I managed to get my paws on a copy of the Gamecube demo disk (for $10 bucks US) and I thought I'd share my impressions for those of you who don't have a local shop selling them. The disk contains playable demos for Viewtiful Joe, Soul Calibur 2, Billy Hatcher and The Giant Egg and Splinter Cell. Let's take a look.
Easily the coolest demo on the disk, Viewtiful Joe is an action packed 3D side scroller that makes excellent use of user controlled slow motion and hyper fast time manipulation. The controls are very easy with one button controlling the punches, one button the kicks and one for jumping. The top left and right triggers control the slow-mo and super-fast time functions and that's about all you need to know. The game sets a frantic pace from the beginning and never slows down. The demo contains a ton of "boss fights" among the numerous robotic baddies you have to fight along the way including a crazy ninja guy and a cowby six-shooting robot.
Along the top of the screen you will see a power bar that shows how much you can manipulate time at any given moment. It replenishes very quickly although you can run out if you over-use it which would then toss you back into your regular human form for maybe 10 seconds or so. Joe switches between his super human form and his human form very quickly depending on the status of your power bar so you have to make sure you don't get carried away with the slow-mo feature.
Viewtiful Joe is a very surprising amount of fun and depending on the full game's length I'd say it's a must buy on the release day.
Soul Calibur 2
This is going to take some getting used to. Anyone like myself who spent months, if not years, playing Soul Calibur on the Dreamcast will find the Gamecube controller is slightly awkward. One of the main differences is that the c-stick directions perform different special attacks which feels odd to say the least. Other than that, this is very much a Soul Calibur game with the same style and feel of the original. I was a little disappointed that Link wasn't playable in the demo but I guess that just gives you something to look forward to.
Considering the amount of un-lockables and features in the upcoming full version I don't think there is any question that you should be buying this on any console opening day! The trick is deciding which one to buy it for.
Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg
I don't have much to say about this one, it's a very colorful and playable game made by SEGA. Obviously targeted at kids you control Billy Hatcher, a young boy dressed like a chicken who has to roll eggs over various fruits to make them grow bigger and eventually open. There are also plenty of eggcellent puzzles to solve along with some nasties you need to roll over. It's a classic 3D platformer and should be great for the kiddies.
Splinter Cell is out for every platform known to man so if you really want to try it head out and rent that bad boy. It's a great game and well worth playing.
There were a couple other things on the disk worth mentioning. The Rogue Squadron III video looks great although they obviously have some work to do on the on foot 3rd person combat. Even in video form it looks very stiff and unplayable. Coop play should be a blast for the space battles though and I'll be seriously considering a purchase for that alone.
The Fzero footage finally kindled my excitement for the upcoming GC racer. I loved the original SNES version (motion sickness and all) and I can't wait for this new version. Go SEGA!
There are a couple GBA demos on the disk for those of you with a connection cable and a GBA. The Wario Ware: Games Micro Mini-Game$ demo gives you good idea of just how crazy-go-nuts this thing is. 4 second mini-games that usually require pressing the A Button at the right time or using the D-Pad. Based on the demo I may pick this one up if I have some spare cash.
The Disk also has a Dr.Mario demo on it which looks like a straight port of earlier versions. Good for gaming on the go if you need a Tetris-like fix.
That's it! If you can find a copy of the demo disk pay the $10 bucks and try out Viewtiful Joe and Soul Calibur 2. Both demos are well worth the price of admission.