My Top-10 GameCube games

The GameCube honestly doesn’t get a lot of recognition. The Nintendo 64 gets over-looked sometimes, but it has a solid fan-base and the excellence of its games is widely recognised. GameCube is a system no-one wants to talk about unless its to praise Metroid Prime or to talk about how much fun they had playing Mêlée.

But the GameCube definitely had solid titles to its name and these are my ten favourite games for the system. I left Sonic Mega Collection out of the list just because I felt it was unfair to list a collection of games.

10. StarFox Adventure

This is a game that just honestly doesn’t receive enough recognition. For my money, this was Rare’s last good game. StarFox 64 a.k.a. Lylat Wars was an excellent but extremely short game on the N64 and left me craving for a more immersive StarFox game. One where the characters had a chance to develop and you had a genuine feeling of Adventure. And you know what? StarFox Adventure was that very game.

This action-adventure title combined brilliant graphics, colourful vast environments and brilliant music to create an excellent feeling of adventure. And sure, the voice-acting was a mixed bag – but at least the roles that mattered were cast appropriately. StarFox had that wonderment of a Zelda game combined with great cinematics and fun action sections which made it an excellent game.

Admittedly, the combat system was a little shallow and there definitely could have been one entire level devoted entirely to space-combat, rather than just a mini-stage while the game was loading large areas, but I just love this game earnestly and it definitely has deserved its spot on this list.

9. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker

Ocarina of Time made me a Zelda fan and when the GameCube rolled out I was still a little bitter about the short main-quest in Majora’s Mask. I was craving for a new adventure that could match the epicness of Ocarina and I really felt I had that enjoyment with Wind Waker.

Firstly, the cartoony graphic look was a master-stroke from Nintendo. They got so much expression and character out of the designs of the main cast and the enemies – and the cell-shading did a good job of hiding any imperfections that a more realistic looking game would have suffered from. Secondly, the cut-scenes were even more cinematic (and at times hilarious) than those in either Ocarina or Majora’s Mask. Thirdly, the gameplay was superb. The game took everything that was perfect about the last two Zelda games, added some new stuff and, best of all, actual camera-control with the second analogue stick.

The Wind Waker was indeed a brilliant title, with only one major hiccup. The part of the game where you have to look for the Triforce pieces was extremely long and tedious – way below Nintendo’s standards as game designers. Unfortunately it also takes up a sizable portion of the game which always infuriated me. The Wind Waker is a grade-A Zelda game in every aspect except this annoying extended fetch-quest. But I have such fond memories of Wind Waker that it definitely deserves to be in the Top-10.

8. Bloody Roar: Primal Fury

Here’s a fighting game that I think really should have gotten more attention than it did. A regular old fighting game is fun in and of itself, but what about a fighting game where you can turn into an animal? A bat, a tiger, a dragon, a mole, a freaky insect thing or even a bunny rabbit? Count me in.

Now Bloody Roar doesn’t perhaps have the finesse of a game like Soul Calibur or the originality of a game like Mortal Kombat, but it definitely had loads of fun-factor. Colourful, likeable characters, excellent Japanesy music and just insane fighting action made this a really fun game. Plus, the controls were extremely simple which meant that you didn’t have to sweat over special moves.

Primal Fury came out very early during the GameCube’s existence and was immediately forgotten by most. But when I saw a used copy of the game on a shelf a couple of years ago, I picked it up and was elated to play such a novel experience. For fighting game fans, this game is definitely worth a try.

7. WaveRace: Blue Storm

I only played WaveRace 64 when it was released for the Virtual Console, but it immediately became one of my all-time favourite N64 games. After that, I knew I had to try out the game’s sequel for the GameCube and as luck would have it, I was able to find a used copy of it. While Blue Storm isn’t as refined of a gaming experience as WaveRace 64, it does enough things right that I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Firstly, the cast of characters is expanded (with some familiar faces from 1080 Snowboarding actually joining the fun) with the characters having distinct voice-overs and even managers that talk to you during the race. I actually found them to be an improvement over the announcer in the first game. The graphics still look beautiful, especially the water and weather effects – but the racing circuits in general are just a joy to the eye.

However, Blue Storm’s biggest problem is that it’s controls aren’t nearly as tight as those of WaveRace 64. Also, the soundtrack was definitely better in the game’s predecessor, but if you adapt to the controls and go with the flow, Blue Storm is still a really fun game and I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of beating the game on the highest difficulty. It may not be an equal to WaveRace 64 but it’s certainly a worthy successor.

6. Resident Evil 4

Not having ever owned a PlayStation, I had managed to keep my distance to Resident Evil until the GameCube came out. However, I was a fan of the RE movies and so I decided that I had to try out one of the games for the series eventually. It wasn’t until I played the RE1 Remake on the Wii that I got a real dose of genuine old-school Resident Evil fun, but I still enjoyed Resident Evil 4 none the less.

RE4 completely revamped the gameplay style of the franchise into a more action-oriented direction, but at least RE4 was still scary as all hell. The regular Las Plagas zombies got kind of repetitive after a while, but then there was the crazy chainsaw wielding Dr. Salvador, those caterpillar faced zombies, the giants, the dogs and that god damn freaky whatsomacallit in the crate-maze. And who can forget the Regenerators (ewww). RE4 definitely got my heart racing.

The voice-acting was definitely cheesy as all hell and in all honesty, the replay value of the game was practically non-existent; but if you just want to play a game that scares the crap out of you, it’s still a worth-while playing experience.

5. Super Mario Sunshine

Get them rotten tomatoes out people, I’m ready to get pummeled. Okay, so Super Mario Sunshine was admittedly the most disappointing Mario game for me since Mario is Missing – but I’m not going to pretend that I didn’t have fun playing it because I did. The disappointment really set in afterwards when I realised how it fell short in comparison to Super Mario 64. But while I was playing, I still had some good times on it.

Super Mario Sunshine was definitely a beautiful game, the graphics looked spectacular and I was really impressed on the detail in the environments. They could have had a bit more variety (there could have been at least one ice level in there), but the levels were still memorable in their own right. The music was nice and laid back and well-produced. Also, the thing I personally loved was that the game finally had a full voice-over and I’m still disappointed that the Galaxy games didn’t.

The gameplay was definitely the mixed bag of this title. The F.L.U.D.D. controls were fine and its clear they were the main-focus of the gameplay design. I was more disappointed that Nintendo dropped the ball slightly on the regular platforming elements and particularly the camera-controls which quite frankly were abysmal in comparison to Super Mario 64. However, I still enjoyed playing through the game and eagerly waited to see the game’s finale.

4. Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance

While I did play Mortal Kombat 1 and 2 on the SNES, it really took until Deadly Alliance for me to seriously get into the game franchise. The feature film definitely helped in this regard and Deadly Alliance of course breathed new life into the series after it had taken something of a dive in notability after MK4.

Deadly Alliance was an excellent fighting game, combining classic characters with a bunch of awesome new ones like Li Mei, Frost, Mavado and of course my personal favourite: the drunk, flatulence-weaponising, barf-puddle spawning, beer-gutted martial arts master – Bo Rai Cho! The outstanding innovation of this game was the fighting-style shifts which made gameplay all the more varied and accessible, as you could completely change your move-set on the fly if you started to lose a fight against your opponent, making this easily the most strategic MK in the series.

On top of that, Deadly Alliance just had the most awesome collection of extra-features hidden away in its Krypt: Cooking with Scorpion, the tongue in cheek Product Ads, Comics, new playable characters and of course the obligatory new arenas and alternate costumes. Now, Deadly Alliance wasn’t the most perfect game programming wise and collecting the seven different types of Kurrency to get the extras could get a tiresome – but the rewards for doing so were definitely worth it. I got so many hours of gory enjoyment from DA that this Top-5 simply wouldn’t be complete without it.

3. Luigi’s Mansion

Back in the day, I was quite excited about Mario is Missing because it was going to be the first game where you played exclusively as Luigi. Granted, I only played the game some years later on an emulator and was massively disappointed. So when Nintendo was now bringing its own Luigi starring title and it was announced as a launch-title instead of a new Mario game, I got curious as to whether it was going to be any good. To my amazement, it was way better than even the full-fledged Mario title that eventually came out.

Luigi’s Mansion could give you the heeby-jeebies in a big way, even if it was about cartoon-ghosts and at the same time it was just a really gun game about exploring a haunted mansion. You could find money stashed away pretty much anywhere, and capturing the ghosts often required you to use your head, solving puzzles and figuring out how to progress.

Sure, if you’re the type that’s annoyed by Luigi’s cowardly voice – this game isn’t for you. But I myself got seriously hooked on it and I loved busting ghosts with the Poltergust 3000.

2. Metal Gear Solid: Twin Snakes

Metal Gear Solid was of course a classic on the first PlayStation – but my curiosity towards it only started to grow through the various parodies and cartoon-homages I saw on Newgrounds. Eventually, I decided I had to try the game out for myself. I was lucky to even get my hands on Twin Snakes at all, since I bought it used after the game’s distribution had already been discontinued.

Twin Snakes was an awesome experience. The series’ trade-mark stealth-elements and the exciting atmosphere made it a truly thrilling experience. This wasn’t your ordinary action-game, but instead you had to use your head and act smart to avoid enemies and progress. On top of it all, the game was extremely cinematic and had one hell of a storyline backing it up. Something that I really enjoyed. On top of that, the voice-cast was excellent.

Some fans of the original game tend to complain about how over the top Twin Snakes was, but I honestly loved every second of it and it instantly became one of my all-time favourite games for the GameCube.

1. Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem

It’s such a shame that Nintendo never seemed to be able to shake off its image as a “kiddy” system, despite the fact that one of its first and finest titles was in fact a full-on survival horror title. Eternal Darkness had me hooked immediately and I played it obsessively until I had finished it in all possible ways.

Eternal Darkness’ strengths relied on its subtly creepy atmosphere and colourful set of playable characters, all of whom add variety to the gameplay and the story, with their own lives and strifes becoming wrapped up in the over-arching storyline of the game. But of course, the absolutely most chilling thing about the game are the sanity effects. As you hack your way through Zombies, Bonethieves and Horrors your character starts losing his or her sanity until the game starts doing all matter of crazy shit. The first time playing, you’re in for some really frightening and shit-disturbing moments, but the more you play the more you learn how to offset the horrendous illusions.

Eternal Darkness is such an awesome game that even the fact that it’s graphics looked a tad outdated didn’t even bother me. The game had fluid and easy-to-master controls, a brilliant voice-cast and an excellent soundtrack – all of which contributed to a brilliant gaming experience. It’s easily the best survival horror game I’ve ever played and still my favourite game for the system.

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