Archived News:

Thursday, Jun 24, 2004

Spartan Patch

A patch for the U.S. version Spartan is now available, updating Slitherine Software's historical strategy game to the same version 1.017 as the European edition. In addition to the retail patch they are also offering an updated version 1.017 of the game's demo.

Ships Ahoy - Aura: Fate of the Ages

The Adventure Company announces that Aura: Fate of the Ages has shipped in North America:
Toronto, June 24, 2004. The Adventure Company* today announced that it has shipped "Aura: Fate of the Ages" for Windows(R).

"Aura's" magical story begins with an ancient legend that tells of the existence of powerful and sacred rings and hidden artifacts that, when combined, offer great power and immortality to those that possess them.

Players will take an incredible voyage in search of these rings and artifacts, opening astonishing new worlds throughout the quest. A variety of ingenious fully-animated puzzles using logic, reasoning and common sense must be solved before the game reaches it fully-realized conclusion.

"Aura" is a challenging first person puzzle exploration game with an easy to navigate mouse driven, point and click interface. The game features vast panoramic landscapes and paramount pre-rendered graphics. Players will need to solve a variety of ingenious fully-animated puzzles using logic, reasoning and common sense.

"Aura: Fate of the Ages" is developed by Streko-Graphics Inc. and is rated 'E' for Everyone. This title will ship in Europe later this summer.

Visit to download the Official Demo and Trailer.

* The Adventure Company is a division of DreamCatcher Interactive Inc.

N.A. Ships Ahoy - TrackMania

Enlight sends word that TrackMania, the construction/racing game hybrid that's already had a successful European launch, is now set to race into stores in North America as well. Here's the deal:
PARKVILLE, Md. (June 24, 2004) — Enlight, a leading entertainment software developer and publisher, announced today that it has shipped its highly anticipated hybrid racing game, TrackMania, to retail stores across North America. Reviewers across Europe have praised TrackMania, while North American gamers have awaited the arrival of this fun, strategic racing game.

In a recent article, GameSpy praised the new title saying "…it's impressive that TrackMania offers something fresh: it's not merely a racing game, but also a racing track construction set." "Whoever you are, whatever your background, no matter how old you are, TrackMania is bound to appeal," wrote PC Gameworld in a recent preview. "It presents an innocent and undiluted slice of pure fun, and that makes a refreshing change from much of the convoluted garbage that litters the shop shelves. We need more games like this!"

The North American version of Trackmania contains enhanced Internet play, a unique avatar system, a new survival mode, ghost competition cars and 60 new building blocks such as tunnels, land transitions, signs and turbos. TrackMania has been coined as a highly addictive adventure with a fast-paced multiplayer Mecca, which allows for crazy tracks and a variety of fascinating competitive modes. Another key to TrackMania's appeal is that its network game is built to allow players of all skills to participate, from the casual gamer with a low-speed connection to the hard-core gamer with bandwidth galore!

"With a loyal following across Europe, we expect TrackMania to do very well in North America," said Paul Lombardi, chief executive officer of Enlight Interactive, the U.S. publishing operation of Enlight. "We are enormously pleased with TrackMania's success and believe gamers in the United States and Canada will thoroughly enjoy this fun and addictive racing game."

Developed by Nadeo and published in the United States and Canada by Enlight Interactive Inc., TrackMania will be available on Windows PC, priced at $29.99 (U.S.). For additional information please visit

Taldren Closed

Starfleet Universe is reporting that Taldren, developer of the Starfleet Command series, has shut down (thanks Frans). The story clarifies that Black 9 was indeed cancelled when the spin doctors told us it was "on hold" (story), describes efforts to transfer the company's official forums to, and touches on what the future holds for remnants of the company: "An incarnation of Taldren will survive in South Korea. Taldren's CEO Erik Bethke has already struck roots in Korea and is forging plans to develope [sic] a myth-themed MMORPG."

Chaos League MP Demo, Competition

The Chaos League Website now offers a new multiplayer demo for Chaos League, allowing the chance to sample the head-to-head action in Cyanide's now-gold fantasy-themed sports game. The demo is also going to be the fulcrum for an upcoming competition: "Those who think that they’re a cut above the rest will also get a chance to prove it, as Digital Jesters will be holding a tournament using the demo with a total prize fund of over £2000. Rawr! The opening stages commence on the 5th of July, 12pm GMT, and competitors will battle over the following three weeks, culminating in the grand final on the 26th of July."

Joint Operations Patch

A new patch is for Joint Operations: Typhoon Rising is now available, updating NovaLogic's Black Hawk Down engine multiplayer shooter to version The patch is a 26 MB download, available on the NovaLogic Website and mirrored on 3D Gamers, Boomtown (registration required), Gamer's Hell, and Worthplaying.

Morning Q&As

    The Star Wars KOTOR II: The Sith Lords Q&A on rpg codex talks with Obsidian's Frank Kowalkowski, who is actually getting set to leave the project: "I will be leaving the team shortly to head up the programming effort on our second title which is another big project for Obsidian. I’ve worked on just about every aspect of The Sith Lords, mostly because our lead programmer Chris Jones was careful not to task me to anything too time consuming in the event our second project launched earlier than scheduled."
    Kevin Hoekman Speaks on SÖLDNER: Secret Wars on VGpro is a Q&A with Encore Software Director of Development Kevin Hoekman about their first-person shooter. One of the topics covered is the class-based multiplayer: "We don’t necessarily paint the player into a corner by requiring them to play a certain class. However, since Soldner places such a huge emphasis on team play, there are definite advantages to fulfilling certain roles on your assault team."
  • The Matrix Online
    The Matrix Online Q&A on GameSpot talks with William Westwater, Monolith's director of development, about progress on the upcoming Matrix MMORPG.
  • Breath of Winter
    The SpellForce: Breath of Winter Q&A on Loadedinc talks with JoWood's Jan Wagner about the Breath of Winter expansion for SpellForce, discussing, among other things, striking a balance between two genres: "The most difficult thing was balancing graphics and gameplay, since RPGs tend to have better graphics and are played from a closer perspective while RTS need to be able to move large number of models fairly fast."
  • Horizons
    HomeLAN Fed's Horizons Update Q&A talks with Artifact's David Bowman about future plans for the MMORPG.
  • Shade: Wrath of Angels
    Action, Horror and Melee Combat Collide in “Shade Wrath of Angels” on GameZone is a Q&A Radek Volf, leader of the team of developers at work on Shade: Wrath of Angels. One topic covered is the recent decision to place more emphasis on melee combat: "We wanted to make the combat system more “personable” instead of relying on ranged weapons. But, that is not to say that all combat will be fought in such an in-your-face manner, the player will have a choice of how he wants to fight – and will be given a Crossbow and Desert Eagle to use – these weapons will be very useful in some situations, but in emphasis has been moved to a melee style of combat."
  • Tin Soldiers
    The Tin Soldiers Q&A on Experience Gaming talks with Kevin Albright, president at Koios Works, offering: "insight into the company, Tin Soldier’s graphics engine and how accurate the game will be in portraying Alexander."
  • Axis and Allies
    HomeLAN Fed's Axis And Allies Q&A talks with Brian Wood and Ian Klimon about the upcoming RTS game based on the classic tabletop wargame.
  • Roller Coaster Tycoon III
    The Roller Coaster Tycoon 3 Q&A on IGN talks with "Producer Jonny" about the upcoming railroad sim sequel.
  • Liquidator
    The Liquidator Q&A on GenGamers talks with Alex Denisov of Parallax Art Studio who introduces plans for Liquidator, an upcoming first-person shooter.

Game Movies

A new exclusive World of Warcraft trailer is available as a 52 MB download from Yahoo! Games Domain. Also, there's an 11 MB Colin McRae Rally 2005 movie, available for download from Codemasters and mirrored on Gamer's Hell. Finally, there's a new Sherlock Holmes: The Silver Earring movie, showing off more of the upcoming mystery game, this clip is mirrored on Gamer's Hell and Loadedinc.

Dear Diaries

Making Weapons for Medal of Honor: Pacific Assault on the EA Games Website is the latest diary detailing development of the upcoming World War II shooter sequel (thanks Frans). The entry is penned by lead CG artist Jim Dargie who discusses the effort going into modeling the weapons in the game, as well as the hands that will carry them. Also, the RPG Vault Mourning Peek #31 is online, "The Quad and Newrosoft team offers its thoughts on player versus player, beginning with a brief history lesson."

Gold - Starshatter

The Matrix Games Forums announce that Starshatter is gold (thanks Sauron), and that the space combat simulator is to be available almost immediately: "I am posting this from Origins Game Con. We Starshatter has gone gold. Limited copies will be available for sales at Origins starting tomorrow. We will have our digital download version available late next week early the following week. This is one great game and Milo has done a great job on it."

Morning Previews

Morning Screenshots

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews


Out of the Blue

So Hudson the wonder dog has been spending a lot of her time in the backyard standing right by the doorway jumping around snapping at flying bugs. I've seen her on insect hunts before, her strong hunting instincts and lack of more suitable prey making this a fun hobby for her. Yesterday, however, my curiosity about her fascination with that spot by the door inspired me to observe the situation more closely. Turns out it looks like there's a bee hive of sorts out there, and the little beast has been spending a week eating bees. Now I've seen her snap at bees before... she's a tough little cuss, and getting stung in the mouth seems to be an acceptable trade-off to her for the thrill of the kill, but allowing this situation to continue seems negligent at best, so it looks like I need to start tracking down an exterminator.

Play Time: Curve Ball. Thanks Jim Chaney.
Links of the Day: blik INVADER.
Pac-Man Ate My Penis. Thanks Ant.
Stories of the Day: Reality and video games unite in Human Pacman. Thanks Ant.
IBM 'helped in Nazi mass-murder'.
Toronto bloodbath averted by dog.
Science!: A Very Muscular Baby Offers Hope Against Diseases (registration required).
Saturn's moon 'a frozen time capsule'.
Fossils back up theory on dinosaurs’ doom.
Image of the Day: Bumper sticker a self-fulfilling prophecy. Thanks Donovan Bodine.
Media of the Day: Supersonic Electronic. Thanks Michael Obersnel.
Auctions of the Day: Lamborghini Murcielago. Thanks Ant.
Real Time Machine for Time Travel.
Thanks Mike Martinez
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