Review by Canadian Guy

"A most impressive system"

I was waiting for a very long time for the mysterious ''project dolphin'', the same way I waited for the Nintendo 64. However I lost patience, after waiting for so long for the 64 I decided to not repeat the same ''mistake'' (don't get me wrong, I really enjoyed the 64, but I had no new game for the longest time while waiting for it!) and got me a PS2. Oh the joy of marvelous graphics and horrendous RPGs (Final Fantasy X). when the Gamecube was unleashed, it had the same start the N64 had: VERY slow. not many games, only a very few high quality ones and so on. I thought ''thank god I got my PS2!''. But all that changed one year later, in the cold winter of 2002. One of my most loved game made a come back after a painfully long 8 year of absence. I'm talking about Metroid of course. As soon as I saw the game on the shelves I traded in my PS2 with my few games left for a GameCube with Metroid Prime and Resident Evil. I never made such a great deal....

Controller:
We're talking about Nintendo, and we all remember how the 64's controller was a gem to hold. It was perfect, and analog too! Well they pulled it again, the Gamecube's controller is one of the best I've ever held, much more user-friendly than the PS2's dual shock 2 (which is still a great controller though) and not as aggressive as the Xbox's (I can't play with a brick). Some complain about how the d-pad is too small, but the truth is you really don't use it that much (I can't comment on fighting games, I haven't tried one for the GC yet). The analog has been improved, it is now at lot looser and the layout for the A, B, X and Y buttons is ''pretty'' and very useful: your thumb can just slip unto any of the four buttons with unparalleled ease. The R and L buttons have a somewhat analog function as well: you can lightly press them to use them or you can push them in all the way for a more amplified effect. For example: in Rogue Leader you lightly press the R button for higher speed, but if you push it down all the way you'll close your s-foils (wings, Star wars fan will understand) and start using your boosters. The Z button is nothing special like it was on the 64: situated right below the R button (so still on top of the controller) it never seems to be used for vital functions as it was for the 64.

The system:
The standard color is purple, which is a nice change from the black boxes that are the PS2 and Xbox. Incredibly small and light, the GC can almost be called ''cute''. It has a handle at the back for easy moving and two exhaust ports on each side. For maximum performance you should leave those ports open since they are responsible for cooling down the system, if they are covered (the system being put against a wall or such) the GC has a chance of overheating (small chance that is) and thus your game will freeze (ironic isn't it?!); this is especially true for Metroid Prime.

Performance:
In this day and age people will only settle for the most amazing quality in visual and sound. And so the GC delivers! Far more powerful than the PS2 and not too far away from the Xbox, Nintendo's new system is the middle man in this three-way battle. Even the release games were enough to blow away almost anything the PS2 had (MGS2 remains one of the most graphically impressive games) and with no slow downs. Most games support surround sound and a select few are optimized for progressive scanning TVs (HD sets, the new rage in non-interactive home entertainment). However my knowledge of the new HD television domain is limited and I will not comment for fear of giving wrong information. Games are on a different support than the two other systems: mini discs that can hold up to 1.5 gigabytes of data.

Games:
First things first: Nintendo DOES make childish games, but that doesn't mean they're not fun! I guess I'm a kid stuck in a man's body.
Well like I said I got this game when Metroid Prime came out and by all means: all who enjoyed Metroid games should do the same! It is true that the GC doesn't have as many games than the PS2 or Xbox, but I don't really think it's that important. Take the 64: not many games but the ones that were good simply ruled the market: Zelda, Mario 64, Goldeneye, Perfect Dark, Smash Brothers etc... More games also means better chances for bad games (since they are more numerous than the good ones) so I can't say I complain.
The truth should be said though: nowadays most games will come out on the three systems (except if Microsoft keeps playing dirty and buying all the good games that could be ported or being made for other systems: Halo was for PC at first). So the major difference between the systems will lie in the first and second party developers. this is why I believe Nintendo has the upper hand and I will show you why with a very simple question: have you ever played a bad Nintendo game? Well? Didn't think so.... Nintendo always makes the best games: Mario, Donkey Kong, Zelda and Metroid are their main games and they all rock (unless you don't like the type of game, but that's another story).
People say Metroid Prime is a system seller, you have to play it to believe it people!

So, you have the cheapest of the three main systems with the best first party developer. What more could you want? I seriously couldn't be happier to have traded my PS2 for this, I encourage anyone thinking about doing it to do it without looking back, you'll thank me later on, I sure of it!


Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 12/03/02, Updated 12/04/02

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