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The Nintendo 64 was a console that changed the world of gaming and brought us things that we’ve never seen before. As the latest of all fifth-generation consoles, it came attached to a launch title that represents the entire brand: Super Mario 64.
With nearly 40 million units sold worldwide, it goes without saying that the Nintendo 64 offered many more memorable games that put the console on such a pedestal. Games like GoldenEye 007, Mario Kart 64, Perfect Dark, and Pokémon Snap had loyal Nintendo fans going absolutely crazy. The Nintendo 64 also birthed several series of games, it’s most notable being the Super Smash Bros. line. However, some of these series didn’t make it too far past the Nintendo 64 and never saw their fair share of time on later consoles like the Wii or 3DS. In this article, let’s look at three series of Nintendo 64 games that should have continued on.
We’re in a time where first-person shooters occupy such a huge slice of the gaming pie. Back when the Nintendo 64 was released in 1996, you could argue that FPS games weren’t nearly as popular as action-adventure games, RPGs, and platformers. Turok burst onto the scene as one of the most unique and interesting first-person shooters that any of us has seen.
Turok’s theme is what made it such a great game. You are set out into a primitive world to hunt and kill dinosaurs and similar creatures. Throughout the series, you’re given bows, flamethrowers, RPGs, chainguns, and rifles.
Six games were released in the Turok series from 1997 to 2002, all seeing time on Nintendo’s consoles. In 2008, the latest Turok game (going by that simple title, “Turok”) came to the PS3, Xbox 360, and Windows.
Turok was treated as a complete series reboot and had practically no continuity at all from the previous set of games in the Turok series. The 2008 release attempted to do what was not available for earlier games, bringing it into the world of online multiplayer play.
You can argue that Turok isn’t alive and well today because of the shift in focus from campaign modes to online play. Turok’s style fit so perfectly with the single-player FPS experience, because the player vs. environment feel of hunting down these dinosaurs and other terrifying creatures was just awesome. It doesn’t translate as well when it’s dinosaur hunter vs. dinosaur hunter.
Even still, imagine how beautiful a game in the Turok series could look today on a console like the PlayStation 4. If we can find a way to put excitement back into a campaign mode, a 2013/2014 version of this game could really be incredible.
It’s so upsetting that we have not seen an addition to the Banjo-Kazooie series, or even a remake, hit the 3DS yet. It seems like the perfect console for it!
Banjo-Kazooie ranks among the best platformer games of all-time, and that’s a huge accomplishment when you consider the games in series like Mario, Kirby, Crash Bandicoot, and more. What really makes Banjo-Kazooie stand out to me is the cheerful atmosphere. This is a game you can’t play while you’re in a bad mood, because it’s going to immediately change the way you feel. The soundtrack, the gameplay, and everything else comes together to make this one of the happiest and wackiest games you’ll ever play.
Banjo-Kazooie and Banjo-Tooie are the two titles that make up the core franchise. In 2003, Banjo-Kazooie: Grunty’s Revenge was released on the Game Boy Advance. Way down the road and in 2008, Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts came to the Xbox 360, but that was a different feeling game. A year later, carried from the success of this game, Banjo-Tooie saw a re-release via the Xbox Live Arcade.
The Banjo-Kazooie franchise is what Nintendo is all about. I appreciate that the Xbox 360 picked up the series to give it its latest release, but let’s go back to our roots. Put a traditional Banjo game out, and let’s see it on the 3DS! I feel like platformers are a dying breed, and major consoles are reserved for more cinematic, multiplayer-intensive games. A handheld like the 3DS would be so perfect for this, and I’d be one of the first to pick it up.
It’s not easy to get me pumped up for a racing game. I played games like Rad Racer on the NES and Dirt Trax FX for the SNES, and they were cool for a while, but I was never hooked. It wasn’t until I played games in the “extreme racing” genre that I started to really put in heavy hours. Jet Moto was great, and Extreme-G was even better.
Extreme-G and Extreme-G 2 came in 1997 and 1998 on the N64, and then the series came to a stop with XG3: Extreme G Racing (Extreme-G 3) on the GameCube and PlayStation 2 in 2001.
These games are not like your typical racing game. They are faster, filled with more action, and the music is better. You’ve got to love the trance soundtrack that came with the original game. Extreme-G features lightning-speed racing through several futuristic tracks that you speed and fight through. Almost like racing in the Mario Kart series, yet a whole lot more deadly, you can toss out homing and reverse missiles, mines, and even go stealth to battle opposing racers.
Extreme-G 2 and 3 were even faster than the original game, allowing players to break the sound barrier and create a sonic boom, muting all game sounds other than that of the travelling bike. When slowing below supersonic speeds, game sounds resume as normal. These games really made racing on these bikes feel like a roller coaster.
Imagine Extreme-G 4 on today’s consoles. The online play would be insane. Given the right treatment, the game could leave room for some awesome customization of bikes and tracks, and it could really be one of the most exciting and unique racing games in recent time. Racing games of today are great and all, but there’s just not enough sonic booms and exploding opponents.
While these games had sequels and great runs, couldn’t it have been brought further? We’ve got three game series here that are some of the most underrated and exciting in several major genres: FPS, platforming, and racing. Consoles of our generation need to pick these up and breathe new life into them!
What other N64 games would you care to see brought back to life on today’s consoles? Let me know in the comments below!