Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Top 25 on the N64: 20-16

Hey, friend!

Welcome to our second journey down memory lane and into N64-land. This week, we're really diving into games I own and still play kind of a lot. Check out part one here (opens in new window) and then let's do this!

20. NBA Live 2000

I have two words to explain why this game is here: Michael. Jordan.

First task when getting this - what a moment!

This was his first appearance in the series (I'm pretty sure), and I was very excited about it. Being a 90s kid, and a casual NBA fan at best, Jordan was #1. It disappointed me that he wasn't in NBA Jam, so I jumped at this.

Yeah, yeah I know there were other cool features here. Playing with other Legends, a nice franchise mode (especially for the time), and one-on-one mode making its debut all made this game fun for me. But the fact that I'm not great at basketball games unless the rules are off means a lower score here. Though Jordan's appearance/influence puts it just inside the top 20.

19. Madden NFL 99

The first N64 game I ever owned. I still remember opening this with my siblings on Christmas morning. Confusion was quickly replaced by pure joy as we went for the big box. And then, you know, history and all that.

Pure joy opening this on Christmas. PURE. JOY.

I thought about putting Madden 2001 here, since I may have played that one a bit more. But nostalgia, and that my brother and I could still dominate 99 today, gives it the spot. Marino. Favre. Elway. Sanders (both Barry and Deion). I could take up the rest of your screen with the great players available in this game - harkening back to that nostalgia word up there.

The gameplay wasn't super (it was absolutely better to be lucky than good here), but the debut of franchise mode helped. And 2-player co-op, which meant my brother and I could learn that the scoring stops at 256. All of that, plus the legends, adds to the replay value for me. Surprising? Well, that'll be a theme.

18. Hybrid Heaven

This is a game a rented many times (up top, Hollywood Video...and mom!) before finally going all in on it. Aptly named, this fused together a lot of different gameplay elements: role-playing, fighting, action-adventure to name a few. And this was a rarity for N64, but I enjoyed this quite a bit.

You take the role of Secret Service Agent, Johnny Slater, tasked with uncovering a plot by hybrids (genetically modified human-aliens) to body snatch the big wigs and take over the world. Yes, that is the actual premise of the game and I love it - even if critics didn't.

Wandering through an underground spaceship shooting robots, fighting mutants with wrestling moves, saving the world from an angry ET - all in time to meet your girl under the Christmas tree. Yup, I'm glad I finally got this one for keeps.

Into the Boston Crab!

17. 1080° Snowboarding

I have to give a shoutout to Bump here, since he introduced me to this game. Thanks, buddy! It's one of the more challenging games in the bag for me, but I'm still better at it than at Rogue Squadron so it goes up here. I don't know if any of the characters in the game are real snowboarders, I have actually never thought about it until just now. If they are, though, up top to their parents for the tremendous names!

Three aspects of this game stand out to me, even though I'm not great at it: Trick Attack, Big Air, and the wonderful soundtrack. Trick Attack was great because you had to land every trick before you could see how to do the next one. Some of them were difficult, but that was the point. If you couldn't hit the shifty, you probably weren't ready for the 1080. It just made sense.

Big Air was just plain fun: go as fast as you could down the ramp, then do as many tricks as possible before you [hopefully] land at the finish line. Cheers or jeers awaited, along with being able to put your name at the top of the leaderboard. Do it up!

Instead of rambling about the soundtrack (since I've gone on for a bit), I will just post a tune from it for you to enjoy. Now get out there and unlock the panda!

16. Destruction Derby 64

This might be the shortest section of the whole list, and that says nothing about how great I think the game is. It's just easier to be concise with this one. This is another game we rented a bunch before buying it and again, it was totally worth it.

Not only is it a fun racing game (who doesn't love those?), but the second objective is to wreck every other car on the track. It is just as awesome as it sounds. Add in unlockable cars and tracks, and fun multiplayer modes, and you make me wonder why critics didn't enjoy this, But forget them - I did and you should join me to play it sometime. Let's wreck stuff!


And that does it for this installment, friends! I hope you have fun playing all of these games while you wait for the next section. A quick hint: Mario makes his first appearance!

Until next week, keep kicking ass. Crap open a cold one!

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