Doshin the Giant for the Nintendo GameCube was recently released in Japan, and we've had extensive hands-on time with the game. The game was originally released on the Nintendo 64DD service in Japan and was not released in North America. The GameCube version has received a graphical overhaul, which is immediately apparent in certain elements, like water effects running smoothly at 60 frames per second.
The game falls under the god games subgenre, along with games like Populous. Players must use Doshin to interact with the natives and the environments of a small tropical island. Their primary objective is to be favored by the natives by helping them set up communities and physically mold the environment around them to their suiting. But players can take the opposite approach and become evil Doshin (called Jyashin in the Japanese version) and cause chaos and destruction. Doshin grows bigger by collecting hearts that are given to him by the natives when he's in his good Doshin guise and by collecting skulls when he's evil Doshin. The controls are quite simple and straightforward. The analog stick is used to move Doshin around, while the C stick is for camera rotation. The directional pad is used to zoom in and out. The A button lets players pick up objects or attack in the case of evil Doshin, the B button lets them jump, and the X and Y buttons raise or lower the level of land and change the environment. Although Doshin's walking speed is pretty slow, thankfully he can hover by holding down the B button when he's evil Doshin.
Players can also snap photos at any time during the game with the R shoulder button. Photos can then be saved into an album. In a continuing trend, Nintendo has decided to include a memory card in the game's package, since the game requires at least 40 blocks to save data. While the game is quite familiar among hard-core gamers, there was never a real opportunity for anyone to play the game. The GameCube version is definitely a better representation, so those who have been eager to play the game should check it out. Doshin the Giant for the GameCube is currently available in Japan. A North American release date has not yet been announced.