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UK Charts: Codemasters score a number one with TOCA Race Driver 2

British publisher Codemasters has achieved its first number one placing in the domestic charts in almost two years with TOCA Race Driver 2 - but the software market as a whole remains at a very low ebb.

British publisher Codemasters has achieved its first number one placing in the domestic charts in almost two years with TOCA Race Driver 2 - but the software market as a whole remains at a very low ebb.

In fact, TOCA's chart topping performance marks the single lowest unit sales for a number one title in the UK rankings since summer 2002, when EA's Medal of Honor: Frontline held on to the top spot for months as other publishers completely ignored the period in release schedule terms.

Were it not for TOCA's sales, however, the chart would this week be topped by Norton Internet Security 2004, which rose to the number two position this week - its presence in the chart, along with that of a number of other PC utility software products, providing a solid indication of just how depressed the videogame retail market in the UK is right now.

A glance at the new releases which made it into the charts this week provides an obvious culprit for this decline - aside from TOCA, the highest ranked new entry was Manhunt at number 14, propelled into the charts by the launch of the Xbox and PC versions of the game, which had a lukewarm reception on PS2 before Christmas.

The Xbox launch of Unreal II: The Awakening brings the game up to number 27 in the full price chart - and that's actually it in terms of new releases making their way into the charts, although Konami's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles did climb up to number 13 from last week's number 19 in its second week on sale.

Next week should hopefully see something of a recovery, as Eidos' Hitman Contracts and EA's Fight Night both arrive on store shelves and are the obvious tips for the top spot, while England International Football seems likely to sell well and the superb Project Zero: Crimson Butterfly may surprise market watchers with a strong debut, after the original Project Zero title proved to be something of a cult hit despite little marketing support and slow early sales.

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Rob Fahey avatar
Rob Fahey: Rob Fahey is a former editor of GamesIndustry.biz who spent several years living in Japan and probably still has a mint condition Dreamcast Samba de Amigo set.