Happy 15th Birthday Gamecube!
With the 15th Anniversary of the Gamecube fast approaching I couldn’t help but reminisce about all the great titles the console had. It was the home of my first Time Splitters experience – a great 4-player split screen mode I spent countless hours playing with my siblings… not to mention my first chance to play a Metal Gear game – The Twin Snakes, a remake of Metal Gear Solid on PS1 that I hadn’t had the chance to play until the remake was released.
There are so many games to list that I loved but I thought I’d narrow it down to just ten… now this is not a ‘Top 10’ list or what I consider the best of the best, but rather games that I fondly remember and give me a great sense of nostalgia. Right, I’m getting excited just thinking about them so lets get into this and what better to start the list with a game that wasn’t an exclusive – but rather most popular on the Gamecube…
Soulcalibur II was a great game on all the consoles it released on but what made it extra special, and more popular on the Gamecube was the inclusion of Link himself – kitted up in his Ocarina of Time garments and featuring a move-set that pleased fans everywhere he stood out more than the exclusives on the PS2 and Xbox. Although it was fun to play as Heihachi and Spawn on the other two versions, it was Link that really shone. Taking on Nightmare and hearing that iconic ‘Hyyyyaaaaaaah!’ was something I wont forget anytime soon.
Super Smash Bros. Melee
Keeping on with the fighting genre I have to talk about SSBM. Still considered the best of the series by hardcore fans, it’s easy to see why other companies have tried (and failed) to create their own versions of this ‘mascot fighter’ *cough* PlayStation All-Stars *cough* … simply put, accept no imitation – this is not only one of Nintendo’s best, but one of my favourite games to play with friends. Great controls, slick gameplay and longevity like no other it remains a great party game, and solid addition to any Gamecube fan.
Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem
Eternal Darkeness was a game that really stood out on the Gamecube simply because it genuinely stood out in its game catalogue. It helps that the gameplay itself stands out, even today it would really feel genuinely new for anyone who hasn’t played it. A story that saw me play as several different characters, in different time-periods – it was incredibly engrossing, mysterious and fresh. If you haven’t had the chance to play it… do it now.
Resident Evil 4
Keeping with the mature subject matter we come to Resident Evil 4… and I’ll admit this was the first Resident Evil game that I’d ever played. It was a masterpiece when it first released on the Gamecube. Since it’s release it’s been remade and ported enough times that people will forget how incredibly good it was when it came out originally. RE4 was a game that truly felt ‘next-gen’ – it looked amazing, it played amazing and it felt like nothing else on the market. Unfortunately the subsequent games have faltered a little and become far too ‘actiony’ but with the early looks at Resident Evil 7 sounding entirely fresh I’m re-excited for the series.
Super Mario Sunshine
Right… I hear you – it’s nowhere near as good as the games that preceded and followed it. Super Mario Galaxy was incredible, and Super Mario 64 is a gaming legend… but the reason I’ve put this on the list was simply because of nostalgia. This is a personal list, and although I did have a blast playing the game… it’s on the list because I fondly remember it being one of the first games my little sister played and learned how to use a controller with… for that reason alone I’ll always remember it fondly.
The 2000s were filled with sim-like games. Everyone seemed to want to escape the real world for whatever reason. Animal Crossing was the definition of a ‘big-game’. You could play it on and off year on round and unique things would happen. It was something that very few offline-games could manage. I’d eventually play the handheld versions but I remember the Gamecube version for what it was… unique and heart warming.
Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader
Playing Battlefront on PS4/XB1 recently has reminded me of how good Rogue Leader was when it first released 15 years ago. Yes… that makes you feel old. This game really blew me away when it first released. I remember playing it and thinking, “Sh*t! I’m in Star Wars!!!” It had great aerial gameplay and the intense action lifted straight from the film-series’ dogfights we loved watching on the big screen. I dream of a day that we get a new entry in the series…
For a series that was known for countless fantastic platformers it felt alien to imagine a ‘first-person Metroid’. When seeing screenshots, and early trailers everyone stopped worrying and started getting super-hyped! It had little things that games have used ever since – the movement felt natural, the visor and HUD was incredible at the time and the puzzle-shooter gameplay was refreshing. Exploring the graphically and artistically wondrous worlds make me want the NX to re-introduce another game in the Prime series. (… and yes I’m not counting Federation Force on the 3DS)
The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker
To call Wind Waker controversial is an understatement. Fans were in outrage when they saw trailers of the initial game, and it still divides them today. Many love the cel-shaded look; many hate it and wanted something more mature following Ocarina of Time. Either way, regardless of whether you like it or not… it probably has aged more gracefully than any Gamecube-era game to date. The HD remake looks even better, but if you don’t own a Wii U the original still holds up today. Classic gameplay, a fantastic ocean-setting and for me a great art style makes this a classic, and my second favourite Zelda game after Ocarina of Time.
Tales of Symphonia
Now, as I’ve said before this isn’t a ‘Top-10’ list but rather 10 games that give me a great sense of nostalgia. No game does this more than Tales of Symphonia. It was the first JRPG that I completed fully. It was possibly the first one that truly captivated me since Final Fantasy 8 and got me back into the genre for good. Its more action-orientated gameplay and great cel-shaded look have continued in the series but none have really captivated me as much as Symphonia. It’s story, although generic is still fun to follow. I still care for all its great characters and the world they are in. The direct sequel to this game was an incredible disappointment – but the original is a game that I will always own and replay every few years.
There we have it… 10 games that remind me of how good that little purple cube was! We have shooters, rpg’s, platformers and more. If you’ve never played one of the games on the list above, then I’d recommend picking them up… although you won’t experience them at the time they were meant to be experienced, they’ll still captivate you and give you some enjoyment.
Let’s just take this moment to say Happy 15th Birthday to the Gamecube – a sometimes troubled console that many consider the beginning of the end of Nintendo, but others love deeply for the unique experiences it gave us. Seeing it boot up always gives me a sense of nostalgia… on that note I’m going to dust mine off and hook it back up for another trip down memory lane.