The Nintendo GameCube is one of my favorite consoles. I remember saving up for months to buy the purple box to play during summer vacation. In preparation of finally pulling the trigger on the purchase, I joined a bowling league that rewarded players with three GameCube games (Luigi’s Mansion, Wave Race: Blue Storm, and Pikmin) after the three month season. When I finally got my GameCube, I was transported to fantastic Nintendo-created worlds where I spent hours exploring, racing, and capturing ghosts. In 2018, I’m still singing the praises of GameCube. It featured some of my favorite experiences in the past decade. Here are my five favorite GameCube games.
Soul Calibur 2
The fighting genre is one of my favorites. I’ve spent days playing fighting games at arcades, friend’s houses, and my place. Whether it’s Street Fighter, Marvel Vs. Capcom, BlazBlue, Tekken, Mortal Kombat, or Injustice, if there’s a fighting game, there’s a high chance that I’ve purchased it. When Soul Calibur 2 launched in 2002, each version (PlayStation 2, Xbox, and GameCube) had a unique guest character. As a comic book fan, the Xbox version called me because Spawn is a badass character, but the GameCube version featured Link from The Legend of Zelda. Naturally, I made the only reasonable choice; I bought both versions. The GameCube version was my favorite because Link wonderfully fits with the medieval themes featured in the series. Using the Master Sword felt fluid, but his throw was a surefire way to knock your opponent off the map. Throw in an excellent single-player adventure; there were 25 characters to choose from, multiple weapons for each character, a variety of modes, and a fantastic multiplayer mode that had my friends yelling at each other for hours. While the series has undoubtedly improved over the years, Soul Calibur 2 will always have a place in my heart.
Sonic Adventure 2: Battle
Besides the fantastic Sonic Mania, the famous hedgehog hasn’t seen much success in years. I remember always looking forward to each Sonic game. While I never owned Sonic Adventure 2: Battle, I have fond memories (and over 350 hours) of playing this game with my friend every single weekend. Sonic Adventure 2: Battle took the game people loved on Dreamcast, improved the visuals, and added new features to make fans want to double dip and repurchase the game. Two storylines intertwined. Sonic & friends, and Shadow & crew.
Additionally, every level had four emblems that players could earn. The game came out when I was 12, before the Internet was an essential part of my life. My friend and I heard a rumor that earning all 180 emblems would reward us with a 3D version of the iconic Green Hill Zone from Sonic the Hedgehog. We spent three years trying to achieve this, but we never gave up. Eventually, one Friday night, we unlocked the coveted level. Sonic Adventure 2: Battle’s fluid action, entertaining characters, and wonderfully made levels provided me with plenty of memories. While it’s easy to think of the amazing first party exclusives, the GameCube and Sonic Adventure 2: Battle go hand-in-hand to me.
Star Fox Adventure
I love Rare. While the iconic studio no longer makes Nintendo games, some of my favorite games have come from the team. As someone who grew up with Nintendo consoles, Donkey Kong Country, Diddy Kong Racing, Jet Force Gemini, Banjo-Kazooie, and Star Fox 64 defined my childhood. I played Star Fox 64 so many times that I knew every secret like the back of my hand. The game was one of my favorite Nintendo 64 experiences. Naturally, when I heard that a new Star Fox game would be coming to the GameCube, I needed to own it. To my surprise, Star Fox Adventures was nothing like the game I fell in love with years earlier. The game primarily took place on land, something that had never been done in the franchise before. I couldn’t believe what I was playing. It felt like The Legend of Zelda games from the Nintendo 64 era. Combat felt responsive, and the puzzles were intuitive. The supporting cast was interesting, and it introduced players to Krystal, a welcome addition to the Star Fox universe. The game didn’t entirely abandon its roots. Traveling between planets put players in the Arwing, which was reminiscent to Star Fox 64. Despite such a jarring departure from the familiar formula, Star Fox Adventures proved that Nintendo could take a character, change up the method, and make an unforgettable game that still holds up 16 years later.
Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem
This is one of my favorite games ever. When I first tried Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem, I stood over a friend’s house for the week. His mother took us to Blockbuster video, and we picked out the horror game to play at night. As someone who scared easily, I was hesitant to try the game, but I didn’t want my fear to show. Fortunately, I decided to act brave. Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem is the game that made me a fan of the horror genre. It did things that were revolutionary and unheard of at the time. In fact, a lot of video games still haven’t done what Eternal Darkness accomplished. While it may seem like a traditional survival horror experience, sanity effects made the game memorable. I’ll never forget when a notification popped up saying that my game was deleted. I have an extreme fear of bugs, so when a photorealistic cockroach scrolled across the screen, I let out a massive “yelp.” It’s a game that messes with your head. One time, a room was full of ammunition, only for my character to actually discover that those bullets weren’t real. Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem isn’t just full of jump scares, it’s also a psychological experience that aims to stick with the player long after the credits roll. I recently bought a GameCube to replay Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem. I’m not sure if it will hold up, but I need to show respect to the game that opened my eyes to one of the coolest genres in the industry.
Super Mario Sunshine
Super Mario Sunshine is my favorite GameCube game, and I would even go as far as to say that it’s the best Mario game ever made. Look, Super Mario Odyssey, and both Super Mario Galaxy games are stellar, but Super Mario Sunshine completely blew me away. At the time, it was the best looking game I’d ever played. The lush environments of Isle Delfino were jaw-dropping, but the fluid platforming and the inclusion of the game’s gimmick, FLUDD made Super Mario Sunshine stand about the rest. Using FLUDD as a way to rid the world of the toxic goop scattered around levels, attack enemies, and traverse across the environment was a nifty mechanic that brought Mario to new heights. While I adore his later outings, part of me wishes Nintendo would revisit Super Mario Sunshine. Luckily, I still have a GameCube, which allows me to experience my favorite Mario adventure again and again. My favorite plumber has seen plenty of iterations over the past few decades, but Super Mario Sunshine is the game that truly stands out among the pack to me.
The GameCube is an underrated console. It didn’t sell as well as other Nintendo home consoles, and that’s a shame. The library on the GameCube is full of fantastic games that deserve the spotlight. I hope you enjoyed reading about my five favorite games on the console. Did you own a GameCube? What are your favorite games on Nintendo’s purple machine? I’d love to hear what you think in the comments below!