The machine pictured above, the Nintendo 64 was a fifth generation home video console that served as an entry point to many my age to the world of home console gaming, something which ever since has never left me (Duh! I write reviews and articles on the games). To be openly honest, at the expense of missing several great games on the Sony Playstation and Sega consoles it remained until the release of the Nintendo Gamecube several years later my only video game console with the exception of my trusty Gameboys (Ranging from the giant brick model to a special edition Pokemon colour model).
There were several games on the console which have been receiving sequels even today while other brilliant series have been ended well before their time. I would like to take the time to write a list of my five top games for the console and reminisce about why they were so good and the occasional fond memory. These are games which might not make it into everyones top lists but are games I believe the developers would be good to consider working with in the future if they have not already, from re-releases on current-gen consoles to modern sequels which capture the charm of the original games.
2. Yoshi’s Story
The evil Baby Bowser has cast a spell turning Yoshi’s Island into a picture book. Worse yet, the Super Happy Tree has been stolen, making the island dark and gloomy. Players must take control of six Yoshis, each a different color, and travel through six pages (worlds) of platforming adventure to recover the tree and return the island to normal! Featuring huge character models and bright, vibrant colors, the game’s various environments (such as woods, caves, mountains, and oceans) come alive in a uniquely gorgeous 2½-D look. Eat fruit, avoid enemies and obstacles, and throw eggs from the Yoshis’ never-ending supply in your quest to stop Baby Bowser’s plan from succeeding. If you’re good enough, you can aim for higher scores by being picky about the fruit you eat. And who knows, you might even find the mysterious black and white Yoshis!
Perhaps to celebrate Nintendo’s first move to a console that could support proper 3D Gaming, not many companies took up the advantage of side-scrolling platformers with many such titles seeing a release on the Gameboy. But out of the few games of the genre which were released on the N64, the one that won in my books was Yoshi Story! The game was both developed and published by Nintendo as a sequel to the SNES title Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island, and as the title suggests, features one of the Super Mario Bros key characters, Yoshi. The game seems to have received very mixed reception from the media at time of launch but despite this it, alongside Snowboard Kids 1 and 2 remain titles I will frequently go back to when pulling out the ol’ N64.
The game features Baby Yoshi alongside Baby Bowser, with all other characters in the franchise not being present. The storyline went that the Yoshi’s lived happily with the support of the “Super Happy Tree” which supplied them with fruit and happiness. However, Baby Bowser who lived in a nearby castle becomes envious of them so using an evil spell he transforms Yoshi Island into a storybook, steals the “Super Happy Tree” and leaves the Yoshi to fall into depression. However six baby Yoshi survive this spell and decide to retrieve the Super Happy Tree and restore happiness to the island.
The game itself takes place over six worlds each with different themes. The game is comparably shorter to that of Super Mario World 2 in that you are given the option of up to four areas in each world (Depending on how many special hearts you collect in the previous world) and are only required to choose one to follow on to the next world. The four areas are each labelled with the numbers 1 through 4 indicating an increase in difficulty with each of them, and following the first stage you are offered in each world can provide a rather disappointing and easy experience while following all #4 areas actually proves some challenge.
Gameplay involves eating 30 pieces of fruit within a stage for which it is plentiful. Just as with the area selection you can quite easily complete the game in half an hour if you eat everything in your sight, but choosing to eat your Yoshi’s favorite fruit (Based on Yoshi colour) or going the extra mile and only eating melons will net you not only a higher score but give you more opportunity to navigate your way around some rather creative and challenging levels. Add several secrets hidden around each of the worlds (Including two extra Yoshi Eggs), Trial Mode and some rather interesting boss fights I think they did more than enough to merit a spot on my Top 5 and proved the Nintendo 64 game console could provide some interesting side-scrolling platform action.
Both the games design and music were designed to be cute and suit the storybook theme, for which they did quite a good job of doing. It does however give off the first impression that this game is targetted towards a younger audience of gamers, and depending on how you go through this game it very well might leave that impression – but through my extended playthroughs I felt it targeted the general audience who had played any of the earlier Mario games and while short, was open to multiple playthroughs as you worked yourself up to the harder levels, beat your own score and set your own challenges for fruit collection.
This is another game I unfortunately do not see and further development being put into in the near future (Although I would rather another Yoshi Story game than another New Super Mario Bros releases), but you can pick yourself up a copy of this title through the Nintendo Wii’s virtual console in all its classic N64 glory. Other reviews have indicated that the game is not for everyone…. but for me…. it is on this list so need I say more?
#3: To Be Released Soon