All posts in Gamecube

Next Level Games – Luigi’s Development Journey, Design Decisions, Working With Nintendo

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Next Level Games have just finished the three year development of Luigi’s Mansion 2, and have taken some time to talk about the development and their working relationship with Nintendo…

F-Zero GX Hides an Arcade Easter Egg, F-Zero AX

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F-Zero GX for the GameCube, released back in 2003, was not only a breathtaking future day at the races on your home console but the game disc itself hides an arcade Easter egg in the form of F-Zero AX.  When F-Zero GX originally came out F-Zero AX came out simultaneously and if anyone was lucky enough to find a F-Zero AX machine at their local arcade they could put their GameCube memory card into the machine and get some bonus arcade-only tracks to play at home.

Just last year some players discovered that with the use of the Action Replay cheat disc and a couple of codes they can unlock the fully playable version of F-Zero AX.  Retrocollect just published the Action Replay codes on their site and the codes can also be found on an article on CVG as well as a video showing how to enter the codes and what you can do once they have been entered.

CVG said that once the arcade version is unlocked racers can go through the AX-only menus and play timed-arcade modes exclusive to the arcade version.  Also, if you would rather continue reading this you can find the codes here as well.  The codes can be found below.

de to access AX [PAL]

Z60V-MZG0-VRAQ2
3DFJ-55T9-J5J7P
NBCW-U1NV-0JDJG
HK7K-0RFW-FNQ8Y
PF4U-P5D0-862X1
9D4X-PVXV-R3FNV
Q7PM-1678-XE7FW
UAB4-HZ2F-AW6X5
T6UV-03PE-1H26C
BN71-WCD5-DYDNW
FHW5-F3D3-B2UZ5
NJR5-FE19-GQ851
5FRQ-P6M4-096F3
85KV-QPJD-4U999
VXM8-U9Y8-URZPR
VZFH-H43M-5N6E3
G71V-JPGY-BPDDZ
GUZD-V5KT-UBKA8

Code to access AX [NTSC-U]

61TA-AXPK-UAV9E
EHJV-6U30-2DTVE
NBCW-U1NV-0JDJG
HK7K-0RFW-FNQ8Y
PF4U-P5D0-862X1
7HUZ-2PJY-J5TTU
Q7PM-1678-XE7FW
YW2J-AUVE-R79V8
T6UV-03PE-1H26C
R91R-1A6J-ZXN30
1GHM-VQ7W-7HBWW

Source [CVG ]

Free Pokemon TV App Streams Animated Series, Films and Special Features on iOS and Android

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The Pokemon Company has today announced a new free app to stream Pokemon TV episodes and movies to your iOS and Android devices…

New Mario Kart Game Announced….

How could Nintendo make Mario Kart even better?

But it’s not what you think, or want, or will even get to play…

Wii U Virtual Console Announced

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Nintendo didn’t just talk about games in today’s Nintendo Direct. The first details about the consoles virtual surface where finally announced…

Gamecube Retro Review: 007 Nightfire

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Nightfire_(PS2)_01

Gamecube Retro Review: 007 Nightfire

by Prime


50 years ago, the first official James Bond film was released. When it came out the producers knew they had something special. By the time the third one was released, they had a worldwide phenomenon. Recently the latest Bond film was released to critical and financial success proving that people still wanted their James Bond fix. In the video game world, it’s not that different, Bond has seen its ups and downs…err… mostly downs.

Since the beginning of the industry, James Bond games were released for multiple consoles. As you might’ve guessed, the technology wasn’t really up to par to fully realize the Bond universe. It wasn’t until Goldeneye for the Nintendo 64 that players got to be Bond in a 3D world. Goldeneye alone made Bond games worthy of hype and anticipation. Developers knew that and that’s why EA nabbed the rights to make Bond games after the success of Goldeneye.

James Bond 007 NightFire (USA)3

EA then, developed Bond games based on the next two movies: Tomorrow Never Dies and The World Is Not Enough with mixed results. Because of that, EA decided to make original Bond games for the next generation of consoles. The first one to be released was Agent Under Fire released in 2001 for the PS2, later ported to the GameCube and Xbox in early 2002. The game as a next generation Bond game was disappointing. From the graphics to the presentation the game really lacked the flair that James Bond is known for.

That same year, EA promised to deliver a next generation Bond experience with the release of their newest game Nightfire developed by Eurocom. Released in November 2002, Nightfire felt different from Agent Under Fire in every possible way. But was it really the next generation Bond game after Goldeneye? Let’s find out.

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Have you seen the Bond film Moonraker? That’s almost the same plot as Nightfire. Basically a supposed humanitarian, Raphael Drake, is opposed to nuclear weapons that he personally gets rid of them. In reality he is hoarding them for his own personal use, and that’s not a good thing… he’s trying to take over the world. Now, the story may not be that original and not that good even worthy of a Bond film but for a video game it’s interesting enough.

Nightfire is a first person shooter a la Goldeneye, as a matter of fact it resembles Goldeneye very much but that’s where the similarities end. Nightfire, like Agent Under Fire, has vehicle missions done with a different engine and team. It makes the game feel more diverse than just a straight forward first person shooter. The very first mission is really just a sneak peek at what the game is going to be like.

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After the gun barrel sequence (completely omitted in Agent Under Fire) you’re in Paris, escorting a French agent who is chasing a truck with a stolen nuclear weapon set to blow up the Eiffel Tower. You’re on a helicopter sniping enemies and freeing the way for the sexy French agent. That’s your first taste of the FPS action of this game, suddenly in that same mission you’re now driving an Aston Martin trying to catch up with that truck. It’s a nice blend of both gameplays.

There are some special “Bond Moves” that gives you extra points in order to get the higher score. For example in that same mission in Paris if you shoot at the tire of the enemies’ car you’ll get a Bond Move token. The higher the score at the end of the missions the more content you will unlock like multiplayer maps and upgrades to your arsenal of weapons and gadgets.

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It is clear that the FPS missions are the more polished of the two gameplays they’re very sleek in their execution especially on the GameCube running at 60fps with beautiful lighting and particle effects. I think Nightfire is the first Bond game that really recreates the exotic locales in the Bond movies. From the snowy Austrian castle to the skyscrapers of Tokyo to outer space, the missions are varied and beautiful to look at. Eurocom did a really good job in having FPS action and stealth at the same time on the missions.

The vehicle missions are a tad less polished with inconsistent frame rate, but it’s not like Everything Or Nothing’s (GameCube version) vehicle missions that are really just a mess. They do blend seamlessly with the FPS missions and are more action packed and fast paced. There is an impressive underwater mission in which your Aston Martin becomes a submarine a la The Spy Who Loved Me though.

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Character models are also well done especially Pierce Brosnan’s likeness. Long gone are the blocky character models used in Agent Under Fire as well as the clunky animations. Nightfire is really one of the best looking GameCube multiplatform games and that’s really saying something. Add some progressive scan goodness and you’ll be ready to play this game on your fancy HDTV without any problem.

Nightfire also has a multiplayer option in which 4 players plus AI bots battle it out in different game modes. Classic characters from past Bond films like Jaws and Oddjob return as playable characters. It’s quite fun, not exactly Goldeneye fun but it was really the best multiplayer of any EA Bond game.

Nightfire 1

In terms of music, Nightfire continues EA’s tradition of over using the Bond theme throughout the game. Yes, it’s a little bit annoying but some of the music is catchy and really makes you feel that you’re in a spy thriller. Also Nightfire is the first Bond game to have its own theme song which is cool. Voice acting is decent, Pierce Brosnan is not voiced by the actor himself which is a little bit disappointing and awkward but they get the job done.

So, is Nightfire really the first truly next gen Bond game after Goldeneye? I would say yes, from the presentation to the graphics the game really was the first to recreate the Bond universe like never before. In terms of gameplay, the blend of FPS action-stealth as well as vehicle missions is very well done even though, as I said before, the vehicle missions are a tad less polished.

I give this game

8 /10

Retro Studios Interview Finally Translated


We celebrated Metroid Prime’s 10th Anniversary a few weeks back, but it appears the game still has some secrets.

The good folks over at Metroid Database have translated an interview with Retro Studios from a March 2003 edition of Nintendo Online Magazine that somehow fell between the cracks for the better part of a decade.

You can read the interview in full here, but an area of particular interest is the genesis of Prime from being a potential first-person shooter into being a “first-person adventure.”

From the very beginning, we recognized that Metroid games are, above all, about exploration. While shooting is an essential component of this game, you can’t say it’s the focus. We made this way of thinking the base for making this game. Thinking about what the player would do in the world we were creating directed the majority of the game design choices we made during the production. The moment we decided to concentrate on adventure instead of shooting, we started calling this a “first person adventure game.”

Check out the full interview, and poke around Metroid Database while you’re at it. You won’t regret it.

Halloween Special Part 2: Best Games to Play

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by Ryan C.


With Halloween rapidly approaching and October almost coming to an end, people should be perfectly in the mood for this time of year. But lets say you have no decorations up or any candy to eat, well, have no fear for I am going to share the perfect games to play on each Nintendo console, starting with the classic NES.

NES – Castlevania

I had a difficult time trying to pick which NES Castlevania game to put on the list. The first one is a classic, Simon’s Quest was different, but I still love it, and 3 is arguably the best, but most difficult. When it came down to it, I had to pick the first, as it was the first of its kind and my personal favorite on the system.

As Simon Belmont, it is your job to hunt down and destroy the evil Count Dracula. As far as story goes, it is pretty bare bones. The game features no dialogue or any cutscenes. Now that there is a huge Castlevania timeline, the game is important in regards to the big picture, but as a stand-alone title, a story is not the main selling point. Here, it is all about whipping monsters while listening to kick ass tunes. In my opinion, Castlevania has some of the best songs of all time, and is up there with other classics such as Mega Man.

What separated Castlevania apart from any other game at the time was how it honours all the classic Universal movie monsters. Dracula is the main villain, and under his commands include Frankenstein’s monster, the hunchback, mummies, a giant bat, the grim reaper, and merman similar to the Creature From the Black Lagoon, medusa, and more. It uses a more serious tone then other games at the time and offers a stiff challenge.

NES – Ghosts n’ Goblins

One of the hardest games in existence, Ghosts n’ Goblins is a classic gem that is not afraid to make you beg for mercy.

Why is it so hard? The biggest reason is that you can only take two hits, but it is not like Super Mario Bros, it is more like they made a Mega Man game and the life bar depleted with two hits. The game is six stages long, but they will put your skills to the ultimate test, and just when you think you are done, the game gives you a false ending and you are forced to play through a second time. This is remedied (somewhat…not really) by having unlimited continues and even if (read: when) you get a game over, you will start at the same checkpoint as before.

Ghosts n’ Goblines feature a wide variety of enemies such as zombies, devils, dragons, ghosts, among other traditional horror-type enemies. The game also includes numerous weapons such as the lance, knife, fire, and a shield. Each has their advantage, but the knife is the weapon you would want to stick with.

With a brutal difficulty curve and enemies straight out of any Halloween special, this game is worth a playthrough, pending you can risk some controllers breaking.

SNES – Zombies Ate My Neighbours

Similar to how Castlevania honoured classic Gothic horror, Zombies Ate My Neighbours celebrates all the campy ‘B’ films. Back when Lucas Arts made games other then Star Wars, they were known for creating games that dealt with off beat humour and ridiculous scenarios.

This game can be played solo, but I strongly recommend finding a buddy to sit down with for some two-player co-op (no online needed). Players can take control of two stereotypical 90’s kids, Zeke and Julie. The goal of each level is to rescue at least one neighbour from all sorts of monsters. It may sound easy, and at first it is, but the difficulty quickly ramps up when the game introduces chainsaw wielding maniacs, or giant babies. If that sounds quirky, that is only because it is.

Weapons are not of the typical zombie massacre variety, as the default weapon is a water gun. Of course, this would not be a SNES game unless there were some weapon pickups, and this game features plenty such as a fire extinguisher that freezes monsters, soda cans that act as grenades, tomatoes that can be thrown through walls, dishes and silverware, weed whackers, and more. Essentially, it is the Dead Rising of the 16-bit era.

It is simple quirky fun that is best enjoyed with a friend, and while it may be rare and expensive, just hop on that Virtual Console and spend 800 points for this radical cult classic.

SNES – Super Castlevania 4

I know I already put the first Castlevania on the list, but there was no way I was leaving this one out. Super Castlevania 4 is the perfect Castlevania game in my opinion. While I do enjoy the Metroidvania style ones, to me, nothing beats Super 4. The whipping in eight directions, moon walking, level design, and bosses all howl perfection.

Super Castlevania 4 is more of a remake of the NES original, as players once again take control of Simon Belmont going through Dracula’s castle to destroy the evil. Although a remake, it features more levels and bosses along with the updated graphics and improved controls. This game is a beauty, with loads of little details to pull you into its atmosphere. The soundtrack is classic, with both new tracks and remakes of beloved songs from the NES era. The enemies and bosses are again lifted from old mythology such as the Gorgons, Wolfman and Mummies, but with new additions to keep things fresh.

While all that is great, the controls steal the show. Whipping in eight directions ensures that enemies cannot run to unreachable locations, nor can they attack from cheap positioning. As a result, the difficulty is not controlling snapping-ly frustrating, but it is not a walk in the park either. If players hold the attack button, the whip goes limp, and by playing around with the d-pad, Simon can swing around the Vampire Killer in irregular patterns. It may not be as powerful, but it sure is fun.

I cannot recommend this game enough, I always wanted to talk about it but could never find an excuse, but now that it is Halloween, I can finally tell everyone to play this gem.

N64 – Resident Evil 2

Resident Evil 2 has a special place in my heart. Sure it aged pretty poorly in the presentation department, and the tank controls is a love it or hate it control scheme, but I cannot deny the brilliance of this game, no matter how old it gets.

Similar to how the first game took place in a mansion, Resident Evil 2 is set primarily in the Raccoon City Police Station, and what an area it is. As Leon or Claire, the player explores the police station solving head scratching puzzles, fending off legions of the undead, and finding notes that flesh out this disturbing world. The actual game may be scary, but some of these notes can be flat out disturbing. One memorable moment is when you find a journal of a person who has been recently bitten, and as the dates become more recent, you can tell the person’s mind is starting to deteriorate. Once finish reading you can check the closet behind you and find the writer of these journals.

I am impressed with the atmosphere and that it does put some emotional weight behind the characters and scenarios, with the aforementioned journals, or a police officer on the verge of turning that offers you help.

On the gameplay side, it is very similar to the other pre-Resident Evil 4 days, but it is executed perfectly in 2, offering a healthy balance of puzzles, mystery, fighting, and scavenging health and ammo. As far as I am concerned, this is one of the best Survival Horror games before the genre (sadly) became focused more on cheap scares and third person shooting.

GCN – Luigi’s Mansion

Not everything about Halloween has to be scary, case in point: Luigi’s Mansion. After all these years of playing second fiddle, Nintendo finally let the lovable loser have his own game. Unfortunately for some, it was not a traditional Mario game in any sense of the word; Luigi could not even jump. The focus was instead shifted to exploring a haunted mansion and solving puzzles (think more Resident Evil then Super Mario).

Similar to the first Resident Evil, Luigi explores a mansion that are infested with the undead at every turn, except this time the player uses a vacuum to suck up the ghouls Ghostbusters style. On its own merits, it is a solid game with a few quirks, such as its short length and relatively non-existent difficulty curve.

Most of the time, progression boils down to find a key and open the specific door, solve a puzzle to capture the boss to get another key, repeat. Later in the game the players have more room to explore, even with some side attractions that reward the player handsomely.

With those few issues aside, Luigi’s Mansion is insanely fun no matter the age or skill level, definitely worth a play through this time of year.

GCN – Eternal Darkness

When it comes to the horror genre, there are generally three types: survival (Resident Evil 2), action (Resident Evil 6) and psychological horror that focuses on getting into the mind of the player to cause an uneasiness and sense for foreboding doom. One of the best examples I can think of for this type is Eternal Darkness, a game that literally messes with you as much as the character you control.

Players take control of Alexandra, who visits her grandfather’s mansion to investigate his mysterious death, and in the mansion she finds a book called “The Tomb of Eternal Darkness”. Each chapter in the book is the story of a different person in history, and each time you read it, the player takes control of that person. With 12 chapters spread across the mansion, it makes for an intriguing plot with plenty of suspense and character development.

However, one of the most unique and memorable aspects of this game was the Sanity Meter. While commonplace in games these days such as Amnesia, Eternal Darkness started it all and even broke the fourth wall sometimes. Some examples are random noises such as women screaming as they are being murdered or doors slamming; bleeding walls, your characters head randomly being decapitated, and the infamous memory card glitch that informs you that all your save files have been erased. It is effective in creating a dreadful atmosphere, and one that is not afraid of making the player feel stressed out as well.

While rare and expensive, it is a gem of a game that was sadly overlooked by many. However, with the upcoming release of the Wii U and the promise of Gamecube Virtual Console games, I would not be surprised to see this title be available for download in the near future.

Silent Hill: Shattered Memories – by Hjort

For those who want their Halloween kicks to be of the more psychological variety, Konami and British developer Climax deliver the goods in the form of their 2009 Silent Hill installment.

Its story begins with Harry Mason waking up behind the wheel of his recently crashed car, unable to find his young daughter, Cheryl. Armed only with a flashlight, Harry sets off into the snow covered, abandoned streets of Silent Hill, desperately looking for any trace of his child. While the initial premise is instantly recognizable to anyone who played Silent Hill on the PlayStation, the plot actually turns out to be quite a different beast, and one of the most intriguing storylines out there, with absolute world class pacing and top-notch acting.

As good as the story itself is, it’s the immersive gameplay and tense atmosphere that truly sell it. Having been developed ground-up for the Wii, Shattered Memories features pixel-perfect flashlight controls by way of IR, motion controlled puzzles, and some of the most impressive visuals on the system, with high resolution texture work letting you gather information from the environments seamlessly – all in the name of immersion. For the same reason, the developer has completely eliminated the HUD, and placed all vital information and menus inside Harry’s smartphone. This game was made to make you think of it more as a nightmare than a game, which brings us to one of the most controversial design decisions: getting rid of combat.

As the world freezes over, and faceless monstrosities start to well out of the darkness, all you can do is run for your life, and pray that they won’t catch up. You can slow your stalkers down by tossing flares, or toppling furniture behind you, but there is no killing them. And as if that wasn’t enough, the game is watching your every move. Analyzing you.

An ambitious profiling system registers your behaviour, and adjusts plot elements to fit your personality. The psychological profiling system may not be able to do all – or even most – personality types out there justice, but those who find their personalities reflected in it will have a horrible time. In the very best way possible.

With Halloween only one more sleep away, what better way to celebrate then by playing or re-playing any of these classics? So dress up, grab some candy, turn off the lights and immerse yourself in this wonderful holiday.

 

Kickstarter – Zelda-Inspired Comic “Second Quest”

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Man I love some of the stuff on Kickstarter, none more so than ones which tug at my Nintendo heartstrings. Take this latest project for example…

Nintendo Issues Statement Concerning PETA

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Remember how PETA made a faux-Pokemon game insinuating that Nintendo promotes animal cruelty through Pokemon? Well Nintendo has issued a statement.

Straight Right Working on Mass Effect 3, Original Wii U Project & “Big Game in Well-Known Franchise”

SR_Logo

Whats even more exciting that one Wii U game, three Wii U games!

“We’ve made a few bets on Wii U actually so we’re certainly hoping it does well. In addition to ME3 we have an original Wii U title in development, and we’ve started on another big game in a well known franchise that will be released in 2013.” - CEO Tom Crago

Straight Right’s parent company, Tantalus, have also worked closely with Nintendo in the past. They even published the GBC title “Top Gear Rally” for them! It’s safe to assume that they produce quality goods!

Tantalus were founded in 1994 and have released titles for the Saturn, SNES, Playstation, Dreamcast, GBA, PSP, DS, Wii including Wipeout, South Park Rally and several licensed games for THQ.

Straight Right were founded in 2011 and have so far released Drift 2 for iOS and currently at work on three Wii U projects including the Mass Effect 3 port for EA.

[Source]

Nintendo Renews “Wave Race” TradeMark

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Another candidate for Wii U’s “Secret Good-Looking Launch Title” enters the ring…

Wave Race 64 was a launch title for the N64, Wave Race: Blue Storm was a launch title for the GameCube. Could lightening strike thrice and give us a new Wave Race at launch for Wii U?

Adam Sessler from GT tweeted a few weeks ago, that he has seen a very good looking top secret launch title for the Wii U. Could this trademark update simply be protecting their IP or could there be something more to it?

Place Bets Now!

 

In-Depth Analysis of Wind Waker’s Graphics and Textures

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In-Depth Analysis of Wind Waker’s Graphics and Textures

A fan that goes by the handle “Warby” posted an in-depth analysis of Wind Waker’s textures and overall graphics on a forum called Polycount. Apparently, the forum is intended for those with knowledge of 3D modeling and working with 3D graphics. The analysis drew a considerable amount of attention across the internet. Later in the comments someone deduced that Super Mario Galaxy 2 used the same engine as Wind Waker.

[source]

A Broken Gamecube Still Has an Important Use

Gamecube tissues

Would Mario games benefit from having a better storyline?

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Mario vs Bowser

Would Mario games benefit from having a better storyline?

by Menashe


No one deducts points from a Mario game for having a poor storyline. It’s already something that’s expected – Princess Peach gets kidnapped by Bowser. Sometimes it has to do with some cake she’s baking or party she’s planning. End of story. No one comes into a Mario game hoping to be wowed and dazzled by a complex, ten-layers-deep story with a surprise plot twist at the end. They know that when it comes to Mario games it’s all about the gameplay and having fun.

However it’s time to start rethinking this whole concept. Mario games used to be rare releases, coming out once or twice every generation. From the NES release in 1985 until the end of the GCN’s lifespan, there were nine core Mario platformers:  seven console games and two original Gameboy games. From the release of the Wii and DS until the end of this year, we will have seen eight core Mario platformers. Some would say the formula is beginning to lose its freshness. There’s no question that the gameplay has been refined and tightened to an unmatched level of precision. But, it’s clear that in terms of the 2D Mario games, Nintendo is looking for a new angle to provide a fresh experience. For example, with the recent New Super Mario Bros 2, the core gameplay was nothing new. But, there was a new “spin” added to the game, by way of the addiction to collecting tons of coins.

A new focus to keep things fresh

It could be Nintendo should look towards evolving other aspects of the game, as well, such as the storyline and gameplay. But, the storyline is what I’d really like to examine.

Some gamers would feel disgusted by the thought of having a more complex story in a Mario game. It just wouldn’t feel “right”. It wouldn’t feel like a Mario game if the story began to take more of a focus than it has in the past. It’s similar to why some gamers don’t want voice-acting in the Zelda games. They want to preserve the tradition and feel of Zelda. But, the problem is that our brains are just too used to the Mario formula. It may help us retain the “image” we’ve developed over the years, but we will lose the excitement and passion we once had for a new 2D platforming Mario game. We need something that will surprise our brain and make it say, ‘Oh, this is something I’m not familiar with! I’m excited to see what’s going to happen!’

The story shouldn't get too philosophical

So, the question is how a Mario game should approach its storyline in a way that would actually benefit the game. I don’t think anyone would be happy if Nintendo brought in some well-known writer to work on a sophisticated and complex plot involving parallel universes and a philosophical subtext of Man’s fight against religion. Nor do we need a treatise on the psychological side effects of the jealousy Luigi feels towards being the lesser of the two brothers, as Luigi slowly joins the dark side. And we definitely would pass on a story focusing on Peach’s romantic feelings towards Bowser interfering with Mario’s attempt to save her.

The story would obviously have to be kept light, humorous, and whimsical; enjoyable for all ages. But, light-hearted doesn’t have to mean boring or repetitious. It could even be predicated on the age-old tradition of Peach being kidnapped. But, do we honestly think Peach falls into the same trap every time? How many times will they fall for the same thing. Here’s an example of a slightly altered storyline: The Princess throws a party and Bowser shows up to kidnap her. Mario saw it coming, though, and made sure to be the Princess’ personal bodyguard. He thwarts Bowser and saves the day. Bowser comes up with a new plan. While Mario is at the party, Luigi is back at home, in bed. Bowser and his minions kidnap Luigi while Mario is off with his gal. The first four worlds in the game could involve Mario chasing after Bowser in order to save Luigi. At the last castle, Mario encounters the Koopalings. He has to all seven of them, one after another. While he’s all tied up dealing with the Koopalings, saving Luigi, Bowser and an army of dry bones break into the Princess’ castle and kidnap her. After saving his bro, you can play as either Mario or Luigi as you make your way to the final confrontation with Bowser.

It’s simple and lightweight; it doesn’t require that much more of a focus on the story, but it’s enough to add a bit more of a compelling nature to the story. The conflict adds a bit more tension and motivation. It’s simple enough that a six year old who watches cartoons can understand it, but it’s enough that you don’t feel like Nintendo is being lazy about the storyline.

In Paper Mario his plans are goofy but a lot more fun

The truth is that Nintendo has always had Mario storylines in their Mario RPGs. Paper Mario has a light and positive feel to it the whole way through. The characters, villains, and side-characters are loads of fun. The Mario & Luigi RPGs are always humorous and silly. A simpler version of those plots or characterizations would work just fine for a Mario platformer.

So, what do you think? Would Mario games benefit or lose from a better storyline?

Retro Review: Pikmin

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Pikmin Review

Retro Review: Pikmin

by CitizenOfVerona


With the talks of Pikmin 3 and us North Americans only getting the New Play Control Pikmin 2 recently, I figured now would be a perfect time to jump on the bandwagon. For some reason, I skipped out on the franchise when it was new. I love strategy games, I think the amount of hours I spent on Starcraft will speak for itself, but I never had interest in this game until it became rare. Thanks to the power of eBay, I got a copy of Pikmin for Gamecube and immediately fell in love.

Captain Olimar Pikmin

The story centers on a space pilot by the name of Olimar. During a routine flight, a meteor hits his ship and sends him crashing onto an unknown planet. Upon waking up, he discovers that his beloved ship, The Dolphin, is broken with 30 parts missing. Olimar’s sensors also indicate that the planet’s atmosphere contains poisonous oxygen which will kill him after his life support fails, which will occur in 30 days. Being the brave man that he is, he explores the immediate area and finds what he calls an Onion, which then spits out a red plant. Olimar decides to pull it up and discovers a plant-based life form and names it a Pikmin. With these creatures’ help, Olimar can collect his missing parts and return home.

It is a simple set up that could be forgotten about quickly after the introduction, but Nintendo gave Olimar a surprisingly deep sense of character. After each in-game day, Olimar records a page in his log, detailing a new discovery, a certain enemy or item, or simply reminiscing about his family back home. Because of this, I found myself becoming quite attached to Olimar and wanted him to get home, giving me that push to make sure I find all the parts. Of course if it were not for the Pikmin, he would get nowhere fast. The Pikmin are adorable creatures that are portrayed as curious beings that look up to Olimar as a father figure. While they have no dialogue, their movement, stand still animations, sound effects and curious behaviour as they wander from the group to pull up grass all makes them seem the more real.

While the story does a good job of pulling you in, it is the gameplay and world that will keep you coming back for more. Since this is a console RTS,  it makes sense that it would be streamlined to give a simple and intuitive control method without sacrificing too much depth. The analog stick moves Olimar while the C-stick can control the Pikmin who are following you. The B-button is your whistle, which will call Pikmin to your side when they are in the radius created from the whistle. The Y-button is your map; L, R, and Z buttons control the camera and X dismisses your Pikmin into groups based on their color. Finally, the A-button is your action command, either throwing Pikmin at enemies and obstacles, or plucking Pikmin from the ground when they are born. It is easy to pick up and play but mastering it may take some time. Thankfully, you are given unlimited time on the first day to come to terms with the control scheme.

Pikmin are separated into three groups: red, yellow and blue. Each have their advantage that should be exploited at certain points, but they also have weaknesses. Red Pikmin are immune to fire and are the strongest of the bunch, but they cannot survive in water. Yellow Pikmin can be thrown much higher and pick up bombs, but again, will die in water. Blue Pikmin can survive and fight in water and because of this, they are my favorite to use. The game comes to life when you must make use of all three types to overcome the puzzling environment.

The day runs on a 30 day time limit, each one lasting 15 minutes. The reason for this is because the planet becomes extremely hostile at night. Any dismissed Pikmin that is not around their onions or the Dolphin will be left behind and killed by enemies, which is sadder when you watch it yourself. Due to this time limit, there is a feeling of urgency and a constant fear if you are going to be able to do your tasks. Similarly, combat is very intense, as I dislike having my Pikmin die. Nothing is worse then bringing 50 Pikmin to a fight and having only 13 survive. Another limit is that you can only have 100 Pikmin in the field at a time, so excess Pikmin will remain in their onion. This is where the strategy really comes into play. You can take out 40 blue Pikmin to cross water and build a bridge while commanding 45 red Pikmin to clear the path from a ship part to the Dolphin. Or while a group of Pikmin are carrying a ship part or dead enemies back to base, grab a few yellows to hurl bombs at a blockade. While it can be fun and intense to send commands to multiple groups, it can also be needlessly tedious. Unlike PC games where units are a simple mouse click away; Olimar has to walk to a group, which can be the length of the map away. It is by no means a deal breaker, and I only found it a bit annoying at a few instances. Perhaps this affected me more then some as I could have planned out my tasks poorly causing some time to be wasted. A good strategy and thought process goes a long way to success.

The solid gameplay foundation is wrapped in an amazing presentation that surprised me at how well it stood up. When the camera is zoomed out the textures look great, but as the camera gets closer they become blurrier. It is one of the most realistic looking games Nintendo has made, but it still has that classic Nintendo feel.

While the textures are top notch, it is the lighting, animations and environmental effects that really bring this game to life. Since the game runs on a day and night cycle, the beginning of the day is at dawn and will get brighter until noon, where it will then get darker until night time. It is gradual and because of it, it really seems like a day has passed; you will not see any “What a terrible night to have a curse” boxes pop up to stop the gameplay. The Pikmin have a wide range of motions that make them seem all the more real. They can be thrown, drown, tear down walls, build bridges, celebrate when they return a ship part, and fall down a cliff if they are carrying something from higher ground (which is far more hilariously cute then it should be). Finally, the environment is just so life-like. The way the water ripples with each individual Pikmin entering it and the way leafs sway.

The music is also excellent. From the main theme to the to tune of each zone, all the melodies are memorable and only add to the natural atmosphere that Pikmin is conveying. Hands down it has to be one of the best looking and sounding games of its era.

It has been ages since I was this impressed with a video game as I am with Pikmin. Sure, there have been classics since that I knew were going to be great, but Pikmin came out of nowhere and blew all expectations away. It has been even longer since I beaten a game and decided to do another playthrough immediately afterwards. With a few minor nitpicks aside; this game is one of the best on the Gamecube, and one of the best I ever played. I simply cannot recommend this game any more then what I am. Shear brilliance.

9.5/10

A Walk Down Memory Lane: 30 Memorable Nintendo Villains and Boss Fights

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Nintendo Villains

A Walk Down Memory Lane: 30 Memorable Nintendo Villains and Boss Fights

by Menashe and CitizenOfVerona

SPOILER WARNING: If you haven’t came across some of these Nintendo villains yet, then there will obviously be some spoilers. So, if, for example, you don’t know who the final boss in Skyward Sword is, you should probably avoid the last villain in this article.


Baby Bowser

Baby Bowser

Everyone already knows about Bowser, so we won’t speak much about him. If you want to know more about him, pick up almost any Mario game. Instead we’ll talk about a younger version of Bowser: Baby Bowser.

Baby Bowser was an iconic fight at the end of Yoshi’s Island. The “little Master” turned out to be a spoiled brat, being taken care of by his babysitter, Kamek. When you defeat him in his nursery, Kamek does a little magic and turns the little Baby into a towering Godzilla who shoots fireballs and sends massive boulders raining down on you. Of course, baby Bowser proves no match for baby Mario. That recurring dynamic follows both Mario and Bowser throughout the rest of their lives. I guess it started as a childhood rivalry.


Giygas

Giygas

You cannot grasp what makes Giygas so memorable without actually experiencing it for yourself. Be it the twisted dialogue or the fact he lost of body and sanity because of his heart break, Giygas will forever be in the minds of Earthbound fans for how dark and depressing he really is. But, the most gruesome aspect of Giygas is that in order to beat him you must defeat him while he is still a fetus.


Ganon

Ganon

 

The King of Evil needs to be on any list including the best villains. He is a brutal, ruthless leader that will stop at nothing to obtain the sacred triforce. Even being banished to another dimension and transformed into a Pig Monster did not hold this particular badass back.

 


 

Mother Brain

Mother Brain

 

We do not know if Mother Brain has been taken over by the Space Pirates or joined them by her own will, but we do know that she controls Metroids using telepathy. While she was a straightforward boss in the NES Metroid, she got an upgrade in Super Metroid making her an unforgettable boss fight to one of the best games ever; this scene had to give you chills.

 


King Dedede

King Dedede

This boss is mostly carefree and just wants to eat all the food in Dream Land. Greedy for sure, and ever since the first Kirby game he has mostly been on Kirby’s side, but whenever you do fight him you are treated to one of the best tunes in gaming and a quirky fight that is sure to put a smile on your face.

 


Ridley

Ridley

While only a final boss in Zero Mission, we here at NE consider him the main villain of the franchise for being Samus’ main rival. Often down but never out, Ridley has taken multiple forms including Meta, Omega and Neo. Plus, he is a dragon, and everyone loves dragons.

 
 


Kaptain K Rool

Kaptain K Rool

 

Pirates have not had much of the spotlight in gaming as of late, but they were amazing in the old Donkey Kong Country games. King K Rool is menacing while still being comical at the same time. He has a musket, but shoots out pink and blue clouds; he has the perfect blend of all things right with villains.

 


Master Hand

Master Hand

 

Master Hand may not have any characteristics; he is a staple to the Smash Bros series. What I do like about Master Hand is that it is just a kid playing with his Nintendo toys, then promptly gets beaten up by his toys in a Toy Soldiers (look it up) like plot device.

 


Gary Pokemon

Gary

 

While not a boss in the traditional sense, the smug rival from Pokemon Blue and Red has to be here. Throughout the game, he is always gloating about how superior he is to you, and nothing is as satisfying as beating him to take the crown as Pokemon Master from him while his very own Uncle says how disappointed he is in him.

 


Pokey

 Pokey

Going from a secondary villain in Earthbound to headcheese in Mother 3, Pokey is a unique boss in which his motivations are outlandish. He thinks of the world as his personal toybox, mixing nature and technology as he sees fit and shaping the world to his perfect vision.

 


Agatio Karst

Agatio and Karst

 

Throughout Golden Sun 2: The Lost Age, Agatio and Karst are always getting in your way and always achieve the upper hand. You grow to hate them over the course of the game, until the end when you learn their motivations was to simply save their hometown. Sure, their methods were brutal, but they did it to protect their homeland, making the heroes have a change of heart.

 


Majora's Mask

Skull Kid

What sets Skull Kid apart is that he is not trying to kidnap Zelda or destroy the world; he simply wants to be loved by his friends. As an outcast who played pranks, his inner depression led him to be consumed by the cursed mask, using him as a puppet to carry out his evil tasks on Termina.

 


Titan Dweevil

Titan Dweevil

The Pikmin franchise does not focus on who or what the final boss is, but in Pikmin 2 we learn that Louie is missing somewhere on the planet. The player can guess that he is captured by something, but other then that we are left clueless. After venturing through a dangerous cave, we find him surrounded by treasure, which becomes a part of a massive spider looking for blood. With multiple elemental attacks and a fantastic musical score, this boss fight lays on the intense atmosphere thick.

 


Queen Metroid

Queen Metroid

Metroid 2 was partially inspired by the classic Aliens, where Samus goes to the home world of these extra terrestrials to wipe them out for good. Also like Aliens, the climax is a confrontation with the Queen. The arena is claustrophobic and her attacks are brutal, making it an achievement when you triumph this final challenge.

 

 


Andross

Andross

 

Star Fox on SNES made use of polygons, including on the face its villain, Andross. Star Fox 64 is a classic gem that started a plethora of internet memes including barrel rolls and Star Wolf. Andross is once again the villain, and his presence is constantly felt, with characters constantly mentioning him, plus the fact that he killed Fox’s father. Depending on which route you take throughout the galaxy will change his final form, ranging from easy to insanely difficult, unless you are a champion like me. ;)

 


 

Emperor Ing

Emperor Ing

Metroid Prime 2 features some of the most spectacular boss fights in any game, but Emperor Ing takes the cake. He resides deep within the alternate dimension and is isolated from the rest of the world, which makes this one of the most atmospheric bosses in any Metroid game, which is an accomplishment in itself. With multiple forms and a stiff challenge, the sense of accomplishment you get from this boss fight is off the charts.

 


 

Koopalings

Koopalings

 

Bowser’s eccentric gaggle of kids prove that even dysfunctional homes can produce loyal kids. And these seven are loyal to a tee. Larry likes sports, Morton is the fat one, Wendy is the spoiled brat with a bad temper, Iggy is the demented, mechanical genius, Roy is the bully, Lemmy is the clown, and Ludwig is the most similar to his father in cruelty and intelligence.

 


Fawful

Fawful

Fawful is a villain in the Mario & Luigi series, and he’s considered to be on the funniest in the entire Mario universe. Some of his quirks are his weird usage of the English language and his constant obscure food metaphors. Some of his classic quotes are:

- “Fawful is on the cozy couch, sipping tea that laughs at you!”
- “All who resist will be beat like naughty little eggs!”
- “You inhaled like a hungry syrup pig at the free pancake buffet.
- “And this battle shall be the delicious mustard on that bread! The mustard of your doom!”  

 


Smithy

Smithy

Smithy looks like a diabolical Santa Claus. He hails from another dimension, a dimension that is accessible only by the gateway Exor. In his dimension, he resides in his Factory where, day and night, Smithy creates mechanical monsters to be unleashed against the peaceful people of other worlds. In Super Mario RPG, he leads his evil organization, The Smithy Gang, in an attempt to rule over the Mushroom World.


 

Metroid Prime

Metroid Prime

 

Metroids aren’t easy to deal with in the first place. That difficulty is amplified tenfold when it’s a highly-mutated Metroid, infused with huge quantities of phazon. Even after Samus defeats the Metroid Prime’s exoskeleton and its core essence, it still manages to recreate itself as Dark Samus using some of Samus’ DNA and phazon.

 


 

Wario

Wario

Nintendo often takes their villains and turns them into protagonists of their own games. It happened to Donkey Kong. It happened to Bowser. And it happened to Wario. Wario started off as Mario’s nemesis in Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins. As the instruction manual says, Wario is an overgrown man-child who has been jealous of Mario since they were children. Although Wario stars in the sequel, Super Mario Land 3: Wario Land, he retains his greed and selfishness, which actually becomes a recurring plot and gameplay theme for the rest of the series.

 


Deathborn

Deathborn

Samurai Goroh is the nuisance, trouble-maker of the F-Zero series. Black Shadow is the evil emperor. But Black Shadow is a mere pawn who shudders in fear of his master, Deathborn, the ultimate villain of the F-Zero franchise. Deathborn has died three times, but was brought back to life each time by sacrificing his real body parts for mechanical ones. Through these “procedures” he has become essentially immortal. One of the devices “installed” within his body allows him to travel freely through space, making it possible for him to mysteriously appear anywhere at any time. He banishes those he dislikes to the outer limits of space, where they become drifting vagabonds for all eternity. So, how does Captain Falcon defeat him? Through racing, of course. (He should have used his Falcon Punch!)

 


Medusa

Medusa

Medusa certainly has changed appearances drastically from the original game to the recent Kid Icarus Uprising. But don’t blame Medusa for the way she looks. Palutena, in a fit of anger, changed Medusa into a cyclopic, snake-haired monster and banished her to the Underworld. It’s no wonder Medusa decided to gather an army from the Underworld and take revenge on Palutena. Lucky for Palutena, she had locked up her old personal assistant, Pit, in the Underworld. Pit is in the perfect position to take on Medusa and her army.

The only issue we had with the original Medusa fight was that if you knew how to do it correctly, you could remain hovering in one spot and never get hit.

 


 

Zoda

Zoda

Whereas Earthbound was meant to be an RPG set in a more contemporary setting, Startropics was meant to be Zelda in a modern/futuristic setting. And as we know from regular life, Aliens always have it out for us. In Startropics, Mike has to thwart the leader of the invading aliens, Zoda. In the sequel, called Zoda’s Revenge, there are many alternate existences of Zoda throughout history. Zoda-X must be stopped in the world of Sherlock Holmes. Zoda-Y can be traced back to Transylvania. And Zoda-Z is found back at C-Island, the setting from the first Startropics game. Zoda’s true form usually looks like he belongs in the Aliens franchise.

 


Tatanga

Tatanga

The Mushroom World has different regions. Two of them are Mushroom Kingdom, headed by Princess Peach, and Sarasaland, ruled over by Princess Daisy. In Super Mario Land, Princess Daisy is kidnapped by Tatanga, an invading purple alien. Tatanga faces off against Mario in a air duel- Mario in his airplane, the Sky Pop and Tatanga in his spaceship, the Pogasu. After defeating Tatanga and saving Sarasaland, Mario takes the fight to Tatanga. In Super Mario Land 2, one of the six golden coins is found in Space Zone, guarded by Tatanga, who is defeated a lot easier this time around.

 


Wart

Wart

What is Mario’s biggest nightmare? It’s Wart, apparently. Super Mario Bros 2 takes place in Mario’s dreams and the antagonist is the old, but evil Frog King, Wart. The instruction manual to the game says, “He is the most mischievous of all in the world of dreams. He created monsters by playing with the dream machine.” I think Wart has been gone for long enough. It’s time for Nintendo to bring back this old anthropomorphic frog to a new generation.

 


Yin Yarn

Yin Yarn

Yin Yarn is the main villain and final boss of Kirby’s Epic Yarn. He can manipulate most things made of yarn with his pair of wooden knitting needles, which are held in each of his hands. Yin-Yarn’s true origins and motives are never revealed throughout the course of the game, and he comes across as a land-hungry villain ultimately seeking control of Dream Land, although he confesses himself that he is not sure what to do with it.

 


Medeus

Medeus

Here’s a bit of Fire Emblem history for you. Although the Fire Emblem series has featured many different villains, probably the most iconic one is Medeus. He was the antagonist of the first Fire Emblem and its remake Shadow Dragon. He also made a return for the Fire Emblem’s first outing on the SNES. He is a product of racial tensions.

Medeus was furious over how the humans looked down on his race, the Earth Dragons, so he joined with the Doluna Empire and made the humans his slaves. The hero, Anri eventually kills him. Centuries later, the evil priest, Gharnef, resurrects Medeus. Marth, a descendant of Anri, slays him but Gharnef is still able to revive Medeus in the transformed state of the Dark Dragon. Marth vs Dark Dragon is something like David vs Goliath, and somehow Marth comes out victorious.


Count Bleck

Count Bleck and Super Dimentio

Count Bleck is possibly the most complex villain in all of Nintendo’s legendary franchises. (Menashe: My colleagues don’t agree with me on this.) Super Paper Mario’s gameplay appealed to some fans and turned off others. But, anyone willing to stay the while, was treated to a great storyline. Nintendo villains are always motivated by a lust for control or power. Count Bleck is the only villain motivated by sadness and regret. His is the story of Lord Blumiere and Lady Timpani. It’s too long to go into detail here so I’ll just summarize it:

Blumiere is a member of the Tribe of Darkness. After falling off a cliff, and being nursed back to health by a human named Timpani, he is shocked that a human would help him. After falling in love, Lord Blumiere’s disapproving and abusive father abducts Timpani and performs a curse on her that will doom her to wander the dimensions forever. Overcome with grief and rage, Lord Blumiere steals a magical artifact which enables him to perform dark magic. His spirit and personality are soon corrupted and he changes into Count Bleck. In revenge, Bleck murders his own father and wipes out his entire tribe. His goal is that no one should ever be happy since he can’t, and he tries to wipe all of the dimensions out of existence. When Mario faces him he discovers Lady Timpani is still alive, and he regrets his actions. Unfortunately for him, Dimentio has been planning to betray him all along. Combining Luigi, the Chaos Heart, and himself, he becomes Super Dimentio, the true antagonist of the game. I won’t tell you the rest of the story, because the tragic figure of Count Bleck has a powerful ending in the conclusion of Super Paper Mario. You should check it out yourself.


 

Ghirahim

Demise

Demise/Ghirahim

Demise and Ghirahim are a terrifying pair. Demise is the lord of the demons and Ghirahim is his sword, who can take human-like form. They make for a formidable opponent, and it is Demise’s curse of the incarnation of hatred which causes Link to constantly be caught up in the cycle of of the rebirth of evil in each generation.

 


SA-X Metroid

SA-X

 Our Readers’ Choices

 Brendan Lautissier: SA-X from Metroid Fusion.

 Andrew Steven Garner: Andross from Star Fox Snes and Star Fox 64.
Great Mighty Poo

Great Mighty Poo

 Steve Whitefield: Not Nintendo per se but “The great and almighty poo” from CBFD

 Urjit Rajpaul: Ganon – OOT

Gruntilda

Gruntilda

 Ryan Wequ: Wario from Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins.

Louis Guevara:  Gruntilda from Banjo Tooie XD
 
 Derick Pilgrim Jr: Bowser and Bowser Jr. from Mario

Mario Theme – Like You’ve Never Heard it Before!

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