Tom Hall likes to play video games and chew bubble gum; and he's all out of gum. You can follow him on Twitter @OcarinaOfTom.
The Reader Request series has been a lot of fun. I’ve gotten to see what games have been stuck in your memory all of these years. This week’s request comes from Graeme Ellis. Graeme requested the unicycle racing game Uniracers. Although racing games do seem to be the most common on the list of Super Nintendo games I have reviewed after playing them for the first time 2 decades late, this seemed unique enough to capture my interest. Then I studied up a bit on the lore of the game. It is most interesting.
I have to admit, if you asked me to make a list of real life things I consider to be a good time, fishing is not on the list. So when it comes to video games, fishing video games are about as exciting to me as an all rice cake diet. Nonetheless, I made an oath to review the entire North American N64 library and so it is. Part of what I wanted to accomplish when I set out on this quest was to find games I would not have even considered playing under other circumstances that would turn out to actually be a good time. This is the first game on that quest that has that chance.
In continuing with the Reader Request series for 2 Decades Late, I am here today with yet another request. This one comes from a good personal friend of mine, Zack Williamson. It’s kind of surprising to me that I haven’t played this one yet given how much I loved the cartoon. Freakazoid, Animaniacs, Pinky and the Brain, and Earthworm Jim. Those were my jam when I was but a wee Tom. I may be just a tick, and by tick I mean 2 decades late, but the time has come to review the game I should have played a long, long time ago.
Good day, fellow Nintendo 64 enthusiasts! Now, if you are that one guy over there who reads all of these reviews, you are right now saying to yourself, “Kirby? What in the name of invisible walls is he talking about? He’s supposed to review NHL 99. He said so at the end of the last review.” You’re right, I am. But then a thing happened.
This past weekend, I did a thing. You see, I kind of, sort of ran out of Super Nintendo game ideas so I asked you guys on Twitter. Honestly, I only really expected one or two answers. Instead, I got a bunch of suggestions. D’awww, you guys. So, I will take those suggestions as you giving me free advice on how to keep you reading and one by one, I will review all of those requests.
Additionally, it is now open season. Have a game you want me to review? Let me know. I will review them all, first come, first served. The first suggestion was made by 1 More Castle’s own Zack Smith. Zack wanted to see me review the SNES RPG Drakkhen. And so it is.
Once upon a time, a little game called Mortal Kombat was born. It was the king of fighting games because it did things no other fighting games had done before. People were drawn to its shocking violence and for some reason captivating characters. Like most good ideas, a lot of people flat out stole it. This began an age of Mortal Kombat clones, most of them bad. Enter in my 10th N64 review, Mace: The Dark Age.
When last we met, I sang the praises of Super Mario Kart. Another SNES racing game I’ve always wanted to play was F-Zero. All I really know of it is what I have been taught by Super Smash Bros. and I have only played the N64 sequel a couple of times. I do know that it was an SNES launch title and that there had been one on every Nintendo console until the Wii unless, of course, you count the Virtual Console where I played it. But you didn’t come here for trivia, did you? No, you didn’t. It’s cool. I know you just want me for my reviews.
Welcome to the very first of my N64 reviews here on 1 More Castle! In the event that you missed my announcements over the weekend, I am moving this series of reviews over here where they belong. I’m not quite sure yet how I will give everyone access to the first 8 reviews, but I’m crafty. I’ll come up with something. Anyhow, the idea is to review all 296 North American N64 games. Making it a part of the N64 Connoisseur series will help me do that quicker. That is not to say that the other fun N64 related pieces I like to do here are going away, but they will now share the spotlight with the reviews. So, with the explanation out of the way, on to the show!
I will get this out of the way early and admit two things. First, this choice was totally inspired by Bailey’s pick for the Retro Showdown on episode 74 of 1 More Podcastle. Second, I did actually have an experience with this game as a child. A friend had it and I played it a couple of times. That said, it has probably been about 2 decades since I have played it and so I think I’m still safe. In those decades, I have played and loved games like Mario Kart 64, even if I don’t think it is as good as Diddy Kong Racing. Right now, I am totally hooked on Mario Kart 7 on my 3DS. The point is, I am a fan of the series and I never really went back and studied the roots of the franchise. As I had this thought about doing this game, I had a second thought. What if it turns out like Star Fox did for me? What if playing these before ever truly experiencing the original will ruin that original for me? One way to find out.
A lot of people to this day bemoan the N64 controller. They sound very similar to this: “Wahhhhhhhhhhhh! Something was different than the norm and it frightened me. WAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!” Truth be told though, while not perfect, the N64 controller really changed things for the gaming world. Many of the concepts from that controller went on to be repurposed and improved upon in the consoles that have come around since then. Recently, though, I was reminded that even back then, people must have been whining about the controller albeit much more quietly without the internet because there was a host of 3rd party N64 controllers on the market. Most of them were either mutated versions of the stock controller, or totally unusable knock offs. This week, I thought it might be fun to reflect on the 3rd party mayhem.
It seems like forever ago when I wrote part 1 of this review. I have been itching, chomping at the bit, if you will to bring you this next part. The thing that greatly surprised me about part 1 was your reactions. My desire in this review has been to convey to you what I felt as I experienced this game and your comments, Tweets, and messages indicate that I succeeded. The thing that surprised me the most was that you didn’t care if I ran long on the review. Since that is true, I will complete the review, no matter how long, with part 2. Since it has been a little while since part 1 of this review, I will begin this review with the last paragraph of part 1.
Happy New Year! My how time flies when you are having fun. Now, some of you will be wondering why this is not part 2 of my Link to the Past review I promised. Well, because reasons, that’s why. Here are the cliff notes: I took Christmas off. We had site troubles here at 1MC so it looked like I was going to have to skip another regular post. Well, we got the all clear a couple of hours ago which is not enough time before my deadline to write the massive conclusion that Link to the Past deserves. So, I simply flipped my next planned N64 Connoisseur piece into its place. Now with that out of the way, time for some grade A connoisseuring. The idea for this piece is
stolen borrowed repurposed from a series that Patrick Scott Patterson has been doing over at Examiner where he has recapped games that turn 20 and 30 this year, respectively. Well, the N64 doesn’t have that kind of longevity yet, but we do have 15. So this piece is a salute to some N64 classics having their quinceanera this year. Read More
Once in a while, a storm of unrelated events combine in my favor. In this instance, they unfolded thusly. First, I have this regular piece where I make up for the console I missed growing up by reviewing Super Nintendo games after having played them for the first time. Secondly, I am a member of Club Nintendo and I have given them large portions of my paychecks this year. Thirdly, Club Nintendo made The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past available for a mere 150 coins for the Wii Virtual Console. Lastly, Nintendo recently released the spiritual successor to this game on the 3DS and it seems to be hitting everyone right in the nostalgia. Given that my favorite game is Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and my entire online brand is Ocarina of Tom, some of you have been waiting for this day. What would happen when I came up against the game that many hail as one of the best not just of the series, but of all time? This review is going to take a slight dip away from the norm. I want to retell the story of me playing it as it happened. I think that will give you the best idea of how I enjoyed my experience. In order to do this, however, this review is going to appear in two parts. At least.
In long division, when there is a little something left over, that is referred to as a remainder. That is about where it ends for me and the maths, but that is enough to define what I am up to here this week. As I have come to find out over my time as the Connoisseur, not every idea can be a full piece. Some ideas are good, but there is just not enough meat to them to support a whole piece. Kind of like how I don’t think Will Smith is a good enough actor to be the only character in a movie. Over the course of a year, though, these things tend to pile up and what am I supposed to do with them all? Maybe they would all be good together. Will Smith, after all, is good with other actors around him. So, this piece is my purging of all of those N64 Connoisseur thoughts that just didn’t make it.
It feels like two decades have passed since the last time I reviewed a Super Nintendo game after playing it for the first time. My last entry into this series was Donkey Kong Country way back in the beginning of September. I had a week of vacation in there and I doubled up on the N64 Connoisseur pieces in order to properly celebrate my one year anniversary here at 1 More Castle. With all of that out of the way and me back on my proper life schedule, I wanted to play something epic. I wanted to play something that people talk to me about every time I mention the SNES and I have to be that lamewad who didn’t play it. The time finally came for me to play Super Metroid.
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.
Ya know, I am aware that it seems like I just have a never ending well of Nintendo 64 related topics to preach on for these pieces. I am going to let you in on a little secret. I have no such well. In fact, sometimes I have no idea what I am going to write about until I am half way through the opening paragraph. This time, I was drawing a blank. I decided a little inspiration couldn’t hurt, so I headed to my favorite game shop. I was walking around, purely for research purposes and in no way looking to add to my collection, when I came across the DS and 3DS games. Then it all came to me. I have both Ocarina of Time 3D and Star Fox 64 3D for the 3DS. What other N64 classics would be good on the 3DS? I made a wishlist.
The quest to play Super Nintendo titles for the first time and review them has taken me to some pretty fun titles. As can be evidenced by my last entry in this series, which happened to fall on Review a Bad Game Day, I have also run into some stinkers. I decided, this week, to play a game I have seen played many times, but never played myself. Donkey Kong and friends burst onto the SNES with what some think is one of the greatest platformers of all time. If there is one thing I hope that I have made abundantly clear in my time here at the Castle, it is that I do not care what some think. For that matter, I don’t care what most think. I must see for myself. So, Donkey Kong Country, let’s dance.
It is time once more for the tribe of the 64 to rise with another visit from the N64 Connoisseur. You might remember last time, when I was encouraging you to quit your incessant whining about the Water Temple, that I mentioned another piece I had planned instead. This is that piece. Games are all too often criticized for their boss battles. If they are too easy, people complain. If they are too hard, people complain. There are those few games though that seem to have the Goldilocks of boss battles, if you will. Those that are just right. For me those are the ones that whether they are easy or difficult, they are just plain fun. I thought it would be cool this week to reminisce about my favorite boss battles on the N64.
Uh oh, guess what day it is! Huh? No, it isn’t hump day. It’s Review a Bad Game Day, the day where the internet gathers and reviews a game that they just plain don’t like. For me, that happened to fall on the same day as a 2 Decades Late piece, which for those uninitiated, is where I play a SNES title for the first time and review it. For this one, I can almost hear you typing your rebuttal comments for how I am wrong but here goes. A number of you suggested I play Blackthorne so I did. I did not like it.