5. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
I’m sure many people consider Twilight Princess to be a Wii game, but to me, it’s definitely a Gamecube title. I did have a Wii when this game came out, but I chose to get Gamecube version instead. I had been following the game for years, and it had always been a Gamecube game. It was clearly ported to the Wii at the last minute, and I wanted the originally intended experience. I stand by this choice, and afting having played the Wii version at a later time, I am definitely glad I went with the Gamecube version. As for the game itself, it’s a Zelda game. This is one of the more “safe” Zelda games, not really doing much new. It sticks very close to the Ocarina of Time formula, and while many have bemoaned this choice in the years since, it never really bothered me because the game is just so well made. It may just be an iteration on the Zelda formula, but it is a near perfect execution of that formula.
4. Resident Evil 4
Though it eventually came to the PS2, Wii, 360, and PS3, Resident Evil 4 was originally a Gamecube exclusive, and it really gave fans of the purple lunchbox something to brag about. Resident Evil 4 took what had become an increasingly outdated series (from a design and gameplay perspective), and infused it with new life. Gone were the cumbersome tank-like controls, the annoying static camera angles, and the awkward shooting mechanics; all replaced with much more modern and much more playable features. Though not the first example of third person shooting, it is definitely one of the most important games in the evolution of third person shooters as their own genre. Without games like Resident Evil 4 and Gears of War, third person shooters would not be what they are today.
3. Super Smash Bros. Melee
The second entry in Nintendo’s cross-over fighting game series, and this time they really pulled out all the stops. Melee took the first game’s 12 characters and more than doubled that number, featuring 25 Nintendo characters this time around. Melee has 29 stages, compared to the original game’s 9, and is just simply bigger and better in seemingly every way. The chaotic gameplay of the first game was maintained for the sequel, and the Super Smash series in general plays like no other fighting game. Where the game really shines is 4 player battles, which can get super crazy and chaotic. This time around, there is even the option to have 64 player tournament brackets, so next time you have 63 other people over to your house, Super Smash Bros. Melee is the game to play.
2. Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem
Eternal Darkness is, in my opinion, the best survival horror game ever made. Developed by Silcon Knights, Eternal Darkness is a very atmospheric and genuinely creepy survival horror game with a story that spans 2000 years. You play as Alexandra Roivas in the present day, but also jump back to play as other characters that come across the evil book, The Tome of Eternal Darkness, over the course of 2000 years. The two defining features of this game are the well written and genuinely scary and compelling story, and of course the sanity mechanic. As your character is exposed to increasingly more frightening scenarios, their sanity begins to drain. The lower your sanity meter, the more crazy things that can happen. The hallucinations can be things you would expect from a video game, like your character seeing things that aren’t there or thinking they’ve lost limbs, but where the game really excels is when it tries to trick you, the player. The game will do all kinds of things, like tell you your save has been erased, pretend the television has changed channels, turn the volume down, or even give you a fake disc read error. It really is a shame that developer Silicon Knights has struggled so much since this game, releasing the love it or hate it Too Human in 2008, and the critically panned X-Men Destiny in 2011. Here’s hoping that Silicon Knights can return to form and start releasing good games again, and maybe even re-visit Eternal Darkness at some point.
1. The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker
What can really be said about Wind Waker that hasn’t already been said. It is one of the best games in one of the best series of all time, and in my opinion, the best game ever released for the Nintendo Gamecube. This game strikes the perfect balance between staying true to what a Zelda game is, while also carving out its own identity within the series and being genuinely unique. Wind Waker remains the only true open world Zelda game ever releases, and its game world dwarfs any other Zelda game world in terms of sheer size by a wide, wide margin. Wind Waker is just one of those games that is a delight to play no matter how many times you’ve played it before. I’ve said it before, but the art style of Wind Waker was one of the best decisions Nintendo has ever made, and because of it, Wind Waker holds up better than almost any other game of last generation. You could boot Wind Waker today, and it still looks just as good as it did the day it came out, and I actually think it looks better than a lot modern games that try too hard to be “gritty and realistic”. Many people didn’t like all the sailing you have to do in this game, but it never really bothered me all that much, and I always enjoy filling up my sea chart every time I give this game another playthrough. The Legend of Zelda is one of the best and most influential series of all time, and Wind Waker is definitely one of the best examples of a what a Zelda game can be.