Let's Play Every GameCube Game, Part 35


Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy

Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy (Eurocom/THQ, 2003)


A platforming game starring knockoff Zidane Tribal and set in Egypt as described by the 5th person down the chain in a game of telephone. Surely it wouldn't have been that hard for the devs to do 10 minutes of research and find a city name that actually makes sense to house the "Blade of Osiris" instead of Uruk. The game reviewed okay and has been ported to Steam and Switch in recent years, but I will not be playing more.


Spider-Man

Spider-Man (Treyarch/Actvision, 2002)


It opens with what is possibly the most apathetic introductory voice over in the history of video games, and then tosses you right in at what seems to be the halfway point of the movie. From there, you crawl over everyone's walls and you're swinging all over town. Unlike the sequel, you can't survive falls from any height or jump particularly high, and don't even think about comparing the swing mechanics to Insomniac's spidey game. This was a game that had clear flaws even back then, but after almost two decades and several much better games in the same universe, it's really only worthwhile to completionists now.


Spider-Man 2

Spider-Man 2 (Treyarch/Activision, 2004)


Spidey's second outing was one of the first big open world games and perfected the swinging mechanics that were still more or less in use even for the PS4 game. But I still wouldn't particularly recommend going back to it, because as is almost always the case with the first big game in a genre, newer and bigger games have gone further with the idea. This game's New York City feels dead and doesn't have much to do, and while I certainly don't miss the dozens of ridiculous backpacks in Insomniac's New York, that one does at least feel more like a real city.


Spirits & Spells

Spirits & Spells (Kalisto Entertainment + Wanadoo Edition/Dreamcatcher Interactive, 2003)


A platformer starring two kids who get trapped in the land of the dead after running away from the Bogeyman on Halloween. It didn't review well at all, but it has a charmingly stupid sense of humor and has been completely forgotten, so I want to give it a chance. This was the last game Kalisto ever made, and they'd go down in a mess of accounting scandals a few years later. Wanadoo were bought out by Microids soon after this game and were presumably condemned to making hidden object games forever.


SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom

SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom (Heavy Iron Studios/THQ, 2003)


This is canonically the best of the SpongeBob games, although at the time of writing this blurb I haven't played a few of them and can't officially say that myself. I played the remake earlier this year and enjoyed it, although I wouldn't call it essential unless you're a big fan of either SpongeBob or this particular style of PS2-era collectathon. That said, I think the original is actually the best version of it, because the remake added repetitive voice lines so annoying that I started playing in other languages for variety and the original honestly still looks quite good anyway. Plus, it has a cool mod that you can read about thanks to our own DZ.


SpongeBob SquarePants: Creature from the Krusty Krab

SpongeBob SquarePants: Creature from the Krusty Krab (Blitz Games/THQ, 2006)


This is one of the SpongeBob games I had never played, and I don't think I missed much. It's a racing/flying/platforming/"rampaging" game depending on what level you're playing, but none of them are anything special and the game is full of incredibly low-res assets that look awful on screen. They also used some strange gritty art for SpongeBob in friends in this first level that looks more gross than anything else.



SpongeBob SquarePants: Lights, Camera, Pants!

SpongeBob SquarePants: Lights, Camera, Pants! (THQ Australia/THQ, 2005)


It wouldn't be a licensed GCN franchise without a Mario Party clone, so here it is. It also features a lot of low-res assets and graphics that are inexplicably worse than the earlier BFBB. Really, the most interesting thing about it is that the PC game of the same name is actually completely different: it's a point-and-click that reviewed much better, although still only mediocre at best. I played some of that game at some point in the past, but I've forgotten it so thoroughly that even the genre was news to me.


SpongeBob SquarePants: Revenge of the Flying Dutchman

SpongeBob SquarePants: Revenge of the Flying Dutchman (Big Sky Games/THQ, 2002)


Another platforming Spongebob game. It was criticized for bad graphics and long load times, although neither of them seemed remarkably bad to me. It seems to have done decently well for a licensed game both with critics and commercially, but sadly it was Big Sky's final game anyway.



The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie

The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie (Heavy Iron Studios/THQ, 2004)


I've actually finished this platformer on two platforms, because I got the GBA version before I had a GCN and then got that version along with the console a few years later. The console version is much better, and personally my pick of the Spongebob games. I doubt I'd enjoy it much today, but it ties in well with the movie and was a ton of fun as a kid.


SpyHunter

SpyHunter (Point of View/Midway, 2002)


Another arcade-to-3D remake. It's very generic and controls terribly. But then Spy Hunter didn't really have enough variety to translate to a full game made in 2002, so that's not all that surprising.


Spyro: A Hero's Tail

Spyro: A Hero's Tail (Eurocom/Vivendi, 2004)


Spyro's second outing on GCN was also poorly received. It plays almost identically to the much older PS1 trilogy, and critics also noted that there was far more competition on then-modern consoles than on Sony's original system. Personally, the worst thing I noticed was that the brightness seems much too high.


Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly

Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly (Equinox Digital Entertainment/Vivendi, 2002)


The first Spyro game on the new generation, and also the second worst-reviewed game in the series. It was criticized both for being derivative of the original trilogy and for general instability, but it also has to be said that it looks quite bad even for 2002. Not that the screenshot I chose really conveys that - it's most noticeable with character's faces and animations. This is a game that I imagine even the most hardcore series fans would recommend against playing.


SSX 3

SSX 3 (EA Canada/EA Sports BIG, 2003)


The second of the three SSX games on GCN, and also the best reviewed. It's split between a "Conquer the Mountain" mode that seems to be where you unlock new content and a collection of single player modes that give you different challenges on defined courses. I had never played any game in this series before and did not make any effort to learn how to play, but I still had a lot of fun. That's the sound of a list game.


SSX on Tour

SSX on Tour (EA Canada/EA Sports BIG, 2005)


The last and worst-reviewed of the GCN SSX games, although in this case that means its scores were merely good instead of excellent. It focused on custom characters and, oddly, the same Mario trio from NBA Street. I had a good time playing this one as well and appreciate the even more over the top track design, so I'm also putting it on the list. Will I actually play all of these snowboarding games for very long? Probably not, but they all seem worth looking at for more than a few minutes.


SSX Tricky

SSX Tricky (EA Canada/EA Sports BIG, 2001)


It's probably obvious that this is the first GCN SSX game if you've been reading the other entries. It's the second overall in the series, with the first having released a year earlier as a PS2-exclusive. This was described as being basically an expansion pack rather than a true sequel, although anyone who only had access to the GCN or Xbox versions presumably wouldn't have cared much. I'm not a fan of how much content is locked at the start, but I loved the one course I played. That's 3 for 3 list games from SSX. Not a bad record.


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

  37. Shinseiki GPX Cyber Formula: Road to the Evolution

  38. The Simpsons: Hit & Run

  39. SSX 3

  40. SSX on Tour

  41. SSX Tricky

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