The Nintendo GameCube is a classic video game console that was released in 2001 and immediately became a hit, competing against the Xbox, Sony’s PlayStation 2 and other popular systems. While it lacked some of its rivals’ features, the Cube had a limited, but quite interesting lineup of games and was decently priced.
The controller design was yet another selling point for the GameCube. As for the hardware design, it is definitely a peculiar and recognizable piece of technology, that is a fantastic addition to any game console collection. If you remember, I ranked the Cube second in my list of the top 5 most underrated consoles.
The GC is sometimes regarded as a moderate success, but again, be sure that there is a whole lot to explore when it comes to this console’s lineup. Despite its discontinuation in 2007, this system is still worth looking into.
Before I forget, the following list has a couple of rules:
1. I will only include one game from any given series – the one I believe deserves it most.
2. No remakes and no ports from non-Nintendo consoles –
For the above reasons, I am not going to mention amazing titles like Metroid 2, Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes and Skies of Arcadia.
But let’s get right into the top 10 GameCube titles out there:
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10. Mario Kart: Double Dash (developed by Nintendo EAD, published by Nintendo 2003)
Mario Kart: Double Dash is the only game of the MK franchise that has a cooperative Grand Prix mode.
Two people can play simultaneously, with one driving the kart and the other using different items. Multiplayer is also supported, with a maximum of 16 people on a LAN.
Players can choose from 20 different characters from the Super Mario franchise. They race against other karts on different maps with various terrains and differences. Mario Kart is quite interactive and far from monotonous, allowing you to collect items and power-ups that will either help you or slow your opponents down.
MKDD is a simple, yet very exciting game that was received well upon release and was given positive reviews and considerably high scores. It sold over 7 million copies worldwide, making it one of GameCube’s best-sellers.
9. Super Smash Bros Melee (developed by HAL Laboratory, published by Nintendo; 2001 JP and NA, 2002 EU and AU)
Super Smash Bros. Melee is a fighting game featuring characters from some of Nintendo’s popular games like Mario, Pokemon, The Legend of Zelda, etc.
The objective here is to knock your opponent outside of the fighting stage. Your attacks, depending on their strength, will knock your enemy back a certain distance and eventually beyond the boundaries. Items will fall onto the field during the fight, and collecting them is going to be of great use, as they can heal you or additionally damage your opponent. The stages change and some of them do require specific achievements to be unlocked.
Throughout the game, you can collect trophies as you win battles. They represent some of
the playable characters of the game. It is interesting to note that some of them are quite rare and feature characters only released in Japan.
SSBM was adored by reviewers and players all around the world. It received high scores and praise for its controls, textures, and responsiveness. This title is GameCube’s best-seller with over 70% of the console’s owners playing the game at one point or another.
8. Super Mario Sunshine (developed by Nintendo EAD, published by Nintendo 2002)
Super Mario Sunshine is a 3D platformer set in the Super Mario universe, specifically the dolphin-shaped tropical Isle Delfino. Mario, Toadsworth, Princess Peach (princess of the Mushroom Kingdom) and a few Toads are on a well-deserved vacation when the antagonist, Shadow Mario shows up and vandalizes the entire Isle Delfino with graffiti.
Because of the resemblance, Mario gets blamed for the mess and is charged with cleaning it up. He has to balance this chore with saving Princess Peach from Shadow Mario, who kidnaps her.
SMS was received very well and ended up selling over 5 million copies worldwide. Critics and fans appreciated the graphics, adequate music choices, fun puzzles, and excellent gameplay.
7. Resident Evil 4 (developed by Capcom Production Studio 4, published by Capcom 2005)
Resident Evil 4 is a third-person shooter horror game set in a rural area of Spain. The protagonist – Leon S. Kennedy – is sent on a mission to recover Ashley Graham, the U.S. President’s daughter after she was kidnapped by The Enlightened Ones – a cult.
Leon travels to Spain where he manages to find a group of villagers who are part of the very same cult that took Ashley. Unfortunately, they turn out to be incredibly hostile, as a result of being infected by a mind-controlling parasite – Las Plagas (The Plague).
Resident Evil 4 was positively rated, receiving praise for its gameplay, compelling storyline, incredible voice acting and profound characters. It quickly became a hit and a major title in the survival horror game genre, winning numerous awards, including Game of the Year, Best Artistic Design by IGN and many more. It sold millions of copies on a few different platforms, including the GameCube.
6. Pikmin 2 (developed by Nintendo EAD, published by Nintendo 2004)
Pikmin 2 is a puzzle strategy game where players lead a group of tiny plant creatures, namely the Pikmin. The goal is to explore an unknown planet from a microscopic perspective, with the help of these plants. Over the course of the game, they encounter various enemies and obstacles you need to deal with.
Actually players are in control of Captain Olimar and Louie. The Pikmin follow the duo around and engage in combat, collect items, build bridges and destroy any obstacles you might encounter on your quest.
Pikmin 2 received very high scores from critics and was ranked sixth on IGN’s “Top 20 GameCube games of all time”. The game’s graphics and sound were recognized as a significant improvement over its predecessor. Overall Pikmin 2 is an exciting game that became many players’ favorite.
5. Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader (developed by Factor 5, published by LucasArts 2001)
Released as a launch title for the GameCube, this action game is set in the exciting Star Wars galaxy, where the Galactic Empire and the Rebel Alliance are waging a war. Luke Skywalker and Wedge Antilles are novice pilots, who join the Alliance in an effort to defeat the evil Empire and restore the peace in the troubled galaxy. Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader spans all films from the original trilogy.
The game was received well with some critics even referring to it as a masterpiece. The graphics and sounds are a spectacular addition to the action-packed gameplay. Together, they make a thrilling game that sold over a million copies.
4. Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem (developed by Silicon Knights, published by Nintendo 2002)
This psychological horror adventure game is set in four main locations, each of them situated in four different countries: Persia (Iran) Cambodia, France and the United States. In Rhode Island, Alexandra Roivas discovers the body of her grandfather in his mansion; he appears to have fallen victim to a brutal murder.
After the police struggle to solve the mystery, she decides to take matters into her own hands and starts to investigate his death. She finds a strange book, bound with human skin and begins to read it. This is how this striking adventure begins.
While the game was not a huge commercial success, many critics gave it high scores and positive reviews. It won many awards including the “Outstanding Achievement in Character
or Story Development”. The plot is incredibly diverse and somewhat complicated at times, but it is worth the effort.
3. Viewtiful Joe (developed by Team Viewtiful, published by Capcom 2003)
Viewtiful Joe is an engaging side-scrolling combat game where players are in control of Joe, a passionate movie enthusiast. During a screening of a movie starring Captain Blue, his favorite superhero, Joe’s girlfriend, Silvia, is kidnapped by the film’s antagonist, who reaches out from the screen and takes her to an alternate dimension – “Movieland”. Joe has to do whatever it takes to save his beloved.
VJ has also an interesting plot, filled with twists and turns. The game consistently received high scores from reviewers and its graphics (love this retro-cartoonish style), gameplay and sound design were praised by critics. Worldwide, it sold almost 300 000 copies but was still considered a success.
2. Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker (developed by Nintendo EAD, published by Nintendo; 2002 JP 2003 NA, EU and AU)
Zelda is a classic that needs no introduction!
In this GameCube installment, Link tries to rescue his sister from the evil sorcerer Ganon. His allies, pirate captain Tetra (Princess Zelda) and King of Red Lions – a talking boat, help him while he travels and explores islands and dungeons, collects items and solves puzzles in his quest to gain the power to defeat Ganon and save his sister.
Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker was praised by many for its outstanding graphics, design, gameplay and gripping story. It had one of the most successful preorder campaigns and eventually sold over 4 million copies. This wonderful title can be found in many lists of the best video games out there.
Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance (developed by Intelligent Systems, published by Nintendo 2005)
This role-playing game is set in the continent Tellius, inhabited by the Beorc and Laguz. Daein, a Beorc nation invades Crimea, also a Beorc nation. Ike – the game’s protagonist – attempts to free Crimea from Daein’s reign by embarking on a lengthy journey.
Fun fact: if one of the characters dies, they will be gone forever. It truly adds a lot of realism to the game.
FEPOR was a successful title that received generally positive reviews and praise from many critics.
Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door (developed by Intelligent Systems, published by Nintendo 2004)
Another role-playing-game by IS and the second installment in the Paper Mario series. The player is in control of Mario most of the time, with Princess Peach and Bowser being playable on a few occasions. Mario is on a quest to gather the seven Crystal Stars and rescue Princess Peach, who was kidnapped by the X-nauts – a secret society led by Sir Grodus.
Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door is a fun adventure that was received well by critics and praised for its thrilling plot. The game received the award “Role-Playing Game of the Year” for 2005 and sold over 1 million copies.
Animal Crossing (developed by Nintendo EAD, published by Nintendo; 2001 JP, 2002, NA, 2003 AU, 2004; EU)
In this simulation game, players control a human character, who lives in a village populated by different animals with human features. The player performs various tasks such as fishing, hunting, collecting items, etc. The game is open-ended and highly customizable. The character can acquire items and sell them for the in-game currency – Bells.
Nintendo’s Animal Crossing is a fun title, packed with numerous activities and villages to explore.
Onto Number 1 now! I know, Zelda being the runner-up may be surprising, but trust me, we have a worthy winner…
1. Metroid Prime (developed by Retro Studios and Nintendo, published by Nintendo; 2002 NA, 2003 JA and EU)
Metroid Prime is a first-person perspective action sci-fi game set on the planet Tallon IV. The player is in control of Samus Aran, a galactic bounty hunter who fights the Space Pirates (humanoid insects and reptiles) and their out-of-control biological experiments.
She receives a distress signal and finds an abandoned ship filled with dead space pirates and mutated life forms. Samus then proceeds to explore the ship and upon reaching the reactor core, she finds the Parasite Queen and engages in a battle for her life.
This astonishing title is one of GameCube’s best-sellers, earning perfect review scores by numerous critics and winning many “Game of the Year” awards. Its spectacular graphics and special effects create a tense atmosphere that suits the game nicely. The gameplay and level design all create a spectacular game that you will love playing hour after hour.
Another stroll down memory lane is over, retro folks. There is no doubt the GameCube is underrated and I hope more and more people are going to discover and appreciate the stunning collection of games this console supports. As usual, the list is not conclusive, so I am looking forward to reading what you have to say about my ranking. Is there a game you think I missed? Do you disagree with some of my choices? Please voice your opinions in the comments below.
Till next retro list!
Oh, if no bells have rung, and you cannot figure out why I wrote: “What did you do for it?”, then please check this out.
What did I do? Nothing that can compare to the guys featured in the link lol, but maybe you have some interesting stories and, if that is the case, you are welcome to share them in addition to a comment on the list.
I really enjoyed reading your article on the top 10 game cube games. I remember having great fun being scared half to death by eternal darkness. I never finished it though even with a walkthrough guide book. One game I would add to your list would be Harvest Moon. My children and I spent countless hours farming and deciding which of the 3 brides to marry. Very harmless fun, but it was really satisfying. Thanks again for your article. It brought back some great memories and I might have to dust off the old game cube yet!.
Hello Andrew and welcome to my retro gaming blog, I am glad you enjoyed my post.
Eternal Darkness is both scary and hard to beat. I did it, but it was not easy one bit. Actually, I played it with a couple of friends by using the same save files (it was common practice back in the day, especially if your friends had the same consoles as you). Honestly, I could not have made it alone, the game could become frustrating at times. So anytime one of us ran out of patience, another stepped in.
Concerning Harvest Moon, yeah it is a lovely game, especially when played with our kids. In a top 15 list, I would have certainly mentioned it.
Thanks for your nice comment, it would be great if you would become a regular here!
I was a massive fan of Smash Bros as a kid, any game with Mario and Pikachu in and they fight each other, is right up there for me lol!
Mario Kart is always a laugh and I pretty much love all of the legend of Zelda games, The Wind Walker included!
My brother is a massive Game Cube fan; and I’m sure he’d love Smash Bros and Mario cart for Christmas as a few of us can then get involved while he’s over for the holidays.
Any advice on the best places to purchase?
Hello Nate and thanks for your nice comment, I am glad you have such nice memories. 🙂
Concerning your questions, eBay is that first place that comes to mind, but in case you cannot find anything convenient, you can check the following links: here I talked about the top 5 ways to buy retro games. Personally, I am a fan of car boot sales, I have got some unthinkable deals, there. Though, if you do not want to physically go hunting, then please take a look at my list of the top 5 retro game shops online.
I truly hope this helps, but should you need further help, please do not hesitate to contact me.