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GameCube-ing - What's new? Holiday gifts galore - Buyers Guide

GameCube and a quartet of new games from Nintendo, Redmond, Wash., just might be the must-have gifts this holiday season. Easily hooking into your television set via AV jacks, GameCube ($149.95), with its multifaceted controller, sure beats reruns and most computer-screen games, especially if you're playing Magical Mirror, Super Mario Sunshine, Super Smash Bros. Melee, or Animal Crossing ($49.95 apiece).

In Magical Mirror, Mickey Mouse has a strange dreamworld adventure in which he's trapped in a magical mirror in an alternate universe that resembles his house. Players guide Mickey from room to room and solve puzzles, trick enemies, and pull gags to locate the scattered mirror pieces. A parent mode allows adult and child to play together, especially helpful for young children.

Super Mario the plumber, meanwhile, is making his first new "game" appearance in six years. This time, Mario is equipped with a water pack he must use to clean up the paint-like goo at his vacation destination of Isle Delfino. Along the way through the different levels, he must solve various puzzles while defeating the enemies of the island who created the big mess in the first place.

In Melee, a variety of Nintendo characters--including Super Mario, Donkey Kong, Pikachu (of Pokemon fame), Fox McCloud, and Link--are allotted "multiple" lives and then the battles begin! When the timer goes off, whoever has the most lives left wins.

Animal Crossing (Population: Growing!) asks players if they're ready to strike out on their own and lead an independent life amongst the world's animals, insects, and fish. Not surprisingly, Mother Nature has numerous adventures in store for those willing to pack up their things and start over.

If you want or need more than one controller for your GameCube, there is Play Cube ($9.99) from Nyco Technologies, Inc., Los Angeles, Calif., which can convert the Playstation and Playstation 2 pad to a GameCube Controller. An eight-megabit memory card ($19.99) provides more than two times the storage capacity of a standard memory card.

Another great game that's played on screen is Barbie Dance Party ($49.99) from Radica, Dallas, Tex. Simply plug the electronic floor mat into a TV or VCR and start shaking those hips. When Barbie moves, your child moves, too, mimicking the video figure's wiggles and jiggles. There are 12 tunes--fast and slow--to appeal to all levels of dancing skill.

For those who enjoy playing on the go, there are Radica's handheld computer games: Skannerz (monsters can only be captured by scanning the bar codes in stores); King Pin Bowling (great graphics and sounds have the ball rolling and the pins flying); Rush Hour (practice defensive driving in over 1,200 puzzles on five skill levels); and Junior Bass Fishin' (realistic casting, hooking, and reeling action builds hand-eye coordination). Skannerz and King Pin retail for $19.99 each; Rush Hour and Junior Bass go for $14.99 apiece.

When it comes down to handheld games, however, there can only be one king--and that's Nintendo's GameBoy Advance ($79.99). It has the biggest screen, the most colors, the boldest graphics, and the clearest digitized stereo sound. And if you use the Game Link cable ($10), you can either play with other GameBoy Advance systems and enjoy four-player games on four different screens, or hook up with a GameCube to play on a large TV screen.

Since Super Mario was such a big hit on GameCube, we decided to stick with him on GameBoy Advance and selected Mario Kart Super Circuit ($29.95), Yoshi's Island: Super Mario Advance 3 ($34.95), and Warioland 4 ($29.95), which stars an "evil" version of the usually-do-good Super Mario. Your kids will have a blast with them.

COPYRIGHT 2002 Society for the Advancement of Education
COPYRIGHT 2002 Gale Group





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