Let's Play Every GameCube Game, Part 26

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NCAA Football 2004

NCAA Football 2003 (EA Sports, 2002)

It's Madden but in college now. I'm really not sure what the point of this game is if it doesn't even have player names in it. Was anyone desperate enough to play football as the 2003 Fresno State Football Men (probably their team name, I don't know) that they were okay with QB #15 throwing a pass to WR #87? Apparently yes.

NCAA Football 2004

NCAA Football 2004 (EA Sports, 2003)

The same game with a bunch more schools, although the more obscure ones are so generic that they don't even get their own playbook names. The announcers do have unique commentary for them, at least.

NCAA Football 2005

NCAA Football 2005 (EA Sports, 2004)

I wasn't aware that Delaware State University even had a football team, but you can play as them here. The main difference versus previous titles is that it tries to simulate home field advantage, but it's hard to imagine fans cheering all that hard for RE#37.

Need for Speed: Carbon

Need for Speed: Carbon (EA Canada/EA, 2006)

I was obsessed with this game as a kid who had just gotten a console and loved racing games. It is much uglier than I remembered, and even though the open world, destructible environments, and variety of races are all impressive, they're also all things that Burnout Paradise did incomparably better just 15 months later. There's no reason to go back to this game, which makes it al the more impressive that the PS3 and 360 servers are still up. They're not shutting down until 9/1/2021.

Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2

Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2 (EA Seattle/EA, 2002)

A lot of people swear by this game on PS2, but on everything else it had more sluggish controls and a reduced framerate. I'll give it credit for some interesting tracks, but it's impossible to look past how bad these cars feel to drive. Thankfully, it was remade for modern systems, so there'd be no reason to play the original even if it was a good port.

Need for Speed: Most Wanted

Need for Speed: Most Wanted (EA Canada/EA, 2005)

Not to be confused with the 2012 reboot, this was the beginning of the series' ill-fated decision to focus on story. It plays virtually the same as Carbon, which makes sense considering that was its sequel.

Need for Speed: Underground

Need for Speed: Underground (EA Black Box/EA, 2003)

Another one I played a lot of as a kid, and I didn't expect much from it now. Surprisingly, the racing mechanics actually hold up decently well. I think it's the slightly more zoomed in camera and more crowded tracks that give a better sense of speed and make you have to weave around obstacles.

Need for Speed: Underground 2

Need for Speed: Underground 2 (EA Black Box/EA, 2005)

I never played the sequel, which brought in an open world and more focus on customization. That apparently came at a cost of worse environmental graphics, as seen in the crummy building textures here. It doesn't feel as good to drive, either, although I do like the dusk-to-midnight progression from lap to lap.