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Retro Gamer - - CONTENTS -

Nick short cir­cuits his IBM 5100 and lands in Novem­ber 2001

Hark, what’s that sound? Why, it’s the thud of Mi­crosoft’s gar­gan­tuan Xbox mak­ing a crater­ous im­pact upon the North Amer­i­can videogame mar­ket. The con­sole launched on 15 Novem­ber with an ask­ing price of $299, and within a week 550,000 of the ma­chines had been sold – none too shabby, es­pe­cially for a first-time en­trant into the con­sole mar­ket. As ex­pected, the first-per­son shooter Halo: Com­bat Evolved was the big seller amongst the con­sole’s early games.

That wasn’t the only con­sole to launch in North Amer­ica this month, as the Game­cube fol­lowed a few days later on 18 Novem­ber at $199. Nin­tendo claimed even stronger first-week sales than Mi­crosoft, stat­ing that its ini­tial ship­ment of 740,000 units was al­most sold out. Un­sur­pris­ingly, Luigi’s Man­sion was the top seller on the pur­ple fun box. Edge’s re­views of the Ja­panese launch games were in too, with Su­per Mon­key Ball emerg­ing as top ba­nana with a 9/10 score. The rest of the bunch were ripe too, with Luigi’s Man­sion scor­ing 8/10 and Wave Race: Blue Storm scor­ing 7/10. PAL play­ers wait­ing to join the fun would suf­fer more un­cer­tainty, as ‘Spring 2002’ was the most spe­cific re­lease date Nin­tendo would con­firm.

De­spite all the ex­cite­ment over shiny new toys, it was the PS2 that had the lion’s share of killer games in the re­view sec­tions this month. Most wanted was Grand Theft Auto III, the first 3D en­try in the open world crime series. Play’s Will John­ston was in­cred­i­bly im­pressed by the level of free­dom on of­fer, as well as the Lib­erty City en­vi­ron­ment, claim­ing “this is a liv­ing city and you can hear it breathe as you go about your busi­ness”. The game scored 98%, and was de­clared “The finest game the planet has ever seen.” Of­fi­cial Playsta­tion 2 Mag­a­zine’s Sam Richards was slightly less im­pressed and of­fered 8/10, com­mend­ing the tech­ni­cal achieve­ment of build­ing the city and the driv­ing mis­sions, but crit­i­cis­ing the on foot mis­sions as “move­ment con­trol is never quite ideal and the shot tar­get­ing sys­tem is sus­pect.”

Devil May Cry was also ex­cit­ing the crit­ics on im­port. Hav­ing orig­i­nally been en­vi­sioned as a new take on Res­i­dent Evil, Cap­com’s new ac­tion ad­ven­ture in­stead fol­lowed Dante, a de­mon hunter who can per­form in­cred­i­ble combo at­tacks with his gun and sword. Play’s Si­mon Cann was of the opin­ion that “Some­one at Cap­com has ob­vi­ously been watch­ing a lot of John Woo movies” due to the stylish ac­tion, and that the game was “a ground­break­ing ti­tle” that suf­fered from be­ing able to be fin­ished in “just over a day.” The game scored 93%, and Edge also felt that the game was worth 8/10.

There was plenty more for PS2 own­ers to get ex­cited about be­fore Christ­mas too, judg­ing by the packed re­view pages of Of­fi­cial Playsta­tion 2 Mag­a­zine. WWF Smack­down!: Just Bring It had been hotly an­tic­i­pated by fans of sim­u­lated vi­o­lence sim­u­la­tions, as well as fans of Limp Bizkit due to its in­clu­sion of one Wil­liam Fred­er­ick Durst, and an ex­clu­sive 8/10 re­view sug­gested it was worth the wait. If that wasn’t enough Amer­i­can sport­ing en­ter­tain­ment for you, Mad­den NFL 2002 scored 9/10. A trio of se­quels each gar­nered 8/10 - Kon­ami’s sur­vival hor­ror Silent Hill 2 (which also got 7/10 from Edge), Namco’s light­gun shooter Time Cri­sis II and its plat­former Klonoa 2: Lu­natea’s Veil. Cri­te­rion’s crash-happy ar­cade racer Burnout scored 8/10 too.

PC gamers had some games to get ex­cited for too. Pyro Stu­dios’ real-time tac­tics game Com­man­dos 2: Men Of Courage re­tained the orig­i­nal game’s Sec­ond World War set­ting, but de­liv­ered a more re­fined take with bet­ter graph­ics, more ac­ces­si­ble dif­fi­culty and an im­proved in­ter­face.

The game scored 91% in PC Zone, and was de­scribed as “More de­tailed than real life, and just as ad­dic­tive.” The ar­rival of Sports In­ter­ac­tive’s lat­est life con­sum­ing foot­ball man­age­ment game, Cham­pi­onship Man­ager: Sea­son 01/02, was greeted with a 92% re­view in PC Zone by Steve Hill. This re­view also con­tained a box out on Cham­pi­onship Man­ager ad­dic­tion, in which Steve claimed to have lost con­trol of his sleep­ing pat­terns and be­gun to dress like Jeff Bridges in The Big Le­bowski.

The older con­soles also had some note­wor­thy re­leases this month. Spi­der­man 2: En­ter Elec­tro made its de­but on the Playsta­tion to a rather warm wel­come, scor­ing 85% in Play and

9/10 in Of­fi­cial Playsta­tion 2 Mag­a­zine. NGC, the re­branded suc­ces­sor to N64 Mag­a­zine, gave a farewell to the old con­sole with two new re­views. Mario Party 3 scored 72%, with Geraint

Evans com­ment­ing “don’t ex­pect to be playing it this time next week”. Alan Mad­drell felt that Poké­mon Sta­dium 2 was “A beau­ti­ful game that im­proves on the orig­i­nal with ease,” award­ing it 90%. The Game Boy Color also got a mo­ment in the spot­light, with Poké­mon Crys­tal earn­ing 4/5 in the mag­a­zine’s Planet Game Boy sec­tion.

Join us again in De­cem­ber, when ev­ery­thing goes mad and there’s frankly too much to re­view.

[Xbox] For all the next-gen tech hype, it was old fash­ioned game de­sign that earned all the praise this month.

[PC] Com­man­dos 2 looked absolutely lovely and played well, but posed a bru­tal chal­lenge.

[PS2] Devil May Cry was sen­sa­tional for the time. Let’s just not men­tion the ter­ri­ble PAL con­ver­sion.

[Game­cube] Do you want to take the dif­fi­cult path, or the even more dif­fi­cult path?

[PS2] Grand Theft Auto’s leap into 3D space was the most lu­cra­tive thing since ac­tual crime.

[N64] Remember when peo­ple thought Poké­mon was a fad that would fade away?

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