2002 turned out to be a huge year for nintendo. That’s because it was the second year for its two new consoles released in 2001: the GameCube and the Game Boy Advance. The first year for each system was good, but 2002 was even better.
The Game Boy Advance had a particularly good year with some all-time classics still being talked about today. It can be difficult to play some of these Nintendo classics now on modern hardware, but gamers still manage to find a way. Plus, the year is still early 2022, so maybe some of these games will return in some form to Switch. We look forward to this first Nintendo Direct!
ten animal crossing
animal crossing is bigger than ever thanks to 2020’s Switch game. The series started twenty years ago, or at least it does for North America. It’s hard to believe that such a simple series has lasted for so long. This simple little life simulation was released on September 16, 2002 on GameCube. This was a year after Japan, which was also just an improved port of the original Nintendo 64, which never came to the West. It was also a 2001 release.
9 Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance
Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance was the second Metroidvania entry in the series on this portable marvel. He solved a lot of problems during the first game, circle of the moon. It was hard to see, which was also partly the system’s fault since the stock hardware wasn’t backlit. The movement was also stiff and slow. The new hero, Juste, was more agile, which was refreshing. It was released on September 16, 2002 for the Game Boy Advance.
8 Dragon Ball Z: The Legacy of Goku
Dragon Ball Z: The Legacy of Goku was the start of a good set of action RPGs. This first only had Goku as the only playable character. The second put his son Gohan in the player’s place. It went through a variety of arcs from the anime, though they were expanded to accommodate more gameplay.
The filler content wasn’t necessary, but without it the game might have been too short, so that’s understandable. It was released on May 14, 2002 for the Game Boy Advance.
seven Metroid Prime
Metroid Prime brings the series into a new dimension: 3D. It was the next series that Nintendo had to convert into a new perspective. It worked for mario and The Legend of Zelda on the N64 but nothing ever happened with metroid on this system.
Turning the series into a first-person shooter may have felt disappointing at first, but it worked out well in the end. Now, if only this rumored trilogy were released on Switch this year. This would be perfect to honor this birthday of Samus and her bounty hunting adventures. The game was originally released on November 17, 2002 on GameCube.
6 Metroid Fusion
Metroid Prime wasn’t the only game in the series to be released that day. Metroid Fusion was also there for some classic Metroidvania action. It was an interesting take on the series which saw Samus become infected with a parasite.
This gave him new powers which resulted in most of the normal upgrades like missiles and various beam weapons, but with a twist. Up to Metroid Dread, it was the last canonically in the series. It was released on November 17, 2002 for the Game Boy Advance.
5 Mega Man Zero
Mega Man Zero was the first spin-off featuring Zero from the Mega Man X series. It was still about defeating bosses and taking their powers, but there was also an overworld. It had some sort of Metroidvania elements. It was also brutally hard.
Luckily, re-releases of this game and its sequels included easier modes. Unlike most games on this list, the entire collection is on Switch. It was originally released on September 10, 2002 on Game Boy Advance.
4 resident Evil
resident Evil remake on GameCube was huge. It showed the power of what the little box could do. Even though it has been remastered again, the original version still looks good on the GameCube. It might be cheesy, sure, but that’s part of the game’s charm. It oscillates between pure action horror and hilarious meme-worthy lines like Jill Sandwich. It redefined what a remake could be. It was released on April 30, 2002 on GameCube.
3 Sonic Advance
Sonic Advance was a return to form for the Blue Blur. It’s been a while since the last good 2D Sonic game came out and was a real surprise. However, this did not advance the franchise. Instead, it looked to the past, tweaked it, and then made a decent, fast platformer. Too bad this sub-series has been trapped for so long. Sonic Advance was released on February 3, 2002 for the Game Boy Advance. This happened a year after the Japanese release.
2 Super Mario Sun
Super Mario Sun was another game that was trapped on its original hardware for decades. That’s until the Switch got a port of it in 2020. It’s perhaps one of the most controversial entries in Mario history. Reviews at the time were mostly glowing. Coming back now is another story, even with the modern port. It’s a bit clunky in design but still fun with patience. It was released on August 26, 2002 on GameCube.
1 Tactics Ogre: The Knight of Lodis
Tactics Ogre: The Knight of Lodis is an excellent strategy RPG. It’s a little unknown since this series has never made a big splash in the West. It does not have the same weight as Final Fantasy Tactics but he has a lot in common with him. From the darker story filled with political intrigue to the labor-based combat system, this is one tactical RPG fan shouldn’t want to pass up anymore. It was released on May 7, 2002 for the Game Boy Advance, a year after its release in Japan.
MORE: The best Gamecube remakes and where you can play them
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