Copyright 2001

[ November 29th 2001 ]

While PC CD-ROMs are filling up the shelves for this holiday season, the owners of some console products will find the pickings slim. The big winners will be the owners of Windows-based machines.

Over 50 titles were scheduled to ship in November, with another 20 coming in December. It's also good times for PlayStation 2 owners (with over 50 new titles scheduled to hit the shelves in November and December) and people who have invested in GameBoy Advance. Microsoft's brand new X-Box is supposed to have about 35 titles available. The number is far lower for GameCube, although Nintendo likes to say it focuses on quality, not quantity.

Meanwhile, the owners of older systems are seeing their software selection dry up. Got a Nintendo 64? Good luck. Dreamcast? Dream on. Only a handful of titles are being shipped during the holiday season for those consoles. If you're still holding onto a GameBoy Color, you'll fare a bit better, with about nine titles out in November and perhaps a half dozen in December. Sony has lived up to its promise to continue releasing games for the original PlayStation: 19 games slated for November release and five more in December.

That gives you lots to choose from. Here's a quick rundown on a few of the releases. Unless otherwise noted, Xbox, GameCube and PS-2 titles have a list price of $50; PlayStation, Dreamcast, Nintendo 64 and GameBoy Advance disks are $40; GameBoy Color products are $30; and Windows games are $40.

WAR: World War III: Black Gold (Windows) is JoWooD's real-time strategy and war game in which U.S., Russian and Iraqi forces are battling for the planet's remaining oil reserves. Commandos 2: Men of Courage ($40, Windows) features a group of elite commandos - including a preternaturally-proportioned seductress - who take on 10 missions in World War II. Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (PS-2) requires plenty of stealth to seize a secret weapon being transported aboard an oil tanker. Electronic Arts and Westwood Studios have a new Red Alert 2 expansion pack, Yuri's Revenge ($30, Windows), which features a group of psychic and genetically engineered warriors. Extraterrestrial war games are available from LucasArts with Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds (Windows, $50). For hand-held killing on the go, Activision has a GameBoy Advance version of Doom.

SIMULATIONS (SIMS): Infogrames is billing its Monopoly Tycoon, ($40) which is based on the popular board game, as "the world's first competitive sim" because up to five people can poll consumers, build businesses and monopolize the city. If you prefer an international twist, Trade Empires ($40) from Eidos allows players to develop trade networks from ancient to modern times, or Sid Meier's Civilization III ($50). Or there's Zoo Tycoon ($35) from Microsoft for running a zoo with over 40 different animals. Microsoft Flight Simulator 2002 ($55) has added other planes to the skies but removed the World Trade Center towers in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks. They're all for Windows.

SPORTS: Pick your sport. There's NFL 2K2 from Sega Sports for the Dreamcast, NFL Fever 2002 for Xbox, and Midway's NHL Hitz 2002 for the PS-2. With skateboarding and biking simulations so popular, you can choose from Matt Hoffman's Pro BMX (Windows and Dreamcast), Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 for PS-2 and PlayStation, Extremely Goofy Skateboarding ($20, Windows) featuring the Disney cartoon character, or the mission-based Dark Summit for Xbox. For GameBoy Advance owners, there's Sports Illustrated Kids Baseball and Sports Illustrated Kids Football.

RACING: Pick your vehicle. SpyHunter (PS-2) lets you race with a car that morphs into a high-speed watercraft and amotorcycle. Waverace Blue Storm for GameCube lets you fly across the water. With Kinetica, (PS-2) players don special suits that adhere to almost any surface and let you race along ceilings and walls. Or you can race cars via the Internet with Electronic Arts' Motor City Online ($40, Windows).

BARBIE: Blondes may or may not have more fun, but they definitely have abundance of software. There's Secret Agent Barbie, Barbie Beach Vacation and Barbie Team Gymnastics. Even little sister Kelly has her own Kelly Club CD-ROM. They're all $30 for Windows. For PlayStation owners there's Barbie Explorer, where the daring doll gets to play Lara Croft, without the guns, monsters and huge bustline. The Kelly Club title is also available for GameBoy Color.

CARTOONS AND COMIC BOOKS: Bam! has some Powerpuff Girls titles: Mojo Jojo A-Go-Go for the GameBoy, Mojo Jojo's Pet Project for the PC ($20) and Chemical X-Traction for the PlayStation and Nintendo 64. Marvel comics fans have X-Men: Reign of the Apocalypse, where the superheroes battle in a parallel universe, and Spider-Man: Mysterio's Menace in which New York is transformed into an amusement park (GameBoy Advance). Activision also has a $45 Spider-Man title for the PC and, for the PlayStation, X-Men: Mutant Academy and Spider-Man 2: Enter: Electro.

Nickleodeon fans have two GameBoy Advance titles: Rocket Power: Dream Scheme and Rugrats Castle Capers. Young PlayStation owners who love SpongeBob SquarePants have a pair of THQ games to choose from: Operation Krabby Patty and SuperSponge, both $20. Operation Krabby Patty is available for Windows ($30) as well. THQ's lineup also includes Scooby-Doo and the Cyber Chase for PlayStation and GameBoy Advance, and Rugrats: All Growed-Up for Windows ($30).

TV: For those who can't hear enough abuse from Anne Robinson - and we worry about people like you - $20 buys the PlayStation or Windows version of The Weakest Link, which is rated for everyone even though most of us would teach our kids that belittling another person like that is wrong. Fans of the PBS wildlife show Zoboomafoo can try the PlayStation game Zoboomafoo: Leapin' Lemurs ($20), which features animals from five environments around the world. Young fans of the Dragon Tales series have Dragon Tales: Dragon Land Festival ($20, Windows) for ages 3 to 6. Pre-school Elmo lovers can try Elmo's World: Pets, Food & Telephones! and Elmo's World: Shoes, Bugs & Farms! both for Windows and both $20.

MOVIES: Naturally, there are Monsters, Inc. games for GameBoy Advance, GameBoy Color, PlayStation, Windows and Macintosh ($30). Lego is trying to tap into the Harry Potter craze with Lego Creator: Harry Potter ($30, Windows) for ages 6 and up. Electronic Arts is publishing Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, an adventure game for just about every format.

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