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Nuts ‘N’ Bolts: Volume 4

Mention Geoff Crammond to games fans and they will either be reminded of the Grand Prix series or the Amiga favourite Stunt Car Racer. Now Crammond, still one of the UK’s most successful independent games creators, has announced that his next project is set to be a brand new version of Stunt Car Racer for the PS2.

Stunt Car Racer Pro finally gives the fans the sequel they have waited for for years – it seems that Crammond has been planning this sequel for a while, as he told reporters: “A sequel or upgrade to Stunt Car Racer has been suggested by various third parties over the years but I could never agree to anything which didn’t have my complete involvement at every level. My commitment to Formula One simulations over the past few years was very intensive and just didn’t allow me to work on any other projects. Now, the time seems just about perfect to produce Stunt Car Racer Pro.”

As of yet, Stunt Car Racer Pro does not have a publisher but you can rest assured that there are enough thirty-something executives around the world who will be ready to snap this one up and reminisce about ‘the good old days’.

Joytech’s 7.2 inch colour monitor for the PlayStation2 is now in stores and is a highly impressive piece of kit. As well as playing games in clear sharp colour, you can also watch your DVDs thanks to the ‘Movie-Mode’ switch – meaning that your games are displayed in full RGB but you don’t get ‘the green effect’ when you are trying to watch the latest blockbusters.

The monitor sounds as good as it looks with SRS 3D Surround Sound engulfing you and making you forget you are not playing on a huge television! The 7.2 inch monitor also has a full set of composite stereo and video inputs, meaning you can use an external AV source like a video recorder, or even hook the screen up to another games console.
The Joytech 7.2 inch monitor is a worthy addition to your PS2 collection and is available now at £99.99.

It’s already shifted well over a million copies in Japan, and late June sees the UK release of Dynasty Warriors 4. For this installment we’ve been promised greatly improved AI for your enemies. Foes should attack in a much more random and less predictable manner, rather than the same pattern attacks the enemy loved so much previously. As the battles progress, the computer should adapt itself to meet the tactics you are using. Apparently, random ambushes can also occur.

This time round a player can have up to eight bodyguards, which should also behave in a much more intelligent and aggressive manner, focusing on the more dangerous enemies on the battlefield rather than whatever they come across first.

There’s also the new Siege Engine, which lets your characters break down doors and attack enemies en masse, with catapults, battering rams and other siege weapons. What sounds very interesting is the ability to accept and take on personal duels with enemy officers and generals. These one on one battles should be much more testing than anything you’ll come across in the main game. If you’re a fan of the series, you’re probably going to love this.

Wallace and Gromit, those plasticine stars of A Grand Day Out and The Wrong Trousers, are to appear in their own videogame. The game is being developed by Frontier Developments and looks set to be a colourful platformer with shades of Ico, which can only be a good thing. It may just turn out to be another mediocre platform game, but hopefully the guys at Aardman Animations can give it something to make it rise above the average.

Codemasters has announced some new additions to its Club Football series and also stated that the games will not now reach retail until the Autumn. The new additions to the series are Real Madrid and Celtic and thanks to the new release dates, all 17 versions will feature the complete 2003/2004 team line-ups.

Mike Hayes from Codemasters comments: “To have both Real Madrid and Celtic editions as part of the line-up makes the range complete and the extra development time will ensure a great football gaming experience for the fans of each club.”

Dancing games are a bit like Marmite but there’s one that has consistently converted numerous disbeliever’s and that game is Dance Dance Revolution.

The hit Konami series has done fantastically well across other formats and now it looks like the game could be coming to Xbox as well. Electronics Boutique in the US recently posted the game on its Web Site but then it mysteriously disappeared. Which leads us to believe that the game is going to be announced at E3. Now wouldn’t it be fantastic if the game featured Xbox Live support to download new songs and dance with the world!?

Sports fans get ready to be happy because Microsoft has just announced their own Xbox Live compatible NHL game for your Xbox. There have been quite a few decent hockey games released on the Xbox to date. So far EA and Sega have been fighting over the sim side of the genre whilst the Midway Hitz series has dominated the arcade route. So a new hockey game needs something to distinguish itself from the crowd. Something to make a purchase worthwhile. And Microsoft is hoping that the Xbox Live option will do the trick. Look out for NHL Rivals 2004 around Xmas time.

Some new screens have been released of Amped 2 but this is just the tip of the iceberg for the Xbox at E3.

It’s only one month now until the biggest videogame event of the year and it’s safe to say that it will be a very exciting time for Xbox fans. Titles set to appear at the show include: Full Throttle 2, Star Wars: Jedi Academy, Ghouls ‘N Ghosts Online, Arx Fatalis, Baldurs Gate 2, Medal Of Honour: Rising Sun, Ridge Racer, Tiger Woods, Outrun, Virtua Cop, Amped 2, Gotham 2, Kameo, Top Spin Tennis, Spy Hunter 2, SEGA GT Online, Far Cry, Doom 3, Conflict Desert Sabre, Ghost Recon: Island Thunder, Dead Or Alive Kronos, Buffy 2, Battlestar Gallactica, Splinter Cell 2, Mafia and Perfect Dark Zero to name but a few!

Oh and then there’s something called Halo 2? Rumours are that this particular demo will feature a playable multiplayer Covenant Vs Human battle! We’ll be sure to bring you the latest on this and all the other games as soon as we can.

Vivendi Universal have announced that for their upcoming game, Mace Griffin Bounty Hunter, the lead character will be voiced by Henry Rollins. Rollins was previously the front man of seminal punk band Black Flag.

“Henry Rollins is the ideal cast for Mace Griffin, a futuristic frontier lawman who is rough around the edges but possesses a keen sense of right and wrong,” said Philip O’Neil, SVP Sales & Marketing, Vivendi Universal Games. “Vivendi Universal Games identified Rollins’ voice and talents as perfectly in line with its vision for Mace and specifically targeted him for this role.”

As for the game itself, well, it’s set against a backdrop of corporate, political and religious intrigue, where Mace Griffin is framed for being involved in his comrades’ deaths. After spending time in prison, he becomes a bounty hunter, a vocation that gives him access to classified information and a means to aggressively pursue his search for the people who framed him. Gameplay wise what this entails is a first-person action adventure action set on alien worlds an in the depths of space.

After sales slightly less than anticipated of Capcoms’ GameCube titles, the company has decided that it will no longer keep games such as Viewtiful Joe, Killer 7, Dead Pheonix and PN03 as GC only exclusives. Seen as these games are still being developed with the GC as the host console, this will not affect the quality of these games. In fact Capcom may now see fit to bring to the ‘Cube, some of it’s titles which are currently available only on other consoles, such as the Xbox and PS2.

And finally, Activison have announced a new brand named Call of Duty that is effectively their answer to EA’s Medal of Honour series. The first title under this brand is set in World War II where you’ll play a U.S. paratrooper, a British commando and a Russian infantryman.

That’s it from me this week, watch out next time for tons more news from E3. Keep the faith.

The author of this fine article

is a Senior Staff Writer at Thunderbolt, having joined in June 2002.

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