The early 2000s was a monumental turning point in video game history. Sony began the new millennium with the PlayStation 2, and Microsoft ended 2001 with the Xbox. These two systems were pillars in video game history.
However, we’re not here to talk about those two consoles. We are here to discuss the one that came out between these two, the Nintendo GameCube.
During this time, Nintendo was going through a weird era. Sure, they were definitely still doing well. The Nintendo 64 left a great legacy and the Game Boy Advance came out earlier that year and had phenomenal sales. Unfortunately, the Gamecube did not sell as well as the Xbox, and not nearly as well as the PlayStation 2.
With that being said, that doesn’t mean the GameCube didn’t have great games. The GameCube had a rich library of games that set it up for success. The Xbox and PS2 just had a leg-up with revolutionary first-person shooters like Halo and regularly updating franchises like Ratchet and Clank and Jak and Daxter.
For this list, we looked for the games that still made the GameCube worth buying. They didn’t win the console war, but they did win over the fans.
Top 10 GameCube games
10. Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness
A lot of the reason why people buy Nintendo’s mobile consoles like the Nintendo DS and the Game Boy Advance is so that they can play Pokémon games. While fans wanted Pokémon games on Nintendo’s home consoles, we never expected them.
Not only did the GameCube get a Pokémon game, but it got the best home console Pokémon game ever made. Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness has some of the same mechanics as your typical Pokémon game, but it focuses more on the story rather than collecting mons and badges.
It’s also a much harder Pokémon game than what we were used to seeing. The final boss is so hard it just seems cruel. Also, rather than you getting the opportunity to hunt in the wild for whatever mons you want, you are at the mercy of using only the mons you snagged from other trainers.
If you’re a Pokémon fan, you can’t go wrong with this classic.
9. Soul Calibur 2
Soul Calibur 2 was on the PS2 and Xbox as well as the GameCube. However, what made it better on the GameCube was the inclusion of our favorite sword-wielding fairy boy, Link. Each game had its exclusive character depending on what console you played. Xbox got the comic book character Spawn, and the PS2 got Mishima from Tekken.
Both of those characters were fun, but they’re no Link.
Soul Calibur 2 is a tournament fighter game where the characters fight with swords, staffs, axes, nunchaku, and even magic. Sure, you can mash buttons and do fairly well, but the more experienced player plays the game like a chess match.
8. Mario Kart: Double Dash
If you were to ask the average Mario Kart fan which game in the series is their favorite, you probably wouldn’t hear anyone mention Mario Kart: Double Dash. However, the game is still a lot of fun.
Double Dash had a unique mechanic where you picked two characters instead of one. One character sits up front driving the kart while the other one sits in back throwing items at other drivers.
This made for some interesting decisions. Maybe you want to have a lighter character up front like Toad, and then throw a heavy character like Donkey Kong on the back to help balance it out.
This might not be our favorite Mario Kart game, but we can pop this one in any day of the week.
7. Sonic Adventure 2 Battle
First, let’s start this off right:
Ahh, if only Sonic’s transition to film went over as well as his transition to Nintendo.
After the demise of the Sega Dreamcast, Sonic the Hedgehog made his way over to the Nintendo GameCube. His stay had… mixed results. Sonic Heroes was a decent title, but the original Sonic Adventure had quite possibly the ugliest talking animation ever.
That said, the crown jewel was Sonic Adventure 2 Battle. The game was animated well for the time, and the gameplay had actual 3D platforming mechanics fitting for the blue hedgehog.
This was the first Sonic title to get the 3D formula right. It wasn’t buggy and game-breaking like future titles, and it was more polished and clean than its predecessor.
The game also introduced us to Shadow the Hedgehog who would go on to be a major anti-hero in the series. The game was divided into a hero and villain side where you could choose to play on the side of good or evil. Each side had three different types of levels. Sonic and Shadow had fast-paced 3D platforming levels. Knuckles and Rouge were treasure hunters in a race to collect all the pieces of the Master Emerald. Tails and Dr. Eggman drove their mechs through levels, shooting down everything in their paths.
One of the things that really makes this game stick out is the Chao Garden. Chao are blue fairy-like creatures that also look like onions.
In the game, you raise them from the moment they hatch. You feed them, train them, and take care of them. It definitely is not enough to merit its own game, but it’s definitely a fun break from the main game.
6. Super Mario Sunshine
Super Mario 64 for the Nintendo 64 set the course for every 3D platformer thereafter. The essence of the game is in its control. Mario feels like he can move wherever you want him to go. His limits are not set by the game, but by your own limitations as a gamer.
That game set such a high standard that Super Mario Sunshine, unfortunately, did not entirely meet. However, that doesn’t mean that this game isn’t fun.
Super Mario Sunshine is an absolute jam. The same feeling of control from Super Mario 64 is still present here. Also, this time Mario has a water hose/water-powered jetpack called FLUDD. This tool gives Mario a whole new dimension to how he can maneuver through the world.
You might be thinking, “Okay, so why isn’t this game as good as Super Mario 64?” Its shortcoming lies in its level designs. When you think of Mario 64, your mind jumps to Bomb-Omb Battlefield, Shifting Sands Land, or Wet-Dry World. Mario Sunshine just doesn’t have the same memorable worlds.
Mario Sunshine is a great game, but it is far from being a legend.
5. Metroid Prime
Nobody thought this game was going to work out as well as it did.
While Link and Mario had 3D incarnations on the Nintendo 64, our favorite bounty-hunting baddie Samus did not get a game. Our thought process was that we couldn’t get a Metroid game was because a 3D Metroid game wasn’t possible. Thank God we were wrong.
Metroid Prime didn’t have the online multiplayer of the Halo franchise, but it had the best alien-hunting campaign of its time. The labyrinth of the original Metroid games is back in a 3D environment that translated so well to the GameCube.
You get to use Samus’s power-ups like the Morph Ball and Grapple Beam to navigate the 3D environment. Eventually, you get to take down some of the most challenging bosses in video game history.
4. Resident Evil 4
The video game era of the early 2000s was defined by graphics.
Nobody thought that the GameCube had the same graphics capabilities of the Xbox or the PS2. People thought GameCube games had such cartoonish graphics because they couldn’t make characters look realistic. Resident Evil 4 was the game that shut them all up.
Resident Evil 4 is about an agent named Leon who is sent into essentially a cultist’s dystopia where he needs to find and rescue the president’s daughter. While there, Leon encounters humans infected with a parasite that takes over their mind and makes them stronger.
Throughout the game, the bosses get harder as your arsenal of guns gets larger. The game isn’t about bringing the biggest, baddest gun to the fight, but bringing the right equipment for the job. Plug in this game, and you’re in for arguably the best Resident Evil game in the entire franchise.
3. The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker
After the success of Ocarina of Time and Majora Mask, fans of the Zelda franchise were expecting another fantastic title just as dark as its predecessors. We were also expecting more realistic graphics. What we got wasn’t exactly dark:
So many fans wrote off “The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker” based on the graphics alone. Those fans missed out on an incredible game.
Wind Waker has some of the best sword-fighting mechanics in any video game. Link moves around like a Jedi, parrying blows while flipping through the air.
The story is also great. Link is on a journey to rescue his sister who was kidnapped by a giant albatross. From there, he gets roped into a mission by a talking boat to defeat the evil Ganondorf while unlocking secrets from Hyrule’s past.
Along the way, you meet a colorful cast of characters while you sail the high seas in one of the best adventures in the series.
2. The Legend Of Zelda: Twilight Princess
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess feels like the Zelda game fans wanted for the GameCube. The game is dark and abysmal. Everywhere you go, you encounter characters who just seem to have zero joy left in them. However, once you get to know them, they inspire you, even more, to conquer evil and save the land of Hyrule.
Also, we finally got the graphics we wanted:
Speaking of characters, Twilight Princess introduced us to Midna who is, without a doubt, the best companion to journey alongside Link in any Zelda game. Midna is charismatic, sassy, and, most importantly, flawed. Throughout the game, we see the chinks in her armor as she lets her guard down more and more to the player. By the end, you care about her making it out alive more than Link.
The game was released as a launch title for the Nintendo Wii as well as one of the final titles for the GameCube. Although the game is pretty fun on the Wii, the GameCube was the console that not only deserved it but made it a legend.
1. Super Smash Bros. Melee
The more we thought about it, the more we realized that there simply is not another GameCube game worth of this spot.
Super Smash Bros Melee is not only the best Smash Bros. game and the best GameCube game, but it’s quite possibly the best platforming fighting game ever created.
Three Super Smash Bros. games have been released since Melee, and yet this is the one you still see at tournaments.
The fighting is fast-paced and fluid in a way that Nintendo hasn’t been able to capture since. When you plug this in, hours fly by without you noticing.
Melee showed truly what the GameCube could be. It showed that it could have you and three friends huddle on a cramped couch that smelled like Cheetos and stale Dr. Pepper, and you’d be fine with it.
Yeah, Pikmin didn’t make the list. We’re sorry, there just wasn’t enough room. What games do you think should have made the list? Let us know in the comments below? As for us, we have to go 1v1 Fox only on Final Destination.