[Looks down.] Well, dunk me in dark eco and call me Daxter, there be lots of games on that thar shop shelf! I hope you're all feeling pretty bleedin' rich today, because there are at least [counts] four games in there which are dead cert, must-get titles. Not even borderline or anything - games like Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, Hidden & Dangerous 2, Max Payne 2 and Viewtiful Joe deserve a place in your collection. And they're rubbing shoulders with the likes of Commandos 3 and FIFA 2004, which on any normal day we might be instructing you to pick out. Today, it seems, is all about priorities. Which game would you pick if you could only pick one?
In a sense, it's a shame that games like Apocalyptica, Banjo-Kazooie: Grunty's Revenge, EverQuest Online Adventures and Rolling are out this week too, because we feel sure on any other week of the year they'd have made it into that first paragraph. We honestly can't tell you if they're any good (though we fear for them), but we can give you a bit of background: Apocalyptica is a post-apocalyptic FPS (who would have guessed) in which Neo-Satan needs drubbing; Banjo-Kazooie is a top-down almost-platform adventure from Rare, with all the necessary trappings of the series present and correct; EverQuest Online Adventures is EQ on the PS2, and that's an acquired taste to be sure; and Rolling is SCi's in-line skate title, bought out after the demise of original developer Rage.
Elsewhere on today's list lurks Buffy's latest adventure, the multi-platform Chaos Bleeds, which gives you control of far more of the series' ever-popular characters for the first time, but doesn't really excite or engage to the same degree as its Xbox-exclusive predecessor (and has nowt to do with survival horror, really, despite some odd comparisons in the specialist games mags). We'd have a review of that for you, but our disc is bust. Bah! We'll rattle something off next week when we get a replacement.
Also out this week in the "if you don't like most games but can't resist dance mats" column [me me! -Rupert] is Konami's Dancing Stage Fever for PS2 and PSone, released hot on the heels of Bigben's Dance:UK which came out just the other week. Konami also has an Xbox Dancing Stage game in the pipeline for release in February.
It's also a good week for fans of budget releases, who should be able to get their hands on Splinter Cell for around £20, and perhaps even the PS2 release of the Grand Theft Auto Double Pack for a surprisingly sane £29.99. Although to be honest, if you have any cash left over from the shopping spree outlined further up, then you need to give all your money to me. I'm waiting.
- Apocalyptica (PC)
- Banjo-Kazooie: Grunty's Revenge (GBA)
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Chaos Bleeds (PS2, Xbox)
- Casino, Inc: The Management (PC)
- Commandos 3: Destination Berlin (PC)
- Dancing Stage Fever (PS2, PSone)
- Empires: Dawn of the Modern Worlds (PC)
- EverQuest Online Adventures (PS2)
- FIFA Football 2004 (PS2, Xbox, Cube, PC)
- Final Fantasy Tactics Advance (GBA)
- Firepower (PC)
- Galidor: Defenders of the Outer Dimension (PS2, PC)
- Grand Theft Auto Double Pack (PS2)
- Hidden & Dangerous 2 (PC)
- Max Payne 2: The Fall Of Max Payne (PC)
- Road Rash Jailbreak (GBA)
- Rolling (PS2, Xbox)
- Shrek: Reekin' Havoc (GBA)
- Splinter Cell (Xbox Classics)
- Starsky & Hutch (Cube)
- The Haunted Mansion (Cube)
- The Hobbit (GBA)
- The Lion King (GBA)
- The Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
- Turok Evolution (PC)
- Viewtiful Joe (Cube)
- Wallace & Gromit in Project Zoo (PC)