I just threw this game in my GCN for the first time in over a year. It’s a game I’d always heard about but never played until around 3-4 years ago. And since then it’s quietly become one of my favorites. And revisiting it today just felt so good.
Even though I missed it at the time, I imagine this game must have melted faces during the Gamecube’s launch. It has gorgeous 480i visuals at a rock solid 60fps with such lucid controls that feels so darn perfect on a CRT. Sure, after seeing games like SoulCalibur on Dreamcast 2 years prior, the impact may have been lessened. But if you were waiting on a GameCube as a Nintendo-only gamer, this must have felt like quite a generational leap at the time over the N64.
Even with the interlacing, on a CRT this game has such a clean and fun look with such a pure premise. The graphics serve the gameplay and create a fun party-like atmosphere.
And the the controls perfectly map to the GCN’s analogue stick feels almost akin to what Mario 64 was to the N64’s analogue stock. Or what Wii Sports was for the Wii Remote. It’s simply a perfect marriage of software and input device.
I still never beat the hardest difficulty level. But every so often I try to press my luck to see how far my skills can take me. It’s a great example of using “lives” as a proper arcade-like mechanic to keep you coming back and trying to improve (something lost on many modern gamers).
I think it’s secretly my favorite Sega game ever made.