NEWS - Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Spidey Still Clinging To First Place

Activision's Spider-Man 2 has remained in the number one spot in the UK software charts for a second week, with the launch of the film driving a 76 per cent rise in sales on PS2 and making it into the best sales week ever for an Activision title. The game overtook Atari's Driv3r in the PlayStation 2 chart (having debuted on top of the Xbox and GameCube charts last week), and in fact registered almost 75 per cent of its sales on the Sony platform. Driv3r remained in the number two spot this week, while there was no change at three and four in the chart either - with Activision's Shrek 2 and Sony's Athens 2004 both maintaining their respective positions. EA's UEFA Euro 2004 Portugal title is rapidly dropping out of the top ten, falling four places to this week's number nine, while THQ's Xbox-exclusive military title Full Spectrum Warrior falls out of the top ten entirely, dropping three places to number twelve. The launch of a large number of EA budget titles - apparently a core part of the publishing giant's strategy for the summer months - has sent several of its games climbing back up the chart, however; with last year's Christmas best-seller Need for Speed Underground up three places to number seven, while FIFA 2004 is also up three places, to number ten, just behind its full-price stablemate Euro 2004. The biggest climber of the week, however, is Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2004, which is up an impressive 17 places to this week's number 15 - although that's driven less by the launch of a budget edition (on PC only) and more by the interest surrounding the start of the British Open golf tournament. Sony's Singstar also makes an impressive climb, up ten places to this week's number 17. Back on the budget end of the spectrum, detractors of Nintendo's policy of repackaging its old IP and selling it on handheld platforms should take note; two of the NES Classics range, which was launched at a UKP15 price point last week, make it into the top 40 this week. Super Mario Bros is at number 19 (number three in the GBA chart), while Pacman is in at number 30 - and given the tiny numbers which the titles have to sell to make a profit, Nintendo is undoubtedly laughing all the way to the bank thanks to this somewhat controversial range of software. On this week's missing in action list, the only really disappointing omission from the charts is the superb GBA turn-based strategy title Fire Emblem, which doesn't even poke its nose into the GBA top twenty; we can only hope that word of mouth for the title will see sales pick up in the coming weeks. Another Nintendo title, Hamtaro: Ham-Ham Games, is a slightly less surprising omission, as is Jaleco's Goblin Commander (PS2, Xbox). Next week promises to bring with it Empire's Ghost Master on PS2 and Xbox, while Sony's Formula One 2004 on PS2 should sell well. And then there's America's 10 Most Wanted, also apparently set to grace our shelves this Friday on PS2, PC and Xbox. When we first heard of the game, which appears to be some form of beat 'em up in which you climb into the ring with such figures of fun as Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein, we assumed it was a joke. How we wish we'd been right.

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