Electronic Arts' UEFA Euro 2004 shows a bit of fancy footwork as it deftly makes its way around Eidos' Hitman: Contracts to the number one spot in this week's All Formats hit parade, as supplied by ChartTrack. This week also sees the arrival in the chart of the mighty Pokemon Colosseum. A GameCube exclusive, Colosseum stood little chance of getting to number one in the face of EA's multi-platform carpet-bombing strategy/flogging of FIFA 2004 in a different strip. The Pokies land at number two. Hitman: Contracts' Agent 47 fulfils his contract, netting Eidos a tidy number of sales (and a rumoured takeover) and steps down to number three. Microsoft's Ninja Gaiden enters at number four. It's pronounced 'Guy-den', which makes it even funnier than we thought. The PC-exclusive Norton Internet Security 2004 appears to be losing its grip as it hits the number five spot, right ahead of more EA Sports in the guise of Knockout Ki...sorry, Fight Night 2004. Atari's Transformers is on the slide after only one week on the chart, despite massive TV advertising, while SEGA's Sonic Heroes shows it doesn't need such heavy handed marketing as it maintains its place in the top 10. Midway's The Suffering slips into the top ten too. Let's hope this is a change in fortunes for the veteran company, which is currently plundering some of its past greats for return later this year.
Other new entries this week include Sierra's Van Helsing, in at number 11. Surely a massive disappointment considering the cost of acquiring the licence and the amount of 'free' piggy-back marketing with the movie. Konami's re-release of the sublime Pro Evolution Soccer 3 - timed perfectly to coincide with the Euro 2004 build up - re-enters at 15. Another disappointing tie-in enters at number 34 in the shape of CSI: Dark Motives. Now Ubisoft is the latest casualty in the recent line of poorly performing licences. With CSI, Van Helsing and Acclaim's recent Alias disaster, does this signal a return to the dark days of shockingly poor licence-based games? Let's hope not. Finally, Medal of Honor: Frontline returns in at 36 powered by its budget pricing.
Some big downward shifts this week. ToCA Race Driver 2 drops out of the top 10, from seven to 14. Perhaps it's about time Codemasters released the title for GameCube and PS2? More slippage for Codemasters, with its England International Football title, carefully timed for maximum Euro 2004 power, plummeting from a healthy number nine to a Reserves match-like 23. Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow dives from 12 to 20. Ubisoft will hope for a revival after June 11 with the release of the GameCube and PS2 versions of the game. Acclaim's World Championship Rugby suffers too, as the nation (well, England at least) shifts its focus to spherical balls, the title slipping to 33 from 20. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles say "arrividerci" and prepare to return to their tired old half-shells, as Konami's title drops from 23 to 38. Too much pizza, maybe?
Next week, um, nothing that interesting is being released, so get outside and enjoy the sunshine while it lasts.