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Wetrix - All N64 Games

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I got Forsaken 64 as soon as it came out and was hugely disappointed. :( It lacked a sense of character and wasn't very satisfying to play, imo. I could have overlooked not being into the single player if it took off in multiplayer but it just didn't didn't click the way other N64 multiplayer games did.

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ClayFighter Sculptor’s Cut 
 

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  • NA release: 15th May 1998
  • PAL release: N/A
  • JP release: N/A
  • Developer: Interplay
  • Publisher: Interplay
  • N64 Magazine Score: N/A

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This is an “improved” and updated version of ClayFighter 63⅓ featuring some gameplay changes and new characters. It was exclusive to Blockbusters, the small amount of copies being sold after the promotion ended, making it one of the rarest N64 games. That said, everything good about the game you see before the main menu: the game’s intro is a nice little song.

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But the game is still incredibly slow and tedious. The main changes to gameplay are the removal of a bunch of special moves. Some of the new characters are slightly more inventive than the originals, but there’s still none that I wanted to actually choose.

This is just a small patch for a terrible game.

Remake or remaster?

Like I said for 63⅓, throw them all in a compilation.

Official ways to get the game.

There is no official way to get ClayFighter Sculptor’s Cut 

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Bio F.R.E.A.K.S.

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  • NA release: 19th May 1998
  • PAL release: September 1998
  • JP release: N/A
  • Developer: Saffire, Midway
  • Publisher: Midway (NA) GT (PAL)
  • N64 Magazine Score: 76%

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I really had no idea that the N64 had so many people trying to claim the title of being the N64’s fighting game. In BioFREAKS, the concept is that in a dystopian future, people have been modified into grotesque monsters (although, predictably, the female characters aren’t modified as much). The only notable character to me was a fish monster, although he oddly throws up blood before and after matches.

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A couple of things set BioFREAKS apart. First is the hover, where you can fly. This doesn’t seem that well integrated into the fighting and is mainly used to making distance, as this fighting game relies a lot on projectile attacks, which don’t even need special attacks to use. Levels are a 3D but not that interesting, although a couple do make use of the flying.

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Do enough damage to an opponent and they may lose limbs and lose some of their attacks. I think this is supposed to look gruesome (as with the whole game), but it all comes across as laughably silly, unlike the gore in Mortal Kombat.

This isn’t bad, but it’s just another fighting game on the N64.

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Overall, Bio FREAKS is a pretty good game, far above average, certainly. However, for all but the most committed beat-’em-up fan, it’s not really enough of anything to be an essential purchase.

- James Ashton, N64 Magazine #20

Remake or remaster?

Throw all the Midway fighting games in a collection.

Official ways to get the game.

There is no official way to get BioFREAKS

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On 05/04/2024 at 9:11 AM, Cube said:

Bust-a-Move (or the much better named Puzzle Bobble in Japan)

Huh, that's curious. I distinctly remember arcade cabinets displaying Puzzle Bobble, both in Portugal and Spain. There was that cute opening where the dinos turn a bunch of spheres into the title screen, hence why it's so vivid. Could it be that European arcades kept the JP name, but home console releases went with the US name?

10 hours ago, Cube said:

this fighting game relies a lot on projectile attacks

Makes sense. Arena fighters, in their early days, depended a lot on projectiles to even function (another such example is Destrega, for the PS1). Melee attacks are virtually useless when you move that fast, and the target is so small.

Developers would only figure out lock-on targeting systems (the one way to do melee combat in Arena fighters) during the following generation.

(If you count Wrestling games as Arena fighters, then they do Melee combat by having really small arenas, relatively slow movement, and thought-out grapple systems)

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1 hour ago, Jonnas said:

Huh, that's curious. I distinctly remember arcade cabinets displaying Puzzle Bobble, both in Portugal and Spain. There was that cute opening where the dinos turn a bunch of spheres into the title screen, hence why it's so vivid. Could it be that European arcades kept the JP name, but home console releases went with the US name?

Nope.  Western Arcade releases went by the Bust A Move name… that being said though, Japanese NeoGeo MVS carts and systems were commonly imported because they were cheaper than their English counterparts (and all MVS carts contain both language versions of their respective games; the version of choice being determined by the MVS bios in use on the system itself), so you may well have seen Puzzle Bobble as the name in your local arcade!

Edited by Dcubed
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World Cup 98

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  • NA release: 19th May 1998
  • PAL release: 19th May 1998
  • JP release: N/A
  • Developer: EA, Software Creations
  • Publisher: EA Sports
  • N64 Magazine Score: 73%

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World Cup 98 is simply FIFA Road to World Cup 98 with some minor gameplay changes and a ton of stuff removed. While the previous game had every official international team, plus teams from multiple leagues (such as the Premiership), this just has the teams that qualified for the world cup (plus 8 extras).

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The gameplay has some minor tweaks that isn’t as noticeable and one of the fun parts of the previous game – the indoor 5-a-side – is also gone. This is just the previous game with fewer stuff.

Interestingly, the FIFA branding is missing (even though the World Cup is a FIFA tournament) – I wonder if they thought that not having the FIFA name would make people think that this is another competitor to try out.

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ISS took you gently by the hand and lead you on the path of footballing excellence. World Cup ’98 handcuffs you to the back of a motorbike, hops on, starts up and revs off at 30 MPH. You’ve got to run to keep up, or become a red smear along the long sporting highway. Or something.

- James Ashton, N64 Magazine #16

Remake or remaster?

Nothing interesting is offered here.

Official ways to get the game.

There is no official way to get World Cup 98

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Major League Baseball Featuring Ken Griffey Jr.

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  • NA release: 25th May 1998
  • PAL release: 1998 (Australia only)
  • JP release: N/A
  • Developer: Angel Studios
  • Publisher: Nintendo
  • N64 Magazine Score: 74%

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With this being published by Nintendo, you would hope for a fun and solid portrayal of Baseball, similar to how NBA Courtside did the same for Basketball. Unfortunately, while this does go for a more arcade-style format, it’s rather clunky and messy by comparison.

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This features a similar system than most of the other N64 baseball games, and this seems to be the easiest to hit the ball – but still almost impossible to actually do anything with it, struggling to land a hit that doesn’t go straight to an opponent, while the CPU hit a home run first try.

One thing I do like is that the games seem snappier and go by much quicker, so you can get through a match in a decent time, but this is just an average baseball game.

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As an arcadey sort of baseball game it works very well. You don’t need to use every button on the control pad, and the swift pace of the game means that you don’t have to wait more than a minute or two to get a turn at batting.

- Martin Kitts, N64 Magazine #18

Remake or remaster?

Newer baseball games are likely better – although it’s interesting that Nintendo once had the Major League Baseball license, as Sony have now had it for a while.

Official ways to get the game.

There is no official way to get Major League Baseball Featuring Ken Griffey Jr.

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One of the few times that Nintendo actually took advantage of their ownership over the Seattle Mariners (There were four Ken Griffey branded baseball games that Nintendo published across the SNES and N64... with one of them, Winning Run, actually even being developed by Rare!).

What's also notable about this game is that it was the first game to be solo developed by Angel Studios (they had previously co-developed Mr Bones for the Saturn and the SEGA CD version of Ecco: The Tides of Time; but this was the first game they made alone as part of Nintendo's "Dream Team").  Angel Studios would go on to make a few noteworthy games... nothing huge you know, just the Red Dead Revolver/Redemption series.

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Robotech: Crystal Dreams (Prototype)

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  • PAL release: N/A
  • NA release: N/A
  • JP release: N/A
  • Developer: GameTek
  • Publisher: N/A
  • N64 Magazine Score: N/A

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Based on an American/Japanese sci-fi animated series, Robotech: Crystal Dreams was an extremely ambitious flight simulator game that ultimately went over budget and was cancelled when it needed another six months of development.

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The prototype for the game features a demo area you can fly around, there’s a large ship and you can find some of the logos from the very nifty-looking opening. You can see your character’s reflection in the cockpit window and can even look around the cockpit. It controls really well and seems like a good starting point to build a game from. The ship also has a few different transformations. You can also turn on random dialogue, and there’s a surprising amount of it in the prototype.

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The plans for the game was that this would be fairly open-ended. You’ll collect missions from bases that you can walk around then go out into space to complete them. A simple “crystal” enemy was designed for the console in as the specs of the N64 weren’t well known. On top of this, over 40 minutes of dialogue was already done at this point.

With only three programmers, the game proved too ambitious for the company and they were unable to get the funding and publisher needed to finish.

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The end result is likely to be an entertaining, if graphically uninspiring, take on the Japanese animated series Macross. Lots of combat-orientated spaceship action is promised, in a simulation-style environment

N64 Magazine #4

Should it be finished?

With the script and many design aspects finished, it would be great to see what this could have been like.

 

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Kinda crazy that the N64 ended up getting zero games in the space sim genre actually released for it.

This one is a particular shame, since it was one of the first games to get announced for the console; prior to its launch in 1996 even!

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Pachinko 365 Days

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  • JP release: 29th May 1998
  • PAL release: N/A
  • NA release: N/A
  • Developer: Seta
  • Publisher: Seta
  • Original Name: Pachinko 365 Nichi
  • N64 Magazine Score: N/A

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Another Pachinko game. While I still have zero interest in the Japanese hybrid of slot machines and 10p machines, this one at least seems competently made. You can properly walk around the three Pachinko parlours to find machines and they look alright. You can also talk to the guests, who have various things to say about Pachinko.

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The pachinko is still just pachinko, but the a and b buttons now increase/decrease the ball release lever, actually giving you control over how the balls are fired. There are five machines, one of them being an “old style” one.

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n this one, you manually launch the balls into the machine, instead of the standard autofire ones. It adds a bit of variety.

The goal of the game is to play over the course of one year (with a day being sped up) to try and earn as much money as you can.

Remake or remaster?

Nothing, really.

Official ways to get the game.

There is no official way to get Pachinko 365 Days

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6 minutes ago, Cube said:

The goal of the game is to play over the course of one year (with a day being sped up) to try and earn as much money as you can.

So...it's just like real life.

:(

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Thankfully I'm not forcing myself to fully complete every single one. I'd go insane,

Wetrix


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  • PAL release: 29th May 1998
  • NA release: 16th June 1998
  • JP release: 27th November 1998
  • Developer: Zed Two
  • Publisher: Ocean (NA/PAL), Imagineer (JP)
  • N64 Magazine Score: 74%

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As Tetris set the standard for puzzle video games, other puzzle games try to have names similar to it. A water-based puzzle game? Of course it has to be named Wetrix. Wetrix is all about keeping water from falling off your square “island”, raiding the environment to keep it contained.

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Different “blocks” will fall down from the screen. Most of these are upwards arrows which will raise the land in that shape, along with water to fill up the enclosed areas you make. The goal is to keep as much water contained as possible, as if to much falls off the sides, you’ll get Game Over.

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There are other kinds of “blocks” as well. Down arrows will reduce the level of the land, bombs will blow up holes in the island that you’ll need to repair (on that note, don’t try to launch a bomb down a hole, the game will punish you for it), ice to freeze water and fireballs to get rid of some water.

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I can definitely see the appeal of Wetrix, but I really could not figure out how to do well at the game. There’s a bunch of different modes, including one where you can change settings to make the game even more difficult.

It’s not for me, but it’s a solidly made game.

Quote

Wetrix may not be the best game for the N64, but it’s certainly a better puzzle game than Tetrisphere. Had the developers Zed Two added a little more in the way of variety and incentive – like dancing pandas after 100,000 points and ‘bamboo bonuses’ if you make ’em jive – it would be a far stronger game overall.

- James Price, N64 Magazine #15

Remake or remaster?

A new version would be nice, alongside a collection of the various Wetrix games on N64, Game Boy Color, Dreamcast and PlayStation 2.

Official ways to get the game.

There is no official way to get Wetrix.

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