The Best N64 Platformers

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The Nintendo 64 was a great leap from the past generation’s 16-bit consoles. During the SNES era, developers were beginning to experiment with 3D with titles like Star Fox, but the technology was not quite there yet. With the N64, developers could fully flesh out environments in 3D, giving players some of their favorite worlds to explore in a new dimension. Other features that have become standard were also pioneered by the N64, such as the controller vibration, expanded memory packs, and connection with handheld consoles. The Nintendo 64 was easily one of the most iconic consoles ever with an even more unique controller, putting this machine on the list of the greatest consoles ever.

The Nintendo 64 was one of the best consoles ever for platformers. Some of the most iconic examples of the genre were released on this console. Each of these games beautifully translated a 2D genre into 3D, with titles like Banjo-Kazooie and Mario 64 becoming some of the most celebrated games of all time. These are the kinds of games that anybody could play, gamer or not. Platformers are just fun, and you do not need to know anything before playing. Nintendo has always created some of the best titles for casual players and hardcore fans to enjoy, creating iconic worlds that have become part of pop-culture as a whole.

Super Mario 64

This title had to be the first on the list, as it is not only the most famous game on the system, but one of the most iconic games in videogame history. Super Mario 64 was released as a launch title for the N64, introducing players to a 3D Mushroom Kingdom.

The story of this game is no different than previous Mario games - save the princess and defeat Bowser. However, Mario now has some new moves such as side jumps, wall jumps, and new swimming mechanics to traverse a brand-new 3D world. Each level is more inventive than the last with great music and an awesome hub world located in Peach’s castle. If you have not played this game, you have to give it a try.


Banjo-Kazooie

Rare has been creating some of the best platformers for years, and with the Nintendo 64 it was time to take these games to the third dimension. Banjo-Kazooie was a new IP by the UK game developer, featuring the titular bear and bird in new, wacky adventures as they try to defeat the evil Gruntilda.

This game is full of great music, fun levels, oddball characters, and funny moments which will make players fall in love with this game within the first few minutes. This title is easily one of the best platformers that have ever been released and it is a shame that there have not been any new entries in recent years.


Conker’s Bad Fur Day

Imagine Banjo-Kazooie if the game was about a womanizing, alcoholic squirrel - that is exactly what Conker is. Another iconic platformer developed by Rare, Conker’s Bad Fur Day begins with the titular squirrel drunkenly leaving a bar only to wake up the next day to find that evil teddy bears have taken over the land.

The gameplay is pretty standard of Rare’s excellent platformers, with the notable addition of a potty-mouthed squirrel who throws insults at every enemy in his way. The bosses are just as crazy, such as “The Great Mighty Poo” among other crude and fun enemies. This title is a must-play for fans of Rare titles and those looking for a title devoted to their great sense of humor.


Donkey Kong 64

If you cannot already tell, Rare is the king of Nintendo 64 platformers. Donkey Kong 64 is all the fun of Rare’s Donkey Kong Country titles translated beautifully into 3D. There are five different characters, each with their own abilities, which can help the player in certain situations to find and defeat King K. Rool.

Standard in Donkey Kong games, the player must recover the banana horde that K. Rool stole by defeating his army of wacky enemies. In typical Rare fashion, there are plenty of collectables to find throughout the world which will improve your gorilla’s abilities. This is another fantastic Rare game and a must-play.


Banjo-Tooie

The critically acclaimed sequel to the fantastic Rare platformer, Banjo-Tooie brings the fun of Banjo-Kazooie and amps it up with fresh new environments and characters. Everything that made the original Banjo-Kazooie iconic has been improved and expanded upon to create another fantastic Rare platformer. Gruntilda has returned, without her grotesque body, and is on a revenge path to destroy Banjo and Kazooie once and for all.

When beginning this new adventure, players will notice that all of the abilities unlocked in the first title are available from the start. Now players will have to unlock new and even more exciting abilities located around the world. Banjo-Tooie is the sequel everyone asked for and delivers more Rare platforming perfection.


Rayman 2: The Great Escape

Pirates have overrun Rayman’s world and captured Rayman! Pirate robots roam the land, scattering lums all over the world. It is once again Rayman’s job to recover the lums and banish the pirates permanently. Rayman on the Nintendo 64 looks better than ever, receiving recognition similar to Rare and Nintendo’s flagship platformers.

There is plenty to explore in the world of Rayman and plenty of enemies to destroy with Rayman’s devastating punches. There are twenty worlds to explore and lots of secrets hidden within each one of them, giving the player plenty to do in this fun and quirky platformer.


Space Station Silicon Valley

Probably one of the lesser known N64 platformers, Space Station Silicon Valley is nevertheless one of the weirdest and most exciting platformers on the system. In this title, players are placed in the role of a stranded microchip as they take control of various animals around the world to destroy enemies and platform your way to the finish line. Each animal comes with their own stats and abilities, which players will have to use to get around certain roadblocks.

The player is accompanied by the voice of Dan Danger, a human trapped on the spaceship, who will give missions to the player and make comments on how they play. This unique game is super exciting and a blast to play.


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  • Updated June 13, 2020
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