In my Tales of Symphonia review, I said the Gamecube was experiencing something of a renaissance, and it really has been recently. While several iconic Gamecube games have quietly found their way onto the Nintendo Switch in recent years, it was only recently that Nintendo made some pretty bold announcements of landmark Gamecube games arriving on their latest console. From the surprise release of Metroid Prime Remastered to surprising announcements like Baten Kadios I & II Remastered, Tales of Symphonia and even Story of Seasons: A Wonderful Life, all coming to Switch in due time.
I think most gamers who experienced the 2000s era of gaming will tell you that the Gamecube and PS2 arguably had the best gaming libraries in the history of the medium. This got me thinking about what other notable Gamecube games deserve proper remasters on the Nintendo Switch. Here are the 10 Gamecube games that I think Nintendo needs to bring to the Switch.
Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem
One of the genres that saw no shortage of solid titles on fourth-generation consoles was horror, and there is no better example of that than Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem. One of the first horror games that would come to define the Gamecube—alongside the Resident Evil remake and Resident Evil 4—Eternal Darkness is a true-to-form classic survival horror complete with awkward controls and fixed camera angles. However, Eternal Darkness’ standout feature was its “Sanity Meter,” which would deplete from certain events or having enemies stare at you.
Once below a certain point, the game would start messing with the player, introducing weird and sometimes meta hallucinations that ranged from a player entering a room and the room suddenly being flipped; to the game simulating the TV input changing or registering the controller as unplugged in a room full of enemies. It was incredibly well-made and constantly kept you on edge with a haunting atmosphere across a wide array of time periods, and the tension of never knowing what each new room would bring.
Viewtiful Joe was the first in what was known as “The Capcom Five,” an exclusivity deal Capcom signed with Nintendo to create five games for the Gamecube. While this ended up realistically being the Capcom Four—since the game, Dead Phoenix never saw the light of day—and pretty much all other games were ported to the PlayStation 2, for a hot minute, Nintendo really had some solid games on the Gamecube.
Viewtiful Joe is one of the pinnacles of creativity that is synonymous with both the Gamecube and that era of gaming. A side-scrolling Beat Em’ Up that’s big on style and even bigger on camp. Starring a movie nerd named Joe who gains the ability to turn into a Super Sentai-like action hero after his girlfriend gets sucked into the movie they’re watching, the game is a massive love letter to the campy sentai films the creators grew up with. Not only that, but the game incorporates classic film tricks into its gameplay, allowing players to slow down time for more powerful and precise hits, and speed it up to get past certain challenges.
The game’s creator Hideki Kamiya has actually expressed interest in both a remake of Viewtiful Joe and seeing a port on the Nintendo Switch, so the ball is in Nintendo’s court to make it happen!
Starfox Adventures is a bit of a divisive game, but I honestly think it’s one of the best games on the Gamecube, and way better and more creative than the “true” Starfox Nintendo released on the Cube in Starfox Assault. By now it’s well known that the game began life as an N64 game called Dinosaur Planet, but I honestly think it works way better as a Starfox game, and for an early entry on the Gamecube, it really showed what the system was capable of.
I always loved it specifically for the fact that it explored the idea that Fox McCloud was this kind of Flash Gordon-esque galaxy protector who went on crazy space adventures outside his ship—and especially after playing Super Smash Bros, getting to play a game where you can actually run around as Fox was exactly what I wanted.
Furthermore, it has that charm of the Rare collect-a-thons that reminds me a lot of Banjo & Kazooie combined with the style and gameplay of Starfox, as you engage in small space-shooter sections as you hop between sections of Dinosaur Planet. I remember at the time a lot of people described it as The Legend of Zelda meets Starfox, and it really did have that vibe too, with its combat system and even its HUD resembling Zelda’s in small ways.
Obviously, it’s not a perfect game, and a remake would need the same love and care that Metroid Prime Remastered got. A bit of a graphical overhaul would be nice, as well as some adjusted audio to get rid of the recycled stock sound effects and pretty obvious music triggers in some places. And maybe reworking the much-maligned Tricky system would help turn players to it. But I honestly think this Gamecube and Rare classic deserves a polished Remaster on Nintendo Switch, and, if I dared to dream, a proper sequel in the Adventures series of Starfox games.
Much like Goldeneye was the most iconic shooter on the N64, I can think of no FPS more iconic to the Gamecube than TimeSplitters 2. In fact, several members of the Rare team who worked on both Goldeneye and Perfect Dark went on to form Free Radical Design—the company behind the game—and there was even a box blurb that hailed it as “the spiritual successor to Goldeneye.”
Nintendo scored big with nostalgic games by putting Goldeneye on the Nintendo 64 – NSO, and it can score even bigger by bringing a remaster of this Gamecube classic to the Switch. For pretty much the entirety of my ownership of the Gamecube, TimeSplitters 2 was our go-to shooter. It honestly was near perfect—featuring incredible controls, an incredible campaign that was both campy and charming, a plethora of weapons across a multitude of time periods, a wide range of game modes, and an OVERABUNDANCE of characters. Not only that, it featured a level creator that was really solid for the time.
Bringing this iconic Gamecube shooter into the modern era in the same way Nintendo brought Metroid Prime Remastered—namely, with a wide array of controller support as well as online multiplayer, co-op campaign and maybe even a custom level-sharing feature—would be an absolute win for the Nintendo Switch.
Phantasy Star Online: Episodes I & II
One of the things the Gamecube was great for was giving some of the great Dreamcast games a new home after its unfortunate failure—seriously, the Dreamcast was way ahead of its time. One of those games was the modern reinvention of Sega’s iconic RPG series Phantasy Star, and it was one of the pivotal games of my childhood. Phantasy Star Online was both a solid action RPG for solo play and a great multiplayer dungeon crawler, featuring both four-player split-screen co-op and the titular online play.
And while players needed a special online adapter for the Gamecube if they wanted to play online—and a special keyboard controller that was both ridiculous and awesome—it was one of my first introductions to online multiplayer, and it was incredible. Of course, back in those days, Nintendo wasn’t interested in online multiplayer. Still, times have changed, and Nintendo has since expanded its interest in letting people play together all around the world.
While the Phantasy Star Online series has been going strong in Japan, even on the Switch, I think a proper remaster of this classic Gamecube game could be perfect for a wider audience. Its simplistic gameplay and classic RPG structure are great for veterans and newcomers alike. Its dungeons are varied and highly replayable, and it has a campy, almost retro sci-fi aesthetic and soundtrack that really set it apart from anything else.
All it would really need was a bit of a visual update, and some modernized online features and this would one of the best games to either have for solo portable play or expanded online play in docked mode. I’ve even seen some companies have made keyboard attachments for Joy-Cons, but Nintendo could even release a custom keyboard Joy-Con attachment to capitalize on a very niche set of nostalgia.
Skies of Arcadia Legends
Speaking of classic Dreamcast RPGs that found new life on the Gamecube, Skies of Arcadia Legends is one of the best turn-based JRPGs you will ever play in your life. With an incredibly deep, emotional story that rivals anything Final Fantasy has delivered; a traditional yet complex combat system that has players’ moves affecting turn priority, Airship and on-the-ground battles, a vast and interesting world to explore, and so much more. There are few JRPGs that I truly got lost in, and this was one of them.
Skies of Arcadia Legends is a bit of a rarity among old-school game collectors, but a Switch remaster would make it more accessible to a generation of gamers that have been falling in love with the wide variety of JRPGs on the Nintendo Switch. It would coincide with the recent remaster of Tales of Symphonia and the upcoming Baten Kaidos I & II Remastered, and it would stand alongside the remasters of Final Fantasy VII, Legends of Mana, and others in the pantheon of JRPGs.
Sonic Adventure 2: Battle
This is the last Dreamcast game that I’ll put on this list, I swear. Sonic Adventure 2: Battle is considered by most fans to be the best game in the series, at least in terms of the 3D Sonic games. Despite originating on the Dreamcast, most gamers consider Sonic Adventure 2: Battle, to be one of the Gamecube’s defining games.
Featuring a wide variety of level types, the introduction of series mainstays Shadow the Hedgehog and Rouge the Bat, and the expanded—and more easily accessible Chao Garden, which most gamers probably spent more time with than the actual game. Sonic Adventure 2: Battle felt great to play, had some of the most iconic music—I’m sure most fans reading this have either Live and Learn or Escape From the City running through their heads—and has really stood the test of time.
Outside of Sonic Mania, I can think of no better celebration of the Blue Blur’s legacy than a tuned-up remaster of Sonic Adventure 2: Battle. Not only that, it really is one of the better representations of the Gamecube-era of games—challenging and fun, edgy yet campy, with just the right amount of jank that it feels like a 2000s game, but never awful to play. Nintendo’s best system deserves Sega’s best Sonic game.
We return instead to what is arguably the crown jewel of the Capcom Five, Killer7 was stylish, bizarre, and uniquely different—I struggle to think of any game since that emulated its style. It was the game that cemented Suda 51 as an auteur game developer alongside names like Hideo Kojima and Shinji Mikami. While it was a bit divisive when it was first released, it’s gained a bit of cult status over the years.
Which is why it’s a bit strange that the game has yet to see a proper remaster, considering many people have come around to it, and it’s even been featured on several “Best Gamecube Games of All Time” lists. Its unique on-rails gameplay gave it an arcade feel with surprising depth. Its shooting blended several interesting elements to flesh out an otherwise simple concept. Its story was deep and complex, and its protagonists of seven unique personalities not only added to the game’s intrigue but fleshed out the gameplay as well—as each personality had their own abilities and weapon styles.
With the Switch already boasting all three No More Heroes, and Travis even being an Amiibo Fighter outfit in Smash Bros Ultimate, there’s a clear love and understanding for the platform that boosted Suda 51 to name recognition. The Switch needs a modernized remaster of this cult classic, which could be made better by the functionality the Nintendo Switch provides. The aiming could be improved with the gyroscope, and switching between personalities could be mapped to the additional buttons present on the Joy-Cons. The Switch feels like the culmination of Nintendo’s weird, out-there decision-making, so a game as weird and out-there as Killer7 deserves a remastered home on the system.
Harvest Moon: Magical Melody
Arguably the best Harvest Moon—or I guess Story of Seasons, if we’re being accurate. A game that was exclusive to the Gamecube, unlike A Wonderful Life which saw a release on the PS2. Harvest Moon: Magical Melody is THE defining farm-sim on the Gamecube. It was inventive, allowing players to own multiple plots of land across the map and develop farms and places to live.
It was fun, with expanded Story of Seasons gameplay that felt both familiar and complex. And it was deeply challenging being the first to introduce a rival farmer that you were competing with every day. It was even a little boundary-breaking as that rival was given an androgynous design and could be romanced by both male and female protagonists.
With Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town, Marvelous brought the defining farm sim of the Gameboy Advance to the Switch. After the surprising announcement of A Wonderful Life, they really need to partner with Nintendo, and make Magical Melody a Nintendo Switch exclusive.
It wouldn’t even need the same treatment as Friends of Mineral Town or A Wonderful Life—why try to improve on perfection? Its chibi art style is adorable and still totally holds up, perhaps made better by a coat of HD paint. But the fundamentals of the game are so solid, that just a straight remaster would be perfect for the Switch, standing among the already solid library of farming sims that make the Switch such a cozy companion.
The Gamecube has such an incredible library of games that would be fantastic candidates for remasters, so many that when I was formulating this list, I had to put question marks beside a lot of games as I pondered whether they should make the list. For the sake of inclusion, I’m going to include some of my honourable mentions as games that probably only I think should make it.
- Bloody Roar: Primal Fury – There hasn’t been a proper entry in the Bloody Roar franchise, and it’s high time someone reminded the gaming world it exists. Bloody Roar: Primal Fury was a solid shapeshifting fighter on the Cube that deserves the remaster treatment.
- Lost Kingdoms – Before Baten Kaidos, FromSoftware had a card-based RPG exclusive to the Gamecube that was challenging and interesting. I would love to see it get a remaster for Switch, FromSoftware deserves all the love it can get.
- Burnout – Sure, Burnout Paradise Remastered is already on Switch, but the original Burnout was a defining racing game for the Gamecube, and one of the first “realistic” racers I ever played. A cleaned-up remaster of the series’ origins would be a perfect fit for the Switch
- Odama – A bizarre hybrid of pinball and war game, Odama was the true oddball of the Gamecube library and probably better suited to a handheld system than the sit-down console. But with the ubiquity of wireless headsets, it could even maintain its iconic mic control gameplay.
- Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door – I relegate this to the honourable mentions section because as much as I would love an HD remaster of The Thousand-Year Door, I know that the Gamers™ would use it as justification that the direction the series has been going in is terrible and they were right all along. Granted, it’s a solid game and a second life on the Nintendo Switch wouldn’t be argued by me.
The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventure
The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventure was a great idea for a game, marred by Nintendo’s bizarre desire to make multiplayer as complicated as possible—seriously, how many great DS and 3DS games were ruined by a lack of download play? Like you were genuinely going to know three other people with a DS and their own copy of Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days?
As such, most people didn’t really experience this weird multiplayer Zelda experiment; I myself only ever playing it briefly at a cousin’s house.
But I genuinely remember thinking it was a cool idea—the fundamentals of a Zelda split between four people working together to solve puzzles and fight enemies. All in the classic Link to the Past style, making it easy to understand and play. If any Gamecube game deserves a fresh remaster on the Switch, it’s this one. But I know you’re asking, “But Jordan, how would you even play it if the whole game was designed around the GBA?” Simple, just retool the bloody thing.
Technology has come a long way, and our systems are more advanced than they were back in 2004. As far as I’ve researched, the use of the GBAs as a controller and second screen wasn’t done because of any technological limitations, so just axe it and make it split-screen. It would fit better with the Switch’s multiple Joy-Con design—the system comes with two controllers, and it’s not hard to have multiple in a backpack or Nintendo Switch case—and the system itself is more powerful to handle rendering four screens at once should players separate.
Not only that, you could implement online functionality so four players could seamlessly get into a game and adventure together. Nintendo has already experimented more with the idea of multiplayer Zelda with The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes, but going back to the series’ roots, with some modern-day adjustments would not only be a great choice for the Nintendo Switch but a solid celebration of the Gamecube’s weirdest Zelda game.