We continue with my list of Favorite Nintendo Games:

6. beetle

“Beetle Adventure Racing” (N64) – If “1080 Snowboarding” was the biggest surprise on this list, then this is a very close 2nd.

The only cars you could take were Beetles (with differently adjusted stats) but that didn’t take away from the overall fun of this game. There also weren’t that many tracks to race on – 4, to start, with 2 others unlocked through “Championship”mode – but the tracks were GORGEOUS. The detail in the scenery was outstanding! Each track consisted on 3 laps but they were 1:30-3:00 per lap, giving you tons of time to race. Plus there were tons of shortcuts in each track… and some ‘false trails’, i.e. “you might end up in a lava pit, if you missed the sudden turn”. One of the other neat things about the game: the Box System and the destruction that happened to get them. The Boxes had point values on them (see image below); you had to gather enough points, plus finish high enough in position, to advance to the next track. These Boxes could be anywhere – from the side of the road to behind a wall to in the top floor of a destroy-able barn. It provided the dilemma: race for points or position?

If you can find a ROM of it, get it. If you have an old N64, visit a pawn shop or flea market and buy this game. Trust me, you will not be disappointed!

beetle-adventure-racing-coventry-cove
‘Coventry Cove’

beetle2

 

5.

doom64
So. Many. Demons.

 

“Doom 64” (N64) – I originally heard of the “Doom” franchise in 1995 or 1996, when Matt (a good high school friend) used to play it in the library before Quick Recall matches. Fast-forward 2 years, and this glorious piece of evil was in my hands. 

There were 32 demon-filled levels to this game, plus a couple of hidden levels. Depending on your mode of play, there was a bunch of low-and-mid-level weapons (Pistol/Bullets, Shotgun/Shells), and some not-mid-level weapons (Rocket Launcher). And I needed every piece of it because the demon amount was pretty vast. Fortunately, there was a feature that I liked: if accidentally hit, demons might start fighting each other. You could thin a room of 25 demons down to 5 or 6 by firing at one, then running in front of others. The fire of the first demon may hit the other demons, leading to an all-out brawl, while you hunker behind some crates, reloading and healing. In addition, most of the levels rewarded you for exploring the many nooks and crannies with health, armor, weapons, and ammo, although your clearing time usually dipped (I ignored that timer a lot).

“Doom 64” is a VERY gory and violent game, and isn’t for everyone. It was, however, for me and my siblings.

4. mario-kart-64-u

“Mario Kart 64” (N64 (owned), Wii (not owned)) – This was my first Nintendo 64 game. I honestly have not met a person that doesn’t like this game, and for good reason, because this ROCKS. Almost 20 years after buying it, my sister has it on the Wii and it still gets heavy playing time when she and my brothers visit.

The 8 characters to choose from (5 of them pictured above) each bring their own style to the game: for example, Toad is smallest and has the fastest acceleration but is the lightest, meaning he’ll get bumped around the easiest; Bowser, on the other hand, as the highest top speed and is the heaviest but will get bogged down the worst if he runs into mud, grass, or sand. There are 4 “cups”, with 4 tracks a piece – about half of what Mario kart 8 has – but each track has more than enough to keep even the most veteran of players occupied: the lava pits and Thwomps of Bowser’s Castle (seriously, WHO BUILDS A CASTLE OVER LAVA?!?); the “traditional” oval-like track of Luigi’s Raceway; and the meandering, non-guardrailed paths of Yoshi’s Valley, are just 3 of the 16 available tracks.

 

246962-mario-kart-64-nintendo-64-screenshot-donkey-kong-in-wario
Donkey Kong, complete with Necktie

There are plenty of enemies and obstacles to dodge, per track: Crabs, Chomps(!!), Bats, Boos, Falling Boulders, and Gopher Holes, just to name a small few. The weapons ad items that can slow down or stop fellow racers, and help you, really make this game fun. Banana Peels will spin you out. Green Shells can bounce off of walls to hit opponents (and you). Fake Item Boxes are just evil. Mushrooms will give you a speed boost. And how many people scream at the game when a human character fires that Blue Spiny Shell, which homes in on the leader, hitting EVERYONE IN ITS WAY, until it takes out the leader??

 

3. 411851-zelda-ocarina-of-time

“The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time” (N64 (owned), Wii (not owned)) – this was also a game that I owned on the N64 first, then played on the Wii years later. There were 6 zones to this game, with each zone being loaded with items, enemies, NPCs to talk to/barter with/avoid, and a TON of explorable space. This game also had a fun element: Link (the playable character) could be played as a kid and as an adult; some areas were only available as a kid, unlocking the ‘adult’ areas. This was facilitated with Link’s Ocarina; it allowed him to play learned songs that would teleport him to different areas, bounce him through time, and even call Epona, his trusty steed.

The list of things that I like about this game could make for a blog on its own. The music (mostly), the pretty nice scenery, the ease of Link’s movements (although the camera angles could get tricky), the fights… it all fits into a wonderful package that got played a LOT, even if I only beat the game once. 😉

2.turok-2-seeds-of-evil-n64-cover-front-eu-31380

“Turok 2” (N64) – The Lost Land is in danger! Quick, throw me one of the many unique and powerful weapons to stop the Seeds of Evil!

The 6 levels are HUGE, and as close to non-linear as you could get back then: you had to achieve certain objectives and find keys to get off of each level. The fun part? Each level had 2-3 keys and you had to sometimes advance a level to find a key for the previous level. And these keys were not easy to find. And there were Talismans that you had to find to get to hard-to-reach areas that usually had these keys. And all areas had a ton of enemies. Usually heavily-armed and armored enemies. Especially Pur-linn.

The weapons that Turok can find range from hand-mounted Talon blades to hand-canon Nukes to an armored Triceratops(!). You use these weapons early and often. You are also shot at, clawed at, and stabbed at early and often. Hours of fun!

 

1. n64-wcwnworevenge-front

“WCW/nWo Revenge” (N64) – This is not only my favorite N64 game, it is my favorite wrestling game on any system, so far! The roster, for starters was huge: 60 wrestlers from WCW, nWo, and throughout the world (their actual names couldn’t be used on most of them, so a generic name was put in place). Each wrestler had up to 4 different attires, their own entrance pose, and a pretty decent arsenal of moves, Signature Moves, Taunts, and Finishers.  The taunts themselves were what you saw on WCW broadcasts, including the ever-ridiculous Heel Eddie Guerrero crawls and Roddy Piper’s… whatever that one-legged hop thing was.

The matches – single player Story Mode, Single Match, Battle Royal, Multiplayer – took place not only in WCW Nitro rings but in WCW Pay-Per-View sets, an unheard of feature for wrestling games. The moves were pretty easy to pull off; there were no complicated button combinations. Each of the WCW Titles were also in the game but the wrestlers that held those belts at the time of game production were locked, until you defeated them in story mode.

There were many nights that at least 2 of us (siblings) were playing this game, and most nights, all 3 that were living at our parent’s place were playing. Battle Royals were usually the mode of choice and some of those bordered on ridiculous: Kevin Nash, if you didn’t eliminate him quickly, got seemingly invincible; “Shogun” had a bad habit of rapid chopping you; Eddie Guerrero could eliminate you via low-blow (I don’t know how but I lost a match that way lol). Everything about this game was fun!


A few games that didn’t make the list:

  • “Resident Evil 2” and “Resident Evil 4”: I played both of those game MUCH MORE on the PlayStation 2/3 before buying RE2 for the N64 and playing RE4 sparingly on the Wii
  • “WWF No Mercy” (N64) wasn’t on because 2 similar games were already on there

There are my favorite games that I’ve played on the various Nintendo systems. There are a lot of fond memories with these games. I don’t think I’ll buy the Nintendo Classic system but the Switch is a possibility. I haven’t owned a game system in 8 or 9 years; it might be time to jump back into console gaming.