#3 : Mortal Kombat Trilogy
After an amazing launch day of two great titles, the follow up release on the Nintendo 64 was…this. Now, Mortal Kombat is a pretty big title, it’s a series that stands tall today with Mortal Kombat X having been released a few years ago as of this writing. Trilogy is a bit of a mislead in this title. Initially, it might have you thinking that this is a compilation of all three of the first MK games, but it’s not…well, not really. Story-wise, this is just MK3 in a repackaged cartridge. Shao Kahn lost to Liu Kang in the previous game’s tournament, and in his anger he finally takes action on a plan that has been in the works for over 10,000 years : revive his old queen who died at a young age. She’s revived in the Earthrealm, and in his reaching across the boundary, he temporarily merges our realm with Outworld. Now, Raiden and his band of fighters must save Earth and stop Shao Kahn.
What the Trilogy means in the title is this game mashes up all the characters and stages from all the previous games. A handful of characters get new moves, some of which have never been seen before, and any of the mechanics that had been introduced in the last games come back as well. Newly introduced is the games Agressor Bar. This fills up naturally as you fight, but fills quicker when you’re blocking. Once filled, the respective character will be able to move a little bit faster and deal extra damage for a short amount of time.
It’s a fun game and a lot of fun on the N64. I’ve never been a big fan of fighting games because I’m never quick enough with the combos so I never make it all that far. However, being able to use the joystick or the D-Pad (yes you get to choose) is amazing! It makes some of the combos, especially any sweep maneuvers, a lot easier to pull off (at least for me). If this had been made today, it probably would have just been Mortal Kombat 3 Remastered because in essence, that’s all it is. To me personally, this one is on the fence. It’s not a “must have”, but it’s also not a “throw away” and for the price you’ll pay to just pick it up loose, it works out perfectly.
Grade : B
Price : Loose ($15) CIB ($30) Sealed ($95)
#4 : Wave Race 64
Originally refrred to as “F-Zero on water”, Wave Race 64 is the jet ski racing simulator you never knew you wanted. Players compete on a number of tracks spread out over four different tournaments, differentiated by difficulty : Easy, Hard, Expert, and Reverse. The level you choose determines the number of races in your tournament, as well as the AI difficulty. Outside of these tournaments, you can choose to play in Time Trial or Stunt Mode, or if you have a friend, throwdown in multiplayer.
While racing, you’ll be sloshing through waves, navigating around buoys, sandbars, over ramps, and sometimes pretty damn close to some animals. If you’re in one of the tournaments, before each race you’ll be given a total of points you must earn to advance to the next round. These points are cumulative, so there’s a chance that in Round One, you may earn enough to guarantee entry into Rounds Two and Three. Fail to earn these points and your game is over. On the water, your main focus is the red and yellow buoys. Each buoy much be passed on the correct side (red on the right, yellow on the left). When you make the pass, a power bar will start to fill up that has a maximum of five slots, with each slot adding to your jet ski’s speed. If you miss a buoy, you’ll lose all your gained energy and have to start all over, but make sure you don’t miss five buoys because that’s a game over as well.
The other game modes are fairly simple and self-explanatory. In Time Trial, you’ll have free roam of a course to practice your laps, while Stunt Mode puts you in a closed off area with some fun ramps to shoot off of and score points.
All in all, this is a really fun game. It’s tough to get used to at first, especially if you’ve played a lot of more modern racing games on current consoles. The N64’s joystick is quite responsive, though, and once you feel it out you won’t have any issues whipping around the buoys. It still looks amazing over 20 years later, the soundtrack is perfect for the races, and the commentating is obnoxious enough to be funny but not annoying. This one’s fairly cheap to find, even CIB, and again it’s a ton of fun. If you’re being selective about your N64 collecting, be sure to include this title.
Grade : A
Price : Loose ($7) CIB ($16) Sealed ($80)
Next N64 Chronicles Stream : April 20, 2018
I typically do this series on stream on Wednesdays, but since I got this article a bit later than I was hoping, I’ve moved it to Friday this week. So, if you wanna come check it out in action, my channel is linked to the “upcoming” header above. What am I playing this time? I’ve got a triple feature on tap, a couple sports game and a fighting game. Of the three, I’m more excited for NBA In The Zone ’98. Mostly due to the fact that I’ve never played a basketball game on N64, which makes it literally the only console I’ve never played basketball on.
Wayne Gretzky’s 3D Hockey
Killer Instinct Gold