Feature: Best GameCube Games


The Nintendo GameCube is eighteen years old today! In honour of reaching this prestigious milestone (which now enables it to enter pubs and watch a whole range of naughty movies in the UK), we asked Nintendo Life readers to score their favourite GameCube games. The results have now been assembled into the list of 50 games you see below.

A big thank you to everyone who responded, and it’s not too late if you missed out. The ranking is formed entirely from each game’s user rating in the Nintendo Life Games database. However, unlike other static lists, this one can (and no doubt will) constantly evolve to reflect ratings from Nintendo Life users, so you can still participate. Thanks to this fluidity, don’t be surprised to see a few of these games shift up or down over the coming days and weeks, either.

We’ve done this for a growing number of Nintendo consoles, so if you’re interested be sure to check out the best Nintendo DS games, the best 3DS games, the best Game Boy games and even the 50 best Switch games – each and every one a fluid list that can change over time. Try rating the games in them, too!

That’s enough waffling. Let’s dive in and see your picks for the all-time 50 best GameCube games…

The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures (GCN)

Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Nintendo EAD

Release Date: 7th Jun 2004 (USA) / 7th Jan 2005 (UK/EU)

A collaborative adventure in the Legend of Zelda mould was something many had dreamt of for a long time, and the Four Swords part of the GBA port of A Link to the Past made the jump to the TV screen here in Four Swords Adventures. There’s a single player game in there, but the real meat of the experience involved each of the four players hooking their own GBA to the GameCube with the requisite link cable and controlling their Link in a screen-hopping adventure long before Nintendo went asymmetric with the Wii U gamepad. It’s a brilliant co-op Zelda game hampered only by the fact that it required so much kit to function.

Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness (GCN)Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness (GCN)

Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Genius Sonority

Release Date: 3rd Oct 2005 (USA) / 18th Nov 2005 (UK/EU)

The follow-up to Pokémon Colosseum, Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness released in 2005 and had you catching Shadow ‘mon and ‘purifying’ them. Using the GBA-GC link cable, it was possible to connect any of the Game Boy Advance mainline entries to XD for battling and trading and, although it didn’t change things significantly from its predecessor, it still provided a decent 3D Pokémon experience before the mainline games went into the third dimension.

Mega Man Anniversary Collection (GCN)Mega Man Anniversary Collection (GCN)

Publisher: Capcom / Developer: Atomic Planet

Release Date: 23rd Jun 2004 (USA)

Mega Mans (Mega Men?) 1-8 collected together on one disc sounds like a mighty fine proposition, no? And so it was. It wasn’t without faults, but this compilation also included Mega Man: The Power Battle and Mega Man 2: The Power Fighters, two arcade rarities outside Japan. In fact, the only huge black mark against this game was the truly bizarre decision to make ‘B’ the jump button with the GameCube’s big chunky ‘A’ button firing the Blue Bomber’s Arm Cannon. This control scheme could not be altered which caused no small amount of trouble for players who had years of muscle memory built up from playing the classics. A puzzling choice, but an otherwise fine collection from Capcom.

WarioWare, Inc: Mega Party Game$! (GCN)WarioWare, Inc: Mega Party Game$! (GCN)

Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Nintendo R&D1

Release Date: 6th Apr 2004 (USA) / 3rd Sep 2004 (UK/EU)

A remake of the GBA game WarioWare, Inc: Mega Microgames!, this home console version added multiplayer to an already brilliantly unhinged concept of microgames that mashes together tiny tasks with a time limit to produce a hectic, hilarious experience. It feels like R&D1 were unchained and allowed to vent their bursting creativity, channelling it into a game without being encumbered by the usual Nintendo ‘polish’ everyone expects, which gives this game (and the wider series) a remarkable and unique feeling of freshness.

Chibi-Robo (GCN)Chibi-Robo (GCN)

Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: skip

Release Date: 6th Feb 2006 (USA) / 26th May 2006 (UK/EU)

Chibi-Robo is difficult to describe because it doesn’t neatly fit into any particular category or genre. It’s part-platformer, part-adventure, part-amiable helper game which mixes in elements of Toy Story as you work to help the Sanderson family solve their everyday problems. The eponymous altruistic robot himself is a charming little chap who’s starred in several games since this GameCube introduction (and he also has the most devastatingly cute amiibo imaginable), but he’s never quite reached the heights of his debut here. Lovely.

Baten Kaitos Origins (GCN)Baten Kaitos Origins (GCN)

Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Namco

Release Date: 25th Sep 2006 (USA)

The first and only sequel to Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean, this offered some gameplay tweaks but didn’t fundamentally alter the base experience from the first game. It was released in 2006 when the ailing GameCube was on the very last of its last legs and the developers made the decision not to move it to the upcoming Wii. With hindsight, that was an obvious error – Baten Kaitos Origins would have inevitably got more attention than it found at the time on the purple box. Interestingly, it was one of the first games localised by 8-4, the localisation house who would go on to work with Nintendo on the excellent Fire Emblem: Awakening and Xenoblade Chronicles X, among others.

Resident Evil 2 (GCN)Resident Evil 2 (GCN)

Publisher: Capcom / Developer: Capcom

Release Date: 16th Jan 2003 (USA) / 30th May 2003 (UK/EU)

Squeezing RE2 onto N64 required a Herculean effort, but this is essentially a port of the PlayStation version with very little in the way of bells and whistles. The greatness of the base game shines, of course, and arguably makes it worthy of placement here, but anyone expecting a REmake-style overhaul was left sorely disappointed by this barebones version. Resident Evil 2 is a great game, though, however threadbare the presentation.

Viewtiful Joe 2 (GCN)Viewtiful Joe 2 (GCN)

Publisher: Capcom / Developer: Capcom

Release Date: 18th Nov 2004 (USA) / 1st Apr 2005 (UK/EU)

Coming from Clover Studio, Capcom’s starry development team behind the likes of Okami and God Hand with members who would go on to form PlatinumGames, this sequel continues movie-obsessed Joe’s story as he becomes a superhero and teams up with his girlfriend, Sexy Silvia, to defend humanity from an alien invasion. Very similar to the first game, it oozes style and energy from every pore, although it lacks a co-op multiplayer mode you might expect from a sequel. Still a belter, though.

Ikaruga (GCN)Ikaruga (GCN)

Publisher: Atari / Developer: Treasure

Release Date: 15th Apr 2003 (USA) / 23rd May 2003 (UK/EU)

The GameCube version of this masterpiece shooter will cost you an arm and a leg these days, and with the Switch version of Ikaruga offering extra benefits like portability and the ability to twist your Switch and play in Tate mode, it’s hard to justify splashing so much cash just to get it on a cute GameCube disc. If you still own it from back in the day, though, Treasure’s seminal shmup is indeed something to treasure forever. Still hard as nails, though.

Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour (GCN)Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour (GCN)

Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Camelot

Release Date: 29th Aug 2003 (USA) / 18th Jun 2004 (UK/EU)

We’re quite partial to the Nintendo 64 entry in the series, but developer Camelot didn’t do much wrong when it came to the GameCube iteration, either. Featuring sixteen characters and courses containing Mushroom Kingdom staples such as warp pipes and Chain Chomps, Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour takes things up a gear without reinventing the game, making every bunker and green look suitably lovely and introducing some fun extra modes. Hardly revolutionary, but there’s only so much you can do with golf and there aren’t many better ways to spoil a walk than this.

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