The Best GameCube Fighting Games of All Time, Ranked

Over 900 Ranker voters have come together to rank this list of The Best GameCube Fighting Games of All Time, Ranked
Voting Rules
Fighting games released on the GameCube. No Beat-em-ups or platformers allowed!

If you like beating up your opponents, then you’ll love the best GameCube fighting games, particularly because it has some of the best of all time. The GameCube was the system that was the midpoint between the iconic N64 and the leap to the awesome Nintendo Wii, but it still received several amazing beat-em-up and combat games. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that the average GameCube collection probably has several top fighting games. Since some were much better than others, it’s only fitting to let fans decide which are best GameCube fighting games of all time.

With challenging combos and finishing moves to pull off, fighting games are some of the best multiplayer games you can get your hands on. Franchises like Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat made the genre famous, but today there are a plethora of others that are just as fun. With so many great options to choose from, there was never a shortage of games to play for fans of the genre.

What really set the GameCube apart from other systems in terms of fighting games, however, was none other than Super Smash Brothers Melee. Known in competitive fighting game circles as SSBM, it's still played in tournaments to this day. It differs from the standard fighting game formula quite a bit as it isn’t about lowering your opponent’s life bar, but rather to knock them out of the stage.

As this list is about the most popular and best-selling fighting games that were released for GameCube, both exclusives and non-exclusives are included. The fighting games featured on this list include everything from Super Smash Bros. Melee to Soulcalibur II. What’s not included? Beat-em-ups such as Viewtiful Joe, Pokemon Colosseum, and TMNT. So vote for your favorite GameCube fighting games below.

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    • Developer: HAL Laboratory

    Arguably the most iconic fighting game on the GameCube, Super Smash Bros. Melee revolutionized the genre with its fast-paced, chaotic battles featuring beloved characters from the Nintendo universe. Building upon its Nintendo 64 predecessor, Melee upped the ante by introducing new characters, stages, game modes, and a deeper combat system, which has led to its enduring popularity in both casual and competitive gaming scenes. The game's signature mechanic - launching opponents off the stage rather than depleting their health bar - sets it apart from other fighters, creating intense matches focused on positioning and stage control.

  • Soulcalibur II
    Jul 05 2002
    279 votes
    • Developer: Project Soul

    As the third installment of the Soul series, Soulcalibur II continued to impress gamers with its weapons-based combat, stunning graphics, and smooth gameplay. This iconic 3D fighter introduced exclusive guest characters on each platform, with the GameCube version featuring none other than the legendary swordsman Link from The Legend of Zelda series. Soulcalibur II made numerous improvements to its predecessor, notably the addition of the Guard Impact system which allowed players to counterattack in response to an opponent's strike. The game's immersive story mode, engaging gameplay mechanics, and roster of unique characters have solidified it as a fan favorite within its genre.

  • Capcom vs. SNK 2
    205 votes
    • Developer: Capcom

    A crossover dream come true for fighting game enthusiasts, Capcom vs. SNK 2 brought together iconic characters from both companies' storied franchises such as Street Fighter, King of Fighters, and more. The gameplay was built around the strategic use of "Groove" systems, which determined how characters could build and utilize super-move meters. This innovative feature added a layer of strategy to the game, allowing players to tailor their playstyle based on their chosen groove. With its diverse character roster, intense tag-team battles, and distinctive art style, Capcom vs. SNK 2 remains a standout in the crossover fighting game subgenre.

  • Def Jam: Fight for NY
    150 votes
    • Developer: EA Canada, Syn Sophia

    Taking a unique approach within the realm of fighting games, Def Jam: Fight for NY combined hip-hop culture with the brutal action of underground street fights. Featuring prominent artists like Snoop Dogg and Method Man as playable fighters, the game allowed players to brawl with their favorite rappers while performing visually stunning moves. Fight for NY improved upon its predecessor with an expanded roster, enhanced graphics, and a deeper, more engaging story mode. The game's gritty atmosphere, realistic combat system, and unprecedented fusion of music and gaming made it an unforgettable experience for GameCube players.

    • Developer: Eighting Co., Ltd., Eighting/Raizing

    A standout among its contemporaries, Bloody Roar: Primal Fury offered players an intense, fast-paced fighting experience with a twist: each character had the ability to transform into a powerful beast form. This unique mechanic was the crux of the gameplay and greatly altered the dynamics of matches, as players were forced to strategize when to unleash their ultimate metamorphosis. Primal Fury boasted an expanded roster, improved graphics, and new stages compared to its PlayStation 2 counterpart. The game's innovative Beast Drive system, combined with fluid combat and a captivating cast of characters, left a lasting impression on fans of the genre.

    • Developer: Dimps

    Successfully capturing the essence of the beloved anime and manga series, Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 2 provided fans with an immersive fighting experience that remained loyal to its source material. The game introduced a new strategic board game-style single-player mode called "Dragon World," which added an interesting layer of depth to the experience. Additionally, Budokai 2 sported an enhanced cel-shaded art style that closely resembled the visual design of the anime series. With its dynamic transformations, signature moves, and a wide array of fan-favorite characters, the game remains a nostalgic classic for Dragon Ball Z aficionados.