Top 10 GameCube games
The GameCube is a lovely console. One of the three pillars of the ‘fifth generation’, whilst Sony and Microsoft experimented with online, DVD playback and other media with their machines, the GameCube stuck to the core function of a console – the games.
It was a unique system sporting a carrying-handle, mini-disk games and one of the most beloved controllers ever. It also had some excellent, unique software. Here are what I consider the best 10 games:
10. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3
Arguably the pinnacle of the Tony Hawk series, at the time THPS3 looked the business, with a superb soundtrack and fluid 60FPS gameplay. It was the last game before the franchise started exploring an open-world format, which yielded mixed results. Repeating the levels in bitesize 2-minute sprints is the best fit for Tony Hawk gameplay.
Copies of the original can go for a fair amount, it’s available from Amazon at here.
9. Star Wars Rogue Squadron 2: Rogue Leader
When released it was probably the best looking console game ever, and still holds up well today. The production values were sky-high from Factor5, absolutely nailing the Star Wars feel. The game’s Start Destroyer encounters are a highlight, and provided a great showcase for the system’s capabilities on launch. If not for a lack of levels, and too many escort missions, it would probably be higher up the list.
You can pick up a copy from Amazon here.
8. F-Zero GX
As difficult as it was addictive, this game stands alongside Wipeout HD as the cream of the futuristic racing genre. Ludicrously fast and silky smooth, once the player gets past the gruelling learning curve it reveals itself to be a deep and compelling racer. What I love about this game is its generosity in terms of features: a level editor and custom vehicle options were welcome additions, but the fact that the arcade version, F-Zero AX is hidden in the game is a real throwback to a pre-DLC-obsessed gaming landscape. It’s a shame Nintendo has since relegated the franchise to mere cameos, but surpassing this SEGA-published effort would be no mean feat.
Copies for F-Zero GX are available on Amazon here.
7. Resident Evil 4
The game that revitalised a franchise and re-defined a genre. What I love about this game is that there is absolutely no filler – every minute of the game is a joy to play from start to finish. The controls really make the game shine – only allowing you to shoot whilst standing still adds to the feelings of claustrophobia and panic Leon’s character would be feeling. The influence of the revolutionary over-the-shoulder perspective can be felt in most third person action games today.
The Wii version of this classic is available from Amazon here.
Where the Tony Hawk series benefited from staying within the confines of divided levels, SSX3 excelled at giving the player the freedom of the three-peaked mountain. SSX3 takes what made SXX Tricky good and expands on everything – retaining the atmosphere but giving the player a more polished, larger and longer experience. Gliding down the slopes to the tunes of DJ Atomika is still a great feeling, and whilst the game is fairly easy, the tight controls and sense of freedom provide a still-unparalleled boarding experience.
Used copies are available on Amazon here.
5. Super Mario Sunshine
What Sunshine does really well is build on the range of movements present in Mario 64, the FLUDD giving the player an expanded toolbox of options to choose from when controlling Mario. Graphically the game still holds up today with strong water effects and vibrant colours, and the game’s difficulty represents a welcome challenge for veteran Mario players. The lack of variety and unfinished levels let the experience down a little, but it’s still a joy to play.
Sunshine is available from Amazon here.
4. Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door
My all-time favourite RPG, TTYD remains the pinnacle of the series and a great example of how witty writing can enhance a narrative. There really isn’t anything bad about the game – the graphics, charm, gameplay, length, pacing… it’s just an RPG done very right.
Copies are available on Amazon here.
3. Metroid Prime
Translating the Metroidvania formula into a first-person-perspective 3D game was a bold and risky move, particularly as the franchise hadn’t seen a game in 8 years. What Retro Studios produced shattered all expectations – Metroid Prime is a masterclass in design, atmosphere and gameplay, sucking the player into its rich and unforgiving world and refusing to let go. The musical score of the game is probably the real hero here – walking into Phenandra Drifts for the first time is one of those unforgettable moments in gaming.
The game is available from Amazon here.
2. Super Smash Bros. Melee
One of those rare games that manages to strike the balance between simple mechanics and depth of gameplay. Melee is great because it’s fun for both newcomers and experienced players; it takes a matter of minutes to grasp how the game is played, but mastering the game takes thousands of hours of practice. Even today people are discovering gameplay tweaks and exploits that enhance the meta-game, with the game’s competitive community remaining stronger than ever. Subsequent entries in the series haven’t quite managed to capture the speed and depth of Melee, and it remains the favourite amongst fans.
Used copies are available from Amazon.
1. The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker
Wind Waker provides the player with a sense of freedom and adventure better than almost any other game. The seamless loading between islands on the Great Sea knits the world together in way other Zelda’s don’t quite achieve, and the and the whimsical, timeless charm of the graphics fit the game’s atmosphere perfectly. The combat is fluid and satisfying, with the counter mechanism a simple but excellent addition to the lock-on Zelda combat. Despite sections of filler and a lack of any real difficulty, Wind Waker is a joy from start to finish and the finest jewel in the GameCube’s crown.
The excellent HD version is available for the Wii U for on Amazon.