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Wave Race 64 – N64

Wave Race 64 – N64

wave race 64 box art coverPlatform: Nintendo 64

Developer: Nintendo

Publisher: Nintendo

Release Date (NA): November 1996

Genre: Racing

Nerd Rating: 5 out of 10

Between the PlayStation and the Nintendo 64, both consoles saw a jet ski video game release, but the PlayStation would obviously receive the better of the two.  Wave Race featured some high end production value with the aid of Kawasaki’s endorsement money, but the game just feels a little tired and saw itself get outdated instantly at the release of Wave Race: Blue Storm on the GameCube. Yea yea, I know what you’re going to say: “Every game gets outdone by its successor.” But that’s NOT entirely the case.  True, Smash Bros Melee is considerably better than Super Smash Bros.  But can one really claim that Mario Kart Double Dash!! is better
than Mario Kart 64?  Or that Super Mario Sunshine is better than Super Mario 64?  I think you’d be hard-pressed to find anybody who would take the battle mode in Double Dash!! over the battle mode in Mario Kart 64.  But let’s dive deeper into this water-sport ocean and take a gander at the big picture, considering how this game was in 1996 and how it is now in 2013.

563303_28976_frontWave Race 64 is a sequel to the Game Boy release Wave Race.  It’s an odd way to release successive games, as typically a game gets downgraded to the smaller, portable gaming systems.  But not in this case.  Wave Race saw itself achieve “Player’s Choice” stardom, which was a great marketing tool by Nintendo.  Pure genius.  It creates buzz and makes it known “Hey, this game sold millions of copies. So it’s worth it!”  Sometimes that’s all it took.  But consider the fact that Nintendo “skipped” the Super Nintendo as a launching platform for a Wave Race sequel.  I can only speculate that Nintendo didn’t feel the Super Nintendo would be able to provide the strength and 3 dimensional rendered graphics necessary to take Wave Race to the next level.  Good thing they held out, because even though the graphics are showing their age on Wave Race 64, there’s plenty to be had in this game, even today.  And not just for nostalgic purposes, although this does remind me of the first time I rented this game from the local video store (Premiere’s Video) and played it for days and days straight…. ahhhh… The joys of not having any responsibilities!

wave race 64 n64 gameplay screenshot

The animation is beautiful on Wave Race 64 and the color scheme is marvelous.  The look and feel of Sunset Bay give me that warm feeling of being on a beach all alone in Key West, looking over the water to watch the sun go down.  It’s a nice feeling, and rarely does a video game elicit such correlations to my real life events, but somehow, they got me. They got the tater.  The graphics are very pretty and still exceptional considering the N64’s age.  I am very impressed with the water movements but even more with the jet ski’s controls. It looks and feels EXACTLY like one would expect if they were racing a machine on the water.  Handling the jet ski can be challenging for any novice watersport racer, but it’s not impossible to master after only a few races!  The handling of the jet ski wr64turned out to be one of my favorite parts about the game, other than the vivid colors surrounded by rich blue waters.

But oh, if only the pretty colors were enough to save you from inevitable boredom.  While Wave Race 64 packs a solid graphical appearance on the exterior, deep within you’ll find yourself drowning in dullness.  There are only a few game modes to choose from, but each mode feels exceptionally similar.  The stunt mode has some rings for you to go through, but the championship mode has big buoys that you are required to either pass it on the left or pass it on the right, depending on which way they make you go!  The stunt tracks are so short that it’s not even worth blowing the dust out of the cartridge. The championship races provide an overly-short lap that’s so short, even a kid with ADHD could sit through this without getting distracted.  If you pass a buoy on the left when you should have passed it on the right, then you’ll lose “power”, and you only have so much power in each race.  Miss too many buoy’s and your jet ski blue stormwill “power-down” and you’ll be forced in retirement. True story.  And being forced into early retirement means GAME OVER.

The courses do get progressively more difficult, which is acceptable.  The lack of variety, however, is unacceptable!  There should be much more to do in this game!  Racing short lap after short lap with only 3 other racers really makes a player lose interest in a game. And if players cannot or DO NOT WANT to really put in a lot of time in a game, then I would categorize that game as a failure.  Keep in mind, this is just my opinion.  But this is my job.  I play these games and break them down fully so you don’t have to waste your time.  And when it comes to Wave Race 64, I would say: Don’t waste your time.  When I play this game I feel like I’m the little kid in a pool and Nintendo is the big kid holding me under water.

Wave Race 64 falls very short of true greatness and doesn’t even scratch the surface of mediocrity.  It’s a pretty boring game.  And even though the mechanics and graphics are phenomenal for a Nintendo 64 game, you’ll find yourself treading water in this boorish jet ski racer.  Instead, go enjoy a much MUCH improved game in Wave Race: Blue Storm.  OR, get involved in some edgier and cooler motorsport racing in the Jet Moto series!

Reviewed by NerdBerry

Written by Nerdberry


What’s up yall? David “Nerdberry” here! I am the founder of Nerd Bacon and the current co-owner (and CEO) along with partner David “theWatchman!” I hail from North Carolina, hence my love for all things pork! Oh, you’re not familiar with NC? Well I’m not 100% sure, but I am pretty confident that NC and VA lead the nation in pork production. I could be wrong, but even if I am, I still love bacon!

Come enjoy some bacon and games with us yall.


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