Pros: Plenty of great-looking, fun-to-play racing and driving games were made for the GameCube. And many extant Nintendo Wii console models (manufactured before October 2011) are fully backward-compatible with GameCube games, controllers and memory cards.
Cons: Later Wii console models (introduced after September 2011) are not backward-compatible with GameCube games, controllers and cards.
Preface (Feel free to skip ahead to the list of games.)
Now, despite my owning numerous GameCube games, I’ve never owned or played an original GameCube console. And, frankly, I have mixed feelings about that thing’s outer appearance. On the one hand, I (generally) respect Nintendo’s longstanding willingness to introduce innovatory products – in this instance a console that’s not only shaped unconventionally but also plays unusually small-diameter game discs. On the other hand, that “cube” – especially when sporting its primary purplish (so-called Indigo) hue – strikes me as something befitting a toddler’s playroom, not a grownup’s game room. [That said, I’ll grant that a GameCube does look a bit less childish when wearing Jet Black or Platinum.]
Anyway, I bought my first Nintendo Wii console in January 2010; and I wasted no time taking advantage of that system’s backward compatibility with GameCube game discs, memory cards, and wired controllers. Moreover, I replaced my Wii console’s standard “composite” video cable with a third-party “component” cable – which (connected to my Samsung LCD TV) quite noticeably improved the on-screen appearance of not only Wii games but also GameCube games.
Though I’m also a fan of such video-game genres as arcade, shmups, and sports, my favorite genre – by far – is “racing and driving.” And I’m pleased that a respectable number of such titles were released for the GameCube during its “heyday” (if that word even applies to a console whose market share distantly trailed that of the competing PS2). I ended up buying 38 GameCube racing/driving games; and I would’ve bought still more had I not opted to get certain cross-platform titles in original–Xbox, Xbox 360, or PS2 format.
With those 38 GameCube discs plus 25 Wii racing/driving discs, my original-Wii console continues to deliver its share of fun whenever I’m taking a break from my much larger Xbox and PlayStation collections.
During the months when I was painstakingly building my American video games collections, I felt continually frustrated by the most widely disseminated, incomplete lists of “racing” titles for this or that particular system. Thus I hope my below — presumably comprehensive — list of recommendable GameCube racing/driving-game titles may be of help to some fellow collectors of this genre [though it’s possible I’ve overlooked a title or two that merit inclusion].
However, note that I have three key criteria determining (or at least influencing) which GameCube racing games ended up on the below list.
First, titles like “Driver” or “Grand Theft Auto” [which I myself neither play nor collect] are primarily role-playing, not racing, games. Thus I generally don’t include such games on the list.
Second, excessively puerile/adolescent/cartoony graphics, audio or themes normally don’t appeal to this adult gamer; so, you generally won’t find such titles on the list.]
Third, if a game simply incorporates hopelessly clumsy mechanics – or glaringly ineptly rendered audio/graphics – that keep me from enjoying the overall experience, that title is anathema (Smashing Drive is a prime example). [However, there’s a gray area, insofar as my below list does encompass a small minority of “borderline-acceptable” titles that somehow manage to amuse me enough to merit inclusion.]
As I’m American, my below list predictably comprises only NTSC editions; some games may bear different titles (or perhaps weren’t released) in other world regions. [Consult Wikipedia for details.]
Finally, my intention isn’t to discuss every game below; but the simple fact that these are the titles that made my list means each somehow merits a passing grade (though in several instances just a “D”). So, use the following list judiciously, perhaps consulting pertinent reviews, articles or videos at the worthy Amazon, eBay, IGN, Wikipedia and YouTube to decide for yourself if a certain title belongs in your collection.
RECOMMENDABLE RETAIL GAMECUBE “RACING” GAMES RELEASED ON DISC IN NORTH AMERICA:
[Except where noted below, I own a GameCube-edition specimen of each of the following titles.]
(To view a picture of a particular game at Amazon, click its title.)
- 1080° Avalanche
- 18 Wheeler: American Pro Trucker
- 4×4 Evo 2
- ATV Quad Power Racing 2 [Note: I opted instead for the (Xbox 360-compatible) original-Xbox edition of this title.]
- Auto Modellista [Note: Be aware that the “car handling/steering” in this game (not only in this GameCube but also the virtually identical Xbox and PS2 editions, which I’ve likewise collected) is notoriously touchy/difficult! “Casual/occasional” gamers would do well to skip this title.]
- Burnout [Note: I opted instead for the (Xbox 360-compatible) original-Xbox edition of this title.]
- Burnout 2: Point of Impact [Note: I opted instead for the (Xbox 360-compatible) original-Xbox edition of this title.]
- City Racer
- Crazy Taxi
- Dakar 2 Rally
- Drome Racers
- Extreme-G 3
- F-Zero GX
- F1 2002
- Grooverider: Slot Car Thunder [Note: I opted instead for the (Xbox 360-compatible) original-Xbox edition of this title.]
- Hot Wheels World Race
- The Italian Job
- Jeremy McGrath Supercross World
- Kirby Air Ride
- Lotus Challenge
- Mario Kart: Double Dash!!
- Monster 4×4: Masters of Metal
- MX Superfly
- NASCAR 2005: Chase for the Cup
- NASCAR Thunder 2003
- NASCAR: Dirt to Daytona
- Need for Speed: Carbon [Note: I opted instead for the slightly graphically superior Xbox 360 edition of this game.]
- Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2 [Note: I own not only this GameCube edition but also the PS2, whose gameplay content differs somewhat.]
- Need for Speed: Most Wanted [Note: Regarding this late-2005 release, I sold my GameCube edition because I’d noticed that my Xbox 360 (likewise 2005) edition had sharper graphics. That said, this GameCube edition is still pretty nice in its own right.]
- Need for Speed Underground
- Need for Speed Underground 2
- Pac Man World Rally
- Pro Rally
- R: Racing Evolution
- Rally Championship
- Road Trip: The Arcade Edition
- Smuggler’s Run: Warzones [Note: According to IGN, Smuggler’s Run: Warzones “is basically just Smuggler’s Run 2: Hostile Territory (for PS2) with some additions and improvements.” Hence I opted to get this enhanced GameCube version and skip the PS2 release.]
- Speed Kings [Note: I opted instead for the (Xbox 360-compatible) original-Xbox edition of this title.]
- SSX 3 [Note: I opted instead for the (Xbox 360-compatible) original-Xbox edition of this title.]
- SSX Tricky
- Street Racing Syndicate [Note: I opted instead for the (Xbox 360-compatible) original-Xbox edition of this title.]
- SX Superstar [Note: I opted instead for the (Xbox 360-compatible) original-Xbox edition of this title.]
- Tube Slider
- Wave Race: Blue Storm
- XGRA: Extreme-G Racing Association
Note: The following GameCube title is somewhat more a “combat-driving” than a “racing” game; nonetheless, I like it just enough to keep it in my collection.
Also note: The following two GameCube titles [both of which I opted to get in their (Xbox 360-compatible) original-Xbox editions] are definitely more “combat-driving” than “racing” games, but they still might be of interest.
In this vein, the following GameCube title [which I opted to get in its PS2 edition] might likewise be of some interest.
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