Nintendo 64 Reviews A

007: The World Is Not Enough
Grade: B
Publisher: Electronic Arts (2000)
Reviewed: 2016/11/30
Rating: Teen

screenshotGoldeneye 007 (EA, 1997) was an institution on the Nintendo 64, but you don't hear much about its sequel. The World is Not Enough delivers a superb campaign and rich multiplayer split-screen modes. The missions are more polished and cinematic than Goldeneye and the character models are lifelike. They actually have voices this time, although they sound somewhat muffled.

The cut-scene exposition is painfully dry but the missions themselves are pretty intense. They involve rescuing hostages, defusing bombs in a subway, pursuing villains on a pier, and infiltrating an exotic villa. The most exciting stage takes place on ski slopes where you blow up fuel dumps and gun down enemies while careening down the mountain. I love it!

I also appreciate the attention to detail; when you shoot a picture on the wall, it falls down. I find it really difficult to avoid shooting fleeing hostages - that's something I need to work on. Unlike Goldeneye's roundish health meter, World gives you a more conventional health bar. Selecting items is awkward. The x-ray goggles seem cool until you realize enemies behind walls can see you too! What the hell?

I was worried about the missions that forbid you from killing guards until I realized it was still permissible to beat the living [expletive] out of them! What a relief! The multiplayer lets you deploy CPU-controlled "bots", allowing you to play solo (always a plus). The arenas are bright and spacious, set in small villages, snowy mountains, and the MI6 Headquarters.

My friends who were very critical of Goldeneye found this game to be a pleasant surprise. The soundtrack may not be as catchy as Goldeneye but it still maintains a high degree of intensity. When it comes to old first-person shooters, I'd have to say The World Is Not Enough has held up better than most. © Copyright 2016 The Video Game Critic.

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Save mechanism: controller pack
1 to 4 players 

1080 Degree Snowboarding
Grade: A-
Publisher: Nintendo (1998)
Reviewed: 2004/2/18
Rating: Everyone

screenshotClearly the best snowboarding game for the N64, 1080 Degree Snowboarding also beats the pants off of anything you'll find on the Playstation. This game does just about everything right! There are a nice variety of modes including match races, time trials, slalom events, long jumps, half pipes, and "contests" that mix up the challenges.

The graphics are superb, with awesome mountain backdrops, icy ridges, and blowing snow that looks so real you can feel the chill! I actually had to wear a hat, ski pants, and ski boots just to review this game. Most of the six courses are fairly realistic, and even the more unusual courses never go completely over-the-top like those in SSX (Playstation 2, 2000). The trails are more narrow than other snowboarding games, but it's not a problem since the analog stick provides just the right degree of control. The sound of crisp snow crunching under your board is awesome, and I like the way snow flies as you slice through it.

One negative aspect of the game is the soundtrack, which dishes out some of the most repetitive crap I've ever heard in a video game. Also, I noticed that some characters have trouble nailing their landings even after performing simple tricks. Otherwise 1080 is a phenomenal title that's hard to put down. A nice two-player split screen mode is included and the cartridge automatically saves high scores. Before SSX came along, nothing could touch this. © Copyright 2004 The Video Game Critic.

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1 or 2 players 

All-Star Baseball 2000
Grade: C+
Publisher: Acclaim (1999)
Reviewed: 2006/5/24


screenshotWidely considered the premiere baseball franchise for the Nintendo 64, All Star Baseball is vastly overrated. This 2000 edition plays a decent all-around game, but it's hardly what I'd call exciting or addictive. Granted, All Star Baseball is easily the best looking baseball title for the system. Its graphics are sharp and well defined, with realistic stadiums and players that resemble their real-life counterparts.

Die-hard fans will easily recognize the distinct batting stances and pitching motions of their favorite players. All Star Baseball's animation could be more fluid though. Players move realistically during the action, but when the play is over they revert to robot-like stances. My buddy Eric and I used to have a field day doing hilarious impersonations of these guys. I especially hate how runners stop abruptly at first base instead of overrunning it.

The well-designed control scheme makes it easy to get started right away. You can run down fly balls and toss the ball between bases with ease, but the trigger-controlled base running system can be tricky. Perhaps most impressive is the way you can adjust your slides going into bases to avoid tags. The game has just about every option you could imagine, including a nifty four-player mode with a special screen that lets you map the players to each position.

All Star's presentation looks like a real telecast, but the two-man play-by-play is sparse, and they tend to repeat phrases like "that fast ball made him look silly". The instant replay feature is handy, but it often reveals serious collision detection issues on the field.

All Star 2000 has no glaring flaws, but I found its cursor-based pitching and batting to be slow and tedious, and I hate having to wait for the catcher to throw the ball back to the pitcher. The computer AI is pretty weak, making it very easy to strike out CPU-controlled hitters. Saving your season consumes almost an entire memory pack. Baseball purists will appreciate All Star Baseball's realism, but casual gamers may doze off long before the seventh-inning stretch. © Copyright 2006 The Video Game Critic.

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1 to 4 players 

All-Star Baseball 2001
Grade: C+
Publisher: Acclaim (2000)
Reviewed: 2006/5/24


screenshotThe tagline of All Star Baseball 2001 is telling: "The only new Nintendo 64 baseball game this season!" When that's the best thing you can say about your game, that's not a good sign! With little incentive to innovate, it's not surprising that this 2001 edition is practically identical to the year before, albeit with updated rosters.

The graphics are exactly the same, with zero effort made to improve the stilted animation or questionable collision detection. You'd think they could have at least incorporated overrunning first base! The most substantial difference is the red color of the cartridge. I did take a slight interest in the new "easy pitching" and "easy batting" options, hoping they would make the game faster and more arcade-like. But instead they made the batting feel more like a guessing game, and it wasn’t long before I returned to the old, tedious cursors.

All Star's pace is slow, and games take too long to play. The commentator constantly refers to home plate as "the dish", which is about the most annoying expression I've ever heard. All Star Baseball 2001 is clearly a case of Acclaim "mailing it in", making this a highly questionable "upgrade" for owners of All Star Baseball 2000. . © Copyright 2006 The Video Game Critic.

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1 to 4 players 

Army Men: Sarge's Heroes
Grade: F
Publisher: 3DO (1999)
Reviewed: 2007/6/12
Rating: Everyone

screenshotI like the idea of controlling toy plastic army men in a video game. I can easily recognize the various types of soldiers and their distinctive combat stances from my childhood. The fact that the combatants are only toys allows for a certain degree of levity you wouldn't normally associate with a war game. Enemy troops literally melt under the heat of flamethrowers, and the comical dialogue includes stuff like, "It's only a plastic wound Sarge!"

Sarge's Heroes challenges you to a series of brief missions against the evil "tan" army. A typical scenario involves locating an injured soldier and escorting him to safety. Along the way you'll encounter well-fortified strongholds, wandering tanks, and even minefields. The action is viewed from behind your soldier, and an auto-aim mechanism helps you pick off enemies. Holding down the right trigger provides an alternate first-person view, but it's so clumsy that you'll want to save it for the heavy artillery.

In addition to its generic battlefields, Sarge's Heroes incorporates fantasy stages that place you in a bathroom, living room, and garden (remember, you're just a little toy). You might expect these stages to be a barrel of laughs, but their comic potential is completely squandered. The camerawork in Sarge's Heroes is absolutely horrendous. When you turn, it automatically swings to face your new direction, but not without a substantial lag that results in many undeserved deaths.

The graphics are shabby, marred by heavy fog, boxy buildings, triangular mountains, and flat, cardboard trees. The controls become less responsive as the action heats up, and the collision detection also goes to hell in a handbasket. I don't think I ever truly knew the definition of heinous until I attempted Sarge's split screen model, which is a pointless mess. 3DO's first Army Men 3D (Playstation, 1997) game was decent, but once they started pumping out cannon fodder like Sarge's Heroes, the series quickly degenerated into joke material. © Copyright 2007 The Video Game Critic.

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1 to 4 players 

Asteroids Hyper 64
Grade: D
Publisher: Activision (1999)
Reviewed: 2005/1/22
Rating: Everyone

screenshotAsteroids for the Nintendo 64 doesn't suck quite as much as its Playstation counterpart (1998), mainly because there are no load screens or boring full motion video clips. But if you thought the asteroid rocks were hard to see in the Playstation version, wait until you get a load of these black rocks rotating over equally dark backgrounds. Were the developers trying to make the asteroids invisible? Perhaps they wanted to make the game more difficult? Well, it didn't work, because I can play this thing all day even on the so-called "hardcore" skill level.

The graphics are only average, but slightly better than the Playstation edition. Your missiles are better defined (white circles), and when your ship takes a hit, it explodes into an impressive fiery ring. And wait until you see the UFOs in this game. Man, these things are so huge, it's hard not to shoot them!

Asteroid Hyper 64's visuals take a backseat to its explosive audio effects. Asteroids make thunderous crumbling noises as they split, making them all the more satisfying to break up. Unfortunately, advanced levels are littered with those [expletive] regenerating "crystal" asteroids, which all but ruin the fun.

The idea of "regenerating asteroids" has got to be the dumbest, most ill advised concept ever employed in a video game! What a colossal pain in the ass! It totally goes against the grain of what made the original arcade hit so much fun. You'd think that Activision couldn't go wrong by updating a classic like Asteroids, but predictably, they managed to F it up. Big time. © Copyright 2005 The Video Game Critic.

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1 or 2 players 


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Screen shots courtesy of IGN.com, Lemon64.com, Moby Games, YouTube, Games Database, The ISO Zone