17 Jul Best N64 Games Of All Time – The Ultimate List
Christmas. 1998 was a very special time for me because it was the day that changed my gaming life forever. I still remember pulling back the wrapping paper and seeing those three characters imprinted on the corner of the box – N64. Sure, I had already joined the gaming club with my original grey GameBoy and some of the best GameBoy games, but now it was time to step up into the big leagues. Since that day, I have played and collected more Nintendo games than I can count. From gunning down spaceships with Fox McLoud to trying to figure out what the heck that Ice Key was all about in Banjo Kazooie, I’ve had so many fun moments with this classic console. If you’re new to retro gaming or just want to relive some of the greats, then here’s a list of the 20 Best N64 Games of all time. Get ready for a nostalgic kick to the game-brain!
20. Turok 2 – Seeds Of Evil
Straight in at No. 20 on our Best N64 Games list is a game that I spent many mindless hours on during my youth. Turok was an absolute hero, slaying dinosaurs and aliens of any size with everything from a bow and arrow to the almighty Cerebral Bore (that was always my favourite!). The storyline sees Turok in a battle to stop an Alien force from taking over his lightship, and essentially kicking the ass of anything with two or four legs along the way. You have the option of playing a solo campaign and taking on the forces of evil on your
This game has some series play value to it, and while the main solo campaign only has six levels (they’re massive though and never get boring), the multiplayer mode will keep your Turok 2 Cartridge from ever getting dusty. Sofa gaming with your friends is one of the best things about retro gaming, and the rich landscapes on the multiple maps will keep you coming back time after time. Try and find that Cerebral Bore; you won’t regret it.
19. Jet Force Gemini
Any game with a dog that flys around with a jet pack and a gun on its back deserves a place in our list of the Best N64 Games of all time. I can still remember opening Jet Force Gemini on Christmas morning and playing for the majority of the day, amazed by the ant drone soldiers swarming around and the amazing arsenal of weapons that you could use to fight your way through the different worlds. The gameplay in this game was and still is fantastic, with a multiplayer mode that, while not in the same league as goldeneye, is still pretty spectacular.
Juno, Vela, and Lupus must travel through different levels and save the enslaved tribals from the evil Mizar and his ant army, harnessing futuristic firepower and using their individual abilities to help you complete each stage. From collecting health and ammo to hoarding ant heads, Jet Force Gemini is a space-age third-person shooter like no other. RARE made some incredible games during the N64’s reign (a lot of which are in this list), but Jet Force Gemini will always stand out as being one of the most badass.
18. Mario Tennis
It’s mega hard to chose just 20 of the Best N64 Games, but putting Mario Tennis into the list is an easy decision. If you like the idea of tennis but prefer to play it sitting down and with Donkey Kong wielding the bat instead of Roger Federer, then this game will definitely be for you. It’s another amazing multiplayer game that you can easily lose five hours playing and is one of the most addictive games of all time. The thought of trying to get the fastest serve against your opponent still gets me pumped up!
Not only does Mario Tennis have a stellar one player campaign mode that you can use to unlock different courses and characters, but it also marked the first time that we met Luigi’s arch-nemesis; the gangly-legged, hook nosed Waluigi. His big strides across the court made him a perfect choice for anyone who wanted to wipe the smile of that annoying little Koopa Paratroopa, and this game was the platform that would launch Waluigi into tonnes of future Nintendo titles. Even if you don’t like tennis, you have to thank Mario Tennis for giving Wario a partner in crime!
17. LylatWars (Starfox 64)
Andross’ face still makes me feel the tension of space battle and the need to save Corneria from his evil tyranny even after all these years, but I suppose that’s what you’d expect from one of the Best N64 Games of all time. Plus, anyone who is heartless enough to kill the mighty James McLoud at the very start of the game is asking for trouble! There will never be a greater space fighter team than the Star Fox crew; Fox McLoud, Peppy Hare, Slippy Toad, and Falco Lombardi. These guys rocked and still do today; it doesn’t matter whether you’re shooting torpedos at enemy ships while cruising through the sky or racing over rough terrain in the uber-cool Landmaster, this game has so many amazing moments that will make you feel about 10-years-old all over again. It’s also one of the hardest games that I can remember playing too, but maybe I just wasn’t very good at it.
Three things stand out about this game in my mind; the insanely massive box, loop the loops while avoiding my friends in the multiplayer mode, and the fact that this marked the very first time that I played with a Rumble Pak. Lylatwars just wouldn’t be the same without that sweet rumble vibrating your hands every time you scraped against a mountain or took a hit from an opposing enemy. The interaction between the on screen characters also made me feel like I was right there with them, fighting space-crime as one of the gang. I URGE you to give this game a try if you haven’t already – it wouldn’t have made our Best N64 Games list if it wasn’t an absolute classic.
16. Star Wars – Rogue Squadron
Nothing, and I mean NOTHING, is better than flying around in an X-Wing destroying Tie Fighters. Ok, maybe using the cheat codes to fly around in the Millennium Falcon, but it’s a close call for sure. Taking down probe droids and helping the rebels to fight back the Imperial Forces was a strong part of my childhood, which is probably why I never had time for a paper round. I can still remember hearing the sounds of the Tie Fighters for the very first time, piloting a Y-Bomber and dropping bombs on the enemies generators, and hearing the commentary between Luke and Wedge as they soared over rocky landscapes and hurtled through the depths of space.
From Mos-Eisely to Beggars Canyon, Rogue Squadron takes you to some of the best places in the Star Wars universe, piloting different ships and cruisers from the iconic film series. Luke Skywalker has formed the Rogue Squadron to cope with the Imperial backlash after the destruction of the Death Star, hoping to help defend the rebels in their fight for freedom against the Empire. This is one of the toughest Star Wars games that I have ever played, and I can only thank Nintendo for making strong controllers that don’t break whenever you throw them onto the floor in a fit of rage after dying for the eighteenth time in a row. Rogue Squadron will always be one of the Best N64 Games of all time just for the Millennium Falcon cheat alone, but the gameplay firmly cements it as a winner in the hearts of Star Wars fans everywhere
15. Pokemon Stadium
What’s better than playing Pokemon Red or Blue on your classic GameBoy? How about seeing your favourite pocket monsters on the big screen and being able to battle with them in an arena. If that doesn’t interest you, then how about getting a free GameBoy cartridge holder that you can use to transfer your own Pokemon to your team and walking through Lavender Town in colour on your TV? Yes, this game had so many amazing qualities to it that it’s hard to list them all in a short paragraph. If like me you love all things Pokemon, then this classic N64 game has to be in your collection. From the solo/multiplayer Stadium mode to the Gym Leader Castle, this game has everything that a Pika fan could ever hope for and more.
Transferring MewTwo and Mew from your GB Cartridge and seeing them on the big screen for the first time was incredible. I’m not going to lie, it made me feel invincible. Battling against the mighty Blastoise or the ferocious Pinsir up close and in glorious colour blew my young mind, and I still get the same chills whenever I slot the cartridge in and have a play. Pokemon Stadium also had one of the best party modes of any Pokemon game, with multiplayer classics like Ekans Hoop Hurl and Sandshrew’s ‘Dig Dig Dig’. Even my Mum got involved with this crazy button-mashing action, and she was pretty good at it too!
14. Gex 64 – Enter The Gecko
Number 14 on our list of the Best N64 Games sees the arrival of one of the coolest Geckos in town. After saving the world once and hoping for
With a whole host of gadgets at your disposal and more items to collect than you can shake a tail at, this game has hours of fun and a shelf life that will go way past the proposed play time. There’s no learning crazy controls or getting to grips with the storyline; just tail whip your way through life and try to guess as many of the different TV shows along the way. This is definitely one game that’s hard to put down!
Another game that can quickly swallow up the daylight hours is Glover, a story about a magical Glove that needs to restore his home of the Crystal Kingdom back to
This game is hands-down (pun intended) one of the hardest games I have ever played. Age ratings mean nothing when it comes to Glover; it might say that it’s designed for 7-years+, but you have to have the patience of a saint to navigate around some of these courses. Even though it was a difficult cookie to crack, it’s still one of the first games that I think about whenever someone mentions the N64. And like many of our Best N64 Games, the arrival of cheat codes made Glover even more fun, with super bouncy balls and ‘big-glove’ modes making the tasks that once seemed impossible super easy. Cheating isn’t always a good idea,
12. Mystical Ninja Starring GoemOn
I will never hear or see the word ‘Plasma’ without thinking about the mysterious fortune teller in this game, and what a game it was. Climbing Mount Fuji as Goemon and upgrading your ninja pipe, playing as the bumbling Ebisumaru and the kick-ass mechanical ninja doll Sasuke as you make your way through Edo and beyond, and taking down some of the biggest robot bosses I’ve ever seen in a computer game are all in store for anyone who purchases this game. Mystical Ninja uses Japanese landmarks and Japan’s historical culture and fuses it with one of the Best N64 Games of our lives. The forest and mountain landscapes are jam-packed full of enemies that met their demise at the hands of Goemon and his flying Ryu, and the little platters of coloured dumplings that give you health are probably the reason that I love Japanese food so much today.
This was one of the first games that I can remember playing where the thrill of upgrading your weapons and collecting new characters would keep me thinking about playing even after I had turned the console off. Sasuke’s chain pipe or Ebisumaru’s upgraded paddles would make mincemeat out of some of the lesser monsters and make you feel unstoppable, even though Ebisumaru’s fart ultimately ends up being one of the most powerful weapons in the game.
11. Shadows Of The Empire
Playing as a rebel fighter is all well and good when you’re up in the sky, but sometimes you really need to experience what it’s like to get up close and personal with a vicious troop of Stormtroopers. Skulking
Shadows of the Empire sees you controlling Dash Render, a rebel fighter who has been set with the task of aiding Luke Skywalker in
10. 1080 Snowboarding
It’s impossible for me to hear the word snowboarding without saying ‘Kensukaaayyy Kimachie’ or ‘Dioonnn Blasterrrr’ out loud. Only a select few people who spent their childhood trying to perfect the method of performing a 1080 or pulling off the perfect Indy Flip know what I’m talking about, so it’s fun to watch the confused expressions on 98% of the faces that I come into contact with. This game was a slice of multiplayer heaven, from the very moment that you choose your characters in the cosy club-house with its roaring fire and seemingly disinterested competitors to the secret shortcuts and epic forest jumps on the multitude of courses.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that 1080 snowboarding was just for multiplayer action though; games have to have a solid single player platform to make our Best N64 Games list! Perfecting tricks in the half pipe training mode and beating time trials down the toughest hills made me the extreme sports lover that I am today. The fact that I enjoy watching sports more than competing is irrelevant, it’s 1080 that gave me that love, which is why I’m putting it into this list.
9. Yoshi’s Story
It doesn’t matter what age you are or what your gaming ability is, Yoshi is and always will be one of the best Nintendo Characters of all time. This game might have been simple for more advanced players, but the storyline, the amazing backdrops, and the cleverly designed worlds will forever be imprinted into my mind. From collecting all of the fruit in a level to unlocking different coloured Yoshi’s and defeating the meddlesome Baby Bowser, this game is a classic that went on to inspire Yoshi’s Wooly World and Yoshi’s crafted world, two more games that would later see me putting all of my work on the back burner for a rainy day.
The premise behind Yoshi’s Story and making your way up the different branches of the Super Happy Tree seemed so clever and completely different to everything that had come before it at the time. This game also featured one of my favourite Nintendo Characters and my all-time favourite Mario Kart Racer; Shy Guy. He’s usually kicking about trying to make things tough for the Yoshi’s, but deep down his just a bit of a misunderstood dude. You can’t love Nintendo without having a
8. Silicon Valley
Silicon Valley is without a doubt one of the weirdest games I ever played on the N64, but it was also one of the most memorable too. After a spaceship crashes into unknown territory, a Robot named Evo is reduced to a tiny crawling computer chip that can only latch onto animals that have fused with space technology. The result finds you controlling sheep that can bounce and float around, a motorised rat, bears, dogs, foxes and more.
Each animal has different characteristics that you will need to harness in order to collect Evo’s power cells and complete the tasks set out by Dan Danger, Evo’s human pilot friend who is trapped inside the broken spaceship. If this all sounds completely mental, then you’re already on your way to understanding the concept of this game. I still remember the panic involved with making my dog run away from a pack of motorised foxes; that is one thing that no human should ever have to experience. You need to try this game for the sheer insanity of it, and to make sure that Dan Danger gets back home in time for tea.
7. Legend Of Zelda – MAJORa’S Mask
It might be a little bit controversial to put a Zelda title at number 7 in our list, but while Majora’s Mask is a great title, it just doesn’t rank as highly as the remaining 6 Best N64 Games in our list. Don’t get me wrong, it’s an incredible game, and any foray into Hyrule is one that is worth having a look at. But for me, Majora’s Mask just seemed a little too complicated and ‘drawn-out’. The constant mask changing had its pros and cons, and sometimes the constant changing of time made things a little repetitive compared to the flowing storyline in Ocarina Of Time. Despite all of those things, I still love it. Why? Because Link is the greatest gaming hero in any form, and playing as a Goron and a guitar-wielding Zora will never, ever get old.
Despite the odd rules of the game, Majora’s Mask has so many amazing elements that cement it as a solid title in the franchise, and cameos from characters in Ocarina Of Time such as the ghost of Darunia and the Kakariko builders make it even more enjoyable. For those of you that haven’t played the game before, an evil Skull Kid wearing a mysterious mask steals Link’s horse and causes a whole heap of trouble, including bringing the moon down on Hyrule. After being given the mission of returning the stolen mask to the Happy Mask Salesman of Ocarina fame, you must travel to the four corners of the land and defeat four bosses, releasing the giants who will eventually hold up the moon and finally set up a showdown between you and that pesky Skull Kid. It’s not as action-packed as Ocarina, but it’s still a damn good adventure.
6. Banjo Kazooie
Is there another gaming duo as tough and reckless as Banjo and Kazooie? This RARE classic pretty much defines my childhood, and whenever I see a molehill while out on my travels, I prepare myself to learn a new move from old Bottles himself. Gruntilda will forever be the name that I use to describe unsavoury characters, and Banjo’s timeless ‘Gu-ha!’ laugh will always be my
Lasers, Bunker, Bond, and Trevellyan. If anyone asks you what the perfect multiplayer recipe is, just tell them that and walk away. Goldeneye was always going to have a place in our Best N64 Games list because of
If you’ve seen the movie, then Goldeneye the game pretty much follows what happens in the film. The same characters are there, but there’s more weapons to choose from and a lot more attention to detail when it comes to finding key cards on dead soldiers. From the very first selection screen where you open your individual spy case files to the amazing cutscenes that show Bond getting up to his usual tricks, this game is a quintessential classic for anyone who is serious about retro gaming. Daniel Craig might be the Bond that everyone talks about these days, but Pierce Brosnan will always be the guy on the front of the Goldeneye game box.
4. Mario Kart 64
It goes without saying that Mario Kart should make an appearance in our final 5 Best N64 Games. Ask anyone around the world if they’ve ever played a computer game, and 99% of them will say that they’ve dabbled in a bit of Mario Kart. It’s a simple game where the only rules
It doesn’t matter if you opt for red shells or bananas, mushrooms or stars, this game has some of the best weapons of any racing games on the planet. I also like the simplicity of Mario Kart 64; the switch version is incredible and has lots of amazing vehicles, but the no-nonsense approach to only having a handful of characters and one car is still the best in my book. Hurry up and get to the end of the list so you can go blow out your cartridge and try to beat your time trial ghost from ten-years ago.
3. Super Mario 64
Bowser has to be up there as one of the worst villains in the gaming world, constantly stealing Peach and causing trouble for our favourite Italian plumber. Mario 64 rightfully takes a top spot in our Best N64 Games of all time because of its ability to still be interesting over 20 years later. From the very first meeting with King Bob-Omb to swinging Bowser around by the tail in those insane puzzle dungeons, this game has everything that a classic Nintendo adventure story needs. Battle Boo’s in a haunted house, find the Metal Mario caps and sink to the bottom of hard to reach rivers, seek out short cuts on Bob-omb mountain, and soar through the sky with a handy winged cap. This game is a true treasure trove of hidden surprises and neat little puzzles just waiting to be solved.
Some people might say that Super Mario Sunshine is the best Mario game of our time, but for
2. Donkey Kong 64
Donkey Kong has always been one of my favourite Nintendo characters. I used to watch the cartoon with Kranky, Diddy and the gang on TV, and I spent countless hours trying to complete Donkey Kong Country on the SNES and attempting to ace those nail-biting barrel rides. So when the N64 game came out, you can imagine my excitement. Playing as Donkey Kong and shooting coconuts from his Coconut Gun was one thing, but being able to play as Diddy, Lanky, Chunky and Tiny as well just blew my mind!
This game often gets overlooked when it comes to the Best N64 Games of our time, so it’s a pleasure for me to be able to stick it into the second spot on our list. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of working your way through Kong Island and thwarting King K.Rool at every turn. It’s no surprise that this is also a RARE classic and will forever be hailed as the game that included the all-important N64 expansion
1. Legend Of Zelda – Ocarina Of Time
It goes without saying really, doesn’t it? Ocarina Of Time is a work of art. The storyline is breathtaking, the gameplay is fantastic, and it has some of the best bosses that the world has ever seen. I still think about characters like Twinrova and Bongo Bongo to this day when playing modern Zelda games, and somehow the older villains always turn out to be the best. No other levels on any games I’ve played will ever have the same creepy feeling as the Forest Temple or the Shadow Temple under the Kakariko well. For me, Ocarina Of Time also has the definitive version of Hyrule, with the exception of the fantastic open world in BOTW of course. When I hear Kakariko Village, I think about the guard wearing the Keaton Mask and over happy builders. I still can’t walk past a graveyard without thinking about racing Dampe The Gravekeeper and winning that all-important hook shot. I think it’s fair to say this game had a pretty big impact on my life!
If Darth Vader is the king of the film villains, then Ganondorf has to be one of the evilest game antagonists of our age. He’s a magical wizard that just doesn’t seem to want to die and that can also turn into a weird pig monster when his physical form is defeated. Lesser men and women would run, but Link and Zelda are made of stronger stuff. Can you remember the first time that you placed your gemstones into the Temple Of Time and transformed into Adult Link, wielding the Master Sword and trying to avoid the Zombies in the destroyed village square in Hyrule Town. I’m getting goosebumps just thinking about it. Yes, Ocarina Of Time rightfully takes the top spot on our Best N64 Games list, and long may the Legend Of Zelda continue to enchant fans new and old around the world.
Seb Santabarbara has bought every Nintendo console that has ever been released in his 29 years on Planet Earth. His favourite game franchise is Zelda, and he’s patiently waiting for Banjo-Kazooie to come back to the fold. When he’s not playing games, he’s travelling the world in his self-converted camper van and writing for Retro Dodo’s sister site, Van Clan