- Developer: Silicon Knights
- Release: 2002
That Eternal Darkness managed to do what it did without seeming enormously contrived is absolutely amazing. What other horror game has ever managed to mess with your head like this, lying at you and mocking you, using the medium against you, without breaking the suspense and tension that terrify you in the first place? Few have even tried, and yet Eternal Darkness steals your items, feeds you misleading messages, pretends to kill you, skews your camera angle and messes up your sound without breaking your involvement. It is often genuinely frightening in a way that no other game manages, and juggles its innovative scare techniques with its multiple playable characters impressively. And, on top of all that, it manages to weave an intricate and well-told yarn.
What we said: "There isn't much else like Eternal Darkness, and though it might have felt that way for a bit, I'm not losing my mind."
- Developer: Amusement Vision
- Release: 2003
By far the best racer on the GameCube, F-Zero GX is also probably the best-looking game on the system. The trademarks of the series are all present and correct: enormous high speeds, severe difficulty and extreme risk. It's an insanely exciting game that will have you turning blue towards the end of a race as you hold your breath before the finish, which usually ends in explosions. I can't really think of a reason not to own it, especially now that the Wii will let you see it in sort-of-HD without your having to spend GBP 60 on the rare GameCube component cables.
What we said: "Any game that can inspire the kind of blind obsession that has you glued to the gamepad for five straight hours playing the same track, heart rate at 140, pupils dilated, quit/restart technique perfected, is alright by us."
Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles
- Developer: Square-Enix
- Release: 2004
This is the first of three brilliant multiplayer games on this list involving those damned GBA cables. It was such a good idea, but the amount of money and planning involved in actually playing games like this and Zelda: Four Swords really put people off. Hopefully forthcoming Wii versions will solve everything with wireless transfer. Anyway! Crystal Chronicles. Shite with one player, brilliant with four - and just like in 2004, that's the main obstacle to enjoying it these days. Under the right conditions, it's a superb and fiendish combination of competitive and co-operative as every player balances their desire for loot against the Good of the Team, arguing over who has to carry the magic bucket and sending trinkets flying across the map in a mad rush to possess them. It's full of potential mischief - you'll spend half your time supporting your team-mates and half your time trying to set them on fire, much like in Four Swords, but where it differs from Nintendo's own multiplayer masterpiece is in its genuine RPG depth. It's definitely a Squenix game, with all the depth and excellent production values that entails - Crystal Chronicles still looks absolutely gorgeous today. If you're one of the approximately 30 million Final Fantasy fans who never played Crystal Chronicles, then go! Now's your chance!
What we said: "A superb game; one of the best action RPGs we've played in a long time."
- Developer: n-Space
- Release: 2005
Look, shut up about Geist, alright? Poor Geist. I get quite defensive about it. As an FPS it was admittedly pretty terrible, but as most people could see (except those at the magazine I was working for at the time), it deserved attention because as a slightly puzzly first-person adventure it actually had quite a lot going on. The game sees you - the spirit of a soldier - trapped inside a sinister research facility, and the only way to get out lies in figuring out how to scare people and animals into submission in order to take possession of them. After a few hours and a few awful shooty sections (including, lamentably, a Motorbike Sequence), it becomes a varied and intriguing game - you feel like the ultimate infiltrator, lurking invisible, making giant cranes go mental at passing soldiers and freaking people out in increasingly imaginative, complex ways. Geist doesn't quite pull off what it tries to do, but it is interesting, and that's what we're about here. Nobody else has even attempted this, and the fact that it appeared relatively late in the GameCube's life meant that it faded quickly into undeserved obscurity.
What we said: Fairly good things - Kristan understood!