The Thing, PlayStation 2 (Konami) £39.99 *****
This stunning third-person epic is back, with evil on its mind and gamers fixed firmly in its sights. Similar in many ways to Resident Evil and Silent Hill, The Thing pits players against innumerable hidden evils in a bid to escape alive. Beautifully crafted and incredibly gory, this is a pulse-racing experience that will leave many cowering behind the sofa.
2 Hot Pursuit 2, Gamecube (EA) £39.999 ****
The latest in the long line of Need for Speed titles takes road-]racing to an all-new height. The aim is to take on computer- or player-controlled opponents in a series of illegal street races, driving some of the world's most prestigious vehicles while avoiding the long arm of the law along the way. Fast-paced, smartly presented and highly competitive, Hot Pursuit 2 is every motorhead's dream.
3 NHL Hitz, PlayStation 2 (Midway), £39.99 ***
This is an ice hockey title unlike any other. In the same vein as Red Card Soccer, NHL Hitz is a no-holds-barred title in which players can barge, hack and even punch their opponents, in a quick-fire, four-on-four hockey extravaganza. Featuring a whole host of surreal teams and arenas, it may not be entirely true to the sport, but it is unreservedly good fun.
Four Four Two, PC-CDROM (SCi) £19.99 ***
Four Four Two: Touchline Passion is the latest contender to Championship Manager's throne. It has clever tricks, such as classic leagues, career challenges, finance management, 3D match-view and highlights, and much more. However, despite such dynamic gameplay, its incredible complexity and unrealistic match animation radically reduces its long-term appeal.
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