E to M
My quest for this disc started after hearing Viewtiful Joe
hyped up by the Internet message boarders and led me to Best Buy
where, to my horror, the disc was priced at a whopping $40. After a
brief contemplation of purchase, I came to my senses and found it,
pretty much everywhere else, for a not-as-whopping $10 (Stores are
also giving it away with GameCube system purchases). Was it worth
it? I would have paid the same for a crack at Viewtiful Joe and Soul
Calibur 2, so the answer is an amplified yes! The disc contains a
fine collection of movie previews, as well as five playable GameCube
demos and two playable GBA demos for those of you with the GBA-GCN
link cable. The masterstroke of this disc is that each and every
playable game included is a proven or potential heavyweight, no
crippled titles here.
First, the movies range from great to just plain lame and everything
in between. Here’s what you get: Soul Calibur 2, Legend of Zelda:
The Wind Waker, Star Wars: Rogue Squadron 3: Rebel Strike, F-Zero,
NCAA Football 2004, Madden NFL 2004, Viewtiful Joe, Tom Clancy’s
Splinter Cell, and a PSA with Derek Jeter about the ESRB. A few
of these videos are suspiciously similar to the promo videos offered
up at E3 (Star Wars and F-Zero come to mind), and oddly enough,
although I have seen them already, they are the best ones on the
disc. Star Wars, F-Zero, and Viewtiful Joe are the most exciting
because they show plenty of gameplay footage and these games are not
out yet in the US. Disappointingly, Soul Calibur 2 is all CG footage,
although we do get to see a little bit of Link. Based on this you can
gather some idea of what he will look like in the game. The rest of
the videos are pretty average stuff.
On to the meat of any demo disk…the playables! The Soul Calibur 2
demo was actually a little disappointing. Perhaps I was expecting to
be floored and walked away rather indifferent, and this IS only a
demo, and yet I found myself bored. After playing through 4 battles I
felt like I had played this game already and wasn’t too hip on playing
it over and over again. On the plus side, the music is excellent as
always, and the announcer even does a cool little vocal introduction
of each opponent as you progress through the fights. The game appears
to have all of the requisite modes set up for a fighting game,
including the gameplay-extending Weapon Master mode. Overall a bit
disappointing, but still worth checking out.
Although Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg was on countless “Best
of E3” lists, I was not terribly excited by it. It does have some
unique elements, like rolling different eggs around over pieces of
fruit (which somehow incubates them) and hatching little animal
helpers. The eggs also serve as a weapon to roll over your favorite
enemy. I enjoyed the demo, but was not too eggcited about playing the
rest of the game. Behind the unique façade is the same
collection-oriented gameplay that we all know, so the actual game
concept better be enough to overcome the monotonous nature of these
types of games. Perhaps there is much more technique yet to be
discovered, but I can’t really say from the demo.
is the main reason I picked this disc up, and I was definitely not
disappointed here. This game takes the common fantasies of being a
superhero and a famous actor and combines them, as Joe crosses into
the movie universe and becomes a time-commanding red-suited
superhero. This game is simply fun to play. The graphics are
cell-shaded and have a very comic-book style that fits the game well.
The gameplay is where it really shines. Viewtiful Joe won’t get any
points for being complicated or terribly deep, but like any good side
scrolling punch and kick game it has cool attacks, lots of flash, and
is fun to play. The time control moves are especially thrilling. I
can’t see how they will solve the replayability problem that usually
plagues games like this, but I played through the demo quite a few
times and am eagerly awaiting Joe’s arrival in the states.
There isn’t much to say about Sonic Adventure DX that hasn’t
already been said, as it is pretty much a direct port of the original
Dreamcast Sonic Adventure game from four years ago. The camera is
still horrid, the gameplay inconsistent, but the graphics sharp.
Aside from the sticky camera, I enjoyed most of the levels on the
demo. You get to choose Sonic (traditional Sonic action level), Tails
(snowboard race), Knuckles (find the buried emeralds), Amy (avoid a
robot and get to the balloon at the end of the level), Big the Cat
(catch Froggy with the fishing rod), and E-102 “Y” (destroy an enemy
robot in a versus battle). The Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles levels were
fun for me, but the rest were pretty monotonous. Add to this some
frustrating graphic glitches (Sonic comes to a complete halt sometimes
when he grazes a wall at full speed Ridge Racer style) and you
have a pretty uneven demo.
will probably not weigh too much on a decision to purchase this disc
since it has already been out for quite some time now, but the demo
has you infiltrating some sort of restaurant trying to get to the
second floor. This was actually my first taste of Splinter Cell in
any form and I came away fairly impressed. The graphics are great and
the atmosphere is very well done. The controls are pretty awkward
sometimes, especially jumping, but overall this was one of the better
demos even if the game is already out.
On the GBA side there are two downloadable (via the link cable) games
to play. The Dr. Mario single player experience is exactly
what it sounds like, and since I have this game on the NES I spent
very little time with it. Also included is a sample of games from
Wario Ware: Micro Megagames. This was a total surprise to me, but
I found myself playing this small subset of games more than anything
else on the demo disc. For you doubters out there, give this game a
shot. It is hilarious, speedy, and insanely addictive.
Lots of marquee content
Cool GBA Extras
Only $10 (or free with a GameCube system purchase)
Without a GBA and link cable, you miss out on Wario Ware.
Some of the games have already been released at the time of the
Overall this is one of the best demo disks that I have ever played.
All of the games are big-time games, and I came away surprised by a
couple of them. Buy it to test out all the games, keep it to play
Viewtiful Joe and Wario Ware until your hands bleed!