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Pikmin

Preview By: Chris Lee

Developer:  Nintendo
Publisher:  Nintendo
Genre:  Real-Time Strategy
Est. Release:  12-03-01
Posted:  11-08-01

It's well known that Shigeru Miyamoto is a legend for his ingenuity, design, and ability to make games that are just plain enjoyable to everyone. I suppose when you reach "Legend Status" you can try some really wacky things that a newer developer/designer couldn't try. Enter a little game called Pikmin. Shigeru Miyamoto's latest creation upon first look is at the very least...odd. However, once you get a closer look at what he intended, the concept is pretty neat!

First thing of note, if you can't figure it out (and I don't blame you), is that Pikmin is a real-time strategy game. You play the role of Captain Orima...*coughMariocough* who is the pilot of the Starship Dolphin...hmm. The ship is hit by a meteor and "you crash land on a strange and mysterious planet"...don't think I've heard that one before. But here's the twist, Orima's life suit only has 30 days left before it runs out of uh...life support ability! So you're going to need to find all the ship parts within that time or you die! Orima happens upon a new species (to him anyways). They seem to come from a type of onion-looking creature that produces seeds which grow into the little guys known as Pikmin. You start with one but once you find food pellets, kill a few monsters, and a couple of other surprises, you can feed them to the onion and he'll produce new Pikmin for you. There are three colors of Pikmin that are currently known: Red (resistant to fire), Blue (can move on water), and yellow (can pick up and throw bombs for mass destruction!). I'm sure there are some special kinds that are hidden in the game that we just don't know about at this point. The little guys follow you everywhere you go. Whether it's crossing a creek, searching for rare items or battling it out with monsters, the little guys stick with you. There's something to be said for loyalty.

You can breed as many as you like, but you can only carry 100 with you in the field. At the end of each day you'll want to bring the guys in out of the field to keep them nice and warm. The longer you keep the same ones, the stronger they'll become. So if you keep getting them killed or keep leaving them all alone in the field (you heartless so and so) you'll have to keep breeding new ones that will be weaker and have fewer abilities than the ones you lost. Seniority of the group can be told by the top of the little guys heads, as they grow from little buds to leaves to full flowers. Controls are the game are simplistic yet intuitive/user friendly as are all Miyamoto games. The analog stick moves the good captain around, A yanks up objects and tosses them around *coughMariocough*, B summons the pikmin and X divides them into a group or let's them go about their own tasks. The C buttons allow you to quickly control your pikmin and assign them tasks. The great thing is that the Pikmin can do LOTS of things and not just simple little tasks. Once strong enough they can build bridges, carry things back and forth to the ship and fight bosses for you. It seems incredibly cool.

Graphically speaking the game is pretty simplistic in terms of "next gen". Of course it looks better than games on the older systems but in terms of wow factor it's not up there...immediately. It's one of those games that's more visceral than necessarily visual. The wind blowing the blades of grass, dust kicking up under your feet, clouds in the sky, sounds of nature, that kind of thing. Completes the game with a sense of fullness. All in all Pikmin seems like a very fun title. There's not much more information at hand but once again, the fact that it's a Miyamoto game should be all the information you need! Have fun kids and pick this game up on December 3rd for your shiny new Gamecube!

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