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What is Nintendo Thinking?

Licensing remakes? Where's the new content?

By James Stevenson     May 02, 2003

Today, Konami announced the return of the METAL GEAR series to Nintendo consoles with the revealing of a new game in development for the GameCube, METAL GEAR SOLID: THE TWIN SNAKES. Unfortunately, this is not the much-anticipated METAL GEAR SOLID 3, rather, a remake of METAL GEAR SOLID 1, but with overhauled graphics, and gameplay. Even more surprising, the development is being handled by Nintendo second-party Silicon Knights, most well known for their role in developing ETERNAL DARKNESS: SANITY'S REQUIEM.

What's going on over at Nintendo anyway? First, it was the release of SONIC ADVENTURE 2: BATTLE for the GameCube, a remake of the Dreamcast game. Then Capcom remade the original RESIDENT EVIL, with updated graphics and some changes to the game. Sega has announced SONIC ADVENTURE DX,


a director's cut of the original SONIC ADVENTURE, and now Konami announces a remake of the original METAL GEAR SOLID. Now I'm not one to judge, but when you're taking the best licenses, and only getting remakes for your console, something isn't quite right.

Now don't get me wrong, I love the RESIDENT EVIL remake for the GameCube, there were a lot of new additions that makes it very much worth any gamers' time. The problem is, generally it is new and exciting content that sells consoles. I believe the promise of METAL GEAR SOLID 2: SONS OF LIBERTY sold more PlayStation 2s than the fact that the console has a DVD player, or looks cooler, or anything like that.

Nintendo has been trying hard to secure some exclusive third-party support, and did get it with the exclusive RESIDENT EVIL games. But even to get some stuff from Namco and Sega the company had to hand the keys over to some of its best franchises F-ZERO and STAR FOX. Square is back in the fold, but with FINAL FANTASY CHRONICLES, a game that could be great, or could be lame, and definitely isn't the FINAL FANTASY XII that Nintendo fanboys hoped to see.

That said, I still think there is more than enough reason to own a GameCube solely in the first-party lineup. Yet Nintendo is going to have to do more to attract gamers who aren't exactly turned on by Mario, Link, Fox, Pikachu and co. if it's going to be a challenger in the next console race.


Namco has given Sega a short deadline to decide on a possible merger... Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick will be on the cover of MADDEN 2004... Factor 5, the maker of the ROGUE SQUADRON series, will develop the next PILOTWINGS game... EA has announced NEED FOR SPEED UNDERGROUND... GRAND THEFT AUTO III and VICE CITY will appear on the GameCube and Xbox a month after GRAND THEFT AUTO IV is released for PlayStation 2...



The nod


for our on shelves pick this week goes to CASTLEVANIA: ARIA OF SORROW for the Game Boy Advance. I had some time with a preview build earlier this year and am looking forward to the final product. It'll probably be what you'll find in my GBA SP on the way to and from L.A. this E3 season.

Gamers' Thumb is our weekly Video Game column.

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