The 17 Most Underrated Nintendo 64 Games
Everyone remembers Mario. What y'all know about Snowboard Kids?
1. Beetle Adventure Racing! (1999)
Released a year after the updated Beetle — pause for a second and remember how much hype there was about this— Beetle Adventure Racing! was maybe created only as an attempt to capitalize on the massively trendy compact car, but it was still one of the funnest non-serious N64 racing games. With tons of shortcuts, an unlockable Pikachu car and a muffukkin dinosaur, you almost didn't notice the incredibly lengthy levels. Mostly though this game was about the myriad way you can crash your bug: into a pirate ship, into a lagoon, into lava, etc.
2. Road Rash 64 (1999)
The 64's edition from the Road Rash series brought violent street racing to your family's living room with more polygons than ever before. This game inspired tons of kids to reenact the game's motorcycle fights on our bicycles. Everybody got hurt and sad.
3. Dark Rift (1997)
The most-popular N64 fighting games belonged to long-running franchises, but Dark Rift was a unique one-off that holds up alongside the console's best. With a roster of imaginative characters, unlockable boss characters (like a giant demon guy!) and a nicely sophisticated combat system, Dark Rift is one to snag off eBay if you're looking for a new-old fighter.
4. Wayne Gretzky's 3D Hockey (1996)
One of the first four-player N64 games, Gretzky brought irreverent arcade style hockey to the home console. Also, fighting! With power saves and unstoppable power shots, this game was less serious than some of the more simulation-type hockey games to come later to the system.
5. F-Zero X (1998)
The 64's version from the F-Zero franchise flew somewhat under the popular radar despite bringing awesome 3D graphics (octagonal tracks, man!) and killer level design to the beloved series.
6. Hydro Thunder (2000)
Better known as a (badass) arcade game, Hydro Thunder is one of the greatest racing games of all time. Don't argue with me. Combining killer level and vehicle design with a smart boost and jump system, Hydro will go down as an underrated multiplayer classic. This game also slayed on the Dreamcast (sheds single tear.)
7. South Park Rally (2000)
Of the three South Park titles on N64, Rally is may be the least appreciated. Mixing Nintendo's staple battle-race mechanics with the irreverent world of South Park (complete with lots of inappropriate jokes and references for the kids) turned out to be a winning combo. Plus, Primus.
8. Mischief Makers (1997)
An early underrated banger, Mischief Makers was one of the pioneering 2D side-scrollers for the Nintendo 64. But I like its Japanese title Yuke Yuke!! Trouble better for some reason.
9. Jet Force Gemini (1999)
A third-person shooter with impressive graphics and level design, it's surprising more people don't bring up Jet Force Gemini when naming their N64 faves.
10. NFL Quarterback Club '98 (1997)
Brett Favre was the face of the Quarterback Club franchise, and despite what you may think about the guy, the game was the best non-Madden football sim for the N64. Remember when there were non-Madden football games? The primary fun of QB Club was creating your own player, whom you could make 7-feet tall, 400-pounds and running-back fast. So yeah, it wasn't very realistic.
11. Mission: Impossible (1998)
Lost among some of the great first-person shooters of all-time (GoldenEye 007, Turok: Dinosaur Hunter, Perfect Dark, Duke Nukem 3D,) Mission: Impossible was a sneaky-solid game that rarely gets its due praise.
12. Harvest Moon 64 (1998)
Who knew a farming RPG could be so fun? Well, Japanese people did, and then they convinced tons of nerdy American kids too. Also you could get married in this game, which is (probably) more fun than getting married IRL.
13. Space Station Silicon Valley (1998)
Despite having almost nothing to do with Silicon Valley, this game brought wonderfully zany level and character design to the N64's roster of 3D-platformers.
14. Kobe Bryant in NBA Courtside (1998)
Basketball games on the N64 were decidedly clunky. But it was the '90s and we didn't know any better. At the time 19-year-old Kobe Bryant (aka Fro-be) was the youngest player ever to grace the cover of a major video game franchise. (Don't tell anyone, but these GIFs are actually from the oddly named sequel NBA Courtside 2: Featuring Kobe Bryant, which came out the next year and was essentially the same exact game.) R.I.P. Sonics.
15. Killer Instinct Gold (1996)
The N64 wasn't known for its fighting games. Part of that is the relative lack of computing power, but also the absence of a Street Fighter title on the system plays into that perception. Among the few beloved fighting franchises that were well executed on the 64 is Killer Instinct Gold, which brought Glacius, Fulgore, Sabrewulf, etc., from the Killer Instinct 2 arcade game to the home console with slightly pared-down graphics.
16. Conker's Bad Fur Day (2001)
Conker's Bad Fur Day is one of the N64's cult-y-est classics, mostly because its lewd, alcohol-soaked humor was a departure from most of Nintendo's kid-friendly titles. Conker was a little known character that first appeared in Diddy Kong Racing, but this game and several unsuccessful sequels have now permanently cemented the squirrel in the minds of gamers looking for slightly pervy 3-D adventure.
17. Snowboard Kids (1997)
SBK is the greatest video game of all time. Sorry, not sorry. The game has the same race-battle mechanics as MarioKart, but with an added element of a trick-for-money system and more than a hint of Japanese quirk. Unlike other snowboarding games, SBK races were lap-based, meaning you had to navigate your character onto the lift at the bottom of each run, bumping into your opponents in an often-frustrating, game-changing melee. Also you could snowboard on grass. Who hasn't always wanted to snowboard on grass?