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Hit the End button. Seriously.

A (cunning and deceitful) reader emails: "Given that when I met you at E3 last week you described Ridge Racer DS as 'the worst threat to the integrity of the wheel since the invention of the exploding clamp', will you be re-reviewing it to give it less than the 6/10 you somehow decided it was worth when you played the American version?"

Well, GLENN, in the same way that this amusing exposure of yourself as a reader via email two weeks after talking bollocks to me on the concourse in between the halls of the LA Convention Centre becomes less funny as you close in on the question mark, I'm less likely to feel the need to change the mark as it was quite far removed from the content of the actual review, which was suitably vitriolic for a game that I really didn't like - unlike the only other occasion I've re-reviewed something, which involved a change of editorial thrust.

Ridge Racer DS has its fans, which is fair enough, and you can find over several of them inhabiting comment threads on and around the site, but I'm not one of them. I wouldn't buy it because it's looks and plays pretty rubbishly, and is generally incompatible with humans. (I wouldn't buy it twice, anyway. Gah.)

To round off this week's racing: I have no more idea of whether "RPM Tuning" is any good now it's out on Xbox than I did when it came out on PS2 last year. Is it?

Games I do know things about that are out this week, as we close in on the traditional "quiet spell" of the year (a spell that, in an interesting twist, sees all the grey sucked out of the English sky and funnelled into the boxes marked "summer" on publisher release schedules), include Cold Winter, Donkey Konga 2 and Still Life.

Cold Winter is Vivendi's latest stab at a console first-person shooter. You may recall that one of last year's stabs, the stabbing-based Chronicles of Riddick, was so good that we reviewed it four-hundred-and-seven times and were forced to quantify our fondness for it not in terms of mere numbers but in terms of the amount of slices of artichoke and banana-based pizza we would be prepared to consume again, despite the semi-food-poisoning, in order to go and shake those Starbreeze chaps hands a second time. Cold Winter, it has to be said, isn't as good. And it will be said when Kristan reviews it later today. It also demonstrates the folly of putting release dates in game titles.

Donkey Konga 2 is also a bit of a slip in form according to the critics. I'm a critic too, but due to Rob going on holiday I've been unable to give it much time this week - and I've also been unable to reach the bongos I cleverly placed on a shelf high above my desk. Well, I can get to them, but the process involves standing on my wheelie chair, which is on a slanted surface with extremely efficient wheel mechanisms, and leaning uphill. Last time I did this, I quickly found myself effectively skateboarding around a room full of expensive and very neatly arranged equipment before reaching out to steady myself on the breasts of a woman. Fortunately she was someone else's grandmother, so it was soon forgotten, but the point is that I'm not quite ready to fetch them down again yet.

Those other critics who have, I dunno, wedges under their wheels or something, report that claims of it being a "Hit Song Parade" are wide of the mark - presumably why it's no longer subtitled that, eh, lying retailers!? Apparently the first game's selection of songs was "more inspired". So this is somehow less inspired a drumming line-up than one which included You Can't Hurry Love?

Ah knock it off, Tom. I liked Donkey Konga. I just thought it was a bit overpriced. This one has stuff like I'm A Slave 4 U, Jungle Boogie (genius!) and Breakfast At Tiffany's on it, and I really want to play it. And will later when some people come round. If it's poor, it's poor, but bear the subjectivity of music in mind and perhaps give it a rental first if you long for a reason to dust off the bongos. You might strike it lucky.

And, even if not, it's a good excuse to play the excellent DK: Jungle Beat again, isn't it?

Rounding off the bits I can do without making things up (because that up there was the product of research) is Still Life, which is an adventure game. According to friends who've played it, it's a bit hit-and-miss in the same way Syberia was for them. Described as "pretty accessible" by a man who keeps me happy by regularly importing Japanese DS games when I feel like I'm the only person who's bothered, it sounds very much like an adventure game for people starved of them and prepared to put up with "screen-scrubbing exercises" and the like, and it doesn't cost much. Cheers Ian since, er, you'll probably read this bit shortly.

Finally then, as I find myself on shakier ground, CustomPlay Golf is a game about picking Tiger Woods' nose using a rhinoceros, Poker Masters is [censored -terrified Ed], and Advent Rising, released in the US this week, is a game about a race of cardboard creationists who try and cripple an entire nation by gorging themselves on a festive economy and simultaneously polluting our arteries not with the blood of any sort of saviour but instead the calories of bell and holly bush-shaped chocolate death prizes. It's also a third-person action-adventure thing averaging 60-or-so per-cent of which I am now quite possibly never going to be sent a review copy.


  • PAL Releases
  • Cold Winter (PS2)
  • CustomPlay Golf (PC)
  • Donkey Konga 2 (Cube)
  • Poker Masters (PS2)
  • Ridge Racer DS (DS)
  • RPM Tuning (Xbox)
  • Still Life (PC)

  • Key US Releases
  • Advent Rising (Xbox)

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