"After all these years, Wave Race 64 is still great!"

Background/Story
Wave Race 64 was the third game to be released on the Nintendo 64 behind Super Mario 64 and Pilotwings 64. While most people spent the first few months exploring every single little area in Super Mario 64 Wave Race 64 was released. Wave Race 64 is a jet ski racing game made by Nintendo and Published by Nintendo.

Game Statistics
Four game modes.
Four difficulty levels.
Controller Pak compatible to compare top scores and times & save watercraft custom settings.
64 megabit cartridge.
Battery-backed memory.

Game Design
When this game is first played the first thing that the player will notice is the realistic wave physics. All racing games require a sense of speed and realistic physics to play great and Wave Race 64 is no exception. When a jet ski comes in contact with a wave, the reaction is perfect. When there are few waves or a small amount of waves the Jet Ski will increase in speed dramatically. That is quite nice. There are four different characters in the game each with there own racing style. Also, there is the option to customize your watercraft's settings. Handling, Engine and Grip. There are four game modes. Championship - where you compete against three computer controller players to open up new courses. Time Trials - where the goal is to get the fastest time on each course. Stunt Mode -where the goal is to get the highest score by performing stunts. 2 player vs. mode - where you can play against one person. All of the game modes are interesting.

Graphics
Wave Race 64 has some of the best graphics of all the first generation Nintendo 64 games. The most noticeable graphical element in this game are the waves. They really display what the Nintendo 64 can do. The characters and jet skis contain low polygon counts compared to today's games however, back in 1996 this game looked quite impressive. The framerate is very consistent most of the time, which is always nice. Overall considering this game was released in 1996 it has very good graphics.

Sound
Wave Race 64 is one of the best sounding games of all of the first generation Nintendo 64 games. The music is not annoying or over powering however, it is not the kind of music that would stick into a persons' head. Wave Race 64's audio strength is in sound effects and voice. The engine sounds are perfect and the voices are interesting. When the race starts you can tell when the engine changes gears. When an opponent passes you its engine sound fades in and then fades out again simulating surround sound. The voice is in the form of an announcer. He will say things like ''nice'' and ''good'' when things are done right. He will also say things like ''oh oh'' and ''what are you doing?'' when things go wrong.

Control
The Controls in Wave Race are very precise. The game comes with an operation card, which gives detailed information on every aspect of the control system. The A or Z buttons act as the throttle. The B button softens the Jet Ski's bounce on a wave. The R button allows you to make sharp turns. Handling the Jet Ski is done with the control stick. Pushing left and right will turn the Jet Ski in the specified direction. Pushing up or down on the control stick will change the center of gravity. Quick turns can be done my tilting the control stick to the bottom left and right corners. The sharp turn is the most important aspect of Wave Race 64. The control scheme is very well thought out and precise.

Satisfaction
For people who like racing games or people who are interested Jet Skis, this game is a must buy. Others will enjoy the realistic elements in this game. Others will appreciate the fun multiplayer mode.

Replay Value/Game Length
Generally Racing games are as long as the gamer makes them. In Wave Race 64 there are plenty of challenges to keep gamers busy. Once all the challenges are completed, one can always attempt to improve on their time trials and increase there stunt mode points. However, with only 9 (17 including reverse mode) courses one can only be interested for so long.

Overall
Wave Race 64 is the water based racing game that all others are compared to. Even five years later, few games have matched this game in terms of realism and playability


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 03/16/02, Updated 03/16/02


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