Despite being marketed as a more family-friendly console of the early to mid 2000s, the Nintendo GameCube arguably had the creepiest horror games around. Some of them may not be directly horror but they have enough horror elements about them to make them adjacent to the genre.
However, there are multiple genuine horror titles that can be played on the GameCube. These range from entries in the long-running Resident Evil franchise to a few gems that were released exclusively for the console and all were scarier than you might expect on a kid-friendly system.
Monster House (2006)
For what was advertised as a fun family romp, Monster House was shockingly dark and disturbing. This translates to the video game based on the film, forcing the players to explore the possessed house.
Armed with water guns, it is still mostly a game for children but thanks to the twisted scenery that is literally trying to harm the player and spawn enemies, it’s easy to see why some kids would be scared.
Luigi’s Mansion (2001)
It is a game about Mario’s beloved little brother Luigi so obviously, Luigi’s Mansion is not going to cause night terrors. However, Luigi’s Mansion is still one of the darker entries in the Mario universe. Luigi encounters ghosts that are genuinely eerie and the titular mansion itself gives off a horror atmosphere that neither sequel has managed to replicate.
That atmosphere is what helps in making Luigi exploring the mansion, solving puzzles, and busting ghosts in a fashion similar to Resident Evil so memorable. When Luigi encounters and learns about the more unique ghosts, things become disturbing. For example, there is an actual ghost of a baby and that alone is dark and twisted.
The Haunted Mansion (2003)
It may have the Disney logo and be for the whole family but much like the Disneyland ride it is based on, The Haunted Mansion has many genuine frights to bestow. In a lot of ways, The Haunted Mansion is essentially a rip-off of Luigi’s Mansion with more combat but that’s not inherently a bad thing.
With the same type of rich atmosphere, puzzles, and grim grinning ghosts coming to socialize, there is a lot of spooky fun to be had with The Haunted Mansion. Similar to the Pirates Of The Caribbean franchise, it is a solid attempt to turn a classic Disneyland ride into an experience for the family.
Blood Omen 2 (2002)
Blood Omen 2 continued to showcase the titular Kain himself as a playable character, this time in a gothic Victorian-like city within the Nosgoth universe. The dark and gothic setting drips with an atmosphere that makes the player feel as if they are in a classic Universal monster movie.
The horror more comes from Kain himself with his many bloody and gory abilities as a vampire which combined with the tone and setting lend themselves to a memorable vampire game.
Resident Evil 0 (2002)
Resident Evil 0 is both a prequel as well as a parallel story to the first Resident Evil. While it may not be as good as its precursors, Resident Evil 0 still manages to bring back the claustrophobic horror of the original. The train setting allows for a different experience, making exploration even more cramped than before.
The swapping between characters leads to Resident Evil 0 being one of the harder games in the Resident Evil franchise. but that also adds to the tension. The biggest misstep for this prequel was that it featured one of the weakest villains in the series, but that hardly ruins what is a solid survival horror game.
There is a good chance that most have never heard of this game. Geist is a unique first-person shooter that has the player controlling a ghost that can possess any enemy. It’s mostly a gory action game when it comes to fighting human characters but other supernatural creatures make Geist scarier than expected.
Horror is actually a gameplay mechanic since enemies and other characters can only be possessed when they are scared. As a result, there is a charm to creating scares to put them into a frightened state. Geist can best be described as a mix of F.E.A.R. and Resident Evil; mixing first-person shooter elements with survival horror and puzzles.
Resident Evil 3: Nemesis (1999)
Where it lacks in the overall terror and dread that the first two Resident Evil games nailed, Resident Evil 3: Nemesis compensates with tension. The titular threat of Nemesis is such an overlooking threat that the player will have their heart pumping, wondering when he’ll pop up next. Despite Jill Valentine being a last minute addition, she continues to be one of the best protagonists.
The recent remake of Resident Evil 3 may be easier to access and control but anybody looking to delve into the GameCube library should at least check out the original game. It’s still a solid third chapter that is as thrilling as it is chilling, making for a strong first trilogy of the original Resident Evil series.
Resident Evil: CODE Veronica (2000)
Despite having multiple releases on various consoles, Resident Evil: CODE Veronica never quite got the same amount of time in the spotlight as other games. It still delivers on the zombie and monster horror as other games and provides a lot of lore to the franchise that factors into future games such as Resident Evil 4 and Resident Evil 5.
Fans of Chris and Claire Redfield can enjoy playing as both siblings in this entry, showing off rich new locations for the franchise. Similar to Resident Evil 3, it may not have the terror of the original but it amps up the tension, resulting in fans wanting Capcom to also remake this gem.
Resident Evil Remake (2002)
As much as the original Resident Evil is a horror classic for the original PlayStation, it didn’t age perfectly. This is why fans often considered the remake for the GameCube to be the definitive version of the game until it was remastered years later.
Not only were the visuals massively improved which made it even scarier, but the voice acting was much better, there were a plethora of secrets to find, and the gameplay saw improvement while still retaining the tank controls. This would mark the beginning of Capcom remaking all of their classic Resident Evil titles, something that continues today.
Resident Evil 4 (2005)
Still to this day with horror games such as The Callisto Protocol, Resident Evil 4 is one of the most influential in the genre. The tank-like controls were swapped to the third-person over-the-shoulder view that so many games today still use. Now with zombies that can think, react, and even wield weapons, Resident Evil 4 was scarier than any game prior.
Though it moves towards more action, the game still retains what makes the franchise so iconic; the puzzles to the ridiculous yet horrific monsters created from a virus. It all culminates in a game that was so beloved that future Resident Evil sequels and remakes were made in the style of Resident Evil 4.
Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem (2002)
Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem is far from the typical horror game because it relies less on jump scares and monsters. Instead, there is a lot of focus on psychological and ambient horror with puzzle solving. That’s not to say that there aren’t enemies to fight and avoid.
Those enemies do provide some scares but the signature gimmick of Eternal Darkness are the “insanity effects” that occur when the character’s sanity has dwindled. Different effects happen to the screen such as the illusion of it being turned off, a slight twisting of the camera, or even fake deaths. Combined with a unique story, Eternal Darkness is a GameCube exclusive that all owners of the console should try.
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