Need for Speed: Undercover

Need for Speed: Undercover is the twelfth installment of the popular racing video game series Need for Speed, developed by EA Black Box and published by Electronic Arts. It is set for release on all current generation consoles, the PlayStation 2 and Microsoft Windows on 21 November 2008

The game will feature international movie star, Maggie Q , as one of the lead characters of the game. The live-action sequences from Carbon and Most Wanted will return in Undercover. Police chases from previous installments will also return, as well the new Highway Battle mode.

Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello has stated that the previous release in the series, ProStreet, was "an okay game... It's not good." and that Undercover will bring better innovations and gameplay. He has stated Undercover has a considerably longer development cycle than its predecessors since the Need for Speed development team is now split up into two teams, both of which will work on a 24 month development cycle with future titles, alternating releases between them. Riccitiello has stated he was "torturing" the development team with a tight development cycle in the past. When this change was implemented in mid-summer 2007, one team started working on Undercover (giving it only a 16.5 month development cycle), while the other team finished ProStreet and then started working on the next title. This title has not been revealed and will be released in 2009, after a full 24 months of development.
Riccitiello also stated Undercover is taking inspiration from action films such as The Transporter, with a large embedded narrative.

Frank Gibeau (president of the EA Games label) has stated that due to the fact that the sales of ProStreet didn't live up to EA's hopes for the game, the Need for Speed franchise will go back to its roots with a number of features, including open-world racing and a new highway battle mode.
John Doyle (developer at EA Black Box) has hinted Undercover will feature a brand new game mechanic and a "Most Wanted-ish" sandbox style of gameplay.


The game's story mode sets the player in the story as a police officer going undercover into the criminal underground of Tri-city, a fictional city where the game is set. The player's only contact to the police is Chase Linh, played by Maggie Q. The gameplay is supposed to allow the player to make Hollywood-style stunts and driving moves, making him 'feel like a hero'. Tri-city is a free-roam area, and the advancement in the story mode is mission-based.


Little Information has been released about Undercover's police system, but it is confirmed by EA that Nissan GTRs and helicopters will be some of the police vehicles. As seen in the screenshots, Ford Mustang GTs and the Crown Victoria-based police car from Most Wanted will be included too.
Champions League holders Manchester Conjugate were tired with Scottish champions Gaelic in the group stages of this year's competition. 

The Land span will also tackling Spaniards Villarreal and Danish back Aalborg in Foregather E. 

Chelsea were raddled with Roma, Vino and Romance minnows CFR Cluj, while City module have PSV, Metropolis and Atletico Madrid in a hempen forgather. 

Armament faculty action City, Fenerbahce and Dynamo Kiev in Radical G. 

The foursome Country sides were secured to be kept divided after being prefab top seeds, but Gaelic could know faced any one of them after existence haggard in the ordinal pot of clubs. 

They leave get their assay to experiment themselves against the Nation champions in two mouthwatering clashes. 

The fixtures gift pit European trainer Gordon Strachan against his one-time imprint Sir Alex Ferguson. 

The span met in the Champions Association set stages in 2006/07, with European successful 1-0 at base but City Coupled edging the regress fixture 3-2 at Old Trafford. 

"It was a majuscule event the antepenultimate period we played," said Consolidated chief executive Painter Gill. "Both clubs have lustful fans and we're hunting nervy to it. 

Conclusion instance they won (at Gaelic) to prepare and we went felled to the net gallinacean to secure we went finished. 

"The players and the fans faculty already be superficial to that fixture on the calendar." 

Gaelic chairperson Evangelist Reid added: "It's mythical for Gaelic fans. There are no simple groups, there are no footloose passes in Assemblage. 

"We're fair braggy to be Scotland's emblematical in there and to be performing the Dweller champions."

"United character Cristiano Ronaldo was at the poker in Princedom, where he was titled Uefa's Continent Club Jock of the Year. 

Ronaldo scored figure goals in the rivalry stylish flavour and also won the honour for the forward of the period. 

The another awards went to rivals Chelsea, with Petr Cech (goaltender), John Actress (scrapper) and Weenie Lampard (midfielder) all voted the superfine at their item. 

Chelsea, who unsaved sunset period's last to Unitary, were the prototypical take out of the hat and care to bonk been presented the easiest extend of progressing finished to the blow stages. 

Blues supporter Painter Barnard said: "It's a mixed bag but any team that reaches the radical stages has to be precondition esteem. 

"We are totally convergent on Champions Conference, the discovery is there and they are completely focused on making the inalterable again this twelvemonth."

Both City and Armory, who came through limiting to piss the gather stages, play baffling oppositeness if they are to progress to the finally 16 of the contention. 

Liverpool important chief Wrick Block said: "It's not uncomplicated but the cardinal teams are fair turn by and there's no difficult trips. 

"There are no unhurried games - you honorable require it as it comes. We are honorable delighted to be in it." 

Armory will get to journey to Country and Ukraine and filmmaker Danny Fiszman said: ""One of the big issues for Arsene is the distances we know to movement. They are abundant trips and that's the most disappointing panorama of the attractor. 

"But we're hopeful and reassured we leave get to the severe stages." 

All quintet Country clubs present be glad to fuck avoided the likes of Bayern Muenchen and Juventus, who were possibility opponents in the gear pot of teams. 

The low set of matches module be played on 16/17 September.

Mexican crater could give clues to ancient Mars

MERIDA, Mexico (Reuters) - A prehistoric crater left by an asteroid collision in Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula could yield clues about what Mars was like billions of years ago, a NASA scientist says.

NASA planetary geologist Adriana Ocampo is digging up rocks buried deep under southeastern Mexico for hints about what impact craters can reveal about planet formation, and says her work could shed light on a giant crater on the surface of Mars.

Astronomers have been puzzled for decades about a huge dent on the surface of Mars -- the largest known crater in the solar system -- and new evidence last month suggests it was caused by the impact of an asteroid the size of the moon.

The Mexican crater, known as Chicxulub, was created when an asteroid that smacked into Earth 65 million years ago in a catastrophe that wiped out around half the planet's species and was maybe responsible for the dinosaurs becoming extinct.

Studying the debris spewed by the collision may answer questions about radical changes in atmosphere that can result from massive asteroid hits, Ocampo, a Colombian based at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, told Reuters. She has been studying the Yucatan crater for a decade.

"It's a natural laboratory because of its similarities to what we can find on other planets like Mars where humans can't go," Ocampo said of Mexico's smaller crater.

The crater on Mars, measuring 5,300 miles across, is so big that it has left half the planet at a lower elevation.

Mexico's crater is a much smaller 100 miles in diameter and is now half a mile underground, where rocks and earth have buried it over millions of years. Space geologists believe the asteroid hit in the Caribbean Sea, probably causing a huge tsunami.

Information from Chicxulub could also give clues about whether or not there was water on the surface of Mars long after the planet was dented by the massive asteroid hit.

Scientists have detected frozen water on the surface of the red planet. Martian seas could have disappeared when the planet was bombarded by smaller meteors that changed its atmosphere and dried it out, Ocampo said

She is looking for similarities between the Yucatan crater -- formed when southern Mexico was under the sea -- and smaller craters on Mars to see if she can detect similar patterns formed by water.

The Great Mars Monkey Hoax

Marsmonkey If you visit the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, you can still see the infamous "Monkey from Mars," a hoax that spurred a case of UFO fever back in 1953. That was the year that three guys -- two barbers and a butcher -- took a dead monkey, chopped off its tail, removed its hair and pour green coloring over the whole mess.

They left the poor dead beast in the road, the police took a report and soon the Air Force was looking into the story. Eventually, GBI experts got to examine the corpse. Snip:

"If it came from Mars, they have monkeys on Mars," Hines was quoted as saying in an article at the time by The Associated Press that is set beside the monkey in the appointment-only museum.

Where the men got the monkey is not clear. Watters, Wilson and Payne eventually admitted to the hoax and Watters paid a $40 fine for obstructing a highway.

When the Changing Hands bookstore in Tempe, Ariz., hosted a book signing in 2005 to promote a new local author, Stephenie Meyer, the response for a first-time novelist was typically lukewarm.

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Hiroko Masuike for The New York Times

Sydney Noel, 13, left, of Seattle was among the crowd at a Borders bookstore in Manhattan.

“Maybe 50 people showed up,” recalled Cindy Dach, the store’s general manager. “And I’m pretty sure most of them were her friends and family.”

Three years later, “Breaking Dawn,” Ms. Meyer’s fourth and final book in her Twilight vampire-romance series (which began with the best-selling novel “Twilight”) was unveiled on Friday night with thousands of parties across the country to mark its officially going on sale at 12:01 a.m.

It was released amid confident predictions from bookstores that it would be the industry’s blockbuster of 2008.

Sydney Noel, 13, who had won a nationwide sweepstakes to fly to New York, have a private half-hour meeting with Ms. Meyer and then be handed the first copy to go on sale at midnight, could not believe her luck. “It means a lot to a Twilight fan,” said Sydney, a Seattle eighth grader. “I never thought anybody ever won these things. To get the first book — it’s amazing.”

“This is certainly going to be the biggest book of the year, without a doubt,” said Diane Mangan, the director of the children’s department for Borders Group.

Barnes & Noble planned to hold vampire-theme parties in more than 600 of its stores on Friday night, and invited readers to arrive in costume, socialize and play Twilight trivia. Borders Group was expecting more than 100,000 fans at 900 Twilight-theme parties at its Waldenbooks and Borders stores.

Katie Herzer, 14, showed up at Wordsmiths Books in Decatur, Ga., an Atlanta suburb, a couple of hours before the books were to go on sale. “We got really sad when Harry Potter was over,” she said. “It’s great to find a new series we can read and maybe grow old with.”

Wordsmiths had been decked out to resemble a vampire prom, with red-and-black balloons and a photo area decorated with bleak black crepe. Some 175 people had R.S.V.P.’d to attend the store’s party and were told to dress in red and black. Many wore buttons reading “I Was Bitten by Breaking Dawn.” A goth band was to play vampire tunes.

In New York, several hundred people, most of them teenage girls, were spread around two floors of the Borders book store near Madison Square Garden. Three makeup artists were decorating faces — white makeup with red lipstick, fake tattoos and gruesome red scratch marks (“Everyone deserves to look like a vampire,” said Grace Quinones, 29, one of the volunteer artists) — while a fortune teller sat at a table in the window. There was a fashion show and a trivia contest. Upstairs, a heated debate was under way about which boy the series’ heroine should end up with, Edward the vampire or Jacob the werewolf.

“There’s a lot of conflict between the characters,” said Dan Dupuis, 27, of Fall River, Mass., his face white, his lips red. “It really draws you in.” He paused before adding, “I’m an Edward fan.”

His wife, Jessica Dupuis, 25, also in full vampire makeup, piped up happily, “I’m a Jacob fan.”

Mr. Dupuis noted: “That starts some fights at home.”

Both chain stores and independent booksellers said they were hoping to tap into the intense devotion, unseen since last July, when the final installment in the Harry Potter series sent readers to midnight parties in droves.

In interviews Ms. Meyer, 34, has resisted comparisons to J. K. Rowling, whose Harry Potter series has 140 million copies in print in the United States, according to its publisher.

“It’s a completely different story line and a completely different fan base,” said Kim Brown, the vice president for specialty books at Barnes & Noble. “But what it does have in common is that it’s all based on word of mouth.”

While the Harry Potter series was geared more toward middle-school children, Twilight is aimed at high school girls.

The Twilight series tells the story of Bella, an innocently angst-ridden teenage girl who must choose between her two suitors.

Beyond their fan base of teenage girls, and a handful of boys, the books have also been embraced by conservative-minded women in their 20s and 30s who praise the squeaky-clean morals of the books’ teenage heroine. (She and Edward kiss now and then, but that’s about it, and the vampires drink animal blood rather than human blood.)

“It’s sensual without being erotic or explicit,” said Ms. Mangan of Borders. “Moms and daughters can read it and have conversations about abstinence.”

Ms. Meyer is a graduate of Brigham Young University who lives outside Phoenix with her husband and three young sons. She chafes at constant mentions of her Mormon religion in the press. (“You didn’t hear people saying, ‘Jon Stewart, Jewish writer,’ when his book came out,” she told USA Today.)

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, Ms. Meyer’s publisher and a division of Hachette Book Group, has printed 3.2 million copies, the largest first printing in the publisher’s history. The first novel, “Twilight,” has spent 49 weeks on the New York Times best-seller list and will be released as a film in December.

Yet despite Ms. Meyer’s enormous following and her perch on the best-seller lists, she is far from a household name.

That includes close to home, said Ms. Dach of the Changing Hands bookstore, which planned its own midnight party, complete with two rock bands and a Red Cross bloodmobile.

“Even in Arizona,” Ms. Dach said, “there are people who are like, ‘Who? What?’ ”

At Wordsmiths, Hannah Thrasher, 14, clutched the precious copy she’d bought just after midnight after driving 90 minutes with her mother from their home in Gilmer County, Ga. “I was planning on reading it all through the night,” she said. “But my mom says I have to go to sleep.”

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