It's the one you've all been waiting for! Yes! THQ's Xbox 360 version of Cars is now available to demo on Xbox Live Marketplace. Phew.
TT Games and LucasArts have fought their way to the premier position in the UK all-formats charts, as Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy becomes the highest-selling title this week.
The Chart Track all-formats chart is suffering from the traditional summer lull this week, as only one new entry breaks the top ten - while there's no change for the top six titles.
The road block has turned into a pile up this week, as Cars keeps the lead and prevents any movement in the top end of the all-formats sales chart for a fourth consecutive week.
There's no movement in the top three this week, as THQ's multi-format cartoon racer continues its winning streak - while GTA: Liberty City Stories and New Super Mario Bros stall in second and third.
THQ's animated movie tie-in is keeping well ahead of the pack for a second week on the run, overtaking the opposition on PS2, PSP, Xbox, GameCube and GBA - with PC and DS versions catching up fast.
What the crivens is this? A Pixar game-of-the-movie not based on familiar kleptomaniaical platforming jolliness? Currently number one in the nation's charts, you say? Outselling Grand Theft Auto while borrowing its sandbox game structure? Someone cancel E3! What? They did? Hurrah!
Whatever the borrowed sub-genre, it's always tough reviewing games (whisper it) not meant for grown-ups, but Pixar movies have always - to my mind - been as much for adults as the kiddywinks, so why shouldn't the games based on the popular animated movies have that same broad appeal? Someone at THQ certainly seems to think so, anyway, by flagging up an easier mode specifically designed for the little 'uns. Good plan. But did it turn out that way, or is Cars the usual old cobblers that's churned out to appeal to the lowest common denominator? Having faced numerous dire Game of the Movie adaptations recently, hope remained that THQ would be the one to buck the trend - after all, it's number bloody one.
By basing the movie on motor vehicles, Pixar makes it embarrassingly easy for THQ to come up with a faithful gaming premise. Simply by creating a small sandbox environment (handily set after the movie), populating it with familiar characters and throwing together a few basic racing modes, mini-games and minor customisation options, it's a licence to print money. Add a layer of gloss with voice-over contributions from major Hollywood stars and a few likeable cut-scenes and it's the text-book example of how to make a nice, safe inoffensive piece of digital merchandising to cash-in on the buzz around the movie - and just in time for the school summer holidays.
Disney/Pixar movie tie-in Cars has raced into the top of the charts this week, knocking GTA: Liberty City Stories into second place to give THQ its first all-formats No. 1 of the year.
Neither alien invasion nor automotive assault has been able to topple Rockstar's GTA: Liberty City Stories, which retains its lead at the top of the all formats chart for the fifth consecutive week.
THQ has announced the formation of a new development team called Incinerator Games - with a remit to work on next-generation consoles.
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