As most of you already know, the Christmas season and the months preceding it are the busiest time for the games industry. All the big releases (and many not so big) are squeezed into October, November and December, and all vie for the customers cash. If you haven't yet decided which game (or games, if you're lucky) you want for Christmas, then this multi part guide is here to help. I will go through what I consider are the five biggest releases on each format, starting today with my favourite console, the Nintendo Gamecube. These aren't in any order of preference, by the way. Later on I will also do a feature on the best looking games of next year.
5. Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door - 12/11/04
Okay, I've been going on and on about how good this game is recently, but believe me it does deserve all the praise. It's the perfect game for both RPG novices and experts alike, as well as children and adults. What's more, it just feels like the perfect Christmas game.
4. Tales of Symphonia - 19/11/04
Another epic RPG, this time from Namco. The real-time battles keep things lively and there's plenty to see and do. Your quest is likely to last around 60 hours, so there's enough to see you through many cold winter nights!
3. Metroid Prime 2: Echoes - 26/11/04
Nintendo are really bring out the big guns this Christmas - quite literally in this case. The original was one of the only games to get a perfect rating the notoriously strict mags Edge and GAMEStm, and surely that says it all?
2. Prince of Persia: Warrior Within - 26/11/04
The original was overlooked when it was first released on the PS2, but fared much better when it eventually came out on the Gamecube and Xbox a few months later. This time Ubisoft aren't making the same mistake, and the sequel is being released across all formats at the same time. The game is much darker than the original - whether that's a good or bad thing remains to be seen.
1. Mortal Kombat: Deception - 05/11/04
The MK series hasn't really been up to much since Mortal Kombat 2 all those years ago, but the latest entry shows lots of promise - with a puzzle mode, kombat chess and an RPG thrown in. Is it in danger of becoming a jack of all trades, master of none? Time will tell.
For those of you with access to an NTSC Gamecube or a Freeloader disc, you can get your hands on Mario Tennis and Baten Kaitos from the USA before the year is out. Mario Tennis is looking much, much more exciting than the N64 version, and Baten Kaitos is Namco's other big RPG project this year.
That's it for the Cube