Since before Christmas 2003 and until just last week, Electronic Arts had a stranglehold on the All Formats games chart, with the likes of Need For Speed Underground, FIFA 2004 and SSX3 flexing their muscles over the weeks and months. Well, the US giant's domination finally comes to an end this week, as Ubisoft's Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow prevents EA from reclaiming the number one slot, bolstered by the release of the PC version. Ubisoft's other Clancy licence, Rainbow Six 3, wakes from a lazy start and jumps from 21 to nine. PS2's This is Football 2004 flexes its FIFA-beating muscles, stepping up from 15 to seven, one step ahead of the EA multi-format perennial.
In fact, EA's Easter line-up is found lacking, with a mere two titles in the top 10, both of which are decidedly long in the tooth. EA's only new title daring to set foot in the top 40 is Rugby 2004 on PS2 and PC.
All other new releases this week turn out to be under-performers. Scooby-Doo! Mystery Mayhem from THQ enters at 17: perhaps not such a mystery that, eh? Konami's Yu-Gi-Oh! World Championship Tournament 2004 debuts at 36, suggesting that the Yu-Gi-Oh! brand has seen its day. The biggest surprise is the pathetic performance of Namco's R:Racing, a ludicrously poor showing at number 37, in spite of a multi-format release on GameCube, PS2 and Xbox. Does the 'R' stand for 'rubbish'? You have to wonder...
Other notable movers this week include Atari's Unreal Tournament 2004, disappointingly falling from nine to 23, with Battlefield Vietnam and Deus Ex: Invisible War plummeting in a similar fashion. Ubisoft's splendid Far Cry falters too, but the same company's Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time moves up ten places to 29, and the original Splinter Cell shoots back up to number 12.