You waited in line for three hours in the blistering cold for your new Wii. You even picked up Twilight Princess and WarioWare to play with your friends. You attained “pro” status in every sport offered in “Wii Sports.” One problem, that cute little Wii has been collecting dust by your television because there has been little to actually play on the system besides minigames and half-assed ports. Despite skyrocketing sales, Nintendo hasn’t supplied its hardcore audience with enough truly deep and immersive games outside of a handful of 1st party titles (most haven’t been released yet). Fortunately, there are a few excellent Gamecube titles that you most likely missed (because you never actually owned a Gamecube) to get your hardcore gaming fix while you wade through minigame hell. Here are 5 top-tier Gamecube titles that cost under $50 total.
1. Star Wars Rogue Leader: Rogue Squadron II
Admit it; it’s hard to go wrong when Star Wars is involved in anything. Rogue Leader was one of the Cube’s seminal launch titles in 2001, and is still one of the best games released on the little purple mistake to date. The title was graphically gorgeous (all things considered), boasted tight gameplay, and gave gamers everything they loved and more from Rogue Squadron for the Nintendo 64. Rogue Leader boasted several new additions like controllable wingmen and ground troops. From graphics to gameplay, the title is one of the best the Cube has to offer, period. Still not sold? Levels include piloting your way through the Star Wars galaxy from the Battle of Hoth all the way to the trench of the Death Star (C’mon, the Death Star level is worth the 10 bucks by itself).
2. F-Zero GX
Who doesn’t remember the first time they played F-Zero for the SNES? The game featured tight turns and blistering speeds in a futuristic racing environment. Well, F-Zero GX for the Gamecube expanded upon this tradition in every aspect of the game. No other Gamecube title even comes close to matching F-Zero GX’s speed. With 20 race tracks and over 30 pilots and racers, gamers can upgrade their racing kit in a myriad of ways. Every aspect of the vehicles can be tweaked or even built from the ground up. Whether you want to play for 5 minutes or 5 hours, F-Zero GX accommodates the hardcore racer and the casual arcade player with relative ease. Want some old school F-Zero action from the virtual console? It will cost you 1000 Wii points. Want better graphics, faster gameplay, and more customization? Just pick up F-Zero GX for 2 bucks cheaper. Madness!
3. Metroid Prime
Ok, if you owned a Gamecube you probably bought this game. But let’s face it, the only time most of us even played a Gamecube was at our 8-year-old cousin’s house during some craptastic family reunion. The Metroid franchise has enjoyed a long tradition of excellent games and Metroid Prime was no exception. The 2002 classic lead long time fans into the 3D era of Metroid gaming. The title reinvented the franchise by putting gamers behind Samus’s visor for the first time ever. With Metroid Prime, the franchise shifted from side-scrolling and platforming to a first person shooter. When gamers needed to roll into a ball, the camera shifted to 3rd person which ultimately refreshed the gameplay even further. Samus was also loaded down with a bevy of weapons such as the grapple, wave, and freeze beams. The changes brought by Metroid Prime breathed even more life into an already amazing franchise. Yeah, “Metroid Prime 3: Corruption” just blasted its way onto the Wii, but for a measly 8 extra bucks can you really ever have too much Metroid?
4. Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean
With a name that strange and long, gamers know they are headed into RPG territory. The Gamecube was famous for its dearth of role-playing titles. This does not mean that “Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings” wins by default. The title had everything hardcore RPG geeks could want in a game. “Eternal Wings” had a captivating storyline, unique art style, smooth card-based combat (I know, I know), and a stunning soundtrack. Publisher Namco described the game, “The world of Baten Kaitos is a world adrift in time and space. Humanity forges its existence on an archipelago of land floating in a yawning, endless sky.” (God, I think I just vomited in my mouth a little.) While this style of RPG isn’t for every gamer, this Gamecube exclusive release is an excellent choice for the hardcore RPG fan who laughs in the face of Paper Mario.
5. Battalion Wars
While the Game Boy Advance had Advanced Wars, Battalion Wars was the Cube’s entry into cute and cuddly warfare. The gameplay in Battalion Wars is somewhat of a hybrid between Advance Wars and Pikmin. The title combines healthy doses of action and real-time strategy. Players control a “commander” responsible troops that look more like Nick Jr. cartoons than G.I. Joes. You control your automatons (ahem, soldiers) to spy on the enemy, create outposts, mount full out assaults, as well as, a ton of other wartime exercises. As commander, gamers have a heavy arsenal of weaponry at their disposal such as bazookas, rocket launchers, flamethrowers, and other weapons of mass destruction. Players can also jump behind the wheel of tanks, jeeps, planes, and almost anything else that can drive or fly. Battalion Wars hardcore fan base is no doubt responsible for the upcoming “Battalion Wars II” for the Wii. In the meantime, gamers who like their warfare cute and cheap should definitely pick up Battalion Wars for the bargain bin price of just under 10 bones.
The grand total for all 5 of these stellar Gamecube games is $49.95! Whether you love shooters, platformers, RPGs, or racing games the little Cube has some fine offerings that are still worth your time and pocket change to play. Next time you find yourself in a Starbucks with your girlfriend waiting to fork over 10 clams for mocha-frappa-whatchados, just remind yourself that you could buy a tremendous Gamecube game for the same price as what you are about to drink (and video games don’t ask about your feelings).
Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem $17.99
Pikmin 2 $17.99
*All prices quoted from www.gamestop.com and the heroes that work at the local Gamestop
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