This week’s Top 10 was particularly difficult to narrow down. For those of you who owned a Gamecube you’d agree that while the software library fades into insignificance compared to its competitors at the time its humble collection was really solid. Not mentioned in this Top 10 but deserve a special mention are brilliant titles such as Viewtiful Joe, Battalion Wars, Animal Crossing, Pikmin 1 & 2, Soul Calibur 2, the list goes on and on (and on and on…).
Over the years there have been various water sport racers but very few had the same water and weather effects as well as physics as Wave Race: Blue Storm. While some criticised WRBS for being far too similar to Wave Race 64 it held its own in a genre that has seen few dare to venture into let alone think of succeeding in making a standout title.
Super Mario Sunshine was originally going to be a direct sequel to the highly popular Super Mario 64 but was moulded to have its own unique twist. Boasting a variety of well constructed environments, superb graphics, funny cut scenes and inventive puzzles Sunshine did more than hold its own. FLUDD, Shine Sprites and Bowser Jr. all made their first appearances in this title and have since become standard elements in the Mario Universe.
Retro Studios and outstanding first party Nintendo titles seem to go hand in hand; Metroid Prime 2: Echoes is no exception to the rule. Many have even gone as far as to say that Echoes was the best single-player experiences on the GameCube. With a lengthy campaign and then unique transition between light and dark dynamics Echoes quickly gathered a cult following and still remains a challenge to this day.
Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door is up until now arguably the best title in the ‘Paper Mario’ series. Providing an over-the-top and humourous twist to the Mario franchise The Thousand-Year Door instantly stole the hearts of Nintendo fans worldwide. Near perfect use of timing in the battle system and even having your own audience to reward Mario during battle were just a few distinctive elements that we have yet to see again from any Mario game including the later released Super Paper Mario on the Wii.
How does a remake make it onto the top 10? Simply because it was that damn good. Twin Snakes features graphical improvements over the original, brand new cut scenes written and directed by Ryuhei Kitamura and gameplay functions originally introduced in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty which drastically added to the gameplay of the original Metal Gear Solid. While this title might be difficult to track down today it is a worthwhile effort for any Metal Gear fan.
Sanity’s Requiem probably achieved the least commercial success out of all the games in this week’s Top 10 but that doesn’t make it any less of a game. This psychological horror has one of the best storylines of any game that fits into the horror genre. Tracking back through different timelines got you so involved in the game that it is impossible to not complete once started. Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem is easily one of the most overlooked games of all time.
The Wind Waker broke away from previous Zelda titles and was developed using cel-shaded graphics and featured a younger Link character, later to be referred to as ‘Toon Link’. Though the game still followed the Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask control system the environments were completely different, brighter and even more cartoony. This all mixed together surprisingly well and became a major success. The same game styles can be seen in Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks later released on the Nintendo DS.
F-Zero GX was the first software collaboration between Nintendo and SEGA, something that at one stage nobody thought would ever happen. F-Zero GX has standout visuals, sharp controls, a fun campaign mode and is a ridiculous challenge which makes it beyond addictive. Since its release there hasn’t been another home console sequel to the series which still make us cry ourselves to sleep every single night. Maybe Nintendo will surprise us with something for the Wii U?
Metroid Prime took the Metroid series to the next level. Up until its release the Metroid series was known for a side-scrolling 2d platformer style gameplay. Prime introduced gamers to the 3D first-person world of Samus Aran and in no time gamers were in love (With the game, not Samus… okay maybe both). Metroid Prime became one of the best-selling games on the GameCube, selling 250,000 units in just one week. There were later two sequels, a spin-off pinball game and even a motion-controlled trilogy compilation for the Wii. While later Metroid titles such as Other M struggled to reach the acclaim of Metroid Prime Retro Studios can be proud of the benchmark they set for future Metroid titles.
Where else can you see Dr. Mario battling it out against Mewtwo, Yoshi and 22 other Nintendo characters? Super Smash Bros. Melee took a good concept from the original N64 Smash Bros. and made the series what it is today. Melee has a ridiculous amount of content; everything from a single player mode to a homerun contest as well as trophies and unlockables on an astronomical scale. While Super Smash Bros Brawl on the Wii also had its own merits one can’t argue that Melee laid the groundwork for the series going forward. Look out for future announcements of the new Super Smash Bros. titles for the Wii U and 3DS, they should set Nintendo’s bar even higher.