There are quite a few amazing games to be had on the Nintendo Wii’s Virtual Console service. There are great games from the last several generations of systems, including the console that brought us perhaps our first true glimpse into the world of 3D gaming, the Nintendo 64.
The N64 may not have had the huge library or amazing success of its main competitor, the Playstation, but Nintendo did manage to deliver a series of must-play games for the console, most of which are available now on the Virtual Console (for those who connect their Wii to the internet), and can be played right on your Nintendo Wii.
Check out our top 5 picks for great N64 games available on the Wii.
Star Fox 64
Originally, Star Fox 64 was the first game for the Nintendo 64 to include rumble functionality. Playing it now, with the rumble-less Classic Controller, I must confess that it feels like something is missing, but its still one of the best space-combat shooters ever made.
Players shoot their way through various space- and land-based stages, piloting the famous Arwing fighter, the Blue Marine submarine, and the Landmaster tank. Each controls similarly, and the different environments added a bit of variety that wasn’t present in the original Star Fox for the Super Nintendo.
Some games don’t hold up well over time, but Star Fox 64 is just as fun as the day I plugged in my first Rumble Pack. It’s well worth the ten dollar price tag.
Pokemon Puzzle League
Let’s forget for a moment that this title carries the Pokemon license. Instead, let’s pretend that it is instead a straightforward sequel to the fantastic SNES puzzle game, Tetris Attack.
Pokemon Puzzle league is one of the few puzzle games released for the N64, and, despite its unfortunate (or fortunate, depending on your feelings about the series) association with the Pokemon franchise, it’s quite possibly the best.
Pokemon knowledge is fortunately not required to enjoy this title’s fast-paced, tile-shifting gameplay. Players must match groups of like-colored squares in typical puzzle-game fashion, but the game’s simple-yet-addictive gameplay ensure that any fan of puzzlers will find themselves quickly wrapped up.
Mario Kart 64
I’ll be honest, Mario Kart 64 is not my favorite iteration of the series, but it’s still a solid racer and one of the best entries ever in the kart racing genre, which nobody but Nintendo seems to be able to get right.
Anyone familiar with the Mario Kart series should have a pretty good idea of what to expect here. Players choose from a colorful cast of drivers and pilot their go-karts around increasingly-fanciful tracks while dodging incoming projectiles and obstacles like turtle shells and banana peels.
While the single-player game is passable, multiplayer is where the Mario Kart series has always excelled. Racing against friends or competing against them in battle mode is still one of the best experiences to be had on any console.
Any Mario Kart Wii fan curious about the series’ roots would do well to give Mario Kart 64 a try.
The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time
To say that The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time is a beloved game is like saying that Michael Jackson was just a tiny bit odd. Many gamers rank it among the greatest games of all time, and few would argue that it remains the pinnacle of the Zelda series.
This third-person action RPG gets the series’ puzzle-solving and swashbuckling elements absolutely right. Riding Epona across the game’s open world for the first time was one of the great thrills of my young gaming life, and I’m so glad that the game is available on the Virtual Console so that the current generation can have a shot at that same feeling.
It’s perhaps the best entry in one of gaming’s best series. What more do I need to say? It’s definintely worth the measly ten dollar download cost.
Super Mario 64
Yes, the Ocarina of Time is a masterpiece. Yes, it may very well be the best of the Zelda series, but when Super Mario 64 was released on launch day, many proclaimed it to be the greatest game of all time.
Gaming magazines, notoriously stingy with perfect scores back in the day, didn’t hesitate to bestow their highest honors upon Shigeru Miyamoto’s 3D masterpiece. Absent the hiccups that accompanied the transition to 3D for so many series, Super Mario 64 was an amazing accomplishment.
Until the recent release of Super Mario Galaxy, many thought that it was an accomplishment that could never be rivaled.
Basically it’s an amazing game. If you’ve never played it, you owe it to yourself to download it. If you have played it, it’s just as fun as you remember.
The N64 didn’t have the huge library that the PS1 enjoyed, and with many developers reluctant to invest the money necessary to develop cartridge games, it’s no surprise that the best games for the system were those developed by Nintendo.
Of course, Nintendo has always been the undisputed king of 1st-party titles, and the company’s N64 library is a shining example of the quality titles they’ve always managed to deliver.
For more great Virtual Console information, be sure to check out our Ultimate Guide to the Wii Virtual Console.