The Virtual Console is a great thing for gamers with fond memories of the N64, but despite being around for years now, there is a host of games that really should be there, but are not. In this feature we look at seven games - some mainstream, some more obscure, that we would love to see get a second breath of life in downloadable form.
When people think about multiplayer experiences on the N64, it’s always the likes of Goldeneye 007 or Mario Kart 64 that are mentioned. But one game that has been largely forgotten is the co-operative bash-a-thon, Gauntlet Legends. A 3D sequel to an old arcade title, the game featured multiple character types, swarms of enemies to slash, and a simply huge number of levels.
|Slaughtering stuff is more fun in groups|
In single player, it was a touch on the dull side, with very little depth to have you coming back. You’d level, but that’d do little more than make your attacks more effective and give you some health. You’d collect potions, and treasure, but the loot wasn’t as satisfying as a game like Diablo.
But with a couple of friends, this game was hectic and addictive. Although the pace of the game kept the strategy to a minimum, the difficulty ramped with the number of players, so the game was challenging and taking down the big dragon is that much more rewarding when in a group. Essential stuff, and long overdue for the Virtual Console.
Mace: the Dark Ages
No one will claim that Mace is a great game, but on a console that struggled to produce a single fighting game of note, Mace was a reasonable diversion. A weapons-based 3D fighting game, Mace was a dramatic departure from the more well-known Soul Calibur, in that the core mechanics closely resembled Mortal Kombat, rather than the flowing, elegant swordplay of Soul Calibur.
|The blood is about to flow|
As a result, the game plays quite brutally – blood and body dismemberment abound. Some of the characters are a bit unbalanced – those characters with reach attacks have a massive advantage, but the presentation of the game is quite decent. Arenas are small, but interesting, and the music effectively creates the same pulp gothic atmosphere of a Mortal Kombat title.
As a result, the game is good fun in short multiplayer bursts. At the time, that was not enough to be worth a full-priced retail purchase, but as a relatively cheap download Mace would be a good game to have sitting on the hard drive.
F1 World Grand Prix
“Let’s see that again!” was a jubilant catch-cry for the advertising that supported this game, and indeed, we would like to see it again. A serious F1 simulation, F1 World Grand Prix had all the racers, all the customisation options, and all the tracks to make the faithful happy.
|This is going to wreck the suspension|
But rather than being a boring simulation, this one was actually quite entertaining to play. The racing felt fast and accurate, there was an ace 2-player mode, and some hidden characters and customisation options allowed players to create an arcade experience if they weren't interested in accurate simulations.
Beating your friend at a 72 lap race on this game was an awesome experience. It would be nice to be able to do that again.
Possibly the best
game ever, Worms Armageddon is yet another feather in the N64’s multiplayer cap. Filled with madcap humour, tight controls, and serious weapon power, it was hard to hate this game, even when the loses were occasionally cheap. Worms
|The donkey is gonna die|
In a rarity for the
series, there was a genuine need to play through the single player mode, too – it was there that you unlocked the nastier weapons for multiplayer. While this could lead to some seriously unbalanced matchups, it was easy enough to get everyone up to a reasonable standard. Worms
Because of the cartoon 3D visuals, Worms Armageddon remains one of the best looking N64 games in the modern era, too. With a lack of
games on WiiWare or Virtual Console, this would be a great place for Team 17 to start. Worms
The N64 wasn't exactly graced with great RPGs, but Aidyn Chronicles was a reasonable attempt. Featuring a large world, a workable combat system, Aidyn Chronicles brought much of the same epic RPG qualities that PlayStation owners were enjoying to the cartridge-based N64.
|It's hard to take this game seriously, but it's fun nonetheless|
It's also a game that many people missed out. It was released towards the end of the N64's life and quietly slipped away without making much of a splash. It was hardly an attractive game (even by standards of those days), but with a big open world, those that took a risk with it had many hours of questing, sub questing and exploration ahead of them.
It's not a great game, but for 1000 points, many people would be able to get essentially a new RPG to play. The rest of us would be able to rediscover one of the few genuine RPGs the N64 enjoyed.
Ok, so compared with the PC version of RTS classic Starcraft, this game is terrible, with a weak frame rate, ugly low-resolution visuals, and the N64 Controller was never going to be as precise as a PC/ keyboard setup.
|Forget single player. This was the way to experience this port|
But Starcraft 64 had a split-screen mode, for both cooperative and competitive play. That makes it the one and only multiplayer strategy game the N64 enjoyed.
Forget the competitive multiplayer – it was too easy just to look at your opponents screen and deal with their tactics, but by turning the AI up and playing cooperative, some epic matches were to be had.
More a nice-to-have than a must have, it would be great to be able to load up once in a while.
Winback was a strange game. It was well-received critically when it was released on the N64, but after a poor port to the PlayStation 2, a largely ignored sequel (and we assume, poor sales across the board), it faded quickly, never receiving obtaining the franchise status is had the potential to earn.
|Solid Snake's got nothing on this dude|
But perhaps Koei’s stealth shooter can live on on the Virtual Console. It really did have everything – a working multiplayer mode, wall-hugging, crouching and rolling and action-packed boss sequences.
The levels, too, were well-designed, containing a good mixture of combat and puzzle solving.
Though it shows its age now (both in terms of visually and some outdated gaming conventions), Winback is an underrated classic, and prime Virtual Console material.