Tag Archives: Gamecube

Favorite Games I Played in 2014

2014 was the Year of the New for me as I never before had played this many games that were either just released or released within a year that I played them.  This mainly stems from my 3DS which even though I got in October of 2013, I wasn’t able to exploit the games on it until 2014.  Another small boost came in the form of my used Wii U which I bought it and Mario Kart 8 at a decent price.

Even so, I still played many games that were released several years or more ago including quite a few for the DS, one on the PS3 (Arkham City), and one on the Gamecube (Metal Gear Solid: the Twin Snakes).

With this being a noteworthy year for my video games, I will give you my list of the new games I played for the 2014 year along with small awards for the “Best of” for that category.  Here’s the full list of them:

DS: 999: 9 Hours 9 Persons 9 Doors, Professor Layton and the Last Specter, Miles Edgeworth Investigations, Phoenix Wright Trials and Tribulations

Gamecube: Metal Gear Solid: Twin Snakes

PS3: Batman: Arkham City

3DS: Bravely Default, Pokémon ORAS, Fire Emblem Awakening, Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright, Animal Crossing: New Leaf, Pokémon TCG (via Virtual Console), Super Smash Brothers

Wii U: Mario Kart 8, Super Smash Brothers

Most Hyped: Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright

Okay, this was pretty close for me, it was either PLvPW or Super Smash Brothers.  True, I’ve been waiting for Smash Bros longer than PLvPW but I just love the professor and the lawyer so much.  It was very agonizing for me to just sit here in the U.S. seeing Japan get the game…and then Europe get the game…and we don’t!  I was sure it wasn’t going to come…and I was soooooo happy that it finally did.  You see, I knew Super Smash Bros would get to the U.S. eventually but not PLvPW.  But opening up that game and turning it on and hearing that music and seeing that title screen and seeing the characters gloriously animated was quite a treat and would have been hard to top.

Best Multiplayer: Super Smash Brothers (WiiU)
This should be pretty obvious, Mario Kart 8 was super fun and it’s nice to play against your friends on the 3ds version of this game but come on, 8 players!  That just seals the deal for me right there.  Playing with my friends on a variety of controllers with a variety of characters was just simple fun with simple madness.  Can’t be beat.

Best Game to Play with Mary: Animal Crossing: New Leaf

We smashed, we raced, and we played Pokemon together but Animal Crossing is the best game to play with her.  True, I love doing all three of the previously mentioned games with her before but Animal Crossing is different.  We are in a town together with our own homes interacting with our own villagers.  And though we can’t directly interact with each other, our interaction with the town and its quirky villagers makes this a nice gem to play.  Animal Crossing towns do have a vibe of loneliness if you’re the only human player but this is cured if you have other people inhabiting your town, it makes it feel more active.  Plus it makes funding projects that much easier!

Best Story: 999
I played games that had a good story in them whether it was the trials in Phoenix Wright, Snake infiltrating Shadow Moses, or Professor Layton duking it with Phoenix Wright but none took me on the twist and turns of 999.  Perhaps it was because I was not familiar with the series but the game took me on a wild ride and that never stopped (until I failed an ending and had to restart).  I was legitimately creeped out by some of the moments in the game and I regretted playing it while I was in bed.

Special shoutout though has to be done for the story behind PLvsPW as that story took me on an emotional roller coaster with some good twists.  Another special shoutout has to be done for PW: Trials and Tribulations because that final trial was definitely a doozy and remains among the best in Pheonix Wright’s cases that I have done so far.

Unexpected Hit: 999 and Pokemon Trading Card Game
These two are on top of the list for different reasons.  I knew 999 was critically acclaimed but I just didn’t get why until I played the game.  I devoured this game in less than two weeks (normally it takes me at least a month to finish games).  On the other hand, Pokemon Trading Card Game was just so much fun to play.  I first played this game more than ten years ago and I suuuucked at it even with the cheat codes.  My brief dance with the TCG in real life made me learn how to play the TCG and so when I bought it on the Virtual Console it was just too much fun.  Creating your own deck was fun and beating the game (which is hard mine you) was quite rewarding.  I definitely hope Nintendo decides to release an updated version of this game!

Biggest Disappointment: Bravely Default

For all the hype and praise surrounding this game, I was honestly burned out by it.  The amount of grinding I had to do was intense and it just got to me.  I haven’t played the game in awhile but I’ll probably pick it up again later.  The same thing happened for Fire Emblem Awakening (which was fantastic btw) where I got frustrated by it and stopped playing for three months.  I picked it up again, powered through it, found out I loved it, and finished it rather quickly.  I’m hoping BD will be the same thing but I won’t be touching it again for awhile.  I’m still surprised by people’s praise, anyone want to give me their thoughts on this game and why you might have liked it?

Best NPC: Joker from Batman: Arkham City
999 had a host of characters that I enjoyed interacting with.  Most of the characters I originally passed off as Trope characters that had only one particular trait, however, as the game went on, they would continuously surprise me by the things they did, their knowledge, and their history.  Number 7 was one of my favorites.
However, Joker was by far the best NPC.  Mark Hamill was as usual great in his role as the Clown Prince of Crime.  Plus, Joker’s role in the game was a I think better than his main antagonistic role in Arkham Asylum.  His joking personality was at his height here and let’s not forget those hilarious answering machine messages he left for Batman.  Classic Joker.

Best Line Delivery: Twin Snakes

Enough said.

Best Sequel: Pokemon ORAS
I played a lot of sequels during this year of franchises that I love.  A good sequel in my book is one that retains the original charm of the first game while adding new stuff to it that makes it a refreshing experience.  For that, Pokemon ORAS was probably the best sequel of them all.  ORAS not only was a good Hoenn remake but a good step forward in the evolution of Pokemon games.  The sneaking mechanic for Dexnav made catching pokemon a whole new level of fun!  Hidden abilities, special moves only learned normally through breeding, and held items made it fun to find the best pokemon.

Not only that but the map and pokedex features improved a lot making you want to catch odd pokemon even if you didn’t want them in the first place.  The New mega evolutions are great and Hoenn getting a full 3D remake was just amazing.

Best Item(s):  The Brave Weapons from Fire Emblem Awakening
In the Awakening game, weapons matter a lot to you especially for the higher ranked ones as they can give more damage with better bonuses as well.  The brave weapons as such were among the best weapons in the game that I liked to equip my warriors with.  True, they may not be the strongest ones, but they’re among the best weapons to buy and that goes a long way.

Best BossThe Grand Masters from Pokemon Trading Card Game

As said before, defeating the Pokemon TCG was challenging mostly thanks to the Grand Masters.  All of them were packing Legendary cards that I couldn’t access yet.  Getting my butt kicked by Courtney, the first Master, several times made me rethink deck strategies to the point of dismantling them entirely and working from the ground up again.

Ironically, one of my easier battles came from the final battle against Ronald, your rival in the game.  He flat out refused to call back his Zapdos despite the fact that he only had fire and water energy cards.  I chose not to kill him on a gamble that he wouldn’t return him so I just outwaited him.  He ran out of cards before I did and I won.  One of the most hilarious victories I ever had.

 

Aged Like Fine Tasty Tonic: 10th Anniversary of Paper Mario: the Thousand Year Door

I wanted to write this before the year was up but let’s talk about Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door.  Specifically, happy birthday to it!  It was released ten years ago on the Nintendo Gamecube and is by far one of the best games on the purple lunchbox.  After playing it again this year, I have to say that it has aged like Tasty Tonic indeed.

For the unenlightened, Thousand Year Door is a sequel to the RPG game, Paper Mario on the Nintendo 64.  Debuted in 2004, many of the original features of the game, such as partners, star special attacks, star pieces, and more have been retained if not enhanced.  Many new features were added as well including audience interaction and the ability to turn into a variety of paper-themed objects such as airplane, boat, and paper tube.

One of the main things people will talk about in this game is the humor.  TYD proves you can be funny without being crass.  Fourth-wall-breaking, slapstick, visual gags, and more makes TYD funnier than its prequel.  The game’s heavy use of humor does not distract the player from the overall story and can even enhance it such as the boss Doopliss.

It’s safe to say that with the improved humor comes improved characters.  Mario may be as flat (PUN) as ever but his partners have more depth in them compared to his N64 partners.  It’s almost tempting to reset certain scenes just so you could hear how your partners react to certain weird scenarios.  Intelligent Systems also made sure the partners didn’t become useless after their introductory chapters.  Because of the more complex puzzles, I was using them up until the end of the game.  I especially like Goombella who is far more useful to you than Goombario and more hilarious (especially when she’s telling male Goomba creeps to go stuff themselves).  It is truly sad when you say goodbye to them at the end of the game because they help make the game so memorable.

As a side note, it’s fun trying to get all the enemies in the game into her journal. GOTTA ANALYZE THEM ALL! Image from http://papermario.wikia.com/wiki/Goombella

Because of the cartoony (dare I say…papery?) design, the graphics have aged as well as the humor.  The animation runs fluidly even when a lot of enemies are on the screen.  This is especially nice when you are performing to an audience of a 100+ individuals.  The background models may betray the game’s age but the character animations themselves are pretty slick.

The story itself may at first seem just like the N64 version (i.e., collecting 7 powerful stars) but the few crucial differences make it stand out.  For one thing, Mario is not defeating Bowser and relinquishing his control on the Mushroom Kingdom.  In this game, Mario is fighting the X-Nauts for possession of the Crystal Stars in the land of Rogueport.  The Crystal Stars can be held by bosses who have no relationship with the X-Nauts and sometimes they are held by kind (albeit strange) characters!  This means that the story is not constrained to a formulaic plot and instead is more open to what it can do.  This is why we can get such memorable chapters like of Glitz and Glory, 3 Days of Excess, and especially For Pigs the Bells Toll.

I think of Glitz and Glory is my favorite chapter due to its setup as a gladiator setting but with a mysterious undertone.  It’s kind of cool how one chapter built up a lot of story just from talking to all the side and background characters.  The baby-Yoshi partner is also a nice especially how you can name him and get a variety of colors (I named mine “Tyson” cause I just watched Cosmos that week…).  The game’s intermissions can also be very entertaining as you control both Peach AND Bowser (as seen below)!

The game for the most part is relatively easy with a few challenging moments (especially the end boss) so you can get through it without having to stress out too much.  Grinding is actively discouraged as the amount of star points you get from an enemy goes down as you level up.  If you were looking to challenge yourself though you should try out the The Pit of 100 Trials.  This is by far the hardest part of the game as you have to go through 100 levels of enemies with no hopes up resting.  The last time I went through it I got up to about level 85 or something before I finally fainted.  I’m going to attempt it again but this time with more life shrooms.  I also recommend to equip the Happy Heart and Flower badges along with the Heart and Flower Finder badges as they can definitely aid you in the long run.

Thousand Year Door is one of the best sequels you can have for a game.  Not only does it retain the original premise and game mechanics from the prequel, but it enhances them and adds additional features as well.  If Paper Mario on the N64 was a 9 then the Gamecube version is a definite 10.  This game was fun to play 10 years ago and its just as fun now.

Reaction to HORI Battle Pad for Wii U

Unlike a lot of people, I decided to opt out of the Super Smash bundle as I thought it wasn’t really necessary to own another Gamecube remote when I already have four.  Instead, I decided to get the game and the Gamecube remote converter separately.  Unfortunately, despite my preorder, the Gamecube converter was already sold out and won’t be expected to ship to me until the middle of December.

Fortunately, before the release, I preordered  the HORI Battle Pad for Wii U (Mario Version) with Turbo.  Lots of title fluff for just a Gamecube controller that connects to your Wiimote.  That’s basically what it is too!  If you have more than four players who just have to have a Gamecube controller than these controllers can solve that for you.

The fact that this is a wireless controller means you aren’t constrained to how close you have to be to the TV which is nice.

But the main thing I want to say is that it’s basically like a Gamecube controller with some exceptions.  For one thing, it lacks the reassuring weight that the normal controllers have and I assume that’s because the important stuff is on the Wiimote and the controller simply acts as a button receiver.  There’s also an extra Z-button on the left side of the controller.  The shoulder pads also lack the usual “pressing-down-until-it-clicks” method.  They’re just simple buttons which I find funny but I assume they’re designed like that so they could imitate the Wii U Pad.

The Turbo buttons are also strange but basically they’re similar to the NES Max.  While pressing the Turbo button you then press another button and it does that action for a certain amount of times per second.  I haven’t used them yet as I haven’t found them necessary so I can’t comment how well they work or not.

But let me just end my reaction here and say if you want to play Smash Bros on the Wii U and are looking for a good wireless controller then this will work great for you!  You’ll look over its slight peculiarities five minutes in and after that you will be smashing away while having a good time!  Have fun smashing!

Reaction to WiiU Converter for Gamecube Controller

Nintendo of America revealed today on their twitter account that the WiiU version of Super Smash Bros will be playable with Gamecube controllers.  I AM PUMPED!

When I heard about this I was deeply surprised.  Nintendo taking a step back and using Gamecube controllers on the WiiU is a shocking move on their part.  From this little reveal, there are already big and great things ahead for Nintendo.

The fact that Nintendo is now allowing Gamecube controllers combined with the “For Glory” online mode means that Nintendo is recognizing their hardcore audience.  They are connecting to them while still embracing their casual audience.  As such, I expect we’ll see more news in the future, not just on Super Smash Bros, but other games as well that will appeal to the hardcore gamers.

But they are introducing an add-on converter to the Wii U.  This converter will cost them money and they want to make sure that it is worth it.  As such, I strongly believe after looking at the photograph that Nintendo will sell new Gamecube controllers!  I’m really excited about that.  The Gamecube controller is one of the best controllers in video games.  It feels so great in your hands and the buttons are placed in just the right manner.  Also, many of the old controllers have become broken, dirty, or unplayable.  If Nintendo decides to sell new controllers many of us would gladly buy them just as we did 13 years ago.

This WiiU converter also means that Super Smash Bros won’t be the only game that will be compatible with the Gamecube controller.  If Nintendo will allow it, other games can latch onto them as they can serve as great multiplayer controllers.  Mario Party could work well with it and hell, though this is doubtful, they could add an update to Mario Kart 8 so it too could be compatible with the controllers.  In all honesty, these controllers are way better than the WiiU gamepad and the Wiimote, please Nintendo, make it happen!

I was already pumped for Super Smash Bros on the WiiU and now I’m almost doubly pumped, I’m really looking forward to see what Nintendo has to offer to us at E3!

What are your thoughts on the WiiU Gamecube controller converter?

Godzilla Week: Destroy All Monsters Melee

Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee was released in 2002 and can be played on the Gamecube and Xbox.  You can play as Godzilla along with a host of other Toho monsters.  This is an alright game that would be great if it didn’t suffer from a few key issues.

The roster is disappointingly small with only 11 playable characters with most of these being locked at the beginning of the game including Rodan.  Really?  Rodan???  One of the original monsters is a locked character?  That aside, though the roster is small, at least they hit all the important monsters including Ghidorah, Anguirus, and Gigan.  I would have liked to see Titanosaurus, Spacegodzilla, and King Caesar included in the roster as well.  That would really make this game more dynamic.  Other one-off monsters such as Orga, Destroyah, and Megalon were included so there’s no good excuse why these monsters weren’t included as well.

roster

To the game’s credit though, the characters are diverse and really play to the uniqueness of that monster.  Gigan’s stomach buzzsaw, Godzilla’s atomic breath, and Mechagodzilla and Mechaghidorah’s weapons all give the monster their own style of fighting.  Megalon, however, is a cheap character as you can dig underground and avoid being attacked from the opponent; then you could then pop out, grab the opponent, throw him, and repeat the process.

Unlocking these characters is a drag, especially if you are new to fighting games.  You have to do it via Adventure Mode where you fight a series of monsters and then battle Mechagodzilla as the final boss.  The infuriating thing about this is that battling the monsters is easy but once you get to MechaG then the difficulty is ramped up.  Tanks and airplanes are firing at you constantly and MechaG attacks relentlessly.  I have to throw buildings at him and fire from a distance if I have a shred of hope in defeating him.

A big issue for this game is the camera angle.  Being a 3D fighting game, the camera has to swivel constantly in order to compensate the monsters’ movement.  As such, if I’m trying to get to a power-up, the camera angle can change and I’ll have no clue where it is and I inadvertently miss it while my opponent snatches it up.  This has happened many times and is quite frustrating.

The controls are responsive and the combos are easy to do but the game’s pacing is sluggish.  Attacks take their time and the monsters lumber along at a slow pace.  If this game was maybe 30% faster, it would be a fun and intense brawler.

megalon

Two big pluses are the cities and the team battles.  You can throw buildings, kick cars, crumble skyscrapers and just annihilate cities.  As such, stages like Monster Island aren’t that fun but others like North Seattle are a blast.  It really hammers in the point that this is a Godzilla game and that you’re supposed to destroy shit and have fun.  The team battles are great as you can do classic line ups like Godzilla and Anguirus vs. Gigan and Ghidorah.

I haven’t played the other Godzilla games, but from what I heard, those were baaaaaad.  I might give them a shot one day but I’m not in any rush.  This game can satisfy any Godzilla needs I have though only just.  Only to Godzilla fans could I recommend this game and even then that may be pushing it.

The Last True Gaming Console

Back in February, Nintendo announced that it would disconnect the Wii and the DS’ internet service for games on May 20th, 2014 https://www.nintendo.com/whatsnew/detail/vyWpoM6CBIe6FjW8NIY7bvzOrgBURhzw.  When I heard this, I was both sad and not surprised.  I expected this to happen as Nintendo is not seeing any use for games that are no longer popular.  Ridding themselves of these internet services will cost them less money.

Even so, many of these games are now affected by their lack of internet connection.   Sure, games like Pokemon and Super Smash Brothers Brawl will not be totally impacted by this, but other games like the Professor Layton series would be.  In the Professor Layton games, you could download many puzzles which were otherwise not accessible in the games.  However, with the discontinuing of their internet connection, gamers, who might have picked up the games used, will not be able to enjoy these puzzles as we do now.

It’s here that we see the weakness of modern consoles and that is the internet.  The strong reliance of the internet makes modern day consoles handicapped to certain situations.  If you are in a place that has no internet connection then you can’t play online nor could you download patches or expansion packs.  As such, the enjoyment of certain games goes down considerably.  You can also get some games like SimCity 4 whose total dependency on the internet ended in complete disaster.  Eventually, most of these consoles will become obsolete as their games will eventually lose their internet service making them obsolete.

But I don’t see this happening for older, traditional consoles.  The beauty in them is that you can transport them wherever you go, connect them to the TV, and play some fun games without worrying about internet connection.  My N64 and Sega Genesis works just as well now as it did years ago.  These traditional consoles do not have to stress about being outdated as you can still get your full enjoyment from them (provided you have a TV you can connect them too).

As such, I believe the Nintendo Gamecube is the last of the traditional gaming consoles most of us grew up with.  Nowadays, modern consoles focus strongly on versatility by including features such as playing or streaming movies, social networking, surfing the web and so forth.  Video gaming itself almost takes a backseat to these consoles.

gamecube-console

The Nintendo Gamecube, however, strived to be an actual gaming console.  With its contemporaries already playing music with CDs or movies with DVDs, the Gamecube stuck to its guns with fun-to-play video games.  Also, the Gamecube didn’t have to worry much about internet services being terminated.  Yes, there were some Gamecube games that had internet capabilities (such as Phantasy Star Online) but that was it.  Some of these games, like Mario Kart: Double Dash, can still be played online using a LAN server.  Besides these exceptions, you did not need the internet in order to fully enjoy Gamecube games (besides, you had to buy the Gamecube Broadband Adapter which was sold separately from the console, again, supporting the fact that the Gamecube was not originally intended to be used for internet purposes).

Even with one foot lingering in the past, the Gamecube was still a product of its time.  Some of its characteristics we still see in modern consoles today.  There was the use of discs instead of cartridges which prompted the use of memory cards as well.  As said before there was (some) internet connectivity.  The Wavebird Controller was wireless and freed the gamer from the restriction of cords.  This was also the era of videogames when old games were being redone in higher graphics (e.g., Metal Gear Solid: the Twin Snakes, Resident Evil 1 and 2, and etc.).  All of this indicates that the Nintendo Gamecube represents a bridge between the then and the now.

Regardless, a focus on games and a freedom from the internet means that the Gamecube is the last of the true, gaming consoles.  Which means I can take my funky lunchbox console wherever I go and have a blast with it.  Arceus bless you Gamecube, you silly, dorky, fun-as-hell console.