I’ve covered my Top 10 Gamecube Games and my Top 10 SNES Games. One blogger, JacobsOnCinema (click here to view his site!), commented that I skipped the N64. I hadn’t intentionally skipped it (I also omitted the NES, but that’s because I don’t feel I’ve played enough games for it, and I was so young that I couldn’t see quality in a video game!) I posted about Gamecube games because it had been fifteen years since the Gamecube was released in Europe. I posted about SNES games because the SNES Classic had been announced. However, I guess I don’t need any reason to write about the Nintendo 64. It remains to this day my favourite video games console. It came out when I was entering my teens, and many, many hours of my teenage years were spent playing on the N64. From the perfect controller, to the vast library of great games, the N64 blew my slowly maturing mind. So here are my Top 10 N64 Games!
- Star Wars: Rogue Squadron
The sequel to this game gave us the story and visuals we are familiar with: that of the Star Wars trilogy. This game, however, had its own unique story to tell, a story that takes place between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back. You play as Luke Skywalker, but he doesn’t use the Force, he just pilots an X-Wing, shoots TIE Fighters and blows stuff up! Rogue Squadron gave us a thrilling arcade style shooter that did away with the simulation style of the X-Wing games. There wasn’t much to learn here, but that didn’t matter. Each level gave its own distinct challenge. There were plenty of unlockables as well. But mainly, it was a connection to the Star Wars universe that made you feel like you were taking on the Empire from the cockpit of your X-Wing.
- Blast Corps
Isn’t destruction innate in human nature? I often want to destroy things. I enjoy shredding paper, for example, more than I should. In Blast Corps, you used a number of different vehicles to destroy buildings. Of course, there was a good reason for this: a nuclear missile carrier was on the loose, and instead of attempted to stop it the Blast Corps had to destroy buildings in its path. If you even left a brick of a building to collide with the nuclear missle carrier, it would be game over. It gave you puzzles, hidden secrets and replayability through a medal ranking system. But mainly, it was bloody good fun to lay waste to entire cities in the name of saving the world, with a motorbike that fires missiles or a big-ass mech. Oh, it’s another game by Rare…!
- Wave Race 64
To my knowledge, Wave Race 64 was the first game to allow us to race virtual jet skis on water than acted and looked like real water. It would tilt you from side to side, stop your momentum, and sparkle in the sun. My first hour or so of playing it was spent merely looking at the motion of the water. When I managed to peel myself away from the water, I found an intense racing game, where you were racing against the elements as well as people. The number of courses may have been underwhelming, but their replayability when the Time Trial and Stunt Mode came into play, was amazing. Me and a friend battled day and night to secure the Time Trial record for Marine Fortress. One of my favourite racing games for any console.
- LylatWars/Starfox 64
Why did they change the name of Starfox 64 to LylatWars for us Brits? To confuse us into thinking it wasn’t a sequel to Starfox, but some sort of spin-off? I’ll never understand, but I understand that LylatWars took the foundation the SNES’s Starfox laid and built something brilliant on it. Now, the graphics could match the vision that the makers had believed in. They also though it necessary to add a Rumble Pak so you could experience being hit in the video game by having your hands shaken violently. I partially blame LylatWars for my arthritis. However, the pain was worth it, as LylatWars gave you a tank as well as a fighter to blast your enemies with, a path that had multiple routes to completion, and rock hard gameplay. It remains the apex of Starfox video games.
Rare had Donkey Kong Country on the SNES to rival Super Mario World. For the N64, Rare gave us Banjo-Kazooie to rival Super Mario 64. While it didn’t quite manage to topple Mario 64 for the title of Best N64 Platformer, it came pretty damned close. The set up was similar: a sister instead of a princess needed to be rescued, jigsaw pieces instead of stars, and musical notes instead of coins. Yes, it was a great game. But the sequel actually managed to better the original in a rare thing for video games. Rare knew how to ape the best platformer while adding their own little touches, and they pushed the N64 to its boundaries with the utilisation of the Expansion Pack for Banjo-Tooie. Oh, it also broke the fourth wall sometimes. I could have put either Banjo game in this place, but for me, Banjo-Tooie betters its predecessor.
There was an independent rental store that I always used to go in on my way back from school, called Visions Video. I got to know the owner, and he’d keep to one side recent releases, both of videos and N64 games. He kept Goldeneye 007 aside when it was released (even though there was heavy demand for it). That weekend I did nothing but play Goldeneye, completing it on Agent and Secret Agent mode. I pushed and pushed my mum to buy it for me. Because I had never experienced a FPS like it (to be fair, I’d probably never played one apart from Doom at the time). To this day, it remains the best video game adaptation of a film. You are James Bond, with the requisite numbers of gun and gadgets to save the day. I played it a few months back, and apart from a choppy frame rate, it still holds up today. I played the multiplayer endlessly with my friends, although even in a 3 on 1 match, I couldn’t be beaten…A game that featured a great single player and a great multiplayer, Goldeneye 007 revolutionised console FPS games. And the N64 controller made you feel like you were pulling the trigger, thanks to the aptly placed Z-button.
- Perfect Dark
I did think about leaving Perfect Dark off, as it’s basically Goldeneye 007 with sci-fi trimming. Rare couldn’t make a sequel to Goldeneye, so they made their own spiritual sequel, replacing Bond with the sexy spy, Joanna Dark, and putting her in a sci-fi setting. The plot is classic sci-fi nonsense about aliens. But it’s the gameplay that matters. Rare refined what made Goldeneye so great and evolved the gameplay. Joanna Dark, like Bond, has a vast array of weapons and gadgets to use, but everything is a lot smoother (well, most of the time). It’s endlessly playable, especially with the multiplayer including bots so you didn’t need any friends to have a multiplayer death match. The multiplayer also included statistics and “levelling up” (although you never received any rewards for levelling up!). It’s debatable whether or not the single-player is better than Goldeneye, but in my humble opinion, the multiplayer is better than Goldeneye. Regardless, as a whole Perfect Dark is a great FPS game. “You can’t make accusations like that without evidence. I assume that you have some?”
- WWF No Mercy
It’s a little slow and dated, but WWF No Mercy remains my favourite wrestling game. I happened to pick up WCW/NWO Revenge, and found out that the makers of said game had made a WWF game, WrestleMania 2000. That was very good, but when I heard they were doing another WWF game, called WWF No Mercy, I pre-ordered it straight away (and received two copies, for some reason). WWF No Mercy presents a slow-paced, tactical wrestling game, where you have to think about what to do next rather than race around the ring clotheslining your opponent. Reversals had to be timed perfectly. You couldn’t go for the big moves straight away; you had to wear your opponent down. The makers had got this type of wrestling down to a T for WWF No Mercy. Not only that, but it had great single-played storylines for each championship. Oh, it also introduced the ladder match to WWF video games. Me and my brother played this to death, and even now I sometimes plug in the N64 to wrestle as my created character…
- Super Mario 64
I’d love to say this was the first game I played for the N64, but it wasn’t. My N64 came with Pilotwings 64. Not a bad game by any means, but that game I really wanted was Super Mario 64. I had to wait for it, but the wait was worth it. It presented a game format at once familiar and radically different. Yes, this was Mario, but the 3D aspect changed everything. You still had to navigate tricky platforms levels and jump on bad guys, but you also had a world to explore, rather than a rigid 2D level in which you could only travel back and forth. The controller was perfect for the game; it was made for 3D worlds. Yes, Super Mario 64 was revolutionary and Nintendo haven’t done anything revolutionary with Mario since (Super Mario Odyssey may prove me wrong). But it’s a damn fine and fun game, one that has endless replayability.
- Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
I’m sorry to have such an obvious choice for Number 1, but what choice did I really have? Legend of Zelda: OOT remains my favourite game ever, to this day. I’ve never played anything that seemed so massive, so overwhelming, and engaged so many emotions, as OOT did (and continues to do, every time I replay it). Yes, it’s revolutionary just like Super Mario 64 was; from the Z-targeting system to the open world to huge boss battles. But being revolutionary doesn’t matter a jot if the gameplay and story don’t resonate in the player. OOT gave me an experience I’ll never forget, an experience subsequent Zelda games have tried to match (and failed). From the quiet beginnings of Kokiri Forest, to entering Hyrule and being in awe for the first time, to grabbing the Master Sword and flying forward in time, to facing Ganondorf…those memories and more are part of my being, and forever will be. I’ve played great games since, but nothing as great as Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Quite simply the best. For me, this is a work of art.
Conker’s Bad Fur Day
Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask
Mario Kart 64
Turok 2: Seeds of Evil
Agree or disagree? Any you’d take away or add? What is your Top 10?
Click here for my Top 10 SNES Games
Click here for my Top 10 Gamecube Games