The Best N64 Racing Games

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The Nintendo 64 was Nintendo’s jump into the world of 3D graphics, rumble paks, and some of the most iconic games to date. Even with the success of the 16-bit SNES, Nintendo couldn’t afford to rest on their laurels. Sony just released their 32-bit PlayStation which boasted 3D graphics and improved sound. Nintendo was working on something that could blow the PlayStation out of the water with awesome first party titles and great third-party support. The Nintendo 64 with its 64-bit graphics blew gamers away. Nothing like it had ever been seen before. Now gamers could hop around the Mushroom Kingdom in 3D, save a polygonal Zelda, and more!

Racing games obviously were needed on this new system. With the jump to 3D, studios needed to show off how driving games could be made to look and feel more realistic in this new plane. Titles like Wave Race 64, Diddy Kong Racing, and Mario Kart 64 made waves in the racing game world by introducing a new twist on the fun racers of the past. Players could now explore 3D tracks, feel the controller rumble when they took a hit, and battle against tougher AI. The N64 explored a new world of racing games and many of the advances made on this console have now become standard in the genre.

Wave Race 64

One of the classics in the N64 library, Wave Race 64 truly made waves in the racing genre by taking the action to the water. Players could now jump around on jet skis to pull off awesome tricks and navigate challenging courses. There are four characters that the player can choose from, each with their own abilities and style. There are also nine courses which each have different challenges that vary in difficulty but are all just as fun as the last.

If completing challenges is not your cup of tea, then the stunt mode allows players to pull off awesome tricks in a more open course. This is an awesome spin on a genre typically dominated by cars and dirt tracks.


Beetle Adventure Racing!

Have you ever wanted a hardcore racing game where every driver drives a Volkswagen Beetle? Beetle Adventure Racing brings just that. This title may seem like shovelware based on the title and premise, but the game is full of fun content that will have players loving its quirkiness.

Beetle Adventure Racing includes a single player championship mode as well as two-player racing. Up to four players can take part in the Beetle Battle mode in which they can compete to collect all of the bugs, wreck opponents, and race for the finish line once all of the objectives are complete.


Diddy Kong Racing

From the legendary developers Rare, Diddy Kong Racing brings all of the iconic characters they have been known for together for an awesome kart racing adventure. Players can fly, glide, and race on the three vehicles as this team of cute characters tries to take down Wizpig.

There are ten different characters to choose from, all of which are recognizable from Rare’s long history of working with Nintendo. There are power-ups hidden in balloons which allow the player to shoot at enemies or boost to the finish line. If story is what you are looking for, the Adventure Mode allows players to play as their favorite character in an exciting racing campaign.


Excitebike 64

The classic NES racer is back in 3D! Nintendo has beautifully reworked the original game to better fit into the world of 3D graphics and analog sticks. There are twenty different tracks to choose from, allowing the player to maneuver their dirt bike through twists, turns and jumps in classic arcade fashion.

Many of the mechanics that made the original game iconic are still present, such as blowing out your engine. This title is the type of game that players will be playing non-stop in order to master each track and get the best time possible.


San Francisco Rush 2049

San Francisco Rush 2049 is an arcade title made by the arcade giant Midway which was ported to the N64. Arcade action is what the game is all about. This title has some of the best physics that the Nintendo 64 could offer, bringing players some of the best arcade and explosive action on the system.

Rush takes place in a futuristic San Francisco, where players can take their cars to the sky in order to gain an edge in the race. Points are awarded for sick tricks as well so “do a barrel roll”. There are plenty of unlockables and tracks as well to keep players engaged with this awesome title.


F-Zero X

The first 3D entry into the series, F-Zero X takes the explosive action that made the original great and takes it into an even more fast-paced and hardcore world. This fantastic racer is set to loud rock which really sets the mood for this game.

F-Zero X plays similarly to the SNES title, except that the tracks are even more wild, speeds are even higher, and there are plenty of characters each with their own special perks and stats. There are a total of 35 tracks to blast through with 36 different characters, each more unique than the last.


WipeOut 64

This title has been described as the Formula 1 of the future. WipeOut 64 is similar to F-Zero X, in which racers will pilot anti-gravity vehicles insanely fast on wild tracks. The main difference between these two titles is that WipeOut features a large arsenal of explosive weapons in which racers can change the course of the race in an instant, destroying opponents that stand in their way.

There are also three different game modes which change up the gameplay nicely and give the game some nice replayability. WipeOut 64 is an updated version of the PlayStation original, fixing many of the issues that players had with the older edition.


Mario Kart 64

Everyone knew that this game would be on the list. Mario Kart is the epitome of kart racers and one of the most iconic titles for hardcore gamers and casuals alike. This iteration builds upon and improves everything that the SNES game pioneered. Mario Kart has never been more beautiful, showing off some of the best environments that the N64 could render, along with fun and exciting power-ups that are more destructive than before.

There are 25 different tracks that the player can race through, each one an icon in the gaming world. Grab your friends and get on the tracks of the Mushroom Kingdom in one of the most fun games on the system.


Extreme-G

Have you ever wanted to race at extremely high speeds riding something that could be compared to Kaneda’s motorcycle or a Light Bike from Tron? Extreme-G has just that in beautiful 64-bit fashion.

In this title, players will face off against twelve opponents across twelve different tracks that are littered with explosives and weapons. In order to win, players will need to go as fast as this game will allow you while shooting stinger missiles at enemy bikes. There are also some boost, invisibility, and warp powerups to change things up a bit more. This is another awesome high-speed racer to add the N64’s already hefty library of exciting racing titles.


Ridge Racer 64

Upgraded from 32-bit to 64-bit, Ridge Racer 64 takes the PlayStation classic and ups the ante a bit. Ridge Racer 64 takes the action from the original, and Revolution, and then adds even more content to make this game a beautiful 3 in 1 bundle of titles. This title updates the graphics a bit, giving players some detailed environments that look beautiful on the console.

There are also some new tracks such as “Renegade” which will challenge even the most experienced player. There are plenty of modes to play along with difficult challenges that will keep players engaged with this terrific arcade title for hours.


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  • Updated June 13, 2020
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