Games of the Year - GameCube

GameCube Game of the Year

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Super Monket Ball 2 - Super Game too!
Super Monket Ball 2 - Super Game too!
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The GameCube burst into the UK this year after what seemed like an eternity waiting for Nintendo to get its act together. Following a string of delays and a wall of silence, the machine arrived with a decent enough launch line-up, albeit bereft of a Mario title. The only other machine from the Big N not to launch with a Mario game was the ill-fated Virtual Boy. The signs were not good.

This being said, publishers did push the GameCube angle, avoiding Dreamcast syndrome in the first year and a batch of quality tiles were released to a fanatical group of Nintendo consumers. Hereís the games we think were the best of the bunch.

In third place is the excellent Burnout 2 from Criterion published by Acclaim. Although it is that dirtiest of things, a PlayStation 2 port, the optimisation levels achieved by Criterion for GameCube were met with rapturous delight. Carrying the baton beautifully from the original, the development team managed to retain what made the original so good, whilst ironing out its unpopular aspects.

Burnout 2ís crash scenes were shortened, the handling sharpened and made more realistic and more foregiving, and the AI was hugely improved. From itís earliest beginnings as a behind-closed-doors tech demo at E3 2001, Burnout as a franchise is now as strong as anyone could have anticipated.

In second place we have the phenomenal TimeSplitters 2 from Free Radical Design, published by (and the saving grace for) by Eidos. Developed by the team behind the Nintendo 64ís seminal GoldenEye, TimeSplitters 2 was, in secret, Perfect Dark 2, only a thousand times better and created by Nintendo fetishists.

Itís fair to say that TimeSplitters 2ís very existence is somewhat miraculous and involves as much good luck as it does judgement. Having seen EA go from strength to strength with its all-formats policy, Eidos decided to commission TS2 for GameCube, PlayStation 2 and Xbox. This was despite a rather lacklustre reception for the original game. First seen at E3 2002, TimeSplitters 2 really captured the imagination of the assembled press, with lead developers Steve Ellis and David Doak receiving demigod treatment all-round, not least from the Amazon Women employed by Eidos to staff the bar.

The Power behind TimeSplitters 2 is the power behind GoldenEye: a solid, narrative-lead and brilliantly-designed single-player mission-led game, complimented by a multiplayer section of almost infinite customisability. TS2 will be regarded in the evolution of console gaming as a massive step forward and as such, we take great pleasure in awarding it our Silver Medal for 2002.

And to the spoils go the victor. The developer of our winning game recently went on record to say that he spends most of his money drinking. He used to drink a bottle of Bourbon every day, but recently toned it down to a mere halfÖ And yet, he conceived one of the only games absolutely impossible to play drunk. The man id Toshihiro Nagoshi and the game is Super Monkey Ball for the Nintendo GameCube.

Starting out life as a Naomi arcade machine with a banana for a controller, Super Monkey Ball captured the imagination of gamers like nothing else. Itís a one-handed torture chamber of absolute delight, involving balancing a monkey, in a ball, across a hundred levels. This is done by tilting the entire environment as opposed to spinning the ball and as such, is completely revolutionary. Doubters, eager to dismiss the super-cute game as nothing more than a Marble Madness update, look more and more stupid by the day.

Although Super Monkey Ball is a complete game within its Main Game, the Mini Games and Party Games give it an unparallel level of depth, playability and replayability. Monkey Fight, (which IS playable when intoxicated) sees up to four players knock bells out of each other, in some of the purest gaming ever seen. Monkey Target, a Pilotwings-inspired glide-to-landing game, is so precise and beautiful, it beggars belief.

We take great pleasure in naming Super Monkey Ball from Segaís Amusement Vision studio our GameCube Game of the Year.

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