Get ready to experience classic Nintendo games in a whole new light as we take a look at the best N64 ROM hacks ever made.
For those of you wondering what a ROM hack even is, let me quickly explain.
ROMs are digital files of games. People pull all the bits that make a game tick and drag them onto a computer so that they can be played via an emulator.
ROM hacks are modified versions of those games.
People can take the innards and manipulate them into brand new adventures featuring cross over characters and crazy features… especially Number 15 below!
The retro gaming community never rests, and this list of the best N64 ROM hacks proves how committed they are to keeping old games alive with exciting new features…
… plus, everyone loves a mash up, right? That’s the main reason 90’s DJs were so successful!
So, without further ado, let’s throw everything we know about N64 games into the trash and discover some crazy quests from the minds of genius gamers!
15. The Legend Of Zelda: Waluigi Of Time
First up on our list of the best N64 Rom hacks of all time is a mod that really shouldn’t exist, but I’m so glad it does.
If you’ve played Ocarina through a hundred times and fancy something a little different, then give this a bash. The game hasn’t changed much, but boy, Link certainly looks a bit ropey!
Waluigi often gets left by the wayside in Mushroom Kingdom games, never mind game franchises that he should never have even set foot in.
Still, there’s something oddly hypnotic about seeing him stepping up to the Master Sword and becoming the Hero of Time, entering the sacred realm, and battling against Shadow Ganon.
I guess the Master Sword is the same colour as his hat; maybe Waluigi is the true spirit of the Sword and not Fi, after all!
14. Goldeneye: Peach’s Castle
Bored of the Facility level? Don’t worry; just download the Goldeneye: Peach’s Castle mod and add some explosive action to Mazza’s first 3D adventure.
There’s something incredibly odd about seeing a PP7 or a Klobb pointing at the entrance to Lethal Lava Land or wandering around the grounds outside Peach’s official residence. It’s almost like the classic N64 game has had it’s aura tainted…
… and we couldn’t be happier about it.
This crossover is fantastic, with Bond characters taking their deathmatch antics to one of the most famous game worlds of all time.
While you can’t actually enter the paintings into different worlds, all the main hubs, walkways, and floors of Peach’s Castle are open for business.
Now, where’s that Golden Gun got to?
13. Pokémon Stadium Kaizo
Next up on our list of the best N64 ROM Hacks of all time is Pokemon Stadium Kaizo, an incredibly hard version of everyone’s favourite 3D Pokemon battle game on Nintendo’s 64-bit powerhouse!
The game was pretty lairy the first time around. Now, thanks to this Kaizo mod, it’s an unrelenting challenge that sees players tested like never before.
Expect new moves and computer opponents tougher than Hulk Hogan in his heyday.
To help cope with this unprecedented difficulty level, all of the rental Pokemon have had their stats and levels bumped up. Still, you might want to bring your finest team on board for this one.
Access all the original 151 Pokemon and fight with legendary beasts in this updated mod.
It should come with a ‘beware all ye who download’ sign, because there’s no chance you’re playing this without crying into your sleeves.
12. Star Fox 64: Survival
Star Fox 64: Survival puts everyone’s favourite fox in the hotseat as he takes the staring role in this Ocarina of Time ROM hack.
Yes, Fox McCloud stars in this survival title crawling with enemies from Ocarina. In a nod to Pikmin, he’s crashed his ship on a strange planet and now has to survive for a total of thirty days.
Survive the day, and you get to buy items and weapons. The main interface is the exact same as the menu used in Ocarina of Time too.
Just check out Fox holding the Hylian Shield above!
With a brand new storyline and weapons to buy from a talking statue, players must battle through hordes of randomly generated enemies.
Sometimes, Iron Knuckles can appear on day one, so you better have your wits about you. Use bomb flowers, keep your cool, and stay alive till the end of day 30!
11. Super Mario 64: The Missing Stars
Listen, it that game case was a real game, then it would be straight out of our list of the best N64 ROM hacks and into our best Mario games article instead. The artwork is amazing, and Bowser ripping that star in half…
… the Koopa King is brutal!
If you haven’t guessed already, I’m a huge fan of this mod. With a day/night cycle bringing a whole new dynamic to the Mushroom Kingdom and the chance to play as Luigi, The Missing Stars makes for a spectacular adventure that’s ‘toad-ally’ fresh.
See what I did there?
Ok, so all of the levels are quite flat and it’s not the most inventive mod of all time. Still, the gameplay is super addictive and certainly keeps me hooked after a long day of writing!
With 38 stars to collect it won’t take you long to complete, but I guarantee it you’ll play it again… and again… and again!
10. F-Zero DXP
F-Zero DXP is one of those mods that takes the original all the way to 300, never mind 11!
This classic futuristic racing title featuring everyone’s favourite falcon-punching captain is an iconic title, we can all agree on that (we can… can’t we?)
Having all new tracks that are way harder than the original gives fans of the original something to really sink their teeth into.
All the characters and many of the features are the same, though all of the courses have been remade with rock-hard turns, new drops, and speeds that are just impossible to comprehend!
Trust me; you’re in for one hell of a ride!
9. Super Donkey Kong 64
Donkey Kong 64 is one of the all time best N64 games ever. It’s also the toughest one to fully complete, keeping 101% completion wizards occupied for months on end.
So, it’s fair to say that adding Mario into our next entry in the best N64 ROM hacks not only makes it tougher, it also makes for one of the most exciting crossovers of all time.
Mario and DK started life as rivals before settling their differences on the race track. Seeing Mario running around Kong Island and King K. Rool’s ship feels so natural yet seems so bizarre at the same time.
Instead of collecting Golden Banana’s, Mazza is back to collecting stars, just in a different location.
If you’ve played DK64 to death and fancy a little change, then this is definitely one that you should be hitting up! It’s not groundbreaking by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s good fun.
8. Banjo Kazooie: Stay At Home
Created in 2020, Banjo Kazooie: Stay at Home was designed to keep nostalgic gamers occupied through the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s oozing with Nintendo references and fully embraces the lighter side of what was a pretty dark time for us all.
This original adventure looks stunning and plays brilliantly too. It’s dripping with that trademark Kurko Mods humour too, with players collecting one of the most sought after items from this age of panic buying – toilet roll!
Remember the nostalgic comment above? Well, all of the levels are based on other N64 games.
It’s got a bit of a Gex: Enter the Gecko feel to it, with levels appearing from Pokemon Snap, Donkey Kong 3, and many more titles.
Stay at Home wins full marks for creativity and shows that the retro gaming community certainly wasn’t idle while the world sat in isolation!
7. Super Mario 64: Sonic Edition
And I bet you thought nothing could beat James Bond taking skulking around Peach’s castle, right?
Super Mario 64: Sonic Edition is one of those crossovers that would have made the console wars end in a heartbeat. Once of a day, having Sega’s mascot stepping on Nintendo’s turf would have been tantamount to sacrilege.
Still, I guess now they organise a weird Olympics once a year everything is sorted out, right?
This is a fast paced ROM, though it was never going to be slow with Sonic involved. Press Z to roll around, pull of epic spin dashes, and home in on goombas.
Heck, you can even run across water. This blue dude is fast!
As with the other best Mario ROM hacks such as Super Falcon 64, the voices, narrative, and animations have been altered to fit into Sonic’s world.
And you know what… it’s definitely as good as the original.
There, I said it. Sometimes change is a good thing, and this mod is so awesome it hurts!
6. Banjo Kazooie: Gruntilda’s Mask
Banjo Kazooie: Gruntilda’s Mask is up next in this list of the best N64 ROM hacks of all time.
This isn’t the biggest hack of all time; there’s only 20 jiggies to collect, so it won’t take incredibly long to complete.
Still, people don’t download this game for the length. They download it for the storyline, the classic mash up of two fantastic games and Kurko Mods’ fantastic interpretation of Termina, Grunty-style.
Once you’ve seen a honeycomb hive jiggling around in Clock Town or battled with Grunty’s minions out in Termina field, you’ll start to believe that the game has always looked like this.
Play it on Everdrive or download to play on the best N64 emulators. The world of Kurko Mods is your oyster!
5. Ocarina of Time: Four Swords
What could make Ocarina of Time even better? How about making a Four Swords-inspired version where four Link’s can battle together?
Yeah, I reckon that would do it!
The premise is simple; four friends each with the ROM downloaded can play through Ocarina of Time in a multiplayer adventure like never before.
Four Master Swords are better than one, after all. Ganondorf doesn’t stand a chance!
The game itself doesn’t have any new levels or features; it’s still the same storyline, but the action feels so much more exciting with three mates joining you for the ride.
It’s mods like this with features that would never have happened on the N64 that make me love the retro gaming community even more. You guys rule!
4. The Legend Of Zelda: Voyager Of Time
The Legend of Zelda: Voyager of Time might have topped our list of the best Zelda ROM hacks, but it’s been relegated to 4th position today.
Hey, you can’t be a winner all the time!
Ocarina does feature a lot through this list, I’ll give you that.
Still, as the 4th best selling N64 game of all time and possibly the most influential Zelda title ever made, there’s no real surprise.
Voyager of Time gives my favourite N64 game way more humour, new dungeons, and lots of exciting extras to tangle with as you make your way through the game.
If I’m being honest, it’s like the hardest version of the Ocarina Master Quest that you could ever think of.
In fact, think of the hardest version, and then times it by 10.
I’m not exaggerating…
This game takes place after Majora’s Mask (the original, not the Banjo mod) and champions hilarious signs, more time travelling than even Stephen Hawking could dream up, and a lot of new puzzles to solve.
If you’re a Kokiri at heart or a wannabe Zora, then add this adventure into collection. You’ll be hook-shotted before you know it!
3. 40 Winks
Now, I know this game came out on PS1, but it never saw a release on the N64. This playable mod, however, finally lets us play the game as it was meant to be on the N64 with no lag, bugs, or dodgy gameplay.
I waited so long for 40 winks to come out, only to have it cancelled days before it was supposed to be released.
Why, Nintendo; WHY?
If it had come out, then I think Mario’s position at the top of the empire might have been threatened, if only a little.
Players take Ruff and Tumble, two aptly named siblings through a dream world in order to defeat NiteKap, a sort of evil Wee-Willy-Winky.
Honestly, it’s one of the best N64 ROM hacks in the world, one that rights one of the most unfortunate gaming wrongs ever!
2. Super Mario 64: Last Impact
Super Mario 64: Last Impact takes the silver medal in this list of the best N64 ROM hacks ever made!
It’s the sequel to SM64 on the N64 that we all wanted but never got.
Sure, Super Mario Sunshine is a cracking follow-on title, but if this had been a real title for the 64, I think the world would have lost their minds!
Last Impact is way more than a fan-made mod. Kaze Emanuar has created a game that manages to capture everything we love about Mazza’s iconic 3D adventure with new and exciting features to discover throughout.
It’s even got new bosses to fight and abilities to wield. Yoshi makes an appearance, as does FLUDD!
Collect 130 new stars in this humongous mod. There are even Mario Party games to tackle in order to unlock certain features.
It’s basically a Mario-fan’s dream game!
1. The Legend Of Banjo Kazooie: The Jiggies Of Time
There are two games that I loved the most on the N64 – Banjo-Kazooie, and Ocarina of Time. So, it stands to reason that their amalgamation would be the best N64 ROM hack of all time, right?
The Jiggies of Time sees players moving through Hyrule as the world famous bear-and-bird duo follow in Link’s footsteps. Collect items to open up the temple of time, visit fairy fountains, and build pictures of iconic locations as you collect Jiggies.
It’s Zelda but with that definite RARE vibe. The ‘Banjoified’ version of Hyrule Castle looks cutesy but cool as heck, and seeing Mumbo Jumbo giving you a bona bag with eyes never gets old.
I still get Goosebumps when I think about Banjo running through the Forest Temple!
If, like me, you spent most of your adult life thinking about Ocarina and wishing for a new Banjo game, then you’re probably treating Kurko Mods as a god right about now.
Yes, The Jiggies of Time proudly tops this list of the best N64 ROM hacks, and it’s one that you owe it to yourself to try!
Seb Santabarbara has bought every Nintendo console that has ever been released in his 31 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.