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The Year in Review

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The Best Games of 2003

What titles took home the Golden Thumbs for 2003?

By Troy Roberts and James Stevenson     January 09, 2004


2003 was a big year for video games, with three major consoles looking to be the public's number one choice for gaming. As James and Troy did last year, they have selected their top games for 2003's Golden Thumb awards, picking their top computer, Xbox, GameCube, PlayStation 2 and GameBoy titles. And the winners are...


PC Game of the Year STAR WARS GALAXIES: AN EMPIRE DIVIDED


STAR WARS GALAXIES: AN EMPIRE DIVIDED has

STAR WARS GALAXIES: AN EMPIRE DIVIDED

probably been one of the most awaited games for the last few years now. Being able to live in that galaxy far, far away in a game of this size would be everything a loyal fan could want. In my opinion, LucasArts and Sony Online Entertainment did one of the best jobs on this MMORPG that could have been done. The shear size of the game is incredible, with multiple planets to visit, each like you'd imagine living in. The best part is, the game gets better every day. Besides GALAXIES, the other PC game that we thought deserved to be mentioned was WARCRAFT III: THE FROZEN THRONE. While it was an expansion, the game included enough to be considered a stand-alone game.


Xbox Game of the Year - KNIGHTS OF THE OLD REPUBLIC


Easily the

RATCHET & CLANK: GOING COMMANDO for the PS2.

best game on the Xbox last year was the Star Wars based KNIGHTS OF THE OLD REPUBLIC. Taking place centuries before the original STAR WARS story, KNIGHTS is a very in-depth game with a great storyline, great graphics and the unique STAR WARS feel to it. And with it being the first true RPG in the saga, KNIGHTS OF THE OLD REPUBLIC sets the standards for how these games should be made. And an honorable mention must go out to CRIMSON SKIES, one of the best reasons to be an Xbox Live subscriber.


GameCube Game of the Year - THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: WIND WAKER


The GameCube

KNIGHTS OF THE OLD REPUBLIC

saw a lot of high quality game releases this year, from MARIO KART: DOUBLE DASH, to VIEWTIFUL JOE, to MARIO GOLF, to the newest ZELDA game. In the end, WIND WAKER won out. It almost doesn't seem like it was released this year, but it's the best game available on the GameCube. The biggest complaint about this one is that it wasn't OCARINA OF TIME - but given how excellent that game is, it's not really an insult as much as it is a compliment to be compared to its greatness.


Playstation 2 Game of the Year - RATCHET AND CLANK: GOING COMMANDO


The PlayStation 2

MARIO KART DOUBLE DASH!!

has really had some stellar titles this year, including a threesome of sequels from Sony's development teams. SOCOM II, JAK II and RATCHET II all hit very close to each other, in the months before Christmas, and all are top-notch games. After JAK and SOCOM, it seemed like RATCHET would only end up being a disappointment. But with its spherical worlds, experience system, and all around "biggerness", RATCHET AND CLANK: GOING COMMANDO easily blasts its way to our PS2 Game of the Year Award.


Game Boy Advance Game of the Year MARIO AND LUIGI


The Game Boy Advance might have had the best lineup of all this year, and we had a very difficult time agreeing on which was the top title. Games such as ADVANCE WARS 2, FINAL FANTASY TACTICS ADVANCE, FIRE EMBLEM and MARIO AND LUIGI all had very valid claims to the award. In the end though, it was the Plumbing Bros. who added yet another award to their extensive cabinet. With fun gameplay, a great storyline, and plenty of humor mixed in, MARIO AND LUIGI jumps, hammers and hand attacks the opposition into the ground. Game Boy Advance owners shouldn't miss this highly original title.


Most Fun Game MARIO KART: DOUBLE DASH


While you

THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: THE WIND WAKER

might think the Game of the Year category should be the most fun game - we had another game we felt was deserving, but not fo the covetted GOTY award. The honor of most fun game goes to MARIO KART: DOUBLE DASH!! for its insane 16-player co-op. As long as 8 karts are on the screen, it's fantastic. The battle modes are frantic, but even better, the races are always exciting. Many people bitch about the simplicity - but we think it works in the game's favor. How else would you decide who gets to use each character? Ultimately, the most outrageously fun moments of the year were while playing 8-kart MARIO KART, and that's why it wins this award.


Most Innovative Game BOKTAI


BOKTAI would be

BOKTAI.

a good game even without this innovative feature, but the thing about BOKTAI that stood out to us was the way the game harnesses sunlight to use within the game. The game is played something like LEGEND OF ZELDA: A LINK TO THE PAST, but you have a gun which is powered by the sun. To replenish your ammo and such, you need to play in an area where sun is getting in. You have a meter near the bottom of the screen that tells you how much sun you're getting as well. Very cool, and it at least gets the kids outside.


Game of the Year THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: WIND WAKER


While there were a lot of good games this year, one game really stood out to us more than any other, and that was THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: WIND WAKER. As mentioned above, while the game isn't as good as OCARINA OF TIME (one of the top 3 games of all time), WIND WAKER was excellent. While the graphics were a turn off at first for most people, the compelling gameplay and in-depth storyline sucked in nearly everyone who played it. This is easily the best game on the GameCube, and our Game of the Year.

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