Nintendo's medium-sized purple box of gaming bliss will always be looked upon as one of the company's greatest achievements. Once it was released on November 18, 2001, gamers young and old flocked to the stores to get themselves one and strut around the neighborhood holding it like a lunchbox thanks to its signature top handle. Before being discontinued in 2007, the Nintendo GameCube put forth a software library jam-packed with some of the greatest first- and third-party games ever released on a Nintendo console. Not only were most of Nintendo's homegrown franchises given a GameCube series entry, but a wealth of experimental titles debuted on the console and pushed certain IPs forward for the better. With all that being said, let's take a look at the 41 best GameCube games of all time.
The 41 Best GameCube Games of All Time
Best GameCube Games
1. 'Super Mario Sunshine'
It was quite the shocker when it was revealed that there wouldn't be a new Super Mario game at launch for the GameCube. But at least the long wait for a 3D adventure starring the mustachioed runner/jumper was well worth it. Super Mario Sunshine features a sunnyside open world that's ripe with plenty of secrets, platforming challenges, and clever boss encounters for those who wanted something on par with Super Mario 64. The water-powered F.L.U.D.D. tool added a new layer of fun to the proceedings as Mario used it to clean all the gunk off his new home island and boost himself forward/upward. This one's a certified Nintendo classic.
2. 'Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door'
It took far too long to get a sequel to the SNES gem that threw Mario and his friends into a turn-based RPG. Once that follow-up finally arrived, it threw everyone off guard thanks to its paper machete aesthetics. But after spending some time with it for a while, you couldn't help but fall in love with the quirky visual makeup of this hilarious RPG adventure. Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door keeps players involved at all times thanks to an active action combat system that incorporates timed button presses and a hyperactive audience that either congratulates or berates Mario's on-stage performances. This turn-based take on the Mario formula is arguably the best in this spinoff franchise.
3. 'Luigi's Mansion'
Mario's taller, slinkier, and quirkier sibling got to enjoy some time in the launch library spotlight once the GameCube hit retail stores everywhere. For his second go-around as the lead character in a game, Luigi set out to find his brother within the confines of a spooky old mansion. And to see that overwhelming mission through to full completion, players have to rely on their trusty high-powered vacuum cleaner, flashlight, and "Game Boy Horror" device to get rid of the mansion's ghost problem. Becoming a ghostbuster in suspenders is so much fun still as you get to suck up all sorts of mischievous spirits. Luigi's Mansion definitely holds up to this very day.
4. 'Animal Crossing'
Who knew this game would lead to the rise of one of the most successful Nintendo IPs of all time? This simple life simulator dug its claws into everyone that gave it a shot and those same players realized they were playing something more special than they could have ever imagined. Animal Crossing is a neverending experience that's all about living out one's life in a peaceful realm filled with anthropomorphic neighbors. Paying off your debt to Toom Nook, attaining a bigger house, and fraternizing with everyone on special holidays are just some of the whimsical tasks associated with this rewarding social sim. The first Animal Crossing marks the beginning of a phenomenon that's still going strong.
5. 'Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader'
During the US launch of the console that's being showered with love on this list, it was mandatory that its new owners get their hands on Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader. This quality space shooter sports gorgeous visuals (THEY STILL LOOK AMAZING, BTW!) that looked that much closer to the early Star Wars films, which helped immerse players into all the laser-blasting action even more than previous games of its ilk. The ability to send out commands to your nearby wingmen added an extra layer of strategy to the proceedings and made you truly feel like a trustworthy leader. Taking down Galactic Empire ships feels and looks oh so good in this GameCube classic.
6. 'Super Smash Bros. Melee'
We're guessing Super Smash Bros. series creator Masahiro Sakurai had no idea that this sequel would endure long after its 2001 debut on the Nintendo GameCube. Because of its simple yet deceptively complex combat tools, Super Smash Bros. Melee still gets plenty of playtime from a very dedicated group of eSports competitors. There's so much to love about this platform party fighter besides its addictive gameplay, though - its roster full of Nintendo icons, an abundance of single-player modes, and high fun factor among the casual crowd adds to Melee's legendary status. As far as content-rich fighting games go, Super Smash Bros. Melee is the gift that just keeps on giving.
7. 'Mario Kart: Double Dash!!'
The Mario Kart series has always put forth some of the greatest party games of all time. Get a room full of non-gamers together, hand 'em all controllers, and they'll quickly get caught up in all the on-road mayhem Nintendo's mascot racer entails. Mario Kart: Double Dash!! is the sole GameCube entry in the series and it sits near the top when it comes to the greatest in the franchise. The "two characters tied to one vehicle" setup is a cool gimmick that added an extra strategic layer to all the lively races. And giving each character their very own signature item provided this game with another cool aspect worth celebrating. We'll never get tired of hopping into this classic racer for a quick go-round on Daisy Cruiser and Waluigi Stadium.
8. 'The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker'
You should have been there when diehard Legend of Zelda fans first locked eyes with this game's cartoony art style. The internet gaming community at large was up in arms over The Wind Waker's sharp departure in visual style/tone. But once all those haters got to finally experience it, they came to appreciate what ended up being one of the best adventures Link has ever been on. The incorporation of boat sailing segments made exploring a fun endeavor, plus the abundance of side quests gave players less serious duties to fulfill. Taking pictures will always be a blast in this game. But solving all those traditional Zelda puzzles and cutting foes down with Link's sword always provides a reliable good time.
9. 'The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess'
Near the end of the GameCube lifecycle, the Nintendo Wii was preparing to launch with a brand new Legend of Zelda game. Thankfully, GameCube owners still got to bask in all the familiar dungeon-crawling Link is known for getting caught up in. As a final farewell to Nintendo's purple box, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess emerged as one of the best GameCube games thanks to a darker tone, newly added wolf transformation, and wild adventures experienced with little miss Midna by Link's side. Link's traditional sword and shield combat shine here, per usual. But it's the Twilight Realm portions of his trek that we still adore the most.
10. 'The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures'
Man...the steps needed to get a whole party of Link's together to play this game will drive anyone mad. But it's all worth the trouble because this throwback take on the Legend of Zelda formula is one of the best GameCube games and one of its most memorable multiplayer experiences. The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures offers a rewarding multiplayer co-op journey worth undertaking ("Hyrulean Adventure") and even a better-than-expected battle mode that still holds up ("Shadow Battle"). This one feels like such a great love letter to the SNES era of Link, which is a blessing to have on this console.
11. 'Metroid Prime'
Retro Studios really pushed the Metroid series forward by switching it from a side-scrolling adventure to a first-person shooter that still stuck close to what worked before. Metroid Prime succeeds thanks to the combination of a deeply absorbing atmosphere and one of the most fulfilling adventures Samus Aran has ever been on. It's still crazy to us how the GameCube controller's strange control scheme for this game works so well. Blasting alien lifeforms with plasma shots and missiles works so much better than we expected it to back in the day. Scanning everything in sight is so addictive in this game!
12. 'Metroid Prime 2: Echoes'
We'd be insane for not mentioning the sequel, right? Exactly! Metroid Prime 2: Echoes offers a stronger focus on presenting a more absorbing plot, which involved the presence of the super-cool villain known as Dark Samus. And now that you could explore parallel dimensions, the sense of discovery put in place here kept us playing for hours on end. The four-player multiplayer mode kept this game in our GameCube long after we got through the main campaign, by the way. This sequel will always get its respect and adoration as one of the best GameCube games.
13. 'Resident Evil'
Capcom's original Resident Evil installment is survival horror royalty. But the Nintendo GameCube remake that's been given a well-deserving HD remaster is the best way to play out the horrifying mansion mission Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine had to endure. The graphics are a million times more impressive, the lighting evokes even more fear than ever before, and the music is way more haunting. The addition of an extra creepy bio-weapon (Lisa Trevor still haunts our nightmares!), plus the presence of all the previous frights from the original version must be seen (and shot repeatedly!) to be believed.
14. 'Resident Evil 4'
Resident Evil 4 truly revolutionized the third-person shooting genre as a whole. Similar games that came after it knowingly adopted its camera viewpoint and aiming/shooting mechanics because it works so well. Besides its genre-forwarding elements, Resident Evil 4 deserves kudos for giving fans a more mature and battle-hardened version of Leon S. Kennedy. Taking control of him was a blast as you were forced to fend off crazed villagers and a whole assortment of bio-weapon threats. Escorting Ashley to safety is an annoying endeavor, sure. But that part of the game is still not enough to dull the shine of this prominent Resident Evil series installment.
15. 'Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem'
This Nintendo GameCube classic always gets the respect it deserves from the survival-horror-loving crowd. And for good reason! It tried something experimental that worked way better than anyone could have ever expected - a wealth of onscreen tricks were implemented in order to cause players to question their own sanity. You haven't experienced true fear until you've seen this game pop up with a "full memory card data deletion" notification message on your TV screen! Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem also earns a spot on this list thanks to its limb-targeting combat system, time-hopping plotline, and unnerving atmosphere. You'll reach dangerous levels of paranoia as you experience the madness of one of the best GameCube games ever made with this one.
16. 'Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes'
The original Metal Gear Solid is pure gaming perfection when the best PlayStation games come to mind. It's even better in remake form as the GameCube exclusive, Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes. The visuals get a major overhaul here that makes all the espionage action Solid Snake engages in look and feel even more impactful. Alongside those improved graphics, this stealth-focused classic updates the gameplay mechanics by adding the ability to shoot from a first-person viewpoint (which is lifted straight from Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty). This remake provides some welcome touchups to one of the greatest games ever made.
17. 'TimeSplitters 2'
There's going to come a day when we finally get a brand new TimeSplitters. But for the time being, we're going to keep choosing monkeys, killer clowns, and all sorts of weird characters for some multiplayer mayhem in TimeSplitters 2 (BagTag is GOATED!). But besides all the four-player gunfights this game rests its hat on, TimeSplitters 2 also happens to feature one of the funniest and most enjoyable single-player campaigns in FPS history. Sergeant Cortez and his lovely bald head will never leave our memory banks. As far as the best GameCube games go, this bombastic FPS is top-of-the-line material.
Pikmin provided the GameCube with an entirely new IP that provides real-time strategy/puzzle fanatics with something to keep them busy. And thanks to the game's cute exterior and bubbly atmosphere, it ended up attracting casual onlookers who wanted to build up their own army of helpful alien creatures. It still feels so good to help Captain Olimar navigate around a mysterious world while commanding different Pikmin types to aid him on his planetary trek. Getting those little tykes into fights with the game's larger specimen and inspiring them to lift heavy objects never gets old.
19. 'Pikmin 2'
If there's one thing that irked us about the first Pikmin, it was the fact that you had to complete all of your tasks under a strict deadline. Pikmin 2 did away with that annoying feature and added a second spaceman to all its proceedings to ratchet up the fun factor a ton. The fact that you can spend as much time as you'd like picking up treasure and dividing all the collecting duties between two characters makes playing this game way less stressful. We still have a ton of love for the Purple and White Pikmin that debuted in this one.
20. 'SoulCalibur II'
There was such an abundance of great fighting games to stay busy with during the height of the PS2, GameCube, and original Xbox. The 3D fighting game sub-genre produced plenty of quality battlers - Soulcalibur II is a shining example of that memorable trend. The tightly tuned weapons clashes still feel like a dream, the overabundance of single-player content on offer here is amazing, and the unlimited hours of fun you can get from local multiplayer matches are forever rewarding. The main attraction here (as everyone knows) is the special guest addition of The Legend of Zelda's Link. Swinging around that Master Sword against Soulcalibur II's iconic roster makes the game's GameCube version stand out as the best.
21. 'Viewtiful Joe'
"HENSHIN-A-GO-GO-BABY" That rousing statement comes from the beat 'em up superhero that Capcom introduced in 2003. As a part of the Capcom Five, Viewtiful Joe gained plenty of goodwill thanks to its clever implementation of video effects into all the action. Players can beat down their foes at regular speed, pull off slick moves in slow motion, and even assault multiple foes with the "Mach Speed" VFX power. The game's cel-shaded art style makes everything pop off the screen, plus the music features enough catchy bops that'll keep you humming while you save your girlfriend from the colorful realm of "Movieland." Viewtiful Joe is easily one of the best GameCube games and one of the finest beat 'em ups of all time.
22. 'Viewtiful Joe 2'
Viewtiful Joe 2 arrived in 2004 and kept up the good vibes that came with its predecessor. The main attraction of this sequel is the arrival of Viewtiful Joe's girlfriend as a playable heroine named "Sexy Silvia." The series' signature VFX Powers come back into the fray as you can use them to aid you during combat and puzzles once again. Silvia's "Replay" ability produced lots of hype moments since you use it to record and repeat her actions in quick succession. The innovative gameplay of the first Viewtiful Joe got even more appealing thanks to all the new mechanics that came with this sequel.
23. 'Sonic Adventure 2: Battle'
Sonic Adventure 2 came out near the end of the Sega Dreamcast's lifecycle and thankfully ended things on a very strong note. Once Sega switched from first-party to third-party software development, it did the unthinkable by developing games for non-Sega consoles. One of its greatest ports is definitely this one, which is an updated version of Sonic Adventure 2 that throws in multiplayer modes that increase its fun factor overall. As the first official Sonic game to come to a Nintendo console, this release did well thanks to its wealth of extra characters and stages for the PVP component.
24. 'Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg'
Sega's prowess is legendary when it comes to the platforming genre. Sonic Team stepped away from its iconic blue hedgehog for a sec to create something a bit more quirky. Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg is all about rolling eggs around at a fast speed and using it to smash your foes and snap up all sorts of fruit. As your egg grows in size, it'll eventually get high enough to hatch and possibly give you a new animal ally to rely on. That signature Sonic Team charm is all here and accounted for - Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg's endearing main protagonist, cutesy in-game world, and jolly gameplay are all proof of that.
25. 'F-Zero GX'
Not only is F-Zero GX one of the best GameCube games out there, but it's also one of the most challenging racers on the console. You truly have to have nerves of steel and insanely fast reflexes to stay in one piece during this game's hazardous races. Zipping through tubes, flying through the air during tricky leaps, and dodging random objects on certain tracks will make you feel like a gaming god once you've mastered all those actions. The game's huge roster of space racers and their trademark plasma-powered vehicles give this game an identity of its own that's hard to pass up.
26. 'Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time'
Ubisoft realized that The Prince of Persia IP had laid dormant for far too long, which is it decided to completely reboot it. And that new take on the series resulted in a third-person action/adventure game that breathed some life right back into the franchise. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time was and still is a worthwhile experience thanks to its free-flowing swordplay and cool usage of time-based powers that played a part in navigating puzzles & parkour. This game feels like an Indiana Jones-like trek through fantastical locales filled with wild enemies to slash and tricky platforming segments to complete.
27. 'Beyond Good & Evil'
Joining the resistance with the fearless Jade against an alien conspiracy enraptured most gamers that gave Beyond Good & Evil a shot. Even though this game didn't move the needle on a financial level for Ubisoft back in the day, it still gained a cult following thanks to fans like us that recognized its many positives. Beyond Good & Evil presents an excellent romp through an alien planet that's full of intrigue, a lovable anthropomorphic pig ally, staff-based martial arts, photography-focused side missions, and a whole lot more. Jade's struggle against otherworldly threats is strong from start to finish - it deserves its flowers as one of Ubisoft's very best releases.
28. 'Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4'
Tony Hawk's superstar status in the world of gaming is due in part to the skateboarding titles that bear his name. And the one we hold up as the most significant is the fourth mainline series entry. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4 will always get a ton of love from us for giving everyone way more freedom and unlimited time to enjoy the many stages/missions tied to its Career Mode. The simple act of "skitching" added even more to the combo strings you could pull off to really rack up your final score. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4 definitely made us fall in love with Star Wars' Jango Fett as an extreme sports pro, too.
29. 'SSX 3'
Another extreme sports game that belongs on this list of the best GameCube games is this snowboarding masterpiece. The EA Sports Big label signifies excellence and SSX 3 made sure to maintain that high level of quality. Instead of picking tracks to shred the snow on, this super-sized sequel threw everyone into an open world that allows you to go wherever you please and tackle all types of fun objectives. Making your way from the very top of the mountain all the way to the bottom is one of the most rewarding experiences in the entire series. SSX 3 is just pure snowboarding bliss.
30. 'WWE Day of Reckoning 2'
Wrestling fans associate developer Yuke's with top-of-the-line gameplay when it comes to WWF/E and WCW simulators. The GameCube didn't get any of the SmackDown vs. Raw games, but it didn't need to. And that's because the WrestleMania and Day of Reckoning games held down the fort just fine. WWE Day of Reckoning 2 is our fave of the bunch - it features the most refined grappling mechanics of the series, one of the best storylines in the wrestling game genre, and a who's who of playable legends. Plus the new and improved submission system did a whole lot to deepen the already strong gameplay this WWE sim is remembered fondly for.
31. 'Ultimate Muscle: Legends vs. New Generation'
One of the best GameCube games in this case also happens to be one of the most underrated. Based on the cartoon series that 4Kids Entertainment put American kids onto back in the day, Ultimate Muscle: Legends vs. New Generation is an arcadey in-ring brawler that's a must-play. And we say that thanks to the outlandish slams and strikes you can pull off with the game's colorful cast of characters. Kevin Mask will always be our number one guy, but we also got a kick out of taking our custom wrestler into some multi-man battle royals. You haven't lived until you've seen someone get planted with Kid's Muscle's "Muscle Millennium."
32. 'Super Mario Strikers'
Next Level Games, which is the development team behind NHL Hitz Pro, got the OK from Nintendo to take Mario and his friends onto the soccer field for one of the best arcade sports experiences ever made. Super Mario Strikers throws the Mushroom Kingdom's best characters onto the field for some fiery 5v5 action that takes your typical soccer matches and turns them into a fun Super Mario Kart take on the formula. Being able to utilize power-ups and pull off guaranteed scorers with "Super Strike" super moves are part of the reason why Super Mario Strikers even entertains non-soccer fans.
33. 'Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour'
Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour is one of the best GameCube games we have to recommend here simply based on the fact that it improves upon everything introduced in the Nintendo 64 Mario Golf. All of the courses that come into play here (especially "Peach's Castle Grounds!") all present infinitely amusing rounds of golf. And it doesn't matter if you play the game of golf via traditional stroke and match play - all that regular approaches to golf play are just as fun as the more lighthearted modes of play. "Coin Attack" and "Ring Attack" are definitely our go-to's.
34. 'Tales of Symphonia'
The GameCube actually has a nice catalog of RPGs worth returning to. And of the most prodigious examples of that is the fifth mainline entry in the Tales franchise. That classic JRPG we're choosing to mention here is Tales of Symphonia. Lloyd Irving and his crew of world saviors go on an epic trek that produces a bunch of memorable twists and turns via its unforgettable plot. A lot of the fun is derived from Tales of Symphonia's "Multi-Line Linear Motion Battle System," which offers a top-class real-time battle system. And those cel-shaded graphics? They're still gorgeous.
35. 'Skies of Arcadia Legends'
Another one of the best GameCube games and must-play RPGs in the console's entire library is this updated rendition of a Sega Dreamcast classic. The air pirate adventures of Vyse, Aika, and Fina got expanded here with a bunch of content that wasn't present in the Dreamcast version. This version of the game offers a "Wanted List" mode that puts you on the hunt for high-value targets, even more intriguing locales to discover, and the debut of an all-new character named Pistol. Skies of Arcadia Legends is one of the best pirate JRPGs we've ever played.
36. 'Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean'
Do you know which development team is responsible for giving us this slept-on GameCube gem? Monolith Soft, which happens to be the geniuses behind the Xenoblade Chronicles series. So it's easy to see why that studio's RPG pedigree is noticeable here as well. Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean grabbed our attention due to the fact that its turn-based battles focus on a clever collectible card game system that makes it super unique. The striking art style also did a lot to make all the mystical destinations you explore stand out. We still trip out over the game's characters asking us questions directly! Baten Kaitos deserves its placing here among the very best GameCube games.
37. 'Super Monkey Ball 2'
The first Super Monkey Ball introduced a bunch of Nintendo gamers to a deceptively cute and incredibly difficult platform party game. In our eyes, the second entry in the series is the one we adore the most. Super Monkey Ball 2 throws in a fanciful storyline that gives players even more of a reason to push through all the tough stage formations that'll challenge you. speaking of challenges, the game's multiplayer Challenge Mode also provides even more crazy levels to navigate through. And last but not least, the Party Games still provided endless oodles of fun - Monkey Baseball, Monkey Dogfight, and Monkey Fight are goated!
38. 'Burnout 2: Point of Impact'
Burnout 2: Point of Impact is a clear-cut winner when it comes to best entries in the car crashing franchise. The racing is pretty dammed exciting as expected. But the main attraction here is "Crash Mode," which is all about hopping into your favorite ride and trying to pull in the highest score possible by smashing other vehicles on the road. There's such an undeniable joy that comes from causing onroad mayhem in the most destructive manner possible. We got the same amount of satisfaction from wrecking cars in "Pursuit Mode," too!
39. 'Star Fox Adventures'
What was originally supposed to be a game titled Dinosaur Planet soon morphed into a Fox McCloud action/adventure romp called Star Fox Adventures. This game sticks to the classic Rare open-world formula we fell in love with back on the N64 - there are plenty of colorful expansive biomes to run around in, useful items to find that aid you during combat/puzzle-solving, and some great sidekicks that are just as lovable as Fox. Being able to take flight in the Arwing during certain sections did an awesome job of switching up the action to bring that old Star Fox feeling back. Side note - Krystal will always be one of our favorite characters from this game!
40. 'Battalion Wars'
This 3D spinoff of the Advance Wars series ended up delivering one of the best GameCube games in the real-time strategy genre. Battalion Wars takes the action from a top-down view to a third-person viewpoint that gets players even closer to all the madness that unfolds between two military superpowers. Becoming a military commander that's responsible for choosing the right units to go out on the battlefield is an infinitely rewarding experience here. The game's cartoony aesthetic gave it that signature Nintendo style everyone recognizes and its tactics-based warfare pushed it to superstar status when it comes to great first-party Nintendo GameCube games.
41. 'WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Party Games!'
This is where it all began. This is where Mario's evil doppelganger got to have some fun in an entirely different way compared to his platforming adventures. This remake of the Game Boy Advance original ratchets up the fun factor thanks to the addition of four-player participation in certain "microgames." It's even more hilarious to engage in some outlandish minigames with your friends in close proximity. Peeling a banana, engaging in a seconds-long boss battle from the original Metroid, and trying to bowl over a single pin are just some of the zany occurrences that you'll come across in this party game.
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