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Is the N64 library worth playing today?


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I’m extremely nostalgic for the Nintendo 64. Music tracks from Super Mario 64, Kirby 64, Wave Race, Pokemon Stadium, and Ocarina of Time bring me back to some of my earliest gaming memories. But the day I decided I wasn’t into collecting for the N64 was the day I realized that if they released an N64 Classic it would likely have everything I care to play on it.

So those of you who love the N64, tell me why I’m wrong. I understand the good games are on there like the ones mentioned above and quite a few more, but beyond everyone’s favorites I feel like the N64 library is shallow. What games would use to prove me wrong?

I’m trying to like this thing more than I already do.

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Speaking as probably one of the biggest N64 fans around, and it being my favourite system of all time, here's my take on your question:

Essentially, being an N64 fan boils down to really enjoying a handful of genres that have outstanding representation on the system, namely 3D platformer, FPS, Racing games and a few other lesser genres such as vehicle combat, adventure games, 3D shooters, wrestling etc. 

My advice for anyone wanting to get into N64 is of course to start with the Nintendo/Rareware staples. Mario 64, Mario Kart, Paper Mario, OoT, MM, Starfox, F-Zero, Kirby, Smash Bros, Pokemon Stadium 2, these are all amazingly solid titles. The two Banjo games, Goldeneye and Perfect Dark, Conker, DK64 and Diddy Kong Racing, and don't forget Blast Corps and Jet Force Gemini which are great Rareware games.

After that, focus on the 3D platformers and shooters. Rayman 2, Rocket Robot on Wheels, Gex 3, Tonic Trouble, Toy Story 2, Tarzan and Space Station Silicon valley represent the best of the platformer genre on the system. Meanwhile, all 4 Turok games, Doom 64, Quake and Quake II, and both Duke Nukem games are great shooters and well worth playing. Also, be sure not to miss Operation Winback, as that is actually a great title that often goes under the radar. Resident Evil 2 also has a stellar release on N64.

If you are a racing fan, there will be many treats in store, in a wide variety of racing styles and genres. Particular favourites of mine include Rally Challenge 2000, Ridge Racer 64, Wipeout and Destruction Derby 64. Star Wars Episode 1 racer is also a great game, as are all 4 of the various Star Wars games on the system. I would also seriously recommend Vigilante 8 and its sequel Vigilante 8 2nd Offense. And if you like those then you would probably also like the two battletanx games.

There are some interesting and fun puzzle games on the system too. Tetrisphere is fantastic, as are the Bust a move games, and I also really like Lode Runner 3D and Charlie Blast's territory. Of course, Dr. Mario is always fun too! When it comes to other genres, such as strategy games or RPGs then you are basically out of luck. However, Worms Armageddon and Ogre Battle 64 are two standout strategy titles for the system. You can also get Starcraft and Command and Conquer, but they are a little weak played on a controller.

I'm not a big sports, or wrestling or fighter fan, so I can't really advise on this area, but I know a lot of people like the wrestling games on N64 and some of the sports titles such as the ISS soccer games and NFL Blitz are quite popular.

Another thing you have to bear in mind is that you also have to be ok with some of the visual and control/camera issues that are typical of early 3D games. I actually really dig this aesthetic and the game design style of early 3D games, and believe it or not I also LOVE the N64 controller. However, if these things do not appeal to you, then they can turn people off pretty quick.

If you have anymore questions about any of the specific games I have mentioned, or would like more information, just let me know! I can go on about my love for N64 for daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaays!!!!! 😁

Edited by OptOut
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Yeah, what the guy above (OptOut) just said..

I think where the N64 has failed as a platform was the fact there were no killer third party games. Sure there were some nice third party games such as the Rare games eg. Banjo, Conkers and Diddy Kong Racing. Otherwise kind of average to good titles from other companies that don’t really scream out “pick me!” 

Though Mario 64 is still a badass game!

Edited by GPX
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Absolutley. As a die hard fan of the system, I have a few more hidden gems to add to the already great list OptOut listed above. 

- Mission Impossible 

This game needs more love. I have so much fun playing it. Yes, its a bit janky and the framerate and shallow fog of war are annoying at times (but hey, Goldeneye hasn't aged well either.) The controls are actually really smooth compared to the outdated system of using the C Buttons found in the Turok games. The missions are fun with multiple possible ways to complete them. Only downsides for this game are its short length and (if you can even consider it a downside) that its story has nothing to do with the movies and the character model for Ethan looks nothing like Tom Cruise. This is actually because Ocean had legal issues with the rights and it took so damn long to release the game. I mean, it came out YEARS after the movie. 

- Glover 

A fantastic puzzle platformer with charming graphics and a very unique weapon/platforming mechanic in the form of a toy ball that can be shapeshifted into different sizes and weights. Unfortunately this game was heavily overshadowed by Mario and Banjo and the like due to the pure cream of platforming titles available on the 64 - but it deserves love too! There was almost a sequel, but it was canceled about halfway through production. Still hoping to see a Glover 2 ROM dump on actual hardware one day. 

- Pokemon Puzzle League 

Not much to say besides that it is a fantastic puzzle game. It is virtually identical to Tetris Attack or Puyo Puyo. It has a Pokemon theme, which is really great if you're a fan of the Pokemon anime, but even if you aren't you can still enjoy this game. I would even argue it is superior to Tetris Attack. 

- Foresaken 64 

A great 3D space/vehicle shooter with maze-like elements. Makes great use of the 64's polygon graphics. This game can be extremely frustrating and virtually unbeatable withlut cheats at the higher difficulties, but its absolutley worth your time. 

- Pokemon Snap

Another non-Pokemon Pokemon game. Its a rail shooter that isn't a shooter. Instead, you'll be shooting pictures - of Pokemon! I know that sounds crazy and weird and that it wouldn't be any fun, but trust me, it is. I would even go as far to say it is in my Top 10 games for the system. Do not sleep on this one. The only thing against this title is its unfortunately short length, but at least it has a ton of replayability.

- Spiderman 

Holy shit this game is amazing. Unfortunately, this game doesn't have the FMV support like the Playstation and Dreamcast ports (and I will admit, the DC version is the best port of the game) but that shouldn't stop you from trying this one out. It has extremely fluid controls, a campy comic book storylinex all of your favorite Spidey characters, including many of his Rogues Gallery. A really fun beat 'em up that I'd happily pop into my 64. 

I'll make sure to post more as I think of them. But hey, that's just my opinion. I'm a weirdo that actively plays about half of the entire system's library on a regular basis.

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Others I thought of - 

1080 Snowboarding

Snowboard Kids 

Snowboard Kids 2 

Beetle Adventure Racing 

Mickey's Speedway USA 

Cruisin' USA 

Cruisin' World

Cruisin' Exotica 

Chameleon Twist

Chameleon Twist 2 

Castlevania: Legacy of Darkness

Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon

Goemon's Great Adventure

Harvest Moon 64

Killer Instinct Gold

Mortal Kombat Trilogy

Mario Party 1-3 

Gauntlet Legends 

Hybrid Heaven

WWF No Mercy

Army Men Sarge's Heroes (these games are meh, but can be funny and cheesy)

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Its a great system but if your someone who cares about graphics it might be hard to get past some blurryness and early 3d look in general. I have always loved the system and it had alot going for it as explained in the responses above.

if you dont like the controller there is always the brawler 64. Brings a modern control layout to the system

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6 minutes ago, Galdius said:

The 64 is one of my favorite consoles and I even managed to get the fullset for it.
There are a lot of great games for it but most of them are already listed on this thread.

One that isn't is the Lamborghini game.
I played it a couple years ago and thought it had aged very well.

Oh interesting! Not checked that one out yet, thanks for the heads up!

Whatever you do though, DON'T play V-Rally 99 edition... One of the worst games I ever played, lol!

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Stunt Racer 64, Winback, NBA Showtime on NBC, and Snowboard Kids 1 & 2 are some of my favorites that aren't regularly mentioned.

Also, the 64 is really the last system I can play with non-gamers.  Anything Gamecube and on, and it's not really as fun of a family/party experience.  Even on Switch, Mario Kart is so much more complex that it's not really fair.

Edit:  There are not many games where I would rush to pre-order or go to a midnight release, but a Pokemon Snap sequel would be one of them!

Edited by broncofantd793
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N64 is my favorite console but I finished my collecting goals on it long ago.

I do admit it hasn't particularly aged that well though.  I think it can be played, and some adult friends ask to play it when I have people over, but it would not be my first choice if picking up a retro system to play.

I will say that N64 did one thing especially well that they don't get credit for, the best wrestling games of all time.  Those are definitely still playable and take you back one of the best eras in wrestling too. 

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Member · Posted

I'll try to keep this short but considering that the N64 was Nintendo's first attempt into 3D gaming which is vastly different to develop for and much more difficult than 2D gaming, the more mature I get as a gamer and developer, the more shocked I am at just how good Super Mario 64 is.  Taking into account the leap of learning that Nintendo had to take, and the jump in advancement for that specific title, I think it could be in the winning for one of the greatest games of all time.  Granted, there are better games but it truly was "groundbreaking" and set the quality bar extremely high for 3D console gaming.

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Editorials Team · Posted

The whole library? Nah. But as it's been said a few times already, N64 has loads of dogs but a very strong high end. Games that are worth playing regardless of their "place in history" or how good they were "at the time." Sure, I still play N64 games that probably couldn't attract new players, but that was my first home console. I had to play NES and SNES at friend's houses and then go home and play Game Boy until Xmas of '96. Magic. So of course I love the N64, and would honestly rather play Mario 64 over Galaxy, and MK64 over any later Mario Kart. Unironically.

If an N64 mini with ~30 games is all you need from the N64 library, then I'm not offended. 30 good (exclusive) games is better than a lot of other consoles. Just don't write it off completely.

My family plays 4-player Dr. Mario for hours. I can't get any other game on any other system to outlast Dr. Mario 64 when the fam gets together.

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4 hours ago, broncofantd793 said:

Stunt Racer 64, Winback, NBA Showtime on NBC, and Snowboard Kids 1 & 2 are some of my favorites that aren't regularly mentioned.

Also, the 64 is really the last system I can play with non-gamers.  Anything Gamecube and on, and it's not really as fun of a family/party experience.  Even on Switch, Mario Kart is so much more complex that it's not really fair.

Edit:  There are not many games where I would rush to pre-order or go to a midnight release, but a Pokemon Snap sequel would be one of them!

Thank you for mentioning Winback, it is a fun ass shooter on rails game. 

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Just like any other console N64 has its share of duds but there are a lot of gems on it as well.

Aside from the obvious first party and Rare titles...

Beetle Adventure Racing
Bomberman 64

Bomberman Hero
Castlevania
Castlevania Legacy of Darkness
Cruis'n USA
Cruis'n World
Disney's Tarzan
Doom 64
Extreme-G
Extreme-G 2
Goemon's Great Adventure
Lode Runner 3D
Mischief Makers
Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon
Quake 2
Rayman 2: The Great Escape
Rocket Robot on Wheels
Shadow Man
Snowboard Kids
Snowboard Kids 2
Space Station Silicon Valley
Star Wars Episode I Racer
Star Wars Rogue Squadron
Star Wars Shadows of the Empire
Tetrisphere
Top Gear Rally
Toy Story 2: Buzz Lightyear to the Rescue
Turok: Dinosaur Hunter
Turok 2: Seeds of Evil
WWF No Mercy

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Member · Posted
13 hours ago, KokiriChild said:

- Mission Impossible 

This game needs more love. I have so much fun playing it. Yes, its a bit janky and the framerate and shallow fog of war are annoying at times (but hey, Goldeneye hasn't aged well either.) The controls are actually really smooth compared to the outdated system of using the C Buttons found in the Turok games. The missions are fun with multiple possible ways to complete them. Only downsides for this game are its short length and (if you can even consider it a downside) that its story has nothing to do with the movies and the character model for Ethan looks nothing like Tom Cruise. This is actually because Ocean had legal issues with the rights and it took so damn long to release the game. I mean, it came out YEARS after the movie. 

think I agree with this statement.  I remember reading about it in Nintendo Power, buying it shortly after it's release and enjoying the entire experience.  It's common as dirt and cheap and I've meant to replay it to see if it holds up.  That said, I don't remember having a complaint about the game and never regret buying it. For a single moment.  It wasn't GoldenEye but, honestly, I never felt like it was competing to be that.  It was a third-person shooter, and was more like Shadows of the Empire in that respect, than GoldenEye.

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