The Nintendo 64 was home to a wide-selection of great titles and most of them today still receive sequels on newer consoles; but what exactly were the Best Nintendo 64 games released onto the console?
Well today we are going to take a look and find out:
Released in 1998 and developed by RARE Banjo Kazooie was an attempt at knocking Super Mario 64 off the ‘3D Platforming’ throne and in some instances it did. The story saw the lovable, but gullible, bear known as Banjo and his snappy bird friend Tooie attempt to stop the evil witch Gruntilda from sucking the beauty out of Banjo’s sister Tooty. It’s an exceptional amusing story that’s easily forgotten as its overshadowed by the unique gameplay that Banjo Kazooie offered.
Unlike Super Mario 64 the game world in Banjo Kazooie was much bigger and more explorative, with secret areas and hidden easter eggs along the way, furthermore the main protagonists, Banjo and Kazooie, each had their own skillset. Banjo was slow and powerful whereas Tooie could run fast, jump high and even fly when power-ups were obtained. Just like Super Mario 64 players progressed by collecting items, in this case puzzle pieces, and in turn collecting more would unlock more worlds until eventually you confront Gruntilda for a final battle. Since its release onto the Nintendo 64 Banjo Kazooie has spawned many sequels, including one on the Xbox 360, and has been re-released onto the Xbox LIVE Arcade and Xbox One platforms.
Diddy Kong Racing:
Following on from Diddy Kong’s first appearence in the 1994 Super Nintendo game Donkey Kong Country, and of course its sequel Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy Kong’s Quest, he later starred in his own spin-off game inspired by the racing mechanics of Mario Kart known as Diddy Kong Racing. To some Diddy Kong Racing was RARE’s attempt at ‘cashing-in’ on the Mario Kart 64 hype but in actuality it is it’s own stand-a-lone game that has a lot of merrit to it.
Released in 1997 Diddy Kong Racing saw players race around in Karts, Planes and Hovercrafts across numerous locations aross the island and unlike Mario Kart 64 Diddy Kong Racing came with it’s own story. The story saw an alien known as WizPig attempt to take over Timber’s Island and so Timber recruits a bunch of familiar characters, such as Diddy, Banjo and Conker, to help him stop WizPig’s plan by defeating him in a set of races. The story was drawn-out over numerous races and as the game progressed players would explore a selection of hub-worlds that would unlock additional races and gameplay modes. Despite it’s unique offering the game has only ever been re-released as a Nintendo DS re-make known as Diddy Kong Racing DS.
Dubbed one of the best first-person-shooter’s to ever be released onto a console Goldeneye 007 is a Nintendo 64 videogame that is based upon the live-action-film of the same name. Developed by RARE it sees James Bond travel across the globe in an attempt to stop a criminal syndicate from using a destruction satelite known as Goldenye. Of course no-one really played it for the story, as they could just watch the film, as they instead opted to play the local 4-player-multiplayer mode which saw characters from the entire game, and from other films (such as Jaws and Oddjob) being used as playable characters.
The multiplayer mode is what made Goldeneye 007 so entertaining; sure the campaign mode closely followed the events of the film and allowed you to play them in digital form, but beating your friends in multiplayer is what it was all about. Of course there is more to Goldeneye 007 than that; as by playing the story on harder difficulty modes, or by using cheats, additional weapons and perks could be unlocked – such as the Golden Gun and Laser Gun. Goldeneye 007 has never received a ‘true’ re-release; but the title has been used on re-makes on Xbox 360 and PS3 but its not the same game.
Super Smash Bros:
The fighting game that started it all made its inital debut onto the Nintendo 64 in 1999 and while by then others had swapped-out for a Playstation, Saturn or Dreamcast those who still had a Nintendo 64 were in for a treat. The game saw characters from popular franchises, such as Mario, Zelda, Pokemon, Kirby, Metroid and Earthbound, take part in an arcade style fighter except this time instead of a health bar opponents had to be knocked out of the ring by increasing their percentage damage. The higher the percentage the more likely that opponent would be knocked out of the ring and the first person to loose all their lives, or reach a certain number of kills, would win the match.
It wasn’t that simple though; as each character had their own attributes and could take longer to defeat – furthermore the inclusion of weapons, most of which were items taken from the games the characters were based from, meant that the tide of battle could be turned at an instant. Since it’s relatively ‘late’ release onto the Nintendo 64 Super Smash Bros has received many sequels, with each new variation of a Nintendo console gaining access to a sequel and boosting it’s total number of accessible characters. The latest variation of the game, known as Super Smash Bros, is available for the Nintendo Wii U and Ninendo 3DS.
Mario Kart 64:
Usually noted as one of the ‘best’ Mario Kart games Mario Kart 64 was released in the summer of 1997 and introduced players to the world of 3D Mario karting. In terms of gameplay the formula remained the same as its predecessors with four different grand prix cups (Mushroom, Flower, Star and Special) and four courses in each cup. Each cup is available in 50cc, 100cc and 1500cc and if all Cups were completed a mirror mode option would become available.
Mario Kart 64 also featued a ‘Battle Mode’ whereby players could battle each other in local multiplayer as well the traditional Versus modes; but this time it allowed for up to four players. Mario Kart has proven to be a popular franchise as while Mario Kart 64 only featured 16 courses and 8 characters its sequels, which have been released onto both home and handheld nintendo consoles, now have double -if not triple – those amount of characters and courses. The latest Mario Kart variation to be released is Mario Kart 8; which is currently available for the Nintendo Wii U.
Just like Super Smash Bros Paper Mario is another title that went under-the-rader as the SEGA Dreamcast started its ‘next-gen’ approach to gaming. Released in 2001 Paper Mario, previously known as Super Mario RPG, is a Role-Playing-Game that swapped out traditional platforming for a more turn-based-RPG mechanic whereby characters have ‘hit points’ and can ‘level-up’ their stats throughout the progression of the game.
The objective, like any other Mario game, is to save princess peach from the clutches of Bowser but unlike the traditional Mario games Paper Mario sees players having to talk to other characters within the game-world to uncover clues on where they need to be in order to activate the next event. In short Paper Mario looks like a Mario game but its actually an RPG and while some may not like this ‘unique style’ of gameplay it has prooved popular as sequels of the game have been released onto the Gamecube and Wii.
Following on from the success of Goldeneye 007 RARE took the gameplay engine and used it to make their own ‘spy-themed’ shooter; and it’s name was Perfect Dark. Released in the year 2000 the game put players in control of Joanna Dark, an agent of the Carrington Institute, whereby she must infiltrate various locations in order to unravel the mystery surrounding the DataDyne Corperation. Not everything is as it seems though; as while this is a first-person-shooter with a spy theme later missions start to focus on the alien presence that DataDyne has been in discussion with.
Even now i still find it hard to process the story, as it actually featured cut-scenes and dialogue-sequences inbetween gameplay, but its the gameplay – and the inclusion of 4-player-local-multiplayer – that made it such fun to play and became an instant classic among Nintendo 64 fans. Perfect Dark received a sequel on the Xbox 360, known as Perfect Dark Zero, and in recent times the original N64 version was re-released onto the Xbox LIVE Arcade for the Xbox 360.
Released in 2000 Pokemon Stadium came bundled with the Nintendo Transfer Pak, a device that would clip into the Nintendo 64 controller and allow data from selected gameboy games to be used on the console. In this case it was used to transfer Pokemon from the Gameboy Pokemon Games, namely Red and Blue, into Pokemon Stadium and use them in the gameplay modes; but it also allowed you to play the Pokemon Gameboy game on your TV screen.
Game-wise Pokemon Stadium did not come with a story; however it did see the player take on various cups which once completed would unlock the Gym Leader Castle. If the Gym Leader Castle was completed then a battle with Mewtwo would take place. Beating Mewtwo, which could not be captured, was the main goal of the game but even then the game would continue – this time with added difficulty. Pokemon Stadium has been re-released numerous times since it’s debut, albeit under different titles, the sequel, Pokemon Stadium 2, was released onto the Nintendo 64 and was compatible with Gold and Silver versions of the Gameboy Pokemon game but in recent years Pokemon Battle Revolution is the latest variation of the game.
Star Wars Rogue Squadron:
Over the years plenty of Star Wars games were released onto the Nintendo 64, including my all-time-favourite Shadows of the Empire, but what made Rogue Squadron so special was its combination of fast paced arcade style action and narrative driven gameplay while piloting a spaceship. The concept was that you are a member of Rogue Squadon, the fighter unit that helps the Rebels in their attempt to defeat the Empire, and as such you will get to choose all the different kinds of spaceships and take part in numerous missions.
In total the game featured four different gameplay styles, search and destroy, reconnaissance, rescue, and protect, of which were spread across sixteen missions. In addition to this players could choose from a variety of spaceships, such as the X-Wing, Y-Wing and Snowspeeder. Rogue Squadron lacked a multiplayer mode but it does come with a whole host of unlockable content; including access to missions inspired by the original star wars films. Speaking of unlockable content Star Wars Rogue Squadron was also the first videogame to feature the Naboo Starfighter but access to it wasn’t unveiled until after Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menance, which is where the design for the fighter came from, was released into cinemas.
Super Mario 64:
Herald as one of the ‘best’ Mario experiences to date Super Mario 64 saw players attempting to rescue princess Peach from the clutches of Bowser inside a large fully 3D environment disguised as a castle. Super Mario 64 is a totally different gameplay experience to its predecessors and it’s not because it featured 3D polygons. In order to progress forward through the game players had to collect stars and in order to obtain these stars objectives had to be completed in the game-worlds. Each game-world, which are actually paintings in the castle, had six different objectives that offered a star and a bonus star if you collect 100 coins in that world. The surprises didn’t stop there either, as hidden stars were scattered around the castle and if you managed to collect all 120 stars you could gain access to the roof and see Yoshi.
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time:
Dubbed as one of the best Zelda games of all time The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time sees Link travelling back and forth through time in order to rescue the princess, defeat cannondorf and save the land from destruction.
Released in 1998 The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time was the first Zelda game to be made entirely in 3D and completely changed peoples perspective on what a Zelda game should be like. New introductions such as the Ocarina, which could be used to summon Epona (a horse) or access secret areas within the land, made exploration much more engaging and entertaining while the extensive story made the overall ending a satisfying end. Since it’s release the game has received numerous re-releases including a Nintendo 3DS remake known as The Legen of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D.
Mario Party 2:
Released in the year 2000 Mario Party 2 is a board-game-styled party game developed by Hudson Soft and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo 64. Designed as a spin-off family fun game Mario Party 2 is a sequel to Mario Party a game which saw players engage in all sorts of bizarre mini-games. Mario Party 2 played like a traditional board game so players would roll the dice and their character would move to a location, at which point a mini-game would take place whereby all players would attempt to get the higest score. The player with the highest score of the location would then claim it and then the next player would make his turn. The objective is to conqurer the board and the player with the most locations on the board is deemed the winner.
Unlike it’s previous title Mario Party 2 included a wide-range of improvements, such as new mini-games, updated outfits and new boards to play-on. Since it’s release on the Nintendo 64 Mario Party has expanded and has been released onto multiple nintendo platforms, including the Nintendo 3DS, and in recent years Mario Party 10 has been released onto the Nintendo Wii U with Amiibo Support.
Star Fox 64:
Star Fox 64, otherwise known as Lylat Wars within the UK, can either be considered as the Nintendo 64 remake of Starwing, which was released onto the SNES, or it’s sequel. Either way released in 1997 Star Fox 64 came bundled with the Nintendo 64 Rumble Pak and saw Fox McFloud and his team of mercenaries stop the Lylat system from being overthrown by the Andross army. For the most part Star Fox 64 is an ‘on-rails’ shooter that sees you shooting down enemies that appear before you but during boss fights the game style can change to ‘all range mode’ whereby you will have free reign on what to do in the area.
Despite being a relatively straight-forward game Star Fox 64 offers many secrets and alternate paths; for instance flying through the bridges and saving falco in the first mission will set you on course for the true ending whereas letting the base get blown up in the third mission will set you on course for the bad ending. Star Fox 64’s most memorable feature however was Peppy’s “Do a Barrel Roll” speech but despite this the game also came equipped with a four-player battle royale mode which despite its basic appearence was fun to play. Since it’s release Star Fox, or Fox McLoud, has received numerous sequels and spin-offs with the most recent being the Nintendo 3DS re-make of Star Fox 64.
The Nintendo 64 was home to ‘plenty’ of superb titles and those listed above are just some of the ‘most popular’ titles on the console. So with that being said which games do you remember playing on the console? and more importantly are you still playing them today!
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