#17 : Dark Rift
Yet another fighting game joins the ranks on the Nintendo 64, but we still don’t have our first native fighting game, with all the released ones being re-released titles. Dark Rift comes from a cancelled fighting game that was intended for the Sega Saturn (so if you want to split hairs, maybe this is the first native-fighter on the console?), and sets us far in the future where a crystal is being hunted down that turns out to be a piece of a Master Key. This key was found a very long time ago in a tear in space. Upon being retrieved, the key burst into pieces and were scattered to alternate dimensions, thus creating the games titular Dark Rift. A tournament is being held by Sonork for possession of this key.
The roster comes with eight fighters, and two additional ones that can be unlocked by completing the game in single player mode (or with a cheat code if that’s your thing). Each fighter comes with their own weapon to attack with, and a list of their own special moves they can pull off. Naturally, everybody can punch, kick and jump all the same. Rounds are done in a best-of-five scenario instead of the traditional best-of-three, which makes them go a little bit longer and allows a bit more time to use each fighter. Now…whether or not you’ll want to spend that time with the fighters is up in the air.
Not a lot is noteworthy and amazing about Dark Rift, but it’s also worth saying that there’s not a lot bad and put-off worthy about it either. The fighting controls are awkward, utilizing all the yellow C-camera buttons. The backgrounds for the fighting areas look beautiful, especially if you’re using the N64’s RAM expansion. As far as in the game though, the best thing about it is probably the fact that the AI opponents will adapt to your style if you continue to spam the same attack. So if they start blocking you more efficiently, you might want to try switching stuff up.
Grade : C+
Price : Loose ($6) CIB ($20) New ($60)
#18 : Starfox 64
Starfox is a name that rings strong for any Nintendo fan, no matter what generation we’re talking about. Super Nintendo brought us the original title, so with everything making the jump to this 64-bit, 3D glory…it’s only natural that this hard hitter came along for the ride. Serving as a reboot of the series, the opening cutscene takes us through an accident on the planet Corneria caused by a scientist, Andross. He is then exiled to a faraway plaent, Venom, as a result of his actions. Years later, Andross stages an attack across the entire Lylat system of planets. From Corneria, the new Starfox team assembles consisting of Fox McCloud, Peppy, Falco, and Slippy Toad.
The game itself features branching paths, with only a few minor elements being shared. All paths start from Corneria, all of them end at the planet Venom, and at some point along the path you’ll cross with your rival gang of mercenaries, Star Wolf. Each path represents a different difficulty, with Easy offering less levels and therefore less enemies than the Normal and Hard paths. However you start off with the same number of lives and same stats for each vehicle, so the easier paths are less chances of losing those things.
Most of the levels are played in a corridor-style, where your ship will be represented at the screen, and the level spans out in front of you “into” the screen. You can fly to all extremes of the display, firing at enemies, dodging them firing at you, dodging natural blockages in the levels like buildings and asteroids. There’s even a number of rings to fly your ship through that all have varying results : replenish your ships, or your special bomb ammo, gain extra lives, as well as collecting special gold rings that can extend your ships shield bar.
It would be hard to put a damper on this game. It’s generally accepted as one of the greatest games of all time, being one of the hottest seller’s on the N64. Additionally, it’s because of this game that we were given the Rumble Pak, since Starfox 64 was the first game to utilize such a feature. Years later, it was also remade to be played on the handheld 3DS. Nothing can ever tear this game down from the throne that it sits upon, and it is a must have in any Nintendo 64 library.
Grade : A+
Price : Loose ($15) CIB ($40) New ($120)
As it may have been noticed I ended up stepping away from all the Chronicles stuff for a bit, but I’m back! Our next article we’ll be hitting our 19th and 20th games, International Superstar Soccer 64 and Tetrisphere. Things are going to be sporty and puzzly so it should make for an interesting read. As for the current situation of the Chronicles, I’ve just entered into the 60’s for the games, and my next streamed episode we’ll be covering Bio FREAKS and All-Star Baseball ’99. See you guys next time!