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Nintendo have just announced that the upcoming Big Brain Academy for the Wii will be bundled with a Wii remote down under, and will go for the (relatively) cheap price of A$79.95.
Not that you'll be forced to buy the extra remote when the game ships on November 8. Big Brain Academy will also ship as a standalone game, and will retail for A$69.95.
Leadership tensions with the Federal Coalition reached crisis point overnight, with Australian Prime Minister John Howard categorically ruling out Treasurer Peter Costello as the obvious succesor to the top job. Howard has instead endorsed a relatively new face in his cabinet--Master Chief Petty Officer SPARTAN-117--as the man most likely to become Prime Minister when Howard retires sometime in his next term should the Coalition win the upcoming election.
Howard and Master Chief discussing Australia's carbon emissions policy.
OK, so the above may not actually be true, but Howard did meet up with Master Chief earlier this week. The Prime Minister had "won" a new Xbox 360 through the Footy Show "That's Gold" competition (that's the NSW Footy Show), and decided to donate the prize to the St Alban's Community Centre in Epping, NSW. Microsoft was on hand to take some snaps of the handover, and even brought along their star character for a photo opportunity.
The Prime Minister also took the time out while at the community centre to try Halo 3 on for himself. GameSpot AU asked the Prime Minister's office for further details--including what level he was playing at and what Howard's gamertag is, but had not received a response as of the time of publication.
Howard woos young voters through the power of the headshot.
Looks like plenty of hardcore Halo fans opted to stay home and pick their copies up on launch day this time around with small crowds at the major Sydney stores. We staked out EB Bondi Junction and attacked people waiting in line with our video camera to find out what made them come out and pick up their copies rather than wait 9 hours and get it the following day.
While rumours have been floating around the web for a little while now, Activision has just confirmed that pioneering punk rockers The Sex Pistols have been locked in for Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock. The Pistols will contribute one of their best known tracks, offering 'Anarchy in the U.K' to budding guitar rockers as part of the monster lineup for the third version of the rhythm game.
So dedicated are the former Hall of Fame nominees to the project that when the original master for the song couldn't be found, three of the original members, John Lydon, Steve Jones, and Paul Cook hit the studio to re-record their hit. They even opted to use an original 1969 analogue sound desk to keep that authentic Pistols feel.
Activision apparently helped the trio re-record "a couple of songs including 'Anarchy in the U.K'" making us wonder if more than one track will appear in the final version of the game--unlockable perhaps? We'll find out soon enough though, with the game set to kick over couches and throw television sets into swimming pools at the end of next month.
When Halo 2 launched in 2007, Microsoft made sure it was released with lots of razzle-dazzle. Halo 3 had a much more low-key unveiling overnight--Microsoft itself did not hold any "official" events, with many retailers across the country just content to be open at midnight for the keenest gamers. Check out our full news story here. In the meantime, check out our pics of the various Sydney midnight launches the GameSpot AU crew visited overnight.
The EB Games at Bondi Junction was one of the busiest midnight launch events, with close to 100 people lining up.
Plenty of Halo merchandise was available inside the Bondi Junction EB.
Two of the first people to get their Halo 3 fix in Australia (at the Bondi Junction store, that is).
Collectors' Editions were hot-ticket items, particularly for Rohan (pictured), who was planning on some co-op action when he got home.
The view from the back of the line at Bondi Junction.
It was a much smaller crowd at the Pitt St Mall EB Games store.
And the crowd wasn't much bigger at EB Games at the Galleries Victoria.
The Game store at Broadway was much more packed. Close to 100 people were at this location.
Australian retailers have joined a growing worldwide trend by releasing one of the most anticipated games of the year--Halo 3--a week ahead of its scheduled official launch date. A thread appeared on the GameSpot AU forum mid this afternoon from user lucas_kelly claiming to have a copy of Halo 3 limited edition. Amid speculation from other users demanding proof, he posted a picture of the Aussie Halo 3 limited edition packaging and contents alongside a piece of paper showing his username next to it.
When contacted by GameSpot AU, lucas_kelly refused to name the retailer but did explain how he managed to get Halo 3. "I pre-ordered it, then they [the retailer] got it in today and rang me up to say I could come and get it," he said.
There is always a risk of leaking copies when sending out your biggest titles for the year to retailers a week or more before official release. 2K Games recently learned that lesson when BioShock was released in a few rogue stores in the United States before the official release date. GameSpot UK also reported earlier today that copies of Halo 3 have leaked out into customers hands by trigger-happy retailers.
Microsoft Australia declined to comment.
For almost 21 years now, the Australian Made logo has been appearing on food, beverages, furniture, and other household goods, but never games--until now. Brisbane-based developer, Auran, has become the first Australian games studio to apply the "Australian Made" logo to their packaged software.
To qualify for an Australian Made logo, a product has to have over 50 percent of its production costs incurred locally. In a statement released by the company Auran's CEO Tony Hilliam said Aussie gamers will now be able to support games developed in their own backyard."From the birth of the idea, through to development, investment, packing, shipping and marketing, we do it all ourselves. With the support from our local market, we're really very proud to take our products to the world."
The first title to go on sale bearing the stylised Kangaroo is Fury. Although Trainz Railroad Simulator 2006 and Tranz Classic are currently available, the logo won't appear until the titles are reproduced at a later date. Fury goes on sale on October 19 around Australia. For previous coverage of the game click here .
To celebrate the release of Drawn to Life this Thursday, THQ have launched a competition for school kids around Australia. The winning student not only wins a Nintendo DS and a copy of Drawn to Life, but their whole class receives a Nintendo DS Lite! Damn, if only we were still at school.
The individual winner also receives 12 months worth of DS games. A link to the site can be found here, where you can try your luck at drawing your own hero. Surely it's got to be better than ours...
EA Games have announced street dates for Half-Life 2: The Orange Box and Need for Speed ProStreet.
Originally released on PC back in 2004 and then a year later on Xbox, Half-Life 2 will be making an encore appearance on October 18 for the Xbox 360 and PC in the form of Half-Life 2: The Orange Box. The bundle includes the original Half Life 2, Episodes One and Two, the long awaited Team Fortress 2, and an additional single-player game called Portal. Sadly, Aussie PS3 owners will have to wait a bit longer, until November 22, before they can snap up a copy.
Also in the pipeline is Need for Speed ProStreet, the latest in EA's popular racing franchise. It will be available from November 8 on Xbox 360, PS3, PS2, Wii, DS and PC-DVD with PSP missing out.
This afternoon GameSpot AU got a brief hands-on session of Turok for the Xbox 360. The game starts off on a spaceship, which is taking your hapless character to the objective on an unknown planet, only to be attacked en route.
After the mayhem, Turok is woken up on the planet by another squad member and told he's crashed on an unknown planet filled with bad guys. As Turok and your teammate patrol through the planet's jungle you'll encounter a few small squads of enemies, who are easy to dispatch. Our weapons of choice for this was the submachine gun we picked up and Turok's trusty knife. When using Turokšs massive knife, you can either slash at foes or--if your timing is right--the game enters a Manhunt-style brutal execution.
Graphically, Turok is great. It's hardly surprising considering the game uses a modified version of the Unreal 3 engine. During our session with Turok, we noticed that the dinosaurs were more detailed than that of their human counterparts. The textures on their skin were quite impressive, showing off the individual scales and any scars or skin imperfections that the dinosaur may have. The humans on the other hand looked more like a stock enemy model and compared to the dinosaurs, and seemed to lacks texture and detail. Bear in mind that the game is still five months away from release so this might be improved.
The next level we saw was much shorter and contained significantly less dinosaurs. For this mission we had Turokšs trademark Bow, which has evolved into a compound bow from previous versions of the game. As we were sneaking over a pipe to infiltrate an unknown building, we were instructed to shoot the dinosaur eggs which sat below us. Once they were broken, a Raptor burst out of the bushed and attacked the guards at the base. As we continued to crawl across the pipe we noticed two guards patrolling a balcony within the outer perimeter of the compound. For these two, we pulled out our compound bow and took them out from a distance. The second guard was hit in the chest, and was pinned by the arrow to the wall behind him.
From what we got to see, Turok is turning out to be a decent FPS. No doubt we'll have more of this game so keep checking GameSpot for the latest coverage.
Konami are looking to bolster their community even more by teaming up with Reebok to create a new Aussie-centric Pro Evolution rankings website.
The new site allows Aussies to create tournaments with friends they know and other randoms on the service. Once the tournament has started, it's up to the host to update the leader boards with the match results.
The host can create three different types of competitions; Tournaments, Leagues, and a Knockout. Tournaments are where users progress through rounds, then to a knockout round, and finally to the grand final. The League option uses a standard league format which can be set to half or full. Finally, the Knockout cup is a standard knockout competition, where the loser of each match is eliminated. The host of the tournament can fully customise the conditions of the game like the number of players, online or offline, club or international sides, platform, and other variables.
Currently the site is only compatible with Pro Evolution Soccer 6 but a representative from the company has promised the future release of Evolution Soccer 2008 due in November will also be supported.
With Guitar Hero 3 , Activision is not only introducing a whole range of new songs and game features, it's also unveiling a brand new guitar peripheral into the mix--the world-famous Gibson Les Paul. We managed to get some dedicated hands-on time with the new guitar at the recent Activision Activate: Asia conference, and we're happy to report that the new controllers (which are all wireless) feel and play great, and shouldn't bother any long-term fans of the series. The Les Paul's also have some cool new features, such as the ability to change faceplates and to be taken apart for easier storage. Check out our pics below as we dissect the Xbox 360 version into its requisite pieces.
Activision had plenty of wireless guitars on hand.
As you can see, the new Les Paul's fret buttons are now outlined in their respective colours, as opposed to be being solid blocks in previous guitar controllers.
The Xbox Dashboard and D-pad have been moved up to the top of the guitar. This was in response to user feedback that it was far too easy to accidentally push the Dashboard button while on the whammy bar on the previous X-plorer 360 controller.
The back of the guitar features a sliding switch which is used to detach the neck of the guitar.
And here it is--the neck and the body of the guitar apart. It's a pretty simple and hassle-free process to take apart and put together again.
Detaching the neck allows you to more easily transport the guitar.
The faceplate can also be detached, allowing gamers to decorate the Les Paul with whatever design they like (or, more accurately, buy as an accessory). Unfortunately, you have to take the neck off to change the faceplate, but changing the faceplate itself is also quite easy.
The dissected Les Paul--all up, it takes less than a minute to do.
Another week has gone, and another handful of games have been rated by the Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC) before they go out into the welcoming arms of gamers everywhere down under.
The latest game in the Turok series to be given the classification green light, "Turok" is being developed by Propaghanda Games, and has been rated MA 15+ for its strong violent content. No surprises there with recent trailers putting the viewer in the thick of the action as the game's protagonist blasts his way through hordes of dinosaurs, and slits throats at will.
Everyone's second favourite game full of scary little girls, now that BioShock is on the scene, F.E.A.R expansion Perseus Mandate has been given the thumbs up, but has been slapped with an MA 15+ rating for its strong violence and coarse language. Perseus Mandate is the follow up to 2005's horror FPS F.E.A.R.
With a name like "Dead'N'Furious", there's no prize for guessing that the upcoming zombie shooter from UK developer Dream On stretches the classification rating all the way to the end of the line. You may know it better as "Touch the Dead" for the DS, but it has been renamed for the European and Australian markets and comes bearing an MA 15+ label.
Mario Party DS and The Sims: Bon Voyage managed to stay out of red-sticker territory, with Mario Party rated PG for mild gambling references. The Sims strayed into the blue with an M rating for moderate sexual references in its upcoming tropical getaway.
It seems that two copies of the highly anticipated Halo 3 game have made their Australian debut in the wild ahead of their September 25 official launch date. The two copies made a brief appearance on popular auction site eBay Australia before being snapped up by an observant user. This comes just weeks after Toys "R" Us in the US began selling BioShock before its embargoed street date.
The Aussie Halo 3 copies--clearly identifiable by the OFLC rating sticker on the cover--are listed by the seller as being located in Sydney, unless he's moved with them to a more secure location in anticipation of the Microsoft wrath we don't doubt is far behind.
The two games--which were listed as a single auction, and presumably were being sold together since no other listing has been made by the seller--were on eBay.com.au less than a day and were snapped up for the bargain-basement "Buy It Now" price of just A$149. If the price was indeed for two copies, then not only is this deal two weeks ahead of the official launch date, but it's also around $50 under the recommended retail price.
We're taking this one with a hefty sack of salt for the moment, but regardless of its legitimacy, we can't help but wonder what was going through the seller's mind when they lovingly placed it alongside a Carlton Draught spill catcher and bar mat before snapping a few pics for the listing.
As you may have read recently here on GameSpot, EA has secured the rights to include Australia's A-League in the upcoming version of its FIFA 08 game. Pro Evolution 2008 developer Konami on the other hand has made no such announcement about the inclusion, instead sending word of its plans to extend the existing player card for its soon-to-be-released game.
While Lucas Neil and Cristiano Ronaldo have been selected to wave the promotion flag for PES 2008 in Australia, instead of adding our own A-League, Konami has instead opted to bolster its foreign ranks, adding Brazil, Portugal, Greece, Scotland and Ireland to the lineup. Club teams have also received plumping up, with a handful of sides such as HJK Helsinki, Panathinaicos, Spartak Moscow, and FC Basel being given a chance to take to the field. These new additions to the PES family take the licensed player count past the 3000 mark.
Fatal Intertia--the next-gen-platform-fence-jumping racer has finally been given a date down under. THQ, the Australian distributor of Koei titles has confirmed an Xbox 360 ship date of September 20. Meanwhile, there is still no hard land date for the PlayStation 3 version of the game.
Fatal Inertia made its debut at E3 2005 during the PlayStation press conference, where it was indicated that the game would be a PlayStation 3 exclusive. However, in November last year, GameSpot reported that like other thought-to-be PS3 exclusives, that Fatal Inertia was indeed a multiplatform game and would appear on the Xbox console.
Atari Australia has sent word that a new trailer is now available for Kane & Lynch: Dead Men. This is the third trailer for the IO Interactive developed action game which is scheduled for a November Australian launch on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC.
You can download it from Atari's website at: http://www.atari.com.au/downloads/home.do. The release of the trailer also coincides with the launch of the official Kane & Lynch website http://www.kaneandlynch.com/ which is hosting the video as well as concept art, screenshots, background storyline information, and an interview with composer Jesper Kyd.
Keen-eyed GameSpot AU readers will know from a previous Spot On! post that EA recently held its official media launch of FIFA Soccer 08 at North Sydney Oval. Check out our coverage of that event (plus our preview of the game's new Be A Pro mode ) by clicking here .
At the event, we caught up with Socceroo star and Melbourne Victory striker Archie Thompson, who is the official ambassador for FIFA 08 in Australia and New Zealand. Press play on the video below to hear what Archie has to say about FIFA 08, the A-League, and how Melbourne Victory will fare this season.
It's been a little over two months since we reported that SEGA would be opening up shop down under. Now that SEGA Australia are all set up, they've sent out their first release schedule with some interesting dates on it.
SEGA Rally on the Xbox 360, PS3, PC and PSP has been dated for later this month on the 27th. It appears that we're getting Virtua Fighter 5 for the Xbox 360 before the US, yay! It'll be available here on the 25th of October, whereas the US get it on the 30th. On the November 23, the long awaited Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games will be out on the Nintendo Wii.
Others games that SEGA have slated for 08 include NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams, Ghost Squad, Condemned 2: Bloodshot and more!
The skateboarding game scene is about to change with the launch of EA's Skate. We caught up with John Rattray, pro skater and now game character to discuss his involvement with the project, some of his skate injuries, and the new Flickit control system.