With the N64 hitting the big 15 year mark, we've decided to take a look back at what we feel were the systems finest moments.
Super Mario 64:
This is the game that changed the way games were played and even looked at. Super Mario 64 took the flat 2-D world of yesteryear, and turned it into a fully dimensional 3D masterpiece.
Platform games existed before Super Mario 64, but there was no true 3D platformers, and the ones that were around were clumsy, poorly contolled. Mario 64 changed that.
The intuitive analogue movement of Mario, the fun moves and attacks, and more importantly; expert control over the camera.
No more accidental falling or mistimed jumps, Mario 64 brought clever use of controlling the camera to your advantage.
It helped that the game looked absolutely stunning, with gorgeous bright colours, and the pattering of Marios footsteps as he ran, the 'whoosh' as he skidded, and even his own voice as he jumped and attacked.
The game was a fantastic showcase as the systems launch game.
The way the level design would bring out your curiosity, peering into water, slowly walking towards it, only to find that Mario can swim; in beautifully rendered water, was a real moment in gaming history.
The FPS to start a revolution, Goldeneye was a tremendous effort from developer Rare, who managed to capture the essence of being 007 and also manage to create one of the best shooters of all time.
Sure, compared to some games, it hasn't aged terribly well, but at the time (1997) it was a technical marvel. Intelligent enemy AI, interesting level design, and brilliant weapons -- all added to a solid gaming experience. But it wasn't until you plugged in up to 4 extra controllers that the fun really started.
In multi-player, no game came close to Goldeneye, it was ridiculous fun. With an impressive amount of characters and levels to choose from, and plenty of game play modes, all topped of with tweaks to get your favourite match type
Forget Call of Duty, Goldeneye is still the king.
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time:
This is somewhat unsurprising. If you were around in the 90's, regardless of whether you were into gaming or not; you knew about The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.
OoT was a startling move forward in video games, becoming the benchmark for interactive entertainment and a critical and overwhelming success for Nintendo.
The Kingdom of Hyrule was such a detailed place; the richness of scenery, the many things to do, and the amount of thought that went into designing it all. All added to the immersion that dragged you in. Even just spending hours just exploring a village, talking to the inhabitants, solving puzzles, and looking for hidden items.
The perfect controls (very reminiscent of Super Mario 64),the intuitive 'Z targeting system' and even the way Link reacted to situations, was mind blowing. The game was just a masterpiece. Riding horses, changing weather that effect the game, interesting puzzles, you could even just go fishng; it was just a massive game. If you've never played OoT, and don't fancy grabbing yourself an N64 (weirdo) then it's just been re-released in a souped up version on the Nintendo 3DS.
Super Smash Bros.
Ever wanted to punch Mario in his big fat face? Sure, we've all felt that frustration at miss-timing a Kooper shell jump, so why not get your own back?
Super Smash Bros. is easily put into the 'Fighter' category, and whilst some may argue it was in essence a fighter, it shared very little with the likes of Mortal Kombat or Tekken. Smash Bros. was a game that required you to knock your opponent/s from the arena, using a range of attacks and weapons.
You had a choice of characters, all Nintendo mascots; Mario, Donkey Kong, Link, Samus, Yoshi, Kirby, Fox McCloud, Pikachu, Luigi (hidden), Jigglypuff, Captain Falcon, and Ness, all with their own strengths and weaknesses.
With up to four players at a time on the screen, Smash Bros. was a manic game at it's slowest. Quick reflexes were required to prevent being thrown from the stage (Pikachu's 'agility' move came in very handy for returning from a throw).
Conker's Bad Fur Day:
At first sight, Conker's: BFD was your typical 3D platformer; a cute, cuddly affair that had you solving puzzles, collecting stuff and take in lush surroundings. What it offered besides that, was, surprisingly, a crude, hilarious mature rated game.
BFD was quite possibly the most hilarious title ever created, with crude jokes, over-the-top violence, drugs and sexual content, but it was also a remarkably deep, well-paced, beautiful game with great graphics and amazing sound quality.
With seven worlds and over 60 sub chapters, Conker's: BFD was a pretty big game, so just as well it played as good as it looked. It controlled exceptionally well, with Conker delivering satisfying jumps and attacks around beautiful worlds. Some of which took design of differently themed worlds, which included spoofs of such films as The Matrix and Aliens, Saving Private Ryan, Eyes Wide Shut, The Terminator, Jaws, and more.
But it wasn't just Conker, his world was filled with foul mouthed critters, including a cog that repeatedly tells Conker to "F**k off!"; a giant block that looks at another, bigger block on his top and yells at Conker: "You'd better get this fat ass b*tch off my back", and they all added to the smutty humour, and it was sublime.
The N64 was one of my favourite consoles, with many, many great memories, and obviously that wasn't all of them! So, here's a few others that you should certainly check out:
Just utter 'smashy-smashy' fun, coupled with highly addictive gameplay
|Jet Force Gemini|
It has it's faults, but it was a terrific third-person action romp.
Rare's 'proper' follow up to Goldeneye took us down a sci-fi route, and introduced us to sexy lead character Joanna Dark.
|Pokemon Stadium 1 & 2|
Pokemon? In 3D? Say no more! Even came with a Gameboy adapter so you could play your little game on a big screen.
|The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask|
Follow up to OoT is equally as impressive, and deserves as much time as you can give.
|WWF No Mercy|
A brilliant wrestling brawler, No Mercy had fantastic animation, superb graphics and handled well.
|007: The World is Not Enough|
Not quite as defining as Goldeneye, but a solid FPS.
At the time, F-Zero X's speed and smooth framerate was absolutely unparalleled. Still the best F-Zero in my eyes.
|Rocket: Robot on Wheels|
Rocket was easily one of Nintendo 64's most innovative, original, deep, and utterly brilliant "platformers" to date. It was also sadly underrated.
|Star Wars: Rogue Squadron|
A brilliant title, the Hi-Res version really showed off what the N64 could do.
A worthy successor to Super Mario 64, Banjo-Kazooie was a technical masterpiece. Rich, vibrant colours, brilliant characters, and a massive world.
|Space Station Silicon Valley|
Vastly underrated, Space Station Silicon Valley was one of the most original platform/puzzle games to hit Nintendo 64. Overlooked and even unheard of, Silicon Valley was a great example of what a little creativity could accomplish.
|Wave Race 64|
Wave Race 64 is one of the best racers -- ever. The realistic wave motion and transparent water effects were sublime, and the amazing track design and fantastic stunt mode are still tough to beat.
Paper Mario is a fantastically deep, intuitively designed RPG that although looked childlike compared to Final Fantasy, it rivalled any RPG on any system, and that's still true today.
|Rayman 2: The Great Escape|
Rayman 2: The great Escape was a remarkable 3D platformer, that brought flawless controls and extremely clever puzzles all to huge, stretching, gorgeous worlds.
The ultra-realistic look with spectacular graphics and tons of tricks, jumps and various game modes made 1080° the best snowboarding game of it's time.
|Harvest Moon 64|
What it lacked in action and adrenaline (there's literally none), Harvest Moon 64 made up for with totally engaging and challenging gameplay that sucked hours from you. Which in turn, turned to days, which in turn, turned to weeks...