The Best N64 RPG Games For Retro Adventurers

A selection of N64 games on the Retro Dodo background

Tally up those battle points; it’s time to check out the best N64 RPG games ever made!

While the PS1 played host to a whole host of epic RPGs and the iconic Final Fantasy canon, the N64 had its own collection of gems available for fantasy fans to play through.

As well as playing host to Banjo, Link, Mario, Kirby, and a whole host of other world-famous characters, the N64 served up epic turn-based battle action and tactical adventures that left many gamers scratching their heads.

You might think of Nintendo consoles as being family-friendly, but they’re a breeding ground for undead demons and monsters too.

And wherever monsters are, gallant knights and fighters are sure to be found too… as well as a couple of Pokemon who wanted something to do.

We’ve made a list of 15 of the best RPGs for the system, including a few wild cards that are bound to get conversations flowing over on our socials.

But that’s enough waffle from me. Let’s get the ball rolling with Number 15.

Forward, brave warrior, and may the gods be on your side!

1. Paper Mario (2000)

paper mario nintendo 64

Paper Mario is the best N64 RPG game of all time!

Yes, ever since Super Mario RPG for the SNES, Mario has been the star of a series of epic RPG games. They take all the turn-based action and item collection that we know and love and give them the Mushroom Kingdom treatment.

Plus, having flat Mario in a 3D world looks fantastic on the N64; it’s a game that has aged very well indeed.

Paper Mario Gameplay, with Mario giving a thumbs up to the camera and enemies moving in the background
Credit: Nintendo

Battling against characters that we’ve come across before such as Koopas and goombas makes this game feel recognisable even when playing for the first time. It’s easy to get to grips with and a really fun adventure for RPG fans to sink their teeth into.

Collect badges, recruit teammates to battle with throughout the story, and level up by beating enemies and bosses

Yep, that’s an RPG alright!

Paper Mario kickstarted one of my favourite Mario series too, a canon that is a real breath of fresh air compared to the usual Mario outing. We wouldn’t have The Thousand Year Door without it, and that would be a world not worth living in!

2. Harvest Moon 64 (1999)

Harvest Moon 64 game case cover art
Credit: Nintendo/Natsume

Second place goes to Harvest Moon 64, the best farming simulator on the planet…

… I bet that wasn’t an accolade that you thought you’d be hearing about today, was it?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; if you’re a farmer, then this game is going to suck. If you’re not a farmer, however, then it’s a fantastic and addictive title that will consume you just as much as Animal Crossing.

The aim of the game is simple; get a farm back up and running again and make it earn some money. Get those machines greased up and working like clockwork, and keep all the animals happy!

Harvest Moon 64 gameplay, with two players standing side by side chatting in front of a barn.
Credit: Nintendo/Natsume/Youtube

While players have the option marry a spouse and start a family as well as going to functions, the main aim of the game is to keep the farm business afloat.

Like any farming community, the local village is a the central hub for information and trade. Villagers provide friendly help from time to time, and there’s always a nugget of advice to glean from the local pub.

Ever wanted to take a pig or a cow to a show too? Well, now you can. Just remember that keeping them alive is more important then winning rosettes…

3. Ogre Battle 64: Person of Lordly Caliber (2000)

Ogre Battle 64: Person of Lordly Caliber game case cover art
Credit: Nintendo/Atlus

Ogre Battle 64: Person of Lordly Caliber might be taking the bronze medal in this list of the best N64 RPG games, but it certainly wins the title for the best RPG name of all time!

I’ve always wanted to be a person of lordly caliber, though this game was the closest I could get to properly acquiring that title… every little boy or girl wants that before their name, right?

Ogre Battle 64: Person of Lordly Caliber, with the forces of good and evil facing off in hall with statues, candles, and a carpet that brances off four ways.
Credit: Nintendo/Atlus/

Players lead Magnus Gallant (fitting last name) as he attempts to save the people of his kingdom from eternal slavery. It’s a tactical RPG through and through with heavy Fire Emblem vibes.

In fact, it could be said that this is the most traditional RPG in this list!

Magnus unites the people of his kingdom and leads troops into battle in many different scenarios throughout the game. There’s magic and traditional weapons to choose from in each fight, and sometimes tactical defending is more beneficial than all out attacking!

Like many RPGs, it’s up to the player as to how they complete the game. Will you plough through the main story or stay to delve into the side-quests, furthering your characters abilities and fully preparing them for the final showdown?

4. Gauntlet Legends (1999)

Gauntlet Legends game case cover art
Credit: Nintendo/Midway

This game might look very familiar if you played Gauntlet: Dark Legacy, one of the greatest Gamecube games of all time. Well, that’s because Dark Legacy uses the four main characters and levels from the N64 game and added characters from the new arcade version too.

Long story short, the game is the same, and Legends was an absolute legendary title back in the day.

See what I did there?

I’ve never played a hack and slash RPG like it. It was the ultimate couch co-op title to blow off steam with, throwing potions into armies of undead cretins and knocking back goblins with axes and arrows.

Gauntlet Legends gameplay, with players tackling goblins at the bottom of some stairs in a cliff
Credit: Nintendo/Midway

I still can’t eat a hunk of meat without saying ‘MMM, SUSTENANCE’, much to my girlfriend’s constant annoyance!

So how is Gauntlet Legends an RPG? Well, like Flying Legends, players find treasure that can be used to increase a character’s stats through the game. Gamers level up and become more badass, wielding more powerful moves and boasting better attack and defence capabilities as well as overall speed.

Unlike Flying Legends, the storyline has jumped straight out of Tolkien’s notebook and features magical gems, walking skeletons, and a bunch of evil enemies to thwart along the way.

It’s best played with friends but still a cracking title to enjoy solo. If you love Castlevania and titles such as Hyrule Warriors, then you’ll be all over this!

5. The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina of Time/Majora’s Mask (1998/2000)

zelda ocarina of time

Now, this is a bit of a controversial one, which is why I’m listing The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina of Time/Majora’s Mask under a special ‘Zelda 64 umbrella’.

These games aren’t traditional RPG titles by any stretch of the imagination. The thing is, they have a strong emphasis on weapon upgrading, item collection, and character development in the form of becoming stronger through acquiring heart pieces.

In other words, they’re action-adventure games dripping in RPG elements.

Majora's Mask game case held by seb

I guess the same can be said for the Castlevania titles falling under the ‘action-adventure RPG’ category. Richter Belmont doesn’t concern himself with turn-based battles, but there is a lot of weapon upgrading throughout.

I’ve put both Zelda games at Number 5 as a bit of a wild card; a conversation starter, if you will. Do you think that these games could ever be classed as RPGs? The consensus on the internet, and in Retro Dodo Towers, is yes.

Listen, I’m not going to tell you anything about these two games; you should know all about them already.

If, however, you’ve been living under a rock for your entire life, then check out this article on the best Zelda games and do some much-needed research!

6. Pokemon Stadium (1999)

Pokemon Stadium game box for the N64
Credit: Nintendo

The original Pokemon Stadium is up next. Seeing the original giants of the Pokemon world up on the big screen for the first time was phenomenal.

Not only that, but battling with them and seeing moves like Hyrdo Pump and Earthquake in ‘real life’… it was something else!

Let’s not forget the other real reason we bought this game too – the Transfer Pak.

The bulky slot-in peripheral that allowed us to play Pokemon Red or Blue up on the TV instead of through the Gameboy was worth the game price on its own!

Pokemon Stadium gameplay - Charizard is battling Ninetales on a green field with a white Pokeball symbol in the middle.
Credit: Nintendo

I never had a Mewtwo or a Mew back in the days when Pokemon cards were playground currency, but they were both part of my Pokemon Stadium team, and they made mincemeat of my friends.

I think it’s the closest I’ve come to feeling like a god in my entire life, and I played a lot of Black & White on the PC!

Pulling off Guillotine with Pinsir and wielding Solar Beam with the mighty Venasaur felt fantastic too, and the party games were just as good as the main battle mode.

Ekans Hoop Hurl, Sandshrew Dig Dig Dig – I spent hours playing these games with my Mum, and the win-lose ratio was more equally split than you might have guessed!

7. Pokemon Stadium 2 (2000)

Pokemon Stadium 2 game box for the Nintendo 64
Credit: Nintendo

The second game in the series features all of the same epic Pokemon battling action as the original title. Upload your favourite Pokemon from your GB cart using the Transfer Pak, and create the ultimate team for taking down some Poke Champions!

Pokemon Stadium 2 gameplay - Raikou is preparing to attack Ledby
Credit: Nintendo

The main difference between Pokemon Stadium 1 and 2 is the inclusion of Pokemon from Gold and Silver in the roster of ‘ready to use’ Pokemon available for battles.

Up to 4 players can play and go for gold in the Poke Cup tournament modes, and all the exciting mini-game action returns once more.

8. Custom Robo V2 (2000)

N64 game box for Custom Robo V2
Credit: Nintendo

Custom Robo V2 marries together two of the greatest things of all time – robots, and battling.

Yes, this is a game that all sci-fi nerds are sure to love. Players move through a futuristic overworld in search of other Robo warriors to take down. It’s choc-a-bloc with parts to collect along the way and items to gather, and the aim of the game is to catch-em-all.

That might have been stolen from another franchise, but for legal purposes I’m going to play dumb and just move on…

Custom Robo V2 gameplay showing a green robot standing on a walkway in front of a blue background
Credit: Nintendo/Youtube

V2 is the second game in the Custom Robo series and features some of the best action yet. Players must win battles to collect every part and item in the game. It’s definitely one for those 101% completion fans and a great adventure to boot.

Players move around a massive open world in search of battles, following the story arc as it progresses through the game. The Custom Robo battles are explosive, with players making use of epic weaponry and limited invincibility in order to get one over on their opponents.

Imagine Flying Dragon with Robots and more RPG features, and you’ve got Custom Robo V2!

9. Holy Magic Century/Quest 64 (1998)

Holy Magic Century game art for the Nintendo 64
Credit: Nintendo/Konami

Holy Magic Century/Quest 64 is up next, a magical RPG that needs to be in your collection.

Have you ever fancied yourself as a wannabe wizard? Well, Holy Magic Century sees players taking on the role of apprentice mage, but what could said apprentice be called?

I bet it’s something like Quadehar or Ragnar or something… right?

Nope, it’s Brian. Brian the Sorcerer…

Holy Magic Century/Quest 64 gameplay - Brian inside a library holding his staff. A Woman is standing by a bookcase
Credit: Nintendo/Konami

Like Keith Courage, Brian is one bad-ass warrior. He’s on a mission to track down his father and to gather important gemstones that will undoubtedly make him more magical along the way.

Fans of our articles may well have taken our previous advice and bought Chrono Trigger for the SNES. If you have, or if you’ve played it before, then you’ll recognise the battle-style used in HMC.

There are no tiresome loading sequences as you wait for a battle arena to appear; fights happen right there and then wherever you are, with Brian jumping into action straight away.

Like Brian’s hero Gandalf (I’m guessing here), he can hit enemies with his cool staff or use magic to beat them into next week. Finding an inn to save your progress can feel a little hairy at times, bit the sweet relief you’ll feel when you walk through the door makes the whole thing worth it.

10. Aidyn Chronicles: The First Mage (2000)

Aidyn Chronicles: The First Mage Game Box
Credit: Nintendo/THQ

Fantasy fans; if you only get one game from this list, then you’re gonna want to give this one a try. It might not be the best in terms of overall points scored (as if we have a points system…), but it plays like a virtual fantasy novel…

… that’s an instant win in my book!

With a story involving poison, goblins, a mysterious evil force, and a kingdom in peril, Aidyn Chronicles certainly ticks all of my RPG boxes.

Aidyn Chronicles: The First Mage gameplay, with two characters talking in a field next to a path
Credit: Nintendo/THQ

Presented in glorious 3D, players control Alaron and his companions as he searches for the cure to save his life. There’s quests to complete, magic to wield, and a whole host of items to collect along the way.

The battles in The First Mage are turn based, but the whole thing feels different to a tactical title. Players move their characters in real time as they advanc towards the enemy, performing attacks when circular attack fields cross.

Oh, and battles aren’t random too; you can see which enemies lie ahead which makes it easier to avoid them if you’re low on supplies!

Party characters are determined by the flowing narrative, and there are so many NPCs to chat to along the way.

Who knows, they might have some important information for you!

11. Shadowgate 64: Trials Of The Four Towers (1999)

Shadowgate 64: Trials of the Four Towers box art
Credit: Nintendo/Kemco

Shadowgate 64 is a seriously underrated game. It’s got a plot line that sounds as though Myst and D&D had a lovechild, and the game world is crammed full of secrets and mysterious characters to interact with around every corner.

That’s the formula for making the best N64 RPG games right there!

It’s not really a Fire Emblem-style battle fest, but more of a puzzler’s best friend. Played like an FPS, gamers move through exciting levels stealthily avoiding guards and figuring out riddles.

Shadowgate 64: Trials Of The Four Towers gameplay - the jailor carrying Del back to a cell.
Credit: Nintendo/Kemco

Castle Shadowgate provides the main backdrop for Trials of the Four Towers. If you’ve ever read any Discworld novels, then it’s a little like Ankh Morpork. Thieves, villains, and general scum line the streets, and there’s an evil wizard on the rampage.

Players take control of a prisoner named Del Cottonwood. He tries to escape Shadowgate and becomes caught up in a much bigger adventure that sees him trying to save the entire world from a devilish Warlock.

Talk about jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire!

Fans of Thief will love this title. It’s a magical adventure with all those RPG story vibes we know and love.

12. Flying Dragon (1997)

Flying Dragon N64 game cover
Credit: Nintendo/Natsume

Flying Dragon is a title that has RPG elements but isn’t a true RPG, but we’re including it anyway as it’s a bloomin’ great game.

Think of Flying Dragon as a brutal version of Mario Golf… without the golf. It’s a game that has RPG undertones with heavy emphasis on character progression throughout.

Players acquire treasure from winning battles in tournament mode. Treasure can be exchanged for other items and methods of boosting your character’s stats, building them up to be the ultimate fighter.

Win battles, become stronger, get better stuff. There’s no turn-based battles, but the collecting element is strong with this one (say that list bit like Obi-Wan-Kenobi).

Flying Dragon gameplay - Gengai is fighting Min Min in front of a temple
Credit: Nintendo/Natsume/Racketboy

The fighting gameplay elements remind me a lot of the Virtua Fighter series and early Tekken titles. It’s a cracking fighter for the N64 and a nice break from cutesy fighters like Smash Bros.

Flying Dragon also boasts a ‘virtual mode’ where players can play in either 2D or 3D. It’s the gift that keeps on giving and a must-have for fans of creating the ultimate fighter.

13. Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon (1997)

Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon cover art for the N64
Credit: Nintendo/KOnami

Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon might not scream RPG, but it has lots of RPG elements in that make it a worthy title in our list.

The beauty of Mystical Ninja is that it’s so many types of game mixed into one. It’s a platform title, it has RPG tasks, and it even makes use of massive battle warriors. It’s one of the most compelling titles for the N64 and a real melting pot of ideas that makes for a truly cracking game.

Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon gameplay - Sasuke, Yae, Goeman, and Ebisumaru standing on a rooftop in front of a robotic head
Credit: Nintendo/Konami/Youtube

Whenever anyone says the word ‘Plasma’ I think about that odd fortune teller character gyrating towards the screen. The same goes for thinking about Mystical Ninja when I read about Mt Fuji or when I eat dumplings; Goemon is everywhere.

Is there a better sidekick than Ebisumaru? Is there a better backdrop for a game than the beautiful Japanese landscape?

No; the answer is no!

Wield flying Ryu or an extendable pipe as you progress through the colourful levels, collecting characters and weapons as you go.

And if games were graded on the size of their bosses, then Mysical Ninja would get a solid 10 across the board. Some of those brutes were tough to take down!

14. Shiren the Wanderer 2 (2000)

Nitnendo 64 Shiren the Wanderer 2 game box
Credit: Nintendo

Shiren the Wanderer 2 is another quirky Japanese title and a world that some might have come across over on the DS in Mystery Dungeon: Shiren the Wanderer.

But we’re sticking with the vertical N64 case today.

This is RPG brilliance from start to finish. The levels are richly textured, the gameplay is addictive, and the whole package is guaranteed to leave you dreaming about it every night after you turn your N64 off.

Yeah, it should come with a warning!

Shiren the Wanderer 2 gameplay - a character is standing on a rock next to a bridge with water flowing underneath.
Credit: Nintendo

As part of the Mystery Dungeon series, this title takes its place as the second main game in the canon. Players take control of Shiren, a courageous lad who has to protect his village from monsters.

How can a boy do this and survive? Well, he must delve into dark dungeons and find materials to build a castle. Big walls stop the demons from attacking, so Shiren better learn how to build pretty quick!

Take part in turn-based fights while picking up awesome weapons, grab important materials such as iron and stone to build your castle, and kick monster butt at every turn.

It’s an RPG-lovers paradise!

15. PD Ultraman Battle Collection 64 (1999)

PD Ultraman Battle Collection 64 Nintendo 64 game box
Credit: Nintendo/bandai

This might be a bit of a strange one to many of our readers as it only ever released in Japan. Still, if you can get hold of a Japanese N64 and a copy of this game, it’s guaranteed to blow your mind…

… even if it is tough to understand what’s going on unless you speak Japanese or have Google translate at the ready.

PD Ultraman Battle Collection 64 gameplay, with Ultraman battling an insect creature
Credit: Nintendo/bandai

Remember the Transfer Pak that came with Pokemon Stadium? Well, PD Ultraman Battle Collection 64 used it like no other game.

Players could create characters by loading up any Gameboy game. It didn’t matter which; the act itself would produce a new character or players to control.

Pretty neat, huh?

This game has had some pretty harsh reviews in its time, but I liked it. It’s almost like a cross between Viewtiful Joe and Pokemon Stadium with turn-based battles throughout.

If that sounds like your kind of game, then definitely give it a go!

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