Do you guys remember the video of those two kids who got a Nintendo 64 for Christmas and freaked the hell out? Well, they had the proper response, because that machine was a thing of beauty. And in honor of the console, we've rounded up the 25 Best Nintendo 64 Games. Whether or not we explicitly knew what they meant by the console having 64 bits was irrelevant, because we could fly around as Mario in 3D or ride around the fields of Hyrule from a third-person perspective. And it was glorious. Our 25 Best Nintendo 64 Games list includes heavy hitters and classics that stand out in our cultural gaming memory. Even if you had only played these games once, they're sure to have left some kind of impact. So without further ado, here are our picks for the 25 Best Nintendo 64 Games!
We're starting the 25 Best N64 Games list with a bit of an oddball, but one that we feel is important. It originally appeared on Nintendo 64 in Japan as Dobutso no Mori e+. You might know it better as its port on the GameCube, where it was called Animal Crossing. This open world life sim was the start of a franchise that had players living adorably fake lives filled with weird furniture, oodles of items to collect, friends to make, and long-winded lectures about saving properly from the infamous Mr. Resetti. It was the start of something magical, so we must pay homage to its roots!
You'd think that just being able to run amok and destroy buildings as a demolition vehicle would be fun enough, but this game actually gave us goals and objectives. There were plenty of fun vehicles to use to bring down the houses, such as the Sideswipe, the Ramdozer, and the Skyfall buggy (this one launched itself to splat buildings, it probably wouldn't be too practical in real life). Part of the fun was testing out each of the vehicles' skills and rocking structures into rubble with the robots. Whatever your preferred flavor of destruction was, Blast Corps was sure to please.
It may have seemed like a simple jet-ski racing game, but that's what made Wave Race 64 so much fun to play. And if you didn't feel like racing your friends and proving yourself the undisputed king (or queen), of the waters, then you could always pull off "nice moves!" in Stunt Mode for big points. But the most impressive thing about the game? The wave physics. Just watching the water accurately undulate was enough to get us longing for the beach and wanting to jump on an actual jet ski.
Left Field Productions
If you were a fan of the original Excitebike, then this game probably blew your mind. Not only could you play the original game mode in 3D, but you could race around tracks with a camera that followed your racer, edit your own tracks, and pull off some sweet stunts. The physics were amazing and were augmented by the N64's controller, letting you fine-tune your angles while in the air. Great graphics, slick controls, and solid gameplay made this title an excellent update to a classic game.
Nintendo Paradigm Simulation
What better way to show off the N64's 3D capabilities then by having a game that let you spread your wings and fly? Even though you didn't have your own wings in Pilotwings 64, you did have access to a bunch of vehicles and tools that let you take to the skies. Hang gliding gave players a bit of a zen-like feeling while they floated around and passed through rings. Jet packs let you test your rocketing and landing skills. And if you were up for it, you could even skydive. Getting perfect scores in this game was awesome, but we feel like getting to cruise through the skies was enough of a reward.
This was the follow-up to the amazing Turok: Dinosaur Hunter, and it definitely amped up the action. We got a new protagonist in Joshua Fireseed, who took up the mantle of Turok and headed to the Lost Lands to kick dino-butt and stop an ancient evil. The story was cool and all, but the real star of the game was the combat, and with it, the weapons. We have just three words for you: The Cerebral Bore. This brutal weapon locked onto your enemies' skulls, launched a spiked drill that traveled to the back of their heads, which dug deep into their brains and turned them into goo. And we thought a Tek Arrow to the face was bad.
It's only the first page of our 25 Best N64 Games list and there are already two titles from Rare! Get used to seeing them on here, because they were titans when it came to developing great games for the console. Jet Force Gemini was a unique sci-fi third-person shooter game that took place on a planet riddled with insects. These bugs were under the command of the game's Big Bad, the evil Mizar. The coolest part was that one of the three main characters was a dog named Lupus and you could totally control him. We feel like there should be more games in which you take on the role of an ass-kicking canine.
Nintendo EAD/HAL Laboratory
Oh man. You could finally battle with your Pokemon in 3D! How cool was that?! This game came with the N64 Transfer Pak, which was a magical little device that you could plug into the back of your controller and had a slot for your Pokemon Game Boy Cartridge. After you had it all set up, you could bring your loyal pocket monsters into the 3D world and start fighting in the stadium! Even if you didn't have the game, you could choose from default teams and get to brawling anyway. The Transfer Pak also let you play the Game Boy games on your TV, just in case you liked to count pixels. And when you were all done with fighting, there were always fun mini-games to play! Our favorite? The Sushi-Go-Round, duh!
We told you that you'd see Rare all over this 25 Best N64 Games list! Karts, hovercrafts, and planes were the vehicles of choice in this amazing racing game. The funny part was that it actually had a story to go along with it. The Evil Wizpig tried to take over the island on which the game is set, so Diddy Kong and friends battle him ... with races! Some of the characters in this game would go on to star in their own titles, like Banjo and Conker (who wasn't as foul-mouthed in those days). It had a fun single-player mode and was even more of a blast when played with friends, making it one of the best reasons to own an N64.
We don't have to say much for this game, because it's that freaking cool. You could pilot X-Wings, A-Wings, and even a Naboo Starfighter (if you knew the cheatcode for it). Riding along with the rest of Rogue Squadron and taking out the Empire's forces was a pleasure, no matter what level you played. You could even unlock the Battle of Hoth and take down AT-ATs, just like in The Empire Strikes Back!