The Nintendo GameCube launched in Japan twenty years ago this week — September 14, 2001, to be exact. It was a fantastic little console that proved, as always, Nintendo was willing to do something a little bit different and experimental rather than following the herd. And, of course, it had some fantastic games.
Now, with Nintendo’s love of rereleasing past games on more modern hardware, we think it’s about time some of these former GameCube exclusives made a comeback — as a rerelease, a remake or perhaps even a brand new installment!
As always, this list is by no means exhaustive, so if you have your own opinions on what former GameCube exclusives it’d be great to see get a second chance, be sure to let us know in the comments — or why not write us a letter for the Rice Digital Friday Letters Page?
Here’s an interesting and oft-overlooked title from the GameCube’s library: it’s an Advance Wars spinoff in which rather than overseeing the entire battle from an overhead, strategic angle, you’re instead down on the ground participating in the battle directly.
Initially taking on the role of a single soldier, as the game progresses you’ll be able to command larger troops of soldiers, commandeer vehicles and generally cause chaos across the battlefield. The game features a good sense of humour and enjoyable gameplay — though the control scheme could perhaps benefit from a bit of tweaking to take better advantage of twin analogue sticks in any rerelease.
Although initially developed under the Advance Wars branding, Battalion Wars was always intended to be its own separate thing with no direct connections to the Advance Wars narrative or setting. As such, it was renamed for its eventual release — though in Japan it maintained the “Famicom Wars” branding.
This is technically two GameCube games (Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean and Baten Kaitos Origins), but it’d be great to see them both resurrected — and, indeed, if some recent trademark filings are to be believed, there’s a slim possibility we might actually see that happen. (Bear in mind, though, that it’s also not unusual for trademark filings to be renewed and for absolutely nothing to happen with them; sometimes it’s just companies ensuring they keep their hands on a particular trademark rather than wanting to do something.)
Regardless of whether or not a rerelease is actually going to happen, though, we’d welcome the return of Baten Kaitos, since these games show us what Monolith Soft was up to before they made Xenoblade Chronicles for the Wii. They’re especially interesting RPGs in that you do not play the protagonist of the story directly; instead, you take on the role of a guardian spirit guiding them on their journey.
Both games feature a strong focus on card-based mechanics, where rather than using equipment, characters play cards in battle to represent various abilities, attacks and items. They’re very fondly regarded games, but they didn’t sell all that well on original release — now that Monolith Soft is a bit more well-known, we suspect they might do a little better.
Another example of what a well-known developer was up to before they got really famous, Lost Kingdoms and its sequel were GameCube exclusives developed by FromSoftware. They’re RPGs that feature an interesting combat system that combines real-time movement with card-based mechanics — there’s also a bit of a monster-catching element, too, since some enemies can be converted into cards.
Both games had a relatively mediocre reception on their original release but have retained something of a cult following over the years. And, much as Baten Kaitos would probably do well now thanks to Monolith Soft being more well-known, I suspect FromSoftware’s newer fans would appreciate an opportunity to see what they were up to before they became All Souls, All the Time.
Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door
This is an easy inclusion, given that second-hand copies of it go for over a hundred quid at CEX. It remains, to date, probably the most beloved installment in the entire Paper Mario series; for many longstanding fans of the franchise, nothing released since has ever quite managed to top it, despite Nintendo continually experimenting with each installment.
The Thousand Year Door is especially well-regarded among longtime fans because it is noticeably more “RPG” in style than some later entries in the series. Some believe that Paper Mario has become a bit too “action adventure” over time, so The Thousand Year Door for GameCube is appreciated by many for continuing the “Mario RPG” tradition — particularly as its whimsical storyline has proven itself to have enduring, timeless appeal.
Rereleasing this would be easy money for Nintendo, but going on recent history they’d probably make it available for two days, only in Wolverhampton, and only if it’s raining. We’d all still buy it though.
Pity the poor F-Zero fan; while many of Nintendo’s biggest franchises have continued to enjoy at least one new installment on every generation of hardware, we haven’t seen a new F-Zero since this spectacular GameCube title, developed as a collaborative affair between Sega’s Amusement Vision department (now the Ryu ga Gotoku Studio behind the Yakuza series) and Nintendo. So at this point, I suspect most F-Zero enthusiasts would be more than happy with an upscaled rerelease of this game with no extras whatsoever — particularly as the GameCube original has become a little harder to find these days.
F-Zero GX is regarded as one of the best entries in the series and one of the best racers on the GameCube platform — though it did draw a certain amount of criticism for its formidable difficulty curve. Take the time to get to know it, though, and there’s one of the most rewarding racing experiences out there to be enjoyed — plus plenty of Captain Falcon lore if you’re interested in that sort of thing.
Those are our picks, then; what are yours? Let us know down in the comments or via the usual social channels — or pen us a letter for the Rice Digital Friday Letters Page with your thoughts!
Disclosure: Some links in this article may be affiliate links, which means we may earn a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on them. This is at no additional cost to you and helps support Rice Digital!
- The Rice Digital Friday Letters Page, October 22, 2021 – Komi can’t comprehensively communicate - October 22, 2021
- Horror classics to spook you silly: The Coma - October 22, 2021
- 5 of the best Arcade Archives releases - October 22, 2021