25 Most Underrated Nintendo 64 Games

While Nintendo dominated the ’80s and early ’90s with its NES and SNES consoles, some take into account the N64 to be a tepid successor to that legacy, particularly with regards to the platform’s library of video games. While the N64 had one of many smaller libraries of any Nintendo console (solely 296 video games had been launched within the U.S.), there’s an unbelievable quantity of high quality there.

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We all performed the heck out of Super Mario 64 and the primary two traditional 3D Zelda video games, and who can overlook zipping down the speedway in Mario Kart 64? The console was even the birthplace of Super Smash Bros. Yet, hiding away between all of those large landmark titles are dozens of hidden gems that point might have forgotten. That’s the place we are available. 

Here are 25 underrated titles from the N64 period that made the platform nice:

25. NBA Hangtime

1996 | Midway

When the N64 first got here out, most of us spent months taking part in (and replaying) Super Mario 64, Pilotwings 64, and Wave Race 64. Those are nonetheless three of the best video games ever to return out instantly after a console’s launch, however even from the start, the N64 was house to high quality underrated video games like NBA Hangtime.

The gameplay is similar to NBA Jam, however possibly a bit of bit sooner, and in contrast to the Jam collection, you may truly make your individual participant. Add in a ridiculous variety of secret characters, courts, and cheats, plus four-player assist, and also you simply have the perfect arcade basketball recreation ever made.

24. Mace: The Dark Age

1997 | Midway

The finest option to describe Mace is sort of a slower model of Soulcalibur blended with Mortal Kombat. Each battle performed out in huge 3D arenas (some with risks like lava that could possibly be used for additional harm) between two characters with weapons like swords, axes, and spears. And after profitable two rounds, you could possibly execute your opponent. Characters ranged out of your typical ninja and viking to an enormous demonic knight and a dwarf in huge steampunk armor. With Midway lengthy out of enterprise now, there’s no telling who precisely owns the rights to this one, however a remake actually wouldn’t be unwelcome if some writer needed to get their arms on the rights.

23. Quest 64

1998 | Imagineer

RPGs had been extremely sparse on the N64, and the primary one launched, Quest 64, didn’t truly come out till the system had been on cabinets for nearly two years. And sadly, avid gamers had been reasonably disenchanted, regardless of an incredible quantity of pre-release hype. Quest 64 is type of a newbie’s RPG. There’s little or no customization, and you may’t even purchase and promote tools. Still, it’s an enthralling, stress-free little recreation set in a fantasy tackle Ireland that’s value taking part in by way of, particularly because it solely takes about 10 hours to beat.

22. StarCraft 64

2000 | Blizzard Entertainment

So this exists. StarCraft has develop into a worldwide phenomenon since its unique launch again in 1998, and but the one console model of both the unique or the sequel is on the N64. It’s a bit of primitive in comparison with the PC model, and naturally, it doesn’t have any on-line options, nevertheless it’s truly a very strong port. There’s even a cooperative mode two gamers can play in split-screen, and a secret mission set after Brood War. And one way or the other, Blizzard made the N64’s clunky controller work very well with an RTS.

21. Snowboard Kids 2

1999 | Racdym

Virtually everybody who had an N64 performed Mario Kart 64 and 1080 Snowboarding. The Snowboard Kids franchise checked out these two video games and requested, “Why not mix them into one thing much more superior?” The first Snowboard Kids remains to be nice, however the second recreation is an all-time traditional for including extra characters, programs that aren’t simply lined in snow, and a surprisingly enjoyable and satisfying story mode. Sadly, Atlus has fully ignored the collection since a 2005 DS recreation that misplaced a number of allure of the N64 video games. I’d be glad if they simply launched the 2 N64 video games on the Virtual Console.

20. Mischief Makers

1997 | Treasure

We’re all used to 2D and 3D video games co-existing fortunately now, however within the mid-90s when the Playstation and N64 first hit, 2D video games had been seen by many avid gamers as inferior to their shiny new 3D counterparts. That meant that Mischief Makers, a lovely 2D platformer from world-class developer Treasure, was nearly fully ignored when it first got here out. But these avid gamers who ignored Mischief Makers for its graphics missed out on an unbelievable expertise taking part in as a robotic maid who defeated enemies by shaking them. There’s nonetheless nothing else that has matched the sport’s distinctive fight and puzzles. This is one other title lengthy overdue for a sequel or re-release.

19. Goemon’s Great Adventure

1999 | Konami

While Mischief Makers is fondly remembered for doing one thing totally different within the platformer style, Goemon’s Great Adventure must be remembered as the head of ‘90s platforming. The recreation took the tight controls of traditional titles from the 16-bit period and blended in a few of the higher 3D visuals of an N64 recreation with the hilarious Goemon characters and the most effective soundtracks on the N64. This might be one of many extra obscure American titles on the N64, however properly value selecting up.

18. Shadow Man

1999 | Acclaim

The N64 was crammed with so many vibrant and cartoony platformers that it actually cemented Nintendo’s popularity as being for teenagers. It’s a difficulty that the Big N nonetheless offers with immediately.That being mentioned, there have been nonetheless some nice grownup video games on the N64, and Shadow Man was one of many best possible. Shadow Man informed a darkish story about touring by way of a horrific underworld to gather the souls of serial killers, however the recreation by no means felt prefer it was simply going for shock worth. There was additionally some strong third-person taking pictures behind the story, and a few of the finest graphics on the N64.

17. Turok 3: Shadow of Oblivion

2000 | Acclaim

Most avid gamers agree that the primary two Turok video games are classics, but many ignore the third single-player recreation within the collection launched late within the N64’s life cycle. This is an actual disgrace as a result of in some methods Turok 3 is the perfect recreation within the collection, that includes two characters, tighter degree design, and the perfect graphics within the collection. While the primary two Turok video games have a number of nostalgia going for them, they’ll really feel extraordinarily bloated at instances, to not point out the large maps might be troublesome to navigate. The third recreation mounted these points to some extent, and it feels extra like a contemporary shooter than both of its predecessors.

16. Castlevania: Legacy of Darkness

1999 | Konami

There had been truly two Castlevania video games launched on the N64 in 1999. The first is a strong 3D journey recreation, however to get the complete N64 Castlevania expertise, you actually need to choose up Legacy of Darkness, because it’s type of a director’s lower of the primary recreation that includes two extra characters and remixed ranges. These video games have obtained a number of flak from Castlevania followers over time as a result of they’re so totally different from all the things else within the collection that in some methods they barely even really feel like Castlevania video games. Heck, solely one of many 4 characters in Legacy of Darkness wields a whip, and also you spend a big portion of the sport taking part in as a werewolf. That’s a legitimate criticism, however they’re nonetheless two strong gothic motion video games that stand on their very own all these years later. And not almost sufficient video games allow you to play as a werewolf.

15. Mickey’s Speedway USA

2000 | Rare

There had been truly fairly a couple of kart racers on the N64, and with titles like Mario Kart 64 and Diddy Kong Racing main the way in which, it was exhausting for anything to face out. Still, this follow-up to Diddy Kong Racing made by the identical workforce is well-worth testing years later. It won’t have all of the creativity of Rare’s first stab at kart racing, nevertheless it nonetheless has the beloved Disney characters and racing that in some ways tops its predecessor. No, it’s not Rare’s finest work, however in the course of the N64 period, even a weak Rare recreation was fairly darn good.

14. Hybrid Heaven

1999 | Konami

Hybrid Heaven deserves credit score for being some of the distinctive video games on the N64. Most of the title is performed like a third-person journey recreation, not not like Tomb Raider, however once you encounter a monster, you’re thrown right into a smaller room the place you and your opponent jockey for place to launch menu-based assaults like a standard RPG. It doesn’t at all times work, and it’s aged worse than a number of different video games on this record, however in the event you’re searching for a really totally different sort of retro recreation with a cool sci-fi vibe, and you’ve got the endurance to take care of its quirks, it’s value monitoring down.

13. The New Tetris

1999 | H20 Entertainment

Pretty a lot each console will get a port of Tetris, and often it seems like only a lazy re-hash of the unique. The New Tetris, nevertheless, may be the one model of the enduring puzzler moreover the unique that’s truly value taking part in. First, each time you clear a line, you’re including towards your totals for creating the 7 Wonders of the World, every of which might be toured in cool 3D movies. This provides fairly a little bit of motivation to maintain taking part in. Second, moreover its one of many first four-player Tetris modes in collection historical past, it’s also possible to create gold and silver blocks to extend your rating if you can also make squares of the identical block sort. It’s a bit of change that provides fairly a bit to the core recreation with out fully ruining it.

12. Jet Force Gemini

1999 | Rare

There’s a lot to love about Jet Force Gemini, and but the sport can be so flawed. The graphics, sound, and third-person taking pictures gameplay are all top-notch. At instances you’ll assume the sport is definitely operating on the PS2 or GameCube. But what holds the title again is having to spend hours amassing all the furry Tribals to progress to the later components of the sport, to not point out some ridiculously irritating boss fights. There’s a fantastic recreation right here for lots of hardcore avid gamers trying to delve into the N64 library, however a number of different avid gamers who don’t have the time to place into it’d wish to maintain out hope that some day Rare releases a remake or sequel that fixes the problems with the unique.

11. Ogre Battle 64: Person of Lordly Caliber

2000 | Quest

Ogre Battle 64 is considered one of solely a handful of RPGs on the N64, but it is one of many very best technique RPGs of its era. The recreation options one of many higher tales within the fabled (however sadly unfinished) Ogre Battle collection, following hero Magnus Gallant’s eventual march on the capital of Latium, and there are six very totally different endings primarily based on the way you play. Mix in deep class customization and technique that requires pondering a number of strikes prematurely, and this might maintain you occupied for months even when it’s the one N64 recreation you personal.

10. Space Station Silicon Valley

1998 | DMA Design

Even earlier than DMA Design turned Rockstar North and hit it large with the 3D Grand Theft Auto video games, you could possibly inform there was one thing particular concerning the developer. Silicon Valley is a kid-friendly recreation (one thing Rockstar hasn’t made in a really very long time) the place you play as a microchip on a derelict area station filled with robotic animals. The twist is that this chip can possess the physique of any robotic it encounters. It’s type of like GTA, however with cute robotic animals to hijack as an alternative of automobiles. This results in all kinds of hijinks, as you should remedy puzzles to get sure animals to battle one another and finally take over the our bodies of the defeated. Nearly 20 years later, there’s nonetheless nothing on the market fairly like Space Station Silicon Valley, which makes it well-worth experiencing even now.

9. Vigilante 8

1999 | Luxoflux

There had been loads of automobile fight video games earlier than Vigilante 8, and lots of have come after, however few mastered the right mixture of accessibility and depth that the unique Vigilante 8 had. With a dozen totally different characters that completely match the sport’s ‘70s vibe (plus a secret gray alien who pilots a UFO), it was straightforward to lose hours within the recreation’s absolutely destructible environments, particularly within the four-player mode that ran with none hiccups, even on the N64’s growing older {hardware}. Unlike a number of video games on this record, Vigilante 8 was truly re-released on the Xbox 360 and PS3 a couple of years in the past, however for no matter cause the remake simply couldn’t seize the magic of the unique.

8. Doom 64

1997 | Midway

It looks like there are two forms of Doom video games. The most up-to-date launch focuses on tremendous fast-paced motion, whereas the earlier launch, Doom 3, was a extra methodical first-person horror shooter. Even although it got here out almost 20 years in the past, Doom 64 fortunately marries these two ideas. This is a darkish and infrequently disturbing journey to Mars that additionally requires lightning quick reflexes to get by way of, even on the bottom problem setting. And with the addition of an unique laser weapon and Nightmare Imp enemy, that is nonetheless a must-play for Doom followers.

7. Harvest Moon 64

1999 | Victor Interactive Software

It’s ironic that on a system recognized for its motion video games, this slow-paced farming simulator is considered one of its best possible titles. This was solely the second console Harvest Moon recreation, so it didn’t have all of the options of the later entries, like having the ability to select your gender or elevate your kids to maturity. Still, you get an enormous farm, tons of area for crops and animals, and the chance to construct relationships with dozens of townspeople. That would possibly sound extremely lame in writing, however when you’ve misplaced a whole day tending to your farm, you’ll perceive why so many individuals love this recreation.

6. Blast Corps

1997 | Rare

It’s fairly superb that as consoles have gotten increasingly more highly effective Rare has by no means revisited Blast Corps. The primary idea of utilizing demolition autos to destroy all the things in your path to keep away from a nuclear holocaust might look unbelievable in HD. Alas, we will solely take pleasure in this spectacle in 64-bit. Still, Blast Corps is likely one of the most original video games of all time, and once you dig into the key missions on different planets and the platinum challenges, the gameplay right here is almost limitless – in the event you can sustain with the ruthless problem.

5. San Francisco Rush 2049

2000 | Atari Games

The first two Rush video games on the N64 are implausible arcade racers which might be nonetheless value taking part in, however the true gem of the collection is Rush 2049. The cyberpunk tackle San Francisco remains to be a sight to behold all these years later, and the addition of wings to each automobile permits for loopy tips and maneuvers within the air that few different racers have ever matched. It’s a disgrace that the only real recreation within the collection to comply with it, L.A. Rush, fully deserted the futuristic setting.

4. Body Harvest

1998 | DMA Design

Body Harvest was a ton of enjoyable when it first launched, and it nonetheless holds up properly immediately (even when it’s extremely blocky and ugly in a number of components). But what’s actually attention-grabbing is to return and play it immediately and see how DMA began to develop so many concepts that may later present up in Grand Theft Auto III. There’s the large maps filled with civilians, dozens of autos you may enter at will, and the liberty to do no matter you need as long as you defeat the alien menace earlier than they harvest too many people. GTA nonetheless hasn’t thrown an alien invasion into its huge sandbox, however Body Harvest offers a tantalizing glimpse at what that might appear like some day.

3. Beetle Adventure Racing

1999 | Paradigm Entertainment

Beetle Adventure Racing got here out of nowhere close to the tip of the N64’s life cycle and is likely one of the best possible arcade racers on the console. Yes, you’re solely taking part in as VW bugs, however they every deal with very in another way, and the six huge tracks vary from the fantastically life like to the splendidly surreal. And every monitor is crammed with crates that you just wanted to hit to attain continues and secrets and techniques. In some methods, the sport nearly seems like a distant ancestor of the Forza Horizon collection, nevertheless it additionally supplied so many concepts of its personal that it’s an actual tragedy {that a} true sequel was by no means launched.

2. Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon

1998 | Konami

If you’ve by no means skilled Mystical Ninja, attempt to image this: it’s Ocarina of Time however with 4 characters, big robotic fights, and epic musical numbers. The Goemon collection has been ignored within the West for a few years as a result of at instances it may really feel too culturally Japanese, however Mystical Ninja is definitely probably the most accessible of the bunch launched in North America, and arguably probably the most enjoyable to play. Not to say that it’s snicker out loud humorous all through the journey. If you continue to have an N64 and haven’t performed this but, cease what you’re doing proper now and monitor down a duplicate.

1. Conker’s Bad Fur Day

2001 | Rare

Rare made its title in the course of the N64 period by pumping out cutesy video games like Banjo-Kazooie and Diddy Kong Racing. Conker was initially going to be yet one more recreation on this vein, however when crucial response to early builds had been tepid, the British developer determined to vary course. Hard.

Conker would possibly appear like a like he belongs in one other E-rated Nintendo recreation, however that is truly a grimy recreation stuffed to the brim with cursing, gory violence, and big singing poop. And it’s completely hilarious and a pleasure to play. Sure, a few of its gimmicks are used for shock worth, however a number of the filthier components of the sport, just like the Great Mighty Poo battle, even have strong gameplay round them, and all of it suits into an epic story that has fairly a little bit of coronary heart in the event you see it by way of to the tip. And as one of many final main releases on the N64, it advantages from all kinds of technical tips that builders discovered over time, resulting in the easiest graphics on the system and almost CD-quality sound, with full (and hilarious) voice performing.

Sadly, Nintendo barely marketed the sport when it got here out due to its mature content material, and Rare was by no means capable of produce a sequel after being bought by Microsoft. And as a result of a part of what made Conker so nice was that it was made with so little interference from the writer, it’s unlikely {that a} follow-up would ever attain the greatness of the unique (as Conker’s unhappy, neutered look in Project Spark illustrated).

If you’re trying to expertise Conker in all its glory, be sure to take a look at the N64 unique or the port in Rare Replay, because the model on the unique Xbox truly edited out fairly a little bit of content material.

Chris Freiberg is a contract contributor.

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