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Wild Choppers Attack - All N64 Games

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On 19/02/2024 at 9:35 AM, Cube said:

And some completely random trivia - the name of Puyo Puyo Sun in this Saturn Power review - they called it Ijidkijidk Sun, mistaking the Japanese on the box for English characters. 

I'm sorry, I somehow missed this bit the first time around and... Oh my God :o How did they not know that Japan uses a different alphabet? Jesus, this is amazing :laughing:

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Aero Fighters Assault

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  • NA release: 21st November 1997
  • JP release: 19th March 1998
  • PAL release: 12th April 1998
  • Developer: Paradigm
  • Publisher: Video System
  • N64 Magazine Score: 58%

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I very rarely suffer from motion sickness in video games, but Aero Fighters Assault was so nauseating that I got a pretty bad headache as a result. The game has a very choppy framerate and the levels are so bland that they’re extremely disorientating. These are things that you need to take care of in an aircraft fighting game like this.

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While this is the first jet game on the N64, it’s important to note that the PlayStation had received two Ace Combat games to set an example of what this genre should be offering, with some solid campaigns. Aero Fighters Assault has an extremely bare bones plot that doesn’t give you much of a clue of what is going on, even with the manual. Phutta Morgana (not sure if it’s a person or organisation) has melted the ice caps and flooded most of the world and has “totally immobilized the world’s ground units”. With the navy focused on rescuing people, it’s up to a squad of four pilots to save the world (even though it seems like the world has already lost).

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There are seven main levels to play through (plus a couple of bonus ones). In most of them you have to destroy a massive boss vehicle. The biggest challenge is finding it due to the game’s terrible radar, but you can ignore other enemy craft for the most part – they present more danger to your teammates and you’ll miss out on a bonus star if they’re shot down (although good luck finding them when they’re in trouble, they don’t appear on the radar). One level has you defending a space shuttle from ground units and one you have to kill all enemy aircraft. There are no actual dogfighting manoeuvres, so if an enemy gets behind you, your only real tactic is to just fly as far away and hope they give up.

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The final mission gives you the intel “Lar has been sent to Earth to destroy all humanity”. After flying through an ice cave, you enter a spaceship and destroy an alien eye. Was this eye leading the organisation? It’s never explained, but with how awful the game is to actually control, the lack of actual story is probably the most entertaining part of the game. There’s also not much excuse for such a dreadful feeling flight game as the developers worked on Pilotwings 64. Another thing that I noticed was the poor hit detection for collisions – many crashes seemed like I missed the object I blew up on.

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Aero Fighters Assault is a bare-bones game and didn’t do anything special when it came out – other games in the genre had already set much higher standards. Time has also done the game no favours and it comes across even worse now than it probably originally did. For me, it was an utterly horrible experience, and that isn’t even counting how it made me feel physically ill.

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You’re only allowed to be shot down once before you have to restart the level. Other than that, though, you can crash your aircraft as many times as you like, so boss disposal is simply a matter of firing as many missiles as you can, then crashing into the side of the lumpy metallic beast before you take too much damage. You then reappear next to where you ‘died’, and can repeat the process until the boss explodes. In fact, crashing as soon as you take a hit is the best method of survival.

- Martin Kitts, N64 Magazine #16

Remake or Remaster?

The earlier games in the series had a good reception, so having a collection would be quite nice, with this included just for the sake of preservation. The third game is currently available on Switch.

Official ways to get the game.

There is no official way to get Aero Fighters Assault

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Perfect example of how much of a difference a publisher can make to the quality of the end product.

Paradigm Simulation clearly showed an ability to make a quality flying game with Pilotwings 64.  But when you take away their development time & budget and you're working with a publisher more interested in short deadlines and making a quick buck than putting out a quality game? You get Aero Fighters Assault.

Nintendo really did (and still do) have a knack for wringing out gold from just about anyone they work with.

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On 21/01/2024 at 11:20 AM, Cube said:

Blast Corps
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  • JP release: 21st March 1997
  • NA release: 24th March 1997
  • PAL release: 22nd December 1997
  • Developer: Rare
  • Publisher: Nintendo
  • N64 Magazine Score: 88%

 

This game takes a silly concept and just has a ton of fun with it. The story is simple: there is a nuclear missile being transported on an automated truck. The truck malfunctions and heads to a location in a straight line. If it collides with anything, it will explode. Your mission is to destroy everything in its path.

I played this game as a kid but never got far due to the difficulty, but gave it a proper play a few years ago via Rare Replay and loved it. It was great giving it another blast for this.

 

At its core, Blast Corps is an action-puzzle game. You have a limited time to destroy everything in the missile’s path (the game will highlight vital buildings), but while it starts off as simply ramming into everything, the game will introduce new elements in the way of different vehicles, using TNT for large buildings and also filling up gaps. Some levels are straightforward, while others will require you to explore the level to find the vehicles you need to proceed.

 

The vehicles have a massive variety, with cars, weaponised bikes, dump trucks, various mechs and some with specific uses – such as the Sideswipe which shunts panels sideways or the Skyfall, which has a sturdy undercarriage that requires you to use jumps to land on buildings from above. Some of them – like cars and trains – aren’t used for damage, but more to solve puzzles and to get between different vehicles.

 

Then there’s the Backlash. A dump truck that is the most difficult vehicle to use. When ramming, it does very little damage, instead, it causes damage by hitting stuff with the rear end – but reversing is too slow. You need to use its “slide” ability to drift the back of the truck into buildings, which is extremely difficult to get to grips with. I did get competent enough to get through the game, but I still didn’t enjoy it as much as other vehicles.

 

Once you’ve cleared a path and beaten a level for the first time, you can return to complete the remaining objectives. With no timer, this part of the game is a welcome relaxation to contrast the frantic main mission. You need to demolish other buildings (the game claims you are rescuing survivors), activate little light bacons and search for beacons to unlock bonus missions. You also need to scour some of the levels for hidden scientists.

 

One this is over, the game isn’t over. You can now try to unlock medals. The levels are restored and now you have to try and beat them as quick as possible (although the time from the first playthrough counts, so you don’t need to do it again if you were already fast enough), which unlocks a few bonus challenges across different planets

Blast Corps is immensely fun to play and there really hasn’t been anything like it since. It took a fun, simple concept and did a lot with it, focusing on the gameplay and enjoyment. There hasn’t been anything quite like it since it game out, and that’s a massive shame. While you can get the game on Rare Replay, Blast Corps definitely deserves a spruced up remaster.

Remake or Remaster?

A remaster would be great. Widescreen, some control options, framerate improvements and a few graphical touches. Perhaps include a “easy” option for the Backlash. A new game would also be lovely.

Official ways to get the game.

This is available via Rare Replay on Xbox One/Series.

Hey buddy, you're gonna have to update this post now ;)

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And the Backlash is still the worst vehicle in the game. 
Been playing a bit of this and it is just as fun as before. Really do wish we got a new game though. 

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18 hours ago, Dcubed said:

Hey buddy, you're gonna have to update this post now ;)

If they put it in the eShop, it will be a significant enough change to be worth changing it.

Pro Mahjong Extreme 64

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  • JP release: 21st November 1997
  • NA release: N/A
  • PAL release: N/A
  • Developer: Athena
  • Publisher: Athena
  • N64 Magazine Score: N/A

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Another Mahjong game, and this one is the most basic one yet. There are a couple of main modes, either gambling or pro, and the interface is pretty much non-existent, making it the hardest to understand in order to play, and somehow the controls feel unintuitive – quite an achievement for something so simple.

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The “selling point” of this Mahjong game is that it features 16 real players. This means that if you’re not interested in the 16 professional Mahjong players from 1997, you’re competing against images of old men who all look like they’d rather be somewhere else – quite a contrast to the colourful and varied cast of the other Mahjong games.

Remake or Remaster?

Nothing needs to be done with this. Clubhouse Games is a good Mahjong game.

Official ways to get the game.

There is no official way to get Pro Mahjong Extreme 64

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Diddy Kong Racing

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  • PAL release: 21st November 1997
  • JP release: 21st November 1997
  • NA release: 24th November 1997
  • Developer: Rare
  • Publisher: Nintendo
  • N64 Magazine Score: 90%

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Pretty much all racing games on the N64 so far have the same problem: there’s not a lot of progression for a single player, and you can do everything in a couple of hours. Some of them focused on being great in multiplayer (like Mario Kart 64) but there wasn’t a lot of choice for singleplayer.

Which is where Diddy Kong Racing comes in, as it has a very meaty singleplayer campaign with an adventure mode where you find tracks within its hub world.

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It’s a neat area to explore, although a lot smaller than I remember it being. You’ll find four doors with balloon requirements (which you get from winning races or finding them in the world), with a fifth world hidden until you defeat five bosses. They start out simple at first: you have to win each race individually then defeat the boss in a race. Do that, and it gets much more challenging.

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You’ll be tasked with finding 8 coins in each race. However, finding them isn’t enough as you still have to win, and then defeat a harder version of the boss. Diddy Kong Racing is a difficult and brutal game and you’ll need to learn its tricks (such as letting go of the accelerator just before boosting) to have a chance of winning. Once you defeat a boss a second time, you then complete in a tournament across the four tracks. There’s also a key hidden in one level of each world to unlock a battle mode challenge. Oh, and also time trail challenges.

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Once you’ve done all that and defeated the evil Wizpig, it’s time for Adventure Two. This is a mirror mode version of the game, although the silver coins are now in more difficult places. Of course, this amount of content wouldn’t be anything if the game wasn’t fun to play.

And thankfully, it is fun. Levels use three vehicles: car, hovercraft and plane. The car and plane are very easy to use, while the hovercraft is more difficult. When you repeat tracks (or choose to play outside Adventure mode), some levels let you pick your vehicle – with some restrictions on a per-level basis – and it’s great having multiple types of vehicles racing alongside each other.

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One let-down in DKR are the characters. None of them are bad in terms of a design perspective – and this is the first appearance of Banjo (without Kazooie, although some of his voice clips sound like her) and Conker, but they’re a bit too varied in terms of ability, so the game’s difficulty will vary a lot based on who you pick, with Pipsy being the best for hitting boosts (plus the silver coins).

The weapon system sets itself apart from other kart racers. Instead of giving you random items, the balloons providing items are colour coded for specific items. Collecting one of the same type you already have will also upgrade the item.

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Diddy Kong Racing is still a great game, and the only kart game that’s come close to it for single-player is Sonic Racing Transformed (which also had three vehicle types, but it was specific to the part of the track you were on). It set itself apart from Mario Kart 64 and I actually prefer this one.

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And if re-thinking the whole racing game ‘thing’ wasn’t enough, Rare have set a whole new standard for in-game graphics. Even the simplest tracks positively bulge with background extras, from lumbering dinosaurs to beautiful timber-framed houses to wallowing whales.

- James Ashton, N64 Magazine #10

Remake or Remaster?

If not a sequel, then Diddy Kong Racing deserves a remake. It would look gorgeous with a Mario Kart 8 style sheen to it and some updates to the control and balance would be great, with some additional options. While it would be nice for all characters to return, I’d still be very happy with the game even if they had to replace most of them. The Switch seemed perfect due to the system’s portability and how it doesn’t have its own Mario Kart.

Official ways to get the game.

There is no official way to get Diddy Kong Racing

Re-releases

2007: Diddy Kong Racing DS (Banjo and Conker replaced with Dixie Kong and a tall, teenage Tiny Kong, coin challenges replaced with tapping balloons).

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9 minutes ago, Cube said:

It set itself apart from Mario Kart 64 and I actually prefer this one.

That's because it's so much better, it's not even funny.

Can't wait for this to get on NSO! Online on this will be great. Especially Two Player Adventure!

Show me someone who insists Plane is the the best, and I'll show you someone who loses to me in a car!

Edited by Glen-i
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Rare saved Nintendo again with this one.  Nintendo had nothing prepared for the 1997 Xmas season in the west as all of their internal titles got delayed (Yoshi's Story just barely squeaked out on Dec 21st 1997 in Japan, but would have to wait until March 1998 in the US and May 1998 over here), and Rare once again swooped in with this surprise release to save Nintendo's hide.

And it would go on to be a massive success, selling more than 4.5 million copies (making it the 8th best selling game for the console).

I won't bother going into all the development history, because you probably all know it already (started as RC Pro Am 64, morphed into a Timber Racing game, Diddy got shoved in at the last minute etc), but it's an important release not just because it helped save the N64, not just because it was a huge influence on the genre as a whole, but also because it was the start of Rare's Cinematic Universe.  Banjo and Conker would get their starts here, and other characters would go on to cameo in other games.  In fact, Dinosaur Planet was originally going to be based in the same universe, before being retrofitted into a Starfox title (yes, Tricky in Dinosaur Planet is supposed to be the same dinosaur that you race against here as a boss in Dino Domain!).

But alas, the Rare buyout happened, the once great ship began to tear apart at the seams, and the studio's plans for the rest of the DKR cast would eventually be cast asunder... (and the less said about what happened with Bumper, the better...)

But yeah, DKR is a masterpiece of a game.  It's the best racing game of its generation and one of the best racing games ever made.  Bloody tragic that Donkey Kong Racing on the Gamecube would never end up happening... and oh, what happened to you Bumper...

Edited by Dcubed
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7 hours ago, Dcubed said:

and oh, what happened to you Bumper...

Don't make him the victim, he knows what he did!

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Automobili Lamborghini
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  • NA release: 22st November 1997
  • PAL release: 1st December 1997
  • JP release: May 1998
  • Developer: Titua
  • Publisher: Titus
  • N64 Magazine Score: 67%

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Another car racing game, and this one is a mixed bag. It’s an arcade-style racer but everyone begins on the starting line (so it’s not a catchup game), and it has an “arcade” mode with a timer and a tournament without. But parts of the game just don’t quite gel with other parts.

One thing I was surprised about was that, despite the name, this game isn’t entirely about Lamborghinis. You start off with two of them, plus a bunch of cars which are Lambo-inspired in different colours. However, you then unlock other cars from other manufacturers: Farrari, Bugatti, Porche, Dodge and McLaren.

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When playing in the Lamborghinis, I found the game to be immensely difficult, and once racers got ahead, there is generally no way to catch up. Once I’d got other cars, the game was much easier. So it seems like the Lamborghinis in Automobili Lamborghini are the worst cars in the game, which is surprising considering the tie in.

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The handling is very arcadey, and it felt rather nice to turn around corners. It’s possibly my favourite handling in a car game so far on the N64. This then feels really odd due to the pit stop mechanic where your tyres will wear out and you’ll need to play a pit stop minigame. This bit of “realism” feels really at odds with the rest of the game – although you can turn it off.

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There are only six tracks, none of which are memorable and the game overall just has a really dull feeling to it, it never feels speedy or exciting. The Japanese version (called Super Speed Race 64) has a few extra features, such as fog and night time racing, but it doesn’t help the overall experience.

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Subsequently, Lamborghini never feels very fast. You may well be taking a corner at 120mph but it may well be 20mph for all the difference it makes. Perhaps only the first, and easiest, oval-shaped course comes close to producing a sweat.

- Tim Weaver, N64 Magazine #10

Remake or Remaster?

Nothing really needs doing with this, it doesn’t do anything specifically interesting, although a collection of the Super Speed Race series of games would be good for preservation.

Official ways to get the game.

There is no official way to get Automobili Lamborghini

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Sumo 64
 

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  • JP release: 28th November 1997
  • PAL release: N/A
  • NA release: N/A
  • Developer: Bottom Up
  • Publisher: Bottom Up
  • Original Name: 64 Ōzumō
  • N64 Magazine Score: 90%

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N64 Magazine gave this Japanese-only sumo wrestling a rather impressive 90%. Even so, I was surprised as to how much I actually enjoyed this. Unfortunately, there is no fan patch for this game but thankfully Google Lens did a pretty good job at translating the dialogue – it was a bit odd in places, but I got the general gist of it.

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And, surprisingly, there really is a lot of dialogue, as this has a fully fledged story mode – not just pitting you against other fighters like every other fighting game, but a proper story about you joining the professional Sumo wrestling and your life outside of the ring. You’ll encounter good or bad events based on how you perform in the matches.

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Each match is extremely short but very fast paced. The game suggests optimal moves, but you can also do your own thing. To be completely honest, I wasn’t entirely sure what I was doing most of the time and there was a lot of button mashing, but I did deduce that there was a rhythm to the fighting, and performing moves in time to your opponent’s bar flashing is what triggers your finishing moves. The matches are only on average 30 seconds but extremely frantic and they are surprisingly a lot of fun.

As you defeat higher ranked opponents, you’ll gain stars which let you achieve a higher rank, with your goal being to be the best Sumo wrestler. After each tournament, you can also play a minigame.

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There are five minigames: sleeping, eating, training, jumping and fishing. The first four are short, enjoyable distractions while I couldn’t figure out the fishing at all. They’re a nice, relaxing change of pace for a quick breather before the next tournament. Sleeping has you rolling around a little island collecting stars, eating has a judge calling out food you need to grab before your opponent, training is a “simon says” and jumping has you moon jumping high in the air, bouncing off trampolines and clouds as you pop balloons.

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Between some individual matches and tournaments, you’ll progress in the story. To begin with, it seems like a bunch of random events as your character interacts with a few different girls (eventually going on dates with all of them), rivals and a few other characters. I am not sure how much your performance in the game affects the outcome, but one girl (Akira) eventually suggests marriage – which was surprising as my main character had stood her up on two dates. On one, he overslept, on another, he forgot and had a date with someone else.

The only direct choice was choosing your response to the marriage, although I suspect that saying you want to concentrate on your Sumo for now has the same end result, as if you say yes, Akira suggests waiting until you’re at the top anyway. However, the encounters and dialogue are charming on their own.

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As you approach the high ranks, the story becomes more plot focused as you get attacked and then discover a “Dark Sumo” illegal gambling ring. You shut it down (you still have no input on this, it’s just dialogue) and the leader vows revenge – which he does on his wedding day as he kidnaps your wife.

The ending is both utterly absurd and wonderfully charming at the same time as you have your final fight with this villain and his “ultimate body”.

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Sumo 64 is a combination of really enjoyable short fighting mixed with charming dialogue (which would probably be even better if it got a proper translation). If you understand Japanese or are willing to point your phone at your TV a lot, this is a surprisingly great game.

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The animations are simple but delightfully accurate with for example, wrestlers sweeping aside their long skirty bits (technical term) as they squat down for the ‘off’ and cheering crowds throwing their cushions in the air when their favoured wrestler wins. Even better, the announcer calls every player’s name, rank and tournament record (wins and losses) and then delivers a running commentary during every bout.

- Max Everingham, N64 Magazine #11

Remake or remaster?

There is another Sumo game in this series on N64, so a compilation of both with a proper translation would be grea

Official ways to get the game.

There is no official way to get Sumo 64

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Aww... I actually wanna play that Sumo game now.  What a shame there's no way to play it in English.

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Chopper Attack

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  • JP release: 28th November 1997
  • NA release: 16th June 1998
  • PAL release: 1st September 1888
  • Developer: Seta
  • Publisher: Seta (JP), Midway (NA), GT (PAL)
  • N64 Magazine Score: 81%

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Chopper Attack (or Wild Choppers) is a game that’s clearly inspired by the [Terrain] Strike series of games. It’s a helicopter shoot-’em-up across eight missions. Each mission will give you certain enemies to destroy, although some you have to wipe out everything.

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The controls make use of the N64 controller well – the C-buttons move while the analogue stick aims (although there’s no option to disable inverted aiming). There is, however, one important feature of a helicopter missing: controlling altitude. You’ll automatically move up based on terrain. Enemies don’t have the same limitations, so you have to awkwardly try to aim at them – a big problem because the crosshair isn’t pointing at where you’ll fire.

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Enemies range from other aircraft to tanks, with soldiers also trying to take potshots at you. One really frustrating enemy is a giant Rambo-like man that grabs of your helicopter, messing your controls and missiles up. On top of your shield, you also need to keep an eye on your fuel – take too long to finish a mission and you’ll fail.

You also have an assortment of weapons to choose from. Your performance in one level will affect how much money you can spend on weapons on the next. Those range to ground or air missiles, to other non-homing bombs and cluster missiles.

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The missions rarely set themselves apart and the graphics are just ugly, coming across very poor for an N64 game. It’s all really muddy, blurry textures and levels are brown or grey. The story barely exists, even though the game treats the briefings in a very serious manner. You shoot one group of enemies and then a second group of enemies. The last mission is only available if you play on hard.

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Like Aero Fighters Assault, aliens are suddenly involved, so your helicopter is sent to the moon on its own to save humanity. The moon doesn’t play or look any differently, and the alien ships are just random geometry.

Chopper Attack is a game where you can have a bit of fun with the gameplay, but only in short blasts as he game has no variety.

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Chopper Attack isn’t great to look at. Its basic design if formulaic and predictable, and it’s hardly the most challenging game on the N64. And yet, somehow, its constituent ingredients mix and conspire to make it greater than the sum of its parts.

- James Price, N64 Magazine #20

Remake or remaster?

Just a standard emulated re-release is fine.

Official ways to get the game.

There is no official way to get Chopper Attack

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Seta were surprisingly prolific on the N64/Aleck 64 weren’t they? One of the very few Japanese developers to pick the N64 over the competition (though they did put out quite a few early Shogi games on the Saturn as well).

They were even responsible for bringing the N64 to the arcades, in the form of the Aleck 64 board (essentially an N64 in an arcade cabinet).  While they weren’t responsible for putting out any of the N64’s more beloved titles, they still had quite the presence on the console and had an important impact; especially when it came to the N64’s (admittedly short-lived) presence in the arcades.

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