At this past E3 convention, Nintendo stressed connectivity between the Gamecube and the Game Boy Advance while Microsoft and Sony were busy outlining their online plans. It was a bit of a bummer, and to this day Nintendo's lack of a significant online gaming scheme has kept some gamers away from the Cube.
And to be honest, GC/GBA connectivity will never outdo online connectivity, but at least it can become something more than just a gimmick. By implementing the second screen of the Game Boy Advance into Gamecube gaming, this GBA connectivity thing can offer some compelling multiplayer privacy, such as selecting a play in football or having your own personal HUD.
So far, the best example of the connectivity includes The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker's GBA Mr. Tinkle co-operative mode.Â Using the GBA, a second player could provide assistance to Link. In that case, the co-operative gameplay felt aimed towards a younger audience that needed help getting through the game.
In a good example of more competitive gameplay, the new Pac-Man Vs. GC/GBA connectivity game turns the classic Pac-Man into a multiplayer affair. Shigeru Miyamoto of Nintendo fame had a hand in the creation of this update (alongside Pac-Man creator Toru Iwatani), which helps explain why it's actually pretty good.
Pac-Man Vs. supports two to four players: one plays as Pac-Man and the others are ghosts.Â If you only have the minimum two players, the other two ghosts will be computer controlled. The three ghost characters, regardless of whether they're human or AI, are controlled on the main TV screen.Â The ghost viewpoint is limited to a small circular window, allowing only the immediate surroundings to be visible.Â This vision limitation is part of the checks and balances between the ghosts and Pac.
Pac-Man, on the other hand, has the full maze at his viewing disposal on the GBA screen.Â The gameplay is as old-school as it gets, with Pac moving about through the maze filling his 17 stomachs full of yellow Pac-feed and gobbling up any fruit for extra points and some healthy Vitamin C.
There are no changes to the basic gameplay of Pac-Man, no new offensive attacks besides the big super pellets and no new gameplay features. You still just navigate around the maze like you've been doing for over 20 years now. As a ghost, you just float around trying to catch Pac-Man, at which point you'll become the yellow blob and the guy playing as Pac will become a ghost. Eating fruit will widen the ghost vision for a bit, but mainly it's all about chasing Pac-Man.
In turn, Pac Man Vs. doesn't match the frantic pace of a good first-person shooter or the complexity of a turn-based strategy game. Instead, it's a clever reinvention of something old into a multiplayer experience.
One of the big issues with GBA connectivity is actually having enough GBAs to get the job done.Â Sure, the GBA is an incredible seller, but people that play games aren't always friends with people that play games.Â Your homies might not have the same hardcore interests that you do.
Thankfully, Pac Man Vs. only requires one Game Boy Advance, which is obviously much more affordable and inviting compared to the upcoming Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles and the four-player Zelda, both of which will need four GBAs to get the most out of them. That's what make Pac Man Vs. such a clever usage of the connectivity because it only takes one GBA, but can still support four players, instead of just Mr. Tinkle's two-player co-op.
Pac Man Vs. is bundled with Pac-Man World 2 and is supposed to come included with other Namco releases, such as R: Racer Evolution, but currently all game retailers only package it with Pac-Man World 2.Â In certain specialty retailers, such as Electronic Boutique or Gamestop, you can also get Pac Man Vs. with the purchase of I-Ninja by way of a special deal.
Considering that Pac-Man World 2 sells as a Value Series product, the combo is a good $20 deal.Â While Pac-Man World 2 is a marginal game that mixes normal platform dynamics with the classic pellet gobbling mazes of the original game, it has a unique Pac feel, more so than that odd side scroller Pac-Land.
The three-dimensional Pac Man character is goofy in his extremely ebullient roly-poliness.Â He bounces around like a four-square ball and gobbles up pellets like he hasn't eaten for months.Â There's no personality beyond that, unless you think of him as a fat bulimic girl in binge mode.
The two-pack (or is it Pac?) is a smart deal that offers something for young and old alike.Â Fans of the yellow blob will really get the most out of Pac Man Vs., while Pac-Man World 2 provides enough incentive to appease the younger players wanting something more new age.