Retrograding 12.27.05

As we did last year, I like to close out the year with an issue of Retrograding instead of Nyogtha not only to mix it up, but because I still get emails “When are you bringing Retrograding back?” on a weekly basis from people. Yes, I’m pretty much done with video gaming, but there’s something about the old R to the G that everyone seems to enjoy, including me.

Back in late 2003, IP Games was still part of 411mania.com. Around this time we came up with the idea of doing large features. Big overblown productions focusing on something major in the gaming industry. They all proved to be a lot of fun to write (except for getting people to turn their work in on time) and became a big success for 411 and then later, Inside Pulse.

Our first feature was “Ten Reasons to Own a Game Cube in 2003.” It was a compilation of ten games that we as a staff voted on as being titles that could get someone to pick up a Game Cube if they didn’t own one already.

As Retrograding has always been a look back at the yesteryear of video gaming, I thought it would be fun to actually take go in Mr. Peabody’s Way Back Machine and actually take a look at our own work and see just how good of prognosticator’s we were.

Here’s the article URL. Cut and paste it into your browser if you want to see it while we’re playing along in this column

http://www.insidepulse.com/article.php?contentid=1498 (URL has changed since the original publication date. Alas)

See that? ID=1. The first. For the entire site. We invented features. Man, that’s such a freaky thought. Only 2 years ago and I feel like a geezer.

Here was out criteria for being on the list:

Games only. So incredible, system exclusive devices that nearly make the Cube worth having on it’s own like the Nintendo Wavebird and the Game Boy Player are out of the running.

– No imports. If it’s not set for domestic release, it’s not on the list.

– Limited to releases within the second half of 2003 (the last six months of this year) up until the first half of 2004 only. And with that step alone we’ve eliminated some the Cube’s biggest guns in that of Resident Evil 0 and The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, just because we wanted to concentrate on the future of this console rather than the past games you’ve already played.

– And finally, all multiplatform releases (unless they have significant changes or are GC exclusive for a least a 6 month period of time) are out. So again, we’re getting rid of games like Madden 2004 and Soul Calibur II (even though there was staff dispute about the GC version being the best because of the ultimate playable character, Link).

So now, let’s see just how right we got our picks.

10. Pokemon Coliseum
Actually Released on 3/22/2004

Pokemon Coliseum managed to still stay in the original time frame we had chosen for the game selections. Here’s a snippet from what we said back then…

Pokemon on the Game Cube = GOOD

Pokemon in something better than GBA 32 bit graphics = Good

Pokemon in 3D graphics so they are even cuter = Good

Ability to upload Pokemon from Ruby and Sapphire = Good

The ability to play Pokemon Stadium with Ruby & Sapphire carts = Good

100+ old classic Pokemon that you can catch that aren’t in Ruby or Sapphire = Good

The brand new RPG mode so you can play a 3D Pokemon RPG for the first time EVER = GREAT

Ecard Reader compatibility = Good

Tournament mode for massive multiplayer action = Good

So did our prediction hold water? Well, the eventual game did get an 8.5 from me. But then, I’m a known Pokemon addict. The truth is, as great as Pokemon Coliseum was, I can’t honestly say it was worth buying a Game Cube for. Pokemon is the most popular franchise in the world, that’s very true, but it really only appealed to the very hardcore Pokemon fans out there. It was not the type of game you could start a gamer out with if they were totally new to Pokemon. The high level battles and the tag team format would have confounded a lot of new players at first.

These comments aren’t meant to be disparaging. It’s merely meant to point out Pokemon Coliseum by itself is not a system seller. It’s a wonderful game that would get GBA owners to invest in a ninety-nine dollar system so that they could finally “Catch ‘Em All,” but that’s really it. Excellent game, just not for everyone. In retrospect it would still receive the same high score from me. I just don’t know if we’d nominate it for the list.

0/1 on the Kliq’s part.

9. Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles
Actually Released on: 02/09/2004

Well, this is interesting. We had our first Final Fantasy game released in years for the big N. It was a multiplayer action RPG. it promised unparalleled GBA to GCN compatibility. Even myself, who is a known Final Fantasy loather (save for I, II, and Tactics) was pretty pumped for this game. Here’s a snippet of what we had to say about it.

I know this game has received some bad press because it requires Game Boy Advances and link cables to play multi- player, but, let’s get real here. How many Game Boy Advances ARE there out there? I know we have one in our household with another one coming the second I get a hold of a red SP. Surely anyone who has a GameCube has access to at least one Game Boy Advance, if not more. Besides, you can go to the local used game store or E- Bay and get a pretty good deal on the vanilla Game Boy Advance these days. So, Crystal Chronicles is a multi- player action/ RPG for the GameCube that supports the link cable and Game Boy Advance. It is also, surely, going to be a hit. Alex Lucard is buying this. Mr. I- Hate- Square himself is buying this. If that’s not a rousing enough reason, I don’t know what is.

Heh. That was Chuck Platt there.

So how did the game fair? Well, the need for a GBA for each gamer really did hit sales of the game. it was well received, getting an 80% average on Gamerankings, and a 6.5 from our own Misha back over at 411mania. (For some reason, this review didn’t get ported over to IP, so I’m linking to the 411 site. Sorry.)

I actually didn’t end up buying it simply due to a lack of free time, although I’m strongly considering purchasing it now, see as I have 2 GBA’s (Celebi and Pokemon Center NY) and 3 GBA SP’s (Rayquaza, Venusaur, and Charizard. See a pattern in what I get? I don’t!) and so it would be a worthwhile purchase for yours truly.

Was it a system seller? Oh hell no. FF:CC was a popular game, for those that could afford everything put into it. But a system seller? No. Because you’d sink money into a $50 game, a $99 system and at least 2 GBA or GBA SP’s which, at that time, would add over $100 to the over all tag. $250 for a single game? Maybe if it was a system launch and we’re talking Super Smash Brothers.

So I have to declare the Games staff was batting 0/2 at this point. Not a great way to start off, is it?

8. Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life
Actually Released on 3/16/2004

Oh. My. God. What the HELL were we thinking? Was this like “We’re a bunch of elitists” or what? Now don’t get me wrong. I love Harvest Moon. I successfully got several skeptics on the staff of the series wildly addicted to it. But a farming sim being enough to get people to invest in the game and a new system? Yeesh.

Anyway, let’s take a look at what we said.

Before Animal Crossing, there was Harvest Moon. Like previous games in the series, you play as a cute as button farmer who tends his crops and livestock, woos the pretty small town ladies, and generally enjoys the simple life. Hell, they even resurrected the Marriage system in this edition, so your cute little super deformed farmer can marry a cute little super deformed wife and the best part? Cute as hell, super deformed babies that you can raise! Sweet! Who needs the complications of your real complicated life when you can go home at the end of the day and work your digital farm and enjoy the rustic lifestyle? And for those of you who play your Game Boy Advances ad infinitum, Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town can link up to this bad boy. Villagers can move between towns, new stuff can be unlocked, and you can abuse differing prices on veggies and livestock.

Truthfully, I think we were all simply enraptured by the free plush cow you got for preordering the game.

Again, the Harvest Moon series is great. I just can’t see people buying a system simply to sim growing crops and courting a hick wife. Yes, I know the Sims sold like crazy. But you could let the sims starve to death or watch one get burned alive by removing the door to their home and setting the blaze up. The Sims was far less popular for actually SIMMING reality that it was letting people be an evil malevolent god to cyber people. Like Populus, but you could see the carnage on a personal level. Harvest Moon doesn’t allow that at all.

Like our previous two games, Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life received an 80% average at Gamerankings.com, but only a 6.0 from us. And like our previous two games, this was a wonderful one that those who purchased received a great deal of enjoyment from it. It just wouldn’t be the type of game that you could successfully convince the average gamer to shell out 150 dollars for. It takes a very specific type of gamer to truly get all that Natsume puts into the Harvest moon series.

Zilch for Three. Ouch.

7. Tales of Symphonia
Actually Released on 7/13/04

And here we see the first game that fell out of our original qualifications due to being pushed back. But only by a month and a half. Not so bad, eh?

Tales of Symphonia was a Game Cube exclusive (Here in the USA anyway) that was a sequel of sorts to Tales of Destiny and Tales of Eternity. Both were great games I enjoyed a lot. As did most of our Games staff in 2003. So we were all very excited for Tales of Symphonia to hit the market. Here’s a snippet of what we said:

Selling over 200,000 copies on the first day of release in Japan, Tales of Symphonia continues several Tales traditions while setting itself apart in others. One thing that the series has been known for is its anime stylings, and that is no different in this one. The graphics are some of the best cel shaded graphics I’ve ever seen, and the character designs are excellent as well. The battle system is similar to previous Tales games, but rather than being a 2D based combat system, where characters fight in a straight line, it is much more three-dimensional.

Although we ended up giving Tales a 7.5, Game Rankings gave they gave a whopping 86% overall. The highest overall score for any game on the countdown so far.

Tales was considered one of the best games for the Game Cube in 2004, it was considered one of the best RPG’s of the year for 2004 and it sold amazingly well. Tales of Symphonia may not have won any awards from us at the end of 2k4 (We preferred games like Shining Force and Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance 2), but it was well received by everyone and did in fact, manage to sell several Game Cubes just because there were enough hardcore fans of the series who wanted to play it in English.

I’d say we were 1 for 4 here at this point.

6. Killer 7
Actually Released 07/07/2005

Man a little bit of delay on this game, huh? Looking back I have no idea why the rest of the team nominated this game. I know for a fact I wasn’t at all interested in this game back then. I guess it was the novel concept of 7 different play styles with 7 different characters back well cell shading was at the apex of its hipness quotient.

Here’s what we said:

Why you SHOULD be buying Killer 7, the reason I WILL be buying this game, are the gorgeous graphics. Cel shading has been around since Wacky races for the Dreamcast, and was popularized by Jet Grind Radio, but this cel-shading engine has a unique look. Looking more like Frank Miller’s Sin City than the garish cartoony worlds of Jet Grind, Zelda, and even the noirish XIII, Killer 7 uses striking blacks and whites with bold use of color to establish a surreal look. All the screenshots so far have had a dreamlike monochromatic scheme of purple or pink and large areas of gray. Never before has a game, especially in 3- D, so completely immersed itself in an art style to convey it’s story and mood. Seriously, too many truly beautiful and fun games, like the aforementioned Jet Grind, have failed to sell in spite of, or because of, their unique graphical prowess. This is your chance to redeem yourself.

Funny how naive and optimistic we were back then. Killer 7 would eventually be culled as a Game Cube exclusive and would become a multi-system game for the GCN as well as Sony’s Playstation 2. As well, Killer 7 would be found rather underwhelming. Our own Tom N. would give the game a dismal 4.0, while the game would get a respectable 77% on Gamerankings for the Game Cube Version. The PS2 version faired worse with a hair under 70% as the overall score.

Everyone in general seemed to think that Killer 7 at best was an okay game, and at worst, dishearteningly underwhelming. I’d have to say this was our biggest bust on the countdown.

1 for 5 baby.

5. Mario Kart: Double Dash
Actually Released on 11/17/2003

Well at least we have our first no-brainer on the list. It’s Mario Kart. I don’t think there has ever been a game in that series that has been less than stellar. Hell, I don’t enjoy Kart games, and I had fun with this title. It was just what Nintendo needed to spark some life back in the Game Cube and even before it came out, your friends here at Inside Pulse just KNEW it would be a triumphant success.

For the first time ever, players will be able to choose two different characters to race on each vehicle simultaneously. This feature alone brings in a broad spectrum of gameplay possibilities, especially with the way it’s been cleverly executed. One takes care of the driving, whilst the other is on the back dishing out a variety of weapons to try to crush your opponents’ skulls in. No more character specific karts. Each vehicle has it’s own attributes and once selected, players can then put their favorite characters on any of the vehicles available making for quite the array of possible combinations. Coolest of all, with a quick tap of the Z button you can have your team swap places, making a whole new slew of character specific powerups available. And everything from the good old standby spiky shells, huge banana peel skins, and even huger ba-bombs can all be picked up and thrown at the poor twits sorry enough to get in your way.

Alex Williams would review Double Dash when it came out, and it would receive a rare 8.5 from us. It would go on to get an amazing 87% overall at Game Rankings and would sell like hotcakes. You know, how well do hotcakes actually sell. I’m not really a breakfast person.

Eventually Nintendo would release Double Dash bundles thus proving that the game was in fact, a reason to buy a Game Cube in 2003. And lots of people did.

If I have to explain why I’ve bumped up our score to 2 for 6, I have to question if you’ve ever played a game in your life.

4. Ikaruga
Actually Released on 04/15.2003

Yeah this is obviously before I had any real influence or power at 411 or Inside Pulse, huh?

Ikaruga. The game I consider to be the greatest shooter of all time. A game I was well known for going into a foaming psychotic zealous zeal over. A game I would play until I could beat it without using a continue. A game everyone was shocked as hell would be released stateside…as a Nintendo Game Cube Exclusive.

Ikaruga was one of the more beloved games for the late, lamented Sega Dreamcast. It was a Treasure shooter, which made it all the more revered. And the only way one would ever play the game in English, is if they owned a Nintendo Game Cube.

What I said about the game in our Countdown:

Seriously though, this is just like the NGPC all over again, but with a game instead of a system. Americans would bitch there are no good shooters left. Atari brought over Ikaruga. Americans bitched how all the good games supposedly stay in Japan. Atari brought over Ikaruga. Every bloody VG website and magazine raved about how great Ikaruga was, when you know half of them never played the game and were just trying to look hardcore. Everyone always praises Treasure as if they were the gods of gaming. So Atari brought over Ikaruga. Gaming company after gaming company after gaming company heard your faux cries of boredom with the same old stuff and they bought it. And so Atari brought over Ikaruga.

And you just didn’t buy it. And don’t make up a reason why. You purchased a crappy football game. Or Some Eidos piece of shit. I don’t want to hear excuses. I don’t want to see your copy of Mario Sunshine or SSX Tricky. I want you to deserve this second chance. I want you to run out and call whatever store is near you that sells Game Cube games and BUY IKARUGA. If the stores don’t have it go to Ebay or a pawn shop. If they don’t have it, try an online Video Game store. If they don’t have it…then you’re screwed unless you have a friend with a Dreamcast and a DC-X boot disc.

Oh yeah. You DC owners. The ones who are going to try and use the pathetic excuse “Well I imported it. Blah Blah Blah. Game Cube is for losers.” No. You’re the losers. You’re missing out on owning a US copy of Ikaruga. You bought the Import DC version because you had to have it right? Because you love shooters and/or Treasure, right? You don’t own it and never play it just to say it’s in your collection so you can impress a crapload of other geeky losers. You bought it to show that you want games like that localized to the US right? You took a stand against the norm and said “CORPORATE AMERICA! I DEMAND THIS GAME IN MY NATIVE TOUNGE AND I LUST FOR IT SO GREATLY I WILL BRING IT OVER FROM JAPAN TO SHOW MY FANATICAL DEVOTION TO ITS GLORY.” Right?

Well if that’s the case. If you’re that in love with Ikaruga and Treasure and shooters, and imports, then here is your chance to prove it. Support the localized version. Embrace it and put it in your cube. Show Atari they did the right thing. Tell them to do it again and again with various video games we wouldn’t get in English otherwise. Prove just how hardcore you REALLY are. Support Ikaruga. Support what gaming is SUPPOSED to be.

Wow. Remember those days? When there were games released I would actually get passionate over? Long time readers and staff members still to this day think of Ikaruga as “Lucard’s game.”

And you know what? It got a whopping 9.5 from me. Me! Mr. I only gave out 3 8’s or 8.5’s in 2005. This is the highest score I have ever given a video game. Out of all the games released this generation this was my baby. More than Disgaea, more than Pokemon whatever, more than the Shining Force remake for the GBA…Ikaruga is my game of games for anything on the Xbox, the Cube, or the PS2. Gradius V is a damn close second though. And if you’re wondering, Gamerankings.com gave it an 86% overall. Shockingly higher than I would have guessed back 2 years ago.

And you know what? It may have sold less than Pokemon and Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles, but it actually WAS a system seller. If you wanted vertical 2D shooting goodness back in 2003, you really didn’t have another option. And although there are few of us left stateside, we are still a psychotic lot. I know several people that shelled out for a Game Cube simply to play this game. A game that takes less than 2 hours to beat. It may have been a low seller, but the exclusive nature of this title combined with the hardcore nature of this genre’s fans meant that indeed, it managed to be a system seller.

Sure it was probably the only game those people bought the Cube for, but that’s still the requirements!

3/7.

3. Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg
Actually Released 9/23/2003

Man, I totally forgot about this game until I re-read the countdown. That’s not a good sign is it? Much like Ikaurga was my beloved for the Game Cube, this was our own Bebito Jackson’s highly anticipated lovechild. You guys remember Bebito don’t you?I heard he changed his named to Hoochie, the cannibal clown with a fanatical devotion to the Pope. But that could just be one of those craaaazy rumour monkey rumours. Regardless, let us see what Bebito had to say.

In Billy Hatcher you play as young boy that possesses PHENOMENAL COSMIC POWERS. And by that I mean he has a magic chicken suit that lets him roll eggs around. Everything’s going all fine and dandy until a “darkness has fallen upon the once-magical land” when an evil King who seeks to rule with an everlasting night has captured the creatures that inhabit this realm and now it’s up you to blah blah blah blah yakkady smackaddy. Look to be honest. The story’s not that important. Yes, it’s a story driven game, but like Super Mario Sunshine it’s nothing exactly groundbreakingly deep here. Nor does it need to be. Give the good stories to the RPGs. (No SERIOUSLY… PLEASE give some good stories to this generation of RPGs. I haven’t found one with an interesting narrative of note other than Xenosaga Episode I and Star Wars Knights of The Old Republic. Has everyone forgotten how to tell a compelling story now that we HAVE to spend tons of time making sure the thing looks all pwetty? Screw the graphics then! Give me some fresh ideas and competent storytelling any day over 10+ hour-long filler cinemas… But that’s for ANOTHER column. Ugh. Where was I? Oh yes…) Platformers are about gameplay. And this one has tons to spare.

The game is an absolute delight to play. In a world as pretty as it is challenging, gamers will tackle a wide range of unique missions mainly through collecting magical eggs, and using them to solve puzzles. These eggs are all over the place and all one has to do get one rolling is run up behind it. Once going, you’ll be running over enemies and gaining items to “feed” your egg to get it growing. The bigger your egg, the more damage it’ll do when you launch it at enemies. But things get REALLY interesting when your egg gets to hatching size! Once big enough you’ll be able to hatch the eggs and out pop magical creatures with a variety of skills, introducing a strategic planning element to the combat and puzzles.

And we’ve barely scratched the surface, but for me to go into the finer details of gameplay would take much longer than I have space for, so let me just say this… Billy Hatcher may be the most challenging Sonic Team game you’ll ever play. Most Sonic The Hedgehog titles can be blazed through pretty easily, while this game is more methodical and clever, testing your gaming mojo to the limits. Get ready for a challenging game that rewards gamers as it steadily increases in difficulty.

It should have sold amazingly well. It was a solid game. it had a boy in a chicken suit. It had NiGHTS as an unlockable for f*ck’s sake! But it didn’t. It barely made a blip on the radar. It sold so dismally it shocked Team Sonic, which usually turned whatever they touched into gold. We here at IP gave the game a solid 7.0, and Game Rankings gave it a 72% overall. Good scores across the board, but it just didn’t jibe with the American gaming audience. A sad bust, but once that I hope will get a bit revitalized by jogging your memories that this existed.

3/8

2. F-Zero GX
Actually Released on 08/26/2003

I remember this game pretty well. I reviewed it for the site after all. I was pretty pumped for this game, as I really am not a racing game fan. See, I loved that it was compatible with an Arcade version and that you could unlock things in the home console version simply by bringing your memory card to an arcade and sticking it in the game while you played there. I was so hopeful this could bring some life to the all but dead arcade market.

Here’s what we said back in Sept of ’03.

Hovercraft racing at its finest. The official sequel to the blazing F-Zero X on the N64, F-Zero GX zooms out of the gate and surpasses the original in EVERYTHING. Here’s another title GC owners have been waiting a long time for. And it was developed by Amusement Visions, the same guys who developed the Super Monkey Ball games! (Holy shit, a Sega-owned developer working on a NINTENDO GAME :(?? Is that even possible?)

In the transition to the GC, F-Zero has received all sorts of upgrades to go with it. Gameplay-wise, the Grand-Prix modes you’ve come to know and love are only the tip of the iceberg. For the first time in the series, there is a Story Mode featuring the game’s most popular racer, Captain Falcon. I guess his roles in SSB/SSBM finally paid off, as he is now the standout character. The Story Mode takes the hero through a slew of various missions, such as collecting rings or dodging boulders, all the while trying to defeat his latest challengers. The more missions you complete, the more missions you can purchase with points.

That’s another new addition to the game: a point system. The more points you earn, the more cool stuff you can unlock, such as racers, tracks for the Grand Prix, and special parts for customized racers. Wait, what did I say? Customized racers? Yep, I sure did! For the first time, you can build your own high-speed machine, give it any color you want, and even give it your own logo! Then you can take it into modes like Grand Prix and show all the “default” racers that you’re no pushover!

The races themselves? Fast. VERY fast. The fastest races you’ll EVER see on ANY system. And the best thing about these races being so fast? The framerate doesn’t drop. You’ll be blazing along at 60 FPS without a hick-up or a glitch getting in your way!

Like Billy Hatcher, this SHOULD have been a system seller. It was a Nintendo Franchise being developed by SEGA. This previously thought impossibility should have made people buy it in droves, if not be the first sign of the Apocalypse. It was a pretty good game. I gave F-Zero GX a 7.0, which is the second LOWEST score at Gamerankings.com Their the game averaged an amazing 90%! It’s in the top 25 of all Game Cube games.

But you know what? I passed it up just this Thursday when Toys R Us had their mega blowout sale. It was only ten dollars, and I decided “Nah” to buying it again after I traded it in the first time. And that was generally fan reaction. They passed on a game that received large amounts of critical acclaim for varying reasons.

I know for me, a huge downfall to the game is that I live in Minneapolis, which is one of the worst cities in the US of A for Arcade Gaming. I called every arcade within 30 miles of here hoping for the Arcade version of this game. None got it. And so half my motivation for owning this went out the window. It’s probably why I went for Neo Contra or Dead Man’s Hand or Romance of the Three Kingdoms X over this.

There’s no reason why this wasn’t a system seller. Save for that ol’ human X-Factor. It’s just one of those great games lost forever in the shuffle. Pick it up if you can. But even now I still can’t say it’s worth buying a Cube over.

3/9

1. Viewtiful Joe
Actually Released 10/07/2003

And the number one pick back in 2003? A total no-brainer. One of the most loved games on the Cube and arguably the best for the system. It received a 92% overall from Gamerankings and our own Chuck Platt gave it an 8.5 (Another review that did not port over for some reason). I don’t need to explain why this game was #1 on our list, or it truly was a system seller for the game cube. Let’s just look at what Liquidcross wrote a little over two years ago.

Superheroes, how we love thee. For anyone who grew up reading comic books (and for those of us that still do), seeing our favorite heroes in digital video game form has often been a crapshoot. For every Spider-Man (PSX), there’s a Superman 64 (N64) to cancel it out. Spider-Man/Venom: Maximum Carnage (Genesis) was good; X-Men (NES) was a pile of putrid filth.

So in the midst of all this bouncing back and forth, along comes Capcom, and cranks out the much-anticipated Viewtiful Joe. Rather than use an existing license, Capcom created an original character. Cel-shaded graphics are used; even though they’ve been done to death (the only great-looking cel-shaded games are Jet Grind Radio and its sequel, Jet Set Radio Future), they fit perfectly here, since it’s supposed to be reminiscent of a comic book.
Our hero’s name is Joe. Not “Mega Strong Man,” or “Super Awesome Guy”…just “Joe.” Because he’s an average Joe, get it? Anyways, the gist is that this Fred Durst lookalike takes his girlfriend Silvia to the movies, and wouldn’t you know it, a bad guy pops outta the screen and kidnaps her. Joe follows, and his favorite movie superhero Captain Blue endows him with kickass powers. As “Viewtiful Joe,” our hero can perform all manner of Matrix style beatdowns on his foes, complete with slowdown if desired. Rock on!

VJ himself looks like a cross between Zero and Quick Man, both from the Mega Man series. Makes sense, considering that Capcom is behind that whole franchise as well. However, I’ve never seen Zero (or Quick Man) make devil-horn gestures with their hands or stick their tongues out when they jump. Though that would be pretty damn cool.

Now then…most of you folks now the Gamecube isn’t held super-high in my twisted gamer’s mind. Nintendo’s many faults tend to kick it down a few notches, primarily due to the lack of quality titles available for the system. Bitch about hardware, game design, etc. all you want; the other two next-gen systems just have a much higher ratio of good titles. So I’m sure you’re saying, “Then why the f*ck are YOU writing this article about the #1 GC game?!”

Simple. If nothing else, what Nintendo has done properly with the ‘Cube is this: when a good game does come out, 99% of the time it’s incredibly good. We’re talking “world-shattering fantastic” here. Animal Crossing, Zelda: The Wind Waker, and F-Zero GX are all good examples of this rule. Nintendo has a knack for pulling quirky games out of their collective asses that satisfy the fans, even while casual gamers can’t comprehend that a game with bright colors might actually be good. Even Super Mario Sunshine, which was really nothing more than a Super Mario 64 knockoff with insane draw distance, raised the bar for well-produced games.

Even though Viewtiful Joe isn’t a Nintendo-designed product, it seems to retain that characteristic flair that defines the “quirk” common to the Nintendo products. You’ve got a weird art style, an interesting story, memorable characters (c’mon, you know as well as I do that after you play that game for a bit, the characters will haunt your waking dreams), and a well-designed platform engine. I’m not sure if there’s ninjas or monkeys in it (that would really push the game over the top!), but we’ll manage with what we have. And since this game is GC-only, I’m sure it’ll actually make the ‘Cube’s f*cked-up controller work well.

This game has sold like hotcakes in Japan, and…wait. Do they even buy hotcakes in Japan? Anyways, it’s done really well, and all of us are chomping at the bit for a US release. For 40 beans, Viewtiful Joe won’t exactly break your wallet.

Ready…Set…Action!

The game was a massive success. Even though it would get ported to the PS2 10 months later, everyone was in agreement the Game Cube version was far superior. It sold systems baby. it sold systems like no other game on this list. It’s even become a franchise, spinning off GBA, DS and even another console title. Viewtiful Joe was expected to be a popular one time niche hit, but it’s held its own and is one of Capcom’s most profitable titles. Good for it. It truly deserved to be bigger than anyone expected it to be.

And that rounds out the list with a 40% correct score. 4 out of Ten. Pokemon Coliseum is debatable because yes, it did sell systems and was bundled with the GCN for a while so one could make the case it was a system seller, even though this is me, the ultimate Pokemaniac saying otherwise. So let’s just be nice and adjust the score to 4.5/10

So much for being the Nostradamus of video gaming, eh? But at least I can say 9/10 games on our list proved to be GOOD ones, even if they weren’t system sellers. And the four that managed to hit the mark are still considered amongst the best in their respective genres.

I hope you enjoyed this retrospective on not just our first feature at Inside Pulse Games, but also looking back at some titles you may have forgotten about even though it’s only been 27 months since we did this. Maybe this will inspire you to pick up one of these ten titles and see why we had such rampart optimism for all these titles. And really, that’s the best I can hope for. If our writing and passion can inspire you to pick up a title that we ourselves love (and to keep you far away from the shitbags out there), then we’ve done our jobs.

Thanks for joining me on another Retrograding. I’m glad you love these columns as much as I do.