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Dolphin, the great emulator of the Wii and Gamecube, with its many options and many tools to bring games up to the glorious standards of today, is rife with games you need to play at least once in your life to truly grasp what you might have missed out on while playing Xbox or PlayStation 2.
Dolphin’s library is vast and extravagant, so we’ve split this article into two parts to help cover both Gamecube and Wii. This is the Gamecube portion, so be sure to check out what we recommend on the Wii as well!
I love the weirder side of the Gamecube and I think Cubivore, a game about eating other animals for survival is one of the better examples out there. It’s a shame this game has been confined to the Gamecube forever, but now we can play pretty much perfectly at higher resolutions.
I’m recommending this because it is just downright weird. It isn’t the best playing game in the world, but it’s fun enough as a curiosity and bizarre enough to keep you going throughout the entire game’s not too long run time.
Taking the role of a creature, you go about eating others to gobble up their parts, take their moves and then continue until you’ve hit some sort of goal. The look, feel and overall dark humour about the game is something you rarely see anymore outside of independent games and I just think more people should at least see what it is about.
Yes, the big man, Wario, had his own 3D adventure game with all the nice eccentricities of a Nintendo game of 2003. I have a soft spot for Wario and always have, but Wario World is something that I don’t think will ever happen again.
It’s a true 3D platformer with combat, with Wario’s goal of being this grotesque anti-hero who just wants as much cash as he can humanly have in his back pocket. Wario’s little jiggle run as he navigates the different areas, along with all the grim noises that he makes just fill the air with such personality that – and with much hindsight – I think I now consider this better than the Mario entries on Gamecube.
Nintendo were all about trying something new on this console and if I’m honest, not having a Wario World 2 at any point and a total abandonment of the Wario Land series since the Gameboy Advance’s 4 is a crying shame.
There’s few games that have the same energy as Wario World and I insist you check it out.
The Legend of Zelda: The Four Swords Adventures
What? A Zelda game? On a list predominantly crowded by lesser known games? Well, The Four Swords Adventures is a different take on the original Link to the Past and uses multiplayer to have each person chaotically working together to bring down the evil Vaati.
Because Dolphin supports Netplay and has built in mGBA (a Gameboy Advance emulator) straight into the program now, it makes playing this unique multiplayer take on Zelda a cinch. Yes, it’s one of those weirder Gamecube games that requires multiplayer excursions to have each player own a Gameboy Advance, the Link Cable needed to connect it all together and then get together around a singular console to play what is essentially a remix on the original Link to the Past game.
However it is an utterly fascinating experiment and a complete egotistical project from Nintendo, one which envisions a world in which everyone owns all four components to play this game, instead of using the four Gamecube controllers. The game does offer different bits of information on the personal screen and weirdly, is a cool prototype for the eventual 3DS spiritual sequel, but it has never really been seen since.
Bring it back! The 2D effects pulled in from Wind Waker looked so cool under the gloomy world of Link to the Past and the game was actually rather challenging if you were solo.
Or cooperative. It’s very easy to lose friends in it.
Inexcusably cute, absolutely joyous to be in and in clear need of more attention, Chibi Robo is one of those games you have to play to really get what I’m talking about.
As Chibi Robo, you’ll go about and do your chores for the family, eventually learning more about them and the inhabitants of the house, like all the toys. It’s part time management, puzzle solver and cuteness overload.
If you ever enjoyed those levels back in Unreal, Quake or Team Fortress 2 days of the super large house arenas, you’ll find this to be a joy to be in.
The Chibi Robo series has had a total of three entries in it and I just thoroughly want to encourage everyone to see what I’m talking about. They’re so relaxing to be in, even with the various managements you have to consider, but also weirdly unique for games that are eventually, once you get past everything, your very standard adventure platforming game from the mid-00s.
Donkey Kong: Jungle Beat
It doesn’t matter if you have the right controller (the DK Bongos rule), map the buttons to a few different keys on your keyboard and the claps to your space bar and I think you might be good to go.
Donkey Kong: Jungle Beat isn’t just a game that hinges on its gimmick, it makes the gimmick such a major part of the platforming experience that I don’t think many games even come close to making something so ridiculous work in such a good way.
Timing is everything, with ninja monkeys, raging robot elephants and a slew of great bosses to take on in fist fights all coming for you. The platforming is chaotic in the best way, with wonderful style choices throughout to really make it one on its own amongst the rest of Nintendo’s library.
While the bongos might have come from some half-baked idea of a rhythm game, they shine here if you can find some to hook up to your PC for some good old fashioned fun.