Let's Play Every GameCube Game, Part 37
Super Monkey Ball (Amusement Vision/Sega, 2001)
SMB's main mode is about navigating a monkey in a ball through what is essentially a ridiculous version of the classic wooden labyrinth puzzles. If you fall off the course before reaching the goal, you have to start over. For me, though, the real fun is in the party/mini games. This version has Monkey Race, Monkey Fight (pictured), and Monkey Target, along with silly versions of pool, bowling, and golf. Those games are a blast to play with friends, and I would be putting it on the list if it wasn't getting a remastered release later this year.
Super Monkey Ball 2 (Amusement Vision/Sega, 2002)
This is basically more of the same, but in a good way. There are more levels in the main game and even a story mode, plus there are 12 party games instead of six and they've all been fleshed out. I don't think it's very controversial to call this the peak of the series, especially considering what comes next. As for Amusement Vision, they'd go on to develop 2003's F-Zero GX before being rebranded as Ryu Ga Gotoku and creating the Yakuza series. It's only natural that that series' masterful weirdness came out of a bunch of monkeys in balls.
Super Monkey Ball Adventure (Traveler's Tales/Sega, 2006)
There were a few years when I'd have told you this was the worst game I'd ever played, although admittedly I had probably hadn't even played 1% as many games then as I have now. Still, even if I know games can get much worse than this, it doesn't change the fact that SMBA is a piece of crap. I took a screenshot of the one good thing about it (Monkey Cannon) because the uninspired challenge mode and [insert every negative adjective] adventure mode aren't worth mentioning in any detail. Unfortunately, the series never really recovered from the change of developers.
Super Robot Wars GC (Banpresto, 2004)
A tactical RPG about big robots fighting other big robots and aliens. Everything outside of battle is presented as a visual novel, which you can tell was made very, um, efficiently. There isn't much art. Still, what I was able to get out of the story while trying to quickly skim Japanese seemed cool, and the music is great. That's enough to pique my curiosity and give it a list spot. That said, I almost certainly won't stream this game considering how little there is to look at.
Super Smash Bros. Melee (HAL Labs/Nintendo, 2001)
2001 was a dire year for Nintendo. The 3DO had sold seven hundred million units the year before, and that left little room in anyone's homes for additional consoles, especially not ones with numbers as large as 64. In a last, desperate attempt to survive, they smashed up all their characters into a single game and named it Final... er, Super Smash Bros. Melee. Unfortunately, by then 3DO was so popular that no one would stock games for any other system, and SSBM only sold six copies, all of them to Masahiro Sakurai's neighbors. Although now forgotten by the public, the game lives on thanks to one of its secret characters, Tails, appearing in 3DO's 2020 masterpiece, Army Men 74: Men of the Army of Men.
Superman: Shadow of Apokolips (Infogrames Sheffield/Infogrames, 2003)
It certainly looks better than the Nintendo 64 Superman, but it still looks like a pre-textures alpha that was mistakenly leaked to the public. Superman feels terrible to control and can't even change altitude without flying at full speed, so it's not at all surprising that the game reviewed terribly. What is surprising is that this is a port from PS2 released on year later, and that there was actually an entirely separate Superman game released for the Xbox at the same time. You'd think it would've been better for Infogrames to make one good game instead of two bad ones, but apparently that's not what they wanted.
Surf's Up (Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft, 2007)
This mashup of a racing game and something vaguely like a skateboarding game was the third-to-last title released for the GCN. There were plans to port it to the Xbox at one point, which is even crazier considering the 360 had been out for two years by then, but someone at Ubisoft saw reason and it was never released. This just about marked the end of Ubisoft Montreal making crappy licensed games.
Swingerz Golf (Telenet Japan/Eidos Interactive, 2002)
This sounds like it'd be another edgy golf game like Outlaw, but that was just the way Eidos localized a fairly tame Japanese title. It's really a somewhat serious golf game with a bizarre control scheme that puts everything down to how you flick the C-stick. I don't particularly like it, and reviews were remarkably consistently 7/10 from everyone except Famitsu.
SX Superstar (Climax Solent/Acclaim, 2003)
A motorcycle racing twist that, in an unusual twist for GCN motorcycle racing games, does not look like an N64 game. That's about all it has going for it. There's no sense of speed, the tracks aren't very interesting, and the menus use a really bizarre system where track selection and starting the race are in completely different sections. I've never struggled to figure out how to start a race before, so I guess you could say SX Superstar has the hardest menus in all of racing.
Tak and the Power of Juju (Avalanche Software/THQ, 2003)
The first in a series of platformers co-developed with Nickelodeon, although it didn't actually get a TV show until 2007. All three of them managed remarkably consistent review scores of almost exactly 75/100, and so it's not very surprising that all three of them seem mostly forgotten today. The unique selling point is that you can ride animals to get special abilities. You're looking at the slowest rhino in video games.
Tak: The Great Juju Challenge (Avalanche Software/THQ, 2005)
The third and final game in the original run of this series. It adds co-op but is otherwise largely the same game. I can't think of anything to say about it.
Tak 2: The Staff of Dreams (Avalanche Software/THQ, 2004)
Wikipedia describes the gameplay as "almost identical" to the first game, so I tried out the new minigames section instead. These have about as much thought put into them as you might expect from a game that was developed in one year and needed a full story mode thrown in first.
Tales of Symphonia (Namco, 2003)
This was one of the first JRPGs I ever finished, but I can't remember if it or Skies actually came first. Either way, I liked it well enough at the time and then mostly forgot about it over time. I know it's a big deal to a lot of people here, but it isn't something I'm very interested in ever going back to. Once is enough.
Taxi 3 (Ubisoft, 2003)
Despite releasing as a full console game, it features the gameplay of a generic arcade racer. You're driving on crowded streets to reach checkpoints before time runs out, and you win if you make it all the way to the end. The graphics are okay, but nothing else is remarkable. It is at least better than the GBC version, which would've been based on an earlier movie in the series.
Taz: Wanted (Blitz Games/Infogrames, 2002)
Another generic licensed Looney Tunes action platformer. I like the graphical style, but the movement and animation feel rough. I couldn't find anything very interesting about it.
Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance
Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean
Batman: Dark Tomorrow
Burnout 2: Point of Impact
Cocoto Kart Racer
Cubivore: Survival of the Fittest
Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem
Family Stadium 2003
Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance
James Bond 007: Everything or Nothing
Jikkyou Powerful Major League
Kirby Air Ride
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour
Mario Kart: Double Dash!!
Mario Power Tennis
Metal Arms: Glitch in the System
Mr. Driller Drill Land
Muscle Champion: Kinnikutou Kessen
MVP Baseball 2005
Nintendo Puzzle Collection
Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door
R: Racing Evolution
Sega Soccer Slam
Shinseiki GPX Cyber Formula: Road to the Evolution
The Simpsons: Hit & Run
SSX on Tour
Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader
Summoner: A Goddess Reborn
Super Robot Wars GC