Poll

Which of these N64 games would you recommend?

F-Zero X
Mario Golf
Mario Kart 64
Star Fox 64
1080 Snowboarding
Bomberman 64
Donkey Kong 64
Excitebike 64
Harvest Moon 64
Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards
Mario Party 2
Mario Tennis
Ogre Battle 64: Person of Lordly Caliber
Paper Mario
Pokemon Snap
Sin & Punishment
The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask
Yoshi's Story
All of these games suck :(
Gotta play them all :)
Super Mario 64
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
Wave Race 64

Author Topic: Best of the Wii U eShop (Bonus Round E: N64 VC)  (Read 25684 times)

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Offline Mr. Bungle

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Best of the Wii U eShop (Bonus Round E: N64 VC)
« on: March 07, 2021, 12:39:25 PM »
Background
The Wii U eShop will only be open for a limited time so it is worth looking at the games there while there is still time to buy them. In the first few months we looked at all the available eShop games, but we omitted the Virtual Console releases, until now! Nintendo introduced the Virtual Console (VC) with Wii as a way to sell games from previous systems a la carte. That same service continued with Wii U and 3DS before being replaced with a Netflix style service bundled with the Nintendo Switch's Online membership.

The Nintendo 64 Virtual Console
The Nintendo 64 (N64) ushered many players into the world of 3D gameplay and included the release of several timeless classics. The N64 was included on the virtual console for Wii and the full list of games available is very similar to the list below. While the 3DS did not attempt to emulate N64 games several high profile games were re-mastered for play on the handheld. The Wii U eShop has a meager 21 titles typically costing $9.99 (USD) with the whole shebang detailed below.

The Games
The following 21 titles comprise the N64 VC for Wii U with information in the following order
Game Title (Release year, Developer/Publisher, Current cartridge cost*)
* Loose cartridge only, USD, source: https://www.pricecharting.com/
  • 1080 Snowboarding  (1998, Nintendo, $10)
  • Bomberman 64  (1997, Konami, $22)
  • Donkey Kong 64 (1999, Rare/Nintendo, $28)
  • Excitebike 64 (2000, Nintendo, $8)
  • F-Zero X (1998, Nintendo, $27)
  • Harvest Moon 64 (1999, Natsume, $45)
  • Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards (2000, HAL/Nintendo, $29)
  • Mario Golf (1999, Camelot/Nintendo, $27)
  • Mario Kart 64 (1997, Nintendo, $34)
  • Mario Party 2 (2000, Nintendo, $41)
  • Mario Tennis (2000, Camelot/Nintendo, $23)
  • Ogre Battle 64: Person of Lordly Caliber (2000, Square Enix, $78)
  • Paper Mario (2001, Nintendo, $69)
  • Pokemon Snap  (1999, HAL/Nintendo, $17)
  • Sin & Punishment  (2007, Treasure/Nintendo, NA)
  • Star Fox 64  (1997, Nintendo, $20)
  • Super Mario 64  (1996, Nintendo, $31)
  • The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask  (2000, Nintendo, $46)
  • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time  (1998, Nintendo, $31)
  • Wave Race 64  (1996, Nintendo, $10)
  • Yoshi's Story  (1998, Nintendo, $22)

The Highlights
There are three games that received the 3DS re-master treatment: Star Fox, Ocarina of Time, and Majora's Mask. We should also mention the Super Mario 64 which was remade for DS and most recently re-released on Switch as part of the Super Mario 3D All-Stars compilation.

If want to compare the Wii VC with the Wii U VC then the following titles are only available on Wii U: Bomberman 64, Donkey Kong 64, and Harvest Moon 64.

Looking at developers we can see a lack of third party support. In addition to the aforementioned Bomberman (Konami) and Harvest Moon (Natsume), the VC also include Ogre Battle 64 (Square Enix). This cult classic is also the most valuable cartridge to obtain these days and trades for $80 loose or $180 CIB.

The last thing to mention is Sin & Punishment. This on-rails shooter was a Japan exclusive at the turn of the century and did not see an official localization until 2007 when it was released on the Wii VC. But you will be paying the localization tax as this is the one title priced at $11.99 ($2 over the standard rate).

Comments
I welcome any corrections to the information I found when compiling the list. The price information here is for the US so let me know about differences in other regions. Not sure what to comment, consider questions like:
  • Which version of Super Mario 64 do you prefer?
  • Would you rather have an N64 classic or have N64 games added onto the Switch online service?
  • Are you a person of lordly caliber?

Next Round
Join me next week as we Do Service to the last handheld included in our exhaustive review of the Wii U Virtual Console.

Offline NWR_insanolord

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Re: Best of the Wii U eShop (Bonus Round E: N64 VC)
« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2021, 06:37:18 PM »
Ocarina of Time is a great game, but I think I'd have a hard time going back to the N64 version and not having the improvements of the 3DS remake. I hope if we're going to get a "Zelda 3D All-Stars" type package for the anniversary this year they can incorporate at least some of that stuff. As for Mario 64, I liked the graphical touches of the 3D All-Stars version, but I definitely missed the save state feature of the Wii U Virtual Console version.

Also, while I recommended Harvest Moon 64, it's not without reservation. I'm a huge fan of the series, and that's the first game in it I ever owned, and while 64 is still a good game, it's lacking in depth not just compared to modern entries, but other ones from that time like Back to Nature on the PS1.
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Offline GK

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Re: Best of the Wii U eShop (Bonus Round E: N64 VC)
« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2021, 09:56:51 PM »
I wish listed Ogre Battle 64 but never committed to trying it again. Though between the difficulty spikes & how easy it was to have your fav soldiers turn into zombies, the VC saving might be a plus when it comes to fixing screw-ups.
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Offline Khushrenada

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Re: Best of the Wii U eShop (Bonus Round E: N64 VC)
« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2021, 06:35:04 PM »
Which version of Super Mario 64 do you prefer?

I guess I still have a fondness for popping in my 64 Cartridge and firing up the 64 for a few rounds. I played the DS version as it came with my system when I bought it but didn't think the added levels / characters were that significant. Didn't really have a problem with the DS controls aside from swinging Bowser but I've never gone back to the DS version after finishing it way back in 2005. However, I have played the 64 version a few times since then so I guess it wins because of that.

Would you rather have an N64 classic or have N64 games added onto the Switch online service?

I have an SNES Classic and I've never played it apart from plugging it one time and making sure it worked. I have played a bunch of games on the SNES Switch app. A classic probably has a better chance of getting some third party games (or Rare games) being included much like the SNES had FF6, Secret of Mana and Mega Man X. Meanwhile the SNES app has yet to see those or a lot of big third party titles show up. However, the SNES Switch app has a lot more games available to it than the Classic. (Although there are ways to circumvent that.) Plus, the Switch app adds the rewind feature to the games that join its line-up. While one could add DKC2 and Kirby's Dream Land 3 to their Classic, they will not have the rewind feature available to them like the App versions do. The Classic is around for as long as you want but the SNES and theoretical 64 app are only around if you have an online subscription and for as long as Nintendo wants to make those apps available.

While the heart would prefer a Switch 64 app as I'm more likely to play games on it, the head says an N64 Classic would be the smarter route for longevity.

Are you a person of lordly caliber?

No.

Offline Mr. Bungle

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Re: Best of the Wii U eShop (Bonus Round E: N64 VC)
« Reply #4 on: March 08, 2021, 06:55:29 PM »
Are you a person of lordly caliber?
No.
But you have "King" in your title  :D

Offline pokepal148

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Re: Best of the Wii U eShop (Bonus Round E: N64 VC)
« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2021, 06:02:32 PM »
Having the DS version of Mario 64 on the VC as well makes the N64 version completely irrelevant tbh. The Wii U's N64 emulation is subpar, even compared to what you could get on Wii Mode and the DS version has an improved camera system and comes on the Wii U's vastly superior DS emulation.

Plus it comes with save state support and the fact that the DS version of the game was really good at faking analog input with the D-pad makes it feel much more authentic than something like the 8-way digital movement in 3D World.
« Last Edit: March 09, 2021, 06:07:56 PM by pokepal148 »
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Offline Discord.RSS

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Re: Best of the Wii U eShop (Bonus Round E: N64 VC)
« Reply #6 on: March 10, 2021, 08:13:33 AM »
Honestly, most of these are at least decent games. Maybe not a lot of enduring classics, and many of them have had improved sequels since, but I'd wager most hold up okay. If you went to a friend's house and they dug any of these cartridges out of their shoebox, you'd probably have a good time.

There's some differences between the N64 Virtual Console games on Wii and Wii U by the way. Wii had Smash Bros. 64, Bomberman Hero (the second Bomberman on N64), Pok√©mon Puzzle League, and Cruis'n USA, none of which made the generational leap. Meanwhile Wii U has Bomberman 64 (the first one), DK64, Excitebike, and Harvest Moon. Don't really understand the logic there, as Nintendo owns three of the missing ones, and Hudson-Konami have plenty of VC releases on Wii U. 

Anyway, first a note on F-Zero X: There was some kerfuffle about the controls being borked on Wii U. Nintendo issued a patch which I assume fixed it. Easily the best racer on N64 imo, and that system had plenty competition in the genre. F-Zero X plays really well to this day, and has the X Cup which infinitely generates new tracks, which it sequel could not replicate. Leans more towards comic books and rock music than its sequel too, if that's your preferred prism through which to relive late nineties nostalgia.

The more unique ones:
- Sin & Punishment is a really rough railshooter, not nearly as accessible as Star Fox 64, and way harder. The sequel on Wii (S&P:Star Successor) is a million times better, and controls like a dream. Meanwhile to get this one playable you'll want to re-map every button to get to something resembling twin-stick controls. That said, it's a twitchy, intense game with some creative bosses.
The story is absolutely bonkers too: a sort of prescient precursor race amongst the stars has created at least one fake Earth to replace the real one, while on Earth there's famine they're trying to address by raising...  genetically engineered people as food... Obviously a terrible idea which goes wrong and they turn into a kaiju instead of hamburgers. It's fully voiced in English, and I believe the menus were English too.

- Ogre Battle: Person of Lordly Caliber Never played this, but Square likes to pretend the franchise is dead, and I think this might be the only entry still available for purchase... Unless the Tactics Ogre remake is still on the PSP/Vita stores. Ogre Battle 64 seems closer to real-time strategy games in some regard, and you have less control over units in battle than in most RPGs. Always been interested in this one, and the VC is by far the cheapest route.

I wish listed Ogre Battle 64 but never committed to trying it again. Though between the difficulty spikes & how easy it was to have your fav soldiers turn into zombies, the VC saving might be a plus when it comes to fixing screw-ups.

Same, have had it wishlisted for years, but it's a daunting prospect to start. RPGs tend to marinate in my unplayed pile of shame for years, so I've also held off buying it.

Offline Mr. Bungle

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Re: Best of the Wii U eShop (Bonus Round E: N64 VC)
« Reply #7 on: March 11, 2021, 03:09:20 PM »
Review Bump  8)
Since these games pre-date Metacritic and Planet Gamecube all we have are VC reviews.
The Reviews
Game Title (NWR review score, Link to review)

Make sure you take into account Discord.RSS's comments when considering F-Zero X as the review was done before the patch. All the Recommendations are for the Wii VC. It is interesting that Kirby 64 is not for everyone but Ogre Battle 64 and Sin and Punishment are  ???.  Also we have a clear winner for best reviewed game, everyone's favorite Zelda game, Majora's Mask  :-X.

Offline GK

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Re: Best of the Wii U eShop (Bonus Round E: N64 VC)
« Reply #8 on: March 11, 2021, 06:36:37 PM »
Think Mop it Up summed up why Ogre Battle 64 shouldn't be for everyone pretty well in the comments. It's not exactly a casual RPG.
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