2006 Review: The ten best GameCube & Wii games
28th Dec 2006 | 09:00
Nintendo moves from one era into an exciting new one, and has kept the whole industry abuzz with excitement at the prospect of its new Wii console.
Now the Wii is here and there are already some great games available for it, but all the excitement surrounding Wii has somewhat overshadowed some of the fantastic GameCube releases that arrived in 2006, so along with the best Wii launch games, here are the best GC games that deserve their moment in the spotlight.
Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
After nearly three years of waiting, and over a year of agonising delays, Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess is every bit as awesome as we'd hoped.
Nintendo has created by far the biggest and most awe-inspiring version of Hyrule ever packed so full of intriguing characters, side quests and secret caves that seeing everything will take even the most seasoned Zelda at least 50 hours. But that's 50 hours of pure glory for every Nintendo fan who does it.
The GameCube version is every bit as amazing, but if you want the full Twilight Princes experience you need to play the Wii one, with actions like fishing, throwing bombs and shooting arrows made awesome by the Wii Remote.
When Nintendo unveiled the Wii and movement-sensitive controller, Ubisoft immediately jumped on board, pledging an astonishing nine games for the Wii launch period, and the one that got everyone excited was Red Steel, their ultra-slick first-person shooter.
Us gamers are suckers for anything remotely Japanese, so the game's all-over Japanese theme and Tokyo setting made it all the more appealing. With it's sword fighting that let players slash the Wii Remote to slice up yakuza gangsters, Red Steel was one of the most unique FPS experiences of 2006.
Tomb Raider Legend
After a run of painfully average adventure managed to leave the reputation of one gaming's biggest stars in complete ridicule, Tomb Raider Legend arrived and brought Lara Croft back into contention.
Some complained that it simply repeated many of the tricks and puzzles of the original game that released on PlayStation in 1996, but for most of us, that was a complete godsend. Forget all those bike-riding, roof-hopping gimmicks, TRL is pure, rock-pushing, tomb raiding goodness from start to finish.
Wii Sports has bare-bones graphics, is without any deep tournament modes and you can see most of what it has to offer in the first hour of play. Yet this pack-in game is one of the most important games of 2006 because it demonstrates perfectly how Wii and movement-sensing controller will revolutionise gaming on the new console.
It's the game that the millions of potential gamers - who don't already buy games - will see being played in shops or at a friend's house and decide immediately that they must own Wii. For that reason, it does exactly what it was intended to do - show off the Wii, and has no doubt contributed massively to the overwhelming success of the Wii. And it's bloody good fun in multiplayer too.
Again, just like Wii Sports, it's not about depth or features with Wii Play. It's about the role that it plays in demonstrating how amazing the Wii is.
Its nine games were designed to demonstrate each and every function of the Wii Remote, and with the exception of one or two slightly pointless games, many of them are genuinely addictive too. We find ourselves here at CVG competing daily to get the highest score in Shooting, or working together to crack every level in the rock-solid Tanks game. Billiards is great and so is Find Mii. And for just a fiver (it comes with a Wii Remote for £35), Wii Play is worth every penny.
Call of Duty 3
Following up one of the best WWII shooters ever, Activision's third Call of Duty instalment offers a varied, break-neck shooter experience that should be at the top of your Wii buy list - even without multiplayer.
The Wii version of Call of Duty 3 makes excellent use of the Remote to create the best FPS setup currently available on Nintendo's new console - while still maintaining the intense action and set pieces of its Xbox 360 counterpart.
Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy
Following the massive success of the original Lego Star Wars, Traveler's Tales unsurprisingly fell over themselves to create the sequel - and thankfully it doesn't feel rushed at all.
The Original Trilogy is at its core a very simple adventure game, but the undeniable charm of lego-ed up Star Wars characters and the strangely-addictive collecting makes it an essential purchase for plastic-partial Star Wars fans - and one of most enjoyable action-adventure games of the year.
Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz
The rolling monkeys turned up for the second Nintendo home console launch in a row, and it's addictive platform-tilting action made for one of the most addictive games in the launch line-up, just as it did on the GameCube.
Not only does the new tilt controls refresh the challenge - because it takes some getting used to - but it also makes the already engrossing main game even more absorbing than it ever was with an analogue stick. The 50 mini games included unfortunately turned out to be more quantity than quality, but with 100 fantastic tilt levels in the main game, with new obstacles, lush-looking worlds and all-new boss battles, the main game in Banana Blitz makes up for the shortfalls of the mini games, and we've already hammered the game to death. More of that please, Sega.
Chibi Robo: Plug Into Adventure
The totally new franchise from Nintendo arrived on GameCube so late in the console's life that it barely got the recognition it deserved.
Chibi Robo is a fantastic game, yet it's already sinking into the depths of forgotten classics. It has also got to be one of the most misunderstood classics of the year, even more so than Trauma Center, because it's premise - cleaning a house up - doesn't sound like fun. But you play as a tiny robot in a giant house and just discovering the different ways of getting round the house is deeply intriguing and great fun, and it has some amazingly clever puzzles too. If you haven't already checked it out, se if you can find a copy and give it a go.
Harvest Moon: Magical Melody
The long-running Harvest Moon series never really managed to cross over to the 3D era successfully until Magical Melody arrived on GameCube.
The cutesy life sim looks simple on the outside but, as the new guy in town and the owner of a farm, it gives you so much more to do and so many more variables to think about than Animal Crossing does. You're never short of things to do in Harvest Moon, and if you allow yourself to get hooked up in it's virtual farming world it can eat up insane chunks of your life.