Here I am back again with part 3 of my 4 part Xmas special. This time I'll be taking a look at 5 games for the Game Boy Advance and PC that you should consider pestering your loved ones into getting you for Christmas.
The GBA Xmas Season Top 5
5. The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap - out now
For once, lucky Europeans will be able to play Link's latest adventure months before fans in the US! I haven't had the chance to play the game yet, but from all I've seen and read it seems to continue the tradition of excellent gameplay from previous titles, with a much needed injection of originality due to the inclusion of many new items and the fact that you can shrink to tiny size with the aid of the titular Minish Cap.
4. Mario vs Donkey Kong - 19/11/04
Part platformer, part puzzle game, MvsDK features tons of tricky levels and shows that when it comes to gameplay, yet again Nintendo are the masters.
3. Final Fantasy I & II: Dawn of Souls - 03/12/04
The two games that started the huge Square-Enix series are together on one cart, with improved graphics, sound and new areas to explore. If you already own Final Fantasy Orgins for the PS1, then don't bother because this is exactly the same, but otherwise, you can have hours of quality RPG on your handheld!
2. Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga - out now
Okay, so it came out last year, but if you haven't played it, then this is the ideal time. Equally as brilliant as Paper Mario 2, but with the added benefit of being portable. GBA games don't get much finer than this.
1. Pokemon Fire Red and Leaf Green
Another quality RPG offering. Pokemon might not be to everyone's taste, but you do enjoy it (and there's no shame in it) then these reworkings of the original classics will be right up your street.
This time the Yankies get Metal Slug Advance and Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories before the year is out, whereas we have to wait until next year. I'm really looking forward to the new Kingdom Hearts game personally, it's visually one of the finest games available for the GBA.
Sad thought - this Christmas could be the last "big" Christmas for the GBA, as the DS is likely to steal a lot of its thunder over the next year. Nintendo say that the GBA isn't going to be phased out, but I'm not convinced.
The PC Xmas Season Top 5.
You'll have to bear with me here, as I'm really not much of a PC gamer. These are the games that appeal to me most, though.
5. Half-Life 2 - out now?
If there's one game that's been more eagerly awaited over the last few years than Halo 2, then this is it. Early reports say that it doens't dissapoint either, unlike the Master Chief's new game. The Source engine that powers everything is amazing, and the game is polished like no other, but is it really worth buying a brand new PC just to be able to play it? Almost.
4. The Sims 2 - out now
The Sims are back in full 3D with many more things to do. I love games like Rollercoaster Tycoon etc, but in this one there doesn't seem to be much of an overall goal, so I think eventually I might get bored of it. Of course, that's where the expansion packs come in.
3. Medal of Honor Pacific Assault - 19/11/04
Can the new Medal of Honor redeem the series and steal back some of the glory that was captured by the likes of Call of Duty? I don't know. Go by the game and tell me!
2. Star Wars Galaxies: Jump to Lightspeed - out now
The orignal MMORPG sounded more than a bit dull but now you can pilot starfighters, freighters and many other vechicles things sound much more interesting. I still haven't got the time or money to spend playing it though.
1. Platypus - out now
One of the most enjoyable PC games I've played this year, Platypus was put together by just one man and features fantastic claymation graphics. It's a classic 2D horizontal shoot 'em up, featuring some excellent retro music by Chris Abbott (of Back In Time fame). Go download the demo from http://www.squashysoftware.com/platypus.php, and then buy the full version!
Nothing much to say here - I told you I don't know much about PC games, sorry!
I'll be back again with Part 4 - focusing on retro and budget titles for those of you with cash flow problems around the Christmas period!