GameCube- the 5 games you should’ve played, but didn’t

Phew, that was a long title.

So after a whole day of just one post, we’re ready to bring you this absolute behemoth of a post.Julian (and Richard) proudly present to you- The GameCube list!

The list features five games that you should’ve played for Nintendo’s six-sided-sensation, but perhaps didn’t.
Fear not, it’s not too late, head over to eBay and buy every one of these. NAO!

–Rory–

The GameCube was sorely unappreciated by the masses
Nintendo’s little bundle of joy- the GameCube

Hey reader(s – we hope!), I’m Julian, and this is my first article after being recruited (read: forced) into this job for Owiily.
To start things off, as activity with the Wii is, well, kinda’ slow, I feel that now could be a good time to dust off those cobwebs, and maybe convince some of you to use that backwards compatibility function in your Nintendo Wii consoles.
The GameCube was so cheap it was rude not to buy one, and even though exclusive, good quality games were sparse at times, there were more than a good share of games to be enjoyed on the little fella. Thus, the aim of this article is to centre the spotlight on some of those hidden gems, that may have slipped through the net.

It could be easy to just belly flop into the wave of titles on offer, but really we all know about the Zeldas and Marios on the console, so the main ethos is to give way for the more unique titles which were ignored by some gamers. It was hard to come up with 5. Some were reluctantly were taken out of the list but maybe in the future we will focus on those as well.
But here are the 5 titles, which we felt offered a definitive experience which you couldn’t find anywhere else.
Enjoy!

5.) Killer 7

One of the Capcom 5- Killer7 injected a cel-shaded artistic style into the FPS, creating a quirky experience
One of the Capcom 5- Killer7 injected a cel-shaded artistic style into the FPS, creating a quirky experience

One of the ‘Capcom 5’ for the GameCube, gamers and reviewers alike really had to hold their breaths on this one as we really didn’t know what to expect. It was definitely a game which captivated people’s imaginations and hearts, but ended up being a bit like the infamous marmite slogan. Accompanied with some gorgeous cel-shaded graphics, it was definitely a game which blossomed amidst a sea full of what is mostly mediocre tat. The main problem was that this game offered so many new and interesting ideas that it was simply a case of too much in one offering for some people, restricting it from further success.
Gamers were thrust into a what at first was an awkward experience, where even the ability to move around or change the camera angle was completely at odds, which definitely set the course for what was to be either a fun or a frustrating experience.


It was like the developers unleashed the lever for a trap door – any past experiences with games you may have had will not help to loosen up things at first. What really made this a stand out experience though, bar the graphics and new control system, was the characters. To begin with, all you can just about work out is that a wheelchair-bound old man by the name of Harman Smith seems to have an ability to command a plethora of radically different personalities that collectively form the infamous ‘Killer 7’. Each of these assassins are accompanied by a different unique ability, strength and weakness which are designed to help you overcome puzzles and battles. For example, one of the assassins goes by the name of ‘Con’, and can run faster than the speed of wind – a mighty feat.
It really is hard to sum up such a complicated, and quite frankly different game, in today’s market in such a short space.

Suda51 noticeably adds his touches to the game’s content, with central themes on political issues which are relevant to even today’s news.
It all moulds together for what should be a fantastic art-house experience.
Unfortunately, in this case because of the structure of the game, it definitely won’t appeal to everyone, but give it a go – you might be pleasantly surprised.

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4.) Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance

Path of Radiance is an epic
Path of Radiance was overlooked by many

Considering that the Fire Emblem series, a tactical turn-based RPG devised by Intelligent Systems, is still relatively new to the West, it’s not surprising that this little gem may have slipped under many gamers’ radars. Luckily for us, this game is not connected to any other of its predecessors in terms of storyline, so you don’t need to worry about missing out if you’ve not played any the previous games. If you’re familiar with the Advance Wars series (also by Intelligent Systems), you could quaintly describe Fire Emblem as ‘Advance Wars with swords and more RPG elements‘, modest, but the differences are far deeper than that.

The story revolves around a budding young mercenary named Ike, who I’m sure many of you will know as the ridiculously overpowered swordsman in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. On the continent of Tellius, Ike’s homeland, the Kingdom of Crimea is suddenly invaded by the neighbouring Kingdom of Daein. Ike gets thrown into many perilous circumstances as the world around him becomes engulfed in chaos. As much as I’d like to ramble on about the story, this is all you’re going to get, since I don’t want to spoil it for you. But I can tell you that it is one of the most gripping and extremely well written plots in the series, so you’re in for a treat.

ADVANCE!
ADVANCE!

Although many of the series staples are still on the menu, Path of Radiance brings a few new dishes to the table. The most obvious one is the introduction of 3D graphics. Unfortunately, they are pretty basic compared to the likes of other cel-shaded games, for instance The Wind Waker. Stiff battle animations and some bland scenery of the locales contrast dramatically with the well-drawn character models and the absolutely gorgeous FMV scenes, the latter accompanied with voice acting, another first for the series.

Ka-pow indeed.
Ka-pow indeed.

The game is broken down into chapters, and in-game progression is based on amassing an army by recruiting various characters as you plough through each chapter. Each character you come across has their own class, stats, weapons and, of course, a unique personality. With such a vast wealth of playable characters to recruit, you’ll be sure to find some that you’ll love (and hate), on and off the battlefield. Unfortunately, any one of them can be brought to an abrupt end by the most famous – or should I say most notorious – mainstay in Fire Emblem’s arsenal. When a character’s HP drops to zero, they don’t faint, get injured or any of that namby-pamby hoo-ha. They die. You heard me. Die. Well, some merely retreat, but still, either way, you won’t ever get to use that character on the battlefield again. This really adds to the strategy and ups the challenge. Honestly though, you really don’t wanna go losing any of those characters, you can get freakishly attached to some of them, believe me.

The Black Knight. Not to be confused with that chap from the Holy Grail
The Black Knight. No, not the one from Monty Python.

It really isn’t as hardcore as it sounds, as I was fairly new to the series and was able to jump into the world with ease.
A compelling story and characters, characters you’ll restart the game for so they won’t die all adds up to a game which is easy to get into, but hard to master.

—————————————————————————

3.) Chibi-Robo

Chibi Robo was developed by Skip! The same people who are bringing us Captain Rainbow
Chibi Robo was developed by Skip! The same people who are bringing us Captain Rainbow

It‘s beginning to feel like scrapping your cheeks against a brick wall describing these games at first, but then again at least they all offer an experience in which we can be glad there are developers trying to do something different.

Skip! are the second party developers on this title, and they’ve created quite a game which can stand proud amongst bigger titles like Mario. Chibi the miniature robot is the star in this title, which came out towards the end of the GameCube’s life – one of the swansong titles.

What really captivated me into this game was how free and easy the experience was. Yes, at the beginning it can be a little frustrating the restriction of having to turf around a battery, and keeping an eye on its power so you don’t get knocked out, but the game realises this and you’re rewarded amply for the efforts you put into this. Eventually, you’ll be upgrading the battery to enable you to explore for longer periods of time, and any restrictions soon wither away.

However, the game is also divided up into sections of day and night, quite similar to Pikmin in fact.
As day or night passes, you automatically take a breather and your friend Telly Vision (original, I know) sums up what progress you have made. This is assessed by how happy you make the residents of your home, and the jobs you’ve done throughout the day, with the main objective of becoming the best house robot in the world. Doesn’t sound terribly exciting I know – but the jobs you do even if they are simple all add to the charm of the game, with the music at times playing a bit focus on these. The characters all have their own individual problems, and the script delivers this well – even if the girl only says the word “ribbit”. You’ll also get the opportunity of meeting many a character, such as toys which normally come to life when it’s night, and most of these are accompanied by some awesome music as well.

Who would have thought laborious chores could be so fun
Who’d have thought chores could be so fun?

One thing I know many gamers find annoying, is the gibberish speech. Wait, come back! If you can enjoy Banjo-Kazooie then you’ll cope fine with this, at first it can be seen as set back, but it becomes a minor one fortunately.
What I loved most, was the non-linear laid back gameplay element. You had a structured task to accomplish, but at the same time the game is quite happy to let you explore the house at free will and enjoy its whimsical pleasures.

It’s not a game for the more, grey loving fps player – but if you like your games with that added slice of charm you won’t go wrong here.

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2. Zelda: The Four Swords

Probably the least-discussed Zelda game of all time.
Probably the least-discussed Zelda game of all time.

Okay, when I mentioned Zelda earlier I didn’t mean conventional Zeldas in that sense.
On a reflection of these games, there’s quite a common theme in why these games are so good; they all have a solid, or an amazing graphical style to them – and that is certainly the case here. Even though it is a GameCube game, it’s fully set on a 2D plane, and it looks damn gorgeous, with some incredibly beautiful 2D sprites in the game world. Although the graphics deserve praise in abundance, what really makes this game so fun is how well the multiplayer works.

Unfortunately for this game you need 4 Game Boy Advances and those cables to link it up to the GameCube to get the best experience, oh, and friends. This is the main stumbling block for the game, because having friends which like Zelda, and own Game Boy Advances with those leads are, well… quite hard to come across! If you’re lucky enough to have all 3, well you have a whole new twist on the Zelda world and you’re in for a treat.

Link! He come to town, come to save...
Link! He come to town, come to save…

The game world is superbly designed to fully utilize the link up between the GameCube and the GBA. There are 24 levels each effectively featuring miniature dungeons designed for up to four players. To solve puzzles and to deal with fights with the typical henchmen seen in a Zelda universe, the game lets you arrange four Links in formations by quick taps via the C-stick, and the four links will huddle into circle, line or box formations. Simple puzzles (assuming you’re playing with friends) become exercises in organisation and discipline, because effectively each player is free to wander anywhere in the new current section of the level.

A visual style that blends A Link to the Past with The Wind Waker- gorgeous
A visual style that blends A Link to the Past with The Wind Waker- gorgeous

Just imagine the chaos to be had, with friends lobbing pots at each other and essentially becoming pyromaniacs because of the gorgeous sprites released when using the fire rod. It’s hilarious stuff, and it’s one of the best co-operative games ever created. Fact.

Any Zelda fan will also instantly fall in love with the music, which mixes scores from Wind Waker to a Link to the past – so Zelda fans, new and old, will be lapping it up…and rightly so!

However, if you’re thinking of playing this for the single player aspect, it’s still a strong, solid Zelda title with quite an interesting story but unfortunately because of the dungeon design it’s relatively brief.

Never-the-less, it all adds up to create an essential Zelda title, but one that is fresh and intuitive, which is needed as the series is in risk of becoming stale by trying to please too many people at once.

1.) Viewtiful Joe

Envisioned by the masterminds at Clover Studios, Viewtiful Joe is our best GameCube game that nobody played
Envisioned by the masterminds at Clover Studios, Viewtiful Joe is our best GameCube game that nobody played

Ahh, and here we are. Last but not least with Capcom’s 2D stylised side scrolling beat-‘em-up. Again, this was one of the ‘Capcom 5’ which were meant to be 5 GameCube exclusives (won’t go into all that now) and was created by the same people who later brought us classics such as God Hand and Okami (which you can in fact buy on the Wii) – so from the off we know there is some high pedigree talent behind the design of this game. Again, the game is highly renowned for its quirky graphical style, which is just so striking.

Fans of Okami will know that these guys can summon up some gorgeous looking artwork for their games. One of the best things about the graphical incorporation within this game is that it manages to come across as fresh and inspiring, but at the same time there is a distinctive retro feel beneath the surface. The graphics again become striking because of the abilities Joe wields. From slowing down time, to speeding things up it’ll feel like your editing a movie while playing a game.

These powers are parodies of special effects used in your average Hollywood flick. There are 3 types of VFX; Slow, Mach Speed and Zoom In, triggered by the L, R and B buttons respectively. Slow, which you could hazard a guess, is the VFX form of bullet-time, slowing down, but greatly powering up all of Joe’s attacks. Trust me when I say this, there is nothing cooler than watching Joe punching a bullet back at its trigger-happy owner in super slow-motion and then launching him into another horde of enemies with a Matrix-esque kick. Nothing. Also the slick animation does nothing but enhance the fluidity of Joe’s volatile attacks. In short, let’s just say you’ll be holding down L a lot.

Those Clover guys sure know how to create an artistic vibe
Those Clover guys sure know how to create an artistic vibe

Mach Speed, which grants Joe the ability to run and attack at supersonic speed. In fact, he becomes so fast that he causes so much friction in the air whilst punching and kicking that he catches fire! Amazing..isn’t it! Zoom In sounds a bit odd on paper, but essentially, it allows Joe to flaunt his manliness by beefing up his attack power and letting him unleash even MORE Viewtiful attacks, which just scream kick ass. Now you’re just showing off, Joe…
These VFX powers also have surprising effects on your environment and enemies, some of which needed to solve puzzles in the former and defeat some of the best bosses you’ll encounter in video games. Some are as frustrating as trying to thread a needle whilst standing on your head, wearing a blindfold.

Viewtiful. Har-de-har.
Viewtiful. Har-de-har.

But all come with their own personalities, which will make you laugh, smile and weep with tears of pain.

But in the end it’s worth it, because again there’s nothing quite like it anywhere else in the world of video games.

I hope you enjoyed this article, special kudos to RjP/The Shoal/Richard for assisting me with the Viewtiful Joe and Fire Emblem articles.

–Ju & Richard–
–Captions by Rory–

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