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Nintendo Gamecube Review

It's finally here! The release of Nintendo's Gamecube. In order to compete with the competition from Sega, Sony, and Microsoft, Nintendo felt they would need to introduce a new system. The Gamecube is Nintendo's response to the competition.

As with all new systems, be prepared to spend a fairly large amount of money before you can actually play the system. The Nintendo Gamecube system itself costs $199.99 US dollars. The system wouldn't be much fun without any games though, so be prepared to pay an additional $49.99 for a game. Most of the games, however, require a memory card in order to save the game, and it wouldn't be too practical having to do everything all over again all the time after you turn off the system. The memory card costs about $14.99 US dollars. This brings the total up to about $270 US dollars before you can actually enjoy the system. However, this is a reasonable price when you think about how the Xbox costs $299.99 US dollars just for the system, not to mention how everything else is priced ridiculously high to make up for the loss of money that Microsoft is selling their system at.

When you first start the system, you will be greeted with an opening screen asking you to enter the time and date. You can also view other things here such as the contents of the memory card and information about the game disk entered. This is a lot like the opening screen from the Playstation 2. After you set the date and time, you can then begin playing your game. Being a system that uses disks, rather than cartridges like the Nintendo 64 and every other system by Nintendo, I expected the load times to be very slow. However, I found otherwise. The game loads up instantly, and whenever your switching between one screen and another, you never once see a "loading..." screen as seen in the Playstation. The load times are just as fast as any cartridge.

The game I bought with the system was Wave Race: Blue Storm. Those of you familiar with the N64 version of Wave Race will find many similarities between the two. In fact, you will even find some of the same maps from the N64 version such as Dolphin Park. However, Dolphin Park has been redesigned somewhat to make it a little different from the N64 version. One of the many great differences between the N64 Wave Race and the Gamecube's Wave Race: Blue Storm is the amount of detail. Right away, you will notice a huge difference in the amount of detail in the maps, the water, the waves, and everything around you. Unlike the N64 version of Wave Race, where the water was basically just one blue color that you rode on top of, you will be able to see down into the water and you'll also see tons of reflections from buildings, trees, islands, and the such. You will see fish swimming around, and plants growing down underneath the water. As in the N64 version, you'll still be noticing different wave patterns in the game such as very rough waves that throw you around, or calm waves that barely push you aside. Wave Race: Blue Storm also has some new stunts in it as well. For example, you can perform a move known as the Superman off the ramps. This opens many new possibilities relating to your performance in Stunt mode. Another new feature is the boost that you can get by pressing the Z button.

If you want to be able to play games with a friend, you'll need to get a second, third, or even a fourth controller. The controller's cost $34.99 US dollars each. The Gamecube controller is very comfortable. You will be able to reach for any button, simply by moving your thumb, or index finger. You won't have to move your entire hand in order to reach things like the L button or the D-Pad like you would on the N64 controller. The one thing I don't like as much about the Gamecube controller as opposed to the N64 controller is the location of the Z button. The Z button on the N64 controller was often used as a trigger button, as it was under the controller like a trigger. However, on the Gamecube controller, it is on the top, right in front of the R button. While you can still reach it with comfort, its not always at your finger tips like it was on the N64 version. You'll have to move your index finger in order to reach it. Other than that however, I feel that the Gamecube's controller was a success.

Unlike with the Nintendo 64, the Gamecube comes with a host of new games to choose from. These games include Luigi's Mansion, Star Wars: Rogue Squadron II, Tony Hawks Pro Skater 3, Madden 2002, Monkey Ball, and many others. Each game costs $49.99 US dollars, so unless you are very wealthy or are friends with someone that is, you probably won't be able to get every game. The are also many great games on the way, such as the new Zelda for Gamecube, and Super Smash Bros: Melee. Gamecube is destined to be one great system!

Check out the GC specifications below:

Gamecube Specifications:

MPU ("Micro Processing Unit")

Custom IBM Power PC "Gekko"

Manufacturing Process

0.18 micron IBM Copper Wire Technology

Clock Frequency

485 MHz

CPU Capacity

1125 Dmips (Dhrystone 2.1)

Internal Data Precision

32-bit Integer & 64-bit Floating-point

External Bus

1.3 GB/second peak bandwidth

32-bit address space

64-bit data bus

162 MHz clock

Internal Cache

L1: Instruction 32KB, Data 32KB (8 way)

L2: 256KB (2 way)

System LSI

Custom ATI/Nintendo "Flipper"

Manufacturing Process

0.18 micron NEC Embedded DRAM Process

Clock Frequency

162 MHz

Embedded Frame Buffer

Approx. 2 MB

Sustainable Latency: 6.2ns (1T-SRAM)

Embedded Texture Cache

Approx. 1 MB

Sustainable Latency: 6.2 ns (1T-SRAM)

Texture Read Bandwidth

10.4 GB/second (Peak)

Main Memory Bandwidth

2.6 GB/second (Peak)

Pixel Depth

24-bit Color, 24-bit Z Buffer

Image Processing Functions

Fog, Subpixel Anti-aliasing, 8 Hardware Lights, Alpha Blending, Virtual Texture Design, Multi-texturing, Bump Mapping, Environment Mapping, MIP Mapping, Bilinear Filtering, Trilinear Filtering, Ansitropic Filtering, Real-time Hardware Texture Decompression (S3TC)
Real-time Decompression of Display List, HW 3-line Deflickering filter

Audio Processing

(Incorporated into the System LSI)

Sound Processor

Custom Macronix 16-bit DSP

Instruction Memory

8KB RAM + 8KB ROM

Data Memory

8KB RAM + 4KB ROM

Clock Frequency

81 MHz

Performance

64 simultaneous channels, ADPCM & PCM encoding

Sampling Frequency

48KHz

Performance

Floating-point Arithmetic Capability

10.5 GFLOPS (Peak)

(MPU, Geometry Engine, HW Lighting Total)

Real-world polygon

6 to 12 million polygons/second (Peak)

(Assuming actual game conditions with complex models, fully textured, fully lit, etc.)

System Memory "Splash"

40 MB

Main Memory

24 MB MoSys 1T-SRAM

Approximately 10ns Sustainable Latency

A-Memory

16 MB 81 MHz DRAM

Disc Drive

CAV (Constant Angular Velocity) System

Average Access Time

128ms

Data Transfer Speed

16Mbps to 25Mbps

Media

3 inch Nintendo GameCube Disc based on Matsushita’s Optical Disc Technology

Capacity

Approx. 1.5GB

Input/Output

4 Controller Ports

2 Memory Card Slots

Analog AV Output

Digital AV Output

2 High-Speed Serial Ports

High-speed Parallel Port

Power Supply

AC Adapter DC12V x 3.5A

Dimensions

4.3"(H) x 5.9"(W) x 6.3"(D)


Review by Septic

 

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