Best Underrated GameCube Games
The Xbox and Playstation 2 came with a built-in DVD player and used discs that were market standard. Both also fully supported online gaming and internet connectivity. The GameCube used smaller optical discs and didn’t support the industry standard DVDs or audio CDs. The GameCube required a modem adapter for online gaming and offered few games over the internet. The strange, small size of the GameCube was another frequent criticism for the system.
Graphically, the GameCube didn’t compete well against the Playstation 2 or the Xbox. For example, the processor for the GameCube could manage 1.9 GFLOPS (giga Floating Point Operations Per Second), while the Playstation 2 could easily manage 6.9 GFLOPS.
Despite these criticisms of the GameCube, the strength of the console was never the hardware. It was the games. Because fewer gamers ever took a chance on the GameCube, there are a wealth of fantastic, underrated GameCube games waiting to be discovered by savvy gamers everywhere.
How We Chose Our Ratings for the Best Underrated GameCube Games
So, what makes an underrated game?
The success or failure of a game is dependent on more than just great gameplay. To succeed, a game needs great marketing, a memorable premise, gameplay elements that keep people coming back for more. Success is dependent on all these elements and more coming together in the right mix.
Sometimes, there are games that slip under the radar and may never find the success the game deserved. There are elements in the game worthy of success, but it just didn’t happen.
For this list, the best underrated GameCube Games, we combed through the GameCube library for those hidden gems that may have deserved more attention than they received. Many times, these games had an element or feature that made even the most jaded critics sit up and taken notice.
The Best Underrated GameCube Games
We’ve applied a simple rating to sort the list, but we strongly recommend you check out every game on the list.
Beyond Good and Evil
An action-adventure game that uses a photo-journalist as a protagonist helping to lead a rebellion against an alien invasion, Beyond Good and Evil is an ambitious and exciting game.
The game takes place on the planet of Hillys, which mixes a rustic European style with fantasy and science fiction elements like talking animals and artificial intelligence. In the game, the main character, Jade, works to uncover the connection between an alien invasion, the corrupt government, and the abduction of locals. Along the way, she discovers a mystery of her past and the truth of the invasion. It’s a story that will keep you playing just to uncover the next plot twist
Gameplay involves puzzle solving, combat and stealth elements. Often, Jade must move through bases or areas to capture photographic evidence for the resistance. Other times, players will gain limited control of other characters to complete actions or perform super attacks. While an ambitious, beautiful game, many felt not every element worked perfectly. Others felt the game tried to be too much making for confusing gameplay. Despite the criticism, this game is well worth playing.
For photojournalism and alien invasions, we give Beyond Good and Evil 5 out of 5.
Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
- Set in an era after the events in The Ocarina Of Time, this incredible adventure takes a...
- Link's sister Aryll has been taken by a monstrous bird. Link sets sail to track down the...
- As you face monsters and try to think your way around obstacles, you'll earn the Wind...
Like most games in the Zelda series, in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker you play as Link as he struggles against the evil Ganon to save his sister.
The game takes place on islands in a vast sea. You sail the sea using a magic baton called the Wind Waker, exploring islands and raiding dungeons to gather the power to defeat Ganon. In many ways, the gameplay is similar to other games in the Zelda series. There are items to recover to unlock new areas. There are weapons like the Master Sword and magic arrows to be found. There are clues to uncover, enemies to defeat, and people to save.
Unlike other games, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker uses a unique cel shaded graphic style, giving it a cartoon-like appearance that many gamers didn’t like. Despite the graphics, the stellar Zelda gameplay remains.
For Master Swords and the Triforce, we give The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker 5 out of 5.
Donkey Kong Jungle Beat
- Use the simple controls for a world of great game moves - jump around on elastic vines,...
- Interact with all sorts of enemies, obstacles and challenges with the bongos -- from...
- Precise and intuitive context-sensitive controls, depending on the timing of your drumming
A platformer with a unique gameplay system, Donkey Kong Jungle Beat is not only fun to play, but also an easy choice for our Best Underrated Games of the GameCube list.
Gameplay involves both combat and platforming. Using the GameCube controllers like bongo drums, you can move Donkey Kong to the left and right, cause him to jump and to clap, which has different effects depending on the situation. The goal of the game isn’t just to reach the end of a level, but to get “beats” by grabbing bananas. Beats can be lost by getting hurt or falling. You can also earn beats through combo moves as you grab a banana.
Donkey Kong Jungle Beats is a rhythm game designed around a platformer. It takes a talent for rhythm to succeed, not just jumping and dodging. Despite the unique gameplay, many complained the game was too short and didn’t offer enough variety.
For the joy of gaming with bongos, we give Donkey Kong Jungle Beat 5 out of 5.
Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem
One of the launch titles for the GameCube, Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem won numerous awards and was a critical success. Unfortunately, the title was not a strong seller and a follow-up was cancelled by Nintendo.
The gameplay is similar to the Resident Evil series and uses a third-person perspective. Players have access to different weapons and magic spells to damage enemies. A lock-on system allows gamers to attack and cripple enemies. The magic system is complex, requiring runes and a circle of power. The player must also manage a sanity meter, which goes down as you are seen by enemies and will cause damage, visual effects on screen, and difficulties to be overcome as you play.
The game takes place around a book known as the Tome of Darkness. The tome tells the story of a Warlock who intends to release an ancient evil on the world. As you play through the game, you take on the role of characters in the tome before returning to the central character reading the book. The choices you make in the stories from the tome will affect the gameplay later in the game.
The result is more than another game – it’s an experience for the player.
For sanity meters and ancient evil, we give Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem 4.5 out of 5.
Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door
- Timing Action Commands help you dodge or inflict damage and impress the crowd, giving you...
- Use your paper body to your advantage - Fold into a paper airplane and take to the air,...
- Collect all-new weapons and items like hammers, thunderbolts and much more
It may seem strange to include a Mario game in a list of the best underrated GameCube games, but Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door is an RPG rather than a platformer and is well worth playing.
In the game, you play Mario. Once again you are tasked with rescuing Princess Peach and finding a treasure that will unlock the Thousand Year Door. Like all good RPGs, there are NPCs to interact with, enemies to defeat, new regions to explore and treasures to find. The story is especially whimsical with a touch of humor and love for each character, making it a highlight of the game.
The game also boasts a unique visual element based on paper. The paper theme also carries through the game, and in certain areas Mario can turn into a paper airplane or slip through cracks like paper. It gives Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door a fanciful atmosphere that matches the story.
For Flower Points and paper airplanes, we give Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door 4.5 out of 5.
Metal Arms: Glitch in the System
- Battle in a one-robot war against a machine army, as you try to liberate an alien world
- Fight your way through over 40 missions, while using sniping, stealth and puzzle-solving...
- Blow the opposition to pieces(literally) using 17 unique and deadly weapons that can be...
Metal Arms: Glitch in the System is a third-person action shooter set on a mysterious junkyard world. It features fast and furious battles against waves of enemies, with a cute story. Humor in the game brings the robots to life.
As the main character, the robot Glitch, you are part of the resistance against the evil robot General Corrosive. Through 40 different areas, you use a variety of weapons and gadgets like lasers, rockets, slingshots and sniper rifles to mow down enemies. Along the way, you are joined by fellow droids who fight and are destroyed (often in hilarious ways). With a dynamic and destructible background and semi-realistic physics engine, gameplay is pure fun. Glitch can also “jack” into other robots, planes and turrets to completely change the fighting style.
In addition to the standard campaign, there are seven different multiplayer modes where up to four players can compete. Our only complaint is the graphics, which can suffer when the fighting gets fast and the framerate can blur making it difficult to aim.
For non-stop action and fun, we give Metal Arms: Glitch in the System 4.5 out of 5.
Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction
- Explore a completely wide-open game world -- from a huge city to vast deserts, all with...
- Non-stop rampaging and mayhem as you fight and smash in fully interactive and destructible...
- Use anything in the environment as a weapon, while fighting the Hulk's deadliest enemies -...
What can be more fun than transforming into the Incredible Hulk and destroying everything in sight? Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction adds a compelling story to an open world, fully destructible environment.
In the game, the Hulk faces off against several enemies, including the Abomination, Mercy, his nemesis General Thunderbolt Ross, and himself as Devil Hulk. Throughout the game, the Hulk searches for parts to a machine that may cure him of his gamma radiation affliction. The story seems simple at first, but there are plenty of twists to keep gamers guessing. The ending is especially poignant and manages to include a bit of Hulk-inspired heroics that add to the payout.
The game offers plenty of opportunity to explore and destroy. With a feature called Unstoppable Movement, the Hulk can travel almost anywhere – running across walls, climbing buildings and making incredible leaps. At his most powerful, Hulk unlocks five super-powered Devastator attacks that decimate everything in sight
For the unbridled joy of destroying absolutely everything, we give Hulk: Ultimate Destruction 4 out of 5.
Tales of Symphonia
- Fierce, action-packed battle system with hundreds of special attacks, spells, and combos
- Fully customizable character growth system -- change your fighting style and alter the...
- Multiplayer fighting action - Up to 4 players can control one party member each during...
While not everyone enjoys RPGs, Tales of Symphonia offers a unique, fast-paced and complex battle system well worth your gaming time.
Tales of Symphonia tells the story of two worlds reliant on a mystical energy called mana. Long ago the worlds were split, and now one world is slowly killing the other. You play a character named Lloyd Irving who must repair the damage and save both worlds.
While many complained about the story, most everyone enjoyed the battle system in Tales of Symphonia. With a multi-line linear motion battle system, you control one player while the AI controls the others. You damage opponents using previously selected skills and EX gems to fill a Unison gauge that allows special attacks. With so many options to select and use in battle, combat is both exciting and fun.
For mana and EX gems, we give Tales of Symphonia 4 out of 5.
At first glance, this is not a game you would expect on the GameCube, but if you’re looking for an edgy plot that oozes creativity at every turn, then Killer7 is the game for you.
At it’s core, Killer7 is a hybrid first-person shooter/action-adventure game. You play as members of the killer7, physical manifestations from the mind of a wheelchair-bound man named Harman Smith. You carry out missions for the US government to track and kill members of the Heavens Smile terrorist group.
The gameplay is both innovative and frustrating. Much of the game is on rails, and mixes puzzles with shooting gallery-like combat. Even if you don’t like the gameplay, the plot is a twisty affair, full of betrayal, immortals, political machinations and sci-fi elements. Discovering what happens next is enough to keep players going.
For immortal assassins, we give Killer7 3.5 out of 5.
TimeSplitters: Future Perfect
- Featuring a story mode with co-op, arcade and challenges mode and a split screen...
- Improved mapmaker interface makes it easier to create multi-player maps and share and play...
- Innovative new meet and assist yourself lets players team up with past and future selves,...
There aren’t many first-person shooters on the GameCube, but TimeSplitters: Future Perfect makes up for it with fast-paced gameplay and a story that doesn’t take itself too seriously.
In the game, you play Sergeant Cortez who is fleeing the space station he destroyed in TimeSplitters 2. He discovers the TimeSplitters are back and still causing trouble. Cortez is forced to go back in time to stop the TimeSplitter race from being created.
Along the way, Cortez will face off against zombies, killer robots, and more TimeSplitters. He’ll team up with hippie secret agents, friendly killer robots, spies and himself. It’s fast-paced shooter fun with a plot that twists and turns so you never know where the next enemy or joke will come from. The game includes arcade and challenge modes, as well as co-op play. You can unlock new weapons, characters and locations.
Unfortunately, the game was never a top seller and TimeSplitters 4 was cancelled. Luckily, we have TimesSplitters: Future Perfect to pass the time.
For killer robots and zombies, we give TimesSplitters: Future Perfect 3.5 out of 5.
Buyer’s Guide to Underrated GameCube Games
Even though the GameCube never reached the mass market of the Playstation or Xbox, it was home to rich library of games well worth playing.
Many of those games found a home on another system as a downloadable title, or with backwards compatibility with the next generation Wii.
We suggest whenever possible to play the GameCube original when it can be found.