Top 20 Best GameCube Games of All Time
Want to learn about the best GameCube games of all time? You've certainly come to the right place. Nintendo is a company that’s well-known for not being afraid to take risks when it comes to its consoles. The Switch is a prime example of this. However, it’s just the latest in a long line of innovative and sometimes quirky game consoles. Speaking of quirky, I think it’s pretty safe to say that no other console fits this description better than the purple block of joy known as the Nintendo GameCube.
The GameCube is an unforgettable console that brings back fond memories for anyone who grew up in the early 2000s and was fortunate enough to own one. Not only was the box itself special but it also featured a very large selection of excellent games. With that in mind, in this article, we invite you to join us on a nostalgia trip as we take a look at some of the Top GameCube games of all time.
#20. Beyond Good & Evil
This game is the true definition of a hidden gem. Although overlooked by many when it first came out back in late 2003, Beyond Good & Evil eventually reached cult status thanks to a very vocal and passionate community of fans. This very same community ended up convincing Ubisoft to dust off the IP and start working on a sequel. Which it did. Back at E3 2017, the publisher revealed that Beyond Good and Evil 2 was indeed in the works and even showcased a very impressive trailer to go along with the announcement.
#19. TimeSplitters: Future Perfect
If you’re looking for the GameCube games that involve time travel you’ll definitely come across this series sooner or later. Although the first two entries in the series are great games in their own right, TimeSplitters: Future Perfect will always hold a special place in our hearts. The third installment focused a lot more on the story than its predecessors and did a great job at combining action-packed combat with plenty of hilarious moments. The TimeSplitters license is currently owned by THQ Nordic and there’s a reason to believe the publisher is working on a new entry in the series. Fingers crossed.
#18. Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes
The Twin Snakes took a lot of people by surprise. Even back in the early 2000s, the Metal Gear Solid franchise was synonymous with Sony’s PlayStation. Even stranger was the fact that Konami and Silicon Knights decided to release this game as a GameCube exclusive. The Twin Snakes is actually a remake of the original MGS but felt a lot more exciting than its counterpart. This was in no small thanks to the addition of new anime-inspired cut scenes. Sure, they look pretty silly now but were quite impressive back in the day.
#17. Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance
One of the awesome GameCube games in the strategy genre, Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance was the first title in the series to get a western release. Up until that point, the franchise was mostly unknown outside of Japan. Not only did Path of Radiance introduce the whole world to Fire Emblem, but it did so in a pretty spectacular fashion. Path of Radiance represented a huge leap forward for the series as this was the first game to use 3D models, voice acting, and animated cut scenes.
#16. Luigi’s Mansion
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more divisive game on the console than Luigi's Mansion. One of the GameCube’s launch titles, Luigi’s Mansion was a pretty bizarre action-adventure game that didn’t sit well with many traditionalist Mario fans. Those who gave it a chance, however, quickly discovered that just because something is different it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad. Quite the contrary in this particular case.
#15. Animal Crossing
This social simulation game where you walk around a village populated by humanoid animals is highly addicting. In fact, Animal Crossing plays like it was designed specifically for mobile devices. And yet, the game came out back in 2001 before smartphones were even a thing. Luckily, Nintendo decided to stick to the original formula for all the games that followed, the last of which came out just a couple of years ago.
#14. Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door
It should come as a surprise to no one that some of the cool GameCube games are ones starring the lovable Italian plumber. The entire Paper Mario series features a very unique art style that combines 2D characters with 3D environments. The end result is that all the characters look like they are made out of paper. This effect is particularly glaring in The Thousand-Year Door as the game introduced a number of other graphical improvements over its predecessor.
#13. Tales of Symphonia
Despite launching way back in 2003, Tales of Symphonia is actually the fifth main entry in the Tales series. The game was a pretty big step forward for the franchise as it brought with it a new 3D battle system. In addition, Tales of Symphonia was also the first title to include alternate costumes for its main protagonists. This is a trend that would continue for many years to come.
#12. Star Wars Rogue Leader: Rogue Squadron II
Star Wars games are pretty hit-or-miss nowadays but that wasn’t always the case. There were a lot of good ones back in the early 2000s, including one of the GameCube top games of all time, Star Wars Rogue Leader: Rogue Squadron II. Don’t let its lengthy name dissuade you from playing. Rogue Squadron II is a great game that holds up well to this day. With Star Wars still being as popular as ever, here’s hoping that EA will eventually decide to work on another space sim set in the universe.
#11. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
The Sands of Time is the title that introduced a whole new generation of gamers to Prince of Persia. Despite a lukewarm reception in North America at launch, the game was overall very well received and ended up spawning several sequels. Unfortunately, the series never went anywhere after that. It’s safe to say that the 2010 film loosely based on The Sands of Time didn’t exactly help the franchise either.
#10. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3
The Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater series was absolutely killing it back in the early 2000s. After two very successful installments on the N64, Nintendo also brought the series to the GameCube in 2001 with Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3. To be fair, you could just as easily replace this entry with Pro Skater 4. They were both great games. However, if you remember the early days of the console, you probably have fonder memories of the third game in the series.
#9. Super Mario Sunshine
Some of the most popular GameCube game we played back in the day would be considered pretty weird now. Super Mario Sunshine is a prime example of this. The game starts off on an exotic island with the plumber taking a well-deserved vacation along with his friends. Including Peach. Naturally, his R&R doesn’t last long as the princess is captured soon after and he is forced to fix the mess left by a Mario lookalike who sprayed the whole island with graffiti.
#8. Viewtiful Joe
Viewtiful Joe is another weird game that many GameCube owners surely remember well. The game plays like a classic beat ‘em up but featured an art style that was truly unique at the time. Graphics aside, the gameplay was also extremely solid and included some crazy powers that allowed the protagonist to slow time or move at extremely fast speeds.
#7. Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem
Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem was another GameCube exclusive that didn’t receive the love it deserved at launch. Despite a very strong critical reception, the game was overlooked by a lot of people and didn’t sell too great. A shame really. This psychological horror game was very well put together and gave even Resident Evil a run for its money in terms of quality. A direct sequel to Eternal Darkness and a spiritual successor were both announced at one point. Unfortunately, neither project got off the ground and both were ultimately canceled.
#6. Soul Calibur II
Every game in the main Soul Calibur series can be considered great. But if you’re looking for the absolute best, that has to be Soul Calibur II. The game brought to the table an absolute truckload of new features and mechanics that improved upon every aspect of the original. Subsequent titles brought their own improvements but none of them managed to impact the series as a whole quite like Soul Calibur II.
#5. Super Smash Bros: Melee
To say that Super Smash Bros. Melee is one of the cool game would be an understatement. The game proved to be a huge success for Nintendo from day one and ended up being the best-selling title on the console. While the original Super Smash Bros. didn’t do too bad either, the company went all out with this follow up and it showed.
#4. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
Twilight Princess was released at the tail end of the GameCube’s life cycle. The game came out in December 2006 and was the last first-party title to grace the console. That means that a lot of people skipped the GameCube version and got Twilight Princess for the Wii instead. But regardless of what platform you played it on, we can all agree that Twilight Princess is a fantastic game. And clearly worthy of all the praise it got over the years from fans and critics alike.
#3. Resident Evil 4
Resident Evil 4 is not just among the best GameCube games but also one of the best games in general. This was the first title in the series to feature an over-the-shoulder third-person perspective. In hindsight, that was a gamble that could have easily blown up in Capcom’s face. Fortunately, that didn't happen. Fans of the series immediately embraced the change and many other video games since then have tried to emulate it. Sadly, Resident Evil 4 never got a proper remake. However, there’s a strong chance that Capcom will release one sooner or later.
#2. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
While it didn’t quite reach Ocarina of Time’s level of success, Wind Waker came very close. The game received a number of perfect scores from gaming magazines at launch, including one from Famitsu. The Japanese magazine is known for being highly critical when it comes to reviews. So this was definitely a sign that Nintendo created something truly special here. A remake of Wind Waker came out for the Wii U in 2013. Don’t hesitate to grab it if you own the console and want to see what all the fuss is about. It's definitely well worth your time.
#1. Metroid Prime
The number one spot on our best GameCube games of all time list goes to none other than Metroid Prime. The first new entry in the series after an 8-year hiatus, Metroid Prime was a mind-blowing experience for those who were lucky enough to play it at launch. If you haven’t, you should definitely give it a try if you get the chance. The game holds up very well to this day and exploring its world feels as satisfying as ever. Sure, the graphics may seem a bit dated by today’s standards but that can be said about most old games. What truly matters here is the gameplay and Metroid Prime offers some of the best you’ll ever experience.
Final Thoughts on the Best GameCube Games
Creating a list of the best GameCube games of all time is no easy feat. It’s often difficult to take an objective look at some of these old games through our rose-tinted glasses. Nostalgia aside, there’s no denying that the 20 titles we discussed today are all excellent games in their own right. As a testament to that fact, most titles on this list are part of series that are still ongoing. Resident Evil, Soul Calibur, Super Smash Bros. and The Legend of Zelda are just a few noteworthy examples.