My Bottom-5 Worst Nintendo 64 Games
Alright, since I presented the remake of my Top-10 Nintendo 64 games, I decided that for the sake of fairness and to show that I’m not entirely nostalgia-blind to the system, I will also present what I think are the five worst games for the system. One important thing to note here, for the game to be on this list, I will have had to have played it myself, which is why you are not going to see some obvious picks up here like Superman 64 (or as known by the proper title Superman).
I was nearly ready to have Pokémon Stadium on here since beyond transferring Pokémon for the battle modes and the mini-games, it didn’t really offer in the way of actual gameplay content and for this reason I think it deserves a (dis)honourable mention. Generally speaking, the Nintendo 64 has a very polarised games library. There are very few titles that I think are only mediocre with most games either being excellent or god awful. Admittedly, I’ve been lucky enough to be spared from the most horrid titles, but here are the ones that I felt a little cheated on.
On with the list…
I’ve mentioned before that sports-games are not my bag and while there’s a small set of titles I do enjoy, Ten-Eighty has never been one of those titles. Ten-Eighty often gets praised for its relatively advanced snow-physics and I’m sure there are people out there who really enjoy this type of game.
For me however, Ten-Eighty Snowboarding just feels incredibly boring. Firstly, I don’t get any satisfaction from doing tricks in the game-modes where that is the main point. Secondly, I just don’t think the controls are that great. They’re not terrible, but they feel stiff and awkward. I barely feel like I’m controlling my character. Worst of all, in the race-mode, which to me would seem like the only mode worth playing, your victory really only depends on you finding the fastest route through the level which means you’ll miss all that beautiful scenery that everyone keeps praising about this game.
Ten-Eighty just never hit home for me and for its individual strengths and weaknesses, I recommend reading my blow-for-blow review. As it stands, Ten-Eighty is really not my favourite sports title on the N64 but I also recognise that I’m probably not in the right demographic for it anyway.
As mentioned in the sports-games blog, I have very little love for Formula One video games, even though I love the sport. While it seems F-1 World Grand Prix’s reputation was pretty solid, considering several iterations were made for the N64, I just can’t understand the appeal of actually trying to drive a whole F1 race. The game’s graphic outlook is pretty muddy for the N64 and despite its official licence, you don’t even get to play as the season champ Jacques Villeneuve since his ego was too big even back then to allow himself to be put in a video-game.
Once again, to be fair, F-1 World Grand Prix does have some redeeming qualities. The customisation options are actually quite impressive and the gameplay (with or without assistance) holds up surprisingly well. The game also has a surprisingly awesome soundtrack which I think is one of the more under-rated qualities. Plus, at this point, the game has some true nostalgia value with the 1997 season drivers and teams. At least as an F1 fan I get a bit of a kick from it all.
That doesn’t change the fact that though that the actual driving is monotonous and droning. With the assisted driving, I start to itch for Mario Kart style power-ups and to break the monotony of engine noise and the flat bump noises when I go off the track or hit something. I can have fun with the game for a little while, but eventually I just get bored playing it.
Even companies of great repute can stumble when trying to create something new. And Midway really tripped for a faceplant of epic proportions with this paltry knock-off of their own bloody and violent fighting game series, Mortal Kombat. War Gods sets itself up with an awesome premise of using deities to battle each other MK-style, but ultimately you just get a bunch of weakly themed fighters who are ultimately less interesting than the idea behind the premise.
Control wise, War Gods wasn’t terrible as fighting games went. You had the typical Midway weaknesses of slightly unrefined coding and unmemorable music, but you could get pretty far with just spamming attacks so it wasn’t all bad. However, of the cast of characters the only ones I ever enjoyed were Anubis (the only “god” in War Gods) and Pagan because of her hilariously cringe-worthy victory pose where she seems to punch her own boobs. The other characters include a rock-guy, a gladiator, a cyborg, a viking lady, an obnoxious screaming Kabuki guy, a zombie and a Duke Nukem wanna-be. The characters seem like the unfinished products of a designer rather than fleshed out creatures and the same goes for the game’s ultimate boss, whose just a barely distinguishable green blob.
War Gods is just an uninspired 3D tech demo disguised as a fighting game. You can tell that Midway was simply trying shit out before they would eventually come out with Mortal Kombat 4. I lamented previously that the N64 didn’t have many good fighting games. And with crap like this what can you expect.
The small Japanese company Imagineer, best known for numerous licensed games, tried their shaky hand at creating a 3D RPG title for the Nintendo 64. The end result has got to be one of the most pathetic excuses for a JRPG out there. Holy Magic Century is literally like every JRPG out there, except without a lick of originality or personality (which describes most JRPGs pretty well, but in this case we’re talking about a mega-level of generic).
You are a small boy out to save the world, have to fight a bunch of powerful bosses to find some magic stones and then defeat a giant demon dude at the end. Sound familiar? It should. You run painfully slowly through the game world, fighting randomly popping up enemies with elemental magicks (or just whack them with your stick), talk to people to advance and then occasionally fight bosses. You never encounter companions, none of the characters are the least bit interesting and there’s not even a single a cutscene in the entire game to make playing feel worth-while. Holy Magic Century goes as bare bones as it can and as a result you’ll start to get bored really quickly.
Now, some of the creatures in the game are fairly memorable with their goofy designs and the soundtrack is at least moderately memorable. However, you never get the feeling like the game has any real substance to it and that is ultimately what makes Holy Magic Century feel so utterly half-assed: its lack of anything noteworthy.
Sometimes you see a game getting ripped a new one by everyone and think to yourself: “Oh come on! That game can’t possibly be as bad as everyone says it is.” And it’s true, in the gaming world hyperbole seems to be the rule rather than the exception. And especially considering how much I’ve enjoyed Castlevania games in the past, I really wanted to give the series’ first 3D instalment a fair chance. And you know what… the game is terrible.
It seems to me that Konami didn’t have a clue how to approach a 3D Castlevania game and it shows in every fibre of the game’s being. The graphics I can still forgive, but the lack of music, the broken gameplay, the horrendous camera, the shotty hit-detection and the grinding progression. Castlevania 64 is near unplayable with its terrible controls. Getting used to them isn’t fun since the game just keeps launching enemies at you non-stop. And it pisses me off since the game would appear to have some interesting and redeeming qualities in its structure and design. But if the gameplay is terrible, there’s really no way around it, the game just isn’t fun.
It took a long while for Castlevania to actually make a succesful jump to 3D and I kinda wish this game would get a remake just to deal with the major issues so I could enjoy it for what it is. That’s what pisses me off most about this game. I would want to like it, but I just can’t…