A Year of Connoisseuring
It’s hard to believe it has already been a year for me here at 1 More Castle, but it indeed has. On October 18, 2012 I let you all know which N64 games I wanted to see current gen sequels for. By the way, not a single one of them have been made. You can be real jerks sometimes, game developers. You’ve had a year, for the love of polygons. I’ve had a lot of fun over the last year. So much so, that I spread the fun to an entirely different console. I have gotten to meet some amazing people and I have gotten to interact with you fine folks that take the time to read my work, which I greatly appreciate. I was trying to come up with a way to tie a piece into a one year anniversary and I got an idea. The Nintendo 64 came out on September 29, 1996 in North America. This is a list of some games that came out right around the one year anniversary of the N64.
WCW vs nWo: World Tour
Ahh, the game that made me start paying attention to professional wrestling. This is quite the iconic game among both N64 enthusiasts and wrestling game fans. Now some of us here at 1 More Castle think wrestling games are overrated. I won’t mention any names but it rhymes with Schmeric Schmailey. For me, this was the first wrestling game I played that got it right. The characters looked as good as they possibly could on the N64 and there were a lot of them. The controls made sense and were easy to pick up. The multiplayer was just fantastic. For me, this is also the first game where I started to remember the name of THQ. Grapplin’. I can get into some of that. Apparently so could a lot of people because it was the 2nd best selling wrestling game on the N64, to WCW/nWo Revenge.
Imagine, if you will, the game of Tetris. BUT IN 3 DIMENSIONS?!?!?! Well, this is nothing like that. This game was not originally supposed to have the name Tetris associated with it at all. It was supposed to be a game for the Atari Jaguar called Phear. Clever, right? Also a fun fact for you: the Atari Jaguar was actually a thing. Many are not aware. Well, Nintendo got a hold of it and they just happened to be sitting on the rights to Tetris so here we are. It was actually a great puzzle game. Each level begins with a big, intact sphere. You have to clear your way to the center of the sphere to release a little trapped fella inside. You do this by matching 3 like blocks to remove them from the sphere. If you take too long to make your move, the sphere will start rebuilding itself. Each move must result in a match or you get a skull. Three skulls means you suck and must start over. As you progress, the game forces you to move faster and faster, just like actual Tetris. The game also featured a great soundtrack still widely considered to be among the best on the entire console.
Top Gear Rally
This is one of the better racing games on the N64 and it had a very cool and unique feature for the time. It featured a paint mode that let you totally customize your car. You could even save your paint job to a Controller Pak and put on any other in game car you wanted. Feel like putting an inappropriate picture on your hood? Have at it. Feel like lovingly crafting a paint job that reflects painstakingly executed sponsorship logos? Go for it. Feel like advertising your favorite website, maybe ocarinaoftom.com? What a capital idea! This was another game on this list with a good soundtrack. It also looked great and actually had visible damage which is something that always scores points with me. Vrooom and such, as the kids say.
The guy who can never enter an airport burst onto the N64 with what I though was pretty fun offering. Moving a franchise from its 2D roots into a 3D world was not the easiest of tasks and Bomberman 64 did a decent job of it. There was some really good platforming to be done here and creative use of the bombs. For example, you could throw a bomb under a platform and then hop up onto the platform and ride it up post explosion. You could also use a bomb to bridge a gap to help you reach an otherwise unattainable place. You could inflate the bombs to different sizes to accomplish different tasks like the possible crushing of an enemy and then instant incineration of its corpse. Multiplayer here was ok but not great. It did allow you to use multiplayer with computer opponents which allowed you to at least experience it if you found yourself all by your lonesome. I can’t help but feel badly for Bomberman. He can’t enjoy a cigar. He can’t go camping and roast marshmallows. He can’t enjoy 4th of July fireworks. He can’t even operate a barbecue grill. I can’t imagine a more hellish existence.
This sure has been a great year for me here at the Castle. I’d like to thank all of you who have read my work over these last 12 months. I am excited to see what the next year has in store for me. The way I see it, I only have 24 years to go before Bailey has to buy me a gold Rolex.