Link squares off against Luke Skywalker while Galaxy 2 and 3D Land duke it out.
After some great games fell to likely greater games, we've halved the group of 64 into 32. Now, the remaining 32 games duke it ou even more. Place your votes now and back your horses, be they Epona or Yoshi. Remember: We’ve split them all into four regions, led by the highest-rated games (according to Nintendo World Report and MetaCritic) of the entire batch: Metroid Prime, Super Mario Galaxy, The Wind Waker, and Resident Evil 4. All four top seeds are still alive. Go ahead and vote for these match-ups and show your colors in the discussion. What’s your Cinderella game?
Voting ends around 12:01 a.m. ET on March 18. Later that day, we'll have Round 3, with 16 games and 8 match-ups, ready to go...
Zelda: The Wind Waker (1) vs. Star Wars: Rogue Leader (8)
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker: Can there be any doubt that this is among the top contenders in this bracket? It’s a game so nice they sold it twice. Wind Waker is certainly one of the prettiest games in recent memory, with a cel-shaded, colorful art style that remains consistent and wonderful music that expresses whimsy (the pirate theme) and epic-ness (the ocean theme). The Great Sea feels like a living world, and there’s no shortage of things to do and treasure to uncover. Wind Waker is filled with moments you’ll never forget your first trip to Hyrule Castle, Princess Zelda’s reveal, and Link’s final blow to Ganondorf. As always, I expect great things from Toon Link in this tournament.
Games Defeated: Wii Sports (16)
Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader Co-developed by Factor 5 and LucasArts, this GameCube exclusive is the second of three games released in the Rogue Squadron series. This fast-paced flighty fighter debuted in 2001, and included 10 levels with missions, such as search and destroy or protection. At the time, the game delivered beautiful graphics and sound, and the presentation blew people away. With its hefty lasting appeal, it was considered by some a must buy for GameCube owners, and hell, even Wii owners, as even now that it is more than a decade old, Rogue Leader still looks good.
Games Defeated: New Super Mario Bros. U
Punch-Out!! Wii (5) vs. Super Smash Bros. Brawl (4)
Punch-Out!!: The Punch-Out series was dormant for a long time before Next Level Games crafted the stellar 2009 Wii release. It was faithful to the original, including a lot of the same characters and ideas, but it expanded upon in interesting ways, with more modes and lavish and comical animations. This game bursts with personality and challenge. We might not ever see another brand new Punch-Out game, but this Wii rendition is essentially the ultimate classic Punch-Out game. And now Little Mac’s in Smash Bros., so the world is really a fair and just place.
Games Defeated: Donkey Kong: Jungle Beat (12)
Super Smash Bros. Brawl: The sequel to the acclaimed Super Smash Bros. Melee, Super Smash Bros. Brawl is an even bigger serving of fan service to Nintendo fans than either of the first two games combined. It boasts an array of awesome collectables, as well as a new story mode that connects all of the playable fighters together in a quest to stop the Subspace Army. Speaking of characters, there’s more than ever before, with Diddy Kong, Pit, Pokemon Trainer, and Sonic the Hedgehog joining the roster as well as a number of other new characters. To top it all off, Brawl also introduced the Final Smash, which allows the player to finish off their opponent with a huge, final attack that sends the opponent reeling. Smash Bros. Brawl has a limitless amount of content that makes it one of the Wii’s top games.
Games Defeated: Professor Layton and the Curious Village (13)
Super Mario 3D Land (6) vs. Super Mario Galaxy 2 (3)
Super Mario 3D Land: This 2011 3DS game was something that people needed to discover for themselves to understand. The unique fusion of 2D and 3D Mario mechanics from EAD Tokyo produced an interesting design that brought back old favorite power-ups and mixed the concepts of Super Mario 64 with Super Mario Bros. With countless secrets, fun boss battles, and some of the best stereoscopic 3D on the system, Super Mario 3D Land is one of the top titles on 3DS, and might make some noise in this here tournament.
Games Defeated: Pokemon Diamond/Pearl (11)
Super Mario Galaxy 2: Mario returns on the Wii for round two in the cosmos with the 2010 release of Super Mario Galaxy 2, this time with the ability to ride Yoshi and over 240 stars to collect. As par for the course, he needs to rescue Peach yet again. However minor improvements were made to the already great Galaxy formula, causing Galaxy 2 to keep on impressing. Between its paramount level design and mechanics, SMG2 resulted in being a fan favorite of 2010.
Games Defeated: Metroid Fusion (WC)
Metroid: Zero Mission (7) vs. Zelda: Skyward Sword (2)
Metroid: Zero Mission: I’m gonna say it: Zero Mission is, objectively, the best 2D Metroid game. It’s got everything you’ve come to love from the series and cuts out all the crap. It’s a speedrunner’s delight, with fast movement and lots of shortcuts between the various regions of Zebes. While it’s a spiritual remake of the original Metroid (a game that is objectively terrible), Zero Mission feels a lot more like Super Metroid, but sped up and with better graphics. You might bemoan the “post-game scenario,” as I call it, but it does lead up to a really cool power-up sequence and a boss fight that ties into Metroid Prime. It’s a crime that Zero Mission isn’t available for download in some form, but it’s well worth picking up a copy secondhand. Samus’ second first mission is doubtlessly among her best.
Games Defeated: Pikmin (10)
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword: Not to besmirch the good name of Twilight Princess, but Skyward Sword was the true heir to the Zelda legacy for the Wii. Of course we all know that Twilight Princess came out at the weird cusp of GameCube and Wii, so it’s natural that not all of the Wii’s features were fully realized, but the simple fact remains that they just should have worked to put it out early to it didn’t have to compete with this gem. Skyward Sword harkened back to some of Zelda’s best titles with its truly epic story and combined it with the interactive gameplay the Wii prided itself on. Nintendo couldn’t have given us a better title for Zelda’s 25th anniversary.
Games Defeated: Super Smash Bros. (15)