The 10 Best Gamecube Games of All-Time


The sixth generation of video game consoles started up in 1998 and continued until 2013. For context, this was so long ago that Sega was still a competitor because of the Sega Dreamcast while Microsoft had become a new competitor because of the Microsoft Xbox. Nintendo’s platform for the sixth generation of video game consoles was the GameCube, which was a change from its predecessors in a number of respects but was nonetheless well-received on the whole. In particular, it received a lot of praise because of its games, which have often been one of Nintendo’s strong points.

10. Soulcalibur II

Despite the number, Soulcalibur II  was the third main installment in the Soulcalibur series. For those who are unfamiliar, said series is a fighting series focused on a pair of powerful weapons called Soul Edge and Soul Calibur, with one being evil and the other being intended to oppose that evil. Soulcalibur II revealed that Soul Edge had been shattered in its immediate predecessor, with the result that a wide range of characters set out to reunite the shattered pieces for the purpose of either claiming the weapon or destroying the weapon. Regardless, Soulcalibur II gets the nod because it was an improvement on its predecessor in a number of ways. For example, it introduced a number of new characters. Similarly, it introduced a number of new mechanical systems while improving on others that had already existed in its predecessors. The game wasn’t a GameCube exclusive, but it is interesting to note that it came with an exclusive character for each of the consoles. GameCube got Link; PlayStation 2 got Mishima Heihachi; and Xbox got Spawn.

9. Pikmin 2

Nintendo has never stopped making new franchises. As a result, there are a number of its franchises that are old but not old enough to be counted with Mario, The Legend of Zelda, and the like. To name an example, there is the Pikmin franchise, which started up with Pikmin in 2001 before following up with Pikmin 2 in 2004. Both of which were released for the GameCube. In short, the Pikmin franchise sees interested individuals running around with a horde of the titular creatures, which can be used to do everything from defeating enemies to seizing objects and solving puzzles. Much of the charm of the franchise comes from the cartoonish look of the characters. However, that is backed up by a very strong set of mechanics. Something that was truer for Pikmin 2 than for its predecessor because of a host of improvements such as the ability to field more kinds of Pikmin as well as the ability to have more than one leader running around with Pikmin.

8. Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem

A game can be very well-received by the critics but nonetheless fall short when it comes to commercial sales. Such was the fate of Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem, which was an action-adventure game for the GameCube that put a great deal of emphasis on psychological horror. Even so, there is a reason that it was so well-received by the critics, which has been made clear to interested individuals again and again in the time since its initial release. On the whole, Eternal Darkness was a much more ambitious game than what gets released most of the time. For proof, consider how it didn’t have a single playable character. Instead, it had 12 playable characters, who were separated from one another by time as well as place. Thanks to this, each one had different stats, different tools, and different challenges. The last of which was particularly true because the game experience could change based on the player’s choices. Besides this, Eternal Darkness is also well-known because of its sanity effects, which were meant to reflect the playable character’s crumbling state of mind. Examples of these effects included but were not limited to strange noises, the heads of statues following the playable character, blood coming from the walls, simulated errors of a technical nature, and events that just straight-up broke through the fourth wall.

7. Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader

Once upon a time, the Star Wars franchise had a reputation for space combat games. One of the best-known examples was Star Wars: Rogue Squadron for the Nintendo 64, which was so popular that it managed to sell more than a million copies. Something that was apparently 100 times that of the expected number. As such, the follow-up Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader had some huge footsteps to fill. The resulting game had one major flaw, which was the total lack of a multiplayer mode. Otherwise, it was much praised for its sound, its visuals, and its mechanics. Thanks to that, Rogue Leader became the second-best-selling of the GameCube’s launch titles. Moreover, it was something of a record-breaker for LucasArts as well, having apparently sold faster than any of the games that it has published before that point.

6. Animal Crossing

As strange as it sounds, Animal Crossing almost didn’t exist. Apparently, the original intention was for the game to be a kind of dungeon-delving RPG. However, that plan fell through because of the failure of the 64DD, with the result that it was reworked into the much more casual but no less enjoyable game that winded up being released for the Nintendo 64 and then the GameCube. Indeed, the casual nature of the original Animal Crossing did a great deal to attract players from non-traditional segments of the population. As a result, it managed to sell more than a million copies, which were enough to ensure the founding of a full-fledged franchise. For that matter, a lot of people enjoyed Animal Crossing, so much so that it is a very popular contender for these lists.

5. Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door

Over the decades, the Mario franchise has seen a wide range of spin-offs. Due to that, a Mario RPG was inevitable. When it happened, it was a curious combination of both RPG staples and innovative elements, which makes sense because of the involvement of what was still Square at the time. Later, when more Mario RPGs started showing up, they retained some of their predecessor’s characteristic mechanics but managed to innovate once more. Something that was very obvious because of their paper look. Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door was the second of those Mario RPGs. However, that was a good thing because it was a refinement of the formula introduced by its predecessor for the Nintendo 64. Moreover, The Thousand Year Door had some new tricks of its own, with an excellent example being the spectators that can have a number of direct effects on the course of battles depending on the player’s performance. Something that was presumably influenced to some extent by how Super Mario Bros. 3 was meant to be a play.

4. Super Mario Sunshine

One of the reasons that the Mario franchise has managed to thrive for so long is its ability to reinvent itself again and again. This can be seen in how the games were once 2D but are now often 3D. Similarly, this can be seen in the very wide range of spin-offs that have been made, which include some very successful series in their own right. Super Mario Sunshine was just the second of the 3D Mario games. Even so, it was already quite different from its predecessor Super Mario 64. In particular, Super Mario Sunshine stood out because of F.L.U.D.D., which was a robot backpack that could use water to clean up messes as well as work a number of other useful effects. There were people who didn’t like it very much. However, most seemed to have seen it as an enjoyable way to differentiate Super Mario Sunshine from Super Mario 64, thus enabling it to stand out while still remaining very thematically-consistent. The result was a game that managed to sell more than 5.5 million copies, though that number was apparently still below what Nintendo had expected from it.

3. Super Smash Bros. Melee

Super Smash Bros. is the best-known of the crossover fighting series that can be found out there. Other companies have tried to emulate its success. However, none of them have managed to produce the same results so far. Still, it is important to note that Super Smash Bros.’s current stature couldn’t have happened without consistent successes to cement it, with an excellent example being the second installment Super Smash Bros. Melee. Content-wise, said game was a huge jump compared to its predecessor. To name an example, there were the side-scrolling fighting challenges. However, most interest tends to be focused on the expanded roster for good reason. For comparison, its predecessor had just 12 playable characters. Meanwhile, it had either 25 or 26 playable characters depending on whether one counted Zelda and Sheik as separate people or not. In particular, it is amusing to note that Super Smash Bros. Melee was the game that introduced Fire Emblem characters Marth and Roy. Nowadays, people grumble about the sheer number of Fire Emblem characters that have managed to make their way into the Super Smash Bros. series. In those times, the more common response in the English-speaking fandom was more confusion than anything else because none of the Fire Emblem games had yet to officially make their way to English-speaking markets. It is possible that Super Smash Bros. Melee played a role in the Fire Emblem games being brought over to the west, though the result wasn’t a single sustained boom so much as a boom, a slump, and then a second boom in much more recent times.

2. Metroid Prime

Metroid is a very old franchise. After all, the first game came out in 1986, meaning that the franchise has been around for three and a half decades. Unfortunately, one of the issues with Metroid is that the quality of its games has been somewhat uneven over time. When they are good, they are very, very good. When they are bad, well, suffice to say that people are still grumbling about Metroid: Other M even though it has been more than a decade’s time. Thanks to that, Metroid has seen more than one prolonged stretch of time between releases. Fortunately for GameCube owners, Metroid was something of a high point for the franchise as a whole. For proof, look no further than the fact that it came out in 2002 while the previous main installment came out in 1994. After which, Nintendo proceeded to make two successors plus a number of spin-offs throughout the subsequent decade before Metroid: Other M did so poorly that the company is still in the process of making the next Metroid game for a console. Metroid Prime had a tough job by being a 3D game in a franchise that had never gone 3D before. Despite it, it succeeded well beyond expectations.

1. The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker

Sometimes, installments in long-running franchises can blur together. After all, it can be hard to differentiate between a dozen or more games, particularly when people aren’t dedicated enough to play through every single one of them. Still, there are games in long-running franchises that can stand out better than others for positive reasons. For proof, look no further than The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker. To an extent, Wind Waker stood out because of its visuals. There is a reason that its version of Link is called Toon Link in the Hyrule Warriors. However, Wind Waker was also interesting in that it took place in a flooded Hyrule, with the result that it put a huge emphasis on sailing the sea as well as exploring islands. Something that provided the game with a great deal of novelty while still keeping the elements that make the 3D Zelda games great. As such, Wind Waker occupies the number one position on this list.

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