At the recent ECTS show, we got to see a number of the forthcoming JoWood titles in action, including the excellent Rally Trophy.

Rally Trophy screen

Cars are two-wheel drive instead of 4 wheel drive, so the handling is somewhat different to other current rally games which have the latest and greatest rally cars.

Racing a mini really does feel different, and the attention to detail makes you feel like you're actually taking part in a real car - the bonnet bounces up and down after you've pranged the car in to a fence post, and other parts crumple and break if you don't take good care of the car.

Rally Trophy screen

Action takes place on 42 highly detailed tracks in five different countries, and there's a number of classic rally cars to choose from including Renault Alpine A110, Ford Escort MK1 RS2000, Ford Lotus Cortina, Lancia Stratos.

At the end of each stage you can repair your car, but there's a limited amount of time to make the fixes, so you'll have to make that all important choice between having working lights on a night stage, or actually having an engine which will last the next stage, or steering which actually gets the car around tight corners.

Rally Trophy will be on the PC start line later this year, and an Xbox version is expected for spring 2002.

Industry Tycoon 2 screen

Industry Tycoon 2 is the follow up title to Industry Giant and Industry Tycoon, and lets gamers assume the role of a business tycoon, starting at the start of the 20th century, and working your way through to 1980.

The game involves setting up supply and distribution methods, and also transporting materials to factories, and finished products to shops for people to buy, and make you money.

Forests have to be cut down, and soared in to useable pieces of wood which are transported to a factory, and then made in to toys and other items, they then get stored in a warehouse, and finally make their way in to the shops where you can pick a price and hope that the crowds flock to the store in their droves.

As the years pass, more technologies and possibilities become available, including plastics, electronics, and better methods of distribution which are faster and can take larger loads. Industry Tycoon is due for release on the PC this autumn.

World War III screen

World War III: Black Gold was another very impressive title on show, and is a fully 3D Real Time Strategy title featuring current day tanks and army forces, which follows the story that WWIII would be declared during late 2001.

The political crisis goes on for months, and a wave of demonstrations has broken out around the world. A secret conference of the Central Geological UN Commission reveals that worldwide oil stocks have plummeted to dangerously low levels, oil reserves will run out within 8-10 years, and so WWIII is declared in an attempt to make sure supplies keep flowing.

World War III screen

All objects in the game, including the terrain, are 3D - the maps are also able to be modified, with ditches dug, bridges built, and underground trenches created. A full RTS style "technology tree" makes up the research side of things, meaning that you have to pick which route you want to take in the development of your army.

Since we saw the title at the beginning of September, there have been the horrific events in America, and JoWood have understandably announced that the UK release of World War III: Black Gold has been indefinitely postponed as a mark of respect - a great shame as we were looking forward to getting to play it, but hopefully a release will be in the not too distant future.

JoWood also have several other titles in the works for release over the next few months, including Graffiti Tournament: Skate and Style which could be described as a cross between Jet Set Radio and Tony Hawks for the GBA, and The Nations for the GBC which is a conversion of the PC title of the same name.