With almost 400 games, titles for the N64 have had a bright and interesting history. Outside of the popular series such as Mario, Madden, and even Banjo-Kazooie, there were some unique games you might have missed.
Jet Force Gemini
Even for Rare standards, Jet Force Gemini really stood out. Although their other N64 titles included the incredibly popular Banjo-Kazooie/Tooie and Goldeneye, JFG had a habit of not knowing what exactly it was.
First and foremost it was a third person shooter. With the N64 controller however, aiming could be difficult. There is a small auto aim and the R button allows you to manually aim but for a shooter it can be very clunky. In typical Rare fashion though, collectibles are important to the game. In fact, you won’t be able to even beat the game without first rescuing all Tribals.
The game does have a colorful set of characters, a great soundtrack, and fun weapons to shoot. With different enemy types available, you’ll be able to mix and match your strategy to take them all out. With a multiplayer mode and special features (turning all blood rainbow being my personal favorite) the game has loads of features and secrets that will keep you playing for hours.
Iggy’s Reckin’ Balls
You’ll be forgiven if you’ve never even heard of this game. Developed by Iguana Entertainment, this racing game had weird characters, weird controls, and even weirder special abilities.
The best way to describe this game is that it’s a mix between the tracks from Uniracers and the power-ups from Mario Kart 64. Gameplay is simple enough. You choose from 8 racers who each have their own abilities, pick a game mode, then try to reach the top of the track first. You’re also given a Worms-style grappling hook to let you move around the tracks.
The music can feel very lackluster and reminds me of Beetle Adventure Racing. Thankfully, there are ten world each containing 10 towers (read: tracks) that does provide a bit more replayability and entertainment.
Another interesting game coming from Rare is Blast Corps. The story is simple enough. There’s a red truck with nukes that is on a slow but steady course with an explosive collision. The government ingeniously hires a demolition company, The Blast Corps, to clear the path of this truck and let it explode somewhere far from civilization.
The gameplay and diverse set of vehicles really sets this apart. These range in creativity from Jetpack, the large robot that flies in the air and slams down, to a regular bulldozer. There are quite a lot of collectibles and challenges for players that offer both a challenge and unlockable secrets. There are also some racing stages that are required to beat the game 100% which really felt thrown in at the last moment.
With some catchy songs and a slightly puzzle driven destructive adventure, Blast Corps is great for (except for the dump truck missions) stress relief. The ability to destroy stuff on other planets was also a neat addition for those who managed to collect all the satellites and lights.
Hey You, Pikachu!
Probably the most creative Pokemon game out there, Hey You, Pikachu! was a real test of both the 64’s hardware, and the ability for children to convince their parents to buy a game where screaming was involved.
While it was creative, this game certainly lacked in game-play. Players were tasked with befriending a Pikachu by Professor Oak. This involved the voice communicator attachment that allowed you to actually talk to the Pokemon. Unfortunately, due to technical limitations, sometimes questions and orders were not conveyed well.
With only a few activity days each with their own tasks and mini-games, the game can feel very repetitive as you reach the 365 day end-of-game landmark. You then say goodbye to Pikachu and watch the credits just for him to come back at the end.
Originally released on the Playstation, this game can feel like a fever dream. Oddly enough, the story of this game is actually pretty deep. Some rats were sent into space for research, gained super intelligence, and now it is up to a ragtag group of cats to save the planet. These Scratch Cats are also led by a genius cat and involves special agents who fight the nefarious King Scarab. You still with me?
Game play wise, you’re looking at a platforming puzzle game where you have to capture all the rats on a level. Each world has it’s own theme and levels that get progressively more difficult. Visually, the models and world have their own set of charm. It’s easy to see the rats and the multiple player characters are each unique and fun to play. Unfortunately, the game offers very little for replay-ability and the music can get annoying as it will loop pretty quickly.