Here you will find my brief reviews of Nintendo GameCube games, along with a rating from 1 to 10. A rating of 9-10 indicates a great game; 7-8 is a good game; 5-6 is a mediocre game; 3-4 is a poor game; and 1-2 is a horrible game. At the bottom of the page can be found my Top 10 list.
Play as James Bond in this 3D action game. It's essentially a first-person shooter, although there are also several vehicle levels that give the game some variety. The control setup is a bit awkward; using the control pad to change between weapons and gadgets during battle proves to be quite cumbersome. The graphics are pretty good and the sound is decent, but some of the sound effects and voices become repetitive and annoying. Agent Under Fire is a good game both in single-player and multiplayer modes, but it can't compare to the greatness of GoldenEye on Nintendo 64.
This is an open-ended life simulation game that looks and plays like Harvest Moon 64 (but without the farming). You play as a human living in a forest amongst a variety of talking animals. You can collect and sell fish, bugs, and fruit for money; acquire furniture and decorate your house; communicate with animals; and just live a virtual life as you see fit. The graphics are subpar, but the gameplay is quite addictive. It's not without flaws, however. The real-time clock may be a novel idea, but it's used to limit the number of things you can do per day. And this game desperately needs a way to skip past text one page at a time. Although you can speed up the text slightly by pressing B, it's still very slow...especially when an animal is spouting off a ten-page tirade that you've already read a dozen times. And occasionally, you are forced to make a purchase or trade for an item that you don't want. But fortunately, those are minor annoyances. The game has festivals for many real holidays on the actual dates, which is a lot of fun. And you can find (and play) a number of NES games, which adds a lot of value to a game that is already highly entertaining. Animal Crossing is a great game that will keep you playing for months...or years.
This is an all-female volleyball game from Sega. You can choose one of 16 bikini-clad teams and hit the beach. Although there is an arcade mode, the main focus is the world tour mode. You compete in tournaments along with your partner, who gradually improves her skills as you advance. An edit mode lets you design your characters; you can choose from a selection of faces, hairstyles, uniforms, and sunglasses. Even though the gameplay is simple (only two buttons and the control stick are required), Beach Spikers is a very fun game to play. The world tour mode can also be addicting, as you want to keep playing to improve your ranking.
In this arcade style racing game, you are encouraged to drive dangerously. By doing things such as driving in the wrong lane and having near misses with other cars, you will fill up your "burn meter." Once it is full, you can get a speed boost that will give you an advantage. Unfortunately, that extra speed also makes it more likely that you'll crash your car, so it must be used wisely. The game has a championship mode, a time trial mode, and a pursuit mode in which you much chase down another vehicle and ram into it repeatedly. But the most unique feature of Burnout 2 is the crash mode. By crashing into oncoming traffic at high speeds, you try to cause as much damage as possible by triggering pile-up accidents. This is a racing game that I'd definitely recommend.
This is an innovative game in which you are a taxi driver that must deliver customers to various destinations. You can work in one of two huge cities, each one having its own layout and shortcuts. The gameplay is fast-paced and very addictive. Some of the special moves are hard to master, but they are well worth learning. On the down side, the bonus mini-games are mediocre at best and some of the in-game voices get repetitive and annoying. But overall, Crazy Taxi is crazy fun. It also has the best high score tracking I've ever seen. It stores the top ten scores for up to four players for each event and time limit, along with the date that each score was achieved.
In this unique music game, you clap and bang on bongo drums (included with the game) to keep time with a wide variety of songs. Different icons indicate when you need to hit the left drum, right drum, both drums, or clap. There are 33 songs in the game, many of which are hit songs from the 1960s, '70s, '80s, and '90s. There are also some kids' songs, classical favorites, cartoon themes, and even tunes from other Nintendo games. The songs aren't performed by the original artists, but they still sound pretty good. While the game starts out fairly easy, it becomes quite intense once you work your way up to the "gorilla" levels. Up to four players can compete at once, though you may want to buy extra sets of drums to fully enjoy the experience. But even played alone, Donkey Konga is a lot of fun. My only real complaint is that the game doesn't let you enter your initials for high scores.
Like its predecessor, this music game uses the DK Bongos. Players hit the drums and clap their hands to keep in time with 33 different songs. That is the same number of songs found in the original, but these songs aren't as good--and there are no classic Nintendo game tunes this time around. And you still can't enter your initials along with high scores (which should be a no-brainer in score-based games such as this), although you can now choose a badge to represent yourself. On the positive side, playing the drums is still a heck of a lot of fun. With more modes and options than before, there is plenty to do and lots of extras to unlock. And the Barrel Race mini-game is a blast. While the first Donkey Konga is still the better game, Donkey Konga 2 isn't far behind and it still provides many hours of enjoyment.
This extremely fast, futuristic racing game is fun, but has a number of flaws. Because the game moves so fast, it is sometimes hard to keep your bike from crashing into the walls. And the races on the higher speed classes are very difficult and can become quite frustrating, especially when your opponents keep dropping mines on the course. It's also disappointing that you rarely see more than one of your opponents on-screen because the racers are all spread out so far. Also, most of the music is bland and boring. There was one music track from Acclaim's video preview that I loved, but for some reason that great tune did not make it to the final, released version of the game.
Sega's Amusement Vision developed this GameCube installment of Nintendo's futuristic racing series. Choose one of 30 ships or create your own as you compete in the Grand Prix or story mode. The graphics are top-notch and everything moves at a blazing fast speed. I wasn't impressed with the mediocre in-game music, but there are some great tunes in the pilot profiles and story mode movies. The track designs are also a mixed bag. Some courses are very well designed and exciting, while others seem more like freakish obstacle courses than race tracks. Some are so difficult that they will require tons of practice before you can even survive through one lap, let alone worry about competing with other cars. The instant deaths become very frustrating on later tracks. But despite the high challenge level, F-Zero GX is still a racing game worth owning.
This farming simulation lets you live life as a farmer, where you can grow vegetables, take care of farm animals, make friends, and even get married. I was a big fan of Harvest Moon 64, but unfortunately, much of what made that game so fun is absent or changed for the worse in A Wonderful Life. The horse races are gone, along with almost all of the other festivals. The few that remain are not even interactive. The controls have been switched to a context-sensitive button system (like the 3D Zelda games), but it doesn't work nearly as well. Many times I would press the button to look at something and instead I would walk out the door. The game also has fewer secrets to uncover; friendships with other characters virtually never grow or change; and farming is more tedious than before. Why must you plant (and water) seeds individually rather than nine at a time like in HM64? And of course you have to water them twice a day now. The graphics are impressive, but that's not nearly enough. Harvest Moon 64 had a certain whimsical charm that made it so special and endearing. A Wonderful Life doesn't have that. There may be a few good moments, but most of the time it's a bore.
The second GameCube installment of this farming simulation returns to its roots in some ways. After a disappointing (but pretty) showing in A Wonderful Life, Natsume made a more traditional game that brings back much of the fun gameplay that Harvest Moon games are known for. The festivals and races are back, and interacting with other characters is interesting again. You can now use the C stick to quickly and easily cycle through tools and other items, which is a helpful time saver. And pressing the R button shows a blue square that shows where you will use the selected tool, which is also a big help. Unfortunately, it's not always precise when animals are near, as you may end up feeding an animal something you're trying to put in your supply box. The menus let you see all sorts of information and statistics, as well as the musical notes you've collected. Overall, Magical Melody is a deep and entertaining simulation game. While it doesn't quite match the sheer fun factor of Harvest Moon 64, it is miles better than A Wonderful Life.
Nintendo used cel-shaded graphics for this game to give it a cartoon look, which was not a popular decision among Zelda fans. But underneath that childish appearance is a great game. The game's overworld is unlike any previous Zelda game in that it primarily consists of oceans. Link must sail from island to island as he explores dungeons, searches for treasure, and completes various tasks. The game is less challenging than most Zelda games; it was rare that I lost a life or even needed to use a potion. The hint system of giving bait to fish is poorly executed--it can be tedious trying to track down the one fish that will tell you the information you need to proceed. But minor complaints aside, The Wind Waker is a highly enjoyable game that you won't want to put down until your journey is complete. Cartoonish or not, it still delivers with the excellent gameplay that the Zelda series is famous for.
In this action/adventure game, Mario's brother Luigi explores a haunted mansion and tries to rid each room of ghosts. You use a flashlight to stun the ghosts and then a vacuum cleaner to suck them up. Puzzle elements are involved, as you must figure out how to get some ghosts to reveal their hearts before you are able to capture them. Other gadgets become available to Luigi as the game progresses, such as a "Game Boy Horror," which looks like a Game Boy, but can give Luigi tips on how to defeat certain enemies. Luigi's Mansion is a relatively short and easy game, so don't expect the depth of a Mario platformer. But the game is very fun and addictive. It also has some replay value and it's worth playing through multiple times.
EA Sports continues their tradition of quality football games with Madden NFL 2004. The general gameplay hasn't changed much over previous editions, but the challenge level has been increased. The graphics are excellent overall, although there is some occasional slowdown. A lot of the music is good stuff; too bad there's not an option to let it play continuously during gameplay. The control is good for the most part, but sometimes you are required to press two buttons at once to activate a certain move or feature. And the menu system isn't organized as well as it could be, which can make it hard to find the option you're looking for. The historic teams are back, along with the ability to edit the rosters--a great feature for fans of teams from the past.
Nintendo's popular go-kart racing series hits GameCube with Mario Kart: Double Dash. The most noticeable change is that you now choose two characters to be in your kart instead of just one. Each character can hold a power-up item, and you can switch between them. This adds a bit of strategy to the racing. The game also boasts colorful and attractive graphics. On the down side, you can't hold shells or banana peels behind you for defensive purposes like you can in most other Mario Kart games. And there is no option to look behind you in Double Dash. The controls aren't as tight as some other games in the series, and the courses overall are unimpressive. And of course, the AI cheats (as it does in most Mario Kart games), especially later in the game. But the core gameplay is still Mario Kart, and as such, Double Dash is still a fun game to play. It just doesn't compare well to other games in the series.
Retro Studios developed this 3D follow-up to Nintendo's Metroid series. As Samus Aran, you explore the huge world of Tallon IV. Collect new weapons, suits, and abilities to gain access to new areas of the planet. The game plays from a first-person perspective, but the controls are not what you'd expect from a first-person game. Aiming is generally not necessary, as you can lock on to an enemy by holding down the L button. The control pad and C stick are used for changing visors and weapons, respectively. I would have preferred the C stick be used for strafing (walking sideways), as that ability would have given the player better control over Samus. The game also has a lot of jumping, which can be difficult from a first-person perspective. But fortunately, those relatively minor problems do not keep Metroid Prime from being a highly enjoyable game. Add in great graphics, good music and sound, and a respectable challenge level, and you have one high quality game.
In this 3-on-3 basketball game, NBA players take it to the playground for a game of hoops. The over-the-top, arcade style gameplay is reminiscent of the NBA Jam games from the 1990s. But here, you can create your own team. You can add to your squad with players from other NBA teams, fictional characters, and even one player you can create yourself. The announcer is very annoying, but thankfully there's an option to shut him up. The loading times are also quite long. NBA Street isn't a serious, deep, or realistic sports game, but it is a lot of fun.
Despite the mathematically incorrect "2K3" moniker, this is a quality football game from Sega. It does have its share of glitches and other annoyances, however. One time my center snapped the ball 70 yards backwards and the other team scored a safety. And players will occasionally do strange things, like celebrate a touchdown before they get into the end zone. (One time this happened, my player fumbled, and it cost me the game). Also, it's sometimes difficult to select a certain play. You have to hold the control stick at a specific, precise angle to highlight your selection. But fortunately, the flaws in NFL 2K3 do not keep it from being fun to play. The gameplay is still very solid overall.
The classic video game character Pac-Man now stars in his own 3D game. It plays similarly to other 3D platform games, yet it still retains some Pac-Man elements such as power pellets and blue ghosts. Unfortunately, the camera system has some problems that sometimes prevent you from using the most beneficial viewpoint. The game is also a bit on the short side (it can be beaten within a few days), but it is quite fun while it lasts. There's also an in-game arcade, which lets you play several earlier games including Pac-Mania, Pac-Attack, and the original Pac-Man.
This is a unique strategy game from Nintendo. As an alien who has crash-landed on Earth, you've got to recover the pieces of your space ship. Luckily, a group of insect-like creatures called Pikmin is there to help you out. Each color of Pikmin has different abilities that will help you defeat enemies and overcome certain obstacles. You have 30 days to reassemble your ship and return home. There are some slight control and camera issues that are a bit irritating, but they don't cause any major problems. Also, separating and selecting only Pikmin of one color is sometimes more difficult than it should be. But these minor flaws don't keep Pikmin from being a fun, original, and addictive game.
The Pikmin are back in this sequel. New purple Pikmin (which are ten times as strong) and white Pikmin (which are immune to poison and can find hidden items) are introduced, bringing the total to five types of Pikmin. The game has only four main levels, but there are also many underground caverns, which are essentially dungeons or mini-levels. Unfortunately, the caverns are dark and dingy, and frankly aren't as fun to play as the outdoor stages. And instead of recovering parts of your ship so you can return home, this time you're collecting junk to pay off your boss's debt. This makes the story less interesting than in the first game, but fortunately the gameplay is still solid. The game does have a lot of product placement, so you'll be collecting 7up caps, Duracell batteries, Skippy peanut butter, and other products. You're no longer limited to 30 days of playing, so time isn't a concern, but Pikmin 2 is much longer and more challenging. Unfortunately, there are still camera problems and selecting only certain Pikmin is still a hit-and-miss proposition. A new two-player mode has been included, and it provides for some decent competition against a friend. Pikmin 2 is a very good game, but I had more fun with the original.
Rayman is back for a third adventure in this 3D platformer. New power-ups and abilities are available to use in battle against an army of enemies. The graphics are good overall, and outstanding in certain places. The music isn't anything special though, and some of the voices are repetitive and annoying. However, John Leguizamo does a good job as the voice of Globox. Unfortunately, the camera doesn't always work the way it's supposed to. And unlike other games in the series, the gameplay is not very challenging. Overall, Rayman 3 is just average. The first two Rayman games, especially Rayman 2: The Great Escape, were better in almost every aspect other than the graphics.
This spooky adventure game takes place in a giant mansion. You explore rooms, find and use items, kill zombies, and try to find the missing S.T.A.R.S. members. The graphics and atmosphere are outstanding, and the game is fun to play. But still, it has a number of flaws that keep it from greatness. The control system is counterintuitive and does not allow you to quickly move where you want to move. The fixed camera angles also cause problems; at times, you'll be trying to shoot or stab zombies you can't even see. I'm not a big fan of the inventory system, either. You can only carry eight items at a time, and you can only exchange items at certain locations.
This is a Crazy Taxi clone that features characters and locations from The Simpsons. It has a number of recorded one-liners from the Simpsons characters, many of which are quite funny at first. Unfortunately, they repeat very often and some of them become annoying. The controls are very simple and lack depth. Sometimes, cars crash or get stuck on objects even though they don't appear to be touching anything. Also, it takes quite a while for the levels to load. Overall, Simpsons: Road Rage is fun, but not very deep. The two-player mode adds some sorely needed replay value, but Crazy Taxi is still a much better game.
In this role-playing game, you play as a group of Air Pirates known as the Blue Rogues. Along the way, you'll try to gain experience, acquire your own ship, recruit crew members, and improve your reputation as an honorable pirate. In addition to standard party-based battles, there are also ship-to-ship fights. Unfortunately, the ship battles are somewhat boring and seem to drag on for too long; at least they occur fairly infrequently. When on foot, the camera view can be changed by pressing the L and R buttons, but it rotates too slowly and can occasionally be irritating. But overall, Skies of Arcadia Legends is an enjoyable and lengthy adventure.
In this action/driving game, your main objective is to deliver contraband from one location to another. Along the way, cops will be chasing you and ramming your car mercilessly. You can use one of several vehicles, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. There are also some goal-oriented levels, which may require you to knock down towers or chase another vehicle. While a few of the missions can be somewhat frustrating, most of them are fairly easy as long as you pick the right vehicle for the job (usually the ATV). The one-player mode is rather short, but it's a lot of fun while it lasts. Fortunately, there are also several multiplayer modes to play.
This is a 3D action/platform game starring Sonic the Hedgehog. It has three main types of levels: The platform levels, which are like the Genesis Sonic games but in 3D; the shooting levels, in which you pilot robots and shoot enemies; and the treasure hunting levels, in which you must find certain objects. All three gameplay styles are decent, but none of them are overwhelmingly fun to play. All of them suffer from camera problems; it is often hard to see where you're going and, at times, you can't even see where you are. Also, the camera angles sometimes make backtracking impossible. There are a lot of extras, including an interesting "Chao raising" mode and a number of two-player games, which add to the replay value. Overall, Sonic Adventure 2 Battle is a good--but not great--game.
This adventure game was Rare's first and only GameCube title. Most of the game consists of Zelda-style adventuring, although there are also shooting levels that play like earlier Star Fox games. The graphics are outstanding and the music is above average, but some of the voices are annoying--especially while navigating through the menu screens. The game starts out slow; I was bored for the first several hours. But before long, I was enjoying it so much that I didn't want to stop playing. Star Fox Adventures may not quite be up to Zelda standards, but like most games from Rare, it is a lot of fun to play.
Nintendo's mascot Mario stars in this sequel to Super Mario 64. This time around, Mario has a water pack that allows him to hover in place, spray enemies, rocket into the air, and more. Much of the gameplay revolves around use of the water pack, but there is still a lot of running and jumping as well. The game is very fun to play, but it certainly isn't flawless. The camera system is subpar, and some areas require you to adjust the camera almost constantly. Also, there are a number of areas that are very difficult and frustrating (sometimes due to the camera, sometimes not). Yoshi is back, but he's more trouble than he's worth. You can only ride him once you hunt down a certain piece of fruit, and he only stays with you as long as he's dry and well-fed. Another complaint I have is the lack of variety; there are only seven main levels, and most of them have a beach-type setting. Super Mario Sunshine may not be as polished as Super Mario 64, but the gameplay is still excellent.
Sega's first game for a Nintendo console is a great one. In the main game mode, you must help a monkey in a ball get past various obstacles and make it to the end of each level. You don't control the monkey, but rather you tilt the entire level so that the monkey rolls to the goal. There are also six other bonus games included: A racing game, a fighting game, a flying/target game, billiards, bowling, and miniature golf. All of the game modes are very enjoyable, and they can all be played alone or with friends.
This is a four-player fighting game that features many of Nintendo's classic characters. It's loaded with nostalgia-inducing extras, including 300 trophies to collect, each of which depicts a character or item from a Nintendo game. The game can be fairly fun when you're playing with friends, but the one-player modes get boring very quickly. Also, the controls aren't as precise as they could be, and sometimes the screen zooms out so far that it's hard to keep track of your character.
Play as a boy warrior named Tak in this 3D platformer. You'll collect a multitude of items, fight enemies, solve puzzles, and utilize various animals to help you out. You have unlimited lives at your disposal, but some parts of the game are still very frustrating. You'll have to endure a lot of cheap hits from enemies who will keep beating you, sometimes even after you've died. The graphics look nice, the music is decent, and the voice acting is good. However, certain phrases are repeated far too often and become annoying. Unfortunately, the negatives in Tak and the Power of Juju outweigh the positives. Poorly designed levels, sluggish controls, and uneven difficulty make this a hard game to enjoy.
This first-person shooter claims to be the "heir apparent to GoldenEye." And indeed, it looks and plays much like Rare's classic N64 game. The one-player mode has only ten levels, but those levels can be long and challenging on all but the easiest difficulty setting. The guns in the game are generally quite large and take up a lot of screen space, while opponents in multiplayer games seem small and hard to see from even moderate distances. There is also a nice mapmaker feature that lets you create your own levels. TimeSplitters 2 is a very good game overall, but it does not match the excellence of Rare's GoldenEye 007.
This sequel to Wave Race 64 has improved graphics, but in many ways isn't as good as its predecessor. The control isn't as precise, the music is average at best, and the announcers' voices are more annoying than ever. But having said that, I must admit that Wave Race: Blue Storm is still a fun game to play. It isn't going to blow your socks off, but it is a solid racing game.