Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2003
Publisher: Electronic Arts (2002)
Time Splitters 2
Publisher: Eidos (2002)
Rating: Teen (violence)
Timesplitters: Future Perfect
Publisher: Electronic Arts (2005)
Rating: Mature (blood and gore, violence)
Publisher: NEC (2003)
Okay, I admit it. It was the ridiculous, vaguely obscene title of this game that drew my attention. I assume multiple executives have to sign off on a game to get it mass produced, yet the name Tube Slider
didn't raise any red flags? Anyway this is basically a Wipeout
(PS1, 1995) clone. You race streamlined hovercraft through tubes that twist and turn over futuristic landscapes. These tubes are constructed of metal frames and glass, allowing you to see the outside. The tracks are set in jungles, factories, and oceans, but you only catch fleeting glimpses of your surroundings, and there's not much to see. The framerate is exceptionally smooth and I never felt like I was going to get ill as I whisked through the tubes. The tutorial is pretty elaborate, but what the [expletive] is a "sub vernier"? Tube Slider is a more confusing than it needs to be. Before each race you're presented with a choice between "turbo" or "boost", and the difference is subtle. There are no weapons but you can suck energy from other racers by following them closely. So you'll sling-shot past a guy, and then he'll sling-shot past you and... what's the point?
While careening through the tube you seem to move faster when on the "bottom", but it's not always clear where the bottom is! This game is disorienting. Colliding with another vehicle and getting spun around is the kiss of death, as it's really hard to catch up again. The techno soundtrack has a few decent beats but playing this game made me feel like I was turning into a zombie. The four player split-screen is watered-downed and just plain dull. In the end, Tube Slider feels like an outdated tech demo with a mediocre game built around it. © Copyright 2019 The Video Game Critic.
Universal Studios Theme Park Adventure
Publisher: Kemco (2001)
Rating: Teen 13+ (mild violence)
Publisher: Capcom (2003)
Rating: Teen (Cartoon violence, suggestive themes)
Here's an unusual side-scroller that's certainly innovative but somewhat over-hyped. Viewtiful Joe offers dazzling 2D gameplay and is one of the best-looking video games you'll see on the GameCube. Its premise involves a kid named Joe who's been sucked into an old-fashioned superhero movie. Assuming the role of the hero in the movie, Joe must rescue his girlfriend from a dark villain and his robotic henchmen. Viewtiful Joe's rich graphics resemble a 3D graphic-novel, with bold outlines and vivid color. The storyline leaves much to be desired, but in terms of raw gameplay, Viewiful Joe is certainly unique. A "danger" symbol is displayed when an enemy is about to attack, allowing you to duck or jump in time to set up a devastating counter. Beating up the robots is enormously satisfying because punches and kicks send metal parts flying in all directions. There's a lot of button-mashing in this game, and it will
take its toll on your hands. But the game's real "hook" is Joe's ability to slow down time in order to dodge bullets or perform Matrix-like attacks. Not only is this fun to execute, but it adds a whole new dimension to the action. You later acquire additional abilities like "Mach speed" or "Zoom in" which play a key role in puzzle-solving as well as combat. Unfortunately, the game's difficulty is uneven, and I wish Capcom had included a "medium" difficulty to go along with the "Adult" and "Kid" skill levels. Viewtiful Joe is a refreshing change from all the cookie-cutter 3D platform games out there, but I didn't find it especially addictive once the novelty wore off. Also, the name "Viewtiful Joe" really sucks in my opinion. Still, I'll give Joe credit for its good looks and innovation. © Copyright 2003 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Nintendo (2003)
Wave Race Blue Storm
Publisher: Nintendo (2001)
Considerably harder and far more attractive than Wave Race 64
(Nintendo 64, 1996), Blue Storm offers the ultimate jet ski racing experience. Even the load screens
impressed the hell out of me with their amazing ripple effects. Nintendo really put a lot of effort into the water, evident by the smooth undulating waves and clear surface that offers glimpses of colorful coral and ocean life underneath. The gorgeous courses include exotic beaches, autumn lakes, arctic ice floes, and a resort town at night with well-lit skyscrapers. Not only does each course provide alternate routes, but the courses actually change
slightly with each lap. Adding more excitement are random weather conditions, including driving rain and violent thunderstorms. Unlike the first Wave Race, steering is somewhat difficult because you really need to fight the force of the waves in order to maintain your position. And be careful not to smack into the colored buoys that you're supposed to be weaving around. There's nothing more frustrating than leading the pack in the final lap before plowing into the very last buoy and watching everyone else pass you by! Blue Storm is tough, but once you get "in the zone", it provides an adrenaline rush few other racers can match. There's an addictive championship mode for the single player, and a four-player split screen to entertain your friends. A stupid commentator spouts pointless stuff like "Alright keep doing it just like that!", but thankfully he can
be turned off. As a fan of arcade-style water games, Wave Race Blue Storm ranks as one of my all-time favorite GameCube titles. © Copyright 2007 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Acclaim (2002)
Also known as "Tetris on acid", Zoocube is a crazy addictive and spectacularly original 3D puzzle game. Gameplay involves rotating a cube in the center of the screen as odd shapes approach from four directions. Each shape has distinctive colors and features that vaguely resemble an animal species. The "walrus", for example, is a brown circle with two protruding incisors. When you stack two of the same shapes, they combine and disappear, triggering a cute animation and a distinctive animal sound effect. In advanced stages (and multi-player games), it starts to sound like a real zoo as animals are released in rapid succession. Control is tricky at first, but once you get the hang of it, it feels natural. You can get by using the main analog stick, but expert players will also use the "C" stick to rotate the cube more efficiently. There's plenty of technique involved, and floating power-ups and bonuses spice up the action. The game ends when a column of animals becomes too long. Zoocube's single major flaw is how a column turns gray as it's about to reach its limit. This makes it hard to make out the animals on the stack, complicating matters at the worst possible time. Zoocube has its share of special modes and multi-player games, but the shapes are much smaller and hard to discern on the split-screen. The new age music playing in the background is absolutely amazing, and combined with the cerebral gameplay, it puts you into a trance-like state. Zoocube is one-of-a-kind, and guaranteed to appeal to men and women of any age. © Copyright 2003 The Video Game Critic.