Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Nintendo 64

Since I started this crazy video game theme, I'll continue it with two more, much more recent systems. The first will be the ever-lovin' Nintendo 64, in all it's 64-bit, 3-D glory. If you didn't have an N64, you were nuthin, and your friends had the right to hit you on a daily basis.
I won't delay any longer, though. Here are my Top 10 favourite Nintendo 64 games ever.

There have been a buttload of great Star Wars games since this one, but I'll be damned if I can think of any good ones that came BEFORE it. Shadows was amazing: you played as an expanded universe character named Dash Rendar (basically Han Solo but with more facial hair), who shot and jumped his way through a bunch of kickass parts of the galaxy. With Dash, you got to fight in the Battle of Hoth, ride swoop bikes through the canyons of Tatooine, take on both Boba Fett AND IG-88, and save Princess Leia from some crime lord with green skin. All in all, a terrific gaming experience that paved the way for tons more Star Wars masterpieces to come.

This was probably one of the best Disney video games ever made. For the first time ever, you got to control a fully-equipped, 3-D Buzz Lightyear. You got to shoot your lasers, and wear rocket boots and glow in the dark and say "To Infinity & Beyond" a lot. The whole cast of Toy Story was there too, helping you out by giving you power-ups and other useful stuff. The point of the game was to collect a bunch of Pizza Planet tokens so you could unlock more levels and eventually save Woody from that old prospector who was voiced by Frasier Crane. Just seeing that wacky cartoon spaceman in action, shooting lasers and sliding down electrical wires, makes you realize that Andy had it right: Buzz Lightyear is the coolest toy in the world.

There were about two million Mario Party games, and I'm sure they were all great. but the first one is the only one I've played, and it still holds up today! What makes this game so great? Well, it's like a combination of everything. It's an interactive board game with collectible items, booby-traps, obstacles, constantly-shifting objectives, and a shitload of mini-games in between. To top it off, it's all done in that wonderful, charming Mario style. Personally, I liked playing as Luigi. I'm still really anxious to try out Mario Party 2-8. Or is it 2-9. Who knows anymore?

To be honest, I was never a wrestling fan growing up. I had a collector's cup with Hulk Hogan on it, but that's about it. But this game is just so damn fun that I didn't have to know all of the Undertaker's nicknames and personality traits in order to enjoy it. You could choose from about thirty or forty different wrestlers, all with their own unique moves, and then take the fight to the ring to see how well you do. There's even an option to turn blood on or off. The most fun was just playing a 4-person battle royale and slugging the shit out of each other. Pull a guy out of the ring, then grab a folding chair and whack him in the face so his nose gushes blood like a faucet. Woooooo!

I know, people are probably upset that such a kickass game is only Number 6 on my list. But please, let me explain. Mario 64 was beyond awesome, it's just that I spent way more hours enjoying the other games than I did this one. Super Mario 64 is a completely enjoyable experience, though, and if you haven't played it, you are NOT a Mario fan. It boasted a ton of levels, zillions of things to do and collect, and so many Power Stars it'll make your head swim. Plus, you got to challenge Bowser not one, not two, but THREE different times! And each time, he got tougher and tougher. You didn't have to beat around the bush with any of this Koopa Kid bullshit: you just went straight for Bowser. Super Mario 64 made Mario even more amazing than he already was.

A sequel to one of the best games ever made, MM had some big shoes to fill. Despite that, it did very well for itself. Even though it's probably one of the shortest Zelda games to date, it was so fun you wouldn't even notice. Besides, the way Zelda games are, there's so much to do, see, and collect, that it feels much longer than it really is. What was cool was that they brought back the aspect of time travel, but gave it a new twist: you have 3 days to stop a moon from colliding with the earth, but in order to save everyone, you've gotta keep going back in time and reliving those same 3 days over and over, making subtle changes here and there, until the bad guys are stopped and the moon is destroyed. It's like that movie Groundhog Day...just, you know, with monsters.

This game came out after Super Mario 64, so it ended up being much more fun thatn the Mario title (although Mario was lots of fun already, so you can only imagine). DK64 let you play as five different Kongs: Donkey, Tiny, Chunky, Lanky and (the coolest of all) Diddy. But it had some insane gameplay. You start off just with DK himself, and as you progress through the game you save your friends, one by one. Then, you've gotta go back and replay all the levels with your new Kong buddies, because each level has areas that only individual Kongs can enter! This game was made perfectly, and it was HUGE, so good luck beating it.

Wow, Mario's got three titles in this Top 10 list so far. But I guess that's just because he's so badass. I never had an SNES as a kid, so I never got to play Super Mario RPG. But that's okay, because if you ask me, Paper Mario is a million times more fun! Despite the fact that it was a mega-fun RPG with a bunch of different playable characters, Paper Mario had a look that was beautiful and unique: completely flat, 2-D characters moving against 3-D backgrounds and environments. In other words, a Barbie Dollhouse with cut-out paper dolls in it. It's worth checking this game out just for it's sweet look, but the fun factor will suck you right in.

Since I'm an only child, I did most of my gaming by myself. But when I got together with the cousins, it was a different story. And then, they got this game: Goldeneye 007. I remember thinking, "Hmm. A James Bond game. that's kinda weird. But, let's give it a shot." And I am glad I did. This is probably the only first-person shooter that I actually really enjoy. In story mode, you can take Bond through a bunch of long and intensely exciting levels, shooting random Russian drones and completing your secret agent objectives. But the real fun was in the multiplayer. Two to four players in an arena (the Stack was my favourite) trying to blow one another's brains out with a bunch of assorted, unique weapons. To amp up the excitement, we would always set it on One-Hit kills: if you got shot in the toe, you were a goner. I have no multiplayer gaming memories fonder than the golden days of Goldeneye. Cheers, Mr. Bond.

Not only is this my absolute favourite Nintendo 64 title, but it's probably one of my favourite video games ever. Period. Here's an example of how much I love it. Think of your favourite action/adventure or RPG game, one of those huge games with swords and magic and all that jazz. Now, think of how many times you've played that game from start to finish. You might love it, but you can only play a game that long so many times, right?
I've played Zelda: OOT, from beginning to end, at least twelve times already, and it never, ever gets old. In fact, I want to play it right now, just thinking about it. There's no way I could do this game any justice just by writing a dinky little paragraph about it on this blog. All I can say is that this is a game that will keep you up until 4 in the morning. This game will have you addicted like a junkie on crack. You keep promising yourself: "I'll turn it off once I find this one last item" or, "As soon as I kill one more spider. Okay, THREE more spiders." I can't think of one bad thing about this game. Please, just do yourself a favour and play it. You won't be able to die happy until you do.


No comments: