#7 : Cruis’n USA
After spending two years sitting in arcades with a full driver’s seat, wheel and pedals, Cruis’n USA made it’s way into everybody’s home on the Nintendo 64. Initially intended to go out when the console launched, the game was pulled less than a month before it’s initial release date to be re-tooled and honed down. After getting some graphical downgrades and a little bit of censoring, the home version was pretty much on par with it’s arcade alter-ego.
Players get to choose from a handful of cars, selecting either an automatic or manual transmission, and participating in a massive stretch of races that spans from the west to east coasts of the USA. The one big race is broken down into smaller ones, and to advance a round you’ll need to win the current one. You’ll be dealing with traffic on both sides of the road, as well as a lot of technical corners that will become tougher as the rounds progress. If you can cross the finish line first, you’ll be greeted with a trophy and a bikini-clad girl holding it out for you, as well as a pass on to the following race.
I will always hold a personal preference on this game for the arcade version over the home one. I grew up playing this sitting behind a wheel, and I have since lost my N64 racing wheel controller so I can’t say if it’s compatible with this game (I imagine it must be though). The home version is an amazing port of this game and well worth the playtime.
Grade : A-
Price : Loose ($8) CIB ($27) New ($105)
#8 : Star Wars – Shadows of the Empire
Taking place after Episode V, this Star Wars game puts you in control of Dash Rendar on his mission of assisting Luke and rescuing Princess Leia. While the game is predominantly a third-person shooter, you’ll get to experience a bit of vehicular combat as well. For instance, the games opening level takes place during Episode V and the Battle of Hoth. The story spans out over ten levels, each of which has a time limit that it will need to be completed in. Additionally, the levels have a few specific challenges you can try and complete to earn bonus medals.
One downside is the life limit in the game. If you lose them all you’ll have to go back to the start. Which, as stressful and annoying as it can be, this game is a lot of fun and can even be worth it on the forced re-runs. The fact that it’s in third-person and not first is a huge benefit for this game, as the controls don’t feel so wonky while you’re playing. Granted, it’s a 20 year old game so it won’t be perfect, but it’s aged quite well. The space battles are intense, the run-and-gunning is a lot fun, and for any Star Wars geek out there, this is a fairly enjoyable mid-quel in the series.
Overall though, it is a lot of fun to play and more than worthwhile adding it to your collection.
Grade : A
Price : Loose ($9) CIB ($28) New ($120)
Upcoming on Stream
As far as progression in the Chronicles series, we have Vigilante 8 and Rampage : World Tour. I’ll also be doing a reclamation stream, as I’ve lost a few episodes of this to the depths of the internet. These games will be FIFA : Road to World Cup 98 and Robotron 64, as well as San Francisco Rush : Extreme Racing, this last one just refused to work for me so the cartridge may need to be replaced in my library. I’m absolutely excited for Vigilante 8, it’s one of the games I always wanted to play as a kid and never got the chance. Want to catch these games and the rest of the N64 Chronicles? Follow me at twitch.tv/honestgamermike and come enjoy the fun!