manager 2004.
Out of the seven new releases featuring in the various charts, four made it into the Top 40 with LMA the highest at No.2 (No.2 PS2, No.3 Xbox), followed by Square Enix's GameCube exclusive Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles at No.5 (No.1 GameCube), EA's Cricket 2004 at No.8 (No.5 PS2, No.13 PC), and Ghost Recon: Island Thunder at No.14 (New at No.1 in the PS2 budget chart, re-entry at No.19 on Xbox).
The drought ends for Cube
According to Chart-Track, sales of FFCC represented over 50 per cent of the entire full price GameCube software this week - a telling sign of just how slow game sales are on the format right now. The stat body also said sales of the game were just a quarter of those achieved by FFX-2 in its first weekend on sale - although it's worth noting that the UK PS2 installed base is around nine times larger than the Cube's.
Last week's highest new entry Deus Ex: Invisible War dropped one place to No.4 but claimed the Xbox No.1 and PC No.2 slot, Sonic Heroes slipped to No.3, SOCOM 2 held firm at No.7 (No.4 PS2), FFX-2 went down five place to No.9, while Need For Speed: Underground went from No.6 to No.10 - and represents the last of the pre-Christmas hits currently in the Top 10.
Elsewhere in the Top 40, though, 26 out of the remaining 30 titles in the chart were all released in the run up to Christmas (10 of which were released prior to 2003!), so the listings still have a familiar look to them, with no fewer than 12 EA related titles in the Top 40.
Multi platform dominates
On a per-format basis 32 of the 37 game titles in the chart are multi platform, leaving one Cube exclusive (FFCC), three PS2 exclusives (FFX-2, SOCOM 2, EyeToy), and one PC (CM 03/04). The best selling Xbox exclusive, Project Gotham Racing 2, managed No.40 on the full price all format (No.6 Xbox).
Meanwhile, Finding Nemo heads up the GBA chart once again, but recent new entry Sonic Battle dropped to No.5, trading places with Yu-Gi-Oh: The Sacred Cards.
The PC chart once again finds itself topped by Norton Internet Security, and awash with Sims titles, with only a few recent entries such as DX: IW (No.2), X2 (No.6) and Delta Force: Team Sabre (No.15) to break up the tedium.
What not to buy?
This week's 'least wanted' included Konami's Dancing Stage: Unleashed (Xbox No.9) [I sodding bought one! -Tom], Sony's Forbidden Siren (No.35 full price all formats), and Capcom's Resident Evil Code: Veronica (GameCube No.5). On the 'missing in action' list we have THQ's Tak And The Power Of Juju, Rare's Sabre Wulf, a Namco flop in the form of Spawn: Armageddon (despite being released on all three console formats), Dreamcatcher's Universal Combat, and a pile of titles that Tom claims came out last Friday, but which are apparently not stocked by the mighty Game - always an ominous sign.
Next week should see the likes of Battlefield: Vietnam, Sword Of Mana, Rainbow Six 3: Athena Sword add-on, Unreal Tournament 2004 and Tenchu: Return From Darkness chart strongly, but what fate lies in store for the likes of Midnight Nowhere, Silent Scope Complete, Shining Soul 2, Sacred, Paradise Cracked, Kya, Castle Strike, Carve or even the much delayed Breed? Only you can decide...
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