As the industry prepares for the most packed Christmas release period in its history, Nintendo has given firm European release dates to the vast majority of its year-end releases, including headliners Mario Kart DS (DS), PokÃ®mon XD: Gale of Darkness (Cube) and PokÃ®mon Emerald (GBA).
In what will be the Nintendo DS's first festive period on the shelves of European retailers, the platform holder fields a strong line-up drawing on key franchises including Mario Kart (Nov 11), Kirby (Nov 25) and Advance Wars (Sept 30), as well as new title Nintendogs (Oct 7), which it has been put its full weight behind following an hugely successful launch in Japan earlier this year.
Puzzle game Meteos (Sept 23) is another title that will be on many gamers' radars - the product of Tetsuya Mizuguchi's Q Entertainment, based on a design by Kirby creator Masahiro Sakurai, has received hugely positive write-ups since its release in Japan and America earlier this year.
With its latest iteration of the Game Boy hardware, the Game Boy Micro, hoping to reinvigorate sales in that area following its November 4th release, Nintendo also has several titles due in support - including PokÃ®mon Emerald (Oct 21) and, for the more hardcore gamer, Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones (Nov 4).
Meanwhile, with The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess now due no earlier than April 2006, Nintendo's GameCube line-up now centres around PokÃ®mon XD: Gale of Darkness (Nov 18), which remains in the Japanese Top 10 this week (source: Media Create), as well as Dancing Stage: Mario Mix (Oct 28), its rhythm-action collaboration with Konami, and its latest Mario sports titles, Mario Power Tennis and Mario Smash Football (both Nov 18).
Hardcore gamers are likely to take an interest in Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance (Nov 4) and Battalion Wars (Dec 9th), although oft-delayed first-person shooter Geist (Oct 7) has received a relatively low-key response in North America and may struggle to make an impression during a busy fourth quarter.
The full release list, based on dates provided during Games Convention this week and other sources:
- Meteos (DS) - September 23rd
- Advance Wars: Dual Strike (DS) - September 30th
- Geist (Cube) - October 7th
- Nintendogs (DS) - October 7th
- PokÃ®mon Emerald (GBA) - October 21st
- Dancing Stage: Mario Mix (Cube) - October 28th
- Digitylsh Series (GBA) - October
- Metroid Prime: Hunters (DS) - October
- Donkey Kong Country 3 (GBA) - November 4th
- Dr Mario And Tetris Attack (GBA) - November 4th
- Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance (Cube) - November 4th
- Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones (GBA) - November 4th
- Mario Kart DS (DS) - November 11th
- Mario Superstar Baseball (Cube) - November 11th
- Mario Power Tennis (Cube) - November 18th
- Mario Smash Football (Cube) - November 18th
- PokÃ®mon XD: Gale of Darkness (Cube) - November 18th
- Touch Golf (DS) - November 18th
- Kirby: Power Paintbrush (DS) - November 25th
- Mario Party 7 (Cube) - November
- Battalion Wars (Cube) - December 9th
- Animal Crossing DS (DS) - Q4 2005
- Mario & Luigi 2 (DS) - Q4 2005
- Mario Tennis Advance (GBA) - December 2005
- Odama (Cube) - 2005