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Amy's i at the EUR3 Gaming Expo in LA: SEQUEL opportunities; UPDATES GALORE.

Byline: Amy Vickers

GRAB a pen - it's time to start scribbling your Christmas list.

We've spent the week at the world's biggest games conference, EUR3 in Los Angeles, playing as many of the 1,300 wonders on offer as possible.

And we can report that there are games about everything. Games based on movies, games based on real life, games where you're really hard, games where you go really fast and, the big theme of the year, games based on games - sequels.

For racing fans there's a new Gran Turismo, the fourth in the series, and the next installment of Project Gotham Racing.

For gun-toting maniacs there's the awesome Doom 3, the latest version of the greatest PC game ever.

If you're a movie buff, then you've got a surprisingly fine selection this year. Normally, cinema franchises turn out to be the poor cousins twice-removed of great films. Not this year.

Hulk looks fantastic. The green giant just runs around beating the hell out of everything and - the best bit - picking up his attackers and chucking them at each other.

Enter The Matrix is a games marvel. It may not be floating everybody's boat at the show but it's true to - and sometimes even better than - the film.

Martial arts film stars are also getting in on the act. Chow Yun-Fat reprises his role from Bulletproof Monk for the game-of-the-movie, while Jet Li looks good in new Playstation franchise Rise To Honour, where 360-degree kick-ass moves put you right in the action.

AS does The Italian Job, a fantastic rendition of the remake where you tear around the streets of Los Angeles in a Mini. Lovely.

Nintendo didn't disappoint. Their Mario Kart: Double Dash was one of the hits of the show.

People who're still enthusiastic about Star Wars despite the last two films will be pleased to know more games are on the way. The best look like being Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy and Star Wars Galaxies, the online beast of a game.

Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes is coming to the GameCube, as are Resident Evil 4, Pikmin 2 and a new version of Pacman where you can play the ghosts.

Kings of the show were Halo 2, the bigger and better Xbox stunner that's getting the online treatment, and Tomb Raider: Angel Of Darkness, which doesn't disappoint, on the Playstation2.

Xbox has the Nintendo-inspired Voodoo Vince, which is fantastically clever and funny, and the hardcore Counter Strike and Return To Castle Wolfenstein: Tides Of War.

The bottom line is that it's no longer good enough simply to own a PS2. You really do have to have an Xbox and a GameCube as well.

CAPTION(S):

MINIMALIST: Race round LA in The Italian Job; HIT: Mario Kart: Double Dash; FUN: Pikmin 2 on the Gamecube; FAST: Project Gotham Racing 2; CLEVER: Voodoo Vince for Xbox; KICKING: Bulletproof Monk
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Title Annotation:Review
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:May 17, 2003
Words:481
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