18 Hardest Nintendo GameCube Games of All-Time

It’s possible that GameCube marks the end of the infamous “Nintendo Hard” age of how Nintendo made games.

As the company and its partners looked into new tools and ideas, making ridiculously hard games became less important.

But that doesn’t mean that the GameCube doesn’t have any really hard games.

If anything, some game designers saw changes in the industry as a chance to improve the art of making hard games, and they stepped up to the challenge by making games that would make even the most dedicated old-school gamers blush as they tried again and again to beat them.

Even though they aren’t as crazy as the hardest games of the 8-bit and 16-bit eras, the hardest GameCube games ever made show that the spirit of that time was still very much alive at the start of a new age.

18. Splinter Cell

Splinter Cell has needed a Hollywood remake for a long time, and now it’s getting one in the form of a cartoon series on Netflix.

But no version can show how hard the game really is. The game that won an award was a big hit with critics and helped build the modern stealth genre. It also had some pretty eye-catching graphics.

Even though it’s one of the best games for the GameCube, it’s also one of the hardest.

Even in normal mode, players have to sneak past dangerous enemies, which can be scary.

Splinter Cell’s hard mode, on the other hand, was impossible to beat because enemies had more health and could even survive a frag bomb to the face.

17. Metal Arms: Glitch in the System

You can always find trouble in third-person shooters.

You need skill and steel nerves to make it in the TPS scene, whether you’re playing Gears of War on the hardest setting or a high-level match of Fortnite.

Metal Arms: Glitch in the System is one of the hardest games for the GameCube. It plays a lot like Ratchet & Clank, but without the Lombax or the fact that it’s only for the PlayStation.

There are a lot of wicked tools to find here, and you’ll need everything you can get to fight the steel behemoths that make up the enemy army.

The game has some of the best gunplay on the platform, which is good news.

It’s strong and easy to understand, so all you need to do to get better at the game is play it more.

16. Geist

Geist is one of the GameCube’s most strange games.

In this mix of FPS and action-adventure, you play as a ghost who is trying to get its body back from a bad company.

As a soul without a body, you can use your skills to take over people, animals, and machines to clear a path.

Each entity you possess has its own skills that will help you go deeper into enemy land and get closer to your original body.

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Getting used to these powers is a little hard, but working out what to do next is much harder. After the first few minutes, the game doesn’t hold your hand. There’s a lot to try out as a ghost.

15. Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem

GameCube

Eternal Darkness isn’t the hardest game ever made for the GameCube, but it is one of the most unique and difficult games for the much-loved Nintendo system.

The combat system in Eternal Darkness is sometimes hard to use, and the tasks are often very hard. However, it’s the effect of the sanity system that really puts this game over the top.

Keeping your character’s sanity in check so you don’t cause one of the game’s mind-bending effects adds a layer of complexity to this underrated survival horror classic that will keep even seasoned players on their toes.

14. Super Smash Bros. Melee

Our next entry is difficult not because of what’s on the disc, but because people still play it.

Melee’s competition scene has been around the longest out of all the Super Smash Bros. games. It has outlasted even Brawl and is almost as popular as the current generation.

This is because of the game’s exact controls and lightning-fast gameplay, which let high-level players push the game to its limits with a lot of skill and practice.

This is true both in your group of friends and in competitions.

There is always at least one Melee fanatic who knows how to combo in a game with no combos and can count frames with their eyes closed.

And since some Melee games aren’t going to happen in person, there’s never been a better time to practice on your couch.

13. Tales of Symphonia

Some fans will say that Tales of Symphonia is more “complicated” than “difficult,” but that won’t help you much when you’re staring at the screen and thinking if you’re not as good at RPGs as you thought you were.

Even after you figure out the basics of Tales of Symphonia’s strange fighting system, you’ll still find yourself in fights that seem impossible to win.

In this ARPG, you can level grind your way to success, but even that won’t help if you’re brave enough to try to beat it on the hardest setting.

12. Resident Evil Zero

Resident Evil Zero’s zombie-filled game is just as hard as its predecessors, and I think it’s even harder.

The graphics and difficulty of this GameCube-only game were a step up from the last generation.

The enemies are stronger, the puzzles are more complicated, and the bosses will attack you as soon as they can.

It also has Rebecca Chambers in it. Even though she is a total badass, she is by far the cutest character in the RE series.

For someone who always plays Clerics in RPGs, it’s fun to play a tough Medic who knows how to deal damage when it matters.

Make sure to play in Hard mode for the most realistic survival experience.

11. Alien Hominid

This used to be a Flash game, but the GameCube version is basically just Metal Slug with a new skin.

That’s just another way of saying that Alien Hominid is an old-school arcade action game with one-hit kills and crazy odds, which is what we usually think of when we think of games in that style.

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Alien Hominid’s sense of humor softens some of its hardest parts, but the game’s frequent use of ridiculous “bullet hell”-style scenes will test the patience of all but the most skilled fans of this type of game.

10. Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader

Rogue Squadron II has held up better than most games over time.

From its graphics to its gameplay, no other game in this genre (especially Star Wars-themed spaceship combat games) has come close to meeting this game’s balance of intense set pieces and tight controls.

Rogue Squadron II is also just as hard now as it was when it came out almost 20 years ago.

Some of this game’s difficulty comes from the fact that its structure is sometimes hard to understand, but it’s really just a fast-paced action game that was made to test your reactions.

9. Metroid Prime 2: Echoes

The Metroid Prime saga blends the deep exploration of the original Metroid games with fast-paced shooting and bosses that are hard as nails.

In the Metroid series, it has always been hard to find your way around the game world and look for important things.

MP2: Echoes takes this challenge to a whole new level with the Dark Aether realm, where the air itself hurts your health.

It is also, hands down, one of the best games on the system. So don’t let the returning stop you from seeing this work of art if you haven’t already.

8. Baten Kaitos Origins

I really like this game’s CCG-style combat and JRPG-style graphics, but I’ve never been able to suggest it to anyone because it’s so…well, hard.

Some boss fights and enemy battles in Baten Kaitos are so hard that they might be broken.

To make things even worse, you can sometimes be “locked-in” to a fight, which makes it nearly impossible to gain more levels to make things easier.

This is why most people who play this difficult gem have more than one save file.

7. Super Mario Sunshine

Over the years, Super Mario games have changed a lot.

But some things haven’t changed since the arcade days, like how hard it is.

Everyone might like Nintendo’s main series, but if you want to clear them, let alone get 100%, you’ll need to learn a lot.

Super Mario Sunshine is the hardest 3D game, and it stands out from the rest.

It’s hard enough to get used to the FLUDD.

But when it’s taken away, the game gets hard.

This usually only happens in secret levels, but you’ll have to solve at least one platforming task on your own.

6. Mega Man Network Transmission

If I’m being honest, the only reason this game isn’t number one on this list is because it’s so annoying and cheap that I don’t think it deserves that “honor.”

The best way to explain Mega Man Network Transmission is…weird.

It’s hard in the same way that many great Mega Man games are, but the RPG and strategy systems give it a surprising amount of “randomness” that sometimes makes it almost impossible to beat the game’s often cheap enemies with just skill and reflexes.

5. Viewtiful Joe

The first Viewtiful Joe and its sequel both deserve to be on our list because of how hard it is to fight and solve problems.

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In this beautiful 2D beat-em-up, waves of enemies come after you. To stay alive, you need to be quick and focused, and I’m not talking about your VFX moves.

Even though you’ll also need those.

Even though the game is hard, it rewards you every step of the way with beautiful images, great humor, and the satisfying feeling of becoming a master 2D brawler.

I picked the second one because Sexy Silvia is in it.

She’s a lot of fun, but if you add her, you’ll need to think of even more ways to solve each problem.

4. Chaos Field

The game Chaos Field is strange. It’s basically a vertical bullet hell shooter where the only thing you do is fight bosses.

Basically, it’s a bullet hell shooter that takes you from the hardest part of an especially hard genre to the hardest part of another especially hard genre with not much room to breathe in between.

This isn’t the best bullet hell shooter ever, but it is one of the most punishing games in the genre.

This game is so hard that anyone who owns a GameCube and thinks they have a chance of beating it has worn it as a badge of honor for a long time.

3. Super Monkey Ball 2

Some of the hardest games are the ones that you can’t really get ready for with other games.

Even though the first Super Monkey Ball set the stage for the second one, even the biggest fans of the first one weren’t quite ready for the hard spikes and Master stages in this game.

When you enter a new room in a Portal game, do you ever think, “How am I supposed to do this?”?

Super Monkey Ball 2 has a lot of these situations, but the big change is that you not only have to find the best way to move forward, but you also have to do everything perfectly to get to the exit.

This one stands out because it is both challenging to think about and well-made.

2. Ikaruga

If Ikaruga isn’t developer Treasure’s best work, I’d say it’s the game I can point to when I want to show what makes them different from almost every other studio that has ever worked in this business.

It’s a masterpiece of a bullet hell shooter that combines lightning-fast reactions with a puzzle-like way to avoid bullets that forces you to think on your feet at all times.

Even though Ikaruga is hard, I wouldn’t go so far as to say that the game is unfair.

Instead, it’s meant to put you in that “zone” that fans of hard games always look for when they take on another task that seems impossible.

1. F-Zero GX

Anyone who knows anything about the GameCube’s games should not be surprised by the first spot.

The phrase “Nintendo hard” has always been linked to the F-Zero series.

But GX was so hard that even long-time fans were surprised.

The controls in F-Zero GX are very accurate, but you have to learn how to use them.

Due to the game’s fast speeds and hard turns, you’ll need a lot of practice just to finish your first race.

But if you take your time with this game, you’ll find one of the best racing games ever made.