A Retrospective from the Bargain Bins, part 2 - Gamecube

I finally got around to making part two of this feature, focused on the little cube that could. It was my personal platform of choice last generation, and all these games are playable on the Wii. For a range of complicated economic reasons it seems that Gamecube games have retained their value, and so there are less good games available for under a tenner than there is for it's PS2 and Xbox brethren. I have made a couple of exceptions for games a bit over a tenner that are still great value. You can purchase pre-owned Gamecube consoles from GAME stores for £12.99, meaning that for the price of a single new game you can get a new console and a bunch of great games.

Billy Hatcher And The Giant Egg - £9.99 delivered, Apply code "Cheap Games" for free delivery
What the Critics said: "the best platform game Sonic Team's made since the 2D hedgehog adventures that made them, and that's as good a reason as any to buy it." - Eurogamer
What I say: Gloriously childish, heart-warming characters, and a pretty decent 3D platformer, which does a few unique things.
Why to buy it: Blue Skies in games.
Why not to buy it: You are a cold dead husk of a gamer that needs Junkies killing babies with lead pipes in their games to enjoy them.

Geist - £14.99 delivered, Apply code "Cheap Games" for free delivery
What the Critics said: "and as fun as it is to walk around in bodies that don't belong to you, too much of the game plays it by the same old rules." - Eurogamer
What I say: Geist is a pretty flawed game, it is a bad FPS and has some really terrible set peices. However, the core gameplay is so fresh and unique that now the price has come down a bit it is certainly worth playing.
Why to buy it: You like it when games let you be mischievous.
Why not to buy it: Lots of small bad design choices easily ruin a game for you.

Gotcha Force - £12.25 delivered
What the Critics said: They really couldn't make their minds up, this one really split the critics collective opinions.
What I say: The lazy way of describing this game would to list a bunch of games that Gotcha force synthesises gameplay elements from. It's like Power Stone meet Armoured Core meets Pokémon, but not quite as good as that might imply.
Why to buy it: You are looking for fast paced, fairly simple, cutesy multiplayer centric game.
Why not to buy it: You're looking for a single player game.

Metal Arms: Glitch In The System
- £12.99 delivered, Apply code "Cheap Games" for free delivery
What the Critics said: "All round Metal Arms is a undoubtedly a quality offering that deserves far more attention than it's ever going to get this time of year, but lacks that crucial X factor to elevate it to the top rungs. Simply put it borrows a hatful of ideas, implements them well but never truly wows you as a landmark gaming experience." - Eurogamer
What I say: Genuinely funny, good enough that Blizzard acquired the developers straight after its release.
Why to buy it: If you like the sound of a 3rd person shooter with a sense of humour and platforming elements.
Why not to buy it: If you can get your hands on the Xbox version, in my opinion it controls a little better, and it looks a little prettier.

Metroid Prime - £6 delivered
What the Critics said: "a game which came out of nowhere and hit every single one of the right buttons. It's a game that's inspiring increasingly breathless masturbation of the world's vocabulary, and if it's good enough to remind us - the surly, anal, tempestuous critics - why we got into games writing in the first place" - Eurogamer
What I say: Superb level design, peerless art direction, bleak, isolated, sci-fi epic. A must own in every sense of the term. Looks as good today as it did when it first came out, and at this price everyone should own it. A masterpiece.
Why to buy it: You like good games.
Why not to buy it: You have an irrational fear of backtracking.

PN03 - £6 delivered
What the Critics said: "just ask yourself - am I patient, dextrous and in need of something different? If the answer is yes, than P.N.03 might just fit the bill." - Eurogamer
What I say: This lost gem you have to thank for Resident Evil 4 and God Hand. Shinji Mikami's experimental Gamecube exclusive may look like a 3rd person shooter, but it has more in common with an Arcadey Shmup.
Why to buy it: You like games with traditional control schemes and lots and lots of content.
Why not to buy it: You like fun gameplay mechanics.

Prince Of Persia - Sands Of Time - £6 delivered
What the Critics said: "The Sands of Time is a towering achievement in far more areas than any other similar title. You've probably done a lot of the things you'll do in Prince of Persia before, but never to this standard, and apart from the innovations, the consistency, the logic and the spell-binding presentation, what makes it so special is just how well made it is." - Eurogamer
What I say: Easily one of the best platformers of last generation, the combat is a little weak, but by no means enough to hold it back, fantastic level design that I think holds it above either of the sequels.
Why to buy it: If you have any love for the old Prince of Persia games, platformers in general, or Time Reverse gameplay.
Why not to buy it: It will be a little bit prettier on the Xbox, and if I remember correctly the PS2 Audio is a little better, but the Gamecube version is perfectly fine. There is a "Prince of Persia Trilogy" pack on the PS2 that will be cheaper if you want to get all three games in the trilogy.

R:Racing - £8.25
What the Critics said: It doesn't matter
What I say: You aren't buying this for R:Racing, a fairly forgettable racing sim-lite, but you are getting it for Pac-Man Vs., a really fun and unique multiplayer only game. One player (on a GBA) is pacman, the rest of you are ghosts on the TV screen. Hilarity ensues.
Why to buy it: You want a fun multiplayer game to play.
Why not to buy it: You haven't got a GBA + GC to GBA cable. Or you plan on getting Namco Museum DS, which also includes it.

Resident Evil 4
- £12 delivered
What the Critics said: "In short, it's the biggest, by far the best looking, arguably the most enjoyable and least frustrating Resident Evil game we've played and it was worth every torturous minute to savour what will rightly become regarded as a true masterpiece of the horror genre. If you need to buy a GameCube to play it, then don't hesitate." - Eurogamer
What I say: The genius of it is in the pacing. Every second of this game I am thinking "I can't wait till I finish this section because the next bit is fantastic", it keeps you on your toes for every second. I have played through the full game about 6 or 7 times, and I can see myself playing it for years to come.
Why to buy it: By a fair margin, one of the best games ever, no hyperbole.
Why not to buy it: If you have access to a Wii, "Wii Edition" is the definitive version, other than that, everyone should own it.

Second Sight - £5 delivered
What the Critics said: "But, in truth, Second Sight rises above many of the quibbles that you could justifiably level at it. A key ingredient in its success is its engaging concept, which comes layered with a satisfying narrative structure and credible characters. Factor in Free Radical's trademark attention to detail and instantly gratifying controls and it's a game you can't help but be drawn to." - Eurogamer
What I say: Yeah, this game is great, really nice narrative.
Why to buy it: If you like any other Free Radical game, or even goldeneye or Perfect Dark, you should check this out, it's not particularly similar to them, but it is of the same quality and has the same charm.
Why not to buy it: If you can get this on the Xbox it'll be a bit a bit prettier.

Sonic Mega Collection - £12 delivered
What the Critics said:
"There are some truly magic moments here that transcend nostalgia. Even now, that first time you achieve absolutely blinding speed is exhilarating. For us, it was the Chemical Plant Zone in Sonic 2, watching Sonic go so fast that he practically breached the right-hand side of the screen. Ten years and hundreds of other platform games have done nothing to dull the impact of the blue blur pushing the boundaries. Heck, he probably invented that turn of phrase, too." - Eurogamer
What I say: Unless you own these games on some other format, buy it, buy it now.
Why to buy it: because I said so.
Why not to buy it: The PS2 and Xbox version have a bunch of extra stuff over the Gamecube version, but I say get it for whichever console has the controller you prefer.

Spider-man 2: The Movie - £4 delivered
What the Critics said: "Whether you should buy it or not is a matter of how much you want a superhero game that leaves you feeling unbeatable and unique when you're swinging with effortless grace around the city, but then tarnishes that brilliance by serving it alongside some badly judged missions, less than brilliant visuals and our old chum the dodgy camera." - Eurogamer
What I say: Forget it's shortcomings, this puts you in control of Spider-Man, and you will grin through the patches of bad design.
Why to buy it: Bruce Campbell does the voice overs, big open New York, web swinging, it's based on Spider-Man 2 not 3.
Why not to buy it: If you don't like Spider-Man, or get bored of open world games easily.

Super Mario Sunshine - £10 delivered
What the Critics said: "This is the sequel to Super Mario 64, the game which launched a platform and reminded the world that Shigeru Miyamoto makes the best platform games. Super Mario Sunshine couldn't hope to shatter boundaries and reshape the genre for a second time, but it could and has managed to provide one of the biggest and most entertaining platform games since its illustrious predecessor. The best game ever? No, but you'd be a fool not to buy it." - Eurogamer
What I say: The problem facing Super Mario Sunshine, looking back at it now, is that it is sandwiched between two of the best 3D platformers ever. Mario 64 pioneered 3D platforming, and showed the world how it should be done, and Super Mario Galaxy has some of the most joyful, trippy level designs in any game for a long time. So Mario Sunshine is left in the middle as a 'average' Mario platformer. But whatever way you slice it, an average Mario platformer is still miles ahead of most games, and there are moments where it is at least as good as Galaxy.
Why to buy it: You like platformers, or just good games in general.
Why not to buy it: If you didn't like Super Mario Galaxy, you won't like this either, but I would go and see a Doctor because aparently you are dead inside.

Timesplitters 2 - £6 delivered
What the Critics said:
"It's a cliché, and it's silly, but I'm going to say it anyway - TimeSplitters 2 feels like the spiritual successor to GoldenEye, but with fantastic graphics, much more varied environments and enemies, and the promise of frantic action-packed segments as well as more cerebral stealth missions...TimeSplitters 2 is stacking up to be the FPS title to beat in console terms." - Eurogamer
What I say: Couldn't agree more, way better single player than it deserves, and full campaign is playable in coop.
Why to buy it: You are looking for a fun, relatively arcadey FPS to play either alone or with a friend.
Why not to buy it: Didn't enjoy Goldeneye or Perfect Dark back in the day, or if you can get it on Xbox.

Tomb Raider - Legend - £8 delivered
What the Critics said: "Panning back to the bigger picture, there's no doubt that Tomb Raider Legend is, overall, a pretty entertaining game that long-term fans of the series will be reasonably satisfied by. The way that Crystal Dynamics has, on its debut for the franchise, managed to recapture a large chunk of what made the game such a hit in the first place is truly commendable" - Eurogamer
What I say: Fun action romp. Let down by some bad bosses, but there are moments of geneius in here.
Why to buy it: You liked Tomb Raider back in the day, but find the old ones unplayable today.
Why not to buy it: You need games with compelling and interesting characters to keep you engaged. You won't be finding that here.

XIII - £4 delivered
What the Critics said: "In truth XIII is a flawed masterpiece. A game brimming with variety and a freshness lacking from most of the factory farmed franchise exercises that pass through our offices with crushing regularity. I've come away with a warm glow that Ubisoft has tried to conjure something a little different and has for the large part succeeded" - Eurogamer
What I say: Colourful, great comic book art style, and really satisfying headshots.
Why to buy it: You want an FPS with a pretty unique art style, and fun interactive environments.
Why not to buy it: The gameplay is by the numbers (but I would say still well executed), it will be prettier on Xbox and PC, and probably control better on the PC.

And that's the gamecube, it's a real shame that a lot of the more unique titles on the platform are still commanding prices of £20+, but I guess part of that is due to the success of the Wii. If you missed part 1, on the PS2 you can find it here, although some of the links may be dead by now. Part 3 will be coming up shortly.


Mark said...

With XIII, I'd certainly plump for the PC version.

The loading times on the 'Cube version are absolutely crippling - it has to reload each level in its entirety each time you die, which takes forever for some reason - and even if you're an old hand at console FPSes, the controls in XIII are all over the place.

Just make sure to apply the patch immediately after installation of the PC version though - there's a stupid bug several levels in which affects your save position making it impossible to continue past a certain point.