Kimiko Kidd
No Comments

4 of the Best Retro Racing Games on the Nintendo GameCube

Decrease Font Size Increase Font Size Text Size Print This Page
Nintendo Gamecube
Photo: Ian Muttoo

While the GameCube era was a bit of an awkward time for Nintendo, there’s no denying this purple plastic block offered some true classics. Here’s a look back at the GameCube’s finest high-octane thrills.

Burning Rubber is More Fun in Real Life: Get some high-quality new tires

Kirby Air Ride

Okay, it’s not a traditional racing game. But if you can look past the game’s unconventional trappings, you just might discover a weirdly addictive, genre-bending experience. The game features a robust achievement system that keeps you coming back for more, along with what I consider the meat of the game — City Trial mode. This mode drops you into a large map (by 2003 standards), and challenges you to find stat boosters and vehicle upgrades. After a set amount of time, you’ll get to race your custom car against CPUs or your friends. Plus, the game only uses a fraction of the GameCube controller’s buttons, so it’s easy enough for younger players to understand. Just don’t put the little ones in control of the Hydra. They’ll pilot that thing straight into a wall.

F-Zero GX

F-Zero GX was a wildly intense racer powered by the same game engine behind Super Monkey Ball. Even though F-Zero GX was made by Sega, a third party developer, it did an excellent job building upon the series’ established mechanics. This entry set itself apart with a nine-chapter story mode, complete with various missions, as well as a garage mode that allowed you to customize your machine. Plus, if you had a cheating device, you could access a bunch hidden, fully playable content, including tracks, characters and vehicles. And just as you’d expect from an F-Zero game, the soundtrack absolutely slaps.

Mario Kart: Double Dash!!

Double Dash put an interesting spin on the traditional Mario Kart formula. As the name suggests, two characters ride on each Kart. One player can control both characters, or you can get a buddy to man the back seat and dish out items when needed. Plus, the game boasted a ton of character-specific powerups, which meant you’d have to put a little more strategy into picking your racers. Oh, and when Mario says, “I’m the winner!” after a victory, it sounds more like “I’m the wiener!” That never fails to bring out my inner fifth grader.

Modern Classics: Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles

Need for Speed: Underground 2

Long before EA betrayed us with its money-grubbing “surprise mechanics,” it gave us a number of classics, including Need for Speed: Underground 2. It’s hard to deny that NFSU2 is an arcade racer on steroids — but that’s not a bad thing, by any stretch of the imagination. On top of its simple-but-satisfying gameplay loop, it boasts a ton of customization options, surprisingly tough AI opponents, impressive physics, and a huge city to explore (again, by 2003 standards.) It even features over 30 licensed cars and SUVs.