Ranking Every Pokémon GameCube Game from Worst to Best

Boxing them off.

Ranking Pokemon GameCuybe games
Ranking Pokemon GameCuybe games

Right now, the world is obsessed with nostalgia. And, now that it’s been 22 years since the Nintendo GameCube was first introduced, we think it’s the perfect time to reflect on its popularity, especially regarding the Pokémon franchise.

Introduced to the United States back in 1998, the Pokémon franchise has released a total of 96 North American games – just four of which came out between 2003 and 2005 on the Nintendo GameCube. Each of these four games was compatible with third-generation Pokémon released on the Game Boy Advance (bringing the total of Pokémon released so far up to 386).

There’s a lot of controversy surrounding the games released on the Nintendo GameCube, with many fans claiming that they missed the mark on what made the original Game Boy and – later Game Boy Advance – games so endearing. Are these claims valid? Whether you agree or disagree with these claims, we’re going to tackle ranking every Pokémon GameCube game from worst to best. Let the adventure begin.


4. Pokémon Box: Ruby and Sapphire

Pokemon Channel
Pokemon Channel

Pokémon Box: Ruby and Sapphire was released on July 11, 2004, and despite having Pokémon in the title, Pokémon Box: Ruby and Sapphire is not what fans would consider to be a traditional RPG experience. It doesn’t even put the “G” in RPG.

Instead, Pokémon Box: Ruby and Sapphire was a digital storage system players could use to trade or store up to 1,500 Pokémon they caught in Ruby and Sapphire, as well as LeafGreen, Emerald, and FireRed. Trading was done by simply using the GameCube-GameBoy Advance cable between both systems.

In addition to storing these Pokémon for later use, players could also easily check the stats, data, and ribbons of each Pokémon as they appear in the games mentioned above. Players would also be treated to bonus Pokémon eggs, that when they eventually hatched, had a more advanced move set.

Pokémon Box: Ruby and Sapphire had extreme limitations as a “video game”, which is why it lands at the bottom of our ranking for Pokémon GameCube games. However, it’s pretty near to the top when it comes to finding the most valuable GameCube games, as it could only be purchased at the Pokémon Center in New York City back in 2004.


3. Pokémon Channel

Pokémon Channel 
Pokémon Channel

Compared to the 2.4 million copies fellow GameCube game Pokémon Colosseum sold upon its release, Pokémon Channel – often dubbed one of the weirdest Pokémon games to ever exist – sold a dismal 376,373 units.

Pokémon Channel, which was released on December 1, 2003, was an interesting idea that, in many ways, was ahead of its time. In the game, Professor Oak enlists you (the player) and your partner, Pikachu, to watch television programs and play games. Over time, these tasks bring you and Pikachu closer. Australia and Europe-based players were even rewarded with the chance to catch Jirachi, one of the mythical Pokémon that could later be transferred to your Ruby and Sapphire games.

Pokémon Channel was a bold idea, especially since the games were set in real-time, with new programs being available every day. According to the Pokémon website, Pokémon Channel is referred to as “…The first true Pokémon title on the GameCube system.”

It solidly falls somewhere in the middle of Pokémon games on the GameCube among fans. If you were interested in the more traditional RPGs, then this game left a lot to be desired. But if you preferred activities and mini-games (like the ones available in Pokémon Stadium on the Nintendo 64, then this could be right up your alley.

The game was quick, too, with most players finishing it in about a week. This limited gameplay also affected its overall popularity with fans, with many believing that it was better suited for younger fans of the franchise. Most players agreed that it was too boring for older kids and teens.


2. Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness

Gale of Darkness
Gale of Darkness

Released on November 18, 2005, Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness takes players to the fictional Orre, where you’ll be up against the Cipher Organization.

In this Pokémon universe, the Cipher Organization has created Shadow Pokémon. It’s up to you to defeat the members of the evil Cipher Organization and purify these soulless Pokémon so they return to their normal form.

For many fans, Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness was a return to the normal Pokémon gameplay form. It features an interesting plot and a large number of trainer battles. Though this Pokémon game mirrors the best qualities of other games in the franchise, the introduction of Shadow Moves instead of the Pokémon’s traditional move set didn’t sit well with everyone, especially as it could sometimes take a while to purify the Pokémon and bring back their special abilities.

Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness also tended to attract a younger audience. However, despite all these potential downsides, it’s largely remembered by fans as a great game, especially for the time period.


1. Pokémon Colosseum

Pokemon Colosseum
Pokemon Colosseum

Though Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness was newer and had better graphics, Pokémon Colosseum had a better overall plot and gameplay features that felt truest to the Pokémon games fans knew and loved.

Much of this adoration had to do with the fact that it was the first traditional Pokémon RPG available on a home console, instead of a handheld. It was also the first time a Pokémon game was designed in 3D, adding a breath of fresh air to the franchise.

Pokémon Colosseum takes players to Orre where they will eventually need to defeat Team Snagem – aptly named since their goal was to steal Pokémon from others. In your quest to reclaim the stolen Pokémon, you had to cleanse their souls, as this was the first game to introduce the concept of Shadow Pokémon, later focused on in Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness.

The game featured stellar graphics (at least as far as 2004 goes), double and stadium battles, and the ability to trade any Pokémon you caught back to your Ruby and Sapphire games.

Pokémon Colosseum was unique in the fact that it put a twist on the familiar gameplay of handheld games while offering something new in terms of clearer graphics, storyline, and characters. Furthermore, it sold the most copies of any Pokémon GameCube game listed in the franchise – about a million over Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness, which sold about 1.4 million. Pokémon Colosseum cements its place in Pokémon history.

Though the Nintendo GameCube was only around for six years, it cemented its place in hosting some of the most interesting and creative Pokémon games to date.

While the Nintendo Switch is reinvigorating the brand with newer games like Pokémon Legends: Arceus, it’s important to remember all the headway the Nintendo GameCube made in pushing the Pokémon franchise forward, most notably helping to redefine 3D gameplay. Pokémon trainers the world over are thankful.

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