NewsPro Archive

November 2003

Thursday, November 27, 2003

Happy Thanksgiving
Steve @ 4:02 PM EST
Hey people, Happy Thanksgiving! Play Xbox, Eat Turkey, Play Xbox, Eat more Turkey, Play Xbox, Fall asleep.

Have a great day from all of us at Xbox Exclusive.

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Take-Two Interactive to Release Carve
Steve @ 11:20 PM EST
Take-Two Interactive Software’s Global Star publishing division is set to release Carve, an exciting new watercraft racing game for the Xbox« video game system from Microsoft. Featuring thrilling, water-based racing action, the title will include Xbox Live compatibility, allowing up to eight players to battle it out across the waves online, as well as up to four-player split-screen action. Carve, developed by Argonaut Games, will be available in January at an attractive retail price of $19.99.

With Carve’s Xbox Live gameplay, players will have access to numerous options including custom races, a Team Mode where gamers partner with a friend to compete against other racers, and the ability to track stats and compare with racers from around the world. Players will be able to enhance their online experience by unlocking new courses and watercraft in the action-packed single player mode, which pits gamers against challenging and unique AI opponents.

Carve will feature numerous playable characters, each sporting their own individual racing styles and signature tricks. Players can unlock new stunts by successfully completing tournaments. In addition, the game features 24 breathtaking courses that are spread across Europe, North America, the Arctic and the Pacific region with beautiful, realistic water that includes unique wave conditions depending on locale.

Carve Screens

Rockstar Games Ships Max Payne 2
Steve @ 7:06 PM EST
NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Nov. 26, 2003--Rockstar Games, the world-renowned publishing division of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc., announced today that Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne for the Xbox(R) video game system from Microsoft has shipped to retail stores throughout North America. The game will be available for the PlayStation(R)2 computer entertainment system on December 3, 2003 and is expected to be in stores in Europe on the Xbox and PlayStation 2 on December 5, 2003.

"From the film-noir storytelling to the stunning visuals to lightning fast gameplay, Max Payne 2 is a feast of cinematic gaming action," said Sam Houser, President of Rockstar Games. "We owe a great deal to Remedy Entertainment and Rockstar Vienna as they have outdone themselves in bringing this unique experience to the Xbox and PlayStation 2. The results have exceeded even our high expectations."

About Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne

Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne is a stylish, urban, film-noir love story of a hard-boiled cop with nothing to lose and a mysterious femme fatale who holds the answers to all his burning questions. Based in New York City's grimy underground, Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne surpasses the high standards set by 2001's award-winning Max Payne, which sold over 4 million units and revolutionized the action genre with cinematic combat sequences fueled by groundbreaking use of slow motion and dramatic narrative-driven gameplay. Initially launched on PC and becoming one of the best-selling PC games of the year, console gamers were equally thrilled by the original Max Payne as it later went on to achieve "Greatest Hits" status on the PlayStation 2 and "Platinum Hits" recognition on the Xbox.

Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne was released for PC in October of 2003 and has already achieved critical success, earning rave reviews, several editor's choice awards and nominations for game of the year.

Additional information about Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne is available at: http://www.rockstargames.com/maxpayne2

Atari Announces Terminator 3: Redemption
Steve @ 7:05 PM EST
Atari today announced the development of a second game based on "Terminator(R)3: Rise of the Machines(TM)," the summer blockburster motion picture from Intermedia, IMF and C2 Pictures. "Terminator 3: Redemption(TM)" will take players for another ride into the post-apocalyptic universe presented in the feature film as they become the series signature icon, Arnold Schwarzenegger as the Terminator. A playable demo of the new action game is available with the retail version of Atari's "Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines," which is currently available at retail stores nationwide.

In development with Atari's own Paradigm Entertainment, "Terminator 3: Redemption" will feature vehicle- and character-based combat and exploration from a third-person perspective and be presented in a larger and more diverse Terminator world. Scheduled for release on the PlayStation(R)2 computer entertainment system, the Xbox(R) videogame system from Microsoft and the Nintendo GameCube(TM), "Terminator 3: Redemption" will be available summer 2004.

"`Terminator 3: Redemption' will give gamers an opportunity to experience the world of Terminator like never before -- they will go places and do things that have only been hinted at in the films," said Jim Galis, executive producer, Atari's Paradigm Entertainment studio. "The Terminator movies have become known for their incredible chase scenes and total destruction -- in `Terminator 3: Redemption' we're going to recreate that moment-by-moment intensity with incredible action-driving only the Terminator license can provide."

"Terminator 3: Redemption" will allow players to assume the role of the most popular and iconic character featured in the Terminator films, the Terminator. Featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger's voice and likeness, "Terminator 3: Redemption" will surprise players with innovative and exciting gameplay presented in a number of different styles utilizing the vehicles and enemies that come straight from the Terminator universe, pitting the Terminator against numerous ground-based and air forces.

"Terminator 3: Redemption" will be available for PlayStation 2, Xbox and GameCube next summer. Information about Atari's recently released "Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines" can be found online at http://www.t3game.com

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Microsoft Game Studios Soundtracks
Steve @ 5:27 PM EST
New York, NY - Sumthing Else Music Works Inc. through its recently expanded relationship with Microsoft Game Studios, proudly announces the release of a Special Edition of their best selling soundtrack for the hit Xbox« video game, Halo«: Combat Evolved. The Special Edition Soundtrack includes a Halo 2 Bonus DVD containing trailers and videos from the highly anticipated game from Bungie Studios, as well as previously unreleased Surround Sound versions of new music composed by Marty O’Donnell from the Halo universe. “It’s a pleasure to bring new music to the fans of Halo. Until now these Surround Sound versions could only be experienced in my studio. Consider it a taste of things to come.”

The Halo score, composed by Marty O’Donnell and Michael Salvatori, weaves a collection of tribal drumbeats, techno dance beats and breathtaking orchestral movements. The artistic accomplishments of the score (not to mention the game) continue to draw critical acclaim from musical artists who play Halo. Legendary rock guitar virtuoso Steve Vai calls "the melodies as haunting and ominous as the game's characters." The Editors of Rolling Stone named Halo: Combat Evolved as the video game with the "Best Original Soundtrack" for 2001.

The Special Edition Halo Soundtrack plus Bonus DVD is being sold in stores in the U.S. for a suggested retail price of $15.98 and may also be purchased online through the game website at http://www.xbox.com/halo . It is the sixth soundtrack this holiday season to be manufactured and released by Nile Rodgers’ Sumthing Else Music Works Label under its exclusive original soundtrack licensing relationship with Microsoft Game Studios. Distribution, sales and retail marketing of the soundtracks continue to be facilitated through Nile Rodgers’ national distribution company, Sumthing Distribution.

Other new original soundtracks available on Sumthing Else Music Works for Microsoft Game Studios’ games include Crimson Skies«: High Road To Revenge™, Freelancer™, Voodoo Vince™, Brute Force™ and Tao Feng™: Fist of the Lotus™.

Crimson Skies: High Road To Revenge - This 54-track soundtrack CD contains a Bonus DVD with Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround mixes of the game trailer and select tracks from the CD. The soundtrack is an ode to 1930’s big band and modern day swing revival. The score for the Xbox video game was composed by Stan LePard and performed by Northwest Sinfonia and Grammy Award-winning conductor, Adam Stern. To order or listen to a sample of the soundtrack, visit http://www.xbox.com/crimsonskies.

Freelancer includes a Bonus Video-DVD containing a Behind-the-Scenes Documentary, Trailers, Conceptual Artwork and previously unreleased versions of the Cinematic Intro. James Hannigan, who was nominated for the Golden Reel Award for his work on sound in Lost in Space and is also known for his brilliant score in Privateer: The Darkening, Sim Theme Park and many other games, composed the score for this PC game developed by Digital Anvil. James also contributed music to Brute Force (also on the Sumthing Else Music Works label). Visual Music Inc., a network of musicians led by composer Tom Seufert, tapped members Dean Grinsfelder, Osamu Kitajima, Tim Kelly and Cato for the game. Digital Anvil's own Andrew Sega rounded out the list of composers supplying music for Freelancer. To order the soundtrack online or for more information, visit http://www.microsoft.com/games/freelancer/.

The Voodoo Vince soundtrack for the Xbox video game is a blend of the Cajun, Dixieland and jazz music so characteristic of New Orleans and the Louisiana bayou. Or is it? With over three hours of music contained in the game itself, a phantasmagorical and hysterical audio landscape emerges for gaming's most unlikely hero, a voodoo doll named Vince.

Gaming veteran Steve Kirk composed the score, whose previous credits run from Atari to THQ. What he brought to Voodoo Vince, though, was a decade’s worth of playing and scoring experience for Saturday morning cartoons (The Twisted Tales of Felix the Cat), and silent film (Pandora’s Box, Sherlock Jr, Metropolis,) with the legendary Clubfoot Orchestra. To order the soundtrack online or for more information, visit http://www.xbox.com/voodoovince.

Brute Force - This soundtrack for Xbox video game includes a Bonus DVD containing ş the Xbox video game’s cinematic intro and previously unreleased footage featuring the main characters. The score is made up of ambient, tranquil sounds and orchestrations mixed with tribal techno and was composed by James Hannigan, Mike Reagan, Jesper Kyd and T.J. O’Leary. To order the soundtrack online or for more information, visit http://www.xbox.com/bruteforce.

Tao Feng: Fist of the Lotus – This techno driven soundtrack composed by Myer for the Xbox video game delivers a hard-hitting music backdrop for the hand-to-hand combat sequences. To order the soundtrack online or for more information, visit http://www.xbox.com/taofeng

Monday, November 24, 2003

Midway Ships SpyHunter 2
Steve @ 11:37 PM EST
Midway Games Inc., a leading software industry publisher and developer, announced today that SpyHunter(R) 2, the high-speed, mission-based, action/combat racing game today has shipped for the PlayStation(R)2 computer entertainment system and the Xbox video game system from Microsoft(R). Midway Games Inc. also announced today that the first all-new remake of its popular 1980's action-racing game, SpyHunter(R) has sold through more than 1.6 million units worldwide across all platforms since its late-September 2001 launch and continues to sell well as part of SCEA's "Greatest Hits" and Microsoft's "Platinum Hits" programs.

"The unique world of SpyHunter expands in SpyHunter 2, with an all-new devastatingly powerful and customizable G-8155 interceptor with brand-new vehicle transformations and the addition of a mysterious female agent," said Mark Beaumont, senior vice president - entertainment, Midway. "We are excited that the gaming community fully embraced the last edition of SpyHunter and we are confident the latest iteration, SpyHunter 2, will be equally well received."

SpyHunter 2 is a powerful progression in the mission to save the world from the sinister grip of the global criminal terrorist group, Nostra. SpyHunter 2 features an all-new, extremely powerful and customizable G-8155 Interceptor with new vehicle transformations such as an off-road 4-wheel drive vehicle and a snow ski. In addition, the gameplay includes upgradable offensive and defensive weaponry, as players fend off enemy vehicles throughout massive levels set across enormous regions. A new mysterious, sexy female agent has also been added to the mix to complement the intensity of SpyHunter 2's fast-paced action.

SpyHunter 2 introduces an all-new terrorist threat and it is up to Alec Sects to command the world's most sophisticated super spy vehicle to save the world. Exclusive weaponry such as an auto-tracking turret and an indestructible armored shield are combined with landmines and oil slicks for an impressive defense that will immerse gamers in 16 action-packed levels set across four gigantic regions. Each region is interactive and dynamic, allowing players to choose their own paths and fight against giant end-of-mission bosses, including eight all-new Nostra enemies. The excitement also continues with the latest version of the Interceptor's online computer, Leonie 2.0, designed to aid in mission-critical tactics and information.

In addition to incredible and continuing sales of the SpyHunter videogame released in fall 2001 and the highly anticipated release of SpyHunter 2, Universal Pictures has obtained an option to the rights to develop the SpyHunter(R) videogame franchise into a major live action motion picture. Universal has signed The Rock to portray Alec Sects, commander of the world's most sophisticated spy vehicle, the G-8155 Interceptor, and are eyeing to begin production in 2004 with a summer 2005 release.

Top 10 Xbox Games for October 2003
Steve @ 11:27 PM EST
Source: The NPD Group / NPD Funworld

1. NBA LIVE 2004 - EA
2. Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six 3 - UbiSoft
3. Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge - Microsoft
4. ESPN NBA Basketball - Sega
5. Madden NFL 2004 - EA
6. Conflict Desert Storm II - Gotham Games
7. Tony Hawk's Underground - Activision
8. Tiger Woods PGA 2004 - EA
9. SSX 3 - EA
10. Halo - Microsoft

Halo still hangin' on!

Friday, November 21, 2003

New Midtown Madness 3 Downloadable Vehicles
Steve @ 6:19 PM EST
Microsoft hasn't forgotten about MM3! Three new vehicles are now available to download for Midtown Madness 3.

The vehicles are:

  • Furious, a modified, two-door imported sports vehicle.
  • Carica, a sports coupe. Carica is a quick, stylish cruiser.
  • LastKraftWagen is a sneaky, deceptive vehicle. LastKraftWagen blends well with the city environment.

    Previously released downloadable "Midtown Madness 3" content:

    Car Pack 1

  • Trasher, an American muscle car
  • Ambassador, a 1940s era luxury car
  • Shopper, a shopping cart with a motor
  • R4000, a modern sports coupe

    Track Pack 1

  • 10 Checkpoint and 10 Blitz tracks from Washington, D.C.

    More vehicles and tracks will be available for download in the coming months.

    Thursday, November 20, 2003

    The XSN Sports Complete Line-up Has Shipped
    Steve @ 7:00 PM EST
    The wait is over! Microsoft Game Studios has announced that with today’s shipment of NHL Rivals 2004 to retail, the Fall sports portfolio is complete for XSNsports.com. NHL Rivals now joins NBA Inside Drive 2004, NFL Fever 2004, Links 2004, Top Spin and Amped 2 as fully supported games on XSNsports.com.

    The world’s elite gamers in all XSN™ titles are now able to compete as never before to claim ultimate bragging rights. Gamers are now logging on to XSNSports.com to create their very own leagues and tournaments and begin their quest towards sports gaming supremacy. Utilizing revolutionary new Web-based technology exclusive to XSN Sports titles, gamers can now fully enjoy online leagues and tournaments with friends or some of the best players in the world via Xbox Live. All XSN Sports games bring the power of the Xbox« and the PC together for the first time through XSNsports.com. XSNsports.com is enabling gamers to stay plugged into the competition and provide unparalleled stats and scouting capabilities.

    The next XSN Sports title to be released and enjoy the online functionality of XSNsports.com is RalliSport Challenge 2 in early spring.

    NHL Rivals 2004 Now Available
    Steve @ 2:23 PM EST
    Avs and Red Wings…Leafs and Canadiens…Rangers and Devils. Some teams just weren’t meant to get along. Historic hockey rivalries have captivated pucknuts for decades, but nothing will prepare them for the hard-hitting action they’re about to embark on.

    Microsoft Game Studios announced that “NHL Rivals™ 2004”, their first-ever hockey title made exclusively for Xbox as part of Microsoft’s XSN Sports brand, is now available at retail stores across North America. NHL perennial all-star Steve Yzerman will serve as both the cover athlete and spokesperson for the game.

    “NHL Rivals 2004” debuts on Xbox ice offering gamers the ultimate hockey experience both online and off. With the power of XSN Sports’ exclusive Web-based technology, hockey fans can customize their own leagues and tournaments to create their own rivalries and settle the score online with Xbox Live™. Stats and standings are posted to the centralized website XSN Sports.com and updated every 15 minutes so hard-earned bragging rights can never be disputed.

    Looking to make an immediate impact in the franchise’s rookie season, “NHL Rivals 2004” delivers a variety of features including:

  • The Ultimate Pickup Game. Go online, pick your teammates, and challenge other gamers in the ultimate game of pickup hockey. Settle rivalries on the pond in Central Park or in the middle of Red Square, where the action is intense and the rules are loose.

  • Rivalry mode. Rivalry Mode instantly puts gamers into a grudge match between historic rival teams like the Canadiens and Leafs, without the need to pick teams or set lineups.

  • NHL-style presentation. With John Davidson (“JD”) and Sam Rosen providing in-game analysis and commentary, “NHL Rivals 2004” brings the feel and excitement of a live NHL broadcast.

  • Advanced Passing. Move left, pass right, make no-look passes, drop it behind to an open winger, or chip one off of the boards.

  • Pivot Control. New ways to control your favorite players equals better maneuverability on offense and tighter, more effective back checking on defense.

    For more information on “NHL Rivals 2004”, visit http://www.xbox.com/nhlrivals2004 or http://www.xsnsports.com

    Magic: The Gathering - Battlegrounds Ships
    Steve @ 2:19 PM EST
    LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Nov. 19, 2003--Atari today announced that it has shipped "Magic: The Gathering(TM) - Battlegrounds," for the Xbox(R) videogame system from Microsoft and PC CD-ROM, to retail stores nationwide. Developed for Atari by Secret Level, "Magic: The Gathering - Battlegrounds" is based on the incredibly popular trading card game created by Wizards of the Coast, a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc. The game is filled with faithful card game translations of classic creatures, spells and enchantments, and presented in a visually stunning 3D game environment rife with real-time strategic fighting, devastating wizard arsenals and intense creature combat.

    "Based on one of the best game franchises ever created, `Magic: The Gathering - Battlegrounds' will truly usher in a new era of strategic fighting gameplay," said Steve Allison, vice president of marketing, Atari's Los Angeles Studio. "`Magic: The Gathering - Battlegrounds' is like no other `Magic' game to date -- it is incredibly fast paced, eye popping in full 3D and filled with tons of strategic fighting action. `Magic: The Gathering - Battlegrounds' also takes full advantage of Xbox Live, allowing players to compete against friends worldwide, track their stats and rank as well as download new creatures, spells, arenas and more."

    Created by award-winning game designer Richard Garfield and published by Wizards of the Coast, the "Magic: The Gathering(R)" trading card game made its debut in 1993. Today, there are more than 6 million "Magic" players worldwide. Just as in the "Magic(R)" card game, in "Magic: The Gathering - Battlegrounds" players will choose a duelist and any of Magic's five colors -- red, green, white, blue or black -- to attempt to reduce their opponent's life to zero. Of course, getting an opponent to zero will not be easy, players will have to utilize lightning reflexes, strategic brilliance and, on occasion, raw power to overcome an enemy.

    An important aspect to "Magic: The Gathering - Battlegrounds" will involve the player's mastery of the five colors in the development of his/her duelist. Each color has a proficiency at certain types of activities, such as attacking, defending and healing. Players will be able to select up to two colors and utilize creatures, spells and enchantments in any combination from those schools. For example, a red duelist may choose to augment the attacking powers of his Lava Dragon by adding powerful green enchantments to his arsenal or increase his resilience by using white's restorative powers instead.

    "Magic: The Gathering - Battlegrounds" will feature an engrossing single-player Quest Mode, featuring a plot that includes characters from "Magic: The Gathering" storylines while also introducing a variety of new characters and locales. Single-player Quest Mode will be comprised of six chapters, each featuring up to 15 quests. Most quests will involve battles with resident duelists, sub-bosses or bosses who often control a particular creature or spell that the player has not yet acquired. As the player progresses, the resident duelists get tougher and control more powerful spells.

    Additional Highlights:

    -- Xbox Live Enabled -- "Magic: The Gathering - Battlegrounds" takes full advantage of Xbox Live with a robust set of features, including online dueling and chat capabilities, a complete ranking system and statistic tracking. In addition, new creatures, sorceries, enchantments and arenas will be made available to players for download after launch.

    -- Creatures, Creatures, Creatures -- "Magic: The Gathering - Battlegrounds" will feature dozens of creatures that can be utilized by duelists throughout the game. Creatures include the Goblin King (red), who improves the performance of any other goblin under player control; the Krovikan Vampire (black), who can "resurrect" enemy units to serve his side after defeating them in combat; the unstoppable Avatar of Might (green), who can trample through defending forces and still attack the opposing duelist; the Warrior Angel (white), who can heal the controlling duelist with the damage she deals in combat; and Horned Turtle (blue), who acts as a barrier to all ground units.

    -- Super Sorceries -- While creatures get all the headlines, an effective sorcery can unleash a devastating, game-ending world of hurt with one simple spell cast. Red features some of the most devastating sorceries with show stoppers, including Inferno, Scorching Missile and Engulfing Flames, which all deal varying amounts of damage to creatures and duelists alike. Not to be left out, the other colors also feature a horde of deadly spells, including Hellfire (black), which instantly kills all non-black creatures; Overrun (green), which grants all green creatures bonuses to attack and defense as well as the ability to trample opponents; Spelljack (blue), which allows a blue duelist to literally steal an opposing player's spell if timed correctly; and, Demystify (white), which destroys an enemy duelist's last cast enchantment.

    -- Enchanting Enchantments -- Just as important as any creature or sorcery, enchantments can easily swing the tide of battle. Gratuitous Violence (red) grants all creatures improved attacking power; Test of Endurance (white) alters win conditions by granting the first player to reach 50 health the victory; Liability (black) causes damage to any duelist whenever their creatures perish; and Pendrill Mists (blue) steals mana from any duelist after a creature respawns in battle.

    -- Choose Your Battlefield -- "Magic: The Gathering - Battlegrounds" will initially feature more than 15 arenas to battle in. While featuring similar play mechanics, each arena is unique and relates to key geographic areas found in the "Magic" universe. Arenas include Maraxus' Volcanic Forge, Akroma's Castle Lucetos, Ihsan's Forbidden Fen and Multani's Everfall, among many others.

    "Magic: The Gathering - Battlegrounds" is now available at retail stores nationwide with an estimated retail price of $49.95 and an ESRB rating of "T" for Teen. Additional information about "Magic: The Gathering - Battlegrounds" can be found online at www.mtggame.com, which features downloadable and streaming game play movies, downloadable developer commentaries and strategies, screenshots, duelist information and much more.

    Unlocking Snoop Dogg in True Crime
    Steve @ 2:14 PM EST
    To Unlock Snoop, collect the 30 bones scattered throughout the city. Once unlocked, you have an hour to solve as many random crimes as you can for points. Depending upon your score, you get a different title, such as "Lap Dogg" or "Top Dogg."

    For those of you that have not found your first Snoop Dogg dog bone, here is a hint: In downtown across from City Hall (Spring St/Broadway), drive straight from the steps at City Hall and when you get past the bushes you will find the first bone. Once you have found the first bone all of the others will appear on the city map. But .... I bet you didn't know that the bones rotate and point at the next closest bone.

    Using a code to unlock him:

    From the city map screen press R trigger then L trigger, Dpad Up, Dpad Right, Dpad Left, Dpad Down, push down on the left analog stick then push down on the right analog stick, then press A, then X, then B, then Y. When you hear the chime, you have successfully imputed the cheat. Now make sure you go to a location and save the game before you exit to the main menu or the cheat will not work.

    Wednesday, November 19, 2003

    Dance Dance Revolution ULTRAMIX Ships
    Steve @ 5:15 PM EST
    REDWOOD CITY, CALIF. - November 19, 2003 - Konami Digital Entertainment - America, a division of Konami Digital Entertainment, Inc., today announced that the newest addition to its popular interactive dancing series, Dance Dance Revolution ULTRAMIX(tm) for the Xbox(tm) video game system from Microsoft, has shipped to retail outlets nationwide. The first Dance Dance Revolution(tm) game on the Xbox(tm), Dance Dance Revolution ULTRAMIX(tm) offers new songs and gameplay modes, including head-to-head competition online via the Xbox Live(tm) service.

    "Dance Dance Revolution ULTRAMIX(tm) introduces the worldwide dancing phenomenon to a whole new audience of gamers with an exciting roster of music, new gameplay innovations and online play," said Jason Enos, Product Manager at Konami Digital Entertainment - America. "From its inception, Dance Dance Revolution has developed a large fan base and now this community can be further connected to each other using Xbox Live(tm)."

    Dance Dance Revolution ULTRAMIX(tm) takes the dancing series to new heights with networked gameplay and downloadable content for Xbox(tm) owners. Gamers can compete with up to four players online, talk live with other Dance Dance Revolution(tm) fans and download new songs using the Xbox Live(tm) service. The game includes more than 45 hit tracks, and downloadable songs will be available in packs of 5 songs for $5.00.

    An all-new CHALLENGE MODE and BATTLE MODE have also been added to keep players on their feet all night long. Up to four players can compete simultaneously offline in BATTLE MODE for the ultimate party mix or players can dance their way through various rounds to reach specific objectives in CHALLENGE MODE. For fans that are looking for a workout, the WORKOUT MODE allows players to track calories during play. Also appearing is the popular EDIT MODE where gamers can customize their own dance steps.

    Dance Dance Revolution ULTRAMIX(tm) is available nationwide as a bundle pack containing the game and Konami's Dance Dance Revolution Controller for the Xbox(tm). Dance Dance Revolution ULTRAMIX(tm) is rated "E" for Everyone and is available at an SRP of $64.99.

    To learn more about Dance Dance Revolution ULTRAMIX(tm) please visit http://www.konamihwi.com/ddr_ultramix/index.html

    NBA Inside Drive 2004 Shoots to Stores
    Steve @ 5:13 PM EST
    With the NBA’s regular season in full swing, basketball fans have been craving their Xbox« hoops fix since opening tip off. They don’t have to wait any longer.

    Microsoft Game Studios announced today that “NBA Inside Drive 2004”, is now available on store shelves across North America. The third installment of the Xbox-exclusive basketball franchise makes its debut as the inaugural basketball title in Microsoft’s XSN Sports™ brand. With all-new online playability via Xbox Live™ and the free agent acquisition of three-time NBA Champion Shaquille O’Neal, who will serve as the game’s official cover athlete and spokesperson, “NBA Inside Drive 2004” is poised to take hoopsters beyond the box.

    Like many NBA teams this offseason, “NBA Inside Drive 2004” retooled its arsenal and returns to the court this year with a force, offering gamers the ultimate online basketball gaming experience. Fueled by the power of XSN Sports and its exclusive web-based technology, “NBA Inside Drive 2004” makes it possible for sports fans and sports gamers to create and customize their own leagues and tournaments on the centralized website XSNsports.com. Gamers can then go one-on-one with their best friends and bitter rivals online via Xbox Live and always stay plugged into the competition with stats and standings updated every 15 minutes so hard-earned bragging rights can never be disputed.

    “NBA Inside Drive 2004” also features advanced offensive controls including pressure sensitive passing for true give-and-goes, diving loose ball saves, dominating post moves and more responsive “juke” controls that will “break ankles” all over the hardwood. On defense, gamers can experience a new level of intensity with pressure-sensitive steals and Shaq-tacular shot blocks that will be sure to send a message league-wide.

    In addition, the all-star announce team of Kevin Calabro, Marques Johnson and Kenny Smith return with their unique blend of catchphrases and commentary to give “NBA Inside Drive 2004” NBA-style and broadcast-quality presentation.

    For more information on “NBA Inside Drive 2004” visit http://www.xbox.com/nbainsidedrive2004 and http://www.xsnsports.com

    The Search For The Sexiest Gamer Continues
    Steve @ 5:09 PM EST
    London, UK. - (November 19, 2003) – Still haven’t found your perfect companion? Don’t let the best opportunity of the fall pass you by – America’s hottest male and female gamers need your vote! Prove once and for all that computer and video gaming has moved into the hot zone as Gamer.tv (www.gamer.tv), a games site devoted to the world and lifestyle of video games and online games, enters the online finalist voting stage, where the successful entrants will be selected to go to the Grand Final of The Search For The Sexiest Gamer contest at http://www.sexiestgamer.com

    The Search For The Sexiest Gamer contest has spanned the past two months online, with the grand finale scheduled for December 12 in Los Angeles. From the finalists, one male and one female winner will win an all expenses paid trip to London. A simultaneous Search For the Sexiest Gamer contest in the UK will offer winners an all expenses paid trip to Hollywood, California. Site visitors can still submit their photos to win a funky Gamer.tv T-shirt or vote for their favorites in the competition, where viewers rate the sex appeal and game prowess of each entrant on a 1-10 judging scale. Need a quick update on what you’ve been missing? Take a look at the following article and get your sexiness up to speed: http://www.gamer.tv/page/feature/23107233.htm.

    For more details on The Search For The Sexiest Gamer, please go to www.sexiestgamer.com or www.gamer.tv

    Counter-Strike Now Available
    Steve @ 5:04 PM EST
    Microsoft Game Studios and Valve today announced that Counter-Strike™ for Xbox« has stormed store shelves in North America for an estimated retail price of $49.99 (U.S.). Counter-Strike, the most popular action game on the planet, explodes onto Xbox and Xbox Live, bringing with it unparalleled multiplayer tactical combat and new content exclusive to Xbox. Counter-Strike for Xbox includes all new counter-terrorist and terrorist teams, an impressive array of graphical enhancements and ultra-responsive controls optimized for Xbox. The heart-pounding action spans over 18 highly diverse maps including seven new multiplayer maps and 11 completely enhanced Counter-Strike fan favorites, as well as upcoming maps downloadable via Xbox Live.

    "Counter-Strike and Xbox Live are a perfect match," said Counter-Strike co-creator Jess Cliffe. "Featuring advanced graphics, new maps and weapons, and introducing the official Counter-Strike bot, Counter-Strike for the Xbox is the most robust version of the world's number 1 online action game. By partnering with Microsoft to deliver this experience on Xbox Live, we hope to set a new benchmark for online console gaming."

    The intense, team-based multiplayer combat of Counter-Strike for Xbox sprawls across 18 multiplayer maps and two thrilling game types: Bomb Defusal and Hostage Rescue. Players can battle against super-intelligent AI opponents offline in the single player game before taking their skills online against up to 16 players. Gamers have more than 20 real-life weapons at their disposal, including shotguns, sniper rifles, pistols and heavy weapons as well as new weapons effects such as grenade deafness and vision adjustments. HDTV and Dolby 5.1 support help add to the Counter-Strike experience, making gameplay even more compelling and immersive. Teammates can forget about frantically typing messages to each other; now they can bark orders at each other with the Xbox Communicator for the ultimate in tactical team-based play. The secure environment of Xbox Live ensures that gamers will experience nothing but cheat-free play. For more information visit http://www.xbox.com/counterstrike

    Tuesday, November 18, 2003

    Midway Arcade Treasures Ships
    Steve @ 11:43 PM EST
    CHICAGO -November 18, 2003 - Midway Games Inc., a leading software industry publisher and developer, announced today that Midway Arcade Treasures, the first next-generation console offering of more than 20 classic arcade games, has today shipped for the PlayStation(R)2 computer entertainment system. Midway Arcade Treasures is scheduled to ship on November 24, 2003 for the Xbox(R) video game system from Microsoft and on December 17, 2003 for the Nintendo GameCube(TM). All three products will carry a suggested retail price of $19.95.

    Midway Arcade Treasures features hundreds of hours of classic gameplay action from all-time arcade favorites including the fast-paced action of SpyHunter, the multiplayer collaboration of Gauntlet, the space-age adventure of Defender and the dueling combat of Joust, just to name a few.

    "Midway Arcade Treasures gives gamers over 20 of the best-known arcade titles of all time, plus great behind-the-scenes material, all for a terrific price," said Mark Beaumont, senior vice president - entertainment, Midway. "Anyone who ever played an arcade game will want this in their collection."

    With Midway Arcade Treasures, gamers will have the option of enjoying their favorite titles in either one-player or two-player game formats. The DVD content in the game features a history of many of the classic arcade hits and interviews with creators and developers of the games.

    Midway Arcade Treasures Games Include:

    * Jam-Packed Entertainment - More Than 20 Great Arcade Games Including:

    o SpyHunter
    o DefenderII
    o Gauntlet
    o Joust
    o Paperboy(R)
    o Rampage(R)
    o Marble Madness(R)
    o Robotron: 2084(R)
    o Smash TV(TM)
    o Joust 2
    o Rampart(R)
    o Blaster(R)
    o Sinistar(R)
    o Super Sprint(TM)
    o 720░ (R)
    o Toobin'(R)
    o KLAX(R)
    o SPLAT!(TM)
    o Satan's Hollow(TM)
    o Vindicators(TM)
    o Bubbles(R)
    o RoadBlasters(TM)

    * Nonstop Action - Hundreds of hours of classic gameplay action
    * DVD Content - Creator and developer interviews and game histories
    * Multiplayer Gameplay - One-player to four-player gameplay
    * Xbox Live - Post high scores and see who is truly the best

    The Third Wave of Platinum Hits Are Here
    Steve @ 5:18 PM EST
    Microsoft Corp. today announced the third wave of Platinum Hits titles for Xbox«. The Xbox Platinum Hits lineup provides gamers with a choice of the most proven and critically acclaimed titles for Xbox, all available for an estimated retail price of $19.99 (U.S.) at most retailers. The titles in the third wave of Platinum Hits are as follows:

    Conflict Desert Storm (Gotham Games)
    Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX 2 (Acclaim -- ships December 2003)
    Mech Assault (Microsoft Game Studios)
    Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance (Midway)
    Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon (Ubi Soft)
    Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell (Ubi Soft)
    WWE Raw (THQ Inc.)

    Whether adding to a growing personal game collection, or helping to satisfy an insatiable gaming need, Platinum Hits are an ideal way for gamers to own some of Xbox’s best titles for a incredible price. Previous Platinum Hits include Silent Hill 2, Dead or Alive 3, Tony Hawk Pro Skater 4 and Project Gotham Racing. A wide variety of Xbox games are being added to the Platinum Hits lineup all the time, so there is something for every type of gamer. Platinum Hits games are sold in silver packaging which includes the original product artwork. More information can be found at http://www.xbox.com/platinumhits

    R: Racing Evolution Goes Gold
    Steve @ 3:13 PM EST
    San Jose, Ca., (November 18, 2003) – Leading video games publisher Namco Hometek Inc. announced today that its highly anticipated racing game, R: Racing Evolution, has been approved for manufacturing. Coming to the Nintendo GameCube, the PlayStation«2 computer entertainment system and the Xbox« videogame system from Microsoft, R: Racing Evolution is scheduled to race into stores on December 9th.

    “Racing game fans expect a great deal out of their games and R: Racing Evolution will not disappoint,” said Yasuhiro Noguchi, Senior Director of Research and Development at Namco Hometek Inc. “R: Racing Evolution’s excellent graphics, hot licensed cars, challenging tracks, fantastic driving control physics, and a variety of racing styles will satisfy anyone looking for an awesome racing game experience.”

    Developed by the makers of the legendary Ridge Racer« and MotoGPü series of racing games at Namco Ltd., R: Racing Evolution offers the unique Racing Life mode, a story-driven racing game that chronicles the intense competition and deep rivalries found within the heart of the professional racing circuit through beautifully rendered CG sequences and adrenaline-pumping in-game race challenges. With four additional game modes at the player’s fingertips, R: Racing Evolution captures the essence of intense competition and immerses players deep within the racing circuit rivalries.

    Combining several unique racing styles, including GT, Rally, and Drag, and spectacular licensed vehicles that can be upgraded and tuned for optimal performance, R: Racing Evolution raises the bar for the racing game genre. With features such as the Arcade mode for straight-up arcade style thrills, the Event Challenge mode where players can test their driving skills under different race conditions, and the Interactive AI System, which enables players to dynamically affect CPU drivers’ competitive driving behavior during a race, R: Racing Evolution brings players closer to the heat of racing action than ever before.

    Project Gotham Racing 2 Released
    Steve @ 2:59 PM EST
    REDMOND, Wash. — Nov. 18, 2003 — The franchise that set the gold standard for racing excellence on Microsoft« Xbox« is set for a command performance on Xbox Live™. Microsoft Corp. today officially announced that “Project Gotham Racing« 2” arrived on store shelves this morning, leaving wicked skid marks along the way. The game is scheduled for release in Japan Nov. 20 and in Europe Nov. 28. “Project Gotham Racing 2” was developed by Bizarre Creations Ltd. in Liverpool, England.

    “Project Gotham Racing 2” is the follow-up to the smash hit “Project Gotham Racing.” Rewarding drivers for racing with speed, style and daring, “Project Gotham Racing 2” offers circuit-based racing through highly detailed city environments. Racers can choose from more than 100 of the hottest cars while speeding through the streets of 10 exciting cities, power-sliding around corners and accelerating through the straightaways before moving to a different venue. Players will also be able to race on the NŘrburgring Nordschleife circuit, Germany’s famous 14-mile-long track. In the single-player mode, gamers will progress through more than 230 races in Kudos World Series and Arcade racing modes.

    The racing game that rewards gamers for driving with style now sets the standard for online racing via Xbox Live online game service. Players can match up against seven other players online utilizing Xbox Live for intense grudge matches. For the first time, players using Xbox Live can also download “ghosts” — replays of the best races — and race against them or learn from them, and take online challenges that are rotated monthly or even weekly.

    “When we launched the Xbox console, ‘Project Gotham Racing’ was the game that defined racing on Xbox,” said Ed Fries, vice president of Microsoft Games Content at Microsoft. “The sequel is going to do for Xbox Live what the original did for the Xbox console — define online racing.”

    New Features

  • New kudos, more rewards. Kudos is a measure of a driver’s skill, style and daring. Gamers earn kudos for pulling off power slides, 360-degree turns, staying on the racing line, drafting and more in over 230 races.

  • The defining Xbox Live experience. Gamers can join eight-player races, take Scoreboard Challenges, download Live Ghosts of the best performers, keep track of statistics and talk “smack” using the Xbox Live communicator. To keep the game fresh, Xbox Live gamers will be able to download new content throughout the year.

  • More than 100 sweet rides. Gamers should get set to floss the streets in 14 classes of the world’s most desirable cars, ranging from supercars such as the Enzo Ferrari, Pagani Zonda and Porsche Carrera GT to classics such as the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing.

  • Worldwide racing. “Project Gotham Racing 2” captures the essence of 10 cities with photorealistic re-creations of Washington; Sydney, Australia; Chicago; Edinburgh, Scotland; Yokohama, Japan; Florence, Italy; and others.

    Where Does the Xbox Stand? The Numbers Are In
    Steve @ 12:00 AM EST
    Xbox Solidifies Number Two Position

    In spite of recent competitive price cuts, Xbox holds the number two position in the United States and Europe. According to the NPD Group, Xbox maintains the number two position for life-to-date console sales in the United States, with more than a one million unit lead over Nintendo’s GameCube. Based on sell-through data in Europe, Xbox has more than a 600,000 unit lead over Gamecube (Chart Track and GfK; through September 2003).

    Xbox is on track to meet its sales forecast of 14.5 – 16 million units shipped by June 2004. While recent price cuts have negatively impacted PS2 market share, Xbox has maintained overall consistent share, currently at 24% in the US (NPD) which is in line with analyst expectations. And in the first five weeks of the Xbox holiday retail offer, sales have increased 54 percent on a weekly run rate basis.

    Xbox Live Leads in Online Gaming

    The Xbox console experience is highlighted with a hot plate of more than 70 Xbox Live games by year’s end, well exceeding competitive offerings. Exclusive new online titles coming this holiday include Project Gotham Racing 2, Amped 2, Top Spin, Counter-Strike, Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge and Links 2004 (Microsoft Game Studios) Magic the Gathering (Atari); Sega GT Online (Sega); Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy (Lucas Arts); Rainbow Six 3 (UbiSoft Entertainment) and Ninja Gaiden (Tecmo). Moreover, Xbox Live continues to win over gamers and reviewers. At a recent IGN roundtable, 12 out of 15 columnists recommended the Xbox Live service over PlayStation 2 Online.

    Xbox Offers Strongest Portfolio Ever

    There are nearly 400 Xbox titles to choose from this holiday from a wide variety of publishers, such as new blockbusters including Rainbow Six: 3 and Prince of Persia from UbiSoft; Grand Theft Auto Double Pack and Max Payne 2 from Rockstar Games; Project Gotham Racing 2, Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge, and Counter-Strike from Microsoft Game Studios; True Crimes Streets of L.A. and Tony Hawk Underground (Activision); Medal of Honor, Lord of the Rings, and SSX 3 (Electronic Arts); and Ninja Gaiden from Tecmo. And one of the most innovative titles this holiday, Xbox Music Mixer, is expected to be a holiday favorite.

    Gamers are already showing their excitement for Xbox during the most popular time for software sales. October NPD TRSTS numbers reported the U.S. cumulative attach for Xbox increased from 5.9 in September to 6.1 (6.8 with retail pack-in games) in October, giving Xbox the continued distinction of having the highest attach rate on record for any next-generation console after almost two years in the market. This is evidenced by the number of Xbox titles continually appearing on best seller lists.

    In fact, according to Gamerankings.com, early reviews of Xbox titles are among the highest ever:

    Project Gotham Racing 2: 9.4 out of 10
    Top Spin: 9.0 out of 10
    Grand Theft Auto Double Pack 9.5 out of 10
    Crimson Skies 8.9 out of 10

    Holiday Offer Delivers Complete Xbox Experience

    And if that weren’t enough, the Xbox holiday retail offer is giving new gamers a four course meal of everything Xbox, including the Xbox console, two pack-in games, (Star Wars: The Clone Wars from Lucas Arts and THQ’s Tetris Worlds Live) and a two-month free trial to Xbox Live. This $179.99 offer promises to be a hit with holiday shoppers.

    And finally, Yahooligans has just announced Xbox as “the number one sought-after toy this holiday” as voted on by fans, beating out Nintendo’s Game Boy Advance SP and Sony’s PS2 for the top spot as the most coveted holiday toy this year. And the reasons are plentiful! Video games, music and movies, digital photos, karaoke and online communities are all part of the exciting Xbox experience this holiday.

    Monday, November 17, 2003

    Xbox Live One Year Later: The Online Surge
    Steve @ 11:57 PM EST
    REDMOND, Wash. - Nov. 17, 2003 - From Sioux Falls to Seoul, Xbox Live™ gamers are celebrating the one-year anniversary of Xbox Live, the fastest growing unified broadband gaming service ever. A passionate and growing community half a million strong, Xbox Live gamers have an insatiable appetite for riveting, interactive and social game experiences. A recently released survey by Zelos Group finds that more than 25 percent of owners of Xbox« are likely to go online this holiday season, compared to just under 15 percent of PS2 owners.(1)

    Three of the five top-selling Xbox games at retail last month are online-enabled, with two of those being Xbox Live exclusives.(2) One Xbox Live blockbuster in October - "Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six« 3" from Ubisoft - is attracting record numbers of gamers to the Xbox Live service. In a single, 24-hour period just days after release of "Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six 3," new records were set on Xbox Live, when online gamers spent more than a quarter of a million hours playing the game. That's more than 30 years of consecutive playing all in a single day.

    Because of its built-in Ethernet port and strong portfolio of Xbox Live-enabled titles, Xbox is the console of choice for gamers anxious to join the online trend. Illustrating demand for the online-ready console, Yahoo! announced this month that Xbox was named the No. 1 toy on the Yahooligans! Top Ten Toys list, beating out Nintendo's Game Boy Advance SP and Sony's PS2 for the top slot.

    November promises to be another big month for online games, with 14 Xbox Live titles slated to hit store shelves including highly anticipated games such as "Project Gotham Racing« 2" and "Counter-Strike™," both from Microsoft Game Studios, and "Star Wars« Jedi Knight«: Jedi Academy™" from LucasArts. By year's end, there will be more than 70 Xbox Live titles available at retail.

    "With one year of Xbox Live service under our belt, we've built a thriving community of passionate gamers, 92 percent of who say they would recommend the service to a friend,(3)" said Robbie Bach, chief Xbox officer. "Seeing online gaming really taking off this holiday season validates our vision for the future. Considering the aggressive worldwide rollout schedule for Xbox Live and the breadth of online games, our projection of one million Xbox Live subscribers by June 2004 is right on track."

    And given the recently announced Xbox holiday offer, gift givers can make online gaming wishes come true without breaking the bank. In the first five weeks of the Xbox holiday offer, retailers reported to Microsoft Corp. that sales have increased 54 percent on a weekly run-rate basis. The $179.99(4) (U.S.) special promotion includes the powerful Xbox console, a two-month trial subscription(5) to the Xbox Live service, and two popular Live-enabled games - Star Wars«: The Clone Wars™" from LucasArts and THQ Inc.'s "Tetris« Worlds™ Live."

    Online gaming also is proving to have worldwide appeal. Xbox Live rolled out to eight new countries in October and now encompasses a global community of 19 countries. In Korea, consumers clamored so much for the coveted Xbox Live service that the major retailers reported selling out of Xbox Live starter kits in the first 48 hours, driving the fastest attach rate and highest connectivity rate in Xbox Live history.

    With its unified service approach, Xbox Live allows gamers to easily find their friends online, talk to other players during game play, match up with players of any skill level and play their favorite games with competition from around the world.

    Take the Shuriken Challenge for I-Ninja
    Steve @ 11:53 PM EST
    San Jose, Ca., (November 17, 2003) - Leading video games developer and publisher Namco Hometek Inc. announced today the Shuriken Challenge for I-Ninja, its popular third person action adventure character-based game. Available at http://www.ininjagame.com/challenge , the Shuriken Challenge invites players to get a first taste of I-Ninja in a fun, competitive format, with the winner taking home a $500 shopping spree from GameStop. In the challenge, players use a computer mouse to move Ninja around his surrounding environment and click the mouse to throw shurikens at evil Ranx army members. Successful elimination of the Ranx earns points for Ninja, leading toward new Ninja belts. Also available at http://www.ininjagame.com , readers can preview the recently released official trailer for the game.

    Additionally today, Namco Hometek Inc. announced I-Ninja has been approved for manufacturing for Nintendo GameCubeü and the Xbox« videogame system from Microsoft. The game is scheduled to arrive on store shelves in December. I-Ninja will also ship for the PlayStation«2 computer entertainment system later this month.

    I-Ninja delivers an adrenaline-charged action-adventure experience in beautifully detailed environments; each uniquely designed to challenge the rookie protagonist Ninja and his special abilities. With a small, earthlike planet called “The World” as his stage, Ninja travels from beaches to mountains and beyond earning new Ninja belts, recovering lost relics and facing his ultimate nemesis. Along the way, he fights a cast of challenging enemies and overcomes obstacles as he attempts to outwit guardians, masters, mini bosses and evil army henchmen. Challenging the powers of gravity, Ninja grinds rails, hovers long distances with a sword-copter, utilizes powerful chains and grapple hooks, runs on walls and performs other smart-aleck ninja moves to navigate through any situation. Ready to get your Ninja on? Visit http://www.ininjagame.com for more information.

    Project Gotham Racing 2 Soundtrack
    Steve @ 11:46 PM EST
    New York, NY - The Malaco Music Group announces that it will simultaneously release three compilation CD soundtracks to the popular Microsoft« Xbox« video game, “Project Gotham Racing« 2,” the second installment in Microsoft Game Studios' best selling racing franchise exclusive to the Xbox video game system. Each CD contains 15 of the hottest tracks from “Project Gotham Racing 2” and features various artists such as Smilez And Southstar, Majestic 12 and Damone. Each CD soundtrack covers a different style of music – representing the driver’s radio station selection - so gamers and music fans will be able to choose from the three releases appropriately titled, “Project Gotham Racing 2 - Hip-Hop”, “Project Gotham Racing 2 - Alternative Rock” and “Project Gotham Racing 2 – Electronica.” The soundtrack CDs, distributed exclusively by Select-O-Hits, will be in stores November 18, 2003 for a suggested retail price of $14.99. “Project Gotham Racing 2,” the new racing game that rewards gamers for driving with style, was developed by Bizarre Creations Ltd. in Liverpool, England.


    “Whether a person has the video game or not, these soundtracks will appeal to them, as they are made up of today’s hottest underground tracks that have been hand picked based upon consumer demographics.” stated Tommy Couch Jr., Vice President of Malaco Music Group. “For those who own an Xbox video game system and ‘Project Gotham Racing 2’, these CD soundtracks will allow them to hear their favorite music from the games even when they are not playing. Having access to the music on a CD will now allow them to take their favorite tracks with them and play the CD via any media that supports Compact Discs. This will not only allow the fans more accessibility to the music, but also offer extra exposure for the artists on the discs.”

    Xbox Evolved Making a Comeback: Forums Now Open
    Steve @ 2:54 AM EST
    Rembember Xbox Evolved? Well guess what? Our friends are making a comeback! Please register at their forums, as they are now open for business.

    Xbox Evolved Forums

    Saturday, November 15, 2003

    Xbox's 2 Year Anniversary
    Steve @ 8:01 PM EST
    Today marks the 2-year anniversary of Xbox's release. Happy Birthday Xbox! Our green and black box sure has had a good run for its first 2 years. For us, the future looks even more promising. Make sure you go out and buy your Xbox a present.

    Xbox Live is also one year old today. Have a good weekend.

    Friday, November 14, 2003

    Cabela's Dangerous Hunts Released
    Steve @ 9:15 PM EST
    MINNEAPOLIS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Nov. 14, 2003--Activision Publishing, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Activision, Inc., challenges players to once again test their virtual hunting skills with an all-new Cabela's(R) Dangerous Hunts for the PlayStation(R)2 computer entertainment system and Xbox(R) video game system. The latest title in the best-selling Cabela's franchise provides players with a hunt or be hunted experience, where they stalk or get stalked by prey through detailed surroundings enveloped by such natural boundaries as canyons, mountains, dense forest and lakes. The game features changing seasons and realistic weather conditions which deliver an added adrenaline rush of excitement as players encounter more than 27 big game animals in 12 exotic locations around the world with the reality of dangerous encounters. Cabela's(R) Dangerous Hunts is currently available at retail stores nationwide for a suggested retail price of $29.99 and is rated "T" by the ESRB.
    "Cabela's(R) Dangerous Hunts presents players with a series of hunting challenges that emphasize their skills which improve based on their performance in the game," said Patrick Kelly, Vice President of Studios, Activision Value Publishing, distributor of the titles. "For the first time ever, this is a hunting game where the hunter can easily become the hunted."

    Cabela's(R) Dangerous Hunts challenges players' hunting abilities with a selection of playable modes either through a first-person view that features different animals, scenery, and challenges. Career Hunt mode, the primary game mode, progresses over time through two types of game play -- challenges and charters. The hunt begins during the fall and upon successful completion of the sequence, the season progresses to winter where the player will be dealt a new list of challenges and charters to select from. Seasons continue to change each time a hunt is completed. A diverse array of hunting challenges present themselves to players, but they may also face unique challenges derived from previous hunting encounters. A unique player-hunter character will be created through each progression of challenges and charters. Each player's experience will differ from hunt to hunt.

    Additionally, gamers may select from two other hunting modes. Quick Hunt mode allows players to fashion a hunt to their specifications. In this mode, they single out an animal to hunt, decide which region and season to hunt in, select the gear they intend to use and immediately embark on the hunt. In Action Zone mode, players face 12 levels of non-stop dangerous animal action while they navigate through the waypoints on each map.

    The hunter profiles in Cabela's(R) Dangerous Hunts are character specific with evolving skill attributes including aim, stealth, strength, tracking and endurance. Gameplay success and failure throughout the hunts determine the evolution of the player-hunter's skill and attributes as well as the availability of new hunts over time.

    To help perfect the player's aiming with both stationary and moving targets, the game features a target practice range. Additionally, a hunting guide and maps provide detailed information about specific hunting regions and individual game animals.

    In order to hunt large and often unpredictable big game animals, players must purchase equipment with money earned by taking big trophies. Players acquire a wide selection of equipment, which include firearms, clothing, tents, and scents. In the event of a dangerous encounter with an aggressive animal, players have the ability to defend themselves by quickly drawing a personal firearm or knife.

    Thursday, November 13, 2003

    Microsoft Announces the Release of Links 2004
    Steve @ 9:45 PM EST
    It’s in the hole! It’s in the hole! With this year’s golf season drawing close to completion for most of the world, golf fans will be relieved that tee times are still available on some of the most beautiful courses. Microsoft Game Studios has announced today that “Links 2004,” the best-selling PC golf franchise, will now tee-off exclusively on XboxÔ as the first golf title in the XSN™ Sports portfolio. Featuring top golfers Sergio Garcia, Mike Weir and Annika Sorenstam, “Links 2004” is set to hit store shelves on November 13th.

    “Links 2004” delivers one of the most realistic and competitive golf experiences available for Xbox. As part of the XSN Sports brand, “Links 2004” offers gamers the ability to create and compete in their own online golf tournaments via Xbox Live™ while keeping track of hard-earned stats on their own virtual sports page, the centralized website XSNsports.com. Golf fans only have one short week to hone their skills in “Links 2004” against challengers both online and off as all XSN Sports’ features and functionality will officially become available to golf gamers on November 18.

    Utilizing revolutionary new Web-based technology exclusive to XSN Sports titles, players can enjoy friendly rounds online with old golf buddies or intensely competitive tournaments with some of the best players in the world via Xbox Live. Tournaments will be organized through the centralized Web site, XSNsports.com, which will also provide stats and scouting capabilities.

    Some of the exciting features include:

  • Play like the pros. “Links 2004” makes players feel like real pros as they compete in tournaments broadcast in remarkably realistic TV-style presentation featuring commentary from golf analyst Ken Venturi.

  • XSN Sports. All XSN Sports games bring the power of the Xbox and the PC together for the first time through XSNsports.com, so gamers are always plugged into the competition. Golf fans can set up their own “Links 2004” tours and tournaments to battle their closest friends, settle the score with bitter rivals or challenge the best the online world has to offer. Over ten modes of play let you decide how to compete: match play, stroke, skins, best-ball, and other team-based games built for multiplayer and Xbox Live competition.

  • Championship courses. Eight stunning, immersive golf courses including real international courses like St Andrews, Loch Lomond, Superstition Mountain, Grey Wolf, Four Seasons Resort Aviara, Mauna Lani, New South Wales, Oakmont and an additional fantasy course come alive to make golf fans feel like they’re really there.

  • Detailed golf environments. Hitting the sweet spot for a 300-yard drive, and rolling in a 20-foot putt for a birdie—all while enjoying the dew-covered fairways and crosscut greens is all in a day’s work with “Links 2004.” The top courses from around the world come to life with animated water, ocean surf, 3-D trees, divots and galleries of golf fans that react to your shots. The lifelike courses also feature sun-cast shadows that change depending on the time of day and golf course wildlife, such as birds, ducks, squirrels, and gophers.

  • Control over each and every shot. The Real-Time Swing feature gives gamers complete control over every shot. Advanced players have the opportunity to draw, fade, punch, chip, or flop to win a hole. The left thumbstick acts as the club, with ball physics factoring in speed, tempo, direction, and course conditions in real time.

    Live the Career of a Tour Champion.

  • The Challenge: Gamers must start a career with virtually nothing but desire, some talent, and average equipment.

  • The Players: Video golfers can build their own character with unique physical characteristics, skills, apparel, and personality.

  • The Tools: Earning sponsorships and branded equipment from TaylorMade, Callaway, Cleveland Golf and more give gamers the tools they’ll need to master the links.

  • The Stage: Golf fans can challenge some of golf’s best players including Sergio Garcia, Annika Sorenstam, Mike Weir, and Jesper Parnevik and win coveted championships on the way to becoming the world’s #1 player.

  • More Content to Come. New downloadable courses and XSN Sports sponsored prize tournaments mean there will always be new holes to master, new opponents to challenge and cool stuff to win.

    SpyHunter 2 Reaches Gold Status
    Steve @ 5:27 PM EST
    Midway Games Inc., a leading software industry publisher and developer, announced today that SpyHunter 2, the high-speed, mission-based, action/combat racing game is has gone gold and will to ship to stores on November 24, 2003 for the PlayStation2 computer entertainment system and on December 3, 2003 for the Xbox video game system from Microsoft.

    SpyHunter 2 is a powerful progression in the mission to save the world from the sinister grip of the global criminal terrorist group, Nostra. SpyHunter 2 features an all-new, extremely powerful and customizable G-8155 Interceptor with new vehicle transformations such as an off-road 4-wheel drive vehicle, a jet ski and a snow mobile. In addition, the gameplay includes upgradable offensive and defensive weaponry, as players fend off enemy vehicles throughout massive levels set across enormous regions. A new mysterious, sexy female agent has also been added to the mix to increase the intensity of SpyHunter 2's fast-paced action.

    SpyHunter 2 introduces an all-new terrorist threat and it is up to Alec Sects to command the world's most sophisticated super spy vehicle to save the world. Exclusive weaponry such as an auto-tracking turret and an indestructible armored shield are combined with landmines and oil slicks for an impressive defense that will immerse gamers in 16 action-packed levels set across four gigantic regions from Russia, New Orleans, The Swiss Alps and Southeast Asia. Each region is interactive and dynamic, allowing players to choose their own paths and fight against giant end-of-mission bosses, including eight all-new Nostra/Phoenix enemies.

    SpyHunter 2 Key Features:

  • The world's most powerful counterintelligence combat vehicle, the completely redesigned G-8155 Interceptor, complete with new advanced weaponry and equipment and new vehicle transformations including the sleek snowmobile and four-wheel drive off-road vehicle.

  • An advanced, customizable weapons system for the G-8155 Interceptor that controls auto-tracking turrets, a prototype cloaking device and an indestructible armored shield.

  • More than 15 heart-pounding missions set in exotic locales, ranging from the jungles of Southeast Asia to the highlands of the Swiss Alps.

  • All-new Weapons Van, Weapons Boat and IES "Hawk" VTOL Dropship to support mission against NOSTRA.

  • All-new Turret Gun gameplay action that takes you out of the driver's seat and into the gunner's scope!

  • Giant boss battles pit players against classic enemies, such as the Switchblade and Enforcer, as well as all-new villains such as the Wasp, Road Baron, and the Airborne Gunship!

  • A compelling story of global intrigue and international espionage -- players must uncover NOSTRA's sinister plans for world domination and discover the secrets of a mysterious female agent.

  • Leonie 2.0, the latest version of the Interceptor's online computer, designed to provide mission-critical information and tactical advice during missions.

  • All-new 360-degree radar map to help indicate where the opponents are relative to you and the environment, which enhances the ongoing action taking place around you.

  • Three multiplayer modes for up to two players including Spy Race, Spy Hunt and Spy Challenge.

  • Exclusive SpyHunter 2 theme track, "Dark Carnival," composed and performed by Vanessa Carlton.

    NHL Rivals 2004 Goes Gold
    Steve @ 4:57 PM EST
    Sharpen those skates! Microsoft Game Studios today announced that NHL Rivals 2004, the first hockey title made exclusively for the XSN Sports brand, has gone gold. NHL Rivals 2004 is scheduled to skate onto store shelves in North America on November 18 for an estimated retail price of $49.99 (U.S.) and is rated "E" for Everyone.

    NHL Rivals 2004 allows hockey fans to take their favorite NHL team on a quest to win the Stanley Cup from the comforts of their own home. As the latest title in the XSN Sports brand, NHL Rivals 2004 immerses gamers into one of the most realistic and exciting hockey experiences ever created. With more than 1500 in-game motion-captured animations, hockey fans will be able to take wrist shots, one-timers and slap shots just like real NHL superstars. Not settling on just looking like NHL, NHL Rivals 2004 feels like NHL in every sense. Players’ real-world personalities and playing tendencies are incorporated into their NHL Rivals counterpart. Every player is equipped with a “frustration fuse" -- the shorter it is, the more likely he will be to drop the gloves when play heats up. Gamers will be able to settle infamous grudge matches such as the Canadiens versus the Maple Leafs in the Rivalry Mode or create their own rivalries online using Xbox Live. With support for up to six different Xbox consoles online, there will be plenty of rivalries to go around. As an XSN Sports title, users can customize teams and leagues and view schedules from the centralized site, XSNsports.com. Gamers can also download quarterly roster updates, All-Star Game rosters, updated player ratings and more. For more information, please visit http://www.xbox.com/en-us/nhlrivals2004/default.htm

    ESPionage Gets New Name: Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy
    Steve @ 3:31 PM EST
    CHICAGO - November 13, 2003 - Midway Games Inc. today announced Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy, an innovative action game that features extensive Psi (mind) powers. Scheduled for release in Summer 2004 on the PlayStation(r)2 computer entertainment system and the Xbox(r) video game system from Microsoft, Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy is an original, action game experience that tests the player's ultimate weapon- the mind.

    "The variety of wide-ranging Psi powers used in Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy offers a fresh, exciting take on the action genre," said Mark Beaumont, senior vice president - entertainment, Midway. "The game strategically integrates Psionic powers and weapons combat, opening up creative new ways for players to experience the game."

    Formerly known as ESPionage, Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy is set in a near-future environment dominated by technology and order. The action-packed gameplay is an amalgam of Psi powers and weapons combat. Players take on the role of Nick Scryer, an elite American Psi-Operative soldier who must combat The Movement, a fierce terrorist organization set to overthrow world order. Scryer must fight a deadly horde of brainwashed super soldiers by using his Psionic powers including - Telekinesis (lift and throw people and items using mental powers), Pyrokinesis (throw walls of fire), Mind Control (take control of another character's body) and many more. The only way for Scryer to stop The Movement and its Psi agents is to use his psionic powers and beat them at their own "mind game."

    Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy features a non-linear, open-ended game design, challenging players to use different powers and tactics to complete a specific task. During the action-packed gameplay, players will encounter enemies with sophisticated AI, forcing them to utilize their Psionic abilities in a strategic manner. As players proceed through the eight massive and detailed levels, they will go head-to-head against six different bosses, each with their own specialty Psi power. Only as Scryer's mysterious past is unveiled, including his connection to The Movement's leader, does he begin to realize the potential of his awakening psionic abilities.

    Midway Games Inc. is a leading developer, publisher and marketer of interactive entertainment software. Midway videogames are available for play on all major videogame platforms including the PlayStation(r)2 computer entertainment system, Xbox, Nintendo GameCube(tm) and Game Boy(r) Advance.

    For more information about Midway Games visit http://www.midway.com

    Wednesday, November 12, 2003

    Atari Ships Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines
    Steve @ 7:32 PM EST
    LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Nov. 11, 2003--Atari today announced that it has shipped "Terminator(R) 3: Rise of the Machines(TM)," for the PlayStation(R) 2 computer entertainment system, the Xbox(TM) videogame system from Microsoft and Game Boy(R) Advance, to retail stores nationwide. Based on this summer's blockbuster motion picture from Intermedia, IMF and C2 Pictures, "Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines" is a first-person action game that allows players to become Arnold Schwarzenegger as the Terminator. Developed by Black Ops, "Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines" marks the first time Arnold Schwarzenegger's voice and likeness has ever appeared in a videogame -- the involvement of Claire Danes, Nick Stahl and Kristanna Lokken rounds out the stellar videogame cast.

    "With both the `Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines' movie DVD and videogame releasing today, fans can watch the Terminator in action on their home theaters and one minute later become the Terminator on their favorite game system," said Steve Allison, vice president of marketing, Atari, Inc.'s Los Angeles studio. "The `Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines' videogame takes the movie to an entirely new level. Not only do players get to play through the plot of the feature film nearly line for line, but they'll also be able to experience first-hand everything that happened just prior to the feature film's start. How was the Terminator sent back this time? How did he kill John Connor? And, what does SkyNet really look like? All of these questions, and more, are answered in the game."

    "Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines" continues Atari's trend of bringing outstanding film properties to life in the interactive realm complete with Hollywood talent, feature film footage, dramatic plots that interweave with the movie, authentic sound tracks and much more. "Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines" features 15 minutes of footage taken straight from the blockbuster film that helps set up key situations and story-related game elements. An additional five-minute segment, filmed by director Jonathan Mostow, exclusive to the DVD and videogame, features Arnold Schwarzenegger and sheds new light on the mythology behind the origins of the Terminator. Players will also be treated to extensive behind-the-scenes footage from both the videogame and feature film, including an eight-minute segment detailing the entire making of the game.

    The "Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines" videogame storyline will weave in and out of the movie script as players encounter scenarios similar to those faced by the Terminator where John Connor must be protected from the threat of the T-X and the initial rise of the machines, to the apocalyptic future where the War of the Machines is waged on all fronts. While following the feature film's plot closely, "Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines" will go one step further by providing fans of the Terminator series with a deeper look into the movie's universe and the role of the Terminator, a futuristic fighting machine reprogrammed to save humanity from the SkyNet Armageddon.

    As the Terminator, players will face swarms of enemies in first-person action from the wastelands of the future to present-day Los Angeles. Military bases, laboratories and downtown Los Angeles are just a few of the more than 20 unique locations found in the game, which have been taken straight from the current Terminator timeline of events. In addition, more than 20 futuristic and modern-day weapons will be at the player's disposal for use in terminating any enemy in the most efficient manner possible, including the SkyNet Arc-Laser, Tech-Com Micro Rocket Launcher and the SkyNet Assault Cannon.

    Much like the feature film, when Terminators clash in "Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines" all hell is sure to break loose. Terminators are designed to utilize the most readily and efficient means available to eliminate any particular foe -- when that enemy is a Terminator this leads to absolutely brutal hand-to-hand combat. "Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines" will allow players to engage in true movie-like Terminator combat as they repeatedly face the ultimate killing machine, the T-X, throughout the single-player game. Smashing opponents into walls, massive two-handed chops and crushing kicks are just a few of the dozens of moves in the Terminator's arsenal.

    A unique twist in the "Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines" story will also allow players to operate the Terminator before it was reprogrammed in the future to save John Connor. As a result, players will be able to test their terminating skills against battle-hardened Tech Com special forces from the future as they fight alongside and utilize SkyNet's advanced weaponry, including Future Killer tanks and flyers, fixed gun emplacements as well as other Terminators in an effort to crush the last remnants of mankind.

    "Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines" is now available at retail stores nationwide with an estimated retail price of $49.95 and an ESRB rating of "T" for Teen. Additional information about "Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines" can be found online at http://www.t3game.com

    NBA Inside Drive 2004 Preparing for Release
    Steve @ 7:09 PM EST
    Microsoft Game Studios today announced that NBA Inside Drive 2004 for Xbox« has gone gold and is scheduled to slam dunk into stores in North America on November 18 for an estimated retail price of $49.99 (U.S). As the featured XSN Sports basketball title, NBA Inside Drive 2004 allows gamers to practice their A-game offline and then to take their hoop dreams online to compete for the ultimate courtside bragging rights against the world’s best.

    NBA Inside Drive 2004 offers hoopsters improved AI, more responsive "juke" controls for jaw-dropping one-on-one isolation moves, revamped passing schemes and defenses that deliver a new level of intensity to stealing and blocking. From power-dunks to hook shots to drop-steps, big men will finally get the respect they deserve with a series of new low-post moves that will enable gamers to dominate the post just like Shaq.

    With its fluid gameplay and lifelike player models (decked out in tattoos and cornrows), NBA Inside Drive 2004 is taking the game online with the help of Xbox Live. NBA Inside Drive 2004 will utilize XSN Sports' exclusive and revolutionary technology to unite sports fans and gamers into an intense and competitive basketball gaming community. Acting as the ultimate general manager, hoops fans can control and build leagues with friends, draft players and compete online using Xbox Live. Exclusive to XSN Sports titles, gamers will be able to view their league's up-to-date scores, standings and stats each morning on a virtual sports page. Whether it is on the hardwood, on the playground or online, NBA Inside Drive 2004 will be looking to win the championship this year. For more information, please visit http://www.xbox.com/en-us/nbainsidedrive2004/default.htm . NBA Inside Drive 2004 is rated "E" for Everyone.

    Tuesday, November 11, 2003

    Medal of Honor: Rising Sun Begins Shipping
    Steve @ 3:03 PM EST
    REDWOOD CITY, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Nov. 11, 2003--Step into the boots of a Marine Corporal, survive the infamous attack on Pearl Harbor and engage in a life and death struggle to drive the Japanese Army from the Pacific as Electronic Arts has begun shipping Medal of Honor(TM) Rising Sun to retailers nationwide under the EA GAMES(TM) brand. The fourth console installment of the award-winning series, Medal of Honor Rising Sun is an immersive and authentic WWII experience in either single-player or multiplayer mode and is available for the PlayStation(R)2 computer entertainment system, the Xbox(TM) video game system from Microsoft, and the Nintendo GameCube(TM).

    Set in the Pacific Theatre of Operations from 1941-1944, Medal of Honor Rising Sun gives players the chance to experience the courage and sacrifice of those who accepted the challenge to combat Japanese Imperial forces in some of the most brutal campaigns of WWII. Players will assume the role of Marine Corporal Joseph Griffin as he survives the attack on Pearl Harbor, then joins the battle against the Japanese in the Philippines, Guadalcanal, Singapore, and Burma. Armed with a variety of authentic weapons and joined in battle by an array of historical and fictional characters including squads of allied soldiers, it's up to players to stop the Japanese war machine in its tracks. Players can also team up with a friend in the all-new co-op multiplayer mode or battle in 4-player splitscreen mode on all consoles. Along the way, players will earn awards and medals for their meritorious service in defeating the enemy.

    In a first for the Medal of Honor(TM) franchise, PlayStation 2 console gamers can join intense online multiplayer action for up to eight players. Players will go head to head across nine levels ranging from the jungles of the Pacific to the streets of the Orient. Players can find and join games using the EA matchmaking service and will be able to choose from a selection of Axis and Allied soldiers. Once play begins, soldiers can communicate with voice chat using a USB headset for more coordinated team play or taunting competitors. (USB headset and broadband connection required). An Internet connection, network adaptor, and memory card for the PlayStation 2 console are required for online play.

    Medal of Honor Rising Sun was developed by EA Los Angeles. As with the previous Medal of Honor titles, the producers sought counsel from numerous outside expert sources to make certain the game is as historically authentic and realistic as possible. EALA continues to work closely with the Congressional Medal of Honor Society to ensure Medal of Honor Rising Sun reflects the ideals and integrity of the prestigious Medal of Honor. In addition, Capt. Dale Dye, who served as military technical advisor on the previous titles in the Medal of Honor franchise, continues his efforts with the Medal of Honor Rising Sun team to ensure the authenticity of the game.

    Medal of Honor Rising Sun is rated "T" (Teen) by the ESRB and has a US MSRP of $49.99. The official Medal of Honor game website is http://www.mohrs.ea.com

    Marilyn Manson's Music in Spawn: Armageddon
    Steve @ 3:02 PM EST
    SAN JOSE, Ca. (November 11, 2003) – Interactive entertainment publisher Namco Hometek Inc. announced today that "Spawn: Armageddon," the Todd McFarlane-inspired action adventure title, will feature music from one of today's most talked-about and controversial musicians, Marilyn Manson. In what is seen by many to be the perfect pairing, Manson's title "Use Your Fist and Not Your Mouth" from the album "The Golden Age of Grotesque" is featured in the "Spawn: Armageddon" video game soundtrack. Video game fans will have an opportunity to enjoy the gothic-like "Spawn: Armageddon" soundtrack in the game this November when the title ships for the Nintendo GameCube(TM), the PlayStation(R)2 computer entertainment system and the Xbox(R) video game system from Microsoft.

    "We anticipate Spawn fans everywhere will be just as excited about our recent collaboration with Marilyn Manson on the 'Spawn: Armageddon' project as we are," said Stacey Hirata, Director of Marketing for Namco Hometek Inc. "With a unique personality such as Spawn's, we were faced with the challenge of implementing a soundtrack that not only made sense to the game's theme, but one that also added to the already established dark storyline. In Marilyn Manson, we feel like our team was able secure the very best talent that music had to offer and we hope Spawn enthusiasts will agree."

    "Spawn: Armageddon" is a 3rd person action/adventure title, based on Todd McFarlane's best-selling comic book character. With a dark, shadowy storyline that encompasses the first 99 comic books in the Spawn series, "Spawn: Armageddon" will feature Spawn's infamous living symbiotic costume, Hell Powers, Agony -- the axe that can only be wielded by Spawn, and an arsenal of weapons including a missile launcher, sawed off shotgun, mini-guns, sub machine guns and more. Encountering enemies such as the Meat Puppet, Angel Warrior, Berserker and the Whip Demon, Spawn must battle his way through 23 missions with interactive and destructible environments as he struggles to break free from the forces of Heaven and Hell.

    "Spawn is a very distinctive character that has an attitude all his own, and I am ecstatic that they have found music that can match the attitude of our character," said Todd McFarlane, creator of the Spawn comic book series.

    For additional information on "Spawn: Armageddon" visit http://www.namco.com

    Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy Released
    Steve @ 3:00 PM EST
    CALABASAS HILLS, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Nov. 11, 2003--THQ Inc. today announced the release of "Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy"(TM) for PlayStation(R)2 computer entertainment system, Xbox(TM) videogame system from Microsoft and Nintendo GameCube(TM). Fueled by an immersive storyline and Hollywood-quality cinematics, the critically acclaimed "Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy" transports gamers beyond the deserts of Egypt to amazing worlds based on fantasy and mythology. Developed by Eurocom Entertainment Software, "Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy" is now available at retail outlets nationwide.

    "`Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy' provides the interactive immersion and engagement that is the hallmark of successful games," said Tiffany Ternan, senior vice president, North American Sales and Operations, THQ. "With `Sphinx,' we believe we have a holiday title whose overall appeal will resonate with both experienced players as well as the casual consumer."

    About "Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy"

    "Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy" thrusts gamers into a magical world of action, adventure and mystery. Set in an entirely original universe and styled with a vivid Ancient Egyptian flavor, players set out on an epic quest to explore new worlds, uncover dark secrets and foil the evil plans of Set, the evil brother of Tutankamen. Through the game's innovative dual-protagonist storyline, players will navigate two heroes on separate journeys spanning lush outdoor environment crawling with enemies, labyrinth-like mazes and sprawling cities, as they unwrap the evil plans of Set and his minions. Players guide Sphinx, the headstrong demi-god, on a journey that will require a heavy dose of wits, agility and special power as he seeks to find the stolen mystical crowns. The Mummy's unique ability to fumble through and solve complex puzzles while accidentally setting himself on fire is one of the many facets of his game play that makes his role in "Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy" more than that of a sidekick. "Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy" is a completely original action-adventure game that combines dynamic dual-protagonist game play, original character designs, spectacular visuals and innovative technology to offer a unique play experience.

    For more information on THQ's "Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy" and the rest of THQ's 2003 product lineup, please visit http://www.thq.com

    THQ Ships 'The Fairly OddParents'
    Steve @ 2:57 PM EST
    THQ(R) Inc. and Nickelodeon today announced the release of The Fairly OddParents: Breakin' Da Rules(TM) for the PlayStation(R)2 computer entertainment system, Microsoft's Xbox(TM) game console and Nintendo's GameCube(R) and Game Boy(R) Advance. Based on Nickelodeon's chart-topping show, The Fairly OddParents: Breakin Da Rules is currently available at retail outlets throughout North America.

    "The Fairly OddParents is currently the highest rated program on all of kids' TV," stated Tiffany Ternan, Senior Vice President, North American Sales and Distribution, THQ. "We're thrilled to bring a cool interactive version of this hit Nickelodeon property to all the major gaming consoles, further exemplifying THQ and Nickelodeon's continued commitment to delivering top quality videogames."

    "We're happy to give kids and fans of the show the chance to play The Fairly OddParents on major consoles this year," stated Steve Youngwood, Senior Vice President, Nickelodeon Media Products Group. "THQ has done a great job capturing the creative genius of Timmy Turner and the wacky humor that makes The Fairly OddParents a successful franchise."

    In The Fairly OddParents: Breakin' Da Rules, the ultimate Fairy God Parents' guidebook to granting wishes, "Da Rules," has disappeared, leaving Cosmo and Wanda without their magical powers. As Timmy, the player enters huge immersive levels inspired by episodes of the TV show. In these colorful worlds, Timmy must battle evil yugo-potaimians, warp back in time to outwit the ancient Egyptians and use his super cleft powers to recover all the pages from "Da Rules" book to restore his Fairy God Parents' spellbinding powers. The Fairly OddParents: Breakin' Da Rules was developed by Blitz Games Limited.

    For more information on The Fairly OddParents: Breakin' Da Rules, or the rest of THQ's upcoming adventures, please visit http://www.thq.com

    Thursday, November 6, 2003

    Spawn: Armageddon Reaches Gold Status
    Steve @ 4:06 PM EST
    San Jose, Ca., (November 6, 2003) – Leading video games publisher Namco Hometek Inc. announced today that its highly anticipated, 3rd person action adventure title, Spawn«: Armageddon, has gone gold. Coming to the PlayStation«2 computer entertainment system, the Nintendo GameCubeTM and the Xbox« video game system from Microsoft, Namco’s newest bad boy on the block video game is scheduled to “Spawn” on November 21, 2003.

    “We’re confident that Spawn«: Armageddon is about to raise a lot of eyebrows when it hits store shelves in late-November,” said Glen Cureton, Producer at Namco Hometek Inc. “The close working relationship between the game’s development team and Todd McFarlane Productions has ensured that Spawn«: Armageddon not only lives up to the already successful Spawn comic franchise, but that it exceeds those high quality expectations in a way that only today’s high-tech video game technology is capable of doing…get ready to see Spawn in a light never before seen.”

    Spawn«: Armageddon, based on Todd McFarlane’s best-selling comic book character, is a 3-D action/adventure game which positions the main character, Spawn, in a personal conflict caught between factions in the battle of Good vs. Evil. Players will encounter a variety of enemies through more than 30 interactive and destructible environments, as Spawn struggles to break free of the controlling forces of Heaven and Hell. The game will feature Spawn’s many distinctive abilities including superhuman strength, hand-to-hand combat techniques, an arsenal of weaponry, Hell Powers, and his living symbiotic costume.

    Legacy of Kain: Defiance Officially Goes Gold
    Steve @ 3:15 PM EST
    Eidos has informed us that Legacy of Kain: Defiance has officially gone gold. LoK: Defiance will be in stores November 12.

    Wednesday, November 5, 2003

    Xbox Live Sets New Records
    Steve @ 11:21 PM EST
    This past Sunday, November 2, Xbox Live set new usage records. On that day, 83,652 unique users spent 262,268 hours on the service -- or more than three hours per user. Sunday's most-played Xbox Live game was "Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six 3" with 24,478 gamers signing in for battle. At one point, 6,731 gamers played the game simultaneously.

    FIFA Soccer 2004 Released
    Steve @ 10:26 PM EST
    REDWOOD CITY, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Nov. 5, 2003--FIFA Soccer 2004, the deep and authentic videogame from Electronic Arts that allows users to play the world's most popular sport with the world's greatest teams and players, is now available in stores under the EA SPORTS(TM) brand. Complete with the revolutionary new Off The Ball(TM) Control, comprehensive game modes, and benchmark presentation, FIFA Soccer 2004 offers the most authentic soccer gaming experience available.

    Off the Ball Control adds a revolutionary dimension to gameplay, allowing control of both the man on the ball and the men off it. Timing runs, anticipating moves, and jostling for space adds a new dimension to soccer gaming that puts players in charge of realistic soccer play and tactics like never before. Along with the gameplay innovations, new Latin American teams and clubs from the lower divisions across Europe highlight the 18 leagues, 450 teams, and a whopping 15,000 players available for play in FIFA Soccer 2004.

    Counter-Strike Has Gone Gold
    Steve @ 10:14 PM EST
    Microsoft Game Studios and Valve today announced that Counter-Strike™ for Xbox« has gone gold and will arrive on store shelves on November 18 for an estimated retail price of $49.99 (U.S.). Counter-Strike makes its explosive console debut exclusively on Xbox and Xbox Live. Counter-Strike on Xbox will be the most graphically advanced version of the series to date and has a host of Xbox-exclusive console content, including seven never-before-seen multiplayer maps, one new counter-terrorist team, one new terrorist team and downloadable maps via Xbox Live.

    The intense, team-based multiplayer combat of Counter-Strike for Xbox sprawls across 18 multiplayer maps and two thrilling game types: Bomb Defusal and Hostage Rescue. Players can battle against super-intelligent AI opponents offline in the single player game before taking their skills online against up to 16 players. Gamers have more than 20 real-life weapons at their disposal, including shotguns, sniper rifles, pistols and heavy weapons as well as new weapons effects such as grenade deafness and vision adjustments. HDTV and Dolby 5.1 support help add to the Counter-Strike experience, making gameplay even more compelling and immersive. Teammates can forget about frantically typing messages to each other; now they can bark orders at each other with the Xbox Communicator for the ultimate in tactical team-based play. The secure environment of Xbox Live ensures that gamers will experience nothing but cheat-free play. For more information visit http://www.xbox.com/counterstrike/

    Counter-Strike for the PC is the world’s most popular online action game. With approximately 2.5 million Counter-Strike players worldwide and over 100,000 of them playing at any given moment, the action is non-stop.

    BlowOut Ships Nationwide
    Steve @ 10:13 PM EST
    EDISON, NJ, November 5, 2003 - Addressing the growing casual video game consumer with its value-priced lineup of great-playing video games, Majesco, one of the fastest-growing publishers of interactive entertainment software, today announced that BlowOut has shipped to retail stores nationwide. Developed by Terminal Reality, BlowOut will be available for a suggested retail price of $9.99 for the Sony PlayStation«2 computer entertainment system and $19.99 on the Xbox« video game system from Microsoft. In addition, BlowOut is scheduled to ship for the Nintendo GameCubeTM in December at a suggested retail price of $9.99.

    "BlowOut has the look and feel of a next-generation shooter mixed with the flavor and style of one of the great side-scrollers of the past," said Ken Gold, Vice President of Marketing for Majesco. "BlowOut provides a thrilling game experience on all three major consoles, and all at a very attractive holiday price."

    In BlowOut, gamers assume the role of Major John 'Dutch' Cane, a leader of a mercenary commando platoon assigned to stop a routine clone uprising on the massive battle platform, Honour Guard. Little does he know, the clones have already been exposed to a Xeno genome virus, which caused them to morph into a herd of horrifically aggressive creatures. These creatures plan on taking over the battle platform and spreading the deadly virus to the entire universe. To stop this alien outbreak, Major Cane will need his arsenal of powerful weapons and trusty jet pack to navigate the platform and destroy every last hostile alien.

    More information on BlowOut can be found online at http://www.blowoutgame.com

    Tuesday, November 4, 2003

    Majesco Announces the Release of Drake
    Steve @ 4:08 PM EST
    EDISON, NJ, November 4, 2003 - Gamers will be transported from their couches into the middle of an interactive comic book as Majesco, one of the fastest growing publishers of interactive entertainment software, announces the shipping of Drake of the 99 Dragons for the Xbox« video game system from Microsoft. Available in time for video games' most anticipated holiday season to date, Drake of the 99 Dragons will carry a suggested retail price of $39.99.

    "Drake of the 99 Dragons is the type of game whose appeal reaches a broad range of consumers," said Ken Gold, Vice President of Marketing for Majesco. "The visually arresting comic book-style and fast-paced, pick-up-and-play action will captivate players as they are consumed by the deadly world of the 99 Dragons Clan."

    In the game, players assume the role of its lead character, Drake, a member of the 99 Dragons Clan, who has vowed to avenge the murder of his clan and recover a stolen ancient artifact. This powerful artifact has the ability to trap the souls of the living and resurrect those of the dead, holding the potential of becoming the ultimate weapon of evil. Brought back from the dead to rectify these wrongs, Drake carries out his mission with a heavy inventory of supernatural weapons and firearms.

    Developed by Stockholm-based Idol FX, Drake of the 99 Dragons features a specially created style of graphics known as "rimlight" texturing. Visually resembling a blend of cel-shading and environmental mapping, it creates Drake's unusual "neon gothic" comic book-like appearance. In addition to the video game, an original comic book series of the same name will also be available at comic book retailers everywhere.

    Additional information about Drake of the 99 Dragons and can be found at http://www.drakegame.com

    Activision Releases True Crime: Streets of L.A.
    Steve @ 3:12 PM EST
    Santa Monica, CA – November 4, 2003 – It’s time for gamers to gear up for the deepest combination of driving, fighting and shooting ever featured in one game now that Activision, Inc.’s True Crime: Streets of L.A. is available at retail stores nationwide. The much anticipated title, which was featured on 22 magazine covers in the U.S., U.K., Europe and Australia, has already received critical acclaim, earning a 9 out of 10 from IGN.com.

    Activision is supporting the game’s launch with a multi-million dollar marketing and advertising campaign that includes alliances with “The Source Hip Hop Music Awards 2003,” MTV2 and PUMA, as well as extensive print, in-theater, broadcast and online advertising that is expected to deliver more than 240 million impressions with the male 18-34 demographic.

    Animated vignettes of True Crime: Streets of L.A. will appear during the broadcasts of “The Source Hip Hop Awards 2003.” The spots will feature Snoop Dogg, Benzino and True Crime’s Nick Kang cruising and hangin’ out at the awards ceremony and will be used to lead into commercial breaks. “The Source Hip Hop Music Awards 2003” is scheduled to premiere on BET on Tuesday, November 11, 2003 at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT and will encore throughout the month of November.

    Further supporting the game’s launch, Activision’s True Crime: Streets of L.A. will be featured during MTV2’s “Spankin New” programming during the month of November.

    As a part of its alliance with Activision’s True Crime: Streets of L.A., the game will be available to purchase in all PUMA Flagship stores nationwide. The PUMA Santa Monica store will feature a True Crime: Streets of L.A. kiosk, giving consumers a chance to play the game. In addition, PUMA will launch a mini website on www.puma.com where consumers can purchase the apparel selections featured in the game as modeled by Nick Kang and the cast of characters.

    “True Crime: Streets of L.A. delivers an in-depth storyline that will cast gamers as the lead character in a crime drama full of colorful characters, fast cars, explosive weapons and challenging enemies,” said Larry Goldberg, executive vice president, Activision Worldwide Studios. “Using 240 square miles of L.A. as the backdrop for the action and a branching storyline full of unpredictable twists and turns, gamers are sure to be entertained and challenged each time they play.”

    Developed by Luxoflux, True Crime: Streets of L.A. thrusts players into the role of rogue Elite Operations Division operative Nick Kang, a no-holds-barred badass, whose brutal reputation and lethal skills have landed him the nasty task of taking down the Chinese Triad and Russian Mafia cartel that have turned Los Angeles into a war zone. Gamers take part in explosive gun battles with double fisted firepower, devastating martial arts brawls, and high-speed shootouts on the streets of L.A. The game’s unique branching missions include locating hostile witnesses, infiltrating criminal-infested locations, taking out evasive informants and busting the heavily armed and deadly bad guys.

    True Crime: Streets of L.A. features an all-star voice cast of top Hollywood talent including Christopher Walken, Gary Oldman, Michael Madsen, Russell Wong, Michelle Rodriguez, Ron Perlman, CCH Pounder, James Hong, Mako and Keone Young. The game’s soundtrack features more than 50 original music tracks performed by such renowned West Coast rap artists as Snoop Dogg, Westside Connection (Ice Cube, Mac 10 and WC), Warren G, KAM, Jayo Felony, Boo Yaa Tribe, Easy-E Jr., among others. Additionally, the game’s launch will be supported by a 20-song CD soundtrack that will debut on November 11. The soundtrack was produced by Bigg Swoop and Bright Riley for Vybe Squad Records and is being released by Koch Entertainment.

    True Crime: Streets of L.A. is available now for the PlayStation2 computer entertainment system, the Xbox video game system from Microsoft and Nintendo GameCube. The game has been rated “M” (“Mature” – Blood and Gore, Mature Sexual Themes, Strong Language and Violence) by the ESRB. A wireless version of True Crime: Streets of L.A. is also available. To find out more about the game go to www.truecrimela.com

    Grand Theft Auto Double Pack Released
    Steve @ 3:09 PM EST
    NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Nov. 4, 2003--Rockstar Games, the world-renowned publishing division of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc., announced today that the Grand Theft Auto Double Pack for the Xbox(R) video game system from Microsoft has shipped to retail stores throughout North America.

    The Grand Theft Auto Double Pack consists of the best-selling titles Grand Theft Auto 3 and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.

    Additional information about the Grand Theft Auto Double Pack is available at: http://www.rockstargames.com/grandtheftauto/

    The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King Ships
    Steve @ 3:08 PM EST
    Electronic Arts announced that The Lord of the Rings(TM); The Return of the King(TM) game has begun to ship nationwide on all platforms and will be in stores everywhere on November 6, 2003. The blockbuster action adventure game will be available for the PlayStation(R)2 computer entertainment system, the Xbox(TM) videogame system from Microsoft, Nintendo GameCube(TM), PC, and Game Boy(R) Advance under the EA GAMES(TM) brand.

    Based on New Line Cinema and Peter Jackson's upcoming film adaptation of the classic novel, The Lord of the Rings; The Return of the King video game will once again put the fate of Middle-earth(TM) in the hands of gamers as they become the hero in a cinematic action adventure of epic scale. In the final installment of the blockbuster movie trilogy, players must destroy the One Ring by casting it into the Crack of Doom, freeing Middle-earth from the clutches of the Dark Lord Sauron.

    EA's second The Lord of the Rings action adventure game, The Lord of the Rings; The Return of the King will allow players to journey through multiple gameplay paths, taking control of the motion picture's heroes. Defend the walls of Minas Tirith as Gandalf, raise the Army of the Dead as Aragorn, Legolas, or Gimli, and with Frodo and Sam, deliver the ring to the fiery depths of Mount Doom.

    Based on the breathtaking environments from the upcoming film, The Lord of the Rings; The Return of the King's third person gameplay will include immersive action and adventure elements set in rich, interactive levels. Fans eagerly awaiting the third theatrical installment (hitting theaters nationwide on December 17, 2003) will have a "sneak peek" opportunity to see and experience footage from "The Return of the King" movie. In addition to actual footage, over 200,000 production assets from the movie were used in the game's development, along with portrayals and voiceovers from the film cast members, motion capture data from the movie stunt team, and an immersive musical score composed by Academy Award-winner Howard Shore.

    An all-new multiplayer cooperative mode will let players form their own Fellowship before embarking on their journey through Middle-earth. The PlayStation 2 console version features two-player online cooperative play throughout the entire game's fifteen levels. From game lobbies, players can find their friends through buddy lists and chat via EA Messenger instant messaging, or be paired automatically with a gamer of comparable level. Players will be able to choose any two of the six playable characters, and chat hands-free for maximum teamwork. An Internet connection, network adaptor, and memory card for the PlayStation 2 console are required for online play.

    The Lord the Rings; The Return of the King, which was developed by EA Redwood Shores Studio (Amaze Entertainment for Game Boy Advance), is rated "T" (Teen) by the ESRB and retails for $49.95 on console platforms and $39.95 for PC and Game Boy Advance. For more information on online features of the product, see the platform-specific pages of the official franchise website at http://lordoftherings.eagames.com

    SpongeBob SquarePants Now Available
    Steve @ 3:06 PM EST
    THQ(R) Inc. and Nickelodeon today announced that SpongeBob SquarePants(TM): Battle for Bikini Bottom for the PlayStation(R)2 computer entertainment system, Microsoft's Xbox(TM) game console, and Nintendo's GameCube(R) and Game Boy(R) Advance is now available at retailers throughout North America. Similar to Nickelodeon's chart-topping animated television show on which they are based, the titles appeal to gamers of all ages and have received high critical praise.

    "SpongeBob-branded videogames have achieved sales in excess of 3 million units at retail," stated Tiffany Ternan, Senior Vice President, North American Sales and Distribution, THQ. "We feel this year's titles are poised to perform strongly at retail, as we have delivered an engaging platformer with fantastic game play that truly appeals to mature gamers as well as the large dedicated audience of the incredibly popular Nickelodeon show."

    "SpongeBob SquarePants continues to grow its audience and capture new viewers with its quirky humor," stated Steve Youngwood, Senior Vice President, Nickelodeon Media Products Group. "SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom perfectly replicates and expands upon that humor, translating it into interactive comedy for every major gaming system."

    In SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom, the evil Plankton has set in motion his most diabolical plot ever to take over the world. The fate of Bikini Bottom has been put in the hands (or small tentacles) of three unsuspecting heroes - SpongeBob SquarePants, Patrick Star and Sandy Cheeks -- all playable characters with their own special moves. Players can pull off insane new maneuvers like "tongue boarding," "underwear bungee jumping," and "lasso coptering," and enjoy power-ups like the "guided cruise bubble." They will encounter familiar friends as they explore 50 levels in 10 huge 3D worlds, looking for hidden items to unlock, secret rewards, soaking up SpongeBob humor, and finally putting an end to Plankton's rotten scheme.

    The release of SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom is backed by a comprehensive, multi-million dollar marketing campaign targeting both the younger and twenty-something demographics. The campaign includes national broadcast exposure, print and online advertising, and promotional tie-ins.