The Last Word #2

Welcome to another action packed episode of the Last Word. As ever, we start of with news from across the gaming globe. In contrast to last week, it has been a pretty slow week for news – with companies, staying tight-lipped about things. If you are reading this today, on the 25th, you are in no doubt aware that those lucky American scamps got their hands on Microsoft’s new baby this week. There have been several stories concern the launch of the 360, from overheating issues to people going to extraordinary lengths to get hold of one, as ever it is my job to tell you lucky people about them.

We start of with the rumour that with several Xbox 360s there seems to be a problem with the console overheating. The cause of this overheating is supposedly down to the hard drive. Several buyers of the console have reported that whenever you plug in the hard drive, the console starts to overheat – resulting in games freezing. That is not all though, other people have complained of defects such as, the disc drive scratching games, and the power supply acting funny. Microsoft, as you would expect, where quick to quash any rumours of the console being faulty – calling these rumours “isolated incidents”. Microsoft have also been swift to offer help to gamers with dodgy consoles, setting up a phone number that people can call – resulting in Microsoft sending them a prepaid delivery box overnight, and aiming to return a fixed or new console within 5 business days. As much as we, here at DarkZero feel sorry for our American friends, lets’ just hope the problems are fixed before the console is unleashed in Europe.

Sticking with matters 360 related, some people were so desperate to get a console, that they took matters into their own hands. Two armed robbers forced an Electronic Boutique manager in Virginia to hand over two premium Xbox 360 packs at gunpoint. Luckily the thiefs were quickly apprehended by the local police. The Xbox 360 is due to release on our shores on the 2nd, be sure to stay tuned to DarkZero where we will bring you the latest news and reviews of the Microsoft beauty. We are even going out are way to visit the 360 launch party just for you lucky people, obviously, we are only going for you folks – it has nothing to with the various games on attraction or the free booze.

Moving swiftly on, today is the day that we Europeans get our hands on the long awaited and highly anticipated Mario Kart DS. It appears that the American and Australia users have taken good advantage of the Nintendo Wifi Connection aspect of the game. This week, Nintendo of America reported that 45% of people who purchased the game have taken it online, that equates to roughly 52, 000 people out of the 112, 000 who bought the game in its first week. (Read Our Review)

So what else has happened in the gaming world you ask, well, for starters Miramax have secured the rights to distribute the new Dead or Alive film. It is being directed by some person called Cory Yuen, who apparently is best known for his work on X-Men and Lethal Weapon 4 – no doubt it will probably be another letdown but at least Uwe Boll is not involved, so it always has a chance. In other news, Ubi has revealed that it is working on a new IP aimed at mature gamers. They are working in conjunction with Free Radical (TimeSplitters) to develop the game for PC and Next Gen consoles – a 2006/07 release is expected.

As it gets to Christmas, there is no doubt that the musical number 1 will be some manufactured rubbish, what is in doubt though is who will take number 1 in the gaming charts. For the last two years EA has scored number one with its Need for Speed series. They could score a hat-trick this year with Need for Speed Most Wanted – which hits shops today. However the bookies do not feel EA will come out top again, its all about the movie tie ins’ this year. The chronicles of Narnia is expected to score the number one spot, perhaps due to it being released on 6 forms. Ubi’s King Kong and EA’s Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire are also rated to do well. Lastly, I leave you with a story from the crazy Ken Kutaragi. Although we are still some ways away from the release of the PlayStation 3, the Sony man this week stated that Sony will deliver the PlayStation 4 with in the next decade. As if we had thought the PlayStation 3 would be the last Sony Console, it’s lucky we have Kutaragi to state the obvious.

Advent Rising
Xbox/PC

Battlefield 2: Special Forces
PC

Carol Vorerman Sudoku
PC

GUN
GameCube

Kirby: Power Paintbrush
DS

Mario Kart DS
DS

Need for Speed Most Wanted
PC/PlayStation 2/Xbox/GameCube/DS/PSP/GBA

Pageants Field
PC

Raze’s Hell
Xbox

Rugby Challenge 2006
PC/PlayStation 2/Xbox

Spongebob Squarepants The Yellow Avenger
DS/PSP

The Chronicles of Narnia:The Lion, the Witch and The Wardrobe
PC/PlayStation 2/Xbox/DS/PSP/GBA

The Incredibles: Rise of The Underminer
PC/PlayStation 2/Xbox/GameCube/GBA/DS

Totally Spies
GBA

True Crime: New York City
PlayStation 2/Xbox/GamCube

World Poker Tour
GBA

Chicane: Jensen Button Street Racing
Gizmondo

6. The Number of people that commented on our Civ4 Review on civfanatics. We are famous! (Visit CivFanatics)
8. The number of Xbox 360 units my local GameStop is getting in.
1. My position on their Xbox360 preorder list.
0. The shape of some people mouths as they realized there Xbox360 stop working.
360. The beginning of the next generation?
80,000. The number of posts we have surpassed on our forums during this week and we’re still counting. (Visit Our Forum)
16. The limit of real people you can actually play against online in PDZ, the rest have to be bots.

Duckamania

Yes will may have just bought a new HDTV but who care about such technology when a giant ceramic duck is in view for all to see. This duck is going to be huge! The most famous duck ever in the history of the internet, dare we say it bigger the owls? O RLY? YA RLY!! We will bring you a Duck related updated in the next issue! (Read Thread)

[b]
Buy The Movies![/b]

In all its combined wisdom the gaming forum has decided that The Movies is a good game. ian1969uk has informed us all that it is a “Great game, great price considering it’s only been out a couple of weeks and launched at nearly forty quid” after he bought it at game. After this we all decided he was write and proceeded to find out would it work on our computers. We will all be making movies in a few days time. We also agreed that console versions of these type of games suck. Go PC!!! (Read Thread)

Xbox360’s For All

After many people were disappointed last week after been told they may not receive a Xbox360 at launch it seems like they have been saved by a supermarket of all things. Non-specialist store for the win we say! (Read Thread)

PES 5 PSP For £20

rokhed00 has sold his copy (of what we think is an unused) copy of PES5 for PSP for the measly sum of 20 quid. That is a bargain in our opinion be sure to check out our forum in case another bargain pops up then a cheap game could be yours! (Read Thread)

Forum Quote Of The Week

Look at Shatner…Stupid bloated bag of hate.” – Yamcha (Read Thread)

In honor of today’s release of Mario Kart DS we are going to take a step back to 1992 as we talk about the original release of the game on the SNES in our mini retro review:
[b]
Super Mario Kart[/b]

Who thought that sticking some classic Nintendo characters into a Kart and making you drive them around a course would be fun? If I remember way back in 1992 not many people thought it would be. When the first screen shots appear in a magazine and were accompanied by the first preview there were not many journalists were expressing joy at what they were seeing but that all changed comes the release of the game. When the first reviews came charging into light, five stars and 90+ graced the pages along whit words such “best racer to date” and “hugely addictive” glared out at you compelling you to buy the title. It was words like that which made me save up every bit of money I had and race to the shop to get the game and what a game it was!

Featuring two single player modes (Mario Kart GP & Time Trial) there was always something to do if you were playing the game on your own. In Mario Kart GP one player races seven computer-controlled drivers in one of three Engine classes (50cc, 100cc, and 150cc). The larger the engine the faster you will drive and the harder the game is. These engine classes where available in three different cups (Mushroom, Star, and Flower Cups) with another cup (Special Cup) been available when you beat the others this cup was also the most difficult the game has to offer. To advance in these cups you had to place at least 4th or better in a race. Time Trail was all about setting records for lap time and course time and was highly, highly, highly addictive you could literally lose hours playing this mode. In multiplayer there were 3 different modes available (Mario Kart GP, Match Race Battle Mode) Mario Kart GP plays just like the single player version, Match Race is a one-on-one race on one track and Battle Mode (perhaps the most fun) was all about fighting in a arena to pop your players balloons (which surround the kart) and to be the victor.

SMK music was composed by Koji Kondo, Soyo Oka, and Taro Bando and contains some of the most highly memorable music ever to be stuffed into a cartridge. Some of the tunes may be remixes of older Nintendo titles while other are completely new but there is no doubt all the tunes are a treat to race to and suit there respective tracks well. All sound effect were excellent the time of release with the engine noises been spectacular at the time, all the characters were also voiced and had their own one liner to shout out when they felt like it. In a stroke of genius the music was given a higher tempo during the last lap which only added to the pressure of an already exciting race. For the 16-bit era this looked fantastic. It employed fantastic use of sprites to create a 3D like effect. The tracks themselves each had their own charm and where easily distributable from each other with. The tracks also contained many obstacles which where also created using sprites, sure it does not look like much while compared to some of today’s game but you cant deny it does have a certain appeal!

Even today, which is now almost 15 years since its incarnation, Super Mario Kart is still one hell of a entertaining game. If you have a working SNES it is still a great game to go back to and it has lost none of its appeal. In fact don’t do that what you should do is run to you local game store and pick up a copy of Mario Kart DS it has all the exciting fun of the original and a whole lot more. The Mario Kart franchise is still going strong (some would say it is back to its best) but just remember that while you playing over you WiFi connection that it all started 15 years ago on grubby little TV in the comer of a lot of peoples bedrooms.

Well, that is it for this week, episode 3 will be online next Friday. Now I’m now off to play in the snow!