The 8 Best Gamecube Games of 2019

Check out these enduring titles that have captured the hearts of many

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The early 2000s was a wild time for gaming; Sony released the best selling console in the world called the PlayStation 2, Sega was unimaginably dying with their Dreamcast, Microsoft entered the video game console industry, and little old Nintendo released a charming console called the GameCube that didn’t quite capture the market share, but instead, captured gamer’s hearts.

Sure, the Gamecube wasn’t a huge market success, but Nintendo always seemed to leave a heavy impression on gamers. The little purple cubed console toed the line and released exclusive games like two legendary unforgettable remakes, a Luigi game, as well as one of the most loved fighting franchises in gaming history. We’ll be looking over the best Gamecube games below and seeing what made them so great along with their strong replay value that holds up to even today.

Our Top Picks

Best Non-Mario: Luigi’s Mansion

Luigi’s Mansion

 Courtesy of Amazon

Originally a launch title for the Nintendo Gamecube, Luigi’s Mansion gives Mario’s brother the spotlight for once in a third person adventure game that parodies survival horror genres. The story involves Luigi winning a dark and spooky mansion haunted by menacing ghosts and then having to rescue his brother Mario who is trapped in a painting.

Luigi’s Mansion has players use a ghostbuster-like vacuum cleaner to walk around and suck up ghosts, money and other items while exploring a humungous dusty mansion. The game boasts impressive graphics for the Gamecube, with realistic character models, fluidly moving enemies and stunning visual effects. If you’re looking for a slower paced but different type of game with equal parts excitement, charm, and intrigue, check out Luigi’s Mansion.

Best Third-Person Shooter: Resident Evil 4

You can thank Resident Evil 4 for the over-the-shoulder viewpoint and quick time event games we have now in modern games. This action-adventure fourth installment of the franchise isn’t as scary as its former predecessors but changed how we play games overall with a little more action and fun. The game features stunning graphics with cunning enemies who adapt to your attacks and also features role-playing style elements in-game with upgrade features.

Resident Evil 4 is a third-person shooter survival horror game where players play as special agent Leon Kennedy who is set out to rescue the U.S. President’s daughter from a mysterious cult in Spain. Players explore and investigate different parts of a village and castle in large open areas, facing off with parasite-infected villagers and other enemies that can come in crowds or individually, sometimes holding weapons themselves such as axes, machine guns and chainsaws. The game also has a Mercenary Mode where players face off with nonstop hordes of zombies until a helicopter comes, making it a fun challenge and break from the main story. Resident Evil 4 won multiple Game of the Year awards in 2005, with some critics praising it as one of the best games ever made.

Best Fighter: Super Smash Bros Melee

There’s nothing like getting Mario and Pikachu to duke it in outer-space like in Super Smash Bros Melee, the best fighting game on the Nintendo Gamecube. Super Smash Bros Melee has a ton of modes, from free-for-all multiplayer of up to three other players, a classic mode where you fight off opponents in multiple acts and even an adventure mode that takes you to several universes and places from various Nintendo games in history.

Unlike other fighting games, the Super Smash Bros series uses the mechanic of attacking opponents and raising their damage level to the point where they can be “smashed” out of the arena; the higher the damage level, the easier you get pushed back. The game features a huge scope of 26 total characters from the Pokemon, Mario and The Legend of Zelda series, plus a multitude of unlockable characters you can get in the game by completing challenges, all of which have their own special powers and abilities. Super Smash Bros Melee is packed full of surprises and rarely gets boring — you can unlock numerous trophies that showcase Nintendo’s history over the years, fight on spaceships and giant Pokemon, use tons of melee weapons such as laser swords and poke balls, set up giant 64 player tournaments, play special and custom modes and even play a first-person space shooter when the credits roll.

Best Racing: Mario Kart Double Dash!!

Mario Kart Double Dash!! changes up the Mario Kart series by introducing a new way of racing: picking two of your favorite Nintendo characters who drive two-seater racing carts, where one handles the wheel and the other attempts to sabotage other drivers. The third Mario Kart in the series is a unique racer and is the best Nintendo Gamecube game on the list for racing overall.

Mario Kart Double Dash!! features up to 20 playable characters that divide up into 10 pairs, each with their own special items unique to them and with 21 selectable karts with different attributes of speed, acceleration and weight. Various game modes include a Grand Prix where players face off with AI in different engine size classes, a classic versus mode where four players can compete in split-screen, a battle mode where players don’t race but find weapons to pop each other’s balloons, as well as a LAN play mode where up to eight Gamecube consoles can be connected for 16-player races. Mario Kart Double Dash!! is a good pick on the list for any party or fan of exciting racers.

Best for Kids and Adventure: The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker

The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker is a cartoony cell-shaded open-world, action-adventure game that sets players on a quest in a vast sea to explore multiple islands full of dungeons, forests and large enclosed lands. Players play as the young adventurer Link, who is off to rescue his sister while sailing a boat and controlling the winds with a magic conductor’s baton called the Wind Waker.

When it first launched, The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker wasn’t taken seriously for its art direction, but it grew on critics so much over time that some say it’s one of the greatest video games ever made because of characters’ expressions, finely detailed environments, responsive controls, fluid combat action and puzzles. The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker will keep players busy as they explore 49 gridded sections of a sea map each containing an island or island chain with dungeons full of enemies, items and puzzles to solve with an eventual challenging boss enemy for each stage. As players complete these quests, they acquire new items and weapons that allow them to traverse further around the sea where new challenges and enemies await them.

Best Remake: Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes

Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes is a remake of the original Metal Gear Solid with updated graphics, new cutscenes, gameplay functions and re-recorded voice acting from most of the original English cast. Players take the role of Solid Snake, a retired spy set out to investigate his former team gone rogue in a military compound on the outskirts of Alaska.

Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes is a third-person, stealth action-adventure game where players are encouraged to not engage with enemies at all (but can), sneaking past them by crawling in corridors, shooting out cameras and creating diversions. Unfamiliar players may find the game to be one of the most intriguing they’ve ever played, as Metal Gear Solid features a heavy storyline surrounding politics, the military industrial complex, genetic fatalism and nuclear proliferation, making it double as a movie game. Nonetheless, players will be challenged in-game against snipers with wolves, an unstable invisible ninja, a psychic soldier who can read your mind, a tank and the infamous Metal Gear REX weapon as they set out to save the world, even questioning why they should.

Best Horror: Resident Evil

Resident Evil for the Gamecube is a remake of the original Resident Evil game for PlayStation 1 with updated realistic graphics, a longer story and more items and subtle details that completely reinvent the game into a life of its own. The classic survival horror zombie game will tense you up as you walk down the corridors of an old mansion and hear the huffs of an aggressive blood hungry zombie with razor sharp claws hiding, watching and waiting…for you.

Resident Evil has players control one of two characters from the Raccoon City Police Department who are originally set to explore a forest where missing peoples disappear, only to find a daunting and mysterious mansion that they take refuge in after being chased by undead dogs. The game has fixed camera angle shots, making the game more fun and challenging by only allowing a field of view set on that perspective; you may hear a zombie or something skittering around, but you won’t see it until it comes to you (or you, it). Resident Evil is the quintessential “survival horror game” where players collect weapons along the way with scarce ammo, solving puzzles, avoiding booby traps and uncovering a mystery where science makes nightmares and you have to deal with it.

Best for Star Wars Fans: Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader

As soon as you jump into Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader, you play the role of Luke Skywalker and pilot an X-Wing while engaging in the famous Death Star Trench Run as thousands of neon lasers blast in multiple directions, Darth Vader trails you and Obi-wan tells you to use the force. The game builds an atmosphere like you’re right in the middle of the movie with scene-by-scene remakes, original dialogue from the movie, the actual John Williams soundtrack and beautiful realistic graphics with an option to play in third-person or a cockpit perspective that’ll make the hair on the back of your neck stand up.

Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader is a fast-paced, flight action game that gives players the chance to relive iconic Star Wars moments such as the Battle of Endor and Battle of Hoth. The game includes seven different spacecraft (with unlockable ships) such as the X-wing and Millennium Falcon with ten different levels spanning the Star Wars universe with objectives to protecting bases and search and destroy missions. Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader gives players medals after each mission, weighing in completion time, number of enemies down, shot accuracy, number for allies saved, lives lost and target computer efficiency — the better you do, the more unlockable content you get (including Boba Fett’s Slave I and a 1969 Buick Electra 225). 

What to Look for in a Gamecube Game

Gameplay - Gameplay describes—you guessed it—how you play the game. It’s a term that encompasses the way in which you interact with other players (collaboratively or competitively) and how you accomplish challenges (linearly or non-linearly). Think about what you want to get out of your gaming experience, whether it’s adrenaline or curiosity, and choose a game that reflects that in its gameplay.

Franchise - If you’re a massive fan of an existing franchise, chances are you’ll have the most fun immersing yourself in that world. You’ll find familiar characters and settings and likely uncover some new secrets, too. Looking for something different? Dive into a new world you’ve yet to discover.

Rating - Some video games are violent enough to give any adult nightmares, so it’s important to select a game that’s age-appropriate. Cue the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) rating. Its score is made up of three parts: rating categories (“E” for everyone, “E10+” for ages 10 and up, “T” for teens, “M” for mature 17+, and “A” for adults only); content descriptors (comic mischief, mild language, etc.); and interactive elements (in-game purchases, users interact, shares location, unrestricted internet, etc.). Choose wisely.