Can Metroid Prime and Resident Evil 4 take out their competitors?
We're down to 16 games, and now it's going to get really crazy. Marios fighting Donkey Kongs and Zeldas fighting Marios. Bedlam! Remember: We’ve split all these games 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. Almost all of the top eight games are all still alive, but will they all make it to the next round? Go ahead and vote for these match-ups and show your colors in the discussion.
Voting ends around 11:30 p.m. ET on March 20. Later that day, we'll have Round 4, with 8 games and 4 match-ups, ready to go...
Metroid Prime (1) vs. Super Smash Bros. Melee (4)
Metroid Prime: Among the many honors heaped upon the beloved 2002 GameCube game Metroid Prime, one stands out: it was NWR’s Game of the Decade. It is a deserving title, too, successfully translating an essentially Super Metroid world map into not just 3D but first-person to boot. While the GameCube control scheme took some getting used to, once it clicked, Metroid Prime was unlike any other experience. The Wii’s Metroid Prime Trilogy improves on perfection with the excellent control of Metroid Prime 3. Samus’ first 3D adventure is the one to watch—the real critical darling—in this tournament.
Games Defeated: New Super Mario Bros. (9), Pokemon Gold/Silver (16)
Super Smash Bros. Melee: Everyone’s heard about the Super Smash Bros. games. Chances are most people have played them at one point, too. The 2001 GameCube game Super Smash Bros. Melee was not only the second installment of this legendary franchise, but some would call it the best in the franchise so far. This game is home to tournaments of champions, would-be heroes, and friends just hanging out on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Super Smash Bros. Melee helped define the franchise and solidify its hearts in everyone’s hearts and minds. Plus, you can watch your favorite characters beat the snot out of everyone else.
Games Defeated: Zelda: A Link Between Worlds (5), Mario Kart Wii (13)
Super Mario 3D World (WC) vs. Donkey Kong Country Returns (7)
Super Mario 3D World: After making it through the Wild Card Round, the beloved 2013 game Super Mario 3D World seeks to further its win streak. It was Mario's big 3D foray into HD graphics on the Wii U. Featuring the adorable cat suit and tons of content, this game brought four-player mayhem to a new style of Mario, ruining friendships all the while. If this game loses in this round, there is a chance that it invalidates this entire voting process, and the NWR staffers who decided this wasn't one of the four best games of 2013 might have to stand trial.
Games Defeated: Metroid Prime 3 (6), The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask (3), Luigi's Mansion (WC)
Donkey Kong Country Returns: The Donkey Kong Country came back in a big, bad way with this 2010 Wii release. Retro Studios’ first foray into 2D platforming might just be one of the best of its kind on the Wii or maybe even any system ever. Returns features a wide variety of inventive levels that will challenge you to your core. Outside of some iffy motion controls, there isn’t much to complain about this instant classic.
Games Defeated: Perfect Dark (2), Ghost Trick (10)
Resident Evil 4 (1) vs. Xenoblade Chronicles (4)
Resident Evil 4: Here’s a game that was great on GameCube in 2005 but even better as a remake (on Wii). Resident Evil 4 found a fine balance between action and suspense that the series has never matched, and Leon S. Kennedy’s often-setback rescue of the President’s daughter proved an engaging plot that didn’t require knowledge of the series’ complex backstory. There are always more secrets to find, and repeat playthroughs are greatly encouraged through new, powerful weaponry. The game also features some nail-biting boss fights and a great, subdued musical score. Can Leon, Ashley, and Luis clinch the victory?
Games Defeated: The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap (9), Mario Golf GBC (16)
Xenoblade Chronicles: Nintendo’s purchase of Monolith Soft was leading up to this. The long-delayed launch of Xenoblade Chronicles introduced players to an expansive world that stretches across the body of two frozen titans. Expansive vistas offer fleeting views of the two giants, locked in eternal combat. Monolith Soft, seemingly unphased by the constraints of the Wii hardware, produced more than just a stunning visual show, they also innovated innumerable ways to streamline the chore-like tasks that encumber the JRPG genre. While the Wii lacked a deep library of JRPGs, Xenoblade Chronicles could convincingly stake a claim to being the best of its generation.
Games Defeated: Kirby's Epic Yarn (5), Ogre Battle 64 (13)
Paper Mario: TTYD (WC) vs. Zelda: Twilight Princess (2)
Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door: The sequel to the Nintendo 64 original, Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door is not just a fun game to play, it’s also one of the funniest games you’ll find on the GameCube. Mario ventures forth on an adventure to find Princess Peach, who has gone missing, in a search for the Thousand-Year Door, which apparently leads to riches for whoever opens it. Using the same system as the previous Paper Mario game, Mario partners with one of his various allies throughout the game to solve puzzles as well as battle using the timed hit system from Super Mario RPG. It doesn’t stray from the original’s formula too much, but Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door delivers in terms of a fun, humor filled adventure that’s full of charm.
Games Defeated: Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga (6), Soul Calibur II (3), Viewtiful Joe (WC)
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess: Many fans of the Zelda series were not satisfied with the Wind Waker art style (at least at the time), and at the very end of the GameCube’s life those fans got their wish of a “realistic” Gamecube Zelda with The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. Being so late in the GameCube’s life, Twilight Princes was also developed for the Nintendo Wii as a launch title. What makes Twilight Princess stand out is its unique take on the Zelda “legend,” including a wolf form of Link, the best partner Link ever has in a Zelda game in Midna, as well as the antagonist Zant and the twilight realm. Even with the unique elements, Twilight Princess still delivers an experience of a genuine Zelda game.
Games Defeated: Elite Beat Agents (7), Phoenix Wright Dual Destinies (15)