N64 Knocking on heavens door

Gamestyle Archive intro: This article dates from 2001 or even earlier. It was around the time when the Nintendo 64 was slipping away and gamers were only just beginning to realise some of the great games on the system. In this initial feature (1 of 2) we plucked out some of the best one more time.

We do have the other article in the archive and this will be online later this week.

Whether you think the N64 has long since passed away or is on its deathbed, one thing is for sure – it has played host some of the most wonderful games you can experience.   While Gamestyle does not have an N64 section we are all owners of the machine and cannot wait for the Gamecube & Game Boy Advance.

If you are looking for a bargain, now is the time to buy N64 especially when 2nd hand consoles are so common – thanks to the current trade in towards a PS2 policy on the high street.   With this in mind we’ve put together a list of games, which you should look out for while cruising the racks.   Many N64 titles have long since been deleted and therefore some carts in their cases in mint condition are at a premium especially due to those awful boxes.   With all the current consoles available I would suggest that the N64 is still the king when it comes to offline multiplayer games and is worth picking up for that reason alone.

Nintendo have just released a very limited Mario N64 in the UK, I’ve only seen it twice so far but if you have the cash it’s a worthwhile purchase rather than the old black or Mac variations.   If the game needs an expansion pack, we’ll mention so.   As we’ve mentioned elsewhere when a console reaches the end of their shelf life, you and I in Europe miss out on some great games.   Unlike the Psone all you need to play imports is a converter cartridge and a UK game to plug into the back of the converter.   These often come with Action Reply features built in but to play the latest games such as Sin & Punishment you will need the N64 Passport Plus III.

1080 Snowboarding                      Nintendo               1/2 Players

It took its time arriving on these shores but was well worth the wait.   This is THE snowboarding game, fantastic levels, sublime control, amazing rumble and a challenge that will keep you occupied for months.   The sequel will be on the Gamecube.   SSX no thank you!

Blast Corps                                      Rare                              1 Player

One of the early releases for the system and long since deleted.   Still to this day overlooked, which is such a shame as this game is challenging and hugely enjoyable.

The basic premise is that two defective nuclear missiles en route to a detonation site have begun to leak.   The carrier locks onto the most direct route in order to decrease the risk.   This will take the missiles through urban, rural and industrial areas and if the carrier hits an obstacle – game over!

It sounds simple but with a wide range of vehicles at your disposal and fantastic level design you won’t be able to put this one away.   We hope for a sequel on the Gamecube.

Conkers Bad Fur Day                    Rare                        1/4 Players

This game is very much with the older generation in mind and harking back to the good old Spectrum days of wonderful oddities.   I haven’t laughed so much with a game (not at) in years and this is the best-looking non-expansion pack game on the system.   It also uses MPEG technology in order to bring you audio for every character.

Not the most original of games but the jokes and dumb things you participate in make this one of my favourite releases of 2001 so far.   It also has some of the most unique and just plain crazy multiplayer modes you will ever see.   Kill the teddies!

F Zero X                                            Nintendo               1/4 Players

Another classic resurrected for the N64 by Nintendo and this game is a pure speed, edge of your pants thrill ride from start to finish.   Outrageous tracks with loops, twists, and huge jumps, fly on them or underneath them.   The aim is simple, beat the other 29 ships and finish on top.   Of course it was never that easy but the end reward of a random track generator was is worth the effort.

The multiplayer mode still shifts at 60fps even with four players and if you have enjoyed other racing games on rival formats, this should top your list.   Even when you crashed out of the multiplayer mode, a slot machine allowed you to influence the ongoing game.  Class.  A game that will keep you coming back time and time again, roll on F Zero Advance for the Game Boy Advance!

Goldeneye                                         Rare                       1/4 Players

This game on its own probably sold more N64 machines than any other.   It took a film license and the first person shooter and rewrote both of them.   A fantastic single player mode, with so much depth and extras to open by achieving time targets that it will engulf you for months.   I lost a good summer playing this non-stop.

The multiplayer mode was rumoured to be an afterthought unlike so many we see today.   Rare team created a masterpiece and if you haven’t experienced Goldeneye you must.

Harvest Moon 64                             Natsume                     1 Player

Although at one stage scheduled for release in Europe, Harvest Moon 64 never made it outside of the American and Japanese markets.   You will need an adaptor to play this game but its well worth the extra money.

This is a unique Japanese RPG except it is based around farming, yes growing crops and raising livestock.   The two Game Boy versions only contained the farming aspect of the game and while enjoyable, the depth on offer here is far greater and much more fun.   The game has traditional RPG element but along with the farming also includes a dating simulation.   Here the aim is to impress the local lassies and eventually try to keep them happy in marriage.   Trips down to the local inn to down a few with your fellow farmers do not impress the girls as I’ve found out to my cost.   Hangovers also mean you wake later the following morning thereby missing out on valuable farming time.   Harvest Moon is a unique and funny game with plenty of charm that is well worth importing.

ISS 2000                                           Konami                 1/4 Players

We can argue which is the better series of ISS on the Nintendo & Sony consoles however what is without question is that ISS reigns supreme on both.   As you would expect from the series this game is a product of many years of experience and dedication to football.

What makes this version unique on any format is the inclusion of a career mode – a football RPG is you will.   While limited it is a great addition and a nice change from playing the game.   By using the expansion pack with this game you can use a higher resolution however as it affects the frame rate I wouldn’t bother.

Coming Next

In our second instalment not only will we be looking at further titles worth buying but also ones to avoid, those that almost made it onto the list and some of the releases to look out for later this year.

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