The Nintendo 64 was Nintendo’s defining console because it’s the one system the revolutionized video games in 3D like Super Mario 64 and Ocarina of Time expanding a 3D world into an interactive adventure. But the Nintendo 64 didn’t have all the success compared to their previous two consoles (NES and SNES) because a lot of third-party developers jump shifted to make games in the Sony Playstation. Upon the announcement of the Dolphin (codename for the Gamecube) there was so much pressure on Nintendo to keep up with the Dreamcast, Playstation 2, and the new Xbox in the 6th Generation of Consoles. While the PS2 and Xbox were multimedia consoles that plays DVD’s, CD’s, play online, and does so many more, the Gamecube on the other hand was a pure gaming console. Nintendo was very cautious about pirating and bootlegging that they had to reduced their disc size into mini discs only filling up half the space of a DVD Disc. It’s one of the big reasons why more developers felt more comfortable making games for the other two consoles. Hell, even Rareware, Nintendo’s best video game company, was bought out by Microsoft to make exclusives for the Xbox. Signs were not good when the killer app, launch title for the system was Luigi’s Mansion which is a disappointment that it’s not a 3D Platformer like Martio 64. Not only did not featuring a DVD player and a small third party support kept at third place in competing with Sony and Microsoft, but the appeal and image of the console looks childish in comparison. I’m certainly not a fan of this console design where the color choices are so colorful that it looks like a baby toy box rather than a machine. Plus the controller was a big iffy where the analog stick and the “c-stick” were unequal from each other, the buttons were in unusual shapes, and the feel of the controller was weird. This was Nintendo’s dark years in the gaming market where they didn’t have any huge audience except for the young gamers and the die-hard Nintendo fans who stuck around the Nintendo product for many years. It’s a miracle that this console lasted as it did because many of us predicted that it would have been Nintendo’s last console and it was going to turn out like Sega’s Dreamcast. But the Gamecube did a lot of things that the Nintendo 64 didn’t do. Being that this is the first disc only Nintendo console it made multi-platform games for PC, PS2, Xbox, and Gamecube to be nearly identical which is a good thing considering that multiplaform titles in the past had different port in the graphical and gameplay department. The 6th Generation of consoles was the first game generation were nearly all multiplaform games were equal to each other in all the systems it’s released for and I give a ton of props for Nintendo for keeping up with gaming at the time. Plus the appeal of the N64 (despite the lack of 3D Platformers) remains a party machine that kept the 4-player ports to bring friends over to have a good time while the PS2 still kept the two player port. Gamecube is a console that is love and hated by many but for me it’s in between. I’m not going as far as to say that it’s one of the most underrated consoles, that honor goes to the Sega Saturn, but this system has a warm fuzzy feeling for those who remembers and played the system. It deserved to be in the third place spot in the console market from 2001 to 2006, but it was a machine that kept Nintendo in the 6th Generation consoles before they became number 1 once again with the release of the Wii.
Number 10. – Mario Kart: Double Dash
This is the most unique and under appreciated game in the whole Mario Kart series and kart racers in general. This is the first time in the series where the player can select two characters in one kart and depending on their size, they have advantages of being a driver or the guy at the back (or the bitch seat). However, the teamwork involved isn’t nearly so prominent as Nintendo would have you believe. There’s not a lot of strategy to it, just an extra button to press before you can use that second weapon (characters are switched with the ‘Z’ button). Sometimes it’s hard to tell who is carrying what, and I’ve sometimes found myself flying over the edge of a track because I was intending to use a red shell but instead boosted into the stratosphere with a mushroom. Not good. This is great for actually having co-op gameplay in a singular kart together. The nice frame rates, the fluidity of the gameplay, and exciting track really makes this one of the best of the whole series. It really did have the best roster to choose to play as; with debuting characters in the series such as Diddy Kong all the way to King Boo. There’s never a moment while playing Mario Kart: Double Dash where you’ll pause the game to catch your breath and question how you can be experiencing such a masterpiece. However, early reports of the game being a major disappointment are greatly exaggerated. The truth is that Mario’s latest outing may not be racing perfection, but it’s certainly worth your time.
Number 9. – Soul Calibur II
The original Soul Calibur on Dreamcast was hailed as the best game on Dreamcast and the best fighting game of it’s time. Soul Calibur II has a lot to live up to. But Soul Calibur II didn’t live up to the original, it exceeded it beyond my wildest dreams. Everything from the original returns here but with new significant additions. Most of the fighters from Soul Calibur make a return in some form or another, so Mitsurugi maniacs (like yours truly) will find it a comfortable fit from the outset. The fencer Raphael is an intriguing new character, complete with lighting fast strikes and a smooth, flowing style. Talim is another Taki-type, a two-bladed speed demon. Yunsung is essentially an upgraded version of the missing Hwang, Tekken alum Yoshimitsu gets theSC treatment, and Cassandra plays like Sophitia’s little sister. Tack on three unlockable characters (who were non-playable in the Japanese version of the game) and you have a pretty sweet lineup. Plus there’s Necrid, Todd McFarlane’s offering, who has some cool moves but doesn’t really fit in stylistically with the others. Speaking of which, the biggest difference between the three home versions of Soul Calibur II is that each comes with an additional character unique to that console. The Gamecube is arguably the winner here thanks to the inclusion of Zelda’s geeky elf, Link, who comes equipped with all the bombs and arrows you’d want. Xbox owners get another McFarlane creation in Spawn, who’s a pretty solid character and even has limited flying abilities. The PS2 gets the shaft in Heihachi from Tekken, who has some good melee moves but just isn’t nearly as cool as the other two. Fantastic fighter by every stretch of the imagination and it’s something that all skeptics of the genre should reconsider in playing.
Number 8. – Resident Evil
Sorry Gamecube & RE fanboys, there’s no way that I’m going to put Resident Evil 4 in the Top Gamecube list because that game destroyed survival horror from terrifying interactive experiences into the braindead stupid action game genre. However, there’s a true Survival Horror game in the Gamecube library that deserves to be in the list more so than the overrated Resident Evil 4, and that’s the Resident Evil remake. The original Resident Evil game will always be that game changer that introduced the survival horror genre into huge popularity, however only a few years after its release it has been incredibly outdate. Capcom justified the legacy of the first game of the series by revamping the entirety of the game while remaining the old school gameplay and spirit of the title. This game was so terrifying that it made the original Resident Evil game look like laughable, and that’s an accomplishment for video game remakes. I mean, who can didn’t jump off of their seat whenever a Crimson head shows up and chases after you? Those who played through the original should find enough new and exciting elements to warrant another tour through Capcom’s sick world, and those inexperienced in its insidious ways are in for a treat. It is a grand amalgamation of intelligent strategy and gory violence, offering a sense of true satisfaction upon completion. Secret costumes and weapons can be unlocked if time-based criteria are met, encouraging faster runs through the game.
Number 7. – Super Mario Sunshine
It felt like forever since we waited for a fallow up to Super Mario 64 and it only took the next jump to Nintendo’s console to finally get it. Gameplay-wise, the majority of Mario’s moves from Mario 64 make a welcome return and operate smoother than ever. The gameplay is also where Nintendo have taken the aforementioned big risk, and that is the introduction of FLUDD (Flash Liquidising Ultra Dousing Device.) Mario takes this watery jet-pack with him wherever he goes, using it to float through the air over any large gaps, rocket himself high into the air and even propelling himself forward at tremendous speed. It’s a risked that paid off, and while some will grumble that it plays differently to Mario 64 because of this addition, it’s huge amounts of fun to play about with FLUDD and explore its control possibilities. Yoshi comes on board this time around too, and aside from floating in the air he can also shoot juice from his mouth after eating certain fruits. Eating different coloured fruit alters the colour of Yoshi’s juice, turning enemies into blocks of varying properties. Yoshi doesn’t add a great deal to the gameplay, and seems to only be there because people demanded him, though he is a welcome addition nonetheless and seems to fit right at home on Isle Delfino. One annoying aspect is the fact that you’re just about always surrounded by water in most levels: having to ride something that dies every time it touches the stuff tends to get frustrating. Though it’s not exactly the Mario game everyone was thinking of when it came out, much like the Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker wasn’t as expected, it’s still a classic Mario title that’s definitely worth having in your collection if you’re a fan of the ol’ plumber, or platforming games in general. It’s a shame that there couldn’t have been more variety in the levels, but there’s a great deal of fun to be had in this title. Anything else that could set it back isn’t really a deal-breaker.
Number 6. – The Legend of Zelda:
The Wind Waker
Remember those people who ripped on this game, with its silly cel-shaded graphics and timeless art-style? Those guys were douchebags. Some of them are still around, but they’re just an attention-starved minority. These days, The Wind Waker is considered a modern classic, a game as pleasing to the eye as it is to the thumbs. The HD remake is coming soon, but honestly, it’s not all that necessary; its visuals hold up better than any “realistic” game of its era. Hell, I bet it will hold up better than most games of this era. Admittedly, the sailing does get a little bit tiresome after a while, but there’s no denying the majestic feeling you get the first time you set sail and ocean theme kicks in. This game strived to do things different in the Zelda universe – travelling by boat made for different challenges while travelling the world, and made exploration seem almost endless. With that said, it takes a lot of patience to enjoy the sailing. I enjoy it quite a bit, but even I get sick of it after a while. Wind Waker also introduced some interesting takes on old weapons – the grappling hook, and the deku leaf are familiar-yet-different weapons. Even if the sailing doesn’t appeal to you, I’d argue that Wind Waker has the best combat in any Zelda game to date. The swordplay was very fluent and very fun. Also, the temples in this game were unique compared to other Zelda titles. They were also extremely well made, which is definitely the norm in Zelda games. These gripes may keep WW from claiming the top spot, but the bad is definitely drowned out by the good. The gameplay, music, the surprisingly well-paced story, and (of course) the visuals are all stellar. And maybe once the HD remake is released, this kid’s game could be bumped up to number 1. You know, as long as Nintendo replaces that fetch quest with a proper dungeon.
Number 5. – Super Smash Bros. Melee
The original Super Smash Bros. proved to be one of the Nintendo 64′s most beloved multiplayer games, and HAL Laboratories managed to improve the four-player fighter in just about every way imaginable. With a massive roster of so many iconic video game characters, gorgeous visuals, and a slew of things to unlock, Super Smash Bros. Melee is easily the most fun GameCube game to play if you’re looking to kick back and have a good time with your friends. The ability to pummel Ganondorf with Mr. Game & Watch is reason to put attention to this game. Special Melee offers up an even more bizarre set of scenarios for groups to challenge each other with – including fighting at double speed, half speed, at risk of instant death, or restricted to only a basic set of controls. With 25 characters to choose from, plus an extra transformation, compared with just 12 in the original Smash. Melee’s roster is itself an incredible homage to the greatest stable of video game characters ever. Obvious inclusions like Link, Mario, Samus, Pikachu, and Kirby are joined by lesser known heroes like Mr. Game & Watch, Dr. Mario, and the Ice Climbers. Incredibly, the game’s two Fire Emblem fighters, Marth and Roy, were virtual unknowns in the west at launch – no Fire Emblem games having ever been released here. Their popularity in Melee prompted Nintendo to start selling Fire Emblemtitles in the west. Such is the power and popularity of Smash. How can anyone NOT like this game? It had what was going for it in the last game, and completely blew it up and made something special. There is some new gameplay mechanics like dodging… and that’s pretty much it, but it adds more strategy to the game. More characters, more items, more stages.. this is a true sequel, and a very damn good one.
Number 4. – The Legend of Zelda:
There are so many Nintendo fans out there that despise the Zelda series going for the cartoony direction in Wind Waker, and after so many backlash from the fans, Nintendo went back to the series old look with the best graphics at the time. I feel that this game didn’t add much than just be another Ocarina of Time with a different world and shinier visuals. One of the more unusual features of Twilight Princess is that, early in the game, Link will gain the ability to transform into a wolf. As a wolf, Link’s senses are heightened, meaning that he can follow scent trails, locate buried treasure, and even listen to disembodied spirits. Combat as a wolf is even more basic than swordplay. In his lupine form, Link has a quick attack that can be linked into a combo, and a lunging attack which corresponds to his human form’s jumping sword attack. His Spin Attack becomes a series of lunges, with targeting help from Midna. Link’s wolf form plays a more important part early in the game, as the later parts focus far more on swordplay and the use of Link’s many tools. This isn’t a huge loss, seeing as how Link’s tools make for more intriguing puzzles than the fixed abilities of the wolf, but it does feel as though something more could have been done with this alternate form. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess is a game that does what Zelda games do best. Swordplay, cunning puzzles, overworld exploration, and dungeon spelunking. This entry in the series distinguishes itself mainly through its stronger-than-average plot and sophisticated visuals, but it isn’t really a title to go into expecting revolutionary developments in the genre, which may be a disappointment for some. Twilight Princess offers a very solid experience, and will most likely appeal to those who have followed the series faithfully, and to gamers who are looking for an elegant puzzler.
Number 3. – Beyond Good & Evil
Beyond Good & Evil is the surprise critical smash that, sadly, everyone seemed to ignore. It is a shame it didn’t do well during the 2003 holiday season, but price drops in the first half of 2004 led to a lot more people getting a chance to play it, which is a good thing. BG&E is a fantastic game that you can find for cheap these days, and it is absolutely a must play. If you look back over the history of gaming there are very few female leads – the ones that we know are all busty babes with no character depth. BGE broke this trend, smashed it in fact, when character Jade came out as an intelligent tomboy who uncovers the truth about the world using her camera, stealth skills, a few kick-arse moves, and, shockingly, intellect – perhaps this is a reason why it didn’t sell: cup size has proven to be the main driving force for many-a title. What with Jade being a photojournalist, you can imagine that the camera is quite a key feature in the game: not only do you use it to capture incriminating evidence, but you also use it to take photographs of animals. Scattered throughout Hillys (and space) are a whole variety of creatures whose photographs will earn Jade cash (in the form of Pearls), which can then be used to upgrade your vehicle and make other essential purchases.
Don’t get confused here though, Beyond Good and Evil is not just about taking photographs, it’s also an action game reminiscent to Legend of Zelda. There are many sections where Jade must sneak past the enemy, or – in what is most frequently the case – bash all sense out of them with her staff, and there are even levels where her trusty hovercraft comes into play. You’re also have a companion with you who’s willing to help you in battle and solve puzzles making the group dynamic great. It’s amazing how intuitive everything feels: the controls will come as standard to all adventure players, camera manoeuvrability is picked up in seconds, and there are even stealth aspects… that works!
Switching items between characters is simple, and being able to upgrade/downgrade their health is a fantastic idea. Then there are the hovercraft sections thrown into the mix: in these you must traverse the world and battle leviathan-like monsters. Of all the facets of the game and their controls, there is nothing that can be found frustrating or awkward – simply put; it’s a perfect system. Beyond Good and Evil is a game that focuses on character depth and involvement rather than voluptuous bimbos and their minimalistic storis. It’s an intelligent, refreshing, well-balanced, and entertaining piece of genius– essential for adventure fans. Please do not be put off by the whole ‘photographs speak louder than action’ message: this is truly an action-packed title, just with a bit more class.
Number 2. – Eternal Darkness:
Remember when I said that in Metal Gear Solid Psycho Mantis’s mind-tricks were the scariest part of the game? Well imagine that concept into an entire game! You got yourself the most creative horror title of all time! This game offers scares that goes far beyond anything that Psycho Mantis can really do (and that’s saying a lot considering how that character fucked me up as a child). It’s such a shame that Nintendo never seemed to be able to shake off its image as a “kiddy” system, despite the fact that one of its first and finest titles was in fact a full-on survival horror title. Eternal Darkness had me hooked immediately and I played it obsessively until I had finished it in all possible ways. Eternal Darkness’s strengths relied on its subtly creepy atmosphere and colorful set of playable characters, all of whom add variety to the gameplay, with their own lives and strifes becoming wrapped up in the over-arching nonlinear storyline. But of course, the absolutely most chilling thing about the game are the sanity effects. As you hack your way through Zombies, Bonethieves and Horrors your character starts losing his or her sanity until the game starts doing all matter of crazy shit. The first time playing, you’re in for some really frightening and shit-disturbing moments, but the more you play the more you learn how to offset the horrendous illusions. Eternal Darkness had fluid and easy-to-master controls (unlike all the games of the genre that uses tank-controls), a brilliant voice-cast, and an excellent soundtrack, all of which contributed to a brilliant gaming experience. It’s easily the best survival horror game I’ve ever played.
Number 1. – Metroid Prime
It’s been 8 years since the Metroid series had another game. A lot has changed since Super Metroid; 3D graphics has significantly evolved, first-person shooters became popular, and Nintendo is now rivaling with Sony and Microsoft. Understandably, Metroid needed to evolve with the modern times, but this game could have been a disaster because it was being developed by the unknown Retro Studios who was making the next big game into a FPS. Many longtime Nintendo fans were just a tad enraged when they heard one of Nintendo’s most beloved franchises had been given to an up-and-coming studio, not to mention the longtime 2d series would not only be going 3d, but also 1st person. Early screenshots and preview builds of the game did nothing to quell those fears. Sensing the game wasn’t shaping up as they’d hoped, Nintendo and Retro started meeting more often. When the game released, it blown everyone away. Not only did the game play well as a 1st person shooter/adventure, Retro took Metroid from 2d to 3d flawlessly.
The series retained its sense of exploration, isolation, platforming, and epic boss battles. Though the controls are unlike any FPS games before and since because it borrows heavily from the Z-targetting from Ocarina of Time. This made targeting enemies much more flexible than ever before. While Prime has plenty of action, you play as a bounty hunter who is very much alone. This is made completely evident from the moment you investigate the Space Pirate frigate Orpheon. The other locations Samus visits throughout Tallon IV continue to illustrate the isolation and how alone you are. Even so, you’re never bored or left wondering where to go next. From the ice-capped Phendrana Drifts to the underground Magmoor Caverns, you’ll always want to push forward and explore even more of the beautiful planet. There are so many power-ups that are returning to the series various suits, beams, missiles, morph balls, and many more seen from the previous games. There are as well new power-ups that expands the game like different visors, super missiles, being able to change different beams, and many more! Plus, put more collectables on energy tanks and missile expansions in hidden areas and areas that needs specific power-ups makes backtracking fun and the adventure more fulfilling.
And what makes this all worth a damn is facing some of the best boss fights ever seen in 3D. very gamer loves a good boss battle and Prime is chock-full of them. The best boss fights are those when you face seemingly insurmountable odds. A creature far more powerful than yourself, yet you have the ability to outsmart it by exploiting a particular weakness. I will never forget the sense of awe when battling Meta Ridley, Thardus, and even the Parasite Queen in the game’s opening sequence. The music, the sequence of events leading up to it, and the fights themselves are just astounding. The atmosphere and the soundtrack continues to grasp everyone who plays it. This is some of the most impressive accomplishments in the new millennium of gaming.
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7) 6) 5.
4) 3) 2)
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