Inside Pulse Games 2004 Year End Awards (Page 3)

“Well. At least the choices are better than last year. Thank god.”

The Reader’s Choice Awards

When compared with 2003, the gap between what the Kliq feels and the readers feel has come closer together than ever. Perhaps the true quality titles of 2004 are shining so brightly that it’s easy to see them. Or perhaps we’ve educated you all. Either way, it looks like we still have some more work to do. Keep it here, so we can tell you what to think going into the new year. ;) In the meantime, these are YOUR PICKS ladies and gentlemen…

SYSTEM OF THE YEAR:
Sony PlayStation 2

GAME OF THE YEAR:
Halo 2 (XB)

BEST PLAYSTATION 2 GAME
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

BEST NINTENDO GAMECUBE GAME
Metroid Prime 2: Echoes

BEST MICROSOFT XBOX GAME
Halo 2

BEST GAME BOY ADVANCE GAME
Pokemon Fire Red/Leaf Green

BEST NINTENDO DUEL SCREEN GAME
Super Mario 64 DS

BEST SPORTS GAME
ESPN NFL 2K5 (Multi)

BEST FIGHTING GAME
Mortal Kombat: Deception (Multi)

BEST DRIVING GAME
Burnout 3: Takedown

BEST ACTION RPG
Baulder’s Gate Dark Alliance II

BEST TURN BASED RPG
Star Wars Knights Of The Old Republic II: The Sith Lords (XB)

BEST TACTICAL RPG
Shining Force: Resurrection of the Dark Dragon (GBA)

BEST FIRST PERSON SHOOTER
Halo 2 (XB)

BEST TRADITIONAL SHOOTER
Metal Slug 3 (XB)

BEST PARTY GAME
WarioWare Inc.: Mega Party Game$ (GC)

BEST RHYTHM GAME
Donkey Konga (GC)

BEST REMAKE/RE-RELEASE
Pokemon Fire Red/Leaf Green (GBA)

BEST PLATFORMER
Ratchet & Clank 3: Up Your Arsenal (PS2)

BEST ACTION GAME
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (PS2)

BEST STORY
Star Wars Knights Of The Old Republic II: The Sith Lords (XB)

BEST ONLINE GAME
Halo 2 (XB)

MOST IMPROVED FRANCHISE
Grand Theft Auto

MOST UNIQUE GAME
Katamari Damacy (PS2)

BIGGEST NEWS STORY
EA winning NFL exclusives

GAMING LOWLIGHT OF THE YEAR
EA winning NFL exclusives

MOST OVERHYPED GAME OF THE YEAR
Fable (XB)

WORST GAME OF THE YEAR
The Guy Game (Multi)

BEST HORROR GAME
The Suffering (XB)

BEST FAMILY GAME (ALL AGES)
Bubble Bobble Old & New (GBA)

BEST STORY

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (PS2)

It’s a love story. A story of revenge. A story of rising from the bottom to the top. About the loyalty of family and the betrayal of friends. About coming back home. Tragedy, comedy, satire, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas mixes all of this together just like the game mixes several genres of gameplay together into a seamless world. Forget the whiny main characters on endless quests to save their girlfriends; CJ is the man. Sure he’s a sociopath, but a lovable one. In fact the whole cast of characters is an unforgettable bunch that ties together the other GTA games. So unless you have an aversion to hearing the word homey often, San Andreas has a great plot and is the first GTA game that we would say is worth replaying just to see the story again.

RUNNER UP: Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne (PS2)

BEST NEW FEATURE / TECHNOLOGY

Nintendo DS

The rumble pack, the D-pad, the very standard that set the parameters for (good) 3D gaming. It’s all from the house that Mario built. And now, in 2004 we were treated to the best collapsible gaming console since…, well since Nintendo’s LAST portable gaming system. Sporting a touch-sensitive screen. Two- not one, but TWO cartridge slots. Wireless gaming within a radius equal to that of A THIRD OF A FOOTBALL FIELD. Voice recognition integrated from the get-go. Near-N64 3D quality. All wrapped up into a small comfortable portable package. It’s easy to see why the Nintendo DS takes the crown for best new technology this year. Now let’s see what Sony has in store for us in 2005.

RUNNER UP: Donkey Konga Bongos

MOST IMPROVED FRANCHISE

Pokemon

You know, this is the second year in a row Pokemon won most improved franchise. Last year it was because of how Pokemon stepped outside the box with Pokemon Pinball and Pokemon Channel, and also because of Ruby/Sapphire. So what can a franchise do to earn this award a second time? Well, there was the very original and anal retentive Pokemon Box which allows you to quickly mix Pokemon from three different games, along with letting you earn eggs of Pokemon with unusual move sets like a surfing Pichu and a Zigazoon with ExtremeSpeed. There was PokeCol, the first 3-D Pokemon RPG, the first Pokemon RPG on a console, the follow up to the N64 Pokemon Stadium games, and it linked up with Pokemon R/S to give you Pokemon you couldn’t catch in that game. And that was just ONE game. Finally there was Pokemon Fire Red/Leaf Green, which was an outstanding remake of the original Pokemon coupled with a wireless adapter. Do we really need to go any further on WHY Pokemon is a two time, two time, two time award winner? The question now to be asked is, how much better can it get next year?

RUNNER UP: Grand Theft Auto

MOST UNIQUE GAME

Katamari Damacy (PS2)

Sure, Katamari Damacy had the second best Cinderella story of the year, behind the equally awesome Alien Hominid, and the best soundtrack of any game in recent memory, but it also had something few, if any, games can boast about: heart. Here’s a game that features the King of the Universe as an arrogant and self-centered creature with a voice that sounds more like a Run DMC break than a human and the ability to shoot magic “Royal Rainbows” out of his mouth. Katamari Damacy controls like Virtual On, if a tad more grounded, looks and sounds like nothing else, and has a sensibility that is not so much Japanese as it is just plain odd. In a year full of well executed sequels with little originality, Katamari Damacy stands as a tribute to both the greatness of old-school gaming values and the future of gaming aesthetics.

RUNNER UP: Ribbit King (PS2)

“I f*cking hate everything that isn’t f*cking Mega Man. And I don’t mean actually ——- Mega Man.”

Liquidcross

SYSTEM OF THE YEAR:
Playstation 2

Nintendophiles and Xbox fanboys may want to impale me for this, but I’ve got to stick with the PS2 yet again. While the GC and Xbox certainly had their luminaries, time and time again, rock solid games make their home on the PS2. Jak 3. Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal. Katamari Damacy. Phantom Brave. It’s the kind of gaming greatness you really can’t find anywhere else. We all grumble about Sony’s hardware, but when it comes to software, they attract the best stuff like a magnet.

GAME OF THE YEAR:
Katamari Damacy

Sorry, I refuse to vote for Halo 2, Half-Life 2, or any of the other sequels that have come out. I don’t care how far “advanced” a sequel may be over its predecessor; it’s still just a sequel, and lacks originality. Thumbs down, bitch. Katamari Damacy, on the other hand, spits out originality like a kid choking on popcorn. How many other games have you rolling up a giant clump of erasers, soda bottles, and people? Only to then destroy it all to make new stars? It’s an incredibly addictive title, and a worthy nominee for Game of the Year. Of course, some sequel will take the title anyway. Am I wasting my time here? —-!

BEST PLAYSTATION 2 GAME
Katamari Damacy

BEST NINTENDO GAMECUBE GAME
Paper Mario & The Thousand-Year Door

BEST NINTENDO DUAL SCREEN GAME
Feel the Magic: XX/XY

BEST ALTERNA-SPORTS
Mario Power Tennis (GC)

BEST FIGHTING GAME
SNK vs Capcom Chaos (XBX)

BEST TURN BASED RPG
Paper Mario & The Thousand-Year Door (GC)

BEST TACTICAL RPG
Phantom Brave (PS2)

BEST FIRST PERSON SHOOTER
Half-Life 2 (PC)

BEST TRADITIONAL SHOOTER
Gradius V (PS2)

BEST HORROR GAME
That’s So Raven (GBA)

BEST PARTY GAME
Mario Party 6 (GC)

BEST REMAKE/RE-RELEASE
Super Mario 64 DS (DS)

BEST PLATFORMER
Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal (PS2)

BEST ACTION / ADVENTURE GAME
Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal (PS2)

BEST FAMILY GAME (ALL AGES)
Mario Party 6 (GC)

BEST STORY
Mega Man Zero 3 (GBA)

BEST NEW FEATURE
Touchscreen (Nintendo DS)

MOST IMPROVED FRANCHISE
Mega Man Zero (GBA)

MOST UNIQUE GAME
Katamari Damacy (PS2)

BIGGEST NEWS STORY
The announcement of the Nintendo DS, as a kneejerk reaction to Sony’s PSP.

GAMING LOWLIGHT OF THE YEAR
The announcement of the Nintendo DS, as a kneejerk reaction to Sony’s PSP.

MOST OVERHYPED GAME OF THE YEAR
Halo 2 (XBX)

WORST GAME OF THE YEAR
Halo 2 (XBX)

“Wait. I still work here?”

Frederick Badlissi

GAME OF THE YEAR:
Halo 2 (X-Box)

You might be scratching your head saying “Hey now- wait a sec. This is Inside Pulse: the lone voice of objectivity in a bias and apathy-filled realm of game ‘Journalism.’ So why would one of them pick out Halo 2 as Game of the Year? The reasons are numerous, all of which can be found in Mike O’Reilly’s concise review. It gets my pick for Game of the Year because, from top to bottom, this is game production done right. After waiting three years and a handfull of release delays, we now have a solidly produced game that offers a now-robust story line, solid and balanced gameplay, near-flawless X-Box LIVE execution, and probably the only soundtrack from this console generation that’ll be stuck in your head for months to come. Satan hasn’t financed a work this beautiful since The Devil Went Down to Georgia; and it shows. My hats off to you, Bungie.

BEST PLAYSTATION 2 GAME
Gradius V

BEST NINTENDO GAMECUBE GAME
Donkey Konga

BEST MICROSOFT XBOX GAME
Halo 2 (X-Box)

BEST GAME BOY ADVANCE GAME
Pokemon R/G (GBA)

BEST ALTERNA-SPORTS
Tony Hawk’s Undergound 2 (X-Box)

BEST FIGHTING GAME
Samurai Shodown V Special (Neo Geo)

BEST FIRST PERSON SHOOTER
Halo 2 (X-Box)

BEST TRADITIONAL SHOOTER
R-Type: Final (PS2)

BEST HORROR GAME
Capcom Fighting Evolution (PS2)

BEST REMAKE/RE-RELEASE
Dr. Mario (GBA)

BEST ONLINE GAME
Halo 2 (X-Box)

BEST STORY
Katamari Damacy

BEST NEW FEATURE
Nintendo DS’ Microphone

MOST UNIQUE GAME
Katamari Damacy

BIGGEST NEWS STORY
Former EA employee grievances, and their potential impact on the industry as a whole.

GAMING LOWLIGHT OF THE YEAR
See above.

MOST OVERHYPED GAME OF THE YEAR
TIE: Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas & Fable

“Oh no! I’ve only written 75 articles this month!! Bebito’s going to fire me for sure!”

Geli Warner

SYSTEM OF THE YEAR:
Microsoft Xbox

I think Xobx is up there at the top as far as best system of the year. Xbox Live and game exclusives such as Halo 2 and Ninja Gaiden made this a popular pick for everyone. The graphics are great and it’s not hard to pick up an HD cable to make the experience feel crisp. I’m to the point where I don’t use my DVD player and the Xbox media extender makes it so that the computer upstairs with all my music will play on the surround sound system downstairs. It’s a multimedia extravaganza.

GAME OF THE YEAR:
Metroid Prime 2: Echoes (GC)

If the the fact this game has “Metroid” in its title didn’t grab you, take a look at the graphics, sound and control. I felt like this game was a great addition to the Metroid series but also stands well on its own. It gets my vote.

BEST PLAYSTATION 2 GAME
Katamari Damacy

BEST NINTENDO GAMECUBE GAME
Metroid Prime 2: Echoes

BEST MICROSOFT XBOX GAME
Ninja Gaiden

BEST SPORTS GAME
Tiger Woods 2005

BEST FIGHTING GAME
Def Jam: Fight for New York

BEST DRIVING GAME
Burnout 3

BEST TURN BASED RPG
KOTOR 2: Sith Lords

BESTs FIRST PERSON SHOOTER
Metroid Prime 2: Echoes

BEST HORROR GAME
Halflife 2

BEST PARTY GAME
Mario Party 6

BEST RHYTHM GAME
Donkey Konga

BEST REMAKE/RE-RELEASE
Ninja Gaiden

BEST ACTION / ADVENTURE GAME
Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater

BEST ONLINE GAME
Halo 2

BEST FAMILY GAME (ALL AGES)
Blinx 2

BEST NEW FEATURE
Donkey Kong Bongos

MOST IMPROVED FRANCHISE
Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater

MOST UNIQUE GAME
Katamari Damacy

BIGGEST NEWS STORY
Halflife 2 code leaked.

GAMING LOWLIGHT OF THE YEAR
Peter Molyneux apologizes publicly for Fable.

MOST OVERHYPED GAME OF THE YEAR
Fable

WORST GAME OF THE YEAR
Fight Club

BIGGEST NEWS STORY

Akklaim Goes Under

Once considered a major player in the video game world, as recently as a few years back, problems with the stock market and a steady decline in quality led to the demise of the once powerful Akklaim. While many insiders assumed Akklaim was probably on the decline, few, if any expected such an abrupt close to the company that had a fairly high profile, with recent endorsements from Derek Jeter for its All-Star Baseball franchise, to the extremely promising, yet never quite up to the potential Legends of Wrestling series. In any case, the rise and fall of Akklaim was certainly something that took the gaming community by surprise in 2004, and undoubtedly served notice to companies that nobody is ever 100% safe from shutting down in a brief amount of time.

RUNNER UP: Halo 2 & Half Life 2 Leaks

GAMING LOWLIGHT OF THE YEAR

Electronic Art’s Employee Abuse

Electronic Arts have always been the asshats of corporate gaming’s face, but the extent of the crack in question had always run only Madden-deep. That is, up until the credible allegations surfaced from one developer’s spouse. The grievances levied by ea_spouse and others read like horrible Progressive-era history texts of labor exploitation, only with a very contemporary setting within the nucleus of a young industry. Such disregard for an employee’s well being is disheartening to hear from any business, and while utterly despicable, it is somewhat unsurprising that something like this would happen at EA. So, here’s to EA for, employee by employee, earning the dubious distinction as recipient of Gaming Lowlight of the Year.

RUNNER UP: EA ‘s Exclusive NFL Contract

MOST OVERHYPED GAME OF THE YEAR

Fable (XB)

What do we mean when we say a game has been overhyped? It means that some marketing machine somewhere has decided that this game is going to be the best thing since video games were invented and is screaming “All Hail!” from the rooftops. It’s all well and good to hype up a game and create excitement before it’s released, but it’s not so good when it falls flat on its face. Fable had been in the works for years and all the gaming community heard was how great it was going to be. So when the game was finally available, it did not live up to all the expectations set by all the hype. What really took the cake was when Peter Molyneux himself apologized for talking too much about Fable before it was fully developed. What was he thinking? The world may never know. With all that history piled behind it, we don’t hesitate to give Fable a gold star in the overhyped department.

RUNNER UP: Doom 3 (PC)

WORST GAME OF THE YEAR

Fight Club (Multi)

Did you even play Fight Club? You might have watched the movie or read the book. It’s not uncommon for a game to ride the coattails of a movie’s success and boost sales. But five years after the movie’s release? You’d better hope that it’s a fantastic game. Unfortunately Fight Club was not even a good game. The game mechanics, graphics, and poor character development made you ask if you should punch yourself in the face rather than play any more. In fact, let’s not talk about Fight Club any more than we have to. It really is the worst game of the year.

RUNNER UP: Backyard Wrestling 2: There Goes The Neighborhood (Multi)

‘I can’t believe it’s 2AM and I’m still splicing this bloody Year End Awards feature together err, I mean… 2004 sure was a great gaming year, wasn’t it? Ugh…’

Bebito Jackson

SYSTEM OF THE YEAR:
Nintendo Game Boy Advance

Man. This was a tough one. The PlayStation 2 and GBA were literally neck and neck this year, going tit for tat. Both had the quantity. Both had the quality. But when it came down to it, overall the GBA beat it in regards to just how much quality the quality titles had. Final Fantasy 1 & 2, Pokemon Fire Red/Leaf Green, Shining Force: Resurrection of the Dark Dragon, Bubble Bobble Old and New. These are some of the best games EVER MADE, let alone this year, and those are just the remakes. Metal Slug Advance, Astro Boy Omega Factor, F-Zero Legend, Mario Golf: Advance Tour, Sonic Advance 3, Metriod: Zero Mission. Come on, people. Whether you’re mature enough to admit it about a Nintendo system or not; these were the BEST of the best games of the year.

GAME OF THE YEAR:
Shining Force: Resurrection of the Dark Dragon (GBA)

This is the best RPG on the Game Boy Advance. This is the best game, period, on the GBA. And it’s sad to say, but this is the best RPG on the GBA, the Xbox, the Dreamcast, the GameCube, or the PlayStation2. The game that literally created a genre. The game that has dozens of copy franchises hoping to one day grasp a mere morsel of its greatness. The fact that it’s a remake of an ELEVEN YEAR OLD game and it still trumps nearly everything out today is a sign of just how great these games are. It’s stood the test of time and Amusement Vision has done the series justice, giving hope for the series’ future in 2005. You’d be insane to like tactical RPGs, own a Game Boy Advance, and NOT own this gem.

BEST PLAYSTATION 2 GAME
Katamari Damacy

BEST NINTENDO GAMECUBE GAME
Metriod Prime 2: Echoes

BEST MICROSOFT XBOX GAME
Star Wars Knights Of The Old Republic II: The Sith Lords

BEST GAME BOY ADVANCE GAME
Shining Force: Resurrection of the Dark Dragon

BEST NINTENDO DUEL SCREEN GAME
Feel the Magic XX/XY

BEST SPORTS GAME
ESPN NFL 2K5 (Multi)

BEST ALTERNA-SPORTS
Ribbit King (GC)

BEST FIGHTING GAME
Def Jam: Fight For NY (Multi)

BEST DRIVING GAME
Burnout 3 (Multi)

BEST ACTION RPG
Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance 2 (XB)

BEST TURN BASED RPG
Star Wars Knights Of The Old Republic II: The Sith Lords (XB)

BEST TACTICAL RPG
Shining Force: Resurrection of the Dark Dragon (GBA)

BEST FIRST PERSON SHOOTER
Metriod Prime 2: Echoes (GC)

BEST TRADITIONAL SHOOTER
Metal Slug 3 (XB)

BEST HORROR GAME
That’s So Raven (That’s so freaking awesome. How could I NOT vote for that?)

BEST PARTY GAME
Pac-Man VS. (GC)

BEST RHYTHM GAME
Donkey Konga (GC)

BEST REMAKE/RE-RELEASE
Mega Man Anniversary Collection (GC, PS2)

BEST PLATFORMER
Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal (PS2)

BEST ACTION / ADVENTURE GAME
The Legend Of Zelda: Collector’s Edition (GC)

BEST ONLINE GAME
Halo 2 (XB)

BEST FAMILY GAME (ALL AGES)
Pac-Man VS. (GC)

BEST STORY
Star Wars Knights Of The Old Republic II: The Sith Lords (XB)

BEST NEW FEATURE
Dual Screen system in the Nintendo DS

MOST IMPROVED FRANCHISE
Pokemon

MOST UNIQUE GAME
Katamari Damacy (PS2)

BIGGEST NEWS STORY
Acclaim Biting The Big One

GAMING LOWLIGHT OF THE YEAR
EA’s purchase of exclusive NFL rights for 5 years.

MOST OVERHYPED GAME OF THE YEAR
Fable (XB)

WORST GAME OF THE YEAR
Lowrider (PS2)

“Pika! Pika piiiii… Pikachuuuuuuu!! God, I’m a grown man…”

Alex Lucard

SYSTEM OF THE YEAR:
Nintendo Game Boy Advance

My god, look at the line up this year: Shining Force: RoDD, Pokemon Fire Red/Leaf Green, Ham Ham Games, Bubble Bobble Old and New, Final fantasy 1 and 2 (You know, the ones I like) on the same cart, and so much more. And they are all portable! I could take them to Australia. I could take them to work. I could play them in a car. Hell, in early December, CNN.com did a story on how video games are now being used to reduce stress in hospitals before surgery. For the second year in a row, I have to nominate the GBA simply because it has the games I gave my highest scores to and the system I spent the most time with.

GAME OF THE YEAR:
Shining Force: ROTDD

This was a hard hard choice between this, Pokemon Fire Red/Leaf Green and gradius V. I almost went with Gradius V because it wasn’t a remake, but then I stopped myself. Shining Force was the game I had the most fun with, played the most, and had the hardest time putting down. it was the game I was most excited about this year, and the one that made me happiest when I heard it was being re-released. Pokemon has only been out for a scant few years. i’ve been waiting a decade for a remake of SHining Force. And now I have it. In the end, doesn’t that make it GOTY for me? I think so.

BEST PLAYSTATION 2 GAME
Gradius V (PS2)

BEST NINTENDO GAMECUBE GAME
Pokemon Colesseum

BEST MICROSOFT XBOX GAME
Metal Slug 3

BEST GAME BOY ADVANCE GAME
Shining Force: RotDD

BEST NINTENDO DUEL SCREEN GAME
Feel the Magic XX/XY

BEST SPORTS GAME
ESPN NHL 2k5 (Xbox/PS2)

BEST ALTERNA-SPORTS
Ribbit King (GCN/Ps2)

BEST FIGHTING GAME
SS V Special (Neo geo)

BEST DRIVING GAME
F-Zero Legend (GBA)

BEST ACTION RPG
Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance 2 (Xbox)

BEST TURN BASED RPG
Pokemon Fire Red/Leaf Green (GBA)

BEST TACTICAL RPG
Shining Force: RotDD (GBA)

BEST FIRST PERSON SHOOTER
Dead Man’s Hand (xbox)

BEST TRADITIONAL SHOOTER
Gradius V (ps2)

BEST HORROR GAME
The Suffering (Xbox.ps2)

BEST PARTY GAME
Pokemon Fire Red/Leaf Green

BEST RHYTHM GAME
Donky Konga (GCN)

BEST REMAKE/RE-RELEASE
Pokemon Fire Red/Leaf Green (GBA)

BEST PLATFORMER
Mega Man Aniversary Collection (GCN/PS2)

BEST ACTION / ADVENTURE GAME
Legend of Zelda: Collectors Edition (GCN)

BEST ONLINE GAME
MISSING (PC)

BEST FAMILY GAME (ALL AGES)
Hamtaro: Ham Ham Olympics (GBA)

BEST STORY
SMT: Nocturne (PS2)

BEST NEW FEATURE
Dual Screen system in the Nintendo DS

MOST IMPROVED FRANCHISE
Pokemon

MOST UNIQUE GAME
Ribbit King (GCN/PS2)

BIGGEST NEWS STORY
Acclaim Goes under

GAMING LOWLIGHT OF THE YEAR
Companies making third rate versions of classic titles in order to make a buck (River City Ransom, Guardian Heroes Advance)

MOST OVERHYPED GAME OF THE YEAR
Fable (Xbox)

WORST GAME OF THE YEAR
Nightmare of Druaga (Ps2)

“I swear, I’d dump the entire site right here and now sans Games, if I didin’t need Wrestling to turn a profit.”

Widro

SYSTEM OF THE YEAR:
Sony Playstation 2

As much as I love Gamecube and Nintendo, Sony’s system was clearly the top system in 2004. The sheer amount of exclusive, top quality games on PS2 this year was astounding. Nintendo, comparitively, had NO grade A+ franchise games this year, instead giving second tier sequels and alternate versions.

GAME OF THE YEAR:
Katamari Damacy

I’m a sucker for innovative games, and this one really struck a chord this year. It’s been hyped online quite a bit as the “underdog” of the year and in many ways it is. But it’s a great new game design that is easy to pick up and have fun with.

BEST PLAYSTATION 2 GAME
Katamari Damacy (PS2)

BEST NINTENDO GAMECUBE GAME
The Legend Of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures

I’m so old school, I almost sicken myself.

BEST MICROSOFT XBOX GAME
Outrun 2 (Xbox)

Slim pickens for me in 2004.

BEST GAME BOY ADVANCE GAME
Sonic Advance 3

I really still can’t get over the fact we get an original, 2D Sonic tour-de-force almost every year on GBA. It would have been nice in Nintendo had made ONE new 2D Mario, but this third Sonic game will just have to suffice in its awesomeness.

BEST NINTENDO DUEL SCREEN GAME
Feel The Magix XY/XX

As much as i like the core game of Mario 64, I cant help but think it was a poor use of the double screen, touch pad and microphone. Feel the Magic uses all three for a fun, unique game that is the true showcase of the DS in 2004.

BEST ALTERNA-SPORTS
Mario Power Tennis (GC)

BEST FIGHTING GAME
Mortal Kombat Deception (Xbox)

BEST DRIVING GAME
Outrun 2 (Xbox)

BEST ACTION RPG
X-Men Legends (all)

BEST TURN BASED RPG
Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door (GC)

BEST FIRST PERSON SHOOTER
Metroid Prime 2 (GC)

BEST TRADITIONAL SHOOTER
Gradius V (PS2)

BEST PARTY GAME
Ape Escape: Pumped & Primed (PS2)

BEST RHYTHM GAME
Donkey Konga (GC)

BEST REMAKE/RE-RELEASE
Super Mario 64 DS

BEST PLATFORMER
Sly Cooper 2 (PS2)

BEST ACTION / ADVENTURE GAME
Blood Will Tell (PS2)

BEST ONLINE GAME
Mortal Kombat Deception (PS2/Xbox)

BEST FAMILY GAME (ALL AGES)
Katamari Damacy (PS2)

BEST STORY
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (PS2)

BEST NEW FEATURE
Nintendo DS Touch screen

MOST IMPROVED FRANCHISE
007: Everything or Nothing (all)

I’m not sure if you can count the Bond franchise, but this was the best EA Bond game to date by far.

MOST UNIQUE GAME
Katamari Damacy (PS2)

BIGGEST NEWS STORY
Just happened – EA Sports signing the NFL to a five year exclusive deal

GAMING LOWLIGHT OF THE YEAR
The Guy Game

MOST OVERHYPED GAME OF THE YEAR
Fable (XB)

WORST GAME OF THE YEAR
TMNT 2 (all)

SYSTEM OF THE YEAR

Nintendo Game Boy Advance

It was a hard fought, bloody battle amongst the kliq on this one. Two drastically different systems both had the best year of their life cycles. The Nintendo Game Boy Advance and the Sony PlayStation 2. A tie was nearly declared, but that would be copping out and a disservice to you all. In the end, it came down to the games that the majority of us played the most and gave the highest scores to. And those were GBA games. With heavy hitters like Pokemon Fire Red/Leaf Green, Sonic Advance 3, Astro Boy: Omega Factor, Bubble Bobble Old and New, Final Fantasy I & II: Dawn of Souls, Shining Force: Resurrection of the Dark Dragon, F-Zero GP Legend, Mario Golf: Advance Tour, Metriod: Zero Mission, Metal Slug Advance… The list goes on and on. We couldn’t even list everything. Bottom line is, it’s near impossible to like videogames and own a Game Boy Advance and not find something to enjoy playing. This year cemented that claim even further. If you don’t own this venerable system yet, we give it our recommendation even over the Nintendo DS as of current. The library is extensive. The games are incredible. And the price is oh, so right. Truly this was the king of gaming for 2004.

RUNNER UP: Sony PlayStation 2

INSIDE PULSE GAME OF THE YEAR

Katamari Damacy (PS2)

If you haven’t figured it out by now, we love this game. If you don’t play anything else this entire year (as insane as that would be), we entreat you to pick this one up. It ‘ s quirky, it’s fun, it’s addicting as all hell. Be prepared to play this game for hours on end. Don’t think you’ll “get in a quick game of Katamari Damacy” before work, class, or whatever. You’ll play one level, and keep playing more until your eyes bleed. It sucks you in like your mom, and won’t let go. The best part is that you’d never expect a game like this to have such a deep connection with the player; it’s like a mace shot, but without all the rolling around and screaming. No single game showed what can still be special about the video game industry other than Katamari Damacy. The little import that could, this game came to the States despite it’s eccentricity and bequilled all who played it. Without excessive violence or celebrity voiceovers, Katamari crossed over into the mainstream, even Entertainment Weekly picked up on it. It may be weird, but Katamari Damacy is definitely innovative, and worth checking out for anyone who calls themselves a gamer. Not bad for a $20 game.

RUNNER UP: Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (PS2)

The Kliq wishes you a happy gaming experience for the new year. We’ll see you all going into 2005!