Nintendo 64 Reviews R

Rally Challenge 2000
Grade: F
Publisher: South Peak (1999)
Reviewed: 2001/6/2

screenshotRally racing is known for its muddy off-road action, which usually involves the use of long power slides. The Saturn has Sega Rally and the Playstation has Rally Cross, but this Nintendo 64 entry isn't even in the same league. The poor graphics look more like a first-generation Saturn game, with scenery that looks chunky as hell. The pop-up is tolerable in the one-player mode, terrible in the two-player split screen, and absolutely heinous in the four-player mode! The road looks like it's being drawn right in front of your car! Slowdown is another major problem, bringing races to a crawl. The on-screen display has no radar or rank indicator, so you never know where you stand. You'll need a controller pack to save your progress and times, but this racer is one you may prefer to forget. © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.
Copy link to this review
Save mechanism: Controller Pack
1 to 4 players 

Rampage 2
Grade: D+
Publisher: Midway (1999)
Reviewed: 2015/7/4
Rating: Teen (comic mischief)

screenshotConsidering my distaste for the series Rampage 2 is pretty much as good as it gets. This sequel introduces three new monsters you can use to methodically reduce major cities to rubble. There's a giant lobster (Ruby), rhino (Boris), and rat (Curtis). Each has a comical personality but they all play pretty much the same.

You begin by selecting Asia, Europe, or North America. There are plenty of cities to trash but don't expect them to look like the real places. The building designs are cookie-cutter, often reused multiple times in the same stage. Heck, this game makes Las Vegas look boring. Still, the graphics have an appealing claymation quality and the controls are surprisingly good.

It's easy to latch onto buildings and systematically bash them until they collapse. Tanks and police attack from the ground and it's satisfying to kick them to the curb. You can eat people who stick their heads out of the windows, which in turn powers up your special meter. You'll find plenty of health items like tacos, cheese, and hot fudge sundaes. Look before you eat however, as you might inadvertently touch an electric socket, hot water heater, or radioactive waste.

There are a few visual treats here and there, like hitting an attacking helicopter and sending it into a tailspin. The stages are mercifully short, but the action is rinse-and-repeat and that "game over" screen doesn't come a minute too soon. Ramage 2 won't hold your interest for long, but it's adequate if you're in the mood for some carnage. © Copyright 2015 The Video Game Critic.

Our high score: 28,630
1 to 3 players 

Resident Evil 2
Grade: A
Publisher: Capcom (1998)
Reviewed: 2012/10/27
Rating: Mature (blood, gore, animated violence)

screenshotAfter missing out on the first Resident Evil, Nintendo 64 fans were thrilled to hear the sequel was headed for their console. It arrived late but fully intact. Resident Evil 2 is a horror spectacle that has aged like wine. Don't believe the critics who deride the stiff controls and fixed camera angles. These antiquated elements actually help make the game so effective! The pre-rendered scenery conveys a level of grungy detail rarely seen in today's games, and fixed camera angles add suspense. You never know what's around the next corner.

The stiff, deliberate character movements demand the player be precise with the controls. The save system adds tension as well, as you only have a limited number of save opportunities. It's quite the relief when you find a typewriter (save point) after a lengthy stretch. I have to admit that the inventory system is annoying (you can't drop items), but thanks to the ubiquitous storage chests your stash is never more than a few rooms away.

Resident Evil 2 takes place in the area surrounding the Raccoon City police station, and you'll assume the role of multiple characters. The slow, ambling zombies aren't too hard to contend with (usually) but there are plenty of other twisted creatures to worry about. The police station has an elegant, aged quality that makes it fascinating to explore. The understated audio track blends echoing footsteps with ominous music. The foreboding atmosphere created by the game is so thick you can cut it with a knife. The slow, deliberate pacing makes it all the more jarring when something bursts through a window or the floor collapses beneath you.

The game is thoughtfully constructed, gradually revealing new items and areas. The difference between this and the original Playstation version is negligible. The opening cinematic is more pixelated, but otherwise I did not notice any difference. Using the analog stick makes it hard to run straight, but you always have the option of using the digital pad instead.

To appease concerned parents the options menu let you tone down the "level of violence", and even change the color of the blood. You save your process to several "slots" on the cartridge. Resident Evil 2 is true survival horror at its best, and if you think this game has aged poorly, you need to go back and take another look. © Copyright 2012 The Video Game Critic.

Save mechanism: Cartridge
1 player 

Ridge Racer 64
Grade: A-
Publisher: Namco (2000)
Reviewed: 2008/11/15
Rating: Everyone

screenshotRidge Racer was the groundbreaking title that launched the original Playstation (PS) to success in 1995, but it took five whole years for Nintendo fans to finally get a piece of this action. If you have all of the Playstation Ridge Racer games, you probably don't need this, right? Well, as it turns out, Ridge Racer 64 has a lot to offer, even for long-time fans.

First and foremost, besides containing the tracks from the original Ridge Racer and Ridge Racer Revolution, you get a new track location made specifically for this game. The series has always been known for its bright, scenic locales, so cruising around a brand new one is always a treat. The graphics have a "smoothed out" look lacking in the PS games, and I even detected extra details you couldn't see in the older games.

Ridge Racer's gameplay is pure arcade fun, with unrealistic controls and cars that bounce off each other. I prefer this brand of racing, but it's not for everyone. You can tap the brake to swerve around tight turns, but my friend lamented the lack of a reverse button. The collision detection is a little off, and when you touch the edge of grass, the game behaves like you're rubbing against a wall! The tracks are ideal in length and you get a large field of CPU cars to compete against.

Vibration is used to good effect, and the impressive split screen supports up to four players. A slick new "grand prix mode" allows you to unlock new cars and save your progress to cartridge. Ridge Racer was never known for its music, and the awful, whimsical, electronic ditties in this game are bound to get on your nerves. RR64 arrived awfully late in the system's life cycle, but if you're looking for fun racing action on your N64, it doesn't get much better than this. © Copyright 2008 The Video Game Critic.

1 to 4 players 

Road Rash 64
Grade: F
Publisher: THQ (1999)
Reviewed: 2006/12/30
Rating: Teen (13+)

screenshotAfter having a phenomenal run on the Sega Genesis and a terrific follow-up on the 3DO, I always wondered whatever became of the Road Rash series. Now I know: It got really, really boring. Making an undistinguished transition to the murky world of 3D graphics, Road Rash 64 lets you putt-putt over foggy hills like a grandmother on a Sunday morning drive.

The sense of speed is non-existent - even after you upgrade your bike! In fact, the lack of speed was so bad that I found myself frantically paging through the instruction manual searching for some kind of gearshift control! The crisp rolling hills of the Genesis versions have been replaced with dull, faded scenery that all looks the same. The building-lined streets of the 3DO game absolutely put the dreary ones in this game to shame!

Even the control scheme is poor, with no less than seven functions assigned to the four "C" buttons. The steering is okay for straight-aways, but what in the [expletive] are those 90-degree turns doing in this game?! Talk about ill-advised! The combat aspect of Road Rash 64 is equally lame. You can smack your opponent all day before he finally falls from his bike, and even hits with a spiked mace seem soft.

The single-player mode is unbearable, so you know the four-player split-screen sucks. The muffled rock music soundtrack includes some old Sugar Ray, but it all gets lost in the buzz of the engines. Road Rash 64 is a monumental letdown. It took a classic high-octane racer and reduced it into a smoldering pile of manure. © Copyright 2006 The Video Game Critic.

1 to 4 players 

Robotron 64
Grade: D
Publisher: Crave Entertainment (1997)
Reviewed: 2011/9/3
Rating: Teen (13+)

screenshotThe original Robotron was a 1982 arcade hit featuring two joysticks - one to move and one to shoot. The idea was to clear out waves of robots on a single screen while saving clueless humans to earn bonus points. In 1996 Midway created a 3D edition called Robotron X for the Playstation, and everybody hated it.

After that fiasco somebody tried to salvage the code in the hopes of turning it into a respectable Nintendo 64 title. They learned their lessons well and addressed most of the flaws of the Playstation game. Robotron 64's graphics are technically competent with smoother textures, fluid animation, and better frame rate. The camera is pulled way back so you can see about 90% of the playing field at a given time. You'll need to use the four small yellow buttons to fire, but it feels a lot better than mashing the Playstation buttons.

I love the fact that the waves are short but sometimes it's hard to tell if the action stopped because I completed the stage or because I died. The wide camera angle is nice, but sometimes it zooms in for no reason - or did I just accidentally hit the shoulder button? This version makes better use of power-ups but they still don't last long enough. The intro screens between waves are shorter, but why do they exist at all?

Unlike Robotron X, this game actually saves your high scores. The techno soundtrack matches the frenetic pace of the game, but that electronic burp effect in the later stages is truly annoying. Robotron 64 is more faithful to the arcade original than its degenerate Playstation cousin, but it's still missing one vital ingredient - the difficulty! When you can breeze through 30 stages without breaking a sweat, something is wrong - on the "insane" difficulty no less!

It does eventually get harder, but mainly due to all the yellow robots in jetpacks who have a tendency of landing on your head. Granted, I'm a skilled Robotron player, but even novices should have serious reservations about Robotron 64's long-term replay value. If there's a lesson to be learned, it's this: Stick to the original, classic Robotron 2084. It's incredibly addicting, infinitely more challenging, and available on a number of arcade compilation disks. © Copyright 2011 The Video Game Critic.

Our high score: 824,950
1 or 2 players 

Rush 2: Extreme Racing USA
Grade: C+
Publisher: Midway (1998)
Reviewed: 2007/1/14
Rating: Everyone


screenshotAfter the first abysmal San Francisco Rush (1996), Midway apparently went back to the drawing board and made the necessary improvements for this sequel. To some degree or another, they addressed each and every one of the problems that plagued the original Rush, including shoddy graphics, irritating audio, and non-existent controls.

In Rush 2, the fog has lifted to some extent, allowing you to enjoy a nice variety of scenic tracks set in New York City, Seattle, Los Angeles, Hawaii, and Las Vegas. Some sweet shortcuts have been incorporated as well. There are a few "fantasy" courses tossed in, but these are less compelling that you might expect. There's still some minor fog, which unfortunately tends to hide the gray concrete barriers - until you slam into them at full speed! That was a really bad oversight by the developers.

Still, Rush 2 manages to deliver a fun, high-speed racing experience. The tracks are easy enough to follow, and - *gasp* - you can actually steer your car this time. The power sliding isn't the same caliber as Ridge Racer, but at least it provides some degree of control. The cars model damage and tend to look like beat-up tin cans by the end of each race. The circuit modes are challenging, but I wish the number of laps could be adjusted, because three is usually too long.

In terms of audio, the music has an old-school "gangsta" vibe that I dig, but the occasional sound effects like birds chirping in the park sound positively fake. When you hear that crowd roar, it's hard to tell if they're cheering or screaming in horror. Rush 2 has its flaws, but if you're looking for arcade racing on the N64, this one should do the trick. © Copyright 2007 The Video Game Critic.

Copy link to this review
1 or 2 players 


Select new range: [Previous] [A] [B] [C] [D-E] [F-I] [J-L] [M] [N] [O-Q] R [S] [T] [U-Z] [Next]

[Nintendo 64 index]  [Back to Top]
 

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