system Index D-E
Destruction Derby 64
Grade: B+
Publisher: THQ (1999)
Reviewed: 2010/6/6
Rating: Everyone

screenshotMan's evolution began when he learned how to fashion tools from sticks, and ended when he learned how to smash expensive cars into each other. The original Destruction Derby (Playstation, 1995) was fun but lacking in one critical area: multi-player! Destruction Derby 64 (DD64) addresses that shortcoming in a big way, and delivers some of the best racing action you'll find on the N64.

You can select between wide-open smash-up-derbies or stock car racing with cars headed in opposite directions around a track! The derbies are wild and exciting as cars plow into each other and the polygons go flying. Only one will prevail, but since your rank is determined by the damage you inflict, you'll want to be aggressive. Unfortunately, the scoring seems arbitrary at times ("I only got one point for that?!")

In stock car races you earn points by reaching checkpoints in addition to taking shots at oncoming cars. The first few laps are utter chaos, but when you finally get down to the last two cars, it becomes a bit of a stalemate. If both cars pass each other on a long track, it can be a while before you cross paths again. A radar display helps you anticipate crash opportunities, but there are too many colored dots on that damned thing. The controls are responsive enough, but I wish the emergency brake had been mapped to the trigger instead of the right shoulder.

The quality of the tracks is a pleasant surprise. The seaside resort is absolutely beautiful, offering realistic lighting effects, scenic views, and rich textures. It reminded me of Ridge Racer (Playstation, 1995). Other notable locations include the Louisiana Bayou and a gothic town at night. In the alpine ridge track, your tires slip realistically on snowy surfaces but grip well in tunnel sections, and you have to respect that level of attention to detail. The soundtrack is a series of hypnotic techno beats.

A world championship mode will challenge the solo player and a split screen will accommodate up to four players. The frame-rate gets sketchy on the split-screen, it's still fun. Destruction Derby 64 is one of the few smash-up games that actually "gets it", and is sure to keep you and your friends entertained for hours on end. © Copyright 2010 The Video Game Critic.

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Recommended variation: rookie, bowl
Our high score: 64
1 to 4 players 

If you like this game, try: Destruction Derby (Playstation)
Destruction Derby Raw (Playstation)
Test Drive Eve of Destruction (Playstation 2)
Demolition Racer: No Exit (Dreamcast)
Ridge Racer 64 (Nintendo 64)

Diddy Kong Racing
Grade: A
Publisher: Nintendo (1997)
Reviewed: 2000/7/30

screenshotDiddy Kong Racing takes the outstanding gameplay of Mario Kart and expands upon it in a number of ways. In addition to cars, you can also race planes and hovercraft! The tracks feature tropical islands (always a favorite), snowy mountains, and even a prehistoric world. These scenic courses are well-designed and mercifully short, allowing for quick, action-packed races.

Diddy Kong's graphics and frame-rate are gorgeously smooth, and the waterfalls and snow drifts look particularly appealing. The airplanes handle surprisingly well, but I found the hovercrafts a bit sensitive when it comes to turning. A single-player adventure mode lets you unlock tracks to use in the multiplayer modes, and it's madly addictive but never frustrating.

Catchy tunes play throughout the races, including a few that sound like Christmas carols in the snow stages. With exciting racing action that places fun over realism, Diddy Kong Racing is a top-notch title for the Nintendo 64. © Copyright 2000 The Video Game Critic.

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1 to 4 players 

If you like this game, try: Mario Kart 64 (Nintendo 64)
Diddy Kong Racing DS (Nintendo DS)
Crash Team Racing (Playstation)
Mario Kart DS (Nintendo DS)
Mickey's Speedway USA (Nintendo 64)

Donkey Kong 64
Grade: B+
Publisher: Nintendo (1999)
Reviewed: 2000/1/20

screenshotDonkey Kong 64 (DK64) plays like 3D platformers Mario 64, Gex, and Croc, but DK64 seems to have more of everything. There are more areas to explore, tons of special moves, multiple playable characters, and endless items to collect. DK64's huge virtual world is so beautiful it's almost a pleasure to become lost in it.

The first small area opens up to a group of new areas, and each of those open up to more areas, and so on and so forth. Fortunately there are portals to make it easier to travel from one place to the next. If you enjoy the idea of collecting items, DK64 is your game. You'll need to find bananas of various colors, golden bananas, keys, coins, blueprints, and medals, just to name a few! To be honest, It gets to be a bit much after a while.

Your enemies are fairly scarce and usually not too aggressive. DK64's visuals are some of the best you'll see on the system, and its audio is equally outstanding. The game certainly takes a substantial time investment to complete. The fact that you need to thoroughly search each level with each of the five characters is bound to drain your will to continue.

Still, DK64 has a lot going for it, starting with an outrageous rap video introduction. You can save your game in progress at any time - a pretty nifty feature for a N64 title! Numerous mini-games are hidden within the main game, including the original Donkey Kong video game, which is a real treat to play. I also have to credit the well-written instruction booklet - it's absolutely hilarious! Donkey Kong 64 is a quality title, so if you're not already burnt out on this type of game, be sure to give it a try. © Copyright 2000 The Video Game Critic.

Save mechanism: Battery
1 to 4 players 

If you like this game, try: D2K Arcade (Intellivision)
Donkey Kong Junior (Atari 2600)
Super Mario 64 (Nintendo 64)
Donkey Kong Junior (Colecovision)
Donkey Kong Jr. (NES)

Doom 64
Grade: C-
Publisher: Midway (1997)
Reviewed: 2012/1/31
Rating: Mature 17+ (animated violence, animation blood and gore)

screenshotI showed this game to a few friends, and their initial response was always the same: "Wow." Most console versions of Doom are derived from Doom 1 and 2 (PC), but Doom 64 is a whole new animal. You might call it Doom 2.5. By leveraging 64-bit technology it delivers the same style of first person shooting with better graphics and silky smooth animation.

The stages tend to be very elaborate and the monsters have a sharp "clay-mation" look. A few new creeps have been added to the mix including the "pain elemental", and old standbys have been redesigned. Weapons include a double-bladed chainsaw that's not very practical for logging but mauls bloodthirsty demons like a champ. Doom 64's haunting music and echoing sound effects are effective. At first glance Doom 64 seems too good to be true, and it is.

This is an incredibly dark game, and even with the lights out it's a struggle to see the corridors. Every now and then you'll locate a pair of "light amplification goggles" which brighten things up considerably, but the effect is short-lived. Excessive darkness combined with a slew of invisible monsters will result in you wondering why in the heck you're incurring damage. The high-tech stages are maze-like, and you end up moving in circles trying to figure out where to go.

The default controls are unwieldy. Due to the N64 controller design you can't effectively use the trigger to shoot while using the shoulder buttons to strafe. A password is provided after each level, and you can also save your progress to a controller pack. Doom 64 may be a treat for fans looking for a brand new challenge, but casual players will find it more aggravating than fun. © Copyright 2012 The Video Game Critic.

Save mechanism: Password and Controller Pack
1 player 

If you like this game, try: Final Doom (Playstation)
Doom (Jaguar)
Doom (Sega 32X)
Quake (Nintendo 64)
Doom (Super Nintendo)

Dr. Mario 64
Grade: A-
Publisher: Nintendo (2001)
Reviewed: 2001/6/2

screenshotIt's hard to be critical of a game you can't stop playing. Dr. Mario 64 is so addicting, I think I could make a full time job out of playing this! The graphics are simple, the music is so-so, and the sound effects are annoying, but tight controls and engrossing gameplay more than make up for these deficiencies. Dr. Mario is the type of game that appeals to men and women of all ages, and its four-player mode makes it an ideal party game.

The gameplay is a variation of Tetris where you need to strategically place multi-colored "pills" to eliminate "viruses". It's the same Dr. Mario that's been released on the SNES (and NES), but this one contains more options and playing modes. If you enjoy puzzle games and you haven't tried Dr. Mario yet, you need to pick this up in a hurry. For the record, this is one of my wife's favorite video games of all time. © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.

1 to 4 players 

If you like this game, try: Tetris and Dr. Mario (Super Nintendo)
Dr. Mario (NES)
Tetris Plus (Playstation)
Super Mario World (Super Nintendo)
Tetris DS (Nintendo DS)

ECW Hardcore Revolution
Grade: F
Publisher: Acclaim (2000)
Reviewed: 2001/6/2
Rating: Mature

screenshotWhat the heck is the ECW anyway? I don't recognize any of these wrestlers, but there sure are a lot of them (over 40)! ECW Hardcore Revolution certainly doesn't skimp when it comes to options. Not only do you get a huge selection of both male and female wrestlers, but you can even create your own! The slew of playing modes includes a flashy "Pay Per View" mode (which requires a whole controller pack to save). ECW's matches are less impressive.

The fighters are smoothly animated, but poor collision detection often causes fighters to pass through each other! The crowd noise is bizarre - either they're dead silent or going nuts. The fighters tend to repeat the same phrases over and over, usually "ouch!" or "ow!". The controls in the tag team matches are horrendous, and the matches tend to run far too long in general. This game initially impressed me with its extensive option list, but without any muscle behind its gameplay, ECW Hardcore Revolution goes down for the count. © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.

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1 to 4 players 

If you like this game, try: WWF Attitude (Dreamcast)
WWF War Zone (Playstation)
Tekken Tag Tournament (Playstation 2)
Title Match Pro Wrestling (Atari 2600)
Dead or Alive 2 (Dreamcast)

Excitebike 64
Grade: A-
Publisher: Nintendo (2000)
Reviewed: 2000/6/17

screenshotExcitebike 64 is a fantastic motorcross game, boasting superb graphics, realistically animated bikers, and a selection of both indoor and outdoor tracks. After a slight learning curve, you'll feel in total control of your jumps, wheelies, slides, and stunts. And best of all, there's plenty of big air to catch. Excitebike's framerate remains exceptionally smooth even in the four player split-screen mode. The announcer is pretty decent, letting you know who's ahead and who crashed. A fun "season" mode lets you to unlock special tracks, and hidden goodies, including the original Excitebike (from the NES). If you are a motorcycle racing fan, look no further. © Copyright 2000 The Video Game Critic.
1 to 4 players 

If you like this game, try: Excitebike (NES)
Motorodeo (Atari 2600)
Need For Speed III: Hot Pursuit (Playstation)
Diddy Kong Racing (Nintendo 64)
Cruis'n World (Nintendo 64)


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