#9 : NBA Hangtime
Not being a huge basketball fan, I wasn’t all that excited when I first fired this game up on my N64. However, it took about 30 seconds before that emotion completely flipped and I got hyped. NBA Hangtime is Midway’s continuation of it’s NBA Jam series of games, since the Jam title had been acquired by Acclaim. Anybody who ever laid hands on a copy of NBA Jami knows it was the basketball title of it’s time. It’s no surprise that this title continued that with the same fast-paced gameplay and crazy wacky take on arcade style basketball.
A lot of the old features remain in this version. The games are still two-on-two, played out over three minute-long quarters, with three minute overtime’s if needed until a winner is declared. Pushing and knocking over is perfectly legal, and you can take to the skies to pull some intense slam dunks on your competition. New features include spin moves, alley-oops, double dunks (when one player is mid-dunk and passes the ball to their teammate who is already in the air behind them), and a really cool new feature where you can create your own player. You can customize their height, weight, strength, as well as shooting and defending skills. These stats can be increased as you play the game with your created character, since winning games earns you more ability points.
All of the games released to this point on the console had taken advantage of the 3D capabilities, with the exception of Mortal Kombat Trilogy and Killer Instinct Gold which weren’t really “new” releases. NBA Hangtime doesn’t do this, keeping things in a 2D side-screen perspective and it is a ton of fun. The new features mesh beautifully with the old making this game a must have for the console. And I’m sure if you’ve ever played NBA Jam before, you’re already looking to hunt down a copy of this one.
Grade : A+
Price : Loose ($12) CIB ($27) New ($70)
#10 : Mario Kart 64
Before I even say a word about this game, we all know it, we all love it, and I don’t really need to say anything about it. I spent most of my childhood, and honestly into adulthood, thinking that this was the game that started the Mario Kart series. It was a long time before I got to mess around with the original on Super Nintendo, and really see for myself the big jump in quality between the two games.
Mario Kart 64 brought some amazing things to the franchise, and a couple that probably put a lot of friendships and relationships to the test. Race your way through four championships with one of eight racers in full 3D action. This game saw the introduction of Donkey Kong and Wario as playable characters, and the always popular blue shell item (aka the friend-tester). Returning from the previous game is the multiplayer Battle Mode where you’ll face off in dedicated arenas looking to knock balloons off your opponent’s karts.
Again, there really isn’t much that needs to be said about this game. Whenever the console gets mentioned, this is typically one of the first two or three games that comes into mention with it (the others being Super Mario 64 and Ocarina of Time…at least in my opinion). No matter how many new ones they make, this N64 version will always be my personal favorite installment in the franchise. It’s a lot of fun, and it plays just as good now as it did 20 years ago. It’s popularity forces a bit of a higher price tag on it, but it’ll be worth every penny to get this cartridge (or kartridge…eh?) in your collection.
Grade : A+
Price : Loose ($30) CIB ($58) New ($270)
Upcoming On Stream
Coming up soon in the series, we’ll be doing some snowboarding and flying through the air. But, one game on the horizon that I really have my eye on is Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon. The SNES entry in the series, Legend of the Mystical Ninja was a game that took me quite a bit of time to hunt down, and I fell in love with it almost immediately. I’m really hoping everything that made the SNES game great, continues into this one. I’m so excited in fact, that when I reach this in the Chronicles I’ll be dedicating a full stream to just this one game.
Also, stay tuned for the next article where we’ll be talking about the next games, Blast Corps and FIFA Soccer 64.
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