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Developer:
Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo
Platform: Gamecube
Release Date: August 30, 2004

by Jason Ferguson




Pikmin was arguably one of the best games on the Gamecube. The game was very unique, featuring lots of strategy and great gameplay. Due to its success, Nintendo has recently released Pikmin 2. With a variety of improvements over the original, Pikmin 2 looks like an even better game! So how does it compare? Read on!


The game starts out right after the events of the original Pikmin. Olimar returns home only to find his employer, Hocolate, has gone bankrupt. In his absence a new employee, Louie, has been hired. Louie and Olimar are then asked to return to the mysterious world of the Pikmin in search of treasures that will help the company pay off their rather large debt. The story obviously isn't anything that'll knock your socks off, but it's a lighthearted tale that does what it needs to do... tie the game together.


The gameplay in Pikmin 2 remains very much the same as the original. You'll start out with a small number of Pikmin. You then collect pellets and defeated creatures to increase your number of Pikmin to up to 100 on the field at a time. These items are taken back to "the Onion" and then converted to buried Pikmin, which you must pluck out of the ground. Each night you must return your Pikmin to the Onion to keep them safe from predators. You can then find them stowed away in the onion upon your return. Building up your army of Pikmin is lots of fun!


With your army of Pikmin, you explore the world in search of treasures. The Pikmin will be used to solve puzzles, defeat enemies, and carry treasures back to your ship. The game features a handy (although, sometimes noisy and annoying) meter that tells you how close you are to treasures. The meter will completely freeze once you've collected all the treasures, so you know it's time to move on. Easily the worst aspect of the original game was the fact that you were limited to 30 days to complete the mission, which left you with little time to explore and caused you to be extremely rushed. Fortunately that problem has been removed, so you have all the time you need.


Each world features a variety of sublevels for you to explore, where hordes of treasure can be found. These sublevels are rather long, and often quite challenging. If you bail out on a sublevel before completing all the floors you'll lose all the treasure you've collected. You must either complete each of the sublevels or find an exit point that will allow you to leave without losing your treasure. Unfortunately, you cannot build your number of Pikmin while in these sublevels, so they're not very fun. If you lose a large number of Pikmin, you're pretty much screwed because you may still have several floors to go. Although I loved playing the game, I dreaded each sublevel. Fortunately, the day comes to a standstill while in a sublevel, so at least you can take your time.


Among your army of Pikmin you have five different colors (3 old, 2 new). Red Pikmin are the best fighters and are immune to fire. Blue Pikmin are the only Pikmin that can swim. Yellow Pikmin are immune to electricity and can be thrown the farthest. White Pikmin are one of the game's new additions, and they are immune to poison (as well as poisonous themselves) and can find buried treasure. Purple Pikmin are also new, and are as strong as 10 Pikmin! The variety of Pikmin adds a lot of variety to the gameplay. There are all sorts of different puzzles you'll have to solve, and there's a good deal of strategy in deciding what type of Pikmin or Pikmin combination is necessary to use. Although the original Pikmin can easy be obtained through Onions, the white and purple Pikmin can only be recruited by converting a Pikmin in a purple of white flower. By throwing a Pikmin into one of these flowers, it will change into a Pikmin of that color. Each flower can change up to 5 Pikmin, and then it withers away. Fortunately, these flowers come back, but it still makes building up your white and purple Pikmin a pain since the flowers are somewhat tough to get to.


Another major addition to Pikmin 2 is Louie as a second character. You can send Olimar off to do one thing, and send Louie and some Pikmin to do something else. This can help out a lot since it'll will allow you to multitask. For example, you can take Olimar and some Pikmin out to slay enemies, and have Louie sit back at the onion and pluck the new Pikmin. This adds a lot to the game, although I would have loved to see a co-op mode.


What I enjoyed most about Pikmin 2 was the added two player versus mode. This allows you and a friend to go head to head with your Pikmin in a battle to see who is the best. Each of you has to collect four yellow marbles and whoever collects them first wins. Sounds simple, but there's a lot more to it than that. You can also win by stealing your opponents marble, making the game abit like capture the flag. Or you can win by killing off all of your opponents Pikmin. There are hordes of enemies and even some bonuses on the field that can affect the game, and it's all a lot of fun. You'll likely be playing this for hours! Combine that will huge worlds and lots of sublevels and hordes of items to seek out in the single player mode of the game, and you'll be pretty busy.


Graphically, the game is beautiful. The large environments are highly detailed, with a wide variety of colors and excellent effects. The music is fitting for the game, and the sounds that creatures make are well done. You'll often hear Pikmin making noise as you explore, and it'll probably make you laugh.


Take the excellent formula to the original Pikmin and combine it with new Pikmin colors, a new character and a versus mode and you've obviously got a great game. Still, I found the sublevels and the limitations on being able to collect the white and purple Pikmin pretty tedious. If you liked the original Pikmin, you're bound to like this. Perhaps a few of the game's mechanics could have been improved upon, but Pikmin 2 is a gaming experience you'll enjoy!


Final Grade: 85%




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