5 Amazing Gamecube Games

5 Amazing Gamecube Games

Time to commemorate some classics from an underrated console.  

As of April 2nd, Gamestop will officially stop accepting trade-ins on Nintendo Gamecube consoles, and has deemed the console “officially collectible”. Is there a better excuse to plug in the purple/black box with its convenient carry handle and tiny discs and fondly remember some of its highlights?

1: Metroid Prime

You could look at Metroid Prime as the Yin to Halo’s Yang. While Microsoft’s shooter was defined by its fast paced action and competitive multiplayer, Metroid Prime was calmer and quieter.

Focussing on exploration, scanning and puzzle solving, Metroid Prime features an unforgettable atmosphere, a stunning soundtrack and expansive environments that make your jaw drop. I’ve read that sentence back and it sounds too much like one of those vague quotes to stir up hype you see on movie posters (“unforgettable atmosphere- 5 stars”) so here are some specific awesome moments from the Metroid Prime experience:

  • The panicky timed escape from the space station after losing all your equipment
  • The first time you notice little droplets of rain on your visor in Talon Overworld (it was a lot cooler back in 2003 before everyone else started doing it)
  • Phendrana Drifts and its chilling music
  • Getting the thermal visor from the research core right at the point where the electric lights short out and a whole load of Metroids break free from glass tanks.
  • Finally finding a save point in the Phazon Mines.
  • Defeating Meta Ridley

I recently replayed Metroid Prime from start to finish, and it’s surprising how well it still holds up in terms of its design and its ability to immerse you in its sci-fi world despite having no dialogue and not much conventional story. It can be found in Metroid Prime: Trilogy, which was released for the Ninetendo Wii a few years ago and also features the excellent (but rock hard) Metroid Prime 2: Echoes.

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This is what Miss America looks like without her make-up

 

2: Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem

Eternal Darkness isn’t the only game to play with the idea of madness, but it is the only game I know of where your head falls off and it starts quoting Shakespeare at you.

Silicon Knight’s psychological survival horror has a unique sanity system. Every time you encounter an enemy, a green bar will steadily deplete. If the bar gets low enough, your character will begin to experience hallucinations, and some of them break the fourth wall.

Zombies may not be scary, but a game pretending to delete your entire save data certainly is.

It would be too easy to focus on this one aspect of the game, and forget that it also features some terrific voice acting performances, a comprehensive magick system and an eerie sound design that might make you poo your pants.

The Gamecube wasn’t renowned for its selection of mature titles, which could be why this game passed under the radar, but do check it out if you want to experience one of gaming’s unsung horror masterpieces.

Eternal Darkness Pious

The aftermath of a costume party that went horribly wrong

3: Pikmin

If you’ve ever found yourself staring into a flower bed and wondering what it would be like to live amongst the shrubs and insects, then you probably have too much time on your hands, but you would also enjoy Pikmin, Nintendo’s brilliantly quirky take on the Real Time Strategy genre.

You play as a tiny little spaceman who crash lands on a planet full of hostile creatures, and must enlist the help of the Pikmin, a race of cute plant creatures, to get back the parts of your spaceship.

On some core level Pikmin is actually pretty horrifying. In order to defeat the monsters on the planet, the Pikmin have to be hurled at them en masse from a distance, and many inevitably end up perishing. The withering little cry as they get eaten, burnt alive, stamped on, and drowned is difficult to forget, and neglectfully leaving a party of them only to find they have all been trampled by a giant ladybird is crushing (no pun intended).

Pikmin 2 is also worth investigating, if only for its fiendishly addictive multiplayer.

Fun fact: the game was inspired by Shigeru Miyamoto’s love of gardening.

Pikmin image

What your mother never told you about carrots...

 

4: Luigi’s Mansion

Luigi’s Mansion was not inspired by anyone’s love of vacuuming, I presume, although sucking up dirt probably shouldn’t be this much fun. As a launch title, the game was pretty daring. It was one of the few games of the Mario universe to star his timid younger brother. There was no platforming, and the gameplay consisted mainly of exploring dark rooms and hoovering ghosts.

Yet the risk was worth it, and like the Mario and Luigi RPG series, it helped turn Luigi from a palette swap into a more fleshed out character. It’s full of fantastic little touches, such as Luigi nervously humming the background music, and the inventory being displayed on a ‘Game Boy Horror’. People moaned about it being too short when it was released, but it is highly replayable, and its compact play time stops it from feeling repetitive or stale.

Keep your eyes peeled for Luigi’s Mansion 2, which is coming out for the 3DS later this year.

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Suddenly, getting your own game doesn't seem like such a good idea after all, does it Luigi?

 

5: Resident Evil Remake

This updated version of the 1996 Playstation survival horror game might not have the hilarious voice acting and so-bad-it’s-good translation problems of the original, but it’s arguably the definitive pre-Resident Evil 4 RE experience. Resident Evil for the Gamecube has photorealistic environments, a creepy soundtrack and tightened gameplay.

An option to turn 180 degrees makes those awkward ‘tank’ controls a little easier to handle. You can also carry defensive items, giving players a slight edge for when a zombie tries to eat your face off. Changing up the puzzles and the jump scares keeps players on their toes and makes this more than a retread of old ground.

Those lengthy door opening scenes are still there, though. Ah well, you can’t have everything.

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Poor guy only wanted a hug

 

Obviously these aren’t the only great Gamecube games. There was Super Mario Sunshine, F Zero GX, Animal Crossing… do you have any personal Cube favourites not mentioned here?

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