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.
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
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.
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
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.