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By Michael Waskiewicz
Fort Wayne Reader
If you own a Gamecube, you know thereís been little to come out lately in terms of original games to justify the $99 purchase of the system. Sure, we have Metroid, Mario and Zelda (some of the best games on any platform), but if youíre like me and have owned a "Cube" since it came out, those games are old hat and thereís been NOTHING new and original of note on the "Cube" as long as I can remember.
Then came Pikmin 2.
Pikmin 2 is a sequel that doesnít stray to far from its original formula...and itís great! The original Pikmin was a Gamecube launch title that was cute, fuzzy, challenging, and above all fun. In the sequel, you play as Captain Olimar who returns to the Pikmin planet to search for artifacts that youíll trade for pokos (cash) to save your ailing corporation, Hocotate Freight.
While on the planet of the Pikmin, youíll guide up to 100 of your little eunuch friends to help you achieve various goals. There are several types of Pikmin, each with a special ability. Some are strong and heavy; others can resist fire. There are swimmers and flyers and...well you get the picture.
The artifacts you find are familiar objects like Chapstick and bottlecaps. What would those earthly objects be doing on the Pikmin planet? Hmmm...I wonder.
While it may seem that it would be kind of difficult to control 100 tiny hermaphroditic, smurf-like creatures, itís not. If thereís one thing Nintendo knows, itís control. The controls are so streamlined, youíll find yourself concentrating on tasks at hand and not how to move so many things around.
Graphically, Pikmin 2 is one of the better titles on the "Cube." There are many beautiful and varied environments that provide adequate amounts of eye candy and special effects. Conversely, if Pikmin 2 does have a failing it's in its audio presentation. I found the soundtrack too repetitive and annoying with equally annoying sound effects. Still, don't let that be enough to turn you away from this title.
If you own a Gamecube and want a non-violent, relaxing strategy game, there is NO other game to buy before this one.
BEST BET: If you wait just a little bit, Paper Mario 2 is just around the corner. I previewed it and it may be the best Gamecube game this year.