Bargain Bin: GameCube Edition

Bargain Bin

The Wii isn’t exactly known for its massive library of hardcore games. In fact, on more than a few occasions, I have been a tad critical of Nintendo’s current cash cow. Well it deserves it! Last year was pathetic, and though this year looks a bit better Nintendo hasn’t done much to convince me that the two hundred and fifty dollars I slapped down for my Wii was money well spent. There is one thing the Wii has going for it though: backwards compatibility. The GameCube library harbors quite a few gems that may be enough to tide over all those hardcore Wii owners waiting for MadWorld to come out, and while it’s a bit lame that we have to rely so much on games from the last generation, they’re cheap. That’s always a plus in my mind.

Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem

Eternal Darkness

Perhaps the greatest true survival horror game of the last generation, Eternal Darkness is a unique little game that puts you in the shoes of a slew of characters in a supernatural story that spans centuries. Featuring a nice targeting system that lets you take apart your enemies piece by piece — kind of like Dead Space, but not quite — the most memorable part of Eternal Darkness are the sanity effects.

Rather than giving players just a basic health and magic bar to contend with, the game gives you a sanity bar to watch as well. The more crazy stuff you come across, the more it drains, causing more twisted stuff to seem to happen. You’ll suddenly find yourself fighting enemies that aren’t really there, rooms will get twisted inside and out, and well… let’s just say the game finds some ways to freak you out that are a bit more unique than the usual “dog jumps through a window” tactic.

No game has scared quite like Eternal Darkness, and it doesn’t look like the game will be getting a sequel anytime soon. That said, I can’t encourage you to pick this game up enough. It’s truly a treasure and it will become only more rare as time goes by.

Amazon (Note: Used Amazon.com prices are subject to change)

Used – $18.00

Gamestop

Used – $17.99

Resident Evil

 

Resident Evil

 

If all companies put as much effort into their remakes as this, the gaming world would be a much better place. Out of all the many versions of the original Resident Evil out there, this is easily the best, upping the ante with stunning graphics, controls that far outclass the original, and more added content then you can shake a Wii remote at.

The basic game is the same. You play as either Chris Redfield or Jill Valentine of the special police unit S.T.A.R.S. You’ve been sent to investigate the whereabouts of your fellow team members who were dispatched to a remote mansion owned by the Umbrella pharmaceutical corporation. You find their crashed helicopter, but are subsequently stranded, yourself. Pursued by vicious monsters you take refuge in the mansion and the game begins.

I just cannot praise this version of the game enough. Where the original suffered from a rather monstrous script, a horrid control scheme and a general campiness that consistently left a bad taste in your mouth, the remake hits all the right chords. The script is new, the controls are as fine as tank controls can be, and the camp has been replaced with an unmatched aura of mystery and terror. There isn’t a moment in this game that isn’t loaded with tenseness. Better yet, the game is substantially thicker thanks to some incredibly well-integrated new areas and plot lines that truly strengthen the game.

There are some rough points. As nice as they are here, the tank controls are always a bit frustrating and the sheer linearity of the game limits its replay value, but overall this is one of the best iterations of the Resident Evil series and is easily more scary than the much touted Resident Evil 4.

Amazon (Note: Used Amazon.com prices are subject to change)

New – $29.98

Used – $15.25

Gamestop

Used – $14.99

 

Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance

 

Path of Radiance

The sole Gamecube entry into this long-running SPRG franchise, Path of Radiance is a challenging, engaging, and often frustrating game that will last you a good thirty to forty hours. Following the adventures of the Greil Mercenaries and main hero Ike, the game weaves a dense plot of political and personal intrigue that stays interesting throughout. Additionally, the game relies on the series’ long-running rock/paper/scissors-style gameplay and the brutal perma-death feature, wherein defeated characters are gone for good.

Path of Radiance has some rough spots to be sure. The gameplay can be brutally hard. The enemy AI pulls no punches and often enough you’ll be put in a spot where a single mistake can risk a valued unit. The player will likely find themselves restarting entire levels multiple times in order to prevent such losses. Additionally, the story picks up a little slowly and the graphics are downright primitive, at times looking like something that could have been done on the Nintendo 64.

That said, for RPG fans it is a wonderful game. The gameplay, though difficult, is addictive, and the story is very good once it does pick up. Furthermore, Path of Radiance continues the series’ tendency toward unparalleled character development. Every character has a unique back story and relationships can be established between individual units that flesh out the story and make your soldiers even harder to sacrifice in battle.

Overall, Path of Radiance is just a great game and deserves a spot in the library of any RPG fan.

Amazon (Note: Used Amazon.com prices are subject to change)

Used – $26.68

Gamestop

Used- 29.99

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker

Wind Waker

The last Zelda game to actually do something genuinely unique, many consider Wind Waker to be the last great entry in this long-running and beloved series. Following the ever-silent Link as he and titular Zelda work to stop the evil Ganon from executing yet another plan of unspeakable evil, the game is notable for its focus on water travel and, above all else, its extensive and brilliant use of cel-shaded visuals.

Featuring engaging combat and an interesting wind mechanic, the game spans several continents and includes dozens of hours of content. Overall, it is just a fantastic title, worth far more than it’s currently selling for. It’s a must have for fans of the series, and gaming in general.

Amazon (Note: Used Amazon.com prices are subject to change)

Used – $10.00

Gamestop

Used – $17.99

 

Shopping Advice

One of the amazing things about the internet, aside from the sheer quantity of porn available to the sticky fingers of hormone drenched teenagers, is how easy it is to find quality and, above all else, free video games to entertain oneself with. The net abounds with websites featuring free games, and though more than a few are short flash games, some are of amazing quality. If you have a moment, drop by Newgrounds.com or MMOHub.org. You may find that indeed, some of the best things in life are truly free.

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