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Tuesday, January 28, 2003

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Chamber of Secrets Set for February Release
9:21 AM | Galen Wiley | Comment on this story

Mac game publisher Aspyr Media has updated their main website and created a new product page for the upcoming Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Announced last December and featured at January's Macworld Expo San Francisco, The Chamber of Secrets is based on the second book in the Harry Potter series, putting players in the role of Harry Potter, teenage wizard extraordinaire, who must battle through danger and turmoil in order to unlock the The Chamber of Secrets. Below is a short description of what the game will offer, from Aspyr's official Chamber of Secrets homepage:

Be Harry Potter and unlock the mystery at the heart of the Chamber of Secrets. With dire warnings from strange quarters and dark schemes afoot, Harry's second adventure will be every bit as magical and dangerous as his first. But this time the spells are more potent, the foes are more fearsome, and Harry's friends are more important than ever.
The sequel to the hit Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone includes many new features and improvements. Below is a short list of what users can expect:
  • Go deeper into Harry's world... explore rich environments from the Great Hall to the dark reaches of the Forbidden Forest?
  • Take the flying car to Hogwarts? and master new second-year spells, including Skurge, Diffindo, and Spongify
  • Overcome dangerous foes from Aragog to the deadly Basilisk
  • Test your skills in Quidditch? and Wizard Duel leagues
  • Interact with new characters from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, including Dobby?, Lockhart, and Ginny Weasley?
  • For more information about the upcoming game, be sure to check out the official website for further details, and for an in depth look at Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, check out IMG's preview. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is currently in Final Candidate status, and is expected to ship sometime in February.

    IMG Preview: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
    Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
    Aspyr Media
    Buy Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

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    IMG Reviews Marble Blast
    1:51 PM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

    Inside Mac Games has posted a review of Marble Blast. Using the modular Torque engine, GarageGames has produced a game that plays remarkably like the Marble Madness of old, but adds a host of modern twists and mechanics that create a fairly unique gaming experience.

    Here's a clip from the review:

    One of the things about Blast that immediately grabs your attention is the graphical presentation. The game boasts a slew of bright, bold colors and large shapes that make the game extremely easy to view - no squinting is required here to make out any details. The player-controlled marble itself is a rainbow swirl of colors that looks pretty cool when in motion, and various impacts and other environmental factors can cause the marble to give off sparks or other effects as it moves around.

    To make viewing the game even easier, players are given almost complete control of the camera. While the marble does stay pointedly fixed just below the middle of the screen, the camera can be rotated along any axis up to 180 degrees, stopping when the playing field gets level with the X-axis. The camera can be controlled with the mouse or keyboard, though FPS veterans will doubtless find the mouse more intuitive. When coupled with the standard W-S-A-D control scheme for moving the marble around, it gives players a good degree of flexibility and ease with which to navigate.

    To check out the rest of the review, follow the link below.

    IMG Review: Marble Blast
    Marble Blast Gold
    Buy Marble Blast Gold

    IMG Ships MacGames DVD Volume 1 - 10
    11:19 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

    Inside Mac Games has begun shipping the MacGames DVD. The MacGames DVD contains the best of Inside Mac Games' popular MacGames CD subscription CD service from our very first volume (1) to the latest (10).

    Included on the DVD are the best in Macintosh game demos, shareware, updates, add-ons, trailers, cheaters, and more from July of 2001 to January of 2003. That's right, 4.7 gigabyte's worth of Mac games! All in all, there are over 50 Macintosh game demos, nearly 400 shareware games, over 70 game updates, add-ons, and much more.

    You must have a Macintosh with a DVD drive to read the DVD. The DVD is available for purchase through our store for $19 plus shipping and handling.

    Inside Mac Games

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    Vendetta Status Update
    10:39 AM | Mike Apps | Comment on this story

    Guild Software recently released an update to their free online space-combat game, Vendetta. For anyone who has never played Vendetta, it is basically a test program, so that Guild Software can test an engine they working on to be used with an upcoming massively-multiplayer Game. The latest updater includes a few fixes, including a fix for some updater bugs.

    Here's the full update:

    Bugfix release, this version clears up a number of the Updater bugs that cropped up after the last release. Plus, fixes are now present for the "having issues" bug, the weapon damage is now back to where it should be, the /explode command works properly once again (and can no longer be used to exploit flag holding), AI robots are the correct color, plus a number of other crashes/problems have been addressed.
    For more information on Vendetta and Guild Software, follow the links provided below.

    Vendetta Update
    Guild Software

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    Apple's Power Mac Line Reaches 1.42GHz, Radeon 9700
    9:48 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

    Today Apple has updated their line of Power Mac towers, incorporating many of the features revealed at Macworld like Firewire 800 and Airport Extreme, as well as giving every segment a significant speed bump. Also revealed in the new computers is the impending release of ATI fastest new video card, the Radeon 9700 Pro, which can now be ordered with the computer for $350 more than the baseline card (same as the GeForce4 Ti).

    The Power Macs now come in three flavors: 1GHz, Dual 1.2GHz, and Dual 1.42GHz machines. They are priced at: $1499, $1999, and $2699, respectively. Each also now come with one Firewire 800 port as well as the original two Firewire 400 connections. The machines feature 802.11g (Airport Extreme) as well as Bluetooth capability built-in (as a BTO option) for connecting to compatible devices like phones. The faster machines have speedier RAM (333MHz 2700 SDRAM) as well as 167MHz buses. The 1.42GHz Dual even gets 2MB L3 cache per processor, while the other two have 1MB.

    The Radeon 9700 Pro has no official release date listed, except for an "Available Soon" note in the build-to-order dropdown. As expected, ATI has placed an ADC as well as DVI connections on the card for Apple. A DVI-to-VGA converter will be included for those wanted to power a normal CRT monitor as well.

    Stay tuned to IMG for much more on these machines as information becomes available. We'll attempt to track one down, especially once the 9700 is available, for gaming benchmarks.

    Apple PowerMac

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    M-Audio Shipping Revolution 7.1, Beta Drivers Posted
    9:21 AM | Lucian Fong | Comment on this story

    According to a few readers, M-Audio's Revolution 7.1 sound card has begun appearing in retail stores, like CompUSA, for as low as $99. M-Audio has also posted new beta drivers (version 1.2.2) for the Revolution on their website. Below is a list of changes:

    Avoid pining TruBass level to maximum in TruSurround mode.
    Map cross over to TruBass values correctly.
    Fix audio glitch when switching between certain speaker sets.
    Elminate kernel panic during AC-3 output.
    Fixes multi-user problems
    Compatibility with Mac OS X 10.2.3.
    IMG will have a review of the Revolution 7.1 as soon as we can get our hands on one. In the meantime, read our interview with M-Audio's Jason Ivan for more information.

    Download Revolution 7.1 1.2.2 Drivers (2.1 MB)
    Problems with Revolution 7.1
    Interview with M-Audio's Jason Ivan
    Revolution 7.1

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    Neverwinter Nights Status Update
    9:21 AM | Scott Turner | Comment on this story

    BioWare, developer of the Dungeon & Dragons based RPG, Neverwinter Nights, has released a fairly short status report on the game's upcoming Mac port. The Mac version is in full development, and BioWare's update lists only a few problems with the latest Mac OS combined with ATI and NVIDIA's graphics cards.

    This week was spent working closely with both NVIDIA and ATI to resolve a few different driver issues. The current situation is causing some rather interesting rendering issues between the latest build of NWN Mac and the latest public MacOS with those drivers. We just want to state publicly how pleased we are with the level of support we are getting from both ATI and NVIDIA to get through these issues.
    Showcased at the latest Macworld Expo and nearing a full Macintosh release, check in with IMG for more updates as this port progresses. You can also grab the link to the Neverwinter Nights Mac page below.

    BioWare's Neverwinter Nights Mac Page
    Neverwinter Nights
    Buy Neverwinter Nights

    Mac Games News for Monday, January 27, 2003

    Freespace 2 Mac Bound? [Updated]1:10 PM
    IMG Reviews F1 Championship Season 200012:57 PM
    GarageGames' Jeff Tunnell on The Gamesome Mac10:05 AM
    Master of Orion 3 Declared Gold Master9:00 AM
    Ambrosia's Redline Makes Progress8:52 AM
    Myth III Server Status8:52 AM
    New Alias: Underground Mission Released8:52 AM
    Warcraft III Expansion Q&A8:52 AM
    View all of the Mac games news for Monday, January 27, 2003 on one page

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