The Nintendo GameCube was a little bit purpley, a little bit lunch boxy, and a lot of awesome. While many claim the PS2 and Xbox dominators of the market, Nintendo’s GameCube arguably had the strongest exclusive library of them all, with plenty of first party releases and its fair share of third party exclusives.
The TSG Staff look at some of their favorite titles for the platform, hitting a variety of first and third party exclusives.
Mario Kart: Double Dash
I never loved my siblings more than when we would play Mario Kart: Double Dash. During the week we would do our best to pretend like the others didn’t exist, but during the weekend I would give the approval for all four of us to cram into my small room and spend the next few hours making each other miserable yet closer at the same time. I just thought it was a brilliant idea for co-op; not just racing against each other but having two-man teams helping each other. You take your karting skills from Mario Kart 64 and you put your faith in your co-pilot and you can find hours of fun. When Mario Kart Wii came out my siblings and I were long past the years of playing games together, but it reminded me of fond times in the years of Mario Kart: Double Dash.
Super Smash Bros. Melee
Obvious pick is obvious, but c’mon – no matter which version of Super Smash Bros. you prefer, you can’t deny this was a great party game to play during a boredom period when you had a GameCube. Half the time when I was around a former friend’s house, we would play this for ages, having all sorts of set ups. It didn’t have the best story, nor the best graphics, but dang it, it was the most fun I’ve had with a multiplayer game for a large period of my life, and it was before those untainted days of so-called pros who ban characters because of their supposed uber-leet status. It was pure, unadulterated fun – something very few games try nowadays.
Skies of Arcadia: Legends
When the Dreamcast died many titles died with it. Some were bad, while others were incredible and leaps ahead of their time, much like the console itself. I thought I would never see Skies of Arcadia again, I figured it went the way of Carrier (seriously, I want some Carrier HD). So when it was re-released again in 2003, I feverishly went to go pick up the only copy available locally. Skies of Arcadia Legends brought back that feeling of wonderment and awe from when I first played the title back during my carefree school-free summer days. The exception this time was most of my time wasn’t occupied with Monty Python, or other britcoms that were played ad nauseam on PBS all day, instead it was spent sailing the high skies in search of the new content with which Legends was packaged. Wanted lists, and new discoveries to name just a few. You know you’ve done a port justice when it stands next to is predecessor and trumps it in every regard.
Luigi’s Mansion was a GameCube launch title starring Mr. Lean ‘n’ Green himself, Luigi. This time the tables have turned and Mario has gone missing after Luigi won a mansion in a contest he never entered. Although the game poses to be quite short, it’s a lot of fun whether you’re trying to obtain the best end game rank or you’re just messing around catching ghosts. The game play involves using the Poltergust 3000 vacuum to capture ghosts throughout the haunted mansion while finding answers about Mario’s disappearance. The game holds a very special place in my heart, due to the fact the main protagonist of the game is Luigi.
I was given Viewtiful Joe as a gift when I was in cartoon college, and it instantly became one of my favorite games of all time. Way too many games demand that you take them seriously, but Joe’s fun-loving atmosphere, over-the-top action, and distinctive cel-shaded art and flat backgrounds insist that you just enjoy the ride instead. Additionally, the combat is top-notch, combining fun mechanics and a tough but fair difficulty. Oh, and did I mention that one of the bosses is a giant green rhino that swings and axe, owns a hotel, and collects motorcycles? Because one of the bosses is a giant green axe-weilding, hotel-owning, motorcycle-collecting rhino. Jus’ sayin’.
F-Zero GX could be described as the only racing game worth playing. Who would have thought that the creator of Super Monkey Ball and Yakuza could create a game that is so sharp and dynamic that none of its contemporaries have been able to match even today. The game presents a perfect package of wonderful characters, each with their own unique vehicle which can be used to traverse a wide variety of tracks. These tracks are short to make sure they never get repetitive, the music is fast paced and short to keep in line with the action. Most importantly of all, the winner is decided by who is able to traverse the course with their given vehicle the most efficiently rather than who’s the first person to get a blue shell. Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto said that F-Zero GX sold below expectations, a statement that has caused the F-Zero series to never have another installment after a decent GBA game. However, while us fans look for a light at the end of the tunnel, F-Zero GX remains a video game masterclass on how to make a great racing game.
Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean
If there’s one developer I can safely say I absolutely love, it is Monolith Soft. While the Xenosaga series definitely sold them as a developer, Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean truly showed their ability to make battle systems with more depth than your average RPG. While the title is technically a card game it actually plays out as a turn based RPG. With only seconds to act, players have to monitor the elements of every single one of their attacks while creating a combo of attacks based on a card’s numerical value for bonus damage. Unlike most RPGs, these strategies don’t just give you a boost to damage, they are nearly a requirement, as playing the wrong cards can completely negate damage or even heal your foe. But play your hand right and you’ll deal devastating and satisfying chain of attacks.
Resident Evil 4
Resident Evil 4 held several “firsts” for me. It was the first game I bought for GameCube, it was my first 3rd person shooter, and it was my first Resident Evil game. RE4 was my first experience with action prompts during cutscenes, it was one of the first games I ever tried to speedrun. From the moment I began, I was amazed at the graphics, the story, the brutality, and the gameplay. Of all the systems that RE4 was eventually released on, the first GameCube release looked the best, played the best, and felt the best. If only Ashley hadn’t been so dumb, the experience would have been more enjoyable.
Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door
Out of the numerous Mario RPG’s out there Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door is the one that stood out to me the most. The humor hit home as did the companion characters and I loved the sub-plot where Peach taught a computer how to love. It’s cheap and would make a great primer if you are waiting for Paper Mario 3DS.
The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker
I got my GameCube for my 15th birthday, along with a copy of Wind Waker. I’m not proud to admit it but…I skipped school the next day and just sat and played it. It had its hooks in me from the beginning. I remember when the first details about the game emerged, and a lot of people were less than impressed with the new choice in design..and again, not proud to admit it, but I was too. “Link looks like a demented squirrel! What happened to awesome Link from Ocarina of Time?”, I remember thinking. Fortunately, I got my head out of my butt and decided to embrace the game, because hey, since when can Zelda do wrong? (Let’s just…ignore the CD-i games) Wind Waker’s cel-shaded design is absolutely gorgeous. Familiar enemies become completely new and exciting, it’s like experiencing Hyrule for the first time. The music is catchy and perfect, and still holds up as some of the best Zelda music of all time. I remember getting to underwater Hyrule for the first time and just feeling such a sense of awe…I can recollect very few moments in gaming where I actually sat back and went, “wow”, but that was definitely one of them. It is easily my favourite GameCube title, and one of my favorites of the series for sure.
Pokémon Colosseum was the first true 3D RPG in the series, offering more than just extra challenge battles in 3D like its Stadium series predecessors and Battle Revolution successor. It also let you perform the taboo of stealing other trainers’ Pokémon, only if they were corrupted of course, in lieu of catching wild ones given the barren desert wasteland of the Orre region the game is set in. Colosseum, and the XD sequel by extension, wasn’t just a software accessory to the portable games like the Nintendo 64 and Wii titles, but in fact a full-blown adventure in itself that has easily racked up the majority of my GameCube, and possibly even Wii, playtime.
What’s your favorite GameCube game?
Next week we’ll be looking at the original Xbox!