<<< Games currently playing: Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles (Wii), Metroid Prime 2: Echoes (GameCube), Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword (DS) >>>
Okay, nerds, you know the routine. Top Ten GameCube games that I have played, with an emphasis on variety. Without further ado . . .
#10 METAL GEAR SOLID: THE TWIN SNAKES (Konami/Silicon Knights): This is a remake, from the ground up, of Metal Gear Solid, originally for the PlayStation. The graphics and gameplay are updated and the dialogue was completely re-recorded. Unfortunately, the choppy graphics and original dialogue of the original game provided a lot of charm. In the end, this update seems unnecessary but the game is still awesome. As I play more GameCube games expect this one to fall off the list . . .
#9 SOULCALIBUR II (Namco): Wikky wikky wikky wikky wakk. This is clearly the best fighting game on the GameCube (although that’s not saying much given the GameCube’s weak fighter library. SCII is a weapons-based fighter with very detailed and ridiculous fantasy-influenced character designs and even more impressive fighting environments. It was also released for PS2 and Xbox but the GameCube version has . . . Link. Zelda games are usually devoid of enemies with gigantic knockers so this is the rare opportunity for you to get your Link fix AND your jiggling, massive mammaries fix all in one place.
#8 ANIMAL CROSSING (Nintendo): This is the most laid-back game that I can think of that’s worth playing. There isn’t a single stressful moment to be found. AC is an open-ended game in which you live vicariously in a darling little village, doing menial chores to earn money and speaking with your rascally animal neighbors. There isn’t an end, there are no levels, no bosses, etc. The main objectives consist of expanding your house, decorating your house, finding fossils to stock the museum, and receiving gifts. So, no, it’s not exciting but it’s still fun. Perhaps the coolest aspect of Animal Crossing is that it uses the GameCube’s internal clock and calendar and makes appropriate changes. For instance, if you play in December, the town is decorated with Christmas-style lights and the ground is covered with snow. If you play at 1 a.m. the town is basically the dead the stores are closed. Etc. etc. etc. et cetera.
#7 PETER JACKSON’S KING KONG: THE OFFICIAL GAME OF THE MOVIE (Ubisoft): Yo yo yo. YO! This here is one of them licensed movie games. AND this game was obviously rushed. But you know what? It’s still really good. For most of the game, you play as Jack Driscoll, which might sound like a bummer, but it ain’t. Italics. Remember all the creepy, dark, uncomfortable, gruesome moments from the island in the movie? That’s what most of the game is. It almost plays like a fast-paced, first-person version of a Resident Evil game, but without the tedious item management. Most of the enemies are very gross and there’s definitely a feeling of “Oh, GOD, get off of me!” when they come too close. There are also a few sections where you get to play as Kong but, really, these are not up to the same standard as the Jack levels. Usually Kong is shepherded around via linear level designs and forced to engage in semi-boring fights. Also, the New York City stage is a complete letdown. But play it for the awesomely gross and creepy Jack sections.
#6 METROID PRIME (Nintendo/Retro Studios): Don’t get too excited, as this game is definitely overrated but it is still great. Now you can finally see all those horrible monsters that Samus always fights but now in full 3D and from a first person perspective. Presented in this manner, many of the enemy creatures are as creepy and unappealing as your typical survival horor game. The environments are great and the action is solid. Unfortunately, the backtracking is a bit tedious compared to the 2D games.
#5 PRINCE OF PERSIA: THE SANDS OF TIME (Ubisoft): That’s strange. The original Prince of Persia games from the late 80s/early 90s had the worst controls of any game ever. But this game has super smooth controls and features the most interesting platforming and acrobatics of any game this side of Mario. “Acrobat” is really the best way to describe the Prince in this game, as you make your way through sticky situations bouncing off of walls, swinging on poles, and running sideways across chasms. The coolest aspect comes in the form of the Sands of Time. With these Sands, you can reverse time when you screw up. You actually see the recent events rewinding when you use the sands, returning you to an earlier moment of your choice.
#4 MARIO KART: DOUBLE DASH!! (Nintendo): Hubba hubba. When it was released, this was clearly the best Mario Kart game to date, clear to everyone except for morons and buffoons. The controls have been completely tightened up compared to MK64. The environments are great. There are a ton of great characters to play as and to unlock. For each race, you choose two characters with different attributes to switch between. And so many modes! Did you beat all four grand prixs on all the difficulty settings? Okay, here is a mirror mode to try. So try it!
#3 SUPER MARIO SUNSHINE (Nintendo): Hey, baby baby, don’t say maybe! What?! A Mario game down at #3?! Yeah, sowwy. This game was highly praised when it was first released but some reason has been somewhat maligned in recent years. Completely ridiculous. This is truly a great game but in many ways it’s just not a big change from SM64. Mario controls almost the same and it feels like the SM64 game engine was used. However, the feel and identity of this game are really different. The game is BRIGHT. It’s the tropics! You run around on the beach, in a resort town, in an amusement park, in a hotel. For most of the game you have a high-pressure water nozzle that allows you to hover or attack enemies. In summary, this is a great game, just not different enough from SM64 to be the GD KING of the GameKube.
#2 RESIDENT EVIL 4 (Capcom): This is probably the most critically acclaimed GameCube game, and for good reason. It really kicked the RE series in the ass and changed everything up. Instead of fixed camera angles and pre-rendered backgrounds, you now explore fully 3D environs (finally) and have an over-the-shoulder perspective, which really isn’t that different from a first-person view. It actually controls pretty similarly to Perfect Dark. The game is quite big, about twice as long as a typical RE game. The action is quite intense and, for once, there is plenty of ammo. According to some sources, you kill as many zombies/monsters as in all the previous RE games combined. The environment is really creepy and I especially like the earlier sections of the game, consisting of horrible little farming villages and brainwashed villagers. Technically, most of the enemies in this game are not zombies but actually possessed by some parasite. So the people scream when you blow their heads off with SHOTGUNS. YES.
#1 PIKMIN 2 (Nintendo): I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the first Pikmin game but this one improves on it in every way. You basically play as a little guy who controls a bunch of even littler guys (up to 100 of them) to find valuable artifacts. The little Pikmin fellas can be used to do contruction work or to make more Pikmin but their primary role is to swarm all over the bastard animals that get in your way and rip them apart. You almost feel sorry for the unlucky jerks as your Pikmin climb all over them and murder them until you remember that no one matters but you and everyone else deserves to die. Amen.
HONORABLE MENTION: Metroid Prime 2, Pikmin, Luigi’s Mansion, Sonic Adventure DX, Sonic Adventure 2: Battle, Resident Evil 2, Resident Evil 3, Resident Evil Code: Veronica X
NOTABLE GAMES I HAVEN’T PLAYED YET: The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker & Four Swords Adventures & Twilight Princess, StarFox Adventures, Wave Race: Blue Storm, 1080 Avalanche, F-Zero GX, Resident Evil Remake, Resident Evil 0, Viewtiful Joe 1 & 2, Ikaruga, Super Monkey Ball 1 & 2, Beyond Good and Evil