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    Archive for January, 2002

    Tuesday, January 29, 2002

    Todays review on games xtreme is for id Software and Grey Matters latest 3D shooter, Return to Castle Wolfenstein.
    "You take on the role of U.S. Army Ranger B.J. Blazkowicz, unfortunate name, a member of the Office of Secret Actions, a group which is made up of British and American special forces. You are given details and hints about the plot throughout the game by some very poor cut scenes, which are put together using the game engine. I cant help but think that they could have added a little life into the characters while they were not doing anything rather than just make them sit there in one place staring at the walls."

    GameSpy Industries Launches

    Comprehensive site covers the action hit Medal of Honor: Allied Assault and the Medal of Honor series

    IRVINE, Calif - Jan. 29, 2002 -- GameSpy Industries, the leading online entertainment pioneer, is proud to announce the launch of, the Internet's most comprehensive resource for fans of the action hit Medal of Honor: Allied Assault, and the Medal of Honor series.

    Published by Electronic Arts, Medal of Honor: Allied Assault is the latest addition to the top-selling series, and the first PC version available. Powered by the Quake 3 Arena engine, the game has received rave reviews, including a 92 from The site also provides information about Medal of Honor: Frontline, the upcoming PlayStation 2 game. features complete information about the game and its developing community of independent gaming artists and programmers developing add-ons, modifications and additions to the game. offers a constant stream of up-to-the-minute news and information, as well as screenshots, strategy guides, downloadable files and more.

    Special features of the site include:

    * Weapons Guide: What's the difference between the MP40 and Thompson submachine guns? What's the secret to reloading the M-1 Garand? We've got the goods.

    * Multiplayer Guide: Learn how to get online with GameSpy Arcade, the Internet's best online gaming community. With the guide, you'll be storming the beaches of Normandy in no time.

    REDMOND, Wash. - Jan. 28, 2002 - Microsoft Corp. today announced that Linkin Park is slated to be the first music promotional partner for the popular Microsoft® Xbox™ video game system. Kicking off the partnership with the band's first Projekt: Revolution tour, the two entities aim to expand their rapidly growing fan bases in a promotional campaign designed to reach each other's core audiences nationwide.

    "We're huge fans of Xbox," said Linkin Park guitarist Brad Delson. "We've been playing it since before it came out, and we're excited about the opportunity to include Xbox in the first Projekt: Revolution tour."

    The partnership follows the launch of Linkin Park's new Web site dedicated to their multigenre tour, Projekt: Revolution. Xbox plans to extend substantial promotional support to the tour while Linkin Park generates awareness of Xbox with tour signage, logos on merchandise and autographed consoles for radio promotions. Both parties also plan to feature reciprocal Web site links on, and

    "Linkin Park is an amazing band and a great partner," said John O'Rourke, director of sales and marketing for Xbox. "They've taken the music industry by storm, and we feel Xbox couldn't tour with a cooler group."

    Both chart-topping Linkin Park and hot entertainment product Xbox carry momentum from 2001 into the new year. Microsoft sold 1.5 million Xbox units in North America between the Nov. 15, 2001, product launch and Dec. 31, 2001, executing one of the most successful launches in video game history. This unprecedented attention has fueled worldwide excitement for Xbox, which remains on track to launch in Japan on Feb. 22, and in Europe and Australia on March 14. Also pulling in record numbers, Linkin Park's debut LP "Hybrid Theory" was the best-selling album of 2001, with 4.81 million copies sold in the United States, according to SoundScan year-end charts.

    "This is the ideal, synergistic relationship between artist and brand," said Eric Cohen, executive vice president of The Stronghold Group, the entertainment brand management firm that represents Linkin Park and the Projekt: Revolution property. "With Projekt: Revolution designed as an annual event, the relationship between Linkin Park and Xbox will help further establish and communicate the identities between artist and brand."

    The Linkin Park Projekt: Revolution tour will begin Jan. 29, in Colorado Springs, Colo. Currently scheduled to travel to 19 markets nationwide, the tour also will feature bands Adema, Cypress Hill and DJ-ZTRIP. Supplementary tour dates and locations are as follows: Jan. 30 in Wichita, Kan.; Feb. 1 in Chicago; Feb. 2 in Madison, Wis.; Feb. 4 in Detroit; Feb. 5 in Dayton, Ohio; Feb. 7 in Wilkes-Barre, Pa.; Feb. 8 in Uniondale, N.Y.; Feb. 9 in State College, Pa.; Feb. 11 in Lowell, Mass.; Feb. 12 in Fairfax, Va.; Feb. 13 in Philadelphia; Feb. 16 in Memphis, Tenn.; Feb. 17 in Dallas/Fort Worth; Feb. 18 in Oklahoma City; Feb. 20 in Phoenix; Feb. 22 in Long Beach, Calif.; Feb. 23 in San Diego; and Feb. 24 in Las Vegas.

    Unreliable Narration in Gaming

    Every game has a narrator ­ something or someone that tells the story. It doesn’t have to be a person ­ any story can be told via one of several types of narrators. For games like Thief and Deus Ex, little problems do arise. For example, in Thief, you learn the main character's first name, which raises the question: who is doing the narration, you or the game

    Why Do Developers Bother?

    PC action games don't seem to do well in the game charts compared with many titles with a let less care and effort put into them. So why do developers bother, especially with all the stick they get off gamers?

    Friday, January 25, 2002

    Microsoft today announced that NBA Inside Drive 2002 has been spotted on store shelves throughout North America. Hoopsters will now be able to get their virtual-roundball fix in well before the NBA All-Star game on February 10.

    NBA Inside Drive 2002 is available in stores now, exclusively on Xbox, for an estimated retail price of $49.99 (U.S.). NBA Inside Drive 2002 has an ESRB rating of "E" for Everyone.

    NBA Inside Drive 2002, developed by High Voltage Software, combines ultra-realistic NBA action with a deep-season mode that includes a complete fantasy draft and full general manager mode. The game features two-time all-star Vince Carter, who led all players in fan voting the past two seasons and has established himself as one of the premier players in the NBA. It also features every NBA arena individually modeled in complete detail and an advanced injury model with a wide array of major and minor injuries that affect a player's performance. In addition, players have access to team-specific playbooks that allow them to run the Lakers' famous triangle offense or the pick-and-roll of the Jazz. The ease of use and fast-playing NBA tempo lets gamers drive to the hoop and come off screens for a trey, just like the pros. The play-by-play provided by NBA announcers Kevin Calabro and Marques Johnson, adds to the overall gaming experience.

    Xbox is Microsoft's future-generation video game system that delivers the most powerful games experiences ever. Xbox empowers game artists by giving them the technology to fulfill their creative visions as never before, creating games that blur the lines between fantasy and reality. Xbox is now available in North America for the estimated retail price of $299.99.* More information on Xbox can be found online at

    GameSpyDaily pinned down Valve's Erik Johnson who talks about his upcoming measures to combat the rampant cheating within Counter-Strike:

    The 5 finalists for the Resident Evil Poster contest have been selected! Now its your turn to vote. Enter the site and choose the poster that you think should be an official Resident Evil movie poster. Voting ends on the 25th of January and the winner will be announced on January 29th. Thanks once again to all those who submitted posters. In just three and a
    half weeks we received over 3000 entries.

    Montreal, Quebec. January 24, 2002 - Strategy First is pleased to announce that their highly anticipated Disciples II: Dark Prophecy has shipped and will be available in stores nationwide in the days to come.

    Players can expect to see many additions and improvements made since the original game's release in 1999. The sequel includes new features, such as an event and trigger system, neutral unit AI, a paper doll system, new units and spells, hot seat play and multiplayer support through Gamespy Arcade over Lan and Internet.

    The game is already receiving accolades from members of the gaming press and is said to be one of the most highly anticipated turn-based fantasy/strategy games of 2002. A special collector's edition has also shipped to stores today. It includes 5 extra scenarios and a 120-card game developed by the
    Lead Designer of the Disciples series.

    For information on the game, log onto or

    Thursday, January 24, 2002

    Sierra Entertainment, Inc. and Papyrus Racing Games Announce NASCAR(r) Racing 2002 Season Has Gone Gold!

    Bellevue, WA (January 22, 2002) - Sierra Entertainment, Inc. and Papyrus Racing Games are proud to announce that NASCAR(r) Racing 2002 Season, the latest edition to the award winning racing franchise, has gone gold. NASCAR(r) Racing 2002 Season offers race fans more features to capture the heart-pounding intensity of actual NASCAR(r) racing better than ever.

    For the first time in the history of Papyrus racing titles, race against a field of forty-two NASCAR(r) Winston Cup drivers featured in NASCAR(r) Racing 2002 Season. In addition, all new driving lessons, including optimum driving lines that change color to show the best braking and acceleration areas, and track tutorials narrated by 3-time Winston Cup Champion Darrell Walltrip, provide novice and seasoned drivers the most accessible and unique driving experience available.

    Continuing to capture the realism of NASCAR(r) Racing, NASCAR(r) Racing 2002 Season will include the latest 2002 paint schemes and every Winston Cup track, including Chicagoland Speedway and Kansas Speedway . Additionally, a new sound engine, higher resolution textures, and a replay editor that can be used by the online community to edit and post their favorite racing moments, add more impressive features to this latest driving simulation.

    The NASCAR Licensing and Retail Development team that is based in Charlotte, NC, is committed to creating retail programs that provide value to NASCAR sponsors, promotional partners, licensees as well as drivers, teams and tracks. Under the direction of vice president of strategic marketing and licensing, Steve Boguski, and managing director Dee Scott, the department researches new categories, licenses qualified companies, handles quality control, and develops retail partnerships in an effort to drive sales of NASCAR-licensed product. NASCAR supports its line of licensed products through an integrated marketing strategy including annual trade advertising, a comprehensive retail guide, trade show exhibits, a quarterly newsletter and a dedicated web presence on

    Crafted by the EA Games division of publisher Electronic Arts, Motor City Online is a return back to the golden age of muscle cars. As its post-release development continues, we were naturally curious as to how it got started and where it's going next. Thankfully, Producer Alex Pantelias answered these questions and more in this Motor City Online Interview.

    Vol 11 of the game guy is out, titled: "Just a Piece of Plastic"

    A few years back someone slapped a remote in my hand. It seemed like a good idea at the time. The girl I was using to fetch beer and change channels was taking up too much of my time. I was ready for a switch, and although the remote wouldn’t fetch beer it did flip from the Colt game –the BALTIMORE Colt game-- to the Madonna video as I stood at my refrigerator swilling Bud. But something inside me whispered, “This isn’t right, this isn’t healthy.”

    So I moved my chair closer to the refrigerator.

    Montreal, Quebec. January 23, 2002 - Strategy First and Auran are pleased to announce that they have signed a licensing agreement with Discreet, a division of Autodesk, Inc. (NASDAQ: ADSK) to create, publish and distribute a gmax game pack for their new model railroad simulation, Trainz.

    Discreet's gmax will allow users to create and import their own 3D content into the game and extend the incredible capabilities of the Trainz Surveyor even further. Trainz already allows users to create spectacular layouts, but now with gmax they can be populated with objects and locomotives created by people from all over the world and then linked and swapped freely over the net.

    When asked about the meaning of this new partnership and what it will offer players of the game, representatives of Strategy First, Auran and Discreet had this to say;

    "We are very excited about this new venture, " says Steve Wall, V.P. Business Development, Strategy First. "Trainz will be one of the first games of its kind on the market that will include the gmax game pack. I am confident that budding artists, modelers and any train or gaming fan will be blown away by the game and what gmax can offer."

    "gmax provides the potential for the current Trainz community to virtually reconstruct every significant railroad structure in the world and offer it for download over the internet, " says Greg Lane, CEO, Auran. "The added value gmax brings to Trainz is fantastic!"

    “gmax gives Trainz users total freedom to create their own unique environments and share their creations with other Trainz enthusiasts,” adds Paul Perreault, gmax product manager, Discreet. "This agreement with Strategy First and Auran underlines Discreet's commitment to allow gamers to personalize their game experiences and to help extend the playability and life cycle of 3D games."

    Shipping to stores nationwide on February 12th, Trainz immerses players into the driver's seat of their favorite locomotives and allows them to create a
    huge variety of layouts using hundreds of textures and objects from around the world. Players will be able to build their own stunningly realistic routes from a variety of locations, from the busy US East Coast, the
    picturesque English countryside to the endless plains of the Australian Outback - all using the intuitive and powerful TRAINZ SURVEYOR editor. For more information about the game, log onto

    Players Can Vote on 'Mechs Appearing in Future Releases

    Microsoft today announced that two new MechWarrior™ 4 'Mech Paks will be available in retail locations throughout North America this year. The Paks will expand the gameplay for the best-selling, award-winning MechWarrior 4: Vengeance, based on the popular game of mechanized combat from FASA Studios™. Each Pak will give players new 'Mechs, a new electronics package, a new weapon, and a multiplayer map. Cyberlore, the team behind the successful MechWarrior 4: Black Knight expansion, is developing the Paks in conjunction with the FASA MechWarrior 4 team.

    "These new ‘Mech Paks will expand the award-winning multiplayer experience first brought to you in MechWarrior 4: Vengeance, and allow the player to explore the MechWarrior universe in greater detail," said FASA studio producer TJ “PAINGOD” Wagner. "When combined with the initial release or the Black Knight expansion, these titles add further depth to the most complete MechWarrior experience in the long history of the franchise."

    One Pak will contain new Inner Sphere content; the other will build up the Clan arsenal. MechWarrior 4: Inner Sphere ‘Mech Pak will be released this spring and will include:

  • Coliseum Multiplayer Map - 'Mechs duke it out in the arena, entertaining millions.
  • Heavy Gauss Rifle - The HGR hits harder than the standard Gauss Rifle, at the expense of tonnage and range.
  • IFF Jammer - Spread confusion in the enemy's ranks with this new component.
  • 4 new Inner Sphere 'Mechs
    MechWarrior 4: Clan ‘Mech Pak will follow shortly thereafter, with more details available as development proceeds.

    In a new development, players will be able to vote on which 'Mechs will appear in future MechWarrior releases. The first "Select a 'Mech" survey is focused on the Inner Sphere, and players can pick which of the Inner Sphere 'Mechs they want to strap into. The 'Mech that gets the most votes will be added to the lineup for future MechWarrior titles. After this survey is complete, there will be another for Clan 'Mech selection. For more details on the survey, visit

    Fresh this morning on EuroGamer are another half dozen exclusive new screenshots of Team Factor, snapped from early preview code of the online-focused tactical shooter. This week's batch of shots is taken from a jungle level, featuring thick vegetation, a rusty old railway bridge and a downed helicopter...

    Sunday, January 20, 2002

    Planet Command & Conquer has posted eighty Renegade in-game screenshots taken during the beta test. All screenshots are high-quality and show off the game's C&C Mode in action. Check them out at:

    Members of Strategy First's head office confirmed rumors today that a Special Collector's Edition of the year's most highly anticipated turn-based dantasy/strategy game will ship to stores January 24th, 2002.

    The Collector's Edition of Disciples II: Dark Prophecy will ship at the same time as the original sequel. Included in the collector's edition is a one-of-a-kind card game, developed by the lead designer of the Disciples series and 5 additional "elite" scenarios.

    Fans of the series will have a chance to buy the original Disciples II (SRP: $39.99US) or the Collector's Edition (SRP: $49.99US) at any major retailer.
    Pre-orders can be made through online sites such as,,

    To learn more about the games and their retail availability, log onto or

    Thursday, January 17, 2002

    CPU Roundup

    - Falcon @ 11:22 pm PST

    Last week SimHQ reviewed the latest high speed processors from Intel and AMD. Bubba "MasterFung" Wolford has compiled the reams of collected data from the reviews and DOGFIGHT feature into an easy to read side by side comparison.

    Tannhauser Gate Studios proudly presents 'Mimesis Online' - the new kid on the online gaming market.

    'Mimesis Online' is a science-fiction Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game set in a world that's been slowly rebuilding itself after a cosmic scale cataclysm that completely changed the natural order of things, twisting everything, even time itself. The game transports you to a world where several intelligent species were forced together in uncomfortable co-existence by the effects of that apocalyptic event.

    You can play any of a range of available characters, and take part in the literally earth-shattering social and political events that await the inhabitants of this world of survivors.

    'Mimesis Online' is a highly anticipated game that will add something completely new to the genre. Don't miss out...

    Here are some of the game features:

    an intriguing storyline with a rich and complex arc-plot,
    a unique sci-fi setting, with completely original technology,
    one, single global online session,
    a variety of unusual monsters,
    very nice graphics,
    the possibility to download the game software completely FREE of charge,
    a multitude of possibilities to personalize and develop your character.

    Don't be the last one to enter the world of 'Mimesis Online' - join now, and see the story unfold from day one.

    Throughout all stages of betatests and especially during the public testing stage we have been receiving a lot of support from the people who decided to help us in the development. In recognition to their tremendous work we have prepared a special promotion for them. The detailed information can be found on the game's website.

    Talking about the website... It has a brand new appearance now! Features:

    a completely different layout,
    new, interesting materials,
    a survey,
    registration and account handling,
    customer service and troubleshooting section,
    and many more... We highly recommend that you visit it.

    Montreal, Quebec. January 17th, 2002 - Strategy First and Auran are pleased to announce that their Microsoft Train® Simulator Regional Add-On Pack (USA and Canada), has shipped and is in stores nationwide.

    The Add-On features 20 classic locomotives, used in the US and Canada, and a brand new cab interior. The 20 new locomotives have been built from the ground up and contain incredible detail that surpasses anything seen in the original.

    For more information on the MSTS Add-On and its retail availability, log onto or

    Serious Sam is back, and this time he's got a chainsaw ("look ma, I'm a lumberjack"). EuroGamer's intrepid staff risk life, limb and sanity to take a closer look at his Second Encounter...
    "It's less than a year since Serious Sam : The First Encounter was unleashed on to an unsuspecting public, and the arrival so soon of a second game in the series may have left you suspicious that this would be a tacky Tomb Raider style cash-in. Fear not though, for the imaginatively titled Second Encounter is bigger, better, harder than ever and utterly, utterly insane."

    Raven Software's and LucasArts' sequel to the popular Dark Forces II, Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast shows the return of Kyle Katarn in the upcoming first and person action title. With the fully featured official site having been recently launched in preparation for its projected March release, we thought it a good time to present our Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast Intelligence Report.

    Tuesday, January 15, 2002

    SAN DIEGO, CA – January 8, 2002 – Sony Online Entertainment Inc., (SOE) announced today that its top games at The Station® ( are now available to the more than 25 million Mac users. In addition, SOE will become an official Mac developer, working to make household favorites such as Jeopardy! Online and Wheel of Fortune Online available on The Station compatible with the Mac. As a leader in its category, SOE is committed to delivering the best in online gaming to both Mac and PC users. With more than 11.5 million registered users, The Station is the first mainstream online gaming site to make a commitment to the growing Mac gaming audience.
    “We’re excited to extend our online gaming efforts to Mac users,” said Russell Shanks, vice president and chief technology officer, Sony Online Entertainment. “As The Station’s audience continues to grow, we know that the Macintosh platform will play a significant role.”
    “Mac OS X is an incredible platform for gaming with exceptionally stunning 2D and 3D graphics and has attracted the best game titles for both casual and hardcore gamers,” said Ron Okamoto, Apple’s vice president of Worldwide Developer Relations. “We are thrilled that Mac gamers of all levels will be able to experience the power of The Station.”
    Mac users can enjoy games on The Station, including Jeopardy! Online, Wheel of Fortune Online, Yuetan™, Empyrean™, Bingo, 99s, Slots and Checkers. Over the coming months, SOE will be working to make all of its games available for the Mac. available to Mac Users

    The Station offers the greatest selection of casual online games available, including popular game show TV properties such as Jeopardy! Online and Wheel of Fortune Online. Within Jeopardy! Online, users can play specialty games to test their skills in Sports Jeopardy!, Rock & Roll Jeopardy!, College Jeopardy! Online, Jeopardy! Techno-Files and Showbiz Jeopardy!.
    Registration is free for The Station and once users have completed the process they can invite others to join them for rousing multiplayer games.
    Sony Online Entertainment Inc. (SOE), the online gaming division of Sony Pictures Digital Entertainment, is a worldwide leader in massively multiplayer online gaming. Headquartered in San Diego, California, SOE develops, publishes and distributes entertainment for the PC and online markets. With more than 11 million registered users, SOE’s award-winning website, The Station® ( hosts a variety of entertaining games and player communities spanning all genres. In addition to blockbuster hits EverQuest® and Jeopardy! Online, SOE has an array of cutting-edge online games in development such as PlanetSide™, Star WarsÒ Galaxies™ and Sovereign™.

    Today Gamespy offers up an interview with Tom W DeSanctis of Eysian tlking about their MMORPG game project, Ages of Athiria. It's good stuff, no matter what you already know about the game and probably the first interview anywhere. enjoy!

    - EA is recommending AMD-based desktop and workstation systems to development, sales, finance, and marketing departments -

    Sydney, 15 January 2002 - AMD today announced Electronic Arts, a leader in PC and console games and the number-one game site on the Internet, is recommending AMD AthlonTM XP and AMD Athlon MP processor-based desktop and workstation computers for its worldwide studios. Electronic Arts plans to
    use these systems to develop and produce next-generation PC and console games for both the EA SPORTS and EA GAMES brands with franchises including John Madden Football, Harry Potter, and The Sims, and plans to implement AMD processor-based systems in their sales, finance, marketing, and administration departments.

    EA studios slated to use AMD processor-based systems include Westwood Studios in Las Vegas, Maxis studio in Walnut Creek, and studios in Redwood Shores, Los Angeles, Seattle, Orlando, London, Tokyo, Vancouver, and Melbourne.

    "The performance, compatibility, and reliability of the AMD Athlon MP processor has led us to select it as part of the workstation development solution worldwide for Electronic Arts to help speed game design processes," said Scott Cronce, VP and chief technology officer, Electronic Arts Inc. "Additionally, the stability we have had with AMD Athlon XP processor-based desktop machines has given us reason to populate them in other departments in Electronic Arts."

    "Electronic Arts is producing performance-demanding, graphic-intensive games that leverage AMD solutions," said Ed Ellett, vice president of Marketing at AMD. "The compatibility, reliability and performance of AMD workstation solutions as development platforms combined with EA's extensive game portfolio will help ensure that the next generation of gaming will evolve to the next level of realism."

    In the past, EA has trusted AMD's technology and raw processing power to showcase their complete lineup at E3 in Los Angeles and at two press conferences.

    In the first of a (very) irregular series of articles on EuroGamer about great buzzwords that didn't seem to go anywhere, we take a look at the past, present and future of episodic gaming. Portrayed by some as the great white hope of the gaming industry, so far it has failed to deliver in spectacular fashion.
    "The idea behind episodic gaming is simple enough; instead of selling one big game for £30 you split it up into several episodes and sell each one individually at the kind of price which encourages impulse buying. Often the first episode is given away for free to hook potential players, who are then roped into buying new levels for your game every few weeks. Yes, episodic gaming is essentially a fancy new name for shareware. These days though the idea seems to be that you plan out (and often develop) a whole series of mini-games in advance and then release them on a monthly basis."

    Thanks to developer and publisher Bethsoft, RPGVault has had the opportunity to take a look at some of the capabilities of the TES Construction Set editor. While we’re still working on a detailed examination of its capabilities, we thought you might enjoy a peek at our Morrowind Creature Gallery comprised of 16 screenshots showing various creature models from the game that are available for use.

    The wording of this email was a bit worrying but here it is anyway:

    Now that CI has gone Gold, it looks as though the blokes over at B&W Studios have finally gotten time to give the official Creature Isle webbie a bit of a brush-up-- and, gosh! It sure is swell.

    The most notable addition is this superkeen map they've added. It's quite a luverly, sparkly iddle Flash thing that allows you to look at the lay of the land, so to speak-- you'll have to see it to really understand it, but it has cute animations, lovable characters, and plenty of worthwhile info on the actual physical layout of Creature Isle itself. Good stuff.

    In the words of Jeremy: "'ve got a sparkly!"

    A little more than a week ago, LITTLEWHITEDOG.COM gave the world a glimpse into the world of USB 2.0 with the posting of a driver / patch that would enable USB 2.0 on Windows XP. Today they've taken things one step further by posting an updated USB 2.0 driver that adds USB 2.0 support to Windows 2000. Remember, they're still to be considered BETA drivers at this point, even though they wear the Release Candidate 2 stamp, so please install with caution.

    Visit the main page at to download the patch.

    Friday, January 11, 2002

    FilePlanet is pleased to mirror the introduction movie from Return to Castle Wolfenstein. This high quality clip is in Quicktime format and shows the evil Prince Heinrichs imprisonment and discovery a thousand years later by the Nazis.

    REDMOND, Wash. - Jan. 11, 2002 - Following a record-breaking launch in North America in which the company shipped 1.5 million Microsoft® Xbox™ video game system units and sold more than three games with every Xbox unit through the end of 2001, Microsoft Corp. today announced details of the Japanese launch for Xbox. The future-generation game console will go on sale at retail outlets throughout Japan Feb. 22 at a price of 34,800 yen, with 12 launch games available from the best names in video games, such as Sega Corp., Konami Corp., Capcom Co. Ltd., Tecmo Ltd. and Microsoft Game Studios.

    At a news conference in Tokyo, Hirohisa Ohura, managing director and head of the Xbox Division at Microsoft Japan, announced the availability of a special limited-edition console designed exclusively for the Japanese market.

    "Xbox has become a cultural phenomenon in North America that we're confident will spread around the world," said Robbie Bach, chief Xbox officer at Microsoft. "From that position of strength, we're working with our industry partners to tap into the growing excitement for Xbox and Xbox games in Japan."

    Launch Titles

    The Japanese launch portfolio is highly anticipated around the world. Most of the great games have global appeal and will be localized accordingly. The powerful launch lineup includes the following:

    · "JSRF - Jet Set Radio Future™" (from Sega) is a unique graphical street-skating action-adventure game with the unique visual style of Japanese "manga" comics.
    · "GENMA ONIMUSHA™" (from Capcom) is a new interpretation of the war survival action series that garnered worldwide acclaim.
    · "SILENT HILL 2: Saigo no Uta" (from Konami Computer Entertainment Tokyo) is the hit adventure game that shook the world with its spine-tingling horror and real-world environment as they can only be presented on Xbox.
    · "DOUBLE-S.T.E.A.L." (from Bunkasha) is a car action game modeled after the thrilling trademark car stunt scenes of Hong Kong cinema.
    · "AIR FORCE DELTA II" (from Konami) is an incredibly realistic 3-D shooting game that incorporates amazingly intense air battles using real-world fighter planes.
    · "HYPER SPORTS 2002 WINTER" (from Konami) recreates 10 sporting events in a realistic, easy-to-control manner. Gamers will appreciate the beautiful atmosphere of winter, with attention to graphics such as the view from the slopes, snow-capped mountains and skating rinks complete with reflections on the ice.
    · "ESPN Winter X Games Snowboarding 2002" (from Konami) is a realistic snowboarding game modeled after the ESPN Winter X Games and based on comments and participation from world-class snowboarders.
    · "Nobunaga's Ambition: Chronicles of Chaos" (from Koei) is a historical simulation game in which powerful leaders do battle to become the victorious feudal lord who can bring together various warring factions.
    · "Nezmix" (from Microsoft) is a comical adventure in which players take on the role of a mouse who must recruit, lead and battle with a team of fellow mice to defend their town against a band of enemy invaders.
    · "Tenku: Freestyle Snowboarding" (from Microsoft) is a snowboarding game that focuses on freestyle riding, in contrast to traditional race-based games.
    · "Project Gotham Racing™: World Street Racer" (from Microsoft) is a game that is the ultimate test of gamers' driving skills, style and risk-taking, featuring a unique Kudos System, in which players earn rewards not only for getting to the finishing line first, but also for displaying skill, style and daring while driving.
    · "DEAD OR ALIVE 3" (from Tecmo) is the third title in Tecmo's popular tournament fighting action game series.

    After launch, a quick succession of games will be available, with an expected 22 titles in Japanese stores by the end of March. On average, Xbox games will be priced between 6,800 yen and 9,800 yen.

    "Microsoft's commitment to the global success of Xbox is evident in the support that the best Japanese game development companies have given Xbox in a short time," Ohura said. "We are working with these companies to create unprecedented games that can only be achieved on Xbox."

    Creative Labs has released an external version of their latest SB Audigy card. Here is what they had to say about it:

    Within seconds, Sound Blaster Extigy connects with a USB cable to any available USB port on your PC or notebook, so you won't even need to open up your PC case! Simply load the software, plug in your speakers, and you will be ready to experience high fidelity audio with 24-bit performance and 100dB SNR clarity, enhanced by a host of EAX ADVANCED HD music tools. And when watching DVD movies or playing the latest games, the onboard Dolby Digital 5.1 multi-channel playback will immerse you in home theater-quality sound when combined with surround sound speakers like the Creative Inspire 5300.

    So be the first to benefit from the high-powered, easy-to-use, Sound Blaster Extigy!

    Discover the powerful features of Sound Blaster Extigy at:*KUDM44NOd3NM4rCUoEg&c=80

    For a technical insight into the awesome capabilities and exciting potential of the Sound Blaster Extigy, you might like to refer to the Sound Blaster Extigy FAQ:*KUDM44NOd3NM4rCUoEg&c=81


    - Falcon @ 6:07 pm PST

    On tap over at GSD this morning are screens from the following games:

  • Ghost Recon Mission Pack (PC)
  • Resident Evil (Gamecube)
  • NBA 2K2 (Xbox)

    Wilco News

    - Falcon @ 5:44 pm PST

    DROGENBOS, BELGIUM (January 11, 2002) -- Wilco Publishing has released an update for Airport 2000 Volume 3 that makes the popular scenery add-on compatible with Microsoft Flight Simulator 2002. The company also has posted a patch with a variety of improvements for the original FS2000-based version of the title and has announced plans to issue an FS2002 patch for its 767 Pilot in Command in early 2002.

    The free FS2002 patch for Airport 2000 Volume 3, now available online at, gives simmers the ability to include the volume’s seven precisely recreated airports San Francisco International, Denver International, Seattle Tacoma, Paris Orly, Kastrup Copenhagen, Berlin Tegel and London Gatwick in their virtual FS2002 takeoffs and landings. The satellite terminals, hangars, office and maintenance buildings, radar towers, gate numbering system and other airport features are replicas of the real thing, based on actual visits and photographs. Wilco remains the only scenery developer to offer this level of verisimilitude, thanks to painstakingly acquired behind-the-scenes airport visitation privileges.

    The upgrade also adds several new features supported by FS2002, including FMC vertical speed and ground illumination by aircraft headlights. All other features from Airport 2000 Volume 3 operate with the patch except for the flight adventures, which are not currently compatible with FS2002.

    Corrected Denver International airport charts have been posted separately on the Wilco site for download. The company will announce upgrade plans for Volumes 1 and 2 of the series on the site in the near future.

    Wilco Publishing is the publisher of the Airport 2000 Volumes 1, 2 and 3, 767 Pilot in Command, Tahiti Scenery and Grand Canyon add-ons to Microsoft Flight Simulator, Wilco’s 737 for Fly!, and Hangsim, a PC-based glider simulation. 767 Pilot in Command has received the SimFlight Achievement of the Year Award for Best Aircraft and Best Panel, the AVSIM Award of Excellence, and top honors from and PCPilot. Wilco takes its name from the aeronautical abbreviation for “Will Comply.” Founded in 1997, Wilco is based in Belgium and can be reached at or via phone at 011 32 2 331 32 90.

    Thursday, January 10, 2002

    This week's editorial on EuroGamer takes a look at some of the fundamental problems facing the massively multiplayer role-playing genre and takes a look at how things could be done better in future.
    "Part of the problem is the very definition of the genre. In a single-player role-playing game you are the hero who can change the world. In a massively multiplayer game you are just one of a hundred thousand wannabe heroes, all scrambling to reach the next level. At the moment it's almost impossible for a single player or guild to make any difference in a massively multiplayer game, even on a local scale. The games are all static and rigidly pre-programmed."

    Todays review on games xtreme takes a look at Championship Manager: Season 01/02 from Sports interactive and Eidos. Overall they gave it 90% which also means it gets the Editors Choice award.
    "Since I last played Champ Man it has gone though various updates and many features have been added. In this latest update a fair few very useful features have been added, one of them is allowing you to compare two players to see which is better at a particular position. Doing this shows you the best attributes of each player on the same screen and also the game uses these to try and tell you which player is best at what position."

    Vulcan News

    - Falcon @ 12:13 am PST

    Vulcan Release 'The Sanctuary' episode 2 of The Valhalla Classics for PC

    Vulcan, UK - January 10th, 2002 - Veteran game development company, Vulcan Software has announced today the release of 'The Sanctuary', the second episode of their Valhalla Classics Speech Adventure for the PC.

    'The Sanctuary' is set in an old section of the Valhalla Castle, where years earlier the diabolical Lord of Infinity imprisoned five of the most powerful Shamen in the land. Using their own magic against them, he turned them to stone and made them protectors of the legendary three rings of escape. 'The Sanctuary' is priced at 2.50 sterling (approx. 3.60 US dollars) and can be downloaded via Vulcan's Portal application. Newcomers to the Valhalla Classics can also download and play the first episode 'The Crypt' for free!

    The Valhalla Classics
    The Valhalla Classics are PC conversions of Vulcan's speech adventure games that were originally released for the Amiga in the mid 90's. Your task is to guide the principle character through a scrolling graphical world, who then comments on the actions you perform with his extensive vocabulary of digital speech. Logical and lateral thinking are definitely required in order to solve the many puzzles featured throughout the twelve episodes. Each episode can be downloaded and
    played within Vulcan's Portal application.

    The Vulcan Portal
    The Vulcan Portal is a free and advanced digital distribution application for the PC that gives its users the ability to download Vulcan's games and applications. Functionality is layered with (real-time) 3d characters that communicate via dynamic synthetic speech. Portal users can also define their presence within the community, send and receive 3dVoiceMail and collect Vulcan's daily development 3dVoiceNews.

    Tuesday, January 08, 2002 Tech Review: One of two big launch announcements today comes from AMD with the launch of the Palomino XP2000+ processor. Dan "CRASH" Crenshaw has had the chance to run this new CPU through our battery of tests and see how it stacks up against the competition.

    Today Ensemble Studios have a series of four screenshots displaying one of the many Age of Mythology god powers.

    Dune review

    - Falcon @ 11:29 pm PST

    Today on EuroGamer we wallow in our own recycled sweat to review Frank Herbert's Dune. Is the game as poorly produced as the Sci Fi Channel mini-series on which it is based? And can the acting be even more wooden than William Hurt's masterful TV performance as a length of 2x4 cunningly disguised as a Duke? Read our review to find out...
    "The developers have also squandered many of Dune's other assets, such as its epic back story and host of outlandish characters. The game is set during Paul's exile in the deserts of Arrakis but all of the main action takes place off-camera, with no real explanation of what's going on or who most of the characters are. If you're not familiar with the book or one of its movie adaptations you're going to be left utterly bewildered."

    Microsoft today announced that the multiplayer trial version of MechWarrior™ 4: Black Knight Expansion is now available from the game's official site at:

    The multiplayer trial version allows players to try out the Absolute Attrition and 'Mech Strongholds modes on a volcanic map. BattleMechs available in the demo include the Bushwacker, the Mad Cat Mark II, the enormous Atlas, and the brand-new Ryoken and Sunder models.

    MechWarrior 4: Black Knight Expansion pack introduces five new ‘Mechs™ for the player to pilot: the Ryoken, Sunder, Uller, Wolfhound and Black Knight. It also includes several new vehicles, such as the Demolisher II Heavy Tank and the Nightwind Attack Helicopter; and new weapons, like the incredibly devastating Cluster Bombs.

    Players will also have access to rare and hard-to-find weapons through the game's newest feature, the Black Market. The Black Market allows the player to take salvaged 'Mechs and weapons they don’t need, and trade them for something they do need. Players are no longer restricted to items salvaged from the battlefield; they can now take their chances on the Black Market.

    MechWarrior 4: Black Knight Expansion is available in stores now for an estimated retail price of $29.95 (U.S.). MechWarrior 4: Black Knight Expansion has an ESRB rating of "T" for Teen. For more information, please visit the official site at

    The first project of Georgia-based start-up Flying Rock Enterprises, Ace of Angels is a space fighter simulator built on the concept of player vs. player team conflict. In our efforts to find out more, we contacted Business Manager Bryan Stephens, who agreed to talk with us in a lengthy and enlightening Ace of Angels Interview, accompanied by eight all-new screenshots.

    Sunday, January 06, 2002

    Spotted at MaxPayneHQ that the site awarded Max Payne, Game of the Year 2001. Hard choice, they say. According to the site staff, the difficult part was to decide between Max, RTCW, and Empire Earth. However at the end Max grabbed the first place, Return To Castle Wolfenstein got second and Empire Earth got the last seat on the podium.

    Check the other awarded games in PreGaming's 2001 top ten, here.

    Creature Isles release date is available. BWGame announces:

    "Black & White: Creature Isle shipping 18th January 2002.
    We are pleased to announce the official release date of Black & White : Creature Isle which will be shipped globally on the 18th January 2002 with the exception of the Japanese version which will be shipped at a later date. This means that the game will be in stores on the 1st Februrary.

    There you go: 1st Frebruary. Don't forget!

    Kiltron from the Mean Arena has released the Kiltron Texture Pack 03, which is available in a whopping 122 different textures. They are availabe for all the Quake III and FAKK2 players out there, who have been looking for some new dark material to work with. If you don't remember which texture pack this was supposed to be, it's the one that contains many textures being used in the "Bones: Legacy Of The Vadrigar" game for Q3, and a current FAKK2 mod that's still in progress. Get watcha like at The Mean Arena! :)

    Wednesday, January 02, 2002

    LotR Games

    - Falcon @ 2:00 pm PST

    Heh.. EA grabbed the Harry potter franchise, VuP has the Lord of the Rings one:

    Sydney, 2 January 2002 - Universal Interactive, Inc. announced today that its games based on the literary works of J.R.R. Tolkien will be developed for multiple platforms including next generation and handheld systems, the PC, and the highly anticipated massively multiplayer online gaming. In addition, Universal Interactive announced the details of its 2002 line-up of Tolkien games: The Fellowship of the Ring for the Xbox(tm) video game system from Microsoft and The Lord of the Rings, Part 1 for Game Boy® Advance.

    "Universal Interactive plans to release titles for all major gaming platforms in order to bring Tolkien's great literary works to life for as many gamers as possible," said Jim Wilson, president of Universal Interactive. "The unique capabilities of each platform will showcase a particular aspect of Middle-Earth to its best advantage. Massively multiplayer online games, for instance, will allow for the fullest, most
    interactive re-creation of Tolkien's universe of original characters.

    The Fellowship of the Ring, in development by Seattle-based WXP, Inc., is scheduled for release in fourth quarter 2002 for Xbox. A third person action/adventure title, The Fellowship of the Ring allows gamers to play as three members of the fellowship, Frodo, Aragorn and Gandalf, on a journey from the Shire to the depths of Moria and all the way to the River Anduin. In a storyline faithful to Tolkien's epic masterpiece, players will explore the massive environments of Middle-Earth while solving puzzles and fighting various enemies such as Orcs, Black Riders and an evil Balrog in this first instalment of the quest to destroy the fabled One Ring of Power.

    The Lord of the Rings, Part 1 is being developed for the Game Boy® Advance and is scheduled for a fourth quarter 2002 release. A role-playing game, The Lord of the Rings, Part I, is based on characters and situations from the first two books of the classic Tolkien epic. It allows players complete control over the entire Fellowship on their adventure from the beginning of "The Fellowship of the Ring" to partway through "The Two Towers."

    Specifically designed to take full advantage of the GBA's technical capabilities, The Lord of the Rings, Part I will feature an isometric graphics engine combined with an intuitive character interaction and combat control system to highlight this immersive, RPG-style game. For more information about Universal Interactive's games based on J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings," regarded as the greatest literary epic of the 20th century, visit

    As part of Vivendi Universal Publishing's long-term deal with Tolkien Enterprises, the company acquired the exclusive rights to develop interactive entertainment based on selected Tolkien literary works.
    Universal Interactive and Sierra Entertainment are responsible for developing products for the license.

    About Universal Interactive, Inc.
    Universal Interactive, Inc. develops and publishes innovative interactive entertainment for next generation game consoles and PC platforms based on original content and Universal Studios character, movie, and television franchises.

    Rounding off our New Year's celebrations, today's feature on EuroGamer takes a look at some of the top games that we're looking forward to seeing on this side of the pond in the next twelve months
    "Every year we celebrate the New Year by picking out some of the top games we expect to be reviewing over the next twelve months. 2001 proved to be another mighty triumph for our predictive skills; out of our six picks from last year, two of them were disappointing (Black & White and Myst III), two of them weren't even released (Neverwinter Nights and Metal Gear Solid 2) and two of them were actually rather good (Gran Turismo 3 and Phantasy Star Online). So in the hopes of getting a better average this year, here are our picks for 2002."

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