What is the best Nintendo 64 game?
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Some time ago I told you about the relationship I have with Nintendo's 64-bit console. I remember that when I started to see your advertising I really liked the idea that it still had cartridges and that it had 4 ports for controls. I think that Nintendo sent a very clear message with the architecture of the system alone: we are not going to let piracy attack us and we are going to bet more than ever on local multiplayer. I think the formula worked, since although the console's catalog was not even close to that of the first PlayStation, it gave us authentic gaming gems that served as a reference for subsequent proposals. In this space I have complained a lot about its control and how badly many of its titles have aged, but today I am in a good mood, so we are going to talk about the best exponents that we can play in this 90th system. In no particular order, here we go…
Mario's jump to the third dimension
There were many franchises that moved to 3D in this generation. Some, like Castlevania, didn't like the change so well, but it helped Nintendo's darling mascot to establish itself (again) as one of the most endearing and recognizable characters in video game history. With a track record of 3 solid titles on the NES, a couple of masterpieces on the SNES, and a portable trilogy in its canon, Super Mario 64 marked a before and after as far as three-dimensional platform games are concerned. Several titles that would later appear both on the same console and on other systems would follow the course of level design and mechanics established by the father of the collectathon.
It is the game I have played the most on the system. I remember that the friends who had it finished it with 120 stars relatively soon. Once the frenzy subsided a bit, I was given a chance to take control (yes, the one with the ugly stick) and had the fun of it. So much so that I finished it several times and it even became addictive. As an additional and completely irrelevant fact, Super Mario 64 was the first digital game I ever bought.
The ocarina that took five years to arrive
With A Link to the past the bar had been set very high in the Zelda universe. In the 16-bit title, Nintendo experimented with the mirror dimensions and how Link had to move between them to unwind the story and discover different secrets. The structure proposed by this title was repeated in Ocarina of Time, but it was taken to the extreme with out-of-this-world graphics, setting, music, and gameplay. Link's adventure that became unforgettable in 1998 also set a precedent in the industry and for many to date it continues to be, if not the best, at least one of the best games in history.
Having found good results with both the dark world and the light world, the developers chose to use time as a canvas to tell one of the best stories in the series. The twist we witnessed upon first encountering the Master Sword in the Temple of Time still gives us goosebumps. The ocarina, of course, is essential not only in terms of narrative, but it becomes an indispensable tool for Link during his long journey. The tunes that can be played with it are most memorable and aptly accompany the key moments of the game. Many fans of the franchise agree that this exponent is the best. What do you think?
The irreverence made video game
After Donkey Kong 64 and Banjo-Kazooie, Rare went out of his way to take a cute squirrel and introduce him to a dark world filled with very bawdy humor and awkward moments. Conker's Bad Fur Day is a pound chick on the console and one of the greatest dares from the British studio. Curiously, the original idea was to create a game with a much more familiar theme, but during development criticism arose and it was decided to give it a complete turn. The result was more than welcome by gamers, who laughed and were surprised to see such a title on a Nintendo console. It also has great references to pop culture, with which users feel identified and much closer to the peculiar squirrel.
Perhaps its only weak point is that it came out in the twilight of the Nintendo 64, so it did not sell as expected, in addition to the fact that its classification, in the best of cases, prevented it from reaching the hands of many boys and girls who were not of playing age (although many did, of course).
Mario Kart 2
Here we have another franchise for which Nintendo threw all the meat on the grill. The original installment of Super Nintendo served as a springboard for us to have in our hands one of the best existing iterations to date. It's one of the titles that gets a lot out of local multiplayer and my friends and I got the meat out of it. The character template, the clues, the music and the power ups combined to give us a most fun experience. Even alone it is very entertaining, with a great replay value and considerable difficulty.
I remember that the only thing I didn't like is that the GP mode is only available for 1 or 2 players. I guess it was done that way for memory reasons or something, but it would have been very nice to have that possibility. On the other hand, the multiplayer is so good and addictive that any shortcoming is forgiven. It is still one of the best games of the genre and of the saga.
Rare also made a Mario Kart
In the same year (1997), Rare released Diddy Kong Racing. Although it wasn't quite as good as Nintendo's development, it did get a little too close. Mobility is very good, as well as the variety of vehicles and characters. I remember that it had a very fun story mode and that the challenges with friends were very good. I really liked the tracks that used a plane, which in my opinion were the most difficult.
I played a lot of Diddy Kong Racing. I still have it and it is very likely that when I finish writing this text I will start playing it. I remember the first time I finished it I felt like a real ninja and kept wanting to perfect my times and get better each time.
The father of FPS
One more from Rare. GoldenEye 007 was the best game of 1997, and with good reason. It revolutionized the industry in many ways, giving us one of the best multiplayer modes ever, as well as a lesson in making first-person shooters. Although its greatest value lies in the game as a whole, it has an excellent campaign with different levels of difficulty that are essentially distinguished by the objectives to be met. It also has a wide variety of weapons, as well as a curious cheat system. It's often said that the father of the genre is Doom, but many of us agree that this masterpiece from Rare can easily claim the title.
It would be great to see an HD overhaul or something much better than the reimagining that came out in 2010, which is good but lacks the spillover charm of the original. My favorite weapon? Proximity mines.
Corneria, fourth planet of the Lylat System
With one of the best intros out there, Star Fox 64 took McCloud and company to another level. Everything that was great about the Super Nintendo title was taken and added to it in combination with the great processing power of the console. One factor that always captivated me was that the characters spoke. The conversations between Fox and Falco are invaluable and add dimension to the characters. Peppy's advice and patience are also worth remembering. So much so that if you go to Google and type “do a barrel roll” the screen rotates.
Multiplayer consumed long hours of my time and that of my friends, although to a lesser extent than Mario Kart 64 or GoldenEye 007. The phrase that James says to Fox has left an impression on me forever: never give up, trust your instincts. It made me want to liberate the Lylat System… once again.
Paper Mario's first appearance
We are now facing one of my most precious acquisitions in the now defunct Wii virtual store. The combination of the Mario universe with a role-playing game was already known, but on this console it reached a master's level. The music mesmerized me from the first moment and the art direction is the most sophisticated thing Nintendo has done. The characters, the story, and the dialogues are also transcendent, especially due to the genre of the title, but they develop in a very friendly way, involving the player more and more.
The story is very similar to that of Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, but it's the least of it. It is a delight to walk through the different settings and discover what is behind each corner. Intelligent Systems did an excellent job, although Nintendo's initial idea was for development to be handled by Square, but they were a bit busy making the best Final Fantasy for many, so it's perfectly understandable. This fabulous saga lives on and the Nintendo GameCube version (Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door) is also an absolute marvel.
A very light work of art
For this generation, Nintendo decided to follow up on the great Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island with an equally cheerful title but with a greater focus on the children's audience. I remember that when I met it I thought it was the most cheesy and pasty game in history, but when I played it I was really struck by how light it is and the great effort they put into its development. For the first time Miyamoto was not involved in a dinosaur game, but still the result was outstanding.
Unlike the Super Nintendo version, Yoshi's Story focuses more on puzzle solving than platforming, but that doesn't detract from it at all. Perhaps its weakest point is the low difficulty, especially for being a field in which its 16-bit counterpart gave a lot to talk about and caused many of us to throw the control on the floor full of frustration.
The first console RPG in our region
My last selection may seem strange to you. I am aware that Quest 64 was not as popular as the previous titles, but for me it has a very special value because I played it with dear friends and every time I visit it I remember those times. Despite my feelings of nostalgia, this is a very simple but interesting title where you control a boy named Brian who must rid the land of Celtland of evil. It has the typical structure of an RPG, but at the same time it has a very special personality and the music spices up the experience very well.
The skill system and how they improve is very simple and understandable, as is the item menu and the interface in general. Exploring the different areas one feels like a strange combination between Super Mario 64 and Donkey Kong 64, which is completely understandable as it was the prevailing style at the time.
Few titles, but a great legacy
According to the Virtual Game Library, the Nintendo 64 has a total of 388 games in its catalogue, a figure that pales in comparison to that of its predecessors, but without a doubt we are talking about a great system that marked an era and filled childhoods with great memories. and teens of many of the readers of this site. Would the history and fate of the console have been different if it had chosen to use discs instead of cartridges? It is impossible to know, but what is a fact is that the Nintendo 64 has earned a very important place in the showcases of Nintendo and gaming in general.
Surely I left out some game that you expected to see, so I ask you to express it in the comments. Thanks for reading and see you next #RetroFriday.