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UK Charts: EA bags top three

FIFA, Need For Speed and Return Of The King clean up as Manhunt, Ratchet 2 and Prince Of Persia disappoint...

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Image credit: Eurogamer

EA once again utterly trounced the opposition this week, with FIFA 2004 holding firm at the top slot (compared with Pro Evo 3 which slides to No.13), supported by Need For Speed: Underground making a surprisingly high debut at No.2, and The Return Of The King moving up one place to No.3.

But there was massive disappointment elsewhere for EA's competitors, with Rare's first Xbox release failing to dent even the Xbox Top 20 (see separate story), Rockstar's murder sim Manhunt making a quieter than expected debut at No.15, Sony's heavily advertised Ratchet & Clank 2 entering at a lowly No.25 in the full price listings and Ubisoft's utterly sublime Prince Of Persia: The Sands Of Time managing a desperately disappointing No.33, although its performance will no doubt improve thanks to the official bundle just launched. The Xbox version of Jedi Academy propelled the game back to No.39, but it's not the performance LucasArts would have been hoping for.

Slightly less disappointing, but no less significant was the performance of Tony Hawk's Underground, which entered at No.5, and Championship Manager: Season 03/04 - the first CM not to go straight in at No.1 for several incarnations - and perhaps indicative that fans are voting with their wallets having only shelled out for CM4 seven months ago.

Elsewhere, Nintendo will be alarmed to see Mario Kart Double Dash!! sliding to No.10 in its first full week on sale, while Codemasters' big hope Pop Idol dipped to No.17 despite the huge amount of promotion surrounding the brand. More bad news came in the shape of Broken Sword: The Sleeping Dragon's slack performance, sliding to No.26 in the full price chart in its first full week on sale, while Team 17's Worms 3D carried on the tradition of the brand's slow full price start, down to No.37. Sony's heavily promoted Jak II also continues to disappoint, down to No.40 in the full price listings already.

This year's big surprise Christmas success stories appear to be Vivendi's Simpsons Hit & Run (No.7), THQ's Finding Nemo (No.9), Big Ben's Dance:UK (No.12) and Rugby 2004 (No.21 - but you can guess why that's selling), while EyeToy continues to sell well, now placed at No.18, although the cheap and cheerful EyeToy: Groove has made little or no impact on sales, failing to make even the PS2 Top 20.

Next week we're expecting Microsoft to have better news with the release of Project Gotham Racing 2, although it's likely that Medal Of Honor: Rising Sun will take top honours despite its critical mauling.

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