1. Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door
Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door is a GameCube sequel to the unique 2.5D role-playing game for the Nintendo 64. The game is zany and over-the-top and its comedy hits all the right notes throughout the charming 30-40 hour story. Thousand Year Door featured turn-based combat and perfected action elements, it was a far cry from traditional turn-based combat. The game also took advantage of the “paper” in Paper Mario, adding a ton of ways to interact with the environment – Folding into a paper airplane and gliding in the air, turning sideways to slip through narrow passages, and roll into a tube to bounce to safety. There are so many memorable moments throughout Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door, the title has yet to be trumped in this ongoing series.
2. Soul Calibur II
The original Soul Calibur raised the bar for fighting games, and the sequel somehow managed to lift it even higher. Soul Calibur II released in 2003 on the Nintendo GameCube, to major critical success, it received near perfect scores from multiple publications. Soul Calibur II had damn near perfect character balance, solid fighting mechanics, beautiful graphics, and a tons of content. Add all that up and you get a game that just can’t be trumped. There certainly hasn’t been another game in the franchise to outfight Soul Calibur II. I hope the franchise has a triumphant return on current generation consoles soon.
3. Resident Evil 4
Resident Evil 4 was a huge turning point for the series. For the first time ever, CapCom scrapped their fixed-camera angles and added a brand new, third person perspective. Over the shoulder shooting had never been done quite like this. The game perfectly blended the horror this series is known for, with an action-packed twist. Resident Evil 4 also had a insanely addicting upgrade system for the vast selection of guns you could obtain. The player feels obligated to start a New Game+ just so they could max out all of their inventory. Slap on a corny, yet intriguing story to save the President’s daughter, completely chaotic boss fights, and the head splattering Mercenaries mode, and you get a damn near perfect game.
Honorable Mention 1 – Sonic Adventure 2: Battle
Prepare for a bold statement that plenty of gamers will disagree with; The last true gems of the Sonic The Hedgehog series were the Adventure games (Sonic Adventure DX: Director’s Cut, Sonic Adventure 2: Battle). Obviously, an argument could be made for Generations, Colors, and some spin-off titles. But the Adventure era of Sonic was the best, in my opinion. The gameplay was intuitive, the music was zany, weird, and for the most part, loved — and most important of all, there were Chao’s! (Seriously Sega, bring back Chao’s) I know I’m probably in the minority on this one, so I left it off my main list.
Honorable Mention 2 – Mario Kart: Double Dash!!
Mario Kart: Double Dash!! added a kart full of nuance to the series. For the first (and only) time in the franchise there was the inclusion of two riders per kart, adding a whole new dynamic to this kart racer’s gameplay. Double Dash!! also featured 20 characters to choose from (unique special moves for most of them), 16 player races using LAN connection, and a boatload of other enticing features. I think Mario Kart 8 is the better game pound for pound, as it took the series to greater heights with its anti-gravity mechanics and lush HD presentation, but I couldn’t go without mentioning Double Dash!!.
So what do you think? Do you think these games will ever be trumped? Do you think they already have been? Leave all your thoughts in the comments below or on our social media page!
Brett Medlock is one of our leads on video production here at Enthusiast Gaming. He’s obsessed with action-adventure games, platinum trophies, and K-pop. To hear more about how lame he is, follow him on Twitter @brettnll