GameCube Hidden Gems (Part 2)

GameCube Hidden Gems (Part 2)

5 treasures on tiny discs

A.J. Maciejewski

Written by for Retrospectives on

Although Nintendo's GameCube didn't have the longest lifespan, it had a ton of cool games so here are 5 gems that you may enjoy.

Photo of every featured GameCube hidden gem
I'm glad I still have all these kicking around

I-Ninja

I-Ninja released in the middle of a 3D platformer deluge yet it managed to stand out with its cleverly designed stages, enjoyable combat, and gameplay variety. As you traverse the intricate levels, you'll find yourself double-jumping, swinging via a grappling hook, running along high-speed tracks, bouncing shurikens off walls, and attacking hordes of baddies with sword slashes, special abilities, and a spin move as if you're Crash Bandicoot with a katana. Heck, you can even roll around on a ball just like a certain Super Monkey does and take part in first-person giant robot boxing matches. There's so much fun to be had and it has a fantastic sense of humour, too. It even features the voice actor Billy West as the ninja who also voiced Futurama's Philip J. Fry. What more could you want from a 3D platformer?

I-Ninja gameplay video → Also featured in: Top 10 Xbox Platformers
I-Ninja screenshot
He may be a little ninja but he sure can fight!

Amazing Island

Amazing Island is a weird game but one that certainly has its appeal. You play as either a boy or a girl who creates their very own monster shortly into the campaign. From then on, you take part in mini-games in order to ward off a dastardly force known simply as Black Evil. As you do so, you'll unlock more of the island as well as fun new parts and additional abilities that you can customize your monster with. It's rather satisfying to create your monster however you want and the freedom that you have while doing so allows for virtually limitless possibilities. The only downside is that some of the mini-games can be confusing and require some practice to master so you'll end up re-playing portions again and again until you figure out just what the heck to do. Still, it's a very unique and fun game.

Amazing Island gameplay video →
Amazing Island screenshot
Some of these mini-games are rather tricky to figure out

Scaler

In the mid-'00s, I remember digging through a bargain bin and pulling out Scaler. It looked like a promising little game and when I brought it home and played it, I was pleasantly surprised. It's a lot like I-Ninja in that it features a great deal of variety as well as fantastic stage designs. Throughout the campaign, you'll learn new abilities and transformations that'll allow you to deploy camouflage, use bombs, roll around as a ball, snipe enemies, and swim. Meanwhile, the basic controls will have you running and jumping while using your claws and tongue for attacks. Exploring the intricate stages while trying to collect everything as you slide on rails and take on hordes of enemies is a ton of fun and the boss encounters offer a wide array of enjoyable challenges. I highly recommend Scaler and really want a sequel!

Scaler gameplay video → More 3D platformers
Scaler screenshot
Scaler may look like a generic 3D platformer but it's a blast to play

ZooCube

ZooCube is a simple puzzle game although I haven't played anything quite like it since it released. All you essentially do is rotate a cube in whichever direction you want as weird animal blob things fall towards it in 3 directions. The goal is to match 2 of each animal which makes them disappear off your cube and come to life. It sounds extremely basic but there are power-ups that help mix up the gameplay and it's surprisingly challenging, too, with its eventual fast pace. Plus, up to 4 players can compete which makes the core gameplay really shine.

ZooCube gameplay video →
ZooCube screenshot
What the heck is this and why can't I stop playing it?

Viewtiful Joe: Red Hot Rumble

I'm sure you're familiar with Viewtiful Joe but you may not be aware of its fighting game spin-off Red Hot Rumble. It looks a lot like Nintendo's famous Smash Bros. games yet it's actually quite unique in that each battle presents a series of missions which play out like mini-games. For example, you may need to collect gems, fend off enemies, or take down a boss and be the one who causes the most damage. Anyway, the controls are simple as all you use are a few buttons. That being said, each character has a wide range of abilities and moves that you can experiment with on your road to mastering them. Overall, it's a wonderful and underrated spin-off.

Viewtiful Joe: Red Hot Rumble gameplay video → Also featured in: Top 10 Capcom Series That Need to Be Revived
Viewtiful Joe: Red Hot Rumble screenshot
It's like Smash Bros. but much more Viewtiful
Gameplay video playlist for GameCube Hidden Gems (Part 2) thumbnail
Gameplay video playlist for GameCube Hidden Gems (Part 2) 30:01
GameCube games Trivia

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