Nintendo has made some of the most memorable gaming experiences of all time. What you might not have known though is that some of those experiences were not actually developed by Nintendo themselves. As hard as it is to believe, even gaming juggernauts like Nintendo call upon other major gaming developers to help bring some of your favorite Nintendo characters to life. In fact, by the end of this month, we will have another one of these experiences with the Ubisoft developed Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle. However, you might be surprised to find out that a lot of your favorite Nintendo games are actually developed outside of Nintendo. These are some of my personal favorites.
F-Zero GX (SEGA)
When it comes to Nintendo franchises that have been neglected by the company over the past few years, F-Zero is at the top of the list. There was a time however when Captain Falcon was expected to make an appearance alongside his fast paced action racing series on every Nintendo console. From its debut on the SNES up to its 3D sequel on the N64 and two awesome action packed titles for the GBA, it seemed like F-Zero was here to stay. At one point it even had a cartoon series on the Fox Box alongside Kirby and Sonic. Now F-Zero feels like a relic of Nintendo’s past.
F-Zero GX for the GameCube was one heck of a way to go out on a high note for the series though, and yet it wasn’t even developed by Nintendo? You heard right, the best game in the F-Zero franchise was developed by Nintendo’s long time competition SEGA. This would have been considered a huge deal back in the day as Nintendo and SEGA were considered arch rivals by the gaming community, so it was actually really awesome to be able to say that SEGA made an amazing Nintendo game. F-Zero GX is unlike any racing game out there. Its break neck speeds combined with crazy difficulty make it a game that requires some serious skill, but this is one racing game that belongs in every Nintendo collection.
Mario Hoops 3 on 3 (Square Enix)
When you think about JRPG juggernaut Square Enix, I doubt you think about sports games. Well believe it or not Square Enix was responsible for a pretty awesome Mario Basketball game, Mario Hoops 3 on 3. This game was released to some pretty mediocre reviews because of the touch screen controls, which seems a little unfair considering the precision of the touch controls were actually really good.
Unlike normal basketball, Mario Hoops 3 on 3 focuses on collecting coins around the court to make your shots worth more points. If you are on the defense side of things you’ll be using classic Mario items to cause mayhem. Just like all of the Mario sports titles it has that Mario Kart feel and really works great for multiplayer. Luckily the multiplayer only requires one cartridge to play so if you and your friend have a DS then you can jump straight into some 3 on 3 action. Although the game didn’t take off the way some other Mario sports titles did, Square Enix did give it another shot with Mario Sports Mix for the Wii. Both games are fun and definitely worth checking out for their fun multiplayer.
The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap (Capcom)
Top down Zelda has always been my preferred way to experience the franchise. When it comes to Nintendo’s handheld library we got plenty of great top down Zelda experiences, but maybe the best and most unique one was The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap for the GBA. Which makes it hard to believe that it was developed by Capcom and not Nintendo. The Minish Cap really changes up the exploration of Zelda by giving Link the ability to shrink and explore dungeons that lie inside of small holes in the ground and tree stumps. This really helped freshen up the Zelda experience by offering an awesome aesthetic for all of the dungeons.
Capcom also did an awesome job adding fun dialogue and personality to their handheld Zelda experience. I might even go as far to say that Ezlo, Links talking hat companion, is one of the best sidekick characters in the entire Zelda universe. If you enjoy The Minish Cap, then you’re in luck because Capcom also developed two more Zelda hand held games for the Gameboy Color, Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons. This also marked the only time that any of the Zelda games were released simultaneously much like the Pokemon games. Capcom did an amazing job with their work on Zelda and hopefully we will see them tackle another Nintendo title soon.
Donkey Kong Country (Rare)
This next one is not so much a surprise as many people know that the Donkey Kong Country series was masterfully developed by Rare studios for the SNES. However, that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t deserve a shout as they are some of the best platforming games for the console. If you don’t already know, Donkey Kong Country follows Donkey Kong and his friends as they platform across the jungle to defeat King K. Rool. What really makes these games so unique is their graphical style. For the time you’d be hard pressed to find a game that was graphically as impressive as the Donkey Kong Country series.
An amazing soundtrack also accompanied this series. The underwater theme still gets stuck in my head to this day. There are few developers who can really own a Nintendo franchise better than Nintendo themselves, but I have to say when I think of Donkey Kong, Rare’s Donkey Kong Country series is always the first that comes to mind. Rare would later go to develop Donkey Kong 64 for the N64, but it never lived up to Rare’s previous work and has become somewhat infamous for being one of the worst Donkey Kong Games. However, none of that matters as we will always have the classic trilogy to come back to and restore our faith in the Donkey Kong series.
Super Mario RPG Legend of the Seven Stars (Squaresoft)
Before the Square Enix merger we know today there was just Squaresoft. Most famously known for the Final Fantasy series among other franchises, Squaresoft developed what has become one of the biggest cult classics in Nintendo’s library of games, Super Mario RPG. There have been a lot of Mario spin off games, however, something about this game in particular really sets itself apart from any Mario game that has ever come out past and present. The turn based combat was a first for Mario during this era and while it does stray from the typical style of Mario gameplay, I feel like it is more the characters and art design that really helped keep this game so beloved even to this day.
While Nintendo has taken Mario and put him back into other RPG titles, like the Mario and Luigi series and Paper Mario, they still don’t quite capture the magic that Super Mario RPG created. It really has a certain sense of fantasy that only Square could create, however, combine that with the amazing characters and charm of Nintendo and you are left with a truly unforgettable experience. This game really does show the power of two companies at the peak of their game and it will always make fans wonder if the two could ever join forces once again for another Mario RPG title.
What do you think, are there any games we left off that deserve to be mentioned? Be sure to comment and let us know and check out WTFGamersonly for more gaming articles and news.