ThePixelatedGenocide wrote:Thanks for these sports reviews. I've generally avoided the entire genre, but you provide a clear user-friendly explanation about the differences between a good game, an average one, and a bad title that has me rethinking the entire genre.
At the very least, I'm tempted to play my first post NES hockey game.
DO IT!! I feel like most people that are critical of sports games on Nintendo systems have either never tried them for themselves, or weren't around when the games were being released. The's quite a few hidden "gyms" in the SNES and N64 sports library, believe me.
As far as The Critic's review goes, I feel like he was pretty much on point. NHL '99 wasn't the best game. The passing was a joke, and if memory serves correctly, it was far too easy to score a wrap-around goal. I feel like this game was more or less using the same underlying code of its Genesis counterparts, but the new 3D engine just wasn't adapted to it well. I still have fond memories of this one, as me and a buddy used to play it daily, with his [expansion!] Nashville Predators going up against my Chicago Blackhawks. Both teams were equally terrible in the late 90's, so it was a pretty good matchup! I also loved the commercial, featuring "CYBER LINDROS" scoring points left and right to the tune of The Scorpions' "Rock You Like A Hurricane." If that didn't make you want to play the game, nothing would
I also highly recommend Wayne Gretzky's 3D Hockey on the N64. It's an early N64 game, and the rubberband AI is unfair as efffff, but for a quick game of arcade hockey, you can do a lot worse. Gotta love the old teams and rosters, too - GO WHALERS!!
The Critic wasn't too kind to the NHL Breakaway series on the N64, but I rather enjoyed those games - all two of them. It was a heavy simulation, with the games sometimes feeling slow and tedious as a result. Still, it gave you a ton of options in the season mode (setting up offensive and defensive schemes, hiring and firing coaches, setting your own lines) and a hockey diehard like myself had more than enough to tinker with, on and off the ice.
Other notable N64 sports games, in my opinion:
All Star Baseball (A long-running baseball series. More simulation than arcade. Fun, but I like Griffey better)
FIFA 64 / World to the World Cup '98 (Like soccer? You'll love these. FIFA 64 was EA's first 3D soccer game)
International Superstar Soccer (More arcade that FIFA, but if you ask me, more fun, too)
Kobe Bryant's NBA Courtside (Good balance of arcade and simulation gameplay. Fun and easy to learn.)
Madden 64 (The first 3D Madden game EVER! Fast, unrealistic, arcade action. Like a 3D Madden '92)
MLB Featuring Ken Griffey Jr. (Fast arcade baseball fun. Great stadium atmosphere, especially for the N64)
NBA Hangtime (Pretty much NBA Jam on the N64. All you need to know right there!)
NFL Blitz (Just the OG one, not any of the followups. Great arcade gameplay and in-game soundtrack)
NFL QB Club '98 or '99 (Heavy sim with lots of options. Not bad if you can get them for a buck or two)
WCW/nWo World Tour & Revenge (All-time classic wrestling games. Great wrestler lineups, too!)
All of those games offer some cheap thrills nowadays. Heck, you could probably buy all of them for less than twenty bucks. Well worth it!
All that being said, yeah, compared to what was being produced for the PlayStation and Dreamcast at the time, the N64 really got the short end of the stick. Acclaim was the only company really making an effort to support sports games on the system. EA did make a new Madden every year, but only did NHL and Triple Play Baseball one year each. NBA Live may have gotten two years worth of games, but in my opinion, that series never did translate well to 3D. Sony's NHL Faceoff and NBA Shootout games were killer sports apps for the Playstation, as were the first few NFL Gameday and Gamebreaker games. As The Critic would say, I'd take the Pepsi Challenge of those series over anything EA produced in the same time period.
There are some good times to be had with N64 sports games, for sure. NHL '99 wasn't the best the system had to offer, but if you're willing to give them a chance, there's definitely some fun to be had with the Nintendo 64 sports library - even more so if you can rope some of your friends into playing with you. Like fighting games, having a player 2 can make all the difference in the world.