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You will see in a previous review that I have given my 2 cents on the sequel to this game so I thought I would also review the original as the franchise is one of my favourites and I cannot wait for number 3 should Nintendo provide it. I hope they do! I originally had this game for my GameCube though it was in the American or US region so it could not be replayed on the Wii so I was very happy when they transferred or ported the game to a new Wii version.
Captain Olimar from Hocotate is a delivery man or freight carrier by career much like Fry from Futurama. However unlike Fururama he travels on his own throughout the Galaxy and cannot breathe Oxygen. It is on his return journey that disaster strikes and his spaceship is hit by a comet! His little one man spaceship then plummets to a nearby planet full of the poisonous gas OXYGEN and he only has 30 days left of his own air supply! (Each day lasts around 15mins real time) Not only that but his spaceship is in disrepair and all seems hopeless.
Olimar must scour the planet for new parts for his ship which isn't easy considering the majority of the planets inhabitants are giant Olimar eating beasts which can shoot fire, water and electricity.
However there is hope. A small colony of Pikmin become in awe by Olimar and the beacon attached to his space helmet, they treat him as their master and even battle the big bugs and risk their life for him.
Pikmin varieties to reiterate
Red pikmin-they have little pointy noses and are immune to fire.
Yellow pikmin-They have rather large ears like African elephants which allow them to fly higher when you through them in the air, they are also immune to electricity.
Blue pikmin-They have a little mouth that acts like a set of gills so these pikmin can breathe under water and are immune to water attacks.
You travel with the pikmin above land collecting human rubbish and waste such as bottle caps, containers, cookies, fruit and jewellery to repair your space ship. Above ground and below, enemies vary greatly in difficulty as being eaten isn't the only problem, some shoot fire, water or electricity and some even drop explosives so you have to choose your pikmin correctly for each battle, boss and dungeon.
In order to build your team you also have to collect dead beast corpses which the pikmin carry back to their homes which are above ground onions on tripods which match the colour of their associated pikmin. This is important as if you run out of any colour altogether you are in big trouble and may not be able to complete the game by 30 days.
The visuals are gorgeous and are very realistic looking almost like that from a wildlife documentary based on army aunts or predatory insects and arachnids, with lots of big giant scary beasties thrown in. There are a large range of varying environments which are interesting and addictive to explore and discover including caves, play rooms, gardens and rivers.
The soundtrack is largely relaxed with no vocals, only animal noises or the sound of the pikmin singing or whimpering. Though during times of peril or emergency the soundtrack becomes more urgent and gives warning sounds should a big boss appear or should Olimar be dangerously low on health.
The game gets more difficult as you play through the game, it isn't half as difficult as the sequel however as you don't need to recover as much treasure and there aren't as many pikmin varieties to be worrying about for a start. Though it doesn't take away the fun or intrigue of the plot, the game play is fairly easy to get grips with also and it's an amazing little world to explore. If you can't collect all of the ship parts by 30 days it isn't the end of Olimar either as long as you collect maybe 10-15 really major ones then you should still be able to get off the planet alive but it will affect your ending.
It is an amazing little gaming franchise which I will play again and again and recommend to everyone.
Pikimin was one of the Gamecube's most original titles so it's not very surprising that Nintendo have decided to port it to the Gamecube's much more succesful cousin. As part of the new Play Control series, classic Gamecube titles are released with Wiimote controls. There are also some less obvious upgrades, the Gamecube release was confined to outputting in PAL 576i broadcast signal because of hardware limitations. If you play your Gamecube version of Pikmin on the Wii, this limitation will still be there. The new Wii version can output via component cable at 480p, this should look much sharper and smoother for buyers with a HDTV and means that this port does take some advantage of the improved hardware.
For those who have not played the original Gamecube title, Pikmin tells the tale of Captain Olimar. Olimar is an alien the size of a 50 pence piece who has crashed on the planet earth. His spaceship, the Dolphin, has broken apart in the atmosphere and to return home Olimar must find all 30 missing parts of his ship. Unfortunately the planet Earth is full of hostile giant insects, bizarre birds, killer frogs, puddles like lakes and impossible high walls. Luckily, Olimar has also discovered a race of tiny plant people he has named "Pikmin." As the player you must plant and harvest Pikmin until you have gangs of up to a hundred, these Pikmin will then climb, crawl, fight and search for your missing ship parts.
You progress through a range of levels, finding new Pikmin with new abilities as you go. The levels are quirky and show the world as it would be perceived from an inch above the ground, it always feels familiar yet alien. Integrated into the world are clever puzzles that you must solve with your different Pikmin to collect your ship parts.
The wiimote controls are acceptable, however they are the game's weakest area. While they work for most tasks, it is clear that the controls were worked out on the Gamecube controller and then adapted for the Wiimote. It takes a long time for the controls to feel truly intuitive but this is not a deal breaker. This was one of the best games on the Gamecube and is still excellent on the Wii.