Need For Speed hangs on to top spot

Official ELSPA Entertainment Top 20 Software Chart (all prices) - week ending 4 December

1 (1) Need For Speed: Underground 2
(PS2, Xbox, PC, Gamecube)
2 (2) Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
3 (3) FIFA 2005
(PS2, Xbox, GBA, Gamecube)
4 (7) The Incredibles
(PS2, Xbox, GBA, Gamecube)
5 (NE) Call Of Duty: Finest Hour
(PS2, Gamecube, Xbox)
6 (4) Pro Evolution Soccer 4
(PS2, PC, Xbox)
7 (11) GoldenEye: Rogue Agent
(PS2, Xbox, Gamecube)
8 (5) Halo 2
9 (6) WWE Smackdown vs Raw
10 (8) The Getaway: Black Monday
11 (10) The Urbz: Sims In The City
(PS2, Xbox, Gamecube, GBA)
12 (14) The Simpsons: Hit and Run
(PS2, PC, Xbox)
13 (NE) Prince of Persia: Warrior Within
(PS2, Xbox, Gamecube, PC)
14 (21) Sega Superstars
15 (12) Killzone
16 (13) Tony Hawk's Underground 2
(PS2 Gamecube, Xbox, GBA)
17 (15) Sonic Heroes
(PS2, Xbox)
18 (16) The Sims 2
19 (9) Half-Life 2
20 (19) Lord Of The Rings: The Third Age
(PS2, Xbox, Gamecube, GBA)

It's all getting a little bit formula one on the charts at the moment. The three big-name leaders are tearing away from the rest with hardly any surprise switches and very little swapping of positions - except in the lower reaches. So the top three remain exactly the same as last week, even though Call Of Duty and The Incredibles both manage to surge into the top five.

Call of Duty: Finest Hour's arrival is powered by its ad-backed launch this week but The Incredibles shows a remarkable 131% leap in sales which propels it from seven to four. While the PS2 version is still shifting the majority of copies, the GBA version of the game does make up 28% of its total sales. GoldenEye: Rogue Agent has also managed to put on a spurt into the top half of the table but the Bond blaster still hasn't quite had the impact that many predicted. And just to prove the power of advertising, Sega Superstars has rolled into the top 20 thanks to some showy shop displays.

But while some games seem to be thriving, others are diving. Prince Of Persia: Warrior Within has failed to break the top 10, despite a meaner, more teenage goth-friendly feel. The mighty Half-Life 2 has plunged dramatically to 19, past even Killzone, which still hasn't recovered from its poor start on the chart and has faded to 15.

But perhaps they are the lucky ones. Football Manager (22), Singstar Party (26), Ghost Recon 2 (27), Ratchet and Clank 3 (30) and Jak 3 (37) have all under-performed at the tills considering their big names and good review scores. However, while those games do seem to be suffering in this top-heavy chart, their positions will be delighting their respective publishers compared to this MIA list. Currently cast adrift somewhere outside the fantastic 40 are such stellar titles as Metroid Prime 2: Echoes, Medal Of Honor: Pacific Assault, Tales Of Symphonia, Paper Mario 2, Zelda Minish Cap, Sly 2 and Vampire The Masquerade: Bloodlines.

With December already well underway and the torrent of software now slowing to a trickle, the chart looks like becoming a war of attrition. So can Need For Speed: Underground 2 continue to sell at such a phenomenal rate or will one of the other top five manage to overtake it as it stalls? And what about those missing games: will any resurface or will Sonic Heroes, Need For Speed Underground 1 and The Simpsons Hit and Run forever price them all out of a place in the 20? We'll find out in a week.

Leisure software charts compiled by ChartTrack
(C) 2004 (UK) Ltd