Let's Play Every GameCube Game, Part 32

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Rocket Power: Beach Bandits

Rocket Power: Beach Bandits (Evolution Games/THQ, 2002)


As you might imagine, it's an attempt to cash in on the popularity of Tony Hawk games. The environments are mostly empty space and solid color textures, but I do appreciate the self-deprecating remarks your character says after failing a trick. This isn't as bad as Disney Sports Skateboarding by any means, but there's also no reason to play it over any of the many better skating games from this era.


Rocky

Rocky (Rage Software/Ubisoft, 2002)


The animation leaves a whole lot to be desired, as most of the punches look more like pokes than something that'd actually hurt. That said, the combo system for attacks seems deeper than most of the other GCN boxing games, and the cast of characters is absolutely massive. If you were a fan of the movies or a hardcore boxing lover, this was probably alright.


Rogue Ops

Rogue Ops (Bits Studios/Kemco, 2003)


I couldn't get out of the tutorial area because a weird bug was preventing the interaction popup I needed to grab a ledge. If I was able to keep going, it would've become a Metal Gear Solid/Splinter Cell-type stealth game, except that it seems to have been more focused on its protagonist and her crop top than on telling a real story. It uses tank controls that feel terrible.


Rugrats: Royal Ransom

Rugrats: Royal Ransom (Avalanche Software/THQ, 2002)


A collectathon platformer, surprising no one. It is a little different in that you can play as all the main characters and their availability acts as your life system, but reviews noted that all of the characters were functionally identical, and that the games 3 total abilities were so limited that there wouldn't have been any point to multiple characters regardless. Personally, my biggest hangup is how awful the walking animation is.


Samurai Jack: The Shadow of Aku

Samurai Jack: The Shadow of Aku (Adrenium Games/Sega, 2004)


Still a collectathon, but more of an action game than a platformer this time. That said, the enemies are so slow and weak that you can just jump over almost all of them and move on without engaging in trivial combat, so it's almost a platformer anyway. What it definitely isn't is good or worth your time. Boring environments and a complete lack of any attempt at story after the first 15 seconds make sure there's nothing to remember here.


Scaler

Scaler (Artificial Mind and Movement/Global Star Software, 2004)


I've come to expect a disaster when either this dev or this publisher are involved with a game, but this one is actually almost decent. Movement feels pretty good, especially when grinding these pipes, but it's a constant struggle to make the slow (and x-inverted) camera look at what's going on. I'm also not at all a fan of the over-designed main character and enemies, who came out looking like stretched versions of regular game characters. Still, A2M's output was so consistently terrible that this mediocre game might be their best one.


Scooby-Doo! Mystery Mayhem

Scooby-Doo! Mystery Mayhem (Artificial Mind and Movement/THQ, 2004)


A Scooby Doo adventure game, essentially. It's not a point and click, but you're still going from room to room and solving basic puzzles to get items. Like the last game, it is surprisingly not terrible, but it's so simple that it's only going to be entertaining if you're really into this franchise or are a young kid.


Scooby-Doo! Night of 100 Frights

Scooby-Doo! Night of 100 Frights (Heavy Iron Studios/THQ, 2002)


Yeah, it's another collectathon platformer, but I'm giving this one a pass because the cutscenes do such a good job of recreating they show. They even redid the classic opening song with the game's graphics and tossed in laugh tracks at the right places. It feels like you're watching the show with interruptions to play an unremarkable platformer, which was understandably enough to make it a smash hit back then. Heavy Iron would go on to make Battle for Bikini Bottom and to support development of big Activision titles.


Scooby-Doo! Unmasked

Scooby-Doo! Unmasked (Artificial Mind and Movement/THQ, 2005)


The last Scooby-Doo game on GCN is another platformer that really doesn't have anything very remarkable going on with the gameplay. The only thing worth mentioning that I noticed was the new intro, which has much better graphics than Heavy Iron's original recreation of the classic "Scooby Doo, Where Are You" song.


The Scorpion King: Rise of the Akkadian

The Scorpion King: Rise of the Akkadian (Point of View/Universal Interactive, 2002)


A prequel story to a Mummy movie from the early 2000s. It's a brawler with a good variety of moves and some very satisfying knockback, but clunky controls stop the combat system from actually being very fun to use. It also bothers me that the Akkadian Empire and the Scorpion King of Egypt were separated by 700 years and, in any case, the two civilizations didn't interact that much anyway.


SD Gundam Gashapon Wars

SD Gundam Gashapon Wars (Bandai Entertainment, 2005)


A Gundam game that plays almost identically to the last one featured on this list, except that the arenas are much smaller and everything has a chibi and cel-shaded look. I love this art style, but the gameplay still feels a bit rough. Chasing down small enemies that are much faster than you is more frustrating than fun.


Shamu's Deep Sea Adventures

Shamu's Deep Sea Adventures (Fun Labs/Activision, 2005)


A 2.5D adventure game starring SeaWorld's famous mysterious whale. The inverted controls combined with a 2.5D perspective feel terrible, and you get a game I only played a few minutes of when you combine that with general instability. I actually had the GBA version of this way back when and I think I beat it? It's hard to say, because I had completely forgotten it existed until I saw the box art.


Second Sight

Second Sight (Free Radical Design/Codemasters, 2004)


A stealth horror game with supernatural elements from the makers of TimeSplitters. This was received notably less positively than those games, although it was nowhere near the level of failure of 2008's Haze. I find the main character's design visually uncomfortable and only played enough to see the opening cutscene, but it sounds like the gameplay had some cool ideas in later levels.


Sega Soccer Slam

Sega Soccer Slam (Black Box Games/Sega, 2002)


This pops up on a lot of people's lists of best obscure GCN games, and I can't say I knew much about it before today. It's a 4 a side soccer game with power ups and silly characters. I'm not sold on the gameplay yet, but I didn't have time to do the tutorial, so I'm probably missing a lot of the mechanics. It's going on the list so I can give it a second chance to convince me.


Serious Sam: Next Encounter

Serious Sam: Next Encounter (Climax Solent/Global Star Software, 2004)


An arena shooter in a long-running series that has never been remotely appealing to me. This particular entry was somewhat poorly received for inconsistent performance and repetitive gameplay. Even if you did really want to get into this game, a GCN FPS with inverted controls does not seem like the right way to do it.


The list:

  1. 1080° Avalanche

  2. Animal Crossing

  3. Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance

  4. Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean

  5. Batman: Dark Tomorrow

  6. Burnout 2: Point of Impact

  7. Charinko Hero

  8. Chibi-Robo!

  9. Cocoto Kart Racer

  10. Cubivore: Survival of the Fittest

  11. Custom Robo

  12. Dark Summit

  13. Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem

  14. F-Zero GX

  15. Family Stadium 2003

  16. Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance

  17. Freedom Fighters

  18. Freekstyle

  19. Gotcha Force

  20. James Bond 007: Everything or Nothing

  21. Jikkyou Powerful Major League

  22. Kirby Air Ride

  23. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

  24. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker

  25. Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour

  26. Mario Kart: Double Dash!!

  27. Mario Power Tennis

  28. Metal Arms: Glitch in the System

  29. Mr. Driller Drill Land

  30. Muscle Champion: Kinnikutou Kessen

  31. MVP Baseball 2005

  32. Nintendo Puzzle Collection

  33. Odama

  34. Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door

  35. R: Racing Evolution

  36. Sega Soccer Slam

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