6 of the Best Games: Nintendo GameCube

Games in my opinion that define gaming on the Nintendo GameCube

Even though I will be focusing almost all of my gaming writing here on Medium within the 8-bit and 16-bit generations — one of my all-time favorite systems was actually released in 2002 in Australia and it sadly did not receive the recognition or the success it was — in my opinion — so deserving of.

To think that I waited until 2011 to actually buy this console myself means that I contributed to it’s demise and I was at the time blindsided by the hype marketing surrounding the PlayStation 2 (PS2). Don’t think I am saying the PlayStation 2 is not a great system, but rather I wish at the time I did not put all my gaming efforts into just one console.

I feel that the GameCube has much better visuals and in many cases — loading times — compared to the PS2 versions of the same game; but how could it compete against the huge PS2 user-base that I was a part of and its game library. The original Xbox had the same issue to deal with, and it was technically superior to both these systems. The Sega Dreamcast was the least technically powerful of the machines in the 128-bit generation by its specifications, but it too was quite a revolutionary system.

The GameCube has one of the best controllers ever made for any console in my opinion. This controller greatly improved upon the Nintendo 64 controllers layout and most notably — placed the primary/accept button as the largest button in the primary button group.

Other visually noticeable changes include the X and Y buttons being kidney bean shaped and the Z trigger button, which was underneath the N64 controller, is placed next to the R shoulder button. The GameCube controller just feels “right” in your hands and to this day, only the Xbox 360/Xbox One controllers are in the same league as this controller — sorry Sony fans, but you know it’s true.

So here are six of my favorite games that I have played/owned on the GameCube and to me are still fantastic to play:


1. Resident Evil 4

The formula of this Resident Evil game was changed to include more action and if you have played other RE titles, you may feel this formula is close to perfect here. You play as Leon, a bodyguard for the President, and you follow a group into the Spanish countryside that have kidnapped the President’s daughter. Lots of the usual RE weird things and plenty of undead to deal with in this game. The GameCube’s visuals at its best and it was a console exclusive for some time.


2. Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem

Not often do we play a game that plays tricks with your mind and can really psychologically frighten you – Eternal Darkness is one of these unique titles. This is a different type of survival horror game and for good reason. You get to play as multiple characters in a family linage, in different points in time with intelligent puzzles to solve and enemies to hack. The game also features a sanity meter which gives different responses depending upon its reading and the lower it is the weirder things get. Show me another game like this.


3. Ikaruga

Some people say “shmups” are a dead genre — I say the genre won’t die as we have many wonderful titles like Ikaruga to keep going back to. This is no ordinary shooter — it is as brutally difficult as it is perfect. The game offers no pick-ups/power-ups whatsoever. You have a fire button, a laser, and the ability to change your ships ‘polarity’ to light or dark. Being light or dark holds vital importance — your ship can switch but enemies cannot — so white enemies fire white bullets and black enemies fire black bullets. If you choose to match the enemy color, you absorb their bullets and charge your laser but your attack is weaker. By being the opposite color, you inflict massive damage on your enemy but just one of their bullets will kill you. Such a wonderfully unique shooter.


4. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

The original Prince of Persia is a favorite of mine — particularly the original Apple II version. In this 3D environment version, the levels are well designed and the fluid controls allow you to easily get him to jump, flip, swing, climb, avoid traps, solve puzzles and of course, fighting off enemies. As per previous versions, your goal is to rescue a Princess and guide her safely — so you will need to defeat enemies and sand demons using the sword and then once they are weakened, banish them once and for all with the magic dagger. You will also need to use the Sands of Time to slow down, stop and even reverse time — and it comes in handy at times to avoid your own death. As a bonus, you also get the complete original Prince of Persia game to play.


5. Super Monkey Ball

A puzzle style game that is fun for players of all ages and remains challenging for even experienced gamers. By tilting the floor with the same concept as those wooden maze ball puzzles, you guide a clear ball with a monkey inside (hence the name). To complete the various stages, navigate through and around the various obstacles presented while collecting bananas and then reach the goal before the timer runs out. Bright graphics, cute monkey sounds, 6 mini games, a multi-player option and responsive game play makes this a game with huge replay value.

6. Super Smash Bros. Melee

Possibly one of the most playable single screen multi-player beat em ups ever. The N64 version is good but the GameCube’s Melee version is far superior. It maintains that same pick up and play, knock your player off the screen game play plus there is more content in this game to delve into: more characters, more stages, more modes. Even though you can play this against AI players, it is best played with at least one other person — and I am not shy to admit that my eldest daughter kicks my butt.


Other Great Nintendo Gamecube Games

As usual, some of the games in my list above is going to disagree with your favorites — or many of the favorites we see over and over again — but here are 20 more titles that I recommend you play on this system:

  1. Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg
  2. Donkey Kong Jungle Beat
  3. F-Zero GX
  4. Gauntlet Dark Legacy
  5. The Hulk
  6. Luigi’s Mansion
  7. Mario Kart: Double Dash
  8. Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour
  9. Mario Party 4
  10. Mario Power Tennis
  11. Metroid Prime
  12. Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door
  13. Sonic Adventure 2: Battle
  14. SSX 3
  15. Star Fox Adventures
  16. Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader
  17. Super Mario Sunshine
  18. The Legend of Zelda: Windwaker
  19. Viewtiful Joe
  20. Wave Race: Blue Storm

The following games are also quite popular if you read other articles and lists, but I have yet to play or own any of these so I can’t recommend them at this stage: Animal Crossing, Baten Kaitos, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles, Fire Emblem Path of Radiance, Geist, Kirby’s Air Ride, Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes, Metroid Prime 2, Pikmin 2, Pokemon XD: Gale of Darkness, Star Wars Rogue Squadron III: Rebel Strike, Tails of Symphonia, The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures and The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess


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