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Can't afford the new Playstation 3

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As Sony's latest video game console launches on the Old Continent, remind yourself of the most popular games on the European market

It's too expensive at £424.99, worse still it's not compatible with the games of the previous version, which sold like hot cakes (115 million). Playstation 3, available in Europe from March 23 2007, is in a strong place to start its mission to dominate the European market. For the moment though, there are few reasons to buy it. Better to stick to what we know, by exploring the world of Europe's favourite videogames.

Grand Theft Auto - robbery and violence

If it's about one thing, it's adrenaline. In Grand Theft Auto, better known as GTA, you can get under the skin of a criminal who gets kicks from rampaging around all-American cities - Liberty City, San Andreas and Vice City, committing robbery and murder, stealing cars and shooting at anyone who comes into view. Anything goes to complete the missions assigned by the bosses and rise through the ranks of the local criminal underworld.

The game, for console and PC, was created by DMA Design, now called Rockstar Games and Rockstar North, and released just ten years ago by ASC Games. Often at the centre of debate for its violent scenes, Grand Theft Auto is the 6th bestselling videogame of all time (headed up by Nintendo's Super Mario Bros.), with 50 million copies sold.

Pro Evolution Soccer - disappointing latest version

Fifa Championship, Addictive Games's Football Manager: football fans are spoilt for choice. Pro Evolution Soccer stands out the most, known as Pro-Evo to its fans. Born as an evolution of International Superstar Soccer, produced by Japanese company Konami in 1994, Pro-Evo is now on its sixth edition.

It has had a cool reception from its fans though. They have judged it too slow and complicated, and miss some of the best features of previous editions, such as being able to save the best goals. Like its competitors, Pro Evolution, or Winning Eleven as the Japanese version is known, offers multiplayers. As well as playing matches alongside friends, you can play with strangers worldwide thanks to the web. A high-speed connection is needed for this though. Headphones and microphones are also crucial for following the comments and curses of international competitors.

Final Fantasy - worldwide smash

Having released twelve editions in twenty years, Final Fantasy is one of those historic epics which continue to reinvent themselves successfully, capturing the imagination of today's children just as it did those in 1986, when the series began. Produced from the start by Squaresoft (now known as Square-Enix), the role-play game was created by Hironobu Sakaguchi. The name comes from when his company was in severe financial difficulty, and the game was its last chance to escape bankruptcy.

The series has spawned films, comics, remakes and videogames taken from the original story, in which each edition has a different storyline. The last episode, the twelfth, came out in Europe just over a month ago and has already sold more than 5 million copies across the world.

'The Legend of Zelda' - twenty years of role play games for console

Link never utters a word and yet he's one of the most successful characters in the history of videogames. This blond youngster, elfishly dressed in green, is the main character in Nintendo's The Legend of Zelda. His mission is to save the Princess Zelda from the claws of the villainous Ganon. But the road is long in search of the fragments of the Triforce, an artefact created by three gods, the quest for which leads him far from his native land, the kingdom of Hyrule.

Created in 1986 by Shigeru Miyamoto in Japan, The Legend of Zelda reached Europe a year later. It was an innovative game for its time, opening the way for role play games for console. Keeping tabs on all the adventures of The Legend of Zelda isn't easy'; between the various platforms there are at least thirteen different editions, each with its own unique stile, from the first stylised images of twenty years ago to this year's three-dimensional Twilight Princess edition.

World of Warcraft - 8 million players

It's possible to play with 8 million people simultaneously, if you're an elf, a wizard or a warrior. Or indeed if you're one of the characters of World of Warcraft (known as WoW by its fans). It's the most famous 'Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game' MMORPG. Owning a Playstation is not enough to take part; you need an Internet connection, possibly broadband, and a fee payment. It's the only way to immerse yourself in the two continents of the World of Warcraft, and participate in the battles between the Horde and the Alliance, who are perpetually at war.

The virtual reality carries on even when you turn off the computer, thanks to the millions of players connected all over the world, at all hours of the day and night. It was an unprecedented success for the American-based Blizzard Entertainment, who released the game barely three years ago.

Photos: Grand Theft Auto (dcomprose/ Flickr), Legend of Zelda (wpwend42/ Flickr), World of Warcraft (gamerscoreblog/ Flickr), Final Fantasy (arcana23/ Flickr), Pro Evolution Soccer (melhorcèle/ Flickr)

Translated from Playstation 3 troppo cara? Meglio il passato