Home Reviews Features Forums News Downloads
Buy at GameStop.com!
Industry News Archives

October 11, 2001 - November 30, 2001 - See More Archived News

Friday, November 30, 2001
Hardware :: Soyo VIA KT266a Motherboard Review @ 3DSpotlight - posted by Erich Becker at 7:59 am CDT

Soyo's novelty named K7V Dragon Plus is one of the latest VIA KT266a motherboards to come out, and superficially it would seem to be the most fully featured. The Dragon Plus includes many more than features than my previous four Socket A boards, but does its performance live up to expectations? Let's find out...

Here's a snip:
The purple colour of the PCI slots, somewhat unsurprisingly, did not hinder the installation of peripherals. The AGP Pro slow accommodated my large GeForce 2 Ultra comfortably, and the DIMM slots, despite being near the AGP slot at one end, did not require the removal of the video card before inserting or removing memory. The top end of these memory slots is adjacent to two fan connectors, and installing and removing fans from these connections is somewhat awkward, although this is a minor bugbear.

Soyo has been very liberal with these fan connectors, with two CPU fan connectors (with FOC) as mentioned before above the DIMM slots. The other fan connectors are to be located next to the green chipset heatsink (for powering the northbridge chipset fan), next to the AGP slot (useful for powering video card fans), and at the bottom right of the board (well positioned to power an intake fan).

Related Links: See the Full Review

PC Games :: News ffrom Nexon - posted by Erich Becker at 7:57 am CDT

(Santa Clara, CA -- November 29, 2001) Nexon USA is pleased to announce the public play test release of Legends of Darkness, the sister game to Dark
Ages: Online Roleplaying. Like Dark Ages, the game world is placed within a colorful, anime-styled realm, with over a thousand creatures roaming the countryside and cities; wide-ranging player customizations available to the gamer; and much more to discover. Legends of Darkness is a massively multiplayer online adventure game server. In Legends of Darkness, the violent force of Chaos has crossed over the division between worlds, forming a rift between an everchanging void and the civilized world of Temuair. Within the mysterious, dark rift was a new world, one without rules, without order. It is there where the coiled serpent of Chaos lies in wait for all adventurers who dare to challenge it within its realm. Players experience this incredible adventure alone, with only their sword and cunning to survive.

Legends of Darkness is open for completely free play for a limited period of time. Download the Dark Ages game today (http://www.darkages.com/download/index.html), to experience both the roleplaying of Dark Ages and the adventuring fun and freedom of Legends of Darkness!

ABOUT NEXON: Nexon (http://www.nexon.com), an international game developer, is a pioneer and trendsetter in the field of massively multiplayer online gaming. Since the establishment of Nexon USA in 1997, Nexon has introduced online worlds of great sophistication, magnitude and excitement to the computers and imaginations of North American gamers. Nexon's games include titles such as the award-winning Shattered Galaxy (http://www.sgalaxy.com), Dark Ages (http://www.darkages.com) and Nexus: the Kingdom of the Winds (http://www.nexustk.com).

Hardware :: Altec Lansing 641 Named Official Speaker System of CPL - posted by Erich Becker at 7:53 am CDT


MILFORD, Pa., November 29, 2001 - Altec Lansing Technologies, Inc. today announced the appointment of its 641, a powerful 4-channel computer speaker system, as the official speaker system of the Cyberathlete Professional League (CPL). The CPL will be showcasing the 641 at its World Championship Event starting December 5th in Dallas.

"Altec Lansing's 641 delivers gaming audio at its finest," said Angel Munoz, founder of the CPL. "After testing a variety of speaker systems, the CPL found that the 641's superior bass and dynamic mid- and high-ranges delivers one of the best gaming experience on the market."

"Altec Lansing is honored that the CPL has chosen the 641 as its official speaker system," said Mark Lucas, president and CEO, Altec Lansing Technologies, Inc. "Both organizations are dedicated to enriching the gaming experience - Altec is delivering superior sound while the CPL is elevating gaming to the level of a professional sport."

The Altec Lansing 641 utilizes four satellites with cast alloy stands and a powered subwoofer with dual 6.5-inch long-throw drivers to deliver 400 Watts of total system power. The system features Class-D subwoofer amplification for cleaner sound reproduction with less distortion and three audio modes for customization based on sound source. The 641 comes complete with an adapter for easy connection with any gaming console.

Founded in 1997, the Cyberathlete Professional League (CPL), including divisions in the U.S., Europe, Asia and South America, is the leading organizer of professional game tournaments and events, and has an estimated following of about 300,000 gamers worldwide, up from several hundred just a few years ago. Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, the CPL has created custom computer networks at local gaming competitions for more gamers than any other organization. The CPL events are widely covered via newspaper articles, radio, magazine features, television reports and documentaries.

Altec Lansing Technologies, Inc. is an official sponsor of the CPL and provides speaker systems and headsets for CPL tournaments and events. The company, based in Milford, Pennsylvania, has a rich legacy of blending art and science with high quality consumer and professional speaker systems. The market leader in personal computer speakers, Altec Lansing designs, manufactures and markets multimedia and home entertainment sound systems and a line of headsets, headphones and microphones for personal digital media. The company employs about 1,500 people worldwide.

For additional information about Altec Lansing and its award-winning line of audio products, please visit the company's Web site at http://www.alteclansing.com or call toll-free at 1-800-258-3288.

# # #

Monday, November 19, 2001
Playstation2 :: EA Ships The Simpsons Road Rage for PS2 - posted by Erich Becker at 1:01 pm CDT



REDWOOD CITY, Calif., November 19, 2001 - Get in, shut up, and hang on...it's Homer for hire! Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: ERTS) today announced that The Simpsons(tm) Road Rage has shipped for the PlayStationÒ2 computer entertainment system.

The Simpsons Road Rage is an action racing title with a full Simpsons storyline. Set in the town of Springfield, this new game blends renowned Simpsons wit with edge-of-your seat racing to create a fun, reckless and riotously funny arcade-style racing game. Take the wheel as your favorite Simpsons character and wreak havoc throughout six expansive Springfield neighborhoods with the ultimate goal of buying back the Transit Corporation from the diabolical Mr. Burns. Choose a single-player game or challenge a friend to a head-to-head showdown in the streets of Springfield.

The Simpsons Road Rage for the PlayStation 2 carries a "T"(Teen) rating from the ESRB and will be priced at US MSRP $49.99. In addition, EA is scheduled to release Nintendo GameCubeÔ and XboxÔ versions in December 2001. The Simpsons Road Rage was developed by Radical Entertainment and is co-published with Fox Interactive.

About Electronic Arts
Electronic Arts (Nasdaq: ERTS), headquartered in Redwood City, California, is the world's leading interactive entertainment software company. Founded in 1982, Electronic Arts posted revenues of more than $1.3 billion for fiscal 2001. The company develops, publishes and distributes software worldwide for the Internet, personal computers and video game systems. Electronic Arts markets its products under four brand names: EA SPORTSTM, EA GAMESTM, EA SPORTS BIG(tm) and EA.COMSM. More information about EA's products and full text of press releases can be found on the Internet at http://www.info.ea.com.

About Fox Interactive
Fox Interactive, an operating unit of Fox Filmed Entertainment, a News Corporation company, is committed to producing a full range of bold and engaging interactive entertainment. The company produces and co-publishes computer and video game software based on Fox franchises as
well as new and original properties. Fox Interactive games feature a
number of the company's television and movie properties including The Simpsons, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Aliens, Die Hard, and The X-Files. Original properties such as No One Lives Forever have garnered critical acclaim and received Game of the Year awards from enthusiasts' magazines worldwide.

# # #

GameCube :: Launch Report and Reviews - posted by Erich Becker at 12:01 pm CDT

ESCMAG would like to announce that our GameCube launch report will be online very soon, as well as a wealth of launch game reviews.

Watch this space for more information.

Mac :: Harry Potter to be released Late December for Mac - posted by Erich Becker at 10:19 am CDT

The following is republished with the consent of Aspyr Media:

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone is heading to a theatre near you but it's also heading to the Mac, as well. Yes, Aspyr will be publishing this special EA title, with Westlake Interactive handling the conversion.

Oh, and hang on to your hats 'cause Harry has already reached first playable and could be done as early as late December. Woo Hoo! Mark Adams is a rock star!

Hogwarts Term begins....

Be Harry Potter in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, learning to master all things magical in a world filled with wizardry, fun, and danger. The adventure begins as Harry Potter arrives at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

Explore Hogwarts while solving puzzles, casting spells, battling foes and uncovering secrets. Journey from Privet Drive to Hogwarts and sneak, climb, and jump as you explore 3D environments.

Battle evil creatures using all of Harry's abilities. Learn to fly on a broomstick and play fast-paced, arcade-style Quidditch. Uncover special items including the Invisibility Cloak, wizard sweets, potion ingredients, Chocolate Frog Famous Wizard Cards, and broomsticks.

Interact with over twenty unforgettable characters from J.K. Rowling's magical world. With Ron and Hermione at your side, cast spells and confront adversaries to thwart You-Know-Who's evil plans.

System Requirements
(System Requirements have not yet been finalized. These are tenative until the game's release)

* Mac OS 9.x or Mac OS X 10.1
* G3 333 or G4
* ATI Rage Pro or GeForce
* 8 MB video memory
* 64 Mb of built-in memory with virtual memory set to at least 160 Mb

To see EA's official Harry Potter site, visit:


To checkout the official Harry Potter site and learn about the movie and more, go to:


Preorders for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone are currently being accepted, via the Aspyr online store (www.aspyr.com), for $29.95 plus shipping and handling.

Related Links: Official EA Harry Potter Games Site

PC :: Ramsink Shoot Out @ Gaming in 3D - posted by Erich Becker at 10:16 am CDT

TweakMonster Copper Ramsinks vs. Thermaltake Blue Ramsinks Article

Today at G3D, they've done an good ole fashion shootdown between two popular RAM Sinks: Tweak Monster RAM Sinks vs. Thermaltake RAM Sinks. Who will triumph? Copper or Aluminum? How about some actual performance numbers? Check out the article.

"Thermaltake decided to cut low on the quality of these sinks in one area, the material they are made of, aluminum. Aluminum is simply not good enough to keep up with copper but all we are cooling here is the ram chips on your video card and they do not need a terrible amount of cooling even when over-clocked, though you can over-clock the ram much higher with better cooling on the ram chips. The next thing to look at is the bottom of these things. The bottom is rather un-smooth due to the anodized aluminum, it is very gritty and using a thermal pad is something that would not give the most heat absorption from the Ram-sinks."

Related Links: See The Full Article:

PC :: Black Moon Chronicles Goes Closed Beta - posted by Erich Becker at 10:14 am CDT

Black Moon Chronicles Goes Closed Beta
(Montreal, November 14, 2001)

Vircom's Black Moon Chronicles - Winds of War will enter a closed beta testing phase on Monday, November 19. The actual public beta servers will be closed Friday, November 16, in preparation for the closed beta.

The Vircom Team will invite all beta testers with a valid BMC account by November 16 to participate in the closed beta and to keep on sending valuable info, comments and bug reports. With the help of these dedicated testers, Vircom is confident that Black Moon Chronicles will greatly improve in the coming months and will overcome the players' expectations.

As development goes on, Vircom will eventually allow more testers to participate in the closed beta. Insights, up-to-date information as well as gameplay and screen captures will be posted regularly on the website to inform players about Black Moon Chronicles' latest improvements.

- More info -
Vircom announced earlier its decision to extend the beta test period and postpone the retail release of its online RPG game Black Moon Chronicles - Winds of War. Since the first beta opened October 4, 2001, players and fans of the game have provided useful information regarding gameplay, and Vircom listened.

Consequently, the company plans to incorporate many of the features suggested that will further enhance and improve the players' experience of the game. Black Moon Chronicles is now scheduled to release in March 2002.

- About Black Moon Chronicles -
Black Moon Chronicles - Winds of War is a cartoon-based, massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) built around the fantasy universe of a French graphic novel best seller that sold over 1,000,000 copies worldwide.

While maintaining standard RPG elements, Black Moon Chronicles - Winds of War offers players a unique gaming experience with its hand-drawn interface and a rich, compelling storyline that unfolds over a 50-level span.

Black Moon Chronicles will be available online and in stores throughout America in March 2002. Players will get to choose between a full box package, which includes a 6-week free subscription, or a jewel case start-up package that includes a 2-week free subscription.

- About Vircom -
Vircom Interactive is a Montreal-based gaming company that has been in online gaming since the early BBS text-based games. It has developed "The 4th Coming(tm)," a MMORPG with a worldwide player base of 350,000 people. Recently acquired by Cryonetworks, a Paris-based international software publisher, Vircom will release 3 new online game titles in North America for 2002.

All additional information can be found at:

Related Links: BlackMoon Online

PC :: Activision to Publish Creative Assembly's Medieval: Total War - posted by Erich Becker at 10:12 am CDT


Activision To Publish Creative Assembly’s Medieval: Total War

Santa Monica, CA –November 16, 2001 – Activision, Inc. (Nasdaq: ATVI) is taking gamers back to the dark ages with the announcement that the company will be publishing Creative Assembly’s Medieval: Total War for the PC in 2002. As the sequel to the highly acclaimed Shogun: Total War, the game challenges players to reshape the history of the Middle Ages through a combination of epic real-time 3D battles and turn based empire building.

“Creative Assembly created a truly innovative and compelling real-time strategy game with Shogun: Total War,” states Kathy Vrabeck, executive vice president global publishing and brand management. “With the improved graphics, more intuitive controls and classic historical scenarios in Medieval: Total War, we intend to springboard the Total War brand into the preeminent historical based RTS franchise in the industry.”

Massive in scope, but intuitive in implementation, Medieval: Total War allows players to take control of one of twelve world powers as they attempt to rewrite history through a mixture of trade, diplomacy, resource management and wars of conquest. Featuring an incredibly powerful 3D engine, the game supports real-time 3D battles of more than 10,000 troops and more than 100 unique unit types, including knights, infantry and siege engines, in terrain as varied as deserts, forest, plains and mountains. Players will utilize authentic battle strategies and tactics as they unleash their forces against medieval castles and mighty fortresses with an arsenal of battle-field weapons including long-bows, muskets, cannons and catapults which can pound castle walls and buildings to rubble.

Tim Ansell, founder, owner and managing director of The Creative Assembly added, “We are very excited at the prospect of working with Activision on Medieval: Total War. They have the drive and ambition we are looking for in a publisher to build Total War into the #1 historical RTS franchise. In Activision, we have found a publisher who understands what Total War is about. Shogun: Total War was just the beginning. We have exciting plans for Medieval: Total War and beyond.”

In addition to real-time 3D combat, Medieval: Total War includes a turn-based mode where players can build the empire that they need to support their war machine. From the turn-based screen, players can manage the affairs of their kingdom by forging strategic alliances, creating trade routes, researching technology, constructing castles, deploying naval power, training warriors and generals and suppressing revolts.

The player’s choice of nation will impact their overall strategy as many battlefield units are culturally specific – English Longbowmen will face Highland Clansmen while Teutonic Knights will charge into battle against elite Turkish Janissaries. As the game progresses nations will have to adapt or perish in the face of the technical revolution of gunpowder, which brings muskets and cannon to the battlefield. This variation between nations and cultures goes beyond the battlefield to the economics, architecture and politics of four centuries of history – all of which is reproduced with fantastic accuracy and attention to detail. Medieval: Total War also adds RPG elements into the mix with nation-specific hero units that feature unique skills and bonuses - from military giants such as Richard the Lionheart, Frederick Barbarrosa, Saladin and Kublai Khan; to legendary warriors and rebels such as William Wallace, El Cid, Robin Hood and Joan of Arc.

The gameplay in Medieval: Total War is as far reaching as the title would suggest. The full campaign is estimated at 70 hours of gameplay with enormous replay value, and encompasses four centuries of warfare from one of the most brutal periods of history, with campaigns including the Crusades, the marauding Mongol Hordes and the 100 Years War. Multiplayer generals will be able to do battle online with hundreds of maps and multiple game types, including King of the Hill, Siege and Assassin. A comprehensive and easy to use map editor will also ship with the game.

Medieval: Total War has not yet been rated by the ESRB.

For more information on Medieval: Total War visit the website at www.totalwar.com.
For more information on The Creative Assembly visit the website at www.creative-assembly.co.uk

Headquartered in Santa Monica, California, Activision, Inc. is a leading worldwide developer, publisher and distributor of interactive entertainment and leisure products. Founded in 1979, Activision posted revenues of $620 million for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2001.

Activision maintains operations in the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Japan, Australia, and the Netherlands. More information about Activision and its products can be found on the company's World Wide Web site, which is located at www.activision.com.


Related Links: Activision

PC :: Windows XP Memory Tweaking Guide at 3DSpotlight - posted by Erich Becker at 10:10 am CDT

Windows XP, much like its predecessor Windows 2000 offers superior Memory management to Windows Millennium Edition & earlier. That said, both also require more memory to run efficiently.

3D Spotlight's guide will take you through configuring your system for optimal use of your memory subsystem – both RAM & the Pagefile.

Related Links: Take it a look at.

Thursday, November 15, 2001
Xbox :: Launch - posted by Erich Becker at 7:23 am CDT

The Xbox launched last night here in North America, and many people were seen standing outside local stores here in Mesa, Arizona. I got a chance to speak to a few of the squatters at my local Wal-Mart. I spoke to them of Nintendo's impending launch and all they could say was, "Go home and play with your Mario and Luigi."

I think I just might.

Nintendo launches on Saturday night/Sunday morning here in the states, and if it's launch is anything to talk about, it will be big. Only eight people were at the Wal-Mart that I visited last night. I passed serveral other stores on my way to work this morning, and no one was waiting. Wal-Mart is the only 24 hour retail store in the city (although we do have three of them) Target, K-Mart, and Toys R Us stores seemed to have no lines.

We should have more information soon, hopefully with final numbers of sales, and if the console sold out or not.

PlayStation2 :: EA Ships James Bond 007 in...Agent Under Fire for PS2 - posted by Erich Becker at 7:12 am CDT


REDWOOD CITY, Calif., November 15, 2001 - Bond fans, rejoice! Under the EA GAMES(tm) brand, Electronic Arts (Nasdaq:ERTS) and MGM Interactive announces the highly anticipated release of James Bond 007 in...Agent Under Fire(tm) for the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system. The game features an all-new and original single player storyline - written exclusively for the title -- while staying true to the Bond legacy by delivering all the furious action, stealth and thrill packed driving that 007 fans crave.

Agent Under Fire delivers a unique and complete Bond experience that immerses the player in the deceptive and exciting world of secret agent 007. As Bond, the player must defeat the evil criminal mastermind Malprave, head of a rising terrorist organization that is bent on ruling the world with their clone technology and army of evil henchmen. Helping players along the way in Agent Under Fire will be the gorgeous CIA agent Zoe Nightshade as well as a cast of original and familiar characters.

The game features 12 mission based levels spread out over 10 exotic locations around the globe. The first-person action levels give players the option of blasting their way through each level using high tech weaponry, quietly relying on spy-craft tricks and state-of-the-art gadgets as well as nerve tingling stealth to accomplish mission objectives or a combination of all three. More over, the game employs a point-based scoring system that further rewards the player for using cunning, ingenuity and using alternative paths to complete each mission. The more points the player scores, the more weapons, vehicles, playing modes, etc. will be unlocked.

The driving levels in Agent Under Fire, developed by the team behind EA's award-winning Need For Speed series, features an array of 007 exotic cars and other vehicles inspired by the Bond movies, including a MGF-34 combat tank! Players will get behind the wheel of the BMW Z8(tm) and the Aston Martin DB5(tm) for intense combat-filled driving through the streets of Hong Kong and Bucharest, Romania. True to the Bond universe, the vehicles are filled with Q-lab weapons and gadgets including rockets, guided missiles, machine guns, oil slicks, smoke screens and more.

Agent Under Fire features a robust multiplayer mode that supports up to four players via the multi-tap, and is the most extensive multi-player mode ever featured in a James Bond licensed videogame. The game offers 12 exclusive multiplayer-only levels as well as five unique modes of gameplay for extended replay.

Agent Under Fire for the PlayStation 2 console was developed by EA in Redwood City, CA and Vancouver, Canada. The game carries an ESRB rating of "T" (Teen) and MSRP US$49.99. More information can be found on the official EA product web site www.007.ea.com. Consumers may purchase the game directly at the EA StoreSM (http://www.eastore.ea.com) or by calling EA Direct Sales at 1.877.324.2637.

James Bond was first introduced to movie audiences in 1962 when Danjaq, LLC and United Artists, released Dr. No. The Bond films are one of the most valuable franchises in film history. More information about the films can be found on the official James Bond web site from MGM at: www.jamesbond.com, or at the Danjaq site at: www.007.com.
MGM Interactive, a unit of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. (NYSE: MGM), manages creative development and production of interactive products for a variety of multimedia platforms, as well as talent and developer relationships. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc., through its Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios subsidiary, is actively engaged in the worldwide production and distribution of entertainment products, including motion pictures, television programming, home video, interactive media, music and licensed merchandise. The Company owns the largest modern film library in the world, consisting of more than 4,100 titles. For more information about MGM, visit MGM Online at http://www.mgm.com.

Danjaq, LLC is owned by the Broccoli family and has produced nineteen James Bond films since 1962. The Bond films make up the most successful franchise in film history and include the recent blockbuster films, GoldenEye, Tomorrow Never Dies, and The World Is Not Enough produced by Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli. Danjaq, LLC and its affiliate Eon Productions Limited, control all worldwide merchandising of the James Bond franchise.

Electronic Arts (Nasdaq: ERTS), headquartered in Redwood City, California, is the world's leading interactive entertainment software company. Founded in 1982, Electronic Arts posted revenues of more than $1.3 billion for fiscal 2001. The company develops, publishes and distributes software worldwide for the Internet, personal computers and video game systems. Electronic Arts markets its products under four brand names: EA SPORTSTM, EA GAMESTM, EA SPORTS BIG(tm) and EA.COMSM. More information about EA's products and full text of press releases can be found on the Internet at http://www.info.ea.com.


Wednesday, November 14, 2001
Community :: games extreme Reviews Rogue Spear: Black Thorn - posted by Erich Becker at 7:37 am CDT

Todays review on games xtreme is for Red Storm and Ubi Soft's Rogue Spear: Black Thorn, the latest update in the Rogue Spear family of games.

Heres a Quote:
"Another problem that compounds the dated graphics is the new maps themselves. Originally, I raved about the tight level design and the excellent use they put the limited Rogue Spear engine too. It really was an ingenious game and had me sneaking around for weeks, unfortunately Black Thorn?s maps seem shorter and deal more in open spaces. The external maps wouldn?t be as bad if they were anywhere near as well mapped as say, the Kosovo mission in Rogue Spear, but sadly they?re not."

Related Links: See the Full Review

Press :: EA Launches Four Harry Potter Video Games this Friday - posted by Erich Becker at 7:35 am CDT


Redwood City, CA – November 13, 2001 – Electronic Arts (Nasdaq: ERTS), the world’s leading interactive entertainment software company, today announced that it has shipped four video games based on the wildly popular novel Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone™. The games will be on store shelves November 16, 2001, the same day the highly anticipated movie from Warner Bros. Pictures is released in theatres. The games will be published for the PlayStation® game console, PC, Game Boy® Color and Game Boy® Advance.

Each of the four games will take advantage of the individual platform’s hardware capabilities to deliver the ultimate Harry Potter™ experience to all types of gamers, while representing a faithful interactive adaptation of the book’s story line.

The PlayStation game will feature extensive platform-style gameplay within Hogwarts™ School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Players take the role of Harry Potter as he arrives at Hogwarts and embarks on a journey to unlock the secrets of his own magical abilities. Along the way, players will experience a series of challenges inspired by the book’s story line, such as a 3D “roller coaster” ride through Gringotts™, Quidditch™ matches, and a flying broomstick chase to retrieve the Remembrall™ for Neville Longbottom. Players will also encounter more than twenty memorable characters from J.K. Rowling’s magical world as they learn to cast spells, collect items such as Wizard Cards and Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans™, explore numerous 3D environments faithful to Hogwarts and its surrounding grounds, and traverse interactive environments with multiple levels and secret passageways.

The PC version will also allow players to take the role of Harry Potter as he enrolls in Hogwarts and embarks on a journey to unlock the secrets of his own magical abilities. Along the way Harry will explore the halls of Hogwarts and its surrounding grounds, study to be a wizard, learn to fly a broomstick and play Quidditch collect objects to solve puzzles, become skilled at spells and potions, discover secret passages and locations, and interact with other characters from the book. The PC game will also feature an array of puzzle and adventure gameplay as players guide Harry through the halls of Hogwarts, sneaking around to avoid confrontations with nosey characters like Filch and Peeves. The PC version also features a fast, arcade-style Quidditch game to further immerse players in the magical world of Harry Potter. While the required system specifications for the PC game will be modest to ensure that Harry Potter’s™ biggest fans can easily install and play his interactive adventure, the game also delivers advanced 3D graphics on more powerful PCs.

Players of the Game Boy Color version also assume the role of Harry Potter as he enrolls in Hogwarts and embarks on a journey to unlock the secrets of his own magical abilities. Harry will have to complete and solve tasks and puzzles, learn how to use spells, gather potions and collect items in order to wear down the stamina of his opponents and defeat them, as well as battle creatures and occasionally face off against evil characters. As the player gains information and successfully completes confrontations, Harry will receive Experience Points. As the player collects Experience Points, Harry will effectively increase in strength and abilities and will be able to upgrade spells he has learned and engage in more difficult challenges. The Game Boy Color game also features the use of Wizard Cards, which will allow players to open extra rewards within the game, as specific items. The player will be able to acquire these throughout the game and trade them, both with characters in the game and with their friends as well. (Trading with friends will be made possible by connecting two Game Boy systems together by means of the Game Link Cable, a standard peripheral accessory for the Game Boy Color.) Because the player will have to make choices throughout gameplay that will change what cards are available, it will not be possible to collect all the Wizard Cards within a single game. Only by trading and collecting cards, players will be able to open all the extra rewards within the game.

As Harry Potter in the Game Boy Advance version, players will hone their magical skills and advance through Harry’s first year at Hogwarts. Each term will challenge players to meet a number of objectives, such as collecting and mixing potions with Professor Snape™ or piloting a flying broom through the Forbidden Forest in search of Neville Longbottom’s Remembrall. In order to pass the first year of study, players must complete a multitude of objectives, while overcoming evil creatures and avoiding obstacles. The Game Boy Advance version will take advantage of the enhanced portable console to provide action-driven puzzles and mini-games that promise to capture the daring and adventurous spirit of Harry Potter. Players will experience Harry Potter’s world through an isometric 2D perspective, including top-down view of Quidditch and broomstick flying sequences that deliver the speed and excitement of competition. Scenarios such as chasing down learning spells will add challenges and objectives while remaining true to the book’s story line.

The KnowWonder™ and Griptonite Games™ studios of Seattle-based entertainment software developer Amaze Entertainment™, are developing Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone for the PC, Game Boy Color and Game Boy Advance. Argonaut Games, based in London, is developing the PlayStation game.

In addition to the 2001 games, EA is also developing games for release in 2002 based on Harry Potter for next generation-consoles. More information on these games will be announced later.

The J.K. Rowling Harry Potter book series has been published in 115 countries and in 28 languages with more than 100 million books in circulation worldwide. The Harry Potter books have rocketed up and stayed atop national best-seller lists in several countries.

About Warner Bros. Consumer Products
Warner Bros. Consumer Products is a division of Warner Bros., an AOL Time Warner Company, and is one of the leading licensing and retail merchandising organizations in the world.

About Electronic Arts
Electronic Arts (Nasdaq: ERTS), headquartered in Redwood City, California, is the world's leading interactive entertainment software company. Founded in 1982, Electronic Arts posted revenues of more than $1.3 billion for fiscal 2001. The company develops, publishes and distributes software worldwide for the Internet, personal computers and video game systems. Electronic Arts markets its products under four brand names: EA SPORTSTM, EA GAMESTM, EA SPORTS BIG™ and EA.COMSM. More information about EA's products and full text of press releases can be found on the Internet at http://www.info.ea.com.


ESCMAG Exclusive :: Launches Upon Us - posted by Erich Becker at 7:33 am CDT

The launch of two different consoles is among us, and in the next five days, two machines will be introduced to the US market. Microsoft is backing on the demographic that Sony has brought in from the wings in the last six years, while Nintendo stays with it's tried and true method of younger gamers, and older alike.

It remains to be seen who will come out victorious this holiday season. Most sources are betting on the year-old Playstation 2 to take the cake, because of the anticipated release of Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty that convienently launches the same day as the Xbox console.

Microsoft's console officially launches tomorrow (November 15th) but expect some retailers to jump the guns today and release the system. But will there be any to release? Over the past few weeks many have doubted if Microsoft would ship the promised amount of systems, and the answer seems to be no. Many are expected a launch of 300,000 to 350,000 systems tomorrow, and you can bet that a majority (if not all) of them are going to people who pre-ordered the system. It remains to be seen if any systems will reach retail, but I'm sure people will have some choice words in the lines today, no doubt forming as I write this.

I will be one of them on Saturday evening, waiting at my local Wal-Mart to get my Jet Black GameCube, Nintendo's new system. Alot of the software is out, I have a few games already, all I need is my box to play them on, and I personally can't wait. I didn't take the bait when Sony entered in the market six years ago, and I'm not taking it now with Microsoft. With some of the biggest names (Capcom, Namco, Sega) all betting on the 'Cube, why would I want a dumbed down computer? The GameCube will ship with 700,000 system for sale, more than enough for pre-orders and retail sales. Everyone knows the launch was light in Japan, but in America, console launches are always big.

So who will win this week? The numbers point to Nintendo, as they will have the greatest number of systems ready for launch. Who will win in the games department? Everyone is betting on Sony with MGS2: SoL, and I tend to agree. Everyone was so engaged in the single level demo, who is not to say the full game will not be as every bit as big.

ESCMAG will have continuing launch coverage this week, as well as some exclusive first hand experience and impressions as I set out on Saturday to get my GC and play it to death all night long.

Check back soon...

Wednesday, October 31, 2001
GameCube :: Tony Hawk 3 To Ship at Launch - posted by Erich Becker at 8:42 am CDT

While the Xbox loyalist get a remake of the first two Tony Hawk games, GameCube and PS2 owners will get the latest in the series, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3. The game, set to be released for PS2 tomorrow, features all new interactive environments with a new goal based system rather than the usual money earning system from the previous games.

Neversoft and Activision's O2 line announced that the GameCube version of the game, previously scheduled for a mid November/early December release, will make the launch of the GameCube in just 19 short days.

It seems everyone, myself included, who planned out what they are getting on launch day needs to go back and drop some game in order to pick up the greatest skateboarding game ever. ESCMAG will have a full review, as well as extensive GameCube launch coverage in a couple of weeks.

Hardware :: Altec Lansing Blends Elegance w/ Superior... - posted by Erich Becker at 8:30 am CDT


Altec's New 4100 and 2100 Use Advanced Micro-Driver Technology To Deliver High-Performance Audio in Stylish, Compact Designs

MILFORD, Pa., October 31, 2001 - Altec Lansing Technologies, Inc., the sound artisans that created and lead the personal computer speaker market, today introduced two computer speaker systems that elegantly blend the art of sound with the beauty of design. The new 4100 and 2100 incorporate advanced micro-driver technology and a sleek, futuristic form to deliver an audio experience that touches all of the senses.

"The 4100 and 2100 showcase Altec Lansing's rich history of superior sound quality and design innovation," said Mark Lucas, president and CEO, Altec Lansing Technologies, Inc. "Whether enjoying the latest video game or listening to a favorite song, these systems are sure to please the ears and the eyes."

The 4100 delivers 140 watts of total system power to surround listeners in four-channel sound. The system features four compact satellites that utilize a sleekly curved cast-alloy stand and a pair of one-inch, aluminum-coned Neodymium micro-drivers to deliver clean, pristine sound. A dual-ported subwoofer with two 5.25-inch long-throw woofers adds to the listening experience with powerful bass. The 4100 features an exclusive dual-mode audio selector to allow user customization of the listening experience based on audio source: Game mode immerses users in four-channel surround sound and Music+ (Stereo x2) mode fills the room with stereo sound.

The system includes a freestanding, wired digital controller with master and rear volume controls, bass and treble controls and a headphone jack. The 4100 also features an auxiliary input for directly connecting CD players, MP3 players and other audio sources.

The 2100 offers dynamic 2.1 channel audio for a variety of sound sources including music, video and games. The system features two compact satellites in the same elegant design as the 4100's satellites as well as a dual-ported subwoofer with two five-inch long-throw woofers. The system also includes a freestanding, wired digital controller for convenient volume control.

Both systems come complete with an AAC1 adapter for direct connection to any gaming console system.

The 4100 and 2100 are available now from major computer and consumer electronics retailers at suggested retail prices of $199 and $129 respectively.

For additional information about Altec Lansing and its award-winning line of audio products, please visit the company's Web site at http://www.alteclansing.com or call toll-free at 1-800-258-3288.

# # #

Altec Lansing Technologies, Inc.
Altec Lansing Technologies, Inc., based in Milford, Pa., USA, has a rich legacy of blending art and science to stir the soul with high quality consumer and professional speaker systems. The market leader in personal computer speakers, Altec Lansing designs, manufactures and markets multimedia and home entertainment sound systems and a line of headsets, headphones and microphones for personal digital media. In addition to the company's headquarters, Altec Lansing has offices in Austin, TX, Cary, NC, Houston, TX, Hyrum, UT, Hong Kong and Tokyo and employs about 1,500 people worldwide. The company also has an ISO 9002 and SA8000 certified manufacturing facility in The People's Republic of China.

Wednesday, October 17, 2001
Dreamcast :: Shenmue II Canceled for US Dreamcast Release - posted by Erich Becker at 7:16 am CDT

Sega announced last week that Shenmue II for a US Dreamcast release has been canceled in favor of moving the game to Microsoft's Xbox console.

While this does seem like a foolish move by Sega, it is a real oportunity for Micro$oft to have a staple game on their platform. It remains to be seen if the addition of Shenmue II to the Xbox line up with enlighten any gaming prospects for the system.

Even with Shenmue in the line up, I still can't find a reason to buy an Xbox.

PC Gaming :: Age of Empires II International Tournament - posted by Erich Becker at 7:09 am CDT


Age of Empires II: The Conquerors International Tournament Finals to be Held on November 7, 2001

Microsoft today announced the sixteen finalists for the Age of Empires II: The Conquerors International Tournament. In August and September 2001, sixteen countries/regions held individual tournaments via the MSN Gaming Zone (http://www.zone.com), LAN events, or local partners. Each country/region crowned a champion who will represent their home country or region in the world finals in Redmond, Washington on November 7, 2001. The world finals will be hosted by several members of the Ensemble Studios development team, creators of the Age of Empires series. The value of the total prize pool is over $100,000, with the winner of the competition taking home $50,000.

The sixteen finalists representing their country are:

Jerry Terry (U.S.)
Sunny Sihota (Canada)
Paul Clarke (U.K.)
Thomas Gross (Germany)
Vignon François (France)
Jonas Hasselrot (Sweden)
Magnus Harald Haslebo (Denmark)
Gaspard Gilot (Belgium)
Tim Taminiau (Netherlands)
Norson Shiniti Saho (Brazil)
Byung Geon Kang (South Korea)
Tanya Cowan (Australia)
Alex Wang (Taiwan)
Marcelo Ikegaki (Argentina)
Hong Delin (Singapore)
Christian Gebhart (Switzerland)

Age of Empires is one of the most successful strategy game franchises in history, having sold over eight and a half million units worldwide. The series, developed by Ensemble Studios, has received numerous awards including AIAS Strategy Game of the Year awards for Age of Empires, Age of Empires II: Age of Kings, and The Conquerors Expansion; as well as the prestigious AIAS PC Game of the Year for Age of Empires II: Age of Kings. Age of Empires II: The Conquerors Expansion challenges gamers to wage war on an epic scale with all-new civilizations, unique units and technologies, and campaigns based on infamous conquerors such as Attila the Hun, El Cid and Montezuma.

More information about the Conquerors Expansion is available on the game's official site at http://www.microsoft.com/games/conquerors/, or on the Ensemble Studios site at http://www.ensemblestudios.com/.

Related Links: Ensemble Studios

Thursday, October 11, 2001
Mac Gaming :: Elite Force Expansion Pack in Production - posted by Erich Becker at 7:54 am CDT

Star Trek: Voyager-Elite Force Expansion Pack has left the building and is headed into production. A big thanks to Brad Oliver, of Westlake Interactive, for all his hardwork carbonizing the expansion pack, update and the original version of the game. My vote is to declare this Brad Oliver day.

STV:EFX will be OSX compatible (carbonized) and incorporate the STV:EF1.20 patch . An OSX patch for Star Trek-Voyager: Elite Force will also be made available on the Expansion Pack CD (the patch will also be made available as a download, upon release of the game).

In STV:EFX, the U.S.S. Voyager comes alive with an interactive tour mode that takes you to places that make the ship tick. It also includes 21 new multiplayer maps that allow for more hardcore action, new characters (including Captain Janeway as Borg!) and new single-player missions with new alien creatures and a new "Borg Slayer" game. You've just been given an all-access pass to the Delta Quadrant's most desirable ship. Grab your exploration rifle, and let the non-stop action begin.

Related Links: Aspyr Media

Mac Gaming :: Spider-Man is coming to the Mac - posted by Erich Becker at 7:52 am CDT

Be sure to visit your local newsstand and checkout the latest issue of MacHome magazine. Our favorite Web Slinger is gracing the cover in full form! Spider-Man mania is coming to the Mac.

Spider-Man conversion is in full swing, thanks to Mark Krenek and the Westlake Interactive team. A first-playable version of the game should be available soon.

Spiderman is a third-person action/adventure, based on the Marvel comic series. Players play as Spiderman, high school student Peter Parker who is bitten by a radioactive spider and granted tremendous powers. Spiderman uses his powers to fight off evil and make the world a safer place.

In highly detailed environments, inspired by the upcoming feature film, Spiderman must use his Spider-Sense to side-step danger, his Spider-Agility and quick wits to evade pursuit and his Spider-Strength to overcome the Green Goblin, Venom, Scorpion, Rhino and other arch enemies, in his pursuit to rid the world of evil.

Spidey kicks butt as he shimmies up the side of buildings, shoots webs, swings across the night sky, taking on a legion of sinister villains in this brilliant 3-D world.

To checkout the official Activision Spider-Man site, visit:

Related Links: Official Spiderman Website

PC Gaming :: GeForce2 MX400 Review @ 3DSpotlight - posted by Erich Becker at 7:51 am CDT

Here is the latest at 3DSpotlight:

The competition is tight in the entry level 3d card market, and the Geforce2 MX seems to be the hot ticket. Many manufacturers have released their own renditions of this NVIDIA based board, which makes it a little difficult in selecting a new video card. GeForce2 MX cards have recently been replaced by Geforce2 MX 200 and MX 400 cards, similar in architecture, but they are “cranked up” thanks to some extra cooling and faster ram.

We will give you a little insight on PixelView’s very own, GeForce2 MX400 card, boosting among other things TwinView features for a very low price.

Related Links: Take it a look

Various :: Tony Hawk 3 Soundtrack Released - posted by Erich Becker at 7:39 am CDT

In a press release we recieved from Activision, the soundtrack to Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 has been released. Combining all different musical genres, there is bound to be something on here that you will want to get in to.

The soundtrack is as follows:

The Ramones – “Blitzkrieg Bop”
Red Hot Chili Peppers – “Fight Like A Brave”
KRS-One – “Hush”
Motorhead – “Ace of Spades”
Rollins Band – “What's the Matter Man”
House of Pain – “I'm A Swing It”
Xzibit – “Paparazzi”
Ozomatli – “Cut Chemist Suite”
Alien Ant Farm – “Wish”
Redman – “Let's Get Dirty”
Del the Funky Homosapien – “If You Must”
AFI – “The Boy Who Destroyed The World”
Reverend Horton Heat – “I Can't Surf”
Adolescents – “Amoeba”
CKY – “96 Quite Bitter Beings”
Zebrahead – “Check”
Guttermouth – “I'm Destroying the World”
Nextmen – “Amongst Madness”
Bodyjar – “Not The Same”
Mad Capsule Markets – “Pulse”

GameCube :: Rogue Squadron 2 Goes Gold - posted by Erich Becker at 7:36 am CDT

Lucasarts announced yesterday that Star Wars: Rogue Squadrom 2 has gone gold and has gone to manufacturing in time for the game to be released at the system launch of the GameCube. The game is set to be released on November 18th along side the GameCube, which ate up pre-orders at Amazon.com's Toys R Us store in a matter of four minutes.

We will have more from Rogue Squadron 2 in the coming days, along with a report on the new trailer being released tomorrow by Lucasarts.


  Copyright 1998-2002 ESC Magazine
See additional copyright information

news | reviews | features | forums | staff | downloads | contact us

Design and Systems Development by InfoReveal Corp

See Current News Here