My Top 10 GameCube Games

My Top 10 GameCube Games

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Man oh man, the Gamcube. Holy Toledo, the  Gamecube. SWEET MERCIFUL PANCAKES, the Gamecube!!! This year marks the 20th anniversary of  the Gamecube. And while anything less than   a massive, hours-long retrospective on  the little thing seems woefully lacking,   I am not yet ready for such a project.  It would be wrong not to make SOME sort  

of celebratory video though, so let’s get  to the real heart of the matter: the games.  The Gamecube has long been my favorite  console of all time, not because of its   handsome purple color or its sleek, boxy build  or its incredibly convenient carrying handle.   More than anything, it’s my favorite  because of its incredible library. So today I would like to present to you a list  I’ve been wanting to share since the early days   of my channel. (Dramatic music, please.)  These are… my TOP. TEN. GAMECUBE GAMES!!! ...EVER!!! As you might have seen in my  review of Super Mario 3D All-Stars,   I firmly believe that Super Mario Sunshine is the  worst mainline Mario game, and by a pretty wide   margin. It’s stuffed with frustrating challenges  where one mistake has you starting all over,   some of which are weirdly sadistic. It  can be pretty janky, and overall doesn’t  

have quite the same level of polish as most other  Nintendo games. It doesn’t have very many worlds,   and a huge number of its shine sprites are  earned by collecting these annoying blue   coins. The game feels like a rush job, honestly,  and every time I play it I see more of its flaws.  And yet...I love it! I never had my own copy as  a teenager and instead borrowed a copy from my  

friend’s little brother (I later purchased  it from him), but my memories of playing   the game way back then are precious to me.  The sights and sounds of Isle Delfino are   indelibly etched into my psyche. I didn’t finish  the game until way later, but finishing it didn’t   really matter to me, because all I wanted to do  was goof around. Mario felt that good to control,   FLUDD was that satisfying to use, slippin’  and slidin’ around like a doofus was that   stupidly fun. And no matter how many flaws I can  identify now that I’m a grumpy old game reviewer,  

I’ll always get that warm little nostalgic  feeling whenever I boot the game up. I bought Sonic Adventure 2 Battle on a whim. I was  at the game store, I was looking for something to   buy, I saw the game, remembered watching my friend  play the first Sonic Adventure on his Dreamcast,   and thought, “I loved Sonic on the Genesis! What  the hey?” So I bought it. Because I guess when  

I was a kid I was willing to shell out fifty  bucks, which was probably more like EIGHTY now,   for a game I knew very little about. I guess that  was what I liked doing. I mean I watched someone   play the Spiderman movie game for like five  minutes and I thought it looked cool so I went   out and bought it instantly. No, not the good one,  not Spiderman 2--the FIRST ONE! Kids, I tell ya...  ANYWAY, I took this fancy new Sonic game  home, and looking back, I think it was OKAY?   I had some fun, but a lot of it was really  frustrating and unpolished, and I never finished   it because the emerald-hunting levels were just  dreadful. I seem to be in the minority whenever  

I badmouth this game, but even as a teen with a  lot of time on my hands and a lot more patience   I remember being like, “I THINK this is  fun? Like, a good amount of the time?”  Thing is though, the mechanics and the level  design and the story and the polish and all that?   None of that matters, and it  certainly didn’t matter back then.   Because when I found the Chao garden, I realized  what Sonic Adventure 2 is REALLY about. The main   game isn’t really the main game at all; it’s a  series of mini games that you play to collect   stuff for your Chao. And from that perspective,  Sonic Adventure 2 Battle is an INCREDIBLE game.  Trust me, I’ve been wanting to make a  full video about the Chao garden for   FOREVER, but I’ll just give you the cliff notes  version. This is basically a virtual pet minigame,   except it’s SO MUCH DEEPER than you would  expect. Back then there were whole websites   and communities dedicated to the Chao garden.  You can customize and train them in all sorts  

of ways. You can hang out with them and  watch them grow from infancy to adulthood.   You can squeal with glee when you see them  take their first steps or start learning   how to fly. It’s seriously like watching a  little lifeform develop, it’s incredible!  I spent more hours than I can calculate  with my Chao. I stayed up late watching  

them. When a corrupted memory card took some  of them from me I mourned. They meant a lot to   me. And because of them, this janky old game  is absolutely one of my Gamecube highlights.   (And why Sega hasn’t brought back the Chao  garden after two decades is beyond me…) Has there ever been a headlining, first-party  launch game as weird as Luigi’s Mansion? Instead   of giving us a Mario game to play on our new  Gamecubes, Nintendo gave us a game where you   play instead as Luigi, and you toddle around  a big house and suck up ghosts with a vacuum   Ghostbusters style. I don’t know how such  a bold move worked out for Nintendo and the   Gamecube in the long run, but it sure worked  out for me. Luig’s Mansion BLEW ME AWAY.  First of all, those graphics were something else.  The character models looked so good, the lighting   and particle effects were otherworldly, the ghosts  themselves were so creepy and cool. Then the  

gameplay was bizarre, but it all still stands the  test of time to this day. I don’t know what it is   about puzzling out how to expose a ghost, hitting  it with a flashlight then fighting to suck it up,   but they struck gold right off the bat with  this one. Luigi’s Mansion is a short game,   but the whole package is so incredibly fun that  it’s endlessly replayable. And of course I’ll   always associate it with the day I got  my Gamecube. That joyous, magical day... I played the original Smash Bros. for many, many  hours. I also played a good amount of Brawl,  

and of course I enjoyed Ultimate for a time when  it released. But if there was one time in my life   when I was INTO Smash, it was my teenage  years. And the Smash I was into was Melee.  This was the perfect sequel. It was  everything good about the original but with SO   MUCH added. A bunch of new characters, including  stinkin’ BOWSER and GANONDORF and MEWTWO! UGH!   Then you got smash attack charging, side  specials, air dodges, directional throws,   and don’t even get me started on that Adventure  Mode! Working your way through actual Nintendo   locations was just unreal. I honestly must have  run through it hundreds of times. I just loved it. 

And as far as multiplayer goes, I played it with  school friends any chance I got. If there was any   kind of special fun thing going on at school,  I was the one going “I’LL BRING MY GAMECUBE!”   But mainly I played with my friend Dan, and we  didn’t know any of the fancy stuff you’ll see at   tournaments, but this was the one time I really  cared about being as good at Smash as I could   be. We had many epic Roy mirror matches--long,  intense battles of skill and wit… And then he   switched to Marth and won every game after that  forever because Marth is just Roy but faster.   (Stupid Marth. I still hate him…) But anyway, I suspect my days of   legitimately training to be better at Smash are  forever behind me now, but I’ll always remember   my time with Melee. As far as I was concerned,  it was THE ULTIMATE party slash sleepover game.

Pikmin? On a list of Arlo’s favorite Gamecube  games? I’m just as surprised as you are! While my   intense love of the series wouldn’t fully blossom  until later, the first game immediately clicked   with me. It was one of those experiences where  you pick up the controller and right away you   just GET IT. The whole process of controlling and  multiplying these little creatures and having them   carry stuff around was immediately satisfying,  and it’s just as satisfying to this day.   The world is beautiful, and makes you feel  like you’re walking through a lush garden.   The Pikmin themselves are adorable, and  they stuff the game to the gills with charm.  The funny thing about Pikmin though, is  that it can be REALLY hard when you’re new,   and at a young age I was PARTICULARLY  sensitive to watching my Pikmin die.  

As a result, the game wowed and terrified me  in equal parts, and it was a few years before   I built up the courage to actually beat it. Those early days with the game though… Those   are some of the most nostalgic memories I’ve  got. I feel like I should have more to say   about this one, but I don’t know…  It’s Pikmin! What more can I say? Back before the days of Nintendo Directs,  before game trailers were easily accessible,   one of the primary ways we learned about games was  through magazines. Like many I had a subscription  

to Nintendo Power, and I greedily consumed every  article in each issue. And one game that caught my   eye in particular in the ancient year 2002 was  a quirky, relatively experimental game called   Animal Crossing. I fell in love with it instantly  and obsessed over every article and screenshot,   brainstorming town names and daydreaming  about the new life I was about to lead.  And when it finally released, I threw myself  at it. Not only having my own little town with   my own little house decorated just the way I  wanted it, but also having everything move in   real time? I was amazed. I played it endlessly.  I treated it like it was legitimately my second   life. I was consumed entirely by the imagination  element--talking to the villagers like they were  

real, being proud of all my decorations, growing  fruit and fishing like they were my actual jobs.   Even as a sleep-starved teenager who would  have slept until noon every day if he could,   there was a stretch of time when I woke myself  up at 6am every day so I could do my daily chores   before school. And I tell ya, it was never easier  to wake up that early. I was EXCITED to wake up!  It was the kind of experience I could have  only had as a kid, and while I don’t think   I’ll ever go back to that old game or enjoy  any of the newer Animal Crossing titles to   QUITE the same degree, the memories I made  in Taralass will stay with me forever.   (I think Taralass was like a combination  of two elvish words, but I don’t remember   what they were. I was big on  Lord of the Rings back then.)

Like many, I was disturbed and a little angry when  I saw the Wind Waker reveal (and by saw, I mean   used Napster to download an off-screen video taken  by a guy with his camcorder at a convention). From   the moment that doofy little Link drew his sword  all the way to the group of moblins Loony Tunesing   their way off a ledge, all I could do was stare  at the tiny, heavily distorted video in disbelief.  Fortunately once I started seeing new screenshots  online the next year, my skepticism melted away   and I was ecstatic to jump right into the game  when it finally released the year after that.  I had spent billions of hours in Ocarina of  Time, so Wind Waker’s newly expanded scope   was not lost on me. It was awesome enough  just playing the next big 3D Zelda game,   and on fancy new hardware. But having your  own ship and sailing around a big, open sea?   It was incredible. It was still a far cry from a  true “open world” game, especially with its many  

locations all relatively small and very far  apart, but that didn’t matter to me one bit.   The sense of freedom and adventure was unlike  anything I’d ever experienced. Add on to that   a wicked new sword counter system, fun new items  and a heck of a cool ending sequence, and you had   everything I could have wanted in a Zelda game. As with just about every game I played as a kid,   Wind Waker’s flaws are more obvious to me now. But  it still stands as a terrific Zelda experience,   and one I’m sure I’ll be  revisiting many more times. Alright NOW I got some more Pikminy stuff  to say. Go back in time to my first years  

of playing Pikmin 1 and ask me to imagine  the best sequel possible. Then multiply that   by three. That’s how good Pikmin 2 was.  I played it a few years after release,   and it’s the game that cemented my love of the  series. I mean it was just everything I could   have wanted and more. The gameplay is so much more  polished and pleasant, with much better Pikmin AI   and tons of quality-of-life features. The lack  of a day limit is such a breath of fresh air.   The two-captain system offers a new layer of  strategy. The new Pikmin types are creative and  

fun. The enemies are horrifying and brutal.  And best of all, not only does the new cave   system bloat the game up to a ridiculous 20+ hour  playtime, but the caves are slightly randomized,   so replayability is through the roof! There are many things about Pikmin 2 that   make it a poor Pikmin sequel in the eyes of many.  But for me, it was--and still is--a followup that   goes above and beyond in terms of both quality and  content. At the end of the day it’s a Pikmin game,   except it’s super hard and you can play it  forever. And that means everything to me.

Pikmin 2 almost tied with the next two games for  first place, but the one thing it’s missing is   the EMOTIONAL element, so I gave it a solid  third thanks to a technicality. These other   games though… I couldn’t possibly tell you which  one I like more. In the end I had to pick an   order, but keep in mind that if I wrote this a  month ago the places might have been switched,   and they might even have switched  multiple times between then and now.  At the moment, my number two Gamecube game  is Metroid Prime. It’s legitimately hard to   talk about this game and explain why I love it  so much without going on a MASSIVE thing. It’s  

like...there are so many first person  games out there where you shoot stuff.   Most of these are first person shooters, but  this one is a first person ADVENTURE. Exactly   like the 2D Metroid games before it, Prime  lets you shoot, but exploring the world is   equally important. It’s not just a game about  beating bad guys, but about getting stronger,   and piecing together the tragic story of this  planet, and navigating its...ENCHANTING locales.  Many games since Metroid Prime have explored  sci-fi themes and given us moody, atmospheric   experiences. And yet to me, very few games  have achieved what Prime did. It’s atmospheric,  

yet always grounded in its own reality. The  world is such a real place, yet the feeling it   conveys is so magical. It doesn’t have to rely  on color grading and moody lighting to achieve   this magical feeling. There’s nothing wrong with  using that stuff, but in this case something about   the game is so pure and effortless. And so much of  that is thanks to the music. The music alone does  

the heavy lifting of an entire art team when it  comes to the mood that’s conveyed to the player.  It’s just a beautiful, magical game, and  easily one of my favorite games of all time. Here it is, my friends. We’ve reached the  end. My number one favorite Gamecube game  

of all Spider-Man, the first  movie game. It’s not that, it’s Paper Mario:   The Thousand Year Door. I’ve talked about  the game an awful lot, so it’s probably not a   surprise that it’s pretty up there on the list. As I’ve said of many Gamecube games, it’s the  

perfect sequel to the original Paper Mario. I  was already in love with that game, but this…   It was like the series was growing up with me. Thousand Year Door follows the same formula   of the first game, but everything is  better. Partners having their own HP  

plus the audience and “stylish” move mechanics  add so much to the battle system. The cleaner,   higher resolution sprites are a huge improvement,  and the ability to have a ton on screen at once   makes for some very exciting moments. The humor  is top notch, with countless laugh-out-loud jokes.   Best of all though, the game delivers the  same high-quality narrative experience,   but with a little edge. You leave the  storybook world of the Mushroom Kingdom behind   and enter a city of thieves. The new partners  are weird and interesting. The story is bigger,   the antagonists more sinister, the  stakes higher. And it all culminates in  

an ending so epic it still gives me chills. At the time it was everything Mario wasn’t   allowed to be under any other circumstances. Mario  and Luigi came close, but in my eyes it didn’t   match the scope and sincerity of Paper Mario.  The first game turned Mario into something so   much more than he was (by following the framework  set by Super Mario RPG, obviously), and the second   game showed that this very special, relatively-new  yet already near-perfect kind of Mario game   had an immense amount of room to grow. Even the  silly little goomba-stomping plumber was capable   of delivering an experience that would stick  with me forever. And stick with me, it has.

Before we wrap this up, please allow  me to indulge in two runners-up who   only didn’t make the list thanks to  technicalities. They definitely would   have bumped off Mario Sunshine and Sonic  Adventure 2 under other circumstances. ...Whoosh. The first is Metroid Prime 2. It didn’t make the  list because while I did play it once on Gamecube,  

most of my time with it has been spent  on Wii via the Trilogy collection.   It’s still a Gamecube game at heart, but eh,  doesn’t matter, I’m talking about it now anyway   so who cares that it’s not on the list. As far as development efficiency goes,   Metroid Prime 2 is a perfect sequel. Not  only is it a direct followup on the same   system that uses a tremendous amount  of the same assets as its predecessor,   but the light world/dark world mechanic cut  down even more on the need to build new locales.   When you’re looking at things from a mass appeal  perspective however, Echoes might have been a bit   of a misstep. In the dark world Samus takes damage  unless she’s protected by these bubbles of light,   so you spend a lot of playtime standing around,  waiting for your health to slowly recover.  

And the first game was already easy to get lost  in, but now with light and dark versions of most   areas and specific methods needed to  navigate each with dead ends aplenty,   it can be enough to make your head spin. When I first played it, I did have fun, but it was   super stressful, and didn’t seem to reach the same  heights as the first game. However every single   individual time I’ve revisited Metroid Prime 2  over the years, I’ve grown to appreciate it more.   It gives us another incredible world to explore.  It continues the themes of the first game while   taking us to even darker places, raising the  stakes, and giving us even more to do. The  

world can be confusing to navigate, but it’s all  meticulously designed, and the way the light and   dark worlds work together is really incredible. Metroid Prime 2 is an amazing game in a trilogy   of amazing games. Also it’s got  moth people and they’re really rad. The second game that didn’t make the  list is Resident Evil 4. And hoo boy,   if I were judging the game as a singular title  without considering its different versions,   it would probably be number four on this list. But  again, it’s hardly a Gamecube exclusive anymore   (in this case not even CLOSE), and while I played  through the Gamecube version once, my next 6,049   playthroughs happened on the Wii Edition. Pointer  controls make the game a lot easier, but also  

way more fun, and to this day I just can’t seem to  get to grips with the standard controller scheme.  But you know what? It started on GameCube and I  played it on GameCube, so we're talking about it!   Resident Evil 4 is simply a masterpiece. The  controls are a little dated, but the game   established the modern Resident Evil style that’s  still going strong today. Something about it is  

just...really really fun. I think a big part of  it for me is the slower-paced shooting. You get to   really take time to aim, and choosing where to aim  is often a tactical decision. And the graphics and   enemy designs and animations are all so good that  the fun gameplay is just that much more enjoyable.   I mean I’m STILL amazed that this game ran on a  Gamecube. This is the EPITOME of a AAA experience. 

Then, the icing on the cake. Leon. And all the  other characters. And the ridiculous things that   come out of their mouths. Resident Evil games  since have each had their own unique mixes   of both “unintentionally funny” and “intentionally  yet unsuccessfully funny,” but 4 is the only   one that nails it 100%. It's hilarious but  always feels sincere, and still manages to   be cool when it wants to. And honestly, I think  it will always be the only game in the series  

to strike such a perfect balance. The lines and  how they’re performed are so hilarious sometimes,   yet never over-the-top or annoying. It’s that  subtle kind of bizarreness that mostly seems to   come from Japanese games. And combined with  everything else, including a slew of things   to unlock through repeat playthroughs, all those  one-liners make Resident Evil 4 a game  

just too good. Like it’s TOO good. It’s  impossibly good, and while I wish there were   more games like it, I’m also so, so thankful  that the universe gifted us with it at all. And that, my friends, is the end of my list.

...of the TOP. TEN. GAMECUBE-- Whether you were fortunate enough to be  actively gaming during the Gamecube’s life,   or you only discovered its library later,  I would love to know YOUR favorite games. But most importantly, I would like to  know...if I'm the only person who had   the first Spider-Man movie game. I mean it wasn't  bad, right? Everyone loved 2, but 1 had it's good   elements. You as Green Goblin!  And ride around on the thing! It!

2021-12-08 00:35

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