Prepare for turn-based battle antics as we look at the best GameCube RPGs of all time!
When it comes to RPGs, the GameCube has a varied and exciting collection of fantasy titles at its disposal. It’s no secret that I’m pretty biased when it comes to Nintendo’s purple powerhouse, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed geeking out over the titles in the list below.
But what makes a good RPG adventure? Is it the fighting elements, the tactical brain-ticklers, or the memorable locations and storylines?
To be honest, the titles in the list of the best GameCube RPGs below are full to the brim with all three. We love RPGs, and like a baker knows good Sourdough, we like to think that we know good role-playing classics.
So, without further ado, let’s grab our shields and head for the nearest dungeon; it’s time to save the world!
Tales of Symphonia kicks off our list of the best GameCube RPGs in style. It’s one of the most vibrant games on the GameCube and a must have for fans of PSO, Fire Emblem, and pretty much every other RPG in the list below!
Symphonia is the 5th ‘Tales of’ title in the series and incorporates some epic characters that both fans and newcomers to the series just can’t help but love. With hints of Holy Magic Century meets skies of Arcadia, its a great first title for anyone wanting to get into the classic RPG scene.
So what’s the score in Tales of Symphonia? Well, players take control of a gallant fighter named Lloyd. I know that Lloyd isn’t the most ‘RPG’ name going, but look how badass Keith Courage is. Never judge a fighter by his or her plain name!
Lloyd is on a mission to save Sylvarant from the forces of evil, but every good deed he and his friends carry out in this world puts a parallel world in even greater peril!
Explore the beautifully textured overworld and delve into dangerous dungeons as you traverse the world of Sylvarant. If you’re looking for immersive games to get lost in, then look no further!
Well… do look further as I’ve written a whole article for you below. It’d be a shame to waste it!
Harvest Moon: Magical Melody takes the 9th spot on this list of the best GameCube RPGs of all time. It’s a farm-based role-playing game that fans of Animal Crossing will instantly gel with.
Ever wondered what it’s like to look after a farm? If you’re a farmer, then probably not. But for many of us, the idea of looking after animals and growing crops is something we’ve never experienced.
Players control a boy or girl farmer and compete against a rival farm for agricultural glory. Ok, it’s mainly about the looking after animals part, but showing that idiot rival how to grow the best radishes at the local festival is sure to wipe a smile off his stupid face…
… wow, that got real pretty quick!
Let’s give you some context as to what’s going on in this game. The Harvest Goddess has suddenly turned to stone. What’s more, it’s up to you to save the day by finding all the Harvest Sprites.
Do you reckon farming is this stressful in real life?
By running the farm successfully, befriending animals, and beating that cretin rival in competitions, gamers can collect Musical Notes that bring the Harvest Sprites back to town. They must have taken a leaf out of Banjo and Kazooie’s book..
Marry a spouse (one of 10), be a farming boss, and live out your days in comfort in this classic Farm SIM game!
Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance takes the 8th slot in this list of the best GameCube RPGs of all time! It’s only the 3rd Fire Emblem title that us Western gamers managed to get our hands on and a classic adventure that everyone should own.
As the 9th game in the series overall, it’s probably not that special to Japanese gamers. Still, only having had two titles before Path of Radiance and this being the first home console title too, I couldn’t believe how epic it was.
Gamers with a mind for strategy and a penchant for moving figures around a map with a pencil will feel right at home here. It’s like Stratego, Chess, and Risk combined, all with a generous helping of D&D fantasy for good measure.
The first 3D Fire Emblem game certainly didn’t disappoint. Set in the Beorc nation of Daein, the storyline is as brilliant as it is longwinded and features characters with epic RPG names such as Ashnard and Elincia.
Thanks to Game of Thrones, everyone in real life has a name like this these days.
Ike, our sword-wielding protagonist, is a firm favourite for Super Smash Bros fans. With his group in tow, Ike must tactically destroy evil forces while solving brain-melting puzzles along the way.
Interact with characters, recruit fighters, and fill all your pockets with as many collectibles as you can virtually carry. It’s RPG goodness from beginning to end!
Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance is like every Dungeons and Dragons campaign my nerdy mate Josh writes but in video-game format. That might not mean a lot to you, but he looks like an orc and often wears a cape which might give you more context.
Anyone who loves magic, demons, and the slashing of steel will love Baldur’s Gate. and it’s more like D&D than you might think. It’s actually based on ‘The Realms’ setting of the Dungeons and Dragons franchise and uses the rules from the D&D third edition.
Surely it should be called ‘Baldur’s Gate & Dragons’ or something terribly original instead?
The first BG game for home consoles is moody, thrilling, and filled with epic magical elements and hack/slash game mechanics.
As with all the best RPGs, players can pick and customise a character of their choice. Its a real-time adventure that sees fighters battling at Baldur’s Gate to stop the forces of evil from conquering yet another peaceful world.
Play co-op or go solo in this fantastic tale of magic and might. It’s a cracking title and one that certainly deserves to be in this list of the best GameCube RPGs of all time!
Skies of Arcadia is a breathtaking game crammed with pretty much all of my favourite things. We’re talking huge monsters, spaceships, and a soundtrack that gets me ready for adventure every time!
Many gamers first came to this title back on the Dreamcast. The GameCube version is more of a beefed up directors cut with shorter loading times, more content, and new features.
Skies of Arcadia boasts some bad-ass weaponry too. Add the open-world gameplay that we take for granted these days, and you’ve got one amazing title that is seriously hard to put down.
So, I mentioned that this was a sort of directors cut edition. Well, the GameCube port is more detailed and has a much better frame rate. The developers even put new side quests in to entice Dreamcast fans to buy the updated version.
Anyone who’s played both versions will agree that the fewer random encounters with enemies in Legends is much more manageable. Impromptu battles are great, but bring stopped every few paces gets tiring very quickly.
It’s why we all hate Viridian Forest!
With downloadable content already in the game and the VMU features displayed on screen, Legends is more of a ‘no nonsense’ version of Skies of Arcadia. It features all of the same amazing storyline elements and gameplay, which I realise I haven’t spoken about at all…
Still, they’ll be a surprise once you grab a copy of your own!
We’re no stranger to LucasArts and their epic back catalogue of games. Gladius remains one of the best GameCube RPGs on the console and an absolute treat to play, especially for die-hard nerds like us.
How many games do you know of where players train a bunch of gladiators to destroy opponents for eternal glory? I mean, that line alone should sell this game without any more effort on my part!
The game focuses on one of two schools; a gladiator training school in Imperia, Italy, where recruits want their faces on lunchboxes and t-shirts, and a school in Nordagh, supposedly a Nordic-based country, which has a heavy fantasy vibe. Each school hates the other, so there’s no chances of an inter-school bake off…
Play focuses on different members of your chosen school group. The choices of one gladiator affect the group as a whole.
For those who like travel but don’t like leaving the sofa, this game takes you from Italy all the way to Asia and is filled with stunning visuals dripping in both history and mythology.
TLDR; LucasArts know their stuff.
In a twist to the usual turn-based RPG action, each character fights with a swing bar. It’s the same kind of thing that you might find in Mario Golf or Monkey Ball and signifies how accurate each blow is. You gotta’ be quick on the trigger to score those big kills, otherwise you’ll end up dead and buried!
Collect new armour and materials, recruit mythical beasts such as Yetis into your party, and slay everything in sight. Job done.
Lost Kingdoms takes the 4th spot in this list of the best GameCube RPGs of all time!
Fans of Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh will love the card based collecting and monster summoning in this game. Players take Princess Katia around lots of fantasy locations in this classic RPG, battling and capturing weird and wonderful monsters along the way.
Honestly, this game is so underrated. None of my mates had a clue what Lost Kingdoms even was when I first got hold of it, but they soon all had it in their collections after playing it for the first time.
Argwyll is under attack from a terrible entity, and Princess Katia is the only one that can restore the balance of peace. She can’t fight, but she can use guardian beasts and demons to bring her own brand of swift justice.
Summoning creatures in this game never gets old, and the various elemental characteristics such as fire beating wood but not water keeps gamers on their toes.
There is plenty for players to uncover in this game and lots of exciting locations to discover. Play solo or battle a mate to see who controls the most powerful monster horde!
Anyone looking forward to the upcoming Pokemon Legends Arceus open-world game should check out Pokemon Colosseum! This RPG adventure manages to take everything we love from the Pokemon Gameboy titles and rearrange it into a new and exciting formula.
We’ve all tried to catch another trainer’s Pokemon for fun and seen the message telling us off. Well, in Pokemon Colosseum, catching other people’s Pokemon is the aim of the game, or rather freeing them and nabbing them for yourself is!
Gamers control Wes, a reformed member of the villainous ‘Team Snagem’. He’s left the group, but he still has their snagging device and is now using it to free trapped Shadow Pokemon rather than snagging Pokemon for Snagem and their snagging ways…
… the word ‘snag’ doesn’t even seem like a real world after writing it so many times!
At first glance, it’s easy to think that Colosseum is a direst sequel to Pokemon Stadium. While it has battle elements, this new title is more like the original RPG games with a strong adventure element and lots of places to explore.
Still, the Colosseum is probably the most famous battle stadium of all time, so it certainly fits in line with its predecessor!
Players can only catch Shadow Pokemon from other trainers. These are Pokemon that have had their hearts closed off from the world, and Wes is on a mission to free their tortured souls! What a hero!
Transfer Pokemon with a Link Cable from Ruby and Saphire and take part in quick-fire battles with mates to prove who is the best trainer!
Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door takes the 2nd spot in our list of the best GameCube RPGs of all time. It’s the very first Paper Mario title that I ever completed and I couldn’t get enough of it!
Some people still find it amusing that Mario has his own RPG series, but they’re the ones missing out. Ever since Super Mario RPG, Mazza has proven that he can hold his own amongst all the great Final Fantasy and Fire Emblem titles!
We’re used to Mario doing all manor of things, and the clever design of a flat dude in a 3D world makes our plumber pal even more impressive. The levels are all superbly colourful and, although simple in design, are filled with secrets to uncover.
The huge battles in this game are what makes it so damn exciting to play, as are all Mario’s abilities! Being paper thin means he can glide like a plane and slide through cracks into hidden areas!
Back in 2005, The Thousand Year door won best RPG. The turn-based battles are choc-a-bloc with memorable Mario moments and familiar enemies, as well as new baddies to face off against like the Xnauts.
The premise of the game; save Peach. When it is never about saving Peach!
As someone who firmly believes that LOTR is a real-life documentary and not a fictional movie, The Lord of the Rings: The Third Age had to top this list of the best GameCube RPGs.
Ok, so I know it’s not really real, but it’s my favourite story of all time. The books are fantastic, the movies are epic, and this game is a true fantasy-fest from start to finish.
RPG games set in new universes are always exciting, but experiencing turn-based battles in Tolkien’s world could well be the greatest experience in gaming history.
So what makes The Lord of the Rings: The Third Age such a great game and the best GameCube RPG? Well, players follow the same path as the Fellowship characters while battling through new areas along the way.
Gamers even get the chance to play through pivotal scenes in the film too, taking part in some of the major battles and iconic scenes.
And the best bit; you can choose to either save Middle Earth or destroy it! Fight under Sauron’s command or battle for the free peoples of Middle Earth. Everyone likes fighting as evil people sometimes; Darth Vader is still the best character in any Star Wars game!
Battle the Balrog, hold Helm’s Deep, and take part in the greatest story ever told!