For those of us growing up in the 90s, 3d games were coming at us fast. Once Super Mario 64 came out, all bets were off and game developers were scrounging to recreate that success.
So in comes Rare. Formerly called Ultimate Play The Game (and released games under Rareware as well), they were the masterminds behind the Donkey Kong Country series on the SNES.
Once they got to the N64 though, they started releasing hit after hit. Killer Instinct Gold, Blast Corps, Goldeneye 007, Diddy Kong Racing, and Banjo Kazooie all left their mark on the video game industry.
Although the game was released in 1999, work first began in 1997 from the Blast Corps team and later the Diddy Kong Racing team as well.
What we got in the end could honest be described as a mishmash of all the rare styles.
You got the collectables from Banjo Kazooie, explosions from Blast Corps, shooting elements from Goldeneye, and even some racing mini-games out of Diddy Kong Racing.
Jet Force Gemini was quirky, explodey, sometimes frustrating and difficult, but all-together a blast.
Below is a deep dive into everything about Jet Force Gemini and why it is now a Required Revival.
Okay. So this is arguably the weakest part of the whole game.
Juno, his sister Vela, and their faithful dog are part of the Jet Force Gemini law enforcement team.
The Federation has been letting the evil tyrant Mizar get away with too much conquest and in a recent battle Juno and his team are the only survivors.
Before the gang’s ship is invaded by Mizar’s drones, they split up and flee to separate parts of the system.
Here is where the gameplay story starts.
You first start off as Juno but slowly gain access to the other characters throughout the game.
The team explores the local systems battling Mizar’s troops and soon encounters the tribalistic….Tribals led by King Jeff.
King Jeff informs the team that his people have been enslaved by Mizar and need to be rescued. We’ll come back to this plot point later.
The game can be split into two parts. The lead up to the mid game Mizar fight, and the collectathon afterwards.
The first half involves the team making their way to the mid game fight. After Lupus defeats Mizar, he decides that he will throw a meteor at Earth, effectively destroying Jet Force Gemini’s home.
The Second Half
However, the Jet Force Gemini ship was taken out at the beginning of the game and the team has no way to catch up to the meteor before it destroys Earth.
In comes King Jeff again.
You see, he has an ancient ship that can get the team to the meteor in time. But alas, it has fallen into disrepair.
In comes the collectathon.
You’re given the quest to collect the missing parts littered throughout the game in secret areas that you can now reach with your mid game upgrades.
However, the last ship part (and what led to a lot of people not finishing the game) comes from collecting all the Tribals.
Once you collect the pieces, you fly to the asteroid, defeat Mizar, and find out the bad guy is just King Jeff’s brother in disguise. Then you have a disco party.
Like I said, the game is interesting but the story is mostly in the background.
Speaking of the background, here is one area of the game that really shines.
Every stage theme is unique, memorable, and really fits the atmosphere.
From the tribal undertones of Goldwood to the enchanting melody of the Water Ruins, every theme matches the world very well.
For the sound effects, every weapon has a unique and enticing sound that really sells your weapon of choice.
Special shoutout to Floyd’s theme for also being really catchy with its violins selling the excitement of his side missions. Since they are required, you will be playing (and replaying) them a lot.
What really stands out the most though is the main theme. The bombastic orchestra sells the military FPS aspect of the game. With the visuals of the home screen changing with your progress through the game, each time you start the game should get you pumped for your current mission.
This is a tough one to rank appropriately. On the one hand the controls are intuitive, the amount of weapons you can use are fairly large, and the map designs are pretty good.
On the other hand, you’re using an N64 controller.
Disregarding the controls, the game is very fluid with most of the difficulty coming from manual aiming. There is some aim assist but it can be wonky at times.
Most of the time you will be in 3rd person view which gives you enough space to fully explore the environment. For bosses though, it is third person over the shoulder but you can only move left and right.
Final Verdict (7/10)
Okay, so the first time I considered this game for being a solid remake I thought it was just the nostalgia speaking.
On my last replay though, Jet Force Gemini really held up. The controls were probably the biggest burden but a bit more manageable than when I was a kid.
Blowing up drones with the weapons is still a blast and the puzzles were challenging enough to keep me thinking how I was able to do this when I was younger.
The tribal hunt is a bit burdensome but gives you a chance to explore every nook and cranny of the game.
Replayability is also a bit lackluster. You can try to beat your previous times on stages but that’s mostly for personal benefit.
Overall, the game is still fun and could seriously benefit from updated controllers and a larger TV screen.