games / Columns

The 8 Ball: Top 8 Non-Nintendo N64 Games – WWF WrestleMania 2000, Banjo Kazooie, More

August 21, 2018 | Posted by Marc Morrison
WWF WrestleMania 2000

Welcome all to another edition of The 8 Ball! This week I’m here to talk about N64 games, specifically ones not made by Nintendo, at least in the strictest sense. One or two of these games might be published by Nintendo but they weren’t made by them. The N64 is a weird console because outside of its first party games it’s a pretty barren landscape, aside from like 10 or 15 games. Also, I limited myself to two Rare games, otherwise this list would just be half Rare games and half other stuff. Also, this is the week of GoldenEye’s 21st birthday so I guess it finally can get a martini, shaken not stirred, at a bar. I also include two vidoes from my friend Ben Paddon about the port work that went on in two of my picks. Enjoy:

#8: Turok: Dinosaur Hunter

At the time, Turok was fun just for the amount of crazy weapons you could get, the cheats you could enable, and the slaughter of dozens of guys you could cause, particularly when DK Mode was enable and they were easy shots. Turok had a decent atmospheric mood, until you realize that the fog is a technical limitation and not for anything else. Also, Turok had some pretty impressive boss fights, particularly the one against the T-Rex. Aside from it being large, fast and strong, it could also shoot lasers from one eye and had flame breath. Much like most dinosaurs, I imagine.

#7: The World is Not Enough

TWINE was no GoldenEye but it was still a really solid FPS game on the N64. It’s also one of the few games I can think of that came out for both PS1 and N64 and the N64 version was massively better. TWINE was fast, looked good (for its era), and the missions were scripted well. Also, you had a decent supply of different Bond gadgets and they were actually useful during the entire campaign. It’s not as good as GoldenEye, sure, but it’s still one of the best Bond games around.

#6: Starcraft 64

The early Blizzard experiments on consoles were…odd. Justice League Task Force on the SNES was bad, Diablo 1 on the PS1 was “fine”, aside from needing one-third of a memory card to save, and finally we have Starcraft 64. Now, between the two, playing Starcraft on a PC is the clear and obvious winner. That said, Starcraft 64 wasn’t bad and was kind of unique. Blizzard did adapt the controls fairly well, given what they had to work with in the N64 controller. The game has a *lot* of content also especially if you have the expansion pack, and it had a great split-screen multiplayer mode.

#5: WWF Wrestlemania 2000

It’s funny, I didn’t play this game till years (if not over a decade) after it came out. Back in the day, my friends and I would play the War Zone and Attitude games which were decidedly not good. Wrestlemania 2000 is a very different beast than those games by having a better create-a-wrestle suite, much more variations on what you can do in holds and grabs, and just by being a faster game, overall. Also, the roster for the game is some straight up 1999 gold with the obvious guys of The Rock and Stone Cold being there but also Jeff Jarrett and Thrasher. No Mercy is probably a better game but this is the one I played more of.

#4: Star Wars Rogue Squadron

Rogue Squadron was probably the best Star Wars game on the N64, and there’s actually a lot to choose from. Rogue Squadron had an arcade-like feel to it, as you shot down TIE Fighters and took out ground defenses. The missions are tough but relatively fair and the enemy AI does keep you on your toes. Also, there is a fair amount of stuff for you to unlock, which helps expand the replayability of the game. And if you had the expansion pack, Rogue Squadron was one of the best looking games on the N64.

#3: Banjo Kazooie

Banjo Kazooie was Rare’s crack at making a Mario 64 style platformer and it mostly works. It doesn’t have the memorable levels or easy controls that Mario 64 had, but it had an actual sense of progression, more intricate levels, and generally had a story. The work Rare did with B&K served them well when they released Donkey Kong 64 the next year, since a lot of the groundwork for that game was seemingly based off this one. Going back to it now, and it’s a fairly rough game, but at the time it was good.

#2: Resident Evil 2

It’s still some dark wizardry for how Capcom was able to port Resident Evil 2 to the N64. To be fair, it’s not quite as good as the PS1 version, the music is lower in quality as are the FMV cinematics. But you know what this game had? FMV CINEMATICS ON A N64 CARTRIDGE! I think it might be the only game (other than Starcraft 64) that did this, and RE2’s were better. Aside from the impressive technical aspects, Resident Evil 2 remains a classic game, full of suspense, action, and inventory management, and the fact Capcom got it running at all on the N64 is an impressive feat.

#1: GoldenEye 007

How could it not be this game? GoldenEye might get a lot of crap now but think about what it had to work with. The controls make sense, giving the N64 gamepad layout, it’s better to have analog aiming and digital movement, than analog movement and digital aiming. The graphics (now) are ugly, but in N64 they were detailed and impressive. The game has slowdown in spots but it’s much worse in Perfect Dark and that came out 3 years later. Also, GoldenEye was the first console FPS game that had a multiplayer that people actually cared about. GoldenEye’s importance on the N64 cannot be overly said enough.

For comments, list your favorite Non-Nintendo N64 Games and why.

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Top 8 Spider-Man Games

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The 8 Ball (Games), Marc Morrison