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The games toward the top of this list are the ones that we feel have the best combination of those three criteria, while the ones towards the bottom, or the ones that didn’t make the cut, might be strong in one of those aspects, but lacking in the others. There are just too many greats to fit into a list of Finally, one last note, because our staff is mostly made up of people who played Nintendo 64 games released only in North America, we decided to keep this list import free.
The followup to Banjo-Kazooie expanded on what made the first great, adding 8 more gorgeous if stuttery on the Nintendo 64 levels to keep the collecta-a-thon going while not shaking things up too much. In addition to picking up right where Kazooie left off, Tooie was also a continuation of Kazooie in another creative way: While the original plans to link the cartridges by physically swapping them back and forth in the N64 was nixed by Nintendo, unexplained mysteries from the first game including very well-hidden, literal Easter eggs and the bafflingly inaccessible Ice Key did make appearances in Tooie, and helped the pair of games feel like one adventure.
The transfer pak for the Nintendo 64 controller allowed you to battle with your own Pokemon from the GameBoy Color games in the Gym Leader Castle and most of the tournaments in the Stadium, see 3D Pokemon models at the Lab, play the Pokemon GameBoy games at double or triple speed once you unlocked the Doduo or Dodrio modes, and more. The 12 new mini-games and quiz mode provided hours of entertainment with friends, and new to Pokemon Stadium 2, the Pokemon Academy was like a built-in strategy guide that taught useful tactics with tests in the form of actual Pokemon battles.
Overall, Pokemon Stadium 2 was just an incredibly welcome addition for Pokemon fans on the Nintendo Each animal, from super-speedy mice on wheels to missile-firing hyena hot rods, brought unique controls and abilities to take down enemies and overcome tricky levels. Ultimately, its low sales ensured that we never saw a sequel. We shall forgive them for never returning to Silicon Valley. To do so would be to overlook a key moment in the evolution of racing games that has led us to where we are today with the more playful Need for Speed or Forza Horizon games.
What it lacked in car variety, it more than made up for in its level design. Pre-dating the seminal SSX by two years, was a rare example of Nintendo taking a swing at a more serious sports game and delivering something special.
While its graphics were utterly gorgeous, its focus on realism made it truly stand out. Enthusiastic reviews at the time lauded how satisfying it felt, but many players found it punitively challenging at first due to its demanding control scheme that had you absorbing impacts with a squeeze of the Z-trigger.
No Mercy represented the pinnacle of an era of wrestling video games. Its simple fighting mechanics made it super easy for even casual wrestling fans to jump in, select their favorite wrestler, and have a great time with minimal onboarding. One where your choices and performance in a match actually made a difference in the direction of the story. Wrestling games have since become better at simulating the experience of professional wrestling, but No Mercy represents the peak of how fun a wrestling game can be, even at its most basic level.
Mario Kart 64 built upon the pixelated Mode 7 gameplay of its SNES predecessor and introduced fully 3D courses for the first time, ingeniously blending polygons and 2D sprites for a fantastic array of huge, sprawling raceways packed with tunnels, giant ramps, and iconic Nintendo characters and locations.
By the end of a few laps around a stage of this chaotic kart racer, the roads are usually littered with discarded banana peels, ricocheting turtle shells, and eight intensely competitive players all vying for the 1 spot. The result is equal parts challenging and hilarious; landing a perfect blue shell projectile on an unsuspecting player and nabbing a narrow victory at the least second is a feeling like no other in video games.
Later games like Mario Kart: Double Dash and Mario Kart 8 brought the series to bold new places but Mario Kart 64 is a classic kart racer that still holds up today. Diddy Kong Racing was home to a lot of things not seen in the kart racing genre at the time. For starters, there are more vehicles than just karts! Racers can soar through the air in a propeller airplane, and skim the water on a hovercraft.
Pair that with a full on story mode, complete with boss races, secret characters to unlock, and even a mini-open world to cruise around in, and Diddy Kong Racing proved it deserves to be remembered as one of the best racers the Nintendo 64 had to offer. Also, almost every track in the soundtrack is a bop, just trust us. Unshackled from the flat Mode-7 plains of its SNES predecessor, F-Zero X dazzled with the most complex and twisted roller coaster tracks ever seen in a racer.
The fact that it created such a unique pack racing experience at high speeds and pulled all that off at an unrelenting 60 frames per second makes it one of the most notable technical achievements for Nintendo Sure, there were certainly plenty of things to shoot at, but the campaign managed to also chuck in stealth sequences, amusing unlockable cheats, and increasingly challenging objectives for players willing to replay the game on higher difficulties. To this day, GoldenEye is regarded as one of the best video game adaptations of a feature film and raised the bar for FPS single player modes.
The combination of excellent, varied multiplayer levels, customizable weapon and gizmo sets, and a roster of iconic James Bond heroes and villains lead to infinitely replayable multiplayer mayhem for any group of friends eager to gather around a television together. For England, James.
In addition to adding characters, Mario Party 3 just had more stuff, including 70 new minigames MP2 had only 64, some of which were recycled from the first game , and five new boards, several of which remain fan favorites, including the trap-filled, ultra-wacky Waluigi board — a rare window into the twisted mind of Waluigi.
While the Mario party series thrived for a bit on GameCube as well, the love these games receive on the Nintendo 64 makes sense: You and three friends could probably source four controllers for Goldeneye, Smash, and Kart already, but those games took various skill levels, whereas basically anybody could play Mario Party, so many casual players were able to join in on the split-screen couch chaos, resulting in fond memories — and lasting rivalries.
In addition to a sundry of platformers and racers, Nintendo 64 was home to some really interesting experiments in genres more commonly found on PCs Remember, Animal Crossing started on N64 – albeit only in Japan.
But it was the real-time strategy genre that saw some very unique and memorable experiences on N Yet somehow, it all comes together and works beautifully. Developer Camelot had already proven it could make an addictive golf game with Hot Shots Golf on the PlayStation, and nsurprisingly, injecting that same formula with beloved Nintendo characters sweetened the deal even further.
Mario Golf is an uncomplicated take on the sport with easy-to-learn controls that lead to great satisfaction when your shot goes just as planned.
Mario, Yoshi, Donkey Kong, and the rest of the crew all have different stats, special powers, and multiple costumes to unlock. Mushroom Kingdom-themed courses wouldn’t appear until later entries in the series, but there is still variety on the green. Today, Mario has a long and celebrated history of jumping out of the platforming genre into various sports activities. But Mario Golf was the first time Nintendo gave its star his own sports game on a console.
But the series came out swinging and landed a hole-in-one with this N64 round. There are some truly excellent covers of the nostalgic themes found in the US version of the Pokemon anime, a ton of playable characters with their own voice quips, and a challenging story mode that has you going through the titular Pokemon Puzzle League, fighting gym leaders, collecting badges, and ultimately becoming the greatest Pokemon Puzzle Master of them all.
Wait a minute… no Hoth? The dynamic weather and water conditions range from subtle, such as fog obscuring your vision and eventually burning off, to dramatic, where entire portions of a track are altered. Unlike the aforementioned Mario 64 and Pilotwings, Wave Race 64 does not ease players into their fight against the elements.
But the high difficulty curve eventually gives way to being one with the controls and pulling off the most impressive stunts and even diving nose-first into the waves to bypass obstacles.
Also, you get to ride a dolphin. No one knew what to make of Super Smash Bros. In typical Nintendo fashion, Smash Bros. Instead of a life bar, characters would have their damage go up until they were knocked off the screen. There were all kinds of wild items like beam swords and invincibility stars. It was no wonder that so much of the contemporary coverage seemed bemused by it. What people didn’t realize was that Smash Bros. While comparatively simpler than its successors, the original Super Smash Bros.
Even today, Pikachu’s plaintive “Pika Pikaaaaaaaaa” while flying into the distance draws a laugh. Dated as it is in some ways, the original Super Smash Bros.
To this day, Paper Mario is an incredibly unique and special experience. Star Fox 64 is one of the N64’s defining games. Star Fox has tried ever since to capture just what made Star Fox 64 so special, but it’s doubtful that it will ever be able to recreate the raw spectacle that was Star Fox 64 in A showcase game for the N64, Star Fox 64 was a technological pioneer for Nintendo, being among the first console games to feature fully-voiced dialogue and rumble feedback.
But what makes Star Fox 64 truly timeless is its design. The Lylat System is a playground, which invites you to undertake multiple rapid-fire playthroughs in order to plumb all of its secrets. Easy to pick up, Star Fox 64 can become brutally challenging on Expert, which makes earning Fox’s iconic shades all the more satisfying. Today it’s mostly remembered as a meme generator thanks to quotes like “Do a barrel roll,” but Star Fox 64 might hold up better than any game in the N64’s library.
It’s a true classic. As great as Goldeneye was, Rare managed to top it in every way with Perfect Dark three years later. The highly tweakable Combat Simulator provided the pinnacle of split-screen gaming at the turn of the century. Get four friends together, throw in a few of the various bots that each had their own playstyles, and that was many, many nights of gaming sorted.
Perfect Dark is a slower-paced shooter than most modern entries in the genre, but it remains fun and very playable today. A clever approach to difficulty in the single-player campaign ADDED mission objectives when you played on higher levels — a much more thoughtful way to manage difficulty than simply increasing enemy health and damage. Because of its popular movie tie-in, Goldeneye raked in much more gold.
But Perfect Dark nearly perfected what Goldeneye started. Banjo-Kazooie has withstood the test of time as both a character duo and a game. Following the game-changing release of Super Mario 64, Rare took what was so special about that game and built upon it to create a timeless and hilarious adventure with an unlikely crew.
From meeting and fighting memorable characters like Gruntilda and Mumbo Jumbo to searching far and wide for the iconic golden puzzle pieces called Jiggies to discovering and saving hidden Jinjos that were placed around each level, there was always a reason to smile while playing Banjo and Kazooie. Mature themes abounded in every heart-wrenching side-story, which may have overshadowed the core storyline of the upcoming end of the world if not for the massive, threatening moon overhead.
The looming sense of doom instilled a sense of urgency and importance to every task, and since only so much could be accomplished in three days, it left players with a dilemma of who to help – even if it would all be for naught if the falling moon could not be stopped before the timer ran out. Prior to , the thought of Mario as anything but a side scrolling platformer was out of the question.
After all, it was an established formula that had worked for Nintendo since the inception of their first console. But as hardware evolved, the games needed to as well, and the jump from 2D to 3D was never more sleek than with Mario.
A launch game for the system, Super Mario 64 is still regarded as one of the greats for 3D world design and character movement, which is insane to think about when the game actually had a lot going against it! Not only was Mario already cemented as one of the greats of the 2D side scrolling genre, Super Mario 64 also had a slew of tweaks and changes that seem completely normal now, but were impossibly huge risks back in those days.
Power ups were completely revamped, made into various caps, and even the power star, which once made Mario invincible for a short time, was altered to become the very thing you collected instead. Yeah, this was a much different game. Even today, most people remember where all stars are located and know exactly what you get for completing the task.
They remember the three iconic Bowser boss stages, and you can still recall the feeling of being shot from a cannon with a wing cap on your head.
It’s familiar enough to feel like a Mario game, but different enough that it really felt like an evolution of the series. When it first came out in , The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time seemed like a messenger from the future.
Ocarina of Time stunned players with an organic, fully-explorable world. Players quickly learned that everything on the horizon was a place to discover and explore. You just had to figure out the means to get there. From the innovative camera lock-on system, the timeless 3D sword combat system, using rumble feedback to discover secrets, horseback riding, 3D traversal and puzzle solving with iron boots, hookshots, boomerangs, slingshots, and bows, to using the Lens of Truth to see through illusions, Ocarina of Time constantly challenged us, surprised us, and added layer upon layer of a world we thought we had already explored.
Modders Are Working On At Least 20 N64 Ports, Including Perfect Dark and Paper Mario
How to Play N64 Games on Your PC Using Project Hey guys! Today I will show you how to play any N64 video game in the world on your PC! This uses an emulator called Project Anyways, off to the start? Come on, then! Best N64 Games. Sort By: Newest Popular Liked. Bottom of the 9th. Rakuga Kids. Fighters Destiny 2. SpaceStation Silicon Valley. Jikkyou World Soccer 3. . Mario Kart 64 Race and battle your way to dominance as Mario, Peach, Yoshi, and more in this racing classic! Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time Help Link save Zelda from the evil Gannondorf with the help of his new instrument! Super Smash Bros Play as Mario, Kirby, Pikachu and many more as Nintendo’s greatest characters duke it out for supremecy!