Review by TheRedneck14
"The Times Changed, But Nintendo Stayed In The Past..."
Now... this is my first review of a Console, I have done a few reviews for video games and now I would like to try my hand at consoles. So I am going to try a new format at Reviews for this, hope it works out and is easy enough to read. So lets light this candle.
I think I will start off by saying how the Nintendo 64 was created, and delve a little bit into why it lost against the PS1. The Nintendo 64 was created to be the first real 3D home console [although the Atari Jaguar was the first 64 Bit systems, it failed. There have also been 3D games before but they weren't well known.], it was also touted to be able to produce CGI that was equal to that of the current Super Computers [I do not know how strong those were]. And the Nintendo 64 also ran games from Cartridges, which proved to be its downfall. It was also the first System to have a real 3D control stick. It was believed that Nintendo would win yet again, but it did not turn out that way. It was released on September 29th 1996 with two games.
The Nintendo 64 came out later than the Playstation, and the Sega Saturn, and they have both established a market by this time. And people were disappointed by the Nintendo 64's small amount of killer apps, as well as the high cost of the games. In the end the Nintendo 64 sold 32 million consoles, while the Playstation sold three times that.
Now onto the real things.
The System: 8
The Nintendo 64 was a small black box; it also had 4 Controller ports and a slot on the bottom for the 64DD Disc Drive [unreleased in USA]. I thought the System looked good, it was small and like always with Nintendo very well built and able to last for a long time. Unlike the Playstation [the big version] the plastic did not warp at all. Nintendo is good at designing hardware, and it shows.
The Controller for the Nintendo 64 was laid out in an M shape, and it was designed to be held in several different ways. It also has 10 buttons, and was the first Controller to have a Control stick that became integrated into all further controllers [IE: now the D Pad is gone, the stick is in]. The Controller is quite comfortable at times, but it can be a little confusing on how to hold it. Although I found it to be excellent for FPS games since the Trigger button's placement makes it feel like you are using a real gun. My biggest problem is the Control stick is wimpy, ad after a lot of use it will get weak. After I have had mine for 10/11 years mine is about to fall off. Otherwise it works quite well, it just depends on what you like.
Graphics: 6 or 9, depending on the games.
The graphics were mixed for me. While the N64 is powerful, the limitations of the Hardware weakened the power of the system. Also the limited capacity of the Cartridges made some games have VERY blurry textures. It was not until the Expansion Pack was released, and the Cartridges were given more storage space that we were given spectacular graphics with the Nintendo 64, and although the more powerful cartridges were more expensive. But with a lot of games, the textures were very small textures stretched out a lot, which made them look fuzzy. It was all a matter of the Developers skill with the hardware, which was difficult to program for [if you want to see good looking N64 games, buy Perfect Dark and Conker's Bad Fur Day]. But if they could the games looked very good.
This is a big problem with the Nintendo 64. The cartridges, which could not hold much data, were more limited in sound. And it was very hard to get a lot of sound inside of one of the games, and on several multi platform games like Tony Hawks Pro Skater several of the music tracks were removed. And the sound is also of lower quality because that CD's could have clearer music than the files used on the N64. But like with the Graphics if the developers were skilled there could be good sound [like in Perfect Dark].
Game Media: 6
The Nintendo 64 utilized Cartridges, which was a double-edged sword for Nintendo. First the Cartridges were durable and hard to hack into and pirate the games [Playstation games could be burned a lot]. There was also a very fast load time, which was a good reason to use them, whilst the other two systems [Saturn and PS1] had very long load times. Also, it was possible to modify the Cartridges and add specialized chips to improve the performance. But it also had its faults... There was less storage room, which resulted in worse textures, and limited sound. There were also very few CGI scenes [Resident Evil and Final Fantasy on the PS1 had several of these]. It was also harder to make games, and more expensive which resulted in several companies jumping ship to Sony so they could make games easier. So the Cartridges were a good idea in some ways, although the times were changing and Nintendo was lucky they could create good games or this move would of killed them.
Okay, onto the games. Like with the above paragraph, I was mixed on the games. First there are much less Nintendo 64 games than PS1 games. But there was also a larger ratio of good to bad games in my mind with the N64 [more games means more crap in some ways]. I found the N64 to be weak in RPG's, Sports and Fighters, but excelling in FPS, Adventure, Platformer and Party games. But again the small Game Library hurt Nintendo because back in the SNES days they had everything, and just staying in the past cost them a lot of market share.
Perfect Dark, Goldeneye, Super Mario 64, Mario Kart 64, Star Fox 64, Legend of Zelda: OoT, Legend of Zelda: MM, Mario Party, Resident Evil 2, Blast Corps, Banjo-Kazooie, Banjo-Tooie, Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire, Jet Force Gemini, Mischief Makers, Super Smash Bros, Paper Mario, Starcraft 64, Star Wars: Rogue Squadron
Powerful Hardware, Cartridges provided quick load times, several classic games created by Nintendo, durable.
Cartridges limited power, WEAK sound, limited game library, Cartridges a bad move in 1996.
Should you get it:
Buy the 64, it is cheap and there are some great games out there... or play the Wii Virtual Console.
Nintendo tried to use a 64 Bit Console with Cartridges in the 3D days against CD's. And it put up a good fight but the hardware weaknesses hurt it.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.5 - Good
Originally Posted: 07/25/07, Updated 12/10/07
Game Release: Nintendo 64 Hardware (US, 09/29/96)
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