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Let's Play Every GameCube Game, Part 36

Star Fox Adventures

Star Fox Adventures (Rare/Nintendo, 2002)

The messy development history of this game is far too much to get into here, but suffice to say that it wasn't originally a Star Fox game and that Rare split from Nintendo soon after release. Primed for controversy, then. Even without all that, though, it doesn't seem very good. The flying controls in the fight you're looking at are awful, and it loves to make you sit through long cutscenes with gibberish voice acting. Maybe that would've been tolerable if the writing was at least good. Alas, it's the worst part.

Star Fox: Assault

Star Fox: Assault (Namco/Nintendo, 2005)

Another game that I loved as a kid, but this time it was due entirely to the cool factor. This had a nice period of exclusivity as the only game I had access to with 3D flight and space explosions, which was just about all I needed. Especially since the multiplayer was a nice level of chaotic stupidity with tank vs. fighter battles and guided missiles you could use to hit players on the other side of the map. All of which probably sounds pretty good, but this game is ruined in two words: ground missions. Something like half the game has you fighting on foot with possibly the worst third person controls ever seen in a major game. They ruin what otherwise might've been a decent game.

Star Wars: Bounty Hunter

Star Wars: Bounty Hunter (LucasArts, 2002)

A third-person shooter starring Jango Fett and a good candidate for most forgotten Star Wars game of this era. It opens with a "boss fight" against an enemy who barely attacks but needs to be shoot at least 100 times (I wasn't counting) to take down, then dumps you right into a slow puzzle section. Not really the kind of action you'd come to a Fett game for. It wasn't received terribly well even at the time, and most of what it was praised for, like graphics and shooting controls, are ages removed from being anything remarkable today.

Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast

Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast (Vicarious Visions/LucasArts, 2002)

This was a great game on PC. It did an amazing job of animating the silly ways Star Wars characters react to being shot, and those only got more satisfying when Force powers and Lightsabers came into the mix later on. Unfortunately, the GCN port seems to have come before the devs really understood how to make an FPS on console, and it scored a whopping 14 points worse than PC on average. There's no aim assist and they seem to have tried to compensate for less precise control by slowing your aim down, which just makes it feel like you're an old man who can barely move his arms to aim. This is a somewhat difficult modern recommendation even on PC, but the GCN version should absolutely be avoided.

Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader

Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader (Factor 5/Lucas Arts, 2001)

A flight game that's closer to Star Fox than X-Wing, but nonetheless one of the highest rated Star Wars games ever. I've actually never played it before and was having some framerate issues today, but it seems promising. It gets a list slot on the assumption that I'll be able to make it run better.

Star Wars Rogue Squadron III: Rebel Strike

Star Wars Rogue Squadron III: Rebel Strike (Factor 5/Lucas Arts, 2003)

Factor 5's second GCN outing faired significantly worse. In a twist that will be familiar to anyone who read the Star Fox: Assault entry, that drop was largely due to clunky on-foot sections being mixed in to what was previously a flight game. Unfortunately, Factor 5 never recovered from it. Although they did complete a new Rogue Squadron game for Wii, it was never released, and the massive failure of Lair for PS3 forced them to shut down.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars

Star Wars: The Clone Wars (Pandemic Studios/LucasArts, 2002)

This lets you play as Mace Windu and Anakin, so it's only natural that it's a... tank game? Strange genre choices were all the rage on today's list, apparently. It was actually received fairly well, but criticized for dull vehicle sections (surprising no one) and performance inconsistencies. Pandemic went on to make Battlefront and its sequel, and everyone promptly forgot about this game.

Starsky & Hutch

Starsky & Hutch (Mind's Eye Productions/Gotham Games, 2003)

It's hard to imagine a better fit for the GCN than a low budget first-person car combat game about a TV show that had ended its run 24 years earlier. Unfortunately for Mind's Eye, they were the only ones that thought that. Reviews were terrible and they never made another game.

Street Hoops

Street Hoops (Black Ops Entertainment/Activision, 2002)

A streetball game, which mostly means it's basketball without referees or much enforcement of rules. While I understand the appeal of the real game, its video game implementation feels like it was meant as a cheap way of making an NBA game without the license, because everything still takes place on very professional courts and the player moves aren't even all that different from what you'd see in regular basketball. It had custom character mode, but that wasn't enough to save it from obscurity.

Street Racing Syndicate

Street Racing Syndicate (Eutechnyx/Namco, 2004)

A Need for Speed Underground ripoff that is much more interested in showing you pictures of sexy models than cars and defaults you to driving a car with a giant anime girl sticker. It does have traffic on the tracks, but it's so sparse that it feels like they forgot to check until the last second and then just pasted in a few cars to drive around. Eutechnyx are somehow still in business despite developing both this crap and 2013's Ride to Hell: Retribution, which is a common choice for the worst game ever made professionally.

Strike Force Bowling

Strike Force Bowling (Lab Rats Games/Crave Entertainment, 2005)

This feels like a game you'd get on a 30-in-1 disk from Big Lots. It's not a terrible implementation of bowling, but the graphics are so simple and the overall gameplay so basic that it doesn't feel like a game that had any business releasing on its own. Predictably, it did not do well.

The Sum of All Fears

The Sum of All Fears (Red Storm Entertainment/Ubisoft, 2002)

A movie game that reuses the engine from Ghost Recon, which sounds like a good idea. Unfortunately, they somehow messed up the controls so that they're barely usable and introduced so many AI bugs that it hardly opposes you. It's one of the lowest scoring GCN games ever, and I particularly liked GameSpy's reviewer saying "it is, quite literally, the poorest excuse for a video game I have ever had the 'honor' of completing." I'm guessing they didn't put that one on the box.

Summoner: A Goddess Reborn

Summoner: A Goddess Reborn (Volition/THQ, 2003)

An action RPG where everyone wears almost no armor except for that paladin guy there. It opened pretty slowly and I don't know much about it, but I'm intrigued by the idea of of both shapeshifting and kingdom management in an RPG. Although it's overall review average was itself merely average, that's masking a huge range of scores for what was apparently quite a divisive game. I'm going to give it a chance.

Super Bubble Pop

Super Bubble Pop (Runecraft/Jaleco, 2002)

A match 3 game where everything looks like an acid trip for some reason. I'm guessing that reason is that there wouldn't be anything worth mentioning about it at all if the graphics had been more normal. It doesn't seem to have made any kind of impact whatsoever, and Runecraft went bankrupt soon after.

Super Mario Strikers

Super Mario Strikers (Next Level Games/Nintendo, 2005)

I played through this a few years ago and enjoyed it, although it's not a game I expect I'll ever go back to. It has a base level of fun that you get from almost any soccer game, but it's so reliant on items and special shots for scoring that it often doesn't feel like movement and passing are all that important. Almost like if the other sports games required you to play on fields with silly hazards - the underlying sport is still recognizable, but at the same time you're clearly playing something very different. Still, it's a well-regarded game, and Next Level would go on to make Luigi's Mansion 3 after suffering through some rough years making crap for Activision.

Super Mario Sunshine

Super Mario Sunshine (Nintendo EAD/Nintendo, 2002)

Of all the 3D Mario games, this is the one that's coolest to hate, although its reputation has recovered a lot since 2002. I've made three or four attempts to finish it, all of which have ended with losing my save file for one reason or another. I do actually like the game and would've finished it if circumstances had been better, but as it is I'm sick to death of the beginning of the game and it's probably going to stay unfinished forever. Playing through the beginning of a game I love five times is one thing, but Sunshine is a long way off that level of appreciation, and I have fought those early bosses more than enough times already.

The list:

  1. 1080° Avalanche

  2. Animal Crossing

  3. Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance

  4. Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean

  5. Batman: Dark Tomorrow

  6. Burnout 2: Point of Impact

  7. Charinko Hero

  8. Chibi-Robo!

  9. Cocoto Kart Racer

  10. Cubivore: Survival of the Fittest

  11. Custom Robo

  12. Dark Summit

  13. Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem

  14. F-Zero GX

  15. Family Stadium 2003

  16. Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance

  17. Freedom Fighters

  18. Freekstyle

  19. Gotcha Force

  20. James Bond 007: Everything or Nothing

  21. Jikkyou Powerful Major League

  22. Kirby Air Ride

  23. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

  24. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker

  25. Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour

  26. Mario Kart: Double Dash!!

  27. Mario Power Tennis

  28. Metal Arms: Glitch in the System

  29. Mr. Driller Drill Land

  30. Muscle Champion: Kinnikutou Kessen

  31. MVP Baseball 2005

  32. Nintendo Puzzle Collection

  33. Odama

  34. Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door

  35. R: Racing Evolution

  36. Sega Soccer Slam

  37. Shinseiki GPX Cyber Formula: Road to the Evolution

  38. The Simpsons: Hit & Run

  39. SSX 3

  40. SSX on Tour

  41. SSX Tricky

  42. Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader

  43. Summoner: A Goddess Reborn

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