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Armored Core 2
Baldur's Gate II
Blair Witch
Samba de Amigo
Street Fighter EX3
Tekken Tag Tournament

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GamesFirst! Magazine

Sarah's E3 2001 Picks:


Xbox       PlayStation 2     Multi-Platform

Eternal Darkness
Super Smash Bros: Melee
Star Fox Adventures: Dinosaur Planet
Star Wars Rogue Leader: Rogue Squadron II
Luigi’s Mansion

How to use these lists: You'll notice that each of the lists are preceded by an index of the titles covered. Click on those titles and you'll get to a blurb about each game. At the top of the blurb, the title is again linked, but this time the link leads to a preview page where you can get more screens and (usually) more in-depth coverage of the game, including the release date.

Eternal Darkness
screenshot12-01.jpg (4878 bytes)This was my favorite game of E3 this year, while Eternal Darkness appeared on my best of show list last year, back then it was an N64 title. This year Eternal Darkness was the GameCube’s killer app. I hate to say killer app, but Eternal Darkness makes me want to run out and reserve that GameCube right now. The bad news is that Eternal Darkness isn’t a launch title, but expect it in late December. Eternal Darkness is billed as a psychological thriller, which alludes to the cinematic quality of the game. Think zombies, but don’t think Resident Evil. The characters, the architecture, the weapons have all been researched and are authentic to the over ten characters and time periods spanning thousands of years. The graphics are simply amazing, rivaling anything on the PlayStation 2, X-Box, or PC. The lighting effects and the textures are breathtaking, but they’re nothing compared to the characters. They are by far the most lifelike avatars I’ve seen. Their eyes are always glued to the most important action, their faces give emotional reactions to what they see, and they have the coolest and most authentic costumes. The camera is always in the best place, focused on the bad guys or creating a stunning shot from high up in the architecture. The game play is just as spectacular as the graphics, movement is agile Mario-type control and there is a unique sanity meter. The more supernatural scaries the characters see, the less sanity they’ll have, and insanity leads to hallucinations. The hallucinations are seamlessly cut into the game, leading you to a believe nothing and question reality feeling to the game. Confronting and killing your undead tormentors will increase your sanity and improve your state of mind. The combat system is simple but allows for skill development. It creates a seamless system that takes you through swords, spell casting, and shotguns. Eternal Darkness will give all the grown-ups something to really look forward to on the Nintendo GameCube.

Super Smash Bros: Melee
supersmashbros4.jpg (7826 bytes)No surprises here, fans of the first Super Smash Bros. will be thrilled with this installment of the series. Actually, any Nintendo fan will be happy to see their old favorites again on the GameCube; just about everyone is back: Mario, Donkey Kong, Link, Kirby, Yoshi and others. Also expect to see Poké Balls with Pokémon favorites inside, like Charizard, Lugia, Entei and more. There are over a dozen all new stages based on hit Nintendo games, and expect them to be more animated than the first installment. The graphics are just incredible -- they no longer seem computer rendered, just silky smooth, ultra fast animation. There are also a number of new game modes, decision matches that judge how well you battle, a tournament mode that can handle up to 64 entrants, and new rule options to spice up normal play. Super Smash Bros: Melee won’t be changing the way we play games or create a new video game star, but it will be an awesome fighting game for the GameCube launch and be our first next-gen look at our old Nintendo favorites.

Star Fox Adventures: Dinosaur Planet
starfox2.jpg (9359 bytes)Last year this game was two separate games for the N64, a Star Fox title and Dinosaur Planet. Last year I was blown away by Dinosaur Planet’s graphics, but I just couldn’t figure out how they were ever going to do that on the N64. Well apparently they couldn’t, but they made them look even better for the GameCube, for real this time. The whole Star Fox team is back, each fulfilling a special role in the game, and Dinosaur Planet’s stars will become part of the Star Fox team. There’ll be lots of cute and menacing dinosaurs, magic, and at least a few Arwing flying missions. Star Fox Adventures: Dinosaur Planet will be a giant sized game that incorporates many different charters, game play styles, and even dino riding. This game, despite its dubious two in one start, could be one of the GameCube’s most expansive and interesting titles.

Star Wars Rogue Leader: Rogue Squadron II
7-01.jpg (7578 bytes)Far and away the prettiest looking game on the GameCube, like Super Smash Bros: Melee, Star Wars Rogue Leader: Rogue Squadron II doesn’t have many surprises in store for us, but it is one hell of a good looking game. The game takes place in between Star Wars: A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back. It includes familiar locales like Hoth, Tatooine, and the Death Star trench, as well as familiar ships like X-wings, A-wings, and B-wings. For the first time I really feel like the immense scale of the movies’ space scenes has been conveyed in the video games (which is helped by the presence of music from the original movies). The GameCube’s new controller handles like a dream, especially when giving orders to your wing men while shooting down hoards of TIE fighters. I was also impressed with the targeting system; it mimics the movie’s low tech style while also being highly effective. While I’m not the biggest fan of space shooters, I’m not going to miss Star Wars Rogue Leader: Rogue Squadron II for the world.

Luigi’s Mansion
luigismansion5.jpg (4231 bytes)Nintendo keeps calling this the GameCube’s first Mario title, but where’s Mario? Well, Mario is missing; he was supposed to meet Luigi at the mysterious family mansion but never showed up. Now it’s up to Luigi to save his big bro by clearing the mansion of its numerous ghostly inhabits. Luckily Luigi is armed with a flashlight and vacuum, so he can battle the ghouls Ghostbuster style. Even with his brother missing, poor Luigi isn’t the real star of Luigi’s Mansion, the awesome lighting effects are the real stars. Outside a lightning storm flashes and pops, inside Luigi’s flashlight searches the room nervously for ghosts. The shadows and textures created by the mixing light sources are breathtaking. The gameplay is fast and fun and pretty unique (though Silent Hill 2 promises the same sort of limited lighting, but in a very different context) There will be over seventy rooms in the final version. I really hope that they’ll be a bit more diverse than the levels showing at E3. If you’re a big Mario fan, this is the game you need to pick up with your GameCube. I say it’s about time for Luigi to grab the driver’s seat and get his bit of franchise fame.

Pikmin (temporary name)
Word has it that master game designer, Shigeru Miyamoto, came up with the idea behind Pikmin while he was tending his garden. Pikmin takes place at teeny scale; giant cliffs are footprints, and ants are monstrous beasts. While the miniature scale is unique, the gameplay is totally new and innovative. You play a wee spaceman that has crash landed; your wrecked ship is scattered about and your job is to retrieve the pieces and get the ship up and running again. This is no easy task but you are able to enlist the help of the Pikmin, indigenous plant-like creatures. Pikmin can fight creatures, carry objects, and otherwise assist you. You are able to amass great Pikmin armies -- over 100 Pikmin can be on screen at once. The game also utilizes a game time day/night system, which is important because Pikmin are plants and need to be home overnight. Pikmin promises to be a strategy game like no other, with Shigeru Miyamoto at the helm, I have very high hopes for this innovative GameCube title.

Xbox        PlayStation 2      Multi-Platform

Sarah Wichlacz


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