Top 10 Underappreciated Nintendo 64 Games You May Have Missed

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The Nintendo 64 is considered to be one of the greatest gaming consoles ever made. It has always been my personal favorite and includes some of the greatest games of all time such as Super Mario 64, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, and Banjo Kazooie. However, there are a handful of games that don’t get the attention they deserve. That being said, let’s all hop in our Arwing’s and take off into number 10!  

10. Snowboard Kids

Released: December 12, 1997

If you thoroughly enjoyed playing games like 1080 Snowboarding and Twisted Edge, then it’s very likely you may have missed out on a game of this caliber. Snowboard Kids may at first seem like a Mario Kart 64 rip-off, but that’s definitely not the case here.

Sure there are items you can grab to fire at your opponents and ways of easily grabbing the lead with just enough boosts and jumps, however this game has just enough to make it a cult classic. The worlds are colorful and distinct, giving players an unforgettable experience.

9. Killer Instinct Gold

Released: November 25, 1996

With the more popular gaming franchise of Mortal Kombat, it’s no surprise that Killer Instinct Gold was easily forgotten. While the N64 wasn’t known for side-scrolling fighting games, Killer Instinct Gold is that one exception. The key to beating your opponent is mastering your character’s combo moves. This makes the game extremely challenging as each character has their own fighting style.

The assortment of characters also come straight from the original arcade game such as Sabrewolf, Jago, Gargos, Fulgore, and Tusk. There’s even a skeletal character in this game named Spinal where the creators actually took inspiration from the great Ray Harryhausen!

8. Beetle Adventure Racing

Released: February 28, 1999

Licensing aside, Beetle Adventure Racing is still one of the best racing games on the N64. This game allows players to pick a Volkswagen Beetle of their choice while navigating treacherous maps such as Inferno Isle, Sunset Sands, and Wicked Woods with secret passageways hidden in each of them. BAR’S controls takes some getting used to, especially for first time players. There are multiple ways to get to the finish line but only the smartest and most skillful player can master the maps down to a science.

Not only does the game have amazing maps to traverse, but the Battle Mode called Beetle Battle is also fun to play. In a Mario Kart 64 battle style, players have to collect all of the colored lady bugs that appear on the stage. What makes this challenging is that there are an assortment of weapons you and your opponents can pick up such as Invincibility, Mines, and Rockets. BAR is a fantastic addition to any N64 library and is definitely worth checking out!

7. Pilotwings 64

Released: June 23, 1996

Pilotwings 64 was one of two original launch titles to the N64. The second launch title was Super Mario 64 so it’s no wonder Pilotwings 64 was brushed aside. While Super Mario 64’s graphics were relatively clean, Pilotwings 64’s graphics just don’t hold up to today’s standards. But don’t let the graphics fool you. The game is still enjoyable.

Pilotwings 64 has a variety of challenges including flying through floating rings, snapping photos of a particular landmark, and popping balloons. Players have to finish objectives maneuvering in either a hang glider, rocket pack, gyrocopter, or a birdman suit. Knowing the wind current and what character to choose becomes crucial when completing missions. If you haven’t played Pilotwings 64, you should definitely give this one a go!

6. Lego Racers

Released: July 31, 1999

Combining Legos and racing into one game is a fans dream come true. Lego Racers is an incredible racing game that should be played by everyone. Not only does this game have a great variety in the levels, but you can even create your own Lego racer. With many different Lego pieces to choose, there are thousands of combinations!

Lego Racers is a fun kart racer and simply doesn’t disappoint. Taking a page out of Diddy Kong Racing, you can upgrade your weapons by collecting three of the same block colors. The gameplay is easy to learn and the tracks become progressively harder. If you are a fan of the Lego brand, this is a must buy!

5. Gauntlet Legends

Released: August 31, 1999

Another title based off an arcade game franchise, Gauntlet Legends is easily one of the most underappreciated multiplayer games on the Nintendo 64. Players can choose one of four types of characters with their own distinct abilities: the Wizard, Warrior, Archer, or Valkyrie. Players must work together if they are to eventually face Gauntlet Legends’s lead enemy; the terrifying Skorne.

The game still holds up today and should definitely be in everyone’s personal N64 library. It’s the perfect hack and slash game that has plenty of hidden secrets and level varieties that keeps players coming back for more.

4. Toy Story 2: Buzz Lightyear to the Rescue

Released: November 9, 1999

While A Bug’s Life failed in nearly every category, Toy Story 2: Buzz Lightyear to the Rescue was a surprise hit. The game does a great job with scale, as it makes players feel like they have been shrunken down to the size of a toy. This game takes you through some of the familiar beats of the movie such as Al’s Toy Barn, Andy’s House, and the airport.

The gameplay surprisingly still holds up today even though the frame rate tends to drop in certain levels. Players also get to battle against a few known villains such as Stinky Pete and some not-so familiar bosses such as a slime monster and a giant laser bot. It’s certainly a game you can pick up at any time and jump right back into it.

3. Blast Corps

Released: March 21, 1997

“Time to keep moving!” Those are the first words you will hear when you begin this phenomenal game. More of a puzzle game than an action/adventure one, Blast Corps main objective is to clear away everything and I mean everything in all stages. Your mission is to clear a path for the truck carrying a nuclear bomb to make it across the level. If the truck hits even one building or object in it’s path, it’s game over.

It takes some getting used to, especially when you have to learn how each vehicle is handled. The levels are time and get progressively harder. At first, Blast Corps appears to be rather repetitive, but there’s a great assortment of levels and it doesn’t get old. If you’re looking for a good challenge, Blast Corps is definitely for you.

2. Space Station Silicon Valley

Released: October 21, 1998

SSSV is by far one of the most difficult games on the N64. The games story is completely utter nonsense but that’s what makes this game stand out. SSSV stars Danger Dan and his sidekick robot named Evo and are tasked to stop a space station full of robotic animals that’s on a collision course to planet Earth! Unfortunately, they are both unable to stop the space station from landing and now it’s up to Evo to terminate every last one of the robotic animals before they terrorize the planet.

SSSV has a variety of different animals players can control including a bear, a penguin, a hyena, a dog, a mouse, and many more! Every level is a puzzle and it is up to the player to determine how to complete it while searching for clues throughout. It’s such a fun and engaging platformer with a catchy soundtrack that must be played by any hardcore N64 gamer.

And now for my number one choice…

1. Jet Force Gemini

Release Date: October 11, 1999

It was only just a few years ago that I picked up this little gem and decided to give it a try. With it’s vast assortment of weapons, enemy bugs, and character selections, this game once again brought out the best Rare had to offer.

JFG wasn’t perfect however since the games aiming proved extremely difficult to master. Controls aside, this game delivers on every level with tough boss battles, vast worlds, and plenty of collectible power-ups. There’s even Ewok-like characters called Tribals you have to collect in every level. Jet Force Gemini is a must not just for N64 owners, but for players in general. It’s such a well-made game that you can experience again and again.

Do you agree with my list? What N64 titles do you believe are underappreciated? Sound off in the comment section below! 

 

 

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