Review by BimmyandJimmy
"A racing game that only treads in water"
As you are all probably aware, Wave Race 64 was one of the original N64 launch title games, so obviously, its one of the first games many received in their console bundle pack. Now as you may or not know, I'm not one to get all exited over any racing game in general, and Wave Race 64 is no exception. However that's not to say that the game is horrible. In reality, this game is actually pretty good.
Despite being a launch title, the visuals look quite impressive, but there are flaws from time to time.
To start, the character models for each racer looks decent and almost life-like. The only problem that I have is with their choice of wetsuit colors. While the female racer's suit colors are workable, the rest just look awful. For example, there is one racer who wears mostly green and yellow over his bulky, overweight body. Really says a lot about his personality.
The other in-game visual effects are also quite impressive The waves look real and colored appropriately and each beach or harbor has their own distinctive feel, background and lighting effects, differing each stage from the last to keep the game fresh. The only real problem that I have is with the textures on specific background structures such as cliffs and the bleachers, each which look smeared and distorted together in one big chaotic mess.
There isn't anything really worth getting exited over in Waverace 64 audio wise. Usually, the one constant sound that you will hear the entire game is the water jets engine. Occasionally as you pass by the bleachers at the start of the track while in first place, the crowd in the stands will cheer and applaud for you, which is always nice.
One main problem that I have is the sound of when your character falls off his or her water jet, usually because each racer sounds so ridiculous, it's almost laughable at some points. Oddly, the game has an over the top commentator guy who has a mixture of somewhat funny and incredibly moronic lines, or maybe they just sound that way due to this games piss poor voice clarity.
The music fits the game nicely. It's mostly just composed of beach/Caribbean music with a bit of electronic effects mixed in. It's usually all soft on the ears, but much like the sound, it can get really distorted and hard to identify from time to time.
Wave race is pretty much your standard racing game, but set on water. This can sometimes be both a blessing or a complete pain in the ass to race on, usually because the waves can get monstrously big and will throw your character all around the track, resulting in any place but first. Then again, what do you expect from a game called WAVE RACE?
So while the racing on water can cause some annoyances sometimes, winning first place is usually not that hard to carry out, even on expert. Usually the other racers get a little pushy and annoying at times but it's nothing you probably can't handle.
The real main problem that I have with this game is its controls. Sometimes they respond correctly, but most times they just have a mind of their own, such as on sharp corners were the game really demands perfect controller movement, because if you push too hard on the control stick, the craft will turn its self around in 180 degrees.
As for the rest of the non racing modes and side games, their OK, but they can get really old and frustrating fast, such as with stunt race. In this game, you pull of stunts to get points, as well as pass though checkpoints. The main reason I don't like this game is because pulling off tricks in this game can hurt your thumb after a while because you really have to jam the control stick to get it to work properly.
You can also play two player mode, but it's just a normal racing mode that gets dull after a while.
There isn't much to this game; it's just your standard racing game. No secrets or hidden characters. Either than new tracks that you unlock through the game, that's about it.
GET IT OR PASS IT: Well, if you got a N64 as a package back in the mid 90's, you probably got this game, so it's not like a game you couldn't avoid. If you didn't pick it up in a package, I would only suggest renting it for a weekend. It's all the time that you will need.
CONCLUSION: To my surprise, this was the second game of the series, the first being on the Game Boy which I have never played. If you ever see this game, it might be fun to check it out, but either than that, just leave this game at the bottom of your N64 collection.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.0 - Fair
Originally Posted: 03/10/08, Updated 08/19/11
Game Release: Wave Race 64 (US, 11/01/96)
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