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SHORT LIST 5 - December 1996/January 1997


Lists don't come much shorter than this month's, and that's because there are only two games doing anything worth noticing at the moment (and since one of them is, like every month since I started this column, a Formula One racing game called Formula One, I'm not going to feature it in case you start getting horribly confused).

Tekken 2 is the Playstation's latest retaliation in the ongoing punch-up between the superconsoles' flagship fighting games, and it's something of a knockout blow. Retaining the innovative and intuitive play system of the original (each fire button controls one of your fighter's limbs), Tekken 2 piles new characters, new moves, new scenery and all manner of secret features to discover into the melee, and the result is a fast, hard and gorgeous game that's now, officially, the only beat-'em-up you need in your collection.

(Namco, Playstation, 44.99)



As everyone expected all along, Nintendo have finally announced that their wondrous new games machine, the Nintendo 64, won't be landing on these shores until Spring 1997. The N64 is the latest leap forward in console technology, and its star game, Super Mario 64, has been received like the Second Coming in all the games press. (Like every other big new game of the last five years, but hey, this time they mean it, man.) For once, though, the reality lives up to the hype - Mario 64 is an astonishing experience, and will justifiably sell hundreds of thousands of machines on its own (just as well, since there are only likely to be two other games available when the machine's released).

So why am I telling you this now? Because, after being out for a few months in Japan (and commanding fearful import prices around the 800 mark), the N64 was released in the US at the end of September, and if you've got a 60Hz-compatible TV (as nearly everyone does), you can now pick up an English-language version of the machine and games for only a few pounds more than the technically-inferior official UK machine will cost here in April (249).

The main drawback with the N64 is that the games will come on cartridge rather than CD-ROM, and are therefore likely to come in around the 50-60 mark. Although with much-cheaper-to-produce CD games regularly hitting 49.99 RRPs these days, that's perhaps not as much of a blow as it might have been. Still, even if you can never afford to buy another game, get yourself an N64 and Super Mario 64. Chances are, you'll never want another game.

(US machine available now, contact your local importer for details, or try the Tottenham Court Road Computer Exchange on 0171 636 2666)

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