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Microsoft unveils Christmas box

New games, software and hardware for Brits

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Microsoft's UK consumer division intends to fill your stocking this Christmas, with a bundle of goodies includes 12 new games titles, plus five extra versions of existing games, home user software and new mice.

Midtown Madness 2 is a "madcap racing adventure" set in London or San Francisco. An upgrade to the existing Midnight Madness, which takes place in Chicago, gamers can choose from nine new vehicles - become a London cabby or red double decker bus driver - to race around the city streets. It will cost £29.99 and be available from 13 October.

Next month will see the launch of an expansion pack for Age of Empires 2, a game which lets users re-write history and win the battle of Hastings or other such momentous scraps. At £29.99, The Conquerors Expansion will add scenes from Attila the Hun and Montezuma campaigns and will be available from 15 September.

New games titles include Crimson Skies, an Errol Flynn swashbuckling escapade to be released October 13 at £29.99, where users get to fly planes 1930s-style. And Conquest: Frontier Wars, which will be a strategy game set in space involving galactic battles. This will be out 8 December at £29.99.

Microsoft will also launch Works version 6.0 software on 1 September at £69.99, and World Suite 2001, at £119.99, later in the same month. Also in the offing are updated versions of Encarta, including the full Monty Encarta Reference Suite 2001 for the UK and Ireland - £99.99 from 15 September.

Hardware for the Christmas market includes three new mice - the three buttoned Wheel Mouse Optical and two trackballs, Trackball Optical and Trackball Explorer. They will cost £24.99, £34.99 and £49.99 respectively, and will all be out in October. There will also be three new joysticks and two new gaming devices. ®

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