GameCube Top 25

by Ben Reeves on Sep 22, 2009 at 02:21 PM

It wasn’t the most popular console of the last generation, and even stalwart Nintendo fans admit that the system had its share of dry spells. But while supporters in both Sony and Microsoft camps liked to point and laugh at the little purple box with a handle, this list of 25 titles proves the GameCube was no joke.

25 Luigi’s Mansion
He may not quite measure up to his older brother, but Luigi held his own in this delightful adventure, which saw him sucking up ghosts with a hefty Dirt Devil.

24 Tales of Symphonia
Symphonia received praise for its beautiful art style and engaging real-time battle system, and rightly so. This was one of the finest RPGs for the system.

23 TimeSplitters 2
With levels that ranged from the Wild West to a futuristic Tokyo, this often-silly FPS had some great multiplayer and a control system that felt just right.

22 Killer 7
Original? Yes. Confusing? A little. Insane? Definitely. Killer 7’s stylish cel-shaded graphics, intriguing story, and unorthodox gameplay made it a standout title.

21 Super Monkey Ball
While many companies focused on production values and narrative during this console generation, Sega put a monkey inside a ball and focused on a simple play mechanic that was surprisingly fun.

20 Ikaruga
Another fine Dreamcast port, this chaotic top-down space shooter redefined pandemonium, allowing players to swap the color of their ships in order to absorb different types of enemy fire.

19 Prince of Persia series
The Prince of Persia franchise was all but a dead franchise until Ubisoft delivered this a trilogy of time-bending action platformers that reinvigorated the series — and the genre.

18 F-Zero GX
Wonder what it’s like to race hovercrafts at warp nine? F-Zero has you covered. Not many games could keep up with this futuristic racer’s smooth framerate, challenging courses, or four-player twitch gameplay.

17 Resident Evil and Resident Evil Zero
Resident Evil fans were well off even before RE 4. In the span of less than a year, the GameCube became home to two exclusives: a terrifying remake to the 32-bit survival horror classic, and a revealing prequel.

16 Skies of Arcadia Legends
This fine Dreamcast RPG featuring sky pirates and large ship battles got a second life with this GameCube remake. This version also fixed some of the original’s problems and came packed with a slew of new quests and characters.

15 SSX 3
With peaks this high and tricks this outrageous, EA only needed one mountain to create the wildest snowboarding game to ever hit the slopes.

14 Pikmin series
Leave it to Nintendo to create one of the finest and most endearing RTS titles for console. Using the bizarre Pikmin plant creatures to dig up the missing pieces of a spaceship is the only kind of weeding we enjoy.

13 Animal Crossing
We can pay off our mortgage, write letters to our friends, and run errands for our neighbors in real life, but somehow doing it in Nintendo’s anthropomorphic world was more fun.

12 Beyond Good & Evil
This unique action adventure title attracted a strong cult following for a reason. The kid-friendly atmosphere and slapstick humor were supported by BG&E’s deeper narrative and well constructed puzzles.

11 Metal Gear Solid: Twin Snakes
Sillicon Knights’ update to what is arguably the PSone’s finest title, Twin Snakes gave us sharper graphics, better sneaking controls, and new extended cutscenes.

10 Soul Calibur II
The Soul Calibur franchise is Namco’s love letter to the fighting game community. Soul Calibur II was one of the most beautiful and balanced 3D fighters on any system, but the GameCube version had the added bonus of letting us play as everyone’s favorite green tunic-wearing elf.

9 Mario Kart: Double Dash!
Mario Kart games are always more fun with a group of people, but Double Dash actually played differently when you were with friends. By throwing two people in the same kart, players could focus on specific tasks and dominate the tracks together.

8 Viewtiful Joe series
Devil May Cry and Okami mastermind Hideki Kamiya delivered these comic-themed side-scrolling brawlers, and we never thanked him enough. Viewtiful Joe won over gamers with its inventive use of 2D sidescrolling in 3D panoramas. The remarkable series also featured a deep combat system that let players control time, and was so full of charm it broke into the mainstream media with its own anime spinoff.

7 Super Mario Sunshine
Not many people argue that Super Mario Sunshine is the best Mario title ever, but even a sub-par game starring the mustachioed plumber ends up being one of the most memorable games of its generation. This time Mario traveled across the exotic locals of a tropical resort, cleaning up graffiti with a giant Super Soaker. What else can we say? Even the guy’s terrible vacations are a blast.

6 Metroid Prime series
How do you revive one of the most beloved 2D franchises after an eight-year hiatus? Give it to an unknown Texas studio, Retro, and turn it into a first-person shooter. The development of Metroid Prime certainly didn’t take the obvious route, but its results were impressive. These two Metroid Prime titles gave players a giant web of interconnected levels to explore, filled them with creative and puzzle-laden environments, and wrapped it all with a memorable art style that still holds up.

5 Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader
It’s strange to think a Star Wars game that didn’t feature lightsabers, Jedi, or even the Force would be one of the franchise’s premier titles. But if you’ve played this gorgeous space shooter, you understand why. As one of the only GameCube titles to use bump mapping and multi-texturing, Rogue Leader looked stunning. The flight combat offered a big challenge, but that just made commanding your squad behind the tight controls of these Rebel crafts all the more thrilling.

4 Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem
Eternal Darkness didn’t just scare you; it haunted you. The game featured a layered plot that sent gamers all over the world to different historical periods, but the real draw to Silicon Knights’ masterpiece was that it screwed with your head more than a gallery of M.C. Escher paintings. The game convinced many players that their system was possessed when their world turned upside down or the controller suddenly “disconnected.” We’re surprised no one has tapped into this kind of madness since.

3 Super Smash Bros. Melee
There are games that focus on fan service, and then there is Smash Bros. When it came to giving bright-eyed Nintendo fans what they wanted, Melee was in a league of its own, as it threw every popular Nintendo franchise into one big melting pot. Many deride the game for its spastic nature, but whether you’re pitting video game legends like Pikachu and Donkey Kong against each other or working your way through the myriad challenges it offered, the game was just plain entertaining. How do you complain about that?

2 The Legend of Zelda series
Few series manage to be as consistently stellar as The Legend of Zelda. If Nintendo continues to innovate its gameplay with creative puzzles and dungeons, fans may never grow tired of Link’s adventures. The GameCube was blessed with two such adventures. The cel-shaded Wind Waker gave us a chance to control the wind and explore a vast ocean, and the gritty Twilight Princess saw Link exploring his animalistic nature as he transformed into a wolf and traveled into a parallel twilight universe.

1 Resident Evil 4
There is a reason the upcoming Resident Evil 5 doesn’t stray too far from the formula established in this game – it’s already pretty close to perfect. A few other RE titles appear further down this list, but Resident Evil 4 stands out from the pack. When Capcom rebooted the series, it made all the right choices, designing a fresh control scheme, setting a tense action-packed atmosphere, and crafting some of the most impressive graphics of its generation. These changes not only made RE 4 the finest title in an already excellent series, but the best GameCube title period.