Thursday, June 21, 2007

The Gamecube: Gone, but not forgotten

Well, it's been 8 months since the Wii came out, and arguably longer since the Gamecube died. In the months leading up to the Wii's launch, the Gamecube was already on it's last legs, with nothing but licensed titles and Smash Bros. parties keeping it going. I say it's time I take a few minutes to appreciate how great the little purple box was.

While nearly universally considered the loser of the sixth generation, the Gamecube was still an amazingly competent console. If it weren't for the little purple box, there'd be no Pikmin, no North American Animal Crossing (N64 in Japan), no Metroid Prime, no Luigi's Mansion! The Gamecube hosted many a good title (As well as the best version of Soul Calibur II), and here are a few I really feel stood out from the crowd (In no particular order).

Battalion Wars
Developer: Kuju Games/Infusion Games
Publisher: Nintendo
Release Date: September 20th, 2005

Nintendo's Advance Wars franchise was doing amazingly on the Game Boy Advance, and it had just made the transition to the Nintendo DS. Nintendo couldn't very well have left the Gamecube out of the party now, hmm? The franchise saw it's console debut in a slightly different package, and under the name Battalion Wars (Originally called Advance Wars: Under Fire).

As the story begins, the Western Frontier is at war with the Tundran Territories over a border dispute. This is were you come in. It is up to the player to guide the Western Frontier to victory. However, the storyline soon evolves into much more than a mere dispute over land, tying in 3 other armies. What happens, I will not say for fear of spoilers. But I will say that the many twists will keep you guessing.

It's a great game, and way more worth the discount prices you see today. Grab a copy! Now! Did you get one yet? No? BUY IT!

Battalion Wars will be seeing a sequel on the Wii September 24th, 2007.

Luigi's Mansion
Developer: Nintendo EAD
Publisher: Nintendo
Release Date: November 18th, 2001

(Now, you couldn't have honestly thought I'd write a retrospective about the Gamecube and leave out Luigi's Mansion, did you? Silly readers!)

When the Gamecube was released, Luigi's Mansion was there. Sure, it wasn't a Super Mario game, but dammit, it was fun! The story followed Luigi as he fought to save his brother, Mario, from the evil King Boo. Deep within a mansion in a forest, his poor brother is sealed away in a painting, while the royal ghoul looks on and laughs.

But, Luigi is not fighting alone! The local professor, Elvin Gadd (E. Gadd for short), lends Luigi two of his best ghost-catching inventions: The Poltergust 3000 and the Game Boy Horror.

With these two high-tech helpers at his side, Luigi fights his way through four floors of ghost-infested mansion, all to save Mario. Who says he's a coward? Not me, that's for sure.

Luigi's Mansion was greatly overlooked by the media, and that's a shame. If you can, at least rent this game. You owe it to yourself to at least give it a try!

The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker
Developer: Nintendo EAD
Publisher: Nintendo
Release Date: March 24th, 2003

Ah, the obligatory Zelda game... Never has a Nintendo console gone by without one (Well, besides the Virtual Boy, but we can just pretend that never happened). But, the thing is, this was no ordinary Zelda game. It was perhaps the biggest change ever to the franchise since The Legend of Zelda II: The Adventure of Link. Link's main mode of transportation in Wind Waker was sailing. Not horse-riding, not on foot, sailing.

This was huge news for sure, but at the time, the general public was too stunned by the game's radically different animation style. Wind Waker had the whimsical look of a very well done cartoon, comparable in quality to Samurai Jack and Star Wars: Clone Wars (Although the latter didn't exist at the time). People thought it was a sign of Nintendo going "kiddie", something that, to this day, hecklers still won't shut up about (But that's another article...).

But enough about the shock, thrills and spills of pre-release news! On to the subject at hand! The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker followed a vastly different premise at the beginning. It was Link's sister's birthday, and just as the "par-tay" was about to begin, his sister, Aryll, was whisked away by a huge bird. Link, understandably pissed (But so damn cute!), enlisted the help of a nearby crew of pirates to save his sister. Reluctantly, they obliged, and off they went. From then on, it's plot twist after plot twist, all the way up to the final battle against... You guessed it, Ganondorf (How did you possibly know?).

Throughout his travels, Link meets up with a strange, enchanted, talking boat. It is this vessel that allows Link to sail from island to island, searching for treasure, adventure, and of course, answers.

The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker will be seeing a sequel, The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, later this year on the Nintendo DS.

Now, there are many, many more quality games for the Gamecube worth mentioning, but if I don't stop myself now, I may never stop typing for a week! In short, some other games worth a look are Chibi-Robo, Animal Crossing, Soul Calibur, Super Smash Bros. Melee, Pikmin and Metroid Prime.

What Gamecube games did you really like?

The Duck Has Spoken.


ModestMr.Green said...

I just got Battalion Wars recently...and I'm kind of enjoying it...ehh...

Another amazing 'Cube title (that I finally picked up) was Viewtiful Joe 2. That game is amazing. It's style is superb, the action is fun and varied, and it really is quite the experience. I loved it so much that I bought it for my friend for his birthday (along with Battalion Wars), and he loves it, too.

One game I'm sad that you didn't mention at all was Donkey Kong: Jungle Beat. That game not only looked amazing, but it also was arguably the best use of the Bongo Controllers that the GameCube saw. The game was a masterpiece because it allowed for almost limitless opportunities through its Combo system. It really showed off Nintendo EAD Tokyo's potential, and so I'm obviously very happy that Super Mario Galaxy is in their hands.

I'm also saddened that Super Mario Sunshine wasn't mentioned. Althuogh it was practically condemned by the Nintendo community, I never understood what was so horrible about it. Of course, it wasn't as amazing and revolutionary as Super Mario 64 was, FLUDD aggitated some people, and the environments were not that varied at all, but I don't see how Super Mario Sunshine was a bad game.

Bah, whatever. I liked it, anyway. :D

PsychoDuck said...

Hey, don't get the wrong idea here! I liked Super Mario Sunshine! I just couldn't cram all of my favorite games into this article, even with the list at the bottom. Along with Super Mario Sunshine, I loved Mario Kart: Double Dash, Pikmin 2, Pokemon XD: Gale of Darkness, Super Mario Strikers and a whole bunch more I'm sure I'm forgetting!

As for Donkey Kong: Jungle Beat and Viewtiful Joe, I never had the chance to play those ones. I've only had my Gamecube since early 2005, so I haven't had much time to build a good collection.

The Duck Has Spoken.