Alphabest: GameCube – B

Alphabest: GameCube – B

At first I was pleased to see there were plenty of B games for the GameCube from which to draw up a decent list, but it quickly became apparent that quantity does not guarantee quality. Let us examine why, yes?


I shall start with the traditional Sportscull(TM): Backyard Baseball, Backyard Baseball 2007 and Backyard Football join The Baseball 2003 in the Sportsbin(TM), never to be played – or even seen – ever again. Good riddance!

Since I’m an environmentalist, I do like to sort my rubbish into the correct refuse receptacles, so the LicencedTrash(TM) Bin has been deployed to contain a crappy array of Bratz, Barnyard, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Bionicle, Bad Boys, Beyblade (whoooo?) and Batman titles. May the Lord have mercy on their terrible, terrible code.

Actually, Batman: Rise of Sin Tsu is supposedly quite decent, but “quite decent” don’t cut it for Alphabest. Not unless it’s letters like Q or U, anyway. Shudder.

A handful of Bomberman games exist for the GameCube, but somehow none of them are even close to being as good as the 16-bit titles in the series. Heck, some aren’t even proper Bomberman games – Bomberman Generation is closer to Pokémon!

Battalion Wars was a disappointing followup to Advance Wars for the Game Boy Advance, being superficially similar but playing out as a real time strategy game rather than turn based, which ruined it for me.

A few games that I understand are generally well liked include the RPGs Baten Kaitos and its sequel, BloodRayne, and Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance. I can’t comment on them personally however, as I’ve never played them. I did try to play Baten Kaitos, but because Amazon were useless with GameCube pre-orders I never got my copy. Boo.

Finally, before the Top Picks, a pair of pretty well known games that won’t be making it past this point. First up is BMX XXX, a nudity filled, expletive ridden followup to Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX. Imagine Tony Hawk, on a bike, and a stripclub, and you’re mostly there. It wasn’t a terrible BMX game, but BMX games aren’t as good as skating games and the “adults only” nature of this one only made things worse.

Then there’s Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg, or What Yuji Naka Did Next And Why The Hell Didn’t Anyone Stop Him Oh God. A twee platformer with a great graphical style and premise – and some very special music – utterly ruined by awful gameplay and an even worse camera. Rolling around on an egg doesn’t get much worse than this.

Which leaves:

burnout2Burnout 2 is the reason I bought an Xbox. You may be wondering why I’m mentioning that in a GameCube article, especially when I already owned a GameCube when the game came out, but the reason was the online leaderboards. However, even without them, Burnout 2 is a fantastic racing game, and more importantly, Crash Mode (where you crash into traffic to cause as much damage as possible) is one of the best modes in any game ever made. It’s worth buying just for that.

beach spikersBeach Spikers may “just” be a beach volleyball game, but it’s the most fun volleyball game. Seemingly based on the engine for Virtua Tennis, so you know the technical side is up to scratch, it’s fast, fluid and hilarious when you create your own pair of butch women and call them Richard and Judy then take them to the finals. Or is that just me?

beyond good and evilBeyond Good & Evil is a Zelda-like arcade adventure, with a fantastic game world and cast of characters. It has a cult following, and every so often rumours surface about a much hoped for sequel, but as I write one has yet to appear. It’s a game I really enjoyed but sadly never finished – I’d imported it and Freeloader (which I used to play it) caused it to crash at the same point every time. That and one of the stealth sections was too hard.

And the Alphabest?

All three titles listed are excellent, but all have slight flaws that stop them being perfect. Burnout 2 has no online, Beach Spikers is a bit shallow, and Beyond Good & Evil has frustrating stealth bits. Choosing the best is a hard task, but in the end, I’ve gone for Burnout 2.

Not so much for the racing, which is great and the speed of the game is up to eye-bleeding on the scale, but for Crash Mode which I mentioned above. Endlessly playable and always hilarious. They did release a variation on the mode as a standalone game on later consoles, but it never captured just what was so right about the mode in Burnout 2.

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