Cheat! 08.13.03

Well, this week marks yet ANOTHER slow week, this one slower than usual. There’s only two games reviewed here that I haven’t covered yet. So the codes section is going to be a bit light this week. But hey, you’ll also get my N-Gage commentary I’ve been promising! You won’t be disappointed with THAT, anyway.

In other news, I got a Mario sports game the other day! Which one? Mario Tennis for the N64. (What did you THINK I was gonna get?) Seriously, they were out of Mario Golf on the GameCube, so I’d figure I’d pick this baby up. And let me just say it’s as fun as the last time I rented it. If you can find a copy, I fully recommend you buy it. Forget the other guys who say that Mario sports games suck.

And aside from sharing some business about my toenail (which shall remain PRIVATE), I’ve got nothin’ else to say. (Most of my energy went into the commentary.) So on that note, OIN WITH THE CHEATING!!!
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BIG MUTHA TRUCKERS (X-BOX)

You know, when they sell a game initially for $20 and under, you should usually avoid with extreme prejudice.

Enter these passwords in the Cheats option in the Options menu:

All Cheats: CHEATINGMUTHATRUCKER
Automatic Satnav: USETHEFORCE
Diplomatic Immunity: VICTORS
Disable Damage: 6WL
Evil Truck: VARLEY
Hyper Fast Trucks: GINGERBEER
Master Code: ATJCEHJMJ
Level Select: LAZYPLAYER
Small People: Daishi
Ten Million Dollars: LOTSAMONEY
Unlimited Time: PUBLICTRANSPORT

(Credit goes to GameFAQs.)
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SUPER MARIO SUNSHINE (GameCube)

Mario’s GameCube debut, and added here because I couldn’t think of anything else. (It’s another slow week review-wise.)

Did you know you can dress up Mario in funny clothes. Well, you can!

–Collect 30 Shines, and talk to a native with sunglasses. (He can be found in various stages in the game.) He’ll let Mario wear sunglasses as well. (The screen will also darken a bit.)
–Beat the game, and talk to the same native. Not only will you wear sunglasses, but you’ll also wear a special “Shine Shirt”. Now you’re the ULTIMATE TOURIST!

Oh, and if you collect all 120 shines, you’ll get a special picture after you see the credits.

(Credit goes to GameFAQs.)
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RESIDENT EVIL 0 (GameCube)

The prequel to everything Resident Evil, and it doesn’t fail to deliver. Good game overall.

By beating the game within a certain time limit, you’ll get certain prizes. Here’s what you’ll get based on your game rank:

D:(9:01 or more) Leech Hunter and Closet Key
C:(7:01 – 9:00) Leech Hunter and Closet Key
B:(5:01 – 7:00) Leech Hunter and Closet Key
A:(3:31 – 5:00) Submachine Gun, Leech Hunter, Closet Key
S:(3:30 or less) Rocket Launcher, Submachine Gun, Leech Hunter, Closet Key

(Credit goes to GameFAQs)
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RTX RED ROCK (Playstation 2)

An action-adventure game from Lucas Arts? You mean they actually make things other than Star Wars?

To get these cheats to work, pause the game, go to the options screen, and select “Codes”. Then enter the appropriate cheat:

Level Select: Down, Left, Left, Down, Left, Down, Right, Down, Left, Down. (Go to the main menu and hold R1 to display.)
Super Weapons: Right, Up, Down, Down, Up, Right, Right, Up, Down, Down
Additional Special Features: Left, Down, Up, Left, Right, Up, Down, Left, Right, Down
Additional Items: Right, Right, Right, Right, Right, Left, Left, Left, Up, Up
Easy Mode: Up, Down, Down, Down, Down, Down, Down, Down, Down, Up
Normal Mode: Up, Down, Up, Down, Up, Down, Up, Down, Up, Down
Difficult Mode: Down, Up, Up, Up, Up, Up, Up, Up, Up, Down
Progressive Scan Mode: Right, Up, Right, Right, Up, Right, Right, Right, Up, Right (Must have a Progressive Scan TV to work.)

(Credit goes to Gamewinners.com)
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RETROCHEATING

Seeing that the main section is a bit small, I’ll include two games this week. The first is based on the famous Puyo Puyo license of puzzle games. Of course I’m talking about:

DR. ROBOTNIK’S MEAN BEAN MACHINE (Sega Genesis)

What, you thought I was talking about some OTHER game?

In any case, here are some passwords for the various difficulty levels. (These also work in the Sonic Mega Collection game.)

R = Red, B = Blue, G = Green, Y = Yellow, P = Purple, C = Colorless, H = Hasbean(?)

Normal Mode
Stage 2: Frankly – RRRH
Stage 3: Humpty – CPCG
Stage 4: Coconuts – RCHY
Stage 5: Davy Sproket – CBBP
Stage 6: Sqweel – CRCP
Stage 7: Dynamight – PYRB
Stage 8: Grounder – YPHB
Stage 9: Spike – YPHB
Stage 10: Sir Fuzzy Logik – RYCH
Stage 11: Dragon Breath – GPBC
Stage 12: Scratch – RHHY
Stage 13: Dr. Robotnik — YHBB

Hard Mode
Stage 2 Frankly RRRH GCYY
Stage 3 Humpty CPCG YPCP
Stage 4 Coconuts RCHY BGCB
Stage 5 Davy Sproket RPGG
Stage 6 Sqweel YYCG
Stage 7 Dynamight PCBB
Stage 8 Grounder CYHY
Stage 9 Spike PBBG
Stage 10 Sir Fuzzy Logik CGRY
Stage 11 Dragon Breath BYYH
Stage 12 Scratch GCCB
Stage 13 Dr. Robotnik HCPH

Hardest Mode
Stage 2: Frankly – BBGY
Stage 3: Humpty – GYGC
Stage 4: Coconuts – PPRH
Stage 5: Davy Sproket – GRPB
Stage 6: Sqweel – BPGY
Stage 7: Dynamight – BPGH
Stage 8: Grounder – CPHY
Stage 9: Spike – PGHC
Stage 10: Sir Fuzzy Logik – GBYH
Stage 11: Dragon Breath – GPHR
Stage 12: Scratch – RGHB
Stage 13: Dr. Robotnik — RRCY

And with that out of the way, here’s Game #2, also based on Puyo Puyo:

KIRBY’S AVALANCHE (Super Nintendo)

What, you thought I was talking about some OTHER”¦oh wait, it doesn’t work when you already covered the first one”¦

Not as lengthy a cheat, but a cheat just the same. To access the Custom Menu, hold A+B+X+Y on Controller 2 and reset the game. At the Main Menu, go to the Options Screen, and there should be a new “Custom Menu” option.

(Both games are credited to GameFAQs.)
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COMMENTARY: THE NOKIA N-GAGE

Come the beginning of October, there will be a new handheld system heading to the market: the Nokia N-Gage. The unit itself is being marketed as an all-in-one machine, combining the functions of a video game player, a cell phone, an MP3 player, an FM radio, instant messenger, and e-mail messenger. It’s also the first unit that will give the Game Boy Advance model a taste of competition. It’s also being marketed at an ambitious $300 price tag for the unit alone. Nokia honestly thinks that you, the consumer, will pay $300 for their system and possibly replace your Game Boy, cell phone, etc with this.

However, you must remember that Game Boy is a household name. The Nintendo Game Boy, and all its incarnations, has outlasted ALL that came after it. The Sega Game Gear, the Atari Lynx, the Tiger game.com, and the Neo Geo Pocket Color all fell in some way, shape, or form during the Game Boy’s life. Looking at the past, it seems that the N-Gage doesn’t even stand a chance. But given the impressive amount of features the N-Gage has, things might prove different. So the main question is: Does the N-Gage have what it takes to contend with the GBA? Let’s find out, shall we?

(1) SYSTEM SPECS

To start with, I think we need to find out what exactly this little baby can do. So, lets pull up the specs sheet. (Courtesy of www.n-gage.com)

Features
High performance mobile 3D gaming
Gaming-optimized design and functionality
Bluetooth
Digital music player and recorder
Stereo FM radio
Nokia Audio Manager PC software
New design concept, new UI experience
Multimedia messaging
Full email support (IMAP4, POP3, SMTP, MIME2)
Content with XHTML browser
Tri-band EGSM 900/GSM1800/GSM 1900
Series 60 UI enabling application multitasking
Slave USB 1.1. for digital music download from PC
MP3, AAC, Midi, WAV ringing tones
WAP over GPRS

Now I’m not going to pretend to know what everything up there means. However, I’ll try and summarize it the best I can. From a video game standpoint, we’ll be able to play fully 3D games. From a cell phone standpoint, we’ll be able to take part in the many features already included in the other spiffy cell phones on the market. We’ll also be able to listen to the radio, as well as load MP3s and play them. Nice stuff. No wonder Nokia inflated the price. So, lets go a bit deeper.

Size
– Weight: 137 g (with standard battery)
– Dimensions: 133,7 x 69.7 x 20,2 mm, 139cc

So, this thing will probably be as big as a first model GBA, maybe a little smaller. So the unit is compact, like your standard cell phone. From the looks of the actual unit, though, the screen was also made a bit compact. If you haven’t seen the unit yet, think of a GBA screen flipped on its side with a third of it cut off. Looks like Nokia wants us to squint at our games, eh?

Design
– Exciting games oriented design:
– Ergonomic game controls for two-hand use (keys divided on both sides
of the screen)
– Five-way directional controller (works eight ways in games)
– High fidelity stereo headset for music player, FM stereo radio, and voice
calls (mono)
– Internal antenna
– Built-in vibrator
– IHF speaker for calls, game sounds, music
– Stereo line in for audio recording (analog)
– Slave USB 1.1. for digital music download from PC

Gaming-oriented design? Are you sure we’re talking about the same unit? There are about 20 face buttons on the unit itself, most of them related to the cell phone. From what I could see, there were NO shoulder buttons to speak of, and the keys you use as your standard A and B buttons? The 5 and 7 keys. Granted they are raised a little, but it’s going to get confusing if you reach a button and you ending up calling Guam instead. (Not that it’s likely to happen, of course.) But still, it LOOKS like this thing is going to include a headset.

Interactive Games
– Catalogue of branded AAA quality games available at sales start
– Single player games, local multiplayer Bluetooth games
– Games available on game cards (MMC)
– 3.4 MB user memory on device flash

We’ll get into the games individually later. Moving on”¦
Display and User Interface
– Illuminated high-contrast, full-graphics color display (size 176 x 208 pixels)
– Series 60 graphical user interface enabling application multitasking with
five-way navigation
– Separate application key, music and radio short cut keys, highlighted game
keys

In other words, this thing has a backlight. I think. That, and we have buttons that will switch between functions of the unit. Should be standard for this type of thing.

Digital Music Player
– Digital music player for AAC and MP3 files
– Stereo line in for audio recording (analog)
– Slave USB 1.1. for digital music download from PC
– High fidelity stereo headset for music player, FM stereo radio, and voice calls
(mono)
– Integrated recorder (AAC) from analog stereo line connector and FM radio
– Music file download from compatible PC over USB cable
– 64 MB memory card for music
– Handsfree speaker for music listening
– Short cut button to start the Music Player

The MP3 side of the project. But what’s this? We need memory cards to download MP3s? Well, here’s our first extra expense if we want to take full advantage of this unit’s capabilities.

Whew”¦this list is getting longer every time I take a look at it. So, in the interest of time, I’ll list additional features here without the technical mumbo-jumbo.

-The ability to send and receive e-mail
-The ability to play FM radio, and sort your favorite stations
-Wireless connections to other N-Gages and PCs. (No need for link cables.)
-The ability to take pictures of your games and send them to others.
-Set an MP3, WAV, of MIDI as your ring tone
-Rechargeable Lithium Ion Battery
-Voice dialing for 20 different names
-Browse the Internet and play Java based games

So in essence, the machine can do tons of things other cell phones can do, as well as play games, MP3s, and FM radio. This is nice stuff. However, I think I missed covering something. What could it be”¦oh yeah!

The Battery Life.

Perhaps the most important aspect to any handheld video game system is how much you’ll be able to play it before it runs out of juice. So, here’s what you can expect for N-Gage battery life:

Cell Phone: 2-4 hours constant talk, 150-200 hours standby.
Video Games: 3-6 hours
MP3 Player: 8 hours
Radio: 20 hours

Woah, woah, woah! Back up here. Only THREE TO SIX hours as a video game system? Are you kidding? And you’re trying to market this to people? Sheesh. The GBA SP can last up to TEN hours with the backlight on! The Game Boy COLOR lasts ten hours. Not only are these poor numbers for a video game system, but the fact that I’ll have to share this battery power with the cell phone (which uses even MORE power) turns me off as a gamer. Granted the battery is rechargeable, but I’ll have to recharge it more often, and have to replace it more often than the GBA SP. This is has major points deducted from the N-Gages total score.

(2) GAMES

Of course it’s the GAMES that make or break any game system. Perhaps the N-Gage has content that will be worth the $300 price tag.

From the screen shots I’ve seen, some of the games look pretty good so far. The system seemingly DOES support full 3D graphics, and they show. So, let’s look at some of these games and see if they’re worth a system purchase:

Available Launch Day (Early October)

MLB Slam!: A baseball game. Baseball buffs will probably be into it, but I’ve never been a big fan myself. Even so, I probably wouldn’t buy it on a handheld ANYWAY. I’d pick it up for the console systems.

Moto GP: A port of an okay racing game series. Probably to fill the racing game quota and combat Mario Kart / F-Zero.

Pandemonium!: Wow, I remember this game! This was that weird 2.5-D side-scroller with the magician and the jester. I’m glad it’s getting new life on a new system, but”¦I’ve already played it before.

Puyo Pop: Remember Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine and Kirby’s Avalanche? This is the game that spawned them both. An interesting choice for the handhelds, but the squished screen might confuse players.

Puzzle Bobble VS.: No matter what name gets associated with this game, its still very fun. I’d gladly take it with me for a long flight or car ride.

Sonic-N: At first I was intrigued about this title. A Sonic game on a new system? But then I found out its just a port of the GBA’s Sonic Adventure. That, and the screen is MUCH smaller, so I have to squint to see the blue blur go by.

Super Monkey Ball: Another choice Sega franchise? Looks like they’re committed to see this machine succeed. From the looks of it, though, it seems to be a touched-up port of Super Monkey Ball Jr. Next.

Tomb Raider (Starring Lara Croft): Oh dear God. Not ANOTHER Tomb Raider game. Still, it seems to be a conversion of the very first game, which was good for its time. And it doesn’t look half bad in full 3D.

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater: It’s not a game system unless it’s got this game on it, eh? The game’s in full 3D, but it seems like Activision will simply paste levels from the older games together and call it a new game. (It’s been done before.)

Virtua Tennis: Another sports game port, this time Sega’s doing. I haven’t seen screenshots personally, but hopefully it will be a good enough conversion to satisfy the tennis fan.

Available Late October

Tatio Memories: Hey, the first retro game compilation, complete with Super Space Invaders! Assuming the other games are quality Tatio choices, I wouldn’t mind playing this one or twice.

Red Faction: A first-person shooter port. I’ve had my fill of these. Next.

Available November

Sega Rally: Another racing port. Wait a sec, do you see a trend here?

So, here’s all the games currently on tap for the system. Some of them look very interesting, almost warranting purchase status. However, there is a very disturbing trend that showed up: these games are ALL PORTS. There’s not a drop of original content for the system.

(Okay, except for MLB Slam, however, this is a sports game. Sports games will see constant rehashes on ANY system released, and therefore, does not count in the ports category.)

This strikes a MAJOR blow for the system. These are all games we’ve played before on the GBA, and in some cases, the console systems. I know last week I said my piece denouncing that ports are bad, but this case is the exception. There are no N-Gage exclusives. We’ve seen and played the same games before. There’s no N-Gage mascot. No games you can only play on the N-Gage. Just franchises we’ve seen before. Even the GBA had original content at the launch. (Castlevania: COTM to be precise. It was a franchise we’ve already seen, but an original adventure.) So what’s stopping me from buying the same games on the GBA for a cheaper price?

(3) N-GAGE VS GBA PRICING

Bear with me as I take you on a bit of a role-playing mission. Say that you are shopping for a decent gift for a friend /loved one this holiday season. You’re looking to give that special someone a handheld gaming system, a cell phone, and an MP3 player, for that someone has none of these. And say that you have a $500 budget for that person. (You REALLY love that person.) Do you go with the N-Gage? Or do you pick up three separate items? Which is easier on your wallet.

(I would like to thank www.ebgames.com and www.gamestop.com in advance for pricing information for both video game systems.)

First, lets look at your options with the N-Gage. Lets say you want the unit, two games, and whatever else they may need to enjoy. First, here’s what the N-Gage will come with:

Transceiver
ACP-12 Charger
HDD-2 Stereo Headset
DKE-2 USB Cable
ADE-2 Recording Cable
ADA-2 Adapter Cable
BL-5C Li-Ion Battery
Booklet (including User’s Guide and Warranty card)
CD-ROM
Games brochure

(Thanks to the official N-Gage website for the information.)

So there’s your first $299.99 spent. You get the unit, recharger, and headphones. Not too bad, I guess. Now you’re looking for games. This person likes simple games. You know, puzzle games and action-platformers. So you pick Puyo Pop and Sonic-N to fit the bill. These games are $29.99 a piece, so that’s another $59.98 out of your pocket.

Your special someone also is into MP3s, but as you see from above, the unit doesn’t come with a memory card to save them on. So you also spring for a 32-meg card. That’s another 69.99 gone.

Note that none of this comes with any sort of calling plan. Let’s say that your special someone has friends across the country, and he/she uses long distance a lot. So we’ll go with a conservative estimate of about $50 for a decent plan. Now lets add them all up:

$299.99 + $59.98 + $69.99 + $50.00 = $479.98

That’s nearly all of your money gone. So if you’re planning on anything else, such as a gift certificate, or even a romantic dinner for that “really” special someone, you’ve just become SOL.

Now lets look at the alternative: a GBA: SP, a separate cell phone, and an MP3 player. Sure that you might have to do more searching, but it just might be worth it.

So you go to your local EB or Gamestop, and find they have GBA SPs in stock. (This is a perfect world, by the way.) And since your special someone likes puzzle games and action platformers still, your train of thought steers you towards Puyo Pop and Sonic Advance respectively. (They’re the same games, trust me.) So that’s $99.99 for the unit and a battery recharger, and $49.98 for the games.

However, you’re going to have to shell out some more for accessories. He’ll/She’ll need a headphone adaptor for the GBA, as well as a link cable. You can find decent third-party peripherals for about $19.98 combined. And that’s on the high side. Now you move on to the cell phone.

I found a sweet little deal on Sprint’s website. Considering I don’t know how to link for crap, here’s the entire URL:

http://www.free-cell-phone-shop.com/free-cell-phone-shop-sprint-sanyo-8100.cfm

The phone itself is $99.99, and can do a lot of stuff that the N-Gage can do, such as text messaging, picture taking, Internet browsing, etc. I also found a decent long-distance plan on the same site for $60.00. So you’ve got two bases covered, and room in your budget for even more.

So now you head to Best Buy and find a decent MP3 player. For the sake of argument, we’ll price the MP3 player at $69.99. After searching online for an hour, this seemed to be the middle of the range price for the decent hardware. And now, we’ll add THESE together:

$99.99 + $49.98 + $19.98 + $99.99 + $60.00 + $69.99 = $399.93

*blink* *blink* Huh? Wha? What’s this? All these combined cost CHEAPER than the N-Gage and extras? Wow”¦that’s just sad. You know what? Throw in a couple more games as well! Give him/her Super Mario World and Tetris Worlds. That’s another $49.98. And that amounts to: $449.91. You still have enough for a decent holiday dinner, you lucky dog you!

SUMMARY

Well, the N-Gage may be one hell of an advanced system, but such advancements in technology come at a price:

-Super-inflated price
-Lack of original games
-Atrocious battery life
-Non-friendly design for gaming
-Small viewing screen

And I’m sure the list goes on and on. Well Nokia, I’m sorry, but it seems that the GBA will outlive even you. Now we wait for the Sony PSP for some REAL handheld competition”¦
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PARTING THOUGHTS

I guess the equation for this column should be “slow weeks beget long commentaries.” I don’t believe in phoning in columns unless I absolutely have to. Therefore, if I don’t have much material for a week, you’ll get a long commentary to fill the void. Not that bad a trade, I guess.

Anyway, hopefully I’ll have more stuff to work with next week. More cheats to satisfy your hunger, and maybe a FAQ or two. (WHICH I STILL NEED! SEND THOSE FAQS TO ME STAT!!!!!)
Until next time, marvel at the DDRMAX2 USA song list and drool until it finally arrives.

Alex Williams