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Play: Games -- Manhunt banned, Doom 3 patched

Australian censors ban Manhunt, id releases patch for Doom 3, and packaging for Nintendo's portable DS player unveiled in this week's Play: Games.

Australian censors ban Manhunt, id releases patch for Doom 3, and packaging for Nintendo's portable DS player unveiled in this week's Play: Games.

Australian censors ban Manhunt
The Classification Review Board has voted 3-1 to ban the violent computer game Manhunt following an application by the federal Attorney General on the request of the Western Australian Minister for Justice.

In a statement released yesterday, the Classification Review Board said the game -- which has been available here since late last year under an MA15+ rating -- could not be legally sold, hired, advertised or exhibited in Australia following the determination. Those stipulations apply to online as well as bricks and mortar retailers.

Manhunt banned in Australia

"In the Classification Review Board's opinion, the game warrants a refusal of classification because it contains elements beyond those set out in the classification guidelines and legislation for a computer game at the MA15+ classification," the statement said.

"Specifically, it contains some depictions of high impact, as well as scenes of blood and gore that go beyond strong.

"It also contains a high impact theme."

Manhunt came into the news recently after the mother of a murdered British teenager blamed his fate on the game. The New Zealand government has banned the game.

In an information sheet for computer game retailers, the Classification Review Board reminded them of penalties for selling, hiring, having for display or hire, or demonstrating, a game that has been refused classification.

Individuals who do so face fines ranging from AU$4,500 in Queensland to AU$24,000 in Victoria, with imprisonment listed as an alternative in all jurisdictions bar the ACT and Tasmania, where both the fine and imprisonment may be imposed. Corporations may face higher penalties.

Penalties also exist for advertising a banned game.

Staff from ZDNet Australia contributed to this article.

Final DS packaging revealed

Nintendo DS
The retail box for Nintendo's new portable will prominently feature a packed-in Metroid Prime demo.

Nintendo today released the final look of the North American retail packaging for its upcoming Nintendo DS system. As expected, the box design emphasises the included demo of Metroid Prime Hunters, with a large logo and artwork of main character Samus Aran breaking up the otherwise subdued silver-and-black box art.

The announcement went on to mention that the demo would include several single-player modes, as well as the previously announced four-player wireless multiplayer demo. The game's genre has also been confirmed to be "first-person adventure," signifying that the full game should feature a full, robust single-player adventure akin to the console Metroid Prime titles.

The left-side panel of the box, meanwhile, features an image of the PictoChat software that is embedded into the Nintendo DS hardware. The text on the box reads, "Draw, sketch, write, and send wireless messages with the built-in communication tool, PictoChat."

The Nintendo DS is scheduled to be released on November 21 with an suggested retail price of $149.99. Full details on the system's lineup of launch titles are expected to be revealed at press conferences at the end of next week in the US and Japan.

Doom 3 patch arrives
First official patch for id's major shooter released, fixing a long list of issues.

Id Software has released a v1.1 patch for Doom 3. The 17MB download addresses a number of relatively minor issues in both the single- and multiplayer games, including bugs associated with saved games, weaponry balance, and even some sporadic bugs associated with localised versions of the game.

Today's patch replaces the v1.05 beta patch released earlier.

Among the upgrades and bugs addressed are the following:

Stability

  • Fixed desktop crash when loading a QuickSave made during influence in EPD Lab in Alphalabs 1.
  • Fixed game freezing if in-game MP menu is opened just after a change map vote passes and just before the map changes.
  • Fixed duplicate player names shutting down a server during map changes.
Single-player
  • Fixed issue when switching between flashlight and previous weapon after using the PDA.
Networking/Multiplayer
  • Bumped damage up on rocket jumping in multiplayer.
  • Decreased damage from chaingun to 25 in multiplayer.
  • Exploding barrels to full damage to attacker in multiplayer.
  • Increased height for falling damage in multiplayer.
  • Changed net_allowCheats to allow cheat commands during network games.
  • Fixed projectile launched from wrong position when player exits teleporter while holding fire.
  • Fixed rocket launcher dealing no splash damage to player at certain angle in Edge 2.
  • Fixed light from flashlight remaining after player is killed.
  • Fixed frags going negative when over 64. Max frags now at 100.
  • Elevators now return to their home position even if someone is standing on them.

The patch is available from the official Doom 3 Web site.

EA cashes in big on The Sims 2
Biggest PC launch in EA history; 1 million copies sold in 10 days.

File this one under "the rich get richer." Electronic Arts announced today that The Sims 2 has sold more than 1 million copies at retail stores worldwide in its first 10 days on the shelves, making it the biggest PC title launch in the company's 22 years.

"The Sims franchise has become a cultural phenomenon and The Sims 2 is a game that changes the way we think about our industry," Frank Gibeau, senior VP of marketing for EA, said in a statement released today. Gibeau went on to comment that of the 1 million units sold, more than 50 percent of those were sold in Europe.

Be sure to check out our interview with the creator of The Sims.

This week's game coverage on CNET.com.au

America's 10 Most Wanted
America's 10 Most Wanted 
Could this game be the worst of all time? You'll have to read our Australian review to find out.
Mashed
Mashed 
If crashing, bumping, racing and shooting sound like an average night's commute to you, you should probably check out our Australian review of Mashed.
Star Wars: Battlefront
Star Wars: Battlefront 
Is Battlefront the game that Star Wars fans have been looking for? Check out our Australian review.
Halo 2 Hands-On
Halo 2 Hands-On 
We get some serious time with the multiplayer portion of Halo 2. Read our Australian preview.