Sunday, 25 July 2021

Nintendo 64 A-Z

The poor old N64 has many detractors in the snobbier parts of the retro community, and I can kind of see their point(s) to a degree, but there are many good things about Nintendo's 64-bit system too. I've always been a fan of it in any case - it's home to a few of my very favourite games so how could I not be? This list will include those and hopefully all other games released for it. Up next is:

C is for...

California Speed (1999)

Although a product of some big names (Atari/Midway), this one is quite obscure to many since it was only released in the US for some reason. It does seem worth some attention though - it's an ultra-arcade-style racing game and there are lots of courses with many having some very unique or even bizarre sections.

Carmageddon 64 (2000)

Yes that's right, it's that famous car/combat game that was so basic and uninspiring it had to rely on 'controversy' and 'shock' value to get any attention. Except it's now on a Nintendo console which means the people you had to run over are now green zombies. It's still stupid and annoying though, and hasn't aged well.

Castlevania (1999)

Finally the hallowed Castlevania series makes it to the third dimension! Hardcore fans might be rankled by the changes to the usual format but Konami have made a pretty good transition here, resulting in a great adventure with a superb spooky atmosphere and some excellent touches. Bothersome camera though...

Castlevania: Legacy of Darkness (1999)

Amazingly, released later the same year was what I used to assume was a sequel, but LoD is actually a prequel and remake of the first game with improved/added stuff. Bit of an odd move from Konami rather than making a full-on follow-up but it's still a more than decent platform/survival horror adventure.

Centre Court Tennis (1998)

Known by the superior name of Let's Smash in Japan, this tennis game is about as much fun as you would expect from a Hudson release. It has lots of options/modes, including the ability to create your own character, and the on-court action is, dare I say, smashing? Chortle! Particularly splendid with more than one player.

Chameleon Twist (1997)

Platform games with animal mascots are often enjoyable, even 3D ones, and I was expecting this one to be another. It is a nice enough game too, except it's too easy and the camera is frequently annoying. Perhaps one for younger players? The main character's long (steerable!) tongue is amusing in any case!

Chameleon Twist 2 (1998)

Despite the lukewarm reception the original game received, it wasn't long before this sequel arrived and it was received... even less enthusiastically! The characters, and indeed game generally, has been given an overhaul and it's reasonable enough fun, but the camera problem remains and the multi-player mode is gone too.

Charlie's Blast Territory (1999)

This one was originally released on the PS1 under the name Bombing Islands which should give a slightly better idea of what it involves. It's a 3D puzzler charging you with blowing up a series of islands, but first you have to arrange the TNT and bomb/detonator correctly. Nothing flashy but a decent challenge.

Chopper Attack (1997)

I was hoping for a Desert Strike rip-off with this one, and that's kind of what it is. It's known as Wild Choppers in Japan and gives you several craft to choose from, along with many missions through which to fly them. The controls take some getting used to and it can be really tough but this looks to be a decent 3D shooter.

Choro Q 64 (1998)

Our Japanese friends sure do like this peculiar series of arcade racers that made its name on the PS1. This one got a Western release where it's known as Penny Racers, but it's basically a Mario Kart rip-off. And yes, that means some effing annoying AI that will rob you of victory virtually every race! Lots of options though.

Choro Q 64 2 (1999)

Or Choro Q 64 2: Hachamecha Grand Prix Race to use the full title of this Japan-only sequel which, yes, means lots of trial and error as you try to navigate the extensive menus! The game itself appears to be more or less the same, but with much looser handling which takes some getting used to. Not bad aside from the AI again...

Chokukan Night: Pro Yakyu King (1996)

I expected this to be a wrestling game for some reason but it's actually a baseball game. I therefore assumed I would hate it but I quickly found it to be good fun! Unfortunately, the many detailed menus and options as well as lively commentary are all in Japanese so non-speakers won't get far, but natives probably love it.

Chokukan Night: Pro Yakyu King 2 (1999)

Another one - oof! Considering the time between releases, there doesn't seem to be much more to this one except that I found it much harder. I got several home runs in my quick play of the first game, for example, but here I could barely even hit the ball. It's another Japan-only release too, so the language problem remains.

City-Tour GP - Zen-Nihon GT Senshuken (1998)

I think this Imagineer offering, known as GT64: Championship Edition to Western gamers, was meant to be the N64's equivalent of Gran Turismo but it's nowhere near as good. I guess the same could be said of most racing games of the era but there is a lot less to this one, and the handling is ropey too.

ClayFighter 63⅓ (1997)

This forgotten release was the unnecessary third game in the 'claymation' series of 16-bit fighting games and, as unspectacular as the previous games were, this one is just poor. It has some 'wacky' characters and silly moves but it's all slow and clunky and fights last way too long too. It's just not enjoyable, sadly.

ClayFighter Sculptor's Cut (1998)

Apparently aware that their game was not - I repeat, not - first class, Imagineer swiftly gave 'lucky' N64 owners this 'special edition' too. Surprisingly, it is actually a bit better, with improved presentation and controls, and four new characters. Too bad it was a Blockbuster rental-only game and now costs a bomb.

Command & Conquer (1999)

C&C might not have been the first 'real-time strategy' game but it was the first really, really successful one, getting ported to virtually every system of its time including, believe it or not, the N64! It's debatable how well the game works with a control pad but other than that this is a decent enough version of the classic wargame.

Conker's Bad Fur Day (2001)

Rare's final release for the N64 was this 3D platform adventure which, slightly oddly, stars a retconned version of a Diddy Kong Racing character who now drinks, swears and makes pervy jokes. It's a novel, if rather immature approach, and the game is huge and technically excellent, but it takes too long to get going for me.

Cruis'n USA (1996)

Famed as an arcade game made to show off N64 tech and intended as a launch game, this ended up being neither. Considered in its own right, it looks a pleasant enough arcade racer with some nice courses, but a poor frame rate, ropey collision-detection, and weird handling with massive oversteer ruined much of its appeal.

Cruis'n World (1998)

Two years later, both arcade-goers and N64 owners got this follow-up which does improve on the original. There are more cars and greater variety in the courses, and there are also some pretty amusing crashes and stunts. Most of the faults of the first game remain though, and the ultra-arcadey style won't appeal to all.

Cruis'n Exotica (2000)

The third and (so far) final entry in the series arrived towards the end of the N64's life and is probably just about the best. There are three play modes to choose from and some nice courses, and the action is the fastest yet, but again, the handling is floopy and the racing will be too ridiculously over the top for many.

Custom Robo (1999)

This one is both an action-RPG and a Japan exclusive which, yes, means it's virtually unplayable for those who don't know the language. It's a mixture of isometric exploring/talking and 3D arena combat with highly customisable fighters and, despite apparently being aimed at younger players, looks pretty cool to me.

Custom Robo V2 (2000)

Unsurprisingly, this follow-up was also a Japan exclusive and also has fifty billion menus and options in that language. To my admittedly-inexperienced eyes, it looks pretty much the same as the first game so, if you were able to play it and liked it, great news! For the rest of us, it's another one to skip, sadly.

CyberTiger (2000)

I assumed from the name that this one would be some sort of futuristic helicopter shooter or something but no, it's actually... a golf game? Indeed, and due to some extensive fogging it's a rather bland looking one. The controls take some getting used to too, but it's a passable enough take on the sport if you're into it.


  1. I love the Nintendo 64, its one of my all time favorite consoles. Actually a lot of the games on this list weren't released in Japan so I don't know all of them, but I do love those Choro Q and Puro Yakyu King games!

    1. I really couldn't care less about baseball and I can't recall ever liking a game based on it before, but the games here actually seemed pretty good, especially the first one. Almost made me wish I could understand Japanese :P