September 26 2016 marks the 20th birthday of the Nintendo 64 console…well, its North American birthday anyway.
Despite launching three days earlier than originally planned, with only two games to choose from, the console was a massive commercial and critical success, which had a lot to do with its library of wonderful games.
Many of the most well-known and critically acclaimed Nintendo 64 titles have made their way onto other consoles over the years, whether original Nintendo IPs brought onto its handheld devices or third-party games remastered for later generation consoles.
But there are many games that haven’t managed to break out of their original N64 cartridges, and some of those we think really deserve to.
Now, with the 20th anniversary of the console approaching and Nintendo preparing to break new ground with its NX console we think the time could be right to give these titles the remaster treatment.
5. Body Harvest
Originally intended to be a launch title for the Nintendo 64, Body Harvest ended up being delayed until 1998, thanks to a tumultuous development process and Nintendo taking issue with some of the game’s violent themes.
Considering Body Harvest was developed by DMA Design (the original developer of the Grand Theft Auto series) it’s not surprising violence featured prominently.,,if the game’s name hadn’t already given that away.
The game puts players in control of silent protagonist Adam Drake, a heavily armed soldier tasked with travelling into the past to save humanity from repeated alien invasions that have ravaged Earth for over a century.
Whilst it hasn’t aged particularly well in terms of its visuals, when playing Body Harvest you can absolutely see how its open-world structure and vehicular freedom influenced DMA in its development of the Grand Theft Auto series.
Plus we wouldn’t object to playing through that absolutely mad story again.
4. Hey You, Pikachu!
Lately people have reveling in Pokémon nostalgia, so there really wouldn’t be a better time to dust off Hey You, Pikachu!
Released in Japan in 1998 and North America in 2000, Hey You, Pikachu is one of only a couple of games that made used of the N64’s voice recognition hardware.
In the game, the player is asked by Professor Oak to test a new device he’s created that allows people to talk to Pokémon. Using this technology, the player is able to befriend a wild Pikachu who then comes to live in the player’s in-game house.
The gameplay seems slightly similar to Nintendogs in that the player interacts with Pikachu across different days, playing with the Pokémon, earning its trust, and unlocking items.
Perhaps well-suited to the handheld aspect of the NX, we’re not going to pretend we wouldn’t like the chance to have a picnic with Pikachu.
3. Hybrid Heaven
We absolutely didn’t choose this game because its title is so apt, but it’s hard to deny that wasn’t a contributor.
Released by Konami in 1999, Hybrid Heaven puts players in the shoes of Mr Diaz, a synthetic human created by aliens who commits a murder in the games opening. The plot of Hybrid Heaven is convoluted and ludicrous but – credit where credit is due – it tries something narratively different.
Aside from that, Hybrid Heaven had some innovative gameplay elements that could be interesting on a handheld console hybrid like the NX.
The most interesting aspect to see utilised on the NX would be the game’s battle mode, which was a kind of live action RPG, locking players in a room with the monster they’re to fight and giving them move options.
Having the game actively switch the player from console mode to handheld in moments such as these could prove to be interesting by adding the sense of intensity to the battles. Or it could prove to be incredibly annoying… but it’d be interesting to find out.