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Top 11 Nintendo 64 Games
written by Shaun McCracken
When the N64 was released back in 1996, it was THE system to get. But when
Squaresoft started developing for the PS1 only, and also the wealth of sports
titles the PS1 had, the N64 lost steam very quickly. Of course, the selection
of N64 games in the first year pale in comparison to how many titles were available
in the Gamecube's first year. And as odd as it seems, the N64 has about as much
titles available as the Dreamcast does, but Sega managed to get that number in
less than two years while it took the N64 nearly five years. But I'm stammering
on. The N64 did deliver many great titles, and some are at a status that many
developers try to achieve today. Now, the top 11 N64 games. Ever, I suppose.
*The list is based upon the games I've played over the years. I've played at
least 50 of them, so this isn't just based upon the only games I ever got my
hands on. I don't know why I said that. I don't know why I do a lot of things.
**Oh, and I know Perfect Dark isn't on the list. Yeah, many loved it, and I did
rent the game, except I didn't have an expansion pak to play the game. Why should
I shell out $30 to play the actual game?
- 11- The World Is Not Enough (2000, EA Games) : Eurocom developed a
pretty damn good resemblance to Rare's GoldenEye, but it doesn't surpass it. The
design is tight, the weapons and gadgets are there and the multiplayer isn't too
bad. This version of TWINE is in my opinion, the 2nd best Bond game released, the
first being GoldenEye, of course. Even though we were thinking of the Dreamcast,
and the PS2 in 2000, the N64 still had a few tricks up it's sleeve. The biggest
drag is that it didn't include the theme to the movie (or the Bond theme in general).
- 10- San Francisco Rush 2049 (2000, Midway) : Although the Dreamcast
version is near arcade-perfect and visually superior, the N64 is no slouch. It
faithfully reproduces the arcade game, and tries to pull off as much as possible
by including the expansion pak support. It pretty much included all the options
the DC version had, but the visuals (and sound) were obviously downgraded. Still,
it's one of the best racers the N64 had to offer.
- 9- Blast Corps (1997, Nintendo-Rare) : This game is still pretty innovative
today, since no other company has tried to produce a game like it. The object is
to clear a path for a runaway truck carrying nuclear missiles, but miss just one
small piece of a building or structure, or not fill a hole in it's path and BOOM!
But it just wasn't limited to clearing paths. There were also a ton of mini-game
stages that ranged from simple races to some of the most challenging things to
ever be delivered in gaming history. And just when you think everything has been
done, the Platinum challenges await, with absurd record times.
- 8- San Francisco Rush (1997, Midway) : The first time I played this
game, I wasn't really impressed by the arcade gameplay. I was more used to the
relaxed style of Cruisn USA, Mario Kart and the different style of Waverace 64.
But then when I played it again a few months later, I was pretty hooked, and then
ended up owning the game. It's more than just circuit racing. There are keys that
need to be found to unlock hidden items in the game, and it's pretty fun to go after
that one key that you just can't get. Plus, there's a lot of shortcuts to be
found that increases replyabillity. Plus, aside from the resolution, this version
is arcade perfect.
- 7- F-Zero X (1998, Nintendo) : After 7 long years, a sequel to F-Zero
was finally made. While the look is rather simple (almost as simple as the SNES
classic), the courses were insane. The very first course had you go through a
gigantic loop, but that's just for starters. The later courses yielded corkscrews,
inverted loops, high jumps, boomerang loops, normal loops and so much more. It
was pretty much like a Six-Flags theme park in your N64. While it sucks that the
F-Zero X Construction kit was Japan only, which let you create your own courses,
what you get here is still pretty good.
- 6- Ridge Racer 64 (2000, Nintendo) : You wan't to hear something crazy?
This Ridge Racer was not developed or even published by Namco. It was the first
game to be developed by Nintendo's U.S. development studio (later did Wave Race
Blue Storm for the GCN). Nintendo's recreation of the Ridge Racer series is very
faithful, if not more improved. The game looks a lot better and faster than it did
on the PS1, and handles a lot more tighter. Here, you get the courses from Ridge
Racer and Ridge Racer Revolution, plus one new course called Renegade. While I
would have liked to have seen the Rage Racer courses in here, Nintendo still
did a pretty good job, which deserves some respect from Namco.
- 5- Tetrisphere (1997, Nintendo) : Probably one of the last greatest
puzzle games to ever be released to this day. While Tetrisphere really has nothing
to do with the Tetris gameplay, it's still really addictive and really fun to play.
The 5-minute time trial alone will have you playing for hours at a time, and not
even realize it.
- 4- Wave Race 64 (1996, Nintendo) : Two of the best N64 games came out
in 1996, and one of them is Wave Race 64. Even though Blue Storm is visually
better and a little bigger than WR64, WR64 is still one of the greater racing games
to be released. Many developers will have a hard time to create a jet-ski racer
better than this. It's still better than Splashdown (PS2). Everything from the
wave effects to the highly addictive stunt mode and the challenging design is
done very well. It's still playable to this day, with just a slightly lower
framerate than Blue Storm.
- 3- The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time (1998, Nintendo) : Considered
by many as one of the greatest games of all time, LOZ:OOT does deliver what many
had been waiting for for so long, a real exlporative adventure-RPG. While the graphics
aren't so hot today (actually, it's just the resolution and dithering that bothers
me), the gameplay still is. It's still so good, Nintendo re-released this game
slightly enhanced as a pre-order bonus for the GCN. It is a really good adventure,
but I did find the design still too close to the other games in the series. But
STILL, you know...
- 2- Super Mario 64 (1996, Nintendo) : So much time was lost on this
game, but I won't complain. Hour for hour, this is one of the best games ever made.
Mario's first forray into the world of 3-D was also one of his better adventures
(of course the story was a bit lacking). While this was Nintendo's first 3-D platformer,
it was also one of the first to be executed so well. Many platformers want to be
Mario 64, but can never get near it's design. There was so much freedom in this
game, you could be lost in this world for hours.
- 1- GoldenEye 007 (1997, Nintendo-Rare) : Like it's a suprise. GoldenEye
007 is one of the best constructed first-person shooters ever made, with a highly
addictive multiplayer mode to boot. The controls were mapped perfectly, the
gameplay was tight to get in and out of sticky situations, the mission objectives
were highly challenging and the stages were designed very well. Combine that with
a great selection of weapons, the music that matched the action perfectly and
it was one complete package. And this is also one of the bigger FPS games available,
with 20 stages. Ever since EA took over the license, the most I've seeen was 12
stages, and some go by kind of quickly. But there was a lot here to keep you
busy for months. Games today have a hard time keeping your attention for more
than a few hours.
Honorable Mentions: 1080 Snowboarding (if it had more than 6 courses, it would
have made the list), Star Fox 64 (it was too easy for me), Mario Kart 64 (again,
pretty easy), Pilotwings 64, Turok 2, Extreme-G, Wipeout 64