Following the success of the Nintendo 64, the company prepared to move into the future with its distinctive purple cube-shaped console. While the N64 pushed the boundaries with groundbreaking games such as Golden Eye 007 and Super Mario 64, the Gamecube also had its own experimental phase with titles like Metroid Prime, Resident Evil, and Eternal Darkness. Additionally, the industry owes a debt to the N64 for its pioneering efforts in 3D platforming, which paved the way for many 3D platformers that exist today.
Despite the Gamecube’s lack of exclusive platformers compared to the N64, and its fearsome competitor, the PS2, it did have some of the best the genre had to offer during its time. While Sony had popular platformers such as Jak & Daxter, Ratchet & Clank, and Sly Cooper, Nintendo was focused on pumping new entries in the Mario series and expanding the Wario universe with an amazing instalment.
Even decades after its initial release, the Gamecube continues to be a beloved console among Nintendo fans, alongside the SNES, Nintendo DS, and Game Boy Advance.
If you’re looking for the best platformers on Gamecube, then you’ve come to the right place. There are plenty of incredible titles here for everyone to enjoy.
Vexx is easily one of the most overlooked platformers of its time, and that’s a shame because this can be easily classified as one of Acclaim’s best titles. Players take control of an angry young fella with a thirst for revenge against the person responsible for wiping out his tribe.
Equipped with formidable claws, Vexx springs into a perilous adventure fraught with minions to slice, platforms to conquer and many genuinely entertaining obstacles. While many may compare Vexx’s gameplay to Super Mario 64, the game manages to stand out amongst its brethren from the genre as a thoroughly enjoyable 3D platformer.
It’s quite a shame that the story of Vexx ends on a cliffhanger, but with the current trend of remaking and remastering classic games, we hope that Vexx will continue. This is arguably one of the best platforming games to come out from Acclaim Entertainment’s bygone era — perhaps one of the most excellent hidden gems that have slipped under your radar — and if you haven’t tried it yet, it’s never too late.
Super Mario Sunshine may just be the perfect game for a hot summer, and undeniably one of the best instalments in the Mario franchise. Take control of the titular Italian plumber as he sets out to stop an imposter who’s ruined his vacation trip with Peach to Isle Delfino. Your mission is to stop the imposter who’s been polluting the island and, in the process, clear out your name.
Sunshine preserves the beloved features of Mario 64 that fans cherish while introducing a unique gameplay mechanic that sets it apart from other games in the series. The game still allows players to defeat enemies by jumping on them with Mario’s butt, but its standout feature is the ability to spray sparkling water onto the environment. This is made possible by using F.L.U.D.D., a versatile water pack that can shoot and refill water at any moment during the game.
In addition to its exceptional gameplay, Mario Sunshine offers an abundance of side challenges that provide an extra layer of difficulty for players who seek a challenge. Overall, Super Mario Sunshine is a must-play Gamecube exclusive that you should experience at least once.
Pac-Man World’s popularity may have waned after the series’ departure from its 2D origins. However, what Namco managed to pull off is pretty interesting. The 3D iterations of Namco’s yellow mascot are a blast to experience, at least once.
Serving as a continuation of Pac-Man World 2, this third instalment sees players join forces with former antagonist Orson to fight off the monsters that the evil scientist Erwin has unleashed upon Pac-World.
In Pac-Man World 3, players go through a series of genuinely entertaining levels. From spring-tinged forests, and scorchingly hot lava landscapes, to a menacing lab factory. Each new level immerses you deeper into the game until you’re entirely done with it. With challenging enemy encounters, players won’t find any shortage of difficulty while progressing through the game.
Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg will make you reconsider the way you look at chickens. In this game, they’re not just egg-laying machines with a foul odour. Instead, they’re on a mission to save the world from impending danger.
Players take on the role of a young boy who, along with his friends, has been transformed into a chicken. Together, they set out on a mission to defeat an evil crow that has been wreaking havoc and disturbing the tranquillity of the land. The story is obviously centred towards children, but that’s not one of Billy Hatcher’s strongest points.
Billy Hatcher boasts smooth 3D platforming gameplay that involves rolling eggs to defeat enemies, overcome various challenges, and leap from one location to another while riding on an egg. Along with its exceptional gameplay, the game features a collection of incredibly memorable soundtracks that will leave you grinning from ear to ear. Definitely one of the best games ever made by SEGA.
Spyro: A Hero’s Tail is Spyro’s fifth adventure and a special one indeed. What sets Hero’s Tail from its brethren is the developers’ experimentation with several new concepts such as introducing fresh powers, various playable characters, and the ability to grip ledges, among others. However, as intriguing as it may look on paper, the game is marred by some frustrating platforming levels that could deter many players.
Nonetheless, fans of the Spyro series, as well as newcomers to the franchise, will find enjoyment in this game if they can ignore its flaws. To many, Hero’s Tail is a superior product to Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly, which suffered the same fate as Crash: Wrath of Cortex. A game with a lot of potential down the drain.
Tak 2 the Staff of Dreams is a step above its predecessors in several ways and fun trip back to the prehistoric period. Following the events of the first game, Tak is confined in the Dream World for 16 days, and the only way to escape such slumber is to defeat the Dream Guardian, grab hold of The Staff of Dreams, and then rescue the princess.
Despite the gameplay feeling identical to the first game, Tak 2 is still a thoroughly enjoyable 3D platformer that can be experienced today. The game will see players venture into a plethora of vivid settings, ranging from tropical forests and volcanic regions to snowy tundras and other unforgiving terrains.
And just when you thought that’s all, Tak 2 introduces the ability to interact with several animals, which will prove to be helpful to Tak in fulfilling his quest.
Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc follows the ecstatic adventures of Rayman and the players as they embark on another wild voyage. An adventure where they must confront mischievous hooligans, navigate through challenging platforming levels, interact with their surroundings and much more. While the game incorporates essential elements of the genre, Rayman 3 adds its own flavour to the formula, which is sure to leave a lasting taste. With its engaging humour, addictive gameplay, and pure fun, Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc will keep you hooked until you’ve completed it.
Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc is a shining example of how to successfully transition a series from its 2D origins to the 3D realm. Every aspect of the game exudes vibrancy, from its delightful visuals to its adrenaline-pumping gameplay, along with other elements that earn it a place among the top 3D platformers that one can relish. Oh, and the game isn’t that difficult, which is a plus.
Once you’ve fallen head over heels in love with Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc (which you undoubtedly will), it’s highly recommended that you delve into the entire franchise as well.
Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy is an incredibly underrated action-packed adventure that you won’t soon forget. Players assume the roles of two central characters: Sphinx and his mummy companion, Tutankhamen, as they cooperate to confront Evil Seth and put an end to his nefarious deeds.
Throughout the majority of the game, players guide Sphinx as he travels from one city to another, engaging in conversations with NPCs, battling monsters, and collecting items to advance further. Meanwhile, as players control the Mummy, they must solve a variety of puzzles and ultimately obtain a crucial artefact that will assist Sphinx on his quest. The game seamlessly transitions between these two characters, providing a smooth and immersive experience for players.
If you enjoy Zelda-like adventure games, Sphinx & the Cursed Mummy are pretty similar. That doesn’t mean the game is a clone by any means, though. Still, it’s a fun trip to experience.
Pitfall: The Lost Expedition marked the final chapter in the franchise before it was placed into a coma. It’s a real pity because this platformer had a lot of untapped potential. Players follow the events of Pitfall on a daring escapade on a gorgeous island teeming with wildlife, including zany monkeys, crazed villagers, and even crazier momma gorillas. As an intrepid adventurer who has crash-landed on this mysterious island, it’s up to you to unravel its many secrets.
The Lost Expedition, the sixth game in the series, marked the end of the franchise’s run before Activision abandoned it altogether. While it does deviate from some of the elements that fans of the series adored in favour of a complete 3D overhaul, it still manages to capture the crux of the originals in many ways.
If you enjoy hunting down hidden gems, Pitfall: The Lost Expedition is a game you should experience, at least once.
Wario Land 4, according to many platformers enthusiasts, is the best thing to happen to Wario. This 3D iteration, created by the renowned Japanese Treasure team, is a precious treasure for fans of Wario.
Following the enormous critical and financial triumph of Wario Land 4 on the GBA, Nintendo decided to release a new instalment titled Wario World. This game deviated from the previous 2D roots and instead adopted a 3D approach. And the results? Excellent.
Wario has returned, ready to grab and hurl his foes into oblivion, while also taunting them and reclaiming his stolen treasures. He fearlessly traverses various locales teeming with mischievous monsters, showing no hesitation even when faced with fire-breathing creatures, petrifying medusas, or towering dolls. Unlike Mario, Wario seems to be unbothered by any challenge, as he confidently asserts his superiority by defeating every enemy that crosses his path. It’s clear that he sees himself as the ultimate champion – Wario is truly number one!
Sonic Adventure 2 Battle is an upgraded version of the highly regarded Sonic Adventure 2 game that was originally released on the Dreamcast console. While the new version features some minor visual improvements, its standout feature is the addition of a multiplayer mode that allows players to engage in competitive gameplay against one another.
As you would expect from the blue hedgehog franchise, Sonic Adventure 2 Battle is an action-packed platformer with a myriad of fast-paced levels that require quick reflexes and expert timing. Although it veered from its 2D origins, the game still manages to strike goosebumps here and there into the hearts of players. Its exceptional gameplay — which sees players jumping from one corner to another, grinding rails and shooting segments —adds a refreshing twist to the classic Sonic formula.
On top of its already excellent gameplay, the game comprises an abundance of memorable soundtracks to jam to. They’re some of the best you’ll ever hear. All in all, Sonic Adventure 2 Battle is an excellent 3D platformer you shouldn’t miss.
I-Ninja can be described as a game about a small, sword-wielding ninja with a temper. The game’s plot follows the journey of this irate ninja as he embarks on a quest to collect all of the powerful Rage stones, which he needs to vanquish the evil O-Dor, the game’s primary antagonist.
At first glance, I-Ninja may appear to be a game solely targeted towards children, but in reality, the game offers some challenging platforming levels that can even test the skills of adults. The game combines elements of hacking, slashing, and platforming, along with a few mini-games.
Boasting an eclectic mix of ideas from the platforming genre, along with attractive visuals and comical cutscenes, I-Ninja is an enjoyable and often overlooked game for the Gamecube that is well worth playing. It is unfortunate that this was one of Argonaut Games’ final titles before the company’s demise.
Scooby-Doo! Night of 100 Frights’ title may lure many to believe this is a horror game, but thankfully, this is just another fantastic 3D platformer. For long-time fans, Scooby-Doo! Night of 100 Frights offers a nostalgic journey down memory lane, but for those who are new to the franchise, it serves as an excellent starting point.
Scooby’s buddies have been kidnapped by The Mastermind, and it’s up to him to rescue them by defeating over 19 former foes from his previous adventures. Boasting up to twelve levels in the game, the cowardly-yet-courageous Scooby explores numerous stages, ranging from haunted mazes, and graveyards to spooky labs. Scooby-Doo! Night of 100 Frights is a 3D platformer best played by fans of the series.
Spongebob: Battle for Bikini Bottom is a faithful emulation of the original show. Created with passion and love while carefully targeting what made the world of Spongebob so memorable. Featuring a fully original storyline, players are put in the shoes of the yellow sponge, and his heroic adventures to defend Bikini Bottom from a robotic threat.
The platforming in Battle for Bikini Bottom has aged quite well, especially when compared to its recent release on current-gen consoles. The combat on the other hand is pretty standard with Spongebob having one single combo animation that sends enemies flying. However, while the visuals may have not aged well, it’s the gameplay that will sell players over.
Dr Muto evokes every 2000s kid’s dreams at the time, to take control of a mad scientist and go on a rampant adventure. With kids at the time being inundated with classics such as Dexter’s Laboratory, the urge not to wish for an evil scientist video game was irresistible.
If you’re into such themes, Dr Muto will scratch that need. The plot puts you in the shoes of a mad scientist, who has accidentally destroyed his own home planet through a faulty experiment. In order to clean his mess, he will do anything under his belt, even if it means stealing.
With a wealth of sci-fi ideas, players and Dr Muto are able to morph into different species thanks to the Splizz Gun, along with a multitude of cool gadgets to help him get through the game. If you’re a fan of 3D platformers, Dr Muto is an excellent hidden-gem 3D platformer on the GameCube
The classic Prince of Persia trilogy on the Gamecube is the best franchise you’ll ever experience. The first game in the trilogy is a 3D reboot of the classic Prince of Persia originally released in 1989, with an abundance of groundbreaking mechanics. From the smooth parkour system, and the engaging combat system to its mind-blowing time manipulation mechanics, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time was the bomb, back then. Several decades later and the game still manages to hold up quite well among its brethren from the genre.
The second game brought an overhauled combat system, with the ability to string combos and dismember enemies with some cool finishing moves. Its plot veered from its predecessor’ light-hearted plot, and instead introduced a dark story that sees the Prince venturing to the island of time to change his fate. Little was he aware of the horrors that were awaiting him. On top of its already excellent elements, Prince of Persia: Warrior Within is regarded as one of the strongest additions to the Prince of Persia franchise.
The third game marked the final chapter in the trilogy and an epic end to the struggle against the Vizier. Despite the game’s combat feeling identical to the second game, there were a couple of stealth sequences tossed in here and there, along with quick time events. And on top of that, probably the best addition to the third game was the ability to take hold of Dark Prince. A powerful form that will help the Prince take on various foes and challenges.
That’s it for the list. Thank you for reading.
I'm just your average gamer who enjoys hunting hidden gems and underrated games. My love for Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams is like a truck and I recommend that you play it.