Wildcat’s Ten Favorite Gamecube Games (Updated 8/22/2012)

I loved my ‘Cube. It delivered a surprising amount of quality gaming to me, and I treasure it as one of my favorite systems. Despite the actual console biting it a long time ago, I do have a Wii that can play these wonders, so it’s not a huge loss for me to not have it anymore. Several essentials of mine are on this console, including three on my Absolute list and two on my Contender list!

Skies of Arcadia Legends (Sega/Overworks)

What more could I say about Skies that I already haven’t? Not too much, methinks. While I’ve formatted my favorite games list to remove the tiers, I still consider Skies to be an incredible experience I won’t forget.

Resident Evil 4 (Capcom)

Capcom did an amazing job with the revitalization of the Resident Evil franchise here, making a game that would deeply influence the industry for years to come. A marvelous treat, although I must say that the Wii version is the definitive version.

Beyond Good & Evil (UBI Soft)

UBI Soft’s Michel Ancel and his team created a wondrous game that I like to go on and on about on this site. So, for the sake of not parroting myself further, I’ll just say that I love this game so much.

Metroid Prime (Nintendo/Retro Studios)

This was a controversial resurrection of Samus Aran, but luckily, it turned out extremely well and is one of the few first person view games I adore. Kudos, Retro!

Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (Nintendo)

While Wind Waker left me a little uncertain of the future of Zelda, Twilight Princess swung things back into the right for me. It feels a little unfinished at times, but I really enjoyed my playthrough of the game and especially meeting Midna, the best character the franchise has yet produced.

Tales of Symphonia (Namco Bandai)

This more action-based JRPG is the best original title of that particular genre on the ‘Cube, with a fun battle engine, likable characters and tons of things to do. Definitely worth a look.

Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction (Sierra/Radical Ent.)

Sheer chaotic fun, this one. Running around and rampaging as the Hulk is a riot to control, and the game takes its sandbox concepts to astoundingly good heights. One of the best superhero games ever made.

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (UBI Soft)

UBI Soft’s first stab at this classic franchise remains the best to me. The ambiance is wonderful, and the platforming is a major highlight, with some of the best 3D has yet produced. Combat is a bit wonky and irritating, but the overall quality of the rest of the game overpowers it.

Capcom vs. SNK 2 EO (Capcom)

Most pick Soul Calibur II as the ‘Cube’s fighter of choice, but that game really does pale in comparison to its predecessor, Link or no Link. Meanwhile, Capcom released the finest cross-up between their rival SNK and themselves for the ‘Cube, and it’s my easy pick for the console’s best representation of the genre.

Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures (Nintendo)

I really liked Four Swords Adventures. It takes a unique concept of four Links that can be arranged into formations, throws them into self-contained levels, but manages to maintain the Zelda 2D vibe beautifully.

Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door (Nintendo/Intelligent Systems)

The sequel to the N64 Paper Mario improves the battle system, throws incredible spritework at you, and ups the kookiness factor to new heights (which its sequel may have overdone).  In my book, this is the Mario game you want to invest in for the ‘Cube.

Contenders:

Second Sight (Codemasters/Free Radical)

SSX 3 (EA)

Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour (Nintendo/Camelot)

Animal Crossing (Nintendo)

Metroid Prime 2 Echoes (Nintendo/Retro Studios)

Song Highlights – Halloween 2011 Edition

To further get into the Halloween spirit, let’s continue onward with some creepy game tunes!

Silent Hill 2 – Ashes and Ghost (PS2, Konami, Akira Yamaoka)

The appeal of Silent Hill for me comes from its unsettling atmosphere, and Yamaoka knew exactly how to utilize music to build upon the disturbing visuals.  This is a fantastic example of this talent.

Resident Evil 4 – Regenerator (Gamecube, Capcom, Misao Senbongi, Shusaku Uchiyama)

Apparently it’s “Wildcat Loves Regenerator” day here at LVLs. :p

Anyway, this music is certainly the most chilling of the RE4 soundtrack, and it perfectly suits the creatures it represents.  In fact, not hearing their breaths or grunts made the song lose a little of its punch.  Still, a very tense song that gives me the willies.

Secret of Mana – Ceremony (Super NES, Square-Enix, Hiroki Kikuta)

This shocked the shit out of me when I was a kid.  This is horror personified.  The pounding bass, the shill bells, and the overall vibe of impending doom overpowers this track – amazing stuff.

Banjo-Kazooie – Mad Monster Mansion (N64, Rare/Nintendo, Grant Kirkhope)

To conclude, we’ll have Rare’s spin on monster tropes take the stage.  It’s a little more upbeat than the others I’ve included here, but it encapsulates the spirit of Halloween quite nicely, too.

Enemy Encounters Halloween Special 2011

Continuing the tradition begun last year, let’s focus on some of the best (and worst) examples of the supernatural foes I’ve dealt with in games.  Spoilers are aplenty, so beware! (more…)

Wildcat’s 100 Favorite Game Tunes (2011)

Kurt Kalata over at Hardcore Gaming 101 is running a poll to determine what video gaming tunage is most liked among the forum and blog there, and I decided to participate and compile my favorites.  I’ve done quite a few Song Highlights on these tunes, and will be doing plenty more in the near future spotlighting them and providing some explanation, but here’s my list (with Youtube links to sample the song – hopefully they all work!):

TOP 5


Mega Man 3, Protoman’s Whistle Concert, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uikEuigprFE


Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Midna’s Lament, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7GWf3e_I3w


Chrono Trigger, Memories of Green, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sr9-OcPLO3M


Beyond Good & Evil, Home Sweet Home, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jTdcJWDNsao


Castlevania, Wicked Child, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E7PFm7mrdVY

The Rest:
A Boy and his Blob (Wii), Forest, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SC_u7bmVsSc
A Boy and his Blob (Wii), Plains, http://youtu.be/pfmiI9AttYc
Age of Mythology, Suture Self, http://youtu.be/KhvklZT0LMg
Age of Mythology, Chocolate Outline, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IBpz9S6I07g
Banjo-Kazooie, Click Clock Wood (spring), http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lXoaTcf_3vo
Batman (NES), Stage 1/5, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MlGDKfgz4fA
Batman (NES), Stage 3, http://youtu.be/zERK-4IgQAg
Beyond Good & Evil, Hillyan Suite, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p48dpXQixgk
Bionic Commando (NES), Area 1, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2hl5UCCBCXI
Bionic Commando (NES), Area 2, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lIvcYCbWMfY
Blaster Master, Level 1, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LUnwRFMo6D0
Blaster Master, Level 2, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oIjIUyXrBJg
Body Harvest, Outdoors (Violin), http://youtu.be/pC41_–XeqQ
Body Harvest, Indoors (piano), http://youtu.be/wURLANzjDLk
Breath of Fire, Deep Forest, http://youtu.be/1iCbSLFrqrU
California Games (NES), Flying Disc, http://youtu.be/5iYMN2FKkoY
Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest, Bloody Tears, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EjazC45Qkww
Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse, Aquarius, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MORo75YOHWs
Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin, Hail from the Past, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fg1PDaOnU2Q
Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin, Jail of Jewel, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GtRdjcXfXsc
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Dracula’s Castle, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UgF0uBjCds0
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Crystal Teardrops, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QWwJEQt90qk
Chrono Trigger, Wind Scene (Yearning of Wind), http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RqZaFDA7PXY
Contra (NES), Level 1, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5UqXbEwqwF8
Contra (NES), Level 3, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U58a-svZok8
Deus Ex, Hong Kong Streets 1, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uzvw8uSWucM
Diablo, Tristram Village, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O8jJJXgNLo4
Donkey Kong Country, Theme (Simian Segue), http://youtu.be/nLT1-5laF0A
Dragon Quest IX, Heaven’s Prayer, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=myjd1MnZx5Y
Dragon Quest IX, I Won’t Lose, http://youtu.be/aycArJW4klo
Dragon Quest VIII, Strange World, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kN9Up_0zuUs
Dragon Quest VIII, Heavenly Flight, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=taVdFgxvhRg
Ducktales, Transylvania, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2UuHesrJROw
Fire Emblem (7 in series order), Wind Across the Plains, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SFWOvIrBCgc
F-Zero GX, Captain Falcon’s Theme, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-L0pW3Eol6k
Grandia II, Carbo, http://youtu.be/1XqprRUVSJo
Grandia II, Mirumu, http://youtu.be/ZG_oW5XH71Y
Hotel Dusk: Room 215, Big Dreams, http://youtu.be/cgy5_a9fx4g
Hotel Dusk: Room 215, The Last Sleep, http://youtu.be/BwdCg8Gqqfk
Jet Grind Radio, Magical Girl, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_h9f939bW3c
Kirby’s Epic Yarn, Outer Rings, http://youtu.be/y3DAHtoitXY
Kirby’s Epic Yarn, Butter Building, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JfdJbaCfXjQ
Kirby’s Adventure, Ending, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2OVKyjZs-nU
The Last Ninja, Stage 1, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hiLvoMpLQFA
Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Forest Temple, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y4o3EMdYaKw
Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Spirit Temple, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C0PVz2pIEcw
Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Kakariko Village, http://youtu.be/LdERRFGaUjY
Legend of Zelda, Death Mountain (Final Dungeon), http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0_NPA7caCsc
Mario Kart 64, Credits, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XYwZT3CvpMw
Mega Man 2, Air Man, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FINefcN9pPc
Mega Man 2, Wood Man, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JbK2uCp4-sQ
Mega Man 3, Snake Man, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EM-Fub7Oc_A
Mega Man 5, Wave Man, http://youtu.be/Nd2O6mbhCLU
Mega Man 5, Charge Man, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-PEukLWNKsg
Mega Man 6, Flame Man, http://youtu.be/qdWeTin2mho
Mega Man 6, Mr. X stages, http://youtu.be/uhJ7Ss-puVY
Metroid, Ending, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YQeUkUp4uRc
Metroid Prime, Phendrana Drifts (second version), http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZbbUv1hz6mE
Metroid Prime, Tallon Overworld, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mziw3FQkZYg
Monster Tale, Ancient Ruins, http://youtu.be/iQ1D6UJW5Jg
MULE, Main Theme, http://youtu.be/VI2e-jwjhN4
Muramasa: The Demon Blade, Seifu Meigetsu A, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lUF1lkbvoUs
Muramasa: The Demon Blade, Bosyoku Souzen A, http://youtu.be/c9qBwD4bxO8
Ogre Battle 64, Premonition, http://youtu.be/Rel-IOyQTX0
Ogre Battle 64, The Sensational World, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cSnlp1YAUJ0
Okami, Shinshu Plains (1 and 2), http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8yKG-Qu4WvM
Okami, Hanasaki Valley, http://youtu.be/EtKh1Uac2Og
Perfect Dark, Chicago – Stealth, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gJbwLjKhVGw
Persona 4, Your Affection, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ChrBp1pEGM
Persona 4, The Almighty, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eNVMKpk__HQ
Persona 4, Reach out to the Truth, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TzFl6sWHmXI
Phoenix Wright: Trials and Tribulations, The Dark Fragrance of Coffee, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bxzTrWUajZg
Portal, Still Alive, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y6ljFaKRTrI
Red Dead Redemption, Far Away, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7IkvAb6THQY
Resident Evil 4, Sorrow (end credits), http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z0k4kGkH6Bk
Secret of Mana, A Wish, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oLK8IrYrZxA
Secret of Mana, Into the Thick of It, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T3N9lrq-rks
Shadow Hearts: From the New World, Dead Fingers Talk, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5clzlxOZQeU
Shadow Hearts: From the New World, Adios, http://youtu.be/-lkRjV7Zp-k
Skies of Arcadia, Kingdom of Ixa’taka, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0F-hJjD3XAs
Skies of Arcadia, Lower Valua, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vlJxG1FmMOU
Silent Hill 3, You’re Not Here, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wz3ufaZCoVw
Sonic CD, Sonic Boom, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LJXKoubh9sQ
Super Ghouls and Ghosts, Ice Forest, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4URokdL-dfM
Super Mario 64, Koopa’s (Bowser’s) Road, http://youtu.be/0rygsWPCjNQ
Super Mario 64, Water Course Theme (Dire Dire Docks), http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uqcPSbkS9TQ
Super Mario Galaxy, Gusty Garden Galaxy, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-z2kxFCQ_mQ
Super Mario Galaxy 2, The Tico and the Hat, http://youtu.be/Xev0rnBJIzA
Super Mario RPG, And My Name’s Booster, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJoGF1oLd0o
Super Metroid, Maradia, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WxobPQMNY_w
Super Metroid, Brinstar (Plant Overgrown), http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ULlqfeNLWY
Tales of Symphonia, Like a Glint of Light, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DFWadiZkA_8
Tales of Symphonia, Dry Trail, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HvnAkAQK82E
Zoda’s Revenge: Startropics II, Dungeon Theme #2, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pF-30Dg9Xs4
Zoda’s Revenge: Startropics II, Dungeon Theme #6, http://youtu.be/22ATqffTkIk

Resident Evil Versus: Resident Evil 5 vs. Resident Evil 4

SPOILER ALERT – This opinion will be going into extensive detail about the game’s plot, gameplay, bosses, and more, so if you haven’t had a chance to experience these games, you may want to bypass reading it.  A quick summary of what’s inside – Resident Evil 4 is one of my favorite games of all time.  Resident Evil 5 tries to expand upon RE4′s engine overhaul, but stumbles more often than succeeding.  It’s not a bad game by any means – I had a lot of fun with it, but it’s not up to the level of RE4. (more…)

Nester’s Favorite Games: Resident Evil 4 (2005)

Nester's Favorite Games: Resident Evil 4

The Game: An action-horror game in which you play as Leon Kennedy, who must rescue the President’s daughter from a cult of parasite-infected monsters.

Why it’s a Favorite: Nearly every single element of this game is highly polished, and it all works together wonderfully. But perhaps what amazes me most is that despite its relatively straightforward gameplay, it somehow manages to stay compelling throughout its lengthy adventure.

 

Screenshot of Resident Evil 4

The quieter areas help to balance out the intense action.

Most of the time is spent simply running around shooting bad guys, yet it never becomes tedious. Perhaps the main reason is its brilliant pacing, based on a “flex and relax” design. Between the adrenaline-fueled action scenes, there are areas of quiet. These parts let you explore, upgrade your weapons, solve simple puzzles, and basically let you catch your breath. Because of this, the game doesn’t wear you out, and you’re prepared for the next round of action.

 

But overall, this game is a prime example of what happens when everything comes together.

Memorable Moments: The entire game is filled with memorable moments, but I’ll narrow it down to two:

1) It freaked me out having to walk into a prison cell to flip a switch next to a restrained Garrador (a blind psychopath with giant iron claws who goes nuts whenever he hears anything).

2) Salazar’s remark that terrorism is “a popular word these days” surprised me with how topical it was.

Song Highlights – Dragon Quest VIII, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Perfect Dark, Resident Evil 4


Dragon Quest VIII – Strange World (Overworld Theme on foot, PS2, Square-Enix, Koichi Sugiyama)

The decision to revamp Dragon Quest VIII’s music overseas was a brilliant stroke of genius.  I haven’t heard the original tunes, but honestly, I don’t need to.  This beautiful orchestral version of DQVIII’s default adventuring theme is about as perfect as one could ask for.  It’s peaceful, and captures the mood Level-5 set with its overworld.  As a bonus, this merges into the Great Sabercat theme halfway, which is also lovely.


Super Smash Bros. Brawl – Butter Building [Kirby's Adventure] (Halbard, Wii, Nintendo, Jun Fukuda)

Butter Building happens to be one of the cooler tunes in Kirby’s Adventure, and Jun Fukuda amazingly resurrected it for Brawl’s meaty soundtrack.  This is a hyperactive take on the source (which is a little more subdued in the original), with plenty of sugary guitars and techno beats driving the mix.  When I first heard this piece, it quickly became one of my favorites.  What a fantastic way to bring this classic back.  And I strongly believe that Butter Building has some sort of magical remix potential, seeing that OC Remix’s Darangen tackled this source with the same success for a Kirby’s Adventure album a few years back:


Perfect Dark – Chicago: Stealth (N64, Rare, Grant Kirkhope, Graeme Norgate, David Clynick)

Perfect Dark’s Chicago area is a slum patrolled by robotic police who will shoot you on sight.  The mood of this stage is somber and depressive, and its downtrodden music is more than fitting.  I always play Multiplayer with this tune, even though it’s not the most engaging material to deathmatch with…I just like it that much.


Resident Evil 4 – Sorrow: Ending Credits (Gamecube, Capcom, Misao Senbongi, Shusaku Uchiyama)

This is exactly how a piece of music is supposed to switch emotions.  The ending begins in an upbeat note, with the villagers living happy lives, but once the Los Illuminados and the Plagas are introduced, the song plummets into despair.  I loved RE4, and seeing how the villagers became the twisted parasitic hosts Leon tangled with was a fabulous idea, and this music drove the point home.

Halloween Fan Art Pt. 1

As a little change of pace, I’m doing some scary monsters and classic demonic or undead protags from gaming.  I’ve come up with some, and several of my NinDB buddies thought up several more, so I’ll be posting up art from this exercise throughout the week.  Here’s the first three sketches thus far:

Click me to see a larger size!

Click me to see a larger size!

The next two I have under a Mature feature for some bloody bits, so you’ll need to be a DeviantArt member to see larger ones, or you can check them out here at NinDB.

Click me to see a larger size! (Mature Content)

Click me to see a larger size! (Mature Content)

Click me to see a larger view! (Mature Content)

Click me to see a larger view! (Mature Content)

21 of 64: Leon S. Kennedy

Click me to see a larger pic!

Click me to see a larger pic!

Verdugo and Metroids: Awesome Enemy Encounters

This feature highlights the excellent boss fights and the greatest enemies I’ve tangled up with in gaming.  Consider this the “Best of Villainy” feature. :)

BOSS BATTLE GREATS: Verdugo (Resident Evil 4)

re4-3The setting for this battle is simply excellent. Leon heads down a sewer tunnel. Halfway down you see a movie of something looking at the same tunnel from a distance. As you enter the door at the end, it zooms across the tunnel and slams the door. You cautiously continue, heading into the room with the elevator. Nothing happens. You find there’s no power for the elevator. You exit the door, and suddenly the dodge command appears, and a dagger-tipped tail tries to slash off Leon’s head! You continue on, dodging slashes and bites, until you activate a power switch in the furthest room. The attacking seems to stop. You head to the exit, now shuttered, and activate it to open it. Verdugo then drops in, in all his shiny glory, and the modeling and design work is fantastic. The way his eyes carry sinister light that drags behind him as he sprints, his wicked slashing moves, and the way he sounds chasing you…man, what a delight. The best part is the use of special tanks that manage to freeze him long enough to pummel him with a few magnum bullets. Once the shutter opens, the battle heads back towards the elevator, with him chasing after you the whole way. Once the elevator is ready, did you choose to fight or flee? It’s such a great battle, and what a great boss design Verdugo is. I proudly own an action figure of him.

ENEMY LEGEND: Metroids (Metroid series)

sm3

The most fearsome game enemy in existence to me is a Metroid. I remember back when I got to Tourian in the original Metroid and being freaked out when these jellyfish-like enemies began flying my way. Panic is a natural instinct that occurs once they latch onto you, leeching away all of the hard-earned energy you spent a lot of time replenishing for the final battle. Only the Ice Beam can derail them long enough to catch your breath, and only then could a barrage of Missiles destroy them. If you showed up with the Wave Beam, you’re out of luck. These enemies would become the focus point of Metroid 2 for the Game Boy, with various evolved forms that were far more demonic in appearance. Super Metroid amped up the frights with a flurry of the beasts in Tourian (and even faked you out with easier “alternate” Metroid-esque enemies in Maradia). But the clincher was when you reached the rooms with the creatures you’ve been fighting all through the game not reacting to your presence. You touch them, and they dissolve into sand. A few moments later, you learn of what caused their deaths – a HUGE Metroid attacks you, and there’s nothing you can do. You watch in horror as your energy depletes, and wonder what you could have done or what item you missed to counter this inevitable death…but then it lets go of you. As you breathe a sigh of relief, you realize that it’s the Metroid baby you’ve been chasing after the whole game! And while Fusion mellowed out the Metroid appearances (SA-X was scary enough in its own right!), Prime offered up rather frightening Metroid battles, too. However, Retro did forgo the usual Ice Beam/Missile combo as the only way of defeating them, as a Power Bomb could also wipe them out, but in 3D the Metroid gained some new tricks to try to ambush you. Their new noises were perfectly creepy, and you certainly didn’t want one of their dive attacks to successfully latch onto you. They also tried to fly out of your normal vision cone to try to surprise you as well, which I thought was novel. A few new strains of Metroids popped up in the two Prime games, but it’s still the original classic that I enjoy battling the most in the titles.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 140 other followers