The Nintendo GameCube was released in 2001 to mixed feelings by the gaming community. It looks like a lunch box, complete with handle. Another complaint was that GameCube games came on a miniDVD. The GameCube’s competition, PlayStation 2 and Xbox, used standard DVDs. This allowed them to play movies as well as games. This caused many gamers to bypass Nintendo’s fourth console. Time, however, has proven the GameCube to be a capable little console with a library full of incredible games. There were also quite a few disappointing games as well. The disappointing games on this list aren’t necessarily the worst GameCube games; these are games that were anticipated by gamers but failed to live up to expectations.
10 Best: Metroid Prime
Super Metroid for the Super Nintendo, released in 1994, was one of the all-time great side-scrollers. Metroid Prime was Nintendo’s first attempt at a 3D Metroid game. Fans were nervous that the transition from a traditionally 2D game to 3D would not be successful. Metroid Prime quickly became a classic after its release, however, praised by critics and fans alike. Metroid Prime’s visuals, notably the lighting effects, still look good seventeen years later. The atmospheric music and sound effects were also very well done and never get tiresome. Finally, Metroid Prime’s controls are very responsive and precise, with the only universal complaint being the lack of ability to aim around the screen while moving.
9 Disappointing: Disney’s Magical Mirror Starring Mickey Mouse
Games featuring Mickey Mouse are generally fun. At the very least they are playable and have some positive elements. This is due to Disney guarding the reputation of their golden mouse pretty carefully. It makes one wonder what happened during the development of this game. First off, Disney’s Magical Mirror Starring Mickey Mouse is a point and click game. This genre of game never works on a console; unless the console has a mouse accessory, which the GameCube doesn’t.
The graphics in The Magical Mirror are pretty plain for something with the Disney name attached. The character model the developers used for Mickey looks like a person wearing a Mickey Mouse costume. The worst part of this game is how it tells you when to use an item in your inventory. This takes any challenge out of the game and turns it more into a boring interactive cartoon.
8 Best: Luigi’s Mansion
In Luigi’s Mansion you control Mario’s brother Luigi as he explores a mansion he won in a contest he didn’t even enter. The mansion is full of ghosts and it’s up to Luigi, armed with the Poltergust 3000, to defeat their leader King Boo and rescue Mario. The Poltergust 3000 is a vacuum design to catch ghosts – and gold coins. The game has a dark and spooky Disney-esque look to it that provides a good jump scare every so often. The vibrant cartoon-like graphics, like many of the "best" games on this list, have aged well over time. The music is has a spooky vibe to it and does a great job of setting the mood. The best music in the game though is when a nervous Luigi starts whistling or humming a tune. Adding little touches like that is just one of many reasons why this game is a classic.
7 Disappointing: P.N.03 – Product Number Zero Three
The early screenshots of P.N.03 looked promising. The graphics were clean, sleek, and showed off some nice lighting effects. The protagonist’s model was also large and detailed. On top of all that it was developed by Capcom, who has a good reputation when launching new game franchises. However, due to financial problems Capcom set very short deadlines for the development team. This caused P.N.03 to be released before it was truly finished. The biggest complaints are the clunky tank controls, the repetitive gameplay, and the fact the protagonist can’t move while shooting.
6 Best: Legend Of Zelda: The Wind Waker
Another game that initially received a mixed reaction from fans, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker quickly established itself as a must-have game for GameCube owners. This game is still visually stunning, with a cartoon-like feel, vibrant colors, and wonderfully cell-shaded graphics. This is arguably the best looking game on the GameCube.
Wind Waker’s music is simple, but also great at putting you in the mood for exploration and adventure. The controls are fluid and responsive, and the controller layout is displayed in the top right corner of the screen while playing. Unlike most other Legend of Zelda games, in Wind Waker the player starts on an island. It is not long until you acquire a boat and can explore the sea and visit neighboring islands. There are few games that inspire a sense of adventure and wanderlust better than The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker.
5 Disappointing: Batman: Dark Tomorrow
Batman games are generally either really good or really horrible. When Batman: Dark Tomorrow was set to be released people were hopeful that this game would fall into the former category. Sadly, Batman: Dark Tomorrow is possibly the worst Batman video game of all time. The quality of the graphics is okay, but well below what the GameCube was capable of handling.
The gameplay in Dark Tomorrow is extremely tedious and repetitive. Batman gets knocked down almost every time an enemy hits him, yet enemies require multiple hits to fall down. This gameplay “feature” is beyond frustrating, and makes the game practically unplayable. Stick to the Batman Arkham series for your Dark Knight fix.
4 Best: Pikmin
Pikmin is a unique and fun real-time strategy game. In Pikmin you control Captain Olimar who has crashed his spaceship on an uncharted planet and must collect at least 25 of the 30 missing ship parts in order to get it working. To help you navigate this dangerous new world are small plant-like creatures called Pikmin. Each type of Pikmin has its own abilities and it is up to you to use them in the best way to accomplish your goal of collecting the necessary ship parts.
The controls are solid and intuitive, the whimsical music is enjoyable, and the visuals have held up very well in the eighteen years since the game’s release. If you’ve never played Pikmin you are missing out on one of the most memorable games for the GameCube.
3 Disappointing: TMNT Mutant Melee
An arena-fighting/beat’em up game set in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles universe and developed by the legendary developer Konami sounds like a match made in heaven. The pairing brings up memories of the great beat ‘em ups Konami has made; such as TMNT: Turtles in Time or The Simpsons arcade game. This game is nothing like those two classics. First, this game looks bad – really bad. The graphics are horrible, with colors that are dark and washed-out. The arenas you battle in are tiny and uninspired. The music tracks are awful and indistinguishable from one another. All the above criticisms could be overlooked if the game was fun, but unfortunately, this game is as boring as it gets. In TMNT: Mutant Melee the gameplay never gets more complicated than pressing the attack button as fast as you can.
2 Best: Resident Evil 4
Resident Evil 4 on the GameCube, by Capcom, is generally considered the high point of the franchise -- and for good reason. The game’s graphics still look phenomenal. This game looks better than a lot of PlayStation 3 games; which is saying a lot considering the GameCube is a generation older than the PS3. In Resident Evil 4 the player controls government agent Leon Kennedy on a mission to rescue the president’s daughter from a cult. There isn’t really music in Resident Evil 4, just the ambient sounds of the cult’s village and the surrounding forest. The lack of music suits this game, and allows the game to draw you deeper into its world.
1 Disappointing: Universal Studios Theme Parks Adventure
Doesn’t a game where you explore the Universal Studios Theme Park and get to play missions based on Jaws, Back to the Future, Jurassic Park, E.T., Waterworld, and Backdraft sound fun? How about a game called Janitor Simulator where you walk around a theme park picking up trash? Unfortunately, Universal Studios Theme Parks Adventure is much closer to the latter choice. Most of the time spent playing this game is running around the Universal Studios Theme Park picking up trash off the ground to collect points. The player uses these points to buy hats. The hats then let the player enter the rides (for whatever reason). The rides, based on the movie franchises mentioned above, are broken down into very short, boring, minigames. Be prepared to spend twenty minutes picking up trash just so you can play a five-minute minigame that barely provides more entertainment than picking up trash. This is one of the worst games ever made; play at your own risk.