Top Nintendo 64 Games (Part Two)

by GlobaX Gaming Staff

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10. Mario Party (Nintendo, 1998, 42 points)

The game that ruined a thousand friendships. Mario Party, as a series, may have declined significantly in quality, but Mario Party (the original) showed verve, originality, and style. The game’s minigames are frequently examples of superior micro-game design, and the board party conceit is such an elegant and enjoyable one. As the series went on it became bogged down in bloat and feature creep, but the original Mario Party holds up today as a superb party game that can be enjoyed by almost anyone (JCM)

9. F-Zero X (Nintendo, 1998, 46 points)

I love a good racing game, and in my opinion the Nintendo 64 never did better at racing of any kind than with the out of this world adventure racing of the incredible addictive F-Zero X. The game prioritizes blistering speed and a kind of madcap psychedelic feel over graphical excellence (even at the time its low polygon count was bemoaned), but if you can handle some janky early 3D you’ll be rewarded with one of the most excellent sci-fi racers of the 1990s. (David McDougal)

8. Conker’s Bad Fur Day (Rare, 2001, 47 points)

“Banjo-Kazooie, but ‘extreme” and for adults” sounds like a kind of nightmare pitch for a nightmare game, but somehow Rare stuck that landing and made an ingenious, engrossing game that actually manages to surpass Banjo-Kazooie. The game’s sense of humour lands very well, its level design is some of the best of the 32-bit generation, and it’s addicting and fun to come back to in 2019. Well worth checking out. (Terri Rose)

7. Mario Tennis (Nintendo, 2000, 52 points)

Mario Tennis is another one of those superb Mario spin-off games that have no right being as excellent as they actually are. Probably my favourite simulation of the game tennis ever made (look — I’m not a huge tennis fan, okay?), Mario Tennis combines goofy power-ups and familiar Mario characters (and new ones — this is the debut of our boy Waluigi) with credible tennis action to make a game that’s both accessible and enjoyable. (JCM)

6. Mario Kart 64 (Nintendo, 1996, 59 points)

With its release in December 1996 in Japan and early 1997 in Europe and North America, Mario Kart 64 signaled a new frontier in the world of 3d gaming. The incredible design and detail of Super Mario 64’s 3D worlds was transposed over into a racing game, showing that the potential for the third dimension was vast. And Mario Kart 64 plays darn well too, avoiding the clunky polygonal messes or atrocious hitbox detection of other early 3D racers. (Nicholas Tristan)

5. Super Mario 64 (Nintendo, 1996, 65 points)

This may be the launch title to end all launch titles. Super Mario 64 was so far beyond what was possible on the SNES at its release, and it even seemed beyond the scope of the PS1 or Saturn. This was the first truly great 3D platformer, and it’s one the entire genre has never fully replicated. Super Mario 64 is a game that’s absolutely still worth playing today, both because it was a landmark title that changed the course of gaming history forever, and also that’s it’s still one of the greatest Mario games ever made. (Ben Beck)

4. Perfect Dark (Rare, 2000, 66 points)

As good as Goldeneye 007 is, Perfect Dark is better — Nintendo were able to take a little more time when developing this game outside the James Bond license, and the extra care comes through with a better realized game that retains all the FPS glory of Goldeneye while adding in mechanical and visual features that make the game hold up even better than its predecessor. (David McDougal)

3. The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask (Nintendo, 2000, 72 points)

The Legend of Zelda is a very special series for a lot of people, myself included. And the first Zelda game one plays often shapes their opinion of the entire series, the high water mark other games must meet. For me, that game is 2000’s absolutely superlative Majora’s Mask, which is in my view the best the series has been been in terms of storytelling, mood, and dread. It’s a more grown-up iteration than Ocarina of Time, and that giant falling moon is a haunting and superb image, a great race-against-time conceit for the game to follow. (Nicholas Tristan)

2. Paper Mario (Nintendo, 2000, 76 points)

Paper Mario has been a bit of a sleeper hit in a lot of people’s estimation, myself included. I enjoyed the game when it first came out, delighted to be playing a Mario RPG (I wouldn’t play the excellent Super Mario RPG for another decade), but the enjoyment just sort of ended there. As the years went on, though, I found myself coming back to this game in my memory more and more. After some time, I did return to Paper Mario and found it to be an ingenious, superbly designed RPG on par with Square’s greats from the decade. The flattened, 2D artstyle is incredibly charming and a wonderful innovation, and it really inspired some great stuff with subsequent games like the Gamecube’s excellent Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door. (Ben Beck)

1. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (Nintendo, 1998, 97 points)

Where else could it have ended? The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is one of the finest video games ever produced, an absolute stunner of a game that looks, sounds, and plays just as well today as it did back in the 1990s. Ocarina of Time features one of the best soundtracks to a game ever produced, an ambitious storyline executed with total precision, cool character designs, and a world that makes you feel like you really know Hyrule. It’s a mechanical simple game that’s a good entry point for newbies into the world of Zelda, like I was. This is a really special game, and you do owe it to yourself to check it out if you can. (Terri Rose)

Top 20 Nintendo 64 Games (Part One)

by GlobaX Gaming Staff

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20. Wave Race 64 (Nintendo, 1996, 24 points)

Originally pitched as “F-Zero on the water”, Wave Race 64 succeeds in making this vision a reality. One of the N64’s many fun, fast-paced racing games, and one that I find myself dusting off the cartridge and throwing it on for a spot of fun more often than I used to. (Terri Rose)

19. Banjo-Tooie (Rare, 2000, 25 points)

The sequel to Rare’s iconic 3D platformer Banjo Kazooie, Banjo-Tooie really brings it at the same level with charming level design, great music, and some seriously tricky sections. If you’re a 3D platformer hater or agnostic, this isn’t the game for you, but it’s a real treat if you can handle some of the genre’s quirks. (JCM)

18. Blast Corps (Rare, 1997, 27 points)

Rare’s anarchic action game occupies a space of primary nostalgia for me, it being a staple of childhood sleepovers growing up. But playing it now, it’s wild how incredibly influential this game was. One could even say that the game’s big use of the analog stick in its controls was what led to Rare’s total dominance of console FPS games with the generation with Goldeneye and Perfect Dark. Regardless, it’s a great game worthy of a look. (Ben Beck)

17. Star Fox 64 (Nintendo, 1996, 30 points)

I’ve always been interested in games that are so successful they can move or encourage the use of an add-on/peripheral. The 4 million units of Star Fox 64 was great for Nintendo on its own, but as Star Fox 64 came bundled with a Rumble Pak (the first game to use it), it was instrumental in that peripheral becoming indispensable to N64 owners as well. I love this game, a fluid and daring adventure that, in my opinion, the series has yet to top. (Dave McDougal)

16. Mario Golf (Nintendo, 1999, 33 points)

Maybe you can make an argument that, with the loss of third publishers like Konami and Square to the PlayStation this generation, Nintendo became stunted and relied too heavily on their existing IPs and marketing toward families. And while there’s some truth to that, what this overlooks is that the vast majority of Mario games, even party games and sports spinoffs, are really terrific games. Mario Golf is a superb game, one that calls to mind some of the great 90s golf games from Japan like SNK’s Neo Turf Masters. Though it’s a Mario spin-off sports game, it’s a pretty good sports game in its own right. (Nicholas Tristan)

15. WWF No Mercy (Aki/THQ, 2000, 33 points)

After my Genesis seemed a little battleworn, and before I got a PS1 for cheap in 2001, the Nintendo 64 was my console of choice. I got one for Christmas, 1997, and this was also around the same time I was getting very heavily into wrestling. So, naturally, by the time a truly spectacular wrestling game rolled around in 2000 it was like manna from heaven. Still the best western wrestling sim around. (JCM)

14. Star Wars: Rogue Squadron (LucasArts, 1998, 36 points)

On a console that had some other excellent Star Wars games, most notably the FPS Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire, Star Wars: Rogue Squadron still stands out. In contrast to earlier classics like TIE Fighter and X-Wing, Rogue Squadron eschews realistic dogfighting simulation for aggressive, fast-paced arcade-style action. The graphics were *on point* for 1998, and honestly they still hold up pretty well today. (David McDougal)

13. Banjo-Kazooie (Rare, 1998, 38 points)

Rare, over the lifespan of the N6t4, put in an incredible amount of work on developing the console outside of Nintendo’s first-party dominance. If our earlier Top 20 of the PS1 revealed exactly how dominant Square was in the 1990s, hopefully this list does a similar thing for your perception of Rare. Banjo-Kazookie is a cute, clever 3D platformer with a strong replayability component and memorable characters and settings. Plus, doesn’t it just fill you will feelings of nostalgia? (Terri Rose)

12. Super Smash Bros. (Nintendo, 1999, 40 points)

This one rolled in a little lower than I expected, considering its influential sequels. But it’s also important to not merely view it as the creator of a franchise! The original Super Smash Bros. is a masterful game in its own right, an absolutely addictive party game with memorable characters and settings in which ultimate mayhem and chaos can be unleashed. Melee may be the king of the totem in most gamers’ eyes, and while I agree the first sequel is superior, the original has some special and unique charms that carry it to being one of the N64’s top games. (Nicholas Tristan)

11. GoldenEye 007 (Rare, 1997, 41 points)

So it can be a little hard to separate nostalgia from modern-day objective rankings — like many children of the 90s this game was a favourite at sleepovers and mindless after-school play sessions. But, as difficult as it can be to achieve an objective ranking, it’s still clearly a good game, and it was a mega-hit for a reason. Rare’s mastery of FPS controls, at a time when even not all PC games really knew what the heck to do, showed just how well the FPS genre could function on consoles. And as such, it showed a new path forward for the entire industry. (Ben Beck)

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