GameCube

[last updated: 06-JUN-2012]

Alien Hominid

RATING: 1/4

WHEN: Apr 2006

NOTES: American version.

I'd rather have Metal Slug, kthx.


Originally a crappy Flash game, Alien Hominid is now punched up a notch as a console game, but it's still pretty crappy.

Everyone keeps comparing the game to Metal Slug. I guess that's right in terms that they're of the same genre, the characteristic animations and gore, but the game plays more like Cyber-Lip, in terms of manoeuvrability. You can't aim diagonally like both Cyber-Lip and Metal Slug, but unlike the latter, you can't shoot bullets diagonally.

The alien does have some additional moves, like a roll and backflip, the ability to burrow underground and drag enemies down, as well as riding on the head of an enemy or ally, as well as a charge shot, but they're really not that useful unless absolutely necessary.

There are also the obligatory weapons, like a laser, toxic gas shot, and freeze ray, but thanks to the "tough" difficulty, you never really get to hold onto them for very long. Not like you'd know you have them, as unlike Metal Slug and its weapons having distinct advantages in certain situations, the weapons in Alien Hominid just seem to be thrown in so they could show different death animations.

See, everyone praises the game for it's difficulty. There's a difference between a game being difficult and cheap. While you are given a number of grenades and weapons you pick up all contain a healthy amount of ammunition, you always seem to die quickly. There's no temporary invincibility, but merely a shield that is destroyed in one shot, and is penetrated entirely by certain attacks, allowing you to be killed after reviving. The final boss is notorious for this.

And in later levels, everything becomes monotonous. Levels drag on and on with barely anything happening, and weapons are rare. It's a painful experience, especially when things hit an absolute low in Area 51.

On the bright side, the 2-Player mode makes things a little more tolerable, and there are a number of crappy mini-games, the one most fun in the game being the PDA Game, which almost plays like Pitman, or Donkey Kong GB, and is easily the best part of the game.

Regardless, the game is mildly fun at first, but quickly becomes more and more of a chore as it progresses. Maybe worth a rental, but if you've a PS2 or Xbox, just get Metal Slug or Contra. They may not be "indie" games, but they're a lot more fun.

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Completion: Finished.

Animal Crossing

RATING: 1/4

WHEN: Nov 2004

An interesting concept, but simply not for me.


This is a peculiar one. It's a life simulator of sorts, taking the role of a newcomer to town, and can live your life from there. Despite the unique concept, it's not very fun. The graphics are simplistic and cute, and the NES games are fine bonuses, but the game is simply too slow, boring, and shallow for my tastes. And the fact we waited three years for a European release, and they didn't even give us a 60hz mode so the NES games didn't run slow as hell is insulting.

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Completion: No ending.

Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance

RATING: 1/4

WHEN: Spring 2003

Amazingly shallow, but amusingly fun.


Baldur's Gate? On a console? As weird as it sounds and how different from the PC games it is, it's pretty fun. The strategic managing of your team is gone, and unless you're playing 2-Player (which is co-operative!), it's just one man against everything.

Character creation is also dropped in favour of three characters and a secret character. A human fighter, a female magic user, and a dwarf, as well as Drizzt or whoever. Basic stuff. Gameplay involves running around dungeons, fighting monsters and maybe doing some quests. The controls are pretty simple, with a button for attacking, a button for magic, and two for health or magic replenishing.

It's a fun game, especially with a friend, but some of the later levels are frustrating because of how cheap the traps and enemies are, and the combat is rarely anything more than hammering the attack button and maybe drinking a potion. Plus, it could've been 4-Player. =(

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Completion: Steve completed it.

Battalion Wars

RATING: n/a

WHEN: Feb 2007

NOTES: American version.

Not bad so far.


[no review]

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Completion: No.

Bomberman Generation

RATING: 2/4

WHEN: Spring 2003

Dull dull dull. Multi-player is great, though.


Bomberman comes to GameCube, and they still can't get a decent single player mode. Is it really that hard? They got it decent with Bomberman 64, yet this is just long, slow and boring. On the bright side, multi-player has some great modes, particularly Dodge Battle, all of them fast-paced and chaotic. However, with multi-player being the only good part of it, it'd be hard to find a suitable price for it to be satisfactory.

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Completion: Need all Lightning cards.


Further reading: Check out the Totally Bombastic Bomberman Shrine Place!

Capcom vs. SNK 2 EO

RATING: 2/4

WHEN: Summer 2003

I'm not a fan of fighting games, see.


Well, it's a fighting game with lots of characters and some mild customization. I'm barely a good player of the genre, and while it adds an optional new control scheme that makes regular attacks awkward but special attacks easy to pull off, it's still a fighting game, a game of a genre I'm not a high fan of, meaning that I'll be rating it low purely because of my interests. Like so.

Great new graphics, though.

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Completion: Haven't unlocked the two secret guys.

Conan

RATING: n/a

WHEN: Summer 2005

I never played it, but despite the clunky feel of it, it looks fun.


[no review]

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Completion: Steve completed it.

FIFA Football 2003

RATING: 0/4

WHEN: Feb 2007

Not my style.


I don't mind a silly, rule-lacking kick about with some friends, but aside from that, I'm just not a sporty guy, so games like this just don't appeal to me. But even to football fans, you're given a million different controls for every possible situation and minor difference for a sport that merely requires kicking a ball and maybe tackling others if it weren't for the frickin' referee, and it makes me wonder: Why bother playing this where you have to find the button that gets you a swerve shot when you can just go outside on a nice day and play it for reals, where all you need in advance is if your legs are in good condition?

I'll stick with Mega Man's Soccer and that Kunio football game where you can kill people.

I only own this because it came with my brother's second GameCube. £35! Cheap as chips.

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Completion: No.

F-Zero GX

RATING: 4/4

WHEN: Apr 2006

Best racing game EVERRRR


Tons of characters, over twenty tracks, extreme difficulty, super fast gameplay, and a Story mode so silly it's awesome.

If there's a downside to this, it's that I can't go back to Mario Kart after playing this.

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Completion: Need Master Class endings and Staff Ghosts.


Further reading: I heart Octoman.

Gauntlet: Dark Legacy

RATING: 1/4

WHEN: Feb 2003

A great concept, but drab execution.


Gauntlet comes to the GameCube, maintaining it's co-operative gameplay, but still not getting any fun. The basic concept, the wide number of characters and the co-operative playing is something I would love to see done in better games, but they're the only decent parts; the graphics are ugly and bland, the gameplay gets repetitive fast, and exploring is made a tricky business due to the restrictions of the screen. Not fun.

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Completion: No.

GUN

RATING: n/a

WHEN: Spring 2006

Steve got this after he bought Resident Evil 4. You do the math.


[no review]

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Completion: No.

James Bond 007: Nightfire

RATING: 2/4

WHEN: Feb 2007

Eh.


From the very little I played, it's not a bad game, but there's nothing exactly unique about it either. It's a decent FPS with some car segments that are a mite awkward, but there really isn't any reason I would highly recommend it. The controls are tight and the gameplay isn't too shabby, but there isn't really any reason to choose this over another FPS, one I would supply an example of, but the only other game of the genre I have is TimeSplitters 2; the only real advantage this has over it are it's nicer controls and aiming.

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Completion: No.

Legend of Zelda: Collector's Edition

RATING: n/a

WHEN: Jul 2004

Not a bad collection.


[no review]

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Completion: See individual games.


Further reading: See the entries for The Legend of Zelda, Zelda II, Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask.

Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures

RATING: 3/4

WHEN: Jan 2005

An enjoyable game, especially in multi-player, but is plagued with external problems.


A Zelda game with multi-player, of both co-operative and competitive nature? YES. Of course, without multi-player you play as four Links at once, which is a change, to say the least. Everything feels as if it were a classic Zelda game around the time of Link's Awakening, although instead of a vast overworld, it's a lot more arcade-like. The game is a set of worlds with two levels and a castle; some are more puzzle orientated, some are more action packed, and some are even side-scrolling! This set-up means replaying your favourite section is a lot less frustrating, instead of having to play up to the part you're looking for on another save file and hope nobody overwrites it.

Multi-player is a blast, but for it to work is needlessly complicated, as everyone needs a GBA and link lead; the television screen is used for the HUD and the sections in the real world and above ground, whereas the GBA screen is for underground and the shadow world. This means that players can go between areas without dragging the others there with them, or cluttering up the television screen with windows or a split screen, but it produces unnecessary worries like running out of battery power or lack of a light source for plain vanilla GBAs. You can still see those below if a player goes to the end of a screen on the TV, but it could've been handled better, really. Nothing ruins a game quite like having your batteries run out halfway through a dungeon.

And is it fun in single-player? Well, I guess so. It's not as long as a regular Zelda game, and it's definitely more built for multi-player, but it's worth a look. Although you're certainly not getting the full benefit without single-player.

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Completion: Finished.

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

RATING: n/a

WHEN: 2003

Haven't played.


[no review]

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Completion: Steve completed it.

Luigi's Mansion

RATING: 1/4

WHEN: 2003

Not bad, but not great either.


After the sprawling enjoyment that was Super Mario 64, it was probably weird to have this kooky little game (and I do emphasise little) as a GameCube launch title. Rather than a platformer, it's... hard to define as a default genre. You don't jump, you merely walk around, tap on things and use the vacuum cleaner. A third person hoover-'em-up, I guess.

Sucking up ghosts is a simple enough activity, but the portrait ghosts, thanks to require more elaborate requirements before you can commence vacuuming, make it a little more engaging. Hit him with a flashlight up close, begin vacuuming, and hold on tight. The mechanics can be awkward at first, and I admit I'm unsure if there's even a "right" way to do it, since with some ghosts (particularly bosses) it seems like it's rigged to make your disconnect eventually to stop you taking care of them in one swoop. Still, considering it's what you do for the whole game (besides the very few times you use the elements, which are pretty negligible), it's a decent enough system. It's only unpleasant when you're dealing with Boos, which begin with 30HP but don't take long before it reaches 300HP, and since you don't lock-on to them and they can escape into hallways and other rooms, it essentially requires chasing them down across the whole mansion if you're unlucky, and in small chambers it sometimes becomes a back-and-forth game of following them in and out of the same room. You can imagine how much fun that is.

Since you're in a mansion for the whole game, it's no surprise that the environments can get rather samey, but ultimately it isn't too bad. Some rooms had great set-ups, some have ghost gimmicks to make them interesting (such as one where you can only see ghosts as shadows on the wall), and of course, the portrait ghosts require some mild change in plan to capture them. Exploring is a bore, though, and although there's always a shortcut back to the entrance of the mansion, having to slog from the bottom floor to the top floor is a total chore and makes for a cheap way of throwing five minutes onto your playtime.

However, the game is very short. Although not to the extent of Yoshi's Story, it can effectively be finished in around four hours, and like Story's melon challenge, the "true" way to play is apparently by getting all the money, which often requires some absurd set-ups, such as visiting areas at precise points in the game to water plants that eventually grow into gems. I, personally, don't care for that kinda crap. The games does offer a harder difficulty after its completed (though apparently the PAL version is the only one where it's implemented properly, as others botch up how the difficulty is presented I've heard) wherein the mansion is reversed and all ghosts are tougher, and given the money-collecting scoring system at the end, combined with the short playtime, it can invite replayability if it really interests you. It's not a bad game, but it begins to get tiring by the end of Area 3, wherein a long chain of obnoxious moments begin that really hamper the rest of the game (though by that stage there's not much left).

It's an interesting game that's at least worth checking out, but it requires the right kind of mindset to get any long-term fun out of it. I haven't got that kind of mindset.

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Completion: Finished the first mansion, Rank D or C, I think.


Further reading: One of many games I played in 2009

Mario Golf Toadstool Tour

RATING: n/a

WHEN: Mar 2007

NOTES: American version.

Surprisingly awesome.


[no review]

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Completion: No.


Further reading: I BLOGGED RIGHT

Mario Kart: Double Dash!!

RATING: 2/4

WHEN: Nov 2004

Fun, but feels like it's lacking something.


As great a game this is, and how very fun it is, there's something unfulfilling about it.

There are about twenty characters and a ton of cars, and you can mix and match them into a combination that's right for you, but there are only sixteen courses. This is no different from Mario Kart 64 or Super Circuit, but the latter let you unlock the SNES courses, doubling the amount. Double Dash!! lacks such an addition, and instead has a cup which has all sixteen courses one after the other in a single sitting. After you've finished that, I honestly can't see any reason to try it again, unless you're in serious need of time killing. If there was even just an extra course to each cup or simply a fifth cup, I'd have been happy.

The multi-player is brilliant, as usual, and the co-operative mode is a major plus. But I still can't shake the feeling that the game simply could've been better.

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Completion: 100%.

Mario Party 4

RATING: n/a

WHEN: Dec 2002

Typical Mario Party: Fun and enjoyable, but an absolute borefest when alone.


[no review]

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Completion: Need all presents.

Mega Man Network Transmission

RATING: 2/4

WHEN: Autumn 2003

Too slow, repetitive and flawed for its own good.


The Battle Network series, fused with the gameplay of the original series. Is it a dream come true?

Not really. It had the slide, it has the .exe versions of a number of classic bosses, and it's got level design that's similar to the original series; but it simply doesn't play good. Mandi's rant covers pretty much everything, in that the weapons are useless until powered up severely or stocked up on, having to leave a stage to refill your lives and weapon chips, and everything simply being slow.

The gameplay flaws aside, the game is very fun once you're more powerful, and the boss fights are great; they even let you replay the boss fights to improve your tactics, which is very nice. However, the Battle Network elements don't quite mix with the original so well, with the organisation of chips, having to wait for your gauge to fill up and access more chips, and the general slowness of your character. It's interesting, but it's simply too slow, repetitive and flawed for its own good.

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Completion: Need to fight Bass.

Mega Man X Collection

RATING: 3/4

WHEN: Apr 2006

NOTES: American version.

The games are mixed in greatness, but it's not like there's been a compilation devoid of that.


Mega Man Anniversary Collection was a bit of a flop (from what I heard, I didn't get it because seriously the controls), so Capcom tried to make up for it with Mega Man X Collection. They succeed. In my opinion, but seriously, does anyone listen to the whining in the comments at the Mega Man Network? I don't.

So this has Mega Man X1 to X6, with Mega Man Battle & Chase thrown in as well. No X7 or X8, or even Xtreme 1 and 2, though. Maybe not quite as good a selection as Anniversary Collection, but they're all here, they're ported well, and you can actually change your controls!

However, the porting isn't perfect, there's a few nags here and there. Namely with the music. In some games, namely Mega Man X3, the music either fades out and starts up again (like in Sonic CD), or it starts up from the very beginning instead of the 'loop point'. Just kinda weird. Also, in some games, the volume is either loud or quiet; Mega Man X4 is very loud, whereas Mega Man Battle & Chase has music that's barely audible but sound effects that are deafening.

Other than that, they're all solid ports, and play like they should. You'll probably get people complaining about how Capcom lied to them about the script rewrites, the new voiceovers and the remixed music and try to get you not to buy it because of that, but really, who cares? It's got the first six Mega Man X games and Battle & Chase which wasn't even released in the US, so yeah, pick it up.

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Completion: See individual games.


Mega Man X Command Mission

RATING: n/a

WHEN: Spring 2005

Fun battle system, but the rest is unremarkable.


[no review]

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Completion: No.

Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes

RATING: n/a

WHEN: Summer 2004

Still great.


[no review]

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Completion: Steve completed it.

Metroid Prime

RATING: 3/4

WHEN: Spring 2003

Total bliss in some categories, hideous slog in others.


I'll admit I'm one of those cranks who was kinda off put by the idea of a 3D Metroid. Long story short, it captures the same vibe as the 2D games remarkably well!

Gameplay still remains the same for the most part; you explore, blow things up, find items, use those items to find new places to explore, blow up new things, find newer items, and so on. The main change is, obviously, it's in 3D, so there's a new dimension to explore, and much more intricate surroundings, which, admittedly, can get a little awkward in finding your way around dense areas, but the map will show you where all the doors are, which is all you need. Although upgrades still include Power Bombs, double jumping and whatnot, primarily they consist of new weapons or visors - not weapons upgrades like in the 2D games, these are literally separate weapons with very different properties. The Pulse Beam will stun enemies for a second or two as they sizzle with electricity and charged shots will home in, the Plasma Beam is a literal beam with a fast rate of fire and devastating power when charged, and so on and so forth; they no longer just change the power and appearance of your projectiles. The visors are mostly for exploration and enemy encounters; the scan visor provides details on surroundings, enemies and items; the X-Ray visor lets you see invisible stuff, and the Thermal visor lets you detect invisible enemies and power currents. There's lots of mixing and matching going on.

The typical Metroid formula of exploring and gradually gaining access to more and more areas and abilities remains as good as ever, and I was genuinely surprised how enjoyable it was; I was getting the exact same feeling as when I made my way through Super Metroid. That is a definite plus, and the Space Pirates, particularly the flying ones, are quite fun and challenging to fight, but if you're not in the mood, it's just as easy to kill them quickly with the Freeze Beam. Plus thanks to the scan visor, 100% fanatics can spend their time scanning every possible nook and cranny and reading up on the extensive descriptions of the area's wildlife, or casual players can just breeze through to the next objective. It's very fun.

The problem comes whenever there are boss battles. Much like A Link To The Past, Super Metroid's boss battles for the most part simply involved killing the boss before they killed you, with lots of aimless firing and bodily collision involved. Some involve shooting them in certain places that open up, and there was one that involved a rather offbeat tactic, but for the most part that was it, and it was intense. The boss of the ghost ship is near and dear to my heart, simply because there's wonderfully horrifying vibe of oh god when will this thing die. It's hard to adequately describe Prime's bosses in any other way than "they're like the bosses in Ocarina of Time, except more obnoxious." Very rarely will you be directly shooting any bosses, but instead focusing on other trivialities that then harm them in such a way that you can get a few hits in. There's no tiny arenas to fight in like the most memorable battles of Super Metroid, nor is it just dedicated asskicking - to me, it felt clumsy and awkward, and never as hard or intimidating as it could have been. The giant plant boss, for instance, requires you to disable solar panels so the plant weakens, allowing you to roll into a tunnel and bomb it. Simple enough, but the pattern never changes. The boss doesn't get more dangerous, there aren't any more steps added, it's just a case of having more solar panels to disable before you can bomb it.

The Pirate Elite, meanwhile, does actually attack you, but unless you waste your missiles unwisely, there's nothing really challenging about it. My main beef is the lack of intensity, y'know. Super Metroid's fights, at least from my sloppy experience, were often close calls that involved lots of damage being exchanged by both Samus and the boss. Prime's bosses, meanwhile, are just chores, and the only times I died were either just me being an idiot or wasting all my missiles, thus losing any potential of quickly killing the boss. The final boss's first form wasn't difficult, but merely a demonstration in how unreliable the Power Beam was when trying to shoot a small jittery target. It's an uncomfortable paradox - the regular Space Pirates are actually enjoyable to fight, but the bosses (and by extension the Chozo Ghosts) are just an absolute bore and their only challenge is how much time they waste.

Also, yeah, nobody likes collecting the artifacts. If the game was entirely about following clues in a treasure hunt, it wouldn't be bad, but to awkwardly shoehorn it in just so I can face the final boss is unpleasant and tacked a needless two hours onto the playtime.

The actual Metroid side of things - exploring, gathering upgrades - is fantastic. I was genuinely surprised with how good it was, and enjoyed it thoroughly. The Space Pirate research facility that requires the X-Ray or Thermal visor to explore is a needless chore, but aside from that, very good fun. The bosses were just a major bore, y'know, and that's what drags it down. If they were short and simple affairs, I could tolerate it, but they willingly dragged themselves out to become engraved in my mind as an unenjoyable waste of five minutes. Still, that aside, good game, maybe you have more patience than I do!

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Completion: 57%, 11:30 time.


Further reading: One of many games I played in 2009

Metroid Prime 2: Echoes

RATING: n/a

WHEN: 2005

Haven't played.


[no review]

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Completion: Steve completed it.


Further reading: Very briefly played in 2009

Pac-Man World 2

RATING: 2/4

WHEN: Nov 2004

Basic platform fun.


Pac-Man World 2 is how I wish Mario's 3D adventures were like. While there's still the collection aspect, the main gameplay is simply about reaching the goal. A bit like Crash Bandicoot, even with the something huge chasing after you segments, but with the addition of Pac-Man being a slippery bastard. Ol' Pac simply does not know how to maintain his balance, as give him the slightest slope and he'll either be rolling down it or making no progress running up it. Naturally, this rises in the ranks of what kills Pac-Man in later levels, and then the game just isn't fun anymore.

The game plays wonderfully for the first few worlds, but then it reaches the snow world and you're forced with slopes that lob you into pits if you happen to explore too far than the game is happy with. And then the volcano pulls a Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels on you and makes all solid ground very thin platforms above certain death. It just became a bit too obnoxious for my tolerance and I gave up there. At least The Lost Levels remained fun during the difficult parts and gave you good play control.

Another minor nag I have is they removed the Pac Pellet fireball from the first game. It was pretty pointless, but I loved it.

I could've enjoyed the game more if they tightened up Pac-Man's grip so then I wouldn't roll off seemingly stable platforms, but as it is I'm left with the first few worlds and some older games that I can't help but feel are ported awkwardly.

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Completion: No.

Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door

RATING: 2/4

WHEN: Mar 2007

NOTES: American version.

Wittier and more involved, but the slogs are very sloggish.


From the Mario RPGs I've played, each of them seem to have a different feel about them; the first Paper Mario featured an almost whimsical setting (for lack of a better term for "there's nothing really all that unique about it"), Superstar Saga simply doesn't take itself seriously, Partners in Time was really forgettable, and The Thousand Year Door feels slightly more 'adult' than the others, though by 'adult' I just mean it has giant breasts, a gender-bender (Japan-only!), conspiracy theories and a death or two.

The gameplay has also been changed, altering the partners so they're now like actual allies rather than extra changes to attack or use items with their newly gained health bars, meaning have them get hit by a lightning bolt doesn't put them out of commission for two turns, though they'll happily use your Life Shrooms if you let them die, which is rather annoying when Mario himself requires one. There are also super-guards from enemy attacks, supposedly saving you from taking any damage at all and even harming the enemies in some cases, but since the game never gives you a detailed explanation of when you should use them without stopping the game entirely to show you when (how exactly does that help at all?), I just never bothered with it.

The game, though pleasant enough, certainly enjoys throwing you through repetitive hoops to get anywhere: The Glitz Pit requires you to go through a minimum of twenty or so battles to reach the end, and only the last two are actually any difficult; the optional Pit of 100 Trials is the same, except it's upped to a hundred floors, you can't save your progress and the most you can do to refill your health is exit the whole pit (requiring you to do it all over again) or buy low-quality items for high prices, and it's not until the last twenty or so floors that it actually becomes a trial of skill rather than having the patience to kill so many weak enemies.

Twilight Town is overall a very taxing part of the game, as you have to march back and forth repeatedly between the village and the castle before you can continue, and it's even more frustrating since you lack any partners for the second half of it, and the enemies tend to status affect applying bitches. And then, just to piss you off, you have to return to every world in the game just to find a Bob-Omb who'll grant you access to the cannon that'll blast you to the moon. Fun.

And the graphics are now done in Flash-style, featuring separate parts that are simply moved around. It makes for more fluid animation and their higher resolution makes them look a lot 'cleaner', yet at the same time it also makes them seem 'static,' just to overuse quotation marks. They're animated fluidly, that's for certain, but they haven't actually got a lot of animation; Bowser can't even turn his head any other way than forwards except when in the Clown Copter, where he just looks stupid, and the partner's suffer the same fate. It's an incredibly minor and stupid complaint, but I'm a graphics fag.

As usual with my "reviews," (I prefer to call them "unsupported opinions!") I badmouth the game a whole lot but end up making an out-of-the-blue "I like it!" statement. Although simplistic, I always love the battle systems of Mario RPGs, and they and the witty scripts are ultimately what save them. Without those, Paper Mario 2 would've been quite a slog, as although by ratio the aforementioned drawn-out parts were small in comparison to the better parts, they stick in my mind harder than the enjoyable parts. If you've got more patience than me for Nintendo's attempts to artificially lengthen games, it probably won't be as painful.

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Completion: Reached the final boss.


Further reading: I wasted many hours of my life on the Pit of 100 Trails. I wasn't happy.

Phantasy Star Online: Episodes I & II

RATING: n/a

WHEN: Summer 2003/2004

A bit of a grind to get into, but if it's your thing, can be quite fun.


[no review]

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Completion: No.

Pikmin

RATING: n/a

WHEN: Autumn 2002

Intriguing and infuriating.


[no review]

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Completion: No.

R:Racing

RATING: n/a

WHEN: Mar 2005

NOTES: Comes with Pac-Man VS.

I'll stick with F-Zero.


I admit I only got this game because of Pac-Man Vs., although it isn't that bad. It's more realistic than my usual affair of racing games, and thus is quite a change, although I think I'll just stick with Mario Kart and F-Zero. And Pac-Man Vs. is enjoyable, but my complaints with Four Swords Adventures will have to be repeated here about the whole GBA thing.

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Completion: No.

Resident Evil 4

RATING: n/a

WHEN: Mar 2006

That's more like it.


[no review]

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Completion: Steve completed it.

Robotech Battlecry

RATING: 2/4

WHEN: 2003

Didn't play much, but I didn't want to play much.


I thought it was kinda balls. Steve enjoyed it because, well, he was a Robotech nerd when he got it, but I just found it kinda eh.

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Completion: Steve completed it.

Shadow the Hedgehog

RATING: 2/4

WHEN: Nov 2005

Not great, but better than Heroes to say the least.


Shadow can be summarised as a mish-mash of a game. It's got the gameplay of a typical 3D Sonic game, while also fusing it with a generic shooting game, with guns, cars, and aliens. And on the graphic side of things, it has models from Sonic Heroes, and also odd-looking new models.

Naturally, everyone likes giving it a verbal beatdown, but contrary to the press liking Sonic Heroes and a number of fans not, the press hated this but a number of fans like it.

It's not perfect, but I think it's enjoyable, and it's more balanced than Sonic Heroes. If it were given more time to be polished up with new things, it may have fared better, but I guess that's how it is. As for myself, all I want is Nack to be the main character, bug fixes, prettier graphics, removal of the story, and a co-operative mode. :]

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Completion: Expert Mode is unfinished.

The Simpsons: Road Rage

RATING: 2/4

WHEN: 2002

Flawed, but not bad.


Crazy Taxi with a Simpsons license. I've never even played Crazy Taxi, meaning I can't even get a legitimate comparison going on here, but... Crazy Taxi with a Simpsons license.

Really. You play as one of many characters from The Simpsons, all with their own unique vehicle, driving style and quips, and you drive about picking up people and dropping them off. Sometimes you're challenged to avoid traffic or destroy the environment for a bonus, but that's as far as the game goes. There's a mission mode that basically involves breaking stuff before the time limit, a 2-player mode where you have to try to drop off a passenger before the opponent does, and the chance to play with no timer.

Although pretty fun, a problem with the game is that the order of locations you need to go to from certain points is never really randomised. The person near the box factory will always need to go to the box factory, the person next to the box factory will always need to go to Krusty Burger, and the person right in front of you in Evergreen Terrace will always need to go to the Kwik-E-Mart. On one hand, this allows you to memorise what each location is demanded so you know how to nab shortcuts and rack up the big bucks, but on the other hand it means each time you play is just very samey. Considering the Springfield Woods map is just too cluttered to be enjoyable and the Springfield Dam is essentially taking one person to the other side of the map and going back again, it can really put a damper on things when you just want things to change.

Of course, if you don't play it that often and mix up your order of picking people up, that probably takes away those flaws, but it shouldn't have been there in the first place. Ah well.

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Completion: 100%.

Sonic Adventure DX: Director's Cut

RATING: 3/4

WHEN: Jun 2003

With all the changes, it's still the same.


They upped the gameplay frame rate to 60FPS, added a wonky Free Camera option, removed the cool glitches, included some Game Gear games with subpar emulation, made a Mission Mode, fiddled with Chao-related things, tweaked some graphics and added multiple menu voices.

But they didn't actually fix anything among the lines of Amy's sluggish speed and control, the charge-up for the light speed dash or anything that could've been an improvement in the gameplay department. On the bright side, it's still good ol' Sonic Adventure, probably my favourite of the 3D games, and since they didn't change anything that means it's both as good as it was on the Dreamcast, while also meaning there's no point in getting this if you've got the original, unless you absolutely must have badly emulated Game Gear games and an uninteresting Mission Mode.

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Completion: 100%.


Further reading: The Dreamcast version and the PC version.

Sonic Adventure 2: Battle

RATING: 3/4

WHEN: Autumn 2002

Not much for me to complain about since they're roughly the same.


Released before the first game, strangely, this means the quality kind of dips between what is, by release, a newer game, going from a game with lesser levels but superior movie scenes and graphics to one with more levels but kinda crappy extras and whatnot. It's a bit nuts.

In a nutshell, not much is different from the original. The Chao Garden has a slight upgrade, downsizing them to prevent losing any of the critters and adding a Karate game, 2-Player features more stages and the unlockable characters available from the start (getting all emblems for a character adds a new Kart racing upgrade instead), and the graphics are ever so slightly changed, removing the fur textures from Sonic and Shadow and altering some shadows, but that's it. If you're a frequent player of the 2-player mode, then this is bound to be superior to the original (unless you're a Big fan, he's been replaced with a Dark Chao :{ ), but otherwise there isn't really enough to actually warrant getting it if you've already got the original. But I think the game's pretty rad so I haven't much to complain about and have no problem owning both!

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Completion: 100%.


Further reading: See also the review of the Dreamcast version.

Sonic Gems Collection

RATING: 2/4

WHEN: Autumn 2005

A compilation of mediocre.


Sonic Mega Collection rocked. It had the four main titles of the series, as well as some spinoffs that weren't really as good, but hey, it has Ristar and Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine! Can't say no to that.

So it was only inevitable that they would make a sequel. However, it's not all that great. It has Sonic CD, which everyone had been dying for since Mega Collection was announced; Sonic R, and Sonic Championship. And that's it. They then included six Game Gear games that were already on Sonic Adventure DX, threw in some unrelated games that they removed most of from the English release, dumped a truckload of images you can get from Sonic HQ as bonuses and call it a day.

Pretty lacking.

See, Mega Collection had games you'd play again and again because they rock so much, but for me, Gems Collection really only has the Vector Man games. Sonic R is simply too short and unbalanced to be played much alone, and Sonic Championship is very bare bones; there's no unlockable characters, stages, or anything, and the fighting system is very basic. The only difference in the Game Gear games this time is that the emulation is better and there's a save state option, which hoards up space on a memory card like a bovine in a taxi.

Another problem is that Sonic CD's special feature, the music, hasn't aged well. There's the people moaning that you can't get the Japanese soundtrack, but I'm really talking about how each song is really a minute long, and fades out and starts up again every time. Just seems very silly. They managed to get the original artwork for the movie scenes to remake in better quality, couldn't they get the original music and add it a riff or something that loops it around?

To summarise, I'm a big whiner, and this pales in comparison to Mega Collection. And it also limits the chances of SegaSonic Arcade, Knuckles Chaotix, and Sonic Pocket Adventure getting included in another collection.

Plus, we didn't get a 60hz mode, so everything runs slow. Dicks.

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Completion: See individual games.


Further reading: Contains Sonic CD, Sonic the Fighters, Sonic R, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Sonic Drift 2, Sonic Triple Trouble, Sonic Spinball, Tails' Skypatrol, Tails Adventure, Vectorman and Vectorman 2.

Sonic Heroes

RATING: 2/4

WHEN: Spring 2004

A step backwards.


Sonic Heroes can be summarised in two words. Drawn out. Well, it can be summarised in multiple words all about the nags about the game, but drawn out works on numerous nags.

Quite simply, the levels drag on for too long. They are never any shorter than three minutes, although that's not counting how much time is wasting by falling into the countless pits. Bosses spend more time putting you through waves of boring attacks until you can actually hurt them. Even the frigging special stages are long. It would help if these drawn out levels were fun and offered variety, but they don't. If you have to break open doors with your power character, you'll be doing that all throughout that level. If you need to jump from sinking platforms while fighting overpowered enemies, that's all you'll be doing.

The controls are incredibly twitchy, as a slight touch of the control stick takes your character into a brisk jog, whereas a homing attack against nothing barely gets you anywhere. As a speed character, it's almost necessary to simply not press the B button unless it's required, for they have abilities that don't seem to do anything more than send you pinballing across the area; not the most pleasant of activities in levels with no walls and plenty of pits.

The whole team gameplay just slows the game down, contradicting my comments about the controls. You could be soaring down a corridor when oops, there's some boulders that, if this were Sonic 3, could simply be jumped upon and smashed, but instead you have to switch to your power character and dispose of it, or have to switch to your flight character to get up some steps. The power characters are the only one with sensible controls, although that's not saying much.

On the bright side, the graphics are nice (aside from Robotnik and his ugly mouth and a few other things), half of the the voice acting is good, and it's nice to have prerendered movie scenes prominently featuring the characters (compared to Adventure 2 where you only see Sonic briefly in the shuttle lift-off and at the end of the Hero story), even if they aren't that fantastic.

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Completion: Completed the four stories; cheated to get all Emeralds.

Sonic Mega Collection

RATING: 3/4

WHEN: Spring 2003

The good stuff!


Having Sonic 1 through Knuckles would be enough to suffice for a compilation, as Sonic Jam shows, but throwing more games only sweetens the deal, even if Flicky is only fun with friends laughing at it's mediocre-ness and Sonic Spinball almost drove me to using my Mega Drive as a tool for smashing heads in an effort to relieve my UTTERMOST ANGER towards that game. Honestly, real pinball is good, but digitized renditions are rancid.

In addition to the extra games, there are some extras such as movies (trailers for two games, Sonic CD videos and a brief history of Sonic), an image gallery that's nothing exciting, a comic gallery (featuring Archie comic cover scans up to 130 or somewhere and two completely readable ones!) and the ability to change the control scheme of the game. Whooaaa!

It's hard to nag about the game, since it's merely a compilation and nothing more, with four of the best Sonic games available on one disc without the wacky Japanese commercials and extra features of Jam, but yeah, it's cheap and on a more widely available console. Whoo.

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Completion: See individual games.


Spider-Man: The Movie

RATING: 2/4

WHEN: Autumn 2002

A touch too clunky.


I honestly don't have terribly much to complain or praise about the game. It plays pretty much exactly like the PlayStation game; which is both good and bad, as it keeps the same kind of decent gameplay, but also holds onto the awkward camera and controls. New features include clunky, unnecessary stealth sections, and the ability to play as the Green Goblin (after unlocking him of course), who, expectedly, plays considerably different from Spidey, so it's worth playing again just to see what his take on certain levels is like.

While not that brilliant of a game, it's not that bad either. Round about average. Besides, for being comically cheap nowadays, it could possibly occupy you for a week to get perfect scores if you've got plenty of free time.

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Completion: 100%.

Star Fox Adventures

RATING: 2/4

WHEN: Dec 2006

Could've been so much more.


Star Fox Adventures is a game that seemed like it was going to be tailor-made to my likings, and then they realised that would actually make it a semi-competent short-and-sweet Zelda clone, so they began artificially lengthening the game. And it all went downhill from there.

See, the basic concept is fun. The world of talking accented dinosaurs is much more vivid and enticing than Zelda's boring old elves, and while there's still the usual beating-people-up part, puzzles are more physical than the series it takes inspiration from. The graphics are utterly astounding; they're still mesmerizing after seven years, all the characters are expressive and lovingly detailed, and the surroundings are very memorable and distinct - it feels like effort was made to prevent them from getting monotonous, and every part of every world, for the most part, feels fresh. Fox is a joy to control, and his range of abilities makes great fodder for dungeon puzzles.

The problem lies in the fact that the game refuses to make the best of all this. For every element that feels passionately crafted, there's something else that feels slapped together and unfinished. Items are left unused after being used a scant number of times, abilities are introduced for the most simple of purposes that are rarely seen again, and for every well-designed overworld area is a hideously designed dungeon with important paths and objects sloppily thrown around in awkward places. That last one is a running theme throughout the game - having no idea what you're doing. As much as I like the overworld, you've often got to go through strange and out-of-the-way paths to reach certain areas, and Peppy's map of the entire world is completely useless for navigating. The plot revolves around the planet being split into various sections and thus collecting various things to resolve that, but they need put into specific places before you can progress to the next dungeon, requiring you to go far out of your way to do so - and after that, you're more than likely forced to do a mundane task for the hub village before you can continue. It loves to pad out everything with meaningless ways of slowing you down. Even ladders are worth fearing, simply because it's going to take unnecessarily long to climb it (and when you have an ability to leap to high platforms quickly, but only works on certain pads, why not allow you to use it?). Heck, even if you're looking for your next objective, some areas are designed in such poor ways that where you're meant go is hidden by all but the most awkward of camera angles. Joy.

I won't bother discussing in detail the completely superfluous Arwing sections. They're not bad, but they're not exactly needed, y'know.

See, the game has the roots of a fantastic game, and the footage of its original incarnation, Dinosaur Planet, looked terrific. I simply assume deadlines or Nintendo forcing their way upon Rare meant what could've been a quality game got buried beneath a shipload of padding and awkwardness. If you've got the patience for stuff like that then it's bound to be more tolerable, but I merely saw a game that could've been short, sweet and pleasant all the way through, but grew too big for its boots.

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Completion: Close enough.


Further reading: One of many games I played in 2009

Star Fox Assault

RATING: 2/4

WHEN: Jan 2007

Could be better.


I was originally going to have a rant about the previous Star Fox games and say they were great because they were polished and time was put into them, but it makes me sound like I hate Assault. The thing is, I like Assault, but I feel it could've been so much better. My complaints and suggestions for it will, for shits and giggles, be based off paraphrased quotes from the game! Let's give it a shot.

"You're not doing too good, are you, Fox?"

One of my problems with Assault is, quite simply, you're on your own. The levels where you only use the Arwing are the only bits that can actually be dealt with easily because the Arwing is a vehicle that doesn't suck. Since there are barely any of those kinds of levels, you're left with either the Landmaster, which has lost the rapid fire ability and speed controls of Star Fox 64; or simply walking about on-foot, which results in the more tedious parts of the game.

"Do you know where you're going, Fox? Be sure not to get lost on your way out."

Since very few of the stages are the linear Star Fox 64 kind, the rest are free roaming areas where you have objectives to do, usually destroy some barrier generators or something. The problem is, the characters are very, very small, and the areas are very, very big, and the objectives are never "destroy _ generators out of _" or anything like that, it's always destroy all the fricking generators across the map. This means that you have to run your little character all around the map, searching every nook and cranny before you can move on. If you just so happen to die (which is understandable as the characters have round about no invincibility time), then your ass needs to destroy everything again.

"This is nothing! I can take care of this all by myself!"

The problem is, even when you're on foot, you've usually still got your allies up in Arwings, and they still expect you to save them from enemies despite the fact there are other Arwings up there with them, and the ground weapons are shite. Yet the other guys totally ignore them and expect you to deal with it. See, aside from Slippy providing the enemy health metre and them maybe dropping you a health item or bomb during the linear stages, your allies are round about useless; combine that with the fact that the multi-player is an absolute bore, and why the hell haven't they made a co-operative mode yet? It would help to have three other faces looking about for those objectives instead of flying around and doing jack shit.

"All ships are home."

So while Star Fox Assault can be enjoyed, I just feel it could've been much, much better. Or at the least, have co-operative and maybe more of the linear Arwing stages.

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Completion: Reached the ninth level.

Star Wars: Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast

RATING: n/a

WHEN: 2003

Good fun.


[no review]

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Completion: Steve completed it.

Star Wars: Rogue Leader: Rogue Squadron II

RATING: n/a

WHEN: May 2002

NOTES: First game!

Best Star Wars game ever? Possibly.


[no review]

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Completion: Steve completed it.

Star Wars: Rebel Strike: Rogue Squadron III

RATING: n/a

WHEN: Aug 2006

Yeah, co-op is fun, but the game overall pales in comparison to the previous.


[no review]

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Completion: No.

Summoner: A Goddess Reborn

RATING: n/a

WHEN: Summer 2003

Haven't played.


[no review]

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Completion: No.

Super Mario Sunshine

RATING: n/a

WHEN: Jun 2004

Bleh.


[no review]

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Completion: Need a dozen shines or so.

Super Smash Bros. Melee

RATING: 3/4

WHEN: May 2002

NOTES: First game!

If every fighting game were like this, I would appreciate the genre much more.


Super Smash Bros. A series of fighting games for people who don't like fighting games!

At least, that's how I see it.

A lot of genres I'd like to be interested in seem to shove the movement controls of the character to a really ungainly position. PC FPS games just plop them as four lopsided keys on the keyboard while the major accuracy is left to aiming, with the mouse. I understand the reasoning behind it, but I prefer to have movement as top priority, and whatever else comes next. Sure, if you could aim all around in Mega Man, that'd be swell, but it'd probably make the platforming parts suffer in some way like being too busy firing at bad guys that you normally couldn't hit to not notice the cliff you're approaching. Or something. That's why I play Halo with a gamepad!

Fighting games give you decent movement, since that's half of what fighting's all about, but you've also got to share it with all those quarter circles and 360s necessary to do spinning pile drivers and clockwork punch kick advances. That cramps my style, G. How am I supposed to intimidate my opponent with rabid jumping when I'm also supposed to jack up the joystick to prepare for a tatsu maki sen pu kyaku? With skill, that's how. Or practising. Fuck those!

Smash Bros. strips your moves down to what, at the end of the day, you really want. Your typical melee attacks are on A, grabbing some punk's face is on Z, jump is on Y and X, and the all-important special moves are on B. You tilt the control stick in varying forces and directions to adjust those physical and special moves, which does leave you with a measly four special moves, but that just encourages you to take advantage of them all, rather than relying on the two most powerful. Plus, the control stick can be used for jumping, but that's why having that function on Y and X as well is so awesome. No mishaps!

As the N64 review says, it's really just a basic fighting engine wrapped around a platform game, almost. The stages feature crazy gimmicks, items with disastrous stage-filling effects pop up, and it's hard to compare it all to your more common Street Fighter style gameplay when it features four people beating each other up at the same time; and in single-player mode, having to face an army of Yoshis. Of course, there's one totally flat stage, the option to turn off items and a mode where defeat is based on health rather than lives, the combination of which encourages people to actually take it seriously and play it like a one-on-one. Which, to me, kind of defeats the purpose, but whatever. I never saw the appeal of playing as the same character, so what do I know? (not a lot. i mean i can't even do terry's rising tackle for god's sake)

Multi-player, obviously, is where the game shines, with a shit-load of options to choose from. Single-player isn't quite so great, but still pretty entertaining, with Classic and All-Star featuring random battles (more or less) while Adventure is a totally predetermined path with only a few changes depending on how well you did and the difficulty setting. Event mode features wacky challenges to complete (kill an invisible enemy!), and homerun contest is precisely that, except in a fighting game. Hit The Targets is no longer in Classics mode, sadly, and Board The Platforms is gone entirely, but Targets is still selectable and still pretty rad. And there's trophies to collect, but the game's been out for seven years now, so to describe anything further would be a bit moot.

Although far from being the best game in existence as everyone was droning on about when it first came out, the series is probably the only fighting game I can actually enjoy without having to play it with other failures or with the mindset of one when up against someone competent. I greatly admire the complexity of "real" fighting games, but at the end of the day, I'd rather be able to pick up and play it rather than fumble that rod about and push a few buttons to actually achieve something. You know. Because I whine about fighting game controls.

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Completion: More or less.

Tales of Symphonia

RATING: 1/4

WHEN: 2004

An interesting fighting system, but never really gripped me.


I bought Tales of Symphonia because it sounded like an RPG that was actually fun. I mean, a battle system that lets you actually control the characters; as in, control them like in games I like and not by menus! And the battles are 4-Player, even! With a combination like that, it'd be expected for me to love this.

Except I found it pretty mediocre, really. As usual for me, the story and characters never intrigued me, but my brother and I just kept going "gee golly Kratos shares the same voice actor as Liquid Snake that's just wow" every time the red haired vagabond opened his mouth. And while the battle system sounds good for a party game, the game still treats itself like a regular RPG and has characters come and go whenever necessary for the plot, so it's really only further into the game can you consistently have four players; probably.

And the battles? Not that good. Although they played a bit like the Super Smash Bros. games except with more special moves, they're too slow to be riveting and thus too long so lesser enemy encounters drag out longer than they would in a menu-based game.

The sad thing is, as much as I'm not fond of them, I think menu-based RPG battles are probably the best, as they may lack interaction, but they get the job done and make things a lot less frustrating when levelling up. But still. =(

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Completion: No.

TimeSplitters2

RATING: n/a

WHEN: Mar 2006

Not quite the GameCube equivalent of Goldeneye, but nice try.


[no review]

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Completion: No.

Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell

RATING: n/a

WHEN: Feb 2007

Haven't played.


[no review]

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Completion: No.

Turok Evolution

RATING: 2/4

WHEN: 2002

An intriguing change of pace, but the unfinished vibe and attempts at apeing Halo spoil it a little.


[NEW!] Although I was never fussed on the later instalments, Turok seemed to have made a good little niche for itself on the N64, squeezing the best it could out of the hardware, resulting in some memorable (if ropey) games. Turok Evolution feels like a whole different beast, as if a whole new crew made it. Maybe it was?

The old Turok games had a very closed-in feel. Not just when you were stuck inside dingy caves, even the outdoors felt walled in thanks to that ever-present mist. Evolution finally has the power to drop this staple, and lo! Fantastic, roaming landscapes! Huge cliffsides and dense jungles to explore, and all the visibility in the world!
If there's one thing Evolution captures well, it's the great outdoors: you really do feel like a primal hunter when you're skulking through the flora and sniping raptors from afar. Foliage obscures your view, enemies hide high on cliffs or behind rocks, wild animals litter the landsacpe... it makes for engaging exploration and combat. Sadly, the latter half of the game is largely dedicated to sprawling temples and enemy bases, and those areas feel vastly inferior by comparison. Mainly because so many other games have done those same environments... but better.

Everything else Evolution does, it feels the other games did better. Like, weapons. The game's arsenal not only lacks the creativity of the other games' stock, but it has this bizarre feature where at the start of a new chapter, you might just... lose all your weapons. Okay, not all, but select guns just vanish and either need to be collected again, or will magically show up at the next chapter. What this means is that you'll suddenly be missing your shotgun for one level after using it the entire time beforehand, or, like me, somehow be missing the pistol for nearly the entire game.
It's explicitly not a glitch, but as a design choice it feels particularly slapdash - in theory, having to venture through levels without certain weapons could make for a nice challenge and change of pace, and force you to rethink your strategies. Instead, it just makes you're constantly juggling through your guns for one that doesn't suck. I freakin' missed my pistol, man! The pistol and the bow are about the only good weapons in the game, and they have a criminal lack of ammo pickups.

On occasion, the game mixes things up by dropping Tal'Set onto a gun-mounted pteradactyl. Interesting change of pace, yes, but also criminally clunky - in a game that favours stealth and patience over guns-blazing, you're now dropped on an animal whose speed you can't control, with surprisingly ineffectual weaponry and a tendency to violent explode upon lightly grazing a rock wall. I do appreciate them for offering some neat setpieces (flying out of the collapsing city is great), but their pace totally clashes with the rest of the game, and once again, you could look to other games for better flight combat.
Also, there's stealth levels. It wouldn't be a turn-of-the-millenium game without stealth levels! They're just bearable, though the obnoxious klaxons do their damndest to drive you insane. Get your remote prepped for the mute button.

The game has an unfortunate unfinished vibe to it - you've got a nonsense story that feels only half-filled, all kinds of bizarre glitches, and some really pickly controls, which are the real burden. Tal'Set clips on all kinds of scenery, and in some areas it feels like clipping up fallen trees and other oddities are the legitimate way of progressing.
What's worst is the ladder detection. He can hack dudes' faces off and blow up triceratops from forty yards, but damn it if he can't climb a ladder to save his life. Either he'll climb it at the wrong angle and be unable to get off at the top, or he'll get stuck and have to move down, or he simply won't register it at all. Heaven forbid a wall tile that's considered a ladder, because then you've no hope of clinging onto it. I'm serious, I spent a whole five minutes jumping at a wall tile right in front of me waiting desperately for the game to catch on... and that was only the start of the level! Ladders are the fucking worst.

I enjoyed it, but you can probably tell my standards are comedically low. FPS fans might not get much outside of the neat enemies, and it doesn't really feel like a Turok game, so fans of the series (I know you're out there...!) might not be impressed either. Oh, Acclaim.

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Completion: Finished.

Viewtiful Joe

RATING: n/a

WHEN: Jul 2006

Wacky!


[no review]

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Completion: On Kids difficulty.

Viewtiful Joe 2

RATING: n/a

WHEN: Jul 2006

Doesn't grab me the same way.


[no review]

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Completion: No.

WarioWare, INC.: Mega Party Games!

RATING: 2/4

WHEN: Mar 2005

Hilarity.


Even if this barely classifies as a new game in the series, I like it. It's essentially the first WarioWare, given a silly new interface and much more multi-player treatment. Of course, this is absolutely pointless if you only play it alone, since you won't see anything you haven't in the GBA game. I've no idea where I'm going with this, leaving me to end with the ever popular and ever amusing phrase, "buy it if you've got friends". 10 out of 10 if you live in a party house.

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Completion: No ending.

Wario World

RATING: 1/4

WHEN: Nov 2004

I struggle to play it for extended periods of time.


Mario gets the star collecting and puzzle solving in his 3D games, while Wario gets good and simple ass kicking. What could possibly go wrong?

Well, for starters, there's a distinct lack of the typical Wario buzz. In a good Wario game, you've got an incentive to play on, something to challenge you, something that grips you and encourages you to keep playing. In Wario World... it's just dull. You stroll through worlds in a vaguely side-scrolling manner (it's 3D with all-directional movement, but the levels are essentially straight lines with some platforms and areas to walk to in the distance), pile driving dinosaurs into mutant clowns and dipping into pocket areas to solve jumping puzzles to claim a crystal, and after you've collected a certain amount you can face the boss. You beat the boss, you open a new level, and the process repeats.

You can describe any game in that mundane manner, but most good games have buzz. Wario World just has these events take place, and I feel remarkably disconnected from it all. The bosses are interesting from a "dude, what the hell am I fighting?" perspective, but lack difficulty and are barely memorable at all. Sweeping a wave of dinosaurs off their feet by swinging an enemy at them is entertaining for a while, but the combat is barebones. Not even the areas are memorable. The enemies are too pathetic for it to be a good brawler; the platforming is too simplistic and minimal for it to be a good platformer; and Wario feels very slapped on, as if the game was halfway to becoming Mischief Makers 2 or something until they thought they'd throw in a fitting Nintendo character. It's not enough Wario to be a good Wario game.

I really wanted to like this game, but clearly I have no patience for a game with good intentions but broken ambitions. I'm sure 2-player would've livened things up a little.

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Completion: No.


Further reading: One of many games I played in 2009