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2 hours ago, Hero-of-Time said:

I'm very surprised you've never played it.

So am I!

I missed it when it first came out and was always expecting to come to the VC at some point, but it just never did.

Should just pick up an N64 cart at some point, it’s not even all that expensive.  I’m just being lazy at this point :p

Edited by Dcubed
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You learn something every day—for some reason I believed this was a Konami game. ::shrug: Surprising review score as I remember magazines turning their noses up at Mischief Makers because they'd become polygon snobs. 

39 minutes ago, EEVILMURRAY said:

I bought it from a CEX years ago and still never got round to play it :(

It's not the easiest to get into, but once you get the hang of it it's solid enough.

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11 minutes ago, Hero-of-Time said:

I honestly don't think it's anything special. It's a good game but I suspect it was given higher praise because of it being one of the few 2D games on the system. Guardian Heroes on the Saturn was a far better 2D game that was made by them.

I assume you mean praise from outside magazine reviewers?

Because being a 2D game in the N64 era was basically a fast track to critical panning.

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5 minutes ago, Glen-i said:

I assume you mean praise from outside magazine reviewers?

Because being a 2D game in the N64 era was basically a fast track to critical panning.

My main source of info/reviews back then was N64 magazine and NOM. N64 magazine gave it a 90% score. No idea what score NOM gave it though.

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56 minutes ago, Hero-of-Time said:

I honestly don't think it's anything special. It's a good game but I suspect it was given higher praise because of it being one of the few 2D games on the system. Guardian Heroes on the Saturn was a far better 2D game that was made by them.

Nothing special, no. Controlled a bit unconventional and levels could be maze-like with the block layout—not exactly left to right romps. Had some decent bosses from what I remember. Had it's charm though.

33 minutes ago, Hero-of-Time said:

My main source of info/reviews back then was N64 magazine and NOM. N64 magazine gave it a 90% score. No idea what score NOM gave it though.

I was subscribed to NMS/NOM/ONM and bought the occasional N64 mag or read friends' if we got a free period. I'll take that 82% at face value rather than dig the issue out of a box. :p I would still have said they scored it lower but once you got to 89% and under you were into murky territory by their metric. I think they scored Yoshi's Story in the 80s which was basically unheard of for a Nintendo game.

No need to bring the Greystation or Sadturn into this. :p 

32 minutes ago, Glen-i said:

Huh. Mischief Makers got off lightly then.

Because 2D snobbery was defo a thing. Castlevania being the biggest example.

Very much was. They wanted the baby thrown out with the bathwater. NMS slagged off Symphony of the Night and bigged up Castlevania 64 then when the games came out and you found out which was better... you had to wonder.

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To be fair, much of Yoshi’s Story’s lukewarm reception also stemmed from it being a very unconventional score-attack game that bore little resemblance to the original Yoshi’s Island (and from being “beatable” in just over an hour).

But yeah, 2D sprite games largely got a bum deal when it came to critical reception on both the N64 and PS1 (less-so on Saturn; but that console and its media had a much more hardcore/niche appeal anyway).

Just for the record, Silhouette Mirage (the Japanese version at least) is better than Guardian Heroes @Hero-of-Time ;)

Edited by Dcubed
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Dark Rift

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  • NA release: 8th July 1997
  • PAL release: 30th July 1997
  • JP release: 27th March 1998
  • Developer: Kronos
  • Publisher: Vic Tokai
  • N64 Magazine Score: 69%

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The N64’s early life was filled with disappointing arcade ports, but Dark Rift was the N64’s first fighting game that was specifically created from the ground up for it, so you would expect this to be more suited for home consoles, building upon what Killer Instinct Gold did. Unfortunately, this is another bare bones fighting game.

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One thing that did impress me with the game was how well the flat square round and the 2D backdrop merged together, creating a more fluid looking environment – even if it made the levels feel like they took place far away from the distant objects. You have tournament mode and practice, and that’s it. The practice mode is also more basic than Killer Instinct.

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The characters aren’t very memorable, but also aren’t as dreadful as War Gods, with a few interesting ideas. The actual fighting has special moves, which are often slow-moving projectiles which can be easily avoided by dodging (while the game never brags about being 3D, it works similar to War Gods). The main trick seems to be the c-buttons and mashing these and blocking at the right times seems to be the way to win.

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While incredibly bare bones, this is slightly better than War Gods simply due to the characters being fine. For something specifically built for consoles rather than arcade, it still feels like just another poor arcade port.

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There’s no spontaneity. Try doing a series of moves that haven’t been programmed as one of your character’s combos and they’ll merely be an embarrassing, does not compute pause.

- Jonathan Davies, N64 Magazine #8

Remake or Remaster?

It doesn’t really deserve anything. Pico Interactive own the license, so that ensures we won’t get more than a terrible re-release.

Official ways to get the game.

Dark Rift is available on GOG and Steam, however reports from players indicate that it doesn’t run on Windows 10 or 11.

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  • Cube changed the title to Dark Rift - All N64 Games

Don't know what I've played between War Gods or Dark Rift. Can't tell the difference between them! Just know I rented one or both. Bio FREAKS and Fighters Destiny too. None proved worth a buy but they were good for some weekend 2-player fun. I was happy to stick with KI Gold and borrow things like MK Trilogy and MK 4 until Smash Bros came along and immediately cemented itself as the go-to fighting game as the N64 entered its twilight.

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2 minutes ago, EEVILMURRAY said:

We all know the most superior fighter on the 64 was Clayfighter 63 1/3.

 

fite me irl

Don't have much of a choice, do we? Otherwise we'd have to fight you on Clayfighter...

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MRC: Multi-Racing Championship
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  • JP release: 18th July 1997
  • NA release: 4th September 1997
  • PAL release: October 1997
  • Developer: Genki
  • Publisher: Imagineer (JP) / Ocean (NA/PAL)
  • N64 Magazine Score: 71%

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If you need to explain your acronym in the title of the game, don’t use an acronym. “Multi-Racing Championship” is fine on its own. This game has an interesting review history in N64 Magazine as they gave it an impressive 81% in their import review but then dropped to 71% for the UK review, stating that it scored high simply for being first (that wasn’t Crusi’n USA). In their directory towards the end of the magazine, it dropped even more to a 1/5.

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I can see why. The core racing mechanics of Multi-Racing Championship are decent, with a focus on tracks with different routes, one off-road and one for sports cars, and decent handling. The tracks themselves have a lot of variation within themselves, too. It still very much an arcade racer as it has the really annoying timer and checkpoint system and you start in last place with other racers far ahead of you.

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The major issue with the game is the amount of tracks. I’ve shown three screenshots so far, which encapsulate all the tracks in the game. Yup, there are only three tracks in the game. You can unlock backwards versions of the tracks, but that’s it. Winning is also down more to car choice. Pick the Kingroader (which actually has “This car is the best car” written on the side, which probably wasn’t readable on the N64) and you’ll breeze the medium and hard tracks – indecently, the first track (labelled “easy”) is actually the most difficult.

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There are a couple of cars to unlock, but there’s not much reason for doing so when there are only three tracks. This definitely had the advantage of being the first on the system and for taking advantage of the analogue stick, but throughout the N64’s life, racing games evolved a lot.

Quote

But the crux of it is that we finished Multi Racing Championship on the first day we got it – it really is far too short and easy – and haven’t really returned to it since.

- Jonathan Davies, N64 Magazine #8

Remake or Remaster?

The concept of the game is worth revisiting. A rating game with different routes for different vehicles. They could even add additional options, perhaps a more dangerous route for motorbikes.

Official ways to get the game.

There is no official way to get MRC: Multi-Racing Championship

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  • Cube changed the title to Multi-Racing Championship - All N64 Games

Haven’t played this one myself, but I don’t think that arcade style rally games were all that common on the N64… (certainly there were plenty of Simulation style rally games… probably too many), so this would still be fairly novel within the N64 library; especially at the time of its release in 1997.

The problem is that SEGA Rally already existed, and had already been available on the Saturn for well over a year by this point.  Meanwhile, the later Top Gear Rally games would end up blowing this game out of the water.

Edited by Dcubed
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Mahjong Road 64

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  • JP release: 25th July 1997
  • NA release: N/A
  • PAL release: N/A
  • Developer: Art
  • Publisher: Video System
  • N64 Magazine Score: 69%
  • Original name: Jangou Simulation Mahjong Michi 64

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The N64’s third Mahjong game and I’m running out out of things to say about Mahjong. The interface improves a little bit over Mahjong 64, but still isn’t as clear as Mahjong Masters.

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The main mode of Mahjong Road 64 is a competition where players are racing to be the first to earn 10 million G form playing Mahjong. You select from a pool of 16 anime-style characters and chose locations and characters to complete against until you earn enough money. It’s quite freeform in that you can choose who to play against.

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Another mode I’ve not seen is a 2-player mode (still only against an AI) on top of the traditional 4 player Mahjong, so it’s a bit of variety. You can change a few settings and one nice thing is you get a close up of the winning hand at the end of a round.

Quote

t gives you a section of Tokyo that’s densely populated with mah jong clubs to wander around challenging the locals. And it provides you with a nice 3D perspective views of the tiles when one of the players goes out.

- Jonathan Davies, N64 Magazine #7

Remake or Remaster?

Another Mahjong game with nothing particularly special. Other options exists.

Official ways to get the game.

There is no official way to get Mahjong Road 64

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Mahjong Drifters Chronicles Classic

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  • JP release: 1st August 1997
  • NA release: N/A
  • PAL release: N/A
  • Developer: Alpha Unit
  • Publisher: Imagineer
  • N64 Magazine Score: N/A
  • Original name: Mahjong Horoki Classic

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Right after Mahjong Road 64 is yet another Mahjong Game. However, this one is a little bit more interesting as it’s a visual novel as well as a Mahjong game. For the core UI, it’s nice that the tiles are more 3D, and it’s the second best interface after Mahjong Masters. You can play matches on their own or as part of the story.

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When I first booted up the game, I was quite baffled. The music on the menu, as well as the sepia-tone drawing of a woman made me think of old, seedy bars. Turns out that they managed to nail the atmosphere of the game with just the simple menu because that’s exactly where the game it set: in gambling dens in Japan just after WWII.

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Surprisingly, the game starts with a content warning saying that the game is set in the “chaotic period of the war” and that “there may be some areas in which the methods of copying and expression do not fit in with modern conventional wisdom”. Mahjong Drifters Chronicles is based on a novel (which previously had a film adaptation) by Takehiro Irokawa, and is based on his own past.

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The short version: After struggling to make ends meet working in a factory post-WWII, Boyatetsu (a fictional name, but based on Irokawa) ends up getting involved in Mahjong gambling dens and getting addicted to meth. It’s a brutal story as he tries to quit and make a life for himself (the real person eventually straightened out after getting a job for a newspaper). Throughout the story, you have to play mahjong, ensuring you don’t run out of money.

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There is also a “cheaters” mode. Here you learn specific tricks as you play and unlock passcodes for certain tricks which can be used in the story more. This mimics a way of cheating in Mahjong done by stacking the tiles in a certain way to ensure you have a strong starting hand, but now this issue is solved by shorting machines.

As far as the Mahjong games on the N64, this is quite fascinating due to being based on a novel and featuring a grim story.

Remake or Remaster?

Out of all the Mahjong games, this one is probably worth a re-release in Japan for the unique story. It probably wouldn’t sell well enough for an official translation.

Official ways to get the game.

There is no official way to get Mahjong Drifter Chronicles Classic

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  • Cube changed the title to More Mahjong - All N64 Games

Oh wow! Mahjong Drifters Chronicles Classic actually sounds legit cool!

I didn't think we'd see a Mahjong game that I'd actually be interested in playing, but I think you've gone and found one! I'd defo play that if it were available in English :D

The "cheaters" mode reminds me of the "Spot The Sneak" mode in Wii Party/Wii Party U; where one player is given an unfair advantage and has to play the games without making it obvious that they're cheating.  It's a great mechanic there that I'm surprised hasn't been replicated in many other games, but I guess MDCC came up with a similar idea well over a decade in advance!

Edited by Dcubed
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Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon

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  • JP release: 7st August 1997
  • NA release: 16th April 1998
  • PAL release: 18th April 1998
  • Developer: Konami
  • Publisher: Konami
  • N64 Magazine Score: 90%

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I remember seeing the scores for Mystical Ninja in N64 magazine, but it didn’t seem like my kind of game. I was very wrong about that – Goemon’s first N64 game is kind of a hybrid of Super Mario 64 and Ocarina of Time, mixed with edo era Japan and a gloriously absurd plot of musical performers trying to turn Japan into their stage.

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The game starts out in a Zelda-style town, but what’s impressive is that this is from before Ocarina of Time. You can swap between Goemon and Ebisumaru (plus more you meet along the way) at any time, each with their own set of weapons and abilities. These are uses sparingly throughout the game, so for the most part you can play as who you prefer.

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Connecting each town is a large overworld with some nice locations. The first one I encountered brought back strong childhood memories as I recognised the music from Krazy Konami Racers, but the rest of the music in the game is also great, with lots of great tracks throughout the game. I was bopping my head to quite a lot of the music which mixes classical and modern instrument sounds.

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Dungeons also play a big part in the game. While there are map/compass items to collect and keys to find, they’re a lot more platform-oriented than Zelda dungeons. One downside is the game’s camera (which can be turned holding R and using the c-buttons), but it’s something you get used to. While there are some bottomless pits, other areas just have you fall to a section where you work your way back – although one handy thing is that there’s no fall damage.

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There’s also a variety of other sections, including multiple giant robot boss fights, which treat you to a song each time you use your giant robot, Impact. Each starts off with an arcade-style section to build up your health and ammo before taking a first person perspective as you shoot and punch your opponent. It’s a lot of fun, although they do become more frustrating the longer they go on.

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Goemon is an incredibly charming game that’s still a ton of fun to play. Some of the puzzles do have a sign flat out telling you what to do, although these mainly relate to Ebisumaru’s camera item, which reveals hidden things, so I would probably get stuck without being reminded that the object exists. Even with that, the main story is amusingly silly and the game likes throwing new things at you. It’s a great game.

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It’s a clever game, not only because there’s simply so much to do, but because you’re never quite sure what’s going to come next. Mini boss? End-of-level boss? Ludicrous sub-game involving a big yellow man and some falling shrinking pills? Erm, yes, quite. Mystical Ninja is a supreme example of game invention.

- Tim Weaver, N64 Magazine #14

Remake or remaster?

An updated version of Mystical Ninja would be great, with a better camera and fine tuned controls. A bit of extra side content would also be welcome. And perhaps a quest log as instructions are a but unclear at times.

Official ways to get the game.

There is no official way to get Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon.

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  • Cube changed the title to Goemon - All N64 Games

They were just making sure there was no pre-emptive confusion with Mr C.

Fairly certain MRC doesn't fall anywhere on my bought, borrowed, rented scale. Looking forward to what you/ N64 mag says about the likes of GT 64, the F1s (let's see that again!), the Top Gears. Who knows, they might not be so hot nowadays but I definitely had varying degrees of enjoyment from them. The risk/reward of boosting in Top Gear Overdrive was a refreshing twist.

Goemon was such a gem. Anyone watch J:Drive on Live & Kicking? Of course we'd no idea how to pronounce it but it still stuck out when he called it "joo-mon". 

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Yeeeesss! :yay: Another convert to the glory of Goemon N64! There is now, like, a full dozen of us in N-E.

11 hours ago, Cube said:

Official ways to get the game.

There is no official way to get Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon.

:(

Rerelease them already, Konami, geez...

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