1: Goldeney. Released 1997. Developer Rare
There is a long history of movie tie-ins, unfortunately they tend to be crummy money making exercises, not so with this quite stupendous effort from the boys and girls of Rare. Originally envisaged as a Light gun game, this outing for James Bond became one of the finest first person shooters ever.
A game so expertly crafted that it should be on display in The Louvre; levels that mixed stealth and confrontation perfectly, a learning curve that meant nothing seemed impossible and an incredibly high replay factor due to the fact that enemies did not just receive more health when the difficulty settings where raised, extra objectives also had to be accomplished to complete each level.
And a multiplayer that offered an insane amount of play styles, characters, arenas and the ability for four player deathmatches with no slowdown whatsoever!
2:Super Mario 64. Released 1996. Developer Nintendo
Nintendo’s mascot made the transition from 2D to 3D effortlessly, everything that worked so smoothly on the NES and SNES was on show here but this time in glorious 3D. With more moves than ever before a new dimension (sorry) was added to the game, not just a straight up platform experience as certain obstacles required genuine forethought to circumnavigate.
Full of little touches that made it undeniably charming; Yoshi hiding on the roof, the monkey that seals your hat, the vibrant colours and bouncy soundtrack everything that makes Mario, Mario was present and correct.
Also, for some unexplainable reason, you could squish up the Italians face during the opening screen.
3: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Released 1998. Developer Nintendo
One of Nintendo’s flagship titles, anticipation was high when Link’s new adventure was released back in 1998. Like Mario this was Link’s first foray into the third dimension and like the mustachioed one he did not disappoint. At the heart of the story was time travel, an ingenious twist that gave the ending an even bigger emotional kick, and the titular Ocarina that required you to learn a whole host of songs that would activate certain occurrences.
A beautiful realised world that had more than just its heartbreaking story. In Hyrule you could go fishing, hunt for ghosts or even take part in equestrian challenges. Add in numerous dungeons to explore, a princess to save and an evil villain to defeat, this was adventure gaming par excellence.
4: Conker’s Bad Fur Day. Released 2001. Developer Rare.
One of the last great games for the system, this was platform gaming growing up; the main character was a drunk, he had emotional problems with his girlfriend and plenty of profanity. It also featured a humongous singing poo, so maybe it was not that grown up after all.
Like Mario, Conker had a main hub that lead to each of his levels. Unlike the dungaree wearing plumber he only had a few moves to learn. The inclusion of context sensitive pads, pads that when stood on would activate the necessary action to aid the squirrel, was a new direction for platforming games.
5: International Superstar Soccer 2000. Released 2000 . Developer Konami.
Not a particularly giant step forward from ISS 64; 2000 still had extra time that lasted longer than the match it was added to, keepers contrived to save the ball while lying prone on the ground, the rights to players names was missing and the commentary was truly dire but these where all parts of its charm.
Included for the first time was an RPG mode!! A lot like Fifa’s be a pro but with conversations with your teammates, nights out, choices to be made and meddlesome landladies. It was utter bonkers but a better inclusion than the high resolution mode that when activated made the game literally unplayable.
So there you go, a nice little stroll down memory lane..
What no Mario Kart 64? No Super Smash Bros? Perfect Dark???? How about Lylat Wars, Banjo-Kazooie, F-Zero X…
You get the point, there are a whole host of games I could have chosen instead of ISS but you need a football game in there somewhere or maybe I just like playing devil’s advocate. What do you think? What are your fondest memories of the glory days of Nintendo?