Star Fox Adventures

Star Fox Adventures is, therefore, irregular. On many fronts, it is a game that boasts visible qualities and a perceivable level of polish; nevertheless, when placed under a scrutinizing light, almost none of them remain unscathed. As such, while in many ways one is able to see that the always gifted hand of Rare was behind the construction of the title, it is not hard to realize the project was not among the smoothest and carefully carried out efforts the company put together during their partnership with Nintendo. Due to that, the last note coming out of that association is somewhat out of tune, signaling that the closing of an era was indeed fast approaching. In the end, Star Fox Adventures fails to fully convince fans and outsiders alike not because it presents Fox and his crew out of their natural habitat, but because it amounts to little more than a good adventure game that stumbles a lot and never truly establishes its own character.

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Luigi’s Mansion

The overall feeling emitted by Luigi’s Mansion is, consequently, that of a game that could have been thicker in terms of content if it had expanded upon some of its ideas; more specifically, on the somewhat underdeveloped puzzle-solving element it boasts. As it stands, nonetheless, it is a pleasant launch title that, although undoubtedly not quite on the same level as the games Nintendo usually releases alongside its consoles, does hold up very well. Its ghost-hunting concept is undeniably fun, and it leads to a rather unexpected take on the Super Mario universe; one that merges a dark atmosphere, cartoonish art, humorous animation, and good production values. What comes out of that blend is a game that is simple, entertaining, and charming. And those values, accompanied by gameplay elements that are quite unique in the industry’s canon as a whole, carry the lovable and unlucky Luigi to the rightfully earned starring role in a franchise that fits his quirky personality like a glove.

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Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem

Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem is, quite simply, a masterwork of the survival horror genre. It is a game as gripping as it is repelling, making players feel like moving forward even though they sometimes may not want to. And it achieves that fantastic duality through very original means, whether it is via a tightly connected plot that unfolds during two millennia, takes place in four distinct locations, and includes a dozen playable characters, each with their own struggles; or in a gameplay format that although featuring many of the staples usually seen in games of the kind, succeeds in feeling refreshing thanks to a chapter-based structure, a deep magic system, and stellar sanity effects that have the in-game protagonists as well as players going through heart-pounding hallucinations that make them question the very fabric of reality. And like that, even though it was developed far away from the halls of the company, Eternal Darkness presents a unique Nintendo touch that, in its case, is employed for the evil and disturbing rather than for the cute and whimsical.

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Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc

In spite of being based on the same simple format employed by its prequel, one that is quite different from the mold that was used by most platformers of the era, Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc falls short from the excellence of The Great Escape. That does not mean, however, it is a bad game. Quite on the contrary, going through the artistic visuals of its worlds while accompanied by a solid uncomplicated mix of battles, light exploration, straightforward puzzle solving, and tight platforming is pure and relaxed fun. Additionally, the title’s more prominent focus on action, highlighted by the introduction of a scoring system, and the sheer challenge found in trying to maximize one’s performance in each stage will be greatly appreciated by those who enjoy fast-paced thrills. It is not hard to notice, though, that Hoodlum Havoc’s wilder tone, at times, gets out of hand, and that the general design of its levels, although aided by new gameplay-altering powers, is not as consistently inspired as that of its predecessor. Still, even if those traits stop the game from deserving either the classic status or of the universal recommendation awarded to The Great Escape, Hoodlum Havoc remains quite alluring and potentially fun to those with a love for 3-D platforming at its most basic and unpretentious state.

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The Legend Of Zelda: Twilight Princess

Boosted by so many achievements in so many different areas, it is no surprise – then – that The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess ranks among the best games Nintendo has ever produced. Although one may rightfully say the longer segments where players take control of Wolf Link are, albeit good, not as compelling as those starring the human hero himself, they end up working as appealing personal touches on a title that, everywhere else, delivers exactly what fans had been expecting of the franchise since the release of the GameCube. It is an effort that blatantly drinks from the classic Ocarina of Time while, thanks to new hardware, greatly amplifying all aspects that made that episode so remarkable, offering a world, a cast of characters, a story, a combat system, and a pile of content whose depth was – up to that point – completely unparalleled. And under all those layers, it boasts a beating heart that anchors its massive scope on true and moving emotions.

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The Legend Of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures

Therefore, it is unfortunate that The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures is so frequently overlooked. Unquestionably, the reasons behind that obscure character are perfectly understandable. After all, it is a relatively straightforward and low-key 2-D adventure released on the same console, and right in between, two excellent tridimensional giants of the franchise; and it is a game whose very best state – that is, its multiplayer action – can only be experienced through very complicated means, which involve finding four Gameboy Advance systems and the cables that connect them to the Gamecube. However, below that simplicity and those marginal complications lies a quest that is still a lot of fun even if tackled as a single-player campaign. It is true some of its production values are a bit lackluster when put under a comparative light alongside other The Legend of Zelda installments; and it is equally clear its gameplay stumbles in a couple of areas. Yet, its surprisingly varied stages and, especially, the way it uses the availability of four different Links to uncover unique cooperative puzzles and frantic battles make The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures very enjoyable.

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F-Zero GX

All in all, even if the lowest difficulty setup of the cups of F-Zero GX is relatively accessible, the game is certainly not for everyone, because everything about it builds up to a hardcore racing experience unlike any other. Its races are not brutal just because players’ rivals are quite skilled, but also due to how an aspect of survival permeates the whole competition: the tracks themselves, the other pilots, and even a racing system that is built on a thin line between risk and reward are all out for murder. And if one is to come out on top of this mixture of blood, savagery, and entertainment, they will have to master absolutely insane courses that must be efficiently navigated at blinding speeds while twenty-nine other pilots with no regard whatsoever for anything other than sweet victory also take their lives and machines to the limit. For those who choose not to handle such a thrilling test, the gaming market has plenty of alternatives in the form of friendly easy-to-play racing titles. For those who like their fun to come sprinkled with hard-to-chew but rewarding-to-swallow morsels of challenge, F-Zero GX is nearly unparalleled on almost every front.

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Star Wars Rogue Squadron III: Rebel Strike

It is impossible to walk away from Rebel Strike without the feeling the game could have been far more than what it actually is. In a fair attempt to expand on what was offered by its astounding predecessor, it ends up stumbling in its clumsy inclusion of on-foot segments that not only fail to satisfy but that also move the focus away from the area in which the game fires on all cylinders: its aerial battles. While inside a spaceship, it is by all means as good as Rogue Leader; when it descends to the ground, it is terribly lackluster. Therefore, if one is able to ignore the issues of its land segments, which are sadly frequent, the overall experience will certainly be positive, especially because – in total, and thanks to an impressive multiplayer mode – it carries far more content than Rogue Leader did. Nonetheless, the fact remains that had all resources that went into producing the juggernaut that is Rebel Strike been used to fuel its flying prowesses, the result would have been truly stunning.

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Super Mario Sunshine

As such, although Super Mario Sunshine is most of the times an excellent display of platforming greatness both in its open worlds and in its linear portions, it presents a few rough edges that can make it more frustrating than it should have been. Its controls, its camera (though not perfect), and the variety of its objectives show greater maturity in relation to Super Mario 64, but – at the same time – the excess of direction that its episodes possess takes away much of the joy that comes with the unexpected discoveries of unguided exploration. Nevertheless, the game is undeniably fun, often inventive, very challenging to those who want to fully complete it, and quite welcoming to anyone who just wishes to get to its end. Alongside those qualities, its brightest spot may be how even though it drinks heavily from Super Mario 64 in terms of structure, it is able to give its adventure a completely unique tone and feel within the franchise’s canon due to its great relaxed setting and F.L.U.D.D., its key gameplay component. Because of that, it is a must-play for absolutely everyone, as the well-designed experience found here cannot be had anywhere else.

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Donkey Kong Jungle Beat

Jungle Beat is, in the end, a forgotten gem of Nintendo’s rich lore. The fact it was created for a system that was not a widespread success and the general difficulty of playing it in its best state, which requires the acquisition of a pair of bongos that does not have any use outside a couple of other forgettable games, makes it easy to understand why it is rarely mentioned. Anyone who finds a way to play it, though, will be in for one of those unique and unexpected experiences that only a company like Nintendo can provide. Jungle Beat makes use of a control scheme that is, in theory, absolutely ludicrous for a platformer. However, when it is all said and done, it is able to use the nature of that accessory as a way to embed features and quirks of musical games into the fabric of a platformer; creating, as such, a sidescroller that is more about pulling off perfect combos by beating on a couple of drums with extreme precision than it is about beating the bad guy sitting at the end of the game.

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