Shippin' Out October 23-27: Ultimate Alliance, Dark Messiah of M&M

Comic and fantasy titles join F.E.A.R. and Guild Wars expansions and Tony Hawk's Downhill Jam on this week's release calendar.

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This week, news came that PC gamers who had been saving up to buy the Burning Crusade expansion to World of Warcraft would have some extra cash. The game, which was slated to ship next month, has now been pushed back until next year so its developer-publisher, Vivendi-owned Blizzard Entertainment, can put the "finishing touches" on the title.

But Blizzard's loss appears to be NCsoft's gain. This week, the Korean publisher is releasing the Nightfall expansion to its popular massively multiplayer online role-playing game Guild Wars--which, thanks to its free subscription model, is one of WOW's fiercest rivals. The T-for-Teen-rated expansion will arrive in stores Thursday for $49.99, at the same time as another eagerly awaited expansion, F.E.A.R. Extraction Point from Vivendi label Sierra Entertainment.

[UPDATE] However, perhaps the most anticipated PC game of the week comes from Ubisoft. The company has shipped Dark Messiah of Might & Magic, the long-awaited first-person fantasy actioner. The game will continue the first-person spin-off that began with Legends of Might and Magic and uses Valve Software's Source Engine, the same technology that powers Half-Life 2.

On the console front, the biggest releases for the week are all film tie-ins. Two are adaptations of popular computer-animated family offerings--DreamWorks Animation's Flushed Away (PlayStation 2, GameCube, Game Boy Advance, and DS), which debuts in theaters on Friday, and the Xbox 360 version of Pixar's Cars, which hit most other consoles and portables earlier in the year.

The week will also see a game based on a much more adult movie hit the PS2, PC, and Xbox. That would be Reservoir Dogs, the Eidos adaptation of the 1992 comic crime thriller directed by Quentin Tarantino. However, those hoping to play as Steve Buscemi's Mr. Pink or Harvey Keitel's Mr. White are out of luck--the only member of the film's cast to lend his likeness and voice to the project is Michael Madsen--aka Mr. Blonde.

Speaking of tie-ins, Activision is releasing the latest entry in its library of games based on Marvel Comics. Much like the popular X-Men Legends series, Marvel: Ultimate Alliance is an action role-playing game that lets players don the form-fitting outfits of various Marvel superheroes such as Spider-Man, Captain America, and the Norse god Thor. The game will hit the PC, PS2, Xbox, Xbox 360, and Game Boy Advance this week and will arrive on the Wii and PlayStation 3 next month.

The week's new releases are listed below (list taken from retailer information--actual dates may vary).

OCTOBER 23, 2006
Ace Combat X: Skies of Deception (PSP)
Cars (Xbox 360)
Dungeon Siege II: Deluxe Edition (PC)
Magical Starsign (DS)
Poker Superstars II (PC)
Scrabble 2007 (PC)
Strawberry Shortcake: Strawberryland Games (DS)
Stronghold Legends (PC)
Teen Titans 2 (GBA)
Unreal Anthology (PC)

OCTOBER 24, 2006
.hack//G.U. vol. 1//Rebirth (PS2)
Capcom Classics Collection Reloaded (PSP)
Dark Messiah of Might and Magic (PC)
Dynasty Warriors Vol. 2 (PSP)
Eureka Seven - Vol 1: The New Wave (PS2)
F.E.A.R. Extraction Point (PC)
Flushed Away (PS2, DS, GBA)
Fuel (Xbox, PC)
Marvel: Ultimate Alliance (PC, PS2, PSP, Xbox, Xbox 360, Wii)
Nacho Libre (Xbox, PC, PS2)
Nicktoons: Battle for Volcano Island (PS2, GC, DS)
Over the Hedge: Hammy Goes Nuts (DS)
Phantasy Star Universe (Xbox 360, PC, PS2)
Reservoir Dogs (PS2, Xbox)
Scurge: Hive (DS)
Snoopy vs. the Red Baron (PC, PSP, Xbox)
Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Double Agent (PC, PS2, GC, Xbox)
Star Trek: Tactical Assault (PSP, DS)
Tokobot Plus: Mysteries of the Karakuri (PS2)
Tony Hawk's Downhill Jam (GBA, DS)

OCTOBER 25, 2006
Dave Mirra BMX Challenge (PSP)

OCTOBER 26, 2006
Guild Wars Nightfall (PC)
ATV Offroad Fury Pro (PSP)

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