The Best Nintendo N64 Fighting Games

The Best Nintendo N64 Fighting Games

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fighting games

It’s hard to imagine that the n64 fighting games has been around for 21 years.

When it came out, the industry was opened to a new generation of 3D gaming. That meant every type of game was able to be distributed with 3D technology, elevating graphics for the time. With this new technology came new games that would go on to redefine the genres they represented.

One genre that is often overlooked, when thinking back on the N64, is fighting. Everyone always seems to remember the big RPG’s such as Zelda: Ocarina of Time, racing games like Mario Kart 64, or the industry-altering shooters Goldeneye 64 and Perfect Dark.

But the N64 was home to some great fighting games, and if you’ve happened to forget, here’s a good reminder.

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The Best N64 Fighting Games Comparison Table


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Rating

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Super Smash Bros. Game

Super Smash Bros. Game as one of the Best N64 Fighting Games

Mortal Kombat 4

Mortal Kombat 4 as one of the Best N64 Fighting Games

Killer Instinct Gold

Killer Instinct Gold as one of the Best N64 Fighting Games

Dark Rift

Dark Rift as one of the Best N64 Fighting Games

Rakuga Kids

Rakuga Kids as one of the Best N64 Fighting Games

ClayFighter 63

Fighter 63 as one of the Best N64 Fighting Games

A Review of the Best N64 Fighting Games


Super Smash Bros. Game as one of the Best N64 Fighting Games

To start the list off with a bang, this classic fighter may have spawned one of the best franchises now in existence. The idea is simple: take all of the beloved characters from classic Nintendo games and throw them into an arena-based beat-‘em-up. Then, instead of the traditional starting health bar or life mechanic, Nintendo reversed that idea, starting players with a percentile-based system. This must’ve seemed crazy at the time, but we now know the gamble paid off.

Pros

  • Fast combat , new items, new attacks, new defensive options, and more will keep the battle raging whether you’re at home or on the go
  • Simple, easy to pick up, but most importantly-fun.
  • Fast paced and accessible to everyone.

Cons

  • A customer review stated that it gets old pretty quickly, and single player mode is shallow and uninspired. Limited selection of characters, modes, and stages.
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Nintendo seemed to go all in, and all out, with this first iteration of the franchise, and it shows. With some of the most renowned characters in all of gaming are at their disposal, they gave them a home inside a cartridge, paired it with solid gameplay, and made sure the fans were happy.

The game featured 12 total characters, with four unlockable for completing various challenges. The special thing about these characters is that they all featured different fighting styles and moves. Each was tailored to the franchise they came from, so playing as Jigglypuff felt drastically different than Captain Falcon.

Nintendo Nostalgia

Of course, the whole game was wrapped in Nintendo-inspired nostalgia, due in part to the stages also being themed to places in their universe. Want to duke it out in Kongo Jungle from Donkey Kong 64? Done, it’s there. How about traveling to Yoshi’s Island and getting in some KO’s? Sure, why not. Every stage was pulled from a popular N64 game at the time, and it was all seamless. Throw in some exotic items for players to use, and Nintendo somehow created a winning formula.

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The first game in the hugely popular franchise today, who knows where Nintendo systems may have gone if this experimental title didn’t pan out. We also wouldn’t have the phrase, “Settle it in Smash!”

But really, at the end of a long day, who wouldn’t want to grab Kirby and smash green shell in Mario’s face?

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Mortal Kombat 4 as one of the Best N64 Fighting Games

If you ask anyone on the street to name a fighting franchise, the first name brought up is Mortal Kombat. The reason we can put Mortal Kombat 4 on this list, is because it was the first 3D-based Mortal Kombat game on the market. Of course, Mortal Kombat is known for its brutal gameplay and crazy mechanics. This was interesting for the Nintendo 64, as in years past Nintendo has shied away from mature titles.

Pros

  • The title itself received positive reviews among critics and ran at a smooth 60 fps.

Cons

  • A customer review stated that the cutscenes can be cheesy

So, was it just fighting game, or was there more to it? Featuring a full-fledged story mode, with an actual story, this gave players a reason to fight the fights within the game. It also ran extremely well on the N64 and added new features that players just ate up. 

The gameplay in Mortal Kombat 4 was revamped, and it showed. The action and fights were still on point, but Midway Games still had a few tricks up their sleeve. One of the newer features in this iteration was the use of items and weapons, much like Super Smash Bros. This new fad was proving to be a popular idea among games, and Mortal Kombat decided to get in on the action.

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Another fun tidbit that was utilized within the N64 version was the characters’ animations. Due to the cartridge-based architecture, the game was able to accurately replicate the same in-game movements as the arcade version.

Players will always gravitate towards ultra-violent games, and Mortal Kombat 4 gave that to players on the N64.


Killer Instinct Gold as one of the Best N64 Fighting Games

Now we’re into the traditional fighters, and this is where the goodies start to roll in.

With Killer Instinct, you had one of the only fighters that was strictly available on the Nintendo 64. Developed by Rare and published by Nintendo, you knew that something was brewing. This series, originally released on Game Boy back in 1994, was pushed out to compete with the Mortal Kombat series.

Pros

The music, audio, and visuals were all upgraded for the newest release.

Also coming in on the cartridge were added like practice and knockout tournament modes. This helped the game appeal to fans of the series, as well as gave newcomers a way in to the basics.

Cons

The main draw to this standard fighter–that is, one on a 2D plan where 3D characters duke it out–was the big push of combos. Killer Instinct utilized memorization-based combo sequences, meaning players had to know the moves of the character they were playing.

A good result of this was that there weren’t any infinity combos or 100% fatalities for you to use.

This also meant that all moves could be blocked, contributing to some increasingly challenging fighting at a higher level or in tournament play.

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With Gold, the game was, essentially, an updated form of Killer Instinct 2. While it may not be the most critically-acclaimed game on the list, it’s still a good fighter. It had its own niche crowd, and really aided Nintendo in keeping the fighting genre alive and well on its Nintendo 64.


Dark Rift as one of the Best N64 Fighting Games

Here’s one you may not have heard of. Dark Rift was a fighting game that, at the time, was the first to a few different milestones. The game was the first N64 game to use a full 60 fps and was the first inherent fighting game for the console.

Pros

  • Great competitive play

Cons

  • Throw system can be improved

The original game was based on developer Kronos Digital Entertainment’s Criticom, being their first fighting game. The game, like others on this list, did feature a story that continued the events of the first game, but wasn’t anything to write home about. The game was decisive among critics, but still holds merit with fans. That would go on to matter as the game has since developed a cult-like following.

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The biggest reason why it is one of the best fighting games for the N64 really comes down to competitive play. This was a highly played fighter at the tournament level, and the only problem was the throw system. Combos, moves, and knowing the fighters were key to success, and players liked the challenge.


Rakuga Kids as one of the Best N64 Fighting Games

Yes, this game is quite literally titled “doodle” kids, if you translate the Japanese word, but that doesn’t stop it from being one of the better fighters on the N64.

Rakuga Kids was developed by Konami and was never actually released in North America. The Japan and EU-only game was one of only two fully 2D fighters (more on the second later) for the system, and it had the title of interesting graphics choices. Using characters that resembled children’s drawings, once you played Rakuga Kids you’d be sure to remember it.

Pros

  • The game had such a lighthearted feel to it, including the fighting characters being drawn by kids, that it’s hard to believe the high level of seriousness that came with it. When your special “magic” meter fills up by crayons, you know it’s a quirky title.

Cons

  • Never released in the US
  • Many considers the game as a book you'd read to a toddler

But even though the game looked like a book you’d read a toddler, it was still highly competitive. The gameplay was based on the standard six button fighter layout, but also featured aerial combat. The aerial combat added a second layer to the standard fighter, and because all the characters were unique–names like Beartank, Robot C.H.O., Darkness should provide some clarity–and played differently. Thus, it was up to the player to figure out the best fighter to go into combat with.

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It’s a shame that the game never received a full release in the US, but that shouldn’t stop you from playing it.


Fighter 63 as one of the Best N64 Fighting Games

As we mentioned before, the only other fully 2D fighter for the Nintendo 64 console was ClayFighter 63. The whole game was, basically, a caricature of other fighters at the time. First though, let’s talk about the name.

Pros

  • Quality stage designs
  • High resolution game animation

Cons

  • Even though the title was met with negativity, it still held true with fans, becoming a classic at higher level play. 

Whenever games were released, generally as sequels, the marketing teams were coming up with names that suffixed the number “64”. This was to, apparently, separate the titles from others out in the world, but got so out of hand that almost every franchise had a “Blank Blank” 64 named game.

The team at Interplay Productions decided to parody that and drop the number down to 63. What made ClayFighter special was the use of stopmotion animation and Claymation as the techniques to produce the graphics. Instead of computers, actual people were responsible for moving an arm or leg to get the game’s animations into place.

That was cool.

Adding to the special animation were the stage designs. Instead of staying put on one plane and the camera panning around players, the fighters could be thrown into a different portion of that stage. These rooms kept the stages fresh, and with 26 of them in total there was plenty of variety.

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The combo system also poked fun at games like Street Fighter and Killer Instinct. Using names like “Itty Bitty Combo”, the represented actions were hilarious.

If you haven’t tried the game out yet, it’s a must play. You might have some trouble though, as there is a limited amount of copies in existence, and the rental-only ClayFighter: Sculptor’s Cut is one of the rarest N64 games of all-time.

A Look at the Best Fighting Titles of N64 Fighting Games


Sure, it may seem like a tall task to talk about the best games on N64, for any genre, but it can be done. There were plenty of different titles released for the N64 that paved the way for the future of the console, and their respective titles. Many games on this list should spark some memories of long sessions with friends, provided you’ve played them.

 The one caveat here is that the games listed must be true fighters. Games that feature fighting elements, such as wrestling or shooters with fighting elements, were not considered. Yes, even though the first game on the list may rattle some knockers, we still consider Super Smash Bros. essential to the fighting franchises.

N64 Fighting Games Were Unique


While there were plenty of fighters to choose from on the N64, the biggest takeaway here is that there were some unique, truly special titles released during this time. Sure, other games may be interesting fighters, but our list combines high level play with lasting appeal. Many games may not hold up over time, but we feel the titles above do.

So that’s our list of the best fighting games released on the N64. We may have missed your personal favorite, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be your favorite fighter. It may not even be considered a fighting game, by some.

Where to Get a Replacement Atari Jaguar Controller

Where to Get a Replacement Atari Jaguar Controller

So, it finally happened.The earth shattering, life-changing event that everyone dreads: your Atari Jaguar controller broke. What does that mean for you? No worries, as the standard controller will set you back a couple bucks. 

Black and White Atari Jaguar Controller

But what happens if it was a coveted Pro controller? Most likely you’ll have to fork over some cash to find another one. No one wants to do that though.

Why are the controllers so expensive? It really has to do with production.

The Atari Jaguar is a home console that, to most people’s surprise, didn’t sell well. The problem wasn’t the hardware itself, which was advanced enough to warrant purchase. The issue stemmed from lack of marketing and no third-party support. Selling only 250,000 units in its lifespan, the console was a failure.

What does that do to the aftermarket price then of peripherals? It sky rockets them, specifically the ones you need to play Nintendo N64 Racing Games or any other games.


Replacing an Atari Jaguar Controller Can Be Tricky


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While the name of the Atari Jaguar was catchy, the controller wasn’t. Often credited with the title of “Worst Controller Design of All Time,” the Atari Jaguar controller didn’t look amazing, mostly due to having a lot of buttons. The plastic was light, but solidly constructed, proving to have a long lifespan if it was taken care.

But if it does break, the options are straightforward: buy a new one, which can cost a lot of money, or fix it yourself. Even if you want to open the controller up and see what’s not working anymore–which we’ll discuss later–there’s no guarantee the issue is fixable.

The parts are often not available anymore, or the problem may take more time to solve than is warranted. What that means is that replacement is pretty much the only option,


So How Can You Get a New One?


Gray Atari Jaguar Controller

This part may be easier than you think. Nowadays, in the time where anyone can make something if they put their mind to, plenty of people have been cooking up ideas to make another Atari Jaguar controller. You can buy another standard edition of the Best SNES RPGs of All Time, but where’s the fun in that?

If you aren’t partial to the standard controller, then the good people over at AtariAge have revived the Pro version with its own production campaign. That’s right, for a couple of bucks, this new version of Atari Jaguar Pro controller can be yours.

It looks practically identical to the old one and will sport new parts and molds. If you’re looking to order one, all you must do is reach out via email and your name is put onto the list for them. The products won’t ship until production is complete, and nothing will be charged either.

If you need the real deal, though, it’s possible to obtain one with a box, just keep in mind the price you will be paying for it.


If You’d Rather Fix It Yourself, You (Potentially) Can


If you’re a hands-on type of person, or a machinist looking for a bit of a challenge, there are ways to open and repair your controller. If the problem has to do with movement, you’re probably going to have to replace the whole thing, as a critical pin, one that controls movement or button presses, is probably broke.

However, if it’s a connection issue then the problem could be attributed to the cable which connects the controller to the system. If this is the case, it’s possible to buy a simple cable and remove the old one, with some finagling of course.

If the issue has to do with the buttons, the controllers are malleable in terms of the buttons you can put in them. Seriously, lots of players would replace the standard buttons with other console’s controllers, such as the Sega Saturn. It’s a cheap, easy fix, or can be, but not recommended for everyone.


Don’t Lose Hope If Your Atari Jaguar Controller Breaks


Playing With Atari Jaguar Controller

It’s always a bummer when something you’ve enjoyed or cherished malfunctions after some time. Most video game collectors and retro players often take care of their stuff, but in the off event that an issue arises, you have options.

Thankfully prices are cheap on the standard Underrated PS2 Games and Atari Jaguar controller, and there are newfound options for the Pro variant. If you find yourself needing a replacement Jaguar controller to keep playing Tempest 2000, don’t fret.

The Best Nintendo N64 Racing Games Ever Released

The Best Nintendo N64 Racing Games Ever Released

Nintendo 64

The Nintendo 64 may just have some of the best racing games a console can offer. Yes, we said it. The N64 racing games is worth a lengthy review. 

The N64 housed plenty of great games, across multiple different genres, but racing was one of its biggest draws. The definitive party console, at the time, no one loved anything more than hunkering down for the night with some friends and a racing cartridge.

But which ones to choose?

That was the question many players often had to ask themselves. Having such a robust library can, sometimes, lead to these first-world type problems, but it also is a blessing. Not every console is gifted quality games like the N64, especially in the racing genre.


Top 7 N64 Racing Games : Comparison Table


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Mario Kart 64

Mario Kart 64  as one of the best n64 racing games

Diddy Kong Racing

Diddy Kong Racing  as one of the best n64 racing games

Wave Race 64

Wave Race 64  as one of the best n64 racing games

Excitebike 64

Excitebike 64  as one of the best n64 racing games

Beetle Adventure Racing!

Beetle Adventure Racing  as one of the best n64 racing games

F-Zero X

F-Zero X  as one of the best n64 racing games

Star Wars Episode I: Racer

Star Wars Episode 1 Racer as one of the best N64 racing games

All N64 Racing Games are Not Created Equal


Best N64 racing games

Before we start the list, it’s worth noting that there are going to be a few different-styled racers on board. For us, a racing game is defined as grabbing a cart, truck, or even jet ski, and taking it through the turns. Be it by land, or by sea, if you’re racing a clock, A.I., or other players, we consider it a bona fide racer.

Our list will include some of the most popular games for the console, as well as titles that you may not have heard of. That’s fine, as there are always games that may have missed your radar, but hopefully shining some light on them can help you if you’re ever looking to revisit the N64.

What are some of our favorite N64 racing games? Let’s take a look.

Mario Kart 64  as one of the best n64 racing games

Mario Kart 64 is the best-selling games on this list, but is it the best racer?

The uber-popular racer defines what the N64 could do and was the cog in plenty of Saturday night sessions. More than likely everyone has played a round or two in their lifetime.

You know you have a special game when everyone recognizes the title.

Read: Study confirms "Mario Kart" really does make you a better driver by Huffpost

What made Mario Kart 64 so special though? 

For starters, you could thank the roster Nintendo put into the game. Having yet another title that features plenty of different characters from their growing franchises, racing as Peach, Toad, or Yoshi. The characters, this time around in the racers second installment, had weight classes which affected their on-track performance.

The tracks all presented a good overall variety in the game, and it still features the series’ longest track to date, Rainbow Road. This is a racing game, and to keep players interested, the courses needed to stay fresh. There were also three different modes, and a secret goodie for fans, to compete in: Time Trial, Grand Prix, and Battle. The secret mode is Mirror Mode, adding some difficulty for more experienced racers in the later game stages.

Overall though, Mario Kart 64 brought hectic, item-based cart-racing to the system in a way that was addictive and enjoyable for all skill levels. Mario Kart 64 really put the Mario Kart franchise on the map and played a pivotal role in shaping the series today.

Pros

  • Well-designed tracks
  • Simple controls
  • Strong multiplayer appeal

Cons

  • Computerized opponents sometimes pull off questionable feats
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Diddy Kong Racing  as one of the best n64 racing games

Even though Mario Kart 64 is often credited with some of the best racing action on the N64, Diddy Kong Racing wasn’t far behind.

This race was interesting because it was released nine months after Mario Kart 64, and the game actually started as an RTS. The only reason Rare started development on it was because Banjo-Kazooie was delayed, and they needed a title out for Christmas.

What came about was the eventual eighth-best selling Nintendo 64 game of all time, and a great racer at that.

Receiving critical acclaim on its release, Diddy Kong Racing featured stunning graphics, solid audio design, and gameplay that rivaled most racers. Many thought the game was a Mario Kart 64 clone, and that’s true, but the new kid on the block improved the old racer and had its own charm.

With an overall cute charm, the game had 30 tracks that were all connected within a giant Overworld. The gameplay was all about strategic and planned racing, with the players having to race against boss characters. These characters were integral in the story and added a new dynamic and modes to play. The penultimate Trophy Race is a string of races against the all the bosses. It’s a challenge, but a solid one at that.

With three vehicles, eight characters, and plenty of bananas to go around, Diddy Kong Racing stands the test of time as one of the best racers on the N64.

Pros

  • plenty of racing content in the main story line to keep you busy for hours
  • tons of bonus material
  • multiplayer mode in which you and up to three of your friends can play every race in the main story line as well as battle in the bonus maps

Cons

  • Some players finds it a bit too cutesy, referring to the characters’ voices

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Wave Race 64  as one of the best n64 racing games

A game about racing jet skis? Yes, it happened, and it was a blast to play. Wave Race 64 makes the list of this best N64 racing games.

In racer was simple, as the gameplay was all about getting to the finish line first all while going through slalom-style cones. The cones provided boost, but if you missed five in a row then you were disqualified from finishing the race. The coolest part though was that the game had some of the best water physics around, and boy did they shine.

Through the nine different tracks, the dynamic wave and tidal settings proved to keep the dynamism prevalent and changed the way you would have to maneuver your ride throughout the race. There were five modes to toy with: Warm Up, Time Trials, Stunt, Versus, and Championship. Even though the Versus mode could only be played by two people at a time, including its help with the replay ability.

All in all, the game still holds up today. It’s a marvel that something 21 years old still has water physics that look good. Of course, Nintendo takes care of its game, so maybe it’s not.

Pros

  • Virtual console port is done in high quality
  • Easy to understand 
  • High quality graphics

Cons

  • The cartridge quality can be improved. A customer review stated that it was delivered in a poor condition. However nothing that can be solved by cleaning it up. 

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Excitebike 64  as one of the best n64 racing games

Yet another game with 64 in its name, and another long wait for a sequel, but no matter–Excitebike 64 was still a dominant racing game.

From creating your own tracks with the Track Editor, to playing through the 20 tracks in Season mode, Excitebike 64 gave you options to compete in. Included in these was Special Tracks, a small but needed addition to the lasting appeal of the title. It featured six mini-game styled events, among them the original NES Excitebike for fans to play.

You could also play with four people at a time in Exhibition, having six riders to choose from, which gave a boost to it becoming the Saturday night with friend’s game of choice.

Even more impressive was that the N64 was rounding down its lifecycle at this point, yet Nintendo was still producing high-quality games for their system. The graphics looked splendid, and controls were tight–a word not often thrown around back then–making for consistent gameplay race to race. Definitely worthy of getting into our list of the best N64 racing games.

Pros

  • High resolution graphics
  • Controls are tight
  • As an added bonus, the original NES version is hidden inside this game
  • Lets you create your own custom track

Cons

  • May not be fun for the slowest player because they'll never win
  • Realistic controls may take a while to get used to 

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Beetle Adventure Racing!  as one of the best n64 racing games

Before they were a part of massive auto industry defying scandals, Volkswagen was experiencing a Beetle revival in the 90’s. When you start to get popular, chances are a video game developer will approach you with a game idea. In this case, Paradigm Entertainment crafted Beetle Adventure Racing! which is still one of the most underrated racing titles in existence.

Being published by EA, the game seemingly borrows mechanics, and its sense of speed, from their Need for Speed series. The six tracks featured in the game are massive and are peppered with shortcuts to learn and utilize. Seriously, you can play a track more than a few times and still not find all the hidden places to shave time off your time.

Along with its Championship event, there were battle stage events. These new modes, having to be unlocked by bonus points from the Championship races, allowed players to play capture the flag with weapons. Most racers have extra modes, but these were unique in adding value to the game itself.

Pros

  • Runs smoothly and maintains a good frame rate 
  • Features a Beetle Battle mode for multiplayers

Cons

  • The only available cars in the game are Volkswagen Beetles, no surprises there, but once you get past that it’s a stellar racer with a decent amount of content to offer. If you haven’t already, check it out.
  • Track selection is limited to 6 courses only

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F-Zero X  as one of the best n64 racing games

Another sequel that was long-awaited by fans of the original F-Zero, F-Zero X made it possible for high-octane, futuristic racing to happen on your TV.

You’re tasked with racing at speeds of 1000 km/h against 29 other machines, all without weapons or items. The only features at your disposal were accelerating, braking, and boosting. That’s it. This might make it sound tough, but in typical Nintendo fashion, the game played easy but was hard to master.

The title was packed with content, having 30 individual vehicles and 30 normal tracks, along with a X-Cup mode variant that would randomly generate tracks for you to race on. Yeah, that’s pretty cool. The game also had your standard Versus, Time Attack, Practice, and GP modes, but the new inclusion of Death Race added some nice flavor to the recipe. To be crowned the victor in said event, you must destroy all the other racers.

If you and some friends wanted a thrill ride of a racer, F-Zero X presented just that. The sound design wasn’t blowing people away, but with so much to do and see, nobody really cared.

Pros

  • Fast paced and challenging racing games 
  • The game moves along quickly and smoothly 

Cons

  • Some players may find that there seems to be very little in the game to keep you coming back
  • Low resolution textures

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Star Wars Episode 1 Racer as one of the best N64 racing games

Ending this list of the best N64 racing games is the Star Wars Racer. While fans and the general public may debate the nature of the Star Wars prequel trilogy, no one can deny that Star Wars Episode I: Racer was a genuinely fun and inventive game. Set in the middle of the pod races on Tatooine, the game gave you a chance to become a champion in your own pod and expands the mythology of the races.

In one of the more intriguing racers ever released, racing a giant machine put together by aliens in a different universe, there was plenty of content. The fact, too, that you could go into Sebulba’s shop and buy upgrades, racers, and more was just so interesting. Having new characters to unlock in the Tournament mode and featuring more depth than was found in the movie, it both paid homage to fans and functioned as an engaging game.

Another neat tidbit that made this game so special on the Nintendo 64 was that it came out as an exclusive to the console, and Windows. The game was just rereleased for the first time ever. It still holds up very well to this day and blazing around in the desert as the once-prodigal son Anakin has never been more fun.

Pros

  • Not too violent to be played by children under 10 years old
  • Menu screen features unique 3D environments
  • Recreates the feeling that the Star Wars film gives to its fans
  • Impressive visuals

Cons

  • Limited to 2-player option
  • Can be a rather challenging game for some

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Best N64 Racing Games: Final Thoughts


best n64 racing games

While Nintendo was home to some amazing games during its time, the genre of racing found a unique home on the console. They totally stepped up to having the best N64 racing games. 

In an era where graphics and gameplay were becoming king, the N64 developers found a way to crank the most out of the system, all while producing quality racing games that were fresh. Between the combination of sequels and new, challenging games, the racing category was squarely in Nintendo’s court.

Finding your favorite racing game also wasn’t too hard, as plenty of people valued different styles of gameplay. This meant that even if you weren’t a fan of Excitebike 64 or the elegance of Ridge Racer, there was something for you. That makes a console special, and racing with the N64 controller never gets old.

Get out there and throw some bananas.

Game Spotlight: Battle Kid Fortress of Peril

Game Spotlight: Battle Kid Fortress of Peril

Battle Kid Fortress of Peril

Homebrew: a term that defines a video game Battle Kid Fortress of Peril that was created for a specific platform, by an individual or team of developers.

Some homebrew games can be great, while others fall squarely short of expectations. Most of the joy, though, for the developers comes from simply completing the project. Think about it: if you’re just an average person, or video game hobbyist, wouldn’t it be neat to make your own game and see others play it?

Indeed, the homebrew community has never been stronger, and we’ll be seeing more games for the years to come.

But today, we’re going to be talking about a specific title that was created back in 2010. That game? Battle Kid Fortress of Peril. Before we dive into our review though, let’s take a brief tour on the history of homebrewing.


Battle Kid Fortress of Peril is a Special Homebrew Title


Battle Kid Fortress of Peril

One look at the game’s box art and it’s safe to say that the game belongs on the NES. Let’s be honest: when a game is titled something odd like Battle Kid Fortress of Peril, you know it calls home on a retro console.

The original release of the 2D platformer was back in February 2010. Instead of the standard digital release onto an emulator-based file, the game did something a little different: a cartridge-only release. The team behind it was developer Sivak Games, and publisher Retrozone for NES, with the box art being designed by the popular YouTube personality Larry Bundy Jr.

The flip side of this is that the actual cartridge is a translucent green, paying homage to the days when Nintendo would manufacture different colored games for specific titles. This also makes the game highly-collectible to any NES completionist.

Of course, there has been demand for the game to be released via a downloadable version, but the developer has stated that it probably won’t happen due to a contractual obligation Sivak has with Retrozone.

What started as a passion project quickly became much more for Sivak. Will the first major platformer released for the NES since 1995 be a hit, or will it fall at its own expectations?

Pros

  • solid level design
  • interesting story 
  • great looking graphical animations

Cons

  • The digital era makes it impossible to buy cartridge

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The Standard Story of Find and Defeat


Battle Kid Fortress of Peril
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The overview of the game makes it seem like a very intimidating adventure from the start. Totaling 550 rooms, 30 enemy types, and eight bosses, there is a lot to do within Battle Kid’s walls. That might sound tough, and honestly, it is.

Plot wise, the game centers around an old building that an unknown group has gained control of. Timmy must infiltrate that fortress–Fortress II’Akab, nicknamed the Fortress of Peril– to stop the group’s plans of developing a “supermech” from the magical properties. All of this is presented as text at the beginning of the game and gives a reason for the madness.

Even though there are five different difficulty settings, the game should be played on its normal difficulty. Sivak mentioned that, while being an avid NES collector and gamer himself, harder games were something he held dear to his heart. So, crafting a game where death is one hit by anyone made sense. The difficulties, when stepping up to harder gameplay, take away continues, and the Unfair difficulty is particularly, well, unfair, giving you no continues and no password saves.

He tried to alleviate some of the hardship by giving players save states to load from, and this does help. There is also a password system in place to access secret levels, and the saves are easily accessible when needed, which is quite often.

Just make sure to write down your save, or else you may not remember it!


Timmy Versus Everything Else


Battle Kid Fortress of Peril

The gameplay mechanics are designed around a main character, named Timmy, who possess a projectile weapon that enables you to defeat enemies. Through all the different rooms, you’ll have to guide Timmy around in typical 2D platformer fashion, making sure to time your movements are the different enemies. Some may shoot at you with a secret eye socket, while others are simply there to force you into a different area.

In order to advance through the game itself, you must find different keys to unlock specific areas within the fortress. The keys you can find also provide enhancements to Timmy, which are necessary to overcoming specific obstacles. This was nice, as forcing the player to explore is always a plus.

There was, originally, in with the first version of the game, a few secrets to be found. For starters, there was a glitch in the game’s code that allowed the player to become invincible. You can imagine how this would disrupt the original intentions of Sivak. The other bug had to do with sound implementation but wasn’t game breaking.

Overall, the controls felt tight, and it seems the time put in gave way to an easy-to-handle game. While certain retro games can’t hold up due to controls, being made in 2010 gives Battle Kid Fortress of Peril an edge in appealing to the new generation of gamers.


Graphically Advanced and Solid Sound Design


Graphically Advanced Battle Kid Fortress of Peril

While it’s fine to have excellent gameplay that isn’t too repetitive, a game must have good enough graphics and sound to keep someone interested. Thankfully, Battle Kid just does that.

Attributing this to being created within the confines of modern, not archaic, technology, this NES game looks great, and clearly work went into providing a unique sound profile. The sprites used for the enemies, level design, and bosses are exquisite. All of the animation is fluid, and the game performs remarkably on either a PC, or the actual NES system.

The sound, on the other hand, is exceptional. It rattles the brain to think about how someone, by themselves, could come up with sound design for a game that all fits together like pieces in a puzzle. There are specific sounds for almost every action, and all the bosses are represented by that fact.

From the opening title screen, you know the sound is legitimate.


Are the Bosses Actually Challenging?


Graphically Advanced Battle Kid Fortress of PerilBosses
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In short, definitely.

After navigating through a few different rooms, you’ll find yourself within the first of eight boss battles.

The game is engaging enough to take a solid amount of time too. As if the content wasn’t apparent, the length of the game is about 18 hours strong. That is a lot of gameplay and deaths thrown into a small package, only adding to the value here.

All of the bosses are unique, and truly require patience to master and defeat them. From Owlbot, a giant robotic owl, to the Seahorse Turret, they’re all different. All the bosses also have names, which is neat, meaning fans don’t have to come up with their own. Being different also requires the player to use specific moves and calculations to beat them. The bosses also have of sense of scale to them.

The more you die the more you should be able to memorize about a boss or level. This will come in handy, especially with later bosses, where you fight underwater or against multiple enemies at a time.

When it was all told, the game is a technical marvel.


Battle Kid Fortress of Peril: The Physical Game


Battle Kid Fortress of Peril

By now, you know that the game is made in a physical, transparent green cartridge. This is done by taking all new parts of the cartridge and putting them together via a new distributor. Thus, no old cartridges are harmed in the making of the game.

This was important to Sivak, so that’s what he did. The game is still available for purchase today. At a very reasonable price, the price seems pretty good for the game you’re getting.


The Legacy of Battle Kid


Battle Kid Fortress of Peril

Developer Sivak Games went on to make a second Battle Kid game in 2012, titled Battle Kid 2: Mountain of Torment. Taking a step up from the previous title, the new game featured 650 rooms, 13 total boss encounters, 25 enemies, and 42 handmade music tracks. Needless to say, this wouldn’t have been doable had the first game not been successful.

Of course, the game was released as a physical only copy as well, having a fully teal transparent shell. The game design is a continuation of the original, meaning the adventure carries over.

Why does this all matter? Well, to see a homebrewed release go on to receive such a high following is impressive. Moreover, the fact that the developer spent a solid amount of time–two years– polishing and finishing the game. Sivak wanted to create an experience that was like other platformers of the time it was set.

He did just that.

It has also been noted that there is a third Battle Kid game in the works, though no official details have been released yet.


Why Do People Homebrew the NES


Battle Kid Fortress of Peril

The NES, home to some of the games that have since gone on to spawn countless iterations. There are also some games that, when released, weren’t highly thought of. It was Nintendo’s baby, and they wanted nothing more than to make most of their own games for it.

Yet frequently, especially in recent years, more developers have ramped up their game creations for the NES system. Why is that?

Simple?

The system’s architecture allows most people the simplicity of creating a game in a reasonable timeframe. Rather than take up two years of someone’s life, an NES game can be made in a matter of weeks, or even hours. The only drawback to homebrewing on the NES is that the physical cartridges are difficult to create.

Also, while it may seem interesting that a console would allow these fan-created titles to play on the system, Nintendo removed a lockout chip further into the NES’s lifespan. This made it easier for players to have games from all around the world, including the ones made in basement.


Battle Kid Fortress of Peril: Final Thoughts


Battle Kid Fortress of Peril

While it may seem impossible to want to buy a cartridge in the digital era, Battle Kid Fortress of Peril is a fine game, and one that any enthusiast should play.

The idea that it’s a difficult-but-not-too-difficult platformer with great looking graphical animations, solid level design, an intriguing story, and just outright fun on the NES. Passion is why people get lost in video games, so it’s always good to see something come from that.

Seriously, the game holds up very well, and goes to show you the genius that some people have. The ROM is available online now for emulators, so it’s not terribly hard to find. If you’re a fan of 8-bit games, the NES era, or competitive platformers, Battle Kid Fortress of Peril should be on the top of your list of games to play next.

The Best Underrated PS2 Games

The Best Underrated PS2 Games

underrated ps2 games

It’s safe to say that during its time on this planet, the PlayStation 2 was a powerhouse for gaming content. Providing a much-warranted upgrade from the PlayStation 1, the PS2 captured the global video game audience.

It was available to buy at retailers for 13 years, making it one of the longest console releases ever. It also holds the record as the best-selling video game console of all time, selling over 155 million units.

Still, to this day, the console is revered for its library of games and lasting appeal. Titles like Metal Gear Solid, Shadow of the Colossus, and God of War highlight the laundry list of mega-titles on the system.

Yet, having 13 years of sales under your belt provides cracks for underrated games to fall through. Plenty of consoles have those great, but hard to find, games that, for whatever reason, are undervalued.

We say no more.

What follows here is our take on the top underrated games of the PS2 era.

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Underrated PS2 Games Comparison Table


Product

Image

Rating

Price

The Warriors

underrated ps2 games - The Warriors - PlayStation 2

Transformers (2004)

underrated ps2 games: Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen - PlayStation 2

Oni

underrated ps2 games: Oni PS2

The Suffering

underrated ps2 games - The Suffering PS2 Game

Fatal Frame

underrated ps2 gamesFatal Frame Ps2 Game

Shadow of Rome

underrated ps2 games:Shadow of Rome - PlayStation 2 Game

Urban Chaos: Riot Response

underrated ps2 games - Urban Chaos Riot Response - PlayStation 2 Game