Robots have a happy life on GameCube but not the players: there are some titles (Zoids VS, Gotcha Force, Mario Party 5's Super Duel Mode..) but they are not very good. Nintendo might change this with the help of Noise this year. Custom Robo looks like a polished robot games with a mix of both action and RPG. It's the third instalment of the series but the two first didn't make it in the west. It seems however that Custom Robo for GameCube is not a direct sequel to the two others, but more a remake or a re-start, possibly because Nintendo plans to release it this time in the United States and, hopefully, in Europe and Oceania. The game was first shown last may during the E3 and though very discreet, it looked already interesting. However, if we know the release for Japan has been set to March 3, so hardly a month to wait, we don't know the release date in the rest of the world. It's been said also that the game was renamed Custom Robo Battle Revolution. No official site confirms this information though so we left the old title.
» Preview of Custom Robo
Many release dates have been updated including for several European titles. Dates are now exact or as close and reliable as they should be. Impatience levels have changed too, the only game with a 10 for the time being is Baten Kaitos. Due to recent very negative announcements concerning the gameplay of the Four Swords +, I've added a new preview and downgraded the impatience level very much, as deserved.
If you want to see at which place 1080 Silverstorm/Avalanche entered the Japanese charts or if you want to know why March is such a better month in Japan than February, head to Samurai Nintendo's Japan Weekly section !
Nothing much is happening this week so we digress about Sega's past and coming year.
Nintendo unveiled the first information about their new type of console to cohabit with the GameCube and the Game Boy Advance. Its name is "Nintendo DS", DS stands for Dual Screen as the new machine is a portable device with 2 screens powered by 2 separate processors. No picture has been released yet, and the little known about it is told in the press release below.
What's Samurai Nintendo's opinion ? Well, we think it's pretty interesting. It looks like if Nintendo is trying to develop the ideas they couldn't really achieve with the GameCube-Game Boy Advance connection. We wouldn't be surprised if the Kirby game which was shown a couple of years ago was one of the launch title. Also, given the little we know for now, there's still plenty of room for surprise. The ability to have two screens separately is an important asset that can be used in many different ways... imagine a RPG, on the top screen, you see through the eyes of your character while on the bottom screen, you move him in an overview. Or what about a FPS ? Maybe the device will require only one cartridge to work given that there's a processor for every screen.
REDMOND, Wash., Jan 20, 2004 -- An unprecedented approach to video game play-- holding two separate game screens in the palm of your hand-- hits the scene later this year when Nintendo introduces a new portable game system, code-named Nintendo DS.
From information made available today, players can look forward to being able to manage their game progress from two different perspectives, enhancing both the speed and strategy of the challenge. For example in a soccer game, users can view the whole game on one screen while simultaneously focusing on an individual soccer player's tackle or goal on the other screen.
Players will no longer be forced to interrupt game play to shift perspective, such as moving from a wide shot to a close up, or alternating between a character's ongoing battle and a map of the environment. Nintendo DS makes it possible to perform the tasks in real time by simply glancing from one screen to the other.
Today's announcement is but a glimpse of the additional features and benefits that will be shown in full at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles in May. Once fully revealed, players will see innovative advances in game interaction.
"We have developed Nintendo DS based upon a completely different concept from existing game devices in order to provide players with a unique entertainment experience for the 21st century," explains Satoru Iwata, Nintendo president.
Nintendo DS features two separate 3-inch TFT LCD display panels, separate processors, and semiconductor memory of up to 1 Gigabit. It's scheduled to launch worldwide before the end of 2004.
In addition to Nintendo-developed software, the company is in discussions with third-party game developers around the world.
Nintendo DS will be marketed separately from the company's existing Nintendo Game Boy Advance portable system and Nintendo GameCube home console.
We haven't played all the games released last year, we missed some important titles, so it's not really possible to say "that game was better than all the others". But there's at least one game which stood out from the games we played, one game that we absolutely loved playing, which was really a great work, a lot of fun and succeeded in amaze us. This title is... or rather, the winner is...The Legend of Zelda - The Wind Waker
Not really a surprise as it's been the favorite of the year for many other sites, but it deserves it. The Wind Waker got all sort of critics, some of which are still totally influenced by people hating the graphics style, but it's above all an immersing experience and a truly amazing game in many aspects. I remember being stunned or touched by very many scenes, it's an emotional explosion and a major hit in the video games history, I can't think of any single game which had such a strong and delightful impact on me last year. So yeah, it's definitely Samurai Nintendo 2003's favorite.
The ranking of the 100 best-selling video games has been published earlier this month in Japan. It is clearly dominated by the Playstation 2 with 54 titles, the GameCube only got 15 titles ranked but fortunately the Game Boy Advance is a strong presence with 31 titles. Only one GC title made it in the top 10, the recent release Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, and only two more in the top 20, Pokemon Colosseum and Mario Party 5; some recent releases too, that keep selling very well in 2004, all of them being now well above 500.000 units sold.
The year hasn't been very good, strong selling titles only appeared in the beginning (Zelda, Mario Party 4) and in the end of the year (Mario Kart, Pokemon Colosseum, Mario Party 5). RPG didn't match the expectations and no title succeeded in drawing enough attention. However, it might be the start of a better year for Nintendo as the latest titles sold rather well, including Donkey Konga and Naruto 2. About third party editors on GameCube, there are only a very few of them in the top 100: Square Enix with FFCC, Namco with Tales of Symphonia, and the mediocre Tomy, strangely the most successful, with their popular franchise Naruto. It's very disappointing and will probably not encourage third party developments as many awaited titles have been huge failure (PSO III, Gotcha Force, R: Racing Evolution, Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg, Zoids VS II, Product Number 03...).
What Nintendo needs to understand from this year is that they need more titles and more better titles. About every month there was a new game released by Nintendo, but most of them during the year were not so good or too simple like GIFTPIA, Nintendo Puzzle Collection, Pokemon Channel or even Mario Golf, to become hits. About RPG, Nintendo must certainly not give up and encourage other game makers to produce such games, the results were disappoiting, but they were still better than many other games, including Nintendo's own and even better than some RPG on Playstation 2 from Square-Enix. However, some disappointments of this year were also due to stupid players: F-Zero GX, Soul Calibur 2, Baten Kaitos, Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life, Viewtiful Joe, Billy Hatcher didn't get the attention they deserved and that's maybe the most annoying fact about this year in Japan.
08- Mario Kart: Double Dash!! (567.849 units sold in 2003 only)
19- Pokemon Colosseum (485.686)
20- Mario Party 5 (481.053)
27- Kirby Air Ride (357.886)
28- Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles (354.991)
31- Tales of Symphonia (311.473)
35- Atsumare!! Made in Wario (296.811)
41- Animal Forest e+ (276.243)
46- The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker (252.064)
52- Donkey Konga (238.400)
58- Mario Party 4 (224.458)
60- Naruto 2 (223.321)
67- Pokemon Box (199.633)
74- Naruto (182.420)
75- Mario Golf: Family Tour (175.741)
You can already have a tiny glance on what to expect in the next design through our Ranking section in Japan Weekly. The 2003 datas have been archived and the ranking tables re-designed for the new year (the links within the ranking are not activated yet but will be tomorrow or so). The ranking itself is not that exciting this week although you can check the total sale numbers for four GameCube Christmas hits.
We highly recommend you Mario Party 5. Yep, it was fun, we enjoyed it, and you know what ? I used to say that Mario Party is Nintendo's series that I dislike the most. It's not me who changed, it's Mario Party who has improved, this year at least. So don't miss it and don't miss our review either, to be entirely convinced !
>>Review of Mario Party 5
From January 15 to 19, Nintendo will hold a press conference in Japan where it will present some of its new products. Pokemon Red and Green for Game Boy Advance, Custom Robo and The Four Swords Game Cube have already been confirmed. It might be that the new mystery system will be unveiled and new secret titles too. Four days, that's pretty long, Nintendo probably has some nice surprises to fill them.
Here's a sum up of all the information we have so far about this new console Nintendo is going to introduce at the next E3 or, this month (see next news).
- This new console is neither a successor to the GameCube nor to the Game Boy Advance. It is a third console from Nintendo for the current video games market and it will cohabit with the two others.
- This new device therefore is aiming at a different kind of gaming.
- Satoru Iwata was quoting to have said that it "enables fun and movement not seen before". Note: We might be wrong, but we can't help thinking it has something to do with motion censor, rather than just being portative.
- It is said to be wireless and use radio waves Note: Like the Wave Bird.
- It is rumored to play back existing games (GameCube/Game Boy Advance ?). Note: Another hypothesis is that it has something to do with NES and Super NES games. Maybe download of such games via cards in an iQue/e-Card way ?
- Some sites reported that Nintendo patented a name last summer "Connectevision". It could be the name of the device.
- The machine will be shown at next E3 show in May in Los Angeles.
Lycos is really crap. They were already giving me a hell of a headache when they were hosting me and finally became real bastards when they kicked my site out for a false reason. I still had their poll though, from their HTML Gear, but it's been such a pain too. Lately it's almost always out of order and prevent people' sites from loading properly ! So I decided to remove it completely till the new version of Samurai Nintendo is done, it will have a good poll. Don't forget you can still check the results of old polls, I haven't put the latest one though.
On the other hand, I added some links to official Japanese sites both for Nintendo and Sega games, there are some interesting things that I encourage you to see. But if you don't, don't worry, it'll all be on Samurai Nintendo anyway.
With dates for Metal Gear Solid and Custom Robo. So far March looks worryingly empty compared to last year.
Two weeks of Japanese ranking have been updated and things look bright for Nintendo with 3 Christmas titles to have sold about or more than a half-million: Mario Kart Double Dash!! leads the pack followed by Mario Party 5 and Pokemon Colosseum. Even Donkey Konga has been doing pretty well lately.
It's not too late to wish you a happy new year with Samurai Nintendo. The year is just starting and there's a long way ahead for your favorite site (<-- ^O^ - never heard that before), my main resolution for 2004 is a a brand new version of Samurai N. Revamped presentation and improved content, once again, the site will keep its soul and personality that makes us so different and will still be in good old html. Still, the changes are going to be massive and it will be the most different version from the past work to date. It's likely to take a very long time, months for sure I just started, I'd like to have the new version ready for the third anniversary of the site in May, for the E3, but it's going to be really difficult. The project will definitely take as long as it needs to be exactly the way I want it and the result hopefully will bring Samurai Nintendo to new heights !
Have a wonderful year 2004 with Samurai Nintendo and 1UP sites.