UK Charts: Need For Speed sequel maintains its lead
Electronic Arts maintains its grip on the top of the UK chart, while Activision's Call of Duty console game enters at number five.
Need For Speed Underground 2 held off the might of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas for the second week running as driving games once again proved the biggest draw at the top of the UK charts.
As well as holding the number one, Electronic Arts continued its traditional Christmas domination with FIFA Football 2004 holding firm at number three and GoldenEye: Rogue Agent moving up four places to number seven (and increasing its sales 100 per cent in the process), while The Urbz dropped one place to eleven.
Elsewhere, EA notched up another handful of Top 40 entries, notably with Lord Of The Rings: The Third Age (20), Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2005 (26), Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban (28), Burnout 3: Takedown (32), and the original Need For Speed Underground, which re-enters at number 39.
Surprisingly, there's room for other publishers too, with US rival Activision enjoying a solid console debut for Call Of Duty: Finest Hour at number five (number three Xbox, 13 on GameCube, five on PS2), while Ubisoft's Prince Of Persia: The Warrior Within debuted at number 13 (15 on PS2, eight on Xbox). Bandai's Atari-distributed Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 3 chalked up a new entry at number 31, while Atari itself enjoyed a number nine entry on the PC chart with Sid Meier's Pirates!
This week's big movers in terms of sales included THQ's The Incredibles, which in moving from number seven to number four increased its sales by 131 per cent, illustrating just how top-heavy the top-five sellers really are. In fact ChartTrack revealed this week that the top five accounts for 20.6 per cent of the sales of all games.
Of the recent big new releases, Pro Evolution Soccer drops two places to number six, Halo 2 drops three places to eight, WWE SmackDown! Vs. RAW slips three places to nine, The Getaway: Black Monday is down two places to ten, while Half-Life 2 drops ten places to 19 - now outsold by Killzone, which itself is down three places to 15.
Peripheral-based games appear to be doing reasonably well this Christmas, with SEGA Superstars, in particular, doing belatedly well, up seven places to number 14, ahead of Sony's own EyeToy: Play 2 (number 23), while SingStar Party drops to number 26.
Firmly in the "why did they release them at Christmas?" bracket this week are Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon 2 (number 27), Ratchet & Clank 3 (number 30) and Jak 3 (number 37), while outside of the Top 40 spare a thought for Metroid Prime 2: Echoes, Mortal Kombat: Deception, Medal Of Honor: Pacific Assault, Tales Of Symphonia, Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines, The Legend Of Zelda: The Minish Cap, Sly 2: Band of Thieves, and many more.