Review by Pyro Vesten

"Excellent game that belongs in EVERY gamers collection."

Wave Race is the 2nd game I ever saw in motion for the N64 (Super Mario 64 was first). I can still remember the day I stumbled into a shop and saw a pre release copy of the game running the intro sequence. It was a Saturday, and I had just popped in to the video games department of my favourite store to have my usual look at the games, as I neared the game shelf to have a look I heard some music blasting out of a TV with 3 people staring up at the screen (I was behind the TV) so I walked over to have a look at what was on the TV that was so interesting……… when I stuck my head around the side of the TV and saw the rippling blue waves as the two jet ski riders zoomed past I but uttered a single word, ****!

The people around were not quite happy to hear such a term used and gave me some dirty looks (though the people staring at the TV didn’t seem to mind, probably because they were thinking the same thing too….). It was then that I realised that I HAD to own an N64 and Wave Race…

Thinking back, I suppose judging a game by it’s graphics and deciding to buy it along with “it’s” console wasn’t extremely wise, but it turned out to be very well worth my money indeed…


Gameplay

Wave Race plays like a dream. At first it will take some time getting used to (especially turning exactly the way that you want to), but after a week or two you will be controlling your Jet Ski like a pro. Wave Race is (as the name would suggest) mainly about racing, there are 3 difficulties for you to race in Championship mode (the main mode):
*Normal
*Hard
and
*Expert
You start off only able to race Normal, but once you beat the 6 races on Normal you unlock Hard, when you beat the 7 races on Hard you get Expert.
The other modes of play are: Time Trial, 2 Player and Stunt Mode (self-explanatory).

The courses, are just a circuit, you do 3 laps, and try to finish 1st, they are well designed, and all are very unique.

The Water Physics are AMAZING, the water ripples and moves very realistically, and you craft reacts to the water with extreme accuracy. Nintendo must have spent months, even years working on the amazing water physics seen in Wave Race, as they are truly mind blowingly amazing in both their accuracy and detail. After recently seeing the Wave Race: Blue Storm movies (for the GameCube) I once again poo’d my pants when I saw how amazing the water physics were. In Blue Storm however the water reacts to your craft as well as your craft reacting to the water (Blue Storm is actually running on a much improved Wave Race 64 engine believe it or not).

In summary, with the amazing graphics, fantastic water physics, well put together courses, and that Nintendo gameplay, Wave Race 64 really plays like a wet (SEA WATER DAMMIT!) dream…
10/10

Graphics


Hmmmmmmm, let me think, will Amazing do? Nah! Excellent? Nah! Fabulous? Nah! Awesome? Nah! Mind blowing! Not quite… Fantastic? Getting warmer… FAN ****ING TASTIC? Well, that will have to do, because I can’t really think of anything better to describe it. For it’s time (1996) Wave Race 64 had brilliant and never before seen pant wetting quality graphics. Looking back on it, in the year 2001 it still has impressive graphics, and that is really saying something!
The water looks GREAT, it ripples, foams excellently and reflects (not brilliantly, but it’s still purdy to look at). The water is has a variety of looks, from good old sky blue perfect beach water, to fanta water :P as seen in Sunset bay (at dusk, the sun lights the sky up orange, and the water too), to reflective and fogged over lake water, icy cold deep blue water to grey water in the rain.
The actual characters have a lowish poly count (but it was great for the time), but who cares? You’ll spend most of the time looking at the water :P

To put it simply, even 6 years after it came out Wave Race 64 looks amazing, and that really says a LOT.

10/10

Sound


Wave Rave 64 does very well in the sound department. The music is great, and will have you humming along to the variety of relaxing, and soothing tracks as you race away, play around practicing in dolphin park, or just listen to the music in the music test area. Top notch music and a good amount of it too.

The actual sound effects in Wave Race are pretty good, from the roar of the jet ski, to the “swwhhhh!” of the craft gliding over the water, to the collisions that will send your rider flying.

The sound effects suffice, and the Music is awesome, to this day the music in Wave Race remains as some of my favourite music in any game.

9/10

Multiplayer


Wave Race has a solid multiplayer mode, only 2 players can race against each other, but this isn’t a HUGE hassle. It is fun and good for an hour or two (but still, nothing compared to Goldeneye). The two player mode brings in some fog, but it’s not too bad, and really just looks like ocean mist ;). Wave Race is still played a fair amount when I am at gaming parties because of the basic nature of the game, that being that it’s easy to just pick up and play.

Good quality multiplayer for two people that remains fun for hours, but nothing ground breaking.
8/10

Replayability


I must admit that Wave Race is not my most played N64 game (out of over 30), but I do give it a good bash usually about once every month, for a few days. I usually have a quick whirl in dolphin park, then have a few races, and maybe a quick go of trick attack. So, Wave Race isn’t totally sitting around collecting dust, but I don’t play it religiously either.
8/10

Difficulty


I like a game that I can pick up and be used to within a week, and have mastered within under a month. Wave race is fairly much ideal for me. I got a good hang of the game and was winning 3 consecutive races or so within about a week, and by the end of a month I had mastered the game, and could usually get through Normal mode coming 1st or 2nd in 90% of the races.

I have lost my touch a bit all these years later, but after an hour of playing most of it comes back to me.

Pros

*Great graphics
*Excellent music
*Unbelievable water physics
*Very fun to play
*Still great 6 years down the track

Cons

*Wave Race: Blue Storm for GameCube won’t be out for a good 6 months or more :P

Buy/rent

Buy. I LOVE Wave Race, and I am sure everyone else will too. It is an awesome game overall and should be in every N64 gamer’s collection.

Overall

Wave Race 64 was one of the n64’s first, and still remains as one of its greatest games. Well worth the purchase, I’ve put countless hours into this little grey cartridge, and loved every minute.
Nintendo really know how to make games, and Wave Race 64 is a prime example of this.
This is 100% top notch gaming, it’s one of those games that not every body owns, but should.


Overall 9.2/10
(rounded to 9 for GameFAQs)

- Pyro Vesten


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 06/08/01, Updated 06/08/01


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