Early in the fall, I did a blog covering my top 10 favorite/most played NES games. They were games that spanned my early childhood and still remain in my collection to this day. For today’s blog, I thought I’d try looking at games from my late teen/early adult years. Once again, picking out favorites isn’t easy for me, so I’ve chosen to focus solely on the system that bridged my N64 to Wii years: the Gamecube.
Even though my actual Gamecube doesn’t get much use, I still like playing the games through my Wii. While my collection is relatively small, I’ve picked out 10 of my favorite titles. As with the NES top 10, there are a couple stipulations. I chose the games I played the most and at least have beaten once. And while many of these games would top anyone’s list, these is my personal choices based on MY experiences playing them and how fun they were to me. With that said, here are my top 10 Gamecube games:
10. Chibi Robo!
This is a very quirky, very Japanese-like game. You play as the little robot Chibi Robo and go around a life-sized house doing various chores for its residents and helping out toys (yes, toys. Think “Toy Story”). It kinda has a slow pace and is definitely not a game for everyone, but I got sucked in by its fun characters and bright, cheery environments. Oh, and the various objectives and collectibles, of course. I only rank it so low on the list because I tried to complete it 100% during my first playthrough, so it didn’t leave me with a lot of replayability afterwards. Still, Chibi Robo! is one unforgettable and strangely fun game.
9. Super Smash Bros. Melee
I know, I know, I would easily get flack for putting this so low, but I’ve always found the Smash Bros. games to be more fun with co-op than single player. Unfortunately, a lot of my play sessions WERE single player, so I didn’t get much of the experience. Despite that, Super Smash Bros. Melee is an awesome fighting game, with tons of great Nintendo characters to battle with and lots of different modes. One thing that DID keep me enjoying single player was the huge amount of collectibles and challenges to tackle. I’ve never been a huge fan of fighting games, but Smash Bros. is easily my favorite series and this sequel is one of my favorite games.
8. The Simpsons Hit & Run
This is hands down the best Simpsons game I’ve played barring the arcade version (which I sucked at). It has everything: voice acting from the actual cast, tons of references to the show, and pretty entertaining Grand Theft Auto-esque gameplay as well. The graphics might not be the best and it can be difficult and frustrating at times, but I had lots of fun running and driving through Springfield. There are plenty of things to collect and tons of missions to complete, both story-based and optional. This is one game I would still recommend to Simpsons fans if only for the sheer effort put into it.
7. Luigi’s Mansion
This was one of two games I first rented along with a Gamecube when it came out, but I never fully appreciated it until I bought it last year. While it’s a pretty short game compared to others, Luigi’s Mansion had new, different gameplay and nice graphics. Sucking up ghosts with Luigi’s vacuum was fun and a little intense, especially during boss fights. This is another game that also had tons of collectibles (mainly money), which didn’t just add up for 100% completion but also determined your score in the end. Ultimately, the Gamecube brought out a few interesting, non-formulaic games, and Luigi’s Mansion was one of the first.
6. Animal Crossing
Given my past blogs about Animal Crossing, how could I NOT include it on this list? In contrast to the short length of Luigi’s Mansion, Animal Crossing was a game that could go on forever, or at least all year round. I have fond memories playing this game alongside my sisters and even now sometimes revisit the old stomping grounds to see our town’s villagers. As I’ve said before, the one downside is that it’s the epitome of a casual game, and it’s easy to get bored after you’ve accomplished your goals. Still, I enjoyed it for being as creative as games like The Sims, but not nearly as frustrating. It’s definitely a game I’ll cherish.
5. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
Say what you will about the state of the Zelda series, but I had a lot of fun with this one as the final “new release” I purchased for the Gamecube. I loved the dark, almost realistic look to the game and the wolf transformation is still one of my favorite aspects about it. I liked many of the new gadgets and dungeons, and the story was pretty well done and brought one of my favorite Zelda companions to life. While I was disappointed by the huge, almost lifeless environments and lack of sidequests, I enjoyed what Twilight Princess had to offer. As one of the last games released during the Gamecube’s run, it left a good impression on me.
4. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
Yes, I know, two Zelda titles in a row. But if Twilight Princess left a good impression, Wind Waker left a lasting impression. This is the most recent game I’ve bought from the Gamecube’s library, but I came to appreciate it more than the first time I rented it. The graphics still hold up impressively well today, and the story is still intriguing for a typical Zelda plot. Unlike Twilight Princess’s large but ultimately barren landscape, Wind Waker uses its large ocean to fill in tons of explorable islands and battleships. While the gameplay drags a bit toward the third act, the game is packed full of things to do both involving the main story and optional sidequests. I would easily rank this as one of my favorite Zelda games, and it’s no wonder to me that it got a Wii U remake.
3. Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door
I’ve never been a huge RPG fan, but when I first played Pokemon Yellow and then the first Paper Mario, I knew I’d found the RPGs for me. While the N64 Paper Mario will always hold a place in my heart, everything about it was fine-tuned and ramped up in the sequel. The graphics look better than ever, new gameplay mechanics and a brand new locale were introduced, and the story had plenty of dark moments not often seen in Mario games. Thousand-Year Door offered up more secrets and collectibles, and considering its predecessor had tons to begin with, that’s saying a lot. This will always be one of the best RPGs I’ve ever played and I’d gladly play it over and over again.
2. Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Chaos Bleeds
I don’t care if I’m completely biased or that it’s not the best game out there. Chaos Bleeds, along with my number one pick, was the first of two games I picked up when I received a Gamecube for Christmas years ago. Why? Because I had rented it and loved it from the start. Being a huge Buffy fan is one thing, but a lot of effort was put into the game. The graphics look surprisingly good on the characters but even more so on the environments. The story feels like a lost episode (and was actually billed as such) and has sharp writing. The voice acting includes the main cast aside from Sarah Michelle Geller, whose voice double sounds spot-on for the most part. The game has lots of beat-em-up action and simple puzzle solving, though it has plenty of frustrating moments (especially during a couple boss fights). And finally, it even has unlockables for diehard Buffy fans, from interviews to voice acting sessions. I absolutely love this game, but I bet you’re wondering why it hasn’t taken the top spot in that case. Well, that’s because there’s still one more game I’ve played and enjoyed to death.
1. Super Mario Sunshine
Is this the best Mario game? No. Does the unnecessary voice acting suck at times? Yes. Is this my favorite Mario game? On the Gamecube, definitely. This is easily my most played game out of all of them and for good reason. Much like Super Mario 64, you have plenty of levels to explore and eight in-level “missions” to complete.That’s not including the occasional secret or optional Shines and Blue Coins to collect as well. I love how bright and cheery this game is and the tropical setting looks gorgeous. Being a slight neat freak, I love using F.L.U.D.D. (your water pack) to clean up all the gunk around Delfino and its levels. I love that you got to ride on Yoshi for the first time in 3D. As frustrating as they could be, I enjoyed the F.L.U.D.D.-less levels that harkened back to old school Mario, where you had to rely on timing your jumps to get through levels. Because of the water mechanic, most of the boss fights were fun and kinda creative. This is another game I used to play with my sisters a lot and I have great memories of working with them to collect as many Shines as possible. Ultimately, I had great experiences with this game, and while it’s not perfect, Super Mario Sunshine is my favorite and most played Gamecube game.
There you have it, my top 10 favorite/most played Gamecube games. Since I know many people would differ on these choices, or perhaps have others they’d include, feel free to comment about them. Next week, I’ll blog about a new obsession of mine. See you then!