Tuesday, August 11, 2015


So hey, now that I've got an easy way to play GameCube games, let's take a look at a few of them! Don't be surprised if I go back to this well a few times... although it wasn't as popular as the Playstation 2 or the classic Xbox, there are still plenty of titles on the Cube, including some compelling exclusives.

Acclaim (Iguana)

Grr! Grr, I tell you!
(image courtesy of Romulation)
I wasn't expecting much from this one, but Vexx succeeds where Shadow the Hedgehog failed, giving the 3D mascot platformer a darker edge without looking completely ridiculous in the process. As the feral dwarf Vexx, it's up to you to rescue your people from oppressive shadow wraiths with the aid of a pair of enchanted metal claws. Iguana tears more than a few pages from the Super Mario 64 playbook, but Vexx offers more exciting combat and surreal stages with an astonishing sense of scale. When your hairy hero clings to the underside of platforms hanging hundreds of feet above the ground, you might catch yourself holding the controller just a little more tightly than usual. Responsive control and a polished cinematic atmosphere add punch to this easily missed, yet surprisingly enjoyable action game.


Poor Weegee just can't catch a break.
Whoohoo, indeed! Double Dash is over a decade old, yet it still looks fantastic, overflowing with vibrant colors and featuring some of the series' most clever stage designs. One course has you swerving through city traffic as you struggle to stay ahead of the other racers, while another sets you on a snowy trail littered with skating Shyguys and massive, glittering ice crystals. The great graphics are a testament to the power packed inside that purple lunchbox. 

Nintendo didn't skimp on the gameplay, either. Once you get used to the tag team play mechanics, you'll find some of the best moments in the series right here. Just be sure to pick the right combination of characters! Pairing Mario with his archenemy Wario is about as smart as tying a boat anchor to the back of your kart.

Electronic Arts (AKI)

Well, THAT'S sure to end the match in a hurry.
(Image courtesy of GameCrate)
There's a lot I like about Fight for New York, but the funky life bar system, an apparent holdover from when Def Jam was a wrestling game, can get stuffed. Simply draining your opponent's health isn't good enough to score a KO... you've got to perform a specific, sometimes complicated attack to end the match, and do it before your enemy's life bar starts to refill. Did I mention the other player will be actively resisting your attempts to land that fatal blow? By the time you've got the attack lined up, their health will have recovered, forcing you to repeat the whole obnoxious process. This results in lengthy tug of war battles which the CPU often wins... even on the easy difficulty setting, and even when your opponent is a rapper named Bless. Tell me I did not just get my ass kicked by some chump named Bless!

Arrgh. I'll grudgingly admit that Fight for New York is a pretty impressive brawler, with lots of characters to unlock (Xzibit! Ice-T! That girl from MTV who can jiggle her butt really fast!) and an authentic recreation of the underground fighting scene. You just have to be willing to put up with the stupidly process-oriented KOs... and that could be too much of a challenge for easily aggravated players.

Activision (Hudson, Eighting)
Oh no, I'm not getting beaten up by some
freakin' rabbit. Bless was bad enough.
Fans of 3D fighting games probably felt a little shortchanged by the GameCube. After all, the system didn't have Tekken, it didn't have Dead or Alive, and it didn't have Virtua Fighter (no, Virtua Quest most certainly does NOT count). However, the one game it did have was Bloody Roar: Primal Fury, a much-needed retooling of the third game in the series. All the color that Bloody Roar 3 drained from the series is back, along with eye-catching stages like an aquarium and a makeshift ring outside a Japanese temple. 

Like the previous two games, Primal Fury is similar to Sega's Fighting Vipers, with lengthy combos taking a backseat to crushing blows that send you opponent into (and through!) the walls surrounding each arena. However, you can also bring out the tiger (or leopard, or chameleon...) in you by tapping a button, boosting your strength and giving you a new set of vicious attacks. The game's beast mode is a little busted- and there's now a hyper beast mode that turns an already lopsided battle into a slaughter- but even with the balancing issues, Bloody Roar is the best game in a genre that's an endangered species on the GameCube.


Not that super, man.
(image courtesy of Spong)
Swing and a miss, Atari. I appreciate that you guys took another shot at a game based on the Superman animated series, because the show deserves better than to be anchored to that debacle on the Nintendo 64. Shadow of Apokalips is better, but not by enough. It's tremendously awkward to play, and the scripted action feels downright suffocating next to competing superhero games like Spiderman 2 and The Incredible Hulk. Those titles gave you free reign of an entire city... this just pushes you through a contrived storyline that's below the standards set by the animated series. Sure, you get most of the original voice cast, but again, it's just not enough.

1 comment:

  1. The Gamecube was definitely third party fighter impaired, but besides that Bloody Roar thing it did get Soul Calibur II as well. I'm still pretty annoyed the HD rerelease skipped the Wii U 'cuz the GC version was the one that had Link.

    I mean, what's the point of a Soul Calibur II HD remake with the ensemble characters being put together in the same version when you pass over the only system that could have the full roster? And had the most interesting crossover character?