June 1996 saw Nintendo debut their latest and greatest console in Japan, with US and European releases following shortly after. The Nintendo 64 stuck to the tried and tested cartridge-based media in a time when both Sony and SEGA had opted to used CD-ROMs. The N64 paid special attention towards multiplayer action allowing for up to four controllers to be plugged in without the need for additional equipment. Today it remains one of the most fondly remembered consoles of all time due to a slightly bizarre controller and stunning catalogue of games, here are just ten that you must play!
WWF NO MERCY
In the nineties, WWF and wrestling, in general, were all the rage, full of attitude and badass characters, every teenager wanted to recreate matches from their favourite spandex-clad superstars on home consoles. WWF No Mercy was a shining example of balancing arcade-style gameplay with a solid story and creation mode as well as offering hours of multiplayer fun.
Most people who owned an N64 are familiar with GoldenEye 007, a game where four people can gather around awkward controllers and blow each other up with rockets. A similar game, Perfect Dark, takes the old school FPS style and moves it to the future. It has everything an action movie should PLUS aliens. The game should be played for the co-op alone, but avoid the Xbox 360 prequel, Perfect Dark Zero, at all costs.
SUPER MARIO 64
Mario 64 was one of the two launch titles and the first in the series to utilise full three-dimensional graphics, gamers were able to explore the mushroom kingdom like never before. Setting off to save Princess Peach from the evil clutches of that randy dinosaur Bowser in what many argue to be the best entry in the Super Mario series, I think the movie staring Bob Hoskins is the only contender.
MARIO KART 64
That’s right, we are sticking with the portly plumber. Mario Kart may have begun life on the SNES but it really came into its own with the N64 entry. Released in 1997 this multiplayer masterpiece offered four game modes and eight playable characters including Donkey Kong and Wario, who made their Mario Kart debut.
DONKEY KONG 64
Nintendo aren’t short of a few recognisable characters, Donkey Kong made his presence felt in 1999 and sold over 2.3 million units with his latest entry. RARE was once again on development duty and gave players a 3D rendered island full of themed levels of platforming action, mini-games and puzzles with multiplayer modes on hand also.
Arguably the most fondly remembered shooter from the nineties, GoldenEye was the must-have game for any N64 owner. Released in 1997 and loosely based on the popular movie of the same name, GoldenEye marked a turning point in how shooters were perceived in the gaming market with it’s more “realistic” take on FPS action. Gamers were given a lengthy campaign as well as multiplayer for up to four players across five game modes. It’s true every character looked like they had just drunk some sharp lemonade but this was licensed gaming at it’s finest.
THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: OCARINA OF TIME
It was only a matter of time before Nintendo’s beloved adventurer Link got the 3D treatment and in 1998 fans got their wish. Venturing across Hyrule to stop Ganondorf from obtaining the Triforce, fans were given the biggest adventure yet, filled with puzzles and dungeons to conquer the latest entry in Link’s story sold over seven million copies worldwide!
THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: MAJORAS MASK
Released in 2000, the direct sequel to Ocarina of Time launched to huge acclaim, having spent just two years in development and offering enhanced graphics and darker story tones, Majoras’s Mask was set in an alternate reality. Mixing up the gameplay elements, fans were tasked with preventing the end of the world by acquiring a series of mask’s to transform their hero as well as learn tunes on the infamous Ocarina to open passages and manipulate time.
STAR WARS: ROGUE SQUADRON
That’s right, the nineties were a great time for Star Wars fans. First, in what would become a popular series, players took control of Luke Skywalker as he leads his Rogue Squadron through sixteen missions against the evil empire. Players got to pilot five different spacecraft from the Star Wars universe in fast-paced arcade-style dog fights while accomplishing a series of objectives. Rogue Squadron also featured a generous amount of bonus unlockables including levels set on Beggars Canyon, Death Star Trench Run and The Battle of Hoth.
Developed by HAL Laboratory it took a refreshing spin on the series telling the story of photographer Todd Snap who is sent on a research mission by the great Professor Oak. Gameplay was limited to an on-rails rollercoaster affair with the goal of photographing as many Pokemon as possible. Players were awarded points at the end of each round dependant on the quality of the photos taken.
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