No doubt this will seem controversial to many of you but I think Nintendo are in a state of flux. No longer the driving force behind video games, but instead an aging giant – and certainly not aging gracefully. After the defeat of all home consoles to the might of the Playstation Nintendo haven’t really seemed to recover. Don’t get me wrong, I can see the magic in the Nintendo DS (see my articles here) – as can many others – but in the arena of the home console they are lost.
To demonstrate this, just look at the GameCube. Not only am I not able to buy games for it in many stores now, but the third party support has been almost completely lacking from the system – which is a shame as the controller was ok and the GC did have a lot to offer. It had a lovely form factor to boot! Anyway, we’ve now seen most of the big releases that would have allowed it to end with a bang being cancelled – at least for the shores of UK. This is a mighty shame, as I had my GC long before I had my Xbox (I never did get a PS2).
Of course, we have the Wii coming very soon. Nintendo probably, and Quimby reckons it might well be this date. I hope they are right. Xbox 360 has a decent user base (and even more so then) and of course the PS3 will be making a big splash. Whilst it has a big price tag, I can’t imagine the behemoth that is Sony getting the formula too wrong. I like the Wii, and I like the innovation it demonstrates. However, I’m concerned that it’s moving a little too far away. Nonetheless, I wait rather excitedly for more developments.
Regardless, to demonstrate my fondness of my black cube of Nintendo-loveliness I decided to give you all my top five GameCube games. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of other gems out there – but don’t expect to be able to pick them up too cheap. I don’t know why but games (at least here in the UK) for the system are becoming increasingly rare. I guess I’ll have to go online for those I don’t yet have. Anyway, without further ado, please see my top five Nintendo GameCube games:
Animal Crossing first appeared on the N64 many years ago. It was fun then, but the GC version takes it to a new level. Esentially the game is a bit of a life/community sim, with a collection element. You come to a new town (with animal neighbours), and you get to pay off your mortgage, sell and swap items, put stuff in your house and much more. It’s satisfying on a very basic level – and even offers Nintendo games to play! The greatest thing is that it has a universal appeal, and even if we in the UK waited for years and years to get it, it still hits the spot every time. 9/10.
Super Smash Bros
The frantic and fun Super Smash Bros was one of the earliest released games on the Cube, and I got it second after Wave Race. Suffice to say Wave Race got swapped and this didn’t. Smash Bros is a fast paced action game featuring a whole host of Nintendo characters in various stages, battling to knock each other off the levels. It is a simple formula but very, very fun. The game moves at a great pace and you can see everything from Pikachou to Mario in it. Of course, it’s best played in four player mode! 8/10.
Resident Evil 4
Finally we saw a Resident Evil that demonstrated the potential of the series. It was smoother, looked better and the character didn’t move like some sort of distressed tank. More importantly it was on the GameCube – well at least it was on the GameCube before it was put on the PS2. Even with the extra features it was clear which version was superior. 9/10.
Super Monkey Ball 2
Ah, the brilliance of Monkey Ball 2. This game, if you ask me, is the culmination of everything that is right about games (almost). The premise is simple. You control the level, rather than the monkey in a ball, and you aim to drive it through the exit posts. There are only a few levels which were not based on skill, and they are few and far between. The minigames were also fun, offering a wide variety of gameplay best shared. 9/10.
Warioware Inc: Epic Megagames
Whilst this is possibly not to the taste of everyone, I do really enjoy a game of Warioware now and then. It’s not the sort of thing you’d sit down to play a LOT but the minigames (which last about 5 seconds) are just brilliant. Have a few friends come over, have a few beers, and tell me there isn’t a better game to play. I know you’ll thank me. 8/10.
Other games of note
Whilst not in my top five, if you’re new to the GameCube I’d certainly recommend the following games:
Resident Evil Remake
This game – The Resident Evil original but given a massive graphical overhaul and some new puzzles/enemies – demonstrated the power of the GC. It was, to put it simply, very impressive. In fact, I ended up buying twice again it was so damn good.
If you like scrolling shooters you’ll love this. It is, of course, a Treasure game that originally appeared on the Dreamcast – but it’s a bloody impressive one. Ikaruga uses a system of a black and white shield. You can absorb the bullets of your enemies which you’d think would make the game easier, but it’s damn difficult! I did become 49th best in the world – but I lost that title quite quickly.
Well there’s my lowdown on the GC – going but not gone – or forgotten.