N64 Games That Stand The Test Of Time

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N64 Games That Stand The Test Of Time

Postby Retrology » October 23rd, 2019, 1:45 am

Obviously we've come a long way in 3D gaming so many early titles from the mid-late 90s aren't as fun as later 3D games. However, I do think there is still plenty of games (large part in 2D/racing/more linear 3D) that have stoof the test of time from the fifth generation of consoles.

With that said, what games from the N64 era have stood the test of time in your mind?

I have plenty that I think have aged well but one in particular is Yoshi's Story. As it is in 2D there's no camera struggle, and if you try to collect all the melons the game gets infinitely more challenging (and fun!). A fantastic game that's widely misunderstood.

Another one is Star Fox 64. Few rail shooters are as fun as this, and with the amount of secrets and urge to beat your high score there's so much replay value.

Paper Mario has also aged very well. This was my favorite game growing up as a kid and the Gamecube sequel is even better.

Diddy Kong Racing has also held up far better than Mario Kart 64 in my opinion. The controls are tighter and the variety of vehicles/adventure mode gives it more replay value from a single player perspective.

Pokemon Snap is crazy fun even if it's short. Like Star Fox 64 it's a rail game, but instead of shooting stuff you take photos of animals. It's way more fun than it sounds, especially since you can beat your high score and get an impressive variety of poses that can give you a higher score. I really think the critic should review this if he's got a copy!

Thoughts? And lastly if you don't have any games, please don't respond. Nothing personal, I just want to see what N64 games I've missed out on since I'm looking to increase my collection. Thanks!

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Re: N64 Games That Stand The Test Of Time

Postby Retro STrife » October 23rd, 2019, 8:39 am

Retrology wrote:Pokemon Snap is crazy fun even if it's short. Like Star Fox 64 it's a rail game, but instead of shooting stuff you take photos of animals. It's way more fun than it sounds, especially since you can beat your high score and get an impressive variety of poses that can give you a higher score. I really think the critic should review this if he's got a copy!

I have to second this comment as well, as I've always thought this would be a good one for the Critic to add to the N64 reviews. It's probably the best N64 game that he hasn't reviewed yet. It's really one-of-a-kind, and it's not a "Pokemon game" in the traditional sense at all. I know he isn't a Pokemon fan, but neither am I, and I still had fun playing this game. Fairly cheap too. Critic, if you see this, give it a shot!

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Re: N64 Games That Stand The Test Of Time

Postby ThePixelatedGenocide » October 23rd, 2019, 8:51 am

Unpopular opinion: The director's cut of Castlevania 64. The sweeping attacks fill the screen and make it easy to hit enemies even if the camera isn't ideal. And the remixed level design is a bit more polished than the original. It's no Symphony of the Night, but it's a decent way to kill some time if you can adapt to it. It's as close as you'll ever find to a 3d version of the 8 bit originals.

And unlike most non-Metroidvania Castlevania games, it invests in the characters and world building, at least beyond feeling like a post-it note. Even the guy selling you items hides a dark secret, which you'll find out if you buy too many things from him.

There are moments (only moments, mind you), where it feels more like the Netflix series than other games in the series. And considering all of the unlockable campaigns, you're really getting your money's worth.

It's my favorite 3d Castlevania, by far, even when including the God of War clones. And despite its reputation, I first played it long after the N64 was gone from store shelves.

The same is true for all the other games on this list.

Popular Opinion: Wave Race 64. Sometimes, less is more. And that's especially true of early games released before anyone can tap into a system's true potential. Here, there's barely enough processing power to create a 3d game in the first place, which means that there's no unnecessary complications. Thanks to excellent level design, and attractive colors, it achieves that same arcade zen you'll find in Sega's best racers.

Most popular hidden gem: Beetle Adventure Racing. Sometimes, someone buys a license and completely forgets to rip you off. I'm not sure how this exploration based racing game got past EA's quality control. Isn't it supposed to keep the world safe from becoming addicted to quality games?

Feel free to replace either game with F-Zero 64 if you absolutely need 60 frames per second.

The "Just look at it" award for most obvious game in this list: Wonder Project J2.

The "Just look at it" award for the least obvious game in this list: On second thought, the graphics are probably the best part of Rakuga Kids.

The "Seriously? Where's Ogre Battle 64 and Sin and Punishment?" award goes to: Ogre Battle 64 and Sin and Punishment.

Best WCW game ever made: WCW-nWo Revenge.

What obsessive fans of No Mercy still think is the best WWF game ever made: No Mercy.

Best ECW game ever made: The No Mercy mod.

Best TNA/indies game ever made: The No Mercy mod.

Can a No Mercy mod save the invasion angle? Of course.

Best No Mercy mod: the newest build of WWF Legends. (Warning, will make your N64 explode if you even think of trying to run it outside of an emulator. Also, I have no idea how to run it, so you're on your own.)

Best game I almost forgot to include on the list: Doom 64.

Best game I forgot to include on the list: See below.
Last edited by ThePixelatedGenocide on October 25th, 2019, 10:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: N64 Games That Stand The Test Of Time

Postby DrLitch » October 24th, 2019, 8:20 pm

Retrology wrote:

Another one is Star Fox 64. Few rail shooters are as fun as this, and with the amount of secrets and urge to beat your high score there's so much replay value.

Agreed on Star Fox 64, aged fine, and is fun to play.

Mario 64, controls apart has not aged ... that badly .... Not as good as Odyssey or Galaxy but still a class act...

Sin and Punishment, while sporting some rather rough low poly count models, has not aged badly gameplay wise.

Shadowman, another title with aged graphics but modern gameplay mechanisms. Sort of a precursor to the modern sandbox or metroidvania type title. It holds up well today. Played through it recently, easily one of my favorite games from that generation, possibly even ever. Also very gory and R rated stuff full of swearing and humor.

ThePixelatedGenocide wrote:Unpopular opinion: The director's cut of Castlevania 64.

This game is nowhere near as bad as people say. I reckon many have a negative opinion because other's do or they never played it. Much like the criticism thrown towards Rondo lite Dracula X on the SNES. Yes nowhere near as good as PC Engine game but it is not horrible at all.

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Re: N64 Games That Stand The Test Of Time

Postby Matchstick » October 24th, 2019, 9:34 pm

Lots of good opinions in this one. I like that it's a "Test of Time" topic, not a "Best Of" or a "Hidden Gems" list. Makes coming up with titles a bit more of a challenge.

For me, the first game that came to mind when I read the topic was Wave Race, and I'm glad to see that others feel the same way. I feel that many of the best N64 games were simple, straightforward affairs, being games that may not have been very complicated or taken very long to finish, but were well-made and easy to pick up and play. Wave Race fits this bill perfectly.

I also agree with the comments about Star Fox 64, Diddy Kong Racing, and Pokemon Snap. Star Fox plays very well, makes good use of voice clips, and offers a very, very challenging high score system. Diddy is probably the best kart racer on the console. Snap, man, I didn't really want to like it when it came out (never being the biggest Pokemon fan) but it won me over in a hurry. It was like the photo mode from Pilotwings 64, but with much better execution. A fun game to play to this day.

Of the Star Wars games, Episode 1 Racer and Rogue Squadron are excellent titles on the N64. Racer is fast and fluid, and I love the constant tuning and repairing of the pods between races. Nothing like going to the junkyard and finally finding an expensive part you can finally afford. Rogue Squadron pretty much needs the Expansion Pack, but if you have one, the game plays very well, and is one of the better-looking games on the system. And boy, is it tough. If you like the classic trilogy, though, the overall tone and format of the game is like a dream come true, finally letting you fly alongside Luke and Wedge. Much like Star Fox, it makes great use of voice clips and cutscenes, as well.

I thought many of Midway's arcade ports on the N64 were superior to other home consoles, including NFL Blitz, NBA Hangtime, Mortal Kombat 4, and Gauntlet Legends. Three of those four games use the four-player option, and it's a blast playing Gauntlet with four people, crawling through dungeons and obliterating enemies left and right without any load times in sight. My wife and I still play that one regularly, and we can usually rope a few of our friends into it, too, whether they've played the game before or not. It definitely holds up, and doesn't look too bad on an HD screen, either!

I also think the simplicity of Robotron, Pilotwings and Blast Corps make the games fun to play today, as well. Robotron is a practically never-ending update of the arcade classic with a pulsing techno beat. Graphics are garbage, but gameplay is fun and addictive, like any classic arcade-style game should be. You can finish Pilotwings in an afternoon, but the gentle nature of the game encourages you to take your time and explore, finding hidden secrets and Easter eggs along the way. Plus, those high-score challenges can be brutal! Blast Corps is such an oddball game and one that still stands out as being unique over twenty years later. Challenging in its own right, but a blast (pun intended) to play through for a high score. Even my wife occasionally quotes this one: "You're just trying to impress me!" Dawwwwww.

The New Tetris is a four-player version of the classic game, and with mostly 2D sprite and pre-rendered graphics, it holds up today pretty well. I mean, not like you really need to rewrite the book on how to make Tetris work, right? Other games with a 2D tilt have already been mentioned, and I do agree that Yoshi's Story has aged beautifully. I think it holds up better than Mischief Makers, which was released around the same time, but in my mind, Yoshi features tighter controls and overall better level layout.

Wonder Project is another standout title, though I think it falls more into "hidden gem" status than the other games I've listed. I've only ever played the imported game in Japanese while I was in college and didn't get very far. Still, I could tell that what was there was quality (great 2D animation and very, very large sprites, as well as some fun 3D underwater segments) and I'm sure an English patch would make all the difference. Shame it never got a US release, though the cutesy Japanese look of the game may have scared away a lot of companies at time time from attempting to import it. Wasn't an uncommon practice back then, unfortunately.

I do still enjoy Super Mario 64 and GoldenEye. Mario was a preeeety big deal for the time, and I still love picking it up and snagging a few stars every now and then. Some may argue the game was outdone by Banjo Kazooie, but Mario was a groundbreaking title, one which nearly every game in the series released afterwards was based upon in some way. I doubt Banjo would exist in its form without using Mario as a blueprint, and Mario is very much still accessible, easy to pick up even for someone who didn't have an N64 back in the day. Put it to you this way: my ten-year-old nephew loves Mario 64 and has been playing it for years. He never got out of the main hub area in Banjo. Even the camera being what it is isn't a dealbreaker. It just takes a little effort to learn how to play the game, something some gamers just aren't willing to devote the time to do.

For GoldenEye, while some users on this board like to pick it apart for what they view as a poor frame rate and clunky controls, the game is still easy to grasp and jump into, even if you're playing it for the first time. Notable because it came out during a time in which most gamers were sick of so-called "Doom clones," as the game featured a strong focus on mission structure and objectives as well as conserving ammo and health. No health packs, just some body armor sprinkled here and there which never quite seemed to be enough to get you through the level if you played guns a' blazin'. I like that you can play the game more or less one-handed, and on the Agent difficulty, anybody can plow through the bulk of the game no problem. Plus, that soundtrack was great, and the unique structure of the mission objectives made most of the levels stand out and be memorable on their own. May gamers prefer Perfect Dark, but I think the James Bond license just puts this one over the top. There aren't too many movie-based games better than this one, even to this day.

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Re: N64 Games That Stand The Test Of Time

Postby noah98 » October 24th, 2019, 9:45 pm

Wave Race 64 never gets old!

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Re: N64 Games That Stand The Test Of Time

Postby Matchstick » October 24th, 2019, 9:58 pm

One that I forgot to mention in my phone-book-length post above was BattleTanx, another great multiplayer title. Yeah, 3D0 games tend to get a bad rap, but this was a heck of an action game with a great variety of enemies and weapons. Some stages had a bit of a "capture the flag" feel , but for the most part, there wasn't much strategy or planning involved - just drive around and blow everything up! YEAH!!

Doesn't look like too much nowadays (graphics are pretty foggy and blurry, even by N64 standards) but it plays very well, very fast, with little in the way of slowdown or breakup. Multiplayer action supports four players, and each of the factions in the game has a different variety of tanks at their disposal, which gives the multiplayer battlemode a layer of strategy missing from the main game.

I feel like this one has gone up in price a bit over the years, but if you can get it cheap, give it a go. Just stay away from the sequel!

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Re: N64 Games That Stand The Test Of Time

Postby jon » October 24th, 2019, 10:34 pm

I remember NBA Hangtime and it was awesome. I was a little surprised it got a poor review. It's a great arcade basketball game imo. Goldeneye, I'm a big fan of the movie, so coming from that persepctive playing the game in '97 just felt right. It captured the spirit of the movie. Perhaps I wasn't crazy about multi because I was terrible, but the 1 player has some of the most amazing levels ever. Inside those facilities it really gets frantic with a ton of bad guys. After playing both a ton, SM64 is was better than Banjo Kazooie. WIth Banjo Kazooie you have to get taught all the movies from the squirrel or whatever he was. There is no option to skip past them and after playing it a couple times you know all the moves anyways so it becomes a monumental hassle. It cripples the game and prevents it from being a true classic. Also, yes it was a little childish, I can't lie. But SM64 has stood the test of time, and is a classic. There is a huge amount of nostalgia for me though, as it was the first N64 game I played and got me so psyched for the system. I think SM64 is getting better with age.

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Re: N64 Games That Stand The Test Of Time

Postby thunderjohn » October 25th, 2019, 4:31 am

1st party titles are a league of their own due to microcode. Waverace and 1080 are awesome. Starfox, Mario, Link, Banjo and Conker are a no-brainer. I like Turok better than Goldeneye, but Perfect Dark was better than Turok 2.
Last edited by thunderjohn on October 25th, 2019, 5:41 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: N64 Games That Stand The Test Of Time

Postby CaptainCruch » October 25th, 2019, 5:09 am

I always liked Pokemon Puzzle League & I think it's still great today. I never played GoldenEye back in the days and to be honest, I find it very hard to enjoy nowadays. I have no nostalgic feelings for that game and I don't think it aged very well.

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