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Saturday June 8th, 2002

Console: GameCube
Genre: Startegy
Rated: Everyone
Players: 1

As a part of our Help Pojo Get Cought Up time, we had some of our skilled writters at our Message Board write some reviews for us. All of these reviews are written by different Members. This one happens to be written by, Pokemoncardkid, but he is letting us publish this. All credit goes to him/her. -Pojo's Video Games


United by nifty Pay-To-Surf-The-Web programs and the friendly economic system of the US, thousands of gamers will stand alongside each other, money-filled wallet in hand, at electronic retail stores in hopes of snagging a slick new videogame this holiday season. But unlike the conventional Christmas spirit, more people will be purchasing things for themselves this year, using the change to by a small, thoughtless gift for their loved ones. Why? Well, it's quite simple--Xbox, PlayStation 2, and GameCube. We all know that MGS2 and Smash Brothers will fly off the shelves faster than Amish grandmothers can condemn them, but at least one game will be left: Pikmin, overshadowed by everything else. That's not to say that people aren't buying it, but I don't feel that it's getting the recognition it deserves, especially for a game designed by Miyamoto. So if you're daring enough to try out a quirky, new genre, Pikmin should definitely be tacked onto your letter to Santa.

Pikmin has been shunned by the narrow-minded corner of society as being too "kiddy," but if one were to sit down with it for a while, he would soon see that the game is far beyond that. This strategy game takes some deep thinking at times, and it's definitely fun. But unless you've already read up on the game, you're probably wondering what exactly Pikmin is, as screenshots would only confuse you more. The basic premise revolves around a small man named Captain Olimar. His ship crashed on an unknown planet, and now he must find and gather the parts of his ship to return home. The catch is, the planet's atmosphere contains the ever-so-deadly gas of oxygen, which means that Olimar can only survive thirty days in this new world. You're not alone in your desire to get off the planet, however. Right off the bat, you meet some curious creatures that Olimar names Pikmin. They, too, are eager to help and send you off to home.

Yes, meet the Pikmin. These ant-like creatures are cute enough to make Kirby and Pikachu vomit; and yet, they're vital to your quest, and you'll begin to love them all right away. As you progress through the game, a symbiotic relationship will develop and you'll begin to learn more and more about these Pikmin.

To start off, you must begin to grow the Pikmin. They're not plants, but they do grow out of the grow. Seeds are expelled from a certain portable home called the Onion, which are left in the ground to sprout and await being plucked out by the captain. More seeds will come about by giving special pellets to the Onion, which are found throughout the areas and can be carried by Pikmin. You can then store Pikmin of each color in their respective Onion. That's right, there are different colors of Pikmin--three to be precise, each with their own special talents. Red ones, in addition to being the strongest warriors, have the ability to withstand fire; blue Pikmin are the only color that will not drown and water, and that leaves the yellow ones, which are able to carry bombs to destroy stone walls. That means that if you send your blue Pikmin into fire, they will die and wither away, while the red Pikmin can pass through it. Likewise, your red Pikmin can give up the habit of living by attempting to join the blue Pikmin for a swim.

It's this interaction between the different colors that you'll be able to find all your parts--the Pikmin will carry everything back to your ship, once you get to your destination. There may be times where you'll have to move your blue Pikmin across a pond and start building a bridge. Then your yellow Pikmin can get across and take the bombs which will be used to blow down the wall and find a part. The puzzles and controls are so intuitive that you'll want to play again just to find the best way to do it. The worlds are crafted wonderfully, and you'll thank Olimar for having crashed in such a beautiful place.

Unfortunately, the utopia is shattered by day 2 when you first encounter some enemies. Not everyone is at peace in this seemingly perfect world, but you can get around with. Pikmin are able to attack enemies easily when grouped together, so you can teach those guys not to mess with you. There are some larger bosses, which are challenging, but fun nonetheless. But it's so sad watching your Pikmin die right in front of you . . . .

As you play through the thirty days, you'll start to love this game even more, until the day comes when you must leave. "But aren't we ever the best of friends?" Ah, maybe so, but life must go on and you must leave the Pikmin behind. And then the game ends, much too soon. I can't help but ask for more, especially because you finally get to the good part in the last levels. But it's fun enough to play one or two more times, and then there's a Challenge mode which adds to the replay value. I really do hate the thirty-day (that's not real time) time limit, and the game would be more enjoyable if you weren't rushed through. Despite that, I'd say that you can get a good twenty hours out of Pikmin if you like it enough, and it's worth the money. Enjoy.
Gameplay: Like you'd expect from a Nintendo game, the controls of Pikmin are very easy to get used to, yet sufficient enough to get the job done without too much trouble. You can move Captain Olimar around with the control stick, but you can also move the cursor around by moving the stick more gently. This cursor can be used to select Pikmin and you can whistle them over with B. They'll follow you around unless you tell them to do otherwise--dismiss them with X, and they'll go into their corresponding group of colors. This makes it easy enough to control individual Pikmin, but you can also have up to a hundred following you at once. You can throw your slaves around with the large A button, and move them around with the C-stick.

It's the C-stick that really controls the Pikmin. If there's a wall you want to knock down, push the stick in the general direction and your Pikmin will start chipping away. After a few minutes, the wall will come down and you can continue. If there's a larger wall that the Pikmin can't get on their own, take the yellow Pikmin to a pile of bombs. Use the C-stick and they'll pick up the bombs. Walk back to the wall and throw them at it to blow it apart. Pikmin can move and carry objects, build bridges, knock down walls, and so many other things that you'll have to find out on your own.

My biggest complaint about the gameplay is how you don't have complete control. Sure, you can do a lot of things without hearing a single complaint from the little guys, but sometimes they move too loosely. Even though you know what will kill them, they don't, which is probably the biggest flaw. Smaller can be better, but not when it comes to brain power--if you're crossing a bridge, some Pikmin may jump into the water and kill themselves. The only way to get around this is to take them across with just a few at a time, which becomes quite tedious. That's only a problem on a few occasions, fortunately, and I still love the controls.

Graphics: This game rivals even Rogue Leader for the best GameCube graphics. With the ability to control the camera angles, you can look about the scenic world with ease, and you'll more than likely enjoy it. With pretty textures and crisp models, you have one good-looking game. The graphics are bright and colorful without being too cartoony, although some of the enemies could have looked a bit tougher . . . . Also, the game chugs along quite well, and I didn't notice any slowdown. It's good to know that the GameCube is capable of such things--even with one hundred Pikmin out on the field, many doing different things, there wasn't a single drop in the framerate. Fog and popup are equally non-existent, so you can enjoy the game smoothly.

Sound: Pikmin's acoustics are decent. The background music won't win any awards, but it's not bad. Sound effects are pretty good, and you can always hear your Pikmin dying no matter how close you are to them--what a nice feature! Actually, it's good to be able to hear Pikmin splashing through the rivers, so you know to be careful with the yellow and red Pikmin. There are unique noises for the different actions, so you can also tell what you're doing.


Ratings (1-10)

Fun Factor
One of the greatest launch games this generation. The colors are beautiful, and it is fun to feel completely incharge


The game has great sound, the mucic reminded me of Shigeru Miyamoto. You can tell this is his baby.


Replay Value
Challenge mode adds some replay value, but the game itself doesn't offer a lot. But it is still fun to try and beat your previous record.


Very good controlling. I cannot think of any other way to set up the controls that would have been better.


Eye Candy (graphics)
As said before. It can be compared to Rougle Leader, and still probably win. The water was by far the best seen thus far.


Total (not an average)
I was a little dissapointed with parts of the game, but it still has earned it's spot in my game library of the best..










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