UK Charts: Rising Sun holds on for Xmas No.1

Six in the top 10 for EA.

Medal Of Honor: Rising Sun held on for a fourth straight week to claim the coveted Christmas No.1 position, with EA managing an impressive six titles in the Top 10, and a further six titles in the Top 40 to cap an amazing year for the US publisher.

On top of that, EA claimed the only new entry of the week at No.8 thanks to the multi-format console release of The Sims Bustin' Out last Friday, with Need For Speed: Underground holding firm at No.2, FIFA 2004 dropping one place to No.3, Return Of The King stationary at No.5 and Quidditch World Cup also a non-mover at No.9. Interestingly, the firm's other Harry Potter title - the all new Philosopher's Stone - has failed dramatically since its launch two Fridays ago, perhaps illustrating the public's confusion over whether it is a new title or not.

Vivendi, meanwhile, will be delighted to note that The Simpsons: Hit & Run has reached No.3 - it's biggest hit for many years, presumably thanks to strong TV advertising ("I am evil Homer!"), while Crash Nitro Kart soared up to No.11 after a quiet start. Other brands, meanwhile, didn't fare so well, with The Hobbit at No.40, and the likes of Metal Arms, SWAT and Battlestar Galactica nowhere to be seen.

Activision will also be pleased that its newest brand True Crime has performed well, at No.6, while the fifth Tony Hawk title Underground has again proven a big success, at No.7. Elsewhere, Call Of Duty continues to sell well, now at No.28 and should be a huge success when it makes its console debut in the spring.

There was relative disappointment for Ubisoft, however, with its critically acclaimed titles being elbowed out of the way by EA's huge marketing advantage despite a strong television presence. Prince Of Persia moved up eight places to No.13 (No.10 PS2), XIII stayed at No.19 (No.8 Xbox), while Rainbow Six III moves up to No.23, (No.2 Xbox). The currently PS2-only Beyond Good & Evil, meanwhile, has again failed to chart, while the execrable Charlie's Angels manages to hit No.10 in the budget chart. No justice.

Fellow Frenchmen Atari had a pretty disastrous Christmas by its standards, however, with only Terminator 3 managing any significant sales, down to No.16 despite heavy discounting.

THQ's traditional staple, Smackdown, appears to be on the skids, down to No.24, but the publisher will be heartened that the British-produced Finding Nemo has exceeded expectations by holding onto its No.10 spot.

With no new GTA title to hog the sales limelight, it was a quieter Christmas for Rockstar this year. Max Payne 2 was unable to break into the Top 10, down to No.14, the controversial Manhunt dropped to No.27, while the GTA Double Pack, re-entered at No.39. It launches on Xbox on January 2nd, which should help its chart position.

In the Britsoft camp, Eidos' traditional Christmas bankers didn't perform so well this year either, with CM 03/04 already tumbling down the charts to No.18, and the derided Tomb Raider: Angel Of Darkness now at No.37, failing to attract the Christmas market as some had predicted.

Codemasters had a solid, albeit unspectacular end to the year, with Christmas No.1 hope Pop Idol managing only a No.25 placing despite massive promotion, with Colin McRae 4 holding on at No.31 and Club Football No.36.

The hardware giants, meanwhile, all had relatively disappointing Christmases with the vast majority of their software line-ups vanishing without trace.

Sony lead the way with EyeToy: Play still selling well at No.12, but where were its other titles this Christmas? Ratchet & Clank 2 slid to No.34 this week, Jak II has exited the Top 40 already, while the likes of Ghosthunter, WRC3, Dog's Life, and EyeToy: Groove never even got anywhere near the chart.

Microsoft fared even worse, with Gotham 2 struggling up to No.21 this week, but the remainder of its eight-strong Christmas line up couldn't even make the Xbox Top 20, meaning that the likes of Counter-Strike, Amped 2, Links 2004, Grabbed By The Ghoulies, Top Spin, Crimson Skies, NBA Inside Drive, and Voodoo Vince have failed to perform.

Nintendo couldn't pull it out of the bag either, with Mario Kart: Double Dash!! dropping to No.20, while Mario Party 5 dropped to No.7 on the Cube chart, F-Zero GX sat anonymously at No.17, and 1080 Avalanche was nowhere to be seen. Even its GBA titles didn't shore up its sales figures this year, with no sign of either Pokemon titles despite being No.2 and No.4 on the GBA chart, Super Mario Advance 4 sits at No.3 on the GBA chart, while the excellent Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga managed a lowly No.11 placing on the GBA chart.

So that's it for another year - EA dominating the charts again, the hardware giants unable to consolidate their favourable positions, critical acclaim failing to translate into sales and the rest feasting on the scraps. Merry Xmas to you all and I'll see you down at the bargain racks!

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Kristan Reed

Kristan Reed

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Kristan is a former editor of Eurogamer, dad, Stone Roses bore and Norwich City supporter who sometimes mutters optimistically about Team Silent getting back together.

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