Electronic Arts' street racing sequel Need for Speed Underground 2 has knocked Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas from the top spot in the UK charts this week, leaving the battle for Christmas No.1 wide open.
San Andreas drops one place to number two in the chart this week, while EA's FIFA 2005 climbs three places to number three, putting it back in the running for the top spot over Christmas.
Rival football title Pro Evolution Soccer 4 is also upwardly mobile this week, rising four places to number four thanks mostly to the arrival of the Live-enabled Xbox version of the game.
Half-Life 2, however, slips rapidly down the chart - dropping to number nine from last week's number three, with the impact of direct online sales over the Steam service still to be measured.
There's only one new arrival in the top ten, with THQ's The Incredibles climbing 11 places to number seven following the cinematic launch of the Pixar movie on which it is based.
It's quite a poor week for new releases, in fact; EA's Goldeneye: Rogue Agent is the top ranked new title, coming in at number 11 just ahead of Sony's Killzone at number 12, while Nintendo's Metroid Prime 2: Echoes has a hugely disappointing debut at number 33.
Ubisoft's Ghost Recon 2 comes in at number 34, while Sony's Jak 3 illustrates the decline of the franchise in sales, if not in quality, slipping into the top 40 at number 37 this week.
Retailer promotions make this into a strong week for Sony's line of quirky peripherals, however - EyeToy Play 2 is at number 22, with Sega Superstars charting for the first time at number 21, six weeks after its launch, and SingStar Party making a massive leap of 20 places to this week's number 20.
Nowhere to be seen in the chart this week were titles including Lemony Snicket's A Series Of Unfortunate Events, which may well chart after the Jim Carrey-starring movie launches next month, and another film tie-in, The Polar Express.
Beyond that, consumers also missed out on the likes of Power Rangers Dino Thunder (no, seriously), Syberia 2, Scaler, Pac-Man World on the GBA, Driven to Destruction (PS2), and CSI: Miami (PC).
Next week sees Ubisoft's Prince of Persia: Warrior Within headlining a release list which also includes Call of Duty: Finest Hour, Eidos' Crash 'n Burn, Sid Meier's Pirates!, and Tron 2.0: Killer App on Xbox.
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