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NWR 15th Birthday: The Best Game of the Past 15 Years

Round 1 - Umbrella Corporation Region Part 2

by Neal Ronaghan - March 11, 2014, 9:18 pm EDT

Twilight Princess and Soul Calibur II are the clear-cut winners in this portion.

Now that we’re done the Wild Card Round, it’s time to get to the fun stuff. Round 1, aka the Round of 64, features a ridiculous 32 match-ups between 64 deserving games. We’ve split them all 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. Go ahead and vote for these match-ups and show your colors in the discussion. What’s your Cinderella game?

Voting ends on March 15 at around 1 a.m. ET. On March 16, we'll have Round 2, with 32 games and 16 match-ups, ready to go...

The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures (11) vs. Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga (6)


The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures: Multiplayer Zelda? Is that even possible? When you have four Links, yes, and it’s almost just as bad as playing Mario Party if you want to lose friends. The 2004 GameCube game Four Swords Adventures takes the traditional Zelda handheld formula and twists it into a multiplayer adventure that utilized the cooperation between the Game Boy Advance and GameCube. Each level is Zelda-esque in style, but with a kind of Mario structure with a beginning and ending. The interesting gameplay makes this one possibly the most unique entry in the entire Zelda franchise.


Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga: The fact that this—the original—Mario & Luigi game, released in 2003 on Game Boy Advance, is the best of the four is either extremely high praise for it, individually, or a damnation of the other three games. I prefer to think of Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga as separate from its sequels, as it does everything really, really well. While the other games struggle to maintain freshness and overstay their welcomes, Superstar Saga is briskly paced and ends right when it needs to. The colorful world is chock-full of cameos and cornball humor, and it is here, of course, that we first meet the series’ real superstar: Fawful. He has fury, and the Mario Bros. have a great shot at pulling ahead in this tournament.

Vote here!

Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door (WC) vs. Soul Calibur II (3)


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.


Soul Calibur II: In continuing the quest to find or destroy the infamous Soul Edge, Soul Calibur II plainly elevated itself as a franchise. When released to consoles in 2003, the GameCube received the generous privilege of exclusively getting The Legend of Zelda's Link to be used as a playable character. With a near perfect set of controls, improved graphics, and loads of butt-kicking, Soul Calibur II made it’s mark in the fighting genre. Although it sadly never made its way back to a Nintendo console in a meaningful way.

Vote here!

Animal Crossing: New Leaf (10) vs. Elite Beat Agents (7)


Animal Crossing: New Leaf: It’s the life simulation game we all know and love--the fourth entry in the Animal Crossing series, out on 3DS in 2013. This time, players got to assume the role of mayor of their town. By creating ordinances, city planning, alongside the everyday tasks, it really let players make it their own. Since its Japanese release in November 2012, the game has sold over 7 million copies and is referred to the best Animal Crossing game yet. New Leaf is the first game since the original to really mess with the formula, and it worked very well.


Elite Beat Agents: Agents are go! In this funky fresh DS game released in 2006, players have to assist the Elite Beat Agents in their never-ending quest to help those in trouble. Following the beat of some pretty fantastic songs, players had to tap, drag and spin their ways through a cavalcade of situations. What’s that? Initially it’s too easy? No problem, because with each new character unlocked comes a whole new difficulty (or is it the other way around?) making the game new again. The only people who don’t love this game are people with no love of music.

Vote here!

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Dual Destinies vs. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess


Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Dual Destinies: Phoenix Wright is back in the courtroom in this 2013 3DS eShop game! That’s right, everyone’s favorite lawyer has suited up and returned to the world of crazy prosecutors, crazier witnesses and even crazier crimes. The game brings yet another new young attorney to the ring while still parading by all of the fan favorites. It’s up to you to help Phoenix Wright navigate his way through the Dark Ages! It’s time to shine, Phoenix Wright!


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.

Vote here!


AdrockMarch 07, 2014

It's a toss up between Metroid Prime and Resident Evil 4 for me though I'm leaner towards the former.

NeifirstMarch 07, 2014

Paper Mario: TTYD is only a wild card!  I hope it gets the votes it deserves - by far my favorite of the Paper series.

ejamerMarch 07, 2014

Fun idea. Is this the first time that Video Game March Madness happened?

Zebes regional: Wow, you guys made me root for the meteor in the 16-1 matchup. Well played. Also, if the wild card doesn't crush in the 1st round here, there is no justice on this planet.

Umbrella regional: I think the wild card can make it out of R1 if it's Pap... Xenoblade's a 4 seed? mrgrgr...

Mushroom regional: Fire Emblem can make the sweet 16, and it'll give Galaxy a run for its money there.

Hyrule regional: Two typos there: You spelled Platinum "Diamond/Pearl" and Rouge Squadron 2 should have "11" next to it.

Then again, if I was booking, we'd have the Reyn/Final Destination/Comet/Malamar divisions, so take my words with as much NaCl as you need.

Hey folks: should we tighten up the voting time periods? Right now, each round is 5 days. Do you think 3 days would be fine?

Wild Card round will still go until next Wednesday because we're still putting together the write-ups and content for the round featuring 60 new games, but do y'all think a 3-day window for each successive round would be enough time?

Leo13March 07, 2014

Yes, tighten up the voting time period.

How is 3D World a Wild Card and New Super Mario Bro U is in? Didn't you mean to flip those 2? I've never talked to a single person that thought U was better than 3D World

Quote from: Leo13

How is 3D World a Wild Card and New Super Mario Bro U is in? Didn't you mean to flip those 2? I've never talked to a single person that thought U was better than 3D World

Read the explanation! We picked 4 games from each year from 1999 to 2013. NSMBU and 3D World came out in different years. We have the wild cards to make up a little bit for years with tons of great games.

ejamerMarch 07, 2014

I agree about tightening the voting period if possible. 5 days per round is going to drag on for a long time.

CericMarch 07, 2014

3 Day window probably be better.  Also the ability to do all the votes on the page be cool but I get why we can't.

Mop it upMarch 07, 2014

Hm, this could be an interesting series of polls, and just in time for March Madness to boot.

I think I would have to choose Perfect Dark as my fave game from the past 15 years. The only other contenders would be Super Smash Brothers Melee and Mario Kart Wii, I've certainly played all three games the most. But those two are less "unique" than Perfect Dark. It sucks that those two games are going against each other though; no idea what I'll pick there!

PhilPhillip Stortzum, March 07, 2014

I like this more than March Madness. This tournament doesn't make The Late Show enter reruns for several weeks. :)

Round 1 is underway. I'll be posting the pages over the next few hours, but feel free to vote on everything now in the March Madness subboard.

Leo13March 12, 2014

In the planet Zebes region, my favorite is A Link Between Worlds...and there isn't a close second (at least not to me I'm sure there are many people that will opine differently)

Leo13March 12, 2014

Let me specify. The above statement is only true for part 1 of the planet Zebes region.

Leo13March 12, 2014

In Planet Zebes 2 my favorite is Donkey Kong Country Returns with Mario 3D world a very close second.

Leo13March 12, 2014

In the Umbrella Corporation Region Part 1 I feel compelled to discuss 2 of the matchups, I loved Rhythm Heaven and I hate Epic Yarn. Yes I realize most people loved Epic Yarn for the visuals which really were cool and creative, but after about 40 minutes of being in awe of the visuals I realized it's an incredibly boring game.

The other one is Ogre Battle 64 is such a cool game; however, Xenoblade is my favorite game of all time. I didn't learn about it until it was going for $100 on ebay. I GameFlyed it (can you say Game Flyed for rented from Game Fly) I signed up for a Game Fly account for 1 month to try Xenoblade and decided it was worth the $100 people were paying for it. Now I'd tell you it's worth even more. I'm hoping enough people played this one for it to go all the way to the Championship (I've yet to hear someone that played it and didn't love it)

Leo13March 12, 2014

I have 1 thing to say about Umbrella Corporation Region Part 2:
Zelda: Four Swords Adventures is one of the most underrated games I'm familiar with. It was super fun and most people don't even know it exists. I'm very happy to see that the sages as Nintendo World Report had the wisdom to include it even though it probably won't survive the first round.
My wife and I played this one together and really enjoyed it. I'd love to see an HD remake of this on Wii U integrated with 3DS I'm sure the Wifi connection would be fast enough to do it that would be so AWESOME!

Fiendlord_TimmayMarch 15, 2014

Majora's Mask and Ghost Trick both out after the first round?! God what is wrong with you people?

You hurt me, NWR community. You really do. :(

marvel_moviefan_2012March 15, 2014

Good to see actually Majoras Mask is overrated

Leo13March 21, 2014

Hey these links are taking me to the results page of the last round! In other words we can't vote on these new matchups

MythtendoMarch 21, 2014

I'm glad Majora's Mask was quickly eliminated, I always thought that game was too over-rated.

Hmm, yeah the Elite 8 links just go to results from the previous round.

InvaderRENMarch 21, 2014

Voting not working for me either :(  I'll check back later to see if link fixed.

Quote from: InvaderREN

Voting not working for me either :(  I'll check back later to see if link fixed.

Sorry about that. I didn't update the links. It's fixed now!

lwrightMarch 21, 2014

Now, I'm curious. This round determines the winner of each of the 4 brackets, but which 2 brackets will face which 2 brackets in the final four?
Is it possible to have a Galaxy 1 vs Galaxy 2 semi or could that only happen in the final?

Quote from: lwright

Now, I'm curious. This round determines the winner of each of the 4 brackets, but which 2 brackets will face which 2 brackets in the final four?
Is it possible to have a Galaxy 1 vs Galaxy 2 semi or could that only happen in the final?

Zebes faces Umbrella and Hyrule faces Mushroom Kingdom.

So, winner of Prime/3D World plays Xeno/TP
Winner of Galaxy/Sunshine plays Wind Waker/Galaxy 2

That means, yes, if the Galaxies win this round, it's Galaxy-on-Galaxy action.

Retro DeckadesMarch 27, 2014

Not to take anything away from these two great games, but this is a rather boring and predictable final.

KhushrenadaMarch 27, 2014

Well, if more people had followed my advice of voting for all the 16 placed ranked games in the beginning, it would have knocked all the number 1 games out at the start and created a huge change in how this all played out. Unfortunately, too many people took this seriously to do that and I gave up on any real upsets occuring. (Side note: I am shocked though at how many people really like Super Mario Galaxy. I didn't think it would be the final game going up against Metroid Prime.)

Really? I think this was easily the most likely final matchup. We didn't really get many upsets, as opposed to the real March Madness bracket.

Retro DeckadesMarch 27, 2014

At the very least, I am very happy to have seen both Xenoblade Chronicles and Twilight Princess go as far as they did.

PhilPhillip Stortzum, March 27, 2014

Happy 15th birthday, NWR! You may be getting older, but that doesn't mean you're an adult yet. You need to continue working hard at school, mind your manners, brush your teeth, don't do drugs or alcohol, and make your parents proud!

GaviinApril 13, 2014

Did you guys ever finish this feature?  I only see the "finals" post, but no final results.  Did you forget about it or something??

The original winner failed a drug test.

CericApril 14, 2014

Quote from: Shaymin

The original winner failed a drug test.

I think the final winner was take out back by Boom Blox and "removed from competition."

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