Top 10 N64 games (a collaborative blog with g1 Fishman)
You will never convince me there was a greater console then the N64, mainly because the N64 was my childhood, I lost countless hours of my young life to this console and I still play it constantly today. The games are the best of best of what 3D gaming has to offer and many of them are just as great as they were over 15 years ago. So choosing just 10 of my favourite N64 games was hard, it was like choosing which of my imaginary children I would give a pony and which ones I would shoot in the face. Basically I’m trying to say some classics had to be culled. Well, that’s enough of my introductory waffle, Number 10‘s a good place to start right?
It was tricky to decide what to put here between Shadows of the Empire and Rogue Squadron, although I constantly played Rogue Squadron to death and it had cool unlockable ships like the Millennium Falcon and flying cars like the 1969 Buick Electra, I found myself leaning towards Shadows more.
This makes you feel like a galactic badass, with some truly cool sections, do you get to fight in the battle of Hoth? Check. Do you go up against classic star wars enemies such as Storm troopers, At-At’s, Wampa’s and more? Check. Do you get to shoot down Tie fighters in space? Yeah. Do you get to ride a speeder through Mos Eisely and its desert dodging sarlak pits? Umm…yep. Do you get to kick the crap out of bounty hunters such IG-88 and Boba fett? Hell yeah. Awesome music from the movies? Ahhhhh yeaaahhhh!
There is an obvious absence of lightsabers in the game but Shadows more than makes up for it with some awesome guns, oh and you get a jet pack and jet packs are always awesome. It is a mystery to me why so many reviewers gave it such average reviews first time around, Shadows deserves more praise then it got and it although it has some odd controls and dodgy camera it is still a guilty pleasure of mine.
Pokémon Snap, you take pictures of Pokémon and show them to Professor Oak, how is that a good game?
Turns out the N64’s on the rails picture em’ up was the best Pokémon spin off game ever to be released, (sorry Pokémon Stadium, I love your mini-games but you didn’t quite make it) sure there are only 63 Pokémon, but that turned out to be more than enough for snapping.
You never forget the first time you trigger an evolution or discover how to awaken Zapdos or use a pester ball on an unsuspecting Porygon. In some respects Pokémon Snap is a puzzle game, in which you have to figure out which series of events to trigger to get the reward of getting a chance to snap a shot of a rare Pokémon.
I struggled to play this game as a kid, not because it was too hard or because it was bad, I was too scared of it. There is some seriously disturbing stuff in here, Levels and bosses such as the Death Marches and the Blind one were to creepy for me to handle but after a few years of avoiding it due to me being a big girls blouse, I revisited it and I loved every single creepy, gory moment of it.
The Story was... umm.... the story... ok I can’t remember much about the story, there was this alien who wanted to play god or something called the Primagean, I think, but that doesn’t matter as much because I didn’t play Turok for the story, I played it for the levels, atmosphere and guns, oh the glorious guns.
The weapons are some of the most gruesome instruments ever placed into a game, the sheer variety and creativity put into each of the 22 weapons is something to admire (Which you can carry all at once, I miss that it modern games, the ability to have an armies arsenal with you at all times.) and every one of them is able to make each enemy explode into a shower of blood. The cerebral bore stands out as a most likely the most brutal gun in gaming history, using the brain waves admitted by your enemy you can lock on sending a drill homing into his skull as blood and grey mater comes pouring out of the whole like a disgusting waterfall, it’s glorious and it is enough reason to play this game alone just so you can shoot this gun and watch the horrifying scene unravel.
The game with the biggest replay value ever not only that but it introduced the DK rap into the world (the greatest bit of videogame rap music known to man, sample that shit Kayne!)
DK 64 is the biggest collect-athon ever committed to videogames, it presented you with 5 characters, who each had their own moves, instruments, weapons, crystal coconuts special moves, to use in 7 worlds (excluding DK isle or Hideout helm), in which you could collect 100 colour specific banana’s for each characters, there are also 201 golden banana’s (like stars in Mario 64) 949 banana coins, 20 banana fairies, 10 golden crowns and numerous orange grenades, crystal coconuts, banana medals, headphones, blueprints and one Nintendo and one Rareware coin to collect. Bit of a daunting task no? Well if you can look past the ridiculous amount of item collecting in this game, there is a great 3D platformer buried underneath.
The bosses were seriously threatening, like child trauma material threatening. I still see Mad Jack in my nightmares in the deepest and darkest of nights.
The first in Nintendo’s popular series about kicking the crap out your mates with various Nintendo superstars, it is by no means the best in the series, that honour would go to melee, but original is still worth you and your friends time any day of the week.
Single player was ok, but my fondest memories were of the super addictive multiplayer. I was king of Smash in the N64’s heyday; there was not one single kid on my street that hadn’t suffered defeat at the hands of me and Ness, even though I had no idea who the hell Ness was or Earthbound for that matter. (I was 7 and Earthbound has never been released in the UK of course I had no idea who he was.)
I spent most of my days just spamming pokeballs and hammers in matches and watching everything go nuts, that’s what smash was all about, being with friends and having fun your way, (and they say games aren’t a social activity) the ability to choose what items would turn up and what damage you would deal always ended up creating some ridiculous and tense play sessions. In fact this is the first game I ever beat my dad on, that was a proud moment for me.
I know, I know, Goldeneye was a masterpiece of single player and multi-player design yada yada I realise, I love Goldeneye as well, it was a landmark title in FPS history but I love Perfect Dark more, because it built upon it built upon what Goldeneye had started to make a overall better and polished title. It was basically Goldeneye mark II; it had all the stuff that made Goldeneye brilliant but added so much more to it.
The A.I was improved vastly; sure it was cool to kill 100’s upon 100’s of infinitely respawning soldiers in Goldeneye but there was’nt much challange in it, in Perfect Dark enemies would duck for cover, side step to move out of the line of fire, use hand to hand if you got to close and had to reload, sure most of it was scripted but it was leaps and bounds over what I had experienced at the time.
The futuristic setting allowed perfect to have a lot more creativity in their level design, concept and most importantly weapons, The Dragon, The laptop gun and The Slayer are just some of the stand out futuristic killing machines that are available to spread destruction. In Multiplayer it was so useful to shoot through walls at your opponent or catch them off guard with a cleverly placed laptop sentry.
Speaking of multiplayer, even though single player was satisfying and had some memorable moments, multiplayer was without a doubt the best part of Perfect Dark, there were so many customizable options for every aspect from your character, level, weapons, power ups, game modes, even your enemies because you could play multiplayer even if you were a friend short or had no friends at all, using stimulants it would simply replace human player with computers usefull for loners like me (now I’ve made my self sad...)
And it has an alien named Elvis. (and now I’m happy again.)
I love a kart racer with an adventure mode and bosses. That is the one thing I have always thought was missing in Mario Kart, in fact my favourite part of Mario DS was the missions where they had some bosses! But, still no adventure mode. In fact my two favourite racers are Crash Team racing and Diddy Kong Racing solely for their brilliant adventure modes.
Mario Kart 64 was pretty cool with all the karts, battle modes and all, but Diddy Kong racing had Karts, Planes and Hovercrafts! (Although the hovercrafts controls can go to hell) it had a story mode with bosses, Conker and Banjo as characters, a hub with a racial insensitive elephant genie Called Taj and did I mention PLANES!?!? You can fly! And race! A magical evil pig called Wizpig! You can’t do anything but love this game!
Plus you got to upgrade your weapons as you race, by collecting numerous balloons you can turn just one rocket into 5 semi-homing rockets, to a homing rocket to 3 circling rocket missiles. Forcing you to think more tactically about your item as opposed to firing every single item you get whenever someone is in front of you, you could instead gamble and wait until you get better and more weapons to fight your way to the top. Definitely beats just mindlessly throwing a blue shell when your in 8th place just to be a douche.
Rare’s masterpiece introduced the world to their mascots and although they are now a lot worse for wear nowadays, The original Banjo Kazooie for the N64 is still a pinnacle of 3D platforming.
You can’t talk about Banjo Kazooie with at least mentioning Super Mario 64, the origin of basically every 3D platformer ever and the template from which Banjo Kazooie was built, it follows basically the same game mechanics, instead of stars, you collect jiggies to enter new worlds and instead of coins it’s musical notes but these similarities are not necessarily a bad thing, as the old saying goes “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” but that said, what was broke Rare didn’t just fix, they improved.
Every move Mario had Banjo and Kazooie had and then some, Banjo had the ability to run a lot faster, jump really high plus he had a projectile weapon in the form of Kazooie coughing and pooping out eggs at her enemies. On top of that there was flying, invincibly and swimming, which were all used to greater effect and you could actually fly in Banjo Kazooie, not fall with style. (I’ve just realised that at least 3 of my choices are there because you have the ability to fly in some capacity, I guess it is one of the more prominent memoires of my early 3D adventures, the ability to explore this new 3D space by flying around it was a cool prospect and one that has really stuck with me, to sum up flying is always cool no matter where it is. Crap what was I talking about, oh yeah Banjo Kazooie!)
The levels were all vibrant, original and contained some of the really challenging puzzles also this being a Rare game, naturally it has one of the funniest script’s committed to gaming. The euphemistic cheeky humour went completely over my head as a kid but I can truly appreciate how absolutely hilarious the script is as a crude childish adult.
The Sounds you will hear throughout are some the catchiest tunes ever put in a 64bit cartridge and there is nothing as satisfying as hearing that familiar jingle when you obtain a jiggie and I dare you not to dance or start a hoedown when the title theme is playing.
Although there is one thing that annoys me about this game, I have literally 99.99% on this game, there is one ruddy Musical note I can’t find it is somewhere out there and I have no idea where it is and it is one of the most agitating things to ever happen to me in gaming. But looking over that Banjo Kazooie is without a doubt the best platformer on N64.
It is no secret that theN64 was not a hot bed for good RPG’s, and strangely enough it was the portly plumber of platforming that managed to supply the N64 with the best RPG come platformer ever.
I normally don’t care all too much about graphics, but graphically, Paper Mario was super unique and was probably the first game to use 2D characters in a 3D world (don’t quote me on that) I at least know it was the first game to use the idea of being made of paper. It still looks good although it is a bit blurry but it still has aged a hell of a lot better than other N64 games.
The spiritual sequel to Super Mario Rpg: the legend of the seven stars, Paper Mario managed to transfer Mario RPG’s turn based action sensitive gameplay over to the N64 nicely but instead of buying weapon upgrades in every town, you found around 3 major upgrades to your hammer and jump ability as you progressed through the story but you can buy badges which added a layer of depth to fighting by being able to add status effects to attacks, increase health and flower points (basically Paper Mario’s mana) plus it could also give added power to your normal attacks.
You went out on adventure after getting your arse handed to you by Bowser to save the seven star spirits all in the hope to save princess peach yadada all sounds like a standard Mario story right? Well wrong because strangely one of the best aspects of Paper Mario is the characters that inhabit the Mushroom Kingdom, they suddenly each have their own personalities and all have something cool to say.
The writing takes a well needed satirising take on the mushroom kingdom and somehow made Bowser a sympathetic, hilariously pathetic and threatening villain at the same time, that’s quite a feat. You would find numerous characters that would join you on your quest and by incorporating your sidekick’s abilities outside of battle you could reach previously unreachable areas across treacherous chasms or travel via water and various different things to help you on your quest. The story itself while albeit quite simple is really involving and takes you too many exciting areas that will each have at least one thing that will make you stop and go “that shit is awesome”.
You know, I debated for ages what deserves to be Number one more, Majora’s Mask or Ocarina of Time, Majora Mask is a lot darker and the story is much better and the world itself is a lot denser with fleshed out characters, the whole game is also quite emotional as well leading you to some really depressing depths...
Yes, I know super predictable choice but I couldn’t do it, I couldn’t put Ocarina of Time at anything other than the number one spot, OOT is just so good and so magnificent and it deserves to be number 1. There is not much I can say that hasn’t already been said before, I’m pretty sure you have all read countless articles on why Ocarina is the best time ever and this is just going to be me gushing over the same points made many times before.
Ok I’m a major sucker for nostalgia, everything on this list is here because of nostalgia but on top of being an amazing game just means more to me. Everyone has that one game that is more than just a game, it becomes something to be treasured, it leaves a lasting effect on you, This is the reason I love videogames, it was the first game I ever completed and I have not stopped completing it since, I still replay at least once a year, If you haven’t at least tried this game you should be ashamed of yourself, It is one of those games that is basically a necessity and if you haven’t you are missing out.
Zelda to me is about 5 things, exploration, dungeons, bosses, puzzles and music. And OOT nailed every single one of those right on the head (dungeon wise though, perhaps excluding the water temple, although I think it has got a really bad rap over the past few years) Of course stepping out into Hyrule field for the first time was a breathtaking experience and each boss battle was so good that they felt like a reward for your hard work in the challenging dungeons.
The puzzles were devious but weren’t so hard that they pushed you to the edge of insanity and every dungeon was an exercise in brilliance, the music throughout is the best of Koji Kondo’s career and I even have the soundtrack on my iPod ( lame I know but it is so good I don’t care!) the enemies were as visually interesting and threatening as ever and I know I’ve talked quite a bit already on scary stuff in other games but I can play through those now not even flinching at those, but Re-deads, Dead hands and Wallmasters still creep me out to this day. It’s just really good alright.
Also to get one thing out of the way, Don’t give me crap about Navi being annoying, she isn’t that bad, hell she is more useful then she is annoying. You want to know the most annoying character ever? Keobra bloody Geobra, I spent hours of my youth stuck in an endless circle of frustration because I kept pressing “I want to hear it again” but I was only trying to skip the dialogue. But, Hey listen! Nothing is perfect, but OOT is the closest you will get to playing it.
Somehow due to some witchcraft, Nintendo managed to craft a perfected 3D Zelda experience on their 1st go and though there have been many really brilliant games that followed in it’s footsteps, none have never matched up to Ocarina for me. There are just not enough words in the English language to describe the brilliance of this game, it is the one game I will never tire of playing, and it really does need to be played to truly understand what I am trying to explain.
I love the N64 it has some of the best games that I have ever played and I still love playing all the games I have on it. The N64 is a console I'am proud to own and with so many great games picking 10 wasn't easy but it was worth it so lets begin as I pick my top ten games on the N64.
Now I like F-Zero X since it did something that could have made the first game so much more epic adding in multiplayer. Yes the that alone made me love X a lot plus the sense of speed is still pretty dam good with it playing at 60 frames per second even though it does look aged by today. There are a ton of vehicles to pick and the fact that you can give up speed for acceleration is a pretty simple feature but dam impressive back in the day. I also plus I do love the remix of some of the old snes songs which makes F-Zero X my tenth favorite N64 game since not liking this game ends up in you getting a Falcon Punch to the knee ( yes bad Skyrim Pun).
Yes well time for me to talk about flying an Arwing and talk about a classic. I have likely beaten this game so many times by know that I lost track to how many times I have fought against Andross and I still love going to all range mode on Sector Z as it is the moment that made go from liking Star Fox 64 to loving it. I love space shooters and Star Fox 64 is one of the best I really hope for an all flight Star Fox game on the 3ds or Wii U that would be so great.
I love plying Smash Bros plus it has quite possibly the best ad to a video game ever. But when it comes down to it Smash Bros is just plain fun alone or with others. This is a trend with every game I have played that is on the this list I have played so many times I lost track, but Smash Bros is pretty much a lot more fun with others as it is well worth playing with 3 friends. The fact that you could set up your own over the top game types is a bonus as all Bob-Ombs every 15 seconds was definitely chaos that was well worth a playing with my friends.
There weren’t that many rpg’s on the N64 which was a shame to me but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a great rpg on the 64. I love the simple 2d art style of Paper Mario it might not look complex but I love it. If you like an old school style rpg and you’re looking for one on N64 this is the best best choice and the game is pretty funny as I laugh a lot even though and well worth the time and my favorite rpg on the N64 which lands it at #7.
Now one thing that I like a lot about Mario Kart is how over the top it is for a racer. Now I remember how much I would hate playing in Wario’s Stadium as if anyone had the lighting power attack they would just wait for you to try to make the jump just so they can screw you over, but the other cheat I love was just jumping off Rainbow road just to get ahead by just a wide lead. Balloon Battle was war for me when I was young I always seem to have lost and even though I did I had playing Mario Kart 64, also the music to the tracks is classic.
The first game I played on the N64 was Super Mario 64, so yeah I like this game a lot. For 3d gaming this game is owe a lot and when down to it Super Mario 64 is a great game as jumping on Goombas in 3d was still a blast. The moments that I remember the most has to be when you fight Bowser for the last time as the ground beneath you crumbles and you make the King of the Koopa’s as you toss him into that bomb thing. I played this so many times that whenever I get to 120 stars I restart whenever I finish it.
I mention this game as one of my favorite Star Wars game and again it makes it to a list about my favorite N64 games. Now I like Star Wars a lot I geek out whenever I hear anything about and Rouge Squadron was all flight which to me was great as I love piloting the X-Wing and the Naboo StarFighter over the Prisons of Kessel or shooting wombats over your T-16. I really love the control in Rouge Squadron that I wish that the Battlefront games would use the control of even the N64 title. I you’re a Star Wars fan this worth your time as heading up Rouge Squadron was a true plus it does include the Battle of Hoth and Yavin IV which makes this game my 4 favorite N64 game.
Pretty Goldeneye was the reason that any of my friends kept the four controllers to an N64 after they were done with Mario Kart 64 and with good reason. Goldeneye was the first person shooter I have ever play and when I can still play with my friends after all these years is pretty impressive. I do like the fact that if you decide to play the single player it can be almost as fun as playing with others as turning on big head mode while be invincible as you have the entire arsenal of the game feels amazing.
I love this game so much as it still plays great after all of these years and no matter how many times I have played it still amazes me. The gameplay still stands the test of time, and it controls great even though you have to deal with navi it still worth it. The music in Ocarina of Time still has some of my favorite music ever. The puzzle might seem easy now but they did confuse me when I was younger and the boss battles stand out well to me the end when you fight Ganondorf in the end one of the best moments in gaming. Ocarina of Time might be a great game but there is another N64 game that I like even more.
Yes I love Conker that much that I would borrow the games for months on end just to play, until I was able to buy it and it was worth it. Conker is a great game and a funny one as it pokes fun of the many platformers that where on the Nintnedo 64. I love the game also for having the great multiplayer of games like GoldenEye 007 and Perfect Dark but with bears instead of people and is more fun since only Conker has tnaks and dinsours. Conker Bad Fur Day is still the game that I'am the most proud to have for my N64 as it holds up well and I love the music for being so upbeat in such a violent game. The best N64 game to me will always be Conker and everyone should at least play it to fight the Great Mighty POO Once.