Wave Race 64 turns 25 and still reigns

Image: Nintendo

Over the holidays, we are re-posting some of our best articles, interviews, opinions, and talking points from the previous 12 months. from both employees and participants – Articles that we think represent our best of 2021. In them you will find our usual mixture of thoughtfulness, frivolity and retro. expertise, nostalgia for games and, of course, enthusiasm for everything related to Nintendo. Enjoy!

Let’s get rid of the conflicting early opinion, just so that any pitchfork owner can start sharpening their implements right away: Many Nintendo 64 games are not very dated. Of course not, because it was a console in which Nintendo was at the cutting edge of 3D graphics technology, a bold move that took a place in history as the company brought genre-defining capabilities to a home console that simply didn’t exist. it was possible earlier. In terms of consoles, it was the gaming system that set the 3D standard in platforming, first-person shooters, adventure games, and more. Mario, The Legend of Zelda, and even good old Agent 007 blew minds back in the late 90s.

I was 12 years old and everything usual the classics really excited me a lot. And yet one of my most popular games during that era was Wave Race 64, a jet ski racer and sequel to a Game Boy game I had never heard of – and yes, dear readers, it was outdated just fine.

At one time, it was one of the most arcade games I have ever seen for a console; remember that this is an era when games with light weapons and SEGA Rally on Saturn were very impressive – yes, the times are simpler. I didn’t live in a city with a real arcade, so whenever I saw the slot machines on my trip I would fixate on playing them (much to my parents’ annoyance).

The game will dump you and make it clear to respect the elements.

For me Wave Race 64 had the same vibe as this water… It might not look too wild these days when we have people like Sea of ​​thieves recreating the sea with stunning detail, but the idea of ​​playing with realistic waves and matching physics seemed fantastic at the time. But this is what the game has achieved. You are not driving the jet ski as if it were a car on a flat surface; the game will throw you and make it clear that you need to respect the elements.

Of course, as more seasoned players and speedrunners know, waves have discovered some pretty bizarre jumps and cuts that Feel deliberate. I would have been lucky enough to run on “normal” difficulty, but I would have sat and watched my older brother tackle the most sophisticated AI CPU and use every possible shortcut. It’s a game that gets really tricky when you’re up to the challenge, so even today it has good replay quality. You can be trash like me, or Indeed to master the mechanics and dominate – the development team has done a wonderful job.

What I really remember, besides the joy of bouncing on the waves, was the soundtrack. What a woe, this soundtrack is pure 90s arcade games, with perfect synth sounds and melodies that will forever remain in your memory. When a colleague mentioned that September 27th was approaching an anniversary, the music started in my head like a Spotify recommendation, which this time was good. Kazumi Totaka, bow down.

All these memories, of course, formed on lower version too, although my ignorance was bliss at the time. While in the UK, I rocked the 50Hz PAL version and didn’t realize it was faster or even better in other parts of the world until years later. For those wondering if it matters here and now, yes, it does, so hopefully Nintendo Switch Online won’t go that route – though, worryingly, it looks like it might.

Seriously, just look at the difference. I’m thankful young I didn’t notice this when I happily enjoyed the PAL version:

Wave Race 64 isn’t currently on the N64 roster for Nintendo Switch Online, and you’ll need to backtrack a bit to see hints that the series may return in the future. We like, like, something like have reacted to this idea back in the Wii Sports Resort, but it seems some futuristic racer, this series has been dormant since the days of the GameCube. At the very least, we hope this classic will eventually show up in NSO, especially since it was released on both Wii and Wii U Virtual Console.

However, if this is the 50Hz version in Europe, I will definitely download the North American app to play it. Until that time, Wave Race 64 was ahead – a classic that was fun, invariably upbeat and remains an explosion to this day.

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