While hardly the most successful system for Nintendo, the GameCube has grown to become a favorite in the hearts on many gamers. The quirky lunchbox-like console had a funky (but totally comfortable) controller, mini discs, and a selection of interesting games that couldn't be found anywhere else (Pikmin, I'm looking at you). To honor Nintendo's fourth home console, we've decided to compile a list of the twenty-five greatest games on the platform. In case you're wondering why Twilight Princess is noticeably absent, it's because we decided to give the game a nod in our Top 25 Wii Games list instead. If you've got a problem with that, deal with it.
25. F-Zero: GX
Nintendo's high-speed racing franchise is hardly as popular as some of its others (see Mario, Zelda, or Metroid). In fact, most gamers probably think of Captain Falcon as the guy from Super Smash Bros. rather than the protagonist of F-Zero. The most recent entry (sadly, one never game to the Wii) is F-Zero: GX, which offered an experience unlike anything else on the GameCube. Blazing fast races and incredible challenge are the two mainstays in any F-Zero game, and this one had it in spades. It's no wonder Mario Kart 8 is adopting a few of its mechanics.
24. TimeSplitters 2
Let's face it, the GameCube wasn't home to very many first-person shooters worth mentioning, so Free Radical's TimeSplitters 2 was a welcomed addition to Nintendo's library of mini discs. Not only did the game feature instantly fun and fast combat, it was loaded with personality and charm, something many FPS games at the time lacked. The game's multiplayer portion proved to be an absolute blast, making it difficult for you and your gamer buddies to pull yourselves away.
Remember the Mario Galaxy games? Well, before Nintendo EAD Tokyo made those jaw-dropping 3D platformers for Wii, the studio crafted a rhythm-based action title called Donkey Kong: Jungle Beat. Despite the fact that it centers around the use of a pair of plastic bongo drums, the game offered a level of complexity one might not expect from such a gimmicky concept. If you're a fan of EAD Tokyo's work and haven't yet given Jungle Beat a go, I suggest you give it a shot, if only to experience one of the GameCube's most unique titles.
22. Luigi's Mansion
The GameCube launch was easily one of the most memorable console debuts for me. Sure, it probably has something to do with the fact that it was the first time I got a console right at release, but that would have meant nothing if I didn't have any cool games to play on it. Believe it or not, Luigi's Mansion proved to be the launch game that opened my eyes to the possibilities that Nintendo's purple box offered. From it's gorgeous graphics to its interesting use of the C-Stick, I'll never forget exploring that ghost-filled mansion as the vacuum-equipped Luigi. Nintendo wackiness at its finest.
Everyone loves a good RPG, and while they were few and far between on Nintendo's fourth proper console, there are a handful worth highlighting, one of which being Baten Kaitos. This Monolith Soft-developed title centers around a boy named Kalas and his partner Xelha, but instead of putting the player in the main character's shoes, he/she controls a Guardian Spirit who serves as the protagonist's guide. The game features a number of interesting twists on the role-playing formula, and boasts a story that is totally worth the time and effort.
Continue to page 2 to see #20-16.
Quality strategy RPGs are incredibly few and far between on the GameCube, so Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance stands out like a shining star. As the first console entry to ever be released in North America, Path of Radiance quickly became a cult hit among the Nintendo hardcore. With voice acting for the first time ever and a fresh new 3D visual style, this strategy role-playing game was a major step forward for the series and one that surpassed fans' expectations. Better yet, it stands the test of time, so if you've got a hankering for some quality Fire Emblem gameplay, do yourself a favor and give Path of Radiance a go.
The Nintendo-themed racing series made its debut on the GameCube with Double Dash!!, one of the most innovative entries the Mario Kart series has ever seen. From a wide array of characters, vehicles, and courses, to a new two racers per kart mechanic, there's a whole lot that differentiates this one from the pack. Let's also not for get how visually impressive this title was at the time. The jump in graphical capabilities from the Nintendo 64 to the GameCube was quite large, and Double Dash!! took advantage of the new hardware. This is an absolute must for any self-proclaimed Mario Kart fan.
The original Resident Evil was a classic when it first launched many years ago. Since that time, the game has shown its age… considerably. Fortunately, we have an excellent remake on the GameCube to go back to. With much improved visuals, Capcom managed to bring the PlayStation classic to the GameCube era in expert fashion. While the controls are still quite archaic, they serve an important role in adding to the tension and creating an overall sense of dread. If you enjoy horror and haven't yet played this excellent remake, I suggest you track down a copy, turn off the lights, and dive right in.
17. Animal Crossing
The hole-digging, tree-chopping, fruit-collecting simulation series from Nintendo got its start on the GameCube and has gone on to become on of the most popular series the Big N has going for it right now. The cutesy art style and slew of things to do in Animal Crossing provides countless hours of entertainment. Not only that, but those looking to keep their town in tip top shape needed to check in every so often and make sure everything is being maintained—from yard work to relationships. There's a reason why people are going gaga over New Leaf right now, and Animal Crossing on the GameCube is the one that started it all.
16. Pikmin 2
Nintendo created a brand-new IP for the GameCube, and it was unlike anything gamers had ever seen before. The original Pikmin introduced gamers to Olimar and his space-traveling adventure, but many weren't too keen on the 30-day time limit. As such, getting the chance to explore various areas with an army of colorful Pikmin at your leisure was a major reason why gamers loved the sequel. Naturally, you can't please everyone, so the removal of the time limit did turn off some who were looking for a bit of a challenge, but that's only reason to hold on to the original game too, right?
Continue to page 3 to see #15-11.
Before No More Heroes, Lollipop Chainsaw, or Shadows of the Damned, there was Killer7, a dark and twisted action game that put Grasshopper Manufacture and Suda51 on the map. The moody and evocative cel-shaded art style is undoubtedly its main draw, but the innovative yet clunky gameplay proved to be a turn-off to some. It also challenged the notion that Nintendo's purple console was simply a machine for children, thanks to its mature themes. Suda is known to make wacky games that think outside the box, and for that very reason, it's one of GameCube's most unique and finest.
When the GameCube first launched, everyone was looking to see how Nintendo's new box would push games forward visually, and Star Wars Rogue Squadron II was the undoubted showpiece. Whether you're a fan of Star Wars or not, there's a whole lot to love about Rogue Leader. It's visually stunning, even today, and fills the void left by two lackluster StarFox games that came years later. This was easily the best launch title for the GameCube, and will go down in history as one of the greatest experiences to ever grace the platform.
13. Viewtiful Joe
Capcom brought over a handful of noteworthy titles to the GameCube, one of the most incredible being Viewtiful Joe. This cel-shaded side-scrolling beat 'em up was an absolute marvel to behold and a downright blast to play. The goofy story is centered around Joe, a movie fan who's girlfriend is captured within a film. Naturally, it's up to him to enter Movieland and save her by taking down each member of the Jadow. It's charming, light-hearted, and downright silly, but in the best possible way imaginable. Seriously, if you have any sense of humor and enjoy beat 'em ups, give this one a look. It holds up quite well.
While the sequel already appeared a bit earlier on this list, we couldn't help but include Olimar's first adventure because, let's face it, there's nothing quite like the original. I remember coming home from school eager to plop down in front of my TV and hunt for ship parts with an army of colorful Pikmin at my side. There was nothing else like it at the time, and to this day there still really isn't. Pikmin introduced a wholly unique concept that could have only been dreamed up by the brilliant mind of Shigeru Miyamoto.
The Paper Mario series got its start on the Nintendo 64 and entered a new realm of awesome on the GameCube with The Thousand-Year Door. Like its predecessor this Mario RPG is set in a whimsical world made out of paper that is loaded with charm and humor. It has a turn-based battle system that is not only reminiscent of the original Paper Mario, but also the SNES classic, Super Mario RPG. If you hold a special place in your heart for Nintendo's pipe-traveling plumber, you simply must play this game.
Continue to page 4 to see #10-6.
10. Soul Calibur II
A lot of gamers were disappointed when Nintendo decided to go with a cel-shaded cartoony style for Link's debut on the GameCube, so when a more realistic version of the sword-wielding hero was added to the cast of Soul Calibur II, the fanboy inside me squealed with delight. The original Soul Calibur was a fighting game masterpiece on the Dreamcast, and the sequel only improved on that formula. While the game launched across all three major platforms, the GameCube version was the one to get, solely because of Link's presence.
Speaking of great Dreamcast games, Sega took it up itself to bring its beloved role-playing game Skies of Arcadia to the GameCube in the form of an enhanced port, subtitled Legends. For those that missed out on the this incredible RPG the first time, the GameCube re-release provided the perfect point of entry for fans of the genre. The game's incredible airship combat and cast of unique characters makes it one of the most memorable story-centric experiences available on the console.
How do you follow up a genre-defining, franchise-evolving game like Metroid Prime? You take bold new risks by adding elements like an alternate dimension and Dark Samus. While such changes proved to be polarizing points for fans of the original, one must commend Retro Studios for not simply playing it safe by making more of the same. Metroid Prime 2: Echoes is very much a Metroid Prime game, while still feeling unique and different enough from its predecessor. If you're a fan of the female bounty hunter, this one is a must.
Perhaps the most controversial Mario game of all time was the 3D entry on the GameCube. Super Mario Sunshine was unlike anything Mario fans had ever seen, thanks to a water-blasting contraption strapped to the back of the trusty Goomba-stomping plumber. Instead of returning to the massive castle setting seen in Super Mario 64, Sunshine took us to a tropical paradise, a move no one was expecting. While following up the 3D platforming masterpiece that launched on the N64 couldn't have been an easy task, Sunshine managed to deliver a satisfying and completely new type of experience for fans of the series.
GameRevolution Radio listeners are probably well aware of my love for the original Metal Gear Solid, so it should come as no surprise to you that The Twin Snakes has managed to earn a place so high up on this list. The PlayStation original was easily one of the best games for Sony's platform, thanks to its groundbreaking approach to storytelling. However, technical limitations held it back from being the super-cinematic experience it deserved to be. That is why I absolutely love Silicon Knights' remake and would recommend it wholeheartedly to any video game fan.
Talk about a revolutionary game experience. Resident Evil 4 not only raised the bar for horror games, it moved the third-person action genre forward, paving the way for future hits like Gears of War and the slew of ripoffs it spurred. Abandoning the clunky controls of installments prior, RE4 took a bold new step forward, which could have easily become its downfall. Instead, it was one of the most brilliant moves Capcom ever made, resulting in an action-horror experience that simply cannot be matched. Well, except for…
Silicon Knights' Eternal Darkness is an absolute staple for fans of the horror genre. With incredible sound design, an atmosphere that still gives me chills just thinking about it, and a sanity mechanic that had my palms sweating every time I fired the game up, Sanity's Requiem is one of those rare gems that every GameCube owner simply must experience. If you want a game that will test your limits psychologically, there's no better choice than Eternal Darkness. Just tread carefully around bathtubs…
The original Super Smash Bros. proved to be one of the Nintendo 64's most beloved multiplayer games, and HAL Laboratories managed to improve the four-player fighter in just about every way imaginable. With a massive roster of so many iconic video game characters, gorgeous visuals, and a slew of things to unlock, Super Smash Bros. Melee is easily the best GameCube game to play if you're looking to kick back and have a good time with your friends. The ability to pummel Ganondorf with Mr. Game & Watch is reason alone to buy Melee.
I'll never forget how disappointed I initially was when I found out that Nintendo was scrapping the realistic visual style for something far more cartoony with its first Zelda installment on the GameCube. Then I saw the game in action, and I knew I'd be eating my words when I finally got a chance to play the game myself. Nintendo definitely has made some foolish decisions in the past, but the decision to go with a cel-shaded look for The Wind Waker was not one of them. If you haven't played this gaming marvel, I highly suggest you grab the Wii U HD version when it launches later this year.
Retro Studios is one of the most beloved developers, and rightly so. Super Metroid is regarded by many as the greatest video game of all time, and with no Samus-centric game released on the Nintendo 64, Retro had a whole lot of expectation to live up to with Metroid Prime. The team was bold enough to ditch the series' traditional 2D platforming for a fully 3D first-person action adventure, and it paid off gloriously. Instead of resting on the laurels of old school game design, Metroid Prime effectively created a new brand of first-person action. It was a revolutionary experience that blew away just about every gamer, fan of the series or not. This game was the reason to buy a GameCube.