Rayman 3 was an excellent platform adventure, but if you owned a GameCube, a Game Boy Advance and a link cable, it was also a compelling puzzle/racing game. The bonus game called "Mad Trax" forced one player using the GBA to build a path out of Tetris-style blocks that connected the start of a race to the finish line. It was up to the player controlling the character on the GameCube to navigate this path and reach the end of the race. And yes, it could also be played with two GameCube controllers and two GBAs, with each player working as fast as possible to either build the path or navigate it to the end before the other team can do the same.
The "Battle" subtitle made it clear from the start that this wasn't the same Sonic Adventure 2 that you already played on the Dreamcast. New multiplayer modes allowed 2 players to blast each other away in mechs, race competitively through levels at sonic speed, or try to find emerald shards before the other player can - all in unique stages designed for this mode. In addition, Sonic Adventure 2: Battle introduced the ability to raise the famous chao in your own "Chao Garden" that you could download to the Game Boy Advance using the link cable.
The GameCube version of Splinter Cell gave players with the ability to connect to a Game Boy Advance a slighter easier time dealing with their foes. Thanks to the GBA's overhead radar feature, you could watch the movement of enemy sentries without ever having to peek out of your hiding place. The radar helpfully emits a beeping sound from the GBA whenever one of the baddies first approaches, serving as a helpful warning tool. A special GameCube-only weapon, the sticky bomb, was used in conjunction with the radar. Simply fire out the bomb, then detonate it when unwitting bad guys wandered within its blast radius. There was even a bonus if you owned the GBA version of Splinter Cell as well - linking it to your GameCube copy unlocked some new levels to try out. The sticky bomb and radar features would return for Pandora Tomorrow.
When EA was seeking a way to get their sports games to achieve better sales on the GameCube, they arrived at an obvious answer: Insert the famous Nintendo characters that fans of the Big N love. Mario, Luigi and Peach were playing basketball well before Mario Hoops 3-on-3 reached the Nintendo DS, and this game is the proof. Watching Mario slam dunk on Shaq's head is a little bizarre, but perhaps the comedic effect is a bit of a selling point in its own right.
#6: SSX On Tour (GC)
EA tried the same stunt again when they brought Mario, Luigi and Peach into their SSX series. This time, the mashup worked better - the characters mesh well with the cartoony personalities that populate the SSX slopes, and the fact that they're usually on-screen alone also helps them feel less out of place. It's also pretty cool that the three Nintendo guest stars have some of the best stats in the game!
Arriving on the GameCube almost half a year after the Xbox and PS2 versions, the GameCube incarnation of Mortal Kombat: Deception needed something special to make up for lost time. The developers answered the call by providing fans with the ability to play as two of their favorite classic villians - the four-armed Goro and the former emperor Shao Khan himself. Each brought new moves, fatalities and even storylines with them, proving that they weren't just added as an afterthought.
The minor graphical enhancements to this Dreamcast port were certainly appreciated, but the REAL highlight of the "Director's Cut" was the new importance of the emblems. Performing certain tasks in any given level provided you with emblems, which in turn unlocked the complete library of Sonic's Game Gear titles. Everything from his 8-bit library was included: Mainstream adventures such as Sonic Chaos, obscure spinoffs like Tails' Adventure, and even Japan-only games like Tails Sky Patrol. Some of these would later appear on the Sonic Mega Collection Plus for the PS2 and Xbox or on the Sonic Gems Collection for GameCube, but others - such as Sonic Drift and Sonic Blast - remained available only on their original cartridges or on this disk.
The GameCube version of Soul Calibur II outsold both the PS2 and Xbox versions for one obvious reason: Link. Dressed in his "Ocarina of Time" garb, the legendary hero was inserted into the eternally retold tale of swords and souls, complete with his own profile storyline and ending sequence. His "Destined Battle" against Raphael seemed like a strange pairing indeed, but Link himself fit quite easily into the universe of Soul Calibur... or at least better than Spawn did over on the Xbox.
Fight Night is an insanely addictive game on any platform, but only on the GameCube could you play a bonus game: Super Punch-Out!! is playable right from the main menu. As this classic sequel has proven rarer and rarer in used game circles, this has become an increasingly valuable addition. Cube-loving fight fans could also unlock Little Mac for play in the main game - and yes, the announcers actually were capable of calling him "Little Mac," despite being unable to spout your custom fighter's designated name.
Sega brought its successful Dreamcast MMORPG to the GameCube, including both the original Phantasy Star Online as well as "Version 2" in the package, but they didn't stop there. Both of those versions were included as "Episode I" of this game. GameCube owners also received "Episode II," a truckload of new content including levels, bosses, weapons and quests. In the process of porting the Dreamcast title, they essentially tacked on a whole new game to go with it.
Despite sometimes feeling like the red-headed stepchild of its console generation, the GameCube still had many bright spots. Some of those brights spots were exclusive titles, some were shared across all the platforms, and then there were those games that were enhanced specificially for the GameCube in ways that were not shared by the PS2 or Xbox. The next time you're looking for an older game to pick up online or in a used game shop, try looking for these GameCube titles before you immediately lunge for the more common PS2 incarnations. And don't forget that you can play them all on the Wii as well!
List by Cypher (10/03/2008)
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