My top 5 N64 games

Ye Olde N64 logo

I’ve found the more you like a particular system, the harder it is to pick your top ‘5, 10, 15’ favourite games. I get the feeling many retro gaming ‘top’ lists change on a daily basis, I know mine do.

I find it harder to write a top 5 for the Amiga than I do, say the N64, as I’ve only ever owned and played a limited number of games for the latter. Therefore my list is of a limited nature in that the top 5 is taken from about 20 N64 games I’ve actually ever played extensively.

On the other hand, I’ve played many more Amiga games, over a hundred that I could class as ones I know well, and also still enjoy playing, therefore, harder to pick just 5.

Anyways, enough waffling, on to my top 5 N64 games, and the odd reason why they are my favourites.

Perfect Dark

Cool ass metallic N64 logo followed by awesome Perfect Dark title screen
Cool ass metallic N64 logo followed by awesome Perfect Dark title screen

As much as I love GoldenEye, game and movie, Perfect Dark had me gripped from the start and throughout, it was a great story within an amazing sci-fi setting, with a great lead character in Joanna Dark. Arguably an improved game all round compared to GoldenEye, bigger levels, better graphics, huge sound track and an awesome array of weaponry (Ed – You better start looking for the body armour making comments like that).

On top of the single player the multi-player blew me away with the amount of customisation you could do by making your own custom combat scenarios, and fighting bots or other players. The game is still fantastic to this day, whether you’re playing alone or with friends.

Lylat Wars

Lylat Wars, had the huge box, with huge manual, and little rumble pak
Lylat Wars, had the huge box, with huge manual, and little rumble pak

Again, like with Perfect Dark, it’s the multi-player that sells it to me in this game, as much fun and polished as the single player is there’s nothing better than jumping in your Arwing and having awesome dogfights around Corneria with other players, however, unlike Perfect Dark you’ll need to have a few friends around to join in for this one.

I used to love the rush to be the first to grab the double laser, or a bomb, which would give you a nice advantage for a little while. I also noticed, with the group I played with at least, no-one ever wanted to be the tanks in multi-player, they never seemed quite as good, or fun to play.

Mario Kart 64

I couldn't find a google image I liked, so here's a home made one...
I couldn’t find a Google image I liked, so here’s a home made one…

My favourite version to date, there’s nothing in particular I can say to explain why its my favourite, apart from the fact there’s not a single track in the whole game I entirely dislike, but definitely quite a few I’m better at than others.

A few of my favourite tracks are Koopa Troopa Beach, Wario Stadium and Royal Raceway, the first 2 offer some great short cuts and I love visiting Peach’s Castle in Royal Raceway. Probably my least favourite tracks are Sherbet Land and Yoshi Valley, I just can’t get my head round the latter and the former I get too distracted by penguins.

Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

So good I bought it twice... (sucker)
So good I bought it twice… (sucker)

Not my favourite Legend of Zelda game, (see Link’s Awakening), but Ocarina of Time was definitely the first larger scale adventure in the series I enjoyed and completed. My knowledge of the series was pretty limited having never owned a NES or SNES before my N64, so apart from the aforementioned Game Boy game this was pretty much my introduction to the series. The sheer colour and scale of the game world after playing Link’s Awakening was pretty awesome and I’ve definitely been a bigger fan of the series ever since this one.

I can still hear the Ocarina songs in my head, and my favourite level is the Shadow Temple, great atmosphere, creepy bad guys and weirdest boss by far, my least favourite is the Spirit Temple (you just couldn’t top the Shadow Temple before it).

 Rogue Squadron

Do you want to fly an X-Wing? Nah. Said nobody ever.
Do you want to fly an X-Wing? Naaaah* (*Said nobody ever)

I do like a good Star Wars game, and Rogue Squadron was awesome, even its name gets me a little bit excited (Ed – easy tiger). I find the foggy graphics a little off putting these days but then I’ve noticed that with a lot of my favourite N64 games. This was pretty much the first time I got to fly an X-Wing in a Star Wars game, so I was already sold, after borrowing it from a friend (for far too long) I ended up buying my own copy.

I’ve never quite gotten gold for every mission, and I’m not sure I’ve even finished it, but it was fun to play, great to fly each different fighter, and destroy the Empire along the way. It was a close match between this and Shadows of the Empire, but Rogue Squadron hits the nostalgia button just a little bit harder.

Thanks for taking a look at this list of my top 5 games on the N64! What are yours? I’m almost certain yours will be different, and possibly even for different reasons! Crazy.

Honourable mentions and not quite appearing in this list:

GoldenEye, Shadows of the Empire, Pokemon Stadium, F-Zero X, Donkey Kong 64




5 thoughts on “My top 5 N64 games

  1. Very good list. I feel about N64 the way you do about Amiga so it’d be extremely hard for me to write a top 5 – it’d always be changing. Still they’re all fantastic choices here and I agree with all of them – except I’d swap Perfect Dark for Goldeneye. I accept I’m in the minority with that but I just think Goldeneye is a better game even if it’s less fully featured.

    I had the exact same experience as you with Ocarina of Time – it was my second Zelda after Link’s Awakening and it just blew me away. Of course I still love(d) Link’s Awakening for its compactness but Ocarina had such wow factor at the time, it felt like such a huge game. Funnily enough, when I went back to Ocarina recently I had the absolute opposite feeling – after the more recent Zeldas, Ocarina is a downright compact, tight experience. Not a hint of fat or filler throughout, something I very much appreciate these days!

    As I said I agree with your top 5 but I’ll give an alternative top 5 which I think deserve consideration: Mischief Makers, that game stands out like a sore thumb on N64, in a good way. Super Mario 64, I love it to this day. And Sin and Punishment, which I only played recently thanks to the Wii is an excellent title. Majora’s Mask too, it’s tied with Ocarina as my favourite Zelda game. Finally there’s Excitebike 64, which is a truly wonderful racing game and for years on end was the only reason I kept my N64 hooked up. It’s an absolute gem, I missed it when it came out but I fell in love with it after I picked it up a couple of years ago. I was always into 1080 Snowboarding and Excitebike 64 improves and expands on it in every way. The control is absolutely superb, there’s a great variety of tracks, the in-race commentary is funny and charming… I could wax lyrical all day about it but I’ll stop. Amazing game.

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