Nintendo has repeatedly captured our attention with new addicting games and storylines to keep us entertained for more hours than we could ever fathom.
Each game system provided more than the last with its enhanced graphics and options. However, some systems have been left to be hidden gems of the past. Isn't it worth a little treasure hunt?
Nintendo Gamecube games had several fan favorites from Phantasy Star Online to Mega Man. However, The Gamecube was not always known for its RPGs, unlike its competition the time, the Playstation 2.
The role-playing games for the Gamecube fall into a multitude of different categories. With more focus on the hack and slash system than turn-based, they did not always follow traditional suits.
Want to check out those classics of the Gamecube?
We went ahead and created a list for you of the Best Gamecube role-playing games of all time!
The Best GameCube RPGs of All Time
Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door (2004)
For the Gamecube, we bring you Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door.
Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door is a 2004 role-playing video game developed by Intelligent Systems and published by Nintendo for the GameCube. It is the second game in the Paper Mario series.
The plot follows Mario's quest as he tries to retrieve the seven Crystal Stars and rescue Peach from the X-Nauts. Throughout their adventure, Mario and friends find help in a few items and places. You can heal your party at an inn and purchase items at a shop, collect coins by defeating enemies and buy new special abilities in a badge shop. Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door also features a lot of different mini-games, such as a quiz show, a lottery, or the ability to control Bowser in a side-scrolling action sequence.
The Thousand-Year Door borrows many gameplay elements from its predecessor, such as a drawing-based art style, and a turn-based battle system with an emphasis on action. For the majority of the game, the player controls Mario, although Bowser and Princess Peach are playable at certain points.
Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door received critical acclaim for its gameplay and plot. Each chapter of the game provided a thrill of adventure that left you wanting more. Whether you are a vast Mario fan or not, I would give this one a go!
Tales of Symphonia (2003)
Tales of Symphonia deserves a spot on the list for its old-world charm and engaging battle system. It is the fifth main game in the Tales series and the eleventh game released in total. It is also the third game to be released in North America.
It follows the adventures of Lloyd Irving as he and his friends work to help Colette Brunel regenerate the world. The game begins in the world of Sylvarant, a land that is dying due to a steady loss of mana, an energy source that is needed both for magic and to support life itself.
To regenerate the world, the Chosen must travel from continent to continent, awakening the Summon Spirits that sleep at ancient shrines known as “seals.” With every seal released, the Chosen comes closer and closer to becoming an angel. Once the Chosen fully transforms into an angel, the world will be regenerated.
Tales of Symphonia uses a version of the Linear Motion Battle System. It is a real-time battle system called Multi-Line Linear Motion Battle System. Another feature of this battle system is Over Limit. Characters enter Over Limit mode after having obtained a certain number of tension points. For regular gameplay, when the party is on the world map, they can join battles by running into monsters visible on the field.
The interaction between the characters is delightful. It is also the first title in the Tales series to feature alternate costumes for the main protagonists. The battle system enhancements are a nice touch.
Overall, it is a game worth checking out for a nice casual playthrough.
Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (2006)
Yes, we do know this game was released on both the Gamecube and later the Wii, but it hit the Gamecube first. This makes Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess more than worthy of being on our Gamecube top RPG list!
When the game opens to a sweeping view of Link as he rides Epona across a vast landscape, you can't help but have that nostalgic spirit of Ocarina's epic opening. The beginning parts of the game feel very much like a trip down Hyrule's memory lane as you explore the outskirts of the world.
However, the game also carves the old from the new by way of a compelling storyline that throws Nintendo's beloved hero into an alternate realm known as the Twilight. It is a Hyrulian wasteland presenting much darker undertones than that of the previous Zelda games.
Need more convincing? There are even moments when Link is transformed into a wolf.
For one, players who enjoyed titles like Wind Waker will understand immediately how to maneuver Link like a pro in Twilight Princess because the same fundamental controls still apply. The character is moved swiftly with the left analog stick, and the right opens access to the camera. The controls are simple and easily maneuvered.
Hands down, Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess is a necessity on the must-play list.
Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance (2005)
Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance, like its predecessors, is a very text-heavy RPG. The members of your growing party are characterized almost entirely by the opinions they express during conversations, learning about their motivations, relationships, and backgrounds is as important as seeing them evolve and kick tail in battle.
If you haven't jumped on the Emblem wagon yet, here's the series in a nutshell: Advance Wars in a medieval fantasy setting with a focus on single-character units and RPG elements.
The biggest changes in Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance come from new man/beast hybrids, known as laguz. Laguz are lycanthropic humanoids that automatically turn into cats, birds, or dragons and back again after several turns.
While in animal form, the laguz are mighty fighters, but in human form, they are quite harmless. Apart from adding some exciting gameplay twists, the conflict between the laguz and the beorc (regular humans) also forms the center of the game's twisting storyline.
This is a tremendous classic tactical RPG series with plenty of installments to keep you entertained for many hours.
Skies of Arcadia Legends (2000)
In Skies of Arcadia, Legends Players control Vyse, a young air pirate, and his friends as they attempt to stop the Valuan Empire from reviving ancient weapons with the potential to destroy the world.
As for the actual gameplay itself, it revolves around several different devices. It contains turn-based ground and air battles, airship-to-airship duels, and real-time 3D exploration. The magic system is also traditional. You will learn spells that draw on elemental powers such as fire, water, wind, and the like.
The way that you learn spells is somewhat unique. The entire process revolves around moonstones: green for health-related powers, red for fire, purple for ice, etc. These stones are tied into your weapons, giving them elemental attributes. Even better? The weapons can be switched on a whim!
If you enjoy having a series of games to play, this is a formidable contender for your RPG collection.
Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean (2003)
With Baten Kaitos, Monolith Software has crafted a beautiful and thoroughly engaging game filled with great characters, impressive visuals, and solid combat. Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean is another fantastic installment to the series.
The story of Baten Kaitos takes place in a world of floating islands, at a time when people have evolved to the point of sprouting wings on their backs. The player assumes the role of a player-named, unseen “guardian spirit” who directly guides and communicates with the main protagonist Kalas.
Kalas is considered a bit of an outcast due to only have one wing, with the other being replaced by a mechanical wing. He travels the world to seek revenge for the death of his grandfather and his little brother. Eventually, his priorities shift when he meets and travels with a young woman named Xelha, and accidentally releases one of the five End Magnus, loosening the seal on Malpercio.
The card-based inventory and battle system is one of the most talked-about features of Baten Kaitos. Instead of finding items and stuffing them in invisible storage space, you store them on blank Magnus cards. This makes for a unique and refreshing experience, as you only receive a limited number of these blank cards. This requires strategy, as you will not be able to utilize every item that you find.
With a unique storyline and battle system, this one is a must-play to add to your growing RPG list! If you enjoy this one, you will definitely enjoy our next one.
Baten Kaitos Origins (2006)
Baten Kaitos Origins takes place twenty years before the events of the first title, Baten Kaitos Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean. It features younger versions of many characters from the previous entry, though none of the same playable characters.
The overall theme is that of a struggle between “pro-imagination” (the power of hearts, wings of the heart, and magic) and “pro-machination” (mechanical) forces. You play as the spirit within Sagi, a member of the empire's “Elite” force of fighters. Sagi heads off on a quest to determine the nature of a mysterious change that is appearing in the world.
The game plays very similarly to the first Baten Kaitos game, albeit with some changes and adjustments. They do still use the Magnus cards for the battle system with a slight change. The combat system is substantially different when compared to that of the original Baten Kaitos.
Instead of each character having their deck of Magnus cards, all characters use cards from a single deck and play from a single hand. Since most armor, weapons, and special attacks are specific to a given character, there are frequently times when one or two of the characters have only a minimal number of options.
The game also features several new locales, such as Sedna, a town that looks like it's made of childish clay sculptures, and Hassaleh, a new continent that did not appear in the first game. Sedna is composed of different Magnus pieces, which, as the player discovers and returns with the appropriate Magnus cards, spontaneously appear. As the town grows, the player can then interact with the new inhabitants.
If you enjoyed the first installment of Baten Kaitos, then I highly recommend playing the Baten Kaitos Origins installment as well!
Pokémon Colosseum (2004)
The game is set in the desert region of Orre. The player protagonist is Wes, a former member of Team Snagem. Throughout the game, the player rescues “Shadow Pokémon,” Pokémon, who have had their hearts darkened by Team Cipher, an antagonistic organization via snagging. Rui, a non-player character, serves as Wes's sidekick and identifies Shadow Pokémon.
Like previous games in the Pokémon RPG, the fighting in Pokémon Colosseum follows the same grid-based strategy of Pokémon types. Essentially, one type of Pokemon is stronger against other types of Pokemon.
This is where the fun, strategic element of battling comes from. With seventeen different types in the Pokémon Colosseum realm, it's essential to focus on who's stronger and weaker against whom. This can be a challenge when trying to build an appropriate team for battle.
The storyline on this one is better for those who are more interested in battling as opposed to intensely deep plots. If you are looking for some unique RPG entertainment, give being a Pokémon trainer a shot!
Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles (2003)
If you are an avid fan of the Final Fantasy franchise, then this game will be a slightly different twist from the usual!
Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles is an action role-playing game where players take control of a group of adventurers who travel the world searching for rare trees that produce “myrrh,” used to fuel crystals protecting the world's settlements from the poisonous Miasma.
One thousand years before the game's events, the world's sustaining Great Crystal was shattered by a meteorite carrying an alien lifeform called the Meteor Parasite. The Parasite generated a poisonous vapor called the Miasma, which kills anyone it touches. Fragments of the Great Crystal ward off the Miasma from surviving settlements, but require renewal using myrrh, energy harvested from magical trees using magical vessels protected by dedicated caravans.
The game does away with traditional experience points and instead focuses on action-oriented combat with a unique co-op slant. Up to three friends can join in on the quest by using Game Boy Advance units connected to the GameCube as controllers.
Crystal Chronicles can be a tremendously entertaining multiplayer game for those willing to work together. You do not have to be a follower of the franchise to enjoy playing this installment!
Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance (2002)
Are you a fan of Dungeons and Dragons? You will want to check this one out.
The game is set in the Forgotten Realms campaign setting of Dungeons & Dragons, and the gameplay is based on the rules of Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition, which were released in 2000. It is the first video game to implement the real-time application of the new rules. It is also the first game in the Baldur's Gate series released on consoles as opposed to a PC or Mac.
You begin your adventure in Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance by choosing from one of three different warriors: a human archer, a dwarven fighter, or an elven sorceress. The controls for each of these characters are identical. They all have similar abilities to run, jump, attack, use magic or special feats, and quaff restoration potions or healing potions using the left and right shoulder buttons, respectively, quickly restoring their magic energy or health.
The Dark Alliance game itself presents some stunning graphics and gameplay. If you are itching for a substantial RPG game storyline on the GameCube, then pick up a copy of Dark Alliance.
Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life (2004)
Believe it or not, Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life is a farming simulator that has captured the hearts of many with its wholesome storyline. The whole purpose of the game itself is to live an extraordinary life.
Sound a bit mundane? Much in the same way as Animal Crossing, Harvest Moon's day to day chores, goals, and lifestyle will pull you in and leave you wanting to play at all hours. Not only do you harvest crops, but you must also have impeccable timing with all aspects of the game. It is essential to time the birth of farm animals, harvesting crops, balancing family life, and creating friendships with the townsfolk.
In Wonderful Life, the player's farm has three fields, with varying levels of fertility. Plants must be watered more than once per day and nourished with fertilizer to obtain high-quality fruits and vegetables. Each crop has its ideal growing season and will do poorly if planted at the wrong time of year. You will also obtain various types of cattle that will also require nurturing and care.
The simple gameplay mechanics, nurturing farm life, and feel good storyline will genuinely make you fall in love with this game. It may not be an intense, in-depth RPG, but it will leave you with a warm, happy feeling and a smile on your face.
The Gamecube may not have had the strongest RPG genre, but it honestly did have some beautiful additions.
What is worth taking note of is the multitude of different types and storylines that it does provide. Gamecube role-playing games offer everything from the dark and intense to the light and airy story concepts.
Now it is time to pull out your Gamecube so you can relive some of these classic tales! Which one will you try first?
Where Do I Purchase the Games?
Scarlett Rose is a professional cosplayer, actress, voice actor, published model, and mother of rabbits. When she is not crafting armor or building costumes, she can be found playing the latest video game or enjoying a retro classic.