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Odds And Ends: Tuesday News Roundup

(Now updated throughout the day!) The Matrix Online beta sign-ups, The Elder Scrolls for N-Gage, PSP Racing and Playlogic at E3, new 'Deleted Scene' for Condition Zero, and Guild Wars E3 demo client released.

Dark blue icons of video game controllers on a light blue background
Image credit: Eurogamer

With the EverQuest 2 beta test sign-ups apparently already sealed up, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment leapt on the large number of MMORPG fans still lusting after something new this week by opening applications for the beta test of The Matrix Online. Although The Matrix has certainly fallen from grace somewhat since the second and third instalments hit cinema screens, this is still bound to be huge, and if you like the idea of running around a fake version of a fake real world then you can sign up for it here. Is it going to be any good? It's the question that drives us.

Nokia and bizarrely named developed Vir2L Studios have announced... Oh, we get it now - vir-two-ell... Anyway, Nokia/Vir2L have announced The Elder Scrolls Travels: Shadowkey for N-Gage, based on Bethesda Softworks' enormously popular PC RPG series. Shadowkey is due out this year, will doubtless be at E3, and consists of vast 3D worlds full of temples, lairs, caverns (so, dungeons) to explore and fight your way through, playing as an Assassin, a Barbarian, a Battlemage, a Knight, a Nightblade, a Rogue, a Spellsword, a Sorcerer or a Thief. "Fans of the Elder Scrolls series are going to be thrilled with the quality and level of detail that has gone into producing Shadowkey for the N-Gage," reckons Nokia's Pasi Pölönen, and it seems that various members of the original team had some input here. Expect to hear more about Shadowkey (including its four-player multiplayer mode) in the near future.

Engine Software's PSP Racing (working title) will be on display at E3 this year, on Playlogic's booth (#2340) in the West Hall, the Dutch developer announced this week. It's due out in Q1 2005 and features network and connectivity options apparently. It'll be joined on Playlogic's booth by a host other titles, including Xyanide (Xbox, GBA, N-Gage, Symbian phones), Inuits (PS2, PC), Cyclone Circus (PS2) and a pair of new titles - Project Delta and Snap, platforms unknown.

Although we don't recall Valve's much maligned Counter-Strike: Condition Zero probing very high up the charts at the end of March, some of you must have bought it. And for those who did, the release of another "Deleted Scene" map from a level designer at former handlers Ritual Entertainment will probably give you something to warm the fingers while the kettle warms up this evening. Available here, the Swamp map features new music, dialogue and of course lots of swampy-related counter-terrorism. We can guess why Osama prefers caves.

You'll have to wait until next week to play it, but following a brave decision to allow gamers to try it out at the same time as the folks at E3, the developers of Guild Wars have released the downloadable client for the game. Download it now, install and set up an account, and between May 12th and 14th you'll be able to try solo quests, co-op missions, arena and multiplayer combat and get to grips with the story behind ArenaNet's forthcoming online RPG, before it all shuts down again afterwards. If any PC developers are listening - do more of this!

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