The 3rd Annual DKU New Years Forecast
2002 - A Year of Bottled Funk
Well, 2001 sure sucked, didn't it? Despite one of the best games ever finally getting released (Conker's Bad Fur Day) and the heir to the N64 throne getting birthed, it also saw George W. Bush taking office, The Lone Gunmen television show getting canceled (although it also debuted in 2001), the release of Mario Party 3, the death of George Harrison, and that bad thing that happened that everyone said Nostradamus predicted but he really didn't. Anyway, with the N64 dead and buried, we can look ahead to 2002 as the year where the DKU gets new life breathed into it. If all these games do get out in time for 2002, then maybe, just maybe, the year won't be such a depressing hellhole.
1: Diddy Kong Pilot (Game Boy Advance)
The first new entry in the Diddy Kong Racing series since, well, Diddy Kong Racing. For the "Donkey Kong Land" of DKR, the most hallyballooed (is that even a word?) feature of the original game, the airplanes, take center stage. In addition, the entire cast list has shifted from mostly original characters to some top names in the DKC/DKL/DK64 games, as well as Krunch (the only returning DKR original character that we know of). This means the first game for Dixie since Donkey Kong Land III, and the first game where DK is playable but Diddy is the star. You see the great working relationship they have? Mario has to get captured every time for Luigi to be the star, and they're pusing brothers! Anyway, the game will also employ that "tilt" technology that was in some sort of Kirby game or whatever, which would make you look like an even bigger ass for playing it. Never fear though, as those crafty bastards at Rare have made this feature optional. When it comes down to it, Diddy Kong Racing should be a simultaneous orgasm for any true Donkey Kong fan... all seven of us.
The Wow-O-Meter Ranking: 8/10
2: Star Fox Adventures (GAMECUBE)
Oh, Dinosaur Planet. How you have been through some changes since you were on the forecast last year. Now a GAMECUBE and Star Fox game (hence the title), Fox McCloud has usurped Sabre as the hero, banishing him to video game limbo to sit beside the hick Kong from Diddy Kong Pilot and many of the characters from Twelve Tales: Conker 64. Tricky is still a sidekick character though, so the DKU connections remain, meaning we can babble on about the furry shenanigans, Conker-esque facial emotions, and the like for as long as we please. Just look at the detail of Fox in that picture. Not even a real animal looks that detailed, meaning Rare is either defying the will of God, or they're really just terrible at making animals look subpar realistic. No matter, Din... we mean, Star Fox Adventures is looking to be the first real breakthrough game for GAMECUBE. An adventure without wearing a ridiculous contraption on your back in this day and age? Well I never!
The Wow-O-Meter: 10/10 (Up Two Whole Points From Last Year!)
3: Donkey Kong Coconut Crackers (Game Boy Advance)
A Donkey Kong puzzle game? Yes, for some reason or another, Rare thinks the public is hankering for all sorts of Donkey Kong wackiness, and we're quite thankful for their misconceptions. While it's sure to be no Donkey Kong Country 4, how can you go wrong with several DKC-themed puzzle worlds, rogue Kremlings, and the occasional animal buddy stopping by? Why, it would be perfect for those long 2002 road trips you might be planning on taking. While even we aren't quite sure what the hell the puzzles are actually supposed to be about (something about paint and coconuts), we'll just have to find out when the game is actually released. Is this just further cheapening the once grand DKU name? You betcha, but we're just thankful it's Rare who's doing it this time instead of... Hudson Soft. *Shudder*
The Wow-O-Meter: 7/10
4: Donkey Kong Racing (GAMECUBE)
And now for the official sequel to Diddy Kong Racing. While we've only seen a demo of the game from last year's E3, we do know that you ride on animals instead of vehicles (and all animals are patterned after existing animal buddies, who you may or may not get to actually ride in the game), and several long lost characters make their return, like Kiddy and Taj. Hopefully, where there's Taj, there's Wizpig, so we can get a better resolution to that DKR cliffhanger other than him popping out behind a bush and getting hit by a bus. Donkey Kong Racing is currently scheduled for 2002, but can Rare get two huge GAMECUBE games out in the same year? Only time, and Theo Huxtable, can tell.
The Wow-O-Meter: 9/10
Hold it! We're not done yet... not by a long shot. While those are all the games currently aimed towards 2002 through the barrel of Nintendo's public relations gun, there are still a handful of DKU games that haven't been given specific dates yet, and could very well hit store shelves before The 4th Annual DKU New Years Forecast - 2003 and the Enema Shots of Glory.
*Banjo-Kazooie: Grunty's Revenge (Game Boy Advance)
What happens when Rare can't be assed to come up with a logical continuation of the Banjo series on a portable platform that won't interfere with whatever continuation they have planned for the console platform? Ignore all continuity, then explain it away as an alternate reality to keep nerds like us at bay! And you know what? IT WORKED. Of course, that makes us hope that something radical will happen in the game (since it doesn't count in the "real" world), like both Banjo and Kazooie getting killed. Then when we do beat it and it doesn't happen, we'll be very dissapointed and regard B-K: GR as one of the worst Rare games ever made. But until that happens, we can't wait for it! However, with two Rare-made DKU GBA games headed our way in 2002, do we really have time for a third one? Maybe it would be the best thing for all of us if BK: GR wasn't released until 2003. Then it can probably compete with Mario Party 5 (and we'll get that topic after the next entry)...
The Wow-O-Meter: 8/10
*Mario Kart GAMECUBE (GAMECUBE)
Yes, Mario Kart tends to be the favorite cameo game series of the staff (in general... we assume), but can Mario Kart GAMECUBE really stand out? Think about it. Mario Kart 64 was released a year before Diddy Kong Racing. Mario Kart Super Circuit has come out shortly before Diddy Kong Pilot. But Mario Kart GAMECUBE has only been seen in a much rougher demo than Donkey Kong Racing, and DoKR has been given the tentative release year of 2002, whereas we haven't heard a word about Mario Kart GAMECUBE. If DoKR does come out beforehand, then MK GCN may look fairly pathetic afterwards. Of course, everyone will like it better except us, but we have our own style here. Anyway, this has a chance of coming out in 2002, and knowing how quickly Nintendo can whip up those cameo games, it wouldn't surprise any of us. Let's just hope Nintendo doesn't get a sudden urge to "innovate" and make the go-karts race vertically, straight into God's waiting arms.
The Wow-O-Meter: 6/10
*Mario Party 4 (GAMECUBE)
WHY? Nintendo and Hudson Soft, stop the madness. Mario Party was a great game, and we still have fond memories of it. Mario Party 2 was good too, even though it was released too soon after the first one. With Mario Party 3, you murdered any chance the series had of being entertaining again. You beat the idea into the ground, expecting it to continue to grow roots and bring forth a prosperous money tree, but you beat it so far into the ground that it's in the center of the world, crushed by the gravity pushing it from all sides of the globe. Even with better graphics (and face it... even on the GAMECUBE, they'll still be subpar), possible online features, and more, Mario Party can never be revived. Wait 15 years if you ever want to bring the damn thing back again, but you blew your wad too soon by making it a trilogy in a little more than two years. BURN IN THE BELLY OF THE SLOR, MILLENNIUM STAR.
The Wow-O-Meter: 2/10 (Down Four Whole Points From Last's Year Forecast!)
So ends another New Years Forecast. There are three other rumored but practically confirmed titles on the horizon (Banjo-Threeie, Conker's Other Bad Day, and Donkey Kong GAMECUBE), but the chance that any of them could see the light of day in 2002 is laughable, especially with so many projects slated for the year from Rare anyway.
Who knows what 2002 will bring for the DKU, or any of us. Some of you will probably die though. Happy New Year!