Countdown to E3 2003: The Nintendo Front: The only convention guys admit they go to besides the Hunting and Fishing expo.
It's that time of year again boys and girls. Can you smell it in the air? The smell of anticipation, dedication, and speculation for some of the greatest video game series' ever created. It's the one convention that makes most guys ages 13-25 instinctively flock to, like salmon to Capistrano. The event is the Electronic Entertainment Expo, otherwise known as E3.
E3 2002 was a big year for Nintendo consoles. With main showcases featuring the likes of Zelda, Mario, and Metroid, Nintendo had one of the better floor shows. Now it's a full year later, and Nintendo desperately needs to make a big impression on gamers to further sales of the slacking GameCube. With releases of The Wind Waker, Metroid Prime, and Mario Sunshine already out of the way, Nintendo needs to call upon some of their smaller franchises for this years show. Fear not Nintendo loyalists, as this years E3 is going to feature a great many of excellent Nintendo series'. Want examples? Well read on.
Animal Crossing 2 (GameCube) from Nintendo
Tom Nook and the rest of your Animal Forest pals are returning to the GameCube. Although this game has only been officially mentioned for release in Japan, there's no doubt it will be making its way stateside eventually. What better way to announce the North American release than a surprise announcement at E3? As of right now, Animal Crossing 2 doesn't exist for North America. Nintendo loves making big announcements concerning their franchises, so chances are AC2 will be announced.
Mario Kart: Double Dash!! (GameCube) from Nintendo
Nintendo has been hard at work on the next installment to the incredibly amusing Mario Kart series for some time now, and players will finally get a chance to see it in action this year. The first firm details were only recently released, but from what we've seen so far, Double Dash will be true to the Mario Kart name. With up to 8 players racing at once, and 2 players being able to control the same kart, Double Dash should be a real asset to multiplayer fans everywhere. As was stated, Mario Kart: Double Dash has been in the works for a good while now, so chances are a playable demo will be present.
F-Zero GX (GameCube) from Nintendo
Another one of Nintendo's creations, F-Zero combines futuristic themes with high-flying, heart-pounding hover craft racing. We've been treated to lots of screens and a handful of videos of F-Zero so far, and it's looking amazing. The aptly named ?Home and Away? system has definitely been the most innovative of the F-Zero features so far, but more could be announced at the expo (online play anyone?). Similar to Double Dash, F-Zero has been in development for a long period of time. A playable demo could definitely be in the picture, as well as an example of the Home and Away system in action. Yummy.
Pikmin 2 (GameCube) from Nintendo
Pikmin was one of the most innovative games released close to the launch of the GameCube. I mean, come on, who could possibly not like those cute and adorable little plant-like creatures? Pikmin gave strategy fans a gameplay style similar to that of Lemmings, which was greeted with mostly positive reviews. Although details on Pikmin 2 are slim, we do know that Captain Olimar and the 3 different colors of Pikmin will return. Olimar's company is in a bit of financial trouble, and it's up to him and his assistant Loojie (no, that's not a typo) to pay it off. It also appears that 2 new types of Pikmin will be available, purple and white. Pikmin 2 has was only announced a coupe of months ago, so the chances of seeing a playable demo are slim to none. However, Pikmin 2 will most likely be featured at the Nintendo booth, and we'll be reporting everything the big N plans on showing off.
Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes (GameCube) from Nintendo/Silicon Knights
Although word that The Twin Snakes was being created came just days ago, it's already greatly anticipated. The Twin Snakes is basically a remade version of the original PSX Metal Gear Solid, which is hailed as one of the greatest action games in existence. What exactly will be renewed is still unknown, but you can be sure E3 will clear away some of the mysteries. Put it this way, its Shigeru Miyamoto and Hideo Kojima working on the same game. Need we say more? The Twin Snakes didn't exist until around a week ago, so a demo is pretty much out of the picture. Hopefully some more detailed information will be released.
Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles (GameCube) Nintendo/Square Enix
Final Fantasy is finally making its return to a Nintendo console. Crystal Chronicles was announced what seems to be an eternity ago, yet basically no information has been given about it. The only real facts are that the game is in real-time and that up to 4 players can control different characters using a GBA link-up feature. For the love of gaming, please Square, release more info at E3!?Playable demo? Doubtful. Making an appearance? Absolutely.
Phantasy Star Online Episode III: C.A.R.D. Revolution (GameCube) Sega
Another new-comer to the gaming scene, PSO Episode III was announced only a mere week ago. C.A.R.D. Revolution is described just by its title. Episode III will feature a card system similar to that of the Lost Kingdoms series, which completely revolutionizes the PSO series. Get it? Episode III will also be a completely functional MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game). Also new is the change from real-time battles, to the Final Fantasy style turn based battling. Again, due to the limited amount of time this game has officially existed, a playable demo is not to be expected. There should be lots of juicy new info during E3, so keep checking GT for further updates as E3 rolls around.
Star Wars Rogue Squadron III: Rebel Strike (GameCube) from LucasArts/Factor Five
The Force is with E3. First details of Rogue Squadron III were released last month, and what details they were. Two player split-screen mode, dogfights, ground combat, and even the ability to leave your craft in certain levels; all included in Rogue Leader III. Players will once again visit some of the most fabled Star Wars locales, such as Hoth, Endor, the Death Star, and more. Factor 5 has already made it known that the first level will be based on Hoth, a location that seems to start off every Star Wars game. Whether or not this level will be available at E3 is unknown.
Soul Calibur II (GameCube) Namco
It's one of the greatest fighters' ever created, and it's coming to the GameCube. Soul Calibur II tells of those who seek the Spirit Sword, and explores their reasons for doing so. Each console version of SCII is getting a different unique character, and the GameCube version is receiving the most high-profile of them all, Link. That's enough for every Zelda fan on the planet to want this game, let alone fighting fans. Surprisingly enough, we're not sure what to expect from this game at E3. There's a good chance of seeing a playable demo, and Link damn well better be in it.
Final Fantasy Tactics Advance (GBA) from Nintendo/Square Enix
Finally some good news for the portable gamers out there! The game has already proven its worth by selling nearly 500,000 copies in Japan. Now it's time for us North Americans to see what the dilly is. Tactics Advance marks the very first Final Fantasy game on the Game Boy Advance, and features all new characters, stories, and gameplay. You can also link up with a friend to have some multiplayer tactical battles. We're not sure what to expect from this one either. It's basically up for grabs to whether we see anything playable or not.
The Legend of Zelda (Tentative GBA Title) from Capcom?
Capcom has done a phenomenal job in creating portable versions of the almighty Zelda series. Both the Oracle games and the port of A Link to the Past were exceptionally well done. Now it's time to see what they do with the Game Boy Advance hardware. No worries really, because if it's got the name Zelda on it, it's almost guaranteed to be great. Technically this game doesn't exist yet. However if there's one place companies like to make big announcements, it's at E3.
The Final Word
There you have it, all the big games you can expect on Nintendo consoles at E3 2003. There are however lots of other great games that will be showcased, including all of the Capcom 5 games, Sonic Adventure DX, Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg, Starcraft: Ghost, Kirby's Air Ride, Advanced Wars 2, Wario World and more. You can also expect some big announcements for future games as well, including the possibility of a new GameCube Zelda, Mario 128, and Metroid Prime 2. E3 2003 will be taking place May 13-16 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Gaming Target will be covering the show both from the floor, as well as back at home base, so be sure to check back during the expo to check out all the latest scoops.