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UK Charts: No.1 for TOCA Race Driver 2

Lowest selling No.1 since summer 2002 secures top slot for Codies.

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Image credit: Eurogamer

Codemasters grabbed its first number one since August 2002 with the Xbox and PC release of TOCA Race Driver 2, but the good news for the Britsoft publisher was tempered by the news that the fifth in the series was the lowest-selling chart topper since EA's Medal Of Honor: Frontline in week 33 of 2002.

The startling lack of blockbuster product in stores at present also allowed the bizarre and relentless charge of Norton Internet Security to continue, with the utility moving inexorably up to No.2 - and it would have made the top were it not for the arrival of TOCA, with last week's number one, Sonic Heroes, slipping down to No.3 (despite still being the No.1 PS2 and Cube title).

Driving force

Other utilities such as Driving Test Success Theory (No.20), Norton Antivirus 2004 (No.33) and McAfee Internet Security V6.0 (No.35 Full Price All Formats) continued to outsell their gaming counterparts in a thoroughly depressed gaming market.

In the entire Top 40 All Formats, just 14 titles were released this year, and of those just Far Cry (No.12) and The Cat In The Hat (No.18) could be considered new brands, and not a sequel to a previously released title. It's not a good time to launch all-new franchises onto the public by the look of things.

Meanwhile, Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow and Everything Or Nothing remained stationary at No.4 and No.5 respectively; while Acclaim's brief challenge for the top spot came to an end this week with World Championship Rugby now residing in the No.6 spot.

Come on you yellows!

With the climax to the football season and Euro 2004 rapidly approaching, it was hardly surprising to see a trio of football titles holding firm in the Top 10, with FIFA, LMA Manager and This Is Football occupying numbers 7, 8 and 10 respectively, with The Sims making up the top 10 at No.9. Expect the forthcoming barrage of Euro 2004 related footy titles to swell that number considerably in the coming weeks.

In what was a spectacularly unexciting week for new releases (maybe the most barren of all time, considering the time of year), it was left up to belated ports of older titles to cause a few ripples of movement in the All Format listing. The Xbox and PC versions of Manhunt propelled the controversial survival title back up to No.16 (No.3 Xbox, outside PC Top 20), while a number 4 appearance of Unreal II on the Xbox chart was enough to re-launch Atari's FPS back up to No.34 on the All Formats (No.27 Full Price) - suggesting Xbox fans are quite happy to wait for Halo 2's arrival than settle for lightweight sci-fi shooter fodder. Sony's SOCOM II re-entered at No.37, but that was it in terms of new or re-entries.

In a chart almost entirely devoid of any significant movement, it was left up to Konami's really-quite-awful Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to inject some new blood into the upper echelons, and now finds itself residing at No.14 (No.7 PS2) - ten places higher than its debut last week - although spare a thought for the PC owners that bought it; just one per cent of its sales were attributable to these hardy souls.

Good games do sell... sometimes...

Elsewhere, it was heartening to see Far Cry moving back up to No.12, while other EG favorites in the form of Vice City (No.15), Tiger Woods PGA Golf (No.17), Rainbow Six 3 (No.26) and Prince Of Persia (No.30), refuse to be moved from their chart residency.

In the opposite direction, Vivendi's recent release The Cat In The Hat dropped out of the Top 10 to No.18; Battlefield Vietnam clung onto its Top 40 placing at No.38, while Vivendi's long-delayed Counter-Strike Condition Zero hung on at No.40 in the All Format Full Price listing.

This week's budget kings were - from the top - Driving Test Theory, Vice City, Splinter Cell and Crash Bandicoot: Wrath Of Cortex, with hardly any new budget releases to stir things up either. Good to see obscure EG favourite TrackMania finally making a dent in the chart at No.33 on the budget chart (No.4 PC budget), but apart from that it was a pretty static chart all round.

Good games ahoy?

Next week should see the likes of Hitman Contracts, Fight Night, England International Football and the excellent Project Zero: Crimson Butterfly make their mark, while even the likes of Serious Sam: The Next Encounter and Star Trek: Shattered Universe stand a better than usual chance of a spell in the limelight.

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