Nintendo may be the house that Mario built, but there is much more to the company than the little plumber in red coveralls. The original Nintendo Entertainment System was the console that really started it all. However, When the fourth-generation platforms showed what home systems could do, the sky was the limit. Nintendo held control of many of the gaming world's most beloved properties.
Metacritic is one of the top review sites in the world for gamers. However, they started their reviews with later gaming systems with the Nintendo 64 the oldest to have a review section dedicated to it on the site. With countless games hitting shelves through the years, here is a look at the 10 best Nintendo games, regardless of system, based on Metacritic reviews.
10 TONY HAWK PRO SKATER 2 (GAME BOY, 95)
The second edition of the Tony Hawk Pro Skater video game franchise ended up as one of the best games on every platform it existed. On the Nintendo Game Boy, it ended up as one of the highest-rated games on Metacritic as well. The game took what made the original beloved and added manuals and cash rewards to make it even greater.
Metacritic gave Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2 a score of 95, although gamers were not as generous with only a 6.6. Based on the reviews, this was one of the best Game Boy Advance games at launch, but it required a learning curve. While some said the PlayStation version was better due to the size of that console, this was considered one of Game Boy's top titles.
9 THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: TWILIGHT PRINCESS (WII, 95)
Released on the Nintendo Wii and GameCube, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess continued the mega-successful Zelda franchise that started on the original Nintendo gaming console. This game was the 13th installment in the Zelda series and saw Link fighting to prevent Hyrule from being engulfed in a corrupted parallel dimension.
This game allows Link to transform into a wolf and players use both the Wii Remote and Nunchuk controller to pull off special moves. Reviews called the game addictive and very immersive. It was also a strong homage to Ocarina, considered the best Zelda game of all-time.
8 THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: MAJORA'S MASK (N64, 95)
Released on the Nintendo 64 and the GameCube, The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask was the sixth installment of the Zelda franchise. It was also only the second to use 3D graphics instead of the original 2D graphics interface of the original game. It is up to Link to save the world of Termina from the destruction caused by a giant falling moon.
The Nintendo 64 changed everything when it came to the Nintendo franchises, and Zelda received the most significant upgrades. While not up to the level of Ocarina, this version of the game was still an epic RPG and delivered to fans of Zelda everything they expected and wanted from the franchise.
7 THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: THE WIND WAKER (GAMECUBE, 96)
Released in 2002 for the GameCube, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker was the 10th installment of the Zelda series. The storyline is a little more personal than the regular world-saving quests, as Link sets off to a group of islands to save his sister from a sorcerer named Ganon.
The Wind Waker was a GameCube exclusive and received race reviews from Metacritic. One critic called it the best game of 2002 regardless of platform, which was high praise indeed. The game also made good use of the link cable for the GameCube, creating a communal experience for the Nintendo title.
6 RESIDENT EVIL 4 (GAMECUBE, 96)
Resident Evil was always a popular PlayStation game franchise. When it comes to Resident Evil 4, the game ended up as one of the top Nintendo games of all-time when released in 2004 for the GameCube. The story sees a U.S. Government special agent sent in to save the President's daughter.
While Resident Evil offered some great moments in its PlayStation releases, the GameCube version of Resident Evil 4 offered up the scariest game in Nintendo's library at that time. The game, exclusive for a short time to Nintendo, was considered a redeeming game for the RE franchise, which had stumbled a bit in the prior years. Reviews called it "tight" and "accessible" for all gamers.
5 GOLDENEYE 007 (N64, 96)
The videogame that was the crown jewel for the Nintendo 64 was the James Bond game GoldenEye 007. This game was a first-person shooter spin-off from the movie of the same name, but unlike many movie adaptations, the ended up even better than the movie. It ended up as the third bestselling N64 game of all-time, selling over eight million copies.
It seems almost unreal that a game based on a movie could have such a legacy. However, GoldenEye 007 is the game that every first-person shooter wished they could be. The multiplayer mode adds even more value to the game, and this is possibly the best game ever released on the N64, even though Metacritic has it ranked third.
4 METROID PRIME (GAMECUBE, 97)
The original Metroid for the classic Nintendo console was one of the most popular games on that system. In 2002, Nintendo brought it back and released Metroid Prime as the fifth installment of that series for the GameCube and Wii. This game was the first in a trilogy of the Prime series following the bounty hunter Samus Aran.
Metroid already had fans that loved the gameplay, and this GameCube version did nothing to disappoint them. This game helped bring the series back to life for a new generation, with beautiful graphics and unmatched gameplay promising hours of fun. Anyone who wanted to see their childhood favorite reimagined was in heaven with this release.
3 SUPER MARIO GALAXY 1 AND 2 (WII, 97)
Both Super Mario Galaxy 1 and Super Mario Galaxy 2 received high scores from Metacritic when released for the Nintendo Wii. Much like the game that the original Nintendo was known for, this sees Mario or Luigi trying to save Princess Peach from Bowser. The difference is that this takes place in outer space where gamers fight bosses, complete missions, and struggle through gravity along the way.
The fact that both the first and second Super Mario Galaxy ranked so high speaks wonders about the franchise and its fantastic design. It is challenging and immersive, and the entire design is gorgeous. While Super Mario Bros. will always be the one that started it all, these two games are the best Mario games ever made.
2 PERFECT DARK (N64, 97)
Released in 2000 for the Nintendo 64, Perfect Dark was a first-person shooter and the first title in the Perfect Dark franchise of games. The storyline saw Joanna Dark attempting to stop a conspiracy taking place during a war between two alien races in outer space. The game was considered the "spiritual successor" to GoldenEye 007 which explains its popularity for a debut title.
It speaks wonders that this game, while nowhere near as iconic as GoldenEye 007 is ranked ahead of its predecessor on Metacritic. This game is for adults and is one of the best achievements by game developers for the Nintendo console with superior graphics and unlimited gameplay potential.
1 THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: OCARINA OF TIME (N64, 99)
The highest-rated Nintendo game of all-time based on Metacritic scores is The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. It should come as no shock that a Zelda title took the top spot. So many titles from the franchise made this list, Zelda remaining the most popular series in Nintendo history. This is the fifth game in the series and the first to move to 3D graphics for its gameplay. Link has to stop Ganondorf from obtaining a wish-granting relic.
The best game in Nintendo history is from the Nintendo 64, which is no shock either. The fact that the N64 took the best 2D RPG in its library and created one of the most beloved 3D RPGs in history should come as no shock. It is long, challenging, and fun, delivering hours upon hours in Link's world, and Nintendo fans should want no less.