30. SSX Tricky (GCN)
1080° Snowboarding might have had one-on-one contests, but it (and other games of the time) took a more serious approach to video game snowboarding. SSX Tricky on the other hand was built around the idea of Boardercross, a sort of Motocross variant that pitted a group of boarders against each other at the same time. Consequently, this slickly produced game had a little more of an irreverent, 'fun' personality with a focus on arcade style thrills and spills over the precision and 'realism' of Nintendo's take on the sport. Looking back, it's a breath of fresh air compared to EA's offerings on Nintendo consoles these days.
Ubisoft's 3D take on the iconic 2D original spawned a large number of sequels, but arguably none of them had the finesse and focus of Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time which used the same engine developed for Beyond Good & Evil. Sewing a rewind mechanic into the very fabric of the game, there's an elegance to the gameplay that got lost in the subsequent games where everything went a bit emo. This was one of several top-notch multiplatform releases which came to GameCube and it's definitely worth winding the clock back and taking another look at this classic.
It's easy to look back with rose-tinted specs and imagine things were better in the past. For most genres that's a fallacy, but when you look at Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3, it's arguably true. Some might prefer Pro Skater 2 or Pro Skater 4 (it's tough to go wrong with any of them, really), but this is a classic in the skateboarding genre — the centre point and pinnacle of the cultural crossover between skating and video games before the series went off the boil and started to feel a bit try-hard in the mid-2000s.
Even people with zero interest in skateboarding know who Tony Hawk is and it's thanks to these games, of which Pro Skater 3 might be the best. Ah, the memories...
From the team behind F-Zero GX, Super Monkey Ball 2 added something that was desperately lacking in the original game - a Story Mode. Yes, if you were wondering how or why these simians were trapped inside transparent balls and being flung around on surreal floating stages, this sequel now provided a much-needed narrative context and Monkey Ball lore was born.
Joking aside, it offered more of the same great gameplay from the original and proved to be just as brilliant a party game. There's nothing not to like!
26. Pikmin (GCN)
Shigeru Miyamoto takes up gardening and before you know it he's cracked out Nintendo's version of the Real-Time Strategy genre! Featuring tiny little plant creatures that you order around in groups to pick up rubbish, harvest fruit and battle bugs and other beasties, it's disarmingly charming and utterly bloodthirsty at the same time. You become very protective of the little critters that do your bidding and there's an immense feeling of guilt when you accidentally command a legion into a watery grave or awaken a nest of sleeping monsters that proceed to munch though great swathes of your army. The sequel might have had some great refinements and additions, but there's something to be said about the taut design and focus of the original Pikmin. We like it a lot.
Often considered to be the weakest entry in the Prime trilogy, Metroid Prime 2: Echoes nevertheless boasts the same brand of explorative first-person action that made the first game such a success, although with an increased difficulty and lacklustre multiplayer mode which took the shine off it for some players. We'd recommend playing it on Wii with the added bonus of pointer controls if the difficulty is an issue, but however you play, this sequel is still an incredibly good game.
While GameCube had the capacity for online play thanks to an adaptor which plugged into a port on the bottom of the console, very few games supported it. Phantasy Star Online: Episode I & II was the main reason to own the adaptor (as well as the rather brilliant ASCII Keyboard controller which essentially split a standard GameCube controller down the middle and welded keyboard between the two halves). Online RPGs are a dime-a-dozen these days on consoles, but Sonic Team's game was many console gamers' first brush with an online world and it developed a loyal following until Sega shut down servers in 2007.
Had it been released now, Luigi's Mansion would arguably be lauded for the charming and affectionate genre parody it is and its short length would arguably be an asset in an era when we have more games than time to play them. As a launch game for GameCube, though, it wasn't what Nintendo gamers were expecting in 2002 after the genre-defining Super Mario 64 which launched Nintendo's previous console. It took a while to be appreciated after the initial bafflement that it wasn't a Mario platformer, but after a 3DS sequel (not to mention a remake) and the upcoming Luigi's Mansion 3 on Switch, it's safe to say the original has since received the appropriate levels of love and it still plays beautifully 18 years on.
The third entry in the Timesplitters series, this continued iterating on the multiplayer-focused gameplay from many of the makers of GoldenEye 007 and Perfect Dark. Future Perfect added a co-op story mode to proceedings as well as enabling players to create outdoor maps in an undated Mapmaker. The game offered GameCube owners another fine dose of deathmatch FPS goodness, although unfortunately they missed out on the online play enjoyed by PS2 and Xbox owners.
The Dreamcast original SoulCalibur was a momentous fighting game for home consoles that brought arcade-quality visuals into the home that had even the staunchest fanboys on other consoles gawping jealously at Sega's ill-fated system. Fortunately for them, a multiplatform sequel would arrive in 2003 and GameCube got a bonus that made it the definite pick of the bunch. Yes, the impressive visuals and weapon-based brawling was all present and correct, but Nintendo gamers were treated to Link from The Legend of Zelda joining the roster with the Master Sword in hand. That single detail was enough to draw in players who might never have touched it otherwise, and very glad they were, too. Take Link out and it's still an excellent fighting game, but he really was the cherry on this rather delicious cake.